Listening to my team was a great opportunity to implement new ideas and processes. I give my employees the freedom to think big.
Lucas Machado is the President of House Heroes LLC, a real estate company with the focus on acquiring property including houses, condos, vacant land, and apartments. House Heroes strategies include fix-and-flip, new construction, rentals, and wholesaling. House Heroes LLC specializes in connecting with motivated home sellers through online and direct-mail marketing, functioning as cash buyers for the homeowner. Lucas began investing in real estate in 2013 and was named “Rookie of the Year” in the Dade County Real Estate Investment Association. He completes on average fifty real estate transactions per year. In addition to his own investment, Lucas mentors new investors on how to generate, manage, and fund real estate deals. His current goals including expanding house flipping across the United States and generating passive income through rental property. Lucas also provides hard-money lending to investors across the United States and founded the Florida-based brokerage House Heroes Realty LLC.
Lucas was born in Brazil and grew up in Kearny, New Jersey after his family moved to the United States. He graduated near the top of his class from Rutgers University with a degree in electrical and computer engineering. After college, he obtained a Masters of Entertainment Technology from Carnegie Mellon University. He worked as a video game producer for 6-years at the major video game company Zynga managing multi-million dollar projects including Farmville, Words with Friends, and Zynga Poker. Lucas has published blog articles on ActiveRain, RealtyTimes, BiggerPockets, and Inman. Lucas brings his passion from working with and managing teams to real estate.
Where did the idea for House Heroes come from?
In 2013, my partner Earl White and I were looking to move beyond a small part time company to full fledged real estate investors. We were both tired of the 9 to 5pm daily grind, not setting our business objectives, and generally being stuck in the traditional corporate chain.
I wanted a career that not only was profitable but that solved real world problems, and to work in a flexible industry that would allow me to set my hours. House flipping, buying a property in extremely poor condition and putting resources to “rescue” the house fit the bill. The name House Heroes reflected our intention to fix-up houses, help homeowners sell when the condition is not livable, and had a catchy ring to it that would lend itself to growing across the United States.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day begins with waking up at 5:00 a.m. This gives me the quiet time necessary to review yesterday’s e-mail flood and read up on the latest industry trends over a hot cup of coffee.
Once business hours begin, it’s off to the races. Flipping houses requires managing lots of contractors, including roofers, plumbers, painters, HVAC professionals – just to name a few. Keeping the projects running smoothly means spending the first couple hours of the day getting status updates each renovation.
Another big part of the day is property inspection. Although I use contractors to manage renovations, I either view myself or have a trusted employee visit the site. My drives can take up to several hours to get to the property. Visiting houses that I haven’t yet purchased also gives me the opportunity to meet with the owner and figure out the best way to work together.
Successful real estate investing requires securing funding, whether that’s from a private or institutional lender. Each day I work to set-up meetings, calls, and pitches to lenders to fund the deals I work on.
By the close of business hours and into the evening, I am back at home and use this time to handle administrative tasks. This includes payroll, taxes, accounting, and contract review. It can be time consuming, but it’s essential for my business to not fall behind.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My background is managing teams. When I worked at Zynga, I managed teams of up to twenty people for long-term projects. I learned quickly that my ideas weren’t always the best. Listening to my team was a great opportunity to implement new ideas and processes. I give my employees the freedom to think big and that is when House Heroes grows the best.
What’s one trend that excites you?
In the world of real estate marketing, online advertising – whether through organic search or paid traffic – is one the best avenues for connecting with home seller clients. Developing and working on the website doesn’t require a 7-figure budget. My tech background also gives me a leg-up on web design. It’s exciting that I can compete with companies much larger than my own on search even without a million dollar budget.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
As noted several times in this interview, I am very big on developing and supervising teams. It’s important to me to give my teams clear and concrete guidance, as well as updates on company developments and projects. I keep a tightly designed “Todoist” account with each of my employees included. This let’s me carefully monitor their progress and provide feedback as needed. I also send a daily e-mail summary of my own work (which is on our major deals). This keeps me accountable to myself and the team (and is a good cause for celebration when we close a deal).
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to dream big and don’t hesitate explore huge ideas. Each time an idea or project doesn’t succeed, that is simply a lesson getting you closer to the success you are searching for.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Wake up early. There is debate in the productivity industry whether being a “morning person” or “night owl” is any different if you employ the same habits. During the business hours, I am responding to the most difficult business questions that arise. Depending on complexity, an entire day could get zapped. By night time, depending on the day’s emergencies, I can be exhausted. Of course, this varies by industry and person-to-person, but I recommend testing whether waking up before the bustle can provide time for clear thinking.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Search engine marketing. Our company dedicates over 50% of our advertising into search. Search marketing is “in-bound” – the customer finds you because they actively need your service. Search customers in our industry have the highest motivation to convert into business. “Out-bound” marketing, where you reach out to a prospect, is a game of contacting enough prospective customers until you uncover one with an active need. This is why cold calling and direct-mail have low response rates. If you’re a lead generation business, get serious about search as soon as possible.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In House Heroes LLC first year, I naturally began conferencing with others in the real estate industry to figure out what appeared successful and what didn’t. When I tried to copy other models, we never had success. We kept bouncing from system to system and none of it seemed to work. At year two, we stepped back put into place our own systems for lead and project management. Although I still contact mentors on a regular basis, I learned each business and person is unique. Tailoring our systems to our personal strengths made a big difference.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Developing a free lead website that generates income via affiliate advertisements. In most industries, companies are working hard to generate leads for their own use. Very few generate leads and give them away for free. If you did so, people would flock to your website, and it’s the perfect time to get passive income via ads.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spent months attempting to get Schema working on my website and had gone through three developers to write the script who couldn’t quite get it done right. I finally reached out to a well known industry pro – who I thought was out of my budget range. It turned out he got the job done for only $100 (much less than the price for the others).
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Todoist. I have my entire team set-up with business accounts. I can monitor, assign, and track activities as needed from my desktop or phone. It has a priority system for identifying the day’s most important tasks. It’s indispensable for me.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. It inspired me to get up early, work on personal and business development, and allowing me to cook a healthy and satisfying breakfast!
What is your favorite quote?
Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have the right to do and what is right to do.
• Build strong teams and guide them to grow your business. One person can only accomplish so much. Listen to your team and be responsive to ideas and suggestions.
• Tailor your systems to your businesses strengths. Learn from others but carve out your own path.
• Dive into website and search engine ranking as soon as possible. Appearance in search engine results allows you connect with players in your industry without picking up the phone yourself.
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Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.