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#068: Buy it or Build it, Strategies for taking risks, and Building an Empire with HGTV Hosts Chris & Calvin Lamont

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Today I have the Lamont brothers on the show. They are twins and business partners who built a business encompassing real estate, finance, construction, and design. They just recently premiered their first season on HGTV with their show Buy It or Build It. We talk about their journey to get where they are today, their new HGTV show, and what you need to think about when choosing to buy a house or build a house. 

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in this episode:

[01:35] Their journey in real estate

[06:44] Going big and taking risks

[10:52] Their two mantras for life

[14:01] Their day to day work life

[21:07] Their HGTV show – Buy It or Build It

[25:33] Buying houses versus building

[28:08] Biggest challenges when deciding to buy or build

[33:09] Favorite parts and challenges of filming

[01:35] Their journey in real estate

We have always been very business-focused ever since we were in college. We always wanted to do real estate or something that was business-oriented. So we started with a carpet cleaning business and then we went to water damage. We just continued to go towards our goal of real estate one step at a time. We realized after water damage you had to build it back so that’s how we started getting back into restoration and construction and that led to doing work for investors and flipping houses. Then we learned from doing those houses with the investors and learned how to be investors ourselves. It started 10 years ago, but we really started doing the house scene and the real estate stuff around six or seven years ago now.

[06:44] Going big and taking risks

We were risk takers but smart, calculated risk takers.  You can’t get stuck in the concrete. We didn’t grow up doing construction work and building things around the house, we grew up as athletes. So when we moved to Texas, after college, working on these job sites with other investors and other builders, gave us the experience and the knowledge. Then also combining that experience with the book knowledge and academic knowledge of reading up on certain design trends in the design industry and in the construction industry was key. 

Taking those risks are smart, but understanding what you do good and not do good is more is really, really important. The main thing is understanding what you do know and what you don’t know. Then bring in people who are more experienced in areas that you are not as good with. You can build a strong team and you are also able to learn from others.  You will also never be totally prepared when taking risks but it is important to be kind of prepared.

[10:52] Their two mantras for life

Hard work minus knowledge equals wasted time. We live by that every day. We always say, slow down to speed up. Those two mantras and phrases that we incorporate into our day-to-day business and lives. It always reminds us to take a step back and understand what we’re about to get into and understand our situation. You want to work as efficiently as possible and know what you’re doing so you don’t have to waste time going back and back and back fixing things that you could have done first if you had just known. So slow down to speed up and know what you’re doing before you do it or get the people that do know around you.

[14:01] Their day to day work life

As we get older and have more experience, we started moving towards buying lots and land and starting to build back communities. It allowed us to plan and develop more which gives us a little more freedom and peace of mind. Now we own a hundred lots and we’re going to build these. It is easier to buy land and be able to plan and develop so that’s what we’re doing more now.

[21:07] Their HGTV show – Buy It or Build It

We wanted to do something for TV that’s a little bit different. We said, “What’s the problem?” Everybody needs to make a decision between buying a house and remodeling or just buying a house period or building a house brand new. So Buy It or Build It came along because Calvin and I have the capabilities to do both. So we decided to show a client a house to remodel or a new lot or house that needed to be demoed and be able to build on the lot brand new. The best thing is that we get to actually show them the vision after they pick.

[25:33] Buying houses versus building

They’re both great things to do. We love taking a house that’s old and making it brand new. But having a dirt lot and turning that into something is also pretty amazing. It’s a whole different process when buying versus building. We take both very seriously. 

[28:08] Biggest challenges when deciding to buy or build

We always say you need to look at your living situation now and your life situation months down the line when making the decision to buy or build. There are two factors that usually drive the decision and those are time and availability. At the end of the day, you really want to think about the future. I know it sounds easy, but it’s about what you feel comfortable with.

[33:09] Favorite parts and challenges of filming

So the best part about the show for us is being able to be more hands-on and also be able to deal with the families one on one. We get to know the families even more than we normally would. The worst part about the show is that we often need to stay on set sometimes all day at least eight hours to ten hours. We’re not used to staying in one spot all day.

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