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Adam Menconi 4:30

Yeah, absolutely. So I have a lot of friends down there doing stuff and anytime I think my job is hard, I go down and and I still will get enthralled because we can go on a lot with them or go behind the scenes or something. And I think it’s great. And he’s like, he looked at me he’s like, I’ve completely lost my love for a movie. And I’m like, what? And it’s just because that that industry is rough. For sure. It’s a very tough industry. Yeah. It’s a cog in the machine is what they would say.

John Corcoran 4:58

Right, right. And it’s so difficult, especially from an acting standpoint going out on these different auditions.

Adam Menconi 5:04

Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

John Corcoran 5:05

Yeah, one of your early entrepreneurial endeavors was you and a business partner and opening about seven different Quiznos sub locations. Quiznos, for those who don’t know, kind of like a subway, I loved it. They had great sandwiches, so I’m really bummed that it didn’t work out. But talk, talk me through that. How are you act, this isn’t the same time you’re going on acting gigs, and you’re also opening subs, or is this a different period of time?

Adam Menconi 5:31

This was a different period of time, I pretty much given up on that a comeback. Graduated from college was up here up north. And we brought Quiznos from where I went into in West Covina and brought it back up here. And in thought it could be something really great. And so we went from never being a manager, or never been an operator before to being at that point, I think it was 23. And we got up to 90 employees. And, you know, you open a store and people look at you, you’ve hired them, and you’re like, Okay, let’s do this, and but you have no idea what you’re doing. None whatsoever. And so that was that was horrible, and probably the best boot camp for learning business on the fly. I’ve never worked harder in my life than working behind the scenes on those. And because I looked, you know, at that point, they make you wear a hat. And so when you when I wear a hat, my ears would stick out. I looked like I was 13. And so I’d have you know, these people come in and scream at you because something was wrong, or their sandwich was too rapidly, you know, for some reason. And it was just, it was so humbling to be a part of that. And to kind of learn that it was really not about ego. Because in my 20s, I thought it was very much about ego. And I kind of had to that kind of had to stomp that out of me, I’d say.

John Corcoran 6:59

Yeah. And so what ends up happening with all those locations, do you end up selling them off one at a time? Or were they profitable? At least profitable? And that’s how you ended up opening multiple of them?

Adam Menconi 7:11

I’d say, four were extremely profitable. One was pretty profitable. Two were stinkers. And they were, they were two deals that were ego driven, that they gave us the option if they said, Look, if you want to open these great Otherwise, otherwise, we’re going to have somebody else open them. And at the time, we made the decision based on ego instead of the data. We talked about it, the data said, No, I didn’t want to do it, I concede it. And that was probably the last time I stopped listening to my gut because it costs us a lot of money.

John Corcoran 7:51

And so the other ones that were profitable, though, you end up selling them off.

Adam Menconi 7:56

Correct. Sold, those went into development. I’d never built a house before. But I was like, how hard can it be?

John Corcoran 8:04

Before we get into that though? What happened with the chain? Because it was an applicable came for many years? And was that hard? You know, being like, I guess you’re a franchisee or something like that. What was that? What was that dynamic like?

Adam Menconi 8:18

That dynamic. It’s kind of like you’re an entrepreneur. But you’re not really, you. You get to run your store, you get to do the things that you you like I enjoyed making sandwiches. My first job was 15 in the deli I loved it. So I got that. But I didn’t get the ability to sit there and like make my own sandwich and call it the Adam special. It’s the same reason you don’t go to McDonald’s. If in order something special, it’s like no, you came there for a quarter pounder of cheese, like that’s what you get. And so with Quiznos, I didn’t get any artistic sense. I didn’t get any fulfillment from being able to do anything there. And ultimately, like, you learn a good amount on the work ethic side, but at the end of the day, when they were taking their chunk of money, at the end of the day before any of your other bills got paid. You started realizing like, you know what, there’s a lot of other ways that I could be making money if I’m putting this amount of effort and hustle in. And so that’s why we we bailed on it.

John Corcoran 9:19

And so you end up going into real estate development.

Adam Menconi 9:23

Yep. So started building houses started. started, you know, figuring that out. I lost $15,000 on day one because I didn’t understand how to read the blueprints correctly, and started digging with the excavator in the wrong area. So you learned very quickly in real estate and I learned a ton. And then we ended up going ahead and doing quite a bit but then pulling out right at the end of ’05 and sold everything between me and an investor.

John Corcoran 9:56

And that ended up being about two years before the whole big real Estate downturn. So was there something that some indicator that you felt like this market was overheated? Why did you pull out then? 

Adam Menconi 10:07

Yeah. So I think for my background, which was I did have a degree in business and marketing and stuff. So microeconomics and understanding kind of the trends, we all look at the data, but the trend is really what I was what I was looking at, or the wind, you know, the stuff that doesn’t have the data itself, but But what is it telling me, and in this area, especially some of the areas, we were investing, we were starting to feel some softening. And so I had invested in basically four corners of an area. So when some of these corners started, started feeling it, we immediately collapse the portfolio because the majority of our, our investments were in the middle. So I had enough time to get those out. And it works, but we didn’t. I think the number one, there was the one deal that we lost, and it was a 3637 unit subdivision, and we cancelled and I was I think I was 25 at the time. 25 or 24, somewhere there. And my investor, we cancelled right after the hard money deposit, maybe a week, two weeks after, and we both lost $10,000. And I figured he’d be like, you know, I’m the kid, he’s not gonna let me lose the 10 Grand. But I cleared out my account, my child at the time had like $10,265, and I gave him the check for 10,000, which was my side of it. He goes, You know, this is the cheapest real estate lesson you will ever have. Trust me. And he was right. As you just you could tell the timing wasn’t right, or the project was right, we would have lost millions. And since that time, the subdivision still has never been built. So just wow. It was around.

John Corcoran 11:56

And so you ended up so ’07, ’08 this time period. You’re you’re working in real estate. And you have a story about a time that you’re kind of helping with some of the short sales and some of the foreclosures that are happening and you had experiences of like getting chased down the street by people. Yeah. Tell them tell me about that.

Adam Menconi 12:17

It was just a brutal time. It was a brutal time for everybody. But if you were in the real estate side, you went from making this much money to then making like it’s not even on the screen. It’s it’s so far down. And in order to survive, you work for the banks. You know, you work Oreos, real estate owned the foreclosures, or you start negotiating short sales, like we’ve talked about. And in that time, you have properties that we’ve gone back to the bank. I’ve walked into properties where they’ve taken cement and poured it down the toilets. They’ve scalped every every possible appliance, anything of value, they take razor blades to the carpets, you’ve heard it all, like the horror stories of all that. But yeah, I’ve been chased that I’ve been chased had been shot at shot. Yeah, it’s just all sorts of crazy, not in Sonoma County, because they had me go out of the area for that. But the level of crazy that was happening at that time in in history.

John Corcoran 13:18

It’s weird, because we’re in a weird macro economic time now. But I was working for a real estate firm at the time doing short sales and advising real estate owners and stuff like that. And it was a weird, awful desperate time where people were running out of money, and they were just salvaging any money they could get anywhere. So as you said, like just pulling resources out of homes and selling them for whatever they can get it for.

Adam Menconi 13:42

100%. That was, it was just a really dark time, I think in the real estate in the real estate world. And I was fortunate enough, I learned from, you know, some pretty savvy people when I got started in real estate. And so I was able to put together a good chunk of money. And we started acquiring apartments during that time. So from 2008 to 2012 we’re acquiring quite a bit. And at the time, we had a hypothesis that it would be fine. And these rents would come up and this is what it looks like. And fortunately, we were able to make a pretty smart bet on that. And that ended up doing quite well for us. So.

John Corcoran 14:19

yeah, now, you start your Prosper Real Estate around 2014. So about nine years ago now, there’s been a ton of change in the industry in the way that you market listings in that time period. But talk to me about the early days. I love to hear about that the struggles in the early days of the business. What kind of struggles did you experience?

Adam Menconi 14:42

Well, I think so I’ve been joined at a total of 20 is how long I’ve been licensed and like in the beginning. You know, we talked about it like before social media before, before everyone had a supercomputer in their hand and in all moments. As things were very different. And you had kind of this old school mentality that that rule and now you’ve got this entire new way in this new palette to be able to get to people to be able to educate people create value, which is why I think the the industry as a whole has changed so much in the last 10, 15 years.

John Corcoran 15:20

Yeah, and I’ve been one of those big changes is I remember, it used to be that you didn’t even have access to listings, you had to go through an agent who would email you listings or before that would take you around. And now the consumer, the buyer, or the seller, for that matter, has got access to all these different resources. And Zillow, may had a dramatic impact on the industry. I interviewed the co founder of Redfin a while back, it was kind of talking about how that that’s affected everything. So what is it like now? How is that those different social media impacts YouTube, things like that affected the industry?

Adam Menconi 15:58

I think before, just like you mentioned, we as agents, we held everything. And so they had to come to a broker, they had to come to an agent. Now, they don’t need to, you’re dealing with the most, I’d say educated buyers and sellers in the history of real estate, they have access to data that they’ve never had in the history of real estate. So now they do. So in order to actually be relevant and more than a door opener, you have to understand financial planning, tax implications, construction, all these other things that maybe they’re not thinking about, you have to be a local market expert, you have to bring value to every certain component that they’re interested in, you have to have every vendor imaginable, because if they’re moving from the bay area up here, they know nobody. So you have to take what has traditionally been a sales model. And you have to just spike it in every direction. So you have all these other roles that you then take on to kind of concierge the entire process for people. Otherwise, if you don’t do that, then you’re like the single agent over here trying to juggle 10 flame throwers at the same time, because you’re the marketing guy, you’re the sales guy, you’re the year everything. And that’s pretty difficult these days.

John Corcoran 17:09

And how have you approached it differently? We were talking beforehand. And you said that your acting class of all the different classes you took was probably the most valuable for you as a business owner. Now, you’ve got this background and in theater and performance, understanding of the entertainment industry in the way that it operates, how has that shaped and guided the decisions you’ve made as you’ve grown your your firm?

Adam Menconi 17:30

It’s a great question. I think the the hard part with this industry is if you look at HGTV, if you look at a lot of the guys out there, they’re gonna have you believe that this industry is about going off. It’s about you know, getting out of the Mercedes and slow motion is it’s panning around giving you the Jerry Bruckheimer view of everything that you’ve built. And that may work in certain areas in our area, that doesn’t work. And it’s knowing your audience and our audience doesn’t care about that, our audience cares about value. They don’t care what you what is it, they don’t care what you know, until they know that you care. That is very much our focus is like, how can we bring the value, relate to someone be empathetic, and be more, well, we call it real estate therapy. A lot of people need real estate therapy. Yeah, all of a sudden, we’re talking about what they want, but all of a sudden..

John Corcoran 18:29

What they want out of life, what they will have their existence, Right. Yeah.

Adam Menconi 18:33

Well, they may sit there. And we’ve talked with a couple in the couples sitting there. And they may think they’re going the same direction because they’re buying a property. But really, the wife wants a foreign property and the husband wants a townhouse. So yes, they’re going the same directions, it’s us trying to figure out how to get them on the same path. So they are not literally at a T because that’s really where they’re at. They’re at a T, they’re moving opposite directions. They just don’t see it yet.

John Corcoran 18:58

So as long as that husband doesn’t end up chasing you around the dining room table, then I think that’s that’s a pretty good thing. Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, one thing that struck me, because we bought my wife and I bought a house last year, what the way that the industry has changed compared to previous purchases we’ve done is everything is become so much more front loaded from all the preparation that goes in beforehand. It used to be I don’t know if this is just in my area, Marin County, but you get this huge packet of disclosures, whereas you used to just get that after you put in the offer and get the offer accepted now, everything like so as a result, the real estate agent needs to coordinate all the different inspections and stuff before it even gets on the market, not to even mention also beautiful, you know, photography and staging and all that kind of stuff to talk about that change. Like there’s a lot of work that goes into these listings on the front end.

Adam Menconi 19:55

It used to be very much like you said, you would go and you would just put it on the market, throw some pictures I mean, I remember back when people would, you know, the first first iPhones come out and they’re like, this is great who needs a photographer, and it’s like you do need a photographer. But now it’s it is so much, I would say very, very different. Were on the listing side. And that’s, that’s mostly what what I do with the team and I will go back and forth on the buyer side, but you front load everything, now you do your home, you do your pest, you’re going to do your septic, you’re going to do your well, in some cases, you joined roof, in some cases, you’re doing asbestos or sewer lateral inspections, in your packaging everything up. And then you’re creating, while you’re taking all that information, you’re sitting down with the seller, and you’re saying, if a buyer is going to look at this, is there anything that is a red flag issue that would prohibit them from wanting to jump into the game here and offer on this property? And then we have vendors that come in and either either complete the repair or price it out at numbers that we know so people can quantify. So John, if you’re looking and you’re not in construction, then you see that there’s a problem with, say, the HVAC system, you’re immediately going to go, wow, that’s $20,000. And we go, no, but here’s a bid for $4,200. And he can come by on Thursday and repair the whole thing. So it’s quantifying that. And then it’s also giving you the ability for all the buyers to come in, and they’re all bidding on the same thing. So there’s not there’s no ambiguity, and it also takes away their ability to come back and have that secondary negotiation.

John Corcoran 21:33

I’m actually curious about that, because so many other markets have moved to, you know, kind of like the eBay model where you can have multiple different bids. But real estate is this one industry residents real estate, where it’s like one shot and that’s it. Yeah. I’m curious why it chooses to operate that way versus wouldn’t it make sense to go back to the nine other people who had lower offers and say, well, there’s a higher, there’s a higher offer? Do you care to adjust your bid?

Adam Menconi 22:00

Sometimes people will. I didn’t, we just had one that just happened like that. But I would say there was in this case, there was four offers in the distance between them was quite extreme. And so usually, you’re trying to go from four to one to figure out who’s gonna win. And if somebody’s not in the desert, make sure it’s gonna take this low on and you’re gonna cause it. And then you’re gonna focus on the three up here and then try to play ball because it’s, you can do that you can go back and forth. But in a market where the sellers have more leverage, because of a lack of inventory. You also can deal with buyer fatigue, where you, you go, and you literally, it’s like scraping every little piece of meat off the bone, or what happens is you beat the hell out of them. The buyers finally accept the offer, but they’re so irritated with the spirit of the transaction. And they don’t feel like it’s, they don’t feel like their story is winning. They feel like you got all the leverage, it doesn’t feel good for me. At the end of the day, that’s what you’re selling is you’re selling the story of like, this is perfect. This is going to be like, you’re going to celebrate Thanksgiving here. This is where your family is going to meet for the next decade like this is. That’s what you’re selling. Yeah. And so if you kill the story, they’ll win. And then they’ll bail at the last minute and then you as the Asian have to start all over. Because you push too hard.

John Corcoran 23:26

Hmm, that’s interesting lesson. What has it been like for you growing building this team? I you know, I was an English major. I mentioned you study theater and undergrad. Not something that I was taught back then you of course, I had other experiences, entrepreneurial endeavors like the Quiznos chain and stuff like that. Sure, and others that you had led, but what’s it been like for you, leading this team, especially now in 2023, as we’ve entered this very different kind of real estate environment with interest rates going up? 

Adam Menconi 23:55

Yeah, that’s, I mean, that’s a good, that’s a good question. The thing I love about real estate is it’s always changing. The thing I hate about real estate is it’s always changing. And it’s, it’s just the nature of things that that you have to pivot just like every entrepreneur out there, you’re gonna get hit with something and you can, if you get hit the wall, you can go, most people are gonna stop, you have to train yourself. You’re either jumping over going to the side digging under blasting through taking a rocket launcher to it, whatever it is, you have to figure it out, because no one’s going to come in and help you. And in this market, we’re doing the same thing. We’re we’re, we’re learning to pivot. We’re doing all sorts of different things, as the market adapts and changes and I think it’s still going to change even more in the next 15 months while interest rates are where they’re at. Going more top of funnel creating marketing ideas to continue to advise educate and consult with clients at a greater level rather than sell them anything. By Like I said, I don’t think anybody needs a better salesman. They do need a better advisor. So that’s our focus right now. Yeah. Especially Great.

John Corcoran 25:09

Adam, this has been a lot of fun. Where can people go to learn more about you connect with you and check out some of your listings and beautiful Sonoma County?

Adam Menconi 25:16

Yeah, we’re over at You can find us online at prospermoves. Up in Sonoma County. I’ll have my information attached to it. But yeah.

John Corcoran 25:28

And I know you, I don’t think you have anything that you can announce yet. But I know you spent some time yesterday doing some filming. So yeah, some of your your film background there for a new show that you’re working on.

Adam Menconi 25:40

Yeah, we’re always looking on different content, creating different marketing channels to appeal to different people. And so we’ve always got either new marketing or new business ventures that we’re kind of toying with on the on the back side of real estate technology, investing, cash flow, all the other fun stuff, and so we have a lot of fun with it. And that’s the great part about having a team is there’s a bunch of guys here that sit there and tell me. I don’t That’s a stupid idea. Okay, maybe let’s do that. So it’s great.

John Corcoran 26:11

Okay, Adam, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

Outro 26:14

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