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Matthew Elam Real Estate Journey: From Active Duty in the Army to Flipping Over 25 Properties

Matthew Elam Real Estate Journey: From Active Duty in the Army to Flipping Over 25 Properties

Please introduce yourself.

Hi, my name is Matt Elam. I was born and raised in Dayton, OH and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point. After serving 5 years of active duty in the Army, I spent several years in corporate America in roles from Lean Six Sigma Master Blackbelt to VP and General Manager at 3 plants. I have 3 wonderful kids; two are serving active duty in the Army and one is a registered nurse/real estate agent. I recently got married to Paula and she has proven to be the love of a lifetime. Since moving back to Ohio in 2006, I have completed 25 fix and flips, mostly with a small crew. I prefer to work on homes within 30 minutes of my residence but have just completed my first in Florida. Going forward, I plan on buying land in Florida and starting new builds.

How did you get started in the real estate business?

In the Army, I was a vertical and horizontal construction platoon leader, so I fell in love with all aspects of construction, road maintenance, and humanitarian efforts. I attended several seminars on real estate, signed up for a mentor, and bought my first flip roughly 9 years ago. After completing 3 flips, I decided to get my real estate license so that I would not be at the mercy of an agent to show homes and save on the fees to relist completed homes. Since then, I have enjoyed helping others find their dream homes, continued to do flips and represented buyers and sellers. I received my broker’s license in 2018 and now have 18 agents.

What are some hot markets for real estate that you are excited about?

Ohio continues to be a hot real estate market, but there is a lot of competition for limited deals.  Therefore, I am turning my attention to Florida where you can still get hurricane-damaged homes, vacant lots, and large parcels of land to develop.

How do you source your real estate deals?

I have sourced deals through bank loans, lines of credit, home equity, private lender, and most recently hard money.  I chose hard money lender as all my liquidity is currently tied up in land, 2 homes, and a commercial office space.

What are some checks and balances you’ve put in place to protect your real estate transactions?

Always make sure to properly insure all properties and operate under a LLC or trust to protect personal assets.

What is one piece of advice you would give someone starting their real estate career?

Make sure to save enough money to complete projects. Pick contractors wisely, especially if you don’t know how to do the tasks yourself. Don’t go for the cheapest contractor as you WILL get what you pay for. It will cost you double because you will most likely have to redo their work to get a good finished product in the end.

What is one software you use for your business and recommend to others?

I keep it basic with Excel to track expenses and profits. I will then upload the final numbers to Quickbooks for an accountant to prepare taxes.

What is your superpower in life? (What are you really good at? Please explain)

I’m still trying to figure this one out. I’m really good at all aspects of construction but I take on too much myself as I don’t trust the quality of work that I have found in Ohio. To be successful in this business, you have to work on the business not always in it! I’m still working on that lesson, but feel I am on the verge of greatness and bigger things once I sell all the properties I have.

What is a failure you’ve had in life that set you up for eventual success?

I wouldn’t say I had major failures; they are all lessons and/or education of what NOT to do. The true lesson is whether you learned from those mistakes, put systems into place, and not make them in the future.

What is one book that has influenced your life the most? Why?

I can’t really say one book influenced my life, but seminars have.  If I had to pick one book, it would be Think and Grow Rich.  Seminars have influenced me more, especially Tony Robbins and the late Bob Proctor.

  • April 11, 2022
  • 4 min read
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