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BiggerPockets Podcast 523: Meet Max Maxwell: Broke at 30, Millionaire at 33 | ‘Takeover’ Ep w Nasar

BiggerPockets Podcast 523: Meet Max Maxwell: Broke at 30, Millionaire at 33 | ‘Takeover’ Ep w Nasar

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You wouldn’t know how far Max Maxwell has come at first glance. Looking at his Instagram, you’ll see private planes, a wealth of knowledge on real estate, and seriously shiny Rolexes. Not many people know that only a number of years ago, Max was broke, without enough money to fill up his car with gas, and sleeping at his mom’s house after ten years of failed businesses.

Max tried everything from running a property management company, to marketing, to managing a restaurant, and many other ventures. None of them truly stuck, causing Max to go from state to state, trying to find a successful business model that would make him wealthy.

Now, Max is well known as a master in wholesaling, rental property investing, and philanthropy. He has always made an effort to help those in need and even went to Ghana with today’s host, Nasar El Arabi. These North Carolinian investors have truly gone from rags to riches and have been able to find meaningful, lasting success through real estate investing.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Nasar:
What’s the name of this show again? This is the BiggerPockets Podcast, show 523.

Max:
I literally go driving in my old neighborhood that I grew up in and I find a house on the same street I grew up on. With my experience in the past of just knowing real estate, I knew who to find who the owner was, I didn’t know how to find their number. Using some people and some resources that I had, I ended up finding that person. That was the phone call that changed my life.

Speaker 3:
You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio, simplifying real estate for investors large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing without all the hype, you’re in the right place. Stay tuned and be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from biggerpockets.com, your home for real estate investing online.

Nasar:
My name is Nasar Elarabi and today is a takeover that breaks over. Isn’t that right, David Green?

David:
That’s absolutely right. You and I had a really good conversation on show 522, where we dug into exactly what skills you had to develop to leave your W2 and make your own full-time real estate investing business, that’s doing fantastic by the way. Since I got to go catch a plane and Brandon is still recovering from the beating I put on him in jujitsu, I’m going to turn the keys over to you for today’s episode.

Nasar:
Oh, man, this is going to be exciting. I appreciate it. Today, I’m going to sit down with my good friend Max Maxwell. I mean, this guy is a giver. You guys know him from YouTube, social media. He just knocks it out to park every time you get him on the mic. This is his first time on BiggerPockets. Speaking of planes, this man is a pilot. He has his own plane with his face on it. I recall when I was getting my BMW built and I had to pick it up in Spartenburg, South Carolina, because the one I wanted, they didn’t have enough in the country. Therefore, when I picked it up, my friend Max said, “Hey, you want me to take you on the plane?” Unfortunately, it was raining, so he couldn’t take me on the plane to go pick it up on the factory, but I definitely appreciate the gesture. This episode is going to be exciting.

David:
All right. Before I hand the reigns over completely, here is a tip for you. Today’s quick tip is simple. Check out BiggerPockets’ YouTube channel. This particular episode was shot in Max’s studio and it looks really great. You can check out all of the videos that we shoot here on the podcast at youtube.com/biggerpockets. That’s youtube.com/biggerpockets. We have all kinds of other videos for you on that channel. Now, I’m going to be making more content for BiggerPockets on their YouTube channel. We also take all these podcasts and we air them there. Hey, I like to see the people that I’m listening to when they’re talking. I just like to read facial expressions and I like to see what gets them juiced up, and when they’re just phoning it in, giving you that information that they know they’re supposed to say, but they don’t really believe in. if you are like me, definitely go check out YouTube and watch instead of just listen.

Nasar:
All right, now let’s get into it with my man Max Maxwell. All right, guys, thank you for tuning in to the BiggerPockets Podcast. My man, David Green just left me the keys to the plane, so that’s why I got these goggles on so that I could see when I’m in the air. Now, today I have a very special guest. The man was featured in Vogue magazine, GQ magazine. He’s a sports agent. Most importantly, he’s a real estate investor, serial entrepreneur. He’s also a pilot with his face on his plane. As somebody who’s traveled with this guy, let me tell you how much of a giver he is.
This guy, when we was in Ghana, in Africa, a city called Accra, one of the kids ran out to the car and they needed some money. He gave them a hundred Ghana dollars. I think it’s like 20 American dollars, $25, whatever the case made. The kid fell out and started doing snow angels. Now, if anything about Ghana, they haven’t seen snow since 1957, since they got their independence. I don’t know where this kid was able to do a snow… how did he know what a snow angel was? He just did the snow angel and then just disappeared. But that’s the type of guy he is, and he didn’t even have to record it for social media because he’s just natural giver like that, man. Without further ado, Max Maxwell, how are you doing, man?

Max:
I appreciate you having me, man. I’m doing well. Don’t say Vogue like I was featured as a model or something. I’m too fat for that.

Nasar:
First things first. Let me say this, man. It’s always a pleasure. It’s always a treat when two players meet. I appreciate that, man. It’s always a treat, man. This is going to be a good one.

Max:
I like it. I’m here for it.

Nasar:
Okay. You’re like a social media sensation. All this probably happened within the last four years.

Max:
Yeah.

Nasar:
Okay, but you were 30 and broke. You were actually 30 and living at your mom’s house.

Max:
Yeah, I was 30 and had to move. I was 30 and a half, and had to move by back to my mother’s house because I just had nothing. I had my last failed business just put me over the edge where I was paying rent on my credit card and it just got too exhausted. I just didn’t have it. I had to take that humble pie and ask mom to move back home.

Nasar:
Okay. If you guys listen, if you know anything about the great late philosopher, Christopher Wallace, AKA Biggie Smalls, he tells you, cardinal sin, you can’t be 30 and broke. You can’t go that route, but that was actually his life. In my neighborhood, when we were kids, especially in high school, that was a joke. “Man, you ain’t going to be… no, you going to be 30 and broke.” Crowd just falls down and laugh. Everybody just laughed.

Max:
I mean, that’s how it felt. I mean, even when it happened, you try to keep it a secret. Man, I was going through a lot, even some depression.

Nasar:
Absolutely.

Max:
Because you’re supposed to have life figured out at 30. At least that’s what you’ve heard.

Nasar:
That’s definitely what you think. I actually went into depression at 30 because I thought by 30… when I graduated from college at 24, I said by 30, I’m going to have the house, the car and the kids and everything, and I didn’t have none of that.

Max:
Me neither.

Nasar:
I was in a one bedroom. Anyway, just got fired the year before, but anyway, you were 30 and broke. But before we get to 30 and broke, take us back to you graduated from high school and go to the service. Because a lot of people don’t know you actually served this country.

Max:
Yeah, so barely graduated high school, I should say. I barely had a 2.0. I was an athlete in high school, but in our state they had implemented this 2.0 rule. If you didn’t have a 2.0 at a certain point in time during the season, you would get no extracurricular activities. From my sophomore year on, I never really played a full season because I didn’t have a 2.0. I barely graduated high school, knowing that college was not an option, and so what’s next? 911 had happened the year before and everything was going. I said I’m just going to go into the Air Force. I took the ASVAB test and I passed… or, it’s not pass or fail, but I had a high enough score to go in. I did that for a while.
I traveled a lot. My first base was in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I did some time in Istanbul, Turkey. Just those things shaped me because I didn’t get to go the traditional route that most people go, go to college, community college. But I think it really molded me, several things, and one of them was integrity, and that’s a big core value of the Air Force. I enjoyed it. I didn’t want to do it again, in the sense, I didn’t want to sign up and do another four years. I had to get out because I was just feeling that entrepreneur spirit when I was in there.

Nasar:
Okay. Here it is. You graduated from high school, you had to have a 2.0 in order to play sports. You could barely maintain that. Fortunately New Jersey didn’t have that rule, because I had a1.8. I was terrible. I would’ve never played sports. I was on the football team, rode the bench, but it’s not about me right now. You graduate high school and you leave the army. What happens next after you leave the service and the Air Force? Is that where you become became a pilot and you got your air license? [crosstalk 00:08:21].

Max:
No. Yeah, you got to be an officer to be in officer training to be a pilot. It’s a very few selected people that actually get to fly planes in the Air Force. No, I had nothing to do with planes. When I came out, I was trying to figure out what life was. Here I am almost 21 years old at this time, and it’s like my fresh start. I started a lawn care company with a friend. It was pretty successful, but it was another business that failed. I did a couple other things, and I decided to get my real estate license. I got my license in the time in North Carolina where you can go to pre-licensing school and then broker school back to back, and you can walk out of school and be a broker.

Nasar:
Ooh.

Max:
You can become a BIC and open up your own office.

Nasar:
Office.

Max:
Yeah. Now, they don’t do that.

Nasar:
[crosstalk 00:09:09] Yeah. For those who don’t understand that language, he’s basically saying at one point in the state, that he could become a broker, which he can essentially have his own office fresh out of school, no experience or anything. But okay, go ahead.

Max:
I wouldn’t recommend that, but I did one year at Allen Tate where you do the traditional real estate stuff an agent right? You’re riding people around, going out trying to find house listings, and it just got tiring. Every weekend, you’re driving somebody around. Come to find out, they ain’t even qualified to buy a house. They just wanted to do some… it was probably Nas, if I think about it. It was probably Nas and his girlfriends-

Nasar:
Yeah, true.

Max:
… riding around on the weekend, but it just wasn’t fulfilling to me. Then, so I left Allen Tate and then I started my own company, Infinity Property Management & Investment. Then I lucked up, my friend was a mortgage broker at that time%, and I found a guy that had a large portfolio of rental properties, commercial, single family, multifamily. He gave me the whole portfolio to manage. Keep in mind, I had no idea, but it’s the power of yes. I was literally sitting in the broker’s office. He’s got a friend in California. He says he needs to look for a new property manager company because he didn’t the one he was with.
He sent over the Excel sheet and he was like, “Hey don’t you have a property management company?” I was like, “Yeah.” It was probably two days old. I said, “Yeah, I can manage that. Sure. I do. 8%, 7%,” and I think we settled about 7% because the portfolio was about $30 million, and I had no idea. Here I am, I’m having to read books, go… at that time, you’re going to Barnes & Nobles to get physical books to see, how do you do it? But I did it. I managed it fairly well, but at that point is where I started to learn the other side of real estate, other than just buying and selling people’s… being a broker.

Nasar:
Okay. What happens next after that? Do you do another business? Do you stay with that business?

Max:
2008 happened.

Nasar:
Ooh. Okay.

Max:
Right. For me, at that point in time, I did some other things in between because the income, you’re managing a lot of properties and you got to hire some people. I was doing some other things in the meantime, and then 2008 happened. Before 2008 happened, this guy was selling his portfolio at a rapid speed. Prior to that, he would be buying portfolios. He would hit me up and say, “Hey, look, I have $100,000. Can you go find me this, and I want it to perform at X.” I would go out and find it, hire the crews, get it fixed, and I would make money on the little bit of rehab that was there. Not that I knew what I was doing.
Then before 2008, he started to sell, and it’s like he had one of those magic eight balls, the ones you shake. I think he had one of those, and he started selling. He sold probably 75% of the portfolio before it collapsed. Then for me, being so young and not knowing really anything about real estate at that point, I knew nothing, and then I’m thinking the world’s falling apart, when 2008, 2009 happened. I leave. I go to California, not knowing what I’m going to do and just drove out there and stayed with a cousin for a while. I was doing so many different things. I probably… but when I got to California, I probably had two other failed businesses.

Nasar:
Now, what city in California?

Max:
Los Angeles, Hermosa Beach.

Nasar:
Yeah, L.A.

Max:
Yeah.

Nasar:
Okay. Now, when you went to LA and you had to figure it out, did you get into the adult entertainment industry? Did you freak?

Max:
That’s in the Valley. I wasn’t… I’m not like… I can’t get in there.

Nasar:
Okay. All right. No, I want to make sure. Okay. All right. California happens. All right, and take me from California to what happens next in California?

Max:
First of all, I drive to California in a Jeep that was…

Nasar:
Wait, from North Carolina.

Max:
Yeah, nonstop. I stopped at a rest stop to take a 45 minute… because I was so determined to keep going. There was a repo order out of my Jeep. I figured they wouldn’t find me in California.

Nasar:
Absolutely. Good thinking.

Max:
I went to California. All right?

Nasar:
All right.

Max:
I went to California, then I got a job in the marketing world and just did some things. Then I was on the road for two years, living back in California, but doing marketing on the road, and that collapsed. Literally, the company had to be sold to somebody. Then I decided, what am I going to do now? Then I move up to Maine. From California to Maine. Keep in mind, I’ve never been to Maine before. Moved to Maine and I got into a position where here you are as a hustler, I’m able to take over somebody’s restaurant, just with sweat equity.

Nasar:
Okay.

Max:
Ran the restaurant well, has a nightclub on the weekends. Made good money. The building goes up for auction.

Nasar:
Oh, man.

Max:
These things are happening, but every time I’m having failure, I’m learning things. I’m learning payroll, I’m learning bookkeeping. Every failed business, I get a lesson from it.

Nasar:
Okay. Yeah, your life sounds like it sucked pretty bad.

Max:
Yeah. It was sucking. It was sucking, but I was still going.

Nasar:
You still kept going. Kept faith, man. Yeah. You had the mustard seed of faith. You kept going. Most people would’ve given it up, but you didn’t, and that’s why you became the sensation, Max Maxwell, man. All right, from Maine, that’s how you ended back in North Carolina?

Max:
Yeah, so from Maine… no, actually, bounced to Orlando, Florida after that.

Nasar:
Okay, Orlando, Florida.

Max:
Yeah. Then I tried to get into… they had this “yes on two” campaign where they were trying to legalize, I think medical marijuana in Florida. I had this bright idea that, hey, there’s going to be all of these shops opening. Who’s going to do the education? Keep in mind, I know nothing about this field at all. I start to study. I go to Colorado, I go get mentorship to finesse it. I can be the teaching body of getting people certified to get to work in this industry. Then the bill didn’t pass. Wasted all that time down there, and resources. Then from there, I’m in Chicago, and then I get back into marketing. Now, I’m in experiential marketing where we’re literally going from county fairs to this, to that, and we’re working with big brands to facilitate some of their stuff. Then I get this air idea that I can solve a problem in this industry that I see, and then I’m moving back to North Carolina.

Nasar:
That’s when you moved back home?

Max:
No when I moved home, I moved into an apartment because I had some money. From there, I ran that company called FASPA, which went belly up. Ran out of money. That’s when I really, really was down, because at this point, from 21 to 30, you’re failing, you’re failing, you’re failing. Then at what point, and then you hit that magic number of 30 and you’re like, what I got to do now? I just got to go get a job, go work at the post office, go do something where I can use my federal background to try to get a job. It’s just demoralizing when you’re at 30 and you ain’t figured it out yet.

Nasar:
Okay. You’re 30, you’re at your mom’s house, mom let’s you get in. Now, tell me about this time.

Max:
You’ve got to remember, I left home at 17. I’m back home at 30. Now, when I get home, my mom probably think I’m still 17. I’ve been gone for X amount of years, so it was an… It was comfortable. She was welcoming, but as a man, it felt uncomfortable.

Nasar:
Absolutely. Now, tell me about you finding out the thing that got you out of your mom’s house, and what was that thing?

Max:
Yeah. At this point, I go back to my memory and I’m like, the only thing I had success in that was sustainable, was real estate. I’m like, let me see if I can get back into real estate. I pondered getting my license again to get back as an agent. Then I run across a friend, that his dad was always successful, and we never knew why. His dad mentioned all these things and these apartments, and buildings he had. I was just intrigued, and here I am sparking my real estate interest again, and he mentioned creative financing and wholesaling.
I just put that word wholesaling in my phone and I went home, and I just went deep. I went into every YouTube video, every podcast you could find. Here you are… this is 2015, ’16 now. There’s not that much content out about… it’s only been a recent explosion about how to get into real estate. Now, there’s always these infomercial guys and all that stuff, that we all probably seen that just thought was crazy.

Nasar:
Correct.

Max:
Then I started running across the Sean Terry’s and these other guys-

Nasar:
And me.

Max:
… and you-

Nasar:
[inaudible 00:17:30]-

Max:
… eventually.

Nasar:
Oh, we’re going to talk about it.

Max:
No, we’ll talk about that.

Nasar:
Okay.

Max:
Yeah. I run across some guys and I just start… Now, I’m literally in my room like I’m in prison. I’m doing 23 in one.

Nasar:
Yeah, absolutely.

Max:
23 hours in my room. I’m only coming out to eat because my mom’s forcing me and I’m literally getting consumed with this. At this point, I have a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta, had a bad starter. I didn’t have no money. I go to the gas station not too far down the house, and I’ve had my broke, spell, so know how to overdraft correctly. That’s an art when you overdraft your bank account. I overdraft. When you go to a gas pump, it authorizes for a dollar. Well, I had probably $4, and I filled that tank up. At that point, $40 to fill up your tank or whatever it was, and then the $35 fee.

Nasar:
Absolutely.

Max:
That’s about an $80 gas tank right there, on a Volkswagen Jetta.

Nasar:
Yeah, man.

Max:
This is all I got.

Nasar:
That’s all you got.

Max:
I don’t want to ask my mom for money. She’s working hard herself and I’m like, you know what? I got to make this work. I literally go driving in my old neighborhood that I grew up in, and I find a house on the same street I grew up on. With my experience in the past of just knowing real estate, I knew who to find who the owner was. I didn’t know how to find their number. Using some people and some resources that I had, I ended up finding that person and that was the phone call that changed my life.

Nasar:
Okay. Essentially you did a technique, what is called driving for dollars. You went driving for dollars. You found somebody that was interested.

Max:
I found a house.

Nasar:
You found a house.

Max:
I didn’t even find a person. I found a house that had tall grass, unkept bushes on a corner lot on a neighborhood that was pretty decent. It stuck out to me, but if I didn’t watch these videos the weeks prior, I wouldn’t known that was an opportunity. Driving past that any other time would’ve been an eye sore. It would’ve been something I would ignore. When I drove past it this time, all I seen was dollar signs falling off the roof. I knew that, okay, this is what they’ve been talking about in these podcasts, this is what they’ve been talking about in these videos. I need to take action. All day, I’m trying to figure out how do I get ahold of this person? I got ahold of that person.

Nasar:
Okay. Fast forward today, when we are looking for phone numbers for these type of properties, that’s called skip tracing.

Max:
Correct.

Nasar:
Skip tracing probably wasn’t the word being used back then.

Max:
Well, for me it was, and I’m going to tell you why. Here goes another one of my failed businesses. I was still a licensed bail bondsman. The word “skip tracing” comes from when a person misses court, they are a skip. When a person gets arrested, they get a bond. They get bailed out by a bondsman. The bondsman is responsible for them showing back up to court. When they don’t go to court, it’s called a skip. They’ve skip court, and so you got to trace the skip. Using some friends in the industry, I was able to get the information. I wasn’t an active bounty hunter at that time. With that, I started to use that technology.
Even to this day, I mean, I created a company in 2018 called REI Skip where that is where it was the basis of me really understanding how to get ahold of people. Because the number one thing you got to do in this business is identify an opportunity and talk to people.

Nasar:
Absolutely. Okay. Tell me about what happens with the rest of this house. You find the house, you, you call them up, you talk. What’s next?

Max:
She sounds hesitant, but says she’s actually interested in selling. She says she’s going to call me back few days, after I tell her, hey, I’m interested. I can buy somewhere around this price. She calls me back in two hours-

Nasar:
Wow.

Max:
… and says, “Your price of $30, how about $35,” or something like that? I can’t remember the exact numbers. At this point I’m like, “Okay.” I do that. I remember driving towards Charlotte to Salisbury, meeting her at the Waffle House. I created this contract by just piecing other contracts I see online, misspellings. I’m dyslexic anyway, so spelling is not my strong suite. A one page contract, I run to Waffle House of all places and I get the contract signed, and I’m so excited. I go back home, I grab my mom’s lawnmower, and I’m like, I need to start cutting this grass because I got to take a picture of this thing. From there, it just turned into, I took a picture. I had no buyers, obviously, none at all.
I posted it on a Facebook Marketplace, and within hours, people were driving by, and I get a phone call from a lady that says her and her husband just finished a flip, and they’re interested, but he’s out of town. They came the following weekend. They loved it. We signed the contract, and here I am. I’m like, wow. I’m holding two pieces of paper, that it’s not money, but it’s like, this thing is now worth $14,000, and I didn’t put a dollar down. If you have ever have negative money in your bank account… first of all, I never had a $14,000 check in my entire life, up to that point at one time. Here I am. I’m looking, I potentially can make $14,000, and my next thing is I got to find an attorney.

Nasar:
Okay. You find the attorney.

Max:
Yep. My friend happened to be an attorney that… but he was a criminal attorney, he referred me to a friend, and in a couple weeks we closed a deal, and it was just like, I’m sitting here holding a $14,000 check. Now, keep in mind, I wrote an LLC name on there. I didn’t even have an LLC yet.

Nasar:
Wow.

Max:
Now, I got to borrow money to create the LLC, to then go open up a bank account, then to deposit the check in there where they put a 14 day hold on. That’s the story of my first deal, and I never looked back since.

Nasar:
Yeah. It’s just been taking off since. How long did it take you from being at your mom’s house and getting the work to close on that first deal?

Max:
When I learned about wholesaling, it took me three weeks.

Nasar:
To close the first deal?

Max:
Yeah.

Nasar:
Three weeks?

Max:
Well, it took me three weeks to get my first contract, and then it took me… so about five weeks to get my first deal locked up-

Nasar:
Wow.

Max:
… and closed.

Nasar:
You just excelled. It took me eight months, and when I tried to explain to people that everybody’s journey is different. Your story’s going to be different from mine. My story’s going to be different from yours. You shouldn’t give up if it doesn’t happen in the first five weeks, maybe if it doesn’t happen in the first eight months, you should just continue doing it until you get it done. Because sometimes it’s not about being smartest, about who’s willing to stand the test of time.

Max:
You got to work hard.

Nasar:
You got to work hard though. You definitely got to work hard. It’s not going to come easy, and this business is actually life changing. Okay, so you do your first deal. Now, fast forward, how does your business look today?

Max:
We have a total of about 17 employees on the real estate side. Five of them are overseas. They work remote, and the rest are in my office. I have an 8,000 square foot office.

Nasar:
Located where?

Max:
In the High Rise building in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Nasar:
Yeah. Winston Salem, Home of Chris Paul.

Max:
I would say it’s the home of Max Maxwell.

Nasar:
We’ll say the home of Max Maxwell instead of Paul.

Max:
Well, Chris is my friends, so I’ll co-share it.

Nasar:
Yeah. Chris Paul and Max Maxwell, home of them. All right, and the 8,000 square foot office. Now, how are you marketing for these deals?

Max:
I mean, so we use all types of marketing. Out of necessity, and I think I should probably back up because out of being so excited, about my first deal, I started to document my journey on YouTube.

Nasar:
Correct.

Max:
Over the time and time, I start to get this massive following of people who are like, “Oh, my god, this is crazy.” I’m having problems in my business, and as solution-based oriented, as I’m starting to create products to fix my… well, I’m starting to create solutions that then turned into products. I created a company called REIRail with some friends where we do text messaging, skip tracing RVMs and the whole CRM. We do this in a way where we did it internally for ourselves, and it worked, so we spent so much money building this product for ourselves, that we started to share it with other people.
That’s what we use mainly for marketing, but when it comes to marketing, we’re texting, we’re cold calling, we’re sending letters. I break marketing down into two parts, and it’s going to be inbound and outbound. Outbound is an effort that you use to get to be able to reach people. That’s cold calling, texting. RVM has fallen off the map because of TCPA compliancy, but those are called outbound. What I call inbound is your PPC ads, which is your Google pay-per-click is what it means, your Facebook posts that you share. bandit signs, billboards. We have a mobile billboard truck that runs around the city. Those are our inbound campaigns. We do a facet of all types of marketing.

Nasar:
Okay, but you use a service called REIRail.

Max:
Yeah. That’s our main hub.

Nasar:
That’s your main hub.

Max:
That’s where all of our marketing lives. I use a system called The Conveyor Belt, and I created it probably two and a half years ago, probably three years now. We start to market to the people… What you have to understand about marketing is that people want to be spoken to on the platform that they want to be spoken to. If you call me from an unknown number, the likely chances of me answering the phone is very slim, unless I’m waiting on somebody unknown to call me.

Nasar:
Yes.

Max:
If you send me mail, I’m probably not going to check my mailbox. My mailbox is probably stuffed full right now. If you text me, there is an… I may… that’s where you’re probably going to get me. You have to be able to do these things, to meet people where they are, and that’s in any business. That’s just in business in general. When you’re dealing with people who have problems that we’ve identified, whether they just inherited a property that’s behind on taxes, there’s a landlord with 13 properties and 50% of his portfolio is not performing.
When you identify these people, you need to be able to market to them in a way. You’re not going to market to a 30 year old just inherited their grandma’s house that lives in Denver, the same way you market to a 65 year old man that has seven properties. You need to be able to do what I call a conveyor belt. I start with the cheapest method of contacting people, which is usually through texts. Then if that doesn’t work, then I move through a cold call and then mail, and then it just moves down the line. These people get dropped in their perspective buckets, whether they get contacted or not. The Lead Conveyor Belt is what I call it, but we run all that through REIRail.

Nasar:
Okay, that sounds good, man. For those who are listening and watching it, who’ve never done a deal, so let me break down what he’s saying, if you going to Macy’s or if you’re going to the Ralph Lauren polo store, and I’m going to use the Ralph Lauren polo store for this example, they do a 50% off sale every year before Black Friday.

Max:
You would know that.

Nasar:
I would know that because I’m extremely cheap. All right? The day before… it’s like the day before Thanksgiving, they do 50% off. How do they get that in front of people? Well, they mail them a postcard, letting them know, “Hey, on this day, everything in the store, 50%.” The day of, I get a text message. I ignore the mail, but when I get the text message, oh, 50%, let me stop what I’m doing and get this stuff on sale, so I can get this… so I can be really cheap, but I look expensive. You know what I’m talking about?

Max:
He’s famous for that.

Nasar:
Yes. That’s what I do. Anyway, the mail piece didn’t work for me, but the text message did. For someone else, the mail piece may have worked and the text message didn’t.

Max:
She’s the lady that shows up to the store with the mail piece folded in half, with the coupon clipped out, and she gets to the register and she pulls that out.

Nasar:
There you go.

Max:
That’s the person you mail.

Nasar:
That’s the person you mail. What he does to get deals, he hits people different ways to see what they will react to, and that’s extremely important that you guys do that as well and adapt that. Obviously, you became a successful real estate investor. You were in South Africa getting your plane built.

Max:
Yeah.

Nasar:
Okay. You were in South Africa and you’re getting your plane built, and rumor has it that they warned you, “Hey, look, you can’t wear your Rolexes there.” By the way, guys, he has eight Rolex’s, but…

Max:
They’re investments though.

Nasar:
He has eight Rolexes. Yeah, he justifies it. That’s how rich people go, “They’re investments.” Anyway, he has eight Rolexes, but he only has two hands. What he does, he puts two in his ankle, but we’re not going to go there. But when he was in South Africa, they said, “Hey, there was a string of robberies, and people are getting things taken from them.”

Max:
They had a Rolex gang.

Nasar:
A Rolex gang that take Rolex. What does Max Maxwell does? He wears his Rolex, no security. That’s who Max Maxwell is. He just does what he wants to do. Obviously, you stay over there and you get your plane built. Tell me about that experience of you getting your plane built. I seen it on social media.

Max:
In 2015, I started my journey to become a pilot as my life got flipped upside down. I didn’t have the money, and then I picked up in 2018. I got my license in 2019. I knew I wanted to buy a plane. I didn’t want to buy a legacy plane, and then I just… I’ve been doing well. I went out and I bought a plane. It was built in South Africa, me and my team, about five of us, we traveled to South Africa for about a month in a part of the journey. They put the plane in a bigger plane. They broke it down and then brought it back to America. I’ve been flying that plane for about a year now. I’ve got another plane that we’ve ordered. It’s a bigger plane that holds six people, but it takes about two years for this plane to get to air, about 18 months.

Nasar:
Okay. Let’s talk about the obvious. You’re African-American right?

Max:
Jamaican descent. Yeah.

Nasar:
Jamaican descent. First in your generation American, and your family.

Max:
Correct. Both my parents are Jamaican. Yeah.

Nasar:
What inspired you to get into flying planes? With me, when I wake up like I woke up today, I said, I’m going to get fly, and I put this dope outfit on, but when you, you like, “Yo, I’m a fly.” You really got a plane.

Max:
Yeah. I’ve always been the explorer type person. I’ve always done the things you’re not supposed to do. I was working with Lieutenant Colonel John Klatt who flies a stunt plane for the Air National Guard. He took me up one day and I just fell in love with it, and I asked him, “Why don’t I have my license?” He says, “I don’t know. Why don’t you?” He says, “Go home and go get it done.” I went home and I started to get my license done, and then from there I just fell in love with it. For me, flying a plane is this peaceful journey. It’s this thing you can do, and you can fly as high or as low… not as low as you want to, but you’re just up there.
A lot of people just don’t think it’s possible. It’s a very affordable hobby. You can get your license for probably eight grand over the course of however long it takes you. You can take six months, a year, whatever you want to do. My first, first plane I bought was only $27,000. It was a Cessna 172 and you can finance it over 15 years. I’ve never financed anything, but you can finance it over 15 years, but my next plane, I wanted to be nice, so I got a real, real nice smart plane. That’s what we had built in South Africa. It was fun. It was an eye opening experience to experience South Africa that way. It’s definitely on one of my top places to visit as far as certain places in South Africa.

Nasar:
The adventures of Max Maxwell. You have a plane now. You’re also a sports agent and that’s why you got featured in Vogue and GQ. You have a… and correct me if I’m wrong, bull riders or cowboys is what they call them?

Max:
Yeah, they’re cowboys-

Nasar:
Okay, they’re cowboys, yeah.

Max:
… but they’re professional bull riders.

Nasar:
Professional bull riders, and they ride for you?

Max:
Yeah. Well, I’m their agent.

Nasar:
Well, you’re their agent. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Yeah, [crosstalk 00:33:46].

Max:
Yeah. They ride on CBS sports typically on Sundays, the weekends. It’s a cool sport, something… I own a ranch. I have some horses. I’m into Western sports. Yeah. We’re more than Nike’s. I do have cowboy boots and stuff like that a lot, but it’s just something different. Real estate… and I think this is where it goes. Real estate has afforded me the opportunity to do whatever I want.

Nasar:
That’s where I was going with this. I was going with, you can start as an investor and you can go wherever you want to go. For me, since I was 19 years old, it was my dream to become a full-time real estate investor. That was my dream. That’s all I wanted to do. I’m living my dream, but for him, it was, “Hey, this is going to solve my problem I have now, and take me to where I want to go. There’s no right or wrong way, as long as you’re happy and you’re doing the things that you want to do. That’s the one thing I know about you personally, you do what you want to do.

Max:
Yeah. Nas, what’s crazy about real estate is that you truly can get in this real estate investing arena with having nothing but a good brain.

Nasar:
That’s it.

Max:
I mean, because even though most people look at wholesaling as not the most glamorous way of entering real estate, I personally think it’s where everybody should enter the real estate game, no matter how much money you have. The reason why I say that is because the number one thing about real estate across all aspects of investing, from single-family to high rise buildings, is that you got to learn how to identify a deal. You can’t build a high rise building on a piece of dirt that costs too much.

Nasar:
Correct.

Max:
You can’t buy a single family property that does not cash flow. As a wholesaler, you fine tune on how to find properties and identify deals. One thing that I tell people all the time, when they say, “I don’t have no money, I want to start,” I say, “That’s great.” I said, “Listen, a good deal never searches for money. Money searches for good deals.” If that’s true across all real estate investing, you don’t need money to get in. You need the key part to real estate investing is figuring out how to identify a good deal. If you can find those, you can start like I started five years ago, wholesaling. I own a decent amount of rental properties, thanks to you. I was wholesaling my life away and I visited Nas in Charlotte one day, and he’s taken me to… was it a triplex?

Nasar:
Triplex.

Max:
He took me to a triplex. He was like, yeah, he was kicking the tenant out and remodeling before the next tenant goes in the place. I was like, “You own this?” He’s like, “Yeah, I own this one. When I leave here, I got to go to this other one. Then I got my new building that’s about to be done.” That inspired me. That was a few years ago.

Nasar:
Yes.

Max:
I went home and I said, you know what? I had a goal. Anybody that starts out in wholesaling, you should have a goal. I think that’s where, if I had to start over, I would do it again because you’re going to get a lot of money. But my goal was, for every three wholesale deals, I’m going to buy a rental property. It started out one in seven, every seven wholesale deals, I’m going to buy a property. Now I do one in one. The thing is, is that… and here’s my thing. I know there’s so many different strategies when it comes to buying real estate. I don’t have a single loan on any property that I own. People say, “Well, you can grow so much faster if you use leverage,” and I agree.
That is correct, but owning a property out free and clear, and receiving every single penny of that cash flow is something amazing. When the time is right, if we ever do have a 2008 or 2009 again, I can go to some trusted lenders and say, “Look at my free and clear portfolio. Lend me some money. Give me 50% of the value of my portfolio, and I’m going to go out there…” because I learned how to identify a deal five years ago, I’m going to go out there and scrape up so much property, it’s not going to make any sense. I am at the point now where I’ve created a brand, we did well with wholesaling, we do it well with all our real estate verticals, that I’m just going to deploy as much cash as I possibly can.
My idea is to be as broke as possible throughout the year. There’s no way that I can… for example, I bought that house for $15 grand. I don’t know if you’ve seen it on Instagram. I bought it for $15,000. I’m doing $50 grand in work, and it’s going to be worth close to $200,000. If you do that with all cash… and so that’s called identifying a deal. I’m not going to wholesale that. Now, before you and I started hanging out a lot, I would have wholesaled that deal. I would have took a $40,000, $50,000 wholesale. No. Now I keep those, I fix them up, and I rent them out.

Nasar:
All right, kids, most important lesson is Nas inspired him, so Nas can do the same for you, you just got to listen to me. But yeah, back to what he was saying, he knows how to identify a deal. He made a goal for himself. No matter what level you at, you want to make a goal for yourself, you want to be serious about it. You just don’t want to make the goal, hang it up, and then go watch TV. You don’t want to do that. You have to turn off TV and turn on your life-

Max:
That’s the bar.

Nasar:
… which is extremely important. Yeah, man, you just have to do those things and you take it serious, man. If you take this business serious and you take care of business, business will take care of you. Just keep that in mind, man. Here it is. We’re shooting a YouTube video on his channel. At one of my triplex I inspired him and he just exploded because he made a goal for himself and just when after it, but you can, too, which is the most important message I want you to get out of this. You have these properties, you built out this large real estate portfolio. What does the future look like for a Max Maxwell?

Max:
Recently, I bought a business that had some… it was a butcher shop. My first thing was to go in there and renovate the building, and put back a butcher shop in there, and now we’re tearing down the whole thing and we’re building three commercial units on that building, no loans. Then you and I have been learning development over the last almost two years now.

Nasar:
Yes.

Max:
One of the projects I’m working on in my hometown is a low income housing apartment complex. I’m working with the city to get that under control, and I’m just learning. One thing I feel like a lot of investors do is they stay in their comfort space. It’s one thing, too, that when you’re at level 10… Let’s just say I reached level 10 tenant wholesaling, it’s uncomfortable to jump into another arena in real estate and be at level one, but I took that as a challenge. Level one from level 10, then to level one and something else. I enjoy that, and that’s why you and I are in that mastermind, learning about development. That’s our next thing. We want to put together cities. We want to put together a whole downtown and be a part of the master plan of a city. That’s what, for me, the future of real estate is.

Nasar:
I like that, man. I definitely like that. Me and him, we were in Ghana. We wanted to do some affordable housing in the city of Accra in Ghana. We were talking with some people, we’re waiting for some opportunities to open up to maybe potentially do some affordable housing over there. Africa has a whole interesting situation. There’s no credit system. The cars, they own are cash, houses they own are cash.

Max:
Talk about rentals.

Nasar:
Yes, and the rentals, when you sign a lease, a 12 month lease, you have to pay 12 months upfront, 24 month lease, 24 months upfront.

Max:
You would love that as a landlord.

Nasar:
You’d love that as a landlord, but let’s just say America is a great place to live. We have it a lot easier than some people may think here, but yeah, so interesting situation. Max and I, we’ve been to… let’s say we did Western together, we did Charlotte together, we did Atlanta together, we did Houston, we did Ghana. For the people watching, we need some help. Where should Max and Nas go next? Or should Max and Nas go to BPCON ’22. Let us know. Comment below.

Max:
I think I like that.

Nasar:
Yeah, BPCON ’22, man, Max and Nas, bro. Yeah.

Max:
Where’s it going to be at in 2020?

Nasar:
They don’t know yet.

Max:
Okay.

Nasar:
But yeah. Comment below. Where should we go next? Now, it’s time for the-

Max:
Famous four.

Nasar:
Now, this is the part of the interview where I’m going to ask you some questions.

Max:
Okay.

Nasar:
What is your favorite real estate book?

Max:
That’s a good question. I only really read books to solve a problem, and I haven’t really had crazy problems in real estate. I couldn’t really identify a real estate book that was just changing my life, but here’s what I would say. A book that did make me start thinking more about real estate was Rich Dad, Poor Dad. That was the first book I read cover to cover. Everybody says that, but for me, that was really what changed my life.

Nasar:
Okay. Yeah. Me, too. Yeah. What’s your favorite business book?

Max:
My favorite business book? My favorite business book has to be probably not really a business book, but The 48 Laws of Power. The 50th Law of Power, those types of books that give you more strategy versus actual start this business, do this and do that. For me, it’s more about strategy because you’re going to learn a lot of other things just actually doing it.

Nasar:
Question number three. Is there a habit you are currently working on?

Max:
Yeah, working out more. Yeah. I feel like in business, I think you have to sacrifice something in order to get what you want. It requires a lot of brain energy, it requires a lot of physical energy. I personally don’t believe in a work-life balance. I believe there’s a crazy sacrifice you put up front and it really just depends on where you want to be success-wise. I put that up front and I let my health decline a little bit as far as you know I’m heavier than I’ve ever been, and I could easily slim down, but now my new house is being done. Things are changing in my life and I’m like, I got to get this part of my life together.

Nasar:
Absolutely, and you just got court side tickets for the Charlotte [inaudible 00:44:11].

Max:
Yeah. I don’t want to be on TV and just be all around and everything.

Nasar:
Absolutely, but the way they going to feed you down there, I’m telling you. I’m sitting…

Max:
That’d be my cheat day.

Nasar:
He’s sitting court side and I’m sitting in the stands with the fans, with the poorest. I’m in the fans in the stands, but anyway, I go upstairs to a special restaurant and they feed us and all that, but with his, the food and parking is actually included in his ticket, but yeah.

Max:
It better be.

Nasar:
It definitely better be. Last question, bro. What separates the people who succeed, they fail, or they just give up?

Max:
Obsession.

Nasar:
Explain.

Max:
If you’re not obsessed with something, you’re going to walk away from it. You have to get this… I think it’s… If you look at the most successful people, no matter what it is, and I’m talking about the top tier success, they have this level of obsession with them, with the thing that they’re trying to conquer or reach, or whatever it is and there’s no level of giving up. There’s that discipline and there’s that obsession, and so if you’re not going to be obsessed with it, you might as well leave it alone because the times get tough. I don’t believe in everybody should be an entrepreneur. A cool side hustle is good.

Nasar:
Absolutely.

Max:
You have to be able to recharge your own battery as an entrepreneur or a business person, because you can’t rely on outside external sources to charge your battery.

Nasar:
Okay, and last, how can people follow you? How can people stay in touch with what’s going on with Max Maxwell? How do they do that?

Max:
Well, it’d be real cool. We just redid our website. It’s therealmaxwell.com. You can also find me on all social media handles as The Real Maxwell. Also on YouTube, I got 200 plus thousand subscribers. I would love if you guys go, just give me a subscribe. Costs you nothing. We’re going to be putting out a lot more content. I got a brand new studio coming out, and just a bunch of things. I’d love for you guys to follow me just on all social media platforms. Wherever you like to enjoy and watch content, I got a place there, so come join me there.

Nasar:
I love it. All right, so guys, listen, before I officially let you guys go, I was your babysitter. I know, maybe I’m the babysitter from hell, but I hope some of you guys enjoyed it. Make sure you like, comment, subscribe to the BiggerPockets channel. Make sure you get that BiggerPockets pro membership. That’s what I have, and it’s definitely helpful. Thank you to the good people at BiggerPockets for allowing the Carolina boys to just come on the podcast and do a takeover. The break’s over for one episode, so we really appreciate that. Joshua Dorkin, the founder.
Thanks, David Green and Brandon Turner. Really appreciate you guys as well. Much more success. I’m your host… well, guest hosts. Well, they’ll probably fire me after this but… I can’t keep no job, y’all. I am your host Nasar, AKA The Real Estate Doru. I’m not a guru, I’m a doru. I actually do this business.

Max:
… do this business.

Nasar:
You can find me on Instagram, realestatedoru, that’s D-O-R-U, because I do. YouTube. Same thing, realestatedoru. Text me, let me know how I did, 704- 285-1600. Now, we’re signing off. Peace.

Speaker 3:
You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio, simplifying real estate for investors, large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing, without all the hype, you’re in the right place. Be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from biggerpockets.com, your home for real estate investing online.

 

 

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How to get your start in real estate investing without any money 
  • Finding yourself at the bottom and pushing yourself up to the top
  • Finding, skip tracing, and marketing your first deal as a wholesaler 
  • The “conveyor belt” system of off-market deal-finding
  • Why every great real estate investor MUST be able to spot good deals
  • Jumping into a new niche, even as an experienced real estate investor
  • And So Much More!

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Books Mentioned in this Show:

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