The Real Estate Law Podcast

The Fascinating Story of Eagle Hill Homes with Investors Samantha + Nick Riccio

July 19, 2022 Jason Muth + Rory Gill Season 1 Episode 59
The Real Estate Law Podcast
The Fascinating Story of Eagle Hill Homes with Investors Samantha + Nick Riccio
Show Notes Transcript

We're super excited to welcome wife and husband team Sam + Nick Riccio onto the podcast - guests that we've wanted to have for quite some time!

They are a power couple in the Boston real estate scene, making all the right moves. If you and your life partner are new to real estate investing and looking for inspiration on where to start, this episode is that motivation!

Sam is a licensed general contractor, Nick is a mortgage broker, and together they own Eagle Hill Homes, which was born from a desire to create a better construction experience for homeowners, specifically with communication, transparency, and accountability from their contractors and trade partners.

Although Eagle Hill Homes is their design-and-build business, working as real estate investors themselves and Nick's work as a mortgage broker really completes how vertically integrated their approach. Along with their client work, Sam + Nick have house hacked three times so far, currently owning seven units valued at almost $4 million, and showing no signs of slowing down.

Listening to Sam + Nick talking - almost finishing each others' sentences - shows how in sync they are with their goals. They've spent many hours thinking through their decisions - from leaving their W-2 jobs to building their business - learning a ton along the way.

Things we discussed in this episode:
- The origins of Eagle Hill Homes
- Why Sam + Nick decided to house hack in an expensive market such as Boston
- Finding a passion in real estate investing during their teenage years
- Both of them switching from their W-2 jobs at the same time
- What it's like working with your spouse
- How Sam is treated as a female general contractor
- The importance of building replicable and scalable systems
- How their traditionally-minded families reacted to launching this business
- Building relationships with many different bureaucracies and municipalities
- Thinking through where they want to be as people and as business owners

Get in touch with Sam + Nick:
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/eaglehillhomes
Website - https://www.eaglehillhomes.com/
Apply for a loan with Nick - https://www.northpointe.com/home-lending/get-started/Nick-Riccio/

Join Jason Muth and Attorney / Broker Rory Gill of NextHome Titletown and UrbanVillage Legal in Boston, Massachusetts for another episode of The Real Estate Law Podcast!

#bostonrealestate #mobilehomeinvesting #realestatepodcast #nexthome #humansoverhouses #realestate #realestateinvesting #generalcontractor #mortgagebroker #workingwithyourspouse #realestateinvesting #bostonrealestate #flippinghouses #brrrr #leavingyourw2job #financialfreedom #financialindependence #entrepreneurship #quityourjob #startabusiness
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Rory Gill:

Why Boston? And you know, why make a go for it here opposed to the traditional developer friendly market?

Nick Riccio:

You know, our strategy has been house hacking. So that obviously is was the first reason was we were going to be living in these properties. But I think more than that was, we wanted to understand and learn a little bit more hands-on and just having it out of state, we wouldn't get that experience. And then I think now we've just learned, like, we've figured out a little bit of like, you know, a model that works for us here. And that's what we focus on.

Announcer:

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Jason Muth:

Welcome to another episode of The Real Estate Law Podcast. We have an awesome all-Boston episode today. It's been a long time, Rory, since we've just had guests on from Boston in the Greater Boston area. We have done a number times in the past. But you know, we seem to talk to folks across the country. And now it's time to bring it back home.

Rory Gill:

Feels like we're coming right home.

Jason Muth:

Yeah, and these guys, honestly, I've been wanting to get you guys on the podcast for a long time now. And the time just wasn't right for us to ask. But I finally reached out to you and said, Hey, I said last year, I wanted you on our podcast, and we weren't ready yet. But now I'm like, this is the time to ask. And Sam, I appreciate the fact that you're like, yes, let's do it. So we finally have Sam and Nick Riccio, oh, they are a power couple in Boston. A lot of folks know them in Boston, Eagle Hill Homes is the name of their company. And they work together. Nick is a mortgage broker. Sam is a general contractor - did I get that right? The actual title.

Samantha Riccio:

Oh, yeah.

Jason Muth:

CEOs and presidents and like social media folks, like you guys just do it all. So welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for being here.

Samantha Riccio:

Yeah, thank you so much for having us! We are so excited. We found that out, didn't we?

Jason Muth:

So I don't even know where to start. I mean, like, We certainly did. So if you guys could just I'll let Nick, I reached out to you like last year, some time when I saw you give the story of your story, because I'll probably some of your stuff on social media. And I'm like, we're doing this networking group, I want you to get involved, because I think that you know, some people that we don't, you could pull some folks over. And we did a couple of those groups. And then you know, COVID came back and we just kind of put that back on ice. But you were a great sport. And you showed up and then I met your wife, Sam. And okay, Sam is me. And Rory is Nick in the relationship. mangle the whole thing. But how did we get to where you guys are today? Like, where did Eagle Hill Homes start? How did you get this real estate bug? I mean, you guys are just doing it all.

Unknown:

It started really young. So we Sam and I have been together since we were 16 and 15, respectively. And for some reason, at a really young age, I became really obsessed with real estate probably like that 16-17 year old time. And for no reason at all. We have no family that's in real estate. Absolutely like no one. No connections, no anything. But for me, I think a lot of why I got into it was seeing I grew up in a really blue collar family. And it was you know, it was always a conversation about money and, and all those types of things, but not the best types of conversations. So I learned quickly, more what I didn't want, which led us to the real estate path. And so once I got hooked on it, then it was, you know, time to try to introduce it to Sam, which at the beginning was not you know, like I'm sure most couples understand. It's not always the smoothest thing, but it ended up working great.

Samantha Riccio:

Yeah, it was not an easy transition. Because we were like, I think Nick waited to bring it up until we're probably like graduating high school going into college. And he's like, you know, we're gonna buy real estate. And I was just like, I don't even really know what that means. And we're like, we have a I'm living in a dorm room like, I'm so confused. So he kind of like kept the bug going all through college. I was definitely not into it. And then finally he gave me Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and he was like, please just read this. And I love to read. So I was like, Sure, I guess this is fine. I read it in like a day. And then it came back to and I was like alright I'm in. What are we going to do? So that was kind of the turning point. And at that point, we were still pretty naive to like what we were getting ourselves into. We just know we wanted more. We wanted more for our future, our families and all of that. So that's kind of how it started. And then we you know, went on the hunt for our first property when we graduated. Well, we graduated college we moved into Nick's parents basement, it was quite a journey. Living you go from college and your freedom and then you're so excited to live together as a new couple and your you know, all your friends moved to the city of Boston and are going out and we're like counting pennies like eating mac and cheese every night but saved up you know as much money as we possibly cut living there and then kind of started the hunt for our multifamily. Like, our first multifamily property that was gonna make us real estate investors.

Jason Muth:

So our daughter loves mac and cheese. And there's nothing wrong with taking a couple forkfuls away from what you're going to serve her just to taste it and the temperature, you know.

Samantha Riccio:

Yep, exactly. I'd be doing the same thing.

Jason Muth:

Did you guys go to college together? Same school?

Samantha Riccio:

Yeah, we did.

Jason Muth:

Yeah.

Samantha Riccio:

Not for the whole time. But for partial of the time, it was the whole thing. But that ended up being great. I was I told Nick not to come to my school. And then he ended up transferring it at No, I wasn't too happy about it. But it ended up being a great experience. I was like, This is my school.

Jason Muth:

It's my thing. Yeah, we're together. But this is my thing. So yeah. I really wish that all 16 year olds read Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Like it just feels like essential reading. And like I could see that later on in life. Now I'm at the stage of my life. And Rory, you're approaching that stage in your life where back when I was a kid, you know, and it makes you feel like such an old man to say that. But like everyone I talk to in their 20s, who's kind of running down this road. Somebody at my office just bought his first condo. And like, he got the whole spiel from me like, like probably an hour, which is fifty minutes more he wants to hear from me about what he's doing and why he's doing it and why it's a good idea. Rory, what do you think about that? I mean, like, how do we get this into like high school curriculum,

Rory Gill:

I love it. There's something that our society teaches us that we're supposed to graduate from college are supposed to get the nice car, get the nice apartment, and work on our career that way. And that's part of it working in that career. But I mean, I love that you went straight into multifamily when you were young, because that's the exact right time to do it. That's exactly the time if you can't do that to get the starter home. And I'm sure you when you search for it, you're a lot different from other people in your age bracket, you were looking at income potential, and you were seeing, I'm assuming, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, but you were looking beyond imperfections in the property, and you probably saw those as opportunities. So tell us about that first place, and you know, what the first place meant to you what it was like to get it. And you know how you were able to springboard that into life you have now.

Nick Riccio:

Two things on that. So the first part is when we were looking for multifamily homes, which you guys know, in our area, really difficult, really competitive all that. And we were looking for, you know, terrible, terrible, terrible properties. Like we were searching for the ugliest one there was.

Samantha Riccio:

And mind you, we had no construction experience, no background, and we were like we can do this.

Nick Riccio:

But and maybe to their credit, almost every agent was like, you know, trying to talk some sense into us, like, what are you doing? What do you think and like, you can't take this on. But for whatever reason, we stuck with it. And we're like, No, we're gonna do it, we're gonna figure it out. But, that ended up leading us into the story is a little different. Because what happened was when we were searching, we were losing deal after deal after deal, really getting frustrated having a tough time, we were primarily focused on East Boston, which for local folks, that was in 2017, that was still a really up and coming area. And we were having a really, really hard time. And so I think part of it was we got really beat up from it. We were losing out every single weekend. And for whatever reason, we stumbled into a small one bedroom, one bathroom, brand new unit in East Boston, and we were like, This is the one.

Samantha Riccio:

This looks good. We made a move.

Nick Riccio:

So we can get into that. And I'm sure we'll talk a little bit more about, you know, what that led us to and everything, but it was just, it was interesting. And I think now for us looking back, it was such a good learning lesson in that, you know, we had this plan and we were so like laser focused on the plan. And reality is life, you know, life steps in and the plan doesn't always work out as perfectly as it is in our head.

Samantha Riccio:

Right, that did lead us then to the multifamily. So you know, when we were doing it, we were like we're exhausted, we want some we know this is going to appreciate. So it's not like we're making a bad financial decision. And then secondly, there was just this weird thing telling us to do it. And I remember like the night before closing I like said to Nick I'm like is this the right thing to do? He was like, I literally have no idea but for some reason, we were apparently both like we're apparently both drawn to this place. And it was nothing special it was 499 square feet, this condo, so it was a shoe box and we bought it. And about six months later, Nick was on a business trip and I became friendly with the girl next door and it was from the outside. It looked like one large building. It's detached on one side. She lived downstairs and her landlord lived upstairs again was matching. So there's three three condos in our side and her side was actually a two family. So her landlord had a bilevel unit. And we became friendly and she called me and she's like my landlord selling I'm gonna have to move and she had lived there like 10 years, so Nick was on a business trip. And I was like, give me a landlord's number. So I got his number and I texted him not even touching base with Nick. And I was like, Hey, I live next door heard you're selling like, what's your price. And now looking back, I'm like, I can't I can't believe they did that be like, I was very upfront about like, I would want it, we want to purchase the house. And on top of that, we had really no money left, because we had just purchased this condo. So we ended up kind of going through the motions, and he really needed to get out. And he told us, he wanted to sell it for 650. And we ended up kind of going back and forth. And we landed on 630. We bought at FHA and like scraped up every dollar like that we literally had and ended up yeah, getting into that for almost seven months and rent. And then we were officially landlords, because we rented the we had to rent the condo as a contingency. We dragged all of our crap next door, and then we started, we renovated it back into a three family from a two family. So that was kind of the start of the journey.

Jason Muth:

Did you keep that first unit?

Samantha Riccio:

We did?

Jason Muth:

Yeah.

Nick Riccio:

September or October, we sold it.

Jason Muth:

I just saw something that was a great quote I saw last week, it was like, you know, keep reevaluating your portfolio. If today is not, it doesn't fit into what you wanted back then it doesn't matter. Just sell it or move on from it. And then like, you know, move it into what fits your goals today. So it probably served you really well for you know, for the number of years that you owned it got you that other unit too! You were right next door. You made friends with the people next door. So exactly how old were you guys when all that kind of transpired?

Samantha Riccio:

I was 25. Right?

Nick Riccio:

No?

Samantha Riccio:

Oh.

Jason Muth:

Mid-20s?

Nick Riccio:

Yeah, I think I was 25. You were 23.

Samantha Riccio:

There we go. 23 and 25. So yeah, low to mid 20s.

Jason Muth:

You know, you also said something in your introduction, just about like, you know, scraping your pennies eating mac and cheese living in the basement. That's all temporary, you know, people that are listening to this podcast, they're probably trying to figure out do I make those same sacrifices. And I don't know about you, but like, there are gleaming apartment buildings going up in Boston. And God bless the people that live there. And you know, Rory, and I haven't gotten too much into what we've been doing lately, which will go into another episode later. But we were in one temporarily for a month, it was a gorgeous place right near the Garden. But I'm like, who are these people who live here? And why do they live here? Like, you get no equity from doing it? Could you know, you blow your life like through your 20s? You have fun and you're 30? And you realize that people like you guys have a massive portfolio and a lot of equity. And they're left renting beautiful apartments, but renting. I don't get it right.

Nick Riccio:

Yeah, I don't know. I mean, it's probably goes back to what you guys were saying earlier about.

Jason Muth:

You guys are kind of influencers to online, like, you know, maybe you don't think it but I know you're trying like I've seen your videos for a long time, Nick, and I know that Sam coaches you through them, but your stuff is great. Your stuff is really honest. And it's showing a day in the life, you know what you guys do. And you're giving great tips like, you know, when it's like a talk to the camera type situation. How did you find the fact that you should probably have an online presence? And what does that meant to you guys?

Samantha Riccio:

I mean, I think it honestly, it started as a little bit of an accident, we waited a long time to even make like a social media account for our investing because we kept saying, like, Who would want to follow us like, what do we have to give. And then finally, we're like, Alright, whatever, let's just, I guess post about this renovation that we're doing. Like, our moms will like it, maybe if they joined Instagram, and then it kind of started happening very naturally and quickly, which was great. And then I think with Nick, he was always the type of person that you know, it was like, Oh, I talked to the camera. No one's gonna, no one's gonna want to listen to me. And I was like, you have so much valuable information to share. This is like a non negotiable. And once he started, it was evident that people wanted to listen.

Jason Muth:

Yeah.

Nick Riccio:

I mean, I think the biggest thing is, you start to realize how many people benefit from it. And you know, at first it seems corny, like, you know, my friends will still text me and be like, you know, you look like an idiot there. But there's so many people that benefit and even stuff like we say all the time, like stuff that seems to us, you know, very sort of, you know, common or we're used to it or not a big deal like someone out there that is a big deal and they can benefit from it. So once we started doing it, and I think really, you know, all joking aside, seeing how many people like it helped it just like kind of fuels you to keep doing it. I guess.

Jason Muth:

It makes it real too like, you know, sometimes you see folks online and you're like, are these real people are these staged? Like what's going on here but like knowing you guys, and having met you, it is real like you know, somebody you when you finally meet the real influencers, you're like, this is actually you know, it adds some credence to it and you know, Rory could probably attest to like, you know, he's the reluctant person on camera. But you know, we hear a lot now about people that are seeing our clips and seeing the podcast, I mean, people come up to me all the time they come up to you Rory, right.

Rory Gill:

All the things that you do on a daily basis, whether it's in real estate or in some other profession or other specialty you start to just think and live in that language, you think that what we do every day is normal, you know, and my job, I'll see a few closings a week. And that's not you know, closing might be a once in a lifetime thing to certain people. But what we go through is, you know, we see this all the time. So turning around and reflecting it back out to the world is at least a chance to like invite people in for a second and take away what we're doing every day and and learn just a couple of things from us. So something that's important to do, but I get that reluctance I really do.

Jason Muth:

Yeah. But you know, this is also information in all of our heads that comes naturally to us, right, we forget that there's a lot of people that are taking that first step at all points of their real estate life, whatever it is, if it's their first home, their first investment, their first rehab, you know, and they're looking online for information from like real people, like you guys. So, you know, it's a great service that you provide to, you know, allow the cameras to kind of show what's happening in your renovations, you know, and all the great information that you give about qualifying for mortgages and financing projects. So, Nick, you've been like, on this path for, you know, since you were an early teenager, and then Sam kind of came along for the ride. You're both now all in on this, right? Like something must have - Sam, when did it switch that in your head? You're like, Okay, I'm all in on this, like, you know, was it after college, where you're like, Okay, I get this now, and I want to make a career out of this.

Samantha Riccio:

Yeah, I mean, so, you know, we started investing, we purchased that, you know, three family and we renovated it, then we moved out and we house house hacked, meaning, you know, we lived in our investment property and rented out the other rooms, the other units, or you can also rent other rooms. And then we bought a two-family and we lived in that. Gut renovated it again, got tenants lived in that. And we're like, and that's I think, was the moment that was also we were renovating that second property, second multifamily during COVID. And once we moved in, finally, when we were able to resume construction, I think we both had this moment of like, there is a global pandemic, so like everyone's afraid for their life, are we doing what we want to be doing? And we were both working W-2 jobs. I was in marketing, Nick was in insurance. So we weren't thrilled with our careers. And we kind of both had this like, Aha moment of like, what do we have to lose? We were all in for investing. But I think that's when like the all in like, let's make this our lifestyle really happened. And that's when Nick, we both switched careers at the same time, which I would not recommend. But we're alive to tell the tale. So and we kind of were like, let's just kind of see where this thing takes us.

Jason Muth:

What are some things like why wouldn't you recommend that for the obvious reasons, obviously, but like, Are there anything about qualifying for lending or anything that you just said, now, we can't do that? Because we don't have a W-2 jobs?

Nick Riccio:

Yeah, you know, off the bat, obviously, inconsistent income that you were used to having so but more than that, yeah, lending, lending becomes a lot more challenging, not that it's impossible. But it becomes more challenging. And you have to navigate through that. We were fortunate, we were able to make it work within 12 months, which wasn't bad. At first, we were kind of nervous, we were gonna have to, you know, be on the sidelines for two years to we're able to make that work. But other than that, I mean, I think the hardest shift was probably just mentally, you know, first and foremost, us now working together every single day, 24 hours a day, or whatever, 16 hours.

Samantha Riccio:

24

Nick Riccio:

That was hard. So that then kind of relearning how, you know, we work together as business partners. A couple all that was pretty challenging.

Samantha Riccio:

Yeah. And I'd also say, a piece of that is, it's not like we were in this, you know, corporate America for 20 years. And then we decided to leave, but you're in this, I guess, you know, rat race mindset. And you think, you know, well, at least I'm getting my paycheck and you have your friends at work and you're talking at the watercooler, you know, prior to COVID, of course, and then to have that kind of gone really quickly, with a pandemic. And then after that, by your own decision, it was a big mental shift of for me personally, when we were kind of trying to navigate, like, what's the next steps, that's when I decided to take my general contracting license and start this construction, all that it was the searching for a purpose. Like, I know, there's something bigger out there for me, I know that, you know, my desk job, isn't it. But in that middle phase, I'm also a very Type A person, and I don't like you know, it's either black or white. And that was very gray. So I had a tough time of like, what is this the right thing? What am I supposed to do with my life, all of that. So that also just kind of is just mental health wise, just being able to kind of power through that and know, like, know, this is like, you know, stay on track, and it's gonna all work itself out. But I would say looking back at it, that was difficult, personally, for me.

Rory Gill:

Yeah, we've talked to other people in the past. And you know, one of the big reasons why people want to have a life with investments is to get out of the W-2 rat race. But I will say is that for somebody starting out that W-2 job can actually be a really valuable asset to at least get you started in large part just because of loan underwriting requirements, but it's taking that consistent income allows you to kind of get your foot in the door and get started. Those of you out there who are stuck in a W-2 job, don't feel like you're stuck, use what you have to get started. And then once you've broken in, then it's time to follow your dreams and take a little bit more risks and follow your you know, follow your passions a little bit more.

Jason Muth:

Yeah, and make a bet on yourself. I mean, that's what you guys are doing. So you're saying, Hey, listen, like that was cool. We learned a lot in those jobs. Like it was good to see like income but like, you know, we're in a position now where we're gonna bet on ourselves, and how are things

Nick Riccio:

Good? Yeah, I just wanted to add on to Rory's going? point. I think you find on social media and everything that everyone glorifies, you know, quitting that W-2 job, and you know, that you shouldn't have one. And I would echo that, I think it is great to have it, you know, for mortgage standpoint, and just for life for getting started, like, we use the properties to help us get to the point where we could take that calculated risk. And without it, you know, if we had that high rent payment, we wouldn't have been able to take that type of risk.

Samantha Riccio:

Yeah, we got to the point where we were making money monthly, and also living for free before we even took the step and it was still difficult. So be as calculated as possible. It's always gonna be a scary jump. But it's definitely not like, as much as we make it sound like it's an on a whim thing. It's not an on a whim, like, oh, today, I'm just gonna quit my job with no plan. Like we, we absolutely had kind of that back plan. And I think it was something that, you know, we had talked about for a long time, and the pandemic just helped push it forward,

Nick Riccio:

I would say things have been going great business wise. And, you know, we can jump into that a little bit more to but I think the biggest thing we've probably learned, it's a lot more work than it seems. And it's a lot harder than I think either of us ever anticipated. And we felt like we were pretty prepared. But it's it's been by far the hardest things we've ever done. And it's been very, very, very challenging.

Jason Muth:

Yeah. And you add, you know, the global pandemic, on top of that, which, you know, kind of keeps rearing its ugly head and rules keep changing. You know, just when you think it's done, it's back. I mean, you know, there is no more certainty anymore, then you look at the economy now, and inflation and all that stuff. And you know, the only thing that's certain is uncertainty. I mean, it's very cliche thing to say, but it's about being able to pivot and change and figure out, you know, where the opportunities are. Because, you know, even in a down economy, people are still making money. You know, I did want to talk about Eagle Hill Homes, and the two of you working together. Actually, let me ask that question first. Because Rory and I, we collaborate frequently on things. We're not quite at the point where we're talking about real estate 24/7 I think he'd kill me at this point if we were. You just looked at me, but

Rory Gill:

No, we would have some tense conversations. But that's..

Jason Muth:

That's putting it generous, but that's okay. You know, sometimes you need that. I mean, like, you've learned a lot about your relationship, you know, Sam and Nick, like, are you always on the same page with like, your conversations, you know, workwise? And how's that? How is that changed? You know, now that you're both working together all the time?

Samantha Riccio:

Yeah, I wouldn't say we're always on the same page. But I would say we're learning to, you know, prior to this, we were always on the same page, we grew up together. So, you know, when we're down to the stupidest little things of like, what snacks you like to eat, because like our parent, like, we would just go go to his house, and he would his mom bought, like, we were children really. So we kind of grew up in this, like, nurturing environment together. So you know, it was easy to always agree. And then you get into these business conversations. And it's like, I would say, for the most part where 90% really on the same page, and it's the 10% that we have to agree to disagree that is more difficult for us than I think maybe even other couples who just don't have that much time kind of being together because you kind of assume maybe you disagree on some things, but I think the biggest thing for us is like learning our lanes, which we're still learning but staying in your lane, and then collaborating in the middle when you need to. So we're a lot of kind of like you know, self discovery of what actually makes me feel fulfilled and what makes him feel fulfilled. And let's do that because if you try to like square peg, round hole, and I really don't want to do for example, the financing of like underwriting deals like not my scene and Nick doesn't really really want to run construction but maybe if you looked at us and you think it was the opposite. We're finding like kind of what we're passionate about and then allowing us to stay in those lanes and that's really been like the game changer. I feel like because in the beginning I even was like alright Nick get your GC license just so we have it you know, just so we can have it under our belt next I don't even like this like that's not what I want to do. And then here it was like my passion that like I was suppressing because I was like This shouldn't be what I like to do. So I think really just kind of being okay with who we are and being honest with each other about what we like to do has been like the biggest game changer.

Jason Muth:

I am going to take that advice of staying in the right lane and then meeting in the middle. And Rory, you're probably surprised that I'm saying that, that I'm going to stay in my lane, because I am going to heed that advice. That's great, great advice.

Rory Gill:

We can start something new today.

Jason Muth:

You know, the GC license. I mean, like, you're probably had this question multiple times before. I mean, like, you don't see too many women that have their GC license, right? Like, you look at the two of you, and stereotypically people would be like, Oh, Nick, you're the contractor. Right? You know, does that bug you? Is it cool and creative? Is that like your thing that's gonna get you on HGTV? Like, what has that meant to you? Like, how have you been treated in the industry, with your clients and with your peers?

Samantha Riccio:

Yeah, so definitely doesn't bug me actually quite love it. I'm at the point where I grew up very in like a safe family, my parents were always, you know, a little bit risk averse, I grew up pretty risk averse. And then all of a sudden, I just kind of dove off a cliff. And I'm like, free fall on at this point. And I'm enjoying it more than I thought it would be. As far as how I'm treated in the industry, I am thankful around, you know, women equality and how much progress this country has made. Because I definitely think I'd be in a different spot if this was 50 years ago, of course, but I would say that it's actually been a benefit more than anything. Because the way we operate this business is the way my mind works, which is color coded, very type A, so everyone is communicated with when we do our renovation projects our clients are communicated with via an app, and everything is just very seamless. And you know, from our subcontractor standpoint, there's like a color coded book on site telling them what to do for everything and materials are ordered ahead of time. So while in the beginning, I was a little bit nervous, I was like, how is this going to be recept, like, received from people, it's already starting in the you know, short time that we've been in this of, you know, people wanting to either work with us from a client standpoint, or work with us as a subcontractor because they know, you know, Sam will take care of it essentially, as they are quote, and I feel very proud of that, because I never really knew where my path was going to be in as far as my career. And I finally feel like, okay, I've got it like you're babysitting a bunch of subcontractors, and wrangling everyone together to make this beautiful final product for someone. And I really feel like I finally found my spot.

Jason Muth:

That's awesome. I don't even know how you do it. I mean, we actually have a home build project happening as well. We have two kind of, but there's one right behind us here in New Hampshire. And I hired a builder, you know, to do the whole thing, I just collaborate with him, but I hired him because I don't want to do all that. Yeah, but Nick, like, if she's the brains behind all of that, like, you know, is the value that you're bringing into the spreadsheet guy? Are you the psychotherapist behind the scenes? Like, you know, where do you fit in with this?

Nick Riccio:

So I mean, I focus majority that, you know, 95% of my time on my mortgage business. And I would say, you know, what I bring here with Eagle Hill Homes, the construction side of it is really just, I think, support at the end of the day.

Samantha Riccio:

He does more than that.

Nick Riccio:

No, but a lot of it is like, you know, it's again, I'm sure a lot of business partners and couples can relate. Everyone has like that self doubt, or, you know, should this be the process? Should we do this? And, you know, I think for her, me being there to be like, That is a great idea, like, let's do it, or, you know, actually that idea sucks like, let's get away from that, and being able to have those types of conversations, I think has really helped. But yeah, I mean, it's very much more so just behind the scenes type of things and support and all that type of stuff.

Samantha Riccio:

There's like the third leg of this Eagle Hill business in the sense or the third leg of the businesses, which is the investing and we're currently still investing for ourselves, looking for different properties, putting underwriting deals, we have our own renovation project that's happening, getting, you know, tenants, where we met, self manage all of our properties. So he also does all of that, because A) bandwidth, I mean, we both don't have it truthfully. But that was kind of always Nick's scene so that it's also something that he kind of takes and runs with, and then um, his emotional support for his mortgage business and kind of managing properties.

Jason Muth:

You're probably not too far off from bringing on some more help. Like for this is my my hunch. You know, if you get another couple of properties under your belt and what have you. You just say your employee, did you mean the dog or you actually have an employee?

Samantha Riccio:

We actually so we have three employees in the field that work for us on payroll that are like our carpentry team. And then we have an in-office full time employee that's a design and build assistant who helps with like permitting, a lot of design, like sourcing materials and then like client relations stuff, so that's been going great and we're like itching for like a project manager pretty soon. And maybe one or two more people on the carpentry team and then I'm like, Okay, we have to stop I was the girl saying we don't need employees. We can do it all ourselves. It's been lovely.

Jason Muth:

What's the support been like from your family? Because you just said your your parents are risk averse, and you kind of both decided to quit around the same time when we're kind of near a global pandemic. Was that a shock to them?

Nick Riccio:

Yeah, I think it's gone in phases. You know, early on, it was very, I don't want to say negative but negative, just from a protective standpoint, like every family. I think now, as we got closer towards us making the jump, and, you know, starting the companies, and that all that stuff, they now I feel like at least they've seen enough that like, you know, we're not just crazy kids, like, we do, at least have a general idea of what we're doing. And it's all calculated. And so they, they have something that they can believe in. So lately, it's been very, very, very supportive. But it wasn't always

Samantha Riccio:

Yeah. And I would say with them, it's been, like that. you know, to Nick's point, it's out of just pure love, of course, that hesitation of everything. But now I think they're turning the corner, where they're saying, okay, everything they've done well, you know, we may not agree with it has seems to be okay. Seems to have turned out all right. And so now we're going to be on board. But I remember when I told my dad in particular, that, you know, I was going to be, you know, going into this investing journey, and I was leaving, we were leaving our jobs, and I was gonna maybe build this business. I heard him talking to my one of my relatives on the phone the next day. And he was like, and, you know, he's like, oh, yeah, I think Sam's gonna be looking for another marketing job pretty soon. And he gets on the phone. And I was like, what the heck! I forgot. And I was like, you were embarrassed to like, let's be straight. They are live in the grew up in the generation of just kind of work, work, work. And he just is trying to retire now. And he's so excited to hit the age where he can retire and take a Social Security. So I get it. But that was definitely a moment where a lot of people could have been like, Screw it, I shouldn't do this. My parents clearly don't support me. And it's not that they didn't support us. But it's just like, you know, everyone doesn't have to always think the way you do for something to be a good idea. And I think we learned that early on.

Jason Muth:

I think my parents are the same way. I mean, we all have parents, and they all worry about us, right? Yeah, they don't understand, like, you have too many mortgages. I'm like, you don't get it. Like the mortgages like, you know, their income generating things. So you know, we're good. I mean it would be nice not to have any of them at some point.

Samantha Riccio:

Right? I don't want them

Jason Muth:

I don't either. But you know, we're in a world, everything we've learned, right that you know, the BRRRR strategy, house hacking, all that stuff is all based on leverage. So leverage and use that money to, you know, 10x the money. I want to ask a question before we get toward our final questions. And actually, I want I want Rory to ask a legal question, too, but not yet. So we're teeing up three questions right here. Question number one. So women make a lot of the decisions in a household? Do you find that women come to you and they're happy to speak to you as a female GC? And maybe that is an angle that has led to more business for you, like they feel comfortable talking to you about this stuff? Or is that? Am I just making that up?

Samantha Riccio:

So no, you're definitely not I would say it's absolutely helpful. But having, you know, somebody coming to me saying, you know, this is what I want, especially from like a design standpoint, a lot of them are like, Oh, so you're not just gonna get me like Home Depot cabinets. And like, that's not how we work. Because we're definitely more of a design and the build together, especially from like, you know, in from a build standpoint, that's typical. But from a renovation standpoint, it's not often done that way. So we really operate as if we're building ground up, even when we're renovating, which is kind of like the stick. But with that said, a lot of most of my clients, surprisingly, the man has led the charge on the design, on the layout on all of it. And you know, the wives have kind of been in the background, like super eager and excited to kind of give their it's always, you know, reverting back to them. But they've been kind of like the main point of contact, which is funny, because growing up, I was still to this day, I'm always hanging out with all the boys. Growing up, I was always hanging out with other boys and a lot of male friends. So we just jive together, which is great. But it's funny, because I actually thought it would be the opposite where you know, I'd be having a ton of wives leading the charge being like, Don't even ask my husband. He doesn't know what's going on. But it's backwards.

Nick Riccio:

Yeah I was gonna say I think it's definitely male. You know, almost every client is male. You know, the man is leading the charge on the design stuff. And I think part of that is, is because you're a woman, like I think they feel a little more comfortable and they can put their guard down. I feel like there's a level of like, when you're dealing with the, you know, the true, you know, contractor that we all think about, I think there's a different level of comfortability and conversation. And I think, you know, with Sam, I think they see a different level of dialogue there.

Samantha Riccio:

Yeah. It's been interesting.

Jason Muth:

Yeah, it certainly has, and I'm sure that what you've experienced is not necessarily what you're going to experience because, you know, you never know what the next slide is gonna be like. Yeah, exactly. Rory, I did want to tee up a legal question. You don't even know what legal question is. So why don't you just ask something that is legal related to the work they've done?

Rory Gill:

We'll have a couple and before I jump into the legal question that I have, I want to make a point of this being a nice, like good Boston local episode. And I want to ask, you know, why Boston? You know why East Boston, I think we've had the opportunity to speak with people from across the country. And they always tend to favor these markets where you get a high cash-on-cash rate of return where the cost to enter is a little bit cheaper, where things are maybe a little bit less regulated. Why Boston, and you know, why make a go for it here opposed to like the traditional developer friendly market.

Nick Riccio:

I mean, we could probably talk a really long time on that. So we'll try to keep it as short as possible. But I think for us, one was we, you know, our strategy has been house hacking. So that obviously is, was the first reason was we were going to be living in these properties. But I think more than that was, we wanted to understand and learn a little bit more hands on and just having it out of state, we wouldn't get that experience. And then I think now we've just learned, like, we've figured out a little bit of like, you know, a model that works for us here. And that's what we focus on. And not to say that there's anything wrong with, you know, these out of state markets that, you know, people go for, for, you know, their increased cash flow and everything. But I also think there's something to be said for, we kind of know what we're gonna get for a tenant base, we understand it. And I think there's a lot of value in that that we took for granted, I think initially, but just having, you know, being in a great area with a knock on board, great tenants, like that's worth maybe the little bit that you would give up in cash flow in another market, in our opinion.

Samantha Riccio:

Yeah, I agree.

Rory Gill:

Kind of building on that, you know, our office, we went out at for a street fair, and we went to serve hot popcorn as part of a street fair at our table. And the amount of bureaucracy and hoops we had to jump through to get the right from City Hall to give away free popcorn was pretty incredible. So I can imagine keeping track of all the different permitting, both for your business and for the individual projects in and of itself is a full time job. How do you navigate that system in a way that's efficient for you and for your clients? You know, how do you build the relationships with the different bureaucracies that you have to

Samantha Riccio:

So a lot of wine is number one. It is wild. So having kind of our design and build assistant like today she was she's still out of the office, she's been at Boston City Hall, like she's been all over the place. Well, seems like she's everywhere, kind of going back and forth. Because it's a lot. And it's a lot of kind of in person, information that you need to get as well, when you're still trying to, you know, run a business. But I would say at the end of the day, in the beginning, we were, you know, when we started doing it ourselves, we were petrified I was I was afraid to call this we like didn't call the city for like six weeks to check in on our permit. Because I was literally afraid it was like the IRS and they were gonna, like kill me. And we finally call and they're like, Oh, we never got it submitted. And I was like, Nick, I can't believe we dodged them for so long. Like basically like it's okay there, you know, at the end of the day, as wild as it is, and difficult as it is supposed to be there to help you. But I would say from you know, in Boston, it's more so for us a lot, a lot of help has been networking with people who have gone through it and just kind of like get a little bit of that inside info of hey, this is how this works. So then when you get the denial letter, because you need a variance for something you're not like, you know, breaking down crying, you're like, nope, I know this was coming. And there's a lot of people for, you know, cities such as Boston that have a difficult kind of permitting standpoint, like it just took us two weeks to get a permit for a dumpster, you pay $500 to put a dumpster down for like a week. It's like, How is this possible? There's a lot of like consultants that you can hire to kind of help help you through it. We haven't done that yet. But we do know people who have kind of asked us like, we want to get into investing, we're afraid of you know, the system? How would we go about it if we were trying to GC this ourselves and not hire someone like you to help and there are people that can kind of walk others through the permitting process and kind of hold their hand through it. So I highly recommend that if someone's looking to do a substantial project in Boston. But I wish the answer was, you know, it's sunshine and rainbows, but it's a struggle, but it's all worth it in the end.

Jason Muth:

Yeah, well, you're building your systems. And it sounds as though everything is kind of moving in the right direction learning along the way, you know, a lot is going right, you're making some mistakes, then you learn from those mistakes. And I think it's all part of the evolution of the business. So we'll plug the business a little bit, you could tell everyone where they can reach out to after our final few questions, and then we'll wrap things up. Question number one that we have for you is one we ask everybody on the podcast, which is if you get on stage for 30 minutes and talk about any subject in the world with zero preparation. What would it be?

Nick Riccio:

Mine would be personal finance and house hacking.

Samantha Riccio:

Mine would be house hacking as well. So he stole my answer.

Jason Muth:

Oh, real estate all the time.

Samantha Riccio:

That's like the one thing that we like eat, sleep and breathe. Even when we don't want to talk about it.

Jason Muth:

Do you have like friend - I mean, like the real estate committee is very friendly - I mean, like you know, we've met it networking groups before, like, people become friends because of those groups, but your friends outside of real estate do they see you, and they're like, Oh my God, they're gonna talk real estate again.

Samantha Riccio:

We don't we don't talk about real estate with anyone other than real estate people.

Jason Muth:

Okay, all right.

Samantha Riccio:

We found t it's just, yeah, it's not...

Nick Riccio:

There's not a lot of synergies. So even with family we don't talk about.

Samantha Riccio:

No one knew we were investing until probably like we started an Instagram account. We were very hush-hush about it.

Jason Muth:

Right. Second question is tell us something that happened early in your lives or careers that impacts the way that you're working today.

Nick Riccio:

I would say, I guess I don't know if you need a specific thing. But again, I will tie it back to like how I grew up with, for me, it was always money was a big concern and a challenge. And so that has just brought us along that like, we will just do whatever it takes to not have that repeat

Samantha Riccio:

I think that's a good one. I would probably say itself. it wasn't until I worked my way up in a company and Nick always said I was like the picture perfect employee because I just enjoyed working for somebody else and doing a really good job and you know, getting my two weeks vacation. And it wasn't until I started visualizing my life and really like diving deep on, like, who I am and what I want, that I started being at my job and kind of the things that used to not bother me like my boss saying, No, you can't have that day off really started to bother me. So I think for me, it was like allowing, I would say stereotype of your picture perfect employee. And you know, I was always a really good student. So that like stuck with me, it was like a badge of honor. Like I'm a good employee. And I didn't let myself think about anything else. Like think about I never thought about being a business owner. I never thought about entrepreneurship. So for me, I would say just kind of like tapping into who I am. And like focusing a little bit more on myself and mental health really, like changed the whole narrative.

Jason Muth:

Those are both awesome answers. Those are both really, really good answers. And, you know, go rewind this to listen again, if you're listening to this and want to just hear, you know, people that have really thought through where they want to be, and they're making their vision come true. I mean, you know, I've worked in corporate America for a long time, like for decades, like I'm old, you know, I'm okay with that. But, you know, maybe I would have taken a different path if I kind of had that moment of clarity, you know, 10-15-20 years ago. So you know, congratulations for doing that. And finally, tell us something that you're watching listening to or reading these days, can be anything in the world.

Nick Riccio:

We don't watch much TV at all. I am reading Becoming Trader Joe, which is the history of Trader Joe's.

Samantha Riccio:

Yep. And we just went to a bookstore I got so Nick is a business book person. I am like, let's escape business. So the book I just finished that I loved was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, it was a great book. I read it in two days. So for anyone looking for like a fun, flirty adventure. That was a good one.

Jason Muth:

Was that a period piece? Or was it based like today?

Samantha Riccio:

So no is was based today? Actually. Well, it was based back but the book was like somebody interviewing a woman who had was like 90 years old and had lived a life with seven husbands. It was quite interesting, but had like a good twist at the end. I like couldn't put it down the whole time.

Jason Muth:

Seven husbands at the same time?

Samantha Riccio:

Different has been throughout her whole life. It was so good. Her first husband was at like I think 15. And she had seven husbands that like the whole it all tied together in some crazy way. I was like, what, but yeah, incredible.

Jason Muth:

I'm thinking like, are they secret husbands? Or is it?

Samantha Riccio:

Now you have to read it.

Jason Muth:

Now I gotta go read that thing. Are the Mormons? Is it Elizabethan time? Like what's going on? Awesome. All right. So tell us about Eagle Hill Homes if that's we're going to talk about and how people can get a hold of you if they want to do some work for you guys. And tell us about Fairway Mortgage. Right? Is that where you still are Nick, or no?

Nick Riccio:

Just made a change actually

Jason Muth:

Just made a change. Okay, yeah, give us all that stuff right now.

Samantha Riccio:

Yeah, awesome. So Eagle Hill Homes on our website, eaglehillhomes.com. And we're mostly on Instagram just @eaglehillhomes, and we do residential construction and design in Greater Boston so you can find us there.

Nick Riccio:

And you can find me @nick_riccio_, and I do residential mortgages. And I did just make a switch. And part of that my new company is called North Pointe Bank. And part of that was I can they have some more investor products that I didn't have and most of my clientele helps investors or house hackers, so I can better serve them and I can do it around the country, which is something that we were looking for.

Jason Muth:

Awesome. We'll get those links in the show notes for this episode. What's your dog's name?

Nick Riccio:

Tito

Jason Muth:

Kido?

Nick Riccio:

Tito like the vodka.

Jason Muth:

Tito like the vodka. Tito and soda. You have to get a soda the next right?

Nick Riccio:

Oh my god, I'm so glad you said that. I've been on the soda train for like a year. Now we're getting. Yeah, he wanted to be involved. He's like sitting on our little couch looking at us in our office. Like get me on this podcast.

Jason Muth:

That's awesome. Well, thank you guys so much for being on the podcast again. It's been a discussion we've wanted to have with you both for a long time. And you know, thanks for really digging deep into your story and how you've gotten here today. It's a great model for a lot of people that are in that same point in their lives where they're saying, like, I think, I think I know what I want to do and it's not this. And I think I want to do that. But I don't want to take the step yet. How do I do that? And you've kind of already, you know, written the book on that so far, and maybe you'll eventually write the actual book on that and then read that one since you guys like books.

Samantha Riccio:

I love it. Thanks for having us.

Jason Muth:

Rory, really quickly, where can people find you?

Rory Gill:

Come find me at NextHome Titletown. nexthometitletown.com, or you can find me at UrbanVillage Legal urbanvillagelegal.com.

Jason Muth:

All right, cool. Thank you so much for listening to the podcast. If you've enjoyed this, please give us a great review or some kind of star rating or comments. We read all those or if you want to email us you can email me directly. Jason@nexthometitletown.com. So on behalf of everyone hear Rory, Sam, Nick, thank you again for appearing on the podcast. And thank you for listening to The Real Estate Law Podcast. We will see you next time. Bye.

Rory Gill:

Bye.

Samantha Riccio:

Bye.

Announcer:

This has been The Real Estate Law Podcast because real estate is more than just pretty pictures. And law goes well beyond the paperwork and courtroom arguments. were powered by NextHome Titletown, Greater Boston's progressive real estate brokerage. More at nexthometitletown.com. And UrbanVillage Legal, Massachusetts real estate council serving savvy property owners, lenders and investors more at urbanvillagelegal.com. Today's conversation was not legal advice, but we hope you found it entertaining and informative. Discover more at realestatelawpodcast.com. Thank you for listening.