How the Holiday Season Affects the Land Business
Jack Butala: Jack Butala for Land Academy. Welcome to our Cashflow from Land show. Today, Jill and I talk about how the holiday season affects the land business.
Jill DeWit: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Jack Butala: By the way, this is Jill’s favorite time of year, so I have a lot of questions about that. It’s not exactly my favorite time.
Jill DeWit: I had to do that.
Jack Butala: Before we get into all that, let’s check in with how acquisitions are going. It’s early December. What do you have on your plate?
Jill DeWit: I have people giving me land every day.
Jack Butala: You have people giving you land?
Jill DeWit: Pretty much. Maybe it’s a cashflow thing for them right now, but I’ve got people calling me back multiple times to say, “Hey, are we still on? Do yo want this?” I feel so bad because I’m just saying, “Yes, I do, bear with me. I can’t get to it today.”
Jack Butala: Give us some raw ballpark numbers, because I want to talk about this holiday season thing. How many properties are in your list that you need to address or purchase or close? Give us a couple of properties that stick in your mind that you just … you know what I’m saying. A couple of properties that you’re just licking your lips over.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. There’s this one. It’s Taos. It’s not a big lot, but it’s an awesome lot.
Jack Butala: Taos, New Mexico.
Jill DeWit: Taos, New Mexico. I just love that area myself. Here I am getting emotional about it. Don’t worry, folks, I’m not buying it for me. I’m going to give it away, or I’m going to sell it or something.
Jack Butala: I love Taos too, by the way.
Jill DeWit: I do.
Jack Butala: Of all the property, the thousands and thousands of properties that I’ve ever purchased all over the country, there are properties in Taos that I have kept. You know about that little list on the server.
Jill DeWit: What little list?
Jack Butala: There’s a little list on the server of properties that I purchased and keep.
Jill DeWit: Is that like you as a man, you have your own separate little cash bank account somewhere that nobody knows about?
Jack Butala: What separate bank account?
Jill DeWit: Thank you! “Hey, what’s that in the corner?” “That’s a safe. You don’t need to know about that.”
Jack Butala: Anyway, what’s on your list? What’s on your acquisition list?
Jill DeWit: This Taos one that I’m kind of excited about. Then, I have a new one that just came in.
Jack Butala: Wait, what are you buying … how much are you going to buy it for?
Jill DeWit: Oh, a couple hundred bucks. I’m trying to remember off the top of my head the size. I think it’s an acre. It’s an an area that traditionally are acre lots, so I’m going to pick it up for …
Jack Butala: What’s it worth? What’s it worth in our silly world?
Jill DeWit: In our silly world, if I really wanted to sit on it, if I wanted to do it all right, I could sell it for $2500. To sell an acre in Taos, that’s nothing.
Jack Butala: For cash.
Jill DeWit: For cash.
Jack Butala: We’ve got several terms properties over there, I know, too. We’re making a couple hundred bucks a month on each. I know, this is probably even before you, I bought those for the same amount of money, $100 or $200, and sold it for probably $8,000 or $9,000, for terms.
Jill DeWit: That’s it? I’m going to go $200 to $300, probably, on this one. It’s really what I’m willing to spend. That’s more than I often spend, but it’s Taos.
Jack Butala: What else?
Jill DeWit: This other one’s a great 45 acres in Hudspeth County, Texas. Gosh, I love getting these. I get a couple of these a year that just pop in, and I really love them, and they go so darn fast. Those, I’m intending to spend $3,000, $4,000 I’ll spend on those. I could double my money tomorrow, and quickly.
Jack Butala: Yeah, celebrate your ten.
Jill DeWit: I’ve got people lined up. That’s one of the things that I have. This is stuff, for people who are just joining us, this is all the stuff on our land stay business, which is the-
Jack Butala: Our real business.
Jill DeWit: The real business, that is still in it, doing it every day, buying and selling land. I have a list of my top buyers that I’ve collected over the years. I’ve got detailed in there, I’ll put in there what states they like, what size they like, all that good stuff, so I can easily scan my list when I get these calls and go, “All right, there’s five people right there that I know are looking for anything above 40 acres in this part of the country to call.” That makes it really easy.
I already know I could double it tomorrow and everybody will be all excited. I haven’t decided yet what I want to do with it, because I could sell it on terms. It might be a good terms property. I haven’t really dug into it. But then I could sell it for a lot more.
Jack Butala: If you ran into my office and you said, “Someone just put a gun to my head. I have 45 acres in Hudspeth, Texas, I’m buying it for $4,000, and you need to sell it within the next half hour so nothing bad will happen,” I could go out on the internet … and we teach this in our program. I’m not bragging. I’m just saying this is reality. I can’t sell it to anybody I’ve ever talked to or known before. I have to go out on the internet and find a person.
Jill DeWit: We should do that.
Jack Butala: We should.
Jill DeWit: That would be fun.
Jack Butala: We should do it like a video show.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, just going through the motions and watch you pull it up and reach out to the people and sell it in ten minutes.
Jack Butala: You know what I would do? I would go straight to the people who have like kind property listed on LandAndFarm and Land Watch, and sites like that. Maybe even Zillow and Trulia, if it got down to the last ten minutes, which it wouldn’t. Find people that own property or represent owners for properties in those areas, and I’ll contact them and say, “I’ve got a heck of a deal for you,” and I think we could sell it in inside of 30 minutes.
Jill DeWit: I’m sure that is true.
Jack Butala: Again, I’m not bragging. That’s how easy this is. I’m saying this because one of the … at some point in this podcast, we’re going to talk about the holidays.
Jill DeWit: Oh yeah, we’ll get to that. I’m totally serious. We should do that.
Jack Butala: One of the big questions I get is, or that we get, is, “How do you build up an A-list? How do you build up a buyer list?” This works for houses, too. Send them an offer they can’t refuse, that’s just too great. You’ll have a customer for life.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Jack Butala: That’s cool. I cheated. I looked on the server before we started this podcast to see what’s in there, and there’s a lot of amazing properties in there. Those, I think, stick out to you because you know how fast those are going to sell.
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I kind of prioritize them that way, too. I have so much on my plate.
Jack Butala: There’s some properties further down the list in Nevada. There’s some 40 and 80 acre properties down there that I think maybe I’m a little more familiar with than you are, just from back in the day. I saw the prices that you’re buying them for, and it’s amazing. Nice work.
Jill DeWit: Thank you! Cool. What is the topic today?
Jack Butala: The topic is how the holiday season affects the land business. It’s something that you and I talk about not in front of a microphone, like this. This is what happens: “You know, December’s coming. X,Y,Z. January’s coming. We need to do this, this, and this different.” I figured we’d just do a whole podcast on it and just tell the world, or the six people that listen to this show.
Jill DeWit: Wait, I heard there’s seven!
Jack Butala: There’s like, 22, I think. Hopefully during the holidays we’ll get a few more, because they’re sitting around.
Jill DeWit: I talked to a guy today that actually said that to me on the phone, said, “Hey, Jill, by the way, I’m one of your seven listeners.” I said, “Thank you!” Actually, it was Richard in Florida, so when you’re listening, Richard, thank you.
Jack Butala: What did he say? What did he say about the show?
Jill DeWit: Just that he loves it. It was really good. We were just laughing about it, because he just said, “By the way, I love the show.” He was on the train, I think, and he was listening on his headphones to the show, and he said, “By the way, I’m one of your seven listeners!” Thank you, Richard! That’s awesome.
Jack Butala: Anyway, how the holiday season affects the land business. What do you think, Jill? Just off the top of your head. You think it’s a good thing, a bad thing? Does business speed up, does it slow down? What do you think?
Jill DeWit: Here’s what seems to happen every year. Every year I think, “Oh, good! I’m going to get a break! I can relax a little bit, I can catch up, maybe take a day off, I don’t know” kind of thing for the holidays.
Jack Butala: Take a day off?
Jill DeWit: Right, I know, what was I thinking. This is my thing, I keep thinking it’s going to happen. I think it’s going to slow down, I don’t think it’s a bad thing because we’ve had a great year. It’s never a bad thing. We can kind of regroup, and dive in in January. Every December, I’m just as busy, and I scratch my head, going, “What?” It doesn’t seem to change. Especially right now, it’s so interesting in our world. People, they’re all trying to get out of properties for different reasons at different times, and I think a lot of people around the holidays, maybe it’s the end of the year, they want this off their plates, they’d love to have some cash. I’m having no trouble coming up with acquisitions, and good ones.
Jack Butala: What about sales?
Jill DeWit: That too. Maybe someone’s going to get a piece of land in their stocking! Can you imagine if you open up your stocking … I should do that to you. That would be hilarious. I’m going to have a stocking in the office with a deed in it.
Jack Butala: I have a funny story about that.
Jill DeWit: Hey, we should give our employees, and we’ll just do that, put a deed in there.
Jack Butala: One year, it’s a lot of years ago, I gave properties to several professional friends that I had and still have, the same people. Back then, their kids were really little, and that’s what I gave them. I gave their children land.
Jill DeWit: That’s pretty cool.
Jack Butala: They did put it in their stocking, and the kids opened it and just threw it away and said, “This is silly,” but now actually I had one guy, one guy’s son who’s actually out of college now recently reached out to me and said, “Man, that was just the coolest thing ever. I didn’t realize it at the time,” he was like, ten, and he said, “Thank you.”
Jill DeWit: I think I know who it is.
Jack Butala: Yeah, I know you do.
Jill DeWit: That’s cool. Yeah, at the time, they don’t get it. Parents get it. It’s a good gift.
Jack Butala: Before we sat down to do this show, I did 30 seconds of research on the internet about real estate and the holidays, and this is what I found. I found a bunch of real estate agents writing blogs and all kinds of articles on the internet about how great the holiday seasons are. It’s a great time to sell your house, it’s a great time to buy your house, and I think, and I would love to have your opinion on this, it’s a pile of malarkey, Jill.
I think real estate agents are just hyping the whole thing up and saying, “Oh, it’s great, it’s great, it’s great, it’s great. Everything’s beautiful and perfect.” I have a hard time … our business goes nuts. It goes nuts, because there’s a lot of people with a lot of time on their hands. But I have a tough time believing people are house shopping on December 15th.
Jill DeWit: You know what, I have to tell you, my only experiences with part of that is true, though.
Jack Butala: Okay.
Jill DeWit: Because years ago in Southern California, my mom sold real estate in Orange County. She talks about the day after Christmas, no one would be up front to … you had to have someone man the phones. It was a first team realty back then.
Jack Butala: This was in the ’30s?
Jill DeWit: No! You’re such a stinker! This was in the ’80s. It was in the ’80s. Someone had to man the phones and stuff for whatever days calls would come in. Anyway, no one wanted to do it. She said, “Fine, December 26th, I’ll man the phones.” She got so many hot leads that turned into great sales that she volunteered to do that every year.
Jack Butala: Do you think it’s kind of like … because we all know women make most of the household decisions, thank goodness, but do you think it’s because that’s that they have the time? Let’s check it off the list, regardless of the date on the calendar, let’s just check this thing off my list.
Jill DeWit: Maybe. Christmas is over, we’re going to get in the car, and we’re all going to go drive around, look at some houses, and make some calls or something. I don’t know.
Jack Butala: It’s like that week is the week that all the A-list movies get released in theaters, so maybe it’s because people had time to go see them, I guess.
Jill DeWit: Or, maybe in her case, maybe the point was that everybody else took the time off, so who’s left working gets all the low-hanging fruit.
Jack Butala: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jill DeWit: So whatever it is, whatever it is. I stopped trying to figure it out. I used to see patterns, and it’s hard to find the patterns. It doesn’t matter.
Jack Butala: I have 20 years of experience on this topic. I have 20 November, December, and Januaries under my belt, almost 20. What I’ve seen in our business is that, to technical people out there who want to start a business on the side, or let’s say the Land Academy people specifically, man, they are on fire during that time. This is long, long, long before we even started Land Academy or even thought about starting it. They loved that time by themselves to really get ahead of the curve. That’s what I’ve seen.
I think acquisitions never really stop, but December’s a great time for acquisitions, because if somebody’s got a couple pieces of property laying around and they want money for Christmas presents or whatever they use it, it’s great.
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative), it is great.
Jack Butala: But sales, I have noticed, and I looked back a little bit again before this podcast, sales kind of dip in December, but almost immediately pick up in January.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, I’m going to agree with you. It’s not dramatic. It’s not like we can shut the doors because the phone’s not going to ring.
Jack Butala: Isn’t that great? Why do we do this to ourselves?
Jill DeWit: Because we like it! I like it. I love it. I love my phone ringing with all this property.
Jack Butala: I do too.
Jill DeWit: It’s fun for me, yeah.
Jack Butala: I love my job, do you?
Jill DeWit: I do. It’s not really a job anymore. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle!
Jack Butala: Are you writing a commercial?
Jill DeWit: I think I am. If I was-
Jack Butala: Hey, aren’t you going to be in a play tomorrow or the next day?
Jill DeWit: It’s a Saturday Night Live version of a commercial if I ever do a commercial. It’s going to be something like that, like, “They weren’t really trying to sell us anything there, were they? Because that was funny.”
I am. I’m in two plays on Friday.
Jack Butala: This Friday?
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jack Butala: Tell us, tell us. We’re dying. No, I want to know.
Jill DeWit: No, no, no, let’s move on. No, really, we talked about them before. It’s nothing.
Jack Butala: Are you looking forward to it?
Jill DeWit: I’m totally looking forward to it.
Jack Butala: Do you have stage fright?
Jill DeWit: Oh, not at all. I’m absolutely looking forward to it. I have a rehearsal today to go to, as a matter of fact.
Jack Butala: Do you have a difficult time memorizing lines, or is there anything that comes difficult to you about any of this?
Jill DeWit: Most of it, it’s called off book. When you memorized it, you’re off book. Most of it, I’m off book. There’s a few parts I’m hung up, because one of the scenes I have a big, it’s all about me, and two different people come and go into the scene.
Jack Butala: It’s all about you, Jill.
Jill DeWit: It’s really all about me.
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