Land Academy Member Michel Steele (CFFL 431)
Jack Butala: Jack Butala with Jill DeWit.
Jill DeWit: Hi.
Jack Butala: Welcome to our show, today. In this episode, Jill and I talk with Land Academy member, [Michel Steele 00:00:07]. Before we get into the interview, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the Land Investors Online Community. It’s free.
Jill DeWit: Okay. Michael A. asks, “Hi, friends. I’m still trying to close my first deal, so money is tight. For those of you who are getting momentum, are you subscribing to all three of these websites? Where are most of your sales coming from? Thanks.”
If someone got on the page I’m sure it shows the sites, but Kevin started to answer it for him right here, anyway. He wrote, “Michael, I advertise everywhere that it’s free: Land Watch,” which is not free, but cheap. I mean, just to do one or two.
Jack Butala: It’s free for one or two.
Jill DeWit: Is it free?
Jack Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: I thought it was 30 bucks for up to a couple.
Jack Butala: I’m not sure. They change it. You know, they changed it.
Jill DeWit: I’ll have to check, yeah. “Land Pin” – because if you’re a member, that’s free – “Zillow and Craigslist, along with social media. I’ve not subscribed to the paid sites, yet.”
Jack Butala: Yeah, here’s my two cents on this. Use Facebook. Use Facebook. Use Facebook. Use Facebook, because we sell a ton of property there, and so do our members, and that doesn’t cost anything.
Jill DeWit: You know what?
Jack Butala: It’s geographic specific and industry specific. Yeah, he breezed over it, social media. Plus, I can’t underestimate the value of Craigslist. Craigslist is just, that is a go-to place, especially on terms.
Jill DeWit: You know, I’ve noticed some members getting hung up on it, because you have to make your postings a little bit different when you do stuff on Craigslist. If you just copy and paste the same thing, then they will shut it down, so you have to make it a little bit different and unique. That’s okay, you can do that.
Jack Butala: Today, Jill and I talk with Michel Steele.
Jill DeWit: Today, Jack and I are going to be having a really fun chat with Michel Steele, one of our Land Academy members. Welcome, Michel. Glad you are here.
Michel Steele: Thank you for having me. It’s a honor and a pleasure.
Jill DeWit: Thank you. I love that our …
Jack Butala: This is a coast-to-coast call, Jill, I think.
Jill DeWit: Oh, that’s true. I’m on the West Coast. Michel, where are you in Florida?
Michel Steele: All the way at the bottom, South Florida.
Jill DeWit: I love it. Well just as we were doing our little sound check here, you started to allude to the reason you’re so cheery is, you were looking at your numbers, so hey, let’s lead off with that. You want to share what you were looking at recently?
Michel Steele: Well yeah, the interesting thing, since you guys had invited me to speak with you, is that it made me actually go look at the numbers closer because I wanted to be prepared for the podcast so I was not like saying, “Oh you know, I did this, I did that.”
This is going all the way back to the beginning when we started, which is like 2015. My wife hears this podcast, she’s probably going to be looking at me like, “Where’s the money?” I was very reserved about talking about this, but I got to put it out there just for all the new members. Yeah, right? Not in my driveway, I can tell you that much.
The total sales, when I group all of our total sales-and we started in the very beginning right before I actually met Jill on Bigger Pockets-we started with some tax seeds from another program, which was very … didn’t give much information or leadership, but just enough to kind of guide you in the right direction. We kind of started hot and heavy with the tax seeds and then had met Jill through a conversation on Bigger Pockets, and I saw your little logo and I looked it up, and I bought the program right away.
All said and done, since … November 17 of 2015 all the way up until this week, or last week, the 20th of March it’s at 88,674.
Jill DeWit: Wow.
Jack Butala: Wow.
Michel Steele: [inaudible 00:04:14] Yes, and I might be on a divorce podcast next week, but …
Jill DeWit: I love it.
Jack Butala: All right so, how much property do you own though, that you haven’t sold free and clear on top of this 88,000?
Michel Steele: Right now, to back up a little bit, the gross total sales as far as flips is about 38,000 and then we have, right now I think it’s about seven or eight term deals that we’re doing. Of course the term deals kind of tie up your capital because you’re waiting for them to pay it off, but on our term deals we’re taking in right now, right around $900 a month. We have a lot of them. It’s a nice little, you know …
The way I look at the 900 right now as we’re building it up is it’s paying our pro membership, the land and farm stuff, some of those memberships and stuff. Now this year, which I told my wife’s kind of our breakout year, is that I want to look at doing more turnovers. Still doing some terms but focusing more on building up the capital.
Jack Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: Love it, love it. What’s been your, do you have like one deal that stands out that really, you said, “Oh my gosh, this is it.”
Michel Steele: Just one?
Jill DeWit: Oh good, tell us! [crosstalk 00:05:48] Thank you.
Michel Steele: When we first started one of the first ones that the light bulb kind of went off, was we had bought a property on a tax seed for $2,300 and sold it for 7,000 cash. I actually drove up there to meet them, which was like three hours away, and in the beginning we were … I’m not going to say driving for dollars, [inaudible 00:06:16], we were driving to the property and taking pictures, and then after the first couple of them and getting into your program I was like, “Wait a minute, why am I driving around?” So we just started taking stuff from the internet.
We met the guy up there, the older guy that just wanted to park a trailer on there, and I took my wife with me. It took, actually it took up until today I think that she’s really starting to realize what’s going on. The opportunity with the business, because this morning, it’s such a beautiful day. That’s why I’m so happy. She called me, or she actually sent me a text when I was on my way to work and she said, “What do we need to buy that 38 acre property that you were talking about?”
Now this 38 acre property, right now I’m selling it with an auction, so we didn’t really have the funds to buy it so I said, “Hey, do you want to auction the purchase?” and the guy said, “Sure.” I’ve gotten a lot of, it’s on Land Pin. I’ve gotten a lot of traffic about it, and the reason why I say it was a beautiful day because this is kind of like the first time that she actually said like, “What can we do to get this property?”
She’s kind of been in the background. One thing that you guys do that I don’t think people really realize-because there’s a lot of who work, and a lot of people who are married or have girlfriends-is that you have to really establish what lane you’re going to be in because otherwise, you’re going to just … you’ll be miserable, you know? So I kind of handle the data and making all the money right now. She kind of handles all the website stuff and working with my son, because I didn’t have the patience to deal with my son and the website. You really have to develop a lane whether you’re a partner with someone and they’re a active partner or they’re not, so you can keep moving forward, because we’ve had our conversations over the year … That’s all I’m going to say, we’ve had our conversations over the year. [crosstalk 00:08:31]
Jill DeWit: We have a few of those.
Michel Steele: Yeah, so that was the first one. More recently-and you guys talked about it on one of your podcasts-is that I had bought from a mailer. Now, we only did one mailer all year and we sent out 3,000 … 3,500 I believe it was in the end of September last year. I sent it to, I think it was four different counties. Some of the counties were crickets.
North Carolina I only got two properties from, and it was a guy who had like $250 back taxes on each one. They were only like 0.80 acres and 0.89 acres. He said, “Okay, give me 300 since there’s back taxes,” and we talked for a while. I sent them the money, and then when the transaction was happening he said, “I just got a letter from somebody that offered me 3,000,” and he said, “Can you do any better?”
The whole time that me and him were talking, going back and forth, his girlfriend-and this guy is like in his 70s-his girlfriend’s in the background, “He’s trying to rip you off! He’s taking you to the cleaners!” And he’s telling her to, “Shut up!” It was kind of comical, you know. We agreed, so when the transaction was going to happen that’s when he said, “Hey, I got a letter for 3,000. Can you do any better?” What I told him was, “I’ll go back to my original offer, which was $500.” I was doing $500 a acre, so it was under an acre. I said, “That’s all I can do.”
He said, “Okay, well since we talked and I agreed to sell it to you, I’ll take it.” So we redid the transaction, I got the properties, he sent me a nice letter. He actually buys bibles with the money that he’s going to get from the sale. I put it on eBay [crosstalk 00:10:33].
Jack Butala: He buys bibles. That’s a new one.
Michel Steele: He actually, what they’re doing is, I think they get bibles and they send them out to everybody. He’s not collecting them. He’s sending them to people. I know [inaudible 00:10:46] a little weird, “He buys bibles, okay. Hmm …”
Jack Butala: I give all my money to charity, too, by the way.
Michel Steele: [crosstalk 00:10:57] So those properties, I’ve been a eBay user off and on in the very beginning, and I know you guys talked about it. What I do on eBay is, I’ve learned, I go in and I do a 30 day auction for the down payment. I start at a dollar and these two particular properties-and this just happened in the last month-the first one I sold was the 0.80 acres. I put it on eBay, I actually went online and found this way to do it. You guys are probably familiar with it, the whole super user template, but I just take some stuff out of it so it doesn’t come up as a super user on eBay.
It was $6,000, so I paid 750 all in and I [crosstalk 00:11:46] $6,000 on terms. You’re bidding for the down payment. Down payment got up to 6,030. I contacted this woman who actually lives in Fort Meyers, Florida, and she said, “I don’t want to do terms. I just want to pay it off this week.” I was like, “Okay.” I gave her my banking information, she sent me a bank wire, and I was done.
The second one, which was 0.89 acres, I put that up for $6,500 on terms. This time, though, I had actually put it up starting big $100 and the reason why is, I had did a dollar and had it actually already sold before. The winning bid was $20. Now when someone wins a bid for $20, you’re probably not going to hear from them again. I had to go through the hassle of, I was going back and forth with the guy, sending him [inaudible 00:12:37], all the documents, the land contract … I finally told him, “If you’re not going to execute this, we’re done.” I refunded his money, I put it back in eBay.
That one I started at $100 because I figured, “$100? No one wants to lose $100. $20, yeah, they’ll walk away from that.” It was kind of slow, but towards the end there was three people fighting for it. At the end of the bid, the winning bid for the down payment was $2,025 which already was triple my money, and then the guy said, “Hey, send me an invoice.” I said, “You do realize that it’s 6,500, not 2,025?” He goes, “Oh I know. Invoice me for the whole 6,500.” I sent him an invoice-because I use FreshBooks-sent him an invoice and he paid the whole thing off, and that was it.
Jill DeWit: Nice.
Jack Butala: Awesome.
Jill DeWit: That’s so fantastic. I love it.
Jack Butala: eBay’s [crosstalk 00:13:34].
Michel Steele: That’s why [crosstalk 00:13:34].
Jack Butala: You’d think by the time you’re 70 that you’d generally work out some of the relationship problems that you have earlier in your life. There’s not a woman in the background yelling at you, you know?
Jill DeWit: Maybe she wasn’t 70, though.
Jack Butala: Yeah, maybe she was 22.
Jill DeWit: That’s what I’m wondering.
Jack Butala: 22 and still a little bit angry.
Michel Steele: You know Jack, when you talk about relationships, one thing that I learned from Jill with dealing with customers is, I try and develop the relationship with the person that I’m trying to buy from. It’s worked well, even the ones that I sell too, because they’re all thanking me, but particularly on my acquisitions side.
To give an example, right now I’m talking with a gentleman from the September mailer. When you guys said, “We get mail from years later, years later,” I kind of heard you, but I’ve actually seen it, although it’s not years later where I’ve picked up a lot of property in the last month from the September mailer. This guy here-this is a big deal so I’m probably going to be calling you soon Jack, to kind of go over it-but this is in Colorado. It’s 11 parcels, and he got my initial offer and he called me, and we kind of went back and forth.
It’s 11 five acre parcels, and they’re all connected. It’s almost like he bought this whole area. We settled on, I believe it was like 375 an acre, it came out to 1875 per five acres. It even gets better because four of the parcels already had wells on them, so I sent him a purchase agreement a couple weeks ago and I just got it back. This guy, he’s an older gentleman, his wife’s going through some medical stuff so I said, “Listen,” we talked several times. I said, “Look, take care of your wife. When that’s all done then we can work on this deal, but your family’s more important,” so when I sent him the purchase agreement I [inaudible 00:15:47] get-well card for his wife. He signed the purchase agreement, he sent it back.
He sent it back with a copy of the four well permits and a plat map for the whole area that these properties sit on. That deal, I’m going to pick those up for like 17,948 for the whole caboodle. There’s two of them, like a one acre, 1.6 acres, and like 0.[inaudible 00:16:14]. It’s kind of like a sliver that’s attached to the side of the lot. He said, “Make sure you get those,” he doesn’t know why they sell them like that. I’m going to pick those up in, I’m thinking if I’m conservative, I could probably make on top of what I paid, like $30,000.
Jack Butala: Yeah, that’s conservative. That’s [crosstalk 00:16:40]
Jill DeWit: Isn’t that amazing? Well, and you’re right. Thank you Michel for pointing out that personal touch, because it does make a difference. Now the guy, he really wants to pay it forward for you. He’s probably hoping that, “I hope you make a lot of money off this. You’re getting this off my plate, and I need the cash right now for whatever reason,” and there you go. That’s so good.
Jack Butala: Yesterday I was in the grocery store, and Jill and I had a scheduled business meeting on the phone so I called her and I said, but then we talked about all of our business and right at the end of the call I said, “Hey, whatever happened with the guy that you were talking to that owns those 190 lots down in Southwestern Arizona?” and she said, “What do you think happened?”
I said, “I don’t know. I forgot about it.” Turns out-and Jill forgot to mention it-that she purchased 190 lots for 200 bucks each. They’re all like, mobile home lots. We’re going to clear, I did the math on my phone real fast, we’re going to clear probably a quarter of a million bucks conservatively on this whole deal within, I don’t know, 60 – 90 days.
Jill’s method … So I said, “That’s just unreal that it’s an afterthought for you.” What she … Then she went in and said, “The guy called me back.” I said, “What do you mean?” She said, “I called the guy on the stuff, we tentatively put together sort of a deal, and then it just went dark for a while,” and she waited, and waited, and waited, and the guy called her back. That’s when she struck because, when a seller calls you back, they are ready to put deal together. If you just wait it out-if you sound eager, it’s not going to work as well.
That’s the kind of stuff that, I call it Jillification. She Jillified the deal.
Michel Steele: Absolutely. I had one like that, too, similar where the guy … He sent me the purchase agreement back in September and he wrote on it, “I can’t take any less than $1,000,” but there was so much calls going on I kind of looked at it and threw it in the file. Back in, I think it might’ve been December, January, I actually went back and called some of the people that sent me these letters.
I called him and said, “I saw that you said you wouldn’t take more than 1,000. I’d like to talk to you about it,” and I didn’t hear from him for like a whole month. Then he just called me a couple weeks ago and I said, “Hey, so you won’t take-I’m reading your letter now,” and he goes, “Yeah I can’t take less than 1,000.” I said, “Will you take 1,200?” and he said, “Yeah.”
It’s 3.29 acres in Alamosa, Colorado, with a canal running along the whole west side of the property. Now Jill’s going to like this one because I know Jill’s … I’m a podcast addict. I’ve got all, I’ve listened-you guys can’t put them out fast enough for me. [crosstalk 00:19:39] Because I drive a lot for work, so …
It’s got a canal on one side. What happened was I had another property that the two people were kind of going back and forth, and one got it, and the other guy, I told the guy, “It’s going to go fast,” but he was doing his due diligence so I said, “Well I have this other one.” This is when I talked to this guy after the 3.2 acre one. He said, “Okay, when’s it available?” And this happened last Friday.
So I talked to the, I sent the money on Friday overnight to the mobile notary for Saturday this past weekend. I talked to this buyer on Friday, I said, “It’s available right now because I’m paying for it.” And he waited, and he waited over the weekend. I posted it, I went and did my little posting on the internet, and I sent him links. I sent him the link to it because I was offering him less than what I posted it for.
I told him, “Since you just lost that deal, I’ll give it to you for 3,000, but I’m posting this for 3,500 cash.” So he said, “Can I still get it at that price that you told me?” and I said, “Only if you do it on Monday.” On Monday the notary met the guy that I bought the property for 1,200 and probably 30, 45 minutes later the buyer paid for the down payment on the term.
Jill DeWit: Beautiful.
Michel Steele: That’s my record right there. 45 minutes to an hour. Before that it was a couple of days.
Jill DeWit: Isn’t that awesome? That is the best.
Jack Butala: I don’t think I can top that story, Jill. I don’t know if we’ve ever sold anything in 45 minutes.
Jill DeWit: I love that. Well, there’s a few that before-as you’re negotiating the-I’ve gotten that pickle by the way, you got to be careful sometimes. I’ve started to go to some of my A-list people and they’re like, “Yeah, I want this one, this one, and this one,” and then something happens and it’s like, “Oh, whoops!”
Michel Steele: Yeah, exactly.
Jill DeWit: That was perfect. You had the money already in the guy’s hand, so you were good to go. I love it. You showed him, “Look buddy, you know …” I love that situation, “Hey, if you want it, I’ll take it. You’re in or you’re out. This is it, I’m moving on.” And they’re like, “Okay, okay, I want it.” There you go.
Michel Steele: Yeah, because I adopted Jack’s three call rule. This is why, I try to listen to all your podcasts because people don’t realize, there’s a lot of podcasts-and I won’t talk about your mortal enemy because I’ve listened to his sometimes-that they talk a lot, and they have guests on their show, but they don’t give any information.
You can get some information from their guests, but they’re not actually telling you how they’re doing it or little tips and tricks of how you can do it, or what you need to do.
Jack Butala: All right, Michel. You’re a guest on our show. Give us some tips and tricks.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Michel Steele: Tips and tricks! Well, here’s a tip, and I see a lot of people have been doing it in our group, is that when you’re posting your property, I have a rule that I like to post at least five pictures. Five to six pictures. I see a lot of people, they’ll just post like a card stock picture up there and say, “Blah blah blah acres,” and that’s it.
What I try and do is I post the one picture, I go to Google Earth, I’ll draw like a map, you know, “From here, this is a tourist attraction in the area. It’s only 30 minutes from here,” with the actual directions on there. The access road, a picture of the access road, stuff like that. I think, because the picture tells a thousand words but what I typically see is that people will email me going back to Jack’s three question rule, and they’re asking me questions that are in my description.
What I started doing was I replied to them the first time, and I say, “Mister or Misses, we’re here to help. Any questions that you have, is there anything outside of what we included in the description that you would like to know?” Because I’ve got to a point where I put everything in there that I know people have asked over the years, so it’s kind of like, if it’s that far away out I probably don’t want to deal with the person anyway.
I have one woman that wanted to buy some property and asked me if she could have pigs on it or something. I was just like, “I don’t know. I don’t know if you can have a pig farm on your property,” you know? I’m sure you guys have heard it all, too.
Jack Butala: [crosstalk 00:24:36] Jill, what are some of the craziest questions you’ve ever gotten?
Jill DeWit: Oh my goodness, yeah it is kind of funny. I’m trying to think, but yeah, sometimes people will call up with the, like this one, and there’s things they’re just even thinking about, down the road for retirement and then they go into these retirement conversations and I’m like, “What are we talking about?”
You’re right, I’ve got some-I can’t think of anything right now off the top of my head, like the pig one, but it is interesting what people think of. You know now Michel, you get real good early on at going, “All right, total tire kicker,” because the very best one are the ones that just say, “Hi, can I wire this? Do you want me to do a check? I didn’t find a place to pay online.” Those are the ones that you’re like, “Oh, okay. Here’s how we’re going to do this.”
Michel Steele: Absolutely.
Jill DeWit: They don’t even need a purchase agreement, they look you up, they know this is legit and they’re ready to go.
Michel Steele: The other tip is, use your resources. I’m in a GroupMe chat with, there’s a handful of high-level members as I put it, and Luke’s one of them on this GroupMe chat. I feel like a little sprout, whatever you want to call it, when I’m looking at some of the stuff that they’re talking about. Use your resources because I see some people-the internet, and I know this is down Jack’s lane-there’s so much information on the internet.
Granted you have to look-you can’t believe everything you read, but there’s a lot of stuff that you can get from the internet. Being a Pro member there’s a lot of stuff. I use Title Pro all the time. Once I acquire a property I actually go in there and look at it on there, sometimes before I even run a report, and I’ll kind of look and see where it’s at. Then I’ll get the GPS because to me, it’s worth the cost-like if I go over the 10 a month-it’s worth the cost of seeing exactly where it’s at versus trying to guess.
You have to really use your resources. The stuff that you guys offer-I told Jack, I don’t know if you remember this. We had a call when I first started-
Jack Butala: I do.
Michel Steele: One thing Jack said to me that still sticks in my mind is that, “This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.” Because when I first started I was all over the place, all over the place. I remember, I was telling Jack about some of the programs I bought, and there was one that came wired with this seal on it. It has this big red and white note saying, “If you open this you can’t return it, and blah blah,” all this, you know.
I was thinking about it today on my way home and I said, “You know, people like that, that have those programs are afraid because they know it doesn’t work.” They want to make sure that if you open it, you’re stuck.
Jack Butala: That’s not cool.
Michel Steele: Yeah, yeah. I’ve had, I’ve got, I’m looking up at them now on my bookshelf. They make good bookends.
Jill DeWit: Send a picture of that, I’d love to see that.
Michel Steele: I bought a few in the beginning like anybody who drinks the entrepreneurial Kool-Aid or wants to get into real estate, but the one thing I will say, anybody that’s listening, that this works. It works as much as you put into it. If you’re serious about having a business you have to decide, “Do I want a business, or do I want a hobby, or do I just want to get my dream location?”
I just talked to someone yesterday, and about four or five months ago, she sold her house. She’s at one of my accounts. She’s like, “I want to flip a house,” she’s like dying to flip a house. I told her what I was doing, she’s like, “Oh.” I told her, “Go to successplant.com, blah blah blah.” I just saw her yesterday. “Oh Michel, what tips can you give me? I’m trying to get a house, they’re outbidding me, blah blah blah.” I looked at her, I was like, “Why are you trying to buy a house? Why don’t you just flip land?”
I told her again, I gave her successplant.com. I said, “If you want to join, you better hurry up because they’re going to close the door to buy the program,” and I kind of talked to her a little bit about it. I think people who are into real estate-not so much real estate, but got caught up in the whole flipping thing-they just don’t get it. They just don’t see it.
Jill DeWit: True.
Jack Butala: Well you know, it’s not sexy. Flipping land is not, you know, you can’t change the color of the paint and stuff. A lot of people want to do that for some reason.
Jill DeWit: My bank account’s pretty sexy. How’s [crosstalk 00:29:42]
Michel Steele: I was just going to say, that money’s sexy.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, I don’t have a problem with that.
Jack Butala: It makes me [crosstalk 00:29:49].
Michel Steele: Yeah. I just told her too, like I told you guys, that the single family split that we did, it just got finished I think about three weeks ago. The investor I’m dealing with is a really, really close friend. He’s been doing these for years, and this is one that raised his eyebrow. Now it’s just now going to where we’re selling it. We have like $48,000 into that.
I’m kind of glad it happened because it made me become more resourceful with the money I had, like throughout this year, and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned how to run the land business, and buy and sell. If I had all that money I probably would’ve just been buying piles of trash somewhere, not really being more frugal with it.
Jack Butala: It’s great after a few-our best customers are just like you, Michel. They flip a couple of houses and then they try it. If you flip land-if you’re listening to this and you flip houses-flipping land is about 300,000 times easier. It’s a great customer for us to have because they go the distance.
Michel Steele: Right, yep. I got a really cool story. I bought two properties from Jill, or you guys, back in … oh goodness, it was like the early 2016. I bought two of them, they were 0.51 acres. Then I got the one from the program, and I sold those on term. The one woman got those two together-they weren’t really together, they were close in proximity but she put them on term together.
She contacted me last week and said, “I really can’t do it.” She’s a single mother, she’s like, “I really can’t continue paying.” She had paid for one, so I said, “I’ll just take it back and I’ll give you the deed for that one.” The same day, the other guy who I sold the free property on terms to said, “Hey, do you got anything else near my area?” I said, “Yeah, matter of fact I do.” I showed it to him, and he said, “I’ll take it,” and I actually charged him twice as much as I was charging her.
Jack Butala: Does he buy bibles?
Michel Steele: No, no, but he’s from Canada.
Jack Butala: Oh, he’s Canadian then.
Michel Steele: Yeah, Canadian, yeah.
Jack Butala: I don’t even know if they have bibles in Canada.
Michel Steele: A lot of stuff happened last week. It was kind of crazy. Between her, me selling that one in like 45 minutes, and then she’s saying, “I can’t continue paying,” and he says, “I’ll pick it up.”
I got people from some of the websites I use-well there’s only one. We’re not going to talk about the other one. There’s two I use. Land Pin, Land and Farm. They’re the one we’re not talking about.
Jack Butala: Oh, that’s very good, okay.
Jill DeWit: Oh yeah.
Michel Steele: Yeah, yeah. A lot of what I do is like, if someone’s trying to get it and they look serious, and they just miss out, like I did. I email them and I say, “Hey, I just got this one. I haven’t put it out yet. It’s hot off the press, the ink hasn’t dried. Are you interested?” If not then I just move on, I just keep going.
Jill DeWit: Isn’t that great? Then you don’t have to go through the process of posting it and doing all that, too. It’s like, “Great, done, sold.” Love it! Love it.
Jack Butala: Yeah, we have to get the bad taste of posting out of our mouths, Jill, because this new [inaudible 00:33:28] product we’re releasing, it’s going to change the whole thing. Personal fact will take what used to take like half of a day posting property, and it takes five minutes.
It’s going to take a while for us to understand and use it the way that it needs to be used to really say, “It’s not that big of a deal to post again.”
Jill DeWit: I’m going to say right now, we have a release date of May 1.
Michel Steele: All right!
Jack Butala: Jill got angry this morning in a IT meeting-
Jill DeWit: I did.
Jack Butala: And said, “We need a date, people. We need a release date, period. That’s all there is to it.” They finally conceded, just like she does with the sellers. We all [crosstalk 00:34:08] conceded and said, “We commit to the date.” What is the date anyway, Jill? I forget already.
Jill DeWit: May 1. You’ll see today on our-that’s the first one. Today on our call a little while later, Michel, we’re going to go over some of the stuff that I’ve updated. LandInvestors.com on the Resources page. If anybody wants to see, we have a pretty much one a month, major release happening starting in May, and it’s going to be awesome. It’s all the tools that you Michel, we need, everybody needs to automate this, do more deals, and make more.
Jack Butala: Exactly.
Michel Steele: Awesome. Let’s talk about the ugly. [crosstalk 00:34:51] In doing my numbers and-what Jack was talking about with the flipping houses-I have a ROI column. When I look down the column there’s nothing under-well the lowest is 118%, and the highest is 866%. We’ve done a total of 24 deals, and this is the thing, I didn’t realize it.
I’ve been kind of working full time and going full steam, and when you guys said, “Come on the podcast,” I said, “I got to get my … I got to look like I know what I’m talking about.” I really honestly didn’t realize how many deals we had done. That’s why I said I’m going to be on a divorce podcast next week.
The only one that’s red out of all my 24 deals, is I lost $18.50 and that was because it was in the very beginning and I had, I think I had six properties on eBay. I had all these people coming at me from different directions, and someone countered. This one, I was just selling, it was just a straight-up 30 day auction. They countered, and when I realized it, they countered me what I actually paid for the property. I was pissed. I’m still mad when I look at it because it’s like a little dot of red showing up on my spreadsheet.
The reason why I lost is because of the eBay fee. They actually had a cousin that worked in a lawyer’s office, so they’re paying on term, but they wanted to go through the whole closing and all that. I told them, “I am not spending another dime. You can walk away, but I-” because she had sent me the paperwork and said, “It’s $100.”
I said, “No. They got this property for what I paid for, I’m just going to honor it because that’s just kind of how I am. I’m not paying another dime.” So they paid for everything and every month, the best feeling in the world is whether it’s FreshBooks or I go to the post office, is getting my checks every month for my term [crosstalk 00:37:15].
Jack Butala: I love getting checks. We don’t get enough checks anymore, Jill. We got all automated.
Jill DeWit: I know. Exactly.
Michel Steele: Yeah, I just have, they’re the only ones that send me a check. The other one that I had, which was another big hitter, is I bought if for 3,900 on a tax seed sale. Florida-and Jack’s talked about it on the podcast-there’s areas that you’re not going to find it $100 an acre. Florida in residential areas, a quarter acre lot, you’re going to spend anywhere up to 3,000 around that area to pick it up.
You could still flip it for six, and this one I got for 3,900 and I sold it on terms for $10,000. She’s been paying me $168 a month, and I charged her 5% interest to cover the taxes, the annual taxes, which aren’t that much. She’s been paying me $168 a month, and she sends me an additional $250 a month. She’s got me-I got a whole amortization schedule for her because she wants to pay it off.
Jack Butala: Good for her, actually.
Jill DeWit: That’s so great.
Jack Butala: Just for fun, what did she say she’s going to do with it? I love the psychology of these buyers.
Michel Steele: This is an interesting property because I had a guy, the next door neighbor contacted me through Facebook. He’s like, “Are you the one that owns this?” I’m like, “Yeah.” He’s like, “Well there’s weeds all over, there’s homeless people living on it. There’s ants and snakes and all kinds of stuff,” so for a couple weeks I went through a little bit of headache with this guy.
The end of the story was he wanted to buy it for himself, but the owner who lived in Colorado never sold it to him, and I picked it up on the tax seed so he was pissed. What I did, because he said he had a grand baby and stuff so I was kind of concerned, I went ahead and had it cleared out. It was $1,800. I’m still in the green, much, much in the green, but I had it completely cleared out and then I realized there was no evidence of homeless people, according to the contractor.
I don’t know what she’s going to do with it, Jack. I think a lot of people, they have the dream, “I’m gonna buy property, I’m going to build on it,” and they never fulfill that dream and that’s how we make our money because they say, “I’m tired of paying the taxes. Here, take it, I’m not going to do nothing with it.”
Jack Butala: Right. Well good, man, I mean … I don’t know Jill, do you have any questions for Michel? It’s kind of been a Michel show and I enjoyed [crosstalk 00:39:56]
Jill DeWit: I do. I have, my one last question is, with 2017 being your breakout year what’s coming for you?
Michel Steele: Hey! It is a good question. So first, that big-I call it a big deal but it’s really going to probably be a small one, one day-the 11 acre one. I don’t want to sit on that and say, “Once that’s done I’m set for the year,” so this is what I’m doing. I learned from my first mailer-actually that was my second mailer. My first one was when you guys first launched the whole Pro membership, and I made the cardinal mistake. I sent out, I think it might’ve been 500 mailers in Florida. I can’t tell you the amount of hate I got. I was like, “What am I doing?”
You guys have both clarified it, you got to do at least 1,500 to a county. Really [inaudible 00:41:07] 500 here, you’re just wasting your money. What I got-yeah, and what you get is people calling you all pissed off because it’s the percentage, right? If you do 1,500 or 2,000 you’re still going to get some, but if you only do 500 that’s all you’re going to get.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. Aww …
Michel Steele: It’s the truth, though, I mean, it was interesting. What I decided to do-and I’m actually working on a mailer now, I just started like last week-is I’ve kind of learned from listening to Jack, and listening to other people, kind of analyzing the data and looking at the assessment. I know that’s a big question, everybody’s like, “How do you know what to offer?”
I go, and I did this on that mailer in September, I actually kind of spot check in each county because in each county, not all the areas are the same. You can have some assessed at 10,000 over here, and 3,000 over here. I kind of went in there and looked. It takes longer, but you get better results. What I want to do is send out at least 1,500 to 2 every month, a mailer every month, because the problem I’m running into is I have no inventory.
Right now I have nothing.
Jill DeWit: Aww, gee, I’m so sorry Michel. Don’t you hate it when that happens?
Michel Steele: I know! I can’t keep them. I honestly-and I’m [crosstalk 00:42:38], and I hope people who are listening understand, I’m not saying this just to say it and Jack and Jill look good. If you think I’m just saying it, look and see what Luke Harrison’s doing, you know?
Jack Butala: Luke Harrison’s killing it.
Michel Steele: He’s killing because he’s got the volume, so you imagine if you don’t have the volume, you’ll be at zero all the time. What I want to do this year, the breakout year, is keep the inventory flow going by doing the mailers every month and keep those going. I realize that they come in waves, and they go in waves. [crosstalk 00:43:19]
Jill DeWit: It’s very true.
Michel Steele: Yeah. I mean we price them right, which you know, if you price them right-which there’s conversations I’ve heard with some people that-I’m not greedy. My whole thing is I have a six year plan, and I told my wife … I want my wife to quit working in two years. She thinks I’m crazy. This is a whole ‘nother podcast. She thinks I’m crazy, but it’s hard for me to see her work so hard. I’m 54 years old and so is she, and I want her not to work so hard. I told her, two years I want her to stop working. I plan-I have a six year plan to stop working. I’ll be 60. I’m not going to wait until I’m 65 to retire and collect-I won’t have to because I met you guys.
Jill DeWit: Aww …
Jack Butala: Hey, that’s nice, man.
Michel Steele: It’s true though, because I realized, people always want to get into a business. You know, jewelry or whatever it is that they want to do. When I look at my ROI column and I tell my friend that we flipped the house with, and he’s just like, he’s even said, he said, “Michel, I see you doing great things.” I’m just doing this part-time right now, on the weekends. I’ve learned from Jill. Jill had a podcast talking about how you do it, and I kind of learned that you have to use your time wisely around family.
We don’t have kids. Our kids are grown. I got a grandson, but now that’s more focused on you, meaning me, because there are no kids. When there are kids, the wife’s busy, you kind of sneak into the office and do a lot of work, but when it’s just her coming home you got to give her your attention. Now I’m starting to do this stuff on the week and I actually, we had a business meeting, we’ll call it. We had a business meeting a couple weeks ago and that’s what we talked about. I said, [inaudible 00:45:15]. It’s a new term, business meeting.
Jill DeWit: I love it. We call them partners’ meetings.
Jack Butala: Yeah, partners’ meetings. Where you sit and you listen, right? [crosstalk 00:45:28]
Michel Steele: Well think about it. Instead of calling it argument, call it a business meeting.
Jack Butala: [crosstalk 00:45:31]
Michel Steele: What we decided, and what we agreed on, is that I’m going to spend a couple hours on Saturday, and a couple hours on Sunday because what I was doing was like … I can’t even walk in my office-well I can walk in my office, but once I get on the internet and once I start looking at land, I just go into the rabbit hole.
I’ll come out [crosstalk 00:45:57] days later, three or four sun-ups and sundowns, so I got to really structure that better. Not only for her, but for me, so I’m not up until like two in the morning and I have to go to work the next day.
My manager, I told him, “Six years, I’m going to retire.” He called me, I think about a week ago, he called me a land baron. I thought that was kind of cool.
Jack Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: Love it.
Michel Steele: The land baron! I might have to use that for my next LLC.
Jill DeWit: I love it.
Jack Butala: I do, too.
Jill DeWit: All this is doing Michel, you’re over the hump obviously. You got this. Now you’re rolling into … I don’t know, what do you say Jack? Second gear, third gear? I’m not sure where you are.
Jack Butala: He’s getting out of second gear, because he’s past 10 deals.
Jill DeWit: Now it’s forcing you to be more efficient, do things, you know, and get this into a system now. You’re going to have your mailers into a system, you’re going to have your family life kind of into a system. This is really good stuff, and that’s going to free you up to do more deals and get to where you want to go. I think you got this.
Jack Butala: You can’t fool your wife. I don’t care who you are and how much talent you have. You can never fool your wife. If you got her on board, you could just dedicate a whole year to that. You could just say, “Yep, now she’s-” Remember when Rocky went into the ring, and Adrian was like, “I want you to win.” Then he went and won, because Adrian said, “Win.” Rocky Balboa, anybody?
Michel Steele: I agree.
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Got it, got it, got it.
Jack Butala: Wow, I silenced a crowd that way.
Jill DeWit: You didn’t. You didn’t.
Jack Butala: I’m really happy for you, Michel. You embody the exact type of member that we … This is why we do this, for people just like you. Seriously.
Michel Steele: I appreciate what you guys do, and I’m sure all the other members who are active also do. There’ll be a lot of members that don’t realize what you guys are doing that will soon, because once you get a taste of it, that first deal, it’s eye-opening. It really is, it’s really eye-opening-see? I just got a pop on my email for the 38 acre place.
Jack Butala: Awesome.
Jill DeWit: Aww man.
Jack Butala: That’s fantastic, man.
Michel Steele: I really appreciate what you guys have done, the leadership, the weekly WebExes. It’s huge. It really is huge, and you can’t keep what you have unless you give it away. That’s why I try and help as many members that I can with what I know to this point.
Jack Butala: Awesome, man.
Jill DeWit: Thank you, Michel. You know what, you could buy some bibles too, and give those away with your property.
Michel Steele: You know what I did Jill, you know what I did? I had-I’ll tell you this real quick. I had a buyer contact me and say, “I need the GPS coordinates. I’m out in the area,” they’re out in Colorado, right? And they said that they wanted to look at it. I said, “Okay,” and I actually gave them the GPS coordinates and then I replied to them and said, “Listen, if you’re not interested in it, if you take some pictures for me I’ll send you a $25 gift card.”
Jill DeWit: Cool.
Jack Butala: Wow.
Michel Steele: I didn’t get any pictures, but I thought that was a good idea.
Jill DeWit: I think that was brilliant.
Jack Butala: Me, too. Hey Michel, it was great talking to you. Thank you so much for being on the show.
Michel Steele: Awesome.
Jack Butala: Please don’t forget about us, and let us know what happened with this 35 acre property.
Michel Steele: Yeah, I will let you know. Jack, like I said, I’ll probably be setting up a meeting with you on one of your deal days. I couldn’t wait until I got to that point that I could be honored with doing a deal review with Jack.
Jack Butala: Oh my gosh. I would love to do that, actually. Love to.
Michel Steele: All right.
Jack Butala: Thanks again.
Jill DeWit: Thank you, Michel.
Jack Butala: Talk to you soon.
Michel Steele: All right, take care. Bye-bye.
Jack Butala: Bye.
Join us in another episode where Jack and Jill discuss how to use information, that’s me-
Jill DeWit: And inspiration, that’s me-
Jack Butala: To get just about anything you want.
Jill DeWit: We’ll use it every day to buy property for half of what it’s worth and sell it immediately.
Jack Butala: You are not alone in your real estate ambition.
You know what’s amazing Jill, when people give us-our members give us actual numbers.
Jill DeWit: I know.
Jack Butala: And report back and that they’re making a ton of money.
Jill DeWit: I know. I love that. That was, him and his silly, “I might be in divorce whatever next,”
Jack Butala: Divorce podcast.
Jill DeWit: Exactly,”On the divorce show podcast show next week after, now that I did the numbers.”
Jack Butala: You know what I really took away from that, is that he said, “I’m going to go into my cave for three days and then I’ll come back out with a bunch of money.” That’s what I do, you know? I think our successful members, the ones that are really successful, are not afraid of sitting in front of a computer for 24 hours straight with a pot of coffee.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. Isn’t it hilarious? We’ve all done that, every one of us. Then you know you’re hooked and this is your thing because if you have every done this-I’m speaking from experience-I have totally gotten up in the morning, sat down with a cup of coffee, and looked up and said, “Oh my goodness, I’m still sitting in my,” you know …
Jack Butala: Yeah. “Why is the sun going down? I didn’t take a shower yet.”
Jill DeWit: I know. “I haven’t moved. I don’t think I brushed my teeth.” I’m totally serious, I have totally done that, not brushed my teeth all day. Thank goodness I was home alone, no one was around. Ooh, I just hid in my office and that was it, game over.
Jack Butala: Next time you do that, film it. I’d like to see [crosstalk 00:51:38]
Jill DeWit: Yeah, right? Like a time lapse.
Jack Butala: In your pajamas and stuff. Jill made $100,000 today in her pajamas.
Jill DeWit: Yeah exactly, in her pajamas, not brushing her teeth … or calling anybody. I don’t even talk on the phone! All right …
Jack Butala: Information and inspiration to buy undervalue property.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at jack@LandAcademy.com.
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