When Patrick Carroll started in the real estate business in 2001, he flipped houses as a side hustle. His day job was as a clothing rep. Now, Carroll is one of the most successful real estate moguls in the business. He’s also recently formed Carroll Global, allowing him to pick investments and partners without others’ approval. Carroll can also finance large deals himself if necessary.
Carroll was born in Richmond, VA, but spent most of his childhood in Tampa, FL. He went to Atlanta after graduating from high school.
Carroll’s interest in real estate started when he bought his condo without a down payment. Once he realized he could borrow 100 percent of a property’s value, he began experimenting with real estate investing.
“I started renovating and flipping homes while being a clothing rep before switching to real estate full-time,” he says.
He realized that real estate investment was an excellent way to achieve his childhood dream of being a successful entrepreneur. He also noticed that many on the Forbes 500 list of the wealthiest people made their money in real estate.
He could buy properties with no down payment until the downturn of 2008 and 2009 when financing rules began to require equity. To adapt, Carroll learned about finance and found investment partners.
“I would go to New York every couple of weeks and pitch large private equity investors, and I ended up raising billions of dollars.”
He would research properties carefully and drive around and study the submarkets. He would ask whether the properties were near good schools and jobs. Once he decided an investment had potential, he’d check his assumptions.
“I knew if a lender was willing to lend on it, and I was able to attract an equity partner, then more than likely my assumptions were correct.”
Becoming a Real Player
For a while, Carroll participated in relatively small deals. Then, a broker called him one day about a 1,400-unit deal priced at $240 million. The deal was significantly larger than he’d ever completed, requiring a $5 million nonrefundable deposit and the remainder within 30 days. Carroll pitched all the investors he typically worked with, but none was willing to invest. Finally, he found a potential investor. However, before the investor committed, interest rates began rising. The partner forced Carroll to take a less-than-attractive deal. They were also challenging partner, mistreating employees, and being dishonest. However, Carroll ultimately made a profit on the deal. The deal was also an impetus for his being featured in the Wall Street Journal, making a name for himself as a significant real estate investor.
“Luckily, now people send me deals daily, and I can just pick the ones that fit my criteria,” Carroll says.
Carroll continues to talk with investors and lenders daily, research properties carefully, and watch overall economic trends. He also continues to read thousands of books and magazines.
Carroll’s new venture, Carroll Global, is a Family Office and Third-Party Investment Company for third-party capital. As CEO and owner of the venture, he’ll research and discover investments that meet his criteria, then search for partners with similar values. If he finds partners, he’ll make them co-investors. However, if he cannot find partners, he will still have enough capital to invest on his own.
Being well-capitalized is “a luxury I certainly never had before, and I think it gives me a huge advantage in the investment market,” he says. “Even the largest institutional investors have to get committee approval to do a deal. I am my own committee and can make my own decision fast. ”
Carroll says he will broaden his investment interests beyond real estate, investing in sectors that produce “necessary” goods and services. Among them are clean energy, private credit, service businesses, and large publicly traded companies.
Although Carroll has gone from a small investor to a billionaire and mogul, his investment criteria remain the same as in his early days in business. The first tenet is “make your money on the buy” — essentially buying the property for less than it’s worth. Other criteria are:
- Buy below replacement cost.
- Buy with attractive financing and free cash flow in place from Day 1.
- Buy only the best locations.
- Buy properties that will attract a good resident base or tenant.
Carroll is significantly involved in philanthropic work, seeking to give 20 percent of his time and some of his money to help others. Carroll is especially interested in charities that directly help needy children. His first philanthropic endeavors were on the local level, where he contributed to food banks and other charities that alleviate hunger. He also has developed deep relationships with Boys and Girls Clubs, serving on the board in Tampa.
He recently founded the “Kickz for Kids.” The campaign has supplied several hundred pairs of sneakers, and its goal is to supply more than $1 million of sneakers nationally. Carroll and celebrity guests hand out the free sneakers at special events at Boys and Girls Clubs in US cities, such as Atlanta, New York, and Chicago. Carroll chose to give sneakers because they are comfortable and warm. They are also a confidence booster for kids who may otherwise be economically disadvantaged.
Patrick Carroll funds the program himself. Largely self-taught, Carroll hopes to send a message to these kids that hard work and the willingness to research opportunities and adapt can help them succeed just as he did.
Carroll also partnered with The Heart Fund to provide meals for families affected by the conflict in Ukraine and initiated the #billionaireschallenge, urging the wealthy to help those less fortunate. Indeed, Carroll’s charity portfolio includes at least 50 organizations.
“I want to be known as a self-made guy that made it and then turned around and helped others ‘make it,’ ” he said. I really want to be remembered as one of the best people I’ve ever read about.”