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An Interview With Aurelio Baglione, The President And CEO Of Virtus Financial Group Of Companies And A Trustee Of Virtus Diversified REIT

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Below is our recent interview with Aurelio Baglione, the President and CEO of Virtus Financial Group of Companies and a Trustee of Virtus Diversified REIT:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Virtus Diversified REIT? 

A: Virtus Diversified REIT is focused on acquiring quality North American properties offered by motivated sellers. Our goal is to build a strong and stable portfolio of real estate assets, enhancing and protecting income through diversification and opportunity. The REIT represents the culmination of over three decades of my hands-on experience in the real estate arena. With humble beginnings marked by limited resources—no prior experience, sparse contacts in the industry, constrained credit, and capital—I embarked on a journey to build a formidable portfolio spanning over 1 million square feet of income-generating properties. Now, leveraging the wealth of knowledge, expertise, and network cultivated throughout my career, I am proud to extend the opportunity for both myself and passive investors to benefit from a reliable stream of passive and tax efficient income. Virtus Diversified REIT embodies the deliberate and patient approach, and the long-term growth strategies and principles that propelled me from a novice to a seasoned, and truly passionate, real estate investor.

Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement of a NAVPU increase? 

A: Virtus recently announced an increase of 5.51% to our Net Asset Value Per Unit. This highlights the resilience of many real estate investments, showcasing that positive returns are achievable even in a downturned market. This underscores our emphasis on strategic property selection and meticulous management, which is far more important than whatever trend or sentiment there is for real estate markets. By continuing to source undervalued properties with strong tenants, we will continue offering investors consistent value and growth opportunities.

Q: Can you tell us something more about your current properties?

A: Our current portfolio is comprised of properties that consistently generate robust cash flows. We take pride in our ability to purchase quality assets at prices below appraised value, spanning across commercial, office, senior residences, and multi-unit residential spaces. This creates a diverse tenant base such as anchor grocery tenants in the commercial space, government tenant in the office space, and individual tenants in the senior and multi-unit residential spaces. This approach not only strengthens the stability of our portfolio, but also maximizes diversification and growth opportunities, ensuring sustained returns for our investors. Further, it minimizes the risk exposures that many real estate investors face when concentrating solely on one class of real estate, such as multi-family.

Q: What can we expect from Virtus Diversified REIT in next 6 months? What are your plans?

A: In the next six months, you can anticipate Virtus Diversified REIT to remain proactive in capitalizing on opportunities within the current higher-interest environment. Our strategy revolves around identifying undervalued assets with substantial growth potential. For instance, we have entered an agreement to purchase a single-tenant property, housing a Walmart store, at a price point deemed unimaginable just 6 months ago. With the lease-term already extended and boasting an exceptional rate of return, this acquisition exemplifies our commitment to securing lucrative investments. We already see similarly undervalued buying opportunities on the market, and anticipate capitalizing on them within the next 6 months, and beyond that.

Q: What is the best thing about Virtus Diversified REIT that people might not know about? 

A: A prime advantage of Virtus Diversified REIT that people may not know about lies in the wealth of experience steering our asset management. With over 1 million square feet of real estate expertly overseen, our proficiency is unparalleled. What sets us apart is our deeply personal approach to stewardship. We treat every asset as if it is our own, because it is. Our commitment to success is intrinsic. Unlike some other REITs where management is incentivized only to maximize short-term returns, the Baglione family are the largest unitholders in the Virtus Diversified REIT. This isn’t just about managing assets; it’s about fostering a culture of shared ownership and dedication, ensuring that our investors’ interests are always at the forefront of every decision we make. We intend for Virtus Diversified REIT to be a top tier real estate investment for the very long term.

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