This is the BiggerPockets podcast Show 272.“If you’re really worried about not having money, the people have used before to find success in the past when they didn’t have money—you’re not the first person with this problem. You’re not even the millionth person with this problem. There are tons of people who have been here before. Books have been written. Articles have been written. Podcasts have been recorded. Tons of work has been done for how people got started. Just keep in mind when you’re done listening to this. Find that first deal and that should supply you money for your second”.
You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio. Simplifying real estate for investors large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing without all the hype, you’re in the right place.
Stay tuned and be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from BiggerPockets.com. Your home for real estate investing online.
David: What is going on, everyone? This is David Greene, today’s host of the BiggerPockets podcast and I am here with my co-host, Mr. Brandon Turner.
Brandon: What makes you think you can be the host for today? That’s weird.
David: I have bigger, stronger hands than you and I can just take the microphone away.
Brandon: That is completely true. All right guys, this is Brandon. David here, we are actually doing a special show today just for all of you that is a little different than normal. We’re not doing an interview. We’ve actually done maybe half a dozen of these since the beginning of the podcast because sometimes we just hear certain issues that are coming up over and over and over with investors. We just want to touch on them today.
In fact, today, we’re covering the Big Three: I’ve got no deals, I’ve got no money, and I’ve got no time. So we want to just spend a good chunk of time. I don’t know, an hourish, whatever, going through that. But before we do, we’ve got a few housecleaning things to do so let’s get to that first.
Number one, today, we’ve got to get to today’s Quick Tip. All right, today’s Quick Tip is very simple. If you have not yet introduced yourselves in the BiggerPockets forums, we actually have a forum for that, for people to introduce themselves. It’s such a good idea to do, right? Just get out there and meet people and say hey, my name is John. Unless your name is not John. Hey, my name is Bill or Sally. And I am looking to do whatever in wherever.
By doing those things, people will jump in, they’ll get keyword alerts and they’ll go in there and meet you, talk to you. You never know what kind of relationships you’re going to do so head over there at BiggerPockets.com/NewMember. I know we say this one a number of times but it’s so important. So do that today. Now before again we get to the actual, the Big Three today, let’s hear a quick word from today’s sponsor.
This episode of the BiggerPockets podcast is brought to you by Freddie Mac, the leader in multi-family financing. If you are serious about investing in small, multi-family properties, check out Freddie Mac’s small balance loans. These one to six million dollar loans offer unbeatable terms for financing multi-family properties with five or more units. Plus, they make it fast and easy to get your deal done. Get a quote today. Visit FreddieMac.com/SmallLoan. Again, that’s FreddieMac.com/SmallLoan.
All right, big thanks to our sponsors always. Now, David, are you going to do this? Are you ready? Can you handle this?
David: I am born ready, Brandon. You tell me where you want to go first.
Brandon: All right. So let’s just dive into this. We’re going to cover, like we said earlier, the Big Three today, which are no money, no deals, and no time. I think we should hit it in that order because that’s generally the order in which people struggle the most. The biggest problem people have today, I hear over and over and over, especially with new investors is they don’t feel like they have enough money to get involved.
So we’re going to actually go through kind of a, I think we’ll go through a philosophy of how to think about not having money. And then we’ll actually go through some tactics, actual things you can do starting today to invest in real estate even if you don’t have a lot of cash. Does that sound good? All right, good. I didn’t give you a choice, everybody. Why don’t we start with that philosophy?
The thing I like to stress about no money, I always say I wrote a book on creative finances. The thing I talk about in there is creative finance is often like a toolbox. There is no one way to do it. The more tools you have though, the more projects you can take on. So if all you have is a hammer, you can hit somebody in the head with it or you can pound in a nail but you can’t build a house. But the more tools you do have, the more you can take on.
I actually recommend getting a good, broad overview of a lot of different strategies because then when a deal comes into your view, into your targets, you can figure out where best to fit it. How can you best take that deal down? So I definitely recommend that.
David: Yeah, I think that’s an amazing point that Brandon made, comparing the more you know about real estate, the more tools you have in your toolbox or on your toolbelt, the more opportunities that you’re going to have to take down a deal.
So we’re going to talk about some of the common ways that people that are dealing with no money or no deals or no time can kind of overcome those hurdles. When it comes to the solution that you’re going to use, though, you can only use what you already know.
If you don’t understand how seller financing works, you can’t propose it to the seller in a way that makes sense to them where they’re seeing a win. If you don’t know how to explain to somebody that has the money that you don’t have, hey this is a great deal, you’re going to get an amazing return in it. It’s a really safe bet—you’re not going to be able to use private money.
So the more that you learn about how real estate works, the more options you’ll have, the more options you’ll have, the more powerful you’re going to be. And that’s what this is all about. We want to be able to take down every single deal that comes our way. You can only do that when you understand a lot about real estate and the options that you have available to you.
Brandon: So the second thing, the kind of philosophical side of creative finance is this—the better deal you have, the easier the financing is. Let me prove that to you. If I were to sell you my house—my house is worth, let’s say, three quarters of a million dollars, right? Three hundred something thousand dollars. If I were to sell you my house right now for $10,000 and you had two weeks to figure out how to come up with $10,000 to buy my house but you had nothing, no money at all, what would you do? My guess is, even in that one second of silence, you’re already starting, your brain’s working—well, maybe I’d borrow from a parent or maybe I’d partner with you on it or maybe I’d partner with somebody else on it. Like, exactly the point. You’re not going to find a $300,000 house for $10,000 bucks, right? But the point is, the better deal you get, the easier the financing becomes.
So like while we are going to talk a lot about here, about no money strategies and low money strategies, remember that the deal matters more. So that’s where we’re going to go after that. Why don’t we just run through kind of a list? Different things that both David and I have done in our investing to be able to acquire real estate deals.
Actually, before we do that, maybe people don’t know who you are, David. I know you’ve been on the show a few times but can you give us like a 30-second explanation of who you are and your investing strategies?
David: You got it. My name is David Greene. I’ve been a police officer—
Brandon: And that’s enough. So we’re going to go on.
David: So it’s been about nine years I’ve been a police officer. I started buying rental property with my own money and then I was buying about two, maybe three deals a year, and kind of slowly building up my passive income. Well, I got to the point where I learned how to BRRRR and I started buying two to three deals a month. And I really saw—BRRRR is an acronym that stands for Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat.
The order in which you are purchasing and financing your properties is its most efficient way to do it. I’m sure we’ll talk about that more today. But my career really took off as far as my success with real estate. What I found is that when I learned more about real estate, I started making better, more efficient decisions and my wealth started to grow at a supercharged rate.
Now, I’m passionate about sharing that with other people. So now I work as a real estate agent in northern California. I share the stuff that I’ve learned about real estate investing with my clients and I’m just kind of like totally jumped all in in this real estate thing. I’m a big fan of BiggerPockets because I know that BiggerPockets is what helped me to be like at the successful level that I’m kind of operating in now. I wouldn’t have done it without it. And I want you guys to be able to do the same thing as I did because if a dumb blue collar cop can do this, all of you guys can do it, too.
Brandon: All right. Well, I don’t know if dumb is the right word but we’ll go with it. We’re going to go through the list now of ways that we’ve done our deals using little to no money down. In fact, I mean I didn’t have any money the first like seven years of investing. I achieved financial freedom through real estate. But I quit my job without ever putting any money into deals. So like I want to kind of walk you through some of those strategies and the first thing that I did—so I’ll give you guys a quick story of how I did it.
So I had a triplex that came up on the market in my area. Amazing deal for this triplex. I really wanted it. And there was one—two small problems, right? The first one is I had no money. I mean, like, $1000 bucks to my name, maybe. And the second problem was I had no job because I just quit it to go flip houses which I hadn’t really flipped any yet. So like I had no ability to get a mortgage. None, right? So what most people do is they go, well, guess I can’t do it. And they walk away. But the deal was so good and that’s what I was telling you guys earlier, the good deals, you figure it out.
So I actually was talking with some friends of mine who knew that they loved real estate. Like, they liked the idea of buying real estate but listen, your quintessential baker’s best friend. They had full-time jobs. Both of them worked for the government, made really good income, had amazing credit scores, low debt. They had their house paid off. They were perfect borrowers, right? But they didn’t have the hustle or the time needed to go in and put all the work into a deal.
And so instead, what we did was we just partnered together. In talking with them, I said, would you guys be interested or I think I even approached it this way. Do you know anybody who would be interested in this? That’s how I always approach, asking people like lending. I said, do you know anybody? Because that makes it not so awkward, right? For somebody you know. I’m not asking them for money. I’m asking if they know anybody that would want to be in on this opportunity.
And that’s another mindset shift right there. I’m not asking for money. I’m asking for people to join my opportunity. They said, sure. We actually think that would be a very fascinating thing. So I said, okay, great. So what they did was they actually, because they had their house paid off, they used a line of credit on a house to cover the down payment. They didn’t even put any money in the deal. They got a line of credit on their house to cover the small down payment and then we went to a bank and we got the mortgage in their name. Not all banks will do this but this was a small, local community bank.
The mortgage was in their name but both of us are on the title. Now, we could have both put us on titles as long as they were strong enough to cover, which they were. But at the time, we just all thought it would be better that way. Anyway, regardless, at the end of the day, I put no money of mine in the deal. Technically, they put no money of theirs into the deal because it was a line of credit.
We bought the deal and this is what I love about this story—every single year, we go once a year to this Mexican restaurant in my time, which is I don’t know, the best restaurant in my town, or second best. And shout-out to Savory Affairs being the best. But we go to this Mexican restaurant, we sit down, and we eat an amazing dinner. And I show them all the books. I show them, here’s all the income that came in. Here’s the expenses. Like, that’s really all that they care about.
And we figure out how much profit we made over the last 12 months. We each write ourselves a check for the entire year’s worth of profit. Every year, I walk out of that meal with like $5,000 extra. It’s fantastic. I just love that. It’s like free money every year. I just get like $5,000. They actually use that money oftentimes for a cruise. They go on a cruise every year and they just use that money.
So again, taking in an asset with no money, figuring out a couple of creative options in there, and then getting a better life because of it. So again, that’s kind of a partnership, how I did that. There’s actually a few different strategies incorporated in there but primarily, I used a partnership because I didn’t know what to do. I don’t know if you’ve used partnerships or do you want to go onto the next one or two, or pick something else?
David: Yeah, I think the point that I want to make about partnerships is that when you’re building a house, not everyone does everything. There’s a roof guy, there’s a contractor guy, there’s an electrical guy, there’s a plumbing guy, there’s a floor guy. They all kind of specialize in what they do. And a lot of new real estate investors think that they’ve got to build an entire house from the ground up. They have to know all the framing and all the painting and everything. And you really don’t.
If you’re really good at doing your thing, there are people out there that know how to do their thing and when you put everyone together, that’s how you build a house, okay? So if you know you’re really good at analyzing deals, get really good at analyzing deals and find people that are not really good at analyzing deals but they’re good at raising money.
Or they’re maybe like that gadfly that can just talk to anybody and they can just find people that might want to raise money for you for the deal or contribute to the deal. Or maybe you find a contractor who is really, really good at fixing stuff and he’ll go in there and do it for free to make the deal work. There’s always somebody who has a skill that you can be partnering with to fill in a gap that you don’t have. That’s the best point of partnerships. Now, the thing that I would say for people who don’t want to partner with somebody is, consider house-hacking.
Now, most investors know, I need to put 20-5% down if I’m buying an investment property because that’s what most banks demand. However, you can buy a two, three, or four-unit property that will still qualify as a primary residence so you can use a primary residence loan to get. And sometimes those can be as little as 3.5% down or even less. I know of, in my area, some government grants where we’re actually getting the government to give you 5% towards your payment so you don’t have to pay anything.
If you bought a fourplex that way, renting out three of the units and living in one yourself, you could have yourself your very first investment property that would most likely cash flow or at least be breaking even without having to put a lot of your money down. Then, you create equity through your property and boom, you’ve got money for the next deal.
Brandon: So that’s actually how I started my very first rental property. I had one live-in flip but my first rental property was a duplex. I lived in one half, rented the other half out. It wasn’t an FHA loan but it was basically the same thing. It was like back in 2008 so they had a bunch of weird loans. But anyway, I bought this thing, lived in one unit and then my mortgage payment was like $620 a month or $630 or something like that. And the tenant came over and paid me rent of $650 as soon as I got it rented out. And I was like, this is amazing.
That’s how I discovered the power of rental properties. So that means I didn’t have to spend all of my income going towards my mortgage payment, which most people do. The biggest chunk of their money is either taxes or they’re going towards that. That gave me the ability to actually stop working. That’s when I quit my job and started flipping houses which led to the triplex I told you about earlier. House-hacking, very powerful.
I know other guys who do it as well like Scott Trench who wrote the book Set for Life, Craig Curelop who has been on the BiggerPockets podcast. He’s a BiggerPockets financial analyst, I think. He does it. And others. I mean, in fact, I was going through—I’m putting together a future book for BiggerPockets. It’s the first hint at it but it’s coming out this fall, that Josh Dorkin and I are writing.
And in the book is like a bunch of stories of our podcast guests and some really legit good real estate investors. And as I’m putting these stories together and compiling them and then writing these stories, I realized a pattern. It was over and over and over and over of how many successful investors started with house-hacking. You don’t need to but it’s such a good way to build that foundation. So yeah, great house-hacking. Awesome. All right, what else do we got?
David: Next up is private money. Now, private money is a fancy way of saying somebody else’s cash, okay? We’re living in an era right now where interest rates are ridiculously low. Now, that’s good for spurring the economy but it’s terrible for anyone trying to make any kind of interest off of their money. So if you find somebody and they’re out there, trust me, that has a lot of cash sitting in the bank that’s not doing anything, you can offer them the opportunity.
Look, I found this great deal. We’ll use your money and we’ll use my deal and my time and my expertise. We’ll partner together on the deal however you decide that you want to offer it to them, and that’s how you’re going to put the deal together. Now, get out of the mindset that they’re doing you a favor by giving you their money. You’re doing them a favor by giving them a way better return than they would have from the bank.
Brandon Turner said earlier, the better your deal is, the more likely they’re going to be to jump in and want to do this with you. So if you find a deal, finding the money is going to be much, much easier. That’s just a matter of, we’re going to talk later on in this podcast about the LAPS funnel and it’s a really cool way that Brandon has come up with to make sure that you’re successful in pretty much anything you do.
But if you get out there and you tell enough people I’m looking for someone who wants to earn a really good return on their money, somebody knows somebody that has that money that you can use for your deal.
Brandon: That’s all good, yeah. And again, just to harp on that one more time. I mentioned that twice already. I even mentioned it to David but like, you are not begging for money. You have to get out of that mindset. If you find good deals, you are offering something amazing. What’s funny is when I tell that story I told a minute ago about the partnership with the triplex, I tell that story and I always get one of three reactions.
The first reaction, people say, well that was great. Good job, Brandon. But a lot of times, I get one of two completely opposite reactions. Some people say, well why would that partner ever do that? They could just go do it themselves. Now, you’re just ripping them off, Brandon. The other people say, why would you give your partners half a deal for not bringing anything other than money to the deal? That’s crazy, Brandon. They’re ripping you off.
And isn’t that funny how like they’re completely two different opposing thoughts but like, just because like, where do you value the deal and the hustle and the knowledge and all of that, and where does that fit in? Again, I value that very highly.
Today, I probably wouldn’t give somebody half just for giving me a down payment. In fact, I wouldn’t, right? I’d figure out another way because that’s very expensive money. In fact, I’d probably aim for like hard money over that because I’m not giving 50% away. Speaking of hard money, you want to go there?
David: Yeah. So let’s say you find this great deal and you offer it to someone and you say hey, you can come in on this. You’ll finance it and I’ll do all the work and they say, I want half. And you say, there’s no way I’m giving you half, right? You can go find a hard money lender, which is basically just a lender who is lending money against a hard asset, which in this case would be real estate. And where I’m located, you’re typically finding somewhere between 9-12% to use your money and somewhere between two and four points. Now, that is expensive but usually much less expensive than 50% of the deal, if that’s what somebody wants.
Brandon: What’s a point?
David: A point would be 1% of the loan value. So if you’re looking to borrow $100,000 from a hard money lender, a point would be $1000. So if they want two and a half points, that would be $2500. Now, that’s because they’re making a riskier loan to you because they’re loaning against a property that’s usually in bad condition and their money isn’t secure by anything other than that asset. So it’s a little more expensive but it’s often way less expensive than half of the deal, okay?
So hard money is another way that you can find people who, they don’t make money unless they loan money. They need you. You’re a lead to them and they’re trying to find people like you to let you borrow money to buy a deal. And if the deal is good enough, it will absolutely pay for the points and the higher interest rate that you’re having to use to get the hard money. Hard money is definitely better than no money and if your deal is good enough, it’ll work.
Now, another strategy we can talk about is the BRRRR strategy. BRRRR is an acronym that stands for Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, and Repeat, okay? Now all of those things when you’re buying a rental property are being done in some point. Typically, when you’re buying the property, you’re financing it as you buy. They’re kind of in the same step. Well, with BRRRR, you’re not going to finance it until after you fix it up.
So a typical deal for me where I’m going to BRRRR something would look like I buy a property that would normally be worth $120,000 but I get it for $60,000 because it’s in such bad shape and this person really needs to sell it, okay? Then I spend about $30,000 to fix it up because it needs a lot of work but maybe I get $45,000-$50,000 worth of value out of that rehab because my contractor is better than everybody else’s contractor because I’ve spent a lot of time finding the best ones, okay?
So I’ve spent $90,000 on this house that’s going to be worth $120,000. We call that the ARV, the After Repair Value. It’s now worth $120,000. The bank is going to come and they’re going to say, hey David, I see that you just bought this house for $120,000 and you want a loan. I’m going to let you borrow somewhere between 70-80% usually, of whatever that After Repair Value is, which should be what the appraiser comes back and says it’s worth.
So the appraiser comes back and he says it’s worth $128,000, they’re going to let me borrow anywhere between $70,000-$85,000 on that. Now, I’m not sure about the math. I had to just do it in my head. Maybe it would be closer to $90,000.
Brandon: Yeah, $84,000 to something. 70% of $80,000 so whatever 80% of $120,000 is. $96,000?
David: There you go. So somewhere between $84,000-$96,000, right? Now, in this hypothetical example, I only spent $90,000 on this house, okay? So the bank is going to come back and they let me borrow on the low end, $84,000 and I’m leaving $6,000 in the deal. If they let me borrow in the high end, I’m getting $96,000. That’s $6,000 more than what I put in, okay? So I walk away with basically no money left in that deal on average because I added so much value through buying the property correctly and doing a very good rehab.
That’s the way that BRRRR rewards you for doing a really good job with your investing. And you end up getting all your money back and then you can go invest in the next thing and you don’t have to worry about not having money. Now, you need money up front to be able to do this. That could come from hard money, it can come from private money, it can come from partnerships, it could come from creative financing. It can come from all kinds of financing you can do to actually get that money.
The point is, you’re getting it back so you can pay those people back without having a really high interest rate and now, boom, you’ve got a property that you finance at a low interest rate. It’s very profitable. I personally think way more investors should be doing this, learning how to BRRRR is absolutely going to super-charge the amount of success you have in real estate and understanding that I’m not leaving my money in this deal is a really powerful incentive to do a really good job.
Brandon: There you go. Yeah, I love the BRRRR strategy. I do it all the time. In fact, I talk a lot about on the show, the fourplex that I bought for my daughter, Rosie, the week that she was born. If you’ve never heard that, let me tell you the quick story. The week Rosie was born, I bought a fourplex. I used direct mail marketing to get it. I bought the fourplex for super cheap.
The guy wanted $90,000 but it was a disaster, just a complete pit. It needed a complete gut job, every unit pretty much needed to be remodeled. And it’s actually four separate houses. But I really liked it a lot so he wanted $90,000. I said there’s no possible way I can do that. I can pay like $40,000. He basically hung up the phone. A month later, he came back and said okay. Can you go a little more, $45,000? And I said okay, I can do $45,000.
I ended up putting $120,000 of work into this. So it needed a massive rehab. I went overbudget on this thing. But at the end of the day, now we have $160,000 total into it. It’s worth somewhere between $220,000 and $240,000 right now so I’ve got all this equity in it. So then I went to a bank and I refinanced it. Now, my plan was to refinance 80% of it. But the bank, when I went through it, they said that would be just fine. Either the 70-80%, that’s fine.
At the end of the day, they stopped me and they only let me do like $110,000. I think my loan was for $110,000. So I got a little bit of money left in the deal. If I want to go back now and refinance it again, which I might at some point. I could but at this point, I didn’t. But either way, I didn’t get all my money out but I still got this thing done. Now, it’s on a 30-year—well, I shouldn’t say that. It’s on a 30-year mortgage but I set up payments so it’s paid off in 17 years.
So why did I do that? Why did I set up this payoff in 17 years? Because in 17 years, Rosie Lou is going to be going off to college. That should be worth, by that point, 17 years from now, $220,000 or $240,000, hopefully it will be worth $350,000 or somewhere in there conservatively. So you know, she’ll have a third of a million dollars to use for college or to use for her own real estate down payments or to use for whatever. So basically, I was able to help my daughter not be strapped by hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loan debt because of a real estate deal that I made today. Anybody can actually—I know we’re talking about no money here but I just love that strategy.
Any parent, if you have a kid under the age of like five right now, or six or seven, all you need to do is buy one property that breaks even. I’m not saying break even but like if all you do is buy a property that broke even on a 15-year mortgage, you could pay that whole thing off over the next 15 years and that’s your kid’s college. And you get to use that as a case study to show your kids how wealth and financial freedom works in the real world. So anyways, this is a side note there. I think this is like just one of the coolest things or strategies of real estate.
David: Brandon, let me ask you, how much equity is in that house right now?
Brandon: So counting what I put into it or from the actual loan right now? So if I have 1/16th that’s worth $220,000, let’s say conservatively it’s worth $220,000 and I have 1/16th of it, what’s that? $60,000 of equity? But I only owe $110,000 and it’s worth, what did I say? $220,000? So what’s that, $110,000 in equity?
David: So you’ve got $110,000 of equity in this property. If you wanted to buy another property and this wasn’t Rosie’s property, this was just a regular person, would you have any problem with $110,000 in equity in that house that you could tap into through an equity line of credit or a business line of credit or anything else?
Brandon: Yeah, I definitely could. In fact, right now, I could even go to a bank or even a private lender and I can say, hey look, this is worth $220,000 minimum. It’s kind of a weird property to estimate which is why it’s hard to know exactly what it’s worth but I’ll say it’s worth $220,000 and I only owe $110,000. Hey, can I borrow $60,000 line of credit on it? And most banks will say—in fact, I don’t know why I never actually thought of doing that. I should actually just go do that.
Can I get a line of credit? This is awesome. This is like live help from David Greene here. If I go to a local community bank and say hey, can I get a second mortgage on this rental property, there are some that will do that. Not a lot but some. And then I have more cash to go and do another deal. And so I could tap in equity if I want to but I also just really like paying that off before college.
David: So the point here is you really only need to get one really good deal and that should provide you money for your next deal, which would provide you money for your next deal and as long as you’re buying right every time and adding value to your properties, you’ll only struggle with not having money for your very first deal, okay? So do everything you can to get that first deal and do a really good job with it and then boom, that problem is going to be solved for you, okay?
In order to get that first deal, another way that you can look into doing this is with seller financing. Now, really quickly, seller financing is basically just I’m going to buy your house but I’m not going to give you the cash for it that I got from a bank. You’re going to hold the note and I’m going to make a payment to you instead of a payment to the bank all the time. Now, you may be thinking people don’t care about that but they really do. There are people out there that would totally carry the note for you because they’re probably going to get a better deal themselves as far as how much the purchase price of the house is.
So one of the options that I’ll do is I’ll say, hey, I want to buy your house. So say I want $100,000. Well, I can give you $65,000 and they’ll say no, I need $100,000. And I’ll say okay, I’ll tell you what. I can give you $65,000 if I pay you cash, I can give you $85,000 if you fund half of the deal, and I can give you your $100,000 if you fund the entire thing at 0% interest. I give them options so that they don’t feel like they’re being taken advantage of. They can choose. And if they really want that $100,000 and they’re willing to finance the entire note, as long as I calculate it and make sure that it cash flows, that’s a win-win for me because I’m putting no money into this deal.
The rent’s going to be going up every single year. I’m making money right out the gate. He’s happy because he got to feel like he got more for his house and he still has some passive income coming in. We all win. So don’t neglect to tell people this is something that I can do for you if you’re not having any money. There’s tons of creative things like that that you should be spending your time learning, if you’re really worried about not having money, that people have used before to find success in the past when they don’t have money.
You’re not the first person with this problem. You’re not even the millionth person with this problem. There are tons of people who have been here before. Books have been written. Articles have been written. Podcasts have been recorded. Tons of work has been done for how people got started. Just keep in mind when you’re done listening to this, find that first deal and that should supply you money for your second.
Brandon: Yeah, I love that. And in fact, the mobile home park that I just closed here a couple of months ago, I bought my first mobile home park, the seller actually carried the contract on that. Most of it, I think at the end of the day, we ended up putting down around 10%. It was supposed to be 20% but anyway, we got some good negotiations in there. I think we’ll be at 5% interest for a 25-year note on it with no balloon payment. That was from the seller. People say why would this guy take a 5% interest on it when he was just getting all the cash flow before?
It’s because now this guy who was like, I think he was in his 70s, maybe even late 60s or even 70s, anyway, he’s now like able to just get a check every single month. We’re going to mail him a check and he sold to people he knew. He’s actually a BiggerPockets member so he knew me and the partners, Ryan and Mindy, and he could trust that we were just going to give him steady income for the rest of his life. He’ll never again have to worry about that park. He won’t have to worry about phone calls. He won’t have to worry about tax stuff. We are now the owners of that park. He just makes money every month.
So seller financing is a very cool way to finance your deal. My last 24-unit apartment complex also was seller financing. You never know if you don’t ask. It doesn’t hurt to ask somebody, hey, can you carry the contract on it? All right, so then the last point I hear about money that I just want to cover real quickly is that this idea of it doesn’t have to be one of these. You heard example after example here but like, creative finance is about finding a combination of things.
It’s about asking how do I get this done? Not like, will I get this done? It’s not a yes or no question, right? I think Rich Dad, Poor Dad talks about that. Robert Kiyosaki says the poor people say I can’t afford it. Rich people will ask, how do I afford it? So like the way that I figured out most of these creative strategies was not reading a book. I mean, yes, you should read books. But I didn’t—nobody told me in order to finance my 24-unit, I would have to do a combination of a triple-net lease option combine that with a home equity line of credit and combine that with a partnership, combine that with seller financing, and then BRRRR the thing.
Nobody told me that that’s what I would have to do to get that done. And most of you have no idea what I even just said, right? But like that’s how I did it. You know when I figured that out? At about 4:00 in the morning trying to figure it out, asking that question over and over, how do I get this done? That’s how you get these deals done. It’s usually a combination of things. So if you have no money, you’ve got to hustle. You’ve got to figure this stuff out and continue to ask, how do I get it done?
David: That is so good, Brandon. And I think you just are a perfect example of, you had a lot of things in your toolbelt. You used all of them. You used the hammer for this, the crowbar for this, the screwdriver for this, the nail gun for this. You put everything together to be able to build that thing you needed to build and your reward was you made a bunch of money because you knew how to do this stuff, right?
And that’s just a matter of educating yourself and knowing what options you have available and what, and not having a quitter’s attitude where you just say, I don’t have any money. I can’t do this. Screw that. There’s people that have done it with no money. You can do it with no money, too. Listen to this again if that’s what you need to do. Write these things down. Understand all the concepts we’re talking about and study them until you can recite them to someone else. That’s when you know you really know it. And don’t let money down hold you back.
Now the next thing we find that people fall into is this quitter attitude because of no deals. Well they say there isn’t any deals anymore, right? Now, my opinion is the reason people do this is because they got used to 2010 when every single house was for sale and it was like, hitting water falling out of a boat. There was tons of deals everywhere, right? It wasn’t hard to do.
Brandon: Did you make that up?
Brandon: That’s funny. That’s a good analogy.
David: Well now you’ve got to look for water a little bit more, right? Or you’ve got to make your own. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. There’s lots of things you can do. If you take the same attitude that you had with the no money thing and you’re like, I’m going to figure out a way to do this and you apply it to making a deal, you can do the very same thing where you can find a deal where it didn’t appear that there was a deal before. That’s how I’m getting like 80-90% of the properties that I’m buying. I’m making it make sense for me.
Now, the point is, you don’t have to have like one specific tactic that’s magic and if I just do this, I’ll be completely successful, right? You have to pick something that you think is going to work, something that you feel comfortable pursuing and just go and go and go until you master that thing and eventually it will pay off. There are tons of ways people are finding deals. The process and sticking with it is more important than a specific tactic. If you want to lose weight, there’s so many ways to do it, right? You could do sit-ups, you can do pushups, you can go running, you can do Crossfit. There’s a ton of different things but I guarantee you if you just pick any of them and you stuck with it long enough, you would get results, okay?
Once you’ve mastered one of them, then worry about going on and finding the next thing. But don’t be the guy that is always chasing the newest thing and always trying to find the quick and easy fix without having to work hard. Those people never find success, okay? So Brandon and I both believe that in this market, in most markets in the country, good deals are not found. Good deals are made. Okay? There’s several ways to make deals and we’re going to share with you guys some of the secrets.
Brandon: You’ve got to tweak that. Good deals are not found. Good deals are made.
David: That’s a great idea. Do they need to give you credit, to Beardy Brandon, when they tweet it?
Brandon: Well, my Instagram is @BeardyBrandon. My Twitter is BrandonatBP. It’s confusing. And you’re DavidGreene24?
Brandon: We’ll make it easier. @BiggerPockets at Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. @BiggerPockets. But yeah, good deals are not found. Good deals are made. David Greene.
David: That’s exactly what I’m going to do. We’re going to talk about some of the ways that we are making good deals where there was no good deals, okay? The very first one and the easiest one, so that’s where we’re going to start, is just buying a fixer-upper property. When I find people that say, David, I can’t find a deal that makes sense. And I say, show me what you’re looking at, very single one of them is showing me premo properties that pictures show great, that are pretty much already at market value and they’re trying to force that square peg into the round hole of a good deal and they can’t find a way to make it work and they’re frustrated.
Okay. I’ll tell you guys right now, the majority of what I’m buying is distressed property that needs some work and nothing that I look at looks really good. If agents send me a deal that has like good-looking pictures, I’m irritated with them for wasting my time. I don’t want it, man. I want a house that smells like cat pee, that has walls in the wrong places, that looks like somebody started to fix it up and then ran out of money and just left it there and it’s been rotting for the last year.
That’s like the perfect deal for me to be able to find because I can add value through my rehab and I can make it worth a lot more money. Now, there’s a lot of different ways that we’re going to do that but Brandon, have you had a similar experience?
Brandon: I mean, I suppose so. Everything that I’ve ever bought, every single property I’ve ever purchased ever has been a fixer-upper. So there hasn’t been one, right? I can’t remember who it was. I think it was Michael Woodward who was on the podcast back like four years ago and he had this line that I thought was classic. He just said like when he walks into his house, he brings his two boys into the house with him, his two young kids. And they take a big whiff and just smells like cat pee and everything and he says, boys, what does that smell like? And they go, money!
I just love that story because that’s—I’ve known investors who are like, oh yeah, I went to that house. I walked in the front door and immediately turned around. And I’m like, good for you. That’s why I’m successful. That’s why, because I go in and I’m like, I like that. So anyway, fixer-uppers, fantastic. And that’s a good way to make a deal happen. But there’s other ways as well. One of my favorite tactics is to look for what I call hidden bedrooms, which means you’re looking for opportunity to add square footage, add a bedroom, add a bathroom, whatever where there isn’t current one.
Most specifically, this is going to be a little bit market-dependent but I will tell you what I look for—I look for two-bedroom houses that I can turn into a three-bedroom house. And they’re actually quite prevalent. Most agents don’t know what they’re doing. So they’ll list the house as a two-bedroom house and not realize that there’s actually a third bedroom and right now, for some reason, no closet or they call it a rec room. But the number of bedrooms makes the biggest difference for me. At least for rental properties, but flipping as well. Like the difference in value of a two-bedroom and a three-bedroom in my area is huge.
That might be different in your area. I’m not saying that’s a hard and fast rule everywhere, but in my area, between a two and three is massively different. I hate renting two-bedroom houses out. I love renting three-bedroom houses out. So the way that I do that, I look for two-bedroom listings that are over a thousand square feet. If there’s over a thousand square feet listed on the listing, there’s probably a hidden bedroom somewhere, right?
There’s probably this massive rec room or this big attic space that’s just like empty. And so I will often turn those into a third or even a fourth bedroom, making the value significantly higher. Again, I’ve found this hidden deal but really, I just made it because nobody else saw that. So anyway, anything on that?
David: Yeah, the reason that this works is because Brandon and I understand the way that properties are valued. Now, multi-family properties are considered a business and they’re valued based on how much money they’re generating for the owner or how much profit, okay? Single-family homes, and by single-family, I mean anything four-units or less, are valued based on what somebody else paid for it.
So, appraisers are assuming that even though we’re investors, they don’t care. They don’t know the difference. To them, how much is this house worth based on what another house is worth, because that’s what most people who are buying a house to live in care about? A three-bedroom house is going to be worth noticeably more than a two-bedroom house because almost everyone in the modern-day family wants at least three bedrooms.
A four will be worth more than a three, but not as much as a three more than a two. A five will be worth more than a four, but not quite as much. And eventually, once you get above five, it doesn’t really matter. It’s just a square footage in the area, right? It’s a weird house because you don’t need that many bedrooms, okay? So because we understand that, we know how appraisers think. We put the property in a condition that appraisers are going to care about more. All right?
Now, another thing that appraisers care about isn’t just the number of bedrooms, it’s also the number of bathrooms. Anything more than one bathroom helps you a lot. It’s hard living in a one-bathroom house. If you can add a second bathroom to a house or a third bathroom to a house that has two, you can increase its value quite a bit because now, they’re using comparables that are three-twos instead of two-ones or two-twos, okay? That’s why that works.
There’s lots of ways that I’ve figured out through rehabs where I can add value to my homes without spending a lot more money, okay? We don’t need to actually go spend $30,000 to add another wing onto a house. Oftentimes, there’s parts of that project that are already done for you. And you just have to go fill in the completions.
So I do a lot of investing in Florida. Now, in Florida, what they have is called a Florida room. It’s like a sunroom, okay? Or we have them in California. Oddly enough, they’re called California rooms. It’s basically just like a part of the house that is like an indoor/outdoor living space. So it has a roof. It has electrical run to it. But it doesn’t have four walls. Maybe it’s missing one wall so you’re still feeling like you’re in the backyard.
In Florida, they put up these screens or these nets so the bugs can’t come in there and bite you, right? The cool thing is the foundation, the roof, the drywall, the electrical and sometimes plumbing are already run into that area but it’s not included in the square footage of the house. Now, appraisers care about how many square feet the house is because what they generally do is they say the average price per square foot for this area is $100. I multiply that times how many square feet the house is.
Say it’s 1000 square feet. Boom, that’s how they come up with the value of your house. Then, they adjust it based on how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has next to the comparable properties. If I can add 300-400 square feet to my 1000 square foot house, I am making the price per square foot get multiplied by a lot more square feet, which means my house is going to be worth a lot more.
If I can do that for only $6000-$7000 because most of that work is already done and all I have to do is run up some drywall and put in a ceiling fan and maybe build a closet, not only did I add 300-400 square feet of space, but I did it very cheaply and I could add a bedroom or a bathroom or both to the home and boom, I’ve just created my extra bedroom. I routinely do this for $6000-$7000. And I add $30,000-$40,000 worth of value to the house because I don’t have to build a whole wing onto a house. I’m taking space that’s already there and I’m improving it.
Now, that deal might not have looked like a great deal when it was a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house that was worth all the same as the other ones. But if I buy it and I make it a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with extra square footage, now it’s comparing to much more expensive properties. My value skyrockets and then when I go to refinance it, I’m getting all my money or sometimes more of my money back out.
The lazy investor wants a house that somebody has already done the work. The pictures look great. It’s already renting for the most it can be. There’s nothing to be done to improve it. And they want to try to make that work as their investment. The wise investor looks for ways to add value to his property or her property, get more money back out of the deal, and grow their net worth slowly and systematically.
Brandon: Man, that was awesome. I loved that example. The sunroom, the California room. Very cool. All right, so I want to shift gears here a little bit. We’re still going to talk about how to find deals. I know you guys are looking for some actionable tips and I hope that was actionable for you. But right before, we’re going to give you a whole list of different things that we do to find deals. However, before I do, I want to explain a little bit about the process. Because again, process is more important than the specific tactic. That’s true in almost anything, right?
But in this case specifically, like again, I can give you a couple of tactics which we will but if you don’t run it through the right process, you’re never going to get through it. This is what the process looks like and I call it the LAPS funnel. And it stands for this—Leads. You have to get leads into your business. Then you have to Analyze them. Then of all the ones you analyze, you need to make some offers, or I call that Pursuing a deal. You have to go after those deals that you analyzed. Because now you know how much to pay for, right? Because you analyzed it. So you go after them, you pursue it, and then the final S on LAPS is Success. Some of those are going to turn out.
Here’s a real-life example. So I sent out 300 direct mail letters a year and a half ago when I was looking, for almost two years ago when I was looking for that property for my daughter who was soon to be born. So I sent out 300 letters. Out of them, I got back like 40 phone calls. That was a good ratio. I got a good number back because it was a very targeted audience that I mailed to. It was like absentee owners who had owned their property over five years with a certain amount of equity. I can’t remember off the top of my head.
So anyways, I sent this list, 300, and I got back 40 phone calls. Some of them retired kickers or whatever, but of them, there was about a dozen that were serious like contenders, right? So out of those 12, I analyzed those ones. Seriously, so L is Leads. I got 300 cold leads, 40 hot leads, you could say. And then I had 12 deals that were like worthy of Analyzing. I made offers on all 12. And then I got one of those eventually accepted, right?
So now, is that guaranteed that you send out 300 letters, you’re going to get a deal? Of course, it’s not right. But if you consistently worked this LAPS funnel, you’re going to get deals. In fact, this is the exact process that every single solitary investor in the world does. Don’t believe me? They might not know the word LAPS funnel because I made that up because I like making up names for things like BRRRR and house-hacking, but like they do it anyway. Like you can’t buy a house without pursuing it, right? It won’t fall in your lap.
You can’t pursue a deal unless you know how much to pursue it for. You have to come up with a price in your head. And then you can’t really analyze those deals if you don’t have some kind of lead source, right? So my point is this—every single person follows the LAPS funnel. The investors that are like the best in the world, the ones that we’ve interviewed here on the podcast for years now, like I came up with this sort of methodology after talking to almost 300 different investors.
The ones that are the high volume investors are the ones that are getting their goals accomplished are the ones that recognized the funnel. Again, they might not say LAPS or whatever, the same thing. They know how many leads they’re getting. They know how they’re getting leads. That’s what we were going to focus on next. Anything you want to add to that before we move onto tactics?
David: Yeah, I just want to add that this is not unique to real estate investors. This is how every successful businessperson or salesperson is making money. So in my first year of being a real estate agent, I was the number one in my office out of 100. I didn’t know sales. I was a police officer. The reason I did so well was I already understood this principle that Brandon was talking about that I was applying to my real estate investing business. It made sense to apply it to my real estate agent business, right?
I had to go get a bunch of leads from people that I knew that would know people that wanted to sell a house. I had to talk to them and analyze is this someone that’s going to send me referrals or is this someone who doesn’t, right? Maybe you don’t even know anybody who lives in a house so that’s not a person that’s worth pursuing.
Then I had to pursue people that I knew would be most likely to send me deals. And then I ended up having success, okay? You can apply this to anything that you’re trying to accomplish but why not apply it to real estate investing because that’s what your goal is and that’s where you’re going to get the most bang for your buck.
Brandon: Technically, I apply this to dating, right? There are a lot of girls out there in college, right? And there was tons of leads out there and then I analyzed some of them and I found some that were fitting and then I’ll have to be careful here because Heather will listen to this later—and then I analyzed them and then I pursued one of them. And then I got rejected. This is actually a true story. I got rejected from Heather the first time I asked her out. And then I got rejected from Heather the second time I asked her out. And then I got rejected the third time I asked her out.
And then the fourth time, I was basically like—this is a true story, I was like, I can’t be your friend. I have to just break this friendship off because like I like you. And she’s like, fine, we’ll go out. And somehow—so like for the first month, I thought she was just being nice because I held that over her. Which, there are a lot of sales techniques built into that story but I’m not going to go into it now because we want to get to the actual tactics so funnels are everywhere. People made fun of me because I put pretty much everything in life into a funnel.
David: By people, he means me. Brandon turns everything into a funnel.
Brandon: Everything into a funnel. All right. So let’s get into some ways to fill your funnel. Number one, the MLS. Which means the multiple listing service, which means—the MLS is like back in the day, let me give you a quick—let’s get on with the actual story and you can correct me if you know it any differently than what I’ve known.
Back in the day, everyone had lists that would be like faxed around. Here’s all the properties that are for sale. My brokerage over to your brokerage and we compiled this big list of them. Well then this thing called the internet came around and one of those lists went online. But still today, those lists are governed by a whole bunch of different groups called the different MLSes. There’s like an MLS in the northern Bay Area and there’s an MLS in the Seattle area. And there’s an MLS in like—there’s tons of them. I think there’s hundreds. Anyway. And so, the MLS is—when people say the MLS, we really mean the MLSes. But that would be weird to say.
So anyway, the MLS, we’ll just call it that, it’s where all the real estate agents put their deals that are for sale so that other real estate agents can see it. To have perfect access to the MLS, you need one of two things. You need to either be a real estate agent or you need to have a real estate agent that’s going to give you access to it. Like give you a way into it. Now, there’s a third way, and that you all know about it, I’m sure. It’s the portals. So imagine a portal, like you’re sitting outside a house and you’re looking into a window.
So Zillow, Redfin, Trulia, Realtor.com—those are portals. They look into the MLSes and they have special arrangements worked out with the various MLSes but they’re not perfect. If you want great MLS access in a certain area, you’ve got to get a real estate agent. If only there was a real estate agent here in this room who can help us figure out how to get a real estate agent.
David: Well since we don’t have a good real estate agent, I’ll just have to jump in and do the job instead. Now, the key to finding a really good real estate agent is something I refer to as RKR—Rockstars Know Rockstars. Okay? You don’t want just any real estate agent. You want a really good agent. And furthermore, you want a really good agent that knows how to work with investors. They could be an amazing agent that’s really good at working with families trying to find a house and they will be horrible for the purposes that you’re serving, right? Remember our toolbelt analogy. You don’t want a hammer when what you really need is a screwdriver. You need to find the right agent to help you. Now, one of the questions that I’ll ask agents when I tell them I’m an investor looking for property is, do you buy properties yourself? If you find an agent that does buy investment properties themselves, they already get everything you’re trying to do, especially if they’re good at it. And they’re going to know people that you’re going to need for your team. In the book that I wrote for BiggerPockets, Long Distance Real Estate Investing, I’m talking about the core four. Those are the four people that you need to put on your team to help you invest successfully. If you find an agent already knows those people, boom, in one step, you’ve kind of figured out that problem for yourself. Now, agents will send you deals. Keep in mind that you’re looking at deals for how you can make it a good deal. You’re not just given something that’s already been made. So tell your agent, I’m looking for houses that I can add square footage to. I’m looking for two-bedroom, one-bathroom houses. That’s what I want to go see. Then when you notice, when they send you the list that one of them has 1000 square feet, that’s the one that you click on and you start looking into and say hey, where can I take a dining room and turn it into a bedroom, or a den, or whatever the case may be? Maybe it already has a bedroom and all I have to do is add a closet and it’s an official bedroom, right? That’s something you can do for $600-$700 bucks and add a lot of value to your house by doing it right. Let your agent know this is what you’re looking for. And then kind of gauge, how are they responding? Do they seem really unsure of themselves like this is something I do? That’s the wrong agent. Keep moving on. If they get excited when you talk about this and you know you found someone that can help you.
Brandon: Yeah, and I love that. So to go back to the RKR, the Rockstars Know Rockstars. Find a rock star in your life. Find someone who’s awesome in that market you want to buy in and ask them if they know any real estate agents because Rockstars Know Rockstars.
The other thing you can do is go to your Facebook page and ask your family and friends. Anybody have a recommendation? Now, there’s no guarantee they’re going to be good. It’s just like, hey, I work as an agent, right? But at least this gives you some leads that you can then analyze and then you can pursue one of those agents and you’ll find a good one, right? LAPS works in everything.
All right, so finding a good real estate agent, they can actually help you find deals on the MLS like David said. One thing I like to do is have your agent—if they have the ability, which most do—I’m assuming you guys have the ability to set up automatic e-mail alerts?
Brandon: Oh yeah. So I can get an e-mail set up so that anytime a two-bedroom house comes on the market in my area or any house under $200,000, I’ll get an e-mail because I want to be notified very, very quickly. So I’m going to work with my agent to get the right e-mail alerts set up. It’s a very quick actionable tip you can do today, like don’t go to bed until that’s done. So anyway, get a real estate agent.
David: Okay, next up is going to be the wholesaler, right? Wholesalers are people whose job it is to find a deal, put it under contract, and then find someone like you that wants to buy it. Now, the question that I often get asked is, David, if they buy property for themselves or they’re wholesaling and they get great deals, why would they give it to me, right? That’s the question everyone says.
The reason is, they probably don’t have enough money to buy properties that they get under contract just like you were worried that you didn’t have enough money at one point. Everybody out there has the same problem. They either don’t have money and they have deals but they don’t have money. It doesn’t matter where they are in the cycle. Somebody is going to have a property that’s a really good deal that they can’t do anything with. You want to know that person and you want that person more importantly to know you so they bring you that deal.
Now, the analogy that I like to use is I don’t want to just go learn how to catch fish. I want to find a fisherman that is so good at catching fish that he catches more than what he can actually eat and the fish are going to go rotten if he doesn’t sell it to me at a discount, right?
Now I often find the most success with this with wholesalers but I also do it with other investors who will earn a wholesale fee for bringing me a deal or a real estate agent who does it himself but he’s got three or four going on and his contractor’s completely swamped and he doesn’t have any more money. He might as well represent me in the sale of it than just lose it completely because that fish is going to go bad, right?
By using LAPS funnel to continuously what we call lead generate for more leads, it can be properties for yourself or it could be people that are going to find properties and let them know if you find me a deal that meets these criteria, I will pay you—fill in the blank–$5,000. I’ll send you a bunch of referrals for your business. I’ll let you partner on it with me. Whatever you want to do.
But find people that are also like you, looking for deals and don’t think that they won’t help you just because they’re also looking for deals. They’re going to find fish that they don’t have time to eat and they want to sell it so that it doesn’t go rotten in the boat.
Brandon: Wow. Have you guys noticed that David is really good at analogies? He’s fantastic. All right. Another technique for finding deals, check out things like Zillow. I actually got a deal last year, just somebody who was like, I want to sell my house. I don’t want to use a real estate agent, but they know Zillow because Zillow is like a powerhouse, so they just went and posted or like put their house on Zillow. And I happened to be looking at it that day and I went and bought it and we flipped that house. And so, check things like Zillow but also you can just spend time analyzing deals you find over on Zillow, a realtor or Trulia or Redfin and get real comfortable with it. Those are good sites as well.
Another online website you can go to find deals actually is called BiggerPockets.com. A lot of you didn’t know that. We actually on BiggerPockets have a marketplace. There are hundreds and hundreds of deals being added every single week from wholesalers around the country, from turnkey providers, from real estate agents. They list the properties on our marketplace and you can go in there and dig in and see what you can find. That’s especially helpful since it’s a national page if you’re interested in buying out of state. So every day or so, just go in there and run through the list of marketplace listings. You might find your next fantastic deal there.
And then let’s go to the big one that I’d say most high volume real estate investors use and that is direct mail marketing. And I talked about it earlier. I sent out 300 letters. Yeah, it’s a simple process. You send a letter and then you get phone calls back and then some of them work out, right? It’s just leads. LAPS funnel, right? The problem is people will do like one direct mail letter. They’ll send out 500 letters or 1000 letters, whatever, and they don’t get any calls. They don’t get many.
Nothing works out and they’re like, this sucks. It doesn’t work. Brandon’s a liar. And then they go back to watching TV every night, right? But the people who are successful, they just consistently send letters trying to tweak and test them a little bit but they’re always trying to improve their game and over time is when direct mail marketing works.
I mean, I’ve heard them say, and I don’t know the exact ones off the top of my head but it’s like the average direct mail callers doesn’t call until they receive like seven letters. Like, it takes time and you’ve got to make sure you get a letter to them when they’re in that moment of okay, fine, I’m going to sell this thing. So direct mail marketing can be very powerful.
David: If you’re going to take advice from anybody on persistence, it needs to be Brandon Turner. This dude married somebody so far out of his league that most people wouldn’t even believe me if I told you. He outkicked his coverage because he was so stinking persistent, right? If he got a great deal on a wife, you can get a great deal on rental properties in the exact same strategies that this guy uses, okay?
What I tell people is if your job is to go out there and you want to chop down a tree, and you swung the ax one time and the tree didn’t fall, would you quit? What if it took five swings, would you quit? You’re actually worse off if you swing five times before you quit before that tree goes down because you’ve expended all this energy and you got blisters on your hands and you risk throwing out your back and you’ve got no result.
You don’t find success from hitting a homerun on the very first pitch that you see. You find success by slowly whittling down that tree over and over and over until it finally topples. And through the process of that, you learned what worked and what didn’t work and the next time you go chop down a tree, you do it in half as long because you learned how to swing the ax better. Direct mail works the same way. Look at those analogies. That was wonderful.
Brandon: All right, next one.
David: Next up is driving for dollars. You guys hear about this one a lot. It’s also door knocking. This is simply looking for properties that appear like they’re in distress, knocking on the door and seeing if you can talk to whoever lives there or finding out who the owner is through the tax records and sending them a letter saying they want to buy their house. Now, what I’ve found is there’s three different ways that people find motivated sellers. It’s from some form of distress. The three forms are market distress, personal distress, and property distress.
Market distress would be like 2010 when we talked about how every single thing was for sale when the economy was in shambles. Personal distress is really the best way. That’s when you find someone who’s going through like a divorce or a death in the family or a gambling debt or whatever they have going on. They have to sell the house really fast. Property distress are the ones that I tend to target. The house itself is in disarray so it’s not worth very much. If you’re driving around and you look for houses that are in property distress, you’re increasing your odds by a lot that that lead is more likely to turn into something that’s worth analyzing, that’s more likely to turn into something that’s worth pursuing.
If you don’t know what to do, put on the BiggerPockets podcast, drive around and educate yourself and while you’re doing that, look for houses that have really high grass, need a paintjob really bad, look like nobody’s been living there. Newspapers all over the place. All the signs that someone just stopped caring about that house and then find a local real estate agent and say, I’d like to get the mailing address for this property right here. They can look it up in the tax records for you. You can send a letter to that person, say hey, I want to buy your house and the odds of finding success are much bigger.
Brandon: Yeah, that’s awesome. All right, let’s go through another couple. Here’s a really tangible one that you can do right now. If you have no money to find deals, I’m going to give you something that takes persistence but it can work really well and that is using Craigslist but not like posting an ad. You can do that, too. That’s not a bad idea. But I’m talking about going to Craigslist and finding mom and pop landlords who have listed their properties for rent. You can usually find them because they’re not very good ads. Property managers, you can kind of tell which ones are those and real estate agents if they’re listing it. But look for mom and pop landlords who just started using Craigslist to put their property for rent and then call them up.
I mean like, that is a lead right there. Why do I say that? Because every—or I would say most. I don’t have any stats to back this up but I would say most landlords hate their life. Most landlords have not read the book on managing rental properties that my wife wrote most of. They don’t care. They haven’t read the books. They haven’t talked to other landlords. They just somehow fell into it and now they hate it because their tenants are taking advantage of them and they’re not paying their rent and they’re having problems. There’s a lot of that that goes on.
By calling those people—they give you their phone numbers right in the ad usually. How much easier can it get? You call them and by like, hey, I’m a new real estate investor and I’m looking everywhere to find my first property and I saw you had one for rent. I’m not looking to rent it but I would love to talk to you about buying it. Any chance you want to do that? Yeah, nine times out of ten, you might hit a no. And one time out of ten you might hear a yes. Or maybe let’s talk about it. In fact, I think it’s more than one out of ten, you’ll get a hey, let’s talk about it. Everything is for sale to an investor with the right price. So get that conversation going.
And again, you’ve got the leads. You’re going to analyze some. You’re going to have conversations and you’re going to pursue some of them. Get rejected a lot. It’s going to feel like high school prom all over again and then at the end of the day, you’re going to get some accepted. But here’s the deal. I’ve told this to people all the time and I’ve done this a little bit but I’ll tell you why I failed at it and why almost everybody does. Because I’m not persistent or consistent about it. So I’ve done this one a few times but like it’s hard. I hate picking up the phone, right?
So what I need to do, I’m just thinking out loud here. What I need to do is hire someone who likes the phone and they’re going to make phone calls. And not just once. I want you guys to grab your phones right now. If you want to do this, grab your phone right now and hold it up. You know how you can talk to Siri, right? So like hold on and be like remind me every Monday at 5:00PM, go to Craigslist and get the landlords. And then Siri is going to do it for you. That’s all you have to do to be able to—now you’ve got a system that can work each and every week and if you did that for 52 weeks in a row and you call 20 people every single week, do you think maybe somebody in there would want to sell you a house and maybe you can work the LAPS funnel out?
And if you’re like, I’m busy or I don’t have time. Do you think you can find somebody that just has some stay-at-home time and see if they want to do it? I mean, 20 phone calls a week is not that bad, right? That’s just another very simple thing. You don’t have to have any money to do it. You’ve just got to have some hustle.
David: All right. Now, keep in mind that you may call those people or e-mail those people and you reach out to them and they may say no, I don’t want to sale, right? They may not want to sell today but what do you think about six months later when the pipe is busted and the tenant hasn’t paid the rent and they have a dog that bit someone and they’re looking at a lawsuit and all of a sudden, their emotional state is, oh my god, I don’t want to be a landlord anymore?
If you don’t call them when they’re in that mood, somebody else is going to. It’s going to be a real estate that they reach out to, to sell their house, or it’s going to be another investor that buys it. It is very important to be systematically and [inaudible][55:15] process and politely call that person consistently and say hey, I still want to buy your house. Are you interested yet? No, okay. And then two months later, the very same thing. Because there is going to come a time where a lot of them don’t want to own it anymore. And with that same technique, we can find another lead source, which is going to be Meetups with other real estate investors. Lots of people own real estate.
If you’re a BiggerPockets person, I want to buy as much as I can, and I want to own as much as I can. And that’s awesome, okay? There’s a part in the cycle where you don’t want to be a landlord anymore. You don’t want to own real estate anymore. Either you’re not good at it or you bought bad properties or your life just changed and you don’t want to put the time into it anymore and you want to get rid of it. Be the person that finds that person first and say hey, if you ever want to sell, I want to be the first one to get a crack at it. I want to buy these properties, okay?
Landlords on Craigslist, yeah, the reason you know that’s going to work is because you know they own properties. Well so do other investors. And if you can build a really good relationship with that person through Meetups, through REIA meetings, through BiggerPockets, through whatever you’re doing, they’re going to come to you guys first. And I’ll give you guys another quick tip here. The more someone likes you, the harder it is for them to take advantage of you. The more they like you, the better price and better terms they’re going to give you on that deal, right? So networking with other investors and letting them know what you want to do and why you want to do it and bringing value to them is a great way to get first shot when they want to sell their properties.
Brandon: In fact, so here’s a story. I haven’t actually told the entire in-depth story yet about how I got the mobile home park that I got recently but what happened was Ryan Murdoch who has been on the BiggerPockets podcast back last June, I think—he had bought a property from another BiggerPockets member and the guy had carried the contract on it, seller financing.
Anyways, so this was a few years ago. So now this investor was getting ready to retire like completely get out of the game and he had this mobile home park. So you know what this guy did? He didn’t go and list with an agent. He e-mailed Ryan and said hey, do you have any interest in a mobile home park? Ryan was like, no, not really but I know a guy who does. So then Ryan called me up and said hey, Brandon, I know you wanted a mobile home park. What do you think of this one? And he thought there was like no way I was going to care about it because he thought it was a long shot, but it was exactly what I was looking for.
I said sure, Ryan, if you partner with me. I ain’t going to buy a property—I’m in Hawaii right now, that’s like 6,000—you cannot get farther away from Hawaii than Bangor, Maine. But Ryan partnered with me on it. We brought in Mindy Jensen as well and her husband Carl and boom, now we have this awesome mobile home park deal that is kind of like we used BiggerPockets in so many ways and we use that same technique you were saying, just keep relationships with other investors. They can oftentimes be a great source.
You know one more just quick tip and then we’re going to move on to no time. In finding deals. And this was just one last thing in finding deals. It’s tell every single person you know that you’re looking for a deal and get specific, right?
So two quick, quick stories. First one, when I was looking for my very first apartment complex, I read a book on buying apartment complexes and like, it was Ken McElroy’s ABCs of Real Estate Investing and the next day at church I was like talking to this older couple and I said hey, someday I want to buy an apartment complex. And they were like that’s weird, we actually have one we want to sell. Was that lucky? Of course. Did I tell every single person I knew I wanted to buy an apartment? Yes. Take advantage of luck. So tell everybody you want so when those situations come up, you’re prepared.
The second quick story, even quicker—I was at a real estate Meetup that Darren Sager was holding in New York City. He’s got an awesome setup. He’s been holding it pretty much monthly, brings in some really great speakers. And I was there and I was talking about how I wanted to buy a mobile home park. To everybody that was in the room and everybody could tell—you guys probably heard me as well. You know who was in that room that day? Mr. Ryan Murdoch, the same guy who then two weeks later received an e-mail that said—I told everybody in that room I wanted a 50-unit mobile home park. He got an e-mail from a guy that had a 46-unit, technically zoned for a 50-unit mobile home park.
And so I was top of mind to Ryan to think, oh yeah, Brandon just told me last week or two weeks ago he wanted one. So tell everybody you know. You never know who’s out there that might have a deal. If you have like 50 friends that know the guy or you’re the gal who buys real estate, they probably have 50 friends as well. So like that’s—I don’t know the math there. It’s a lot. So there’s a lot of people out there in your circle that know people who might sell you their property. So again, tell everybody.
All right, we have to move onto the next one. This is going to be the world’s longest podcast. And the last one that a lot of people struggle with—they might have some money. They might have some deals even, now especially after listening to this—they’re just saying, David, Brandon, I just don’t have time. I’ve got a full-time life. I’ve got a full-time job. I’ve got family obligations. I’ve got civic obligations. I’ve got church obligations. Just life is busy.
So I want to talk about that for a few minutes because like I know what that’s like. For those people who know me, this is going to sound totally like braggy but I have one of the busier lives of anybody I know generally. I do a lot of stuff constantly. I’m still writing books and I’m still trying to raise my little girl. I’m trying to surf on the beach in Hawaii. I try to be cognizant so I learned a few cool techniques to reduce the amount of hours it takes.
The first thing I want to mention is this—understand that you have 168 hours in your week. That’s actually how the math works out, right? So take 168, subtract your 40 hours that you are at work and you’re at 128. Subtract out another 20 hours of let’s say commuting and random getting ready and stuff. So now you’re at 108? Take out another 50 hours of sleeping. That’s fine. You’re still at what? 58 hours of every week that you’re just like losing. I’m not saying that—what I’m saying is this. Take an inventory of what you’re spending your time doing because with 168 hours in your week, there’s probably time somewhere.
The second point I’ll make to that is this. It does not take three or four or five hours a day to invest in real estate. Almost every single test, me and David have actually been talking about this a lot since he’s been out here. We’ve been just talking about how like almost everything we do is like a one-minute task or maybe a five or ten minute task. Very few things in real estate other than reading like a book or reading a contract take more than about 15 minutes.
Here’s what I mean by that. Right now, the next thing that I need to do to—let’s go with my apartment complex I got in Cincinnati. Like, the next thing that I absolutely have to do to get that thing moving forward is I need to contact my assistant, who is another tip—I have a very, very part-time assistant. I need to contact her to have her contact the property manager on a systematized process. So it’s like a five-minute e-mail you need to write. And that’s moved off my plate. It’s onto somebody else’s. Now, it will get kicked back to me, I’m going to move it onto somebody else.
Everything is like that. Maybe you need to analyze a deal. Maybe you need to make a phone call to an agent. Maybe you need to go on Facebook and ask for recommendations for an agent. No matter what it is, everything is like a five-minute task and if you are consistently doing that every single day, that’s when progress gets made.
The problem is, people are like I don’t have any time so they work on the real estate for an hour to one day because they were excited after a podcast like today and then they don’t touch it again for a month. And then they come back and they do it again. Like that logic does not work. Think about going to the gym doing that, right? I’m going to go run the treadmill and then a month later, I’m going to go lift some weights and then a month later, I’m going to do the elliptical machine which is pretty much worthless, I think.
At the end of the day, like, consistency is what matters. Consistency with the right things. Figure out what those few little things are that you need to do and the way I generally recommend it is, analyze a deal. Spend five minutes a day running the numbers on a deal, maybe through the bigger pockets calculator or however you do it and do that. Or spend ten to 15 minutes a day getting leads to come in somehow. Over time, that compounds and that stuff. It’s like The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Anyways, those are just a few of my tips as we’re thinking about it. David, I’m sure you have some more because you know a thing or two about not having much free time.
David: Yeah, that’s right. In the way that I got started buying real estate was by working like crazy. I was working a literal 90-100 hours a week and sleeping in my car twice a week because I didn’t have enough time to drive home and sleep and come back again. So I was doing this with very, very, very minimal time and what I found out is just exactly what Brandon just said—most of the tasks that I was doing was somewhere between 30 seconds and three minutes. It was very little time that actually had to be spent once I understood what I was doing.
So I came in with a couple of things that I can share with you guys to actually save myself a lot of time and remove that excuse of I don’t have enough time. The first is what we call the One Percent Rule. The One Percent Rule is just a rule of thumb that states if a property rents for 1% of what you paid for it, it is very likely to cash flow positively. So if I’m paying $100,000 for a house and it rents for $1,000, it will cash flow positive. $200,000 for a house and it rents for $2,000, it will pay with cash flow positive.
Now, you don’t have to be right at that but if you’re close to it, odds are that that property is going to cash flow positive. I don’t look at buy-and-hold properties that don’t meet the One Percent Rule because I don’t want to waste my time. I can right away throw out a ton of stuff that gets sent to me by not looking into it. Another thing is I got really, really specific on my own criteria that I wanted for a house and I didn’t make so many of them that I would fall into analysis paralysis.
So when anybody brings me a deal, the three things that I’m looking for are, am I buying it under market value? For me, that means I want to be all in, acquisition plus rehab for 75% of the ARV. So I want to be paying 75% of what that property is worth when I’m done. I want it to cash flow positively which means it’s going to need to meet the One Percent Rule or close to it and I want it to not be in a really bad neighborhood. If it meets those three criteria, I will buy it.
Now, the reason that I can be so liberal with the way that I’m buying houses is because I know if it’s 75% of what it’s worth, I’m going to be able to BRRRR it and get all my money back out. And as long as it cash flows positive and it’s not a bad neighborhood, why wouldn’t I do that deal? It doesn’t have to be a homerun but that’s a pretty freaking good deal and then I can go buy the next deal, right?
Because my criteria are simple but effective and safe, I don’t need to spend a ton of time analyzing 50 properties and trying to figure out which is the best of these 50 that I could buy. I can just go buy the six that makes the most sense, right? Or pick one out of those six and say this is the one I feel best about. Buy it, BRRRR it, see what I learn and go do the next one. That’s really all that you need to be thinking about when you feel like you’re overwhelmed and you don’t have enough time. You’re probably making this more complicated than it really needs to be.
Brandon: Yeah, I like that a lot. Another thing on that note is I don’t typically, and this is maybe a little more advanced strategy but I typically don’t look at a property until I’m in negotiation on it. Here’s what I mean by that. So if I typically only get about one out of every ten offers I make accepted, so like why would I go and look at those ten properties? It’s a waste of my time, right?
So when I find a property, I run the numbers based on all of my best estimates, whether if my agent’s been in the property, hopefully, if I’ve had a contract or maybe in the area they might look at it. I’m not going to worry about any of that stuff. Or I’ll just make it based on the photos. If it looks pretty good in the description, I’ll run my numbers as good as I can and I’ll make an offer.
No one in the last five years—I’ve never, I don’t think I’ve ever had an offer just flat out accepted. They’re always some negotiations because everyone feels like they have to negotiate, right? That’s when I go look at a property. So I waited—they’re always like okay, if I offer $95,000 for a property, they’ll come back and be like no, $120,000. And I’ll be like okay, I don’t know if $120,000 will work but let’s go look at the property because now I have a really good shot of getting this thing and that’s when I’m going to go and look at it.
So that has saved me a ton of time. Too many investors get caught up in the like, I have to go look at the house and my agent can’t go until Saturday so I’m going to go on Saturday to look at it. It’s going to take an hour to drive there and an hour to look at it and an hour back. Then an hour over coffee. I’ve got to talk about the deal and by the time we’re done, I’ve spent five hours and then I get rejected. What a waste of time. You’ve got to optimize your time.
So anyway, that’s another one. Another thing that I do is I constantly—you know we talked about earlier how almost every task is like a one to five minute task? Identify what that is. I call that the MINS. Your Most Important Next Step. Like, any task that you have, any big task in the world. I need to buy a rental property. I always ask people, what’s like your most important next step? And they’re like, I’ve got to buy it. I’m like, no. Get more focused. Okay, well we need to find a real estate agent. Nope, that’s not it either.
What’s your next actionable step, your most important next step? I need to open up a browser window, navigate to Facebook.com, ask my family and friends for recommendations for agents. Now, you have your most important next step and you realize how stupid it is that you haven’t been doing this for two months. This has been on your plates for two months and it’s really only a 30 second task. So now you go do it. Either you do it then or you time-block it. You put it on your calendar as an appointment. More important than meeting with the president and you’d do it when the time says.
You put it in your calendar, you schedule it and if you have to wake up ten minutes earlier, wake up ten minutes earlier if that’s what you’ve got to do. Again, and I said it a minute ago but I’ll say it again now—the BiggerPockets calculator makes it very, very simple and easy. I mean, let’s be honest. When we built the calculators, when I designed them and I put them together and I had the developers build it, I did it more for my own sake or as much for my own sake as anybody else.
I needed a better system for analyzing deals and keeping track and organized and all of that. So we built a calculator so you can quickly run the numbers in under five minutes, figure out how much you can pay for property, then I go an offer on it and if you get rejected, there’s even a feature that most people don’t know about in the calculator that you can get reminded about that property later on.
So I’ll go in. If you click the word “tools” on the nav bar and go to “previous reports”, there’s like a little ellipses next to every one of the reports you’ve done. Click that and it says remind me. You can choose one week or I think it’s like one day, one week, two week, three week, four week, whatever. So that way, if I want to go and re-offer on it a month from now, I can do that.
Or if I want to follow up with the seller a month later or two months later, BiggerPockets will actually remind me which is a super cool thing. So again, there’s just these little techniques to be able to simplify your life and the last thing I’ll say is this on that point—when I got started and I started getting overwhelmed maybe like eight years ago, I need help simplifying all the things I was doing, right?
So I brought in some help. I realized I hated answering the phone, I hated talking to tenants, so I actually brought in my mother-in-law and said hey, would you mind—and I think we paid her a couple hundred bucks a month when we started. We said would you mind just answering phones and then just write down the message and give it to us? And that was it. But that one thing saved me so much both actual time and like mental energy so I could focus on building my business.
So people think all the time well I don’t have enough money to hire a full-time assistant, don’t do it. Find like little tasks that you could find other people to take off your plate. Maybe it’s an overseas person. Maybe it’s a family or friend or somebody who needs to earn money. Listen, for every task that you hate doing, somebody puts food on their table doing that task. Right? For every task you hate doing, somebody loves doing it. If you hate answering the phone, somebody loves answering the phone.
My mother-in-law loves talking to tenants. It’s like her thing. She’s amazing at it. That’s all she wants to do. She doesn’t want to be involved with like buying—well, they are now buying property but even that, my father-in-law handles a lot of that stuff as well. So like find people to do those little tasks in your life if you can’t afford a full-time assistant. Anything you want to add?
David: No, that’s a mic drop, man. That’s very good.
Brandon: All right guys, so we’re going to shift gears here and head over to the world famous Fire Round.
It’s time for the Fire Round.
Here’s why I’m a big fan of SimpliSafe Home Security. SimpliSafe is ready for anything that gets thrown at it. If a storm takes out your power, SimpliSafe is ready. An intruder cuts your phone line, SimpliSafe is ready. Say they destroy your keypad or siren, SimpliSafe will still get you the help you need. And here’s what I love about that. Sure, maybe it’s overkill and maybe you don’t need to be ready for every worst case scenario but that’s what makes SimpliSafe so great, because it’s always ready. Now, SimpliSafe could cost an arm and a leg. It should but it doesn’t. That’s because they’re good people over there at SimpliSafe. They charge you what’s fair. $14.99 a month. No contracts. No hidden fees. I recommend SimpliSafe to everyone I know. You’ve got to check it out. Go today to SimpliSafePockets.com. Again, that’s SimpliSafePockets.com.
All right, this is the BiggerPockets Fire Round. We’re going to fire some questions at one another. Now, actually we found in the BiggerPockets forum and we’re going to address them because these are real questions that people are asking. But before we get into that, I hope you guys enjoyed that last segment of the show—that whole segment of the show. It’s a little bit different show so can you guys do me a favor? Head over to the Show Notes page for this podcast episode, go to BiggerPockets.com/podcast and you’ll find it in there. And let us know in the comments section if you enjoyed this. Any questions you have, any comments you have, let us know there. It kind of gives us feedback, do like more of these shows. You can also hit me up on Twitter at BrandonatBP and let me know, do you like this format? If so, we’ll do more of these. If not, then maybe we won’t. But I thought this was kind of a fun idea to test out.
So with that, let’s get to the Fire Round. These questions again are from the BiggerPockets forums. First question, few would deny that the market is cyclical. It goes up for a few years and then down for a few and then repeats. I want to hear from other investors your thoughts about how to handle this. We’re nearing the top, especially in my area, and it scares me a little. I want to keep investing but I worry about timing. Should I hold onto cash and wait for the downward cycle to begin? David, what do you think?
David: This is an awesome question and this is why I wrote the book Long Distance Real Estate Investing because markets are specific to where you live. It is not the same market in the entire country. One market could be nearing a top, another market might not have even gotten started yet. And another market is getting some Amazon Supercenter that’s about to go in and it’s about to blow up. You may be maxed out at your market to where you feel like you’re at the “top” but another market is ready to run and you can get in there.
By learning how real estate investing works, you can be empowered to go invest in the markets that makes sense, not just the market that’s close to you. When people tell me that they’re afraid that the market is reaching the top, the first question I ask is how do you know what the top is, right? It may seem expensive to us but are you taking into the fact that wages are going up, too? And jobs are growing and companies are moving in and interest rates are really low? Is it really near the top like what you’re thinking?
The next question I ask is when you say top, do you just mean that it won’t cash flow anymore? That’s what most people think. I can’t buy a property that cash flows anymore. There’s two things that you can do. One, you get better deals by getting more leads, pursuing those leads harder, analyzing more of them and finding success. Or two, you go to a market where you are more likely to have success.
Now, because I’m very busy just like Brandon is running the businesses that we run, it makes more sense for me to go to a market that has a lot of deal, right? I actually look for markets that have a high day-on market. The average house takes a long time to sell there because I don’t want to be fighting with 19 other investors that all want the same property and I know that my appraiser is going to value it based on the comps. He doesn’t care how long it sat on the market for. That’s not going to be hurting me.
Now, if I was trying to flip houses, it might not make sense for me. But because I’m buying rentals, that’s something that I want, right? I go to areas where I know I have a competitive advantage and it’s going to be easier to find a deal. So I don’t care what my market is doing because it’s not my market. It’s just the market where I live in, right?
If the market that I’m in right now decides that it’s going to be too expensive, too hard to find deals, other people are there, I will go to another market and I will put my system together, build my core four and start getting deals out of that area. Remember that real estate is market-specific where what is happening in your market is not what is happening in other people’s markets and don’t get discouraged.
Brandon: Yeah, that was great. The only thing I would add onto that is buy good deals in bad markets, buy good deals in good markets, buy good deals no matter what. That’s why it’s so important to run that LAPS funnel and to know the numbers. All right, next question. I’ll let you take this one.
David: All right. Does anyone have any tips on how to handle cleaning of the unit after guests leave? This is like an Airbnb type of a situation. There’s a small window of time each day to clean and it is almost impossible to do it yourself while working a full-time job. Brandon, you do an Airbnb, right?
Brandon: I had an Airbnb. I actually just sold that Airbnb and it basically just became a flip. I held it for a year and I’m not going to go into the reasons why I sold it but basically, it was too much work. And this is one of the reasons why. Because coordinating cleaners was tough. Now, this person is asking how do you do it when I have a full-time job? You don’t. That’s the short answer.
You don’t clean a unit when you have a full-time job. You find somebody else. Remember when I said earlier—for every job you hate doing, there’s somebody who puts food on the table? There is somebody in your market right now who wishes they had a flexible job that they could go to for a couple of hours to go and clean because they can’t go and get a $100 an hour at the local whatever but they can clean a house, right?
There’s people that are desperate for that job right now that you could actually help them put food on their table. You need to find that person. So what we did is we found a couple of different people. There’s one primary—and we just let them know. Here’s what the deal is. People come and they usually stay for a day or two days or three days. We need you to be flexible and when they leave, you’ve got to get in there. There is no other option. Can you do this?
We set the expectations up front. We defined what we needed. And also, we have a very clear checklist on what has to get done. This, this, this and we have pictures even on what we wanted things to look like within the Airbnb. We systematized the whole process and we had a first person and then we had a backup in case the first person for whatever—like one time her car got stolen and she couldn’t do it, run in there and got it done.
So again, don’t do that yourself. If you’re using Airbnb, the guests are actually paying for the cleaning anyways. There’s a cleaning fee. Like don’t look at that as income. Your time is better spent finding deals or spending time with your kids. So that’s my answer to that one. All right, next one.
David: That is awesome.
Brandon: Thanks. All right, I was wondering if I should be building a website before I start my wholesaling business. I was looking at my list of things to do and was wondering if I can get buyers on my team if I do not have a website. What are your thoughts on that, David?
David: So a website is a tool that can help you but it’s not necessarily something that you have to have. Wholesalers do a good job because they find people that are in distress and need to sell their house and because they have a deal, it’s easy to go find a buyer. Like Brandon said earlier, find the deal and everything else is going to come. Having a website can help you but it’s not something that you absolutely need to have.
Now, in today’s world, having a website is so easy, I can’t think of any reason why you wouldn’t want to have one, right? If not for the simple fact that when you’re reaching out to people, it would just help you to establish rapport that you can say look, I have a website. I’m more professional. It might not be super effective at finding deals but it might make your job easier once you found them to kind of build a rapport with that person and get a deal.
Now, a lot of people do use websites and they’re very successful at it. I know there’s one company called Investor Care, I believe, that basically makes like a high SEO website right out the box that helps people find you when they are looking to sell their house. Those work better in some markets than others. If you were in California with an Investor Care website and you know your house is worth half a million, you’re not going to go a wholesaler and let him buy it for $200,000 very likely.
But if you’re like in Indiana, Kentucky, some of these areas where they have like not many people chasing after houses, you’re more likely to call the person or to Google hey, I want to sell my house in Indiana. I want a good deal. Lead Propeller is another one that’s a really good website that people use that they can drive traffic to them to find these deals and they’re not very expensive. Like this is a really good way to kind of get started.
See what works, see what doesn’t, and start building from there. You start writing blog posts and driving traffic to your website and you start reaching out to other people like Brandon said and telling them, hey, I am looking to buy property.
Here is my website. Check it out if you hear of anyone that wants to sell. Call me or have them register for my website. I can give them an idea of what their house would be worth if someone was going to buy it for cash. For me, in my opinion, this is a really cheap, easy, and quick way to get yourself started. You don’t have to do it but I don’t know any good reasons why you wouldn’t want to.
Brandon: Yeah, I actually made my website—so I have two. My apartment-buying website that was built through Lead Propeller and my like home-buying website was built through Wix.com. It cost me like $8.00 a month or something stupid cheap like that, right? The one that’s costing me $8.00 bucks a month, I actually did a flip last year and made $50,000 on it. She found me through that website. So was that worth $8.00 a month for that Wix website?
If you guys go to YouTube also and you type in—just go to BiggerPockets’ YouTube page and then look for the most popular video that we have on the entire YouTube channel. You can sort by popularity. The most popular video we’ve ever put out. It’s got like I don’t know, almost a million views now I think, maybe half a million. It’s on how I built that exact website. I filmed it like four and a half years ago. It’s horrible quality because I was not really sure what I was doing with this technology stuff but anyway, this video, people tend to like it a lot. So if you want to learn exactly how I built that website that made me $50,000, check that out.
All right, so let’s see, last question of the day on here is not actually a question. As David and I were going through the forum to look for a really good question, we just saw this post and we’re like, we just have to talk about this for a minute because this is like the coolest thing. James K. put a post on there that basically said, let me pull it up and read the exact title of it. Multi-family BRRRR strategy—we talked about that earlier. It’s about buying fixer-uppers and refinancing them later after they’re fixed up. So multi-family BRRRR strategy that created $4.5 million dollars of value in 12 months.
So James K., a syndicator in Austin, Texas. I think it was probably actually in San Antonio. 174 units. They basically like did the BRRRR strategy. They bought it. They fixed it up and then they rented, like raised all the rents, got it out, got it fully working. Well, it says this—the deal was bought at $6.9 million. They added $1.3 million into the rehab so now they’re at like what, mid-eights? The property then appraised at $12.7, creating $4.5 million dollars of value in a year.
And then they went and refinanced it because now it’s got that new value and actually pulled out all their money and then some. So they actually made money out of the thing and so now they can go back with their investors’ money and do it again and again and again. Right? So anyway, I just thought that was super cool. James K., nice work.
David: Well some of the things that I love about this post is that he’s using the techniques that we’re talking about in this exact podcast to help you guys, right? So he bought this at a very steep discount. He said he bought it at $39,000 a door. Why? Because it was a direct buyer-seller transaction. He found an off-market deal where the seller needed to sell that property. They were very motivated and he was able to buy it.
And then he did what we call the seller-financing where he actually assumed the loan that they already had. He didn’t have to go get his own loan and pay closing costs, right? He got to take over a loan that they already had which was in really good shape and when you’re buying multi-family properties, the loan can be a really big deal. He was just able to take their. Then he went in and he rehabbed it effectively. He added value through the rehab. He painted it. He added new fixtures. They made the place a lot nicer and that ended up increasing the rents by $173 per door on average and this was what, 169 units, I think that it was? 174.
Massive value that he created by bumping the rents up that much which made that thing worth so much more. By combining all of the tools that we’ve talked about today from this toolbelt, they were able to put them all into the same deal and create $4.5 million dollars in 12 months by doing a really good job on a rehab. That is why I’m so excited about real estate investing and the stuff we’re talking about in this podcast. This stuff works for the big boys and it works for the new guys, right? All of this is the same tools that we’re all using.
Listen to this podcast again. Take notes. Write down the stuff that you don’t understand and write down the stuff that you really like. Master it so that you really know, I can do this. This is how I’m going to make it work. And deals that don’t seem like good deals, maybe this one didn’t even look like a great deal but he knew how much he could push the rents. He knew how much he could rehab it. He got it at a better deal than what he thought because there wasn’t a broker involved. He did everything right and created $4.5 million dollars in 12 months. That is amazing.
Brandon: I love that. That’s super awesome. So anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed that little—it’s not a question but you know, we’re cheating so that’s okay. All right, so let’s get on here. We’re going to go over to the world famous Famous Four.
All right, if you guys have listened to this show before, you know that this is a part of the show where we go through the same four questions every single week and we ask every guest. Since we don’t have a guest today, it’s just me and David hanging out and talking to you guys, telling you guys what we know about solving those three big problems we all have—no time, no money, no deals, we’re going to tweak the Famous Four just a little bit. We want to actually just give you guys some of our favorite real estate book recommendations and business book recommendations and then we’ll go into hobbies and the last question.
So first of all, favorite real estate books, if you want to know more about these topics—a few book that stand out to me. First of all, Ansen Young wrote a book that we published here called Finding and Funding Great Deals. Like, it’s about finding great deals and then funding them. It’s a no-brainer. Go pick that up. BiggerPockets.com/store. Also, David here wrote a book on long distance real estate investing called Long Distance Real Estate Investing. Yeah, we’re really clever with our names.
So definitely check that out as well. You can get that from BiggerPockets at the store. You can also get these books at Barnes and Noble. You can get them on Amazon. But if you buy them at BiggerPockets, you get a whole bunch of tons of bonuses and David’s bonuses are actually super cool because I film them in my own living room. We actually did a whole bunch of cool filming in my own living room. You guys will love it. So check it out again, BiggerPockets.com/store. But that’s just a couple of real estate books. Anything you want to add to that or you want to go to business books?
David: Well, I really like the book on investing in real estate with low or no money down that Brandon wrote because this is a problem that a lot of people have, especially when they’re new. What I find is that most of the people on BiggerPockets, not everyone, but a big chunk of them, they’re new and that’s why they’re here, right? There’s also a lot of successful investors that are here. I’ve listened to every single episode when it comes out. But for those of you that are new and you’re worried about specifically the no money, get that book and realize that all of these problems have already been solved. You just have to use a tool that somebody else has already made.
Another book that I really like is by Gary Keller. It’s called The Millionaire Real Estate Agent. Now, the reason that I like this book, because not everybody out there actually wants to be an agent or should be an agent, is because he basically outlines what Brandon calls the LAPS funnel. He talks a lot about how it is all about getting leads and then working those leads into the success that you’re looking for and it applies very, very strongly to real estate investing. If you can train your brain to start working backwards from your goals—I want to have success.
For me, that’s buying a house. How am I going to do that? I’m going to have to write offers. How do I know what offer to write? I have to analyze the property. How do I know what properties to analyze? I need to get leads. And then start working backwards from there using the MINS, the most important next step. Okay, how am I going to get a lead? Well first, I have all these things that Brandon and David just talked about that I can start pursuing. I need to start telling other people. I need to be joining a Meetup. I need to be meeting a real estate agent and meeting contractors around.
Write down a list of everything you need to do. And then use the MINS funnel to figure out what’s the most important next step that I should be taking to get myself a lead. By combining these things together, you’re going to get great leads. Was that just so fire that I made you sneeze?
Brandon: Yeah, that was so fire. Anyway, sorry I interrupted you with my sneeze.
David: No, that’s all I’m getting at is take these techniques that we’re teaching you because we’ve talked to so many successful people and they’re all doing it. If you just copy what they are doing, you will end up having the same results that they’re having. Retrain your brain to think along these terms and you’ll find yourself successful quicker than what you thought.
Brandon: Awesome. All right, let’s see, favorite business book—he mentioned Real Estate Agent. That’s a real estate book. So business book, there’s two that I want to point out that I made a big impact on, me with the time thing. Like I don’t have enough time. That is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Fantastic book. I love that book. I actually read it over and over and over. The next one I actually read a lot, too. The 12-Week Year.
Those are two books that have made a massive impact on my life. And one more is The 80-20 Sales and Marketing made a huge impact on my life as well for thinking in terms of funnels and getting other people in your life to help you with things. That’s by Perry Marshall and we actually had him on the podcast a while back. So again, The Compound Effect, 12-Week Year, 80-20 Sales and Marketing and then of course The One Thing written by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan had a big impact on my life as well.
David: Yep. Those are pretty much the exact same books that I would recommend. My advice to you guys would be if you know that there is something holding you back, you have that little itch in the back of your brain that says I’m not doing this because of this reason. Find a book that tackles that reason. Listen to it on audio. Read it yourself. Talk to a friend about it. Start a group where you basically hold yourself accountable to all your buddies and say look, I’m having a hard time with this thing. It could be having confidence to move forward, it could be I don’t think I’m good at math and I can’t analyze deals.
It could be I’m not a people person and I don’t want to pick up the phone and talk to somebody. Talk to other investors and other buddies and let them come up with solutions for you and getting around it. Brandon acknowledged all of you hundreds of thousands of people that are listening to this. I don’t like to talk on the phone and it was holding him back, right? But he didn’t let that stop him. He went and found someone else that likes to talk on the phone. Not only is the phone talking thing done but that person now likes him because he’s letting them do something that they wanted to do, right?
I do the very same thing in my business. It can be a topic for another podcast but I’m not afraid to say, I suck at these things and I don’t enjoy doing them and I will find someone else to do it so I can focus on what I’m good at and that’s how we’ve been able to find success and you guys can, too.
Brandon: Love it. All right, next question on the Famous Four—hobbies. What do we do for fun? Let’s change it a little bit. What have we been doing for fun here in Hawaii? We haven’t been doing a lot of fun stuff lately.
David: We’ve been masterminding quite a bit. We’ve been talking about—you know one of the things that we like to do is find out what’s going on in my friend’s life and how I can help them get there with what I have going on in my life, right? And I found that when you pour into other people and you help them become more successful, you end up finding answers to your own questions and then they’re more incentivized to do the same for you.
So I would like to encourage everybody out here to go find the friends that you already have or the business partners that you have and figure out what is their problem and help them solve it. Increase that friendship. Make it even better. Make them want to return the favor for you and maybe in solving their problem you can kind of come up with what would help you with yours.
Brandon: Yeah, that’s awesome. We’ve been doing a ton of that. I’ve got a lot of problems. And David’s a smart dude. So other than that, we’re going to be doing some surfing on Saturday. That should be a lot of fun. So anyways, that’s hobbies—lately, it’s been that, hanging out with family. We went to Waikiki Beach last night. We actually met Rich Carey, who was on the podcast just a few weeks back. Rich Carey is an awesome dude. We had some Cheesecake Factory with him. That was fun.
David: We’ve not 99 problems but Rich ain’t one.
Brandon: Rich ain’t one. So let’s go to the last question. David, what do you think—I’m going to just ask you and then I can maybe chime in on your answer. But what sets apart successful real estate investors—those who find deals, who find the money, who find the time—what sets apart them from everyone else who struggles, give up, fail, or never get started?
David: So every time I’m asked this question on the podcast, I have a different answer as I kind of evolve through time. And what my answer is right now is I really believe it is the experience that the investor has when they first get started. If their expectation is I’m going to walk out there, make a couple of phone calls, find a deal, get it done or contract, banks are going to be throwing themselves to give me money. It’s all going to be a 30-year fixed rate at a really low interest. My tenants are going to be wonderful just like I would be and take care of my house. They get discouraged very, very quickly before they’ve had enough success to make it worth it to power through that, right? And then they quit.
So what I want to tell people is understand that you need to protect your experience that you’re going to have with this by seeking wisdom. Listen to these podcasts and understand, there are going to be many hurdles that come up. They are all worth it. Literally every single thing that I have ever accomplished in my life that I am proud of was hard. There’s not one thing that fell into my lap and I’m like, oh this was awesome, right? And it just came really easy. I had to work for every single one of them and now I don’t trust that if it comes easy, it’s probably not going to be good.
Brandon just told us that story and it was kind of like, oh haha, my wife rejected me four times in a row. It is not fun to get rejected by someone you have strong feelings for. That is really, really hard. And a lesser person would have quit and not got there, right? Because Brandon understood it is worth it to go through this pain, he ended up having kind of like the awesome fairy tale story at the end of the thing.
But real estate can work the same way. Make sure that your experience is good by not having bad expectations and not setting yourself up to fail. Don’t go after homes that are in perfect condition and write way below asking price offers and then get discouraged when everybody says no. Look for houses that you know are more likely to take your offer.
Look for people that you know are more likely to trust you and respect what you do and ask them for money. Don’t go to complete strangers that don’t know you at all and say can I have $90,000 to buy a house? Make smart decisions so your experience isn’t bad. Get some success and then you’re not going to mind the headaches that come your way.
Brandon: I’ve got nothing to add to that. That was awesome. Drop the mic. All right guys, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the BiggerPockets podcast. You got a little bit different of a format than usual but I thought since David was visiting me here in Hawaii right now, I thought it’d be fun to just pick his brain, talk together, kind of do a little masterminding together and try to help solve your problems.
Because again, the Big Three that everyone struggles with—I don’t have any money, I don’t have any deals, I don’t have any time. After this episode, I hope you don’t have anymore excuses in your life anymore and you can go and take massive action. So with that, if you enjoyed this episode, do me a favor—share it on your Facebook page or whatever social media channels you like better or the best. Tell your friends and family about us. You never know whose life you can change completely because you introduced them into the world of real estate investing, podcasting is a cool way to do that.
So if you thought this was a good show to share, share it and of course, leave us a rating and review over in iTunes because that helps us reach more people by being in the iTunes chart. So that’s all I got. I hope to see you around. Make sure you check out our BiggerPockets webinars. We do them every single week, BiggerPockets.com/webinar. And David, do you have any final thoughts?
David: Nope. This is the host of the BiggerPockets podcast, David Greene, for Brandon who married way out of his league Turner, signing off.
You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio, simplifying real estate for investors, large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing without all the hype, you’re in the right place.
Be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from BiggerPockets.com, your home for real estate investing online.
Help us reach new listeners on iTunes by leaving us a rating and review! It takes just 30 seconds and instructions can be found here. Thanks! We really appreciate it!