Welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview with Lucas Walls, CEO of FasterHouse and an extraordinary entrepreneur and leader in the real estate industry.
In this captivating conversation, Lucas takes us on a journey of resilience, triumph, and personal growth, sharing his inspiring story of overcoming challenges and building a thriving business empire.
Born with a bleeding disorder called Hemophilia, Lucas faced physical limitations and the constant struggle to prove his strength. However, he refused to let his condition define him. With an unwavering determination, Lucas pursued his passions, excelling in sports, academics, and eventually venturing into the world of real estate.
Lucas, together with his business partner, Sam Primm, embarked on a remarkable entrepreneurial journey that led to the establishment of Midwest Property Group, FasterHouse, and FasterFreedom. From a humble rental property purchase to a multi-million-dollar real estate portfolio, Lucas’s companies have achieved remarkable success.
Join us as Lucas Walls shares his insights on entrepreneurship, leadership, and the secrets behind his remarkable achievements. Prepare to be inspired and motivated by his story of transforming adversity into opportunity and creating a life filled with purpose and success.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Lucas Walls: I grew up Defiance, MO; small country town about 30 miles outside of St. Louis. I wasn’t your typical normal kid, because I was born with a bleeding disorder called Hemophilia. Having Hemophilia growing up was very difficult. I couldn’t do many of the physical activities that all my friends could do. I was ashamed of my disease so I always did everything I could to hide the fact that I had Hemophilia.
I always thought I had something to prove because I did not want to be perceived as weak or soft. This mixed with the fact that I did not talk to hardly anyone about my disease led to anger issues. Once I started to gradually open up and share my story, the anger started to melt away.
Coming out on the other side has only made me a stronger and happier person. I would not be the same dude I am today without hemophilia. It is my super power. I don’t want to be a normal dude. Because I’m not.
I was able to deal with and overcome my bleeding disorder and play baseball and basketball throughout my childhood. In high school, I played baseball and basketball and was the captain of the Varsity basketball team. I graduated high school in 2006 with a 4.1 GPA.
I attended college at Missouri University of Science & Technology in Rolla, MO on educational and athletic scholarships where I continued my basketball career. I earned my degree in Civil Engineering.
After college, I moved to Kansas City and began my engineering career. After living a couple years in Kansas City, I decided to make the move back to the St. Louis area to be close to family and begin investing in real estate.
My business partner, Sam Primm and I purchased our first rental property in 2014. We still own that house today. While still working full time jobs, we kept adding quality assets to our rental portfolio and started to incorporate fix and flipping into our investment strategy. I went full-time in real estate in 2017. Since then, we have built 3 amazing divisions of our company:
- Rental Business (Midwest Property Group): $45,000,000 portfolio value comprised of single-family houses, apartment complexes, storage facilities and vacation rentals.
- Flipping Business (FasterHouse): We buy and sell about 250 houses/year: We focus on treating all our sellers with love and compassion as we help them navigate a challenging time in their life.
- Education Business (FasterFreedom): We teach other investors the right way to invest in real estate. We have over 1,200 students nationwide.
We have grown our organization to 44 amazing team members. We place a huge emphasis on company culture and creating a positive impact on our community.
My beautiful wife, Ashly, and I married in 2015. We live in Wentzville, MO with our 2 young boys, Drake and Daxton.
In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.
Lucas Walls: I think it is important to have celebration milestones that are consistently communicated with our team, and we are striving to achieve. It is also important to remember to ACTUALLY celebrate those achievements, big or small.
Those celebrations help improve company culture and keep morale high. We have in the past been too focused on the next thing, then the next thing that we did not even take a minute to slow down and think about how far we have come. We have fairly recently purchased, renovated and moved into our new office. I want our office to feel like a 2nd home to not only me, but all of our team members.
It took some time to feel like this for everyone, but it felt like home after about 6 months of being in our new environment. From a business prospective, we had a record net profit year in our Education Business (FasterFreedom) last year.
Also getting growing our rental portfolio to over a $45,000,000 value (About $25M of that coming in the last 18 months) was a huge accomplishment for our team. Our celebrations have ranged from taking the team on a party bus to a Cardinals game to spending an afternoon at Top Golf or Bowling. We also had a great team outing playing paintball!
Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, are an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle to keep talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued, and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are you adapting to the current shift we see?
Lucas Walls: This has been a HUGE focus of ours since COVID. Part of our culture is being in the office. If you want to work by yourself, at home everyday of the week, you won’t fit in here.
We are a family, and it is hard to keep and grow that bond and trust between our team over the phone or Zoom call. We also started a non-profit which has been very impactful for our outside community, but just as much for our internal team.
This non-profit focuses on mental health and connection. Feeling connected with someone means you feel heard, valued and understood. These are the conversations we have (outside of normal business talk) on a daily basis. Simply talking about these things and not sweeping it under the rug is a huge step in the right direction.
It is extremely important for us to have great Leaders and Managers on our team that understand the importance of connection so that can translate to everyone they manage.
Here is a two-fold question: What is the book that influenced you the most and how? Please share some life lessons you learned. Now what book have you gifted the most and why?
Lucas Walls: Whoooaaa, this is a tough one. When I first started my journey in real estate, I was obsessed with books and podcasts associate with that, particularly owning rental properties.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad, The Millionaire Real Estate Investor, The 10X Rule and How to Make Big Money in Small Apartments along with the Bigger Pockets Podcast all made huge impacts on my life. As I started to build the business and a team along with it, general business and leadership books became very important to me.
My favorites in that sector include Traction, Good to Great, Dare to Lead and Extreme Ownership. Then my interests continued to evolve into an awesome journey of self development and associated books.
Some of my favorite books there are Think and Grow Rich, The Big Leap, Letting Go and The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. I do not gift or recommend the same book to everyone. I meet that person where they are at in their own journey to see what book would hit the hardest a that particular time in their life.
Christopher Hitchens, an American journalist, is quoted as saying that “everyone has a book in them” Have you written a book? If so, please share with us details about it. If you haven’t, what book would you like to write and how would you like it to benefit the readers?
Lucas Walls: My business partner, Sam and I wrote a 60 page booklet on how to find freedom through real estate a few years ago. We just gave it out for free at our local real estate meetup. I am confident that booklet changed multiple people’s lives.
I would like to write a full book at some point. My book would be focused around the challenges I faced throughout my life with my bleeding disorder. And how I overcame those challenges to live a physically, mentally and emotionally healthy life and build some amazing business and personal wealth along the way.
It would be inspirational for any who reads it going through similar challenges in their life. It would show the reader that anything is possible and you CAN create whatever life you want to live.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
Lucas Walls: Finding the right people. If you have the right people on your team, 90% of the battle is already won.
We have found brilliant, committed and loyal team members through our professional and personal networks who we were able to pull away from other huge organizations because they want the chance to be a apart of great culture and take a huge role in growing something amazing, not just be a cog in the wheel.
What does “success” in 2023 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Lucas Walls: We took great pride in keeping our full team in tact during the large real estate market shift in Q3 and Q4 of 2022. Being able to weather that storm, set us up beautifully to keep growing and have an awesome 2023. Instead of worrying about re-hiring and training, we have been able to implement new strategies.
In general though, whether it is 2023 or any other year, I just want to have some damn fun doing what I love to do, leading this organization. That is what it is all about to be.
Everyday, coming where I love to be, doing what I love to do, with the people I love doing it with. If I do that, the business results will take care of itself.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Lucas Walls for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
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