Wholesalers: How Bad Do You Want It?

by | BiggerPockets.com

Last week I received an email from a newbie real estate wholesaler who was extremely frustrated and looking for some advice.  He explained to me that he had been studying up on real estate wholesaling for about 6 months, and had finally decided to take the plunge, get out of his comfort zone, and start taking action.

His plan was to market for motivated sellers using “We Buy Houses” bandit signs, as well as send out a direct mail piece to a targeted list (absentee owners). A month had passed, and while there were a few leads that had come in, all of the sellers were either asking too much for their properties, or had little to no equity.  Despite putting out over 100 signs and mailing over 500 letters, he was not able to put a deal together, and was ready to throw the towel in and walk away.

I’ve heard many similar stories over the last few years from aspiring investors and wholesalers who are struggling to get their businesses off the ground.  Hearing these stories always brings back memories of when I was just getting started as a wholesaler, and how difficult it was to stay motivated after working my tail off to get a deal, and then running into dead end after dead end.

Month after month went by, and even though I was giving it everything I had (financially and otherwise), I couldn’t seem to land a deal to save my life.  I put out over 1000 We Buy Houses signs (no exaggeration), talked to hundreds of sellers, made hundreds of offers, sent out thousands of mailers, and still- no deals. I literally busted my butt for the better part of a year, and didn’t have anything to show for it except an ulcer and a few premature gray hairs.  It was incredibly difficult, and I don’t know of too many people who would have kept going, but I did.

I kept going because I had made up my mind once and for all that I was finished working for other people, and I was going to make this happen come hell or high water.  There was no turning back, and there were no other options for me.  I wanted success so badly that there was nothing or no one that was going to stand in my way, and so I just kept forging ahead with dogged persistence until I finally closed a deal.

That was over three years ago, and I haven’t looked back since.

Like the struggling wholesaler who sent me the email, I know there are many of you out there who are frustrated because you haven’t landed a deal yet.  I’ve been there, too, and I can tell you from experience that if you want it bad enough, and you are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve success, that anything is possible.  If I can do it- so can you!

To Your Success!

About Author

Formerly a bartender, Steph Davis is now a full time wholesaler in Tampa, FL. If you'd like to get an idea of what it's really like out there in the trenches, head on over to her blog: FlipThisWholesaler.net!


  1. From reading your blog, I recently learned what a wholesaler is. I’m looking to buy distressed properties, repair and resell them, which is a bit different, but this is intriguing. I’ve gotta ask, though, how can this work? What value-add do you offer that would earn you a profit? Why would an investor turn to you for a deal when she could just find that very same property, or something very similar in this market, on his own?

    I’m not critiquing, just looking to understand this strategy. Thanks for your thoughts. Also, a recommendation on the best fix-n-flip blog would be appreciated.

  2. I agree with Shae’s recommendation- J. Scott has a great blog detailing his rehabbing adventures.

    To answer your question about what value a wholesaler adds- well, I guess if you think that great deals are easy to find, then a wholesaler adds nothing at all. If, on the other hand, you have a hard time finding great deals then a (good) wholesaler is worth their weight in gold.


  3. Hey Steph,

    Good for you for sticking with things even as the going got tough.
    Many people throw in the towel at the first sign of adversity.

    As you know, if you want something bad enough, you have to commit yourself and never give up.

    Also, another thought that I would like to throw in as well is….

    Never listen to those people that say you ‘cannot do something’. Many people give their opinions and sometimes try to discourage us from goals that we are set on achieving.

    If you yourself believe that you can achieve something, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks…

    You believing in YOURSELF is all that you need.

    Onwards and Upwards,
    .-= Neil Uttamsingh´s last blog ..A message from the author =-.

  4. Stephani, you’re funny, and uber modest.

    If YOU can do it, anyone can?? I think I’ll disagree ever so much. You put in most of a determined year before a deal came down the pike? That is uncommon resolve and persistence — which is what it takes. And where 9 out of 10 — make that 99 out of 100 — wannabes are lacking.

    Believing in yourself and believing in your new business — two separate things, people — are the initial requisites.

    Once you embark, nothing can substitute for Determination and its close relative, Endurance — and Stephani may have been born with these. But the good news is they are qualities that can be nurtured in every person.

  5. Edison,

    Bandit signs aren’t illegal everywhere. In Prince William County, VA, they’re called off premises signs. However, there are laws that say where they can and can’t be placed. Politicians violate the laws all the time. Their popsicle signs are supposed to be spaced no closer than 600 feet, but they’re always on top of one another within 2 months of election day. A lot of investors violate the law and make others like me look bad.

    I’ve had the same “Quick Cash for Your House” sign at a Target department store parking lot since November 2008. No one has ever pulled it.

    Take care.

  6. invest in education, find a mentor. I am a very successful wholesaler but i never paid more than a few hundred dollars for any seminar or boot camp. I learned a great deal from Jack Miller. He taught me how to think about real estate. There are a lot of books at your library for free and many,many used info packs that are for sale on craigslist for a fraction of there original price. Last but not least find a low cost coach not just a platform seller but someone local that can move you forward

  7. I agree with Foster Algier, the late Jack Miller has been an inspiration to me over the last 20 years, so has Pete Fortunato and John Schaub.

    I think wholesaling sale and purchase agreements or wholesaling option to purchase agreements is a great strategy.

    So is flipping lease option and installment agreements. And these are nice houses and nice sellers. I can find them a seller willing to sell on terms in 1 day on the net, and flip the agreement to a Lease Option or Land Contract Buyer for $5000 (or $3000 and finance the other 2K.) It does take 35 to 45 days to get paid.

    To each his own as far as making $10K a month, every month!

    Brian Gibbons

  8. Stephanie Minor

    Hi Steph
    I am a beginning wholesaler, and I have been reading all the articles up to this one. This site is truly a God sent and wish I would have spent more time on the internet than money on all the promises. I have paid tons of money for the guru’s that now I see would have been better use in marketing. Actually if I think about it maybe my first fix and flip, yes a lot of money wasted. Then probably after this past year would have done something by now.Out of all that I have read I find yours the most encouraging and help full. So thank you and as I keep reading, educating, and because of you now will get off my A$$. Oh and I use to live in Tampa in Hillsborough County, and me and my daughter will be traveling there next summer. It will be our month long road vacation that I have been saving up for 2 years. Driving from Tx to FL, and then where ever we decide until the months end. But anyways thank you and now I’m off to officially purchase my 1st buyer list from list source and have click2mail handle the rest. While that is working start looking for cash buyers as well as sellers through other marketing techniques here in the Houston market. If you have any more suggestions please don’t hesitate to help me.. As you said and many others on this site: educating yourself is great, but the real educations is getting off you A$$……


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