Are you an investor? Click to take the first step towards partnering with Whitney on a passive investing opportunity.

WS654: Pushing Through A Near-Death Accident To Real Estate Success with Nick Prefontaine

Life in the real estate business is all about encountering adversity and staying committed through trying times. These are concepts that Nick Prefontaine knows better than most. He was in a near-death snowboarding accident at the age of 14 and his journey of recovery is a testament to a complete force of will and determination. These are the ideas that typify Nick and his family company, Smart Real Estate Coach. Nick is an expert buyer and seller and has a remarkable story that everyone can learn from.

Our gracious sponsor:
A Cost Segregation Study typically generates accelerated depreciation deductions ranging from 15% – 45%; Whether Commercial Real Estate was acquired, built-new, or renovated over the past 15-years, a Cost Segregation Study can still be performed…and there’s no amending of past tax-returns required; All Cost Segregation Providers are NOT created equal…if your Provider does NOT have a Certified Cost Segregation Professional (CCSP) on-staff, then you’re at higher risk of a failed IRS audit; There are ONLY (43) Certified Cost Segregation Professionals (CCSPs) in the entire United States…(8) CCSPs are employed by Bedford. Visit

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

It teaches us all about taking the next step, focussing on the positives, and how to get better every single day! Nick is also the co-author of the best-selling book, The New Rules of Real Estate and we are lucky enough to hear about some of the philosophy that it contains in today’s episode! Nick takes us through his difficult path to full health, his feelings through these tough times, and how a family steadfastness and support system helped him through. We also chat about Nick’s early work in real estate around the 2008 downturn, and how he transformed this success into a career in coaching alongside his family. Nick shares what he believes sets his company apart and the importance of his morning routine, as well the channels he likes to pursue to meet new investors. Tune in to hear it all!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Nick’s unfortunate snowboarding accident when he was in eighth grade.
  • An induced coma, massive weight loss and then learning to walk again.
  • The therapy sessions that Nick did in order to regain use of his body and speech.
  • Initial feelings after the accident and the support that helped Nick through the challenge.
  • The power of getting started and setting aside thoughts of failure and setbacks.
  • Going back to school and graduating eighth grade despite the accident!
  • How Nick went from a successful career as a realtor to coaching on the subject.
  • The lessons that Nick carries forward from his accident into his current work.
  • The factors that set Nick and his company apart from the rest of the field.
  • Ways for meeting new investors — Nick’s preferred methods.
  • How Nick’s morning routine has contributed to his success!
  • The way in which Nick likes to give back; The Prefontaine Fund at Franciscan Hospital.
  • Getting in touch with Nick and Smart Real Estate Coach!

[bctt tweet=”When I got to the ICU, the doctors told my parents that I probably wouldn’t walk, talk or eat on my own ever again. — @SmartRECoach” username=”whitney_sewell”]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Nick Prefontaine

The New Rules of Real Estate Investing

Smart Real Estate Coach

Smart Real Estate Coach on Twitter

New Rules for Free

Robert Kiyosaki

About Nick Prefontaine

Nick is part of the Smart Real Estate Coach family, located in Newport, Rhode Island. He recently co-authored the best-selling book, The New Rules of Real Estate, working alongside his father, and brother-in-law, and sister. Nick got started in the real estate business at a young age and is now focussing on working with lease purchasers, helping them on their path to ownership. His near-death snowboarding accident in 2003 left him in a coma and almost paralyzed him for life. The lessons he learned, regaining his strength and use of his body have continued to inform his work and attitude to life, to this day. 

Full Transcript


[00:00:00] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Real Estate Syndication Show. Whether you are a seasoned investor or building a new real estate business, this is the show for you. Whitney Sewell talks to top experts in the business. Our goal is to help you master real estate syndication.

And now your host, Whitney Sewell.


[0:00:24.4] WS: This is your daily real estate syndication show. I’m your host Whitney Sewell. Today, our guest is Nick Prefontaine. Thanks for being on the show, Nick.

[0:00:34.3] NF: Thanks for having me Whitney, I’m excite to be here with you and your listeners.

[0:00:38.0] WS: Nick is an expert in buying and selling real estate owned terms. His Amazon bestselling author of The New Rules of Real Estate Investing. He’s a partner and coach at Smart Real Estate Coach.

Nick, thanks again. I’m looking forward to – I know you have a remarkable story of just something that’s significant that happened to you when you were much younger and how that got you into real estate and I’m looking forward to hearing that story and I know the listeners are going to learn a lot and be encouraged as well.

Why don’t we just jump right in and you just get us started way back?

[0:01:14.6] NF: Sure, going way back, I was like sharing the story of my snowboarding accident because I feel that it can help so many people out there that are going through something similar, whether it’s a health challenge or struggling in their day to day business.

Going back to when I was in eighth grade, when I was 14. I was with my school, with my ski club and every Wednesday, we would have ski club. So usually, there was a small hill that I used to go to every day and when I say every day, definitely every day at one point, I had gone there from when they opened all the way through Christmas, even including Christmas.

But, whenever I went there, I wouldn’t wear a helmet because it was small, it was manageable, I knew the terrain. However, when I went to ski club, it was always at a bigger mountain, so I wasn’t quite as used to it so I would always bring my helmet. On this particular day, I had forgotten my helmet. I really didn’t think it was a big deal, in fact, getting ready, because we always – my friends and I would bring our stuff on the bus to get ready.

In getting ready, I realized that I had forgot one thing. My helmet. That I do usually — I’m not going to say to you that I’m a saint or anything but I usually made an effort to bring it whenever I went to go mountain because it was a little bigger. Just thought I would be safe, I’d be careful, nothing ever happened, you know, I’d be fine. We got to the mountain and because we were ready, we strapped in right away and headed straight for the top. On the way to the top, we noticed that it was very icy, Whitney, because it had been raining.

People were wiping out everywhere, however, needless to say, we got to the top and it wasn’t – my friends and I, it wasn’t our first time on a snowboard and they were all talking about how – whoever hit that jump, in the train park would be crazy, you know, it’s a huge jump and the conditions and everything and of course, like anything, I still take anything like that, not necessarily a slight but I use anything to my advantage like that. I took it as a challenge.

Of course, I headed straight for the biggest jump with all my speed and going out to the jump, I caught the edge of my snowboard and it kind of threw me off balance. Now, I was going way too fast and I was way too close to the top to stop so I was forced to go off the jump. In the air, I was off balance and I landed right on my head. I was later told that I landed on my head and I wasn’t wearing a helmet. I had to be rushed to the hospital, to the ICU.

When I got to the ICU, the doctors told my parents that I probably wouldn’t walk, talk or eat on my own ever again. After I was stabilized there, because it did take a little bit of time, I was in a coma for three weeks so it did take a little bit of time even after I came out of the coma to be at a point where I was stable enough but just going, even when I was in the coma, I came out of the coma and I’ve even seen videos Whitney of myself with my eyes open and looking around and everything.

I don’t remember any of that. Because, I was in a partially induced coma, because they had to induce me because the swelling in my brain was such that they were – if I woke up and I panicked, what happened, what’s going on, that I would increase the swelling in my brain and I would die. There were definitely a few lucky breaks for me at that point that I definitely point back to but once I was stable, it was about a month after my accident, I was stabilized at the ICU, intensive care unit at UMass Memorial Hospital in [inaudible].

I was transported to Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Boston. That’s where I had to regain – I started the journey to regain learning, getting all my muscle back because I lost a lot of weight when I was in the coma. I went from 160 pounds, all the way down to 137 and if you can imagine that for a 14 year old to lose that much weight, I mean, I had lost everything, I see videos of myself at the hospital and it’s like I was a ghost because obviously, I wasn’t getting any sun so I was definitely like a ghost.

All the color and all the weight and everything had just come off of me but when I was transferred to Franciscan, that’s where I had to learn how to walk, talk and eat again and I remember very early on in my recovery, having to learn how to walk, learn how to talk and they just would constantly be feeding me so I would gain my weight back.  That was a big point, especially early on in my recovery but I remember learning how to walk again.

Just taking it one step at a time and even to this day Whitney, I say all the time with associates of ours, people that were working within the trenches to do deals. What if this happens and then that happens and then I ask to do this and that. Don’t’ worry about that, just worry about one thing at a time that you can control. Very early on in my recovery, I still wasn’t even walking yet. I was still in a wheelchair and I remember sitting there in between therapies because what it would be was every day, I would get up and I would need help getting showered and get ready and everything like that but then, once I was able to get ready and have breakfast, I would have physical, occupational and speech therapy, then I would go back to the room to have lunch and then in the afternoon, I would have another physical occupational and speech therapy.

Double sessions, I remember on this one particular day, very early on in my recovery, I was still in a wheelchair and not fully supported wheelchair which I did start out with but excuse me, just a regular wheelchair with no extra support and I was sitting in my room after having lunch in between my therapies. I just kind of looked down at my situation. I don’t know what it was that made me like take a step back but I was just kind of having trouble figuring it all out and I looked at my mom and I’m like, who is with me every day during the day in my recovery in this.

Am I ever going to be able to walk again? She did not hesitate, she goes yeah of course you are, why do you think we’re here at Franciscan? That’s what you’re doing, you’re learning how to do everything again and then you’re going to be back to school with your friends and your life’s going to be the same as it was before so that sense of confidence and that having that no hesitation was a big part of what I was able to – one of the things why I was able to recover so well.

[0:09:26.9] WS: What about when you first came to? You first came to, you’re figuring out what has happened. I just wonder like, how do you cope with that, you know? I know there’s listeners who are either experiencing similar things or maybe have and you know, how do you cope with that initially and then I love – just you talking about your mom not being – not hesitating at all to just encourage you to say well, of course you’re going to and just having that confidence. I can only imagine how that this just pushed you forward. But just dealing with that initially, especially only being 14, you know, what was it that really helped you to deal with that?

[0:10:03.1] NF: It’s funny, I get that question, I’ve got that question for years, what did you do when you ‘woke up’? When you realized what was going on even at the ICU at UMass. I don’t even, to be candid with you, I don’t even remember the whole waking up portion at UMass coming out of the coma. I think that was for a reason. They were glad, the doctors and nurses were glad that I didn’t remember that.

That was part of their whole reasoning of sedating me and inducing me into the coma was that as they were able to take drugs like take them away from me, I was able to come out of the coma, after the swelling had come down, they didn’t want me I think that’s by design, they didn’t want me to remember that feeling that — those emotions and everything that was going on at that point but the only thing I knew is one day, I was in Franciscan in Franciscan Hospital and just my life was get up, get ready, eat, work, just like physical, occupational, speech just do whatever the therapists are telling you to do.

Really, obviously, you have your break for lunch and everything like that but then do it again. Just every day, it was just the next step. If this is what I got to do, I’m doing it,  that’s just how it was, how I was raised and then at the time, when I was going through it, my dad was doing some motivational speaking as well. I was surrounded by that positivity and that you know, how I mentioned my mom not hesitating at all and just saying of course you are. But there was also affirmations around my room like with each step I take, I’m getting stronger and stronger. Each day, I am growing closer, I’m getting closer to my goals every day

Everywhere I looked, even when I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t get away from it, the positivity and the affirmations were all around, it wasn’t like I – no, I don’t believe in this stuff, I want to get up and walk away. I couldn’t of course, that’s a little tongue in cheek but yeah, I would say next man up, that’s not a thing, it was just me, it was also the support system that I had around me. It was just, I had to do what was in front of me and I was put in front of me and I had that great support system around me.

[0:12:50.4] WS: I love the attitude of just, you know, not focusing on how,  really your – the issue of not being able to walk but you’re focused, you know, you were focusing on okay, what’s next, doing this exercise or to having this done or whatever it may be. Focusing on strength training, whatever the therapist were having you do.

You mentioned, you know, whatever it takes, let’s just get it going instead of focusing on, thinking it’s just too big of an issue. That mindset is so crucial and it’s so beneficial to any entrepreneur, just saying okay, where do we get started as supposed to focusing on how big the problem is or how much work it’s going to take and I personally can relate to some of that. I think back to like military training and things like that where it’s just like, let’s get it started, let’s get it done work really hard. You know, you mentioned like you were raised like to think that way. I’d love to know, how your parents trained you to think that way, you know? In eighth grade and you know, up to that point and maybe some ways that they taught you to have that type of mindset.

[0:13:55.9] NF: That was how I grew up Whitney, it’s really amazing, it’s one of the things that I say to this day to people like even myself, whenever I’m learning something new or tackling a new task or challenges, just start, don’t set this ridiculous number that you got to do like I got to do a hundred just say all right, I’m going to do 15, I’m going to do 20 and then by starting, when you get to the end of that 15 or 20, you’re like, “No, I feel great, I want to keep going.”

That kind of works in the aspect of when I said I would have to go to double sessions of physical occupational and speech therapy, once I had the exercises and the – I had that rhythm started, even when I got back, I’d be doing extra things to myself to get me to my goal faster. Like weights, free weights and things like that but I always had the goal, I always had the big goal at the beginning of running out of the hospital.

I wanted to run out of the hospital, so I had that even you put that aside, you put that big goal aside and you focus on what’s the next step I got to do. By doing that little step, yeah, you build momentum so then I – after I ran out of the hospital in April. Ran out of the hospital. My school said to me that just take the year off, don’t worry about it, don’t worry about finishing eighth grade, just come back next year and you can do eighth grade all over again.

Well, that’s just as I was telling you, everything that that’s just not what it was about, I was like no, I want tog et this done, I want to graduate eighth grade with my classmates and then go on. I had to get tutored every week day for I think two or three hours, I would get tutored every week day so that I was able to go on to ninth grade and graduate in essence, graduate with my class. But then, two years after my accident, I grew up in a family real estate business. Two years after my accident, I got the itch by reading the cash, Robert Kiyosaki’s cashflow quadrant and I started to ask my dad questions like, “Hey, how do I get started with helping you and how do I do more?” And that kind of thing. The thing that they were experimenting at the time was ’05, ’06, ’07, was, door knocking pre foreclosure doors.

Going to knock on the door if someone who ever see or noticed a default letter from the bank. I saw that and I was like, why can’t they – didn’t have any – what they turned at bird dogs at the time. They didn’t have anyone actually doing that at the time. Why can’t I do that? I’ll do that. Right after I got my permit, my license excuse me, I started door knocking these pre-foreclosure doors. So it was a couple of years after I ran out of a hospital that I was going and knocking on these people that have received a notice of the default letter from the bank saying that there was a foreclosure date set in the future and they’d better get their payments caught up and everything like that to save it. I would get that list and then go and knock on their door and try to provide them a solution that we could offer.

At the beginning I just had a script. So here is the script, so I would go rush up, knock on their door, read the script. I was not seeing a lot of – I was doing a lot. I was doing a lot of knocking on a lot of doors but I wouldn’t see any success. Then shortly after that my cousin, Mike and I flew out to California. San Diego to shadow the number one guy in the country. His name is Colin, who was having success doing that in this pre-foreclosure doors.

Once I saw his approach and how it differed from mine, as soon as I got back I changed my approach, started seeing success then after graduating high school, I got my real estate license and become a realtor. I was a successful realtor for six years full time and then around the six year mark, my dad asked me if I wanted to help him with some of the marketing and the properties that he was getting and that turned into helping him with the buyers and that really led me to what I am doing today.

And that’s creating the process for working with buyers and then once I had that process and there is a particular process that you want to put buyers through, in order to maximize their chances of success and crossing the finish line and getting their own loan and also maximize their down payment. Once I was able to do that, now I am doing that not only in our business because we are still working in the trenches, we are still working with buyers and sellers every single week. But I am also able to help all of our associates all over the country do the same thing. The same thing that I was doing when it was just my dad and I. So that is kind of it in a nutshell how it’s evolved. I know that was a mouthful.

[0:19:29.4] WS: No, it is such an interesting story and thankful that you survived all together and much less being able to walk in and do everything that they thought you wouldn’t be able to do and ultimately you said three months and that is quick time to be running out of the hospital. So I am thankful that you were healed and that you came out of that and I just contribute so much of that to your mindset and I’m sure that through the real estate business that’s just paid dividends forward. Just the mindset alone, so Nick what about just taking that mindset — can you guys have any examples say in real estate how just growing a business and a brand and how that mindset has helped you to push forward and to be successful in real estate like you all have?

[0:20:17.0] NP: Yeah, there is something I can point to and that’s whenever someone, whenever a new investor that we’re working with encounters a challenge or a setback or things aren’t going as fast as they want them to, the thought is always at the back of their head that, “This isn’t working. I’m going to try something else.” That’s probably the worst thing to do. You have to keep going. You have to keep taking that next step and now, I say that Whitney. I always say to our associates and to people that we work with and to even buyers like don’t worry about all of that just focus on this.

All you have to focus on is the next step and I have been saying that for years. I did realize the irony around that because I had to learn how to walk again. So when people like yourself just said that you’re glad I made it and glad I am here talking to you and everything, me too. That is what I always say, me too. I am glad I made it too.

[0:21:24.1] WS: What’s another way Nick recently that you all have improved your business that we could apply to ours?

[0:21:29.9] NP: That’s a great question, we’re constantly, Whitney, looking for ways to improve our business. We don’t stay stagnant. So I think an important point to mention is for your listeners or anyone out there who is hearing this is that what’s sets us apart I think from other coaches, mentors, trainers in the industry is we’re actually doing what we teach still. We are still out in the trenches working with buyers and seller and then we’re also in the trenches with our associates working with buyers and sellers that we lock onto them and do this deals together.

So the moment something changes like a new law or we’re having trouble doing this, so we decided that we are going to go in this direction just a little change but that’s really helped us in our business, as soon as we find whether it is a tweak to an attorney agreement or anything like that we are able to provide that to our associates and the other members that we work with and the fact that we are able to change so quickly with what’s going on in the market and able to provide that to our associates out there. I really think that sets us apart because there are a lot of people in this industry that are training on things that were successful five, 10, 15 years ago and you and I both know in any business things change so quickly and if you are not actually doing the thing that you are training and you’re teaching others to do, you are going to get left behind.

[0:23:16.1] WS: What is a way or maybe the top way that you all are meeting new investors right now?

[0:23:20.7] NP: Well I think one of the top ways, we have what’s become really beneficial for other people that are kind of in within our community, is the fact that we’re doing in addition to the mastermind call that we have and that’s for anyone that’s an associate and anyone who’s decided to make that commitment. That is usually every Thursday at 5:00 from 5 to 6. However what we find has been most successful now for anyone that’s even thinking about getting involved in with us and the community is we’re doing a live training.

That usually takes place from 4 to 5 on Thursday eastern time, from four to five and those for the most part, you don’t need to pay anything to be on those. Now, there are a few that we have that a few of the trainings that do require that they have a QLS or QLS, Quantum Leap System. So that’s only one of the four or five free trainings if anything what I said interest, anyone listening to this today, they could probably head to our website, which is And again, that’s and they can get register for the free, On Your Terms Webinar.

We have them running several times a day but if it’s for them and I am not saying we’re a good fit for everyone, because we’re not. You know it’s got to be for them. But if it’s for them, they’d be able to determine that by the end of that webinar and then they’ll know what the next step is at the end of that webinar. So again, the website is and the webinar that they want to get registered for is the On Your Terms Webinar.

[0:25:16.6] WS: Nick, what’s the one thing that’s contributed to your success?

[0:25:19.9] NP: I want to say my morning routine. My morning routine of either meditating or working out, either one of those and then journaling and reading and doing that and my whole goal for that, Whitney, is every day I want to get better. I want to get better, I want to learn something and get better even if it’s only a small that I want to learn something new and get better every day. I am not talking like I want to change the world in our day but every day I want to just – the compound effect just learn something, it stretch yourself just a little bit every day and then in a year, you’re going to be a different person.

[0:26:06.6] WS: For sure and I appreciate you bringing that up. I couldn’t agree more and tell us how you like to give back?

[0:26:12.3] NP: Well, I like to give back – I don’t know if we have enough time to talk about that but no I am just kidding. When after I got out of the hospital at Franciscan Children’s Hospital that was in 2003. In 2005 we started a foundation, The Prefontaine Foundation that a 100% benefited Franciscan Children’s Hospital. We ran for a few years. We had a few golf tournaments that we ran and other events like that however it just became very cumbersome on the admin side a lot of work administratively.

So Franciscan absorbed the Prefontaine Foundation and I believe it was 2007 or 2008 and it is now called the Prefontaine Fund at Franciscan Children’s Hospital. So our aim is every time I donate because I still donate a percentage of my income, every chuck I donate a percentage gets sent to them but I just make sure I write the Prefontaine Fund in the middle line of the check but that fund, the Prefontaine Fund goes towards only improving the lives and the experience of the kids at the hospital.

So the really important thing of that is Franciscan can’t, I love Franciscan to death but Franciscan can’t just whenever they need money take from the fund and go and spend it on one thing like this thing or that thing. They have to work with us and consult us for what we think is going to be most useful and present us with options. Usually what we are doing and what we did last year was a device, almost like a smart device that you wear that can help you.

That tracks your movements and everything like that that can really help you improve and it helps the therapist work with the kids that are at the hospital. So the Prefontaine Fund got that for Franciscan last year. I really would have love to have a device like that, something like that while I was at the hospital and that is how I usually approach anytime there is a little bit of money in the Prefontaine Fund, that’s how I usually approach anything that we are doing because ultimately, I mean I consult with my family but ultimately I am the one that is making the decisions for the Prefontaine Fund.

We do it together as a family but for the most part, I always think of what would I have liked best. Like they have a few times said, “We want to name a park after you. We want to name this,” like to all of this and we are always saying no. Like that is not going to help anyone. That is not going to improve the lives and the experience of the kids at the hospital, so we ought to do something like we did last year.

[0:29:22.6] WS: Wow, well thanks for sharing that Nick and I am grateful for you time and just you being willing to share and be transparent with your story and I know that is going to benefit many others who are listening and are experiencing something similar and just the mindset alone to get through something like that and I am grateful for that. Tell the listeners, I know you shared your website but share how they can get in touch with you all and then I think also you have a gift as well.

[0:29:48.1] NP: Yeah, the couple of things about that. So remember Whitney how I was talking about they can get registered for the free On Your Terms Webinar on our website, well included with that is a free strategy call with one of us, with one of the team members. So I think that is the best way to get in touch with us. If anything of what I said today resonates with anyone out there, that is the best way to get in touch with us.

Yeah, I would love to what I can do for your listeners is giveaway a free copy of our bestselling book, The New Rules of Real Estate Investing. When I say free, I mean a 100% free. So even like as you opt-in, we are not going to charge you $10 for shipping. Everything is free. If they go to and again that is they can submit all of their info there and we’ll send the book out to them. Now please be patient with us, things have been a little delayed with this whole corona virus craziness that’s going on. So I am not sure when they’re going to be listening to this but just be patient with us on when we’ll get that out to you but it will be coming.

[0:31:05.9] WS: Awesome, that’s a wrap Nick. Thank you very much.

[0:31:08.2] NP: Thanks Whitney. Thanks for having me. I had a lot of fun.


[0:31:10.7] WS: Don’t go yet. Thank you for listening to today’s episode. I would love it if you would go to iTunes right now and leave a rating and written review. I want to hear your feedback. It makes a big difference in getting the podcast out there. You can also go to the Real Estate Syndication Show on Facebook so you can connect with me and we can also receive feedback and your questions there that you want me to answer on the show. Subscribe too so you can get the latest episodes.

Lastly, I want to keep you updated so head over to and sign up for the newsletter. If you are interested in partnering with me, sign up on the contact us page so you can talk to me directly. Have a blessed day and I will talk to you tomorrow.


[0:31:51.1] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for listening to The Real Estate Syndication Show, brought to you by Life Bridge Capital. Life Bridge Capital works with investors nationwide to invest in real estate while also donating 50% of its profits to assist parents who are committing to adoption. Life Bridge Capital, making a difference one investor and one child at a time. Connect online at for free material and videos to further your success.


Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!

Join the Real Estate Syndication Show Community:

Related Posts

Leave a Reply