Adam Torres and Melissa Shea discuss real estate investing.
Apply to be a guest on our podcast here
Real estate investing doesn’t have to be a mystery. In this episode, Adam Torres and Melissa Shea, Founder of Real Masterminds and Regional Owner at EXIT Realty Connecticut and Rhode Island, explore real estate investing and the upcoming book Melissa will be launching with Mission Matters.
Watch Full Interview:
Melissa is the CEO of a Real Estate Integrated Company – Everyday RE Group, the President of the LIREIA (Long Island Real Estate Investors Association), has a NY broker license, she is a licensed commercial lender for Everyday Funding, and EXIT Realty regional owner for Connecticut and Rhode Island. She has been an experienced Real Estate investor for the past 15 years and has raised over 35 million for real estate projects. She is committed to helping the homeless and is a mother of 8 children.
Full Unedited Transcript
Hey, I’d like to welcome you to another episode of Mission Matters. My name is Adam Torres, and if you’d like to apply to be a guest, Just head on over to mission matters.com and click on Be Our Guest to Apply. All right, today is a very special episode. We have Melissa Shay on the line, who I’m proud to announce is going to be an author and one of our upcoming books.
And first off, Melissa, I just wanna say welcome to the Mission Matters community. Thank you very much, Adam. I love the community. It’s such a nice, positive community to belong to, so I’m very happy about that. Fantastic. And and Melissa is the founder of Real Masterminds and Regional owner at Exit Realty, Connecticut and Rhode Island, which we’re going to get into that and we’re gonna talk about, of course, your business, wanna know what you’re up to.
And of course, we’re going to talk a little, a little bit about the book content. We’re not gonna go too far today because we will be bringing Melissa back on. For a second interview, part two of two of this interview series where we’ll do a deep dive. Before all that though, we’ll start this interview the way that we start them all with our mission matters minute.
So Melissa, we at Mission Matters. We amplify stories for entrepreneurs, executives, and experts. That’s our mission. Melissa, what mission matters to you? To empower and educate families for financial independence through real estate. It happens to be my passion, and I’ve seen more families impacted by financial matters, so if I can empower and educate them, that would be my mission.
Fantastic Love bringing mission-based entrepreneurs and executives on the line to year, you know, why they do what they do, how they’re doing it, and really what we can all learn from that, so we can all grow together. That’s the whole point of the Mission Matters platform is growing together. It’s great to have Jan and Melissa.
I guess just to get us started here, let’s go a little bit further back. In your career, did you always know you wanted to be in real estate or like, like how’d you get into the industry? No, not at all. Not at all. I actually was very interested in business, even at a young age in high school. So my very first business was, I believe I was just turning 19 and I bought a travel agency and I absolutely loved it.
Right. How cool was that? So, 19, 20, 21, I traveled the whole world. I loved it. Had a great time. And that was I think in 1996 I bought it, but 2001 came. And I was having a great year until the towers fell, and that made me look at things differently. And when a business literally collapses overnight, in my case.
Yeah. I had to look at other methods and I was watching a Colton Sheets infomercial. Yeah. And said, Hey, I. That looks like it could survive a business crash. So yeah, that’s where my journey started. Yeah. Wow. What an amazing story. And I didn’t know we had this in common, so about that age, I made a similar decision.
I wish I’d thought about a travel agency. Maybe I wasn’t that sharp though, in terms of business, but I went to school so that I could travel. So that’s why I picked my major. I still remember international relations. I remember looking at the curriculum like, I wanna travel a lot. I wanna go see things. So that led to that direction.
That’s so funny. I had that same thought, but I figured why not have let the business pay for it rather than go to college for it. So, so much sharper than me. That’s why we bring other people on the line for business advice I just asked. The questions here. Yeah. Yeah. That was great. No, I was, I enjoyed it very much.
But you know, like anything in life, why entrepreneurs really get their inspiration is usually from something traumatic and that happens to them. And September 11th was traumatic for everybody, but especially for my business. Yeah. And so I wanna maybe keep you in that, you know, back then to, to that for a little bit longer.
And the reason is because, you know, we’re, as we’re coming out of the pandemic, so for everybody that’s listening to this, you know, into the future, we’re recording this in what is it, April of 2023. So we’re coming outta the pandemic. You know, some people. You know, lost businesses. There’s a lot, a lot of a lot of shifting, a lot of pivoting going on.
So you, you know, were affected by this external event. It had nothing to do with you. It was the furthest thing on your mind. I’m sure when that, when that happened but you were affected. So there’s a lot of individuals that are in that situation right now. Obviously that had nothing to do with.
Pandemic. This is something external they, there’s no way that they could have necessarily planned for it. Or it was on their horizon. So what are some of the things that maybe kind of kept you strong going through this time? Cuz I mean that that had to be a devastating blow. Yeah. Actually it was even more devastating cuz after September 11th, about a month later, most people don’t remember this, but we had a, a flight that left out of jf kgo in a sense, Domingo and American Airlines.
And I had two passengers on there. Wow. And they died. And so that was a double whammy. And they happened to be my neighbors. So that was like, Compounded the the anxiety I felt. Yeah, but you know what? In everything, there’s an opportunity. Now, maybe I was just so young and naive at the time. Mm-hmm. I knew the business had to survive.
Like there wasn’t there an option and people did not travel, especially in New York on planes typically for about a year and a half it took Yeah. For them to come back on the planes. But I took that opportunity and I bought four smaller travel agencies and just gave them 2,500, $5,000 for their list.
And so then when I came back, I came back stronger. Hmm. But I did take that downtime to analyze where I wanted to be in five years and what could survive this kind of impact. And the only thing I I saw was that the towers could be rebuilt, right? Mm-hmm. Monetarily. You know, there was obviously emotional damage and catastrophic Correct.
Other damages. But monetarily it was okay because there was insurances in place. There was all these other factors that really insulated real estate investing. Mm-hmm. And that’s what made me attracted to it, because I was a single mom at that time. I was pregnant with my son. I think he was, that was September.
So he was born in November I’m sorry, in February of that year. So it was very Wow, very impactful for me. And I, you know what? Take those downtimes to really look and see. There’s always an opportunity. I, I can’t tell you how many businesses I just bought from, like Penny’s on the dollar, you know? So, so that’s, you know, some people will listen to that and they’ll be like, wow.
Like how? Like what a risk. Would you consider yourself a risk taker here? Yeah. But more of a, a calculated risk taker. Yeah. I mean, I had already owned my own business. I knew I loved doing it. I, I loved giving an experience to a family. Mm-hmm. Right? Mm-hmm. They would go on a trip and, you know, they don’t remember money.
They don’t remember, you know, I. But they’ll remember a vacation and that bond’s a family together. And I always loved that Honeymoons weddings, we were just so into that. So when it kind of paused for 18 months and there was no money coming in and yeah, I had to, you know, I had to lay off one person and restructure a lot of things.
Yeah, there’s always a risk. Mm-hmm. And you know what? I just delve deeper into it where fear is. Mm-hmm. There’s always an opportunity. So yeah, quite a contrarian on that viewpoint. But I think other people going through like Covid right now. Mm-hmm. They’re looking at their businesses and stuff like that.
This is a great time for mergers and acquisition. Really great time for that. So, yeah. And looking at, so I think about how this pandemic went and a lot of, let’s just say people in media, smaller media companies like ours or content creators or people that, you know, publishing a lot of these things. Like we kind, we, we really doubled down.
We were, especially as things started as. Things started slowing up in terms of like mainstream media, what they were producing, and everything was just getting so bad. It was like, okay, well there, there’s a, there’s an opportunity here. Obviously the world’s, you know, not in the best place, but there’s an opportunity for us to do what we do well, which is.
Get out content that’s inspiring, that’s showcasing entrepreneurs, executives, that’s telling a different story and a different narrative. Because there were many individuals that, and I was just, I won’t say shocked, but I was just so inspired by like the resourcefulness of the business owner that would, you know, had a sign shop and all of a sudden they were making like P p e or like all this other equipment and they were keeping their employees working and they were pivoting and they were.
All contributing to use the resources they had to not only, you know, help, but they were also keeping themselves in business and keeping their employees having checks and like the pride that they took and keeping their workforce engaged. They reminded me like if I, not during my age, but you know, just reading or thinking about how it must have been during some of the world wars where the workforces kind of came together and pivoted from making automobiles to like military equipment or like, Before all the Lockheed Martins and all the other things even existed.
So I see how like a country could band together, and in your case, when you’re talking about coming together as a business person, like there can be double wins there. You can help other people. You can solve a a problem, you can have a service and still move us all forward. Right? Yeah. I think what was so really good about what you did, Adam and Mission Matters, is they really kept the entrepreneur in inspired during that time.
You know, cuz it was very, you know, there are some dark days in business and you, you question yourself like, why, why did I even start this? Why am I doing this? You know? I do that about once a month. I was just gonna say, it’s almost like a mo Yeah. You’re like a monthly thing, but more so my monthly mantra.
It’s okay. Yeah, yeah. Monthly mantra. But, but I think the undoing of that negative mantra is, is your show. You know what I mean? For a lot of, and that’s what drew me to it, is that I loved hearing other people thinking creative and like, oh. Wow, that’s a great idea. I could do that now, you know? Yeah. And but there’s, you know, everybody says that, oh, every silver lining behind some tragedy.
Mm-hmm. But there genuinely is, you just really, truly have to focus in on it. Yeah. And I think that’s what I did and. Unknowingly. I, I was really naive in that department, in that let’s go further in the real estate side of things. So, okay. So you’re speeding up a little bit here. So you’re, you know, you, you’ve, you already started some businesses at this point.
Are you thinking diversify profit streams or, or revenue streams? Like what are you thinking about when you go into real estate? So it really has to be the buy and hold. I think a lot of people get caught up in the get rich quick of, of it all. So they think of like wholesaling, flipping, houses, fixing and flipping.
HGTV has done a lot to expose that side of the business. You know, sell a house, make $60,000 and less than six months. You know, that’s not reality. That’s reality tv. But the real goal of getting into real estate investing is that you don’t have to have more. You have to have a laser focus. Mm-hmm. And the laser focus is getting that cash flow because once you have buy assets, you know Robert Kiosaki mm-hmm.
Is like the father of this industry in the sense of rowing it to the point that people understand that you have to buy assets. Not jobs and, and I really did get it. My mentor was Carton Sheetz. I’m dating myself when I say that, but he was a brilliant man. Loved him. He was a very tall man and he, he recently passed away, but he was brilliant at making win-win strategies for cash flow.
And I’m so glad I, I learned from him. Wow. And so getting into your, your business a little bit more real masterminds, maybe tell us a little bit more about, you know, how this came about and where, where you started this. So when I met my husband, we got together and it was kind of nice. We had both Brin previously divorced, we got together and we said, let’s build an empire together, you know?
Yeah. And we were able to do that. And Gates. Subs stability for our family. So when you’re, anybody who’s had that pleasure of going through a divorce knows you come out empty handed on the other side, but it’s not a complete defeat because. Nobody can ever take your knowledge and experience away. Mm-hmm.
So it was very easy to rebuild. He had never done it before, but together we were able to build back a, a steady portfolio, and I one day turned to him and said, I think it’s this time that we need to really teach other families how to do it. I’d seen too many families, Crumbled by money. I was, I worked with a lot of abused women.
I had seen women go back to their abusers for money. Mm-hmm. And I thought, Hmm, we could make a difference in this. And Real Masterminds was born and we started an educational program back in, it was called Mentoring Masterminds. We renamed it rail Masterminds, but, It was very successful in turning out these students that actually bought properties, built retirement plans.
You know, surprisingly, the biggest fear of people 50 and older is that they’ll outlive their money or they won’t have enough retirement funds. Real estate, invi investing solves that problem for them, but they don’t know the pathway. There’s a lot of gimmicks around this. There’s a lot of. Hoopla around it.
So just try to cut to the chase. And I’m very proud that 84% of our students actually get into the real estate investing within that first year, which is staggering results for men coaching and mentoring. Yeah, so I’m very happy about real Masterminds and it’s great because I. Like you built a community of professionals in this industry.
It’s not just my way that worked. Yeah. Well, why not take, you know, Tammy Phelps and you know, bill Twyford and all these other really great mentors and put ’em all together. That’s why they’re real masterminds. Yeah. I love that you say that, that it’s a, it’s a collective and it’s a, it’s a community that builds this, because that’s one of the things that I’m like, you know, if you truly want, in my opinion, if you wanna, if you wanna build something that lasts, it has to be bigger than maybe just the founder or just the original idea, like the.
Things evolve, like things change. Doesn’t mean that the principles of the organization have to change, but you know, the ways of delivering, like a lot of different things change. So to get more people involved, like if Mission Matters wouldn’t be anywhere near where we’re at today, if it was just from my ideas.
That’s for sure. It’s all the ideas of our authors of yourself, if everybody combined. That I believe makes something special. Going a little bit further into real masterminds though, like what kind of, I think we can already separate what you don’t do, so it’s. Definitely not a get rich quick type mastermind as you saw.
Yeah. Eloquently already said. But what are the types of things that, you know, the, the participants or the mastermind members get? Like, tell us a little bit more about the education. Sure. So it’s an online training program so that you could do it at your own pace. I used to have classes and it never fit anybody’s schedules, so this is more of an evergreen model.
So that they can learn at their own pace. But what makes it unique is the accountability piece is the assistant coaches, and then also the supplements of what you need, right? Mm-hmm. So, you know, we can assess you very quickly, and you belong into certain buckets, right? Mm-hmm. So it’s like, all right, y you’re starting at this point.
No money. No credit, okay. This is a path that will get you there the fastest, okay? Mm-hmm. You have money, but don’t have time. Okay? Let’s look at this bucket and get you a pathway. Here. You, you’re running out of retirement funds, this bucket here. Mm-hmm. And so we have these, and then the support services behind it.
Like if you need a really good realtor, we match you up with a realtor. That doesn’t work. We’ll find you another one. You need lending, we’ve got that, those resources there so that it’s very integrated so that you become successful. Mm-hmm. So that you have your first project and it’s yours and you have it for life.
That’s the cool part. You know? So it’s very empowering. I think that’s the part of it. We focused on three things. Right? So it was education, empowerment, and building the portfolio. Mm-hmm. And that’s really the three objectives. And so, and I, I will get back to real masterminds in a moment, but maybe let’s pause and take a moment here and also get into Exit Realty, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
So, which, which one of these took place first? Was it the the realty company, or was it the real masterminds, just to get my timeline right? Sure. So it was the Masterminds, it was the real Masterminds, it was the educational part. And the frustrating part is that I’ve, for years I tried to bridge the gap.
Of helping realtors understand the needs of investors, right? Yeah. They get so frustrated, oh, they’re just cheap, and, and they didn’t understand the numbers. So if I felt like if I could educate them, the agents, they could be more synergies between the two. Yeah. Couldn’t find a, a, a real estate company that would align themselves with the same goals we had, which was mm-hmm.
Building wealth for their real estate agents. I mean, how many times do you see real estate agents in their seventies and eighties still doing real estate? Yeah, if they want to. Cuz they have to, cuz they don’t have pensions, they don’t have retirement accounts. They were never taught how to save their investment.
You know, they get a commission and they spend it all. Well, exit built in. A residual model for passive income that works beautifully for real estate investing. Mm-hmm. So once I saw the model within five minutes, I, I said, oh, I get it, I get it. And I bought the first franchise in New York. Loved it. Wow.
And I wanted to grow it in Connecticut, Rhode Island. So I just recently bought that. And that’s my goal is to really. Help empower people to be their own business owners, right? Mm-hmm. Because the real estate agents or their own business owners mm-hmm. And also build wealth for them. That’s the piece that every real estate company is missing and exit supports that and helps them grow.
So full supporter of it. Love the mission. What are some of the things that you look for when you’re looking for an agent to, to join your teams? So we want ones that. Think of a long-term view, right? Mm-hmm. Not just quickly and whether you have a full-time job and you wanna transition in. Those are the agents I wanna really work with because they want to get outta that nine to five.
They want control of their time, they want, they’re hungry to learn. And so those are the type of agents I’m really looking for and are willing to be educated. Mm-hmm. Unfortunately, some of them are too set in their old ways. And you have to think real estate differently, especially post covid. Especially post covid.
You know, NAR has a statistic this year that they expect over 600,000 agents in the US to lead the industry. Wow. That’s a, that’s a lot of agents. That’s a lot of agents, that’s gonna be a significant impact on the community. But I think majority of them are leaving because they don’t have good brokers to, that could educate them how they could truly make a living in this.
Mm-hmm. So that’s the role we wanna take on for this year. Yeah. And then there’s another component to this to this business or this ecosystem I should say. So everyday realty services. So there’s some funding involved too, right? Yep. So one of the things that, you know, traditional brokers and lenders do not understand our industry very well.
You know, they’ll go to Fannie, Freddie FHA products. Well really there’s very few FHA products that match, but Fannie and Freddie, they’ll typically rely on, and these really limit the average investor because typically you could, you cap out it for yes, you can go to 10. The secondary market is.
Dependent on these loans. So they’re, they’re not really set up for their success. They go on their credit report, their DTI is destroyed. So what we teach is how to get financing. Mm-hmm. That is outside your personal credit report. It’s all. In an llc, the loans are in LLCs. They do not report on your personal credit report cuz they’re in a business name.
And so we teach them asset protection at the same time as getting them funded for unlimited amount of deals. So, yeah, I’m really proud of that part too. So, and so when I look at this real ecosystem that you, you’ve created here, you have something for those that want to, you know, many different buckets as you named it.
So whether somebody’s, you know, going into retirement, they’re looking for more income, somebody wants to make a profession of this, and even, you know, maybe somebody want that, you know, I can see that some individuals join your mastermind. They really like it. They’re building a. Portfolio, then they’re thinking about joining the team as well.
And then you think about the funding side of it, you really have created this really like symbiotic relationship that just works well in this ecosystem for real estate. Am I, am I off on this? No, it’s Adam. It was exactly right, but I wish I could say Mastermind that, or I had this like No, it never happens that way.
No, it was just outta service, right? Yeah. It really came outta service. So what I said to the members, right? I got into the educational piece because I had an educational speaker come in. Mm-hmm. And like everybody, I had my own self-doubts, maybe I can’t do it. I’ve got eight children I can’t take on mentoring as students.
Yeah. And this guy robbed them blind and took all their money and never delivered on their educational product. And I was like, oh, my heart went out to them and I’m like, all right, I’m doing this for free, so I have to offset my costs with adding some more that are paying customers. Mm-hmm. Let’s make it a group thing.
Wound up going beautifully. And then I fell in love with it. So then the mentoring was born, but then they came and said, okay, great. Now I, I need to find out where to get the money. Mm-hmm. So then I was like, all right. I started finding all these vendors. They kept failing, and I’m like, oh, so let me create that.
And then they say, okay, now we got the money, but we got no deals. I’m like, all right. We start the brokerage. So, and then you know what it is. So when you come out of the point of service, it really. Works beautifully cuz you’re meeting the needs of your clients. Yeah. And it’s very fulfilling. And now we have, like, now we’ll teach you how to do property management.
Yeah. Because this layers asset protection, you know, as they need them. But yeah, it all Is there a, is there currently or is there on the horizon, like I can see your students yourselves, like doing deals together like a syndication arm. Is that part of the mix yet? Or on the horizon or, yeah, we’ve been doing that successfully for 10 years.
So I’ve been doing private. No, I can see it. It makes sense. You get to know everybody, you know what you’re doing. You know, the same, some of the same knowledge tools and the deals. I mean, what I like about real estate is black and white, like on this stuff, like there’s not, you’re not. Yeah, there’s not too much guesswork other than, you know rehabbing very big.
Of course, of course. I didn’t say it was easy. I didn’t say it was easy. No, no, no. Yeah, I didn’t say there’s not a bunch of different ways to lose money. I just mean like, you at least know what you’re kind of getting into. Exactly. I mean, and there’s always threshold, right? So Yeah. It’s never gonna cost you X, y, Z to wipe you out.
And of course, that’s why I said there’s a lot more education, like educated risk in real estate, right? Because at the end of the day, It’s very forgiving. You can make a lot of mistakes. And I have, yeah. And the real estate over time just keeps improving. And what, once was a loss is now a profit, you know?
Yeah. So the problem is people are not willing to hang in there long enough cuz they’re so impatient, but, Hmm. You know, it was really unique, Adam, ’em, we had our, we also do real estate events every month. Mm-hmm. Right? So we do this for the general public. And the last meeting with the RIA that we did, the Real Estate Investors Association meeting, we did.
For Long Island. We just showed how just four properties, four single family houses connect somebody, a family over 2.3 million in $80,000 a month in cash. 80,000 a year in cash flow. Yeah. Like could a family live off do something with that? I mean, of course they could. Right? So it doesn’t have to be all this craziness.
Mm-hmm. It just needs to be a commitment and follow through and. Not being impatient. Mm-hmm. You know, and that’s using today’s interest rates. Cuz that’s the other thing, right? Mm-hmm. People say, well, you, you did it back in the day when we had interest rates low. Not, not really. It’s, yeah, you know, It’s not like it’s super high, it’s what it was.
Pre covid. That’s all it is, you know? Mm-hmm. So it’s not so bad. What do you think like as you, as you continue to, you know, obviously build this ecosystem, build on you know, on the platform and help more people, like, what do you think is, like, what’s the vision for what’s next with with the real estate platform?
Really, kind of what you said, raising more capital to do larger projects. Mm-hmm. Right. So I wanna create this community, like much like what you did with Mission Matters, bringing them together twice a year on a bigger scale. Raise capital that, you know, we could make more of an impact. Like, I wanna build a, a hotel.
Right now I’m actually in Alabama. That’s why I’m in the hotel room. We’re looking at a, a fairly sized project to take on that. I’d ask my mentoring students if they wanna participate in, and we’re making some offers on those. So, Yeah, it’s fun, you know, I love it when actually in what I do, I’m very happy doing what I do, you know?
Yeah. Oh, I can tell. And we’re not, and as I mentioned kind of on the onset of the interview, so we’re not gonna talk too much about the book today. That’s intentional for everybody listening because we will be bringing Melissa back on the show when the book is actually live and out there. But keeping it high level for today, Melissa, and I know we’re still in editing, getting the content straight, but high level, what are some of the things that you hope to present in the upcoming book?
Just a pathway for whatever point you are in your life. That you can have some security and some peace of mind with some real estate bringing in your cash. I mean, if you knew that you could make an extra $10,000 that you could take your family on a nice vacation every year mm-hmm. And build those memories, wouldn’t it be worth it to invest in yourself and the family to do that?
So yeah, that’s really what I want that book to do is just give a little hope in a time when people feel so crushed with financial matters. So, yeah, that’s what I hope it does. It’s wonderful. I’m gonna stop you there because like I said, I’m bringing you back on. But for today, really it’s been great having you on the show and getting to learn more about your journey, what you do.
I mean, the, the, obviously the, the mastermind you’ve built, your real estate practice, your real estate firm, the lending side of things. I mean, it’s a wonderful ecosystem. That being said, though, Melissa, if somebody wants to connect. Didn’t get involved somewhere in that ecosystem. Whether it’s through the education piece, whether it’s through the purchasing piece or the investing piece, I mean a lot, lot of different ways people can get involved.
What’s the best way for people to follow up and connect with you and your team? Excellent. Thank you so much, Adam. Go to real masterminds.com and schedule an appointment. That’s all. Go click on there, talk to somebody and we’ll help get you started, whether you’re in your beginning stage or you have some and just need to get to the next level, or you really wanna go full-time like bull.
You know, you know, very bullish in your way of investing. Yeah. We, we have all different paths for you, but yeah, real masterminds.com and Adam, it’s always a pleasure talking to you. It’s one, you’re one of my favorite people to actually talk to, cuz you, you just have such a passion for bringing to light.
Other people’s passions and how everybody can help the world just a little bit better when there’s a lot of negativity around. So I’m very grateful to you and your platform and your group. Thank you. Very kind. And we’re grateful for you to, to have you be a part of it really, truly are. And I’m, I’m excited to, to promote this book.
You already know me. I get excited about books the way you get excited about real estate. Yep. So for everybody listening by the way, so we’ll put the website and all of that good stuff in the show notes. So you can just click on the link and head right on over and check out Melissa and her team and, and schedule that appointment.
And speaking of the audience, if this is your first time with Mission Matters or engaging in our platform, Roll about bringing on business owners, entrepreneurs, executives, and experts, and having them share their mission, the reason behind their mission. You know, why they do what they do, like what gets them up in the morning, gets ’em fired up to go out there in the world and make a difference.
And if that’s the type of content that sounds interesting or fun or exciting to you, we welcome you Hit that subscribe button because we have many more mission-based individuals. Coming up on the line and we don’t want you to miss a thing. And Melissa looking forward to promoting this book with you.
And until the next time appreciate you coming on. Thank you so much, Adam.