was full time at the Boston office of their institutional money market fund. It was 1999. “Money market funds were not nearly as common,” Meade said. “[They were] mostly used by big corporations to manage short-term cash balances. To give you an idea, the Merrill Lynch Premier Fund had a $10mm minimum investment, and at that time was yielding in the mid- to high-five-percent range!” Meade worked his way up and transferred to a sales job at the Merrill Lynch asset management headquarters in Princeton, NJ. As a 25-year-old, he was making a good income with title of Assistant Vice President, but he was miserable. “I realized that I’m not really built to work for someone else,” he said.
He wanted to move back home to Boston, so he bought a house in Braintree, while still working at Merrill Lynch in NJ. “This was in the early 2000s before Dodd Frank, and we got really cre- ative with how to buy the house. The realtor rolled in his commission as my down payment, and I had pre-ne- gotiated with a neighbor to subdivide and sell off a portion of the land at the back of the lot. I did my first creative real estate deal and I was hooked. Back then, I bought a set of Carlton Sheets audio and video tapes to learn about how to invest with no money down,” he said. To learn the business from the ground up, Meade quit his job in financial services and went to work for a friend of his family who had a
small residential contracting busi- ness. “I went from making pretty good money as an AVP at Merrill Lynch, to a laborer on a construction crew, making a $100 a day. I learned a lot about both the trade and the busi- ness. I went on to get my General Contractor license and start my own contracting business, although I invested in a few deals on the side during these years.” In 2008, he went to work for Boston Capital, one of the largest owners of affordable housing in the country. They raise tax credit equity funds and partner with the develop- ers who build the apartment com- plexes. “I looked at this opportunity to learn how the big guys do it, as far as partnership structure, syndicating real estate funds, and asset man- agement. At this same time, I went back to school at Boston Universi- ty, and earned a certificate in Real Estate Finance. After a couple years at Boston Capital, I got a call from a recruiter and went to work for CW Capital, which was then a national mortgage banking shop. They were a big FNMA/Freddie/FHA lender on the multifamily side. CW Capital was subsequently bought by Walker and Dunlop, an even bigger national lender.” In his years there, Meade held roles in asset management, under- writing, and originations. Then, on New Years Eve 2014, Meade received an unexpected call that, at the time, seemed like a low point in his ca- reer, but it ended up being a bless- ing in disguise. Walker and Dunlop was heading in a different direction and Meade was told there wasn’t a spot for him. Once again, Meade gained life-changing perspective and learned that what hurts at the moment almost always provides a
16 | think realty magazine :: september 2020
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