Odds are if you are a real estate investor or have clients that invest, you’ve heard of Brie Schmidt. In addition to running her own firm, Second City Real Estate, Brie is a featured speaker at many real estate conferences. On BiggerPockets (the largest real estate forum in the country) she is recognized as one of the most prominent experts in the buy-and-hold space. She manages over 90 units of her own and teaches others how to do the same. This May she will be hosting the Midwest Real Estate Networking Summit in Chicago with 20+ speakers and 300+ attendees!
D.J. Paris 0:15
Hello and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real. The only podcast made by Chicago real estate agents for Chicago real estate agents. My name is DJ Paris, I am your host, and just wanted to say thank you for continuing to listen and support this podcast. If this is your first episode, we interviewed top producing brokers in the Chicagoland area to ask them how they became successful have them tell their story in hopes that other brokers who are interested in increasing their production, getting to those high levels can maybe learn a few things. So we appreciate you paying attention to these episodes and listening. Also, we’re always open to suggestions. So if you have any ideas of how we can make the show better, or other brokers maybe we haven’t yet reached out to, you can definitely send us a note. And you can find us on our website, which also has every episode we’ve ever published streaming live there, which is keeping it real pod.com. So definitely visit there. You can sign up, you can get emailed every time we publish a new episode. Please also subscribe on your phone on your podcast app, whether it’s iTunes or Google Play or any other podcast app, you should be able to find us. And also we do send out information on our Facebook page, which is keeping it real pod. So look us up there. We have an interview coming up in just a few moments with Brie Schmidt. So thank you again for listening and onto our interview.
Okay, today on the show, we have Bree Schmidt and I actually have known of Bree and I believe I have spoken to breathe and once prior she’s she’s was at the very top of our list when we first started this podcast about people that we wanted to have on the show cuz she’s so interesting and super fun, but let me tell you a little bit more about Bri. Bri started purchasing investment properties in 2011 when she founded the BBS apartments, and she currently owns and manages over 90 rental units in Chicago and Milwaukee. She is the managing broker of Second City Real Estate, a boutique brokerage, working with real estate investors who want to start or add to their buy and hold portfolio. Second City Real Estate is a brokerage comprised of buy and hold investors that specialize in assisting buyers to acquire two to four unit residential properties in Chicagoland. They leverage their experience educate clients about all aspects of the investment process. They teach how to analyze potential properties, calculate return on investment, advice on best landlording practices, how to effectively market and lease rental properties. They work closely with clients to understand support and help execute real estate investing goals. Bree is also a top producer. If you are a broker and you are involved in bigger pockets, Bree is all over bigger pockets. She has been a guest on a tons of different podcasts. And she speaks she does everything. So we’re so excited to have her Welcome to the show.
Brie Schmidt 3:11
Thank you for having me.
D.J. Paris 3:12
Well, thank you because you are incredibly busy. And you are right now you are in the process of planning a real estate Summit. Like was it a three day summit or might might even be longer, right?
Brie Schmidt 3:22
It’s a three day Summit coming up in May. That’s going to be in the Chicago market. We’re locking down contracts on dates and venues currently up and it’s gonna have 300 over 300 attendees. And it’s going to be an educational summit for different types of investors, either you know, newbies looking to get started to experience investors on how to navigate investments in the Chicagoland area.
D.J. Paris 3:47
And if you’re interested in getting up to date information about the the summit go to Midwest ar e summit.com. So Midwest RV summit.com. But brief, I want to go all the way back to the beginning of your real estate career. And tell us a little bit how you got started.
Brie Schmidt 4:05
So my story is a bit untraditional. I started the idea of real estate started when I in 2000. When I was 17 years old, my parents were selling their house and the I remember coming home from school and the agent was over. And she was at our you know, kitchen table signing the contract with my parents. We just got to talking and she was a very successful agent in the suburbs. Very like the mom on American Beauty type, you know what I mean? And was like you are destined to be in real estate. I was like really? And she was like huge. Like, I’ve been doing this for 40 years, like you are going to be the best real estate agent ever. And I was like, sure that sounds like a good idea. You know, and I hadn’t had any plans for college. I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my life. So at the time I said I was 17 the state laws that I couldn’t be licensed till I was 21. So we actually tried to get me an exemption as soon as I turned 18 To let me be lice. Since when I was 18, but didn’t go through. So I worked for her as an unlicensed assistant, a few days a week for a few years, and didn’t go to college. Because you know, as soon as I turned 21, I was going to be this top real estate agent, and it was going to be awesome. And, you know, I took my classes when I was 20, I took my licensing exam, like the day I turned 21, I quit my job to be a full time realtor, and I hated it. I absolutely hated it. I think I had maybe two or three closings and I was out within nine months, I found it really, really hard to be 21 years old, and to communicate to people effectively as a, as a position of someone who is experienced and trusted. Because I was so young, A, B, I also didn’t realize at the time, I didn’t realize I was older, that I just don’t communicate on an emotional level. So it was really hard for me too, to see eye to eye with people when I remember, you know, showing them three houses. And I was breaking it down based on like, here’s the cost per square footage. And here’s what makes the best sense from an appreciation standpoint. And they were just coming to me and saying it doesn’t feel like home. And I couldn’t I couldn’t really relate, I was also gotten to emotionally immature at that point to really understand how to communicate effectively and get my point across. So by the time I was 22, I was already out of real estate. And I went into advertising sales where I stayed for about almost 10 years and built a very long term great career doing that. During that 10 years, though I always held my license at a holding company, I always said you know, my job was always you can get fired from sales at any given point. So I was like, Well, if I ever get fired, I could always go to residential real estate or do leasing, my license is still active, that was always going to be my my backup plan. It wasn’t until 2011 When I started looking for properties with my then fiance. And, you know, we started planning out our life and you know, where we wanted to live in the city, what we could afford, and investment properties came up as an option. You know, so at that point, it was just the two of us, we didn’t have any kids, we didn’t need a single family house. But we also didn’t really want to buy a condo, and the two to four unit came into play. So we bought a three unit and Albany Park with the intentions of you know, we’re gonna live on the top floor. And then the way that the layout is, it can be quite easy to eventually D convert it to one single family house just moving a couple of walls, but the staircases would be existing. So we’re like, Okay, well, when we’ve got a couple of kids will, will duplex down and then we’re gonna need more space, we’ll we’ll do Plex down to the basement. So it was never an intention of being an investor or buying more properties. The original intention was like, Oh, we just will buy a house that we could eventually grow into.
So that’s how it kind of got started. And I was like, I was still working full time in corporate and really didn’t think much about it. It wasn’t until about a year after we bought our first property that we had a death in the family. And we had a my father passed away, literally one day before he was supposed to retire after 25 years of working in the post office. And, you know, he always talked about when I retire, I’m gonna go do this. And when I retire, I’m gonna go travel here. And it really hit us hard that, you know, we might not we always talk about retiring when we’re in our 60s. But what happens if you don’t get there? You know, and what kind of life are we living now, where, you know, God forbid, we take our whole two week vacation at the same time. That’s how corporate works. So that’s not the lifestyle that we want for ourselves. So it really impacted everything to be honest, and kind of changed the path of our thought process of, you know, what do what’s our ultimate end goal, like? What do we want to accomplish out of our lives? Do we want to, you know, not have to put our kids in daycare when they’re three months old? Do we want to be able to travel and not have to worry about how much vacation time we have, you know, what happens if one of us loses our jobs? Right? How are we going to be able to financially sustain that and sat down and really thought about like the next 510 1520 25 years of our lives? And the answer was real estate for us. You know, we we looked at a couple of different things. But once we decided that real estate was what we were going to do, we kind of created a plan of how to accomplish that. So it’s kind of crazy. And I always talk about you know my six year this was six years ago so this was August in 2011. When we bought the property it was July in 2012 when the the passing happened my my father I have six year old self would be in awe of where things have gotten today. And none of this was really intentional. Like, it all just kind of snowballed to where it’s at. So, now I own 31 properties, I have over 90 units, I quit my job in 2014 to run the business full time, my husband retired in 2015. So it just kind of snowballed to the point where it’s at today.
D.J. Paris 10:26
And how did you transition from buying, you know, the first property the three flat to then your second, you know, because again, the first one wasn’t necessarily an investment, the intention and intentional investment. And then when you guys made your plan, how did you? How did you figure out exactly what types of investments you were going to focus it on?
Brie Schmidt 10:46
Um, that’s a really good question. I had no formal training, I had never read, I never talked with another investor, I had never read a book about investing. It was all just what made sense in my head. So luckily, I made smart decisions. It could have completely like now that I know what I know now. And now having done this so many times and work with so many clients to do this, like, I was playing with fire back then, I could have really made some really stupid bad decisions. And, you know, in this adult game of Monopoly, like I call it, we’re talking about 10s of hundreds of 1000s of dollars here, it’s not like, Oh, I lost, you know, 20 bucks, it’s like a screw up can lose you $100,000 No problem. So the second one is the, the passing in my family, it happened in July of 2012. By October, we started looking for our second property. And we we closed on that property in December of 2012. So we moved quite quickly, and is that it was all just based on numbers. i It’s actually a kind of a funny story, I was under contract for three unit in Bucktown. And at the end of the day, like I made the verbal offer, I was ready to make the the official offer, I started to have doubts. And I was like, You know what, like, I think this property is actually really high priced. And I’m not sure it’s going to appraise and you know, it’s gonna cash flow, but only if, like, you know, the property was pretty new. Right? But it’s only going to cash flow if we actually don’t have any repairs. And so it really kept me up at night, worrying about am I making the right decision? So I ended up calling the guy I was like, Listen, you know, I’m having doubts. I don’t like doing things when I’m not 100%. Sure. So I know I gave you a verbal, but I’m not going to submit an offer. And he responded back and said, That’s fine. Like we’ve got 10 properties in the market, if you want to consider these other ones. And so he had sent me the spreadsheet. And I just looked at the numbers and there was two in mind, they were actually in Portage Park that had the highest profit, right based on what the current rents are, what my mortgage would be. Right? And I wasn’t really properly at least figuring in repairs, capex vacancy, all the things that a proper analysis should, and I ended up going on a contract for both properties. So I was gonna buy two at the same time. One didn’t appraise out, it was really difficult trying to do two properties at the same time, because they were both contingent on each other. So we agreed to drop the one close on the other one. And then as soon as that one closed, we were going to go under contract again, with a different lender, and they ended up selling it. In the meantime, which was fine. But I bought in Portage Park before I bought a legal three unit in Portage Park, before the new development was announced. So that property, I just appraised for almost double my money. And I haven’t done anything to it, besides just letting it sit there and do very minor repairs as they’ve come up.
D.J. Paris 13:40
It’s amazing. And so over time, you just started developing a better sense of what kind of investments you think made the most sense, or was it always strictly numbers? Or did you look at certain neighborhoods more favorably?
Brie Schmidt 13:55
So it’s a little bit of both right. And one of the things that I do when I consult with clients when they’re looking to buy is I try to explain to them like it’s a piece of pie, right? And there’s only so much pie to be had. And you can choose which piece of that pie is going to be bigger, right? That’s your choice as the client, and the four pieces are location, price, cash flow and condition. Right? So if you told me like, hey, I want a cash flowing property in Bucktown, and my budget $600, my response is going to be that’s awesome. Find another agent? Sure. I can’t do that for you. Right. So it just it’s a matter of figuring out right? What is best for you. You know, if cash flow is your number one issue, you have to be open about location. Right? If location is going to be your number one issue, you’re going to sacrifice on cash flow. It’s as simple as that. And so it’s about teaching and understanding that there is no there’s no one way about doing this right. Everyone’s got different, different goals right different priorities and Figuring out what works best for that person. So for me, it was cash flow. I knew nothing about Portage Park. I had never even been to Portage Park. I’ve gotten that was luck, right me buying in that area before it started to appreciate. My first property was an Albany Park. That one wasn’t necessarily luck. That’s also an area that’s appreciated drastically since 2011. But that was something that as I started looking at properties and areas, I noticed that there was, you know, by the Kedzie, brown line stop. This was again back in 2011. That new condo conversion building, I believe it was a Conlon building had had been in the middle of being done. So I noticed that there was there was signs of revitalization before the market crashed. And it’s next to two train stops. It’s got North Park University. It’s got Northeastern Illinois University, it’s got River Park. So my thoughts were, hey, when the market bounces back, this area is primed for development, right? It’s got so many local amenities, how could it not be a great market? And that’s what I bought based off of?
D.J. Paris 16:02
That’s amazing. And what point because you’re very prominent in the online community, bigger pockets, and probably other investment communities as well. But when did you when did you start, you know, getting involved in bigger pockets, or at least posting and learning from them.
Brie Schmidt 16:18
It’s a super, it’s a funny story to me, because it’s the I described my life as pre BiggerPockets. And post. Because it was such an integral piece in my my development and where I’ve come. So at that point is that we bought a property in 2011, we bought another one, I think it was like January 3 2012, or December, end of December, then we bought another one in 2013. And that was a property for us to live in. It was an old two flat that was partially converted to a single family. So we completed a D conversion, we did about $150,000 renovation on it. And I was looking to do a cash out refinance. But the property has got quirky zoning. So I was Googling just a very general zoning question. And this website popped up was someone that had asked that same question. And I was like, oh my god, this is a form of investors. And that started the downward spiral into this bubble or world of investing. Because if anyone doesn’t know what BiggerPockets is, it is a social platform for real estate investors. But it’s built on the premise of paying it forward. So it is a community of I think, almost 600,000 investors across the world, who don’t charge for their advice, and whose primary goal is to help out other people and answer their questions for free. Right. So I posted on the site, and I remember like, within the first day, I had 10 experienced investors giving me their opinions about how they would handle it or what their experience was. I was like, Holy crap, like, this is awesome. And I just started getting involved with the community. And you know, people would ask a question, and I knew the answer to that question. So I started responding. And then you know, next thing, you know, was like, I think a month later, I get an email from them. Like, you’ve gotten an award, I’m like, sweet, what’s an award, like, you’ve got the attic award, that means you’ve been logged into the site every single day for 30 days. I’m like, that’s a problem. And, you know, like, it just it just completely consumed my life. Because I had this whole world of people that liked to talk about things that I like to talk about. And it was a whole level of knowledge base way above and beyond with at that time I knew. And I just went when dove right in so said within, within six months, I think I found bigger pockets. It was Thanksgiving weekend. And by Fourth of July that year, I’d quit my corporate job, my six figure salary. And I bought 10 new properties and decided to do this full time. So it was really the learning them helping me the learning curve A be the support system, knowing that if I ever get in a situation where I don’t know the answer, I’ve got hundreds of 1000s of people that will help me out. And that’s kind of how I jumped in and learned.
D.J. Paris 19:06
Yeah, I mean, Bree is so prominent on bigger pockets, at least here in the local Chicago area, because there is ways to sort of narrow even posts down by geographic, like zip codes. And it’s really, it’s got a really nice social component, in addition to just being this amazing form of of information to Bri is very prominent. And I imagine I’m just curious, I don’t I don’t know that this would be the case. But just because over time you’ve established yourself as such a knowledge source. I’m wondering if that’s attracted a lot of investors to reach out to you directly to you know, to do do buys or do purchases or sales.
Brie Schmidt 19:43
That’s that leads into how the brokerage business, right like I’m an investor first, and that’s that was that was an is my primary focus. But that’s exactly how the brokerage business started. Remember this time I was still working corporate. My license had been in With a holding company for about 10 years, so I hadn’t taken on a client in 10 years, I didn’t like clients. Because they were just talking about emotional or, you know, I’m like, not gonna do that again. And so part of how this all came into fruition was you know, I did a podcast with bigger pockets. I started doing podcasts nationally, I started getting invited to, to speak at national conferences. I speak at about eight to 10 events a year, locally and nationally. And I also host on a networking event in the Chicagoland area, I started hosting that in 20 would have been 2014. And I remember being at one of the events, and one of the guys came up to me, it was like, listen, like, you know, you’re an agent, right? I’m like, well, technically, yeah, but I don’t take on clients. I’m just an agent to do my own deals. And he’s like, I cannot find an agent to teach me about investing. Like, they’re all They’re just retail. They know, condos. They know single family houses. But they don’t know, like, what capex is. They don’t know what proper vacancy is, you know, can you help me? And time I was like, Yeah, I’m kind of bored. Like, I guess I could, you know, like, I have nothing really going on. And I’m like, Yeah, I’m sure I could, I didn’t have a car. Right. Like, I couldn’t go do showings. So like, he had to pick me up. And I actually found out I really, really liked it. So it’s been, that was August of 2014, is when I took on my first client. And then just other people started asking me like, Hey, I heard you were working with so and so can you help me too. So at that time, I was still quite involved with my Milwaukee side of the business. So I was only looking at taking on three clients at a time, I was very aware of my time commitment to things as I am today. You know, if you go back to the beginning of all this, I don’t work to work, I work to create a lifestyle for myself, and to travel when I want and to to enjoy my life. That’s my end goal. That is what everything every decision I ever made, or do make is built around. How does that affect my ability to live my life like I want it? So the time for the first two years, I only took on three clients at a time because I did not want to create a workload for myself that I that would, you know, go into my own personal time would handicap you. Sure. Yeah. So it wasn’t until my my investment business got to a point that I could run it without having to physically go to Milwaukee every week, run it to the point where, you know, I’m just I’m, I’m down to maybe 20 hours a month running that business. Once I freed up more time taking away from that business and got that up and running, I was able to free up time to allow for the brokerage business. And that’s when things started to get maybe out of control if some people might consider it. But the from the time I went from what I would consider a part time agent to my first full year, my business almost quadrupled. Year over a year and it got it now is my full time focus is working with clients.
D.J. Paris 23:05
And I imagine all of those clients find you or at least almost all those clients, I’m sure find you instead of you going out and sourcing them is that fair to say?
Brie Schmidt 23:15
I’ve never done any sort of outbound marketing or advertising. So I’ve never done direct mail I’ve never done done Google AdWords or my website isn’t even really a website, it’s more of a blog. And so I’ve never done like SEO or AdWords or any of that stuff. My clients all come from referrals, mainly and do not working. And it’s through, you know, conferences I speak at, or podcast. Also through again, in bigger pockets. For years I’ve been, you know, I’ve been always been in a position of paying it forward. So even just between Friday and this morning, I had six phone calls, with potential new clients who’ve reached out to me again, sometimes they’re they’re not really looking to buy, right sometimes it’s just me giving them information about the market, or helping them walk through what their goals are, and seeing if this market will deliver this sort of the sort of product or investment properties per se, um, to reach their goals and at the end of the day, that might not be what they’re looking for. But I will always take the phone call and do as we call it, onboarding, an onboarding consultation, like hey, you know, this is what this market will will give you this is what you know, it will dictate and so if this isn’t the market for you, that’s okay. I can refer you to another agent or give you advice on other markets that I do know of that will help you reach your goals but it all comes down to what the investors goals are.
D.J. Paris 24:41
And are you as as either an investor yourself or the investors you work with? Are you exclusively at this point looking just in Chicago? Are you also looking back at Milwaukee or even other markets?
Brie Schmidt 24:54
For for me as an investor I stopped purchasing properties in 2015 for myself personal So, I, so I have my I have my license as a managing broker in Illinois, I also have my brokers, which is the equivalent, they do brokers and sales persons in Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, I do not take on clients in Wisconsin and is not worth a three hour round trip drive for, you know, $100,000 properties for me to do it, and it’s much more labor intensive. So I stopped purchasing properties in 2015, when I hit my personal goal, which was $35,000 a month gross rental income. Right? That was the number that well, a my friends husband made me agree to, because it’s, at some point, he’s like, Listen, this is getting out of control, right? When’s Enough Enough, like you have to put a number or attach a number to this. Because if you don’t like I was just I was all in. And he’s like, You got to put a number to it and and hit a point where Enough is enough. And for us, that was $35,000 a month gross rental income that would allow both of us to quit our jobs, right and not have to work unless we wanted to work. Sure. So we hit that goal in May of 2015. And that’s when I also started working with partners. So I have purchased properties since 2015. They are just with strategic partnerships that I have. So I’ve got three partners that buy property with me. I never wanted to be in a position where I was competing with them. So I never wanted them to feel like oh man Brees taking the good stuff and giving us the leftovers. So that was part of the deal was once I was ready, they all two of them waited a year, almost a year and a half to work with me. And I explained why. So that they could be my priority, right? They always I always want them to be my number one priority. So we’ve acquired more properties. Since then, under my joint LLC is my next purchase is probably going to be in Chicago again. I like the balance of the two markets. And one thing that’s why go back to the goals. Right? Chicago, Northside is what I would describe as an A B market. It’s a very balanced market of cash flow and appreciation. Right? It’s going to take you a lot of money, though to invest in Chicago to replace your monthly insure. It’s as simple as that Milwaukee or like Southside Chicago or Northwest Indiana, or what we call cashflow markets. So those markets are very little appreciation potential, but much more on the monthly cash flow potential. So I like the balance of the two, each one provides different goals for me. So Chicago is my my long term wealth building portfolio. Right? I’m not going to get rich on my monthly rental income or my monthly cash flow. But the appreciation that I’ve received in Chicago over the years, I’ve been able to pull out and redeploy that capital into investments, right? So it’s increased my long term wealth. Milwaukee, on the other hand, pays my monthly bills. So that’s what generates the cash flow that is monthly, but when I sell it, right, I’m not going to be profiting very much. But now our portfolio, we’re just just at $59,000 a month gross rental income across all my all my properties.
D.J. Paris 28:07
It’s amazing. And just to recap, you’ve only really been investing in this way for like five years. That’s a pretty incredible achievement.
Brie Schmidt 28:17
It was a really crazy year. So I’m one of those people that when I decide to do something, I just go and do it no matter what the consequences are, that can work out good or bad for me, depending on the situation. I mean, but I went and bought 18 properties in less than 12 months. You know, like it was I think I bought 51 units in less than 12 months. And if I were to do it over again, right, I probably would have done it a little bit slower. It definitely caused it cost me a lot of money in the long run. Because we were going like as soon as we got you know, one set of properties, you know, righted we righted the ship, right, we dealt with tenants moving out was before we even met them, we dealt with unknown problems that we didn’t know we had, you know, once we we got that part of the buildings stabilized. I was buying another one. And then so we went through like a year and a half, almost two years straight of as soon as we would get it like to a good point, we didn’t relax, we just went right into it and did it again. And I didn’t stop to really think about the systems and the processes necessary. Right. I was lucky that I understood the basic foundations of investing from doing this myself in 2011 through 2013. That really, really helped me but I probably I might my guess is I probably have lost $100,000 Over the last six years by by doing it too fast. Is that a learning lesson? I learned of course what I would have done differently, maybe maybe not. But I definitely learned quick so that
D.J. Paris 29:51
and I want to go back and I’m sorry to change topics but I wanted to go back to something you said and you talked about this idea of paying it forward, in particular with information Going around investing and, and bigger pockets is a great community where you can learn from from people who are willing to be generous enough to talk about the things they know. And bigger pockets. It’s like $100 a year, it’s incredibly inexpensive, but I wanted to pay you a compliment. It’s just I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this till, as you were speaking and mentioned that paying it forward thing you actually did that to me once, not about not with respect to investment information or bigger pockets, but I believe a broker had contacted you about maybe joining your team or I’m not exactly even sure what the context was, but you reached out to us or me or my my boss, Nick, and said, Hey, I have a broker that might be that might be a good fit for your firm. And by the way, I’ve been recruiting Realtors for seven years, we have about 600 brokers here. So I have a lot of experience going out and finding brokers on my own, I can count maybe that has happened one other time in seven years where another managing broker reached out to me and said, I have somebody that would be a good fit. Managing brokers don’t typically do that. Because you know, they would probably want that person to work at their firm. And I don’t even remember who this person was at this point. But I wanted to say like, that is a perfect example of just how generous and thoughtful you are we you and I weren’t friends. So you know, so to speak, that the fact that you even thought to do that was was very kind and generous. So I just wanted to say like, that really speaks to who you are. And you probably don’t you probably remember doing that. But I remember I do. I just
Brie Schmidt 31:27
did it again two weeks ago, I just talked to him on Friday about it, he was about to give notice to his current brokerage and go work. So, I mean, it’s right, this is this is my whole philosophy on life, and what my philosophy on life is, goes through every, every decision that I make, every everything that I do goes towards what I want out of my life. So a I don’t need the money to make someone needs to make their own decisions, right? I can’t make decisions for you. So in that particular case, and the case from the guy from two weeks ago, you know, he called me and said, Listen, like I’m with my brokerage, I’m not sure I’m getting what I think I should be getting. And I suggest that you guys, because he’s a professional flipper, he does new construction development. You know, he’s not an agent that works with retail clients. That’s not what he wants to do. But he’s looking for a place to sell his own deals and work with a very small network of referrals. I think kale is a perfect fit for you, you know, the way that they’re structured, right? It will give you optimal, your optimal commission back to you. And they have enough support system to fulfill exactly what you do. I don’t necessarily need to make money off of you. But it needs to be a decision that works best on your goals. So I said even with people that call me about investing, right, I’ll give anyone an hour on the phone, that’s my rule. And I got, it might not even lead to a monetary benefit for me. But at least I can help you determine what your goals are, and what’s going to be the best fit for you. And then again, it all goes back to what my lifestyle is. I do not want a team of agents. Like I’ve actually had lunch with Nick, I got approached about a year ago from a friend from Ohio, who was looking to start a brokerage company in Chicago and wanted me to work with him on my losing my license. And I actually asked Nick out to lunch and was like, Can you walk me through this? And I left that meeting be like No, no, not gonna happen. Like I, I do not want to I do not want to manage a bunch of agents, right? I do not want to do that. Right? I want to do what I love to do, which is I get to talk to investors all day long. And I get to analyze properties all day long. And I get to help them make decisions that are going to impact the rest of their life and their kids lives. Right. And it’s about the strategy and the goal setting and how are we going to get there? And you know, all that is super fun to me. Managing other agents and being a mommy and having to, you know, deal with, that’s not fun, for sure. So, I like to do what I have fun doing.
D.J. Paris 34:03
Absolutely. I mean, I think you’re you are so incredibly clear about what you want out of this business and also just in life in general, I think you’ve gotten really crystal clear. And then you just like you’ve said your own words you’ve you’re all in. And and I think the giving part of it is so obviously it was so obvious, but to the listeners but also probably a key component of your success. Aside from being very savvy and knowing exactly what you’re doing. I think this idea of giving back I mean, you are synonymous in the Chicago land investment world with information and just knowing more than I think maybe other people you’ve really established yourself without the self promotion. Just literally being a knowledge source has made you an expert without having for you to even say you’re an expert. I mean, you know that you are known and I think that’s really impressive. Because I think a lot of people Fake it until they make it I don’t think you’ve done that at all. I think you made it and then said, oh, you know, when people followed along, I think that’s really impressive.
Brie Schmidt 35:04
It was definitely opposite. I said, That’s why my six year old self, if my, if you asked me six years ago, if I would have my own brokerage company with four agents, you know, and dealing with investors, I would have laughed because back then I like there’s no way to ever be an agent, I don’t like clients. Um, you know, so I was just lucky enough to find a niche, right, which I enjoy. And I get to talk with people and educate them on topics that I enjoy. And I’m obviously very passionate about, regardless if they’re my client or not, or they decide to work with me or not, I’m really big about people making their own decisions. And one of the things that we do these onboarding calls, which are mainly around expectations, right, what are your goals? What do you want to accomplish, and is what we have available to you going to fit into those goals and accomplishments. And one of the things that we talk about a lot is how we sleep at night, you know, and I always tell clients, like, Listen, my job at the end of the day, is not to talk you into buying a property, my job at the end of the day is to teach you enough and educate you enough. So that when a property comes up that you like you are 100% confident in making that decision. Because the worst thing in the world any of us can do, especially with with investment properties is worry or set or self doubt ourselves, right? This is not, this is not 20 bucks, that you’re losing here, this is potentially hundreds of 1000s of dollars. You know, this needs to be something that you go to bed at night, and you sleep like a baby, I sleep like a baby, I do every single night, sometimes with a bottle of wine helps, too. But you because I’m solid and all my choices, you know, of every investment property that I bought, I don’t buy anything that I’m not 100% Sure on. So it’s my job to teach you to get to that level where you feel comfortable making that decision. Right. I don’t want you up worrying at night. Did I overspend? You know, or how are we going to pay for this? Or our type? Our cash flow is super tight? Like what if? What if a refrigerator goes out? Right? How are we going to pay for that? Never want to be in that position as an investor. It’s very scary. And I’ve seen over the years and talk to you plenty of investors who have fallen right and gone from you know, they just they didn’t didn’t focus on the foundations. Right. And they didn’t, they weren’t well capitalized, and they weren’t conservative enough. And then something happens and boom, you can lose it like that. You know, last week I had last week was a really fun week for me. Last week, I had a client lose his job. Six days before closing that was super fun. My turnkey reviews website, which is another website that I run, got a virus. So that’s been down for the last week. And then I had to tenants just up and leave. Like January 1 hit, we got a call from energy company like hey, they turned off gas service because they moved out on my That’s a surprise. You know, so it was a really crazy week for me. But if I’m not well capitalized and prepared, you know that that was two tenants that just vacated they didn’t pay rent, right? They didn’t clean? Um, you know, if I don’t have the money to cover my mortgage that month, what’s going to happen? And that’s one of the preparations you need to make for for being an investor.
D.J. Paris 38:14
Yes. And yeah, I you know, so it’s, it’s funny, do you do all of your own property management? Or do you outsource that?
Brie Schmidt 38:25
I used to, I used to do it all. And that said, when 24 Up until 2014 2015, I did it all myself. I had a I had a manager that had assisted me, but I ran the business, all the accounting, all the decisions. And then he did like the day to day like he handled only the maintenance calls or the lease ups. It wasn’t until it was until 2015 that I decided I had to hire out professional management. And again, it went back to my time commitment. Right, where’s my time best spent? I was going up to Milwaukee, you know, every week. Of course, you know, when anything happened in Chicago with my brokerage. It always happened on days I was in Milwaukee Sure. Of course. Oh, of course. So like, I would end up on the side of the road with my hotspot trying to DocuSign contracts to people, you know, and it was just like, this is out of control. I can’t do both. And I had to decide, you know, where where I wanted to spend my time. And i i The picking up of the investment properties, the analog, the analyzing, right, that’s all fun for me, but the day to day is not fun for me. So I hired that out. So I’ve got two full time managers that manage my Milwaukee portfolio. I’ve got a manager that manages my Airbnb property here in Chicago. And then I self manage my rentals here in Chicago because they’re super easy. And then I just manage all of the managers that got me down to about you know, 510 hours a week tops, and that gave me 20 hours a week to do broke. Sure. So that’s when I made the switch and focused my my What I was doing with my day to day, well, let’s talk
D.J. Paris 40:02
you know, if there are investors that are listening, and we do have investors who listen to the show and they’re interested in, in working with you directly what’s the best way they should reach out to you?
Brie Schmidt 40:13
So my new website, which is hopefully coming up soon, would be second city dash rt.com. That should be up by the end of January. If not, you can always email me at Chicago Bri. Obviously, Chicago and the word Bri b r i email@example.com. Or you can find me on bigger pockets or LinkedIn. That’s generally where I spend a lot of my time.
D.J. Paris 40:36
Wonderful. Well, Bree, you I think you’ve said it all. And we’re so I’m so excited to have you on the show. So thank you very much. Is there anything else we need to oh, well, let’s plug in the real estate networking summit one more time to get more information about this three day summit that Bree is putting together herself 300 attendees, many, many speakers, it’s Midwest, ar e summit.com. And, and if you’re not, and if you’re a broker, and you’re not that familiar with investments, get on bigger pockets, start learning, because you you know, you may find that once you develop the skill set of being able to work with investors, you might find like Brita that she that you prefer to do that and just you know, throwing deals their way. Again, you might find you like that better than traditional, you know, retail clients. But Bree, thank you so much for being on the show. We really appreciate it.
Brie Schmidt 41:28
Thanks for having me.