Millennial Investor Spotlight: Antoine Martel
If you’ve been wanting to get into real estate investing “someday,” maybe now’s the time to act. There’s one man who has proven it’s never too early to get into real estate. At 23 years old, Antoine Martel is surely one of the youngest successful real estate entrepreneurs around. The company he founded with his family, Martel Turnkey, has already done over $3.5 million in sales, due in no small part to Antoine’s real estate business acumen. Starting with just one turnkey rental property in Memphis four years ago, Antoine has now done 50 property flips in five states, including Memphis, Akron, Cleveland, Birmingham and St. Louis, Missouri.
Antoine utilizes the BRRR strategy; buying a property, rehabbing it, renting it out and then refinancing it. He also puts the property up for sale as a turnkey rental through Martel Turnkey. But until it sells, his company takes the cash flow from the rent income. The company is prospering, and sales are anticipated to double over the next year.
So how did this millennial get his start? It wasn’t because he came from a wealthy family or had a family background in real estate. The first real estate seminar that he, his brother and dad attended wasn’t even Antoine’s idea. “My brother and dad kind of dragged me to it, but we were all sold on the idea of real estate by the end.” At the time, Antoine was still in college at Loyola Marymount studying entrepreneurship. He started learning as much as he could about real estate investing, gleaning insights from BiggerPockets.com, other investors and online resources. The more he learned, the more he saw real estate as a way—not only to make money—but as a way to repay his parents for all they’d done for him over the years. “My ultimate goal has always been to create enough passive income for my dad to quit his job and do what he wants with his time,” Antoine says.
But first, he had to take a big risk. “I convinced my dad to let me invest his 401K in a property I found in Memphis. That was tough to do. It was a really big responsibility to take care of his investment.” The risk paid off, and more properties soon followed one after the other. By the time graduation day came, Antoine’s fellow students had walked away with a degree. Just a few months out of college, Antoine had his degree in entrepreneurship, plus five properties cash flowing passive income for the new family business.
The key to making all this work was finding the right markets to invest in. Living in Los Angeles at the time, Antoine and his dad and brother soon realized they’d have to invest out of state to find a property that a) they could afford, and b) would cash flow. Memphis ranked high on the list. Antoine delved deep into researching the market and spent hours making cold calls, contacting everyone he knew to build a team. “It’s essential to build a team with boots on the ground. My team is a version of myself. They have to be people I can trust because without them I have nothing.” No matter the market, Antoine’s teams always include a property manager, real estate agent and contractor, at a minimum.
Now, at 23, Antoine has people coming to him with money to invest in his real estate projects. His reputation for hard work, expertise, and ethics have spread far beyond family friends and neighbors. He’s been able to help those investors achieve passive income through turnkey rentals and says it’s one of the most rewarding aspects of what he does. “I enjoy being able to help people quit the rat race and live on passive income,” Antoine says. “That’s my favorite part of this whole thing.”
Antoine’s Advice for Would-Be Millennial Real Estate Investors
- Dive In
You don’t need to wait to invest in real estate until you’re out of college or settled down with a spouse. Antoine had already procured several properties before he graduated. The earlier you can get started, the better. With as little as $20K you could get a turnkey rental, do a modest house flip project or something else. “There are tons of ways to invest through real estate,” Antoine says.
- Take Long Strides
Real estate investment takes courage, especially when you’re first getting started. You might sometimes feel like you’re going out on a financial limb. At one point, Antoine’s company bank balance was just $2,000, yet they owned multiple rentals. It can feel precarious to do yet another investment, but if the numbers work, go for it.
- Take Care of Yourself
You won’t be successful at anything if you don’t take care of yourself physically. Other investors won’t take you seriously if you show up for meetings looking disheveled. You won’t be able to think clearly without enough sleep and good nutrition, either, and that’s a huge hindrance to smart decision making. Antoine keeps fit by playing soccer three to five days a week. Choose an activity that works with your interests and lifestyle and stick with it.
- Work With a Team You Trust
Few people—if any—make it in real estate alone. It’s all about finding a good team that you can trust. Once you do, it becomes a matter of streamlining the process; then it gets easier to do the next deal. Antoine devoted a lot of time, in the beginning, finding the right people to work with. Having them in place has helped his company grow exponentially. “Gather people around you who will help you improve,” Antoine advises.
- Keep Networking
One lesson that Antoine learned early on is the importance of steady networking. “At one point I kind of put networking on the back burner because I was so busy doing projects. I realized quickly that networking needed to be a priority, too. Now I make sure I network two to three days every week, either with phone calls, emails, meetings or events.”
- Be Tenacious
A lot of millennials—and people in general—don’t tend to stick with things long enough. “Somebody will learn about flipping houses, try it for three months and then just give up,” Antoine notes. “You have to be persistent with things and not just keep moving on to the next.” It took Antoine almost three years to get his first deal. He often had to pivot his approach; figuring out that investing in California real estate didn’t work, for example. But he always stuck with real estate, never deviating from his original long-term plan.
Are you inspired by Antoine Martel’s early success? Hopefully, you can learn from his story to start building your real estate empire or find that personal financial freedom that you’re seeking. As you can see, it’s possible to make something very real and lasting even in your early 20s. Done well, you could create a passive income stream that could give you the time and opportunity to do more of the things in life that matter most to you and your loved ones.