A Look at Real Estate Investing With Tom Burns, MD

Tom Burns, MD, is an Austin orthopaedic surgeon who created his own real estate investment firm, Presario Ventures, to focus on multifamily real estate investments.

TOA recently sat down with Dr. Burns to take a look at his project.

TOA: Your company, Presario Ventures, focuses on multifamily real estate investments. How did you grow interested in this subject? What led you to create Presario Ventures?

Tom Burns: I became interested in income generation outside of medicine when I was in residency. I wanted something that would give me more control over my life than I felt my attendings had at the time.

Real estate fit the schedule and skill set of a busy young doctor. I started small, like everyone else. Over time, deals got bigger, and people wanted to partner. In 2009, my partner and I formed our first company. We added employees and renamed it Presario Ventures in 2017.

TOA: What kind of training did you undertake to become an expert in real estate investing?

Tom Burns: I read books, asked questions, and hung around people who were doing what I wanted to do. Sometimes I paid those people for their mentorship. I learned most of my lessons in the field. Once I knew what I wanted to do, I jumped in and began buying real estate.

You become an expert with time and lots of mistakes. I used both to their fullest! I still spend roughly $250,000/year to keep up my skills through mentoring, coaching and mastermind groups.

TOA: What are your short-term and long-term goals for Presario’s portfolio?

Tom Burns: Our goal is always to make our investors money. If we do that, we will prosper as a company and individually. We have not set goals for assets under management or total value. We try to offer four opportunities per year. Sometimes we’re over and sometimes we’re under. Currently, we’re at $500 million and expect to be at $1 billion in the next two to three years.

TOA: Have you invested in projects outside of real estate? Or do you focus all your investments in real estate?

Tom Burns: I am “equal opportunity” with my personal funds. My goal is, and has always been, to create enough passive income to pay for my lifestyle. I don’t care where that comes from, as long as its legal. I own real estate, oil and gas, technology, original company shares, crypto, and other businesses that create cash flow.

TOA: Just as not every orthopaedic surgeon will become a state senator or member of Congress, not every orthopaedic surgeon will start their own real estate private equity firm. What kind of investment advice do you have for orthopaedic surgeons out there?

Tom Burns: First, get educated. There are books and podcasts for every subject. It takes the mystery out of investing. Next, in general, orthopedic surgeons make an above-average wage and they should take advantage of that. I’m aware there are some special circumstances. I also suggest living on less than you make and investing the rest into something that produces cash flow.

I’m not a stock market hater, but not a fan either. Get to know those who produce opportunities to create cash flow and eventual capital gains through the sale of companies or real estate.

Don’t spend your profits. Apply them to new investments and enjoy the wonders of compounding. In a shorter time than expected, you can bring in enough cash flow to make your orthopedic practice more fun and rewarding. This is called “passive investing” and requires almost no time from your work or family.