Jill’s Take on eBay Land Sales (CFFL 0060)

Jill’s Take on eBay Land Sales (CFFL 0060)

Jack Butala: Jill’s Take on eBay Land Sales. Every single month we give away a property for free. It’s super simple to qualify. Two simple steps. Leave us your feedback for this podcast on iTunes and number two, get the free ebook at landacademy.com, you don’t even have to read it. Thanks for listening.

Jack Butala:                   Jack Butala here for Land Academy. Welcome to the Cash Flow from Land Show. In this episode, Jill and I talk about eBay: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Hey Jill, you know we’ve sold … Hi.

Jill DeWit:                            Hi. That’s the name of a movie, right? The exact title?

Jack Butala:                   It’s a-

Jill DeWit:                            Was that a western?

Jack Butala:                   Yeah, it was a western.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay, thank you. [crosstalk 00:00:19]

Jack Butala:                   We’ve sold thousands of properties on eBay over the years, and I feel super qualified actually to discuss this topic. I bet we can actually have an informative show rather than just you and I bantering and venting about life.

Jill DeWit:                            This is a good topic. This is a great topic and it comes up now and then. I even had a new member yesterday asking me if that’s my number one thing. I thought, “Great question.” It’s not our number one. Once upon a time it was. I was going to talk about eBay then, eBay now, and the future of what I see with eBay.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah. Let me give a little background first. This is how this all started.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   If you get the free e-book, I know I talk about it a little bit in the e-book. I know in the program all of chapter one is devoted to how this whole crazy thing started. I bought a piece of property on eBay from my coffee table a lot of years ago in 1999 I think and dressed it up, changed the maps, cleaned it all up, and sold it for twice as much. I said to myself, “There’s something to this.” We obviously made it into an institutional company.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   Times have changed and I still think it’s a fantastic way to sell property and generate money really consistently. There’s a little bit more work involved these days because customers seemed to have changed. Thousands and thousands of properties are sold, and we still sell property on there every month.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s the thing. Back then when eBay was new and exciting, that was the place. It’s somewhere 15 million dollars … I think it’s between 15 and 16 million dollars-

Jack Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            When you add up … We have those two eBay accounts-

Jack Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            That have completed sales.

Jack Butala:                   We’re the largest land seller on eBay for several years.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   I met …

Jill DeWit:                            Meg.

Jack Butala:                   Meg Whitman, yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Jack Butala:                   You get invited to this thing called … I don’t even remember what it’s called. When you’re a high-volume, high-dollar seller like that, you get invited to this special group.

Jill DeWit:                            I wonder if they even do those anymore.

Jack Butala:                   I’m sure they do.

Jill DeWit:                            Do they? Okay.

Jack Butala:                   This is how I summarize eBay, and then I’m going to turn it over to you. eBay is a great cash-flow mechanism. If you’re short on cash and you own a bunch of property and you need to just blow it out and generate a ton of money quickly, it’s awesome for that. If you want to maximize price and have no headaches at all, eBay’s not the place for you. Take it away Jill. Shortest episode ever.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. That’s it. No, okay, so eBay, then, I just wanted to talk about eBay then was great. It was exciting, it was good. Back then, people they’d win and they’d pay and they were really happy to get the land. They would rush out and get their money orders, cashiers checks, mail them in because I know when you started it was before PayPal.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            I think for a brief while you could use PayPal back then for property, but then they shut that down. They said you can’t use-

Jack Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            PayPal for property, so we just, “It’s no big deal. You can wire me the money-

Jack Butala:                   Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jill DeWit:                            Or mail me a check. That’s fine too.” We would do that, and everybody was really good and excited and happy. It was a great, great thing. It’s changed now. Back then, I almost think it was a … I don’t know how to say it. Like a sellers’ paradise, and they really were supportive, I think, of the sellers. Unfortunately, I don’t feel that, and it’s kind of changed. We don’t have the same … You can’t call and get someone on the phone-

Jack Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Like you used to.

Jack Butala:                   There’s no customer service on that.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah. The customer service, sadly, has changed, and I don’t know why. I don’t know if they’re focused on other things, and our numbers have changed. Where we used to have-

Jack Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            30 of them running at a time-

Jack Butala:                   That’s right.

Jill DeWit:                            Now I have one or two at a time.

Jack Butala:                   Here’s how it works. eBay is an auction site if you don’t know what it is. Real estate’s just an afterthought there. It’s typically a place to auction off like excess inventory, or they’re very focused on cars because that’s a huge revenue source for them.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   I learned this a lot of years ago. eBay Motors is their main source of revenue.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s really-

Jack Butala:                   Everything else is just to drive traffic toward that.

Jill DeWit:                            That was an afterthought too. Wasn’t it? [crosstalk 00:05:02] Wasn’t it originally about … Okay, because when I remember eBay coming out, I heard people like, [crosstalk 00:05:07] “I bought this rug on eBay” and things like that. [crosstalk 00:05:10]

Jack Butala:                   It was initially started by a guy to auction off Beanie Babies, which I don’t even know what they are. They’re like little dolls or something, right?

Jill DeWit:                            You don’t know what Beanie Babies are?

Jack Butala:                   (negative).

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, wow. That’s a good thing.

Jack Butala:                   What are they?

Jill DeWit:                            It’s really good thing. It’s this little stuffed animal thing. I’m going to get you a Beanie Baby.

Jack Butala:                   Please don’t.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. It’d be for you to throw against the wall if you need to. That’s what it’s going to be.

Jack Butala:                   That would be in the first minute of when I own it. Yeah, so you auction stuff off. Our whole thing always has been you get the maps together, you get the … We branded ourselves, you know?

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   You get the maps together, you get pictures, make it look really good, inform the buyer, and we would do what’s called a one dollar, no reserve auction. We would literally take like 40 acres, for example, and start the auction off at one dollar and with no reserves. Whatever the high bid was, that’s what they paid.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   If it was five dollars, that’s what they paid. If it was $50,000, that’s what they paid. It worked great. It worked great for years and years and years up until like, I don’t know, 2009 or ’10.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Jack Butala:                   From like ’99 to … I mean, we had a great ten year run there. I’m not saying it’s over at all. We still sell property there. It just doesn’t generate, for whatever reason, it does not generate the prices that it used to.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, I think, too, now there’s other great sites out there.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah. I think that’s the-

Jill DeWit:                            We have Bid for Assets, [crosstalk 00:06:34] which is another thing. We have Land Watch, we have Land and Farm, we all have our own websites, some people have even … I’ve seen on some real estate individuals doing their own auctions on their own websites and trying to make their own little excitement. I’m like, “That’s a good idea.” Who knows? Test it, try it. I’ve seen that.

eBay now, it’s just basically, it’s not my go-to place. I don’t go there to maximize revenue. It’s just not what it used to be. It’s just changed, and that’s okay because it is now, instead of being my number one way to sell property, it’s one of my many ways to sell property.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            I have like seven things. I have my website, I have eBay, I have all those things that we just talked about, I email my buyers. That’s one avenue. All kinds of great things. That’s where we are. What am I going to do with eBay in the future? For right now, I think there’s still enough activity on eBay that you don’t want to discount eBay, don’t want to kick them to the curb and not use them-

Jack Butala:                   That’s right.

Jill DeWit:                            But use it in a different way. Use it as an advertising. Really, that’s how I utilize eBay now and what I see in the future with this. I plan to always have at least one property, something up there. I think you had the e-book on there at one time too. I don’t know if it’s on there. You did. You might still have the e-book on eBay. I’m not kidding.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah, I think … Actually, I know we do.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s a great advertising [crosstalk 00:08:15]

Jack Butala:                   That’s what it’s for. We’ve covered what’s bad about it.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   What’s good about it is it’s great place to drive traffic to your website to sell property.

Jill DeWit:                            I don’t want to say it’s bad. It’s just that it’s changed.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s all it is. If you can’t roll with these changes, oh my gosh. You have to roll with the changes.

Jack Butala:                   I’ll tell a beautiful story. We give away property with … A lot of times, we give away property with our programs. We run a promotion, and so it’s very common that our members will get the free property, and to recuperate a substantial portion of the cost of the programs, they will just liquidate the property on eBay.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   There’s several cases where people have purchased our program and received the free property, auctioned it off on eBay, and made more money than the program actually costs.

Jill DeWit:                            Cost of the program. That’s the whole point of the program.

Jack Butala:                   A couple cases have doubled it.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s the whole point of the free property too is to teach you how to do this. That’s what they’re learning.

Jack Butala:                   Right.

Jill DeWit:                            When you buy our program and if you get a free property, you already have something to use to test: how do I make an ad, what do I make it look like, I’m learning how to make the photos, I’m doing it. You have a free property to practice on, if you will. Oh, and by the way, it’s a real property, so you get some money back from that. It’s really good.

Jack Butala:                   Right.

Jill DeWit:                            The future, for me, for us and our company right now with eBay, is advertising. I use that as a way and I know that it happens. I know people find on eBay, they’re looking at the property, and they’re like, “Huh, what is Land Stay,” and then they go look at the property.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            They might even find Land Academy from eBay.

Jack Butala:                   Right.

Jill DeWit:                            You never know, but I think most people, they’re looking to buy property and then they’re going to get to my website, which is going to be awesome here in the next several weeks. I can’t wait.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            They’re going to just come to my website, and there’s going to be more property for them to choose from, and it’s going to be awesome. They can buy it straight from me, so that’s-

Jack Butala:                   Here’s another thing that’s great with eBay, and I’ve done this recently. You can buy property. This is what I used to do, and I did it probably a couple times this 2015. You go one there and you bid on some property or you don’t bid on it. You just watch the auction and it ends. Then you know a certain percentage of time. If it doesn’t end for a lot, if you sit there and look at the screen and say, “Hey, well heck. I would have paid that for that property”-

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Jack Butala:                   You contact the seller, and you say, “Hey, if the guy that won this auction doesn’t pay you,” we know from experience probably half the time now they back out of the sale or it’s a substantial number.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s gone back up. I got to tell you. It’s kind of funny.

Jack Butala:                   Say, “Hey, if this guy doesn’t show up to pay, I’ll pay you.”

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   It’s already like the price has been negotiated already for you, and if it’s an acceptable one, and when I say acceptable I mean knocking it out of the park awesome cheap, then you just show up and pay anyway.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Jack Butala:                   Then, what’s great is you can … eBay is a great place to buy property for cash, and then resell it in a different venue on terms.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   If you don’t to go through the whole thing of setting up mailers and if you want to just absolutely not listen to Jill and I and wreck your real estate career, you can go onto eBay. If you just want to jump-start the whole thing in addition to mailers, you can just go on eBay and pay two or three or five hundred bucks for a good property that you’ve already reviewed because they the maps on there and sell it on terms.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah. Bingo.

Jack Butala:                   It’s not all bad.

Jill DeWit:                            Know what’s funny though?

Jack Butala:                   It’s a good tool.

Jill DeWit:                            I have some funny stories about eBay.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah. Give me some good customer service stories.

Jill DeWit:                            The first time one of our members … It’s a little scary when you’re putting a property that you know is worth even a couple thousand dollars. Let’s just say you have a property you know is worth a thousand bucks. That’s how it’s going to end, but you’re actually putting on your … You’re creating your listing and you’re about to push the button to make it live on eBay for everybody to start bidding on, and you’re putting it out there for 30 days starting at 99 cents. It’s funny because our members, they’re looking to us like, “Am I crazy? Are you really” … I’m like, “Yes, do it, do it, do it. Push the button. Trust me. It’s going to be fine.” It is.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s funny because even the day before and it always happens at the end.

Jack Butala:                   The last hour of the auction is when it picks up all this steam.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. It’s the funniest to sit and watch. I used to watch it because it was just kind of funny. Now it’s like, “Oh, whatever.” It’s hilarious to do that and to watch it, and then, again, it won’t have a lot of action for a while, but you’re like, “Huh, there’s 150 watchers and there’s six bids.” You know that they’re waiting until Sunday when that thing ends, and they’re all going to go crazy at the end, which is really how it goes. It’s funny.

Jack Butala:                   If you’ve got 150 watchers, then that’s 150 people who are interested in buying land. That’s a great way to also buildup a list.

Jill DeWit:                            Good point.

Jack Butala:                   There’s a lot of good things about eBay, and it gets knocked around a lot lately.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   I remember on SuccessPlant talk about it as if it’s evil, and you can’t bank on … Here’s the pros and cons. You can literally … Let’s say you have 50 properties in your inventory and you can sit there and look at a calendar and say, “I’m going to post one of these properties.” It’s very predictable. “I have 50 properties, I’m going to sell them all over the course of let’s say two or three months, I’m looking how much I’m going to make.” You can almost predict how much that it will sell for and see what your bank balance is going to be. You figure 50 to 80 percent of the people are going to pay, not every single time. You know what the fees are, so you can literally just look at a calendar and say, “You know what? With this inventory, I am going to make” … Who can say that with real estate because there can be so many unknowns about when property sells.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   There’s properties on the MLS that are there for years. They don’t sell.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Jack Butala:                   What you give up is maximizing price, but what you get is real consistent results.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   That’s how I like to look at it. There are people who cannot get over the fact that property, that maximizing price is not the most important thing in real estate.

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