who emailed me that are just telling me they know what they’re doing. I guess somebody vetted you already.’” The tougher lessons Rodriguez learned during his real estate journey might not have been as joyful, but they helped put him on the successful path that he’s on today. When he first started out at 19 years old, he admits he didn’t know what he should be watching for. Now, Rodri- guez watches market trends, bond markets and every- thing in between. He’s also much more conservative when it comes to investing. “I know that probably sounds like an oxymoron com- ing from a person that buys and sells homes within four months,” Rodriguez said. “But it really is. My model is to get in and out so quick to try to make sure if a market adjustment happens, that I am beating that adjustment.” Rodriguez also avoids purchasing overleveraged prop- erties. His deals are so conservative that a 30 percent market downturn would not hurt him or his fellow inves- tors. Rodriguez also has no problem pumping his invest- ment brakes for periods of time if he doesn’t like what he sees from the market at a given time. For example, two winters ago, he decided his company would not purchase any houses during the fourth quarter. He just focused on unloading the inventory it had at the time. His instinct was wrong—the market kept increasing, but having been through the pain that comes from losing everything at one point, Rodriguez would much rather be safe than sorry going forward. “I have no regrets that I slowed us down,” he said. “It’s all about living to fight another day—that’s kind of my mantra now. And I think if you’re buying right on day one, you’ll survive. We definitely try to do that. I’m such a steward of my money—I’ll lose mine before I lose yours. I’ll be more aggressive with mine, but if you’re investing with me, I have to play it smart.” “I think I’ll be the guy that outlasts a lot of people by just being smart with my money. I don’t overleverage in my personal life or the properties I flip versus the first time around. I would have survived the first time around if I had had any savings,” he said. If there were any advice Rodriguez would share with someone entering the real estate industry, it would be to be patient. He’s noticed that aspiring real estate investors want their first deal so badly that they’re willing to take a bad deal, just to get one under their belt. “If you do your first deal and lose $20,000 or $30,000, that is the quickest way to never do a second one,” he said. “Have the patience to say no and the wherewithal to under- stand you have to know what your comparables are. In my opinion, money is made at the purchase, not the sale.” •

“I have the credibility and am the one who’s listed so many houses a year,” he said. “I’ve had people reach out to say they want to partner with me, but I don’t take part- ners anymore. I needed a partner in my younger days, but now if you want to partner with me, you can let me borrow the money and I’ll pay you seven or eight percent in six- to 12-month increments. You could be a part of that journey.” Claremont Capital investors are also made aware of where their money is going. Rodriguez has worked to generate more social media content that shows his investors the exact houses in which they invested through the fund. Thanks to his enhanced production background from his HGTV days, Rodriguez can output better quality content than most. Meanwhile, investors are excited to see where their money has gone and that they’re getting a nice return. “It’s a little bit different from just a normal fund that asks investors for $1 million, and then they have no idea what’s being done with it,” Rodriguez said. “It’s about 20 years of starting from regular loans to foreclosure real estate, to investment real estate, to flipping, to now back to a mortgage division. It’s a hard money, private money division that encompasses all of the investment knowl- edge that I have gained over the last 20 years. It’s been a heck of a journey.” LESSONS LEARNED The two-decade real estate journey Rodriguez has been on has afforded him a number of lessons—some positive and some negative. One of the more positive lessons he’s encountered is that there are benefits to having been on a TV show relevant to the industry in which you work. Since hosting “Vintage Flip,” Rodriguez has seen his credibility within real estate circles increase. Admittedly not a big social media user, Rodriguez embraced it more after he gained popularity through the show. He now has more than 200,000 Instagram followers. The enhanced following has made it easier for Rodri- guez to have his emails and calls answered as well as get materials from large hardware stores in exchange for some social media posts. Being on the show has also made it easier for Rodriguez to convince others to let him buy their property as opposed to the other people trying to snag the listing. “That part has been epic—it’s taking our finding a flip business to the next level,” Rodriguez said. “There are about 20 percent of people who want to listen because I was on TV and the other 20 percent who don’t care. The rest say, ‘Oh, I guess that’s better than the other 50 people

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