fbpx

SFREI #21: Coach Carson on Using Real Estate to Help You Do More of What You Want

Share This:

SFREI #21: Coach Carson on Using Real Estate to Help You Do More of What You Want

Episode Summary

Listen to the episode on iTunes

Listen on Spotify

Chad Carson, also known as Coach Carson, is a long-time real estate entrepreneur, educator, father, husband, world traveler and all-around good guy. Chad’s motto is “Invest in Real Estate. Retire Early. Do What Matters!”  In this episode–the inaugural interview on the Sleaze-Free Real Estate Investing podcast–Jeff interviews Chad in an engaging and wide-ranging discussion about many aspects of real estate investing, financial independence, living deliberately and using real estate as a vehicle and tool to create freedom so that you can live life how you want to, and do more of what you want. 

Free PDF Guide: 5 Critical Mistakes That Make Most Real Estate Investors Accidentally Lowbrow

We’ve created a free PDF guide just for listeners of the Sleaze-Free Real Estate Investing Podcast, called “5 Critical Mistakes That Make Most Real Estate Investors Accidentally Lowbrow.”

For instant access to the PDF, just go to http://Pod.thoughtfulRE.com

References in this Episode

CoachCarson.com

Real Estate and Financial Independence Podcast

Music Credits

The theme song is an excerpt of “No More” off the album “Golden Era” by Forest For The Trees.  You can check them out on Amazon, iTunes, and Spotify.

Full Episode Transcript

Jeff Stephens
All right. I’m so glad to have Chad Carson. Coach Carson here with us on the podcast. Chad, thanks for being here.

Chad
It’s great to be here. Jeff, thank you for inviting me.

Jeff Stephens
I’m so glad it worked out for you to to connect up and have this conversation. If there are people listening right now who are not already familiar with your awesome content as a blogger and as a podcaster. Can you just give us a little intro to yourself? And how would you find yourself at a point where you’d be invited to be a guest on a real?

Chad
It’s a good question. So I have a website called coach Carson calm. And that was sort of an experiment of my real estate investing, I was investing for 17 years, I got out of college, I started doing that. And we can talk about, you know all the details what I did, but I’ve been doing that full time since I got out of college. And I always loved learning. I just enjoy absorbing information I enjoy processing it, and I I feel like real estate’s my career but my callings always been a teacher. And so I just started blogging and writing just to like 20 people who are reading me locally. And I just I can’t believe because I wrote to like practically probably my mom and brother. And you know, I’ve gotten people like that. And so that a long running hobby for me. And it’s turned into something online where people actually read it sometimes, which is fun. And so that’s how I found you. We just were both You’re doing great work with your, your podcast and your website. And it seemed like a lot of resonance there. And so I’m just I think we’re both trying to help people learn and use real estate as a tool, which is my my goal is that help people do do more of what matters. That’s been I feel lucky to have done that a lot in my life with my wife and two kids we’ve traveled, we’ve lived abroad for a year and a half, you know, don’t have to go to a regular job and check in I can have a lot of flexibility with my schedule. So that kind of whatever it means for everybody who’s listening to do what matters. That’s, that’s what I love real estate for because it’s got a lot of firepower to help you get to that point and, and in different levels of doing what matters in your life.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah, yeah. So I was telling you right before we started recording that, in a way, I feel like I’ve known you for a while because I had an educational package that included an interview with you. So it’s like I have a little bit of an unfair advantage of the backstory. But when I first kind of came across you that way, I was thinking, you know, Chad, real estate, Chad real estate, and what I’ve noticed, at least I feel like I’ve observed recently is that your it seems like your your your focus, or your messaging or your positioning is shifting as much towards financial independence via real estate as real estate itself. First of all, am I am I interpreting that correctly? And it’s so like, what has, you know, led to that sort of just shifted

Chad
focus? Absolutely, yeah, there’s the online as a community of people in the offline as well, but call that financial independence retire early. It’s kind of a, it’s gotten a lot of publicity and press last year or so. And I’ve been friends with a lot of people who, mainly bloggers and other podcasters for several years, who have been interested in this talking about that and sharing about it. And I sort of didn’t realize it at the time. But a lot of my aspirations and goals as a real estate investor, were not necessarily to be the greatest real estate investor of all times, although I’m trying to get better every day at that it was more about the lifestyle and is about having independence is about having flexibility. And in that, like I talked about earlier that you know, what is it that matters to you? And are you judging yourself by living your day, doing that on a consistent basis. And so that that idea of financial independence, I think resonates with me it’s a, it’s an idea that, you know, real estate’s the vehicle is the tool, financial independence is the financial goal that you’re trying to achieve. And beyond that, that’s what’s so interesting happen with you and other people who are in journey like, it varies enormously. What people are trying to do with that financial independence, and that’s what makes it fun and interesting community because there are people like there’s a blogger named Mr. Money mustache have become friends with, he’s like, got his own lifestyle, you know, living off $3,000 year and fixing up stuff and doing a lot of work with his hands, which is definitely not what I do. And there’s other people who travel the world, there’s other people who dislike staying at home, and tending their garden. And so that’s what’s fun is that there’s so many different ways to apply financial independence. But there are some principles. And there are some common practices, both within real estate and just financial finance in general, that unite a lot of people who have that goal.

Jeff Stephens
So kind of day one, when you go to college, I know you launched right into real estate, did you feel clear that that was your focus at that time? Or was that something that kind of evolved and clarified for you over time,

Chad
it was not clear in my mind. And I told people that probably the first three, four years of my real estate career, I feel like I borrowed other people’s goals. I went to seminars, and I could think of one in particular, where I went to this all day seminar and as a person is really impressive. And she was flipping like 50 houses per year, fixing up flipping, fixing up flipping, and she made $20,000 per house and I had a business partner. And so the two of us were at the seminar. And I remember looking at him, this is about the first year we were in business, and we had a little bit of success, not done too much. And we were looking kind of grasping for business models and people to follow and models. And I think all all of us when we’re new at something we try to do that we try to model other people. And we just we were good enough at modeling somebody that we said, okay, let’s just copy copy her. That sounds good. You know, and so you know what, as often happens, you you model part of it, but you don’t apply all the details. And so we ended up like two or three years later buying had 3033 acquisitions in one year. And then some of those were multiple properties. So we got over 50 properties in one year. Not all of them are good. A lot of them we made a lot of money on, but we woke up about halfway through that year. And probably I’ll have to credit my business partner more than me on this one. But saying like, wait a minute, like, why are we? Why are we just buying a bunch of properties? What are we doing this for? And it was a big, big realization to think, Well, you know, maybe we don’t need to be that busy. Maybe we don’t need to have that much volume. And we start learning about different business models. There’s different approaches to real estate investing. And also, it should start with what you’re trying to accomplish in the first place. better financial independence, we I think it became clear to me at that time, I’m trying to achieve financial independence. I’m trying and I got very specific with it or what it was like I love playing basketball, pickup basketball in the middle of the day for two hours. That was something in 2007 that I realized like that’s what I like doing. Well, how much money does that cost to play pickup basketball in the middle of day. My case it costs zero. I just went over to a gym locally that people got to use for free and I played. But what I did need, I needed an abundance of time I needed flexibility. Flipping 50 houses a year was absolutely not going to get me there. So it started, we started thinking about balancing what I learned with Tim Ferriss, and the four hour workweek would call it balancing time and money. There’s two different currencies. You can you can try to make a bunch of money and you can maximize money, but it probably decreases your bank account of time as well. And so finding that balance, not only when you reach financial independence someday, but finding it now when you have a business I should I shoot for $500,000 a year or should I be happy with making 100,000 bucks this year, 75,000 bucks this year and having a 15 Hour Workweek like that’s that’s the kind of decisions that sort of hit me over the head a few years into it.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah, yeah.

That’s Yeah, that’s really interesting. So a lot of clarity about I guess, are evolving clarity for you about figuring out what you really wanted kind of what, what your what your why was, you know, what one of the notes I had that I wanted to cover that you You said something that I feel like I need to pivot to that right now is, is I feel personally and I maybe you relate to this a little bit could speak to it. But there’s a little bit of a conundrum between wanting to create financial independence and the sort of friction free life that comes with that. That also then combined with the idea that entrepreneurship is a sport, and it’s fun. And if you like doing what you’re doing, you know, and you like the challenge of this, and that about the thrill of the hunt with the deal. And do you ever find that those two things? Is there? Do they create any conflict? Or how do you deal with that? Because I know that it’s certainly something I think about?

Chad
Yeah, that’s absolutely a good question. I think just speaking for myself, the entrepreneurship is very fun. Like, I’ve never seen myself not doing entrepreneurship my entire life. And but I define entrepreneurship. And I think what what is really the fun part about it for me is the creation process is the, you know, here’s a blank slate, here’s this brand new idea, here’s something I had no knowledge about, or have no experience with, but yet I have a goal, and I want to get better at it. And then you, you forge ahead, you know, risk and everything and try to accomplish that something. So that that broader definition, entrepreneurship typically applies to a business and making money. But, and so that, that has been a lot of fun. For me both as a real estate entrepreneur, I’m doing some online entrepreneurship. But that idea that what I’ve also found is that for myself, after a certain period of time, it’s like that the newness kind of wears off a little bit. And so I find myself going through cycles of life. So like I was an acquisitions person, my first four or five years in business, I just focused. I was, I was meeting with sellers, like five or six days a week, making offers all the time doing tons of marketing, you know, direct mail, and that was a fun period of my life. I don’t want to do that anymore, right now like that, Was this something that works for me, I still do enjoy putting deals together. And so what I found for me, like a kind of evolved business, is that I’m doing a little bit more experimenting with being the money behind the deal. So somebody will have somebody who had a deal locally here, a realtor, my property manager, and they know I know how to put deals together. And I’m creative, and I have some money partners with me. So they’ll come to me and say, all right, I’ve got this deal. What do you think about it, but they were the one who talked to the seller. Originally, they’re the ones who got it all started. And I can be a little bit more behind the scenes still have the deal still put it in in motion. So I guess that’s a long meandering way to say, like the friction has been, like, I still like that business. I still like being an entrepreneur. But I like evolving into different roles as an entrepreneur, particularly when you think about your day to day lifestyle like that is the real estate business is a sales business, you’re out there, beating the pavement. And, you know, I will do that if things go sideways, or things get bad, I’m always willing to jump in into the fire. But part of financial independence for me is having more control of your day. I had a friend who said one time like the ideal day, for him in financial independence is not having any kind of urgent, like people are some buddies calling you with something problem at their apartment or something. But you have lots of important things you do every day. So it’s for him is creating writing blog post teaching. And that’s sort of where I’m going, like I saw some urgent things happening, I still have problems here and there that I need to jump into, which is still fun. But I’m trying to evolve into a different kind of role within my real estate business and also as a teacher and do different things.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah, yeah. So besides playing basketball in the middle of the day, like what are some of the other attributes to you have a perfect day?

Chad
Well, these days, my kids get off the bus at 245. So I’ve actually, you know, I’m the kind of person has to schedule and kind of get in my head, what the schedules are. And so to 45 they get off the bus, I want to have things done and at least have like a 30 minute to an hour break where I’m there when they get off the bus. That’s it just seems like with kids, for anybody who has kids and they get home from school you that’s the time when they talk, they let you know what’s going on, for better or worse, to this day was awful at school, this is what happened or this day was great. This is the best thing that ever happened to me. And if you’re not there during the 30 minutes, you miss it and and i think that’s that’s like if you can’t have for me personally, I can have that flexibility to do that. And what’s the point? And then so that’s, that’s one of them. Exercise, I mentioned basketball, but being able to exercise in the morning, have a quiet start to the day I do some meditation and just going a little bit of journaling and just feel a glide in a day. Like that’s kind of nice. get outdoors a little bit. My wife and I like to hike we used to camp a lot more than we have lately. We want to get back into that. So I think you know some combination of that nature exercise family, community friends all those are a nice day.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah, yeah, that’s really cool. I’m not nearly as entrenched into the all the the thinking behind the fire community as you are but I’ve read and studied in quite a bit and one of the things that always really resonates with me is just the extreme like intentionality about like, what what do you want to be doing? What do you want to be able to spend money on and then start to also think about then well, if this thing that I want to spend money on is really important to me then like let’s not restrict that but then let’s cut back on these other things that actually aren’t as important so actually So anyway, as I listened to you talk about that I just hear a lot of real like deliberate intentionality with all

Chad
that Yeah, try and probably better in theory than practice but yeah, that’s that’s the idea for sure. And I have a friend Paula pant who’s in kind another does some in the fire community she her her websites called afford anything. Now ideas that you can afford anything, but you can’t afford everything. And so there’s this idea with money, like you can have whatever you want in life, if you given enough time, but if you exclude other things, and so that’s, that’s really what it’s all about is, is figuring out if for you having a Ferrari and like driving down the road, and Ferrari is like in the that’s the best thing in your whole world. And okay, like make that your goal. Or if what we what I just talked about was my lifestyle. And it typically involves people and relationships and experiences and growth. Those are the things at least my study like psycho and what actually makes people happy is the those intrinsic motivators, the things that kind of a little bit more lasting kind of high in terms of happiness. If you can build your life around those, whatever those are for you, then hopefully, you know that you kind of keep keep feeling better and better about what you’re doing with your day and with your life.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah, yeah. Have you seen that new movie called playing with fire that came out? It’s not being distributed super broadly, just yet? I don’t think but

Chad
yeah, I have. I was actually friends with person, Scott. Scott, who built the whole movie and put it together and early on, I got to talk to him about what was going on with it. And it’s, it’s just an amazing, amazing production behind the scenes to just to see what he had to go through to get this movie funded and crowdfunded. And, but it’s a really interesting story to he and his wife, Taylor, tells their story about he was he was all in on fire, listen to Mr. Money mustache on a podcast interview. She was like, I’m so sure about that. And was very much, much more skeptical. And that that dynamic between the two of them, and wanting to and how they evolved, and the kind of conversation they had together around money was really interesting. I thought it was a very well done.

Jeff Stephens
I thought it was too Yeah, from a, from a filmmaking standpoint, I thought it was very, very well executed and polished. And then from a storytelling perspective to and sort of compellingly conveying some of the concepts and the fire move. I thought it that they did a really nice job with that. Yeah, yeah. So Okay, so here’s another question for you that came up. I actually, just recently did two episodes, thinking about financial independence, and as a result of having watched that movie, actually. So I feel like one of the things a lot of people say I want financial independence, and then they start to figure out what are the vehicles that are going to get me there? And what I feel like I say, and I’m wondering, maybe you are too is, I say, I already love real estate. I know this is going to be my vehicle. So now I’m trying to work from the vehicle into financial independence. Rather, it almost seems like i’ve you know, I’ve just I’ve chosen the vehicle in advance rather than, you know, honestly, being more agnostic about choosing the right vehicle to get there. But I’ve already said, Hey, I love this game. This is the vehicle I’m going to get. Do you find that that ever? It’s a very To me, it seems like a very different thought process than people who have for instance, W two jobs, they already have some kind of financial stability, but they’re trying to get to a new level of independence, they’re probably thinking of the vehicles and a more, you know, they’re probably evaluating them more evenly on upright, playing an even playing field.

Chad
Yeah, yeah, I’m telling I think I’m with you on this. Like, it’s interesting. Within the financial independence community, there’s, I mean, there’s a lot of people who work a W two job, save a lot of money and invested in index funds. Like that’s, that’s your vanilla kind of cookie cutter way to get financial independence. And there’s nothing like there’s nothing wrong with that, that’s sort of the, you know, the paper investing path, it’s a bit more passive, a little bit less control over the results, you know, you have to decide be diversified in the entire market. And what I found that it like, kinda like you’re saying, I think we self select, I think the people who are attracted to real estate, my theory is we’re a little bit more entrepreneurial. And so we want to have our hands in the pot, so to speak, we want to have some control over the process and some influence over the success of the process. So that’s, I see that fork in the road, there’s some people who they look, when I tell them about real estate, what do we have to do, they’re like, Oh, that’s that, like, they have like a nightmare look on their face, like, Oh, my God, that’s like the worst thing I’ve ever heard of. And so it’s self selects, you know, people who are more entrepreneurial self control, you know, wanting to be in control the process go towards real estate. But then what I’ve also found, because I’m involved in the bigger pockets, community, and there’s a lot of diversity within this, that there’s a million members on bigger pockets. And there are some people who are into, you know, syndicating and growing, getting bigger and owning 500 units and grow, grow, grow and leverage your, you know, always leverage, always leverage, never pay things off. And it’s sort of that, you know, there’s there’s a kind of slice of the real estate investing community, who are okay with being a little bit simpler, or whatever that means for you having enough properties, but not trying to take over the world. And and doing just, you know, doing kind of starting the financial independence idea, I think is starting from the end and saying, what kind of life Do I want to live with house money going to work into that into the same thing with real estate and just say, I’m going to build a real estate business that makes sense for these goals that I’ve set for myself. And what I what I found one of the cool goals that I sort of stumbled across was it with real estate, you can sort of get to these plateaus where let’s say, your goals that have 5000 bucks a month and income coming in? Well, it’s not going to happen overnight, you got to take some time, you know, there’s not a get rich, quick kind of thing. But you can work for two or three years and maybe get to $1,000 per month, and get to a nice stable place. And take a break for a year or two, or maybe six months, or maybe two months, you know, and take these many retirements. And that’s my wife. And I did that during the depth of the 2009 recession, we sort of shuttered up the business, my business partner was still here in town, but we didn’t grow anymore. In 2009, we just said I was gonna take a break for the last half of the year and we went to South America, to Peru, I learned to speak Spanish went to Chile and Argentina and hiked around in Patagonia. And I think that’s one of the cool things about real estate investing is because you are in control of the process, you can turn the volume up, you can turn the volume down, you can get to these plateaus, you can take a break, and those brakes might turn, they might let you might have these breaks in these plateaus the rest of your life, you might just enjoy the process of starting and stopping and slowly getting better. And that’s sort of where I find myself like, I still have some aspirations to do better with my real estate business. It’s not where I want it is certainly got a nice plateau right now. But I’m also not willing to slip slip back down the mountain either I don’t want to go backwards. So it’s kind of a, you know, slow growth process. Sometimes you take some leaps, and you go a lot faster. But in the interim, here’s the difference is like some people who are just go and go and go and grow and grow and grow. And all the time. They say they want to do all these other things in their life, but they’re too busy working 6080 hours a week, for 10 to 15 years, instead of taking some breaks and enjoying the climb while they’re doing it. Yeah,

Jeff Stephens
yeah. Yeah, that’s a really great point. It’s one of the themes, I feel like I here in the fire community is sort of the idea of not delaying living, right, if why not enjoy some of life now, rather than save up and have, you know, hope that you live long enough to hit that, you know, that retirement where you just retired for the rest of your life, why not break it up into chunks and have some of that now,

Chad
exactly. And that’s as an entrepreneur, we have that ability. And that’s, you know, you and I are preaching to the choir here. But you know, if you’re in the other path, where you have to just work a job, save a bunch of money, and then eventually have enough wealth built up, it’s hard to get off that treadmill. Now you’ve got if you if you’re a doctor, and you make 300 $400,000 a year, you know, it’s kinda hard, get off of that for a year or two and then go back. Whereas if you do what we’re talking about, you become a real estate entrepreneur, or any really any business, any entrepreneur business, and then you, you can start building things and you can start to stop. That’s, that’s a big difference. That’s not talked about that much. But I think it’s a, that flexibility is amazing. And I find myself talking to people in the fire community who are, they’re always thinking about that end goal, as whereas a lot of us in the real estate community are saying, Okay, get to this goal, take a break, get to this goal, take a break. And it’s not like a one time thing.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah, yeah. So in your actual real estate business, one of the things that you’ve mentioned a couple times, you’ve you’ve referenced a couple times that I remember hearing you referenced before, you know, when I, when I heard your recordings, years ago, is your business partner. And I’ve only had a couple experiences with partners. And it’s challenging, right? I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s experienced that. But I’m struck by the fact that you guys are still doing this. Can you tell us a little bit about you know, how does that work? And what do you feel like has made that such a winning thing for you so far?

Chad
Yeah, it’s a good question. He my business partner Tommy is he thought he likes to be behind the scenes. So I’ve tried to get him to go speak with me, like a local Ria group of you know, he’s just like, and now you go ahead and do that and assist. Maybe it says something more about me that I’m the one out there trying to talk to people and he’s just quietly behind the scenes doing it. But I think that there’s a couple things that as I reflected on it, that made it work. Like it was not a when we first started, we knew each other, I felt comfortable with him. I felt comfortable him as a person, just trustworthiness credit, you know, credibility, that kind of thing. Before we got into the our business, I think that trust is, you know, the trust is the glue of society is the glue of relationships, that glue business partnerships. There’s a really cool book called The speed of trust, by Stephen Covey, the I wrote the Seven Habits his son, and his I love that book, I’m going to reread it because I just I think that is such a simple idea on the surface. But if you, you can build your business around working with people you can trust and being the kind of person who other people can trust. I mean, it makes it his point is that it makes everything else go fast. Like it’s very slow to build trust with somebody and it’s you can you can break that trust really quickly. But once you have that trust with somebody think how quickly like if you and I were doing a real estate deal. And you just knew that All right, this I trust this guy, I don’t? How much quicker? Can you give me the money to do a deal? How much quicker? Can we put something together, because you just know I’m not going to screw you over. That’s that’s kind of the point. And so I guess going back to my partnership, there was a really good trust with them. And, and then as we got into the mechanics of the business that’s evolved over time, when we first started, we were I was the acquisitions person. And I talked to like some of our private money lenders, he was the managing the remodels, and then managing getting our properties sold or rented. So we just physically divided up the the business like that. And I remember sitting in his living room when we had no business, we end the first book we both read was called the E myth revisited by Michael Gerber. And he recommended in that book, he’s like, even if you’re a brand new is a real estate entrepreneurs and entrepreneur, you should go through and act like you’re a corporation and say, All right, here’s this person is the CFO, this person is the bookkeeper, this person is this. And I remember we had like 15 or 16 roles within our flipping business. And we just went down the list I was all right, Tommy, which one are you going to be? All right, you’re that one, I’m this one. And so we divided up like those 15 or 16 tasks among ourselves. And that process is kind of continued since then, where we’ve no longer flipping houses. And he’s a little bit less involved in the day to day management of the business. But we make strategic asset management decisions together. And he’s got another business he does as well. And so we just I think we just had a constant dialogue, constant conversation started with trust. And then I think the other thing I would add to that we both had aligned goals. And so we both if I had been the one who wants to kind of pull back and, you know, not not buy 50 houses per year and just kind of have a lifestyle business, and he wanted to go for the moon, that would not that wouldn’t work. So some of that might have been luck, to be honest with you that we just happen to have some of that align. But just fortunately, that’s continue to be we’ve had similar goals, similar risk tolerances, we want to like we’re more in the stage now where we’re not free and clear on our properties. We saw some debt, but we were more aiming towards instead of going out and buying three new properties and leveraging all those were more about All right, we just sold a property, we got a chunk of cash, we might have to pay taxes on that, but let’s just pay this property off to increase our cash flow reduce our risk. So if you didn’t, if you were on the same page with the big picture, some of those kind of strategic decisions would be hard to make. Yeah.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah, I saw that point about trust. I think it’s just so important, so many ways, but one of the things that makes me makes me think of is, you know, we this podcasts, least free real estate investing, that the thing overall umbrella we call thoughtful real estate entrepreneurship. And I think that about that too. Yeah, thank you. Well, so actually, that’s actually a great point because I think that a lot of the people who are listening right now a lot of the people who are following any of this stuff that I’m putting together are doing so because they feel a little bit allergic to the the mainstream guru seminar kind of We Buy Houses distressed seller kind of vibe, it’s out there and the Barbie get rich, quick aspect of it. So it’s funny when you say that you the love that I was thinking that really one of the reasons why I felt like I You were the one of the first two people I reached out to to do an interview for our show here was that, well, this is kind of a squishy, comment. The vibe I get from you is just one of being you feel to me, like a thoughtful real estate entrepreneur, you feel like an easygoing, nice, you know, integrity, the kind of guy that like that does foster trust easily. Right?

Chad
I can’t shake that.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah, well, I mean, thank you for thank you for being that way. And so that resonates just your tone resonates a lot with me, and I think will here with our with our listeners, too. And I wanted to find out like how do you feel like that like just you being you has helped you kind of in your real estate investing career, you know, you like you said you were working really hard on acquisitions for a few years, I have to imagine a you being you and you being the person that you are probably helped you develop relationships well with sellers, but tell me if you will a little bit about how you think that’s played in?

Chad
Yeah, I think, again, thanks for that comment. And you know, it’s a constant process of working at it and trying to trying to, to be the kind of person you want to be. But when I remember reading a book, early on, I was lucky to recap a couple of these books, like early on my career, but one of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, it was really struck a note with me, and maybe it’s just because it was what I already thought, and he was just putting words to it. But his I’m kind of paraphrasing what he said. But he basically said influence, you know, when you go out and influence people, you know, and he was paraphrasing some of these get rich, quick kind of people, I think, saying you can either work on like techniques, like you can have it, here’s a persuasion technique. Here’s some NLP and here’s the words, you can say you can look somebody in the eye and you can, you know, there’s a lot of things you learn at seminars that are supposedly going to help you employ somebody what Stephen Covey said, and I was like, Yes, that’s it, that makes a lot of sense, is that, you know, those are simply techniques, whereas being a person who is, you know, is a certain way who’s principle centered, or at least you know, how that what they are, we might not all have the same principles. But I think what we put words, the what, really what how we trust people is typically is this is what that person is putting themselves out there as, and then I meet them. And this seems similar to the way they’re putting themselves out there. That’s, and so in real estate investing, or doing business or selling a, you know, education, or whatever it is, that I think that’s what I’ve had problems with a lot of the gurus and type people is there, I think they’re kind of playing to the technique card, and then you go meet them, or you see behind the scenes, and you’re like, oh, man, that’s not the same person I saw out there. And I think the people we admire, whether it’s a leader, whether it’s a teacher in a classroom, whether it’s a real estate investor, like it doesn’t it’s not unique to our industry, is just the people who, who try to approach it with a little bit more humility, a little bit more authenticity. And that’s not easy, you know, like I have, I have my non humble, non authentic moments as well, you do, too, I’m sure we all been there. But that having that as an aspiration, I think is a little bit different. And it sometimes requires going, losing in the short run in order to win in the long run. So I’ll give you an example with real estate, I had an approach when I negotiated with sellers, that my goal was not necessarily to sell them on my my particular technique, which was to buy their house, you know, that was my service. That’s what I wanted to do. I want to make the best of my ability, I wanted to go there, and help them understand their options. And so one of their other options is just listing the house with a realtor, why why should they not do that? Because if I was in their shoes, I would be asking the same question like, why wouldn’t I just listed with a realtor? And and that’s an important question. So I would try to address that in some way. And say, all right, you know, why don’t you like, let me talk you into it? Why don’t you just fix this house up yourself and to sell it? But why are you even talking to me, and have them talk me have them talk me into buying their house. And very often what that means is I lose the deal, like they go into this list with a realtor. And I actually think that’s a really, if I had to start over, I would probably get my real estate license, which I did later on. But I probably would have done it in the very beginning. And I would sit face to face with a seller. And I would say all right, right now, I’m not your agent. I’m not representing you yet. But I have I have my real estate license, I could do that. And so I want to talk to you about these options, Plan A wants, you just list your house, do a go this way, Plan B, you could sell it to me and here’s a couple different options, I could buy it and hear your plan a plan B and then maybe a couple options. And if really, I would win in either case, like I said, if they if they wanted to list it, which probably a lot more people would want to list it, then sell it to me, then I would I could have a referral business, where I would say if you want to go through me, I’m not going to list it myself. But I have this really good agent who I trust, you know, I’ve bedded, and they would love to refer you to this person, and I think they’ll take care of you. And then if that person listed there would be like what a good deal for that agent to have a person like me out there hustling, and bringing them a bunch of listings, that would be a valued customer or valued referral client for that listing agent, they probably send me some deals whenever there was one that they was not didn’t fit their normal criteria. And and then the seller would have this impression that I’m not trying to like, push them in one direction. And it’s true. And it’s like I could eat but you know, going back to our original conversation here, I could make that a technique. I could say I’m going to act like the person who really cares about sending them to the agent. But behind there if you really don’t want to help them. If you really don’t want to let them do what’s best for them. It’s going to come through virtually. And so that’s where Stephen Covey’s comment about like, are you just a person who uses techniques? Are you someone who’s starting from something a little bit different? And then you go learn techniques to help you do whatever is important to you. That’s it’s a subtle difference. But I think you and I are kind of trying to get at that. That’s the that’s a big difference between people who sell you sell you education, people who try to sell you a house or buy a house from you. This applies everywhere. It’s particularly in sales. Sales is one of those businesses where you can kind of like use your superpower for good or evil, right. That’s the way it works.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah, yeah. Well, those are, those are amazing points. So you still have your license today,

Chad
actually, just a month or two ago chosen to put it on inactive, because I just wasn’t, I used to do a listing here there with like, my mom and dad bought a house and I help them out. And it just I got so busy with traveling and do some stuff. And I couldn’t do my continuing education. So I just put on an active but I like to have in my hip pocket. You know, entrepreneurial spirit, you know, it’s kind of backup to a backup plan. If I need to go out I’ve always my wife and I had these conversations. And I say, during the 17 years I’ve been investing, I think I could become a real estate agent. I think I could be a bookkeeper. I think I could be a paralegal for attorney firm because I do have to attorneys work for him for closings? That guy could be a financial, you know, what do you call it a mortgage broker? So I think I just like knowing that I have some skill sets that I can lean on, even though I’m not using them right now just keeping them sharp. And that’s what the license to me is just sort of that it’s just another skill set. Six months I think I could turn up the business and make that work if I needed to or if I’m interested in that one of these days but for now I’m just gonna put it on inactive and see what happens.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah, I know that’s a it’s a decision a lot of people in our in our space in our position ponder it’s something I’ve pondered a couple times I have actually twice purchased the online course you know, the you have to take to take the test, and then got a few chapters in it. And then change my mind I’ve really gone back and forth about it had a lot of conversations with people. And I like the the versatility that it that it provides. And what’s funny is I feel like it’s a little bit uncharacteristic, actually of me to be really focused on sticking to my knitting, so to speak, as in a lot of other areas. As an entrepreneur, I’ve got the entrepreneurial a DD and I get easily excited. But for some reason in this one way, I’ve been able to stay really sort of regimented and saying, hey, stick to exactly what you do. Don’t Don’t kind of cloud your focus, but I am constantly questioning that rethinking it and like Jesus, that the right choice, because there are definitely times I mean, I had a friend literally like two weeks ago, call me and say, hey, I want to sell my house, what do you think it’d be worth? And I talked him through he said, Well, can you just sell it for me? No, actually, I can’t. Maybe this person is begging to give me, you know, permissions. And I really, I’m grateful for that. And I. So it’s been a difficult decision to sort of stay focused in that way. But

Chad
has it worked out in terms of your investing business? Have you? Is that grown and done better? Because of that focus?

Jeff Stephens
I think so. And I think the answer is yes. And I I think that a big part of my sort of identity as a, as a buyer, when I’m speaking with sellers is I’m very clearly saying, look, I am not an agent, I just am personally for my own portfolio interested in discussing buying your property from you. And I feel like the purity of that message has been important. I know, it’s been important to me anyway, when saying it, maybe it’s not as important to them as I think it is. But that’s been my justification for not getting it all long as I just really want to straight and narrow with this message of I am not an agent, I’m just a fellow landlord, like you are basically,

Chad
I got it, you know, and I love hearing that. Because here I was talking about that one business model. And it just shows that there’s different approaches to having conversations with sellers. And that’s what works for you, you feel comfortable with it. And that was kind of the approach I took as well, I was always the investor. But you know, there’s different, there’s different what you have to think about, you know, marketing in a non sleazy kind of way, but you have to think about what your pitch is going to be like to sellers, and that that’s your pitch. That’s what works. That’s your value add and, and the other conversation I had about being the referral business, I mean, that could, that could be an approach to us. And I do think like, if you are going to become an agent and be an investor, I do think you need to keep that investor head on. That’s why I didn’t want to I was why I would not want to be a listing agent and go out listed, I would want to be a partner, I just think of referral businesses a really cool business model for an agent to have if you’re not going to be super active. And I just think we as investors get so many leads. And the thing that struck me one time is how many opportunities that were not opportunities for me. But like, you know, 10 agents would love to have that conversation at us. And I spent two hours sitting there talking to this person and building trust, and relationship. And then there it goes like and you can look at it from two different angles. One, I didn’t make any money on it. So it was a business opportunity. There’s also a value add opportunity. Like they, they might have been looking for a referral from somebody who knew the business and I could have added value to them by saying All right, here’s Jeff. He’s an agent. He’s really good. You don’t have to use Jeff, you can use whatever you want. But I’ve used I like y’all to check them out if you’re going to be listing your house.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah. What you just said here is exactly the thing that then makes my brain go back to Okay, maybe I should.

Maybe I should Yeah, yeah. Cuz I because yeah, I feel like if you look at everything that I do, where where do I create value? like where’s my great the application greatest application of my skill set is in building the connection with the people? And if that’s not getting, you know, monetize, sounds kind of crude. But let’s be honest, you know, like, that’s kind of what we’re talking about, there’s some return on the value that you created the relationship value created for somebody. Yep, I know, I’ve left a lot of, you know, value, whether it’s money or whatever on the table from those people who, who I probably could have referred or service as a as an agent. But,

Chad
yep. It’s fun to know that we’ve even apparently done well as we could have done even better, you know, that there’s always opportunities for growth and potential improvement.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah, yeah. So if today the perfect deal, just, you know, walked in front of you, what would that look like for you where you are right now? Hmm.

Chad
I think there’s two different ones. So I’ve got two different property managers I feel pretty comfortable with here in Clemson. So we actually bought a lot of properties already this year. So I’m kind of like after Thanksgiving dinner, you know, where your, your your belly is. I’m like, I don’t want any more food. I’m stuff. So it might be a kind of tough time for me to answer that question. But earlier this year, the perfect deal is sort of a value add multi unit property and my within a mile or two from campus of Clemson University’s campus. And so that’s the value add Meaning, if you don’t know what that word means is an opportunity, a multi unit property, typically smaller multi units for me that have maybe low rents are low, maybe they’re mismanaged, maybe there’s some opportunity to do something in the property, Greg Penny, I would call this expand ability, you know, there’s some cut something you can do to it to increase the rent or increase the value of the property. So for me, for example, we bought properties that have kind of monopoly, you know, you have, you have two houses to your four units on there right now. But you could build 15 units on there, based on the zoning and the density of the zoning. Those are some opportunities for me. But I think, beyond the opportunity, the money part of it is also there in a space where I could hire these management couple nice to do it, because I don’t, I want to put the deal together. I want to be, you know, behind the scenes, putting the money together, putting everything but I don’t want to be the one talking collecting rent, I don’t want to be the one even managing the remodel anymore. I want to hire the management company to do that. So that’s a perfect deal. This year was that was those there’s there’s meat on the bone in terms of finances, it’s an area that I can pass it off to the manager. And then we can also improve our cash flow increase, increase our net worth and put some money to work. Yeah.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah. So you you have property managers that you work with. Now, have you done it that way all along? Did you manage your own properties at one point, or how is that journey of property management gone?

Chad
This has been an evolution. And so Tommy and I, my business partner, we used to do everything ourselves, I still do a lot of the behind the scenes bookkeeping, I like to keep my like, I’m doing less of that with the property managers they’re doing, they pay more of the bills now than I did. But even when I was in Ecuador, for a year and a half in 2017, and 18, I had some property managers for a few prefer a group of properties. But then I had a bookkeeper who worked with me for a year and did a good job, she did a lot of the day to day communication with our tenants and taking maintenance calls and things like that. And so I would, but I would still pay bills every Thursday. So I would do online bill pay and kind of keep my keep my mind in that. And so we’ve done everything from me being the one who signed the leases, meeting the person at the library, doing the lease up, you know, managing the contractors. And then we’ve evolved to where I had somebody internally who did a lot of that work for me. And I just outsource it to her and I did about 10% of our kind of self management. And then we’re now moving in the last she’s actually decided to semi retire and do a lot less of that. So we this just this year move to more of a pure just financial, get a property manager who does almost everything, pays the bills, collects the rent, handles, remodels, handles, maintenance, handles turnovers. And then I’m behind the scenes kind of working with one or two people at that property management company. And so far, I like it, how like the, you know, kind of the theme I talked about earlier, it’s allowing me to see things from a kind of a from a distance. And sometimes that makes, I think it makes you forces you to make some better strategic decisions. You’re not, for example, when you’re the one talking to the tenant, and and you’re emotionally involved in that situation, it’s much harder to make the right financial decision for either one of you than if you’re sitting back and getting an email from your property manager. He says, here’s the situation a little bit easier, for me at least to be objective and just go with the criteria that that I decided ahead of time. Yeah,

Jeff Stephens
yeah. Yeah, that’s a great point. Yeah, I agree. We do our property management in house, but I’m not the first line of communication. And so I find that that to it, to space that I have that allows me to probably make better, better types of decisions that are less reactive and things like that. Yeah. Is it Sleep Sleep free real estate investing is not just about the acquisition side, there’s a whole element of how you work with people and attended basis and even when you’re selling properties and stuff like that, and so that, it’s it’s a, it’s a delicate balance, I think of I always tell people this is this, like the hardest part, I think of kind of what we do is the balance between the human mentality and the, and the business mentality. And when it comes down right down to where people live, or you know, real people, that’s it’s a, it’s a challenging balance. I think, I agree

Chad
with you. And I’ll give it give everybody a specific example of a challenging situation we run into with tenants, and this is more my bookkeeper, her, she’s just a wonderful people person. And she kind of led the situation. But we had a gentleman who it’s been a tenant of ours for eight or nine years. And he was in one apartment, and we did a great job with us there. And we had another opening and he went to mobile home we had, and he rented this mobile home from us, he was kind of type of tenant kept quiet, kept himself just paid his rent every once in a while to be a maintenance issue. He call we take care of it. But that’s about it. And then one time, one month after like nine years, he starts getting behind on his payments. And our bookkeeper calls and finds out what’s going on and learns that he is lost whatever source of income he had, I think he had, he’s done some work. And it’s a low, this is a low rent, this is about as low as it gets. If you can’t rent this, that’s it. And we were super torn. Because you know, the rule, the policy says, All right, you haven’t paid by the fifth, on the six, we had our conversation with you, it looks like you can’t make your payment. You gotta move on. Right, the other like you either, if you’re not communicate with us, we have to file an eviction. If you’re working with us to make a payment, you know, and you have a way to pay, it will work with you. In his case, he didn’t have a way to pay it. And he was just honest, was like, I don’t have a way to pay it. Also have any family, I don’t have anywhere to go, you know, and he was in a situation where like, all right, if he doesn’t live here, like, Where does he go? Like there’s nothing else to do. So we really deliberated about it. And I’m not, you know, it wasn’t my already idea. But my bookkeeper start calling around and saying like, we delayed the eviction, first of all, and we decided that he couldn’t stay there. Like that’s just it wasn’t going to work because we have a running a business here and we have obligations that other people, but we could spend our extra time and effort to try to place them somewhere that wasn’t like to start kicking them on the street. And so we called two or three homeless shelters in the area, we called like other charities, and we found somewhere that he could go live temporarily. And it wasn’t just me on the street. And, you know, I’m not saying it’s always going to work out that way. But I think that’s what you’re, I appreciate that what you’re saying is like, if you have that intention to Yes, I gotta run a business, yes, I got to be profitable. But there are some opportunities sometimes to go a little bit above and beyond. And that was a particular case with this person that worked for me, I just felt really proud that she did that. And she called and we, we hired our handyman to bring his truck out there and move this guy stuff for him at our call co does money. But you know what like that was, as part of the deal. And that was the end of the day that worked. We felt good about that. And it from a business standpoint, because we were proactive, and did that ourselves, he might have just sat there and never called us back. And we would have had a victim. That’s how it could have been. And it could have been ugly, he might have got torn up the property, as it was we ended up getting the property back relatively, you know, 30 days or so. And it was not torn up. And, you know, so that that might even the business decision also, I think worked out by doing that.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah. And that’s just that’s a great story. And a great example, that, that sort of doing the right thing, so to speak. And the business mindset don’t have to be your it’s not necessarily one or the other. Right? It’s right. It can be it can be both it the way that I articulate something similar to myself these days is that I feel like, unfortunately, in my position, I can’t always give people the news they want to hear. But I can make sure we always do it with respect and empathy. And understanding and you know, kindness. And, And to me, that’s what you did there. Right? The the unfortunate news is yet you can’t live here anymore. If you’re if you’re not gonna be able to pay your rent, but we can deliver this message and soften it to the greatest extent we can.

Chad
Maybe you can give me a coaching session on doing that with my kids to like, I have a hard time. How do you do that?

Jeff Stephens
Way Out of my depth there. Yeah. So So to wrap it up, I want to bring it back to you. What you’re doing, you know, as, as a thought leader, as an educator. And I guess just the first question is, you’re in a good spot in your life and your career and your real estate portfolio? Why do you choose to dedicate time to blogging and podcasting and spreading the word that you do?

Chad
Yes, good question. I think first and foremost, I enjoy it. As fun. I go back to earlier, I just, I like learning. And I like I think sometimes people who are teachers also really love learning. And so I think is I see it like a cycle. And so originally, this whole blogging thing was selfish for me, like, I didn’t really think anybody would read it. I know a few people would read it, but I didn’t think anybody would read it. And so it was a way for me to organize my thoughts, but things on paper. And I think with everything in life, you know, you kind of see that, or I might have some, there’s some people who say this is helpful for them. And so maybe I have some some talent for that, let me cultivate that talent and get better at communicating, let me get better. So I have probably written, you know, first three or four years, I was writing thousands and thousands of words that nobody in but I still I attract it for a while, like, it’s probably been eight, nine years, I’ve been writing, you know, hundred thousand words per year kind of thing. And so you just get better at it you get in so like, I think, I feel like I’m pretty good at it, I have fun with it. And then I get the feedback that it’s helpful to people. And I’ve talked about it with people from a real estate standpoint, like I had a fork in the road where I probably could use those same skills to teach people like to make it make a business here locally, I could expand it from Clemson to Greenville, and you know how to branch office and done that and taught a team. And that’s another way to leverage your skills as well. But for me, I really get a lot of enjoyment out of the internet and online media, I think is one of the it’s so fascinating that through a very inexpensive, medium, I can deliver something and help 1000 people kind of get a light bulb moment and get and get it. And and so I kind of tell myself, this is pretty cool if I can help I you know, 1000 people by three houses. And I or I could have done I could have tried to buy 3000 houses myself building like some branch offices. But to me, you know, somebody wants to do that. That’s great. That’s their, their model. Like for me though, the thousand people who buy three houses and maybe helping them do that was just a much more satisfying model than trying to take over the world as a real estate investor. And so that’s that’s what motivates me. And I don’t I have very, you know, five years from now 10 years now, I really don’t know what this will look like. Like if it stops being fun. And it stops helping people by I have enough to say I’ve I’ve already said it all. All right, let’s move on. Maybe I’ll do something different. But for now, it’s still, it’s still intriguing. And I’m enjoying it.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah, that’s cool. So if people want to find out more about you and what you’re doing, what’s the best place for them to go to do that?

Chad
COACH Carlson calm is my home online. So I have a blog there, I have a big archive of articles. And if you want to have a free course there as well, it depends on what kind of what level people are at. If you’re just really just kind of getting started. You can go to coach Carlson calm forward slash free course. And it’s just as an email course that kind of takes you to the basic first steps, real estate investing, helping you get your mind around the strategy, a target market, and just kind of help you get some clarity and focus. But anybody at any level, if you if you’re interested, I like to write about financial independence. I like to write about real estate investing that interest section and I’m also doing a podcast these days, so you can find find on podcast at that same website.

Jeff Stephens
Okay, cool. And did you publish a book in the last year? So I did do that?

Chad
Yeah, thanks for that my book is called I retire early with real estate. And you can find that on Amazon. And a lot of lot of people have gotten that it’s published by bigger pockets, is a great organization. And so you can get that on Amazon. And one of the cool fun things about that book is, it’s sort of as I distill the sort of my blueprint on the different ways, I also compare it to like climbing a mountain. So the climbing the mountain is financial independence, there’s a lot of different routes at that mountain, even within real estate investing. So I tried to show those routes and help you find yourself on the mountain. And then I had a lot of fun getting to interview 24 other people who are at various levels of achieving financial independence with real estate. And so I have profiles, the end of every chapter on those different real estate investors. And so my hope was that, you know, here’s my story. I’ve got one approach. There’s a lot of other people who’ve started at different places from different backgrounds. And I tried to share a lot of stories as well to go along with kind of how to blueprint stuff.

Jeff Stephens
Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Chad. It’s been a real pleasure chatting with you. And I’m so grateful you decided to come on.

Chad
It’s been great. You’re You’re awesome. Interviewer I see this show doing really well. So thanks for your time and having me on here.

Jeff Stephens
Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *