Wholesalers: Having Trouble Getting Started? Take This ONE Step Today!

by | BiggerPockets.com

This article is for those sitting on the fence doubting themselves while trying to learn everything there is to know about wholesaling.

I have one thing to tell you: You will never know everything there is to know. Do you think a physician spends over $100,000 to receive an MD and refuses to practice medicine because they don’t know everything about an illness? Absolutely not. It’s the same way with investing: You do not need to know everything to get started; you just need to understand the basics. I’m sure since you’re reading this article, you’ve either read many other articles or you soon will. Since this is the case, I’m sure you understand the basics of wholesaling. If not, here they are:

  1. Find a property you can get for cheap.
  2. Meet an agreed price with the seller.
  3. Find a buyer who will pay more than you have agreed to pay.
  4. Close the transaction and move to another property.

Yes, those are the basics; although there are more details to each of these steps, that’s pretty much it.

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The Importance of Taking Action to Get Started

So, since you know the basics, what is your excuse not to start? Is it money, is it time, or is it that you need to learn more?

Ask yourself again, what is your excuse not to start? Maybe you are just making excuses and like the thought of being an investor. If that’s the case, acknowledge that and keep dreaming. Those of us who are really working at achieving our dreams do not like to be hindered by someone who just likes to ask questions but who does not utilize the answers they receive or doesn’t put a plan into action. If you’re someone who’s serious about taking steps to truly jump into the investing world, however, you need to start by investing in yourself and in your tools.

Related: The Top 6 Ways Wholesalers NEED to Change How They Do Business (According to a Wholesaler)

Here’s where to start: There’s nothing as simple as this One-Step Action Plan to get started. It will not cost you thousands of dollars like taking a course or hiring a paid mentor. This is the best teacher until you find a genuine mentor.

What will this actionable step do?

  • Teach you how to perform research for marketing.
  • Teach you how to talk with sellers.
  • Show you how to negotiate with sellers.
  • Show you how to build your network.
  • Guide you to close your first deal.

The One-Step Action Plan

I’m sure you’re wondering by now, what is this One-Step Action Plan? What if I told you that if you take this step, you will be on your way to wholesaling your first deal, with only a little money, a little time, and a little effort? The crazy thing is that many people don’t take this one step, and we all know that a journey begins with a single first step.

This step begins with simply sending mail. When you begin by sending your first batch of mail, no matter how small or large, this will begin the process of learning how to wholesale. If you need a place to begin studying direct mail–what to say, how to say it, and when to say it–there’s no better teacher than experience, and sending mail will give you that experience.

It is imperative that you set a date when to send the first set of letters. First, you will need to pull a list, simply using a site like listsource.com or experian.com and just add in the fields for what you are looking for. For example (and I will not go into depth), if you are going to start where most new wholesalers start, with absentee owners, just add that criteria in the search for non-owner occupied units. Once you have your search details, download your list. I suggest you spend around $100 for this initial list.

Then what, you may ask? Send a letter to that list. There are numerous articles on direct mail here on BiggerPockets, but a great one to start out with is “The Ultimate Guide to Using Direct Mail Advertising to Grow Your Real Estate Business.” The information is out there; you just need to take this one step, and you will begin your journey.

Learning Through Experience

So, you may be asking, “Well, how will sending mail teach me how to do all the things you described above?” Here’s how: Once you begin, you will have to learn those other areas if you want to close a transaction. What better motivation is there than to know a caller that I am talking with is seriously motivated and I may have something here? In the beginning it might not be anything, but you have taken the first step in learning how to get a transaction started.

We all know that experience is the best teacher; however, you will not be able to be learn through experience until you are willing to take that one step of sending out mail. It’s not difficult, but rather the name of the game is consistency; with everything you do, be consistent with it. The funny thing that I’ve learned is that even if you consistently fail, you will eventually get a win, and one win is all it takes.

Related: 3 Reasons Newbie Wholesalers Should Strongly Consider Getting a Real Estate License

Here’s a quick motivational story of my own personal journey. I sent letter after letter, mailing after mailing, and after $5,000 in mail and 4 months with no deal, you can guess what I was saying to myself and how I was feeling. However, my consistency, even with failure, eventually paid off. I received a call from a tired landlord, and that call helped me make $19,000, and I am still getting calls now from those mailers that are filling my pipeline with deals. Yes, everyone, I don’t tell you this to mean you need $5,000 to start a mailing campaign; believe me, this was not money that was just laying around, but was money from birddogging, networking, and helping others build their real estate businesses.

What I am trying to do is to get those of you who truly know this is what you want to do finally take that first step. Don’t let what you don’t know keep you from learning and chasing your dream. Start with this One-Step Action Plan, and send out a letter.

For those of you who have not started, please share the reason why and maybe we can motivate you to take that one step!

Leave your comments below.

About Author

Marcus Maloney

Marcus Maloney G+ is the Executive Officer of Equity Realty & Investments as well as 3rd Generation Management & Holding LLC, both are family owned and operated real estate investment firms. The firms’ goal is to provide affordable solutions in real estate while providing exceptional opportunities for community redevelopment for the residents of Phoenix, Arizona and Chicago, Illinois. You can follow Marcus on Twitter


  1. I liked your article, I wonder what percentage of wholesalers never get started and quit. I was fortunate that I had no other options, I had to make it work. Now after over 30 deals and a few years into it I realize the decision to never quit was the best decision I ever made.
    Several times after deals fell thru and months with no income the thought of giving up came in to play. But then I would get angry and try 10 times harder.
    Knowing how to wholesale Real Estate is the easy part, having the mindset needed to continue after numerous failures is the real test.
    I do a lot of direct mail, bandit signs, recruiting bird dogs advertising on Craig’s List etc. and it’s a lot work. But I am surprised how sometimes deals just get dropped in my lap without any effort.
    Now, get out there and make it happen.

    • Marcus Maloney


      Thanks, I’m sure there are plenty guys/gals that want to start but they get mixed up in listening to all the information the gurus pitch like the large numbers and discuss the competition in a certain market but I know that what is for you is for you and no one or no thing can stop your purpose but you, and even then sometimes you can hinder your purpose but cant stop it.

      Randy the way you started was excellent you started out of desperation, you had no choice but to make this work and many of the successful people that I know were faced with a similar desperation. There was no plan B, if Plan A didn’t work they just didn’t know what to do next. Many people feel they have to have it all figured out and worked out in their head, but things just don’t work that way. One recurring theme if you listen to any billionaire they state that it took a measure of luck, I consider it to be purpose.

      Randy keep pushing, its success stories like yours that we need to hear, not always the doom and gloom about what negative can happen.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  2. Brian Gibbons

    Well Marcus you write really well.

    The issue I have is you sound like you are advising New People that “you need need to make 1 easy step to make money in wholesaling.”

    Dev Horn, a direct mail adviser at http://www.WeBuyHouses.com has a video called “Rule of 7 in Direct Mail for Wholesalers”
    See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWPsrSGn33g

    Wholesaling Sellers at (.70 x ARV – repairs – wholesaler fee) is a low percentage shot. Like a half court basketball shot, or a 80 yard pass in football. Does it happen? Yes, but not every day. Not even once every 90 days:(

    Basically, Rule of 7 means you need to hit a list of say 1000 houses 7 times to make any real money.

    So if it costs
    $400 list
    $700 for each print of 1000 and mail of 1000 x 7 = $4,900

    Now if you make $10K in 6 months, and all you did was wholesaling,
    paid back your list cost $400 and print and mail cost $4900
    You made less than $5000 in 6 months, or an average of less than 500 a month profit over 6 months

    If you are making alot of money with your day job, and need tax write offs, maybe wholesaling is ok.

    For folks that are broke and need cash this month, this is a poor plan.

    A better plan:
    -Get licensed
    -Go after expired listings

    Offer the seller

    -cash offer,
    -terms offer (sub2, wrap, lease option, lease purchase)

    Much better cash flow monthly than the Wholesaling Only Model.

    I know wholesalers sending out $20,000 in marketing per MONTH, but it took them YEARS to be able to afford that budget. 🙂

    • Morris Wilson II

      Brian Gibbons, what if the wholesaler makes more than 10k in 6 months and it only takes and it only takes say 1000 letters? All it takes is one letter finding the right person to get a deal. Statistics like these can cause “analysis paralysis.” The point of the article was to start mailing. Also, I’m curious to know how going after expired listings is a “better plan.”

      • Marcus Maloney


        You are right it takes 1 letter to find the 1 motivated seller, @Brian does make a point however even with lease options, sub2 or any other strategy you have to start at the same place the starting point and this is what I want the newbie investor to grasp a hold of. Everything else will be learned along the journey and if it in a person’s purpose to do this they will get it done.

        “Enjoying the Journey”

    • Marcus Maloney


      Thank you for reading and the feedback it is well received. The premise of this article is to get starting doing something and the best thing to do is take action. You will learn from experience yes a newbie may not close that first deal for 6 months or maybe even a year but they are taking that step to begin and get started.

      Many people on the forums read, read, and read some more, then they analyze but never pull the trigger. The best advice is to pull the triggger and learn along the way. None of us waited until we knew everything about a topic, we had to exercise some faith, work, and belief.

      I can use the analogy of a baby, a baby just do not wait until they figure out how to walk, they see, immulate, and finally execute. This is how a Newbie (baby of real estate) should operate, see, immulate, and then execute. Without the execution nothing else matters.

      Yes it does take years to build the money to send 20,000 pieces but that wholesaler that’s sending the 20,000 pieces had to start with 1!

      Taking action again is the premise, there are numerous approaches to implement, no matter what approach someone uses they have to start and not fantasize.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

      • LaRaye Alderman

        You hit the nail right on the head!!! You were speaking about me. I want to read and read and try to analyze and really know what I am doing and not start until I feel that I have all the information down packed. I am ready to get started.

    • Marcus Maloney


      Thank you for reading and your feedback is well received, but this is not a full plan its a full step. The premise of this article is to get starting doing something and the best thing to do is take action. You will learn from experience yes a newbie may not close that first deal for 6 months or maybe even a year but they are taking that step to begin and get started.

      Many people on the forums read, read, and read some more, then they analyze but never pull the trigger. The best advice is to pull the triggger and learn along the way. None of us waited until we knew everything about a topic, we had to exercise some faith, work, and belief.

      I can use the analogy of a baby, a baby just do not wait until they figure out how to walk, they see, immulate, and finally execute. This is how a Newbie (baby of real estate) should operate, see, immulate, and then execute. Without the execution nothing else matters.

      Yes it does take years to build the money to send 20,000 pieces but that wholesaler that’s sending the 20,000 pieces had to start with 1!

      Taking action again is the premise, there are numerous approaches to implement, no matter what approach someone uses they have to start and not fantasize.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  3. James Green

    @MARCUS MALONEY excellent article! I know one of the things that initially held me back is that I “needed to know, what about this, what about that, what if this,…” In other words, the fear of messing up. What I quickly discovered is that everyone screws up. It’s part of the process, and there is another deal for another day. Coming from a high level technical background this mindset messed me up b/c I’m used to sitting in meetings where your “ignorance” was easily exposed if you talked to much.

    I had a fear of looking stupid, but I quickly learned that most motivated sellers don’t know what is right and what is wrong.

    I understand @BRIAN GIBBONS take, and that is to be a “transaction engineer”. Even then if you are a newbie learning lease options, subject to, the new person still has to take action. Even going through the process of getting licensed, you still have to pass the test.

    Keep the articles coming!

    • Marcus Maloney


      Thanks for reading, I was the same way and I even wrote an article on about the fear of asking questions. https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2015/08/06/newbie-overcome-fear-asking-questions/

      Many people look at what they don’t know versus what they do know. In most of us we are programmed to think the negative, what if this does not work, or what if I mess this deal up! My approach lately is what if it does work, and what if I actually close this deal! Many of us never take the plunge because we set limitations on ourselve. Break the self imposed barriers and go for it. By no means am I saying do not continue learning, but at some point action will be needed.

      Thanks again for reading James

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  4. Mike Cesa

    @MARCUS MALONEY – Great article. I’ve actually been in this exact phase for the last week, reading everything I can about wholesaling. So I’m looking into buying a list. Should I exclude corporate-owned properties when buying a list? I assume corporate-owned properties would not be strongly motivated sellers.

    • Marcus Maloney


      That is a great question, when you state corporate own properties are you referring to LLCs, or banks? I normally like to remove the large institutional companies, but if its an LLC I still send the mail to them. I have heard some say to stick with private owners, however an LLC maybe a small group/family that owns 1 or 2 units.

      Hopefully that answers your question, thanks for reading Mike.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  5. John Hamilton

    Another great Article, Marcus.

    I like the one-step plan. Will that bring you success? Who knows. If it even brings you 1 deal, you’re golden. If not, those with some gumption and determination will try again. Maybe mix it up a little, but they drive on.

    Of course there is a whole slough of things one should do to prepare (learn your market, network with other wholesalers, talk to RE professionals, etc). That is all part of the job, no matter what business you’re in.

    When I first read your title, I thought, yeah, just get off your butt and do something. That is the 1 step plan. I like yours better.

    • Marcus Maloney


      You’re right get off your butt and do something. One mailer may not bring you a deal but it will get you thinking and working and you attract what you’re thinking and working on. We live in a microwave society where everyone want success instantenously and then complain when it does not happen over night. Every success story I’ve read there we definitely challenges before the success.

      Keep grinding man, and much success to you.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  6. Lenzy Ruffin

    This is the advice I wish I’d received at the outset. The free advice on BP on why and how to do direct mail has moved me towards establishing a deal pipeline, whereas all the money I’ve spent on training has not. I’m in my third round of direct mailing and it definitely works. People who have a house to sell are calling me. They’re not always motivated. They generally want more than what my buying criteria will allow me to pay. But I am getting the calls and I am talking to sellers and I am going out and inspecting properties and making offers and getting better at it each time I do it. Eventually, the deals will start to appear. And the only reason I’m getting the calls that lead to all the other activity is because of direct mail.

    The thing is you have to follow the advice from the BP community and commit to mailing the same list each month for at least seven or eight months. My advice is to determine whatever dollar amount you can spend on direct mail every month for eight months and then generate a list that fits within that monthly budget and just mail that same list every month. It’s not “fast cash,” despite what people selling systems will tell you. Once you start finding deals so good you can assign them in a week or less, yeah, that’s fast cash, but it’s a long, slow road to building a lead generation system that will produce those kinds of deals consistently. Outside of BP, nobody ever emphasizes that part.

    • Marcus Maloney


      Consistency is the key, you have to be willing to perserve the first few months and then things will begin to happen. I am still receiving calls from mailer pieces I sent months ago. Like you said it will come but you have to build it first.

      ‘Enjoying the Journey”

    • Marcus Maloney


      Thanks for reading, now break the cycle and get out there and do something. Feel free to let me know how progress is coming. We are a community that is willing to assist so use this platform to get those questions answered. Farewell for now.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  7. Robertto Rickards

    Appreciate the article Marcus, I also appreciate all the comments and feedback that I’ve read. BP is truly a wealth of investor knowledge. I am in the process of sending out my first mail campaign and organizing so that I know who I’ve mailed to so that I can mail to them several times. Enjoying the journey and I’m committed to see it through and learn on the way. Thanks Again!

    • Marcus Maloney

      Not a problem, just be committed to success and you will find yourself there. The journey will not always be easy but stay on the path and you will eventually get there. Its good to hear you’re taking the plunge don’t get discourage, it works.

      Thanks for reading,

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  8. Shannon MYRICKS

    Hi Marcus, thanks for the article! Like some of the other people here; I have been stalling thinking I needed to learn more. I had a partner, but we couldn’t get along. We actually started with drive bys and started mailing cards that he already had. You do have to keep trying, and before we knew it, we had a motivated seller. We weren’t able to close the deal, but it made me want to keep going. Now I am flying solo and this was the push I needed. Thanks.

  9. David White

    Great advice. I’m currently saving up for my first direct mail campaign. In the mean time my friend provided me with about 20 addresses of vacant properties he comes across delivering mail. I’m going to simply mail a yellow letter and finally start the process of wholesaling. I’m not expecting anything to happen off 20 properties. I just want to initiate the process of wholesaling.

  10. Holly White

    I agree with everything that has been stated here thus far, but my only concern is the necessary forms that I need to start with. I’ve read and study everything possible but I always find some type of confusion, knowing that there are several ways to finance a deal.

    Should I start out as a birddog or do I need a mentor?

    • Marcus Maloney


      I would start with birddogging because if you continue to work with an investor birddogging and bringing them deals that relationship will evolve into a mentorship relationship. Call all the we buy houses companies and ask them what and where they are looking for deals and begin to drive those areas or send mail to those areas. This will help you become familiar with marketing and talking with sellers. Hope this helps.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  11. Bobby Gibson

    Pretty new on here and trying to learn as much about wholesaling as possible to start with. How does the actual deal flow work to the end buyer. Like the post from Holly I had been wondering about financing the deal. How does the exchange of money work between you to the end investor. Are there other topics that discuss initial outlay and monetary exchange in a wholesale deal and a good way to get started with the buyer list?

    • Marcus Maloney


      This is very simply and I don’t want you to over-think this. You are not concerned with financing the deal. Here are the ABC’s to wholesaling:
      1. Market
      2. Get a property under contract 50-60 cent on the dollar. You can use a one page contract created by an attorney, or you can write it and make sure an attorney review it. $100 bucks in cost maybe.
      3. You and the seller sign the contract. Make sure there’s an inspection period where you can back out the deal for practically any reason.
      4. You open escrow with a title company (just about any title company will do the closing, if you’re in a state that uses an attorney they will do it as well)
      5. Market the property a little above what you have it contracted for. Example buying for 50k sell it for 55k, You can market on craigslist, hotpads, redfin, or other sites.
      6. Assign the contract (one page agreement stating that they will buy the house for 55k and 5k (the difference) comes to you at closing.
      Thats it.
      Feel free to contact me if you have more indepth questions about the process. There’s only so much I can write.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

      • Chance Schreiber

        This helped me a lot! I’m 19 years old and am educating myself right now trying to find a good jump in point and this seems like it. Great article. Do you let the seller know what your doing from the start? And that way if you can’t find a buyer and back out of the deal they understand?

  12. Geoffrey Brown

    Greetings! I loved this article. I’m trying to read everything I can to get started with a real estate investment business. The steps in the article pushed me towards going to a list service and getting that going. The next step, the mailing step with the note is where I am hung up now.

    I really want to start with good ethics from the beginning. That said, my budget is tiny and I wouldn’t actually be able to purchase a property–do I need to connect with a hard money lender or actual buyers before I start mailing? Ultimately I’d like to be in a position where I could potentially purchase the property before selling the contract to a rehab/fliper, but that isn’t where I am right now. I feel like sending the message, “I want to buy your house” is a bit disingenuous. Am I being too nit-picky?

    Please advise!

    • Marcus Maloney


      Great question, if you want to be picking change your language slightly on your mailer and state that: “I have interest in buying your house”, there’s no need to find a hard money lender if your intentions is not to take down the house.

      You are basically looking for a way you can help someone. I’ve been in a situation where I thought I wanted to take the house down but the work exceeded our budget, so I inform the seller we are still interested in the house but with the following issues…..we have to either renegotiate the purchase price. If that is not an option for the seller then let them know that you do have some other collegues of yours that may have interest. You’re just trying to solve a problem for them. If there’s no problem you will not purchase the house regardless if you have a lender or not.

      Remember it is as easy as it sounds but the hard part is finding the seller.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

    • @Luke

      It’s great you have decided to take action. To answer your question you can try yellowletters.com as a source for mailing. You can get a list from them as well. They are pricey, but that will get you in the right direction. You can also buy a list from listsource.com or Melissa’s data. Depending on your market you can have a local mailhouse print and drop your mail, it will be more affordable.

      I hope this will help, great questions.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  13. Pascale Jean

    This was a great article. Truth, I have the leads, I also got probable leads on my own and my reason for not sending out the mail is because I didn’t have a return address to put on the mailings as I didn’t want to use my personal home address. Fear makes you say and do The most crazy things. I finally got off my rear last week and signed up for a virtual mailbox and and sending out letters tomorrow. FEAR is a terrible enemy, it pushes common sense out the door. Thanks again for this post

  14. Jeff Hug

    Another great post on BP. I am just getting started and am actually sending out my first mailers this week. I have already talked to two people – One from MLS and the other from driving for dollars. I’m getting warmed up. I have this new found energy, because I’m so excited to finally start pursuing this, even though it means putting up what little savings and equity I have into getting off the ground.

  15. Danny Amorando

    I haven’t started yet because of the lack of education. I only started studying real estate 3 or 4 weeks ago. I am going to be getting my real estate license soon. But for now I am getting some knowledge in. I just feel that if i start now and with the lack of knowledge I may hurt my reputation. Im looking to become and agent to dip my toes in the water and have a support team behind me as well to help me through the learning curve. Also Im attending the fortune builders 3 day work class in 2 weeks. Has anyone gone and have any input on it for me.

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