Chris Plaford is a passionate real estate investor and finance professional based in Wilmington, North Carolina. As the founder and CEO of Capital Asset Properties, Chris Plaford has a proven track record for success and specialization. Chris and his company invest in undervalued assets, such as single-family housing, to stimulate inefficient markets and kick-start growth. For Chris and the team at Capital Asset Properties, it’s all about helping others and giving back whenever possible.
Chris Plaford dipped his toes into real estate investing as a fresh-faced high school student. With his innate financial prowess and a keen eye for opportunity, Chris managed to purchase a handful of multifamily apartment buildings. Galvanized by his experience, Chris went on to study finance at Indiana University. With a degree under his belt, he confidently found employment with Goldman Sachs and Balyasny Asset Management. At the latter organization, he was promoted from trader up to Portfolio Manager. When he reached Partner, Chris Plaford managed $1 billion AUM in funds.
Eager for more experiences, Chris Plaford served as CEO for Clarivate Analytics, where he oversaw fundraising and financing for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. All the while, he still dedicated time to real estate, products, bonds, and credits.
Throughout his career, Chris Plaford discovered that his true passion had always been real estate. In 2013, he founded Capital Asset Properties to finance real estate projects for Middle America. Some of his largest projects and markets are localized in the Carolinas and Florida, where single-family communities and construction projects have made calls for support.
Due to his vast industry experience, Chris Plaford is still a valued consultant for investors and investees alike. To meet demand and balance his responsibilities, Chris founded a second group—CAP Consulting LLC—to facilitate consulting projects.
For many years, Chris Plaford lived in New York but moved down to North Carolina to dedicate more time to his favorite hobby—fishing. Whether he’s alone in his boat on a quiet spring morning or helping his family cast their lines, Chris thinks that fishing is the perfect way to get in touch with nature and his inner self. While a traditional fishing rod suits him just fine, Chris Plaford has also experimented with drone fishing.
Our Interview With Chris Plaford
Question: What’s the most important thing we should know about you?
Chris Plaford: Dedicated. Dedicate yourself to anything that you pursue. Work, family hobbies, etc. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
Question: Name the most impactful lesson you learned from failure.
Chris Plaford: Failure is only temporary if you have the motivation to succeed long term. It’s a teachable moment, perhaps more so than success. Nothing more. Learn from it and move on.
Question: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Chris Plaford: Now, having 25 years of investing experience across numerous asset classes both in the securities world and private arena, I can honestly say there are few investment opportunities we can’t vet efficiently. Having professional experience in such a broad range of areas and products is unique, and an opportunity to which I am very grateful.
Question: What did you waste the most time on when you were first starting your career?
Chris Plaford: Trying to force investments where others told you they should be found. The best way to find opportunities in my experience is actually to be open-minded and let the opportunities present in whatever area they may (even if it’s not those you expected).
Question: Name a tool you use for work that you can’t live without.
Chris Plaford: Personal relationships. In the direct investment world (real estate or otherwise), your professional network of people is your lifeblood—both in terms of finding and acting on opportunities.
Question: What is your favorite hobby and why?
Chris Plaford: Fishing—everyone needs some time away from work to spend with family. What better way to relax than outdoors?
Question: What excited you the most about your industry right now?
Chris Plaford: The magnitude of inefficiency is astounding. There have been few areas I have seen in my career that are riper for capital placement than that of middle-market real estate.
Question: What concerns you most about your industry right now?
Chris Plaford: In our real estate development business, we are suffering from the impacts of COVID19. Not in the ways that some are (hurting business, etc.), but because the hot development market combined with a shortage of building materials via manufacturing slowdown related to the virus, has caused a spike in materials pricing and lead time.
Question: What’s the greatest risk you’ve ever taken?
Chris Plaford: Coming back to a career in real estate post retiring from Wall Street. Although I had some limited experience in multifamily real estate when I was young, I didn’t intend to entirely leave Wall Street. It wasn’t until I had some downtime in my securities career that I was able to take a close look at the level and magnitude of opportunities that existed in middle-market real estate. After dedicating myself full time to this arena, it turned out to be the right decision, no question. It was a risk to make this switch to be sure, but one that’s paid off.
Question: Name one small habit that positively impacts your productivity.
Chris Plaford: Rising early. I usually start working around 4 a.m. and get a lot done before many even get to the office. Those extra few hours a day really add up over the course of a week, month, or career.
Question: What tips do you have for getting a seat at the table?
Chris Plaford: Utilize your professional network. That’s what it’s there for. Don’t be shy about asking for help or giving it to others when needed.
Question: What book has made the biggest impact on your life?
Chris Plaford: Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. If you think you are having a bad day, a story like this really puts things in perspective. It’s amazing what was accomplished back then. Truly inspiring.
Question: Do you value intelligence or common sense more? Why?
Chris Plaford: I would say both, but the common sense side is probably the more practical of the two. I have been in plenty of settings where I am clearly not the most book-smart in a room of professionals. In fact, there are many forms of intelligence, but once you are “smart enough,” success tends to be determined by other things than raw intelligence.
Question: What would you consider to be the perfect day?
Chris Plaford: Spending the day on the water with my family. Beach, boat, dock, etc. Being outdoors is great, but being with family is the best. It doesn’t hurt to catch a fish in the process though…