BiggerPockets Podcast 012 : Wholesaling and Marketing with Sharon Vornholt

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Wholesaling real estate is a popular topic on BiggerPockets and often one of the first strategies used by newbies to build cash reserves. However, wholesaling is a business that requires certain systems, strategies time, and sometimes even cash to prosper at. In today’s episode of the BiggerPockets Podcast, we talk with expert wholesaler and marketing whiz Sharon Vornholt about some of those strategies and techniques that she uses to make an income as a full time wholesaler.

Read the transcript for Episode 12 with Sharon Vornholt here

Listen to The Show on iTunes

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

In Today’s Wholesaling Podcast, We Cover:

  • An easy, cheap (free!) way to find more cash buyers than you can handle.BiggerPockets Podcast _ Real Estate Investing and Wealth Building
  • The first step for wholesalers
  • Sharon’s primary source of leads for motivated sellers
  • The step-by-step process for making money as a wholesaler
  • Double-closings vs. an assignment: Which is best?
  • How Sharon closes deals with no money whatsoever
  • Typical response rates from direct mail campaigns
  • Why “pain” is a great thing to discover…
  • Awesome strategies for negotiating with sellers
  • The mistake Sharon made when starting out… and how you can avoid it.
  • What the key to success really is.

Links From the Wholesaling Show:

Books Mentioned in the Show

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
Success Principles by Jack Canfield

Tweetable Topics:

“Wholesaling is about relationships.” (Click to Tweet!)

“When negotiating, learn to adjust the other person’s expectations” (Click to Tweet!)

“Learning how to buy property for the right price is the difference between success and failure.” (Click to Tweet!)

“It’s all about marketing. You have to have leads in order to get deals.” (Click to Tweet!)

“Anyone who claims to know everything about anything is full of crap.” (Click to Tweet!)

Thank You!

Thank you again to everyone who has subscribed in iTunes to help make us one of the top business podcasts in all of iTunes! We’re up to 166 5-Star Reviews so far with over 89,000 downloads! Every subscription in iTunes and every review helps us reach more people – so thank you!

About Sharon

Sharon Vornholt is a professional real estate wholesaler who began investing in real estate in the Louisville, KY area in 1998. While she has done both rehabbing and buy and hold investing, her primary area of focus now is wholesaling. Sharon is a regular contributor on the BiggerPockets blog and an avid blogger on her own site,

Sharon’s BiggerPockets Profile
Sharon’s BiggerPockets Blog Articles
Sharon’s Facebook Page

Do you have any questions or comments for Sharon or about the show? Leave your thoughts below!

About Author

Thanks for checking out the BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing & Wealth Building Podcast. Hosts Joshua Dorkin & Brandon Turner strive to bring top-notch educational content and interviews to our listeners -- without the non-stop pitch prevalent around the industry. With over 180,000 listeners per show, the BiggerPockets Podcast has become the biggest real estate podcast in the world. But don’t take our word for it. We’re the top-rated and reviewed real estate show on iTunes — check it out, read the reviews on iTunes, and get busy listening and learning!


  1. Great podcast Sharon, Batman, Robin, and the REI crusade(just kidding thought it more creative than “dynamic duo” 😉

    I think a lot of people portrait wholesaling as easy, but as you point out in reality you have to have some history in knowing your market and where the deals are, that to me is the first step to any REI get good at market & deal analysis. That can take a newbie a some time, I been at it part time about three months(~200 hours) and feel I have a long way to go. Met a guy last weekend that works in a professional wholesale co, he said their acquisition manager spends the whole day finding deals…make me wonder how to compete with that. From what I gather, you need good people and in some cases empathy, and ability to constantly measure your market, process, adopt to change, not for everyone. Also, agree education in an orderly fashion is hard to find.


    1.When the B-C (buyer) closed title went to WholeSaler(WS) name because the certified funds where in the WS name, or WS bought the house using sellers money. My state would probably see that as lending needing a license, you can end up in prison for not being licensed?

    2. Don’t you have to be an agent to put a lock box on a house? Are there rules that prohibit agents from assigning contracts? Are you an agent or have MLS?

    3. You said double close cost about $350 more vs assignments that due to closing cost like title transfer?

    4. There are cash or loan qualified buyers that are not REI with money in the bank or investments not doing well and have no idea what to do with it… you can be a WS and mentor to them and charge a fee? Perhaps a new dimension to WS. Thoughts?


    • Terry –

      1. Double closings are routine here. The A to B closing is where I buy. The B to C closing is where I sell. I am B in both closings; I am the wholesaler selling (always) to another investor.

      My investor buyer (C) knows I am double closing. There is only about a 5 minute difference between the two closings. There is nothing illegal about it; folks all over the country do double closings or simultaneous closings as they are also called. Here in KY we always close with an attorney so there is never a problem. My seller (A) only cares that he gets his money for the house.

      2. Re: “Don’t you have to be an agent to put a lock box on a house? Are there rules that prohibit agents from assigning contracts? Are you an agent or have MLS? ”

      No you don’t. I am not an agent. Anyone can buy lock boxes at Home Depot or any of those types of stores for under $20. I have a whole bunch of them. For example, if you were having a plumber come to your house when you weren’t home, you could put a lockbox on it with a key in it rather than hiding a key. It would be safer.

      What you are thinking about is the Supra Keys that agents have. When I had my home inspection company, we had Supra keys. We could have them because we were affiliate members of the Board of Realtors.

      Anyone can assign a contract so long as you are a principal in the deal.

      An investor that also has a real estate license wouldn’t be prohibited from assigning a contract just because he was a Realtor. But there are laws that govern the actions of Realtors in every state. You have to be careful how you act when you are an investor that is also a Realtor.

      3. That is what it would cost me to actually close on the A to B transaction rather than to assign it. Those are closing costs.

      4. You need to check out the SAFE act of 2008. There are rules about loaning money. But in general an investor can fund another investors deal.

      Wholesalers are “house people” and wouldn’t be someone that would “mentor people regarding what to do with their money and in that process charge a fee”. Real estate investors are always looking for money, so you could certainly point those folks to investors that are looking for money just not for a fee.

      I hope this helps.

      • Sharon Vornholt

        Tan – Personally I love probates. The info can be a little harder to find, but they always want to sell the property. It’s just a question of whether the house will be listed or sold to an investor. If you print the letters in house, $500 will get you about 1000 stamps and paper. I would start there.

  2. This was great and super helpful. Thanks to BP and to Sharon for this resource. Question: Do you recommend having a corporate form (S corp or LLC) before you begin wholesaling or can/should you wholesale as an individual?

    • Keita D.-

      You can be involved in real estate investing as an individual without a corporate entity, but I wouldn’t really recommend it.

      You should ask an attorney and a CPA in your state, but most folks I know were advised to set up an LLC for protection. An attorney might want to weigh in on this one.

      Wholesaling can be pretty confusing in the beginning. I hope this helped clear up this process. Thanks for listening.



  3. Great show guys. As to the “shocked you haven’t killed each other” – I understand based on previous shows that Brandon works out while you Josh admittedly do not?! So, if we are wagering here, I am putting my money on Brandon 🙂

    Sharon – thank you. It is about time that we begin to acknowledge that which we know – wholesaling is a full time job and it’s a really difficult job at that, requiring a specific and extensive set of knowledge and skills and constant attention. I have respect for you and others who are able to succeed!

    • Brandon Turner

      Haha thanks Ben! Though I can’t say I’ve been real good on working out the past few weeks, the fact that I’m about four feet taller than Josh helps. Though, he might be faster…

      I think we may need to incorporate some competitive wrestling at the next BiggerPockets Summit. 😉

    • Thanks Ben. I would encourage everyone to add wholesaling to their businesses to create big chunks of cash no matter what your primary investing strategy is. Here are a couple of examples.

      If you are a rehabber, wholesale a few deals each year to build up some extra cash to have on hand for rehabs; for those times when things don’t go exactly as planned.

      Landlords can pay off their properties much more quickly if they would wholesale a few deals a year.

      It can really be beneficial for all investors to add wholesaling to their toolbox.


  4. Sean Brennan on

    I haven’t finished it yet but so far my favorite was when you guys simultaneously moaned “quuuuick tiiiiiiiiips.” Haha, I laughed pretty hard. You guys are special.

  5. Al Williamson on

    Sharon, you already know I’m a HUGE fan of yours, thank you for laying out a ton of great info. I feel as if I could jump in and double close now.

    Dynamic Duo, nice work picking Sharon’s large brain.

    Brandon, thanks for speaking into your mic most of the time. Josh is still overpowering you in the sound department.

  6. This was a great podcast. The one question I have is: how does the B-C closing come first? How can you sell a property you don’t legally own before you buy said property in the A-B closing?

    • Dawn –

      It’s just the order of the paperwork. Once everything is signed, the seller’s check is cut and then the wholesalers’s check is cut last for the B to C closing. It all happens in the span of just a few minutes.

      In any type of closing, there are times when one of the parties comes by days ahead of the actual closing to sign the documents. This might happen if they were going on vacation or possibly just couldn’t make the actual closing. Documents get signed out of order all the time.


  7. Very good interview, Sharon gives good down to earth advice. Her 3 questions she asks potential buyers, Where do you buy? What price range do you buy? Where won’t you buy? Are some of the basic questions I ask a potential buyer and good advice. For you newbies out there be sure to ask Why won’t you buy there? Why do you prefer to buy there? And what kind of properties are you looking for in that price range? The anwers to these questions will tell you more about your buyer and suprisingly you will learn more about your market place. Plus follow Sharon on the site, I have never seen her give any bad advice.

    • Sharon Vornholt

      Brian –

      I agree completely. The more information you can get from potential buyers, the better you are able find houses that they will want to buy. It’s good to be their “preferred wholesaler”. Thanks for listening and taking the time to comment. We all appreciate it.


  8. Great interview, Sharon!

    It’s so interesting to hear your story and how you were able to work in wholesaling with your existing network with the “buy and hold” crowd. Very intriguing as I was quite the opposite!

    Also, good tips on using the lockbox. I’ve gone back and forth with it over the years. Though, I still find myself showing homes since I work more on the retail side now versus business to business as you mostly do in wholesaling.

    Very wise advice at the end, real estate investing is definitely no picnic! Sometimes there are times I wonder what on earth I was thinking when I decided to get into this business. Though, it definitely makes life interesting! (I’m going through some drama myself right now with a seller on a home under contract!!)

    Thanks for taking the time to share your wisdom Sharon, hooray for BP! 🙂

    • Hi Rachel –

      It was kind of “backwards”. Wholesaling is hard for some folks to understand in the beginning, and I was one of them. It’s funny how I love that strategy now.

      I have always used lockboxes if I know the investor. I don’t do it if I don’t know them mainly because I’m afraid they might come back and steal the copper. Since these houses are always vacant and they are almost always fixer uppers that’s pretty much the only thing worth stealing.

      I feel your pain. It’s definitely not as easy as the guru’s make it look is it? Great to hear from you Rachel.


  9. Thank you Sharon so much for sharing all this information with everybody!!! It is very helpfull!! I love the way you are trying to understand seller’s situation! And thank you Brandon and Joshua for greate job you are doing on the poscasts!!
    I have a question I hope you could help me with. I’m very new to all of it, so I’m sorry in advance for my question. You mentioned, that first you do B-C closing and then A-B. I thought in double closing to do B-C closing you already need to own the property (be done with A-B closing which requires having funds for that) I hope I understood everything right.
    Thank you!

    • Thanks Elizaveta. I’m glad you enjoyed the podcast.

      The only thing that is happening is that the paperwork is being signed out of order. No checks are cut until the A to B closing takes place.This all happens in no more than 10-15 minutes tops (simultaneously) so the B to C funds actually close the A to B. I hope this helps. This procedure is routine in most areas.


  10. Great job on the Podcast Sharon. I buy from different wholesalers and they all use different strategies that you are aware of. Some states consider an assignment of contract a sale and want transfer taxes and one wholesaler I buy from does the double closings like you because of this. Do you pay transfer taxes even if you have the property for just 5 minutes. Just curiosity factor.
    BTW – Nothing like a great wholesaler. I appreciate all the hard work you all do to get deals to share with us Investors.

    • Michael –

      We do not pay transfer tax here so that’s not an issue.

      Good wholesalers are a valuable asset for those that either don’t want to do that level of marketing or don’t really know how (and don’t want to learn) to market. For those that want to find their own deals, I think that is great.

      For those investors that wand to work with wholesalers, it’s a win, win for everyone.

      Thanks for listening.

  11. I loved the Podcast and would love to hear more from Sharon. She is so knowledgeable and helpful. You should bring her back for an encore! I would like to hear more about the details of her marketing campaign. What types of letters does she sends out, what it says, how many times she hits the same farm/year, cost of her mailers, etc. It would be great to get into the nitty gritty of direct mail, because I believe marketing is #1 in this business. (Well OK attitude and determination are #1 too…) Sharon knows marketing really well, I’ve read some of her blog and BP posts. Shes a great resource.

  12. Dear Sharon,

    Thanks for the great podcast. I am a newbie in So-Cal although I do own a few rentals.

    As you said, your customers are investors, is Is it true that you essentially compete with listing agents? Listing a house on MLS adds at least 6% for the agent’s fees. The seller pays for those fees, but in the end it affects the price that the investor pays. I suspect the wholesaler makes a little more than the agents would have(?) which ultimately effects the price to the investor too.

    The wholesaler does all of the marketing which might be good for a guy like me who works a full time job. I don’t have the appetite for the marketing side of the equation but I have done several rehabs on my rental properties. I have been fairly good at estimating the rehab costs and I know a lot about construction. I am an investor that has cash but no time and no skills for acquiring properties. It seems I am left with two choices 1) work with an agent 2) work with a wholesaler. Do I have other options? What are the considerations for choosing between an agent and a wholesaler? If I work with a wholesaler, do I generally give up a lot of the margin?

    Josh and Brandon, thanks for the podcasts. One of my biggest questions was the about the different roles in real estate and how they relate to each other. With your series of podcasts, you have given listeners an example of the different roles that exists and I have found it very helpful to imagine and understand where I might fit into the scheme of things. My question to you is, approximately what percent of investors buy through agents, versus through wholesalers, versus acquiring directly from sellers (roughly speaking)?


    • Sam –

      These are two distinct scenarios. Just so you know, a lot of my buyers are real estate investors that have full time jobs. A lot of my best buyers also have their real estate license, but they don’t have time to look for deals. And… they know most of the really great deals never hit the MLS.

      Here’s the thing; wholesalers have deals that will never be on the MLS. We acquire those by marketing (a lot). We also have to buy those properties BELOW wholesale to figure in our fee. It has no effect on your ability to get that house using the 70% formula.

      Houses on the MLS that are great deals are snapped up quickly, and will likely have a bidding war going on. The vast majority of those houses will never be as cheap as you can buy from a wholesaler. I don’t play in that sandbox.

      I go after “the low hanging fruit”; probates and absentee owners. I do other types of deals, but those are the best. I rarely have any competition.

      As for our fee, as long as you get a smoking hot deal at a much better price than one on the MLS, why on earth would you care how much the wholesaler makes?

      In general wholesalers make a good deal more than that 6% commission, but we also spend a ton of money on direct mail and other types of marketing.

      Thanks for listening to the podcast.

  13. Deborah Cavallaro on

    Hi Sharon- I have another question for you: if you’re sending seven letters to the same person what is the interval between letters? Is it the same interval between each letter or do they change depending on which letter in the sequence it is?

    In your podcast you gave us an idea of how the content of the letters progresses or changes from letter one to letter 5 for probate letters. Can you give us an idea of how the content would change when mailing to out of state owners?

    Thanks Again,

  14. Deborah -The sequence is always the same. I would strive to mail once a month. Certainly no more than 6 weeks, but try to mail once a month. The interval doesn’t change.

    The absentee owner PC or letter can be the same mail piece. Especially with postcards, you are going for “branding”. it actually is a good thing for them to recognize your mail piece and remember you.


  15. Ray Wilson on

    Great podcast guys! Your willingness to help build confidence in current and future investors is pretty honorable. Glad to be apart of this community!

    • Thanks Wayne. Somehow I didn’t get notified about your comment. Wholesaling can a little hard to wrap your mind around in the beginning, then one day it just clicks. It is a great strategy to add to any business model. Who can’t use a few chunks of extra cash now an then?

      Thanks for listening.

  16. Thanks so much Sharon, that was a great Podcast! I love your take on marketing, and the “81% of deals comes after 5 touches” is pure gold. I am going to make a poster of that and put it in my office!

    • Jesse – You picked up on the single most important fact (I believe) about marketing in this business. The fact that most people give up after a few mailings is nothing but good news for the rest of us. Just keep mailing!

      You will have to scrub your list every 6 months or so if you are working with probates. I have actually gotten most of my deals after the one year mark.
      A lot of time the family actually gets around to “finishing” the estate and then they are very motivated. Thanks for listening.


  17. Betty Gradney on

    As a new real estate investor, I did not really understand the double closing. You explained it so that I understand. I really enjoyed the podcast. It was great!

    Thanks again,

    • Bethany-

      You can’t get that list from listsouce. You will have to find out how you get it in your area. Here it is in the newpaper. The procedure is different in just about every one of the 3000+ counties. Call your local probate court and ask if there is a list published anywhere. I would also refer to the probate related posts on BP. Some folks commented on how they get their lists on those. Every area is different. Some of the probate list sources that are out there are really expensive.


    • Sharon Vornholt


      No; it is the same contract with one difference.

      At one time, I used to use an inspection clause in every contract and I still do sometimes. For instance if I see obvious signs of what could be a big structural problem, I will explain that I want to get someone to look at that and give me an estimate.

      Most of the time when I am buying, I use “subject to partner approval”. My partner will be my “money partner” or the person that ultimately closes on the deal. I always explain that someone will be bringing the money to the table, and I’m not sure who that will be. But I tell them it has never been a problem which it hasn’t. No seller has ever balked at this clause.

      When I am wholesaling the deal, I am always selling to another investor. I don’t allow any contingencies in the contract. They are professional investors and they can do any and all inspections they want — before we write the contract. They are buying the property “as is”.

      I hope this helps.

    • Deborah Hill

      Hi Sharon

      Great podcast. When using listsourse, what filters do you use for your ansentee owner list?

      Do you use certain types of stationary or yellow letter?

      How does that mail piece read for the absentee owner?

      Thanks you again for the great info in the podcast.

      • Sharon Vornholt

        Hi Deborah –

        I use primarily postcards for AO mailings, but when I did use letters I only use white computer generated letters that have been merged with the owner and property information. Postcards are cheaper than letters.

        For AO’s –

        – Choose your state and counties
        – Price range of home – this depends on the median price for your area. Here it is 150 ish so my criteria is 50k to 300k. Bear in mind that you will be paying near 50% of the ARV in most cases
        – I choose 2 bedrooms (I want 3) but I know some of those 2 bedroom houses will have an upstairs that can be finished.
        -Equity: 50 to 100%
        -Don’t worry about how long the owner has owned the house or that it is beyond a certain age.

        That is it.


  18. anita walter

    This was the most valuable podcast yet (out of the ones I’ve heard so far ) ,Thank you Sharon !!!!! I have listened to several of them and can really relate to this one. Thanks you guys I’m in love with this site and I have gained a new goal to be on a BP Podcast one day and share my story . Understanding is key and without these podcast I don’t think I would have ever gotten to actually understand this part of the business as much as I do now with out them. I’m doing my first mailing next moth have ordered business cards and am ready to go get some DEALS !!! Meeting great people on BP in my area this weekend and I’m an super excited.

  19. Sharon Vornholt

    Hi Anita –

    Thanks so much for the kind words. Yeah on the marketing! Marketing is the key to success in this business. If you don’t have leads nothing else matters.

    This is a great site. There are so many people to learn from. Be sure to stop by my blog too. Good luck.


  20. Julie Marquez

    So much great information in this podcast! I’m not so interested in being a wholesaler, but I can pick up on Sharon’s genuine spirit and how she solves problems and provides solutions, and how she asks questions and cares about people. I’m so glad there are people like Sharon in real estate. Thanks for sharing your story and knowledge!

    • Sharon Vornholt

      Hi Julie –

      No matter what your investing strategy is, you need to understand wholesaling. In time you will get leads that don’t meet your investing criteria and those can be wholesaled for chunks of cash to pay down rentals or pad your bank account.

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