Real Estate Nerds 45: Bad Beats

Recovering and Protecting Your Portfolio

Antonio T. Smith, Jr.

Keynote Speaker and Business Advisor

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On today’s episode of The Real Estate Nerds Podcast, we hear a Bad Beat from an investor and entrepreneur who rightly points out that success can sometimes reveal our problems. This was certainly the case for Antonio Smith, Jr., whose hustle and drive from growing up and experience of homelessness and his youth have undoubtedly helped mold him into the mentor, teacher, and multi-million dollar success he is today. But his first taste of success ended up unfolding into one of his all-time worst deals. Fortunately, Antonio isn’t one to get knocked out of the game easily. He’s bounced back and now has his sights set on leveraging real estate on the higher goal of philanthropy. Tune in to hear a truly remarkable story that does what our favorite episodes of The Real Estate Nerds do best: tells us as much about the person as the investment while giving us all some brain and soul food.

Antonio T. Smith, Jr.’s Incredible Personal Story and Incredibly Bad Set of Deals

Antonio went from rags to riches after rebounding from profound early life struggles–but his journey hasn’t been without bumps in the road. Little did he know, he’d lose big within his very first year in real estate–but that didn’t stop him from learning from his mistakes and winning in the long-run.

[1:00] Scott asks where Antonio’s head is at, as that informs all of our deals. Antonio tells us about his mindset: “My mindset is dominate. All day, every day…You want to become a monopoly as fast as possible.” He isn’t a monopoly in real estate, but he is in his type of coaching field. Antonio rose from homelessness as a youth aged out of foster care and is now a multi-millionaire.

[2:45] Antonio is from Galveston, TX. He had escaped poverty and immediately went into several deals when he got into real estate in 2008 after Hurricane Ike devastated the island. He purchased several homes in short order as his first rental properties.

[4:00] Hindsight is clear for Antonio: “Success will reveal your problems. My problem was overcompensation.” He had one renter walk out and that, and overcompensation, led to the loss of four of his houses. Scott asks how things went wrong so quickly. Antonio explains that he learned to invest before he learned to create systems that sustained a healthy business.

[5:45] Antonio trained under his mentor for two years, learning the real estate game before learning creative financing. He found a way to finance notes, picked his houses, then would get renters to fund the notes.

[7:50] Antonio bought his houses in 2009, when the housing market in Texas dramatically declined.  His renters were forced to downsize. The first time, he resolved the problem by moving into the house. But when another two renters left, he couldn’t account for that.

[10:17] Another problem Antonio had from the beginning was a lack of preparation: “I thought six months’ reserves was enough…I’m telling everyone: that is never enough.” He now aims for about ten times that.

Learning From This Bad Beat: Bulletproofing Your Assets and Building Your Legacy

Antonio and Scott reflect on some of the mistakes Antonio made in his story, as well as what has changed for him in the years since.

[11:50] In Antonio’s view, learning and having someone else pay for your debts are critical to investing. He also believes entrepreneurs should have a high tolerance for pain. His main issue was the individuals paying his bills stopped.

[13:00] Scott asks if his problem wasn’t a lack of knowledge so much as a lack of knowledge of what to do when things go poorly. Antonio agrees, pointing out there are a lot of other things he didn’t know about–taxes, what to do when he passed up his mentor, let alone what was the smart thing for him to do at the time.

[15:00] Scott wonders whether another mentor would have helped. Antonio thinks if he had gotten one, he would have known he had 180 days to prevent foreclosure and be less dependent on having tenants actively in the properties. He also would have advised himself that his investments weren’t protected as assets, and that he needed to diversify into small businesses of some kind to generate income. That way, if his investment income stream dried up, he’d have another form of income.

[17:45] Scott points out that many people spend their active income, and have trouble keeping their lifestyles down. He describes that critical piece of “bulletproofing your assets.” Today, Antonio has 16 income streams.

[20:30] Antonio didn’t have a technical deficit, he simply didn’t know what types of questions to ask. He believes a mentor would have been immensely helpful in keeping him in check in multiple ways. That would have included asking what he was going to do if all of his renters walked out on him.

[23:00] Antonio also admits he was chasing a lifestyle. Scott points out that’s what a lot of people sell, but that smart investors worry about what they want long-term.

[26:00] Antonio’s long-term goals have changed: “My goal is my legacy…to create more millionaires.” He has already done so with his core team of eight and has a new goal of 100 by a set date. He wants to create a lasting change in the world.

[28:00] The two investors discuss how initially, investing may be about having things. Those who succeed beyond a certain point will have wiser ambitions, usually involving giving back.

[31:30] Antonio shares another one of the goals that drives him:  “My passion in real estate now is to buy in low-income areas and fix them up, but not gentrification. I want to buy the hood then teach the people there to appreciate the hood.”

Take-Aways: Start Moving & Invest for Your Long-Term Goals

Scott and Antonio each share their favorite take-aways for listeners from Antonio’s story.

[32:45] Scott shares that his main takeaway is that slow growth isn’t necessarily “sexy,” but it’s sustainable and what gets investors to the higher levels of wisdom and contribution to the world. He also finds that Antonio’s story is a testament to the power mentors in maintaining this type of growth.

[31:30] Antonio knows what he wants to tell our listeners: “Move before you’re ready. I suffered from that, but I had a continuing education problem, not a moving problem.” He elaborates that “It is far easier to educate a doer than it is to activate a thinker.”

Connect with Antonio T. Smith, Jr.

Connect with Antonio T. Smith, Jr. on his Facebook page, to get plugged into everything he is doing with his coaching and investing.

Listener Resources

Thank you for joining us on today’s episode of the Real Estate Nerds Podcast.

For even more free educational resources on real estate investing and the law, check out the Royal Legal Solutions blog. You can also reach our host Scott Smith directly, connect with him on LinkedIn, subscribe to the Royal Legal Solutions YouTube channel, or join our investor community on Facebook.

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Hosted by Scott Smith, Lead Attorney and Founder of Royal Legal Solutions. Schedule your personal consultation now. If you have questions about our content or suggestions for future episodes or guests, reach our podcast team at [email protected].

About Antonio T. Smith, Jr.

Antonio T. Smith, Jr. is a prolific public speaker and celebrity business advisor, with clients on his roster such as Les Brown. Antonio has delivered over 2000 keynotes at events held by the likes of the University of Houston, University of Wisconsin, The United States Army, Wiley College, and more, which you can listen to on his top-ranked business podcast. Antonio is an internationally recognized trainer and speaker, and best-selling author in self-help and religious categories. He specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Business and Strength Training, Leadership, Teleconference Presentations, Personal Breakthroughs, Prosperity Consciousness, Mindset Training, and all levels of effective marketing, as well as scholarship in the Old Testament and Jewish Covenants, and he owns one of the most successful technology companies in Texas. He holds a Bachelor’s in Christianity and a Master’s in Theological Studies.

Antonio is a best-selling author and a popular podcast host, with a show that reaches 70 countries and 60 different languages. He has been coaching people around the world on personal transformation for the last 9 years and reaches over hundreds of thousands of listeners across the globe.

Before his current career, Antonio overcame abandonment, homelessness, and all-around brokenness. Antonio had to learn at age six how to use his mind to climb out of sleeping in a dumpster. He would spend his entire childhood homeless, was adopted when he was 14, and aged out of CPS custody at 18 years old. This Galveston, TX native has been through more in his 30+ years than most will ever experience. He has developed a “plant better” attitude, in which he teaches people to plant better seeds in order to have a better life, and has developed coaching tools, programs, courses and books designed to help the world succeed. Today he is a certified Les Brown Partner, a world-renowned public speaker, and leadership coach.