Tanya Marchiol is the founder and president of TEAM Investments, Real Estate Broker, and financial coach out of Phoenix, AZ who specializes in relocating and educating professional athletes. Her client list boasts major names such as Donovan McNabb, Glenn Dorsey, JaMarcus Russell, and Darnell Dockett. TEAM Investments is a full service real estate investment firm whose goal is to not only make money for the athletes themselves, but to educate and to create generational wealth to ensure that their kids’ kids are taken care of.

Prior to being a real estate investment guru, Tanya was a professional volleyball player in Italy. When she finally decided to hang up the shoes, she was lost on what to do in her new life without sports. She took a temporary job as a cart girl at a golf course, where she broke her ankle when the cart flipped and landed on her ankle requiring surgery. During her time in the hospital, she flipped through some real estate books given to her as a gift by her mother. After she passed her real estate exam, she began buying and selling property on her own. Her neighbor at the time was Justin Lucas of the Arizona Cardinals who heard about what she was doing and asked for her help. That year, he bought 13 houses and TEAM Investments was born.
During her 11 years directing professional athletes, she found that there was no one educating athletes on how their money was being invested. Players were just giving financial advisors full access to their bank accounts and telling them to make some money. Because of this, Tanya has developed her business to include educating and advising her clients with respect to the process of real estate investing and not just doing it for them. She says that because she has a position of creating wealth for the athlete:
“…they have a different bond with me than they do with their agents or financial advisors. I am helping educate them and make them money at the same time. It is very non-evasive.” 
It is this bond that has led Tanya to maintain her clients no matter where they are in the country. In order to do that she has obtained a real estate license in almost all 50 states to: 

“…have that 1-on-1 relationship with them forever. If you get traded to Minnesota, we will meet you in Minnesota and help you pick your house out.” 

When asked how she went about getting her license in so many states, she answered: 

“What I did was I researched which states had reciprocity with other states. So having my license here in Arizona was interesting because we don’t have reciprocity with anyone. So I then picked the next state that has reciprocity with a multitude of states. My second license gave me reciprocity in different states. You don’t have to take the national exam ever again, but you do have to take state-to-state tests. So I just went and studied for the tests and then took them state to state.” 

AA: So you’re really able to solve many problems because you have access to each state?

Marchiol: “It ends up being an interesting situation. For example, yesterday a baseball player that is a client of mine called me and he said, ‘Tanya, what do you know about XYZ Group?’ It was a group that I personally wouldn’t have invested with. I’ve given them three shots and they haven’t pulled through on an investment. I don’t put my clients into anything that my money isn’t also in. So a lot of people called me looking for advice, knowing if I’m going to tell them to do something I’m in it. So this baseball player calls me and he says, ‘Look, here’s what’s going on. A friend of mine who plays football put a half million with these guys and I really need you to talk to him.’ I said no problem. So I just sat him down and said, ‘Look, here are the pros, here are the cons, this is the research I’ve done, now make your decision.’ It’s educating.” 

AA: That’s refreshing to hear because educating is something we try to do because we do understand that many times throughout their lives athletes are gift-wrapped and spoon-fed things. 

Marchiol: “Exactly, exactly.” 

AA: Do you give your clients access to other opportunities or business ventures? 

Marchiol: “Absolutely, if I personally get into something and I find it successful, I will definitely extend that to my clients. One of the things that was completely outside the realm of real estate and actually sat on my desk for three months because it was outside the realm of real estate and not my expertise, was a video game that I got involved with and it has turned out to be somewhat like a Vitamin Water type gig as far as returns on investments. And when I saw what the returns were, I immediately got a few of my clients in on it and to invest in it, because the risks were minimized and the returns were so strong. That was definitely something that I extended to my clients.”

AA: Your website states that you are a full service company. Given that Team Investments is a full-service company, do your services completely eliminate the need for your clients to retain an attorney or does this need still exist? If so, do you have an attorney on staff or outside attorney that you recommend that they can use?
Marchiol: “I never tell people there is no need for an attorney because I always want them to feel comfortable. A lot of times we will work hand-in-hand with their financial advisors or attorneys or whomever is analyzing deals for them. We do have a full-time attorney on staff and they are more than welcome to use our attorney, but if they ever wanted their attorney to look at it we encourage that as well. There is nothing we need to hide in any deal.  Nobody we work with has anything to hide. We completely embrace everybody’s financial advisors, attorneys, agents or whoever. We always encourage whatever they want to do to make them comfortable. Don’t just have your attorney look at it and say ‘Yeah, it’s a good deal.’ I want you [the athlete] to be educated about it.”
AA: In your opinion, do you feel real estate is the best investment for professional athletes?
Marchiol: “I think it’s one of the best. I don’t think there is a blanket investment. That would be really, really ignorant for anyone to say. What I do believe is that it is very important to diversify. My expertise is in real estate and that’s how I’ve made my money, so that’s what I can advise you on.” 

AA: Since real estate is cyclical, are you calling up all your clients and telling them to “Buy! Buy! Buy!” or “Sell! Sell! Sell!” or just telling them to sit tight and ride it out? 

Marchiol: “Actually, this is the time, if you have money, to be the buyer or lender. With what’s going on with the banks, there are some really good deals out there, and if you have the ability to play bank, this is where you will make your most money. I absolutely think we will see our next influx of millionaires come out of this cycle. Just like in 2005 to 2007.” 

AA: When your clients are looking for a house as an investment, what would you say is the best strategy for them to make the most money? 

Marchiol: “There are pockets of places in the United States, and even some now outside of the United States, that have the rental markets [to generate cash flow]. So if you’re looking for cash flow, great places to be are Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Tennessee. If you’re goal is to really turn around and make a lot of money in 5 years, then I would choose more of a development plan. 

I have one of my guys in for a piece of land where the piece of land is right next to an amusement park that is going up; it’s supposed to be like a Disneyland or Islands of Adventure. So that whole area is blowing up. This will be his second year and he probably needs to hold it another two years and literally it will triple his money. This is a $2 million piece of property. 

It’s really catered to the individual. And that’s why it’s so important to sit down with the player. ‘Are you looking for cash flow, so that if you lose your job tomorrow you’re still ok and you always have that income? If that’s the case, then we need to get you into some rentals. Is your job secure? Are you a basketball player and just signed that contract that is guaranteed and you’re looking to really do some big developments?' They are completely different plans and tailored for the individual." 

AA: How many athletes have you personally seen go bankrupt because of unsafe spending habits or lack of financial planning? 

Marchiol: "It is a very sad case and unfortunately probably more common than you think. Maybe not so much bankrupt, but not living the life they had grown accustom to. And the really sad thing is, that life is attainable with some smart investing and a lot of education.  

One of our other clients who plays for Dallas, called me and said, ‘Look, my first contract is completely gone and my second contract, I have a little bit left.’ He’s coming up where he can negotiate his third contract and he was like, ‘I really need your help in doing the right thing because this needs to be my kids’ money.’ That’s really a nice situation in that they’ve seen the first one go and now they’re conscious of what they have. That definitely is not always the case."

AA: So are they spending everything once they get it or are they investing but not diversified enough? 

Marchiol: “I think it’s like this athlete that I talked to yesterday. They’re so easily swayed because they don’t know what’s good and bad and it’s the best sales pitch that comes along. And that goes back to the lack of education. I know these guys that got this kid to invest $500,000 and they could sell ice to an Eskimo. They talk the talk and walk the walk, and I wouldn’t give them $.05, but that’s only because I know. 

It really comes down to having the right team in place and knowing how to do due diligence.” 

AA: So these athletes are coming up through the league and get their big contract and big money and are now looking to invest. How do they get to you or somebody proven and reliable? 

Marchiol: “I think there are a lot of reliable and proven people out there. I think some of them are sanctioned by the NFL or whatever league the player is in. I think some of it has to come through word of mouth and some of it has to come through research. 

I tell my clients to ask their financial advisors the [taboo] question, what are you worth and what deals are you into? And if they can’t or won’t answer that, then I tell them very carefully consider that advisor. I will open my financial books to anyone so that they can see that I’m not just telling you to do something, I’m doing it. 

That’s a huge question that people feel they can’t ask. If they have your money, you better ask them every question you want to ask them.”


Next week, we will publish Part II of our interview with Tanya Marchiol, with a focus on the real estate business and what it is like to be a real estate professional.

On behalf of AccessAthletes, we would like to thank Tanya for taking time out of her busy schedule to do an interview with The Real Athlete Blog.  For more information regarding this interview, contact Tim Ryan at tim@accessathletes.com.