BiggerPockets Podcast 091 with Ben Grise Transcript

Link to show: BP Podcast Show 91: Getting Started as a Real Estate Wholesaler with Ben Grise

Josh: This is the BiggerPockets podcast, show 91.

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Josh: What's going on everybody? This is Josh Dorkin, host of the BiggerPockets podcast here with my cohost Mr. Brandon Turner. What is going on Brandon?

Brandon: Oh not a whole lot going on here, Josh. Just getting ready for the autumn season.

Josh: Oh the autumn season. I often prepare for the autumn season myself. What are you doing to prepare?

Brandon: I’m really—I don’t know, doing like the yard work that has to get done and all that you know, maintenance on our property—got to make sure everything’s buttoned up tight and.

Josh: Oh yes.

Brandon: There’s no roof leaks because we’re going—we don’t get snow right. We get rain.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: Everything’s got to be sealed up good and yes, so all those landlords out there, you know exactly what I’m talking about. This is a fun time.

Josh: I button up my roof as well whenever possible.

Brandon: I don’t even know what that means.

Josh: I didn’t know what you were saying either.

Brandon: Roof.

Josh: It’s hard to—oh there you go.

Brandon: Is that how you say it?

Josh: There you go. There you go.

Brandon: The roof—do I have an accent?

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: I don’t know.

Josh: Yes, yes, something like that.

Brandon: Apparently.

Josh: Cool, cool, well listen things are—things are good, busy here, BiggerPockets—things are crazy, we’re picking up new family members, new folks are coming on everyday to the team. We’ve got a really kind of cool announcement, October 22nd is the BiggerPockets 10 year anniversary.

Brandon: Woohoo.

Josh: It’s a very big to do at least for me, emotionally. I’m really emotional.

Brandon: Yes. He cries. It’s okay.

Josh: Yes, yes, yes so we’re excited about it and for—for the ten year anniversary, Brandon’s going to be in town and we are doing a ten year celebration—a party.

Brandon: Where is town? Where is town, Josh? People don’t know that.

Josh: Town is here in Denver. Yes, town is here in Denver.

Brandon: Denver.

Josh: Yes, yes so we’re doing a party and so if you’re in town, if you’re here in Denver and you are interested in attending our—our little get together, our networking event/party for BiggerPockets’s ten year anniversary, reserve your spot at BiggerPockets.com/tenyears. That’s BiggerPockets.com/tenyears.

Brandon: I hear.

Josh: That.

Brandon: I hear there’s going to be free alcohol.

Josh: Yes, Brandon you’re trying to shut us down.

Brandon: Now you just got like a thousand people, yes, right there.

Josh: Whoa. Easy tiger, easy tiger, this is a classy party where people dress nicely.

Brandon: I’m not saying.

Josh: A celebration.

Brandon: I’m just saying it’s not a BYOB, alright.

Josh: This is definitely not a BYOB.

Brandon: Josh has a bunch.

Josh: Josh has a let’s get to the next topic.

Brandon: Alright, today’s show. Today’s show is actually going to be really really awesome for those people out there who are currently working a fulltime job and trying to figure out how to fit everything into their life. We’re going to talk to a guy today who’s actually a wholesaler, but even if you’re not in the wholesaling, flipper, landlords, whatever, there’s so much advice in here about you know, automating and about, you know, setting systems up and how to fit all those things in so it’s pretty cool.

Brandon: Yes, yes, yes, we talk to the best way to find deals regardless of who you are if you’re—yes, if you’re struggling with your day job while trying to get things done. It’s a really really good show and towards the end of the show, our guest Ben actually shares with us five different tools that he uses to manage his deal flow. Guys, this stuff is really really awesome. You’re really going to love it, but before we get into it and we do apologize for the long opening we just got a lot of stuff today. Let’s hit up today’s Quick Tip.

Brandon: Quick Tip. Alright.

Josh: Today’s Quick Tip. You know what? I will take this one.

Brandon: Take it.

Josh: Alright, today’s Quick Tip is you can pre-order The Book on Investing with Real Estate—in Real Estate—excuse me. You can pre-order The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No and Low Money Down at BiggerPockets.com/NoMoney. That is Brandon Turner’s.

Brandon: Woowoo.

Josh: Brandon Turner’s book on investing and it’s amazing. Really really good and so this is going on sale pretty soon, but you can pre-order it by going on BiggerPockets.com/NoMoney. Definitely definitely get your name on the list so you can get this thing in your pockets.

Brandon: Yes, we’ve been—we’ve been talking about this thing for like six months now and it’s been like 99% done for like six months so it’s finally like 99.999% ready to be launched. Anyway, if you’re listening in the future, you can go to that same link BiggerPockets.com/NoMoney and you will get to the page so. With that, let’s move on to today’s Pro Tip. Hey Josh, for today’s Pro Tip, let me ask you a question. How many members are there on BiggerPockets right now?

Josh: Oh, somewhere between 200 and 210,000 I believe.

Brandon: Nice, nice, okay so here’s my thing with 200,000 people, it’s kind of hard to know—to stand out from the crowd right? Our Pro Tip today is there is a really cool Pro Benefit that we just introduced this week that Pros can use and that is the ability to upload a video to your profile. If you don’t know what that means, there’s a thing called video, they’re like moving pictures and you can embed them on like Youtube and then you can go and put them on your BiggerPockets profile if you’re a Pro member. If you want to check it out, just go to my profile or go to BiggerPockets.com/ProVideo and there’s a tutorial right there so check it out.

Josh: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Yes and this is—this video thing is really really good for building your credibility for letting people know that you’re not just a bot or just some fake profile of somebody who’s pretending to be something. You know, it gives you a chance to you know, talk about who you are, what you’re background is, your wants, your needs, your haves and we definitely encourage it. I know since we put it up for Brandon—his profile, people are showing up on that thing like crazy and he’s been getting all these new private messages and so definitely definitely worth checking out.

Brandon: Yes.

Josh: Alright, cool. Well, last thing before we go into the interview, we want to give a quick shout out to our sponsor today, which is again 99Designs.

Brandon: Alright, so for those people out here who have used a designer before, when is the last time you reached out to a single designer and they absolutely nailed your design project. I’m talking like you’re so satisfied, you don’t know how you ever lived without them and if this has ever happened to you, then consider yourself very fortunate because a really good designer or a great designer is hard to come by. Lucky for us, 99Designs has a network of over 850,000 designers so for whatever design needs you have for your real estate business, it’s a good place to check out. When you have multiple designers all working on your project at the same time and you have several options to choose from increasing your chances of getting the design your love. If you’re interested in that, visit 99Designs.com/BiggerPockets and get a $99 value power pack of services for free. Again, that’s 99Designs.com/BiggerPockets.

Josh: Awesome awesome and again we are definitely fans of 99Designs and in fact, we’re in the midst of Brandon and I talking about using the service for some things that we need done ourselves. Yes, yes, good stuff. Alright well, let’s get into this. Today’s guest is Ben Grise. Ben is a professional poker player turned real estate wholesaler in the Indianapolis market and he’s really crushing it here in his first year as a wholesaler. He’s got some really great insight into using several cool technologies to automate a whole lot of things and you know what? It’s a great story. He’s a good guy and you know he’s not trying to build immense immense wealth. He’s just trying to use real estate as a means to an end to build some extra side cash and loves his job and wants to keep doing it so for those of you who don’t want to quit your job, who just are looking for other ways to build your cash pile.

Brandon: From the south?

Josh: Then.

Brandon: Pile.

Josh: Yes, something happened here.

Brandon: Got a pile of manure over there.

Josh: Yes, anyway, funny guy. Let’s bring him on, Ben, welcome to the show man. It’s great to have you here.

Ben: It’s a pleasure being here. Feel privileged and honored and a little nervous.

Brandon: Wow.

Ben: A little nervous.

Josh: Wow.

Brandon: Don’t be nervous, don’t be nervous. Josh is a little scary sometimes, but just pretend he’s not there and you’ll be fine.

Josh: I’m just angry.

Brandon: You’re an angry man. An angry short man. He is tough on me right?

Josh: Wait did you just?

Brandon: What?

Josh: Did you just call me an angry short man?

Brandon: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Josh: Wow.

Brandon: This show is not about you, Josh Dorkin we’re talking with Ben today.

Josh: Oh my goodness, Ben, Ben, Ben, alright man. Let’s get to you Ben. Another show where I get ripped on, clearly.

Brandon: Clearly.

Josh: You’re a real estate investor in Indianapolis, correct?

Ben: Yes.

Josh: Alright and.

Ben: Waffles, real estate wholesaler, I know, it sometimes people have different definitions.

Josh: Yes.

Ben: Yes.

Josh: Okay, so you are a wholesaler. You do not actually buy property to hold onto yourself. You buy them and turn them over to somebody else? Yes?

Ben: Currently, yes.

Josh: Okay.

Brandon: Maybe actually, this is probably a good way to start is maybe you can give us your definition of exactly what a wholesaler is. I mean some people.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: We haven’t done a wholesaling show in quite awhile.

Josh: Quite awhile.

Brandon: Yes, so.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: People who are just joining to the podcast, new listeners what is wholesaling to you?

Ben: Wholesaling to me involves. You have to be a great marketer and so I market for motivated sellers or distressed properties and I speak with those sellers. I get—build rapport with those sellers, try and find or identify what their problem is when selling and provide a solution to that problem. A lot of times, that’s cash, a fast sale, cash. They can’t and normally sell their property traditionally like with the realtor and so I get that property under contract and then I assign my interest in the contract to an end buyer, a cash buyer.

Josh: Got you. Got you. Okay, so plain—you know, plain and simple a wholesale deal is one where—where you’re putting this thing under contract and you’re assigning it to somebody else for you know, a higher price and you’re making the difference between what you buy it for and what you sell it for. Yes?

Ben: Exactly, perfect. Exactly so if I get the property under contract for $50,000 and I have a cash buyer who wants to buy the property for $55,000, I make that $5,000 spread in the property.

Josh: Perfect, perfect. Cool so what did you do before real estate? I mean what was your career? I know you’ve got some interesting stuff that I think you kind of do on the side now.

Ben: Sure.

Josh: What—tell us your story.

Ben: Well, I was first exposed to real estate back in after graduating Ball State 2007 and I moved out to Phoenix and I met a guy who was about probably about three years older than me and he was living in his apartment and working out of his apartment in Tempe, Arizona, which is a big college town and.

Josh: Yes.

Ben: He was living the life and you know, I asked him what did he do and he wholesaled real estate out in Phoenix area back in 2007 and he had a number of—he had hundreds of bandit signs. I didn’t know what they were at the time, but now I know that they were bandit signs in his apartment and that’s how I was exposed to real estate and he tried to encourage me to get started doing it, but I didn’t have the money.

I didn’t think I had the money or time needed to get started in real estate, but I tell that story because that’s—a kind of like a catalyst of how I got started a year ago. In between 2007 and a year ago, I finished grad school and I took a position as an electronic medical record consultant. If you don’t know what that is, that is somebody—me specifically in electronic medical records. I train the nurses and the doctors how to chart on the medical system of the medical record chart data for their patients.

Josh: Got you.

Ben: I took a job doing that and that’s a consulting gig and so I would have a contract for six months and then I would be off contract. I was having to travel all over the country. I’ve actually been to Seattle where Brandon is located. Love Seattle.

Josh: Nice.

Ben: All in between doing those contracts, I was also playing poker semi-professionally, professionally and that was providing a good income.

Josh: Nice. Nice so can you read Brandon right now. What’s he thinking?

Ben: Not sure.

Josh: Nor is he.

Ben: Not sure.

Brandon: You can’t read me because I got like the Turner stare, which is not as cool as a Steinhorn stare. J Scott’s got his, you know, Steinhorn stare, but I got the Turner stare. You can’t read it.

Josh: Nice, nice. Awesome. Awesome.

Brandon: Yes, unreadable so.

Ben: Nice.

Brandon: Poker, poker, I mean.

Josh: You’re unreadable.

Brandon: That’s cool.

Josh: Because there’s really not a lot moving around in there, but you know, we’ll get back to Ben here.

Brandon: Thanks. Thanks. Alright, so anyway, you did semi-professional and professional poker—just out of curiosity, were you ever like on TV or anything cool like that?

Ben: Yes, a few times. I’ve been on national television, mostly on—I don’t know if you guys have Comcast Sports Net, it’s all over the country or Fox Sports Midwest or Fox Sports Channel Network of Channels. I’ve been on TV for a few final tables that I’ve made.

Josh: Wouldn’t that infer that poker is a sport?

Brandon: Is it?

Ben: Poker is a sport. It is a competition.

Josh: Oh man. Oh man.

Ben: Is chess a sport? Is chess a sport?

Josh: Oh man, we’re not going to get into that debate. Just save it for another day. I just lost half of our audience. No, alright, so interesting. You’re a fascinating guy. You got all this cool stuff going on. You get into real estate, how did it begin? You know, you had the bandit sign guy was the first, you know, your first steps as kind of getting going yourself?

Ben: Well, like I said, being friends with that guy. His name was Art and I’ve never been able to contact him so Art, if you’re out there listening in Phoenix. He was kicking butt wholesaling in Phoneix. I—you know, I’ve never been able to reach him since then, but that was kind of the catalyst on me. I was out—my wife and I had just—well my fiancé at the time. We had just bought a house and I was at Lowes shopping for things for the house and things around the house and I came out to my car and there was a business card on my windshield for Multi-Level Marketing Real Estate Education Program.

Brandon: Oh, fun.

Ben: It was like at the time I was searching for—I was trying to diversify I guess you could say my income. Realizing I was getting older, if you watched the World Series of Poker, you’ll see even this year all of the—all of the players at the table are young. It’s kind of like any other sporting event. As you age, you’re not as competitive as a—it’s a little bit of an exaggeration.

Brandon: Are you saying old guys are bad at poker?

Ben: I’m not saying they’re all bad, but.

Brandon: Guys like Josh are bad at poker.

Josh: He jus put a target on his head for anybody who actually listens to the show who plays poker, but you know. It’s all good.

Brandon: You know.

Ben: Well, your mind has to be sharp when you’re playing poker.

Josh: What are you trying to say?

Brandon: I’m out. I’m out. I’m out.

Ben: I—you know, I’m always looking towards the future, long term.

Brandon: Sure.

Ben: I’m saying, okay, I may not be able to compete at the level I’m competing at now. A lot of the young guys are—do the best at playing poker. I need to and I’m not wanting to travel as an EMR Consultant for that job, I was having to travel and be out of town. I was about to marry my wife. I’m wanting to start a family so I wanted to provide a source of income that would enable me to stay home so I got that business card on my car and I called the number and inquire dabout and I Google and Google about the program and there’s a forum on post on BiggerPockets. That’s how I discovered BiggerPockets and read the reviews on the forum post and discovered that it was going to cost me about $20,000 to enroll in this education program.

Josh: Education.

Ben: If I—if I was able to get other people to enroll, I would get bonuses and I was looking to make money—not spend more money and that’s why I discovered BiggerPockets and just ran with this and started listening to every podcast, participating in forum discussions, reading the blog articles, and I’ve listened to every podcast.

Josh: Nice.

Brandon: Nice.

Josh: I’m sorry.

Ben: I just ran with it.

Josh: Okay, I had no—I legitimately had no idea that you’re like a true tried another BP like start to finish success stories so that’s pretty awesome. That’s pretty awesome. Alright.

Brandon: I do want to point out something before we move on from that. I just want to say like there’s a lot of—one thing I thought was just awesome, you said you know there’s a lot of people listening to this show right now who you know, they’re not professional poker players, but they’re in the same—they have the same problem is if you were to look five or ten years down the road at your job that a lot of people can’t have the same job five, ten-15 years from now. I mean industries are changing constantly. You know, robots are taking over. I mean like in—I mean like you know what I mean. Like certain jobs are getting outsourced to machines. A lot of people.

Josh: I got to say if I can find a robot cohost.

Brandon: A robot. You might have to. I was going to do a robot voice, but I won’t do it. I won’t pain you all with that, but no like you know what I mean? Like people are—that’s a common problem people are going through. Like that their lives are changing so I like the fact that you said that you know you looked forward and thought that you know in the future five, ten, 15 years from now you won’t be able to do the same thing so why not start planning today for what you’re going to do later so I just want to commend you for that.

Josh: Well done.

Ben: Yes and it wasn’t only the poker thing. It was the consulting thing too. I was to you know, wanting to start a family. It’s not fair to my wife or my at the time, would be my future child, I have a two month old now for me to be.

Brandon: Nice.

Josh: Congrats.

Ben: In Seattle week after week for months on end and so I was looking for a way to provide an income without me having to travel as much.

Brandon: Nice.

Josh: Got you. Got you.

Brandon: Why wholesaling? I mean why did that come up?

Ben: Little risk involved with wholesaling. You don’t need to use any of your own money or little money. You need little money. There are ways to get started without money, but for me I took the approach where I could invest a little money into marketing a thousand dollars and send out hundreds of letters to absentee owners and start generating deals.

There was little money—I didn’t need to put a $20,000 down payment on a house to get started investing in real estate. Instead of investing $20,000 into a down payment on the house, I get—I could get started investing in marketing and for a thousand dollars and so little risk involved. It really fits. To be a good wholesaler, you need to be able to talk with sellers. You need to be able to build rapport with sellers and something I didn’t touch on earlier, I briefly worked as a mortgage banker back in 2007 for about a month or two.

Josh: Got you.

Ben: I was on the phone non-stop right before the market crashed and I was still refinancing houses so you have to be able to—it fit my strengths as being able to build rapport with home owners and build those relationships and earn their trust.

Josh: Nice. Nice, no that’s great. Well, so we want to talk more about wholesaling, but let’s kind of get to the—your first deal and then we’ll kind of jump back to it. Tell us about, you know started doing these mailings. How did that go and then what was the resulting first deal?

Ben: Yes so I took action just simply by sending letters, reading the forum posts. I think I started a forum discussion $5,000 direct mail marketing budget and what would you guys do, you know, putting that out there to some of the other members of the BiggerPockets community. I took their advice. You know, networked. Met with Jerry Puckett, he helped me start my direct mail marketing campaign. I sent those letters out there and the call started coming in and my first call was from a doctor who worked at a local hospital here in Indianapolis so and at the time, I was working. I was working as a electronic medical record trainer training the doctors and so I instantly was able to build rapport with that doctor and you know he’s working at the same hospital that I’m working at.

Josh: Oh nice.

Ben: We have something in common. He trusts me and so built that rapport and went, took a look at his house and I went by myself and I have not clue what I was doing. Nothing. My mentor still makes fun of me today and says, you know, “You have no clue what you’re doing, but you just do it.” That’s like what I did. I just did it. I just sent the letters. I’m the type of person, which you’ll learn later—I don’t learn by reading. I learn by doing.

Josh: What if I win?

Ben: Yes, exactly and so I just went for it. I went and looked at the house and it was mold, water damage. It was horrible. It was in disarray.

Josh: Yes. He wasn’t living there, right? I mean this was a.

Ben: It was vacant.

Josh: Okay.

Ben: It was his mom’s house. He had been put into or she had passed—recently passed away and so he—it was his mother’s house and he wasn’t living the house. The house was—had been vacant for three years. A water main pipe burst. Tons of water damage, mold, and I almost completely wrote it off as like you know, me not having hardly any experience. I almost wrote it off as. “Oh, nobody is going to buy this property.”

Josh: Yes.

Ben: Through poker, I had met a guy who has now become my mentor who was flipping three-four houses a month in Indianapolis so I went to him. Instead of giving up on the property, I went to him thinking oh, there’s no chance anybody is going to buy this property. I went to him and he was kind enough to go out there and look at the property with me and tell me the repairs that it needed and he made—he told me what he would pay me for the house. From there, I went back to the seller and made my offer.

Josh: Got you. What did those numbers look like?

Ben: Well, he had esti—or repair estimates or?

Josh: No, I mean just you know, what did he say he’d pay you and what did you decide to go to the seller with?

Ben: Well, he told me he would pay me $19,000.

Josh: Okay.

Ben: I you know, still learning, I wanted to make $10,000 in the deal.

Josh: Yes.

Ben: Because I mean the property was worth a lot more than $19,000. I think it had an ARV of around $150,000.

Brandon: Wow.

Ben: Yes, yes, but it was—it needed a lot of work.

Josh: Sure.

Ben: I wanted to make $10,000. I made a mistake be—you know, this is the first offer I’m ever going—I was ever making at the time. This is the first offer I’ve made on a house. I went back to the homeowner and I meant to offer, $9, but I offered $12. I have no idea why and he immediately accepted. He said, “Sure, that’ll be. That’ll work.”

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: Wow.

Ben: He accepted my $12,000 offer and I wholesaled it to the cash buyer who I had—who is now my mentor that I had met through poker and I wholesaled it to him and sold it to him for $19.

Josh: Okay so you talked to the doc, you said, “Doc, 12K?” You know, kicking yourself on the foot for you know, losing that possible $3 grand there. You’ve now got a sign contract with this person. For those new folks listening to the show who don’t really know the process what happens next? You’ve got a contract from him. He signed it. How do you now bring it and you have an agreement with this other guy who’s going to pay you $19 right so $7,000 difference. How do you close on the property? What do you do?

Ben: Well, I use an assignment contract and assign my interest in the property to my cash buyer.

Brandon: Okay so I’m assuming then when you made the original offer to the or made the offer to the homeowner, you did like you know, Ben and or assigns correct?

Ben: Exactly. Exactly. All of my purchase agreements have that disclosure in there that I’m going to be profiting. I disclose everything to all of my sellers. You know, I am—you know, I don’t do this as a hobby. I do this to make money and so I have to make money one way or another, whether it be through holding the property as long term rental, whether it be me fixing the property and flipping it or whether it be me be assigning the contract to a cash investor for a profit.

Brandon: For.

Josh: Okay.

Brandon: For those people who are confused by the assigning thing because I know I was really confused for a long time until I figured out what that is. Another way to look at that as—as I mean it’s just like saying, me, Brandon or whoever I choose is going to buy this property. I mean that’s essentially what the phrase and or assigns means. You know, assigning something, obviously means to—I don’t know, give it over or sell it over so you’re Brandon and or whoever I choose is going to buy this property and then whoever I choose could be Joshua Dorkin, right there. Then I would do the assignment paperwork and then that just basically says, “Brandon is assigning it to Josh.” That way, legally it still all makes sense right? It’s and or assigns. It’s and or Josh is the assigns.

Josh: Yes.

Ben: Yes.

Josh: How does that work though? I mean, alright, you have the contract, you can now and or assigns it. Proper English, way to go and or assign it to me so you’re assigning this contract to me. Where do you assign it to me? Do you literally just say, you know, you and I shook hands and say you’re going to give it to me so now you literally in front of me write my name on the contract, hand it to me and it’s over or is there more of a formal process to do at other closing table? How does that all that work? When do you get paid? Kind of walk us through the finer details here.

Ben: Well, I get the purchase agreement with the seller.

Josh: Yes.

Ben: For an agreed upon price disclosing that I wouldn’t either. I am profiting or either assigning, flipping, or holding myself.

Josh: Right.

Ben: Then, Josh are you asking? I guess I’m kind of confused.

Josh: I’m literally—I want the—you know, pretend I know nothing about this whole thing, right? I—as you know, I’m sitting here thinking okay cool so you now have this signed contract. You got a copy he’s got a copy, the seller, right? You’re holding onto this contract and you, you know, again let’s just change it to Brandon. Brandon’s the guy who’s the cash buyer, money man over there, cash buyer, who’s going to buy this property from you, the wholesaler, right.

Ben: Yes.

Josh: Brandon, you know says, “Hey, I’m going to give you $19,000, you have a contract for $12,000.” What do you do with that? How do you close on the deal and when do you get paid? That’s what I want to know. Does Brandon then sign your—the same contract, you put his name on it, he then signs that contract? Like you can do it in your office at your house or do you have to go to a closing table? Is there another piece of paper that kind of goes into this whole thing and do you get paid immediately by Brandon or does the seller get paid by Brandon? How does the whole transaction, take place? The finalized transaction?

Ben: What happens is I—when I’m assigning these properties to my cash buyers, I get my purchase agreement with my seller and I pay an earnest money deposit on the property.

Josh: Okay.

Ben: I open up title and escrow with my title company with the contract between me and my seller.

Josh: Yes.

Ben: Then from there, I may have—I’ve closed properties in one week, closed on properties in one week, or is taking—taken 30 days or longer. I’ve had one property that took—it was held up in closing for literally seven months.

Josh: Wow.

Ben: Yes, but so I take that—I have my contract with my seller and then I start marketing the property through my cash buyers and you know, my cash buyers, I have a good relationship with, but my cash buyer is sort of being—I mean he is my mentor so I just give him a call up and I say, “Hey, I have this property at this price. Are you interested?” He says, “Yes.” He makes me my offer rate. Makes a counter offer or he accepts my offer and then I assign, I use an assignment contract and assign that contract or the purchase agreement. I sign that purchase agreement I signed that my interest in the property to my cash buyer and then I send that signed contract over to title agent.

Josh: Okay so.

Ben: I get paid at—at the closing table.

Josh: Got you so you have purchased, purchase agreement is one con—piece of paper, one document signed between you and the seller.

Ben: Yes.

Josh: Then there’s an assignment contract, which is another piece of paper, which is signed between you and the buyer.

Ben: Correct.

Josh: Okay, you’ve opened up escrow with the seller and this document is in escrow and titles—title escrows hands. You now have this second document, which now, after signatures between you and the other individual, the cash buyer, both of you guys get that over to the escrow agent. They now have it and then the closing takes place, wherever it takes place. You don’t need to show up at closing correct?

Ben: No, I don’t there. There are some closings I have never showed up for. There are closings that I have showed up for.

Josh: Okay.

Ben: It really depends. I closed one deal where I never met the seller face to face.

Josh: Yes.

Ben: She was in Bloomington, which is about two hours south, two hours south of Indianapolis and we never met face to face and we—the closing took place in her town so that she didn’t have to drive to Indianapolis.

Josh: Got you. Got you so the closing happens, whenever it’s designated the buyer, the cash buyer and the seller, you know, it basically everybody kind of comes together and you get a check for the difference and title escrow figures all that out and that’s a wrap.

Ben: Yes, I get my check from the title company.

Josh: Cool.

Brandon: Now, just to throw out some confusion in here. The assignment is not the only way to close these and a lot of times you can’t use assignments right because certain like if you’re trying to buy from a bank, a bank doesn’t allow “and or assigns” to be written on the contract typically. Have you done what’s called like a double closing or simultaneous closing?

Ben: No, I—there’s a lot of discussion on the BiggerPockets forums about double closings and whether or not they’re needed. I believe that, you know, if you do a good enough job building rapport with you sellers, earning their trust, solving a problem for them. You know, you have to be able to solve a problem. It has to be a win—a win for them, not only for you or cash buyer. It has to be a win for them.

If you do a good enough job disclosing everything, you know, “Hey, hi, like I said, I don’t do this as hobby, I do this for an income for me and my family. I need to be able to make money. I’m an investor. I need to be able to make money.” You disclose that to them. You earn their trust. You solve their problem. You get them the house sold fast, you know. Get rid of the headaches for them or get them the money they need, their, they—I haven’t had—encountered any sellers who worry about how much money I am making or any of my cash buyers have a good relationship with and I only have two or three cash buyers. You don’t need a huge buyer lists. At least I don’t need one here in Indianapolis, but they don’t care how much money I make. They just want me to bring them good deals and the sellers just want me to solve their problem and get them the money that they want.

Josh: I think it’s interesting that you say that, you know, they don’t care how much you make because they know that you’re solving their problem. That is the buyer. You know, as long as they can get some profit out of the deal, it’s in their interest to ensure that you’re happy so you can continue to source deals for them right?

Brandon: Maybe not even profit.

Ben: Exactly.

Brandon: As long as you can solve their problem is I think the key, right so.

Josh: Well, I was talking about the buyer.

Brandon: Oh, yes, yes, yes, okay.

Josh: Yes and then from the seller’s perspective, it’s.

Brandon: I got you.

Josh: It’s the same thing. You know, they just want to get the heck out and you know, as long as you’re not completely unreasonable and charging a thousand bucks for a property that probably should have gotten rid of for $9 or $12 then you know, they’re going to be happy and you know, you’re a reasonable person. You explain how and you know, you disclose what you do and how you do it then you know, that trust factor comes into play because they—I think a lot of people, where they fail is they try to be you know, there are a lot of people who try do things underhanded and think that they have to you know, be a little less than transparent in what they’re doing. I think that’s where a lot of the bad name comes in on wholesaling as well is. You know if you’re clear and say, “Hey, this is what I do. This is how we do it.” You know, I see no issue whatsoever.

Ben: Yes, I mean on my website I have a post in my blog. It’s an advice for sellers and it says, “What do cash buyers do with the property after we buy that? After we buy your property? What do we do with your property?

Josh: Yes.

Ben: It explains we either wholesale it. We either hold it or we either flip it.

Brandon: That’s a cool idea. I don’t have that on mine, but I should add that to my buyers, like my we buy, you know properties kind of site.

Ben: Yes.

Brandon: Just a—yes, kind of an explanation.

Ben: That way you’re.

Brandon: Yes, transparent.

Ben: You’re being transparent.

Brandon: I love that.

Ben: Yes, so.

Brandon: I love that. I think—I mean I really like the way you explained it also when you said, you know, you explain to them, “I got to make money for me and my family.” Like I like the idea of like cause you’re—I mean you’re being 100% hon—I mean honest. Nobody’s mad at Home Depot because they charge double what they bought it from China for—you know, for a plunger. Like nobody’s mad at Home Depot for that.

Like that—they serve a purpose and it’s a very valuable one because I’m not going to fly to China to go buy a plunger. By just—I mean like a wholesaler has a very valuable role in the real estate process. If it’s done correctly, now, where it’s not done correctly is you go to your buddy and you’re like, “Hey, I got this con—you know, this property under contract when it’s worth,” like you said, $19,000, he’d pay for it. “I got it under contract and I’ll sell it to you for you know, $85,000.” Then he just laughs at you and or, you don’t even have it under contract period. You just went and found it on the MLS and then told them that’s.

Josh: That’s the worst.

Brandon: Yes. Yes, it was on the MLS for $50, you tell them you’ll give it to him for $85 and it’s worth $19. I mean that.

Ben: Yes there are.

Brandon: You see a lot of that.

Ben: Yes, there are a lot of people—there are some people I get—I get deals sent to me that are on the MLS.

Brandon: Yes.

Josh: That’s weird. That’s crazy.

Brandon: What is you advice? I mean do you have ant good advice for people who are just starting out that may be you know went to a seminar or saw something online that they are really excited about wholesaling now. I mean, what advice do you give them so they don’t turn out like that so they turn out a little bit more like you?

Ben: I—be transparent with them. Build rapport with them, be honest with them, if you can’t solve a problem there’s been sellers who have, you know, kind of—they just don’t want to work with the realtor and I say, well. You know, to be honest, it’s in your best interest to work with a realtor, like there’s no need. You’re going to make more money if you sell traditionally with the realtor so my best advice for those wanting to get started wholesaling is to just be transparent with your sellers.

Find—find out what their problem is. For some people, it’s not even about the money, whatsoever. It has nothing to do with the money. Figure out what that paying point is for them and target that. For my first deal, the doctor wasn’t worried about the money. He was worried about a house that had been sitting vacant for three years that had been—nothing was being done with it. It was a headache. He was getting contacted by the county. He just wanted to get rid of the headache regardless of how much money he sold. How much money he sold the property for.

Josh: Yes.

Ben: Just find that paying point with the sellers and figure out if you can solve a problem for them.

Josh: Yes, and you know to that if they don’t have a paying point, they’re not going to sell it to you, right. I mean that’s.

Ben: No.

Josh: That’s kind of the bottom line. If they don’t have a paying point, they’re probably going to sell it retail. They’re going to probably put it on the MLS. They’re going to probably go through a realtor and you know, it what it is, which is why, you know, I think it’s so funny when people come out there.

Well, come out and just you know say that investors are taking advantage of folks you know, the folks that are you know, unloading properties for pennies or nickels or dimes or quarters on the dollar are doing it for a reason. They’re doing it because the traditional process of going through a real estate agent and listing the property on the MLS and waiting 30—you know 45 days escrows doesn’t work for them. It’s not going to work for them. There’s a reason for it.

You know, somebody’s in the hospital, you know, the property’s just you know, going down fast for whatever reason. They want to get out from under it so you know, again as long as you’re being transparent, not taking advantage of these people. Working with them, talking to them, finding out why it is that they want to get rid of this thing, you know, you’re helping them out. You’re helping them out so it’s all the folks who might be listening, thinking well, you know, I don’t know, I think investors can be kind of shady. Well, there might be some and you know, that’s unfortunate and you know, I’d say the vast majority of folks aren’t that way and there is a legitimate reason why this works if it didn’t work, you know, people aren’t going to accept an offer on a property if they don’t find that to be their—a doable option so.

Ben: Yes.

Josh: I don’t know.

Ben: You know, for a wholesalers getting a bad rep, there’s another aspect of wholesaling. It—imagine all of the properties in any community that would still be vacant and squatters would be staying in there and you know, vandalism taking place in all these communities around cities all over the United States if wholesalers weren’t out there finding these properties and selling them and in turn, getting the communities revitalized.

Josh: Yes, yes, I look around my neighborhood. I look at properties that wholesalers have come and picked up and turned over and I know for a fact that those properties would have sat many many many times longer, you know with weeds and grass, you know possible vagrants in there, all sorts of problems if not for the wholesalers coming in and so they’re helping everybody. I do think it’s a good thing. Now, there are bad things too, right, I mean some folks do things unethically, we’ve talked about that. You know, I think doing—using things like bandit signs illegally and other things that kind of are negative towards investors and the community are certainly a problem, but they serve a good role. Alright, so how many deals have you done, total now?

Ben: Five, going on six.

Josh: Five going on six so you’re pretty new at this, like.

Brandon: Yes, when was that first one? Like how long have you been doing this? I don’t even.

Ben: Well, the first one is the one that sat in closing for seven months.

Josh: Oh wow.

Ben: The seller was. Yes, I took action in August of last year, started to put together my direct—so took action a year ago, putting together my direct mail campaign and then sending the letters and took me about a month, a month and a half to get that property, my first deal under contract after the call started coming in and my campfire was ready to close. My seller was, you know, he was an old school guy. He liked to work, do everything through his attorney and so—which is fine. We worked with them, but the attorney—I don’t know what happened. I don’t know exactly there was a tax issue and the attorney was busy and he didn’t—he wasn’t efficient on getting to the property and taking care of his client’s needs as fast as he should have been so that deal sat for seven months.

Brandon: Wow.

Josh: Okay, okay. Wow.

Brandon: Still, yes, it’s only been—I was going to say, it’s only been a year and you’ve done five going on six. That’s good. I mean for most wholesalers that want to get into wholesaling never do their first deal or they might do one.

Ben: Yes.

Brandon: I think that’s awesome that you’re done that many in just your first year.

Ben: That’s while working, while planning a wedding, while playing poker, traveling to play poker and doing the EMR consulting, having a few contracts in there, working full time.

Brandon: You just had a baby, you said right? Two months ago? Yes.

Ben: I just had a baby two months ago. Yes.

Brandon: That’s crazy.

Josh: You’re not too busy man. You’re not too busy.

Ben: No.

Josh: Nice.

Brandon: How do you that? I mean do you have any tips for people? A lot of people listen to this show have fulltime jobs or they work a lot. They’ve got a kid. They’ve got families to deal with. How do you balance that all?

Ben: Time management is important and making—setting priorities. I know that’s kind of vague. I mean I didn’t get into this saying, “Hey, in my first year wholesaling, I’m going to build a massive wholesaling business and I’m going to quit my job and quit playing poker and this is what I’m going to do.” That wasn’t—I just wanted to provide some extra income for me and my family. I wasn’t so—I didn’t’ necessarily need to commit to 40 hours wholesaling properties. I was comfortable closing one deal every other month, every few months.

Josh: Nice, nice.

Ben: Recently, really started putting some systems in place to deal with the leads that are coming in and so I hate Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and so I’m just not.

Josh: They’re not one of our sponsors, it’s okay.

Ben: Yes, yes, I don’t work well with those and so I started to really put some systems in place to have my calls that come in automatically inputted—input into my CRM so I use Podio.

Brandon: Podio, okay.

Josh: We’ve tried that by the way.

Ben: Yes, so I have a workspace built where every time in Podio, they have—they—it’s organized by workspaces and I have a seller’s lead app in my Podio where every time somebody calls, every time a seller calls, I get a text message and that lead also gets input into my Podio workspace with the seller’s phone number, but that I don’t have to manually enter that information into an Excel spreadsheet.

Brandon: Okay.

Josh: You know I’m going to challenge you on something here. You write for the BiggerPockets’ blog right?

Ben: Sure, yes.

Josh: Yes.

Ben: Yes, I do.

Josh: What I would love for you to do if you’d be up for it because I think we’ve talked about this before with other people using kind of a CRM to organize. I’m going to ask you to write a post on how you use Podio and you don’t have to use your actual properties, but maybe like kind of do some hypotheticals and just show kind of how you’re doing it because I think a lot of people would be really interested in the systemization of the business—of a business. I think it would be incredibly valuable to people to kind of show how you’re doing it. If you’d be up for it?

Ben: Yes.

Josh: Try challenge.

Ben: I already—I mean I already have it written. I already—I just—in the—there’s already a draft written about that, how I use Podio.

Brandon: Nice.

Ben: Seven software tools that I use to streamline my wholesaling business or my lead management. Something that’s going to be the title of it, but.

Brandon: Nice.

Ben: I use—I also use Vumber, which is a voice service and.

Brandon: Oh.

Ben: I have a different—yes, Vumber, V as in Victor, U-M as in Max, B as in boy-E-R. Vumber.

Josh: Nice.

Ben: Where I have multiple phone numbers for different marketing campaigns, whether it be through my website, that has a different phone number. Vumber gives me a phone number for my direct mail campaign. I’ve also partnered with somebody I met on BiggerPockets. He drives around town, does driving for dollars.

Brandon: Nice.

Ben: Which is where he drives around town and he identifies vacant properties. We have a specific phone number for that campaign, but that we know when a call comes in, where that lead is coming from so we don’t have to take the time to ask sellers.

Brandon: That’s smart.

Ben: We know. Yes.

Brandon: It is very smart

Ben: I use Vumber.

Brandon: Okay.

Ben: Yes.

Brandon: Podio and Vumber.

Ben: Another is Itduzzit

Brandon: Itduzzit.

Ben: What Itduzzit—Itduzzit is another software application that I use. It takes my data in Podio and with the click of one button, so if I say, “Send an offer letter. Click on yes in Podio. Itduzzit takes those—that data in each seller leads so seller address, seller name, seller city, seller state, seller, zip code and creates a web merger—or document, automatically for me—automatically creates a letter with the click of a button with specific seller data so I don’t have to manually write those letters out. It automatically creates the letter and that letter automatically with the service—I’m not really that technical. I don’t know exactly how it all works, but Itduzzit sends a data to web merge, which creates a document. That web merge sends that letter to a mailing service automatically and that mailing service is called Lob, L-O-B. They automatically send the letter for me, pay for postage, it just comes out of my checking account and so it’s all streamlined.

Josh: Nice.

Brandon: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: I was going to say, you know the—obviously people listening to this, they’re probably in their car whatever they didn’t have time to actually write down everything here so what I’m going to actually do is for this podcast when it comes out, I’ll actually put a link on the show notes to a page where people can download kind of a step by step of what you just explained. We’ll actually write it out and put it into a nice PDF. People can print it out, hang it on their bulletin board so just head over to BiggerPockets.com/Show91 and I will have a link to it there because I think that’s going to be extremely helpful and if we get that blog post of yours out before—we’ll get that thrown in there as well and so yes, awesome, awesome. I love.

Josh: Nice.

Brandon: I love that stuff and I think that kind of automation stuff is a good way to help that work, life balance we talked about is you don’t have to sit there and enter Excel information and you know all that stuff. I think that’s excellent so.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: Well done.

Ben: Yes, exactly.

Brandon: Cool.

Josh: Nice.

Brandon: I’m wondering also then, you said when you get like a voice—like when you get a call, it puts the number in. Does that mean like—are you answering your phone or is it going to your voicemail? How does that side of things work?

Ben: I have it built so that when I receive a call, it goes directly to voicemail except for my website leads.

Brandon: Okay.

Ben: Where I—I like the website leads I like to answer and you know, their inquiring at that time. You want to get on those leads right away.

Brandon: Yes.

Ben: My direct mail leads, I send directly to a voicemail. My website leads—I can answer directly so it sends them directly to voicemail and then Vumber emails me and says you have a lead and I have it built so that email automatically inputs the seller data with the seller’s phone number into Podio or my CRM.

Brandon: Cool, yes, that is so cool. I think it’s awesome.

Josh: Yes, that’s really cool.

Brandon: Well what.

Ben: I use Zapier.

Brandon: Go ahead. Go ahead.

Ben: Zapier is another service. Z-A-P-I-E-R, it’s another service I use where I receive a text message every time I have a lead come in.

Brandon: Okay, cool.

Ben: Because they’re going directly to voicemail so I receive a text so that I know with the seller’s phone number if I, you know, if I’m in the mood or if I have the time to take calls. I can—I have the phone number right there in a text message. You can just click on it and call the seller up.

Josh: This is awesome man. It really is cool hearing like the tools that you’re using to kind of—to this automation as Brandon was talking about and I also love that you know you’re not here to try and build this monster wholesaling business. You’re really trying to just build something for some side income which is great. You know, I think a lot of our interviewees on the podcast. You know, their goal is to quit. Their goal is to you know, just go you know, 100% for real estate and so it’s kind of cool to hear you know. There is a middle ground, right and so.

Ben: Yes. I mean I enjoy—sorry to interrupt, Josh.

Josh: It’s okay. I do it all the time.

Ben: Sorry before I forget—I enjoy the job I do working with the doctors and nurses, electronic medical record trainee. I enjoy playing poker. It provides good income. I—I’m a competitive person. That’s an outlet for me, being able to compete. I enjoy those things so I don’t want to give up playing poker 100%. I don’t want to give up the electronic medical record consulting that I’m doing 100%.

Josh: Yes.

Ben: I’m just looking like you said, just another source of income and it doesn’t have to be a fulltime million dollar a year business.

Josh: Yes, so what is then because there’s got to be a line, right. The line has got to be. I could only afford to do x deals, right? I could only, you know, I don’t want ten deals a month. I don’t want five deals a month. I want two, I want three at most because anything more than that is going to take me away from everything else. At the same time, it’s going to give me an extra $100 grand, $200 grand or whatever it is a year so for you, I guess what is that line? You know is it two deals a month that you’re kind of aiming for so you’re not marketing. You know, sending out hundreds of thousands of letters. You’re sending out a lot less in your funnel to get to that x number of deals so what does that number look like?

Ben: Well, I’ve had a goal for the past year. I mean had—I had always known I’d like to get to one deal a month.

Josh: Okay.

Ben: In Indianapolis though, the wholesale fees are a lot smaller than what they would be in California because the price of real estate in Indianapolis is a lot lower than it is in California and therefore your wholesale fees are a lot lower. If you know, an average wholesale fee in Indianapolis is about $5,000. At least for me, that’s what it’s been and through you know, going to the REAs and networking locally and talking with other wholesalers and other investors, you know the average fee is $5,000 so for me, if I could do one deal a month, that would be—I’d be satisfied with that.

Brandon: Yes.

Ben: I’d still be able to do the consulting work that I do and still be able to keep playing poker like I do.

Josh: Nice.

Brandon: That’s cool.

Josh: Nice.

Brandon: I think that’s awesome. Like yes I really like the concept of part time, kind of wholesaling as an additional income stream and furthermore. I mean there’s people probably listening to this that don’t care that much about wholesaling, but I think what’s great about it is forget the idea of wholesaling. It’s everything else. It’s the marketing and the leads. Like, why don’t more landlords do that? Why don’t more flippers do it on their own? Just because they don’t know how or they don’t have the time or whatever, like, but this kind of stuff helps you know, the rest of us even more than it helps a wholesaler. You know, a landlord can pay way more than a flipper or a wholesaler and so if more landlords did this, they could you know, much better deals than they’re getting off the MLS so I just think that’s very cool.

Josh: That’s a great point. That’s a great point. Yes and you know that’s always been something I’ve wondered about. I’m like, you know, it’s always the wholesalers who are doing the marketing, the direct mail and all of that stuff and you really don’t hear about a lot of landlords or flippers who are doing their own marketing in those kinds of ways and I think if more folks would.

Brandon: Yes.

Josh: You know, hey, better deals, more profit margin. It you know, it’s a wonderful thing.

Ben: Maybe be they can’t. Maybe they can’t. Maybe they just—I like to think, I mean wholesalers you either, I mean, you have to sort of be—you have to be comfortable on the phone with complete stranger. You have to be able to build rapport with sellers and earn their trust. If you’re all about the numbers and all about the business and not about building relationships with these sellers and building rapport with these sellers, you’re never—you can’t part—you’re not going to have success.

Brandon: Yes.

Ben: Marketing so you kind of have to have it or learn how to learn how to do it.

Brandon: Well, and.

Ben: How to talk to motive—talk to sellers.

Brandon: I think that’s a really good point to is that.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: I mean some people—just—they’re not good at that kind of thing. Like for example for me, I do not like talking on the phone. I never have and so I would gladly rather pay you $5,000 to find me my next deal and for to go and you know get a little bit better deal, but have to do it myself. I just don’t like talking on the phone that much. It just—it bugs me. I do it and you know I advertise for you know, motivated sellers a little bit, but it’s not my favorite part of my job so why not outsource that to a wholesaler and focus on what I’m good at and that is I think, I don’t know, landlording or be a C—no.

Josh: No, nothing.

Brandon: Alright, so building upon that, what are—like what are the skills and then we got to, you know, move on, but I want to know, what are the skills—a good wholesaler should have? Like, do you have any? Like do you have a list in your head or just what are those things that a person should be good at in order to be good wholesaler?

Ben: You have to be good at marketing, first of all. I mean, leads are the lifeblood of any wholesalers business. You have to have leads and to generate leads you have to be good at marketing and so being good at marketing, what does that mean? You know, how to generate leads, how am I going to generate my leads? My direct mail, you have to understand what sort of sellers to target or to market towards. My website, what kind of content should I be producing on my seller’s website to produce leads so you have to be good at marketing. Another skill is, you have to know the numbers and trust your numbers. There have deals that I have lost because I haven’t trusted my numbers. You have to know your numbers. You have to understand what you’re buyers want so you have to know what your buyer’s numbers are. You have to—more than anything, I think this is number one skill any wholesaler has to have. You have to be able to build rapport with sellers. People work with people they trust.

Brandon: Yes.

Ben: Or people they like and so the number one skill is you have to be able to build a rapport with those sellers. I know it’s cliché, it gets said all the time, but it’s the truth.

Josh: You’ve only said is 34 times, it shows.

Ben: It shows through. It’s the truth.

Brandon: Yes.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: No I love it. I love it.

Josh: Awesome. That’s great. That’s great.

Brandon: Well, alright, but the last thing I want to mention is you mentioned, well, there’s two more things. First of all 70% rule, for those people who don’t know, it’s the idea of you know, property’s worth a $100,000, take 70% of that, you got $70,000, subtract out your repair costs and a flipper would use that to know what to pay for and a wholesaler would subtract out their wholesale fee and again, there’s a lot of good articles. We’ll actually link to some 70% rule articles on the show notes at BiggerPockets.com/Show92, but you have something else to say I can tell.

Ben: Yes, something else. A lot of members of the BiggerPockets community, they’re always asking about numbers and they automatically assume that every wholesale deal falls into when you’re identifying if the numbers work, they automatically assume that they should follow the 70% rule. Well, you have some wholesale. That’s for owner occupant type houses and what that means is that’s if you’re cash buyer is going to flip the property and seller sell it to an owner occupant. You have some cash buyers out there who are buy and hold investors. They’re not concerned with the 70% rule. They’re concerned with the cap rate or how much cash flow.

Brandon: Yes.

Ben: The property is going to produce so you—the 70% rule doesn’t apply in every wholesale deal. For buy and hold investments or rental properties, the numbers are different. I don’t know if you want me to go into that or link to a post.

Brandon: Yes, I’ll link to a post about our—maybe you’ll write one before this podcast comes out or something, but.

Ben: Sure.

Brandon: No, but I think that’s a val—very valuable point.

Josh: Yes. That’s a good point.

Brandon: Is understand who your buyer is, who your cash buyer is and you know, run your numbers from that standpoint. Not just from some imaginary number that you think they’re going to want so I think that’s terrific.

Ben: Yes.

Brandon: With that, let’s and of course, if people want to—might as well do a second plug, if they want to do some numbers online, you can use BiggerPockets Analysis Calculators. We have two of them, a rental property one and a house flipping one and wholesalers can use either one depending on who they’re marketing to, which you can get to at BiggerPockets.com/Analysis. Make sure you guys check that out. It’s kind of cool and the last question I have before going to the Fire Round is what comes next for you? Like where’s your business headed? What are you working on in your business to propel it forward in the future?

Ben: Well, I’m really focused on—like I said, I want to be able to—I don’t want to give up the elec—the EMR consulting work that I do. I don’t want to completely give up, the poker playing, but I want to be able to close deals every month and so I’m really—I touched on Podio and some of the software apps that I’m using to streamline my business. I’m really focused on creating systems and in my business, I’m look—I’m starting to looking into either a voice answering service or hiring a VA to initially screen some of the calls that come in and I’m also really focused on increasing my web presence so that I can generate leads. Be it social media, really focused on Facebook advertising, Google starting to research Google Ad Words. I haven’t pulled the trigger on the Google Ad Words campaign yet and really focused on organic SEO for my website.

Brandon: Okay.

Josh: Nice. Awesome.

Ben: Have someone.

Brandon: Cool, cool. Do you have any? I mean, I know we got to move on, but do you, like when you’re talking about SEO what exactly do you mean by that? Do you want to give a—just a brief.

Josh: Past 10:30.

Brandon: Yes.

Ben: Yes, well I’m focused on organic SEO so SEO Search Engine Optimization. I want my website to rank well for those search terms that motive—that sellers are searching for, “Sell my house fast Indianapolis,” “Cash home buyers Indianapolis.” I’m working with a gentleman who I met on BiggerPockets, Jarred Morris and he’s—I kind of hired him to do some consulting for me. Kind of modeled my website after his—his website and so I’m producing the same type of content for my website that he’s producing for his and so he’s really focused on what type of content should I be creating and blog articles. I’m really starting to look in to getting on Youtube testimonials and for my website so I had a seller I closed last week. I closed a deal last week and the seller did a testimonial at the closing table with her and so that’s just creating content for my website that Google, you know, sees as valuable content so that.

Brandon: Yes.

Ben: It’ll rank well naturally. It’s funny. She called me back. The seller called me back a week later and you know, usually if the sellers get their money—they don’t really, you know they don’t always call you back. They’re happy, their problem’s been solved. The seller called me back. I was like, “Oh, you know, we’ve been through closing. What’s wrong?” She called me back and she said that you know, she wanted to know if we could do the testimonial over because—do it again because she had gotten her hair done since then and she—so she wanted to redo the testimonial because she was wearing a hat the day of the closing and she had gotten her hair done and so, just really focused. Get back on the subject of SEO, just producing, producing content that is—that Google sees as valuable.

Brandon: Yes.

Ben: Whether it be blog posts or Youtube videos or podcasts or—that’s what I’m focused in right now.

Brandon: I think that’s smart, very smart so cool. Well, again, we will link to a lot of that stuff we just talked about in the show notes at BiggerPockets.com/Show92, but I think I hear a siren starting.

Josh: There it is.

Brandon: Which means it’s time for.

Announcer: It’s time for the Fire Round.

Brandon: Alright, the Fire Round, these come from the BiggerPockets forums and Ben, I know you hang out there so you probably will recognize some of these—we’re just going to fire them at you, real quick. Number one, what is your most effective real estate marketing technique? What have you found the most success from?

Ben: Direct mail, mailing to absentee owners that was the—my first investment you could say in real estate, which I’m a real estate investor because I am investing in real estate. I invested, I didn’t choose to invest in a down payment for a house. I chose to invest into a marketing campaign geared towards real estate owners so direct mail.

Brandon: Cool.

Ben: Direct mail is.

Josh: Nice.

Ben: Mailing to absentee owners will work and the calls will start coming in.

Brandon: Okay.

Josh: Right on.

Brandon: Alright, cool. This one we kind of covered earlier, but maybe we’ll ask it again and get a little bit more from you. Is it completely necessary to tell your seller that you are wholesaling or can you say partner something?

Ben: You can say partner. I mean, a lot of times that question doesn’t come up. It’s because it’s automatically disclosed in your initial conversations. That—because a lot of times in your first conversation with the seller, you don’t know what you’re plan is with the property 100%. You may think you’re going to wholesale it and then find out you can’t wholesale it. You may think this would be a great buy and hold investment for yourself. If you disclose that you—I think it’s necessary to disclose that you may do one of three things. You may either buy it for yourself, wholesale it, or buy it for yourself or wholesale it.

Brandon: Okay.

Ben: I think it is necessary and you know if you are working with a partner, you do want to disclose that as well. I mean I have partners—my mentor goes out with me to look at a lot of houses. He is—in essence, he is a partner of mine and so I could say my partner and I or my friend and I are thinking about buying this.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: Sure. Cool.

Josh: Right on. Right on. Cool, alright. Well last question from the Fire Round is.

Ben: What is the Fire Round, geez?

Josh: This is the Fire Round.

Ben: Under fire.

Josh: Well, you got a whooh! Yes, feel the heat, man. Alright, what issues with the house will make you run from a wholesale deal? What scares you away?

Ben: I don’t have enough knowledge yet to be scared. I don’t.

Josh: Too dumb and stupid, huh?

Ben: Too dumb and stupid. I mean I defer to my mentor on everything.

Josh: Yes.

Ben: I’m not—I don’t have enough knowledge. I haven’t learned enough to know what is a deal breaker or not. If I—some people say mold and blood and if I would have been scared of that my very first deal because of the mold and the flood that took place in the house, I would have lost a deal so.

Josh: Yes.

Ben: Nothing scares me.

Josh: You’re like you’re little two-month-old baby. Crawling into a bed of fire.

Brandon: Yes.

Josh: Not knowing that you’re about to get burned. Hopefully that never happens by the way.

Ben: Yes.

Brandon: Cool.

Josh: Alright, awesome man, awesome. Cool.

Brandon: Alright, moving on. Moving on. Alright, this is the end of the show which we lovingly call our.

Announcer: Famous Four.

Brandon: Alright, these questions we ask every single guest on 80- some show we’ve asked them and we’re in the 90s so were going to ask you. What is your favorite real estate book?

Ben: My favorite real estate book to be honest, 100% honest, full disclosure, like I do with my sellers, to be honest, since college, I think it’s been since college. I’m 30 years old and I finished undergrad when I was 27, 26, I forget. I think it’s been since college since I’ve actually read an entire book from front to back.

Josh: Nice.

Brandon: You’re kind of like Josh.

Ben: I will say—I.

Josh: Wow.

Ben: Learn. I’m a learn by doing type of person, but that being said, I don’t—I don’t—I do read. All of my reading takes place online and I’ve been meaning to ask you guys, have you thought about taking some of the most popular blog and forum topics and turning them into a book? Like a lot of?

Josh: Why would we do that? You’re not going to read it.

Ben: I—but some people aren’t reading the forum posts. There’s a blog article.

Josh: That’s.

Ben: They prefer reading books. I would say my favorite.

Josh: That’s a great question.

Ben: Real estate books are the forums and the blog articles. That’s all the real estate knowledge that I get is from the forums and the articles so.

Brandon: You know, we have.

Ben: The BiggerPockets Book of Real Estate, it’s online.

Josh: That’s actually. There you go.

Brandon: It’s a great book. There go.

Josh: When we come out, we’ll have you write a quote on the book.

Brandon: Yes, well, I do—I mean we did that back with—I wrote a post a couple years ago called How to Rent Your House and it became really really really popular, which is a step by step of how I rent my houses out. We took it and put it over on Amazon and now like hundreds of people.

Ben: Nice.

Brandon: Download it, I don’t know, every week or day. I don’t know.

Josh: Yes, people love it.

Brandon: People love that book, yes, it’s got a ton of reviews and stuff so I don’t know.

Ben: I started a—I started a forum post that said I would read—this was the title of the forum post, I would read J Scott’s Book on Estimating Repairs if dot dot dot and it was—if you put it into an audio format. That received a lot of discussion and people made good points that it’s book that you need to be able to reference.

Brandon: Yes.

Ben: On paper, it’s not enough just to listen to it in your car. You have to be able to go back.

Josh: Yes.

Ben: To it, to really use the knowledge that he shares and.

Brandon: Nice. Nice.

Josh: Nice. Nice. Alright.

Brandon: That’s why actually put The Book on Investing Real Estate with No Money Down on audiobook.

Josh: Oh my god, there you go.

Brandon: People could like, you could listen to it, so what do you know.

Josh: Yes, yes.

Brandon: Yes. I’m going to keep doing this for the next like hundred shows so.

Josh: Yes, this is not good. We’re in trouble. Maybe we shouldn’t have let Brandon publish a book.

Brandon: Maybe not.

Josh: Alright, so let’s get to the next question, which is business book and I know the answer. You don’t read books so what’s your favorite business website?

Ben: I really enjoy there are two blogs that I really, you know, like I said earlier, to be a good wholesaler, you have to be good at marketing and I’m really focused right now on producing good content to help my website rank better so I really enjoy the Fizzle Sparkline.

Josh: Yes.

Ben: Blog and CopyBlogger.com.

Brandon: Both are great.

Josh: Good site. Good site. Awesome, alright, what about hobbies? You play poker, you got a two-month-old, you got your lady friend, you’re a busy guy.

Ben: My wife?

Josh: That’s—I was referring to her.

Ben: She’s my lady friend, my wife. You’re trying to get me into trouble?

Josh: I was listened. Alright, you know, I’m just saying, alright. What do you do for fun or do you have even time? I forget who it was, we spoke to somebody a couple of shows ago who’s like, “Yes, I do real estate for fun.”

Brandon: Yes.

Josh: Well, what do you do for fun? “I do real estate. That’s my fun.” Well.

Brandon: Yes.

Josh: Anything else?

Brandon: Angelo said that, yes. That was funny.

Josh: That was Angelo, yes. Who is you know, calling me a wanker right if he’s listening to the show, but, alright, what are you doing on the side there?

Ben: Ah well, I really I’m—I love sports, watching sports, I’m too—you know I’m too old to be playing sports. I—my wife won’t let me play.

Josh: Wow. I’m.

Ben: I guess she won’t let me.

Josh: I almost have ten years on you and I’m not too old to play sports so something’s not right.

Ben: I fracture my ankle every time I try playing pick up basketball. Literally—I mean I roll my ankle so I mean I love watching sports. Living in Indianapolis, we have the Indiana Pacers. We have the Indianapolis Colts, so I—we have minor—a great minor league baseball team so I love attending live sporting events and I love attending live concerts as well.

Brandon: Nice.

Josh: Nice.

Brandon: I love minor league baseball games.

Ben: I love playing with my newborn son.

Brandon: Oh nice.

Josh: Awesome.

Ben: Yes.

Josh: Cool man and you like winning at poker.

Ben: Yes.

Josh: I was flashing through your poker profile and you seem like you’re doing a decent job so that’s awesome.

Ben: Poker has been rough lately. I came—I put in a session last night at the tables and I came home and I told my wife, you know, it was a rough session I didn’t do too well and she said, first thing she said, “Well, at least you have your real estate thing that’s going well for you, so.”

Josh: Nice, well you’re.

Ben: Poker has been tough flooding recently. It’s a—poker has ups and downs, but.

Josh: You’re getting old, that’s all. You’re getting old. Nice, nice. Cool.

Brandon: Cool. Alright, well why don’t we go to the last question and that is.

Josh: What is it?

Brandon: What do you believe sets apart successful wholesalers or any real estate investor from those who give up, fail, or never get started?

Ben: They don’t make excuses.

Josh: That’s perfect. Great answer.

Ben: You’re I mean, you’ll always be able to find and excuse. Give me an excuse, Brandon, what would, what’s a common excuse?

Josh: I’m busy.

Ben: For a lot of wholesalers.

Brandon: I don’t have any money. I’m busy.

Ben: I don’t have any money, well you can get on Craigslist and identify the for sale by owner properties and start cold calling those to generate leads.

Josh: There you go again.

Brandon: What about.

Ben: They don’t.

Brandon: Well, I don’t have any time.

Josh: I don’t have internet access.

Ben: Go to the library.

Brandon: I’m homeless, I live under a bridge.

Ben: You shouldn’t be wholesaling.

Brandon: Okay, okay good. No, that’s great great stuff. Great stuff. Last question, Josh, you get to take it.

Josh: Oh, thank you kind sir.

Brandon: Yes, yes, I’ll allow you.

Josh: You’re kidding.

Brandon: Ask him where we can find more about him.

Josh: I think.

Brandon: Come on let’s go.

Josh: Did you just really do that?

Brandon: You know what, hey Ben, where can we find out more about you?

Josh: Alright, Ben why don’t you not listen to tall, goofy guy and let me ask you a question that matters here and that’s where can people find out more information about you?

Ben: You can find out more about me on my website, BenBuysIndyHouses.com or on BiggerPockets, my BiggerPockets profile.

Josh: Awesome, awesome, man. Well, listen, we really really want to thank you for coming on, definitely appreciate it. It’s been a—kind of a cool year for you. It’s pretty exciting to watch you progress over the past year and see you on the site and see how these things happen so it’s been a lot of fun and just want to thank you for coming on board and sharing your story.

Ben: Thank you. Thank you for having me. It was a year ago, a little over a year ago when I started listening to your podcasts, listened to all of them. I never could have imagined that I’d be on the podcast a year later sharing my success so thank you.

Josh: That’s just because we couldn’t book anyone else.

Ben: That’s fine. That’s fine.

Josh: I’m kidding. I’m kidding. Ben, thank you so much man, it’s been a pleasure and otherwise if you know, if you’re not already active on the site, on the community like Ben is, you know, definitely do that. Go to BiggerPockets.com, create a profile, jump in and start participating. I cannot tell you enough times how important that can be for your business, otherwise, check us out. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, so on and so forth and I’m totally distracted because there’s a little furry dog on Brandon’s lap, but thank you again. Charlie, get out of the way.

Ben: I’m going to go grab my puggle.

Josh: Oh man, alright guys. Go read, go do something, make moves, make it happen and we will see you again next time on the BiggerPockets podcast. I’m Josh Dorkin.

Brandon: Signing out.

Josh: Really? Really?

Brandon: That’s how I roll.

Josh: Come on.

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