BiggerPockets Podcast 018 : Flipping, Marketing, and Wholesaling with Danny Johnson

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Today on the BiggerPockets Podcast we sit down with fix and flipper Danny Johnson to talk about running a successful real estate investing business. Danny has been investing in real estate for the past decade and has hundreds of awesome, actionable tips that he shares with us in today’s show. From real estate marketing through websites and direct mail to tips for wholesalers and ideas for getting started while working a full time job, Danny’s knowledge is going to blow your mind. Whether you are an experienced house flipper, a wholesaler, or a new investor just getting ready to start investing, this show is going to give you a ton of ammunition to use in your business.

Read the Transcript

Transcript of BiggerPockets Podcast Episode 18 with Danny Johnson


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In This Show, We Cover:

  • Why a mentor isn’t as important for your success as you might think.
  • How to hustle while holding a full time job.
  • How to use “driving for dollars” to get started.
  • The CRAZY first deal that got Danny into real estate.
  • Bandit signs… a great marketing plan OR a criminal activity?
  • How Danny manages 8-13 flips at a time.
  • The “Top Secret” method that Danny uses to find deals.
  • Postcards vs. yellow letters : which is better?
  • The best criteria for compiling a great direct mail list.
  • Tips for creating a lead generating website and online advertising.

Books Mentioned in the Show

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
Mastery by Robert Greene
Flipping Houses Exposed by Danny Johnson

Links from the Show

Why Hiring a Mentor Might Not Be the Stupidest Thing You Could Do by Ben Leybovich
Driving for Dollars Bible: Finding Distressed Properties and Marketing by Chris Feltus
Driving for Dollars Bible 2: Tracking Down Owners & More Tips! by Chris Feltus
Danny’s “We Buy Houses website
BP Podcast 016: Land Contracts, Creative Selling, and Finding Private Money with Clay Huber
Hard Money Lender Directory
Danny’s Blog Post: 9 Reasons Why You Couldn’t Sell Your Wholesale Deal

Tweetable Topics

You can’t just sit behind a computer and expect to succeed. You gotta get out there and do stuff. (Tweet This!)

Always negotiate. (Tweet This!)

When it’s a “real deal” you’ll know it’s a good deal. You don’t have to make it a deal. (Tweet This!)

Focus on finding really great deals – you don’t need a whole lot of buyers (Tweet This!)

Connect with Danny

Danny’s BiggerPockets Profile
Danny’s Blog

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. Danny, you’re the man.
    As always I know that even with a full time real estate business of my own that I’ll never fail to pull a few nuggets from you —- and today I did 😉

  2. Christopher Willett on

    Hey everyone, I’m new and have been doing alot of reading the past few days in the forum and saw this podcast this morning and loved it. There is alot of good advice in here for newbs like me who have not even started yet. I just want to say I really enjoy emersing my self here at BP and soaking it all in. Now I’m listening to more podcasts while i drive and at work. Great Stuff!!!

    • Chris Feltus

      This is one of the best Podcasts yet, its great to hear from another member from Texas as well. Thanks to Joshua and Brandon for mentioning my Driving for Dollars guide in the podcast as well, appreciate it guys.

      Danny provided a wealth of information and many great tips. The insight he provided regarding his business says it all. Initially he was having no leads come through, but instead of giving up continue to push through and your marketing will continue to build on itself. That is the key to success right there, being persistent with your actions.

    • That’s awesome, Christopher.

      That’s the best way to learn. Get the true ins and outs from the people that have experienced it and continue to experience everything that happens in this business.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the podcast.

  3. Fantastic stuff and great response to getting laid off. Everyone should be prepared for a lay off as Danny was.

    As great salesmen will tell you they are not afraid of giving up their secrets because most are unwilling to do all that it takes. Here is a perfect example of that.

    • Thanks, Jeff.

      Getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to me. I’m so glad I was prepared and had something better to transition to.

      I love your statement about giving away secrets. So many people want to talk about how easy it is to flip houses. It’s simple to do when you know what you are doing but it takes a lot of hard work to get to that point. I’d say anybody could do it, but only a few will do what it takes to do it.

      Thanks for you comment.

  4. Graham Glover on

    I’m listening to the podcast right now, and I am thinking about a current situation I am in. I’m in the process of buying a 3 unit property and the offer on the table is, to me, more than I would pay. I’m planning on counter offering, but I don’t know “how embarrassed I should be” with my counter offer.

    Do you have any tips on this?

    • Great question, Graham.

      The key is to knowing what the property is worth to you. As a 3 unit, I’m sure you have an idea of what kind of return you would want to get from it.

      You need to calculate the least amount of return you would be happy with given the “real” numbers for the deal (not numbers that are fudged by anybody to make the deal seem better – including by ourselves). That is the absolute most you should pay.

      Then, choose an amount below that offer. It’s really up to you to determine what is embarrassing to you. Your max might be embarrassing. But, always offer less than your max. You’ll never get a better deal unless you ask for one.

      If you are offering something that you feel would make the seller very happy, you are trying to please the wrong person.

      Offering what is embarrassing is meant to be a way for you to not worry AT ALL about how someone is going to receive your offer. Who cares what they think? They aren’t risking anything by taking your money. You have to offer something that works for you and your goals and that’s all that really matters.

      It’s great to be charitable but don’t ever mix it with business.

  5. Very inspiring Danny.
    I work in Information Technology and your comment about being in the office every day hit it right on the head. There is freedom in hustling for yourself as opposed to being an office slave. We all do what we have to, but the goal is to end up like yourself.

    Keep it up man!!

  6. Renee Cater on

    I just listened to this and I must say I love everything from beginning to end. I so can relate to you Danny about throwing the phone, I can remember one time I just hung up. I do have one question for you, on your first deal where the bank asked you to purchased the note was it a local bank or a bigger chain bank? That was pretty interesting. I also love driving for dollars every house tells a story. Thank you for sharing your experience! And Joshua and Brandon thank you for these podcasts. I truly am learning a great deal and love it when you guys harmonize on the “quick tip” part makes me laugh when Brandon keeps going after you quit.

    • Joshua Dorkin

      Thanks for the feedback, Renee! I’m glad you enjoyed the show — Danny was awesome! Keep listening, and of course if you haven’t already, please share the show via social media and do leave us a review/rating on iTunes when you can.

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Renee.

      I was worried I would just end up rambling on and on and bore the heck out of everybody. Glad to hear that it went well.

      The bank was a very large national bank. I think they had acquired the note when they bought out a smaller bank several years prior.

      How Brandon and Josh work together on these podcasts is great. Lots of energy.

  7. Robert Wright on

    Danny – I listened to your podcast today and it was fantastic! Full of great information for a newbie like myself. Thank you for sharing with the BP community.

    I have a question regarding “staging”. I know when I was looking for homes, I kind of preferred them empty so I could see the blank canvas. You stated you got more prospective buyers with the “staging” in place. I’m curious why you think it helps, and has your “staging” ever turned off a prospective buyer?

    And a follow up staging question to you or any rehabbers – How much do you put into the landscaping around the house? Is it just clean up, or front only, or front and back? I don’t see this aspect talked about much except when driving for dollars when you look for overgrown yards.

    • Great questions, Robert.

      I’ve always heard about studies showing that occupied houses sell faster than vacant ones. I’ve never seen such a study though. I think it’s true because not everybody can envision how things will be laid out.

      I think it helps a lot because, done right, you can give the impression that the house is much more luxurious and if they buy the house, they will be moving up – into something better. Sort of like how some furniture companies arrange rooms and the feeling you get is much stronger than just seeing recliners lined up one after the other.

      Regarding landscaping, I think it depends on the price range of the house. If it’s lower end, a couple hundred cleaning up the yard and putting in some mulch is probably enough. For mid-level, median price point houses, cleaning up, trimming trees and landscaping, adding flower beds in the front yard is the way to go. For higher end homes, landscaping front and back with special features is what you might want to do.

      Of course you could spend a little more doing fancy things in the front for even the lower end homes and that should help them sell faster. You can usually get pretty good bang for your buck with landscaping.

  8. Wow……..WOW!!!!!

    This guy rocks…i am not sure why i enjoyed this podcast so much, but it absolutely was the best i heard so far. i think Danny’s calm, reserved, just “get it done” attitude speaks volumes. This podcast was almost like i had paid a mentor to consult me on my biggest fears, and Danny spelled out all of them, in a calm, matter of fact manner. For some reason, i knew alot of the marketing stuff already…but the way he rationalized and explained it logically, it just made a lightbulb go off for me…more consistent marketing, more deals….PERIOD…repairs, negotiation, comps, etc…these are all things i get confused on, but who cares if you have no DEALS!!!

    One thing Danny said that has changed my way of thinking from here on out, not in just RE, but in every endeavor i go after…completing tasks not just to “cross them off your list”….but with the intention of GETTING IT DONE no matter what!!! i knew deep down i do this alot and you feel good temporarily knowing that you did something on your “list” to help your business, career, etc…but you did not say “i’m getting this done no matter what i have to do, how much sleep i lose, free time i give up, extra money i have to spend,whatever..success or die trying!!!

    I’m stoked, thanks for a great podcast guys!!

    • Thanks, Morris.

      I could get used to these kinds of comments.

      Your statements are much appreciated and the points you got out of the podcast are good ones to take away from it. I’m glad you took the time to leave this comment and to allow other people to see some of the big takeaways from this one.

      Thanks, again.


  9. Hey Danny,

    Great job on the podcast and very proud of your success! You must have known that I’ll jump all over the mentoring bit 🙂

    The wonderful thing about your situation is that you had a positive example in your father. An example of the reality that success is possible. You were not facing parents and friends who were telling you things like “who do you think you are buying real estate?”

    This is the most important peace of it all. We can learn the tools and techniques. We can overpower ourselves and fake it till we make it. But, if you’ve never been to the other side of the tracks, then you can’t know about its’ existence. Our reality is our perception thereof, and our environment conditions our perception. Helping to create an environment conducive to success is the chief function of a good mentor – as I see it. Thoughts?

    • Hey, Ben.

      Thanks for the food for thought.

      I never mentioned not believing in having a mentor. That should be something everyone strives to get or at least a good relationship with successful investors. The importance of what was mentioned was that good mentors allow students to find “their own way” and help them along that path. People are inclined to do things in a way that fits them.

      The way it was mentioned for the bullet points for this podcast I think was just to show that expecting a mentor to do the work for you is not the right way to go about getting started. You have to learn and do the work. They should be their to help guide and assist.

      Thanks again for your input and I feel that we believe the same things.

    • Michael Dorovich on

      Ben, I agree 100% with your statement – having a father who is doing what you want to do is indispensable, even if you decide to go and do it on your own, you will have absorbed 1,000 intangible things that no book or course will ever teach you simply by being around him. The very idea that pursuing real estate is not crazy can seem like an insurmountable obstacle without a real person nearby who is a living reminder that it is a good move.

      One thing I learned when I was younger was how to work on cars, and I learned it initially all through absorption, being around a father and older brother who were very proficient in the subject, then later reading and doing the work on my own. I realize now that being around them was unbelievably helpful, a tremendously huge advantage. Trying to find similar results through real estate books and seminars or over the phone coaches has been extremely disappointing in comparison.

      Being in NY real estate, there are frequent reminders of some guy named Donald, whom not everybody likes but who still owns a few very tall buildings – he credits everything he knows to being around his father in the business, vs. the best business school in the country, where all he learned is that he can compete with anyone with a degree.

    • Thanks, Michelle.

      Great quote:

      “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
      — Theodore Roosevelt

  10. Great Podcast Danny. I loved your first deal with the bank losing the note. What a surprize. LOL.
    I don’t have 2 minutes these days as business is booming but actually listened to all 60 minutes. Have 3 offers on the table as I write this on a house I listed yesterday. Will will contact you soon. Out of BP time. Have a great Sunday.

  11. I’ve listened to every one of these podcasts now and I must say that this is a truly awesome and informative show. Keep them coming and I’ll keep listening.


  12. Thanks guys great show. Now that I know about
    your podcast I will have to hear more of them and
    Apply the good info. Thanks for sharing.
    Please let me know how I can help.

  13. I’d have to say that this is the best thing I’ve discovered since sliced bread! Bigger Pockets is great and I’ve saved myself lots of money and headache over investing hundreds and maybe even thousands of dollars that I don’t have on the next “guru’s” course.
    @ Joshua Dorkin and @ Brandon Turner, I can’t thank you guys enough for this site. I am learning soooo much and I feel more confident each and every new day about my decision to invest in Real Estate. Much to my surprise, I have been in contact with an investor in my area and he has agreed to help me in any way he can. I saw him on THIS blog, that was the surprising part….. Bigger Pockets community, YOU are my mentors and I thank you. Now, here’s to getting those 1st deals!!!

  14. Zachary Sexton on

    Next time I post to BP I will have to add my real estate website to the field. Your interview really got me pumped up to start an online marketing effort to find motivated sellers.

  15. Jason Grote

    Finally got to listen to this podcast, and I am very impressed with Danny’s knowledge. The things Danny shared on this podcast are not learned from books, but from working in the trenches of real estate. Thank you for sharing your knowledge so liberally. You have confirmed many things that we were already thinking about and given us some fresh inspiration!

  16. A very big “Thank You!” for your podcast. I’ve heard everyone of the BP shows, and they’re all good in their own rite, but your show has been a great wealth of relevant information for my wife and I as we launch our wholesaling business. I really appreciate seeing a successful couple, function and thrive as a team; that’s exactly what my wife and I hope to accomplish.

    I’m curious about two points as I listen to your show:
    1) When driving for dollars, after you have identified and logged a property of interest, how do I gain the mailing address of the owner? Typically, one would go to the county assessor (or some variant) website, but the county that I operate in is under a certain information protection law passed in California. Therefore, that is not an option for me. What would you do if you did not have this option?

    2) When signing paperwork with a motivated seller (in preparation for a double-close exit strategy), what forms are you using? Are you using a standard real estate purchase agreement (same as if you were purchasing a house off of the MLS), or some other document?

    Lastly, I’m a pretty big fan of the website you’ve put together! It greatly inspired the website I’m currently working on for our business.

  17. Hello Danny,

    Listened to your episode of the podcast today, great stuff! I went to amazon to order your book however it was only available for Kindle, do you offer it in other formats? Thank you.

  18. I am a new investor from Montreal Canada. These podcasts are a treat to my health, they making my brain explode every time that I listen to one. Thank you so much. This one of the best natural highs that have encountered in a long time.

  19. I’m a newbie and I haven’t listened to the radio in the car for the past 3 weeks. Every time I just in the car it’s only been the BP podcast. Just finished up episode 18 and I finally made it to the BP website. Great content. I can’t wait to listen to the rest. So much information out there. Thank you for putting it all in one great place!

  20. Seems that giving the tip to leave comments on the podcast page worked for this show. I have not seen a podcast so far with as many comments as this one.

    With every podcast, I try to take a nugget away. I just find that at this time I need a way to better remember all the nuggets.

    Where I understand that “Flips” are work and not something that just happens. I also believe that “Flips” are one of the quicker ways to make money to further invest.

    Here’s where I am and would love to have any mentoring that you are willing to give. I am starting out. Well starting out for the 3rd time. I currently have a home in another state that is leased and in a state of sale. My credit although going in a positive direction has tanked within the past 5 years. My income is also lacking….the reason my credit had tanked.

    I believe I have secured a couple of individuals that have dollars to invest. Not sure if they will become a private lender or project partner.

    The questions after my background….1) Am I correct, is Flipping a place to start? 2) Is there a better place to start? 3) Any recommendations?

    Greenville, SC

  21. Rick Fonseca on

    Great stuff, thank you for sharing.. took a lot of notes and i will be listening to it one more time.
    I also want to thank Joshua and Brandon.. You guys are assisting a lot of people get ahead in this real estate business… you guys are awesome…

  22. Great Podcast Danny. In regards to equity that a homeowner has in a house you are interested in. Is there a hard percent of equity that the homeowner has to have or what are your rules and comments concerning a homeowners equity level that you would shy a way from purchasing to flip.

  23. Michelle Cobbs

    Great All,

    Danny, Josh & Brandon I could not stop listening to this one EXCELLENT!!! Absolutely love the story of the first flip. Great tips on direct mail, driving for dollars ( l do this daily). Just a great, great show.


  24. Julie Marquez

    Danny’s knowledge is so invaluable, I really appreciate everything you shared! I like your style and how thorough you go about in your business. I listened to your newest one first, and everything you have to say just resonates with me. Thanks for all your contributions to bigger pockets!

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