Birth of Community First Investment Group

“Now this is the story all about how, my life got flipped-turned upside down…” Wait that’s the Fresh Prince of Bel Air intro song. Seriously, since 2014 I went through a huge change. It was a change that included self-development and learning about finances.

My name is John Fortes. There was a period in my life where I wanted to learn more about how the rich got rich and how the wealthy stayed wealthy. This drove me to dive into learning about myself, my personal finances, and what would it take for me to get there. What I’ve learned and continue to learn is how to help busy professionals achieve cash flow through the benefits of passive investments in large apartment communities.

Here's a quick timeline:

  • 2014: I reconnected with my faith.

    • Best friend invited me to church on Father’s Day! Been a fan ever since.

  • 2015: Read the whole Bible (Bible app whole year plan). Still read bible plans till this day.

  • 2016: Read over 60 books (mixture of audio-book during my work commute and kindle/physical book at night before bed). I still practice this and listen or read as often as downtime permits.

  • 2017: Joined Bigger Pockets at the tail end of the year. Put the plan in motion.

  • 2018: Early in the year my wife and I purchased our first single family investment property.

    • Formed Community First Investment Group

    • Partnered on 62 units in Tennessee.

  • 2019: Syndicated our first 41 unit in Tennessee.

Now that you know a bit about my journey I’ll fill in how I got here. After a meeting with a financial specialist we concluded that I needed to build my foundation. I paid off debt, educated myself on other investing opportunities, tried to learn the stock game (just ask Mitch how many discussions and book recommendations we passed to each other about this topic), and always landed back into real estate to grow my wealth.

Mitch Comeau, founding partner at Community First Investment Group, has been doing my taxes for years so our discussions were always genuine and focused on building wealth. We would talk stocks and try to learn as much about it but we noticed all our brainstorming would trickle back to real estate.

After I “self-developed” (is that even a phrase), which started with my faith, and built my foundation, per the financial specialist, I started to look at ways to invest and grow my wealth. The stock game wasn’t for me as I wasn’t plugged in like a stock broker would be. Also, with all the fees and expenses paid was I really making a good return on my investment? Likely not. I looked at my 401k and cringed, “Honey, if I don’t figure this out there won’t be a retirement.”

Shortly my focus turned to real estate. It was like the universe had led me down this journey to then give me the ah-hah moment I needed. Perfect timing huh? What did I do? Read all I could on real estate, purchased my first cash flowing single family investment property, realized I couldn’t scale that way, partnered with Mitch and Matt Hawley and formed Community First Investment Group, joint venture partnership on 62-unit apartment complex, & syndicated another 41 units complex 5 months later.

I have an aptitude for learning. I love this stuff and the more I do the more I learn. I learn by educating myself through books, conferences, building relationships and by “doing”. I love sharing what I learned with others that were in the same position as I was.

As I shared what I learned with other sophisticated investors, I realized I wasn’t alone. Most people don’t realize there are investing options outside of the stock market. Some don’t realize real estate syndication is an actual option. Syndication what? It’s just a formal way of saying group investment. In a syndication you pool your money together with other like-minded investors to invest in a real estate asset, like an apartment complex. As a passive investor in a real estate syndication, you get monthly cash flow checks without the hassle of dealing with toilets and tenant calls.

Imagine this, you take $50,000 and invest it in a rental property. Now the tenant has an issue at 3am, who are they going to call? Tenant moves out, who must go fill the vacant unit? You get the point!

On the other hand, you invest that $50,000 passively in a real estate syndication (group investment), with other investors also investing $50,000 or more. Together you purchase an apartment complex. The asset management team manages the asset and handles the repairs and renovations on your behalf. You’re essentially buying into a business and sharing all the benefits of owning a business without operating it. At this point, you get to sit back and live your life and devote your time to your true passion and family. You’ll receive monthly updates on the property as well as passive income just because you decided to invest passively.

Who invests in these types of opportunities and why? Many wealthy individuals already invest this way. It’s been around for years. They turn over their capital multiple times over and build their wealth and cash flow. This allows them to do what they truly love and spend more time with the people that matter to them. The reason why they would invest in these types of opportunities is because they are leveraging the experience of multifamily operators that specialize in apartment communities. This is what the operators do and what they specialize in. Let the pros be pros and share in the profits. If your concern is that of a recession the data suggests that back in 2008-2009, defaults on loans hardly registered and rents increased in many markets. That is another reason why multifamily is a good business to passively invest in. It’s practically recession proof because people must live somewhere.

When I formed Community First Investment Group, I had one mission, helping others achieve financial freedom and time freedom. We’re here to help you achieve just that. Would you or someone you know like to learn more or discuss recent opportunities? If so, please email me at

John is Principal Partner at Community First Investment Group.

John is Principal Partner at Community First Investment Group.