Episode 31 | Austin Carroll – A Journey From Curiosity To Almost 100 Units

Episode Summary: 

In this episode, Craig Fuhr and Jack BeVier interview Austin Carroll, a real estate investor and agent. They discuss Austin’s background and how he developed a love for real estate. Austin shares his journey from buying his first house to building a real estate portfolio. He emphasizes the importance of being curious, asking questions, and constantly learning. Austin also teases upcoming topics, including syndications, co-working businesses, and his experience with a portfolio of almost 100 units.

*The following transcript is auto-generated.

Craig Fuhr (00:12)
Well, hey, everybody. Welcome back to real investor radio. I’m Craig fewer with my good friend, Jack BeVier. Jack, how are you today?
Jack BeVier (00:19)
Doing great, man, doing great. New Year’s kicking off strong, so excited to be here.
Craig Fuhr (00:24)
It is kicking off strong. It should be an interesting year indeed. We’ve talked about that on some previous episodes, what we can look forward to from the Fed and upcoming months. I got a good feeling that Q2 is going to kick off all the excitement, Jack. That’s my prediction on things in terms of when the Fed makes the move. Any predictions from you there?
Jack BeVier (00:45)
Yeah, I think we’re going to have a I think it’s going to be an early spring from a like a spring selling season, you know, for the realtors and flippers, you know, ourselves included. So that’s what we’re kind of preparing ourselves for is that I don’t think that I don’t think that the folks who are reacting to mortgage rates that went down a month ago now are you know, get through the holiday season, talk with the spouse about hey, is it time to get back in?
go get the pre-approval letter, call the real estate agent back, start looking at stuff, and then things go into contract, right? So there’s a little delay there. But I feel that if folks end up waiting until April and May, if rates continue to go down, it could get really crowded out there. And we get back into a lot of the highest and best situations. So I think that the best time is going to be the early shoppers this spring, where they’re still getting the benefit of the slightly lower mortgage rates, but they don’t have the increased competition.
into the spring selling season. So anyway, yeah, that’s what we’re prepping for.
Craig Fuhr (01:48)
Well, I’m
hearing from more and more people that banks, you know, traditional banks are, you know, becoming more and more difficult to deal with. So I don’t know if you’re hearing the same.
Jack BeVier (02:24)
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Craig Fuhr (02:28)
Well, today we’ve got a great guest, Austin Carroll. Austin, welcome to the show, sir.
Austin Carroll (02:34)
Hey, what’s up guys? Excited to be here.
Craig Fuhr (02:36)
Really looking forward to the conversation. Jack, why don’t you go ahead and introduce Austin and we’ll jump in.
Jack BeVier (02:42)
Yeah, so I was really excited to when Austin agreed to join us in the podcast. I’ve known Austin for six, seven years, maybe. And he is a, an investor here in the Baltimore area got started even in college. I think the, the Towson real estate investing club became very popular. And I think Austin started doing deals right out of school and has just, you know, really has done a ton.
Austin Carroll (02:51)
Yeah, it’s been a while.
Jack BeVier (03:10)
at a very young age. And as I’ve had the pleasure to know him through his you know, probably first 10 years of your career. I’ve just been very impressed with the business that he has already built and his very mature, long term approach to building a real estate and building several real estate investing businesses. And so you know, I was I wanted to
I asked Austin to join us because I thought that story was really interesting and the way that he thinks about things I’ve always just been very impressed with. And so hey, Austin, really appreciate you joining us today. Excited to have this conversation.
Austin Carroll (03:51)
Yeah, appreciate it, Jack. Yeah, we got some ultimate frisbee going. That was, that was probably the, the real start to our friendship. Some competitive Druid Hill Park, you know, right in the middle of Baltimore city, a fun ultimate frisbee. So.
Craig Fuhr (04:05)
followed up by an exciting game of hacky sack.
Austin Carroll (04:11)
Do some kickflips on some skateboards, you know.
Craig Fuhr (04:14)
All right. I love it. That’s awesome. That’s great. Who doesn’t love a great game of ultimate frisbee? Austin, welcome to the show, man. It’s great to have you. Maybe you could just jump in and give us a little bit of your background that Jack just sort of gave us the broad strokes on and you know how you got started. How, first of all, how you sort of learned this love of real estate and where did that come from? Love to hear the background on that.
Austin Carroll (04:39)
Yeah, absolutely. So a little bit about my background. I grew up in Maryland, a place called Ellicott City. Had a small farm, so we were in 4-H, we would show animals, things like that. And my dad was a mechanic, so we would build stuff. There was no calling the plumber, there was no calling the HVAC guy. It was like, we fix it. Yeah, exactly. I mean, that’s like a core tenet in my real estate investing career that sometimes hurts me and a lot of times helps me. But the…
Craig Fuhr (04:46)
You figure it out.
Austin Carroll (05:09)
That kind of background, learning how to do things with my hands, just being handy. Had a small handyman business in high school, and then I spent two years at Howard Community College, it was the thing to do. I didn’t want to go do a four-year college. It was the first one in my family to go to college. So that was kind of, okay, let me go spend two years in a special honors program there. And then I was down in Maryland. Brenton was up in Towson. He did a lot there. But down in…
Jack BeVier (05:37)
Oh, that’s right. Yeah, sorry.
Austin Carroll (05:39)
down at Maryland, I didn’t think real estate was gonna be what I was gonna do. I was in the business school, I was a really good student, you know, like the sexy thing to do is to go work for some like big four accounting firm or a consultant or McKinsey or a banker or something like that. And what I was reminded of later was that as I was growing up in like middle school and stuff, my parents would kind of go into some of these like gimmicky things, right? Like how to sell stuff on eBay.
and then they’d have a speaking circuit come at lunch and it’d be like, they’re selling you the wine, Mona V, that’s like a MLM kind of thing. And there was a real estate guy there. His name was Everett, I found the book not long ago. My parents bought the course and so like, of course they negotiated to bring their middle school son to these real estate courses. I had no clue, right? There’s nothing tactical in my brain other than some weird story about like, a option to buy where like a freeway was going in. That’s like the only thing I really remember.
But what I think it instilled in the very, very back of my brain was that real estate equals wealth. And so I didn’t know that, right? I’m in college looking for jobs now at this point. And ended up getting an internship with Home Builder my junior year, just kind of literally wandering around the job fair, worked for Ryan Homes, NBR Homes. And I had a ton of fun doing that, but knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do. And then through a really weird situation.
I had a part-time job putting up inflatable movies. So if you ever go to a community event with the 20 foot inflatable screens, there’s somebody that comes and sets that up. And I answered a Craigslist ad. It was one of the best college jobs that you could have because you get home in time to still go out and party. You’re home by 10 o’clock or so. You get to watch a movie. Usually it’s a party of some sort, so they got food and stuff. So it was such a fun part-time job.
Craig Fuhr (07:34)
I have to honestly, Jack, did you ever know that for a minute, I’m sorry, Austin, there was a minute in college where I got a job going out setting up this inflatable for Elliot’s Amazing Fruit Juices. It was a 25 foot bottle, you know, that I had to take out the 50 pound blocks, put them in my car at the time and put this damn thing and you know, in this huge bag, somehow fit it all in my car and then go set it up at some place where…
Austin Carroll (07:39)
Craig Fuhr (08:02)
you know, they sell Elliott’s amazing fruit juices. And it was so big, Jack, that I could actually unzip the thing and get inside of it and just fall asleep for the four hours that I had to be at a location.
Jack BeVier (08:15)
That’s hilarious.
Craig Fuhr (08:16)
Yeah, I’m sorry, Austin. Good.
Austin Carroll (08:17)
That’s great. Know the inflatable stories, you know? More people have them than we think. Ha ha.
Craig Fuhr (08:20)
Jack BeVier (08:22)
One of our one of our other loan officers will did bounce houses in college and after college. It was like him and two other guys who played basketball at Howard and they would they’d go around and you know, show up and do the bounce houses at kids parties, wait four hours, break it down. So yeah.
Craig Fuhr (08:36)
Who knew that inflatables could be such a profitable job?
Austin Carroll (08:39)
I, we almost bought one the other week. We were looking at some auction sites for, for a coworking business we’re starting. So we were like looking at, you know, some stuff. There was like this huge bounce house thing for like a thousand bucks. I was like, we should buy that.
Jack BeVier (08:51)
Austin Carroll (08:53)
So anyways, inflatable is here. So the gateway, yeah, who would’ve known? I mean, I don’t know, Craig, if your story relates to that. So I ended up doing multiple events for this company called the Mankiti Group, which is a sales team and real estate development company down in DC. And I did a couple for them, and they saw that I would kind of go above and beyond with how I set it up and my customer service.
Craig Fuhr (08:54)
Keep going.
Jack BeVier (08:57)
It’s the gateway, the gateway to real estate investing is inflatable.
Craig Fuhr (09:00)
All right.
Austin Carroll (09:22)
I ended up bagging popcorn talking to, I didn’t know he was a CFO, but he was a CFO just chatting about like Tony Robbins and you know, college and my handyman business and stuff like that. And he was like, you should, you should think about coming in. You know, we don’t have an active position, but like you sound like a really great, you know, talent. And, uh, and so I, I kind of hounded him after that, um, because their business sounded really cool and ended up getting this, uh, my last semester in college, getting a internship there. And it just.
kind of flowed into a full-time job. And it was everything real estate investing. And so, and you know, Bo Mankiti became one of my mentors in terms of, you know, he’s got a huge business. He does incredible things. One of the most important people inside Keller Williams. And I would just be there late at the office and be chatting with him. So a lot of my framework for how I think about investing came from the super smart investor guy, Bo, who had.
I don’t even know how much real estate they had at that time, but they were in commercial, residential, flipping. I was in the development division. It was really three of us. I was working under an architect, so we got to learn tons about architecture, design, things like that, and then working in the field with our contractor. Kind of figured out how did the numbers work. It’s three of us, so you get exposed to everything. That was really my start. Knew that I wanted to do my own investing. I bought my first house.
I was touring stuff as I was graduating and bought my first house. It was a house hack, renovated it. It was the typical scenario where it was like, hey, some of my fraternity brothers come over and we pay you beer and we demo. That was a ton of fun. Then lived with some of my friends. They paid me rent. I made $500 a month and didn’t have to pay for living. I took a pretty severe pay cut working for the developer.
Jack, you kind of talked about that working with Fred, right? Like it was like, you know, I expected to probably come out of college making 60, 70, 80, and I was making like 40, you know, but it was like, man, this wealth of knowledge that I got was incredible. So
Jack BeVier (11:31)
How’d you find that first deal? Was it the Keller Williams connection that led you to be able to think that you had a deal? You know what I mean?
Austin Carroll (11:40)
So I was walking through the office one day and they had a real estate sales team and literally one of the ladies just said, hey, you intern, you wanna buy a house? She was literally just lead generating. And I was like, yeah, I would. It was in my head not to rent. Like my cars, we buy used and we buy it cash. My house, I didn’t really know what I was gonna do. I lived with my parents for about an hour away from DC.
So I was like, I don’t want to make that commute. My girlfriend lived close at the time, so I was like, I’ll figure that out. But she asked me that a couple weeks into my internship, and I said, yeah. She started taking me on some showings. To this day, I don’t know how I financed it, honestly. Because it was, the property that we found was a HUD home store home. And so, and it was like…
Jack BeVier (12:26)
Hmm. Yeah. Amazing deals on there. If you’re going to, if you’re going to house hack, I feel like that’s like the first place to start. Cause that owner rock period. Yeah. 2014. Oh my God. Yeah. 2014. Huddled in Iraq. Yeah. That’s, that’s good deals.
Austin Carroll (12:34)
and 2014.
And I was scared, right? Like it was on the market for a while. We went and looked at it. It was perfect for a house hacker. It was five bedrooms. I could add a bath, three baths, had a huge backyard and Riverdale, you know, cool, cool location. I joke it had my botanical gardens in the back because it was like some old people lived there and they had like meticulously done this garden. And then it had overgrown for, I don’t know, 10 years.
And so you just be, I built this back deck off of it and you just be out there and something new would bloom. Oh, we got some beautiful blue flowers back there today. But like you couldn’t walk through it. Like it was like a bramble mess at the same time. It was
Jack BeVier (13:18)
Hey, Craig, we lost your audio.
Austin Carroll (13:18)
Jack BeVier (13:22)
Press mute.
Craig Fuhr (13:27)
I was I was saying,
you and all your buddies, the 21 year old buddies hanging out in the English gardens out back. I’m sure.
Austin Carroll (13:35)
Yeah, I put a little hot tub out. After my second refi, I put a hot tub out there. It was fun. The silly things you do when you’re young. And I knew that I wanted to have more time freedom. My challenge was I went above and beyond. I was probably working 60, 70 hours a week. I actually had to negotiate to buy the house. I needed about 8K more in salary. So I went to them and said, hey, look, I want to buy this house. I need some more salary, like legitimately. And they said, OK.
we’ve got a 200 work order backlog in our property management division. So after you’re done work, if you go work that, we’ll give you the 8K. So, okay. So it was me and a lady working on the property management division. And we ended up clearing the backlog. And that’s how I had enough income to buy the house. And then it was just like bootstrapping. I had some cash from selling cattle younger.
doing my jobs and stuff like that in college. So I just, I used cash
to fix it up, refinanced it, and it was a fun deal. I sold it a couple years ago because it came to the end of the capital gains exemption period, but I still love that house. It was incredible.
Craig Fuhr (14:35)
Jack BeVier (14:46)
That’s awesome. That’s a great one. That’s a good one. So how did you end up in? How did you, I guess, then get to Baltimore where you started building a rental portfolio and grew in your agent now commercial business?
Austin Carroll (14:58)
Yeah, so I knew I wanted time freedom and I knew I wouldn’t have that there. I was learning a ton, but I felt like I probably learned 80% of what I was gonna learn and I was kind of turning into, okay, this is just kind of grunt work and getting a little bit better every day. And so I looked around and a bunch of my friends started to ask me how I bought my house. And I had to learn the process a lot better at that point because I was helping the division buy and sell houses.
And so I just said, why don’t I become a realtor? And so I got my license originally, like I had done it kind of secretly to buy my first investment property in Hagerstown. I was like, okay, I was like one of those guys that was like, I’m gonna get my license and like, you know, I’ll get the fees from like when I buy my own house kind of thing. And then just turned into, I actually really enjoyed working with some buyers. One of my dad’s mechanics was like, hey, I’m looking for a place and helped him, helped a couple of my buddies. And I was like, actually, like pretty good at this. Like this pretty fun. And so…
So then I joined their sales team for a little while, kind of learned the ropes. And then at that time, that was probably 2016, we were just kind of banging our head against the wall trying to find stuff that penciled in DC. And I knew I don’t have a ton of cash, I’ve got a little bit of equity in my house. Baltimore seems like a much more realistic market for me. And personally, I love making things that are kind of ugly, beautiful.
And I think that’s kind of what Baltimore is, right? Like DC wasn’t that ugly at that time. And there were certainly parts of it that were, but man, like I would love to make a difference in Baltimore. And, uh, and so, you know, found a house up here that I could, I could buy and renovate live in flip. So bought that and came up this way and then ventured on my own as a, as a real estate agent, um, eventually bringing some other people onto my, my team. So I’ve got a team of three in addition to myself and, uh, and an admin at this point.
And it was just slow growing. I met a partner, Brenton Hess, awesome guy, still one of my best friends. And we looked at buying some, we kind of stumbled into a small portfolio just by asking the question when we went to go look at a showing, the seller met us and it was, do you have any other properties to sell? And he did, so we bought 11 units, kind of scattered all over the city. And that was kind of the start to the legitimate investing. And then there’s, you know.
Craig Fuhr (17:19)
What year was this, Austin?
Austin Carroll (17:21)
That was 2017 or 2018.
Jack BeVier (17:25)
What year did you start working full time outside out of community college?
Austin Carroll (17:30)
2014. So I graduated 2014 and went full-time with Mankeety Group 2014 and then 2016 became an agent and then the summer of 2016 is when I ventured on my own.
Jack BeVier (17:32)
Were you doing the agent work while you still had a job or did you make like a clean break into that full time? Like how did you make that transition? And I feel like getting your real estate license is like, when people ask like, hey, how do I get into the business? Like getting your real estate license is one of the first things you can do. I think just from an access to information point of view, the law that you learn and the practice that you learn in those classes is like, it’s useful, but it’s, you know, it’s not enough to like teach you actually how to.
be a real estate agent, but it is like important information and vocabulary to know. So I feel like it’s like, I think it’s a great place to start. It’s one of the that’s one of the first things I did. But then, but that but from an income producing point of view, making the transition from job to full time real estate agent is a whole is a thing, right. And then from real estate agent to investor, that’s another thing. So like, can you talk to me about
the transitions and how you were able to make those transitions, what your experience was each of those.
Austin Carroll (18:47)
Yeah, yeah, and it’s so funny because you’re reminding me of challenges I had at the time that you kind of forget of. How do you finance something when you go to be an agent? Yeah, so I had a leg up in the fact that acquisitions was part of my job. When you have a three-person division and you’re doing 30 deals a year, everybody’s got every job.
Craig Fuhr (18:56)
I was gonna ask you the same thing.
Austin Carroll (19:12)
So it was fun at one point and one of the best things I recommend to people, you know, if you’re still like cutting your teeth a little bit, literally analyze properties every day. And so when we had a really hard time, I had a MLS flow and so I would literally analyze every property coming on DC every day. Some days it would be three properties, Mondays were the worst because it was, you know, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, everything that came on and it would be like, you know, 40 properties. Like it wasn’t super crazy, but I had an intake sheet.
I filled it out and what it does is it starts helping you to recognize patterns. Sometimes you got to redo it. My pattern is probably outdated. I need to upgrade it and just do that for a week again to be like, okay, cool. Let me update the fresh numbers. I’m sure you guys have that experience too. Yeah, rents are up, construction’s up. I’ll still look at something and be like, oh, that’s a 50K run out. Then our project manager is like, no, dude, that’s 75. I’m like, you’re right. So…
Jack BeVier (19:54)
Rinse her up. Yeah.
Craig Fuhr (20:03)
Austin Carroll (20:08)
My transition was a little easier in the fact that I had a lot, I had like half of the real estate agenting understood, right, like how to actually do some stuff. I didn’t know how to write an offer. That was pretty easy. And then I was also lucky in the fact that the team that I was on did something called a bold 8,000 my first couple of weeks into the business. And what that is where as a team, I think it was over 12 weeks, you make 8,000 contacts. And so you’re literally just like trying to figure out like, how do I call everybody in my sphere?
to tell them I’m an agent and it came at an incredible time for me because a ton of my fraternity brothers and people I went to college with in high school were starting to round that corner over the next couple of years I’d like to buy. That was a really nice out of the gate kind of, I think my first half year or so I sold like four or five million, nothing crazy but it was still full time for the vast majority of that year.
Jack BeVier (21:01)
So I don’t want to gloss over that. So is that like a Keller Williams term or like that bold 8,000? Like that’s like a, you know, like it feels like a sprint, right? You do a sprint that you do with other people. It makes it easier because you’re all like in it at the same time. But then like you do that, that’s a, like did you reach out to 8,000 people yourself? Like you did 8,000?
Austin Carroll (21:09)
Y- Yeah.
There was a team of 10, I think, and it was over 12 weeks. So what we did, it was like literally, it was before we had like fancy headphones and stuff like that. So I literally like took my phone and kind of like taped it to my head and put it on the Mojo dialer at one point, like it was rubber bands, not tape, and just sitting there. Like I was out of college, right? Like I didn’t really have much to like go home to. And so I would get some lists from them. I’ll call everybody I knew. So.
It was, yeah, Bold 8000. Bold is a Keller Williams class. It stands for Business Objective Life by Design. It’s really one of the best. If you are getting into real estate and you wanna learn how to real estate, take that class. It teaches you how to do a listing agreement. It’s eight weeks long, costs money. But it’s a really good crash course and a refresher. We’re gonna take it later this year because there’s also accountability built into it. You have to make 100 contacts a week, things like that.
Jack BeVier (21:56)
Austin Carroll (22:21)
And so there was this national push that was the biggest teams in Keller Williams and the nation were doing this challenge to each other. And the Manchiti group was one of the biggest teams. So I think it was like eight or 10 of us and we had to make the 8,000 contacts. So it was a great way to get thrown into it.
Craig Fuhr (22:37)
Jack’s head is spinning right now for the sales floor at DFS.
Jack BeVier (22:42)
Oh, hell yeah. Hell yeah. I also love it. Just like people, you know, people like, Oh, you know, it’s really hard to get into this business. Like, well go talk to a thousand people and tell them that you do real estate. A thousand people is a ton of people,
Austin Carroll (22:42)
Jack BeVier (22:55)
right? Like people like, Hey, I did, yeah, I do some cold calling. And when they say they do some cold calling, they mean that they reach out to like five or 10 people a week, right? Like a thousand people sprint is a, that lays a lot of groundwork, right? Like that’s, that’s like saturating, you know,
Craig Fuhr (22:55)
That’s sick.
Jack BeVier (23:12)
multiple, you know, levels of network to be able to even just hit those numbers. So like.
Craig Fuhr (23:17)
Not only that, but it also puts you in a very, very rare air of people who would actually commit to that challenge and then succeed with that challenge. It puts you in the top zero, 1% of all real estate agents, I’m sure, in the country in my unofficial poll, Jack. And so, but even more, but even.
Austin Carroll (23:38)
And you’re inventing stuff. Like you’re inventing, like how do I get it? Like open houses, walking down through the supermarket, like you’re just figuring this stuff out.
Craig Fuhr (23:45)
Not only that, but like you getting back to like noticing the patterns. So you talk to a thousand people, you’re going to start to feel the patterns of their responses, their receptiveness, all of those things that, that make you refine and, and make that process a little bit better. It’s yeah, man, that’s, that’s awesome.
Jack BeVier (24:04)
Do also your yeah, to that point, Craig, like your script 100 people in is all the sudden, like, you know, you stumble, the first hundred is brutal, and you stumble through it and everything, nothing smooth. And this is a real grind. And by but by 101, you got a whole you got a pitch that like, that you know, is going to elicit certain emotions at certain points. And then you’ve got jump off points that they’re already built into your head that are you
right that are that are not that are organic that are not like forced that you’re not you know that they can tell that you’re not reading off of a script it just becomes part of your you know part of your business pitch part of your personality at that point with that much repetitive repetition but the commitment to that much repetition to just to put your head down and grind like that to build that base. That’s what I think most people aren’t willing to do like they say they they’ll tell you that they’re hard workers and have a you know strong work ethic but
Are they willing to reach out to 1000 people? Like, that’s, that’s when it’s real, right? Everybody else just willing to put in the work, you know,
Craig Fuhr (25:07)
Can you talk about what, jump into like sort of what came of that? What, what did you find? What were the results of it?
Austin Carroll (25:08)
So right.
Yeah, I mean the first was that, and the most impactful thing to me was that everybody in my network knew that I was a realtor at that point. And I’ll also say, I’m not like, like there are people that are like super proud to be a realtor. And like I actually had more of my investor hat on. And so like, it’s always been, and part of it might be like some of the realtors I knew growing up, right? Like my parents, you know, would be like, oh, that’s, you know, that’s Sarah over there. She’s at church and she sells, you know, four houses a year and like, and it shows, right?
And so that was like, it was a little bit hard of an identity shift because I wanted to be known as the dude that was an investor that owned houses, not that was a realtor. And so what that really forced me to do is to tell everybody, hey, I’m a realtor, I’d love to help you, I’m really good at what I do. And I’m a good negotiator, right, like I knew how to do that. I knew how to think about their house like an investment. And there was still tons of stuff I was learning. So I don’t remember the exact numbers, but it was somewhere around
as I was building my real estate portfolio over the next couple years, that year was like $6 million or so I think in sales and then it was like I think $10 or $12 million and then there was a year of like $16 million. And so it’s kind of like it was more so the unit volume, like it was a lot of unit volume for generally what I was doing, particularly that it was like I think I’ve always kind of been a part-time agent too because like we were talking about it and joking the other day because…
Everybody on the team has something else that they do right now. And so we’re all like part-time agents in some ways, but we’re also full-time agents. Like, it’s just we do so much because we love the field of real estate and everything that we’re doing. So anyways, that was kind of like the result, but the biggest thing was people would start to call me, and then I also honed that skill, particularly open houses. I still love open houses, like chatting with people, they’re just coming in, they don’t know anything, and I’m an educator at heart. Like, that’s what I love to do.
And so I love walking people through the home buying process. We do a lot of home buying seminars. We’re really good at that. We’ve done hundreds of them. And so like Jack, if you were like, hey, you gotta give one right now, I’d be like, all right, cool. It’s in my head, I know, let’s start. So.
Jack BeVier (27:25)
Also, but like what I’m also impressed with is you’ve done hundreds of them. Like people will do that, right? They’ll, they’ll do them. They’ll do a sprint and they’ll do 10 and then they’ll get some results from it, but then they’ll just stop doing them. And you just, you guys just don’t stop doing them. You just keep doing it. Like the consistency of execution is like, you know, really pays, you know, compounding dividends over time.
And I don’t think it should be understated. I feel like that’s like that is unique. People do not have consistency over time. Like they, you know, willing to put in put in the work over long periods of time is like, that’s what that’s what creates the compounding, I think.
Austin Carroll (28:09)
And it does two other things. Number one, it saves me time because if I have a buyer that I’m gonna sit down with and do a buyer presentation, I say, come to our next seminar. Let me teach you with four other people and I’m gonna save five hours of my life. And then new agents, same thing. They’re not gonna sit down. They don’t know all the little intricacies, so they send theirs there. And then the third thing is other agents that are coming on, it kind of weeds out who.
Jack BeVier (28:21)
More efficient, yeah.
Austin Carroll (28:34)
is an educator, right? You gotta have those common values, and that’s something that in all of our businesses, we want people that care and want to share and teach. That’s kind of like a core tenet of what we end up getting with other people. And so, if you’re not an agent that wants to do that, then it’s probably not a great place for you.
Craig Fuhr (28:52)
So growing this real estate team over time, which when did you make that shift to sort of investor or were you still investing at the same time while you were putting all of this together?
Austin Carroll (29:05)
Yeah, it was the same at the same time. So before I left my full-time job, I bought a three unit in Hagerstown. And that one’s a fun deal because it was a three unit. It ended up being like through the process. Again, I’m still so green in this. And the title company keeps calling me and saying, this is two parcels. Like what is going on here? I’m like, no, it’s a three unit. That’s what they’re telling me. Turns out it was a single family home and a duplex, which really helped me out on the value afterwards because a three unit, at the time maybe you were getting
60k a unit or something like that. But if you have a single family home that’s worth 130 and then a two unit, it’s a significant pump tier. Yeah, yeah, so that was like a super fun kind of like weird thing. But so I had bought that with my leverage boy income, right, I could still buy that. And then I left my full-time job. And so it was a refinance, it was a burr, you know, so I was, and I was physically working on it at that time, like literally like weekend, load up the truck.
Jack BeVier (29:41)
one work on 20. Yeah.
Austin Carroll (30:02)
I used to go up to Hagerstown, my grandma had come, she lived close to there, so she would come sweep. It was kinda fun. Just kinda random stuff. I was like, yeah, exactly. It was like the old school, that’s what we did. I think we did have soup when it started to get cold. It was so much fun. I looked around and my best friend, Will, had moved back to the area and was living in my house hack.
Jack BeVier (30:09)
Bring sandwiches.
Craig Fuhr (30:11)
A lovely chicken soup.
Austin Carroll (30:30)
And I just said, hey, like, do you want to, I need to refinance this thing. The products that are out there today, the DSCRs and stuff, they were non-existent that I knew of. And so it was, let’s go to the regular banker, you co-sign for me and you buy in at 10% equity. You know, just something kind of, we just made it up, right? Like it was like, give me 5K, you get 10% equity. Cool. We’ll call it a day. And that was the start to my partnership with him, which is now, you know, we own almost 100 units together.
And so that was like a trust thing. And then I had somebody bring in the car with me when I went up and worked on the house. He’s not nearly as handy as I was, but he held his own there. So that was like the first, that was like right as I was transitioning, right? So 2016. And I actually, I taught a class for University of Maryland a couple of years ago, right before COVID. And I did a timeline of my deals because I thought it was really interesting because.
I’ll go talk at stuff and things like that. And like I said, now we’ve got almost 100 units, mixed commercial, residential. And people are like, I wanna do that. And then what we just talked through were like the first three, first two deals. And that was a four year period. It was 2014, bought my first house. 2015, didn’t do anything, right? Just like put my nose to the grindstone, learn stuff. 2016 was, okay, my next Hagerstown house, right?
2017, I think I did one deal, right? And then 2018, it starts to ramp up. But there’s this time that happens. You gotta gather resources, you gotta gather knowledge, and I think a lot of the times people wanna rush into it, particularly young people. And just give yourself some grace because it takes some time to get there.
Jack BeVier (32:11)
Yeah, that’s a good point. Yeah. So what the what was the
I guess as you started to, as you bought your second house and your third house, are you handling, you’re handling everything yourself at that, at that point? Um, I guess what have you, like how, where are you learning from? Right? Like if you’re, if you’re out there by yourself, you’re still associated with the real estate agency. Um, but like, I guess how are you, you know, what are the resources that you’re using to teach yourself during this period of time? You know, that first five, first five, six years,
Austin Carroll (32:48)
Yeah, I was a huge fan of Bigger Pockets then. I actually think, you know, I love what you guys are doing now because I haven’t listened to Bigger Pockets in four years, right? But like, you guys are like the leveled out Bigger Pockets. So I love it. I love it when you guys have, yeah.
Jack BeVier (33:01)
sweet of you.
Craig Fuhr (33:03)
There, wow. The formula is working, Jack.
Austin Carroll (33:06)
It is, it is. I’m your target demographic, right? I haven’t listened to Bigger Pockets, but want this stuff, right? So it was a lot of Bigger Pockets at the time. And for me, I was lucky that I had Bo and Mark Rangel, who was the leader of the development division that I was working at, because I would just learn so much through those deals. And the thing was,
I wouldn’t have learned those things if I wasn’t there. One memory that sticks in my mind very specifically is it was like 11 o’clock at night and I don’t even know why I was still there. It was just me and Bo, the CEO of the company. This is probably 30 people that work out of that location at that point. I was in the kitchen getting some water, struck up a conversation, ended up in his office and he’s telling me about something that still sticks to me today. Actually, I think this is relevant for your listeners.
What he was telling me about, I was asking him about the structure of the business because he had property management, he had real estate sales, he owned real estate brokerage, he owned the buildings we were in, he had a large flipping division and a pretty large portfolio. Then he was really into public-private partnerships. So, like with the DC government, let’s do some of that stuff. He was in board positions, like all this stuff. I think inherently my question ended up boiling down to why. Why are you doing all of those different things?
Be specific, because we hear that all the time too, right? Like, get really good at one thing. And something that he shared with me was something called the speed of cash flows. And I think that is relevant, particularly because if you’re in one line of business, then you probably only have one speed of cash flow. Meaning, if you flip properties, and you only flip properties, your speed of cash flows is four to nine months. Right, like from the time you put money in, it’s very capital intensive.
And so I would put that in a medium bucket. So if you can picture the recycle sign arrows in a circle, that’s a medium-sized circle. And then what many people lack is the short-term incomes. And so that’s real estate sales for me. It’s like, okay, we got 10 deals closing this month for clients. Cool, that’s money constantly coming in every couple days. And so it can be property management, it can be wholesaling, it can be all sorts of different things, but I think a lot of people kind of skip that.
And then you have these long arcs, which are the ownership of real estate. That’s your refinance or your sale after big capital gains. It’s your commercial property you own that, okay, cool, I’m gonna 1031 at Op, or whatever it might be. So you get these different arcs, and then you’re just making decisions of what importance do I wanna put where. And so for me in the beginning, it’s like I need to be small, right? Like I need to be in that small cash flows because the one way that you lose in real estate is you run out of money. And so I wanna make sure that I can always go.
turn that up, create that. So that was super important. And then I went to the long term, and I didn’t do much in the middle term. The larger cash chunks from flips and stuff like that. That’s actually a pivot we’re making now to say let’s flip more because we need, we’ve got all of these units, we’ve got all this other stuff we’re doing, but we’re really missing that thing that could provide us a lot of income to help catapult us up. So it’s the speeds of cash flow, like thinking about how quick am I getting money into the organization? And can I design it so that I get multiple different speeds?
Craig Fuhr (36:22)
It’s brilliant. One of the things that I think that when you’re starting off in any entrepreneurial venture, you know, if you talk to a mentor, a lot of them will say, well, become really good at that one thing. And it feels like before you start, you know, jumping into another lane. And one of the things that I I’m hearing from you that I really dig is that there was this thing inside of you where I’m just going to figure it out. You know, I’ve got a good mentor.
Austin Carroll (36:23)
to help me out.
Craig Fuhr (36:49)
I’ve got a work ethic that I was sort of in my DNA from figuring things out at the farm. How did you manage all of the learning of each one of those? Because look, realtor, Keller Williams has a lot of the training built in, which is fantastic. It’s a great training organization as well as a real estate organization. But then becoming a landlord.
all of the ins and outs of a six month fix and flip. I appreciate the speed of cash flow, that’s a great point there, but man, how did you juggle all of that and learn it all to be efficient at it?
Austin Carroll (37:30)
Yeah, I think part of it just comes back to a little bit of be curious. If you’re asking tons of questions, to this day I still try to, if I’m having a meeting with somebody, what questions can I ask him? If I’m going to Ultimate Frisbee with Jack, what can I ask him? He’s way smarter than I am, so let me figure out, what does he know? And then just being curious and then just digging in. So part of it is literally just a, if you’re always on.
and you’re always asking questions and you’re always learning, then time is a little bit less relevant. But if I’m only learning between nine to five or on my ride home or whatever it is, and then some of it is just putting yourself in the right situations. And so I would put working at the Manchitigroup as the right situation for me to learn. And that wasn’t a, you look back and like, I should have taken a 70, 80K job, right? Others would argue that would have given me more firepower to go do deals.
Craig Fuhr (38:16)
Austin Carroll (38:28)
And I didn’t know to the extent that I would learn, but I learned a lot more than I thought I would. But I put myself in that right situation, right? Being a agent and you’re working with investors in the beginning, ask them questions. Learn how they think. You know, this is something I try to tell my agents now is like, if you’re working with an investor, figure out exactly what they’re doing. And then think critically about, put your black hat on, look at the opposite of what might be the downside to that. What might…
not be there and then go see what are the results. Hopefully you’re like listening to their flips or whatever, but like what’d you rent that for? Like let me just be really, really curious. And then networking events and going to stuff, like there’s tons of meetups around here. You know, I kind of struggle with it now. I’ve got two young kids and so it’s like, man I want to go to all that stuff all the time and continue to meet people. Now it’s about networking and knowing people and then being able to ask that very specific question that comes up in your life.
Craig Fuhr (39:25)
Austin Carroll (39:26)
But in the beginning, yeah, just go to stuff, right? Like try to learn, be curious, ask questions, speak up. Like I think it’s as simple as that, honestly.
Craig Fuhr (39:34)
Jack, as I look at, you know, I’ve known you for a very long time. And as I look at the sort of the trajectory and of the Dominion Group and all the businesses within, I’d love for you to speak to the same. Like how is it that, you know, you just, you just, you learned so much over seemingly a short period of time, Jack, but I know it’s not felt like the shortest period of time, but yeah, speak to that.
Jack BeVier (39:58)
Yeah, I would also insane really resonates with me. I so I got out of college, studied real estate and finance in college, like wanted to go do real estate, and then did commercial real estate, because that’s what you should go do. And, you know, I went to a good school and got to got a great job in New York, working, you know, 80 hours a week in basically a real estate finance job. And that was like, you know, the best like that was I was on like
the best track there was for being in real estate, right? Like coming out of school, like that was the most, I was always on the top of the classical track, right? But it wasn’t entrepreneurial. It wasn’t like I wasn’t gonna be doing deals until, if you know, for, you know, I was on a track to do, you know, and in 10 deals, you can run, sorry, in 10 years, you can run your own deals. And, you know, I was just young and arrogant and impatient. And so I quit a job in New York that I was making 150, I made 150 grand, you know, my first year out of school.
And I quit and I quit it to go to Baltimore and Fred gave me 55 grand. So I took a hundred thousand. I took a two thirds pay cut, uh, to go work for Fred. And I just soaked up, you know, I spent that 80 hours just hanging out with him and just soaking up everything I could for just, you know, for years. So I tried to download his entire like, you know, body of knowledge as fast as I could. And I was like, and I’m getting paid to like, you know, for this, like this, you know,
this education that they don’t teach anywhere. I thought it was like a bargain, right? Like, I’m like, if I can figure out what this guy’s done, I could do this anywhere. You know, I’ll know a skill set after five years, I’ll have a skill set where I can go anywhere in America and make money, right? Like in that, that like that I was like, I want to know that body of knowledge that that’s what really got me excited. But um, but yeah, it was just like, but
Craig Fuhr (41:24)
Jack BeVier (41:52)
I really liked the idea that, and I didn’t know that about your early career, that you had worked for another developer where you were surrounded by deals that were happening and folks who were actively doing deals. I think the importance of surrounding yourself with people who are practitioners who are actively doing it and being able to use them as your professors, in a sense, is very similar in its nature to my early career as well.
Austin Carroll (42:19)
Yeah, and there’s this idea, like if we were to, if we were to actually put a model to like what that is, it’s actually thinking about who are you determining wealth for. It’s something that we talk about a little bit in Keller Williams and some of the higher level classes is like, in your early career, determine wealth for the right people, and they will share back with you. And so, like if you think about a typical person, like take a consultant at Deloitte, right? That was what Will did before he took the entrepreneurial leap.
He doesn’t know who he’s determining. Who is his work going to make money for? It’s that senior level manager that probably doesn’t really like their life anyways. That’s the consulting thing. I was determining wealth for Bo, and so he would pour into me. Today, in our organization, and Jack, it’s the same thing. The people that are determining wealth for you, helping you live your lifestyle that you live, you want to pour into those people. So if you have the right.
Jack BeVier (43:02)
Thanks for watching!
Yes, true.
Craig Fuhr (43:12)
Austin Carroll (43:13)
wealth determiners, so people under you, and if you are determining wealth for the right people, then that’s going to be a great relationship that you’re going to have. But not many people think about that, like, who am I paying? And think about, like, too, like your lenders, like all of that stuff too, like, how does that work together? So, anyways, that’s like, that’s how I think about that in a model way.
Jack BeVier (43:34)
really interesting.
Craig Fuhr (43:34)
So we’re coming up on the end of the episode here. Austin, it’s been a fascinating conversation. I think we wanna go in a few more directions. Will you hang out with us for the next episode?
Austin Carroll (43:48)
Yeah, yeah, and here I’ll tease you like four different things so people are excited to come to the next episode. So we’ve got, you know, funny, so Bo is now an investor in some of our deals, right? So we’ve done some syndications and I think we have a different model than what most people do, so I’ll share that with you all and how I came about thinking about that. And then we’re also starting a co-working business here very shortly. I’m excited. We’ll have you guys to the grand opening.
Craig Fuhr (43:52)
All right, look at this. This guy’s good.
Jack BeVier (43:54)
Natural dude, natural.
Austin Carroll (44:16)
And there’s some reasons behind that as well. So yeah, we’ll take you to like the, I think I started to tell the story of the 11 unit portfolio and show you how we got to, you know, a bunch of commercial stuff and things like that today.
Jack BeVier (44:28)
Yeah, I think we’re also going to touch on I want to you mentioned something before we start got recording here today about creating you know, the concept of creating general generational wealth and your model behind what that what that really means like, right? Like, you know, getting beyond getting beyond the cliche of the term, you know, cliched terms, and what that means, you know, in the way that you’re building your portfolio and, you know, and the goals that you’re setting for it and the mechanics behind that would love, we’re gonna dig into that too.
Craig Fuhr (44:28)
A pod.
consummate real estate professional and he knows how to tease the next episode. That was awesome.
All right, so we’re going to wrap this one up. Thank you, Austin, for the great conversation. We’re going to join you in the next episode again. This is Real Investor Radio. We’ll see you on the next episode.

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