Coronavirus: Former and current NFL players take advantage of webinars during COVID-19 pandemic

Kedric Golston understands the tug some NFL players former and current might be having right now. Players have money sitting in their accounts as they look out at a real estate market that could look very attractive during these uncertain economic times.

His advice for the time being: use caution.

Golston and his wife, Christal, operate their own real estate business in the D.C. metro area. Christal, a licensed broker, and her husband, an 11-year NFL veteran, were part of a webinar facilitated by the NFL’s player engagement arm titled “The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Real Estate & the Housing Market.”

The Golstons, along with Ken Bacon who co-founded an investment firm specializing in multifamily properties, spoke for a half-hour Thursday about the current state of the market and took questions for the final 30 minutes. The league says 640 former or current players tuned in live to watch the webinar, one of several in a series the NFL has been rolling out this offseason.

“First and foremost the NFL has a relatively young demographic that has the means to go out and step into different spaces whether it’s in real estate or other business opportunities,” Golston told CBS Sports in an interview Friday. “In times like this from personal experience, you know that they can get themselves into trouble if they don’t have the right information or have the ability to ask the right questions. And [they should] understand that based off everything that’s going on, now’s not the time for those opportunities, because what was true six months ago isn’t necessarily true now.”

Chirstal says the market could keep going down and urged players to wait. Not only that, but you may not have people willing to buy or rent at your price point right now.

Bacon talked about multifamily properties and more big-ticket items. His slideshow example presented a 100-unit apartment building priced at $20 million that, before COVID-19, would have required $4 million in equity to get things rolling. Since COVID-19 and concerning the federal loan programs in place, Bacon showed that the initial equity now exceeds $6 million with taxes and insurance.

That’s why the Golstons were encouraging players to “stack your cash on the side” for now to see how long this lasts. “Those opportunities will present themselves,” Kedric told the players. “We will get through as a country and as a whole. But just try to keep the stress at a minimum until we figure out what this is going to look like on the other end.”

A former defensive tackle who played his entire NFL career in Washington, Kedric Golston has been involved in real estate since he and his wife founded their company in 2006. In 2008, he took part in an NFL-partnered Wharton School of Business program that had an emphasis on real estate and entrepreneurship, and a moment from that program still sticks out to him a dozen years later.

“There was a gentleman maybe 45 years old about 6-foot-4, 240 pounds,” he recalls. “He’s standing in front of about 60 of us NFL players and he says, ‘I’m 6-4, 240, I can play in the NFL.’ We all kind of chuckled and he said, ‘Well why do you think you can step in my space with me when I’ve been training my whole life just like you all have been, just because you have the money to?’

“And that just has rung clear in my head that yeah, we may have the means to step in these spaces, whether it’s in real estate or commercial real estate, but if you don’t have the information to back up those resources, you’re putting yourself in a ton of jeopardy.”

And that’s the point of these league webinars. Lately they’ve been engineered toward the coronavirus impact. In late March the league hosted one on navigating a financial crisis. This week, there will be one on total wellness and mental health during COVID-19. But when it comes to business, real estate is a typical topic.

“We have incorporated the topic of real estate into pretty much all of our business focused programs,” says Carla Lide-Buglione, the NFL’s Player Engagement coordinator. “The reason why is because players are really into investing their money into real estate.”

Obviously these webinars aren’t meant to be construed as official league advice. The NFL prefaced the hour-long webinar by noting this was not solicitation or advice, but simply an educational resource for players.  

Among the questions players posed were:

  • If you have an existing mortgage, should you consider refinancing at a lower rate and a shorter term?
  • If you’re in the process of rebuilding a home, how does the financial change in the climate change the cost of building.
  • Are there any advantages to investing in your own town as opposed to out of town right now in the current time?
  • If you have the capital to pay after this is done, do you suggest that you use cash to make a purchase or go the mortgage route?

Several questions came in about flipping homes. The Golstons warned that flipping homes isn’t like what’s seen in the hour-long TV shows, and they encouraged players to finish the home quickly and get it to market now rather than continue to sink money into things like expensive fixtures.

“You might have anticipated, if you’re in the middle of a flip now, making $200,000,” Kedric said. “Well you know what? It might be better to only make $75,000 and get all your money back out of that deal. Because at least you can free up that capital and you’re able to take advantage of that next opportunity when it presents itself once we get through this pandemic.

“The majority of the league are guys who don’t know whether they’re going to be on a roster next year and what that means financially for them. So these decisions as far as real estate being the number one expense in our lives, it’s really important and these guys are trying to plan properly.”

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