Ep167: Michelle Russell – Never Skip Your Due Diligence

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Guest profile

Michelle Russell is an author, speaker, and an amazing host of the Short-Term Rental Revenue podcast. She has a history of successful investments in a wide variety of markets and has learned only from some of the best real estate gurus.

Her experiences from investing in real estate have taught her the value of short-term rentals and getting the most out of your properties. Now, she wants to share her knowledge with other people and teach them how to rent or buy a property to turn it into a short-term rental and create a profitable residual income, one that keeps coming in month after month, to build your wealth and create a healthy retirement.


“It’s all about business. You need to be rational. Don’t think with your heart and feel that you need to help people out. You are not their savior.”

Michelle Russell


Worst investment ever

Don’t let pity cloud your judgment

Michelle bought a property for $100,000 and had it rented to a couple for three years. Unfortunately, the man died leaving his mourning fiancé with nothing. She told Michelle that they were planning to buy the house after their wedding, if not for the tragedy. Feeling obligated to help, she sold the house to the woman.

A year after, she got a call from the same woman and asked if she could lend her some money to pay for the mortgage of the house. Instead of lending her money, Michelle bought the house again and planned on renting the house again to the woman. While she was processing the papers for the house, she lost contact with the woman, so she decided to give her a visit.

The price you pay for bad decisions

To Michelle’s surprise, the once immaculate house a year ago had turned into a horror house. As she described it, 40 animals were in the house and feces were everywhere. Black molds were seen on the wall and not to mention the bad smell that was pungent inside the house.

It turned out, the woman, after the tragedy, never recovered. She got depressed and was fired from her job. Left with no choice, she evicted the woman and had to spend $185,000 to renovate the whole property.

Don’t try to wait until you recover the cost spent

After getting the appraisal, instead of selling the property, Michelle let her emotions decide again and let her daughter move into the house and stay there for a couple of years until she finished school.

However, the economy crashed, and the value of the property decreased until it was too late for her to recover the costs. It took her a decade to get a reasonable price and sell it eventually.

Lesson learned

Due diligence is a very important step yet people tend to skip it

Michelle was not new in real estate when she dealt with this property, yet she forgot to do all the due diligence that she knew necessary with buying a property. People who do not do their due diligence are bound to make bad decisions.

Never let your emotions decide for you

Always work with your brain and not your heart when it comes to investments.

Try not to mix up helping people and your business

It is great to help people, but you can always do that in many other ways. Don’t let it entangle with your business.

Andrew’s takeaways

Never ever skip due diligence

You can save yourself from all the trouble if you will diligently research a prospective venture and gather enough information to make a justified decision.

Never let things go too far

If it is going too far, stop and plan your next calculated move. Don’t wait until you get back your cost because you may never recover it.

Help other people with your profit

Don’t aim for your business to do charitable work. You can donate money when you make a profit, and that will be better for everyone.

Actionable advice

Create a set of standard operating procedures (SOP), which will consist of all the steps of due diligence you need before going through with an acquisition. Even if for a moment, you get swayed by somebody else’s story, if you have your SOP, you will never miss a beat.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Michelle is planning to add 100 more units to her short-term rental list.

Parting words


“I realized that everything happens for a reason. You fail big, and you’ll learn to pick yourself up. Those failures are there for a reason. Don’t be afraid of failing. Get in there.”

Michelle Russell


Connect with Michelle Russell

Andrew’s books

Andrew’s online programs

Connect with Andrew Stotz

Further readings mentioned

John C. Maxwell (2007) “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success”

About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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