Matt D.: It would be peanut butter on toast with cottage cheese.

Chad D.: Whoa! That’s the most unique thing I’ve ever heard.

Matt D.: Yeah. But not the cottage cheese on top of the toast, but on the side.

Chad D.: You just, like, dip it in it?

Matt D.: No! No, no, no.

Chad D.: No?

Matt D.: Dude, you’re making me out to be a freak here.

Chad D.: Just two separate things?

Speaker 3: This is Start FM.

Speaker 3: Now, here’s your host, active real estate investor and entrepreneur, Chad Duval.

Chad D.: All right, Matt, what’s going on, man? Welcome to the show. How are you doing today?

Matt D.: I’m doing great. Like I was telling [inaudible 00:00:43] on my way here, I feel like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.

Chad D.: Matt like walks in here and he looks like he’s winded, and he’s been running around all day, and yeah, he’s had quite the day. But I’m super happy to have him here today. And with that being said, I’d like to just kind of jump into it and see basically where you are today. Introduce yourself, and then we’ll roll back and unpack the first deal that you ever did.

Matt D.: What I’m up to today is… basically, we’re in the pursuit of looking for our next deal. I used to be a deal junkie. I wanted to buy every two, three, and four-family property I could find. And I’ve sort of dialed that back and I was like, “I just want to buy one big property per year that has a lot of value and a lot of meat on the bone.” And then, you know, add that value, add it to my portfolio.

Matt D.: So, we’re at the tail end of a construction project on a 24-unit apartment building that I purchased back earlier, late last year. And I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on that, and I’m just trying to figure out what our next deal is going to be. We’ve swum upstream in more larger commercial projects. We’re looking for stuff that produces a gross potential income of $200,000 a year or more. So, when you get into the real of commercial property there’s always environmental issues with it. We buy a lot of properties from guys that have owned properties for 30, 40 years that want to sell them. And they just don’t appreciate the gravity of environmental issues when it comes to commercial property. So, just working through there. We’ve got a lot of irons in the fire. We’re just trying to bring a deal home right now.

Chad D.: Nice. So how many units do you currently have?

Matt D.: 96 units of residential and commercial properties.

Chad D.: Nice.

Matt D.: About 17, 18 different buildings. Anything from single-family, multifamily, and mixed-use commercial, office space, retail.

Chad D.: Okay, yeah. And so your bigger deals that you’re looking for, you’re looking for something that’s like more multi-family? Or are you open to, like, mixed-use, that sort of thing?

Matt D.: I love mixed-use. Most investors are scared shitless whenever there’s some type of commercial retail component to it. They’re like-

Chad D.: I’m one of them.

Matt D.: Yeah.

Chad D.: Because it’s such a different bear, I feel like. But-

Matt D.: Yeah. I mean, if your core is residential in a deal, then it’s a little less scary. Location drives everything. If there’s two storefronts in a great location where people want to live, where people want to shop, you’re going to be protected in that. So we’ve found less competition in the mixed-use space.

Chad D.: Yeah. That’s a really good point. I guess because a lot of us investors who have never done that type of asset class kind of stay away from it because it is, it’s mixed-use, and I feel like you’re definitely merging commercial with commercial multifamily, so it’s so different. But I guess, yeah, if you put the location first and foremost, then I guess it definitely fixes any issues you might have with it.

Chad D.: All right. So you’ve got 96 units. You’re looking for more deals. How long have you been doing real estate now?

Matt D.: I’ve been doing real estate from an investing, development, management, broker standpoint for 13 years. So I’ve been an investor for 13 years, and then in various areas of the real estate lifecycle since then. I just went independent, like fully independent on my own. You know, burnt the boat, so to speak, and started out on my own about two years ago.

Chad D.: Okay, nice. Nice. So everybody, Matt is located in the Rochester, New York, area. Actually, I’ve got family over there, too, and it’s quite the area. It’s very interesting. I mean, are you seeing… like, I’ve talked to a lot of other people in different markets around the country, and everything that they say is everything is super on fire, super competitive. Are you finding the same type of thing going on in Rochester right now?

Matt D.: Yeah. There is definitely a lot of competition out there. There’s investors that have just been chasing yields. I mean, you know it, with any market cycle, when you got your barber that’s talking about getting involved with real estate and wholesaling.

Chad D.: Oh no. Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Matt D.: Yeah. It’s competitive, but I think that there’s deals to be had in any market cycle, regardless of where the market cycle is. And I think that Warren Buffett, who is basically my spirit animal, he’s a big fan of dollar cost averaging. So, if you are continually buying in every single part of the market cycle, you’re going to be fine as long as you’re buying right and buyung in the right location. But yeah, we buy in desirable locations in the Rochester, New York, area. So, it sounds like a lot of investors are competing for those types of deals.

Matt D.: I’ve found that when you gravitate towards commercial property, it’s dominated by commercial brokers. And the commercial brokerage industry is completely backwards. Brokers want to work with investors that they’ve done deals with before, and that are not a pain in the ass to work with. So, you get brokers that bring us “off-market deals” all the time. They’ll bring a deal to one person at a time. They won’t blast it out. So, they’ll call everybody on their A-list first, exhaust that list, then go to the B-list, the C-list, the D-list, the E-list, and then they’ll put it on LoopNet.

Chad D.: Yeah. I’ve had similar experiences with that. Yeah, that’s exactly how it is. It’s almost like, yeah, one-to-one. It’s like, yeah. I just don’t understand why they… I mean, I get why they’re doing it, but I feel like they would totally be able to close a deal or get a property under contract if they actually blasted it out to at least the A’s and B’s, you know, and see who bites. And if nobody bites, then you go to C’s and D’s. But yeah, no, it’s funny. I see the exact same thing.

Chad D.: So yeah. So, okay, so you’re super active in real estate. You are independent for the last two years. You’ve been in it for 13 years. You’ve gone through every cycle, then, if you’ve been in it for 13 years, you know, the ups and the downs. So I guess, if you want, let’s unpack your first ever deal. I’m not sure if it was an independent deal with yourself, or if it was with the company that you were working with. But if you want to tell us a little bit about that, and then we can kind of unpack that a little bit.

Matt D.: Okay. First deal I purchased was a four-family. It was in what’s called the Park Avenue area of Rochester and it’s an area where a lot of young professionals live. It’s got a great tenant base. And my dad, who was involved with real estate, he was like, “You should buy where you want to live. And live in one unit, get as many units as you possibly can, and rent out the others.” And that wasn’t something that was premeditated or anything [inaudible 00:08:11] my own idea. It was like, I was lost and directionless. I graduated college in 2006, which was not a great time to be graduating from a liberal arts college with no experience.

Chad D.: Oh, yeah.

Matt D.: So I was kind of like, “Dad, what do I do?” So, and he’d tell me something, and I’d be like, “All right. I’ll just do that.” So I looked at the active market and I couldn’t find anything. Everything was overinflated in terms of pricing. I couldn’t even make the numbers work. So I went to my dad. I was like, “Listen, man, I’ve looked at all these properties. I’ve made offers. I’m not getting anything.” So he said, “Well, you know, the MLS is not the only place to find deals. Have you looked at the expired listings and seeing if there’s any properties they listed that didn’t sell?”

Matt D.: So I looked through there. I found a property that was a four-unit and it was sale-pending, and then it just went to expired. So I called the former agent on the property and I was like, “Hey, are you still interested in selling the property? I’d be interested in buying it if you were.” So that’s how I got wind of that opportunity, was from an expired listing.

Chad D.: Wow, wow. So that’s a really good tip for everybody, too. It’s just because it expires or it goes pending. I mean, I know I’ve always tried to still send messages to those realtors, especially while they’re pending, and say, “Hey, how are things looking?” You know, that sort of thing. As they’re progressing through the purchase, I mean, it’s very, very possible that they’re going to fall out of contract. So, even if you don’t want to buy something straight up out of the MLS, I mean, just keeping an eye on anything that’s pending or, yeah, like you said, expired, is a really good tip for anybody starting in real estate and looking to get in.

Chad D.: So you said it was a four-unit. So you did end up house hacking once you ended up closing on it? You ended up living in one side of it?

Matt D.: Yeah, I lived in one of the units. They were all one-bedroom units. And the reason why I chose the apartment that I chose in that property was that it had access to the attic. So I was like, “Okay, all right, well, if I can basically paint the attic, paint the floor, paint everything that doesn’t move, and then run an air conditioner from the window air conditioning unit for, like, 80% of the year, I can get a roommate that pays me $450 a month,” and I can essentially cash flow-positive, like a couple hundred bucks a month, living in there.

Matt D.: So [inaudible 00:10:55] was rent-free and I was also making a little bit of money, too, to account for just normal operational expenses when it comes to owning a property like that.

Chad D.: Yeah, no, that’s such an awesome strategy. And it’s like, I feel like there’s so little risk in doing that. Because, I mean, you’ll always need a place to live, you know what I mean? And if you can get any income that you can pull in off of that property, I feel like, is just a positive. Like, even if it went completely vacant, you still need a place to live, you know what I mean? So, that’s such an awesome strategy for anybody looking to start.

Chad D.: So, how were you able to finance that? Did you go the FHA route? Or was it a traditional…? I see him smirking over here.

Matt D.: So, this was actually… there’s this little phenomenon out there called non-conforming loans, which were-

Chad D.: That’s right, you were before ’08!

Matt D.: Yeah. Which were sub-prime loans in 2006. So, being as though I had just graduated college, I was in a 100% commission-only job, I started out as a realtor, no bank would lend to me. So I got this product. It was 8% interest and it was fixed for 2… no, 8.8% interest. It was fixed for two years, and then it went adjustable after that.

Chad D.: Okay, yep.

Matt D.: So it was 10% down on the deal. I bought it for $160,000. I negotiated the seller to pay $5,000 of my closing costs if I bumped up the price to $165,000, and so that’s how I was able to get into that deal for about $16,000 out of pocket. And that just happened to be, like, all the money I’d saved from the first few real estate deals that I closed as a realtor. And that’s how I financed and got into that deal.

Chad D.: Oh, that’s awesome. That’s so funny. So, I didn’t even know what that strategy was, and so I had a very similar path, too, with my first property. I went and got it financed through my uncle who was part of a bank, and he said to do the exact same thing. So I want to reiterate that. If you’re trying to get your first deal, if you can try and give them even above asking price, and just have them pay all your closing costs, that means those don’t have to come out of your pocket. It’s just paid at closing. So, it’s such an easy way.

Chad D.: And then also, too, if you’re buying a four-family, I don’t know if it was leased up at the time, but you’re able to prorate all those rents for that month that you buy in, so that’s a nice little trick, too. So, if you have them pay all your closing costs, then you prorate the rents, any other things that you can negotiate into that, it’s less money out of pocket. On paper, it looks like you paid a bunch out of pocket, but you don’t. It’s so crazy. Like, I had no idea that that was even a thing until my first deal, and it seems like you had a similar path as well.

Chad D.: So, I mean, do you suggest other people try and strategize that way? Or, I know it’s a little competitive right now, but I feel like that could be such a good way to get into something like that, you know?

Matt D.: That’s the one caveat with this market, is that when you’re going in as a buyer asking for sellers concessions, it does put you at a competitive disadvantage because the seller looks at you as not as strong of a buyer. Same thing with using FHA financing as well. FHA is a great tool for getting into house hacking with 3.5% down, but you’re not as competitive as a conventional 20% down buyer who doesn’t need any sellers concessions.

Matt D.: So, that’s just something to take into consideration that, “Oh, shit, I’m making all these offers out there and I’m always getting beat out,” that that may be a contributing reason to that. So that’s the one thing is that you can diversify your efforts in finding your first deal [inaudible 00:15:05] trying to find off-market deals, trying to find direct-to-seller deals, working with wholesalers to get deals as well. Or just using private financing or hard money financing. If you buy a deal right, then you can buy it “cash” and then refinance it and then take your hard money guy out. And then you have nothing but your underpants in the deal.

Chad D.: Yeah, no, totally. Yeah. I like that because, I mean when you’re, in this market right now, at least, yeah, you got your cash buyers, which are going to be the cream of the crop. Those are probably going to be accepted the most. And then, yeah, then you’ve got the guys that are traditional loans, which is 20% down, and then below that is, yeah, exactly, the FHA, low down payment programs.

Chad D.: I mean just as a buyer, or as a seller, I should say, I know I would definitely go for [inaudible 00:15:58] yeah, cash all day long. If you’re giving me cash, I’ll even take a discount off the property for that because I know it’s [inaudible 00:16:03] easier [inaudible 00:16:04] close. There’s no red tape with the banks, and even traditional is pretty good, too. But yeah, FHA, I feel like they’re so much more stringent on the qualifications and the appraisals and all that stuff. So yeah, that’s a good way to look at it if you’re looking at it [inaudible 00:16:19] like a pyramid.

Chad D.: So yeah. So you got this four-unit, you moved in there, you had roommates, you lived in there. How long did you live in that property? Or are you still living in that property?

Matt D.: I wish I still lived in that property. But I got married, you know?

Chad D.: Yeah.

Chad D.: Hey guys, sorry to interrupt this episode, but I wanted to ask you a huge favor. If you’re enjoying this episode so far, or you’re a big supporter of the podcast, can you go to the Apple podcast app and leave a rating and a review for the show? I didn’t realize how easy it was until the past couple weeks. I’ve been going in and rating and reviewing all of the podcasts that I actually listen to on a daily basis, and it’s super easy. If you just go to the show in the app and scroll to the bottom, it’s literally just two clicks. All you have to do is click on the stars to leave a rating, and then there’s an area there where you can actually leave a comment or a review on the actual show. So, I would love your help. Leave some feedback, and it will only help the show grow. And I appreciate you guys listening, and let’s get back to the show.

Chad D.: That usually tends to end things, for sure.

Matt D.: So I was in that property for a couple of years. My dad would come over and visit me once in a while. He would always drive up and down neighborhoods looking for messed-up looking houses, the high grass, falling apart. And every time I saw him, he was like, “You know that house down the street is like falling into the ground. Like, you should buy that.” And I was like, “Okay, yeah, that sounds like a great idea. It looks like a huge property,” and that sort of thing. And that was a four-unit as well. And so the guy, like, my dad would just not stop bugging me about it. Every time we got together for a barbecue at his house, he was like, “Hey, did you call that person that owned the…”

Chad D.: I love that.

Matt D.: So finally, I was just like, in order to shut him up, I [inaudible 00:18:20] made it my mission to shut him up. So I ended up finding out there was an estate attorney that was handling it. There was a woman that owned the property, died in the property. There was a tenant that was left in there in one of the four units. So yeah, that’s the next property I moved into, my second deal.

Chad D.: Okay. It all seems like it worked out pretty well for you. I mean, going through all of the ’08 crash, ’07 crash, are there any horror stories that you had to deal with, going through all this? I mean when you got into that four-unit, did you have to completely gut it and rehab it? And did you have any… I mean I’m sure there were some kind of growing pains, being your first property.

Chad D.: I know from my first property I had all kinds of issues because I didn’t know what I was doing. But is there anything like that that you can share to help people? You know, again, people who are trying to start, and who could use any advice they can once they get that first property and things that we’ve learned [inaudible 00:19:22] through that.

Matt D.: Yeah, I mean, for somebody buying their first deal, it’s fine to get a fixer-upper but, I mean, I would recommend something that’s got good bones and good mechanicals, is just, like, a stanky, old, just ugly property where you can do a lot of cosmetic stuff. If I did this second four-family for my first deal, I think it would have buried me and I think I probably would have never gone on the trajectory in real estate that I did. That one was a serious remodeling project and, of course, I under-budgeted on the rehab costs for the property. And also, I had low bid syndrome, too, with work. And I was like, “What the hell? It costs $10,000 to paint the outside of this house?” No way.

Matt D.: So, of course, if you keep searching, you’ll find a contractor that’s going to give you the price that you had in your head and on the front end. But that was definitely a big growing pains for me. And, you know, taking my girlfriend at the time with my future in-laws through that property on the day that I closed-

Chad D.: Oh man, that must have been so bad.

Matt D.: And bringing people through there. And even contractors, they were like, you know, a lot of people just had their doubts about me being able to pull that thing off. But I did. I wasted a lot of money on bad contractors that never showed back up on the job, did really crappy work that I had to get redone. So the whole nine yards, I mean, I really faced over-budget, overtime, all that stuff that you hear from contracting nightmares and that sort of thing.

Matt D.: The key is, is that I bought that property right. Like, if you buy a property right, the sins that you make, they’ll undo themselves. But if you overpay for a property, that’s an incurable sin.

Chad D.: Right, right. So I mean, so you pushed through all of that. And actually you, like, closing on that property and walking through it with your girlfriend and in-laws and that sort of thing. What actually gave you the confidence to keep going with it? Because I know a lot of people would probably crumble once they had their immediate circle say, “What the hell are you doing? This place…” You know, “This, this, this, and this is wrong with it,” all that stuff. So how did you actually find your way through all that process? I’d be curious.

Matt D.: I’d have to say that my dad was the one that was always like… my dad was always, like, a really, really positive person. But also he didn’t sugarcoat anything either. And he gave me enough rope from an advice standpoint to know when to allow me to make my own mistakes. And so, yeah, it was definitely my first foray into figuring out my own grit as a person doing something on my own.

Matt D.: But yeah, I mean, I got taken advantage of by contractors. I was like 23 years old.

Chad D.: Oh yeah, so they’re totally going to take advantage of you, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing or you’ve never done it before. Yeah.

Matt D.: Yeah. So, for instance, the front porch was falling apart on the front there. And the thing is that, like, anybody who buys old properties that have these beautiful, old front porches that clearly need to be rebuilt, like, you need to really pad a lot of contingency. You know, budget on that. Because it’s like opening up Pandora’s Box. Because you think it’s just going to be replacing the porch decking. It’s going to be, you know the [inaudible 00:23:36]-

Chad D.: Oh my god. I’ve dealt with this, for sure. Oh yeah, you open it up and it’s frickin’ mess, everything underneath there.

Matt D.: So yeah. This one guy was like… you know, every contractor I brought through there, “All right, it’s going to be $25,000 to rebuild this porch.” And I was like, “No way.” And so this one guy walked up there, he was like, “All right, I’ll do it for $11,000.” So I was like, “Aw man, I hit the jackpot,” you know? And this guy of course wanted a check upfront. Now he started showing up on the job, but when he started asking other contractors to come on the job to-

Chad D.: Oh no.

Matt D.: To help him figure out how to do it, I knew I was in trouble. And this guy kept asking for checks and of course I was like, “Oh, well, he’s asking me for a check, so I should just write him a check,” you know? And then he didn’t pull a permit for the job. Of course, rebuilding a front porch, it’s pretty conspicuous to city inspectors driving by. So the city inspector drove by and he was like, “You don’t have a permit for this.” And so he looked at the property, [inaudible 00:24:38] the joists weren’t getting built with pressure-treated wood. So this guy was dicking around for six weeks on this project. It was like almost November and it was a nightmare. And so the inspector said, “You got to tear all this stuff out and redo it.”

Chad D.: Oh no.

Matt D.: And then of course that contractor was like, “Hey, can I have some more money?” And I was like, “No, you’re off the job, man. And I may actually sue you.”

Chad D.: Yeah, totally.

Matt D.: So that was like, you know, and I ended up paying, you know, instead of $25,000 for that job, I ended up paying, like, $35,000 for it just with what I did. But, you know, that’s tuition. That’s some really, really good tuition in getting your PhD in real estate.

Chad D.: Oh my God, yeah, you’re getting your PhD in dealing with contractors. I feel like that is definitely the story with a lot of people. It’s very easy to fall victim to that, especially if you don’t have any experience in the trades and actually do it yourself, or you know, know somebody who you can call and say, “Hey, they want to charge me this. This is what they’re doing.” And if you can’t bounce it off of somebody, I mean, you expect them to be the expert and fair and reasonable, and they’re in business for a reason. But I mean I hear it all the time. It’s so crazy how that happens, you know?

Chad D.: Damn. So that’s definitely a good horror war story. So aside from that, what would you, if you could talk to yourself 13 years ago, before you started, and let yourself know one thing that you know now about real estate investing, what would that be?

Matt D.: I would have said, “Go bigger sooner,” would probably be the advice I would give myself. From that second deal I did was in 2008, it was a great deal, I ended up, you know, because I bought it right, I was able to refinance it. And basically I had no money [inaudible 00:26:43] the deal whatsoever [inaudible 00:26:43] hard money lender [inaudible 00:26:44] basically financed the acquisition and closing costs and the rehab, and also did deferred interest until I took them out, so I didn’t have an interest payment. So I should’ve… this seemed [inaudible 00:26:56] like magic to me, and the thing is that I was dormant as a buyer from 2008 to 2013.

Matt D.: So, I didn’t buy anything during those key, pivotal years when the market was just like, that was like when it was just bottomed out, especially in the investment property market. And also I had these limiting beliefs. Like, you know, if you want to go be a big apartment buyer or a developer, you know, “You got to start off with a two-family, and then you got to buy a three-family, and then buy a four-family, then maybe buy a couple of other four-families, and then you graduate up.” And thinking that you have all these steps in place to set upon yourself before you do what you actually want to do.

Matt D.: My eyes really opened when I did my first commercial deal. It was a commercial office building, and I raised 100% of the equity myself and closed that deal and got a check back at closing. And it’s a fantastic asset. That really opened my eyes to being like, “I got to focus on these things.” Because, you know, people think that larger deals are harder to close. They’re actually easier to close than smaller deals. And also, you don’t have to like… you can get hyper focused on doing those, rather than being this dog chasing a car around trying to find every single two, three, and four-family in your market and just, like I said, being that deal junkie.

Chad D.: Yeah, totally. It’s so interesting how it’s like the default of every human is to start small and slowly work your way up. I mean, I’m the same way. I’m like, “Why am I wasting my time with these smaller multi’s. Like, I’m in the same boat. Like, why don’t you just start syndicating or looking bigger?” Because you’re right, because the amount of work that I put in for my 15-unit was probably the same amount of work as, like, my two-unit. It’s the same amount. You’re 100% correct. I mean, that’s crazy.

Chad D.: So, you’re saying you’re syndicating possibly. So how has that transition worked for you as far as mindset goes? I mean, did you just dive in and say, “Screw it. I’m going to just force myself to raise money for my next deal”? Or did it kind of, like, I don’t know, did you have help with that? Just curious because I’m thinking about taking my real estate investing in that direction as well because I’ve kind of hit that exact same “Aha!” moment where I’m like, “Why am I wasting my time on these smaller buildings,” you know, when you can go much bigger? Things are easier, it’s a lot easier to put teams in place, and I don’t get calls for flooding toilets and all that stuff.

Matt D.: Yeah, so I’ve found that I really didn’t have a lot of… now, I’ve never even syndicated a deal before; it’s more of like using creative ways to finance properties in terms of getting a second mortgage or a promissory note. I haven’t [inaudible 00:30:12] to the extent to actually syndicating an actual bona fide SEC offering and using an SEC attorney and dealing with securities and all that stuff.

Matt D.: I will get there eventually. But it was an easy conversation to have once your friends, your family, the people in your sphere of influence, have seen your track record. They see that, like, “All right, this guy didn’t go belly up and bankrupt. Like, he actually has staying power.” And it was an easier conversation to have in terms of presenting somebody with an opportunity to participate in a deal, get some good mailbox money, be securitized by an actual, real, tangible asset that they can go and drive by and walk up and touch.

Matt D.: And also, it was… I started with, you know, the people that were participating in terms of raising the money to purchase deals, I typically started with them just by them being a hard money lender on a property. And it’s a lot easier to, you know, you buy a, like let’s say a four-family or whatever using a hard money lender, and then you refinance the property, take them out [inaudible 00:31:24] had no drama, no headaches involved with it. It’s a lot easier to have that conversation with them than saying, like, “Hey, listen. I’m doing this other deal. I’m raising this amount of money for it. These are the terms I’m offering. Are you interested in this opportunity?” Especially in this market now, with yields being so low on bonds and stocks and other investments in general. Like, people are looking. There’s a lot of cash in the sidelines still that people are looking to put to work for them. And that’s where I am.

Matt D.: But yeah, I’m definitely swimming upstream towards deal syndication, like the guys like Joe Fairless and Michael Blank do.

Chad D.: Yeah, sure. No, totally, totally. Yeah, so, it’s very interesting. So it looks like a lot of what’s happened recently, or in the last couple of years, is you had a major shift in mindset as far as syndicating and a bunch of other stuff.

Chad D.: So where are you learning the mindset side of things? I know on the show we try and get into the tactics and the step-by-steps and stuff like that. But it seems in your story you’ve definitely a big shift in your mindset. And I was curious, is it, yeah, you mentioned Michael Blank and Joe Fairless, I mean, was it just listening to podcasts, reading books, that sort of thing? Or surrounding yourself with other people? I’d be curious because it’s always good to continually be expanding your mindset, for sure.

Matt D.: Yeah, I mean, I think that the big shift occurred with, I mean, my story is that both of my parents passed away in my twenties from health issues and so-

Chad D.: Oh no, I’m sorry, man.

Matt D.: So one thing I learned very early on is that I saw two people that worked blue-collar jobs. My dad worked at a brewery, my mother was a dialysis nurse. And I saw two Americans doing everything the right way just in order to scrap and squirrel enough away to retire in order to do what they wanted to do. And when I saw that happen, in terms of witnessing their own mortality, and then looking and internalizing it in myself, I was like, “I don’t want to participate in this scheme that’s been sort of like, ‘Who made this story up for all of us to live?'”

Matt D.: So I made the determination. I was like, “If I’m not going [inaudible 00:33:57] retirement for when I’m 65 years old. I’m going to retire in my 40s, okay?” So, that was sort of the first time I had made a really, truly benchmarked goal for myself as to how much cash flow I needed, and so on and so forth. So I ended up actually fast-tracking that and got that, won my independence when I was 33 years old. So, with doing this full-time, it’s an emotional and spiritual journey in terms of being independent. And mindset is probably the most important thing that comes involved with it. The tactics are easy. Real estate’s an idiot’s business. Like, that’s the reason why I got involved with it.

Chad D.: It so is. Yeah, it is. Everybody jokes about it, it is. It is putting in the consistency, the mindset, and thinking bigger, honestly. I really think that’s [inaudible 00:34:53] what it is, is always thinking bigger than what you’re doing, you know? But that’s some powerful stuff, especially. You have an insanely powerful “Why?” to get you to where you need to go. And I think that’s a good reminder to everybody. Make sure you find your “Why?” Or create a “Why?” for what you’re doing. Because yeah, I mean, real estate is, I mean, it’s not easy, but it’s pretty simple.

Chad D.: Awesome, man. Well, I guess we’re running out of time a little bit here, so I wanted to kind of shift into the final four and kind of lighten up the podcast a little bit and get out of the nitty gritty, get out of the weeds a little bit, and have a little bit more fun with the podcast. So question #1, which is what I ask everybody, is if you were to get rid of one US state, which would it be and why?

Matt D.: Oh my God. With the new landlord-tenant laws that were passed in New York State, I would say maybe New York State.

Chad D.: I love it, yeah.

Matt D.: Just wipe us off the face of the earth.

Chad D.: California can go, too. I love both states, don’t get me wrong, but man, it’s tougher for landlords in those states.

Matt D.: Yeah. But yeah, no, I love our community. But yeah, I think that New York State. New York State’s got its challenges with the landlord-tenant thing, especially now.

Chad D.: Definitely, definitely. So #2, we finish this interview, you step outside and you find a lottery ticket that’s worth $100,000,000. What are you going to do with that $100,000,000?

Matt D.: That would actually fast-track my new goal. Big time.

Chad D.: Yeah. You’d be buying some big properties.

Matt D.: Yeah. I think I would actually… it’s my lifelong goal to build a networth of $20,000,000 so that I can establish a family office, like a trust in perpetuity, to invest $1,000,000 a year back into our community and local businesses, local real estate deals, loans, and that sort of thing. So, I would establish a family office, that family office, and do just that. Because I think that our town has a lot of potential to it. And it doesn’t attract the same capital interests that big markets like New York City and other areas in New York State, Downstate. So that’s probably what I would do.

Chad D.: Awesome, man. Awesome. You’re too nice. You’re a good dude, man.

Matt D.: Well, dude, my wife and I have… we live a pretty modest lifestyle. So we have a beautiful house. We drive decent cars. We go on vacation and travel quite a bit. We’re able to see our family quite bit. Like, we’re sustained.

Chad D.: So you got it, yeah, you got it. You’re already there.

Matt D.: Yeah, we’re sustained. I think that… my goal, selfishly, is I want to see a longterm, vibrant community to live in. So that’s basically what my passion’s become.

Chad D.: That’s awesome, man. That’s awesome. So, #3: ff you could have a beer with any dead person, or alive, who would it be and why?

Matt D.: Okay. All right. Well, you want to keep it fun, so, my first choice would have been-

Chad D.: No, no, I’m just giving you crap, man. I’m just giving you crap.

Matt D.: I’m a monotone talker, so-

Chad D.: No!

Matt D.: I mean, first answer would obviously be my dad because he was the guiding light behind me starting, and I’d like to catch up with him and receive an “Attaboy!” on the back or something like that, you know? But I’d have to say Warren Buffet, 100%. Like, I would love to have a beer with Warren Buffett because he is like the most amazing investor with the most amazing investment mentality out there. So, he would definitely be the guy.

Chad D.: That’s awesome. Yeah, he’s a very interesting guy. I mean I’ve watched a lot of his talks and stuff and he’s very eclectic and like… [inaudible 00:39:18] he’s full of energy, but super monotone at the same time. It’s very interesting [inaudible 00:39:25] to watch [inaudible 00:39:26] articulate his thoughts. I mean, I agree with that. I would totally love to have a beer with him and pick his brain. Do you listen to all of the annual reviews and stuff like that with Berkshire Hathaway and stuff like that?

Matt D.: Yeah. The Berkshire Hathaway, like, whatever, I mean dude, that shit bores the hell out of me.

Chad D.: Me. Too. That’s why I’ve never done it. But I’m curious because a lot of people talk highly about it. I’m like, “Man, that stuff sounds so boring.”

Matt D.: I love reading books about him, and I follow [inaudible 00:40:02] one of the most influential books in my life is The Snowball, which is one of the biographies of Warren Buffett by, I think it’s Alice Schroeder. But yeah, I love that dude and I always go back to him when I’m looking for that spirit animal, right? I’m just like, “What would Warren Buffett do?” So that’s who I look up to.

Chad D.: Very cool, very cool. Yeah, no, like I said, I’m right there with you. And then, finally, if you had to only eat one thing the rest of your life, what would it be?

Matt D.: It would be peanut butter on toast with cottage cheese.

Chad D.: Whoa! That’s the most unique thing I’ve ever heard.

Matt D.: Yeah. But not the cottage cheese on top of the toast, but on the side.

Chad D.: You just, like, dip it in it or…?

Matt D.: No! No, no, no. Dude, you’re making me out to be a freak here.

Chad D.: Just two separate things?

Matt D.: No. Cup of cottage cheese. Peanut butter toast. I can eat that in every meal, all day, every day.

Chad D.: So, I’m curious, this is a very interesting profile of flavors. So, do you take one bite of one and then finish and then go to the next? Or you do it together? Or you do all the toast first? I’m curious if it is the profile together, or do you just like them separately and you just like them at the same time?

Matt D.: Well one thing is that, from a sustenance standpoint, cottage cheese has a lot of protein in it. I’m a huge meathead. So, that’s one thing [inaudible 00:41:35].

Chad D.: Yeah, you look good. I was going to say, you probably hit the gym a lot, huh?

Matt D.: Yeah, yeah. No, that’s my Ritalin. So is going to the gym and clearing my mind. It’s a great way to start your day. But no, I mean, I eat the cottage cheese first because usually I’m eating it while the toast is toasting, and then-

Chad D.: Oh, okay.

Matt D.: Yeah. And I eat the peanut butter toast as like the dessert.

Chad D.: I love it. I love it. I like both of them a lot, but I’d never even think to have them together. But that’s awesome.

Chad D.: So, I’m actually really curious, too, one last thing. A little bonus question, too. So what is your number one spot for consuming content around real estate? It could be anything from a podcast to YouTube or a book or something like that, something that you can point to that the newbies listening to the show could actually pick up or read or watch.

Matt D.: BiggerPockets, absolutely. I get something out of every single episode. And they cover stuff all over the board, from beginner investors to established people. And there’s always really great nuggets out of there. And I think that Brandon and David Greene are just great from a coaching standpoint in terms of listening to it, too. Because they unveil a lot of those limiting beliefs that a lot of investors, or want-to-be investors, manufacture for themselves that prevent them from getting in the game. And so I really dig that one a lot.

Matt D.: Other than that, it’s like going out there and just getting my teeth kicked in every day. And that’s the best way to learn.

Chad D.: [inaudible 00:43:21] 100%, like you said, that $35,000 tuition. You just got your teeth kicked in, but you’ll never… I mean, you’re going to be so much better dealing with contractors in the future because of it. Yeah, that’s really good advice for everybody.

Chad D.: So I guess we’re getting close to the end of the show here, or actually, at the end of the show, but I wanted to ask you one last question to see, you know, is there any final thoughts that you have or anything I didn’t ask you that you’d want to share on the show? And then along with that, how can people reach you and get ahold of you?

Matt D.: Yeah, I mean, sort of just the final thoughts is definitely there’s… I’m seeing a lot of investors wanting to get in there for the wrong reasons. So, uou know, mostly money-driven, so really drilling down into establishing what your “Why?” is. Your “Why?” is like your guardian angel. It’s going to protect you in your darkest hour as an investor. So, that’s one thing [inaudible 00:44:21] like don’t do that.

Matt D.: And then also establishing, like, you have to manage your personal finances like a business. If you can’t manage $5, you can’t manage $5,000,000.

Chad D.: Such a good point.

Matt D.: So that’s definitely just like my last parting words of advice. And then where to find me best is on Instagram @mattmdroui. And also I’m pretty active on Facebook under Matthew Drouin, Rochester, New York. So shoot me out a friend request there. I can connect that way. I’m on all social media platforms. LinkedIn. And I believe rising tide rises all ships, and I’m an open book, I have no secrets. So definitely reach out to me if I can be of value or assistance in any way.

Chad D.: Perfect, perfect. Well, Matt Drouin, I appreciate you being on the show. This has been great. There’s definitely been a bunch of nuggets that people can learn from and take from this podcast. So I appreciate you being on the show, and I guess we’ll be in touch for sure.

Matt D.: Yeah. Thanks, Chad. Have a good one, man.