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  • Writer's pictureJohn Casmon

Selecting U.S. Markets from Europe with Billy Keels, Episode 34

Ever go on a trip and wish you could just stay and not return? Well, Billy Keels did just that when he left for a sabbatical to Europe 17 years ago. This native of Columbus, Ohio now lives in Barcelona, where he works in sales and helps others invest in U.S. real estate. Today, we talk about how he selects his markets from Spain, as well as how he manages to put deals together and oversee a team from overseas.

Key Market Insights

  • Billy is originally from Columbus, OH

  • Hired for a corporate sales job that allowed him to travel to Europe

  • Did a sabbatical and ended up marrying a Spanish woman and staying

  • Watched stocks lose over 30% of value in 2008 and realized he needed to invest in different assets which gave him more control

  • Went from buying an apartment in Europe to investing in U.S. rentals

  • Understood he wanted steady cash flow and streams of income

  • Needed to put more process behind selecting markets: First step is look for cash flow, second step is align with the right team members that understand that opportunity

  • At that point had a lack of knowledge on the market and was lucky that his first experience was positive cash flow

  • Was investing in South New Jersey because he had family close by

  • Strong due diligence includes reviewing operational reports, occupancy and economic occupancy

  • Analyzing markets that fit his personality, Billy looked at 14-15 cash flow markets and identified a top 4 list

  • Market Criteria: Population of at least 300,000, job diversification, net migration, Fortune 500 companies and presence of foreign owned companies

  • Top markets: Atlanta, Charlotte, Columbus, and Philadelphia, decided to focus on Charlotte

  • Likes NE and SW Charlotte for the profile of the resident they want to serve

  • Uses REIS reports to understand granular neighborhoods

  • Was surprised that European friends wanted to invest with him in the US

  • Did not want to invest friends with money and it was weird in the beginning

  • Work in sales and business process 7am to 10pm, but has flexibility

Bull’s Eye Tips:

Winning Your Market: Be clear on who you are and what you want, let the data lead you to the market

Tracking Market Changes: rely heavily on the team and local newspapers

Daily Habit: Spend time with himself meditating, jog 2-3 days


Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Best Business Books:

The Creature from Jekyll Island by G Edward Griffin

Digital Resources

Tweet This:

“Don’t ever pick a market just because someone you know lives there”

“Whether a duplex or 50 unit, the market and team are critical”

Places to Grab a Bite:


Charlotte: Fenwick (Myers Park)

Connect with Billy:

One on One Session:

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