BiggerPockets Podcast 144 with Danny Johnson Transcript
Link to show: BP Podcast 144: Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone and Kicking Butt at Real Estate with Danny Johnson
Josh: This is the BiggerPockets podcast, show 144.
Danny: Ring, ring, ring I just called your cellphone. Hi this is Danny.
Brandon: My name is Brandon and I found your website about the house that you buy.
Danny: Yes, do you have the house you’d like to sell?
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Josh: What’s going on everybody? This is Josh Dorkin host of the BiggerPockets podcast here with my co-host, Mr. Brandon Turner.
Brandon: What’s up? I’m recording live inside of the actual coffee can right now.
Josh: Where are you?
Brandon: I’m at a co-working space in North Dakota because I’m driving to a wedding in Minnesota. How are you Josh?
Josh: They have co-working spaces in North Dakota.
Brandon: They do. Fargo. Pretty cool. Check it out sometimes. The Prairie Den. If you are in Fargo, the Prairie Den. How are you doing?
Josh: I’m good man, I’m good. Why are you in Fargo by the way?
Brandon: I'm just driving trough for a wedding. That way.
Josh: Which way?
Josh: Okay. We know your life we want to know more.
Brandon: My friend Jessica who is my best friend in the world.
Brandon: Yes, Jessica is getting married to the awesome guy, I don’t know his name. I am playing guitar in the wedding on Friday night.
Josh: for Jessica and what’s his name.
Brandon: For Jessica and what’s his name. Jessica is my homie. We are buds.
Josh: Apparently not her husband.
Brandon: I don’t know him very well.
Josh: All is well here. We are doing well, rocking and rolling. BP continues to plague away and its getting cool finally and I'm excited about the falls.
Brandon: Finally, I thought you thought cool like Fonzie cool.
Josh: Its finally cool.
Brandon: It is not cool yet but we will get there.
Josh: Got a good show as we typically do.
Brandon: I really like todays show. I really liked it probably because I'm introverted. People might not know that because I'm on a podcast but that’s why I'm here because you can’t see me.
Josh: I will tell you funny story about BiggerPockets.
Brandon: Will you? I think you told million introverts stories.
Josh: When we had ten-year party here at BiggerPockets Brandon was in attendance and there were a lot of people, room was packed, and this Brandon Turner this tall guy that everybody knows.
Brandon: Good looking, handsome, muscular.
Josh: We are talking about the different guy. The guy I'm talking about was hiding in the corner.
Brandon: Oh that guy.
Josh: Literally set in the corner the entire evening.
Brandon: I stood in the corner.
Josh: Even if you set you would be taller than.
Brandon: It was like bathroom wall. It’s not quite corner.
Josh: You guys remember high school like the nerdy kids that were hanging out by the bathroom, that was Brandon the entire time. Didn’t really move from that entire area. Granted, lots of people came to him.
Brandon: That’s what I do.
Josh: To see the mountain the room.
Brandon: I just stand there and they come to me. I just draw them to me. Love attraction right here.
Josh: It’s our running joke on BiggerPockets on how Brandon is going to go hide in the corner and people show up.
Brandon: Anyway that’s why show is going to be good but we’ll get to that in a minute. Before we do let’s do todays Quick Tip.
Today’s Quick Tip is we’ve got a lot of changes happening to the BiggerPockets calculators especially the rental property calculator. Because we are recording this a few weeks before the show comes out I don’t know exactly the state it will be in but every other day it changes dramatically. Go check it out – a href="https://www.biggerpockets.com/calc">BiggerPockets.com/calc see what’s different today and its becoming very helpful in my life and it’s going to become increasingly helpful in your life as well over the coming month. Check it out a href="https://www.biggerpockets.com/calc">BiggerPockets.com/calc.
Josh: Not just that but we’ve got a lot of big stuff coming, a lot of big changes soon – look, feel, tools, things like that. Definitely if you haven’t been on the website in a while check back at a href="https://www.biggerpockets.com">BiggerPockets.com.
Before we introduce our guest just big thanks to everybody for all the ratings and reviews. It has been amazing they are coming it and they are fantastic. Especially the ones that tell me to shut up. I love those – those are awesome.
Brandon: Those are my favorite.
Josh: You guys are really supportive and we really appreciate them. If you haven’t yet left us one, please do so on iTunes.
Brandon: We have 1567 reviews on iTunes.
Josh: Not enough. We are waiting for 2000.
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Josh: Thanks. We definitely appreciate the sponsors as always for helping support us and our endeavors here at BiggerPockets. Let’s do this.
Today’s show featuring Danny Johnson. Danny has been around for 12 years as a real estate investor. He has done all sorts of stuff. Wholesaling, flipping. He’s probably one of the better marketers out there. He’s really great and online is great and offline as well.
Brandon: He’s a little shy.
Josh: Little shy guy.
Brandon: I know for me like I said earlier that appeals to me. That’s why I like todays show and if you guys are not super a type personality and angry new Yorker like Josh here you might pick up some good tips today on how to invest in real estate when maybe you are not as outgoing as you would like to be.
Josh: You don’t have to be angry as me.
Brandon: Not many people are angry as you.
Josh: It’s not true what they say. I'm not that angry. Danny is great we are really excited to have him and let’s get to this thing and make move.
Danny welcome back to the show it’s been a while – show 18 I believe was your episode. Welcome back.
Danny: Welcome. Thank you. It’s been so long I was like what was your name again.
Brandon: Last time we talked to you we talked about flipping, we talked about wholesaling, we talked about marketing. We did a lot of cool stuff like that. Today we are going to talk little bit about that as well.
First of all, I want to know for those people who don’t know maybe didn’t listen to the last episode – who are you, what do you do?
Danny: I'm Danny Johnson and I flip houses in San Antonio. My wife and I have been flipping houses I think 12 years now – maybe a little bit more. Time flies it’s crazy. We rehabbed and flipped over 200 houses over that time and we are still actively doing it. My blog Flipping Junkie where I talk about a lot of that but the flipping is what we are mainly do with rehabbing and then wholesaling stuff like that.
Brandon: You have been doing this 12 year. In that time, you have clearly seen market being really good and then really bad. When I say good and bad I'm talking in terms of maybe a buyers’ market – houses are selling really well and houses are not selling very well. Honestly, a lot of investors we can say it’s the opposite. The market was really bad for us and then it was good for us and it was really bad for us.
Danny: That’s the thing. It’s going to be easy to find deals and little bit tougher to sell the houses or its going to be harder to find the deals but really easy to sell them and right now we are in position where it’s hard to find good deals but selling them it’s pretty easy. Houses here in San Antonio are flying off the market really fast. Typically, when we have something for sale as soon as its listed its sold within the day or two. It’s been like that for a while.
Josh: I kind of want to get caught up to here. We had you two and a half years ago. You were doing a bit of wholesaling and bunch of flipping. Take us through last two years. What was the shift? You said you were primarily doing flipping now. Does that mean you totally stopped doing any wholesaling or?
Danny: We are still doing wholesaling and rehabbing. You make more money on a rehab typically than you do on a wholesale. The market was still good house selling really fast that anything that makes senses to rehab its rehabbed and sold retail. What I mean anything that makes sense for rehab or retail is houses in area where I get the lead wherever that houses are. If the house is selling there on the MLS people are getting loans for them that’s going to be one that we are going to pick up to fix up and sell.
The ones that I wholesale are typically houses that are in areas that are little bit than median home price. They are just not in that great areas that are prices in the retail sales aren’t there so it just makes more sense to me to wholesale those to landlords and other people doing financing things like that.
Josh: I just realized something. I feel like I'm interviewing Sean Penn. Has anyone ever told you that you are doppelganger of Sean Penn?
Danny: My old job I got that all the time.
Josh: I just released. Look at that.
Brandon: I can see it. I like it.
Danny: I forgot that guy’s name.
Josh: He was biggest man on earth.
Brandon: I'm like Shaggy do or something.
Josh: There is that Slim Jim commercial with the sasquatch.
Brandon: That’s me.
Let’s talk about wholesaling really quickly because I do a lot of webinars on BiggerPockets and people ask questions during them. One of the questions they always ask is what the heck is wholesaling? I feel like we talk about it all the time and people should know but newbies don’t know enough about wholesaling. Really quickly can you explain what is wholesaling, what are we talking about?
Danny: With wholesaling what we are talking about there could be several things we talk about but in general the way I see wholesaling is where you are buying a house but you are not actually going to close on the house and fix it up yourself. You might actually close it but your intention is not to actually fix it up.
The ways to do that is you have assignment of contract. If you put the house under contract to buy, let’s say Joe seller is selling the house for 50,000 and you put under contract for 50,000. Let’s say that house is worth 100,000. I have ton of investors that are willing to buy that at 70% minus repairs. Not to get too far into math here but if we bought it at 50 there is $20,000 between what my investor would pay for and what I'm buying it for. If the repairs are less than that I get to pocket the difference.
Let’s say for sake of simplicity $10,000 repairs. Now I can sell that to my investor for $10,000 because he will be interested for buying it for 60 which is $100,000 retail value minutes the 30% because he wants to buy at 70% of market value. That’s 70,000 minutes 10,000 for repairs. He is willing to pay 60,000 for it and I put it under contract for 50 and I would then sign an assignment of contract with him where he agrees to pay me the deference which is $10,000 when he closes on it so I don’t even close on the house. He closes and I get paid once he closes.
Typically, I’ll accept nonrefundable earnest money deposit to make sure he is serious because I don’t want an investor tying up the deal and not being able to close because it makes me look bad because I'm the one that signed the original contract saying I would close.
That gets into where you can have strong buyers and we can have a long way down that path of how to determine who is serious investor buyer you assign these contracts to.
Quickly we can talk about the other part of the wholesaling which is the double close. It is a lot of safer these days in the states like Ohio and things like that, Brandon you and I were talking about that the other day, there are some issues with assignments of contracts and this are just not being clear.
Josh: Brokering and all that.
Brandon: If you are not an agent and they look at it as if you are broker – you are finding a buyer for a seller of the house. Some people look at it if you have it under contract you have invested interest so you are actually selling the contract not the house. That’s where its grayer in some of the states.
One of the ways we talked about being able to get around that is to do the double close where you actually do close on it and then you have your buyer turn around and close. Its two transactions. You and the homeowner. Homeowner would sell and out are the buyer. Second transaction you are the seller and the investor is buyer. With that you are actually owning the property before you sell it. Even if that’s just like for 15 minutes.
Josh: I like that you brought up finding a buyer you can count on. I know we talked about it but I think it would be a good topic to dip into a little bit here. How do you do that?
How do I know that the flipper or somebody that I can count on does actually close the deal as wholesaler? How can I trust you?
Danny: That comes into the research how you found out about me. What I like to do is find people that I know bought houses and they paid cash for them. They closed quickly. Either other people told me they did or I saw that they did it.
There is way to check the MLS for properties that are sold and check deed records online. Most places deed records online and you can see who bought them so you can find out who is buying a lot of the deals.
If you have a list of people who paid cash for properties, then you can start to contact them say “You want more deals? I'm a wholesaler I can find exact same deal like the one you bought at XYZ address” then you know they are pretty serious.
One quick way that I also determine whether someone is really serious is when you talk to them about a deal. If a person that investor buyer says “What’s the address, what’s the price?” is a way to get in - I know they are pretty serious.
The guys that’s asking how old is the roof or what shape is the carpeting you can go either way but typically I'm going to say that person is probably not going to be able to commit very quickly.
Typically, guys that are buying a lot and quickly are straight to the point. I just want to know how to look at it and what the price is and I’ll tell you yes or no.
Josh: That makes sense. Those guys they know when they go in they are going to figure it out. Why do they need to waste your time with details? They are going to go do their own evaluation on what is worth regardless what the repairs are, right?
Danny: Right. It’s one of those things like finding a contractors similar to that. Sometimes people don’t want to and I say that because I have this trouble, you were busy, you were rocking, doing deals, looking at leads, making offers and it comes time where we have trouble with our contractors I’ve got to find a new contractor and them I'm thinking I don’t feel spending time trying to find good contractors.
I talked to couple they seemed decent – lets go. But then you run into problems quickly and it’s like a nightmare. Typically, as a rehabber if you have that contractors it’s a nightmare. It’s a simple as that.
Taking a time to find a right contractor taking a time to find a right buyer, cash buyer for properties, is well worth all the time spent.
You can build up a big buyers list as a safety net but really what you want to do is find four to five guys that are really serious, really good and not going to waste your time. It is saving so much time hustle and effort and you don’t have to worry is this going to close. I'm so worried I have to check it; I don’t know if this guy will be able to close it. Scrambling to find another buyer and all that because you definitely don’t want to go back to the seller saying “I could close I need more time” all those things when you are promising a quick close you need to be able to do it. Find serious buyer for that.
Brandon: Makes sense.
Josh: Good explanation. You are in Texas, market is pretty good on the sale side, it’s fairly competitive on the acquisition side so what are you doing? How are we getting in there and scraping up deals that other thousands of investors aren’t getting their hands on?
Danny: Basically these days all I'm really using is my website DannyBuysHouses to generate my leads for me. That said you can get leads and everything but with competition typically when we are picking up some things up is where others follow up.
There maybe be a lot of competition but you have to be able to look at how many competition is actually following up on people. Not only that but who is picking up their phone.
I just talked to seller yesterday, he called me up and said “I called five people before you and my first thought was how come I was not first but he called five people before me and said all of those were machines. He said you know what I do? I hang up on those. I don’t want to machine; I want to talk to person. He said you were the first one to pick up the tone and so if he’s got that kind of attitude and I talked to him and setup appointment to see his house and let him feel like he’s accomplished like he’s set out to even if those other people call him back a lot of times he might even not want to mess with them.
I guarantee that probably four five called before me if any of them did call back it was probably only one anyway. That’s just the way it goes. It’s weird. People spend all that time and energy doing marketing but not answering their phones.
Josh: That’s fascinating. It’s small things in business that give you that competitive advantage and you are right. I think people, you even said on the forums, how do I leave my voice main and how should it sound like, things like that, you said Just answer. Pick up service to answer the phone for you because you get those people on the phone.
It’s true, these people, the folks that you market to primarily as a wholesaler are people who they don’t have a lot of time for the be sort of speak typically they can list it on the MLS if they had time for bs. They want to be done with it. They want to talk to somebody and knock it out.
Danny: Thing with answering the phone I hear a lot of people talk about using google voice and I'm not sure the thinking is I need another number because I don’t want people calling my cellphone. Honestly you are not going to have your phone ringing off the hook. If it did that’s awesome. I would love for my rub phone to ring off the hook with leads but when you fist do that marketing you feel like it’s going to ring off the hook and it doesn’t and then you are alike what did I do wrong.
You don’t get a lot of calls from people who want to sell their house super cheap but google voice thing is really bugs me because I know when myself call the number and its says “Say your name so I can try to reach the subscriber” I don’t want to mess with that. I just hang up.
Brandon: I turned that off on my google voice because I wanted to ring my phone like a normal phone.
Danny: Can you do that?
Brandon: Yes, you can turn that off. I turned that’s off because I hated that thing, too. You can definitely turn it off.
Danny: People who use that have a lot of people just hang up on them.
Brandon: I think so too. Honestly it’s easy to send direct main letters, relatively. It’s not very scary. It’s easy to drive for dollars somewhat, it’s easy to look on MLS. It’s scary to answer your phone and talk to somebody live.
Can we do something fun here just I think it will be fun. Do you guys want to do some roleplaying?
Brandon: I want to work through this with you because I want to pretend that you are Danny and I just called your website and I'm a house seller. You guys up for this?
Ring, ring, ring, ring – I just called your cell.
Danny: Hi, this is Danny.
Brandon: Hi, my name is Brandon, I found your website online about the house that you buy.
Danny: Yes, do you have the house that you’d like to sell?
Brandon: I do. I think so anyway. I got it as an inheritance, my father passed away last year.
Danny: I'm sorry to hear that. Can you tell me a little bit about the house? What part of town it is?
Brandon: Sure. It’s over by the Safeway over 3rd street. Kind of back of that area pretty good area. It was rented for a long time to my brother in law who ended up not paying rent for couple years and now it’s just trashed. I just want to get rid of it at this point.
Danny: That’s a common situation that I hear a lot. People want to help out their family and siblings and get taken of advantage sometimes the house gets destroyed. Do you mind giving me the address of the house.
Brandon: Sure its 123 3rd street.
Danny: Easy. And how many bedrooms and bathrooms does it have.
Brandon: I think its three bedrooms on the main floor and one upstairs and where is two bathrooms total.
Danny: What kind of general shape is the house in? Any major repairs needed, foundation problems?
Brandon: The roof looks pretty bad I can just see a lot of water spots coming through the celling but other than that I think it’s okay. It’s not great, I'm not going to lie it’s not in great condition because he didn’t clean it for couple of years and he just shut the door and left it for six months so.
Danny: Is there anything owed still in the property?
Brandon: No it was given to us just free and clear.
Danny: Do you have an asking price in mind for it?
Brandon: I don’t know. I was kind of hoping you could tell me that.
Danny: Sure. That wouldn’t be a problem. What time I could come over today and see it?
Brandon: Today? I'm around right now I can reach you anytime. I don’t have a job so I'm just retired.
Danny: That’s great. I can make it right over so I will be there in around 30 minutes and it doesn’t take very long for me to get through the house so I won’t be keeping you in there forever. I am not going to crawl under it or over top of it or anything like that tin the attic so is pretty quick. Can I get your name and best way to reach you?
That was good.
Josh: That was good.
Danny: I'm looking at you on video.
Josh: You are very disarming. There is no way anyone can be angry at Danny even if you were just pissed off for some reason. You are just so soft spoken and gentle. I feel like I'm going to get a hug.
Brandon: Couple things I notices that I liked. First of all, you definitely identified with me in number of cases. I know that happens a lot, people taken advantage off, it wasn’t you are stupid you rented to your brother in law or why was he there for two years. This happens. Almost like you are the victim.
Josh: Its disarming. Its relating to the other person.
Danny: General flow of my conversations because it changes depending on what they tell me. You started talking about situation so I wanted to be quiet as much as I could to let you talk all the situation so that I can get really what the bottom of the story is.
Going from there just find out some details about the house really quick and then when you get to the point you can talk about what’s owed because that’s obviously very important. If they owe a whole lot money on it, you don’t want to waste your time. Find that out.
People are afraid to ask how much is owed on it. If you are talking to somebody that’s selling the house on MLS for top dollar, completely fixed up, looks brand new, asking them what they owe they might take offence to that.
Motivated sellers or sellers that just want to sell something in situation it’s just like how you handle it. They just tell you it’s not a big deal for them if you just ask.
Brandon: What would you have said had I said “We owe quite a bit on that” he leveraged it pretty well. We had high mortgage let’s say $150,000 we owed on that and you knew it was worth 160,000. What would you have said at that point?
Danny: At that point it depends how much I really felt like I knew whether that was the value. Big city like San Antonio there are some areas that I do know pretty well but there can still be pockets that are little bit more whatever. I don’t typically say one way or the other I can’t do it right now. I still want to do a little bit research. Some things you can ask if you know area the house they are selling for because sometimes they have done research, they talked to realtors and they know.
Other thing is maybe to ask what the country has assessed that. A lot of time that can give you at least a rough idea. You can also ask how long ago did they buy it. if they bought it last year and then you ask how much they put down and they didn’t put barely anything down, maybe it was FAH or something then likely there is not much room.
Otherwise if I have any doubt and I'm not really sure what It can sell for I still try to set the appointment. Obviously it won’t be its like we are going to be wanting to go over there right way, sometimes when there is little bit of time then I can get quickly off the phone and do the research.
If I definitely can do anything with it with I know another investor that I think might be able to then ill contact the seller again and say “I'm sorry it doesn’t really fit in my criteria after I did the research. But Johnny my good friend said he was looking at some houses recently he’s going to be little bit open to pay more. Do you mind me having him give you a call?” that way you can still refer lead maybe. Otherwise its “I'm sorry I don’t want to waste your time I don’t think I can buy the house.
Josh: That’s great.
Danny: Sometimes if they do really see motivated and it seems they really want a lot of money for it and then also I’ll do the research and call them back “Look I don’t want to waste any of your time, seems like you want little bit more than I will be able to pay. I can probably get you something round tis number, like a ballpark figure.” That way I can feel them out just a little bit more.
A lot of times you’ll think they are not that motivated and then you tell them you can pay this ball park and they are that sounds reasonable. It’s like they are little bit more motivated than they let on. Be careful with assumptions.
Josh: Phone marketing is something that a lot of people associate with wholesaling. It’s the they will get lead websites to get that off market deals so that you can wholesale them. At least that’s what I tend to hear.
Why do you think more flippers and landlords are not actually doing the full marketing push that the average wholesaler is doing?
Danny: That’s what is surprising to me because I always done motivated seller marketing. It’s actually funny because my wife and I started talking about this other day when we were going for walk and I guess the store starts with the tattoo.
Josh: Oh my god. Really?
Danny: Melisa, my wife and I, she is in the business with me, has been since the beginning. We went and did a long vacation in San Francisco just a week and a half ago.
Josh: So tattoo vacation?
Danny: Yes. We didn’t plan on it until we got them. You know what let’s get tattoos. I got a BiggerPockets tattoo.
Josh: Right now ladies and gentlemen Danny is holding his shirt up and is showing us a giant pocket on his chest. It’s too bad we changed our logo and nobody knows that the hell that is.
Danny: You mean it’s not an old English? Anyway we got the tattoos and everything it was sort of fun and interesting. The reason I'm talking about that is we came back and I had lunch with one of our first mentors that we had and I wanted to talk to him and get some advice from him because we still have advice from mentors, everybody should, about estate planning.
It’s really important because it’s so easy to put off. It’s really important to take care of a lot of your estate stuff special if you get into business and get assets.
I was talking to him and conversation stated out, we were talking about the trip and everything my wife and I took and I told him about the tattoo. He said “I’d like to see it” I showed him my arm and he looked really interested and look changed to a look of concern. That looks like it might be infected. It was swollen and red and I have been looking at it and its going tender still but it has been five days.
I started wondering is this thing really infected. The whole talk we were having about estate planning he’s telling me all this awesome advice and everything and I'm kind of switching my mind between two things – I'm thinking about infection and then everything he is trying to tell me. That was hilarious. It’s not infected by the way its healing nicely. Actually waiting for the scarp to fall down.
My wife and I we were talking on our walk when I was meeting with one of our mentors and sort of talking how was it like when we got started and the struggles we went through and just trying to put ourselves in that position again.
It’s been a while but we were able to sort of when you smell something and it reminds you of the place you were at, like talking to my mentor all that stuff brought the memories back. When we started, this ties in trust me.
Josh: I was going to say the smell of infection reminds me of San Francisco.
Danny: You are going to be thinking infection. You are going to make me lose my train of thought.
Josh: You are with your wife, you are walking down the street and you get a tattoo, it gets infected. I'm lost already myself.
Danny: We are talking about why a lot of other people like rehabbers and stuff don’t go with marketing.
When we were talking when I first got started thinking how am I going to get deals I forgot who it was, it was somebody’s course, and it was on VHS tapes and it was grainy VHS video footage stuff. These guys are making calls for sale by owner people in the ads in newspaper classified and trying to do creative real estate with them. He called them and said “how much are you asking” and all this weird stuff. If I were to do this and this five year from now, I’ll give you a nickel and that kind of thing.
I was thinking I can’t do that. Mostly I'm introvert and the thought calling these people out of the blue saying I'm going to buy their house from them cash or these other weird thing terrified me.
I watched that and I don’t know if I took something form that or not but I don’t think so. I said I definitely don’t want to do that. What can we do to find deals? It was let’s get listed properties.
When we researched things on the internet and found people are buying what’s called RIO properties, the bank owned properties off the MLS so these were bank foreclosures that realtors list.
We started going to look at those and trying to make offers and build relationships because people in the forums are going to say build relationships get pocket listings. It sounds so simple I'm just going to do a relationship and get pocket listings but when you have never done a deal how the heck are you going to do that? They are going to laugh at you or they are going to hang up on you, put you on the black list.
There has to be some strategy involved and I think that most people starting out that Is probably not a good place to start because you are going to get disheartened and find out that people don’t want to do, that’s it’s not as easy as people made it out to be.
That’s something that you can do. We ended up building relationships but that’s after several years in the business and it really actually even took market downturn in 2008 because a lot of our competition went by the way side so realtors didn’t have alto of people they were selling to because they went out of business so we wanted to build relationships.
That led us to MLS stuff seems a lot of people chasing after that its difficult and I'm not going to cold call people and offer them nickel in three years. It’s almost let’s do the marketing that we see people put the bonnet signs up. For people who don’t know what the bonnet sign is it’s the ones on the telephone poles but you have to be careful because in most places they are illegal and honestly I don’t really recommend it. Some places you can get permits for them, you can look into that with your city.
Josh: That sounds like a great idea Danny.
Danny: I don’t know somebody told me it was a good idea to put a disclaimer on that. I don’t do signs anymore. This other marketing with we started with was driving for dollars. Driving around looking for vacant houses and sending letters to the owners and postcards.
I was interested in just getting some deals so I just didn’t really worry what was on the postcards. I think some of our initial ones had sky background with some cash, $100 bill spread across font and back, and it just said I want to buy your house at so and so address and give us a call.
It worked. People called us. It wasn’t from every one of them but we didn’t send out many to begin with. We got some calls but it was really interesting how that works because before we were changing after deals and sort of now you get deals coming to you – or leads at least. Then you have people calling you instead of you chasing them. You are chasing them by putting the marketing out.
From the beginning we tried the MLS stuff and went back. I have always been under the impression that a lot of people do go after the seller marketing. That’s long away around that.
Josh: I was going to ask when was your wife get involved? Were you guys debating? We never heard what the tattoos actually.
Danny: The tattoo is tree bladed airplane propeller because I'm crazy about aviation. I got three bladed propellers on my forearm.
Josh: Debate with your wife was just general conversation why are not more people doing this kind of thig?
Danny: I don’t know if we debated it was more of I don’t recall debating I don’t know where that came from.
Josh: I might have put words in your mouth. That’s possible. That was a really long story.
Danny: Somewhat interesting at least. I think a lot of people go through that. That was the talk we had, it wasn’t the debate it was like talking about how it used to be with us trying to figure out everything we can to find a lead because really until you have leads you are not going anywhere in the business.
Josh: You do need to buy buyers list, you do not need to draw all this drama, you just need to get the leads, right?
Danny: Start taking calls. Even if you are not sure where to get the money and I can go into a whole another long story about how we started.
Josh: Please don’t.
Brandon: Here is what I want to know. How long are you now? Do you mind me asking?
Danny: I'm 37.
Brandon: So 12 years ago you were 25ish years old.
Danny: And I looked 16.
Brandon: What advice does 37-year-old Danny give to 25-year-old Danny just getting starting out. You are sitting down with your wife, you are the mentor now, what do you tell to complete newbies – how do you get them going?
Danny: I tell myself first off all do not worry that you look too young, have confidence that people will take you seriously. I don’t know how many times, I'm sorry I always keep going into these stories, how many times I went to the hose and people were actually telling me so it’s your dad that goes and buys the houses? I'm taken a back little bit by it, but I did have confidence to say No, I'm actually the one. We bought 20 houses or whatever.
I would tell myself do not worry about people thinking I'm too young. Confidence goes a long way in all of this. When you are dealing with sellers they are trusting you to be actually be able to close and buy their house so the big decision they make with whatever they are doing with that money or wherever they are moving to and all that has got to be taken care of. That’s huge.
I know people talk about how much trust they are having in us to be able to do what we are saying we are going to do. Having that confidence, it goes a long way and it gets in to the mindset. I'm going to take this answer and go wherever with it.
Mindset is having a conscience and knowing that you are going to get deals changes the way you approach this whether you know or not. I think people that can come to that conclusion and be that way and feel that way with confidence when they are doing this end up with a lot more deals than people that don’t.
Josh: Absolutely. I think there is so much conversation about getting going about building your business, there is so much conversation about the fears of things that people are afraid of.
I wish there were more conversations about just getting that mindset you need in order to be successful.
There is a frame of mind that you have to be in and I think lots of people never start because of that frame of mind. That is why we ask that last question in every single show that Brandon asks about people successful versus not getting started.
There is a frame of mind that you have to get to and it’s kind of fun to think back particularly there is folks that have been doing this for a long time to say what has changed for me since then? I had to be in the right mindset to get to starting point. How did that mindset transition over time. You have been doing this for 12 years.
My question is how has that transitioned because you first had to get to a place let me get started – how did you get to a place I want to grow this and scale this and do it full time and go on?
Danny: Its interesting because you can make transitions in the positive direction but then you can also transition to negative directions even over this many years. I was telling Brandon that recently I dealt with that.
In the benign when there is wondering about is this possible in my area, my father was flipping house so I knew it was possible, even he was in a different area; we buy in San Antonio he buys outside of San Antonio.
I saw other people don’t and we met our mentor and everything and then we knew that he had been doing it for a long time. We knew even you know other people that do you wonder if you are able to. You wonder if you are going to be able to do some of those things that they do.
Until you get that first deal its going so much on faith. It’s going so much on ability to work through and just no matter what you are going to make it, you are going to change things up as you go and no matter what you are going to do what needs to be done and eventually you are going to make it.
I don’t know, it seems like a lot of words for some people but really there is a lot meaning behind it.
After you get that first one you’ve done it. You’ve done it and next one becomes so much easier and quicker and quicker and before you even know it you wonder why you even doubted it.
It’s just getting that first one and the whole thing is just plowing ahead. I'm not giving up. If this isn’t working I'm not just going to throw my arms and say I can’t do it.
Its funny because I used to think that before we did our first deal because I think it took us about six months or so to do it. I remember thinking maybe our mentor and other people we know it was easier for them because there weren’t as many investors. Probably a lot these days’ people are thinking that same thing. You get the excuse to bail yourself out to be able to give up because its different now. But it’s not and that’s why I'm coming back to this thing where I said sometimes you make transition back because things have gotten little heated here.
I have been through few months without getting deal and I started to think the competition has gotten to a level where it’s crazy. I'm just having more trouble getting deals and I started getting that mindset and I wasn’t getting anything.
One day I think I was talking to my dad or somebody, I think it was my dad we were having breakfast, he said “You know what? Just put more effort into it like you used to and I'm sure within this week you are going to have a deal.” While I was able to call him early the next week and say I put three houses under contract.
Brandon: That’s awesome.
Danny: Just getting that mental shift again and I didn’t even do different marketing over that time period it’s just all of the sudden things it’s a whole lot of traction maybe but if you expect to get something you are more likely to get it. Its seems hooky poky is that the right saying?
Danny: It seems funny but there is a lot of truth in that in think. Even experienced investors can fall under that trap of thinking. It’s always good to take a step back and say am I just making excuses is this really the reality? It is still easy to get deals.
Josh: You are classic introvert, self-professed classic introvert, gave us a lot of decent advice on ways to overcome, get your mindset going doing the marketing and seems to be pretty good path for somebody who doesn’t want to necessarily bang on doors or pick up the phone outbound, things like that.
What other advice you have for introverts who just might be afraid because I don’t particularly love talking to people, I love the numbers, I love real estate but I'm just afraid of people of whatever it is.
Danny: Drink lots of coffee.
Danny: It’s a great question because I really did struggle how the heck am I going to talk to strangers and be confident and everything. It’s funny about other things I have trouble small talk with people and things like that but when it comes to real estate I don’t know what it is you can’t shut me up a lot of the times.
You might find something about yourself if you do the marketing and you get a call and you have to take the call and find out some things. You might just find out that you are great at talking to people with this situation and have a lot of fun with it. It’s just a matter of trying it because you might be surprised. I was completely suppressed.
I think during other podcast episode I did for BiggerPockets I think I told a story of the first phone call that we got that was a number I didn’t recognize so it was from a marketing. I gave a phone to my wife. She fumbled around with it but at least she took the call. I think we called it back two and three times afterwards and had to ask them additional questions but next time phone rang with another caller I knew what I needed to ask.
Josh: I’ve got one last set of quick questions before we go to the fire round. I know Brandon wanted to ask something as well.
You are in a good market, market is hot, at least on the positive side, it’s hard to find deals but you can get rid of them pretty quickly. I don’t foresee that continue forever in fact I think things are going to be a lot tougher pretty soon for a lot of markets. You have been doing this few cycles now, cycle and a half.
How does somebody continue running a flipping houses when the market is turning another way and prices are potentially coming down? Its easier to buy those deals but getting rid of them might be a bit of a challenge. What do you do to remain competitive and earlier you had spoken about buying properties from people who didn’t survive – how do you avoid being that guy?
Danny: Its very simple. It really boils down to my thing all along like any time I hear people talking about crazy creative deal type stuff it really, I don’t know, it’s not me. Maybe I'm just a simple person I don’t like to get into complex crazy risky situations that sound good on paper but when you bring in human element it completely falls apart.
As an example somebody says I'm going to buy that house as a lease option or subject 2 and I pay 20% more than I normally would because it’s that type of financing – I don’t like that at all. Still you are buying a thin deal, I don’t care how you are trying to spice it up and seem something is going to be better because you’ve got some other thing. What numbers boil down to is all I care about.
If I can get it with subject 2 or something awesome, lower interest rate or something, that’s just extra cherry on top but I awls make sure that we stick with those conservative numbers because if you always do stick with conservative numbers and buy and never adjust too much to try to get more deals then you are not going to be that person that ends up in downturn and prices go down and the stock in all the sudden wondering what are you going to do.
Brandon: I think that’s good advice. There is that famous quite that says, I think Warren Buffet said it, “Rising tide lifts all ships but the falling tide shows who’s swimming naked”
A lot of really creative clever ill pay you more now and way overpay this property because I think whatever that stuff might work in a great market but when market turns those people are left swimming naked. I see in the last one a lot of people lots a lot of stuff because they didn’t think that could happen to them.
Josh: I think it’s a lot of that but I think it’s also a lot of untrained investors. I think it’s a lot of people who get in don’t know what they’re doing, over valuate the deals, buy thin deals because not because they are trying to do something fancy but because they don’t know their head from their tail and they are trusting an agent who probably doesn’t know their head from their tail.
I think that’s the bulk of the losers but I think there is also big set of losers, not besmirching these folks just saying financially loosing, who do exactly what you are talking about.
Danny: I agree with you Josh. Any time anyone tries to tell you the numbers for deal and underselling you that deal you might want to get another opinion from somebody else if you are not capable of being real sure about doing due diligence and making sure those numbers are accurate.
Josh: A good way to do that is at a href="https://www.biggerpockets.com/calc">BiggerPockets.com/calc - our BiggerPockets calculator suites designed for just that purpose.
Brandon: Before we go out of there and to the fire round I want to talk about the website idea. People know you often as lead propeller guy but you LeadPropeler.com and that is an affiliate of BiggerPockets so full disclosure we are an affiliate of you. I love idea of generating leads from a website. Clearly you are an expert on that.
I just want to talk a little bit about what should a good lead website need to have? I have a lead propeller website that does really well for me. Why is that? What SEO things or what can you tell us about that?
Danny: What the websites no mater what type of website you’ve got no matter if its lead propeller or not I think more so eve generating leads trough SEO and getting your website in rankings.
For people who don’t know SEO – search engine optimizations. You optimize your websites and try to get back links from other sites to get your sits to show up in the search results when people type in things like “We buy houses” or “sell my house fast” that takes time.
What you want to do is include websites on your marketing and things like that and you start with also pay per click advertising which is Google AdWords where is you pay to have your ad displayed but you don’t pay to display you just pay when someone clicks on your ad. You can generate traffic and leads that way.
As far as website goes there are ways to get traffic and we talked abut SEO and AdWords so you can do things now and build traffic over time get some free traffic.
Once you have traffic to your website what happens? They come in there with a purpose and they come with intention if we go back to roleplaying where you called me and said you had house for sale. What was your mindset? If you visit a website, you wanted to sell a house quick you want to have website speak to you. That is what you are looking for. You don’t want to go to site and say something like “We are awesome real estate people sold 20 houses in this time” it doesn’t matter to you; doesn’t speak to what you are looking for so it’s got to be very specific.
People don’t understand sometimes there are so many websites now that people go to a website typically there are not reading. You think you have a website people are going to read all the way through it, fall in love with it, all that kind of stuff but really they are scanning. They go to the site. If they don’t tell what it’s about, if it doesn’t speak to them right away they are probably bouncing which means probably going back.
Headline goes a long way. Headline needs to speak to them. Even things as simple as we buy houses get cash for your house in a week or something. Something is going to tell them exactly what they are looking to do and get and knowing that people aren’t typical going to scroll down to the bottom of the website so you want to have your form on the top to where they know what you want them to do with your website.
They go to the website they need to know really quickly what it’s about so it speaks to them and then know what you want them to do on your website so you have to have clear call to action to have them submit that form.
What we’ve done with websites is twostep process basically short form that just gets their contact information and property address and once they submit that you get a text and email with those details and they are taken to longer form that asks more questions in a specific order so that you maximize how much they answer. It walks them trough the reasoning why they want to sell.
Even if they don’t fill out the second one although in my experience 95% of people fill out the second one also but of the ones that don’t you can still contact them because at least you got their initial contact information.
I warned to share really quick a couple of tools that are free for you to use and its great because it shows you no matter what type of site you have it will show you what people are doing on your site.
The company, the product is SumoMe and these got free, I'm not affiliated or associated with them at all I just think they have things that are cool and free. You can get those and put those on your site and what those two of the tools that I like to use that are Heat Map tool and the Content Analysis tool.
Heat Map tool is really cool. It shows you overlay on your website and you can see where everybody is clicking on your website. You can see the hot spots so whether they are clicking more on and stuff. You set this up to record on your website and whatever page you want to find out clicking and you can view those.
Content Analysis tool shows you how far they are scrolling down so it’s showing what they are looking at. When you look at it the top part is really bright orange yellow because that’s what people see when they get to it but you will be amazed when you get to a bottom no one goes to the bottom. Those tools are awesome.
Brandon: If most people run a software like that if you run that on your website you would find out that majority of the people don’t read the whole site. They are there for two seconds and if they don’t know exactly what to do within those two seconds they are going to leave.
You have to have really clear call to action on the top, clear headline to hook them in. I used SumoMe number of times I really liked the product as well and its free.
You sent me a picture of your actual lead get site I'm going to put that in the show notes page at a href="https://www.biggerpockets.com/show144">BiggerPockets.com/show144. Ill put actually picture people can see where they click on your site.
Josh: Two things really quick. SumoMe a friend of ours Noah Keagan runs that and it’s a great product and I'm not getting paid to plug this but we love Noah and we love what he’s go there so we definitely recommend it folks check it out – SumoMe.
We’ve been talking about yours sites lead propeller and we’ve got a perk on BiggerPockets for our Pro members, if you go to a href="https://www.biggerpockets.com/perks">BiggerPockets.com/perks we offer discount to folks who purchase lead propeller websites and we are affiliates, we make some money for it, it’s a good way to support us, support Danny with great websites.
We only get behind products that we like and believe in. definitely check it out and if you like it you like it if you don’t go find something else.
Brandon: This could be used in the negotiation at all buy something you did on Lead Propeller and you’ve done it on your site. Again people can take that even they don’t use loophole they can use it anywhere - Idea that you ask on secondary form what’s your asking price. Then you ask second question what’s the lowest you’ll take.
I had a lead three days ago on apartment complex and the guy wrote what is your asking price 250, what’s the least you’ll take 230. 20,000 in half a second. He just gold me. That’s the point I start negotiation is that 230 not 250. It’s so simple yet so effective. I had to share that I think it is awesome.
Danny: It is awesome and it is amazing how many people actually give you the lower price. Almost every single person will.
I don’t know if they are saying least and then go change their asking price to be higher but they are always different and they are always lower so they will give you site will negotiate which is pretty cool to see.
Brandon: I use that in general negotiation everywhere. I think it’s a cool tip.
Let’s move to the last segment of the show which we lovingly call our...
It’s time for the fire round.
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I just started a business and I quit my job. How do I get funding now?
Danny: You might want to get a job for a little while. You have to have something to live on. Real estate deals paychecks may be a little bit time between them. They can be big which is great but you don’t want to end up doing things quickly and making bad decisions because you don’t have any income coming in. That’s always recommended.
I'm guessing what you are meaning you can’t go to the bank and get funding for a deal. We never went to a bank to get a funding for our deals. You can definitely do this. The way my wife and I started was with mentor that put up money for the deals and we did all the work, we found the deals, negotiated, put them under contract, handle the rehabs, sold them and then we split the profits 50/50. We didn’t have any risk because we didn’t put down any money our mentor did.
A lot of people believe the answer is that - Get a mentor and he will put half the money. How do you get that person?
Josh: I can pay 50,000 to get that mentor can I?
Danny: No, that’s not what I mean.
Josh: You don’t have money so you are not going to pay 50,000.
Danny: You can go to real estate investors association meetings and most cities have these. Most of the time I think they are free to go to. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to one.
You need to talk around, get out of your comfort zone, talk to people and it can just about be asking who here has been doing this the longest, give me a name of someone in the town that has been doing a lot of deals for a long time. Even ask do you know if they mentor people. You want to find out who that is.
There is probably couple of people in most places that people know they do this, train other people. Not necessarily for money either. Not someone is going to be line oh its 50,000 and ill train you for a day or something.
You can find out who is active investor and willing to mentor and stuff like that. I don’t recommend going immediately to that person and introducing yourself and saying hey mentor me or they can you mentor me. Don’t do that.
Brandon: Its awkward, it’s weird. It’s like going to girl will you marry me?
Josh: Did that work for you?
Brandon: It took a few years.
Danny: Not a good idea. What you do is you make sure you get your education right because you don’t want to be asking them questions that you can easily learn on BiggerPockets or somewhere else. Get as much education as you can, start your marketing, start getting calls, you get a good lead, you can call that person or talk to that person and you might want to introduce yourself to them.
It’s not bad to make some small talk but you contact them and say look I got this hot lead, I think it’s a good deal would you mind helping me out analyzing it and maybe we can do this deal together or I can wholesale it to you? Get your foot in the door. The fact that you are out there going after it is going to tell him so many things about you. That’s how you do it.
Brandon: That tip was fantastic. So many people ask me will you mentor me, will you mentor me but nobody ever brought a deal and said will you mentor me through this deal? That would make all the difference. I would be happy to help somebody with deal that hey bring if they want to split the deal with me.
Josh: You greedy, greedy…
Brandon: It would tell me they are serious. I think that’s fantastic.
Josh: Hi guys my name is Jennifer and I'm new to wholesaling. I just sent out a batch of yellow letters and got my first phone call. Unfortunately, it was an angry caller. I guess he was upset because he received my letter. He left a voicemail because I didn’t get to answer. How do you guys react to these calls?
Danny: I was born in 19… This is going somewhere trust me we just have to get through my... Anyway. You are going to get those calls when you do marketing and you just have to ignore them. Take them off your mailing list and move on because you will get calls from people who are like “I need your help and I'm so glad I found you.”
Brandon: I love that.
Josh: The ones that say they are going to call the cops if you keep mailing me or I'm going to kick your but – just ignore them?
Danny: I had somebody who called me before and gone to this rant he is going to kick my butt and all kinds of stuff and at the end I had to say I need your address so I can take you off my list. They just hung up and the next time I mailed I got a call and I know it was the same guy but it was a different voice and he’s like can you please take me off your list?
Brandon: That’s funny. That’s just what it is. You ignore them. If you are getting critics and you are getting people angry it means you are probably doing something right, generally speaking.
I just sent out a collection of 550 direct mail letters and I got zero phone calls – what am I doing wrong?
Danny: The first thing to look at is your list. I guess you, did he say absentee owner?
Brandon: Didn’t say.
Danny: Is it old, is it not narrowed down to have any signs why people might be motivated. A lot of people target absentee owner and that could be something with competitions because if you are getting list that is really easy to get you might have a lot of other people mailing the list.
First thing I would do is look at your list and draw it down. If you look at your list and if it’s not very targeted, even if you said I want absentee owner but you just selected on a map or maybe you are targeting areas that property values are way above median so likelihood of someone with the hose of that value calling you is pretty slim. You need to narrow down your criteria.
Josh: I think we are good. Quick and dirty. Check your list, make sure you are sending to solid list and not everyone on there and their mom is sending to then if that list looks like it’s okay you might want to look at the content of what you are actually sending.
Danny: Most of the time it’s the list.
Josh: Somebody offered me a free property. What’s the worst that could happen?
Danny: Is this real?
Brandon: They put it in the forums.
Josh: That is a legitimate question.
Brandon: Is it a slam dunk for sure that it’s a good deal?
Danny: I have offered a $1000 for a house before so it’s close to free. I guess if there are certain problems with the house that could end up getting you sued or something. Or some leans. If you do your due diligence and make sure there is no some sort of lawsuits.
First of all, you have to ask why are you giving away for free. That’s what I would find out. Probably if everything, title, clears and everything is good I don’t know if you could lose.
Josh: You said key things – check title, make sure that there’s no leans, make sure that there are no lawsuits. If all that stuff check out and there are no problems with the property then you are probably in a fairly decent position, right?
Danny: Sure, yeah.
Brandon: I got a lead one time and I think they were asking 10,000 or something like that. I went and looked at it and even if I paid full price for it would have cost me 10,000 to tear that tying down and property value itself was worth nothing.
Let’s say I offered them their full price I couldn’t have made any money. Probably. Maybe a couple of grand maybe after closing cost, I don’t know.
Anyway, interesting question.
Josh: There is other stuff remediation. You get property with asbestos.
Danny: It gets into a lot of why – why is it free? What’s the issue?
Josh: At the end of the day I think what we all here are saying don’t necessarily say yes because someone is giving you free property because there are plenty of free properties up in Detroit that may not be worth having.
Danny: Property I offered a $1000 on a house was that pear beam foundation so I had cedar post supporting it. At some in the past owner decided he wanted slab foundation so what did he do? He went the easy route and just pumped concrete underneath the house. I am not kidding. This thing was all cracked up with four-inch-wide cracks and it was crazy.
Josh: Don’t do that people.
Brandon: Yeah, don’t do that.
What is your favorite real estate book?
Danny: I should have prepared for this. For some reason I'm thinking Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It’s not really real estate but just thinking in general.
Josh: A good choice is The Book in Investing with Low and No Money Down.
Brandon: My book I always say is a good choice.
Danny: Absolutely. Or Millionaire Real Estate Investor.
Brandon: That’s a good one, too.
Josh: Any business books that you’ve read lately that captivated you.
Danny: The One Thing.
Brandon: I love that book.
Hobbies – what are you doing for fun lately?
Danny: I wish I had more time to fly. I fly a little airplane, little 2c prop plane I had a lot of fun with it.
Josh: A little one that you have on your arm?
Brandon: That is exactly what he does, Josh. This guy is an idiot, Danny, I apologize.
Danny: It’s a tattoo. And I’ve got five kids so love my kids and my family and we spend a lot of time having thing to do with them. We’ve got twins that turn 16 this year and they’ve got cars so that’s new and interesting.
Josh: Good luck to you buddy.
Brandon: What do you believe sets apart successful real estate investors from those who give up, fail or never get started?
Danny: They go into it without thinking there is a chance they are going to fail. I'm going to make it happen no matter what. What happens things come up our way and problems come up I'm just going to find out how to get past them or change what I'm doing but no matter what I'm going to make this happen.
Josh: Where can people find out more about you?
Danny: They can find out more about me at FlippingJunkie.com – that’s my blog. I have been blogging there for a long time and I’ve got book on Amazon called Flipping Houses Exposed and that 34 weeks of my life as real estate investor, all the leads that I’ve got and analysis of all that and that kind of stuff. Also just released the Flipping Junkie Podcast and its awesome I think.
Brandon: I was on it so It must be.
Danny: The first person I interviewed was my father so anybody who has followed the blog would be pretty interested in that conversation. In the second interview I actually had Brandon in the hot seat so learn more about Brandon.
Josh: Thank you for coming back on the show, we definitely appreciate it. I think there is a lot of pretty good information, as always. We definitely appreciate you being here and of course we thank you for being part of the community of BiggerPockets and look forward seeing you around.
Danny: Thanks for having me back. Show that I didn’t really mess it up on the first podcast. Maybe the BiggerPockets tattoo helped me get back to the show.
Brandon: It did. It was your ticket. Thank you Danny.
Josh: Thank you so much man.
Brandon: See you around.
Josh: Big thanks to Danny Johnson for coming on the show we definitely appreciate him coming out of his shell for today’s show. Great interview, a lot of fun.
Brandon: Yeah, it was good. I guess ratings, reviews all that good stuff. You guys know the drill and we’ll see you around.
Josh: We’ll see you around for sure. Thank you for being a part of BiggerPockets, thanks for engaging.
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Let’s get out of here. I'm Josh Dorkin, signing off.
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