Real estate investors come in all shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life. Some are doing what their parents before them did. Many found real estate investing on their own. Some were backed into a corner and failure was not an option. That’s the case for Matt Theriault of Epic Real Estate Investing. It also takes a rare person that understand, then focuses on, building their business in a way that helps others achieve their goals. Matt has done this on a number of fronts. Watch now to learn more.
Mike: Welcome to the flipnerd.com podcast. This is your host, Mike Hambright, and on this show I’ll introduce you to VIPs in the real estate investing industry, as well as other interesting entrepreneurs, whose stories and experiences can help you take your business to the next level. We have three new shows each week, which are available in the iTunes store, or by visiting flipnerd.com. So without further adieu, let’s get started.
Hey it’s Mike Hambright, back for another Flipnerd VIP interview show. Today I have with me Matt Theriault, who runs the podcast for Epic Real Estate and a website; he’s a coach and a mentor, an author, a real estate entrepreneur and much more. Before we get started with today’s show, let’s take a moment to recognize our featured sponsors.
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Mike: Hey Matt, good to have you on the show.
Matt: Thanks, Mike. Glad to be here.
Mike: Good, good. Well I know you’ve got your own podcast and a number of other things going on, and for folks that don’t know you, I know a lot of folks do know you, but for folks that don’t know you why don’t you tell us a little about your background, maybe start with how you got into real estate, and that will kind of lead up to what you’re doing today.
Matt: Sure, when I got out of the Marine Corp. I spent 15 years in the music business, and then after the digital download destroyed that I found myself flat broke, bankrupt, divorced, age 34 bagging groceries for
$7 an hour at a grocery store, and I didn’t know how to do anything else; I didn’t have a plan B. I really missed the lifestyle that the music business had afforded me.
And of all the places that the advice that really changed the course of my entire life was from the grocery store manager, who noticed that I was consistently depressed, consistently down, and he had said, “You know, Matt, if you want your life back, if you want your money back, it’s certainly not going to happen here. But real estate is really the final frontier where the average person has a great shot at achieving great wealth.”
And I believe that, whether it’s true or not I guess is debatable, but I was very vulnerable at the time; I was very susceptible, I was looking for an answer so I ran with it. The logical thing to do was go get a real estate license, right? That’s what everybody that wants to get into real estate goes and does to become a real estate agent. After four years of that I finally discovered that, you know what? It’s supposed to create wealth and real estate; I think I’m sitting on the wrong side of the desk.
Matt: I think real estate agents should be working for me; I’m not supposed to be a real estate agent. So I made this transition to become a real estate investor; I found a great educational program and I just started implementing exactly what they taught me to do and I didn’t wait to know it all, you know, as soon as they told me to do something I went and did it. And then in 60 days I had my first little fix and flip deal done and under my belt.
It took me about eight more months before I found my second deal, but it all just kind of clicked right there and I was off and running, and within four years, for the definition that Robert Kiyosaki gives it, I had
‘exited the rat race’ and I got my passive income to exceed my expenses. And then, probably what you’ve experienced too Mike, with your success. is people, when they witness that, they want to know how you did it; they want to pick your brain, they want to take you to lunch, they want to take you for beers or coffee or whatever that may be because they want that for themselves.
Matt: Teaching just seemed to be like the next logical transition, and so now I teach people as well as continue to work on my own portfolio.
Mike: Yeah, yeah, that’s awesome. One of the things that’s interesting about real estate investors is there’s a lot of folks that say they have a passion, they have an interest. There’s usually some love affair with the transformation of a rehab or something like that, but they never are able to pull the trigger and go all in, or even make it out of the gate sometimes, and of course some of that, like you said, between your first and second deal it took you eight months but you had the wherewithal to just keep pushing forward.
We live in this society where if people want something that can’t happen by tomorrow then I’m just going to move on or if I can’t take a pill and drop 40 pounds then I’m just going to have to live this way. It really takes this inner drive, and of course maybe some coaching or mentoring just to keep people focused, but what do you think makes the difference between people that do get out of the gate and are really successful in real estate investing, and those that don’t. What do you think that is?
Matt: I think there’s just a level that one side has made a decision and the other side hasn’t. One side has made a commitment to make it work, the other side. What you probably experience as well as I do is people who come in and dip their toe on the water and say, “I’m going to give this a try. How long is it going to take me to get my first deal?” That’s the big question I get all the time. “How long is it going to take me to make money?”
Matt: This is not a give-it-a-try-and-see-if-it-works type of thing. It’s a whole other deal, a whole other discipline, it’s a business in and of itself. I think that people that take it on as such are the ones that experience that success. It’s not just “let me go flip a couple houses when I’m short on a few bucks.” It doesn’t work that way, and I think a lot of people come in thinking that it does. They watch the TV shows, and they know a friend that flipped a house here or there, and they’re like, “hey I’m short on money, I’ll just go flip a house and everything will be fine.”
As you know, and probably a lot of people listening to us right now know, it doesn’t work that way.
Mike: You’re right, you’re right. It’s almost a bad thing if it does work that way for somebody right at the beginning and they kind of get lucky, because then they start to reset their expectations of “well this is how it works.”
Matt: Right, Right
Mike: When I first got started in 2008, the market was kind of collapsing, and my first two rehabs we sold on the first day they were available for cash, which we were kind of thinking that there’s no way it’s this easy; everybody’s talking about how bad the market is. We didn’t know at that point, and of course it’s not that easy, we just got lucky on the first couple of rounds. You still get lucky every once in a while, but you’ve obviously got to play to win.
Mike: I know in your kind of story, you probably don’t know my story; I wasn’t in the same situation as you, but I was married, my wife was making more money than me and left her job, my company just filed for bankruptcy, so I left but I essentially was losing my job. We had a new son that was six months old, not even a year old yet. It was one of those things where failure was just not an option, and there are so many people that hit that point that are successful that I know of, but I don’t think it necessarily takes that. What do you think it takes to committed, do you think it’s a lot of the weekend seminars and stuff they’ve seen that lead them to believe that you just sit back and start collecting paychecks and you don’t have to do anything?
Matt: Yeah, I think the gurus, or the educational programs, the abundance of them that are out there, have done some damage for sure. They’ve placed people’s expectations at a level lower than where they need to be, I think. The question there was . . .
Mike: . . . Yeah that was a rambling question, but what’s the inner drive, or the thing it takes for somebody to be successful?
Matt: It’s basic personal development I think. You and I, Mike, we could show someone how to fill out a contract very easily, and probably do that in about three or four minutes. We could show someone how to put together a marketing piece and mail that out in four or five minutes. But it’s really why they won’t do that on a daily basis to get consistent results, right? Real estate is a rather simple business to learn how to do, but you have to do it every day, and it’s one thing to say I’m going to be a millionaire real estate investor but it’s another thing entirely to get up and make that declaration every day.
Matt: I think you really have to be in touch and in tune with why you want to do this.
Matt: Maybe you have your situation where failure is not an option; that’s a good enough why, and if failure is not an option you have to succeed. For me it was bagging groceries really sucks. I don’t want to bag groceries for the rest of my life. So those were my whys, and everyone has to get in touch with that. There’s a hard truth that people have to come to realization with: if they’re not getting the results that they want, then they just have to come to grips with it’s just not that important to them.
We all know that feeling where maybe we’re going out on a date with someone for the first time; we will do anything and everything to make that date happen as perfectly as possible. I mean we set time to take our clothes to the dry cleaners and to pick them up, we take time to go get a haircut, we make time to make the reservations, and we cut our expenses that week to make sure we have enough money to pay for the date. We want to make that a perfect event, and a weekend to execute that date anytime that we want.
Matt: People don’t treat their lives or professions or their aspirations or their dreams in the same way that they treat something like that.
Mike: Yeah, yeah. Well tell us a little bit about your podcast, for those who don’t know, you’ve been doing this for how long now?
Matt: I think I’m coming up on, past three years actually, I think.
Mike: Awesome, and tell us a little about your podcast and how people find it and all that.
Matt: It’s on iTunes, it’s on Stitcher, we just launched/introduced our app, so we have an Android app, we have an iOS app. It’s Epic Real Estate Investing. It’s pretty easy to find if you know how to find a podcast in general; it’s very easy to find in a search.
Matt: I’ve taken a little different approach, we touched on it just a little bit already about the educators that are out there that proliferated the entire industry. I try to be as authentic and straight-forward with the people as possible that this is difficult. It’s not get rich overnight, it’s not easy, it is simple, but it’s just like anything else; it’s a skill. There was a time when we didn’t know how to tie a shoe, we didn’t know how to ride a bike, we didn’t know how to drive a stick shift. But through consistent and persistent practicing and effort we can do all of those things like they’re second nature.
I teach that real estate is very much the same way, if you treat like a skill, and you practice it in the same way you practice tying your shoe, you’ll get the results. I also take a little different approach, and a lot of people will argue with me on this, but rather than focusing on flipping houses and wholesaling houses to make piles of money, focus on holding houses to make streams of money.
Matt: Streams of money is what’s really going to create the wealth. If you’re just flipping houses, it’s a job. It’s a good job, it’s a well paying job, you can create systems around that, but at the end of the day it’s a job. I’m very much a cash flow investor. All the appreciation is just icing on the cake, so I really focus on the return on investment of your actual real estate portfolio.
Mike: Yeah, that’s great. I talk about the same things. For every veteran real estate investor, there’s nobody that doesn’t look back and think I wish I would have kept that one or I wish I would have kept that one, and sometimes it depends on your rental property or what the profile of a good rental property is. It depends on what market you’re in.
I know you’re a cash flow guy, like I am; you’d rather have three
$100,000 houses than a $300,000 house. Sometimes, in most markets, the cash will flow better, but in some markets we let the deal dictate what we’re going to do with it a lot of times. There’s no doubt that we’ve had some awesome, ridiculously profitable rehab deals, but the minute you sell that house you’re never going to make another penny off that house. It’s always bittersweet, but yeah I understand exactly.
Matt: It’s a good practice, go to your REIA club, look for the grey haired silver haired guy in the room, and ask him what his biggest regret is. He’ll say one of two things or he’ll say both. He’ll say I wish I would have bought more, and he’ll say I wish I hadn’t have sold them all. You’re going to get some sort of combination of that, so you have to learn from other people’s mistakes. We’re not going to be here long enough to make them all on our own. Leverage other people’s mistakes.
Mike: I have the same mentality, I have the same belief as you that this is not a hard business. It’s not an easy business, it’s not that the business is hard; it’s not rocket science, but it’s a bit of a hustle. Unless you keep some houses as rentals and can develop some passive income, you’re going to be hustling for that much longer.
Mike: Tell me more about the app, so you have an app, what does the app do?
Matt: Some people don’t have access to iTunes, so rather than having to create an iTunes account to access the podcast, they can access the app in the same way they access any app, and when they hit play it plays.
Mike: Cool, cool, OK. Tell me about some of the other things that you do, I know you have a coaching business and some other things that you do. I want to talk a little bit more about some of the other things you do. It’s always interesting, too, talking to real estate investors, especially folks that have been doing it for a while that have had some level of success is we’re the most entrepreneurial bunch. You start to realize, just like rental properties, you have to get some different irons in the fire and develop some passive income streams and of course I think you’re probably like me; you love to educate and teach people things too. Tell us a little bit about some of the other things you’re working on.
Matt: Sure, when you said having multiple irons in the fire, that’s one thing I learned from the music business. I had one distribution channel, and when that distribution went out, I had no business. I’ve taken that tough life lesson and taken that into my real estate and eliminated all single points of failure.
Through the podcast, initially it was there to launch an educational program online, but that’s turned into a coaching program, a coaching business. It’s turned into a wholesaling business. It’s turned into what’s probably the most lucrative channel of all of the incomes, a turnkey business, where we find distressed properties, we fix them up, we put a tenant in place, we coordinate the property management, and then we sell as a cash flowing asset, primarily to people that are too busy to go out and do it themselves. They’ve already got a job, they’re a doctor, they’re a lawyer, they own a small business, whatever it may be, they’re busy professionals. But they understand that they do need real estate in their portfolio somewhere, so that’s one of the services that we provide. We teach people how to do it, and for those who don’t want to do the heavy lifting, we’ll do it for them.
Mike: OK. I think this may be the first time, certainly in our lives, that real estate is becoming a true asset class for investors, Wall Street investors. Not just the hedge funds, but even individuals are understanding that this is a place where I can invest even if I’m not an active investor.
Matt: I just came from an event in San Diego, and I was fortunate enough to see Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank speak. What he looks at is what the pension plans of business, what they invest in. Real Estate is the number one asset class right now for pension plans, I found that really interesting.
Mike: That is interesting, yeah. Awesome, so tell us, do you buy real estate? I guess you partner with some of the folks that you coach and things like that, or are you doing this all over the country, or certain markets?
Matt: Right now we’re in six markets. We are in Memphis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Ohio. All in the Midwest and the south, those are really strong cash flow markets for us. We have good teams in place in all those markets, and what you find is when we start coaching people and you start interacting with the community of people, you just kind of naturally find people that you click with and people that have more money than time and people that have more time than money and you can kind’ve put all this together to create win/win situations. One lesson I learned, I don’t know, have you ever played the game Cashflow, Mike?
Mike: It’s been a while, but yeah.
Matt: OK. If you play that game, it’s kind’ve like Monopoly or that game Risk; if you play it individually, one person against each other, there could be three, four, five hour games and it goes on forever. The difference with Cashflow is that if you play and you start partnering and teaming up with the other players, you can get everybody out of the rat race in less than in hour. It’s really an amazing experience, and the lessons that I’ve learned from that game I apply it into real life and you know what? They apply in real life as well.
Mike: Yeah, yeah. That’s great, that’s great. Can you talk about some of your coaching programs or some of the things you do? Folks that are listening to the show, talk a little bit more about if they can learn if they have an interest in learning more about it?
Matt: Sure. Most people that come to me for coaching that take that leap, they are in the middle of a transition. I don’t know if that’s everyone’s situation when they get started in real estate, but most people that finally took me in and paid the fee; they’re in a transition. So we start them off from square one, and I’m really big on cash flows I mentioned with you, but I’m also big on using your money as a last resort.
Excuse me, my phone was ringing.
But using their money as a last resort. I created my entire real estate portfolio using none of my own money and never having to pull my credit score once. That’s what I teach, that’s what I know how to do, so naturally that’s what I teach. So I have them go through all of their assets to see what they have; most people have more available to them than they realize. Then I have them go and they calculate the return that each one of their assets are generating, so what did you get in your 401k this year? Or what did you get from that stock? Or your life insurance policy, or whatever it may be. How much return are you getting from that gold or the silver that’s under your bed? The way to create real wealth is to analyze those and keep track of that rate of return, and then constantly look for other assets or other opportunities that provide a higher return. So a lot of sales and exchanging goes on to help people create their wealth.
There was one gentleman, he was sitting on like $30,000 of gold, and that gold is just there, you can’t spend it, you sit down and watch the market go up and down and you have no control over that. So I shared with him if he could take that, purchase a house, and that house will generate a cash on cash return of 15 percent. That was something he felt good about doing, and as we went further along in the program, he got a little better at finding the deals, a little better at negotiating deals, and found a deal that paid 25 percent. So what he did is he sold the house and bought the house with for the same with the 25 percent. To have them constantly look at the ROI of all their assets, and consistently increasing that, and getting their money to work harder for them. If you keep doing that, it doesn’t take 40 years to retire by any means; it doesn’t even take 20. I did it in four years and most people can do it in ten or less.
Mike: Yep, yep. Awesome. I know you mentioned you’re starting to get a little more aggressive, well not aggressive, but focused on putting out some new videos on your YouTube channel as well?
Matt: Mhmm. Mhmm.
Mike: Awesome. Talk a little bit about what you’re publishing on a regular basis so folks can find you.
Matt: Sure. On the podcast we’ve put out a feature episode on Mondays, and on Fridays I have what I call Financial Freedom Friday, which is a four or five minute video, almost 100 percent instructional. We go ahead and I release that on Fridays so if you’re subscribed to my podcast stream, you’d get notifications of that. I made a deal on the very first episode with my audience that I wasn’t going to sell anything except 5 percent of the time. So 95 percent of my podcasts are 100 percent instructional. I don’t hold anything back, I don’t withhold any secrets, I’m full disclosure on exactly how I do what I do.
Mike: Awesome, awesome. Do you want to tell everybody one more time just how folks can get ahold of you? I know in your podcast it’s the Epic Real Estate podcast, and your website . . .
Matt: . . . Sure, so everything is Epic Real Estate. epicrealestate.com is the website, Epic Real Estate Investing is the podcast, and the YouTube channel is EpicREI.TV. That will take you to the YouTube channel.
Matt: I provide a free course, it’s the two fastest strategies to a paycheck in real estate, and you can access that at freerealestateinvestingcourse.com
Mike: Awesome, awesome. We’ll add links to all that stuff below the video. Matt, I really appreciate you joining us today.
Matt: You bet, Mike. Thanks a lot for having me, nice to meet you too.
Mike: Good to meet you. Okay, take care, we’ll see you around.
Matt: Alright, goodbye.
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