Steve is the author and founder of Lifeonaire. Teaching thousands of people how to live and experience abundant lives. He has flipped over 500 houses in his investing career and helps investors to transform their businesses from life sucking to life giving ventures.
As a teenager, Steve was building his own businesses. At the age of 21, Steve bought a restaurant and bar as his first real estate investment. Without going into detail, it didn’t end up being a long-term success. But he was able to get started in this highly competitive industry at a young age and set a great foundation for his future!
When Steve turned 25 he bought another bar that ended up working much better for him. He used creative real estate investing techniques to get it. Once the bar was his, he thought he would be on easy street raking in the wealth.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s run a business that what he thought was not the case. “Turns out,” Steve says, “all I did was buy myself two jobs. I was lucky if I could pay myself for one!”
When the second bar went under, Steve found himself deep in debt with terrible credit. Not knowing what to do, he started working a day job with a steady paycheck. While getting paid for his work felt good, having someone working over him did not. “When someone else was dictating my life, that entrepreneurial spirit was starting to fire up again,” Steve mentions.
That was when he made the decision to becoming a successful real estate investor. However, Steve barely had an income, was deep in debt, and terrible credit. What was he going to do?
With everything going against him, Steve started doing his homework. He studied successful methods and researched different types of investing. Wholesaling appealed to Steve because you didn’t need good credit to start, you didn’t need a lot of money, and you didn’t need the means to flip a house. It took him about 8 months to get his first deal closed, but he didn’t give up.
That first deal was it for Steve. Real estate investing is mostly a mind game, and he understood that now. When the first deal was closed, Steve started getting offers within the first 48 hours. The man he ended up selling to took him on as an acquisitions manager, finding 7 houses in 6 weeks for his new partner.
Steve came back with an eighth property that got rejected. Instead of letting it go, Steve flipped that property to someone else and made a profit off of it himself.
When he made the full profit from that sale, Steve knew what he was going to do with the rest of his life. He was going to become a successful real estate investor. In his first 2 years of real estate investing, Steve flipped 105 houses!
At the end of the day, taking action is about being motivated. Steve was motivated to reach financial freedom, he never stopped, and he made it happen. There’s nothing more important in real estate investing than that.
After 2 years, Steve realized that working with a partner wasn’t for him. In Jan 2001, he made $40,000 with his partner. “At that time I only needed $25,000 to get by,” Steve explains, “My lifestyle was very lean.”
When he began working on his own, Steve easily made more than that in the first few months. One month made $60,000, then the next month he made $70,000. He didn’t know what to do with all of this money, so he decided to give back.
Steve found people in the community who offered to help him organize his income to live comfortably and to give back. Since he was making a great living now, they suggested for him to buy his own home. Steve bought a 5 bedroom, 4.5 bath house on a 5 acre lot in Baltimore as a single guy in his mid to late twenties. That’s amazing!
After that, Steve put together his rental portfolio, bought himself a vacation home, and went from having zero assets to over 7 million dollars in assets in just 3 short years.
Seeing his success, Steve started getting people coming to him for training. People were flying across the country to be coached by Steve. “In the back of my mind,” he tells, “I’m thinking ‘they don’t really want what I’ve got’. I don’t feel successful yet.”
Realizing he was happier before getting all of his properties and assets and worth, Steve was at a loss. He finally figured out that, although he had all of these things now, he didn’t have a life. Real estate investing is time consuming. Steve quickly saw that he was spending all of his time running his real estate investing business and not doing much else for himself.
One week there were 2 gentlemen who approached Steve asking him to teach them how to become a millionaire. He responded simply with, “Why do you want to be a millionaire?” To which both men replied: “So I can be a better father and husband.”
Steve told them a piece of great advice. He said, “You don’t need to be a millionaire to be a good father or husband. That’s done in the choices you make. Do the things that good fathers and husbands do, and you’ll be that.”
Needless to say, they didn’t like that answer. Steve was contemplating why these men thought they needed to be millionaires to be good people and heard the word “Lifeionaire” come to him. That’s what those men wanted to be, not millionaires. They wanted to experience an abundant life and they believed that money would get them there.
Money is just a vehicle. Having lots of money wasn’t the goal, having a great life is. Once Steve understood that, he was able to become a successful Lifeionaire, instead of just a real estate investor.
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Joni has an extensive career in administration working with Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike. Her career has spanned sectors including retail, automotive, and the legal field. She has been working with Quickbooks for 7 years. Joni has helped several companies start their Quickbooks bookkeeping accounts from the ground up. Joni holds a Bachelor’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Rochester College.
Kirk has worked for Fortune 500 companies and run small businesses. His expertise includes sales management, the automotive aftermarket, mortgages, and banking. He first worked with Quickbooks in 2001 and prior to that worked with Peachtree Accounting software. Kirk is skilled in P&L and financial projections. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising from Bradley University and a MBA from Walsh College.
Joni and Kirk live in Rochester Hills, MI with their two children. Together they have owned rental properties and know all too well, the ups and downs of being landlords.
Together, Joni and Kirk got in to bookkeeping for real estate investors when Joni did consulting work for Mike Simmons and his partner. When they were looking over the books, Joni and Kirk noticed that there was a hole in market because there weren't many people doing bookkeeping for real estate investors.
The biggest mistakes Joni and Kirk see when it comes to bookkeeping for real estate investors are:
The reason Joni and Kirk use Quick Books is because it helps keep everything organized for their clients. Quick Books makes it easy to see every aspect of bookkeeping for real estate investors. Which is why they say that not having any type of system is the worst thing to do for your business. Not tracking every single expense will end up costing your business lots of money in the long run.
If you're in the need of a good bookkeeper, Joni and Kirk are the way to go. The first step is building up a report for your real estate investing business that's broken down by property so that you know where your money was spent.
"You're not going to send us too much paper," Kirk says, half jokingly. The more a real estate investor can provide for them, the better. 6 or so months down the road of working with Joni and Kirk, there won't be as many questions. The more you two work together, the better their understanding of your business will be, and the more streamline the process will become.
Because clients want specific reports, Joni and Kirk keep everything categorized and organized. Want to know where your marketing expenses are? They have reports for that! Knowing where your money is going and what's being spent will help keep your real estate investing business out of bookkeeping trouble.
Justin Williams had a conference, Flip Hacking Live 2017, that Danny spoke at that got him thinking about the kind of growth he needed to take for his business to grow too. In 2016, Justin asked Danny to speak at this year’s event, so this was a long time coming. Between doing the Flipping Junkie podcast, and the videos, and being in front of people online, speaking in front of people in live events has always been a bit difficult for Danny. Never the less, Danny commit to it, overcame it that stage fright, and presented in front of 600 - 800 people.
In preparation for the talk coming up, Danny went to public speaking classes every Wednesday evening. After Flip Hack Live was finished, Danny was talking to the instructor who said something profound. He said:
“I didn’t think you would have any trouble at all. You know why? Because you are humble and hungry. You’re hungry because you’re willing to put in the work, and do what it takes, to make something you want happen. But you’re also humble. You’re willing to accept criticism and knowledge from others, and not go into it thinking you know more than you do.”
Those words stuck with Danny. When you’re willing to be humble enough to be open to learn something from anyone, you will be a success. When you’re hungry enough to drive yourself forward, you will be a success. When it comes to success for real estate investors, you need to be hungry enough to always keep going, but humble enough to take every opportunity as a learning experience.
You can learn how to do this from anybody, no matter how new they are in the business. The more open you are to getting knowledge on things that you’re struggling with, the better your real estate investing business will be. The number one key when it comes to success for real estate investors is knowing when to ask for help. That’s not a bad thing. That shows that you are both hungry for the opportunity, and humble enough to know you can’t do it alone. Saying “I don’t know how to do this and I need help” is a way to grow your business and make it a success.
You’re already taking a big step forward by listening to the Flipping Junkie podcast! The more you learn in these episodes, the stronger you’re making your real estate investing business. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do, so that you can keep learning how to make your real estate investing business a success. And don’t forget to check out this video, and others like it, on the Flipping Junkie YouTube page!
This is basically just a review of a book that I re-read for the second time. Grayson (on our house flipping team) suggested this book to me, and it’s really been helping me deal with feeling overwhelmed with everything.
Sometimes you read a book at one point in your life, but don’t get all of the advice and actionable material. This book is called “Essentialism” by Greg Mckeown, and it’s just great. There are so many visual representations of how you get overwhelmed. The circle with all of the short arrows are definitely where I was at. Then, there’s another circle with a single long arrow that shows where the most essential things are, and should be going. This is where we should all be, and this is where I want to take Flip Pilot and LeadPropeller.
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what’s the most essential part the business, taking time to look at the big picture, to get a clear idea of what we really should be doing. What’s most important to us so that we can get rid of those little arrows. So many of us as real estate investors can tend to feel really overwhelming. If you burn yourself out, you’re not going to be running a successful business.
One story in this book is about journalism, but can definitely be applied to other aspects. When Greg was in a journalism class, the professor said to come up with a lead for a story about faculty meetings. Every student was coming up with stories about the different departments, and the goals from those meetings, and the overall impact on the university. The lead that the students didn’t take into account was that there wouldn’t be class on this day. The important take away was thinking about the audience’s point of view. The people reading this journal were the students - they didn’t care what the meetings were going to be about. The students reading just cared about if there was going to be class or not. So, thinking about things from the audience’s point of view helped to shape the best possible story about a subject that the students would have otherwise not cared about.
Seeing the bigger picture and coming up with a strategy that’s intentional is the best thing you can do for your business. The trade off should never be a detriment to your business. If you’re giving something up to do something else, make sure that something else is worth it.
Another clear point in this book is taking time to play. That’s so true. If you’re not taking time for yourself, then you’re going to burn out and give up. If you keep running forward, you’ll die. Taking time for yourself will help you get more creative in your real estate investing business.
I take my time on Sunday to plan my week, but I always start with scheduling the fun things to do with my family. Then, when I’ve put time aside for that, I add in the work stuff. If you’re not giving yourself time to have fun, you’re not going to be running a successful real estate investing business. Do it to get recharged.
If you guys haven’t read this book, do. It’s a great game changer for running the best business possible. Knowing what’s important and what’s not is difficult, but essential (hah, get it?). It’s like cleaning out your closet. If you see a shirt and think “I don’t wear this, but I might”, you end up keeping all of the close instead of clearing things out.
If something you need to make essential isn’t a clear “yes”, then it’s a “no”. Think about it like a scale of 1 - 10. If it’s not a 10, then it has to go. Plane and simple. That will keep you on the right track that your real estate investing business needs.
You can get this book in the link below! I highly recommend it if you need help with finding out what’s essential and what’s not. And don’t forget to join the Flip Pilot group on Facebook to network with other active real estate investors who have a 30k foot view of their business!
Kyle Burnett asks:
I've been full time in the flipping business for about a year and I feel like I need to get over the hump. I've done 4 deals in the last year and am behind on my goals. My wife and I have our first kid due in December and I have to ramp this business up to support our family.
Danny Johnson replies:
I've thought about this a lot and recently gave it more thought as I moved offices. Melissa and I switched offices in our suite and I went through a lot of my old training courses and meeting notes from years ago. What struck me was how many different things I got interested in and tried to learn.
I had books on land investing. Books on real estate taxes. Books on investing in IRAs. Books on raising private money. Granted all have been helpful but I realized that the success came from when we had focus. Focus on marketing. Focus on working the hell out of just 3 or 4 lead sources. Putting out bandit signs religiously. Driving for dollars religiously. Making the effort to get the phone ringing. Making a plan and sticking to it. Not constantly thinking about new ways to get leads. Just ways to being consistent and working the sources that have worked for decades for successful investors. Investors that struggle almost always do so because they didn't master a handful of marketing strategies that the stayed consistent with.
If you can't be consistent with your marketing and focused each week and thinking about what to tweak WITHIN that same marketing channel, you've got to hire someone even if just part time to do it.
Mike is brand new in the investing world but brings a construction engineering degree, and 10+ years of construction background, knowledge and business sense. Alongside him is his beautiful wife, Sarah, and loving father, Jim, who have helped get their real estate investing company, Newbyginnings, off the ground and now full steam ahead. They have big dreams for the company and hope to help thousands of families create their new beginning. Mike is also currently a full time construction consultant and his wife is a full time cardiac ICU nurse at a local Children's hospital.
When Mike started studying real estate investing, it only took him about 6 - 8 months for him to make the decision to jump into the industry. Mike found a wholesaler and got his first deal done. With a good foundation and knowledge base, he was confident in working his first deal for his real estate investing business. Where so many people give up before they hit this point, Mike kept going and is working everyday at making his business a success.
As soon as he decided to get into real estate investing, Mike found a wholesaler posting houses on Instagram. He sent a message, got into communication with someone on this wholesaler’s team, and started communication. This group has a wide range of buyers, so they were eager to talk to Mike. They walked through a few houses, and on the third property Mike made a bid and got it. It took 2 or 3 weeks staying in communication with this wholesaler before the property was Mike’s. What a great first deal!
For more connections, Mike has been networking in the Flip Pilot group on FaceBook. Finding other wholesalers is the key to starting up a successful real estate investing business. With both Mike and his wife still working full time jobs, and being full time parents, wholesaling felt like an easy way into real estate investing. As long as the numbers make sense, there’s no reason not to jump into it.
There’s a perception that wholesale deals don’t have much meat on their bones, but that’s just not true. Mike’s rule is 70% is the golden number. In his market, that’s tough to get, but you can expect to be around 80% - 85% ARV minus repairs. BiggerPockets has an ARV calculator, but Mike made his own in a spreadsheet to keep track of his numbers. With his spreadsheet, he determines if the numbers work for his marketing and business. This is the spreadsheet Mike uses, so if you decide to use this method, be aware that your numbers need to reflect your market.
For Mike’s first deal, Mike went through 2 wholesalers. Despite them both taking their cuts, there was still meat left on the deal. The property was a little rough, though. The property was supposed to be vacant, but it wasn’t. The sellers were there for 3 or 4 days after Mike closed on the house, which they weren’t supposed to be. Mike was still working on the plan for the property, but everything went well in the end. When the sellers eventually left, they left behind much more stuff than Mike was expecting.
Despite the unforeseen difficulties with this first property, Mike’s ultimate concern in with helping people like the sellers of this property. That’s where the name of his business, Newbyginnings comes from (in addition to it being a play on his last name). “You never know where your next deal is going to come from,” Mike said.
The sister of the seller had been waiting for someone like Mike to buy her sister’s house. After seeing the amazing success with her sister’s property, she mentioned that she’s going to be selling her house next year and wants to go through Mike. She even offered to make a testimonial, and took a picture with Mike, and wrote an awesome review for him. Her property will, hopefully, be Mike’s 5th deal for his business.
When it comes to actually rehabbing your property, communication is always key. Mike’s GC had brought in someone from other projects to help with the rehab, but staying in communication was a bit of an issue. Mike would talk with his GC, and thought that word was getting passed down to the other contractors, but with the mix up it didn’t. The plan in the future is to sit down over dinner with their GC and other contractors to get to know each other better, and keep the communication channels open. Making sure you know who’s responsible for what is important for keeping a real estate investing business organized.
Chance started getting serious about real estate around 2 years ago. He did 16 flips last year and has been doing 2-3 a month this year. He gets around 30% of his deals through wholesalers and market for the others.
Chance and Danny were talking at the Mastermind class about deal sources and where their deals come from. Chance had mentioned to Danny that about 30% of his deals were coming from other wholesalers, which is amazing! Let’s see how he’s working these relationships to keep that percentage up.
Chance got started in real estate investing when he bought a house from his mother in 2008 / 2009. A subject 2 property (even though he didn’t know what that meant at the time), turned into his first house he took over. It needed the work to get it to market value, but Chance lived in it for a few years. When he decided to sell it in 20013, he ended up making a profit for roughly $50k with little work put into the house. When he moved, he told his wife, “We have to get into real estate!” And that’s how it started!
The benefit of working with wholesalers came around by networking as much as possible. Meeting anyone in the business opened doors and opportunities to connect with active investors who have profitable deals for flippers and rehabbers. There were always wholesalers who were more reliable than others, but it’s all about making quick decisions to get the deals done. Chance spent his time networking with other investors to grow his business.
Other than just networking with other investors, you can talk to homeowners and business owners to get your name out. When it comes to bandit signs, as long as you’re in communication with them, they tend to be ok with you posting your sign in their yard. For example, offer to pay their water bill for the month to keep your sign in their yard if it’s near a busy road. It’s something simple to get your business’s name out there and expose you to other investors.
The deals that are coming to Chance, as of now, are coming from Facebook groups (Mastermind, Flip Pilot, etc), mailing lists, and networking. Mailing lists tend to be for lower experienced buyers who are willing to spend more and make a little less. As far as the work that Chance does, the majority of mailing lists that come to him tend to not have the deals he’s looking for, but there’s always the occasional solid lead.
IFTTT.com (If This Then That) is a great place to look for the best keywords to search on sites like Craigslist and Backpage. Chance looks for “fixer upper”, “rehab”, “ARV”, “vacant house”, “motivated seller”, and finds a good amount of leads. IFTTT.com is a great place to set up ‘recipes’ to look for Craigslist queries to see which keywords you should be searching to find the best leads online. If you’re interested in hunting for leads from your desk, this is definitely a place to start.
Chance’s focus for the future is leaning toward sourcing their own deals. Their ability to source their own has grown, and in order to turn the dial up and flip more properties, the best option is to work for themselves and find more deals. As long as there’s someone to do the busy work and go to those properties, it’s very manageable.
Kyle is a founder and managing partner at H L Homes, a Houston based real estate investment company, founded in 2011.
He and his partner, Eric, formed their LLC to start flipping houses as a side gig. In 2014, though, the business expanded into a larger business to grow it and make it official. When Kyle first quit his job, the situation became “how do I monetize this and start making money quickly?” He started heavy marketing and going to appointments, but their buyers list was growing from the start. His first move became to network with other investors throughout the Houston area to meet other wholesalers. He would ask for their biggest problem and be there to fill their issues. Buying houses from wholesalers that no other investors wanted became their niche area, and generated lots of revenue in their first year.
The tactics depend on the wholesaler or the other investor. Sometimes, they’re just looking for exposure. At that point, Kyle and his partner just look for a percentage of the fee. As long as the other investors are happy and continue sending deals to them, they want to make it as equitable as possible. There are also a few investors who are just looking to entirely wholesale the property, in which case Kyle and Eric take it on and become the assignees for the property.
What contracts in place do you have? Is it just trust built?
It depends on the individuals. When Kyle first started marketing deals to people, it was exclusively a trust thing. The majority of people are honest, that’s just how business works. If you’re helpful, you will get help in return. The few people who were either dishonest, or didn’t close the deals, ended up parting ways with Kyle.
A few years in, the title company gets invoiced for either a set amount or percentage depending on what got negotiated. If H L Homes took it, it would be a standard assignment. Because of the invoice to the title company, you know you’ll be paid at the closing. Definitely something to keep in mind. No title company will close a property without fulfilling the invoice. “Shout out to Allegiance Title Sugar Land!” We know the title company wouldn’t turn their backs on an invoice.
Why are you transitioning away from wholesaling?
There are several things that lead up to that transition.
H L Homes started taking feedback from their sellers. “Of course, we thought we were great,” Kyle said, “but how can we make it better?” What they found is that what a seller wants more than anything is to be respected and be told the truth, and to have as few inconveniences as possible.
Start off being honest with intentions when it comes to price, and if it doesn’t work then we can market to other investors with different buy criteria. There are other wholesalers saying they would close on a property, and then not come through. Kyle found that they were losing deals by being honest when others were closing by not being honest. Going on a private money raise and tweaking the buy model helped them to be able to buy fast to help the sellers.
Being able to take properties down to wholesale gives Kyle more time with the properties. Because of this, Kyle is able to access different buyers because of the time allowed to advertise the market to.
Have there been times when you’ve lost money for taking down the prices?
Short answer: yes. It’s going to happen, but not frequently. Usually, money isn’t lost on “short take downs”. Typically, it’s on rehabs where estimates are done wrong, or a contracting issue comes up. Most of the time, the worst case scenario is already known. There are the buyers who have bought from us in the past, so we know what to sell to them. Because Kyle knows his buyers, the confidence in closing is significant.
What’s the process after closing?
As long as they have access to the property before hand, they try to do pre-market, however, most things are done at the same time. Listing, blasting to the buyers list, etc. Whatever the property will be sold for at open market value is what Kyle and his business sell for, which makes great deals for the end buyers and his business.
As far as listing, H L Homes does it themselves. There are 7 people in-office who all have different jobs to do. Eric, Kyle’s business partner, is on the sales side. Most of what happens in the business is done in-house. “Except our online marketing,” Kyle says, “LeadPropeller does that for us.”
All of the property management, construction management, etc. is all done in-house. The long answer is: they manage sales, closing, and acquisitions in house.
This is the answer to a Flipping Junkie Podcast #Just Ask question. Erik Drentlaw asked what my exact direct mail strategy is.
While I think it’s true that you need to become an expert at one thing before moving on to another is a great strategy, with highly specific things like online marketing, it’s best to let the experts take over. If you need to focus on becoming the expert at direct mail, do it! But allow the people who are already experts at SEO and PPC to manage that side for you. That way, you’re getting the benefit of both online and off-line marketing without wasting your time trying to learn strategies for both.
Erik, I see that you mentioned you have a competitor website but would have liked to switch. You still can! In fact, we have a team of professional PPC and SEO experts here who would gladly manage your online marketing so that you can focus on direct mail. That way, your business will benefit from marketing on two fronts. These guys manage my PPC marketing, so I can promise you they’re great.
As far direct mail goes, we’ve done something like $80k+ on direct mail in the last 12 months. I have absolutely no problem sharing my direct mail strategies. There seems to be some level of secrecy when it comes to asking about direct mail strategies, as if some investors are doing things that no one else would think about. The truth is, direct mail strategies doesn’t vary that much.
What is rare is people actually doing it and sticking to it. It’s difficult to keep it up, but as long as you do it and stay consistent, it’ll pay off in the end. Just stick to what’s being taught, and actually do it
The biggest list we mail to is the high equity list. This is key. Mail to owner-occupied, and absentee-owner high equity direct mail list, targeting ages 45+ of the household. That demographic has been the highest converting as far as direct mail is concerned.
The next question becomes, “Where do you get that list?” You can get this information from ListSource.com, you can get your rates down by calling and asking. Definitely do that. You go into the site, and specify the types of properties you’re looking for in your target area. Look in your farm area, the spot where you expect most of your leads to come from. Choose the property value next. Don’t go high-end properties; you should limit the appraised value to just above medium home price to avoid the crazy expensive ones. After that, you target equity.
There are two ways to do equity targeting:
1. Mortgage Amount
2. Equity percentage.
Stick with equity percentage. We tend to go with 50% equity because you want the seller to have enough equity to actually be able to sell to you instead of needing to go through a 3rd party. This helps you to weed out any bad leads before you start pooling.
What it takes in direct mail is money. The people who are succeeding are spending lots of money. Just from this list that we have, and sending direct mail, we’ve got about 12 leads this year from direct mail. To make direct mail a success, you need to get a large enough number of calls to justify the amount you’re spending on it.
We’re sending out roughly 10k - 20k postcards a month, spending about $5k per deal (which is a little more than I would like to be spending). But we want the deal volume, so we’re spending it to get it.
The key to success with direct mail is to keep your list decent enough, but not too big. If it’s too big, you’re going to not be able to mail enough because it’s going to be too expensive. As far as what to put on your postcard, you need to include:
Branding is super important, and not enough investors know about it. You need to make sure your postcard is unique to your business and stands out to your motivated sellers. The reality is, you’re not the only one in your market mailing, so you’re probably not the only piece of mail that they get. Avoid looking like spam by making your postcards individualized.
On that same note, you need to have a large pool to mail to. Don’t just be sending out 200 letters a month and wonder why you haven’t heard anything. The minimum you should be mailing is 1,000/month, but even that’s a little low depending on your city and market size.
It’s very easy to make your own postcards. That helps your business stand out from all of the others that are just using templates. You don’t need fancy software, goto Canva.com and design your own for free. What we do to get them mailed out is we go to a local print and mail house, tell them how many we want, and negotiate prices from there. As long as you get it out and in front of people, you’ll be in the clear. Make sure you give them variable printing so that each postcard is individualized so that your leads feel like you mailed personally to them.
We mail roughly 45 days apart to the different lists. Remember, you have to spend money to make money. Direct mail is an investment, just like everything else. Work on your acquisitions skills to get them under contract. My friend, John Martinez, has a lot of sales training on that sort of thing. Check out his stuff in the links.
Don’t neglect online leads, either. If you want, reach out to us at Sales@LeadPropeller.com so that you can let our experts manage it for you. Or, call (210) 999 5187. Our pros here would be more than happy to help manage your PPC to get you quality leads online.
If you have a question that you want answered, post it in the group with the hashtag #JustAsk, and tag me @DannyJohnson. I’ll make a podcast episode to answer your question for you!
Thank you again for the question, Erik. Hope this helped!
I'm the youngest of 4 daughters and I grew up in rural Pennsylvania. Being the favorite child has given me an overabundance of confidence, which I use to my advantage quite often. (My sisters will kill me for saying that, but only because it's true. :)). I've always been an exuberantly tenacious person, setting stretch goals and moving on to the next one.
Looking back at my life I find certain experiences really stand out. I spent my junior year of high school as a congressional Page, working and living in DC running errands for Congress. It was a truly amazing experience and I'm sad the program doesn't exist anymore. (But the fiscally conservative side of me totally gets it.)
I went to WPI for mechanical engineering on an ROTC scholarship, where I met my husband and some of my amazing best friends. When I graduated I became a US Naval Officer. My dream was to be a pilot, but unfortunately my eyes disagreed; instead I served on an Aircraft Carrier. It was a great consolation prize, and even though it was incredibly tough at times, I will treasure it.
After about 4 years in the Navy, I got a job as an engineer working in the energy arena, helping to build a power plant to support aircraft carriers stationed in Japan, and then a bunch of other awesome projects. I felt way out of my league and also incredibly excited to be a part of something so massively cool. I worked with that company for 7 years, and again was fortunate to be around some seriously amazing people.
When my 3rd daughter was born, I decided to spend less time traveling and more time at home. We bought our first rehab, which was a hoarder house that we essentially gutted, and I was hooked. Making ugly things pretty is my favorite. The first year I flipped 3 houses, the second year I flipped 6, and then I moved up to one a month and started building out a team to support that. This year we're on track to do 20+ flips and a few wholesales, as well as venturing into the rental arena.
As an aside - It's crazy that I always feel like the little fish because I keep moving to bigger ponds. If you had told me 3 years ago where I would be now, I would not believe it. But here I am, and it still doesn't feel like "enough"!
Getting the Money - Susan Lassiter-Lyons
12 Week Year
This is the answer to a Flipping Junkie Podcast ‘Just Ask’ question. Steve L. asked: How do you avoid offending motivated sellers when making an offer.
Great question! The biggest issue with real estate is that it’s such an emotional thing for the sellers to be going through. It’s a difficult thing to deal with.
My first thought was, you’ve got the wrong mindset. If you think you’re going into a deal, or talking to a lead, with the idea that you’re offending them, you need to change your approach. You should always be presented as a problem solver, as an investor who is there to help them out of their situation. Helping them out of those problems with a genuine interest in helping the sellers out.
If you go into talking with the leads only thinking about the price points, then you probably will offend them. Some people will get offended with a low offer on their house, but at the end of the day you’re there to help them.
There was something from Brian Buffini’s podcast about listening. It boiled down to 2 things:
1. People do things for logical reasons
2. People do things for emotional reasons - the reason they typically won’t say.
When you’re helping a seller, you need to get to the core of the reason for why they’re selling their house. And, like we said above, selling a house is an emotional thing. So the more you can present yourself as someone who’s there to help them through their situation, the more likely they are to work with you, and the less likely they are to get offended.
Not every seller wants the most money they can get for the property. There have been lots of sellers who have sold to us for lower than what someone else was offering because we got down to the emotional reason for their sell and were there to help them out of it. If you can learn this, then you’re golden.
You need to go into each deal with this in mind:
1. You’re there to genuinely help them through their problem.
2. Find the emotional core reason for why they’re selling their house.
Bonus tip if you’re wondering “well how the heck do I get to that?!”
Ask them what they’re most worried about with the selling of this property. Ask what’s on their mind. If you don’t ask questions then you won’t understand why they want to sell, and what problems their having with selling.
The question, “How do I not offend a seller?” is a misunderstanding of how the process should work. You need to go into leads without any assumptions on why they’re selling. The amount of money the house is worth isn’t always the core reason for selling.
When you walk into a property, don’t assume who’s in charge. Listen to everyone attached to the house, they’re sharing the same concerns. It’s your job to be there to help them. Often times, the spouse not saying anything is the one who’s in charge, so be sure you’re talking to everyone.
If you understand these core ideas and game changers, then you won’t offend anyone.
Thanks for the question, Steve!
If you have question you want answered, post it in the Flip Pilot Group on FaceBook with the hashtag #JustAsk. Stay tuned for more answers!
Craig S. Cody is an ex-NYC cop and certified public accountant of 17 years, he's a certified tax coach and business owner in his own right. Here's a few things he can speak on (one sheet also attached).
Cody has worked with a lot of businesses through out his life. The best practices he has seen, and the 3 practices that don’t tend to be done right, are here. So let’s take a look at the 3 Proactive Tax Practices:
People go out and buy a car and spend time researching it, but not looking at the tax codes on it. The average person doesn’t plan.
Are you holding your business in your name? Real Estate is best held in an LLC, but you need to talk to your own attorney to see. If it’s in a corporation, there could be tax issues when or if you go to sell.
This could be as simple as having your kids go to the properties to mow the lawn, or clean. If you’re paying them a reasonable amount, they don’t have to pay taxes on it. Their pay comes out of your income, which lowers your taxes, and they don’t have to pay taxes. It’s a win-win!
- What is the biggest mistake real estate investors make regarding taxes?
Typically, most real estate is held in a LLC. The reason for this is because as a real estate investor you fall under “ordinary income”. Basically, it’s short-term capital gain. If you’ve been in for a while, it’s just ordinary income
Some investors treat it all like it’s short-term capital gains. The problem with this thinking is the expenses of operating a business are subject to 2% threshold on schedule 8 of your tax return. They’re also subject to alternative minimum tax. This is a problem because, if you make too much money, they get added in without you getting the benefit of them.
If you do it properly, and actually in the business, then you don’t deal with those itemized deduction. The lesson is to ALWAYS document what you’re doing. This is something where we saved a client almost $80k because they were reporting their income incorrectly. More often than not, you’re in a better position by having your real estate investing business as an LLC instead of a corporation.
-Why not be a part of a C-Corporation?
A C-Corporation has the first $15k taxed at 15%. Getting that money out when you sell the property is double taxation. It’s just not efficient for a real estate investor to be a part of a C-Corporation. I just doesn’t help this kind of business.
However, if you’re using a C-Corp to manage your properties, it could work better. The best practice is having multiple LLC.
Here’s a story: There was a client who was a private business, not even an LLC, who was sued for mold injuries. The house was valued at $25k, and the verdict was $155k+ with interest. She had a pretty significant portfolio, and everything was attacked. If you umbrella it under one large LLC, you’d be safer.
- What are the tax write-offs real estate investors miss?
As a flipper, you can write off a lot of things since you’re being run as a normal business.
For example, if you have a home gym or a pool, that can be written off as a work rec area. The space you work in at your home is your home office. The gas you spend going to and from properties and locations can be written off as work expenses. Medical bills that are paid out of pocket can be written off as well.
Let’s talk about the home office for a bit, though. Take the space that you use to work in, in square feet, and compare it to the rest of the house. Let’s say your home office is 8% of your houses’s square footage. That means that 8% all of your utilities can be deducted in your taxes as a work expense: electricity, water, air conditioning, internet, etc. Your real estate taxes can be written off with that 8% as well. As long as there’s an office used exclusive to your business, it can be written off. Retirement plans can be worked in as well. If you’re working on your own, you can make a self appointed retirement plan. Food and entertainment can also be deducted.
Just keep track of your expenses. Make sure you’re keeping your receipts and keeping track of everything. Do it as you go instead of trying to pull things up at the end of the year.
-What are the limitations of the arms length transaction and self directed IRA.
The whole thing can be contributed to the LLC. Which means, the LLC owns that property. You cannot, yourself, do work on that property or it becomes an issue. You can, however, act as a lender in your own LLC. As long as you don’t have active involvement in the property, then it won’t be an issue.
Active involvement means that you, yourself, cannot be doing repairs with your hands. If there’s something you can pay someone else to do, get them to do it. IF you’re working on your own properties, you’re jeopardizing your involvement in the IRA. You can lend to other investors, as long as their not family. Tend to stay away from family!
The interests rates are subject to typical rules, 8 - 10% + a piece of gain, secure by real estate. However, this all depends on the investor. The better the track record, the less you’ll have to give and visa versa.
- What is Cross Segregation?
Let’s use a rental property worth $100k as an example. Typically, you would depreciate that building over 27.5 years. Let’s say your depreciate expenses are roughly $4k a year.
When you do a cross segregation strategy, the building gets broken up into parts. Take the property that would be depreciated over 3 years, 5 years, and so on, and depreciate it faster. Which means, over 27.5 years you’re still getting the $100k worth, but in the first few years you would 20% more expense from depreciation because it’s accelerating. From a tax perspective, that’s money that isn’t being taxed. That’s the smarter way to go for the best gains in your business.
Focus, focus, focus. That’s the key to success.
You don’t want to be distracted by your first ideas. You need to stay focused when it comes to growing your business so that you’re on top of your game.
The steps to staying focused isn’t that difficult. Here’s what we do to stay focused:
Hunting leads can be difficult to find, we know. Searching on the MLS can be exhausting. The biggest mistake an investor can make is staying in their comfort zone. If you only ever do bandit signs, how are you going to generate consistent deals?
That was just an example, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with bandit signs. But you need to focus in on at least one method - direct mail, bandit signs, PPC, SEO, online marketing, driving for dollars, etc. - and become an expert at that.
Send out as much as you can, be active. The more you do, the more you’ll learn. Stay hyper focused, gather data, find a way to turn it into a system, become the master at it. Only then should you move on to the next thing. In no time, you’ll be an expert at every aspect of real estate investing. At the end of the day, you need to be making progress.
In these podcast episodes coming up, we’re going to be having an open Q & A with you guys. Your questions are important to us. It’ll help you learn, but it will also help us to know what it is you’re struggling with so that we can make content that’s helpful for growing your business.
Have a burning question to build your business? Just ask! The steps are easy:
There’s no such thing as a bad question. Anything that you’re curious about, we’ll help you through it. Let’s stay focused, let’s become experts, and let’s make progress in building our businesses!
Danny and Melissa share the secret to the massive growth in their flipping business over the last year.
The story begins several years ago when they were wearing all of the hats in their business. They were killing themselves trying to do it all.
Danny shares how he met Justin and learned how to scale his business without having to do everything.
This episode shares the story and shows how you can do the same.
Jason and Pili have two beautiful children, two awesome bulldogs, one flipping and wholesaling business, a Multifamily Acquisition company, a Beer Company, and are the hosts of the REI Foundation Podcast.
Having met in New York, Jason and Pili got into real estate investing shortly after hurricane Sandy struck the east coast. Jason’s family construction business had to help homeowners lift their houses to meet the new FEMA requirements because of the massive amount of flooding. Before the hurricane, Jason’s family business would do maybe 12 lifts a year. After the hurricane, the numbers skyrocketed to nearly 400 in a single year to avoid future flooding.
Because of his background with houses and construction, Jason and Pili made the choice to move into real estate investing! When they were expecting their first child, Jason’s dad asked if he and Pili would be interested in becoming real estate agents to work in their investing business. When a lot of businesses were getting overwhelmed in the east coast, Jason and Pili found a great opportunity and took it.
Ted Thomas, best-selling author and publisher is best known as America’s Tax Lien Certificate and Tax Deed Authority. Thomas has sat for more than 200 radio and TV interviews, most recently on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and he has been recognized in Newsweek, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. Ted Thomas is the go-to guy when people want to discover how to invest in secure government certificates that pay 16% and 18%.
Ted’s best selling Home Study Course titled, Quick Start to Buying Government Tax Lien Certificates & Tax Deeds, is considered the benchmark standard for the Tax Lien Certificate and Tax Deed industry. Thomas also conducts live tours of Tax Lien Certificate and Tax Deed auctions.
Houses with tax liens are a safe, secure investment because you won’t run the risk of losing large sums of money.
Ted’s number one suggestions is this: Start out buying vacant residential land. Most mentors won’t suggest this, but Ted does for this reason. He wants to make sure his students are staying conservative in their investments. Buying land is a low risk investment, and sell for 10 - 20 cent on the dollar. If you sell it for 50 cent to buyers then you’ve made a profit! Ted’s suggestion is to go slow, stay conservative, and watch your income build.
There will never be a shortage of properties. There are 100 million properties in the United States alone, and 2 - 3% of that will go into tax lien territory. Ted’s point is that there’s no reason to try and rush your business. Let it grow steadily. You’ll always have properties to buy and sell.
Ted answers these common questions:
Q: What is a tax deed auction?
A: A Public auction where real estate is sold on property that is delinquent in taxes. A deed sale happens after a tax certificate applies to the tax collector for a tax deed after the certificate has been held for the statutory period.
Q: What is a tax lien certification?
A: Tax lien certificates pay you guaranteed fixed rates of return interest per year.
Q: Which states are tax deed states?
A: Tax Deed States:
Q: Which states are tax lien certificate states?
A: Tax Lien Certificate States-
Just a few years ago, Cody was selling insurance and didn’t know much about Real Estate. He heard about a little niche known as “Wholesaling” and got interested. He quickly decided to go “All in” on Wholesaling and generated over $500,000 in his first year and has since created a 7 figure Wholesaling business.
After going to a seminar in Utah, Cody jumped in to wholesaling. He took on what advice he was given and found a mentor. In 2015, Cody started listening to every real estate investing podcast he could find and that was it. He found a mentor and got in to wholesaling as fast as he could!
Wholesaling appealed to Cody because it was a great start. “I started with the end in mind,” he says. “You’ve got to build a cash buyers list. If you don’t have an end game in mind, it doesn’t matter because you can’t do anything with it.”
Building cash buyers is simple. There are a few ways to find them:
1 - Go to REIA meetings in your local town.
2 - Get on the phone on Craigslist. Call land lords or people trying to sell their rentals, they’re always interested in listening to what a wholesaler has to say. You want to look at a vacant landlord. See if those landlords are willing to sell. If they are, great! If they’re not, then try to see if they’re interested in becoming a cash buyer. Take notes from them on where they would prefer their properties to be, and boom. You just got another buyer to add to your list!
3 - Get with a realtor and have them run all of the cash deals that have been done in a certain market. From that list, look for the address and names of the buyer on the title and add them to your direct mail list. By doing this, you can see what they’re willing to buy for, and how active they are in purchasing for cash.
The bigger the buyers list, the better. 600 or more is preferable for such a large market like Salt Lake City. If you can get 20 people to inspect a home at the same time, you’ve just build up a feeding frenzy. Making scarcity and providing competition drives up your properties prices, which makes your profit even better. You want people to pay top dollar for your deals.
Because Cody markets the contract and not the property, he sends out a suggested price for the house in the promotional material material. That way, you can use that as a negotiation point to drive your profit.
Cody does anywhere from 7 - 10 deals a month, and every time there are always multiple buyers interested. Even though the market has been competitive, Cody is still bringing in a great flow of business!
A question Cody gets asked a lot is “Why don’t you just keep the properties to fix and flip?” The answer is simple:
If Cody can focus on one thing really well, and continue to do it really well, then why not keep doing that? With house flippers, you have to focus on so many things. You have to deal with contractors, title companies, realtors, all of that. When you’re wholesaling, you don’t have to. “I’m in and out quick,” Cody said.
When it comes to marketing, it’s about 3 things.
The right thing, to the right person, at the right time.
In his first year, Cody had a budget of $1200 for marketing with direct mail. He was told to get uncomfortable because that’s where the profit comes from. At day 44 in his mentoring program, his first deal landed him $24,000.
That covered the course, the marketing, and still had a lot left over. So now, Cody puts aside 50% of his profit toward marketing so that he can continue to grow his business.
Over all, marketing is expensive. It needs to be. But you have to hit a lot of people or else you won’t hear back. $1200 is a great starting point, but you need to keep your marketing budget up to make sure you’re marketing the right way.
Rob leads property acquisitions for Holdfolio, a real estate crowdfunding company headquartered in Indianapolis. Under the name Buy To Renew, Rob leads a team focused on purchasing properties and gentrifying neighborhoods. Since relocating to Indiana in 2015, Rob and his partners have purchased over 100 properties for crowdfunding and wholesale opportunities. For fun, Rob and his wife enjoy traveling, soccer, and recently took up competing in triathlons.
Set For Life by Scott Trench
Relentless by Tim Grover
Jason has been in construction over 25 years. He started out of highschool working with his dad on misc projects and went on to own and operate a cabinet company for 12 years. After closing the company he started lending to rehabbers for Gap funding and learning about this thing called flipping and started flipping in 2010. Jason has been flipping ever since and joined up with Peter in 2014 and have flipped or wholesaled 50 + deals together.
Jason is married with a split family of 4 kids. All who are very active in sports, Competitive Dance, Swimming, Gymnastics, and basketball and football. They just moved into their new home they had built a couple weeks ago.
Jason and his wife Megan who is a Vancouver school Principal enjoy traveling together, are very active in Crossfit at their local Box.
Share your backgrounds and how you started flipping houses and working together.
Been in construction since 1993 owned a cabinet shop for 12 years build a few houses, Started in 2009 lending gap funding to a rehabber. Started doing all the work on flips in 2010-13 flipping about 15 in that time, Peter’s roofing company did all my roofs and we became friends during that time. We partnered on our first deal July 1st 2014 closed 3 deals that year together 2015 we did 11 deals, 2016 completed 22 deals wholesaled 10 and started a wholesale business we are partners on.
What are your goals for 2017?
Goals are 50 flips we have 25 on the books so far this year Plan is to wholesale 50 also min
Closing within 2 weeks 4
What are your favorite and/or most profitable types of houses to rehab where you are?
We love 2/1 800sqft houses we are in an out within 3-4 weeks
What do you do to prepare to start rehabbing before you close on the purchase?
We make sure we are ready to start the rehab the min we record we have a crew there to start and usually have house demod within a few hours.
Walk us through your rehabbing process from determining scope of work to lining up contractors to getting it ready for sale.
My business partner is my GC so he keeps our numbers in line.
What issues have you encountered when trying to sell rehabs?
Portland is a really hot market so our product sells within 2 weeks max most within the 1st weekend
How can anyone from the audience get in contact with either of you?
What are some of the things you do before putting the finished product on the market?
How to work with our Realtor Laura to get the property on the market?
With the real estate market still going strong here, how fast have the houses been selling?
How do you handle when we get multiple offers?
I know we’ve accepted offers before in the past only to find out the buyers couldn’t qualify. How do we now avoid this problem?
So a common situation is where a buyer will get an inspection and ask for tons of repairs. What is our procedure for handling which repairs we’ll agree to do and which we won’t?
On FlippingJunkie we get the question all the time about the FHA 90 day rule. What is that and how do we deal with it?
What do you do after acceptance of an offer to make sure all is on track to close?
What’s your top tip for being more efficient in this part of the house flip process?
Melissa Johnson has been flipping houses for 14 years, and man have they come a long way.
From brown (and one time green) carpet to sleek new tile, Melissa has been transforming the way she rehabs properties. But before you can make the houses look nicer, you have to have your team together.
Start with a contractor you can trust. Melissa has been working with her contractor for a long time now, to the point where they have an amazing working relationship. One of the key point of making sure you and your contractor are on the same page is to set the ground rules from the beginning.
Making sure you and your contractor have the same payment schedule agreed on will keep everyone involved happy. Melissa talks about going through the property with the contractors before hand and looking at every single detail of the house. That way, everyone is on the same page for what needs to be fixed.
There’s much more to your team than just you and the contractor, though. Melissa has been working with a realtor she trusts, and has become great friends with. It’s so important to work with people who are great at their jobs, and who are there for you.
For example, there was an issue with some buyers not being able to qualify for the property they wanted to buy and, instead of just closing out the deal, Melissa’s realtor fought and negotiated until all parties were happy. Having a realtor who will work with you, and also your buyers, is great for having your properties sold quickly.
All in all, Melissa has been working hard at showing what an amazing Flip Pilot she is. If you want to network with other Flip Pilots, join our closed FaceBook group by going to FlipPilot.com here: https://flippilot.com/beta-notify
This vlog, Danny talks about how important it is for you to do what needs to be done for your business even if you’re afraid. Don’t forget, all of the vlog episodes (and more) are available on the FlippingJunkie YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/FlippingJunkie
Making big steps is scary for just about everyone. When Danny was working on getting his pilot’s license, he would stop in the parking lot and think about two things: how exciting flying is, but also how dangerous it is. Even though learning was a lot of fun, there was still that risk involved.
The same is true for running your own real estate investing business. Especially when you’re getting started. When Danny and Melissa first started buying and selling houses and the first call came in he was so nervous to talk to the motivated seller that he threw the phone at Melissa so she would talk to them! And while that was scary, the reward to going through with the lead was bigger than any nerves they had.
So that’s the takeaway from this vlog. Knowing that being afraid is ok, but pushing past that to get to the good stuff is even better!
Stay tuned and be sure to subscribe to the FlippingJunkie Youtube channel: http://youtube.com/flippingjunkie
Geremy Heath is the owner and founder of Texas All Cash Home Buyers.
Geremy was on the podcast during the early days for episode 3 where we talked about <a href="http://flippingjunkie.com/episode-3-the-mindset-that-guarantees-flipping-houses-success/" target="_blank">The Mindset That Guarantees Flipping Houses Success - Click Here To Listen</a>
We talk about his Miracle Morning routine…which is incredible. If you want to find out more check out my interview with the author, Hal Elrod: <a href="http://flippingjunkie.com/episode-24-foundation-the-miracle-morning-whal-elrod/" target="_blank">Click Here To Listen to My Interview with Hal Elrod</a>
There’s a lot that goes on in between contracting and closing on a house. Especially when it comes to the numbers. You have to make detailed estimates of the labor costs, material costs, and other specific skew costs. If you’re not precise in your estimates, then you’ll run into some funding roadblocks.
Geremy makes the suggestion of not going through with a property if the exact estimate is higher than 10% more than the original estimate. When Melissa and I were doing it before we got our team, we would know if something was off when we got to the rehab (which wasn’t too fun).
This work does need to be done regardless. And Geremy makes the point that it’s better to get it over with sooner rather than later. It’s better to know what you’re getting into before you start the closing process.
To get your invite to the new Flip Pilot closed Facebook Group, visit the <a href="http://flippilot” target="_blank">Flip Pilot Invitation Page - Click Here</a>.
This vlog, Danny talks expands on what it means to be a Flip Pilot, and what it takes to make measurable progress with your real estate investing business. Don’t forget, all of the vlog episodes (and more) are available on the FlippingJunkie YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/FlippingJunkie
What does it really mean to have a 30,000 foot view of your business? You have to really take a deep look at it and where your business is going, but you also really need to take a look at yourself.
Staying in place without anything driving you personally will affect how your business expands. You need to take a closer look at why you get up in the mornings, what keeps you motivated, and how you’re growing as an entrepreneur.
The biggest concern is making sure you’re not overloading yourself with too many goals that aren’t realistic, or that are too distracting. “Shiny Objects” can get in the way of you developing what you need to for your business to continue to be a success. That’s something that we struggle with. Staying focused and on track, and completing one goal before you move on to the next one is essential for a healthy business.
Stay tuned and be sure to subscribe to the FlippingJunkie Youtube channel: http://youtube.com/flippingjunkie
This vlog, Danny talks about the beginnings of his house flipping business, and the learning curves it took to get the hang of it. Don’t forget, all of the vlog episodes (and more) are available on the FlippingJunkie YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/FlippingJunkie
Learning what to do to run your business the right way takes time, but mostly trial and error. There is a huge difference between running your business and working in your business, and what it takes to be the pilot instead of the crew.
So here’s a story. When Danny first started rehabbing houses, he showed up to his first demo site the day before to get it prepped. He went and personally started taking nails out of the walls so that the sheetrock could be laid properly, thinking he was doing a great job and showing that he has what it takes to be an investor.
And then his mentor showed up, mad. He started telling Danny that it’s not his job to be taking nails out of the wall. Not because he was somehow better, but because he was supposed to be running the business and not working in it.
The takeaway is that as an investor you shouldn’t be swinging the hammers. It’s your job to work on your business, not IN your business - that’s what it means to be a Flip Pilot!
Stay tuned and be sure to subscribe to the FlippingJunkie Youtube channel: http://youtube.com/flippingjunkie