top of page
  • Writer's pictureJohn Casmon

Hakeem Valles: From NFL Player to Multifamily Investor

Updated: Dec 7, 2020

Hakeem Valles’ story is all about overcoming the odds. Hakeem made it to the NFL as an undrafted free agent and played in the league for three years with the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, and New York Giants.

He retired from the NFL in 2019 and is now a full-time real estate investor and national speaker based in St. Louis. Valles invests in multi-family properties, in emerging markets all around the country, focusing on areas with a high quality of life and nice people. His journey from a bench warmer in college, to starting his senior year led him to be an undrafted free agent. He took advantage of that opportunity but also began to invest in multifamily apartments.

Hakeem shares how he started investing in real estate while playing football, what drove him to focus on multifamily investing, and how he uses social media like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter to build his business.

Key Insights

  • Went to Monmouth University in New Jersey

  • Only started his senior year and blossomed

  • Went undrafted and signed with the Arizona Cardinals

  • Learned about commercial real estate, cap rates, and IRR in college

  • Ex-girlfriend and dad started real estate house flipping business

  • Installed floors, drove for dollars, went to auctions

  • Retired from the NFL after realizing his true passion was real estate

  • Bought a 4-unit in Arizona and then a duplex in Detroit

  • Wanted to buy larger assets and was building a strong team

  • Put in an offer for a 67-unit in St. Louis and negotiated for two months

  • Received the actual income statements from the seller’s accountant and the NOI was off by $200k – had to walk away

  • Fiancé gave birth during one of the games

  • Had 1-hr to be a dad after practice all day and realized he wasn’t happy

  • Just closed on a 7-unit in Des Moines – investing $60k

  • Putting in an offer on 8-unit in Ft Lauderdale, partnering with private equity group in Israel

  • Tips to Select Markets: Review market reports and compare to census reports – look for population and job growth and call economic dev’t office

  • Ask economic office, “what plans do you have to incentivize big businesses”

  • Regrets not doing more with social media while he was playing

  • Strategy approach - give value, use keynote speeches to create social videos

  • Created a video of how he bought a four-plex in Arizona, it got 80,000 views on LinkedIn

  • Blackerpockets got 100,000 views on it

  • Answer question and use the video and content

  • Went to biggerpockets and found questions and started answering the questions

  • Content has to be contextual to the platform

  • Instagram is more entertainment based – college market, younger audience

  • LinkedIn is more organic and catered to the business audience – more consumers of content than creators of content

  • Twitter is jumping into conversations

Bull’s Eye Tips:

Winning Your Market: Know the people and talk to everyone you come across

Tracking Market Changes: Staying connected

Daily Habit: Brandon Turner’s 90 Days of Intention Journal


Best Business Books:

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Digital Resources:

Add Subtitles

Tweet This:

“Ask the economic office, “what plans do you have to incentivize big businesses”

“85% of videos on social media are watched without sound”

Places to Grab a Bite:

Ginghams 24-Hr

Connect with Hakeem:

Instagram: @hakvalles80

Leave us a review and rating on iTunes or Stitcher. Be sure to check out more info at

bottom of page