JF2047: 2008 vs Coronavirus With Chris Clothier

Chris is a partner of REI Nation and he personally owns $12-15M in residential holdings and commercial real estate. Chris has been on the show before on two other episodes, links are provided below. In this unique episode, Chris shares his thoughts on the differences and similarities in the 2008 crash and the current coronavirus pandemic.

Previous Chris Clothier episodes.

3 common mistakes forming a business partnership

Faith will ruin real estate business

Chris Clothier Real Estate Background:

    • Partner of REI Nation 
    • REI Nation manages an $800 million (M) portfolio consisting of single-family residentials
    • Chris personally owns $12-15M in residential holdings and commercial real estate
    • 18 years of real estate investing experience
    • From Memphis, TN
    • Say hi to him at: www.reination.com   


Best Ever Tweet:

“You need to be in planning mode, you have to plan for the 10 things that could happen.” – Chris Clothier


Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless. This is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast where we only talk about the best advice ever; we don’t get into any of the fluffy stuff. We’ve got a special segment for you today. We’ve got Chris Clothier on the show and he’s gonna be talking about the differences between 2008 and the current real estate market with the coronavirus pandemic. So, first off, Chris, welcome and good to talk to you again.

Chris Clothier: Yeah, Joe. Thank you for having me. I appreciate the chance to just jump on here and chat with you a little bit.

Joe Fairless: Well, I always jump at the chance to talk to you. I have a lot of respect for you as a business person and as a human being, so I’m grateful for talking to you as well. A little bit about Chris – he’s a partner of REI Nation. REI Nation manages a $100 million portfolio consisting of single-family homes. He personally owns between $12 to $15 million residential holdings and commercial real estate. He’s got nearly two decades of real estate experience, based in Memphis, Tennessee. So, Chris, can you give a very, very brief refresher of your background, and what you do, just for some context for our conversation? …and then let’s talk about your thoughts on the differences between 2008 and what we’re currently experiencing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Chris Clothier: Absolutely. So for those who don’t recognize the name REI Nation, my family founded the company called Memphis Invest, and Memphis Invest rebranded as REI Nation when we moved into our seventh market for managing single-family homes for passive investors. So we started in Memphis back 2002, 2003 range. Today, as you alluded to a few minutes ago, we’re managing over 6000 single-family homes for passive investors, and really our specialty is what’s become known as the turnkey niche. So we are purchasing, doing high-end renovations, then placing long-term residents into those homes, and then we manage them once they are purchased by a investor that wants to be strictly passive. They just want to own the asset, have someone else manage the day-to-day. That’s what we do today. That’s about an $800 million portfolio spread across seven cities in the southeast Midwest area.

Joe Fairless: What are the cities?

Chris Clothier: We’re in Memphis, of course, where we started, and then we’re now in Dallas and Houston, Texas. We’re in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma. We’re in Little Rock, Arkansas, and St. Louis, Missouri.

Joe Fairless: Okay, got it. Cool.

Chris Clothier: And as you alluded to, we were a growing company in the very, very early days of the boom for passive investments, when it was becoming very popular across forums online and across the ability to use the internet to reach out, connect and due diligence on passive investments around the country. We were right there at the forefront of it before the first recession hit.

Joe Fairless: So how did tenants, how did owners react then versus what you’re seeing now?

Chris Clothier: Well, the interesting dynamic between the two is that back in 2008, there were a lot of people that were talking about a housing bust, that there was a bubble that had been created artificially, and that was through people that were buying property that had no business buying property, people that were highly, and even over-leveraged. You just had this inflation of value that there were a lot of people that were warning at the time that it was unsustainable, and then you had suddenly, this slow drip of bad news. It started, of course, with Bear Stearns crashing, and then – I’ve got my dates pretty close to accurate – about 15 months later, Fannie Mae pulling out of the investment market and dropping investors from, I believe, ten properties down to three properties that they would finance overnight. So from a Tuesday to a Wednesday, you went from having an approved loan and a property under contract, to your loan was canceled. Even if you had a closing set for 8 a.m. in the morning, it was no longer closing. So there was this slow drip of a crisis developing and all sudden, boom, one day you had the drop.

What’s happened here now is really a compression of just bad news and fear. But many of the hardships that are going to face the real estate industry as a whole, they’re still in front of us. They haven’t really hit yet. This is a whole new set of issues, from rent and mortgage abatement and some of these other things that are coming up, and the difference right now is that there’s no room to even take a breath. You’re talking about over a two-week period, we went from full occupancy and business as usual, to the likelihood of collecting percentages of rents rather than full rents. Whereas before, you had a little bit of time to prepare and you could see things down the road. This is one of those things that just smacked us all right in the mouth in a fairly short period of time.

Joe Fairless: So what’s your communication approach when, inevitably, you’ve got your customers reaching out to you personally? I know there’s got to be a chain of command where they’re reaching out to their point person, but they’re also reaching out to you too, saying “Hey Chris, what’s going on with my property?” So with 6,000 individual units– that’s a lot of owners. I understand that many owners buy multiple properties, but I’m sure you’ve got some approach where it’s like, “Okay, here’s my message now to my clients, and then here’s my approach, XYZ.” So can you talk about that?

Chris Clothier: Yes. There are 2,000 owners of those 6,000 properties. So you’re talking about a massive number of people, and all are going to have an individual situation to them. So the first thing that we did was we did not rush to communicate out anything. We took our time to absorb, to bounce a lot of ideas off one another. We spent a lot of time understanding what was happening rather than trying to react and put out multiple messages. And ultimately, the message we went out to our client base with was that we are preparing daily.

We remember what the 2008 crisis looked like, we remember the daily grind, we remember the fact that you had to have a plan A and a plan B and a plan C, you had to be thinking through every possible scenario and each way you could react, because there’s so many things happening. Whether you’re a single landlord or you’re a business owner with a smaller business, none of it matters. You have to be in constant planning mode, and what I mean by that is you can’t plan for what’s going to happen, you have to plan for the ten things that could happen, and then how do you react to those.

Then the bigger thing for us, I’ll tell you, we’re very confident right now. Mostly we’re confident because we feel that we have prepared as best we can. [unintelligible [00:07:38].20] I don’t know of anybody that I’ve spoken with out there that had a plan for it to stop a pandemic in this type of scenario. But all of us planned for if something bad were to occur. So all this was was we spent a lot of time ramping up, discussing, training, changing scripts, and by scripts, I mean, we have to know how to answer questions. Now you’re talking about from an owner and a resident standpoint, and we have to practice and practice and practice and practice what our message is, and make sure that we properly plan for the messages we’re giving, if that makes sense. I mean, you can’t just say something. You have to have a plan behind it. “This is exactly what we’re doing and why we think it’s gonna bring us and you the most success.”

Joe Fairless: What is your resident message?

Chris Clothier: The resident message was simpler than the owner message, I will tell you that. The resident message was that — we did not go out with a big message in advance of telling everybody of any plan. Every single resident in every one of our properties knew that rent was due on April 1st. So we did not communicate any mass message of what we were going to be doing in advance. What we chose instead was on an individual one-on-one basis, as residents are calling us, informing us of hardship, we have a list of resources for them, we have questions we have to go through with them, we have verification steps that we have to take, that are gonna verify that you are truly in a hardship. Then, the reality is that right now, housing is massively important to each of these residents. They don’t want to stress about housing.

So, the message becomes, “While rent is due, not paying anything right now really cannot be an option. You have to make some effort towards paying rent while we verify your hardship so that we’re able to fight for you on your behalf to an owner that they’ve done the best they can, they’re doing everything they can to meet their obligation, this is where they’re at.” We try and keep to a minimum the number of people that do not pay any rent for whatever the reason, valid or not. We’re trying to keep that to a minimum. So our message is one of compassion. We have a lot of steps we’re going to take, but you don’t take those steps until the month goes on. So again, nobody’s late with us until three or five days after rent’s due. So right now, nobody’s late.

Joe Fairless: Note to listeners – we’re recording this on April 2nd.

Chris Clothier: There you go. Sorry about that, Joe.

Joe Fairless: We took a similar approach, by the way, with no formalized communication to residents about rent in particular. We have apartment communities, so it’s a little bit different. Certainly, about amenities and social distancing among the community and staffing hours and all that, but that’s apples and oranges right now, so I won’t mix that up into this conversation.

But we took a similar approach where rent was due April 1st, and we’re going to have those conversations on an individual basis now. What about a different approach? Because I saw a post on Facebook – so it’s definitely true – where someone proactively gave all their residents 15% off rent, and they were getting at least from one resident, very positive feedback. For the record, we did not do this, so I’m not saying you should have. But I’m just asking, why didn’t you do something like that?

Chris Clothier: We discussed it. So here we are again, we’re recording on the morning of the 2nd April, and we already know that over 30% of our residents paid on time in full through the first day, and that percentage will grow through the second day and the third day; payday is Friday. There’s a certain percentage out there that are going to pay on time that are not having any issues right now. Heck, Joe, we had over 12% of our residents paid early, before the 1st. So their rent for April was in March, and most of them are paying the 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st those days. They’re making auto payments in their portal. So had we arbitrarily given a discount across the board, we have a fiduciary responsibility to our owners to make sure that we are doing what’s in their best interest too. There will be cases where we have to work with a resident. There are going to be cases where we’re going to have to do discounts and we’re going to have to implore owners to work with them.

So we chose, and we will continue this message to our residents, that those that can pay, should pay, and those that are in hardship should communicate, and that’s the route we’re taking… Because we don’t know what’s going to happen in May or June. So someone who could pay full in April may need help in May. I wouldn’t be able to give them the help that they need then, not arbitrarily cut it across the board. So we don’t know that we’re right, but we are very confident in our approach. So far, it’s bearing fruit. So far– in fact, we have a great plan for those that cannot pay on time, and we have a great plan for those that can, and we’re executing.

Joe Fairless: If I cannot pay on time, and I verified my hardship through the list of questions that your team asks, but I do make an effort to pay; say I paid 10% of whatever the rent is, what happens to the remaining 90%?

Chris Clothier: It’s gonna be again, on an individual basis, but I can tell you on the front end, we’re not here to make late fees and make life more difficult for anybody, and we’re not here to put anybody out of their home when the eviction proceedings are unfrozen. So there are a lot– I don’t have the exact number, but I know it was a good percentage of owners that proactively reached out to us and said, “Hey, I want to help my resident if they need help. I’m in a good position, so I don’t have to have full rent.” And what we’ve told all of our owners is, there will be a time and a place to make that decision. Let’s not proactively reach out, because there’s 6,000 residents here. Let’s not reach out to them to say, “You don’t have to pay.” Let’s review. It may be 30 or 60 or 90 or 120 days down the road when decisions have to be made.

And if we can communicate that the resident had great communication with us, they applied for all the assistance they could get, they applied as much of that assistance towards rent as they could, then I have a feeling that we’re gonna have a lot of owners that say, “Okay, that’s what I’m going to lose this year. Whereas I anticipated making a higher cash return, this year I may not make that cash return, but I reduced my principal, I’ve got an occupied property with a good tenant, I’ve worked at some goodwill, and we’ll just move forward.” That’s what I think a lot of owners are prepared and understand they’re gonna have to do this year, not all of them, but some. Some will be affected that way.

Joe Fairless: Looking back to 2008 and comparing it to today, you mentioned some of the differences at the beginning. But, what are some similarities that you see?

Chris Clothier: Well, I see the unfortunate effect of this compounding of issues that, if I were to guess, I would say that some markets, some neighborhoods, some areas, some classes of properties, however, you want to designate it, they’re going to be impacted by foreclosures months from now. They’re going to be impacted by an increase in vacancy and maybe a decrease in rent. Now this isn’t across the board and each market’s different, but you’re going to see those things happen. It happens slowly. Back during the crisis of ’08, by 2009, 2010, if your market was going to be affected on the real estate side, it was. It took a solid two years, but by then, there was no escaping. If your market was going to see an increase in foreclosures, a compression of rents, a compression of value, it had happened, and I think that’s going to happen again here. This is a completely different crisis, but now, the financial side is going to start taking its toll on the real estate, and people’s ability to maintain and stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure and eviction. So those things, they’re lagging, and hopefully it’s not massive, hopefully we can get through this… Which is a major difference from back then.

At least with a crisis like this, there’s hope of a cure to come out of it, a flattening of the number of people that are being affected… All these different things that we can see that didn’t exist in a way in ’08 and ’09. Back in ’08, ’09, we had no idea what was going to happen next. At least, now we know that with some degree of certainty that we’re going to get through this, and the faster we can, the less effect it’ll have on the number of foreclosures there are and where they occur, and rent rate compression and value compression. I don’t think it’ll be as widespread, but the longer this goes, you can see where that’s going to come 6, 9, 12 months down the road.

Joe Fairless: One interesting thing that I think will take place is the fire sale like we had, after the ’08 crisis – it won’t be nearly like that at the end of this, for many reasons… One of them being people have been squirreling away money, anticipating some correction. They had no idea, I don’t think anyone had the idea it would be a virus. You’d think that they thought that it’d be something else, but people have been squirreling away money and the distress properties that do come up, it is my belief, there’s going to be a lot of competition for those distressed properties. Whereas in 2009, 2010, there wasn’t nearly as much competition because of what you said, the uncertainty.

Chris Clothier: Oh, I think you’re spot on. You’re exactly right. So there’s not a liquidity crisis, yet. So as long as there’s liquidity in the market and there’s appetite for buying, I agree with you, 100%. We shouldn’t see that anyway. And look, between you and I and all of your listeners here, any investor that came through the ’08 and ’09, many of them that I’m talking to, they’re advising newer investors that this whole idea of “This is what we’ve been waiting for, now we can finally get involved in the market and prices are going to fall and I’m going to send out some great deals”, so many of us remember the destruction that came from ’08, ’09, ’10 to lives, to people individually. Certainly, none of us are hoping for that. Anybody that came through that is hoping for a calm, recovery and exit out of this, not something that’s volatile, with high losses. If you invest properly in real estate and you invest with good fundamentals, you can always find good deals. You don’t have to hope for or wait for some massive crisis to make your windfall.

Joe Fairless: Anything else we should talk about that we haven’t talked about as it relates to what’s going on right now compared to ’08 and just your overall approach?

Chris Clothier: The biggest thing I can implore everybody is that it’s not too late to plan. If you haven’t planned yet, that’s okay. Even by the time that you hear this, you need to be planning for what can come next, and worst-case scenarios and how do you navigate those issues. You need to be overly communicating with your partners, with your lenders, with your clients or residents. If this has shown us anything, it’s that we’re pretty weak when it comes to control, which actually is a very strengthening approach. We don’t know what’s coming next. So we get stronger by planning  for everything, so that we’re not surprised. So no matter what happens, we can look back and say, “I’ve got a plan for this and I’m going to execute that plan.” That’s the way we came through ’08 and ’09, and that’s exactly what we’ve done today. We have just very calmly said, “Let’s get to work.”

Joe Fairless: What you said at the beginning, you did not rush to communicate anything; you had conversations amongst yourselves and figured out the approach. What was your response to the owners, to their clients before you had that formalized communication ready to go? What were you telling them in the meantime?

Chris Clothier: Well, for us, we have for many, many years had a program where we call every one of our clients, every month. So we built up this massive goodwill through relationship. So for us, there was no need to rush out because we were already talking to every client, and the conversations that the clients had with us was, “Hey, I know y’all are planning and preparing. I just want you to know that I’m okay not getting rent or help my client out. Let me know when you know what you’re going to do.” So we didn’t have a clientele that was in the dark. We had a clientele that, because we call them every single month — and that was our message. “Hey, we called you every month for the last 12 years for this day, because this day would come, when there would be uncertainty and fear, and you needed to know that we were on top of it.”

So there was not a need for us necessarily to get something out quick, and when we did get something out, we chose to do it by video, which we posted a message that they could all get to. So we put it on a website page so they could get to the message, and the message again was very clear, that (again) we’re confident.

Joe Fairless: Who was talking in the video? Was it just you?

Chris Clothier: It was just me.

Joe Fairless: Just you. Got it. Well, how can the Best Ever listeners learn more about REI Nation?

Chris Clothier: We have a very active blog at reination.com. We have a video series out there to help investors learn and all of it’s free. There’s nothing behind a paywall, you don’t pay anything for it, that kind of thing. I’m also extremely active on social media sites and even on sites like BiggerPockets. So I think I’m pretty accessible. You can come to reination.com, learn more about our company. You can always reach out to me. You can connect to us through social media or through BiggerPockets, and we’re happy to do what we can to help investors today navigate, get through this.

Joe Fairless: Thanks for talking about the macro-level picture, as well as getting the specifics of how you’re communicating with the owners of the properties, as well as the residents. Enjoyed our conversation, as always. I hope you have a best ever weekend and talk to you again soon, Chris.

Chris Clothier: Thanks, Joe. Take care.

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Chris Clothier Real Estate Background:

– Partner of Memphis Invest, one of the largest passive turnkey real estate companies
– Memphis Invest does over $100 million in annual revenue
– They purchase over 600 single-family properties yearly in Memphis, Dallas, and Houston
– He and his family manage over $400 million in asset value for investors from around the country
– Founder of nine different companies in two industries billing over $10 million in annual revenue
– Based in Memphis, Tennessee
– Say hi to him at http://www.memphisinvest.com/ or chris@memphisinvest.com

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real estate partnership advice


Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any fluff. I hope you’re having a Best Ever weekend.

Because it’s Saturday, we’re doing a special segment called Situation Saturday where our best ever guest talks about a sticky situation they were in and how they overcame it. How are you doing, Chris Clothier?

Chris Clothier: I’m doing phenomenal, man. How are you?

Joe Fairless: I am doing phenomenal as well, and nice to have you on the show again. Best Ever listeners, if you recognize Chris, that’s because he’s been on the show before. Originally, he was on episode 58, titled Turning Smiles Into Profits, where he talked about his customer service program and how they call every single client of their with this turnkey company every month, and get feedback.
From that interview, I implemented a question that you talked about, Chris. You talked about how you always talk to potential partners about the mistakes that they’ve made, and if they say they haven’t made any, then they either are being dishonest or they haven’t been in the game long enough. I actually ask that on my normal format ever since then, for the last 900 episodes, because of you.

Chris Clothier: Wow! Are you kidding me? 900 episodes – that’s cool! I’m glad I could contribute to that.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, and there have been so many good answers as a result of that. There are so many lessons learned just from you mentioning that one thing. I guess it was 900 days ago, I guess that’s how it works. [laughs] Ain’t that crazy? 900 days ago, whenever we talked.

Well, a little bit about Chris. He is the co-owner of Memphis Invest. It’s one of the largest passive turnkey real estate companies. Memphis Invest does over 100 million in annual revenue. They purchase over 600 single-family homes yearly in Memphis, Dallas and Houston. He’s based in Memphis, Tennessee. With that being said, Chris, do you want to give the Best Ever listeners just a little bit more about your background? And then let’s dive into the tough situation you’re in.

Chris Clothier: Yeah, absolutely. As you said so eloquently, I am a partner in Memphis Invest, and I am partners with my father and my younger brother. My older brother Kent, while maybe not being a partner in the company, obviously had a huge influence on us. He’s got his own real estate company out in California, but what’s important is that my family, all of us have been raised in this very entrepreneurial environment. Ever since we were kids — I started working when I was 11, and everything that we’ve ever done has been really customer service centric, no matter what the industry was, no matter what the particular company was that we started. Each of us has started our own companies, and always based on customer service, no matter what the product was.

For that quick little background, we’re managing, as you said, 4,000 properties for passive investors from around the country. We love real estate, probably more than anything, just being in business in general. We love having clients and vendors and team members and building things… I guess it’s in our blood, it’s in our nature, from doing it for so long to this point.

Joe Fairless: From managing 4,000 properties to buying a whole bunch of properties on an annual basis, to building companies, I know you’ve come across many sticky situations, so you’ve got lots of different stories to choose from. Which one do you wanna talk about?

Chris Clothier: Let’s talk about one that may hit closer to home for many of your listeners. It’s just about doing a deal yourself, and I’m gonna talk about bravery… Being brave enough to go out there and try and take on a challenge on your own, rather than feeling like you have to go with a partnership. It really boils down to… Early on, several deals that I had done went really well, and one went South really fast. But the point of it was that all of it I did with a partner, because I wasn’t brave enough to go on my own.

It’s interesting for me, because I look back on it… I had all the tools, I had everything that I needed, I just didn’t have the confidence and the bravery to go on my own, so I chose a partnership instead [unintelligible [00:06:15].15] but that’s a partnership that no longer exists and it’s a friendship that got hurt because of it, so I’d love to share that.

Joe Fairless: Yes, please do. You’ve piqued my curiosity.

Chris Clothier: Well, I was in Denver, Colorado recently at the Best Ever conference event out there in Denver. It gave me a chance to kind of go back to some of my old stomping grounds, where I got started as a real estate investor. It’s also the place I founded my first company, which was a grocery arbitrage company. I was very successful thanks to having some really good mentors and my family around me that helped me to build my first company successfully. And I was taking my earnings from that company and I began to invest in real estate.

The biggest challenge that I had was the fact that I should have been smart enough to look around me and say, “I’m a smart person, I’ve got good people around me, I’ve paid attention, I’ve got good mentors…” I built a business at the time that was very successful, but I still felt like I needed a partner in order to invest in real estate, the fix and flip kind of stuff. And rather than pick the best partner, I picked — let me just be clear… Great guy, phenomenal person. He was a good friend of mine, but the problem was that neither one of us had any experience in real estate, and the funny thing was we both were scared of losing, and rather than lose alone, we chose to lose together.

That’s what happens so often in partnerships… We made the decision to be partners for all the wrong reasons. Not because he had strengths and I had strengths, but because we both had a weakness, which was lack of faith, lack of bravery, lack of courage to go do it on our own. To be fair to him, he was already a long-term buy and hold landlord that was doing okay, but we were going to do some fix and flip homes.

In the end, we picked a couple of deals and we were doing well. We had no idea that we were spending twice as much as we needed to spend and taking twice as long to do it, but we were selling the houses and making money. And we mistook making money for success, if you know what I mean. We were not doing a good job of anything, we were just spending money.

Joe Fairless: Well, selling houses and making money – on the surface that certainly appears to be asuccess from a business standpoint.

Chris Clothier: I’m glad you said that, because you’re right. But that was our problem… Anybody that is successful over the long term knows that you have to track your progress, you have to know how many dollars you spend in relation to how many dollars you make. You have to know how everything correlates, all the cause and effect of what it is you’re doing.

For us, we were moving so fast… We both had other successful companies that we were making money in. Neither one of us were holding each other accountable to anything. One of the tips I always share [unintelligible [00:09:11].26] is “Inspect what you expect”, which neither of us were doing. We basically were just kind of relying on the other to be the smart one. Looking back, it’s really funny – we were making some money; we could’ve done much better, and what did us in eventually was a home that we chose that… This is how fickle real estate is. It was right there in Denver, and it was a matter of 200 yards – that was the difference between us making money and losing a lot of money. We lost over six figures on this deal, and it broke apart our partnership certainly.

We were just not really friends anymore because of it. There was a lot of animosity towards each other, because neither one of us were holding ourselves accountable, much less the other. The problem is that we purchased a home that was literally two blocks away from where it needed – both school district, taxing district… The way that homes were gonna be appraised and what would be used as comparable sales – it literally was the difference between a home being worth 500,000 and a home being worth 300,000. We owned the home in the four hundreds.

We held the house for a very long time. I continue to write checks for it, and write checks for it, and write checks for it. I tell people on the backside when it’s all said and done that I went into a partnership with someone that I was comfortable with, someone who told me all the right things that I needed to hear, like I was a good businessperson and I was smart, and I was obviously successful; I had money together, we would be able to fix and flip homes.

I did not partner up with someone who had the ability to run good forecasts of as far as what we’re spending, how to budget that money and how to model that money. I didn’t partner with someone who could pull comparable sales and could analyze that 200-yard difference, that two blocks that really sunk us. I didn’t partner with a person that had the right skill set for me, because my skill set was absolutely at my business, and I had money. I had the ability to stay organized and stay on point, but I didn’t know real estate.

My partner, unfortunately, didn’t have money, but also didn’t have the real estate skills that were needed, so he was managing a project that he didn’t know how to do. It ended up being a disaster, and I go back to the very first thing I said… When we’re choosing a partner and we’re choosing a partnership, I did it out of fear, and that is never a good reason to go into any type of  — whether it’s a real estate transaction or a business transaction, you should never enter one out of fear.
Like I said, we were fearful of losing money, so rather than losing money as individuals, we lost it together as a partnership.

Joe Fairless: Based on what you said, it sounds like you need someone who has the right skill set to complement you, or fill in the blank for whoever is the person who is looking for a partnership… But when do you know that you should have a partnership, versus going on your own and doing your own deal?

Chris Clothier: If your choice to go into a partnership is based on your own fear, whether it’s fear of unknowns, whether it’s fear of failure, whether it’s fear of taking on a really big project and being highly successful, which believe it or not, that’s a fear that a lot of people have. When they haven’t done a really big project – they’re perfectly capable of doing it, but the simple fact that they haven’t done it before is a fear that makes them bring on a partner instead.

So when you’re making a decision on whether to bring a partner in based on fear of what could happen, then you’re probably not ready to bring on a partner. It needs to be a partnership – and you nailed it perfectly, Joe… You need to take on a partner when you can look around the landscape and say, “I’m able to bring these particular skills to this project.” Maybe in my case I didn’t have the time or the experience to know how to do comparable sales, so I wasn’t sure how to comp a property properly at the time. I did not have enough experience negotiating with contractors to negotiate pricing. I had been basically a very passive investor up to that point.

If I was gonna partner, I needed to bring someone in that had the experience of negotiating with contractors, getting them hired, keeping them on track, because I knew all those things had to be done, I just hadn’t done them before. If I had just spent a little bit of time sitting down and thinking about it, I would have realized that even though I’d never done it, I negotiated with contractors daily. It was a different kind of contractor, but I’d been negotiating for years; I knew exactly how to negotiate a contract, I knew exactly how to negotiate work to be done… I could have easily contacted one of the top real estate agents in the area, because I knew the things to do, I just didn’t do them. I strictly chose a partner based on fear, rather than probably looking myself in the mirror and saying, “I know how to do this. I’ve been a successful businessperson, I’ve been in the local real estate investors association, I’m surrounded by smart mentors… I can do this.”

I chose to take the easy route, which was “I’ll get a partner instead and let him do these things. I’ll provide the money and make it on the backside.” And the worst part for us, Joe, was that we were successful for the first three or four deals we did. We made money.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, false sense of security.

Chris Clothier: Oh, yes… Absolutely.

Joe Fairless: One question I have… I’m a huge Tony Robbins student and he talks about how emotions like fear and being scared or being maybe depressed, they’re all action signals if we use them in an empowering way. I don’t remember what he said fear is and what that should lead us to, but I suspect it’s something like, “Get prepared.” If we’re fearful about something, then we need to either get educated or more prepared.

The question I have is along those lines… I have entered into partnerships with a good dose of fear, but then also it’s because I know some of the aspects that they’re good at that I’m not will help with the transaction, and it’s gone well. So I am fearful that “Hey, I really don’t wanna do this because I’m not gonna set up the project for success”, so how do you reconcile that with this approach?

Chris Clothier: You said something perfect right there… You are aware of your weaknesses. I’ve got a better way to put it – the things [unintelligible [00:15:49].26] on that particular deal, and it was that awareness that made you fearful to move forward without correcting that. What I’m talking about for me is I guess I had that same mentality, but I just didn’t recognize what I needed in a partner. Instead for me it strictly was “I like this person, I’m good at what I’ve been doing, he’s been good at what he’s doing… It will be fun to be in a partnership with this person. He and I can make some money together. We have done all this stuff together, so we can — whatever it might be… It might be playing softball on Thursday nights together, and we’re gonna meet for a happy hour…” Whatever.

These things that say “Hey, this is what makes us a good partnership, and he’s got time on his hands, he’s got some experience…” I was never asking the questions that you were asking right there – “Does this person bring to the table exactly what I need?” Forget anything else about it, and “Do they bring to the table the specific things that are gonna make me successful in this project?” Being fearful and not moving forward because you don’t have everything you need yet, that’s smart.

I love the way that you said Tony Robbins puts it, in the case of “Get educated, get yourself surrounded by the right pieces, don’t just stop.” But for me, I didn’t do that. I just chose a partner that I thought would be fun to hang out with and I can make some money with, and I thought if I do lose, we’ll both lose together so it’s no big deal, because we’re buddies.

Joe Fairless: Everyone loves losing over a hundred thousand dollars with a friend. You should experience that with all your best friends. I highly recommend it.

Based on listening to you and taking notes, I’ve condensed it into a five-step thought process, and I wanna run it by you to see if there’s anything else that you’d like to add. One is to know the skills that are needed to do what you wanna do. Two is to identify the skills that you bring, three is to identify the skills that are lacking, four is to know how you wanna structure it, and then the fifth would be when you approach someone saying, “Hey, I know skills are needed…” — and you don’t saying it exactly like this, but say, “I know the skills that are needed for this project X, Y, Z. I bring these skills, I think you can bring these other skills. I’d like to structure it as follows. What are your thoughts?” Is that the approach that you would take?

Chris Clothier: Yes. And I will add one asterisk for everybody to understand, and we’ll see if you agree with this. I was told by a very good mentor of mine that all partnerships end, and it’s the responsibility of those entering into the partnership to decide on the frontend how it will end. That includes — as he pointed out, he’s like “Look, at some point debt is chasing us all.” Man, I will not forget what you said up there on stage, that we’re all dying. I remember that when hearing you speak on stage, Joe, and that is true. So from the very beginning, set up how will this look, because it may look like one of you passes away at some point, and what happens next?

So he said, “If you will sit down and decide on the front end if this go good, if things go bad, should there be debt – whatever happens, this is how we’re gonna handle it”, then that partnership has the pieces it needs to get started up on the right foot. If you partner with people because you like hanging out with them, as I did, you very well may end up as I did, and that is no longer with a partnership, and possibly losing money.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, and I can tell you if you bring in investors in a partnership, they’re gonna ask the same question of “What happens if one or both of you die?” I’ve been asked that many times, and we have to make sure that it is written out in the agreement, because then we go, “Oh, good question. Let me show you point three sub. three, or whatever it is.

Chris Clothier: Yeah, “Let me show you exactly what will happen.” That’s good.

Joe Fairless: I love that. This has been great. It’s a very clear theme and story. Is there anything as it relates to identifying the right partners that you wanna mention that we haven’t talked about already?

Chris Clothier: I don’t know about exactly the things you need to look for, because everything is going to be different… But I love what you said earlier, I think clarity is really, really smart. When you recognize that you don’t need to move forward on something without having the right pieces in place – and that might be a partner – let that be a great starting point for you to start defining “What do I need?” I can’t say this is always gonna be the case, but I do believe that there’s no need to be in a hurry. There’s a need to get things done, and there’s a need to have timeframes, but there’s no need to be in a hurry.

When you know that you need to surround yourself with other pieces, get to defining it. Get to learning exactly what it is you need around you, and then go get it.

Joe Fairless: As far as partnerships go, we don’t necessarily have to have partners, we just need to identify the skills that are needed, and then perhaps we hire someone instead of bring on a partner, so maybe we hire a vendor to do that.

Chris Clothier: Well, like I said earlier, sometimes the skill is already in you, you just don’t know it. Maybe it’s just learning a different way to look at something, taking a different approach. Some of that happens when you surround yourself with mentors and you run your ideas past them and what it is you feel like you need to move forward on a project, and they’re able to educate you that you have these particular skills, you just need to hone in on it, you don’t know it yet. Or you don’t need to have a partnership to bring that skill, you’ve already got it. You need to bring it out of you.

Had I been told some of that back in the day, maybe I wouldn’t have moved forward on that partnership… Who knows? Maybe I still would have, because I would have had a different kind of fear, but hopefully you get the point there, that it’s all those steps: surround yourself with good people, know your strengths, know what you need, be clear, and see what happens.

Joe Fairless: Chris, where can the Best Ever listeners get in touch with you?

Chris Clothier: I am always at MemphisInvest.com. They can send me an e-mail, chris@memphisinvest.com, or they can go right there onto our website and take a look around. There’s tons of videos of me, I guess, and they can certainly register to get more information on our company. I’m more than happy to try and help people get educated.

Joe Fairless: I love this conversation. It is about when to find the right partner, or if to bring on a partner at all, and that is first know the skills that are needed for your venture, second, identify the skills you bring, third, identify the skills you need, and like you just said, make sure that you don’t have those skills and you just haven’t uncovered them yet. Lastly, look to structure it as follows for however you wanna structure it and, as you mentioned, having an idea of what the end looks like, because all partnerships end, we’re all gonna die, or it’s gonna go in opposite directions for whatever reason (who knows? life happens) so know how it will be dissolved when the time does come to be dissolved.

Thanks so much for being on the show, Chris. I hope you have a Best Ever weekend, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Chris Clothier: Talk to you soon, man.

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JF914: How to VISUALIZE Your Success Amidst Failure #SituationSaturday

Imagining your success is a pivotal part of your journey towards it. Our guest visualized what he wanted and manifested his dreams by taking massive action after having clarity and a vivid dream of who he wanted to be. If you are failing or if you feel that your efforts are not earning you what you want, it’s time to change how you see yourself and visualize your own success.

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Bryan Harris Real Estate Background:

– Owner with Homesfor10k and Real Estate Mentor
– Built several multi million dollar businesses from conception to 8 figures
– By age 27 owned and managed an 8 figure real estate portfolio including over 120 properties
– Mentored over 300 individuals on how to start a real estate investing business
– Based in Memphis, Tennessee
– Say hi to him http://www.homesfor10k.com 

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JF672: Why This Investor Won’t Touch Single Family Homes Now

Today’s guest is an accomplished real estate investor that purchases multi family properties including large multi family commercial zoned land. He shares his concern for having multiple exit strategies and why single-family resident purchases are not the best investments, hear his Best Ever advice!

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Rod Khleif Real Estate Background:

– Host of “The Lifetime Cash Flow Podcast”
– Participates in Tony Robbins seminars
– Started the Tiny Hands Foundation
– Based in Sarasota, Florida
– Say hi to him at: http://www.lifetimecashflowpodcast.com/

Listen to all episodes and get a FREE crash course on real estate investing at: http://www.joefairless.com

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JF580: How He Traded a BMW for a HOUSE, and Masters Memphis REI

He started young at age 25, and was told he couldn’t invest in real estate. Our guest ignored the noise and began with a Nice and easy single-family residence. Like a snowball rolling down the mountain he picked up Momentum and learning about Hardmoney, portfolio lending, and being a landlord and now owns a massive line of properties while still doing deals. He’s an advocate of online marketing, grassroots marketing, and adding value to others, you gotta turn up the volume!

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Bryan Harris real estate background:

  • Bought, sold and wholesaled 89 properties in 2015 and done over 500 properties in his career
  • Based in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Say hi to him at HomesFor10k.com, the source for low priced real estate in the south

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Listen to all episodes and get a FREE crash course on real estate investing at:http://www.joefairless.com

Are you committed to transforming your life through Real Estate this year? If so, then go to http://www.CoachWithTrevor.Com and claim your FREE Coaching Session.  Trevor is my personal real estate coach and I’ve been working with him for years. Spots are limited, so be sure to do it now before all the spots are gone.

Subscribe to Joe’s YouTube Channel here to learn multifamily and raising money tips:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwTzctSEMu4L0tKN2b_esfg

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JF454: What Your Bank Wants to See; Pay Off Debts for More CASH

Being a real estate investor is very challenging when starting out; nobody wants to lend. Our Best Ever guest shares his advice on making a relationship with his lender and paying of his debts. He has successfully owned and managed hundreds of properties using strategic leverage and continues to inspire and network with others that want to win. His eyes were opened when a class mate made a fortune at the age of 33. Hear his ruthless endeavors to own not just one rental property, but many.

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Douglas Skipworth’s Real Estate Background:

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You find the deals. We’ll fund them. Yes, it’s that simple. Fund That Flip is an online lender that provides fast and affordable capital to real estate investors. We make funding your projects easy so you can focus on what you do best…rehabilitating homes. Learn more at http://www.fundthatflip.com/bestever.

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JF344: Why the Rental Market and NOT the Property Determines Rent Prices

Today’s Best Ever guest/musician/football player/all around all-star, shares with us his real estate journey. We discuss why you should NEVER over-rehab, how to find private lenders, and how to overcome FEAR to achieve your dreams.

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Due your due diligence on what your rental market is.

Stephen Akindoma’s real estate background:

–           Based in Memphis, Tennessee

–           Acquisition Manager at Discount Property Warehouse and done 45 deals in the last year and a half

–           Have 5 investment properties in his personal portfolio

–           Musician who plays blues music and plays the piano and sings

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Patch of Land – Could you do more deals if you had more money? Let the crowdfunding platform, Patch of Land, find investors for you and fund your next deal…and your next deal…and your next deal…and…well, just go find out more at http://www.PatchOfLand.com

Josh Cantwell – Come and get your FREE guide to find deals. If you’re struggling finding deals, you can end all of your frustration and find these smokin’ hot deals in YOUR market! Go to http://www.55simpleways.com/joe to find out more

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JF197: 5 Ways to Stand Out from the Competition…and Price AIN’T One of Them!

It ain’t about price. It’s about these FIVE ways for you to stand out from your competition and add more value than anybody else. Learn these ways plus discover tips for becoming a successful negotiator.

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Don Hutson’s real estate background:

–        CEO of U.S. Learning based in Memphis, Tennessee

–        Author or co-author of twelve books including his latest Selling Value and his two Wall Stree Journal and NY Times International Best-Sellers “The One Minute Entrepreneur” and “The One Minute Negotiator

–        He is an expert on negotiations, entrepreneurship and selling value

–        Say hi to Don at http://www.donhutson.com/

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JF168: The Best Ever Bandit Sign Strategy

You putting up bandit signs? Then listen up because today’s Best Ever guest shares with you a bandit sign strategy that is incredibly effective. Plus, he talks about how to build your business from the CEO seat.

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JP Moses’s real estate background:

–        Real estate investor who is based in Memphis, Tennessee

–        Strictly a wholesale operation – only does wholesale deals

o   Done note buying, wholesaling, flipping, and property management

–        Done more than 250 deals and been a real estate investor for over 15 years

–        Started the REIA group in Memphis and now has over 600 members

–        Say hi to him at http://www.reitips.com

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JF149: Bringing Popcorn to the Tax Assessor Office…and Other Proven Tips to Building Lasting Relationships

Friends, we do much more for our friends than we would acquaintances or business colleague (gross, what a stale term). The more friends we have the more support we have and the more successful we’ll be. Today’s Best Ever guest shares ways she builds lasting relationships PLUS she gives you some ridiculously good negotiation advice.

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We widely underestimate the power of the tiniest personal touch.

Terri Murphy’s real estate background:

–        Over 30 years in the real estate business

–        She’s the CIO at U.S. Learning, a company provides virtual training programming, and is based in Memphis, Tennessee

–        She specialized for several years in REO markets and has experience in commercial development management

–        Author of 5 books, including contributing author with Donald Trump, “The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received.”

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JF58: Turning Smiles into Profits

Combine a long-term vision with best-in-class customer service and what do you get? A company that Inc. Magazine recognizes as one of the fastest growing in the United States. Today’s Best Ever guest shares with us how he helped turn his company from a transactional operator to an industry leader. You’ll hear about achievements, mistakes and everything in between in this candid conversation about building a company from the ground up.

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Chris Clothier’s real estate background:

–        Partner and co-owner of Memphis Invest, a turn-key real estate company (http://www.memphisinvest.com)

–        His company has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing private companies in the US for three straight years

–        Memphis Invest has over 2,600 properties under management

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JF 19: Mastering the Master Lease Option Strategy with a Master Lease Option Master

53 Master Lease Options in 4 years on multifamily properties. I think it’s safe to say that Bill has mastered the Master Lease Option strategy. Want to learn about it and how you can communicate it to sellers so they understand and agree to it?

Great, then listen to the show to hear his Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever!

Bill Walston’s real estate background:

  • Closed on 52 multifamily deals via a Master Lease Option strategy in the last 4 years
  • Former CPA and has a graduate degree in Tax Law 
  • Master Lease and Tax Strategist (http://www.billonbusiness.net/) based in Memphis, TN

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