Gabriel and his ex-wife walked into a giant mansion, beautifully appointed for the event. When he
met the host, Gabriel shook his hand. “I was like, ‘Who is this guy?’” he says. “I was a kid when I
met him and the first thing I said is, ‘I don't know who you are, but whatever you do, I want to
learn.’” And just like that, Gabriel started to shadow Dallas real-estate mogul Sam Elchami, doing
odd jobs and helping out where he could.
After a few years, Gabriel had learned a lot and had enough capital saved to start investing on his own. In 2007, he bought a tiny home in Dallas for $60,000, which was a fortune for him back then. “I was terrified. Terrified,” he says. “I didn't know if it was going to work.”
But the same day the deal closed, he showed up with his team and started renovating. They painted inside and out, did some small cosmetic renovations, and had the home ready to sell in 30 days. Two months later, the fixer-upper sold and Gabriel pocketed $25,000 in profit. “Fear puts up a wall and makes it hard to take the leap. But if you have the right crew, they do everything for you,” Gabriel says. “The big secret is just going for it. Just taking a leap of faith, believing in what you can do, and then just going forward and doing it.”
Once he’d flipped his first property, Gabriel couldn’t wait to do another. He’s always been an entrepreneur and a self-starter — he’s never had a boss or worked a 9-to-5. But real estate felt different than just another hustle. Gabriel was creating something tangible: properties that would become miniature worlds; settings for a family’s history. “I wanted to build something. I wanted to create something,” he says. “These homes can be in a family for generations. A family tree can be grown in them. That's pretty badass.”
Things were going well, but almost every real-estate career has peaks and valleys. In 2016, Gabriel found himself over-leveraged and in need of a loan. He’d bought a home, paid for in cash, but ran out of money halfway through the renovation. So, Gabriel reached out to Sam Elchami’s son, Dylan, now a close friend, who told him to call a Fund.me team member. “I knew right away that if the Elchamis worked with him, he was legit,” Gabriel says.
A Fund.me team member looked over the paperwork and quickly understood the value of Gabriel’s investment. He approved a $500,000 hard-money loan at 7% interest within a week. “A Fund.me team member was quick and so efficient. There was very minimal paperwork,” Gabriel says. “I mean, he put it all together. The appraisal, the report, everything was done by him. And next thing I know, the house is closing.”
Gabriel might not yet be a mogul like Sam Elchami, but he’s making a name for himself in the Dallas real-estate world. He’s flipped 28 homes so far and has eight more investments currently be renovated. He isn’t sure if Elchami remembers that day at the party when he first told him hewanted to follow his path. “For him, it was just a kid asking questions,” Gabriel says. “But I remember. I remember.”
The young Dallas transplant still feels like an investor on the rise, but he has some hard-earned advice for prospective home-flippers. “This is a great industry, but it can be a little cut-throat. The most important thing is to surround yourself with the people you want to work with and that you trust,” Gabriel says. “One person can’t do everything. You need a team to make the company better. Find good people and put them to work.”
Ever since that first hard-money loan, a Fund.me team member and Fund.me have become something like the CFO of Gabriel’s team. And the team’s never been stronger.