and the majority of our deals come from referrals. We know our borrow- ers, we know our markets, and we know our deals. I hope the example Touchstone has set is that as a lend- er, you can scale intentionally and build a successful, sustainable busi- ness, right in your own backyard.” SUCCESS COMES FROM STARTINGATTHE BOTTOM Three values Meade admires in others is perseverance, integrity, and success and to him, these quali- ties are intertwined. “When I talk to potential borrow- ers or partners in real estate deals, I am very skeptical when they tell me ‘I have never lost money on a deal.’ This is a very difficult business; there is no easy money, and when you fail (and lose your own money), it should make you a better investor/lender/ business owner. Especially in real estate, which is a cyclical industry, having been through previous down- turns is a big asset (perseverance). Integrity to me means being the same person and having the same set of values at work, at home, and in social settings. Do the right thing, whether anyone is watching or not. If you can get through some adversity with perseverance and integrity, you are bound to find success.” The definition of success is sub - jective, what it means for some is different for someone else. Meade qualified his definition to the real estate industry and then to himself as an individual. He said, “success in the real estate industry to me means proving you can invest and preserve capital and survive a full cycle. Touchstone has now operated and invested through a full cycle. Certainly, we’ve taken our lumps, but we’ve come out the other side better and smarter,

and I think our partners appreciate that—whether that be borrowers who appreciate the straightforward way we do business, or our capital partners who have enjoyed outsized risk-adjusted returns. I attribute my success to curiosity and perse- verance. I always want to know how stuff works, and I’m always willing to dive in and start from the bottom.” ADVICE FROMATITAN Like any profession, real estate investing takes hard work. Meade acknowledges the valuable resourc- es out there that help investors build a good foundation of research. “But for me,” he said, “I have learned by doing. Both doing deals

on my own, and by actually working for other companies in the industry.” “Despite what you may see or hear in slick online marketing and radio commercials, you can’t take a free weekend seminar and become a real estate investor, flipping houses with other people’s money. The way I think about it is this: if it were that easy, then everyone would do it, and there would be no margin in it.” So, does a titan ever stop doing what he has proven to excel at? Does a titan have an exit strategy? “As far as exiting, that’s what I love about this business, I don’t feel it’s ever one I’m going to exit or retire from.” For Meade, it’s more about evolu- tion than an exit. •

18 | think realty magazine :: september 2020

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