The Real Estate Investor’s Guide To Never Giving Up

The Real Estate Investor’s Guide To Never Giving Up

5 min read
Chris Clothier

Chris Clothier began building his rental portfolio in 2003 as a successful entrepreneur looking to diversify his investments. He quickly gravitated toward passive investing, establishing a portfolio of over 50 single family homes in Memphis, Tenn. As an original client of his family’s firm Memphis Invest (now REI Nation), Chris experienced firsthand what a passive investor endures when purchasing out of state. In 2007, Chris moved his company and family back to Tennessee, wound down his brokering company, and joined REI Nation as a partner and director of sales and marketing.

Since joining REI Nation, the business has grown into the premier turnkey investment company in the country and a standard bearer for best practices in the industry, managing over 6,000 investment properties for 2,000 passive clients. In addition to managing the development and implementation of sales and marketing processes, Chris serves as an ambassador for the company, working with the team to help potential investors define their purpose for investing in real estate and educating peer companies on best practices.

REI Nation clients’ portfolios hold a value of close to $800 million in single family assets in seven cities. The company has been featured as a six-straight year honoree in Inc. magazine’s list of the 500/5,000 “Fastest Growing Companies in America.”

In 2019, Chris’ team assisted 600 investors with purchasing just under 1,000 fully-renovated and occupied turnkey homes. Chris led the re-brand of his family’s company on January 1, 2020, from Memphis Invest to REI Nation.

Chris is also an experienced real estate speaker and addresses small and large audiences of real estate investors and business professionals nationwide several times each year, including IMN single family conferences, the PM Grow property management conference, and the Ignite conference in Las Vegas each December.

Chris continues to hold a sizable single-family rental portfolio in both Tennessee and Texas. Along with his family, he owns several commercial buildings in the greater Memphis area.

When not working with the team at REI Nation, Chris is busy raising five kids, operating a racing company in Memphis, and serving as CEO for The Cancer Kickers Soccer Club, a Memphis-based 501c3 providing comfort and care for kids battling childhood cancers.

Founded in 2017 by Chris and Michelle Clothier, the non-profit organization focuses on providing a team environment for kids to find encouragement and strength in their battle. The company worked with over 500 children from six countries in 2019.

Chris has been featured in stories published in Money Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and DN News, as well as the Memphis Business Journal. In 2018, McGraw-Hill Publishing purchased Chris’ manuscript, The Turnkey Revolution, and worked with Chris to publish his first book in May 2018.

Chris also publishes two weekly blogs at and Chris has also published articles on the BiggerPockets Blog since 2009.


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Failure is a loaded word.

Throughout school as young men and women, we’re taught that if you don’t make a certain grade, you have failed.  In the real world, however, failure has a different face.

In most cases, there are allowances for mistakes and setbacks, but none of these are necessarily failures.  You learn from each of these missteps and push yourself a little further toward your goal.

In the real world, failure does not have to be as permanent as a grade that follows you around and a judgement from others each time you try to push forward.

Failure does not have to be a label that follows you forever.  Just ask almost any successful real estate investor what failure has done for them and most will tell you  that failure can be a great teaching moment.

Failure can be a great learning lesson in real estate investing.  The reality of failure is that it does not have to define you in any endeavor…especially real estate!

As the saying goes, “failure only happens when we stop trying”!

Real estate investment is not an easy road.  Yes, there are dozens of cable network shows that chop up 30 minute segments of instant success full of drama and decision.

Do they show the real world?

Not one that I am intimately familiar with.  But they do tell a story that all real estate investors should remember.  When you take out the dramatic cuts and the obvious acting and pay attention to the messaging, most are gilled with a message that you push through mistakes (failure) and learn to work with and motivate your team (to avoid failure) and cut your losses early on problem houses (limiting your failure).

For most investors, their real estate investing projects do not start off with instant success and if they do, most are not followed by continued success – at least not success only!

We’re seeing now, as the number of foreclosed homes decreases and the market becomes less of an easy win for real estate investors, that many are starting to leave what was once a crowded field.

It’s getting “too hard” for some folks.  But this just leaves more room for serious and dedicated investors.  Real estate investors who have been seasoned by failures big and small and have learned the secrets to finding success.

Real Estate Investors: Redefine Failure

As a newbie real estate investor, you’re going to make mistakes.

You’ll probably lose deals, waste money and think at least a few times that you aren’t any good at this and should throw in the towel.  You will over pay…for everything.  You will over pay for the investment property.

You will overpay for the materials, the insurance, one or more of your contractors etc…  Remember, though, that there is a learning curve to investing in real estate – just as there is in any serious pursuit.

No amount of mentoring, hand-holding, program buying or life altering programs can eliminate the learning curve entirely.  As with anything in life worth doing, there is a process that you have to go through.

A growth pattern that every successful real estate investor has to go through regardless of active or passive investing.  Failure is part of that process.  For some it will be small failures and others it will be large failures, but they will exist in the path that every investor takes.

Related: 3 Reasons Why You MUST Fail At Real Estate Investing

Determination will take you a long way. Even in face of naysayers, believe that you can learn and you can do this.  Be your own best cheerleader.  You haven’t failed at investing until you give up on it.  If you never give up and can avoid making the same mistakes over and over, you will learn and grow.

Deals will come and go, and you can learn from every interaction until you’re a seasoned veteran with your investments.  See “failures” not as dead ends, but as opportunities for growth.

While there will always be other real estate investors who are more experienced, better connected and better funded than you are, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find success in your investments.

Surround Yourself with Positive Influences

If you can, make connections with people in your life that will be encouraging and offer sage advice.

They will not all act as mentors so do not expect them to.  But listen when they speak and ask questions that matter.  Do not waste time with how much they make or how great their last deal was.

Those things do not matter.

Ask how they did it.  How they found the deal and what steps they took to get it under contract and finalized.  Ask how they saved dollars on the renovation and any tips they have for saving a few dollars while still having great quality.  Ask how they rented or sold a property so quickly and if they held out for the highest price or believe in taking the best price as fast as possible.

Related: How Life Coaching has Helped Improve My Business and Life

You will glean little secrets to philosophy from the best in the business and those philosophies will be where the success is made.  Maybe it’s another investor who you have a rapport with, or a family member who believes in what you’re doing.

It could be an investor who always sits off to the side at investor meetings or possibly the one surrounded by everyone.  While you may find yourself in moments where no one seems to think you can do it, it’s always good to have someone who does.

I know from experience that most successful real estate investors want nothing more than for you to be successful too.  They operate with an open mind and openly share advice and tips.  They understand that there are no secrets nor are there any shortcuts.

There are, however, things you can do and things you can avoid that will make your life easier and your investments more successful.  It does not matter if you are actively looking to fix-n-flip a single-family house, buy a multi-family property or passively invest in long-term buy & holds.

Many investors have gone before you and the more you can listen and learn from those that are successful the better off you will be.  Most will share their mistakes (failures) and openly tell you that they have not been 100% right every time.  Those are the ones you listen to the most…

Let Others Pick You Up

Learn from other investors and allow friends and family to offer a pick-me-up when you’re feeling low about investing.

One of the best investment strategies is to surround yourself with a good network of support.  Having a good support team is sometimes as important as the working team.  Now, you can’t get all caught up with the niceties and pick-me-ups and forget that you have to learn when you are struggling.

Surrounding yourself with support will not replace learning.  Pick-me-ups are important, but if you find yourself needing a pick-me-up at every stage of a deal….and on every deal, then you may need some re-evaluation as well!

No one starts off with instant success. Be patient with yourself and with the process of real estate investing. Dedicate time and energy to learning the most you can and surround yourself with great influences.  Your best tool is going to be a closed mouth and open ears with a pad in front of you and pen in hand.  Take notes and learn!

If this sounds like a bunch of business book mumbo-jumbo, well, I read a lot of business books.  I am a firm believer in the basics that so many business books espouse and when I look back at my own business and investing experience, I know that the above tips were crucial in my own growth.

My family has built 10 businesses that have reached $10 million in annual sales and have placed hundreds of properties in our personal and combined portfolios.  We have also all had our share of failure and learning curve experiences.  I tell you there is a process to becoming successful, I speak as someone who has traveled the road.

Be open and honest and always aware of where you are as an investor, and you can over-come any failures, big and small.   How do you keep enthusiasm for investing when circumstances aren’t going your way?

Tell us your investment strategies in the comments section!

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