BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast

BiggerPockets Podcast 067: Overcoming Inaction, Direct Mail, and Becoming an Successful Wholesaler with Tim Gordon

Expertise:
372 Articles Written

On today’s episode of the BiggerPockets Podcast, we sit down and chat with a real estate investor who wasn’t seeing a lot of action in his business – until a friend challenged him to take his investing seriously and start treating it like a business.

Our guest today, Tim Gordon, accepted the challenge, changed his approach, and his business took off!  Several short years later, Tim Gordon runs a successful investment business that focuses primarily on finding and wholesaling incredible deals in a competitive market, making tens of thousands of dollars every month in his business while still working a day job. Tim shares with us the lessons he learned to overcome inaction and the steps needed to consistently fill his pipeline with deals worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Whether you are a new investor struggling to get your first deal, or you’ve been investing for years and need a motivational kick to take your business to new levels, this is the show for you.

Read the Transcript

Click here to read the transcript.

Listen to The Show on iTunes

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

In This Show, We Cover:

  • How Tim used BiggerPockets to get started
  • Why it took Tim a full year to get his first deal
  • Should new investors start with wholesaling?
  • The major skill you need to succeed at wholesaling
  • How Tim uses direct mail to find leads
  • Reverse engineering to find success in wholesaling
  • Tips for negotiating with motivated sellers
  • The exact messaging on Tim’s direct mail postcards
  • How Tim finds the “Big Dog cash buyers
  • How many cash buyers do you need?
  • The best deal Tim has ever done – $48,000 over a round of beers
  • The catalyst that helped Tim take his business more seriously
  • Working with assistants and others in your wholesaling business
  • Why Tim makes $60 every time someone calls him
  • And a lot more!

Links from the Show:

Books Mentioned in the Show

Tweetable Topics

“The idea of running a business through an excel sheet – if there is a Hell, that’s it.” (Tweet This!)

Want more articles like this?

Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up for free

“Until I can go away for 2 weeks, and have the business still making money, it’s still a job.” (Tweet This!)

“Wholesalers are not your competitors, they are your allies.” (Tweet This!)

“My favorite word in all of real estate is ‘vacant.'” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Tim

Real strategies that work for real people seeking to build wealth through real estate investments. Co-hosted by Brandon Turner and David Greene, this podcast provides actionable advice from investo...
Read more
    Eric Metz
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Awesome! I know how hard Tim has been working to build a business and look forward to hearing this podcast. Keep up the great momentum!
    Tim Gordon
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Thanks Eric, I appreciate the help you have given me on the website!
    Jack Knochel
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Hey Guys, Thanks for this podcast. Tim hit the nail on the head about working at this like a business. We have been part timing for a few years and after listening to this, its time we get ourselves locked on. THANKS
    Tim Gordon
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Thanks for kind words, I heard a great comment once on real estate investing. You can be a “fan” of the sport. Know everything about it, the players names the stats etc… but you are still just a fan. You aren’t on the field. If you want to be a player in the game you need to be doing it and not just regurgitating the facts you know. So now its up to you, to be a fan or a player in the game!
    Erik
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    incredible interview. even after 426+ deals, I learned some GREAT NUGGETS on this call. keep up the unbiased, genuine content fellas.
    Joshua Dorkin
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Hey Erik – That’s awesome feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed it AND found value.
    Joshua Dorkin
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Hey Erik – That’s awesome feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed it AND found value.
    Joshua Dorkin
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Hey Erik – That’s awesome feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed it AND found value.
    Howard Tibbs
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    This is a great podcast, I’m still learning about wholesaling right now and the use of CRM is a great idea. I would also add Quickbooks plugin for Zoho (if you use QB) to integrate marketing, sales, and accounting data.
    Tim Gordon
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Howard, thank you for the tip. I’m about to make that quickbooks plunge. Any tips?
    Howard Tibbs
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    In terms of Quickbooks, it is pretty straightforward. I’ve used it for my computer business for 6yrs. I’m not sure of real estate exclusive documents needed by tax time but they have an extensive reports section that keeps track of your assets, liabilities, expenses, etc. Profit and Loss, General Ledger, Expenses by Vendor, many others. I’m looking to create one for my real estate business directly ported from Zoho CRM. Here’s a link on that integration: http://www.zoho.com/crm/help/quickbooks/
    Ed Castellanos
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Great topic cant wait to hear it. Thanks
    Tim Gordon
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Edgar!!!! Nice to see you on here my friend!
    Jaren
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Man this was a really solid episode! I really liked it!
    Henry Nguyen
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Awesome podcast Tim! Very inspirational to a newbie wholesaler like myself. There was a great deal of information and tips to get started. The insight on door knocking is something I’ll have to try in the future. Sink or swim, right? I’ll definitely have to connect with you on the BP forums. Good luck with the presentation at Google. Are you teaching them where to put all their excess cash? Are they going to buy out BP for $5 Billion?!?!?
    Lawrence
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Great stuff Tim! It was all very inspiring because I am prepping for my first wholesaling adventure and it’s good to be reminded that everyone that is successful was once new and scared. BTW, how do you determine your repair costs of a house?
    Tim Gordon
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Thanks! At the beginning you just have to wing it. There are posts on this forum that help detail how best to learn. One of which was estimate out the rehab on your own place, that will help you get an idea of costs etc… Realistically, the buyers will have their own numbers and their own costs. They will be able to tell you if a deal fits for them. Just go lock one up and see what happens!
    Mark Lenox
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Overall, this was a good show with a lot of good tips and information. I do have to admit, though, that I was discouraged, as a newbie cash investor. You made it sound like you only recommend wholesalers seek out the “big boys” and ones who have a lot of experience as cash investors. With that advice, there aren’t any wholesalers who would give me the time of day. Thanks for the good tips, though.
    Tim Gordon
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Mark, don’t let it discourage you! I just laid out exactly how to go and get your own deals. The more experienced buyers tend to get the deals on the MLS too, I’m not saying something that is any different than how it works with most agents who sell to investors. You will have to find your advantage (it will probably be relationship based) to leverage and get you those first deals to build up the experience. At the end of the day though, those big dogs will pay the most for a deal. Why would a wholesaler want to sell to anyone else? New investors have larger spreads to account for inexperience, less volume discounts on their rehab thus increasing their costs all of which means they cannot pay as much as the big buyer. Remember a buyer and seller have completely opposite goals, the sellers being to get the highest price and the buyer to get the lowest price. We must take the strongest buyer to secure the deal closes, I stand by my advice but I do also want to stress that you can make this happen with or without a wholesaler sending you a deal if you really want this! Best of luck my friend!
    Mark Lenox
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Hi, Tim. Thanks for the response. Please don’t misunderstand. I certainly wasn’t trying to say that your advice was wrong in any way! In fact, it is precisely because it is good advice and makes total sense that made it discouraging to new cash investors like myself. It makes me wonder if starting out as a wholesaler is really the only option unless you have contacts already in the industry. Myself, I am beginning to make a few in roads, but to be honest, I have been amazed that I can wave $125,000 cash around, and no one seems interested in providing leads on deals. My quite experienced agent keeps saying to be patient, but at this point I am starting to think that if it takes three months to find a deal, there’s no way I can do this for a living. Mark
    Tim Gordon
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Buenos Diaz Mark! Don’t forget it took me over a year to get my first deal, three months shouldn’t discourage you. But if a method isn’t working sometimes adjustments are needed. I am a big fan of partnering with experienced individuals to learn the ropes. Have you thought of partnering with an experienced Rehabber to learn the deal acquisition process better? Mentors are key in this biz. Cheers,
    Brett Synicky
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Great Show as always guys! Btw Tim Ferriss just started his own podcast! Pretty soon you guys will start asking about favorite podcasts instead of favorite books! Ha! Seriously though, you guys do an amazing job and I look forward to the show every week. Josh, Brandon, you know we all want to hear the recording of your presentation at Google. C’mon guys! Tim keep killin it. As a SoCal native a lot of that really hit home! Keep it up guys!
    Tim Gordon
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Brett, Thanks for the kind words!
    Tina P
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    This was a really good podcast. I can probably listen to this a couple of more times to pull information I missed. Tim Gordon – this was very inspirational and educational for me not coming from a sales background. This is definitely getting me in the thought process of turning this great idea of finding and selling deals into a cashflow business. Thanks again to all of you and keep up the great work.
    Tim Gordon
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Thank you Tina! I’m so glad it could be helpful to you. I’ve learned a lot from others and it wouldn’t have been possible without them!
    Doug Sheridan
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Thank you Tim for sharing your knowledge and road to success! It looks like wholesaling is the only way I’m going to get decent deals in my hot Austin market, and I know you think hot markets are great Wholesale markets per other comments I’ve seen on BP. Question: During the podcast you shared your expected deal flow and ROI from your current direct mail $$. Did you spend extensively on direct mail during that year you didn’t get a deal? If one executed correctly on the right targeted list can you provide a rough estimate what one my needs to spend to get their initial revenue flowing? ( Would $5K do it you think?) In my area there is virtually nothing for sale and the margins on scrapes are so good that near market value is a deal to a developer. Thanks again for sharing and for your time!
    Tim Gordon
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Doug, Yes, I spent about $10,000 inconsistently on direct marketing before I secured a deal. There is no way for me to guess how soon or how much it will take for you to get a deal, sorry. I think if you do anything consistently for a season, results will follow. Sort of like being a farmer and planting seeds in the spring for a summer harvest. If I setup shop somewhere else it will be Austin, I see so much opportunity there! I’m there a lot to see family as well. I keep trying to convince my brother to start up there. That’s an AWESOME market to hit. Why is everyone so concerned about competition???
    Tara Brown
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    There is no such thing as competition……people get waaaay to concerned with it. Look at all the fast-food joints, Mcdonalds, Burger King, Subway, that are built right next to each other!
    willie
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Great interview Josh and Brandon, lots of useful info, it’s amazing that sometimes we don’t think that besides are jobs that investing is another job and not a hobby, I must remember that ! because sometimes I do treat it like a hobby, and Tim made me realize that I can’t do that. Thanks Tim for waking me up! Thank you Josh, Brandon and Tim for a great interview.
    Tim Gordon
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Thanks for the kind words Willie! It took others to do the same to me so believe me I’ve been there!
    Travis Daggett
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Tim- Thanks for sharing such great info! I especially like the reminder to know your numbers. Response rate, conversion rate, profit per lead, cost per lead, etc. That’s part of owning a business versus having a hobby. Also, the $5k nonrefundable deposit is a great idea that establishes your posture as a wholesaler.
    Erick Corte
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    hi Tim, Thank you so much for the useful tips and amazing information that you shared with the BP community! Also congratulations on your business, sounds like you definitely took it to the next level! I will definitely see you around on the site 😉 PS. Thanks to Josh and Brandon for yet another amazing podcast! We just cant stop learning and learning…. BIG THANK YOU!
    Paul Johnson
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Tim, Great show! I learned a lot. The timing is perfect as I’m thinking about launching an advertising campaign. I have a question about something I heard on the show. Are you driving all of your calls from your postcards to voicemail? I’m thinking about doing something similar, but I’m concerned about losing calls because some people don’t like leaving voicemail messages. Thanks.
    Tim Gordon
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Yes I do. I also call ALL hangups. I just locked up a deal from a hangup this month. Cheers,
    Paul Johnson
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Thanks Tim!
    Shayne
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Tim, Great podcast! Any chance you can send a picture of what your postcard looks like?
    Tim Gordon
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Google absentee postcard mailer, it looks exactly like all the rest. The only difference is some random wording here and there. I read what it said over the podcast though if you didn’t notice!
    ben
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Tim, Great podcast Tim. Tons of useful information. I’ve sent out mailers received 50 calls and have closed 3 wholesale deals. I think I’ve been pretty lucky but I’ll take it. I’d like to send more mailers, but I’m using an excel spreadsheet for my leads. You mentioned that you were using a “custom” setup for your Zoho CRM. I’d like to purchase the Zoho CRM. Would you be willing to expand on what you mean by custom? Would you be able to guide me in the right direction when purchasing and setting up a Zoho CRM? Thanks for your contribution to the community! Keep the posts coming!
    James
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Tim, Great listen! Your 1st year experience emulates my last 9 months and you’re motivating me to get my ass in gear. It’s funny you mentioned Zoho as I just downloaded it last month. Still trying to figure it out! Would you be willing to share your zoho settings or tips on how you customized it? Also very interested in seeing the postcard you showed B&J 😉 When wholesalers say they average 4-5% response rate I assume they are in an area with high turnover. It was refreshing to hear that you experience .5-1% response rate. I’m in the Bay Area but focusing in the Sacramento Region so I think our return rates are very similar.
    Michael Dorovich
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Tim, great podcast! What is the best way to get in touch with you regarding deals you have available?
    Eddie M
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Tim, Thanks for taking time out to share. Can you share what day of the week you think would be best to send out postcards?
    Tim Gordon
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    The best day would have been yesterday, the next best today. I really don’t know for sure yet. But constant contact from mailing is important, the actual day is less of a factor.
    Brian Huber
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I really enjoyed the podcast thanks for providing it! Tim would you mind letting us know how you found the names for leads? also what is the cost for getting those names? Thanks again!
    Ehab Shoukry Investor from Houston, Texas
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Tim – Great podcast! I have two questions for you. 1. Do you have any tips or screenshots on how you customized Zoho and how you are using it for your business? I have a full-time job and am thinking about getting a VA. I’m envisioning that I could have my VA receive calls and enter them in Zoho for me to follow up on them. Any ideas about this process? 2. When working with mentors, I have a really good one who is asking $10k up front and is willing to teach me everything about the business. On top of that, we would be splitting deals 50/50 for a year. He is very aggressive so he wants me to invest at least $3k a month on marketing starting out so that I can hit my goal of making $250k a year. Do you think this type of mentorship is valuable? I should state that I’ve done about 10 deals–all rehabs with the exception of one wholesale. I’ve done this as a hobby and really want to take this to the next level. Thanks! Ehab
    Tim G. Rental Property Investor from San Diego, CA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Ehab, I would NOT recommend handing over $10k to a “mentor” ever. Working 50/50 is a very good way to do it, I’ve done it that way. If they believed in you that should be enough. Yes they are monetizing their knowledge but for what its worth you can get that elsewhere at a much lower cost.
    Jason
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I might be late to the party, but this is probably one of my favorites episodes so far. Very awesome stuff here. Thank you so much for sharing your information, Tim. I will echo some of the requests above about details/screenshots of how Zoho is setup. Other than that, this was gold. Thanks again!
    Tim G. Rental Property Investor from San Diego, CA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    In regards to Zoho I do not have screen shots and I’m leaving for South America tomorrow. Sorry! You can hire out these services on Odesk and it can work out pretty well.
    Julia Rowling Real Estate Investor from Greenville, SC
    Replied about 5 years ago
    I was so inspired to hear Brandon mention that he’s not really into talking on the phone! Does this mean there’s a place for introverts like me in the world of REI? I intent to work primarily with buy and hold — do I need to be an ace salesperson to achieve reasonable success (goal: $10,000/month in passive income) in this area?
    Salvador Senar Jr. Real Estate Investor from Covina, Ca
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    There’s a ton of things i love about this podcast! I’m a newbie right now so just the path that Tim takes makes a lot of sense. I also live in San Diego where home pieces are quite high, so to hear a super successful investor’s perspective that lives in this city brings me some clarity and motivation. I do think everyone has a method of investing that suits them best and matches their strengths. This podcast was GGRRREEEAT!!!
    Ben Peyton from KANSAS CITY, MO
    Replied over 4 years ago
    This was a great podcast. Lots of detailed information on the wholesaling process. Very useful.
    Sachin Acharya from Dubai , Dubai
    Replied about 4 years ago
    That was a great show Tim. You mentioned about the 1% response rate and 25:1 close ratio, and how reverse engineering from there works. I love that. But here’s my question about that – where do you get the contacts of thousands and thousands of people to send to? Or are they repeat recipients?
    Tim G. Rental Property Investor from San Diego, CA
    Replied about 4 years ago
    You download lists from various data sources. Usually recommended to renew the list each year. Data Tree, Corelogic, Property Radar are some of the places to get this data.
    Victor Macanas Office Admin from Bremerton, Washington
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Awesome podcast Tim, really learned a lot from your experience, and just reading the previous post’s here to date. I would like to go door-to-door during the summer month’s to help off set my marketing budget, any suggestions on the verbiage, or flyer’s…I’m a people person and very friendly so I feel it would be a lot of fun, I feel that if I went door-to-door, the current home owner might not be interested, but may know someone who is. Any suggestions or where I can learn about door-to door marketing would be greatly appreciated (books recommended). Thank you!
    Tim G. Rental Property Investor from San Diego, CA
    Replied about 4 years ago
    I’m not sure to be honest. Door knocking is great practice but its limiting factor will always be its hard to scale it up. If your time is more valuable then spending on marketing is wiser. I don’t think there are many shortcuts, and the ones like saving on marketing costs usually just make it take longer to get a deal. For practice I think its great, for a business I think its a poor use of time.
    Carl M. Investor from Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Great podcast. Thanks for the information. Where are you getting your list of addresses to mail your postcards?
    Tim G. Rental Property Investor from San Diego, CA
    Replied over 3 years ago
    listsource or datatree
    Anila Hashim from West Palm Beach, Florida
    Replied over 3 years ago
    I listened to your podcast today. Totally agree with you on Rich Dad Poor Dad everyone raved about it and when I read it, I did not have a life changing experience so I felt really let down. Upon consideration, I realised that I was doing everything that the book suggested already so way ahead of the book’s teachings. Great Podcast