12 Lessons from 12 Years of Investing in Real Estate | 362


investing in real estate

After 12 years of investing in real estate and more than a thousand transactions, Matt is prepared to share 12 lessons that will get to your real estate investing goals twice as fast as he did. Learn how to beat the competition against all odds, Matt’s best tips for effectively expanding your business, why you should try to talk your investors OUT of doing business with you, and much more on The Epic Real Estate Investing Show!

investing in real estate

What You Will Learn About 12 Lessons from 12 Years of Investing in Real Estate:

  • Matt’s 12 biggest lessons learned in 12 years of investing in real estate
  • What your very first hire should be
  • Which team and systems to assemble first
  • Where to shift your focus if you’re struggling to get started or re-started
  • The true power of a deal and its role in your business
  • The importance of a Lead Machine (and what a Lead Machine is)
  • How to beat your competition at every turn
  • The importance and power of consistency
  • What to do on a daily basis for great success
  • How to expand your business and effectively delegate systems
  • What your intent should be for every deal if you want maximum results
  • Why you should almost talk your investors out of doing business with you
  • The dangers of having too much money (yes, they do exist!)

Recommended Resources:

  • It’s been great meeting you virtually. Would you like to meet in person? Our next live event is right around the corner! Go to EpicIntensive.com for the details.
  • Need money? We have secured more than $15,000,000 of funding for the Epic community, people just like you. Get access to fast cash for your real estate investing business with our “one-of-a-kind” credit-based funding program at EpicFastFunding.com
  • Need time? Work on your business rather than in your business by leveraging the time of others.  Access free information and find real estate-trained virtual assistants to help you free up your time.  Learn more at VAsForRealEstate.com.
  • Need training? The ultimate training environment for real estate investors: Version 3.0 of The Epic Pro Academy!  New look, new lessons & new content – we’ve got everything you need to know to get your first paycheck!
  • Need someone to do it all for you? If you’re an Accredited Investor, you can diversify your portfolio by hitching your wagon to our train and share in the profits. Go to EpicWealthFund.com to download the executive summary.


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Speaker 1: This is Theriault Media.

Matt Theriault: Yeah, hello and welcome to the Epic Real Estate Investing Show. Glad you found us, because if you’re frustrated because you don’t know what to do to get started, or restarted, or don’t have the time to do it, or maybe you lack the necessary funds to seemingly get it done, I want you to know that you’re in the right place, as each and every week here, we cover different strategies, tactics, and ideas for getting your real estate business to your next level, wherever that next level may be for you, and how to get it done in the time you do have available.

And we discuss creative funding and financing strategies to build a cash flow and portfolio that can set you free to provide for yourself and your family to where you can call the shots in your world. That’s what we do here, each and every weekend, so if that’s your situation, if that’s what you’re looking for, boom, you’re in the right spot.

Alright, and just kind of where all of that comes from, is, you know, I made the leap from grocery bagger at the age of 34, to a false start as a real estate agent, to then landing on my feet as a real estate investor, more than 12 years ago.

And I’m not done. I haven’t reached my real estate investing goals yet, and I don’t profess to know it all, as I haven’t seen it all, but I’ve seen a lot. I’ve got more than a thousand transactions under my belt, still flip 10 to 15 properties each month, I hold 50 or so houses and notes, a combination of houses and notes, in my portfolio. And I don’t know, maybe it doesn’t seem like a lot to you, because I know people that have a lot more, or maybe it does seem like a lot. It seems like a ton.

I mean, it’s all relative, and what I do know is, over the last 12 years I’ve been able to identify 12 specific lessons that I’ve learned that if I could have incorporated these lessons from day one, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would have traveled twice as far as I have, so I want to share them with you, so that you can sidestep some of the landmines that are out there, as well as accelerating in other areas of your business to help you get to your real estate investing goals even faster.

So, let’s get into these 12 lessons from 12 years of investing in real estate, in really no particular order, and I’ll just start with number one, and then maybe this is like the first thing you should do.

It’s keeping good books from day one. You want to keep good books from day one. Make your bookkeeper your very first hire, and I say that because having to go back and piece all of your documents and receipts and records, and paperwork, try to pull all that stuff together. It’s not a really good use of your time, and you’ll be surprised how quickly and easily you can forget the simple details, and you end up paying your bookkeeper and your CPA a lot more this way, as well.

So, make a bookkeeper your first hire. Keep really good books right from the very beginning. It’s good just for … It’s just good business practice, first of all, but it’s good to track your income and your expenses, so you’ll always have a good idea as to where you are as a business, and it really helps at the end of the year when Uncle Sam comes to take their cut, as well.

All righty, so that’s number one. Make your bookkeeper your first hire.

Number two. Find the deal first. Assemble the team and the systems for this part of your business first, of finding deals. And I’ve said this countless times. I’m going to say it countless times again because I believe in it so much, and I’ve yet to find an experienced real estate investor, a successful real estate investor, to even remotely disagree with me here. I mean, I just haven’t found one.

So, if you’re struggling to get started, or if you’re struggling to get restarted, or you feel yourself lacking the confidence in going further and faster, why don’t you shift your focus? Place your entire focus on finding discounted real estate, and get it under control by presenting a written offer, and getting that signature. You want to really focus on this part. This is what your whole business comes down to, and it’s the most difficult part of the business, as well, and it’s the most profitable part also.

You’ll find that once you’ve got a deal under contract, once you’ve got a piece of a discounted real estate under contract, you’ve got control of that deal with a written contract with a signature on it, everything else that had you ever concerned almost magically takes care of itself. It almost magically disappears. That’s just what a deal does for you. It’s all the power in the transaction. It’s all the power in the business.

So, if you haven’t built your lead machine yet to a point where you are generating leads around the clock, that should be your next order of business. That should be the very next thing you should do, potentially even stopping this recording right now and going to work on that. And if you’d like some help, you can grab a copy of my Lead Machine Architecture at epicleadmachine.com, epicleadmachine.com. This will get you started. It’s going to help you understand everything your lead machine needs to work for you around the clock.

So, you’re generating leads all day, all night, even while you sleep, even you while you might be managing a day job. Go to epicleadmachine.com. Assemble the team and systems to finding deals first. I just can’t stress that enough. My 12 years of experience is what leads me to say that to you because if you don’t have leads, you don’t have a business. If you don’t have leads, you don’t have an opportunity. If you don’t have leads, you don’t have a shot at this business.

All right? So that’s the hardest part of the whole business. There’s a lot of people out there that’ll teach you how to do deals. Very few people out there will stress the importance and teach you how to find deals. I think that should be the primary function of your business, is finding deals. If you can find deals, you call the shots. All right. That’s how important that is. So that’s number two.

Number three. Consistent hard work beats the competition when the competition won’t work hard consistently. I’ll say that again. I mean, consistency, it’s everything. So consistent hard work, it beats the competition. It beats talent. It beats people that have more resources than you, that are been at doing this longer than you, that are more experienced than you, that are smarter than you, or whatever that may be … are better looking than you. Consistent hard work beats everything when everything else doesn’t work hard consistently.

Like I said, consistency, it’s everything. So you want to track. You want to measure. You want to manage and trust your activity. The top performers in any endeavor, they set their goals to behaviors and processes rather than the outcomes. You got that? They set their goals to behaviors and processes, that consistent hard work on a daily basis. They set their goals there, rather than focusing on that outcome. That’s not the goal.

For example, if your goal says, to win the New York Marathon. The person that wins, that will actually win the marathon, will narrow and focus their goal to daily goals, and the process of preparing for the marathon. They’re going to wake up each morning. They’re going to get their run in, and they’re going to measure it, for they know this simple daily activity, tracked and measured, will be the biggest indicator as to whether or not they will indeed win the New York Marathon. And running a business is just like that.

The equivalent to tracking your daily workout, your daily run, you want to track your daily marketing, your daily advertising. You want to track your daily conversations with the leads that your marketing is generating. You want to track the daily appointments that you set and run, the daily offers that you write. How many offers a day are you writing, and how many of those are you getting accepted?

That’s where you want to set your goals. You want to track those activities. You want to track them on a daily basis. You want to track them consistently. You want to track them with persistence, and the outcome is going to take care of itself.

And if you’d like a tracking sheet of the daily activities you should be tracking and measuring, you can grab a copy of the one that we use inside of the Epic Pro Academy at dailysuccessreport.com. I think that’s the last domain name I’m going to give you.

So, Epic Lead Machine for the lead machine architecture, epicleadmachine.com, and then for a tracking sheet for your daily activities, the right activities, the activities, the money-making activities, you can go dailysuccessreport.com.

All right, so that’s number three. Consistent hard work beats talent when talent won’t work hard consistently. Got it?

All right, so number four. Want you to document and systemize everything. Document and systemize everything, but there’s a caveat there. Once you’ve got it documented and systemized, I want you to delegate, but don’t abdicate. Delegate, but don’t abdicate. The further along I progress in my entrepreneurial journey, the more of a believer and implementer of document everything that I do, the more of a believer I become.

And now, I do this for every process in my business, and that keeps it running and growing. That’s what we do for our REI Ace clients, it’s we give them these documents. We give them our processes. We give them our systems, and then we can only implement them for them. But it’s really what keeps the business running and growing.

I mean, I winged it for a really long time, and I can look back to see how that really held me back. You’ll forever be a one-man band, stuck in that self-employed quadrant with your income restricted by your ability to produce a result. And unless you have your systems documented and implemented, the results you’ll be able to consistently produce, it’s going to be limited. Right? There’s only so much you can do by yourself. There’s only so much that … Your business is reliant on a person and not a system. There’s a limited result there that you can produce.

So that’s half the lesson. I want you to document and systemize everything. That’s half the lesson. The second half is, once you’ve got your system in place, what your next step is, to delegate it to someone else to take on that task. It’s important for you to have clarity around your business. That’s why you want to document and systemize everything, so you know what’s going on, but it’s also vital when it’s time to delegate those tasks to someone else. And when it’s time to start delegating those tasks, it’s time to start scaling your results. You want to delegate.

But, be sure to not over-delegate, meaning, don’t detach yourself from the system and trust that everything is now just going to run itself. You have to continue to manage it. Systems don’t mean uninvolved business. The word for this that I’ve painfully learned more than once in the last few years even, is abdication. You don’t want to do this. You don’t want to totally disown or wash your hands of the systems that you set up in your business, giving it up for someone else’s 100% responsibility, right? You’re still responsible as the business owner for the good and the bad. Even if it’s not your fault, even if the good stuff is not your fault, even if the bad stuff is not your fault, you’re the business owner. You’re still responsible.

Abdicating those responsibilities in your business can put you in somewhat, what feels like … I don’t know, can put you frequently in what feels like … What’s the word? … unfair situations. You can experience setbacks and bad experiences that have really nothing to do with you, that you didn’t cause them. They feel very unfair and they get created by no fault of your own other than the person that you chose to abdicate too. You got it? So, delegate, don’t abdicate. You’ve got to stay involved in your business. You have to manage your business. You can certainly delegate, but you have to manage that delegation. You can’t just surrender it and let someone else take it over and never check in on it again. All right? That’s a painful, expensive lesson if it comes to bite you in the butt the way that it can.

All right, so that’s number four. Number five. Want you to buy more and sell less. Buy more, sell less, the essence of this show. I want you to hold everything. I want you to hold everything that you can. I want you to choose always cash flow over cash, every time that you can. As I said, that’s pretty much the essence of this entire show. Cash flow, cash flow, cash flow. I’m an advocate of this. I’m a full-time practitioner of this, and I teach this, and I still feel that I fall short in this department.

I mean, it’s my intent to hold everything, but I don’t, and for various reasons, but I can’t help but think that where I’d be today if I had never flipped a property, and 100% of my attention was focused on holding every opportunity that crossed my desk. I can’t help but think where I’d be.

What I mean is, if every opportunity that came across my desk, I placed my sole focus on holding that property, managing that property or that asset, and getting it to perform, I can’t help but think where I’d be. I mean, think about it. Where would you rather be today, in a position having flipped 20 properties 20 years ago, or having bought and held 20 properties 20 years ago? There’s really no contest there, right? I mean, the money you made from flipping those 20 properties 20 years ago would surely be gone. I mean, that was 20 yrs ago, and the income from the 20 properties you held, would still be paying you today. Not to mention, be sitting on a giant pile of equity. All right, so buy more. Sell less.

You go in and you check in with that old guy at the REA club. Ask them, if they were to start all over, what would they do differently? And they said, “I would have bought more. I would have sold less,” almost every single time, or some variation of that. Buy more. Sell less. That’s where the wealth creation from real estate comes from. It comes from holding properties. It comes from investing and holding on to properties, and getting them to perform. It does not come from flipping those properties. All right? So that’s number five. Buy more. Sell less. Hold everything.

Number six. Let’s see, number six. Don’t borrow more money than you can use. I want you to under-promise, over-deliver. Probably heard that lesson before, but until you really apply it, do you really understand what it means? You want to under-promise, over-deliver when it comes to your partnerships when it comes to working with lenders and joint ventures. I want you to set expectations for your partners to prepare for the worst. Before it begins, I want you to tell them to prepare for the worst. I mean, really under-promise.

After doing this for so many years and using other people’s money, at this point I’d almost try to talk your investors out of doing business with you. Just go the other direction because you are investing, right? You are investing. There’s no guarantees here and a lot of people, even though they’re smart, they’re intelligent, they come in, they understand, “Of course, there’s no guarantees. Of course, it’s an investment,” but boy, if that investment doesn’t pan out the way that it was expected to, they forget all about that it is an investment, and they feel like they lost, and they got cheated, and it can create a lot of ugly situations.

But you’re investing and there are a lot of variables at play. You have to let them know that there are a lot of variables at play, and a lot of variables that can thwart your plans, things that are completely out of your control. So, if you prepare for those variables, you’re going to end up on the right side of the equation more times than not, and the more experience you get under your belt, you’ll end up on the right side of the equation far more than the wrong side.

I don’t want to scare you from working with partners and leveraging money from others because you know, you can get rich using your own money, but you get wealthy using other people’s money. It’s a big part of what makes real estate the humongous wealth-creator that it is, the ability to leverage.

So, that’s the right side. That’s where you want to be. But the wrong side is still there. It never disappears. There’s always that danger of getting in on the wrong side or falling down on the wrong side, and that can ensnare the brightest and the best of us, and when it does, it’s one thing to have yourself to answer to, but it’s a totally different game when you have partners or lenders involved that are depending on you.

So, that’s one part of this. When a deal goes wrong, you want to prepare your lenders, your partners, for the worst. The second part is when you can’t find a deal, or enough deals to put your partner or your lender’s money to work, yet you’re still responsible for their money and the return on that money, whether it’s working or not. I mean, I learned this with the Epic Wealth Fund.

You know, we raised a decent chunk of money right up front. We started putting it to work, but you know what? We couldn’t deploy it fast enough, yet we were still responsible for the return to our investors. I mean, it took us a little over a year to catch up and get the fund in the positive, in the black. It’s doing fine now, but knowing what I know now, I wish I would’ve, one, first I wish I would’ve prepared the investors for the time it would take to produce the return promised, and two, not taken all of the money people were willing to give me just because they were willing to give it to me.

Most commonly, people will complain about this business about not having enough money to work with. That seems to be a big barrier for a lot of people, like, “How am I going to invest in real estate. I don’t have any money. Where am I going to find the money? Who’s going to give me the money?”

That pendulum, it swings both ways. You can have too much money to work with, as well. So I want you to under-promise, over-deliver, and don’t borrow more money than you can use. Yes, you can adjust the terms to protect you against this. There’s a ton of things you can do technically and legally, but the point is, you’re dealing with people, always, and the real point here is to set all people-involved expectations appropriately. All right? I want you to under-promise, over-deliver. That’s number six.

So, I’m going to stop there for this episode. I want to let these first six lessons sink in, because these lessons, if you allow them to be your lessons, if you really learn from these, and you implement these, it’s going to save you hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars over your real estate investing career, and I’m not exaggerating at all, at all.

And to think I picked up the tab for you. I went through that process. I went through those experiences. I paid the price. I paid for that education, and I picked up the tab for you. It’s my pleasure, by the way, and I’m going to leave you with this right here, this quote from Mark Twain.

I want you to learn from other people’s mistakes because you won’t be here long enough to make them all on your own.

All right. Take care. God bless to your success. I’m Matt Theriault, living the dream.