House Poor Defined (CFFL 544)
Jack Butala: Jack Butala with Jill DeWit.
Jill DeWit: Hi there.
Jack Butala: Welcome to our show today. In this episode, Jill and I talk about House Poor Defined. Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the landinvestors.com online community. It’s free.
Jill DeWit: Okay. Allan asks, “Hi. I purchased a parcel of land and now have a potential buyer who is asking if mineral rights are included. Has anyone had this question come up, and if so, how would I even go about answering what seems to be a very complex area of law?” I apologize. This is Marianne, by the way. “Does anyone make this part of their due diligence before buying a property, and if so how are you checking it? Any help is much appreciated.” I want to just point out, Marianne is actually what looks like brand new to Land Investors and just kind of learning about this, but it’s a really good question.
Jack Butala: Yeah. Do you want me to answer it or do you want to?
Jill DeWit: Yeah. Go right ahead.
Jack Butala: You’re 100% correct in saying it’s extremely complicated. Here’s what happens. There’s a change of title on every single piece of property right back to when it was homesteaded. So let’s say it changed hand just 10 times. John Smith gave it to his daughter or Sally Smith. Sally Smith sold it to an unrelated third party called John Adams, and so on and so on and so on. Well, during one of those changes, one of those transfers, somebody put right on the document on the deed, the transfer document that they’re going to retain the mineral rights. They’re going to transfer the surface rights, but they’re going to keep the mineral rights.
Is it complicated and difficult and nearly impossible to find out who actually owns mineral rights? Yes it is. Unless you have to go through all those documents, most of which, think about how many county buildings have burned down before the internet. The chances are of really digging into and finding out who owns mineral rights is nearly impossible at our level. If there’s a gold mine on a piece of property somewhere in Nevada and there’s billions of dollars in potential revenue involved, then you can start to hire people and figure that out. But for purposes of these asset types that we’re involved in, it’s nearly impossible, so what do you do?
Well, what Jill and I do and for a lot of years what we just said is … We don’t even look into it. We just say no. We are not transferring the mineral rights. Or we say I don’t know. We’re not going to put it in our document.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: When we convey the property to you, we’re going to convey the property as if we don’t know and that you get the mineral rights with it. We’re not going to retain the mineral rights nine times out of 10, well, 9.9 times out of 10. The potential buyer that’s asking that doesn’t know this and quite frankly, it’s really important for you to understand the basic stuff, but if you start to go down this path, this philosophical mineral rights path with the buyer, you’re going to scare him away.
So just say to your knowledge, I believe that we are transferring the mineral rights to you, but I don’t know. You’re going to have to check, but I think it does come with mineral rights, and we’re going to assume that, so we’re going to convey a document like we believe that you’re going to get the mineral rights with it.
Jill DeWit: Right. I would just say too, look at it like the property. The property’s the asset. That’s what I’m conveying to you-
Jack Butala: Yeah. There you go, Jill.
Jill DeWit: That’s really it is. You’re buying it for the property, not for that.
Jack Butala: That’s a great twist.
Jill DeWit: If any of them did convey and everything, that’s a bonus. I’m not going to mark it up or mark whatever because of that too. I’m really looking at just the property. I’m sure that there have been transactions that there are people that have got mineral rights and they found out later on. It was a nice bonus. Good for them. I could care less. I was happy with the transaction anyway.
Jack Butala: Well done.
Jill DeWit: Thank you.
Jack Butala: That’s why there’s two of us and not one.
Jill DeWit: Silly.
Jack Butala: If it was just me doing real estate deals, it would all be dry and drab and there would just be math and I would say-
Jill DeWit: Like you’re no fun.
Jack Butala: You don’t want to buy it unless there are mineral rights? Then don’t buy it.
Jill DeWit: Dude. Oh my gosh. Party animal here. Oh my god. You wear me out all the time, like you’re boring. Oh, no. You are far from boring.
Jack Butala: Hey, if you have a question, you want to be on the show, reach out to either one of us on landinvestors.com. Today’s topic, which is a continuation from yesterday, I guess, House Poor Defined. This is the meat of the show. Continue, Jill.
Jill DeWit: So yesterday we talked about spending millions, spending thousands of dollars a month to have a million or more home. We were starting to talk about, okay, what are you giving up? If you’re bringing in $100 million a month, knock yourself out. Even then, pay cash for it. Let’s be smart here. That’s the whole thing. It kind of grew into, all right, what are you giving up if you’re … Because some people, like I was sharing my experience when I was in my twenties. I was kind of like, well the next thing you do, well you’re married now and you have a kid now, and next thing you should do is buy a house and you take out a mortgage. That’s because that’s what grownups do. Wrong.
Jack Butala: Wrong.
Jill DeWit: That’s exactly what you shouldn’t be doing.
Jack Butala: Wrong.
Jill DeWit: I have a couple notes I was going to say here and I want to talk more with you about this, Jack. My definition of house poor is sitting in your fancy house looking at your car that you can’t afford to drive or go anywhere. Or if you really want to get outside the box, or you really want to do something fun, you go sit in your nice car that you can’t afford to drive, but you get to sit and look at your fancy house that you have because that’s as far as you go.
Jack Butala: Because you can’t afford to go out to dinner.
Jill DeWit: Because you can’t because you’re house poor. That’s it. I was going to give a couple things about my background, which I-
Jack Butala: Let me give the numbers before you do that.
Jill DeWit: Do it.
Jack Butala: Let’s say you make 60,000 bucks a year and your paycheck’s around five grand, and your mortgage is $4,000 after taxes and the whole thing, so now you have a $4,000 mortgage for $700,000 house-ish. You make 60, 65,000 bucks a year, and you have this beautiful house and a car like Jill just described. Car payment of 2, 3, $400, $500, and you have absolutely no money left over to eat, to even eat ramen noodles, which is exactly by the way how a loan officer wants it. They want you-
Jill DeWit: You are in debt to them, man.
Jack Butala: … to be locked up done.
Jill DeWit: It’s true.
Jack Butala: That’s what house poor is. You have a beautiful house and a really good job, and you are done.
Jill DeWit: You’re stuck. You are trapped.
Jack Butala: You can’t leave the house.
Jill DeWit: You’re trapped in your job too. You can’t even afford to leave your job and make a big change. You’re kind of stuck there.
Jack Butala: That’s right.
Jill DeWit: Heaven forbid you get laid off. You’re in fear of that.
Jack Butala: Because the house is so over leveraged, you can’t sell it even if you do get a letter from us because it’s so over leveraged, there’s too much debt on it. Don’t get house poor. Jill’s going to get us out of it right now. Go ahead, Jill.
Jill DeWit: Well, I thought it was really interesting because I was taking a moment and thinking about my background. You know this, Jack, but most people don’t know this. My parents bought their first home when I graduated high school. How smart were they and I didn’t realize.
Jack Butala: Wow, really?
Jill DeWit: Yes. I’m serious.
Jack Butala: I didn’t know that.
Jill DeWit: They rented for years. They rented a home in Orange County, California and all through I graduated high school. Why? Because it was $600 a month. It made sense just to sit tight and it was a okay home in a nice neighborhood. Everybody was fine. That made sense. What did this free us up to do? Well, number one, we traveled a lot. See, what I remember is having a really, really good fun life because we could afford to do this stuff. This is one of the things where I said what are you giving up? My family personally growing up, we wanted to travel and do things and have nice stuff. When the first X computers, the newest, the latest computers came out, we got them. That was one of the things my dad wanted to do and I appreciate that, but we rented and they saved money until they could buy a house.
Now, across the street, my friend Donna Tipton [inaudible 00:08:21]. They had a beautiful home. I was always very jealous because this beautiful, yellow, two story home with a pool, avocado tree in the front yard we’d go get avocados off of. I really remember this in great detail. But they couldn’t go anywhere. They didn’t. That was it. They were kind of stuck. My family’s off taking, we were in Hawaii. We’d go to Mexico. We took some fun trips because we could, so that’s why I want to say, a, don’t be house poor. It’s really not a good plan, and b, you’ve given up a lot, and c, save it up and buy something. What do you want to add?
Jack Butala: I have a lot to say about this because I believe owning a house the wrong way, owning a house can be one of the most profitable things that you’ve ever done, and it can be the biggest disaster also. It all has to do with how much money you borrow. Number one, you never want to overpay for a house. Here’s how you overpay for a house. You get a real estate agent. Maybe it’s your friend or your friend’s friend, and you start looking for a house and you dig through the MLS, the multiple listing service, and you get in the back of their car, and you start driving around and looking at the houses, and you find one you like because really, what you like is the wallpaper and the stuff that’s in the kitchen, right? Or the faucet in the master bath. That part, so I’m kind of-
Jill DeWit: Or the curb appeal.
Jack Butala: Or the curb appeal or it’s just fulfilling some kind of empty dream that you have. That’s exactly what you do not want to do at any point in your life, at any point or you’re going to start making a bad decision. Even where Jill and I are financially, we don’t do stuff like that. We absolutely have to make sure that the deal is right first. Then we fall in love with it, maybe.
So don’t fall into that trap. You never want to buy a property where there’s a real estate agent involved. It’s always wrong. You want to get there first. You want to send a bunch of letters out and be real calculated about it. If you’re in a relationship with somebody who doesn’t necessarily feel this way, go do it anyway and serve it up to him the same way. Not-
Jill DeWit: Are you really-
Jack Butala: Not pull the trigger on a deal.
Jill DeWit: Okay. Wait, wait.
Jack Butala: Serve it up to them the same way a real estate agent would do. What a real estate agent would do is say, you know what? I’ve got these five houses. I really think we should go look at them. So do that. If you’re the data person-
Jill DeWit: Scared me there for a second.
Jack Butala: [crosstalk 00:10:37] find those three to five houses and say, hey spouse, I got these three [inaudible 00:10:45] five houses that I found in this obscure way from these weirdos called Land Academy on the internet, and it turns out they’re right. I sent a bunch of letters out. I spent 3 or 4, $500 doing it. Now I’ve got three hot properties that are probably worth half or maybe 60% of what we could get them elsewhere.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: Let’s go take a look at them together. It’s the same thing. The real estate agents are going to do the same thing, but you’re going to save half. So don’t fall into these traps, this house poor thing. Now, I have to talk about keeping up with the Joneses because really this is what I think goes on.
Jill DeWit: I agree.
Jack Butala: I bet you have a lot to say about this too because it turns my stomach.
Jill DeWit: I know. It does.
Jack Butala: I’m actually writing a book right now. I’m writing a couple, but this is the one that’s going to get released first. It’s advice for young men. Stuff that I wish my dad would have … Maybe that’s what I’ll even call it. Stuff that I wish my dad would have told me.
Jill DeWit: Good title. I like that.
Jack Butala: Do you?
Jill DeWit: Yeah, I do. I really do.
Jack Butala: Maybe you could release it with that.
Jill DeWit: I like that.
Jack Butala: Now, [inaudible 00:11:46] want to keep up with the Joneses. I don’t care who you are. If you have to have a Porsche because your buddy got one, I don’t care how they got it, there’s something wrong. Honestly. There’s way more important things in life. If you absolutely then have to have a Porsche, then buy an old one or rent one for a weekend. Go burn the back tires off of the thing and turn it back in because you don’t want to do this. This kind of stuff wrecks your life, this keeping up with the Joneses business.
Here’s another one. We’re going to lose half of our listeners, right?
Jill DeWit: Already.
Jack Butala: Half of the 10 people that listen. If you’re in a relationship with somebody who’s got to keep up with the Joneses about everything and they’re constantly pushing you to buy a bigger house or go on the next project or get a bigger SUV, you really need to look yourself in the mirrors today and say if this is the right thing for you because you don’t want that. Who wants to live like that?
Jill and I figured it out. It was a little bit later in life for us, but we did figure it out together. There’s stuff she’s great at and there’s stuff that I’m pretty good at, so that’s the kind of situation you want to put yourself in. I don’t believe that you actually just wake up and find yourself in that situation. I think you have to make it happen for yourself and the people you care about.
Jill DeWit: I remember I worked with this guy. His name was Greg, and he would always say, “I can’t go. I can’t go.” Or, “Hey, we’re going out Friday night. Come with us.” “Nope, I can’t. I already spent.”
He had an allocated budget of what his entertainment funds would be, and I don’t think it was a lot. It might have been 20 bucks a week or something, enough for a couple beers, and when it was spent, it was spent. Why? Because he was saving up for a car. He wanted the latest and greatest Jetta. I’ll never forget this. I thought this guy’s crazy. I’m like, what a loner too. I’m like, he has no life, kind of thing. No, Greg was adamant about it. You know what? And I worked with that guy and then, I don’t know, a year? Maybe 18 months went by. Greg rolled in in a gorgeous red, brand new Jetta that he paid cash for. I was like, wow. I didn’t get it at the time. Then later on, I’m like, he was so smart. I really appreciate the way he did that. Why is that so hard for us to understand, Jack?
Jack Butala: I don’t know. It’s not hard for me to understand, but why do people do it? I don’t know.
Jill DeWit: Everybody would say, oh, I can [inaudible 00:14:07] the Jetta right now. Tomorrow I’ll pay $1,000 down. I’ll pay $250 a month, whatever it is, and then I can have it too. Oh, yeah. Then you’re paying forever by the way. You’re never going to get ahead.
Jack Butala: I don’t think anybody’s shown a working example. When you’re young, you see somebody pulling up in a new car and that’s what you see. You don’t see the two years that it’s taken to save for it or the decisions that they made in their early to mid-twenties about careers and college and the whole thing. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do all of this, and you can have all of what you want. In fact, that’s what Jill’s book’s about. It’s about you can have it all. How to have it all. It’s for women. You can have it all, but it takes some planning and some patience and you have to give up certain stuff.
Jill DeWit: And you got to define what you really want.
Jack Butala: Yeah. Because the chances are, I tell you right now. The whole theme of my thing is the stuff that you’re really giving up, you don’t care about that anyway or you shouldn’t care about it. Do you really need a new Porsche? I really don’t think you do.
Jill DeWit: I know. Am I going to get to work that much faster or is it going to be that much better?
Jack Butala: Or whoever it’s really you’re trying to impress, who is impressed by that, you don’t want to be hanging out with that person anyway.
Jill DeWit: Good point.
Jack Butala: Especially if it’s somebody of the opposite sex because that’s only the beginning of the problems for you.
Jill DeWit: No, that’s so true.
Jack Butala: I shouldn’t say opposite sex. I should say if you’re trying to attract somebody for interpersonal relationship reasons whether they’re male or female or whatever works for you, that person that is attracted to that is not … How’s that for political correct? It’s the most politically correct thing I’ve ever said.
Jill DeWit: That is hilarious.
Jack Butala: It’s really only because we’re on the podcast.
Jill DeWit: This is awfully hilarious. To put it another way, this is how I describe it. If you’re dating that person that’s only wants to be with you because of your car, that’s not who you should be dating.
Jack Butala: Oh, much better.
Jill DeWit: And by the way, if you have that kind of a car, the last thing you want to do is bring it out on date one, two, three, four or five. Save it for date 10. You need to Uber around for the first nine dates or borrow your friend’s junky car or drive your other car because they need to get to know you, not your car. Whether you’re male or female-
Jack Butala: I agree with that completely.
Jill DeWit: … you don’t want that person.
Jack Butala: I totally agree.
Jill DeWit: Thank you. You know what’s funny?
Jack Butala: We could take this to the end right now. I could talk about this for hours.
Jill DeWit: My brother got that speech from his friends and I remember listening to it because he had this cool Land Rover and they’re like, you can not show up in a Land Rover. He’s like, oh, I want to be cool. They’re like, no, no, no, no, no. His friends are right.
Jack Butala: Attracting a gold digger.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. That’s exactly what you’re doing. [inaudible 00:16:47] dot com.
Jack Butala: I have so much to say. I can’t [crosstalk 00:16:50]
Jill DeWit: Attracting a gold digger dot com. Wow. I wonder if that site’s available. That’s hilarious.
Jack Butala: So here’s another argument, an anti-house poor argument I’ve heard. I heard it recently. If I didn’t buy that house, if I didn’t actually buy that house, I wouldn’t have been able to sell it two years later for $180,000 more, or in California’s case, half a million dollars more. See what, Jack? You’re wrong. I overspent as much as I could. I bought as much house as I could because I knew I was going to flip it for more. And you know what? It’s a valid argument. Here’s the concept. Here’s my answer. This is part of the takeaway from House Poor Defined, the show. Please understand, listener, the concept of equitable title. Equitable title means this. You have the right to make a decision, an acquisition decision or a sale decision about a piece of real estate. It’s as good as owning it, but without all of the down payment and the loans and the whole thing.
Here’s an example, and this is a real example from a very close friend of ours who’s a college professor that Jill and I have known for years and will know forever. He couldn’t afford to buy a house in a neighborhood that he wanted to buy, so what he did is he went and rented a house in the neighborhood that he wanted for the price that he wanted. He negotiated a rental rate because he found a house where the owner owned it free and clear, so they could negotiate any rent they wanted. He said I’m going to do two things, but I want an option to purchase. I’m going to clean the house up. I’m going to completely renovate the house. On my own dime I’m going to pay for it. I’m going to do the labor myself, but I want an option to purchase for X, and it’s a fixed price, and I want it to be for the next 36 months, three years.
He rented the house, cleaned it all up, and the economy got much better, and at the end of the 36 month period after they’d been paying rent for three years, the house was worth about $300,000 more than the actual option to purchase. So he didn’t have to go through any of the crap, and guess what he did? He found a buyer by himself for the retail price, exercised the option. He bought the house, exercised the option, and never put any money into it, into the deal, and collected a $300,000 check when he was done. That’s equitable title. If you want to keep up with the Joneses, do it smart.
Jill DeWit: Bingo. I love it.
Jack Butala: Please understand equitable title. It’s probably what I should have named the show.
Jill DeWit: No, I like house poor. No, I’m serious because that, everybody understands that. You say equitable title, they’re like, and we’re out. No, house poor. That’s it. Don’t be house poor. Be house smart. Rent, save your money.
Jack Butala: Save your money.
Jill DeWit: Do it right. Like that.
Jack Butala: I talk about it in my book, the stuff that you should be, here’s what you should spend money on and maybe free, not freely, be smart about it, but-
Jill DeWit: Jewelry.
Jack Butala: Sleep well.
Jill DeWit: Sorry.
Jack Butala: Education is the top of the list.
Jill DeWit: True.
Jack Butala: That’s why we all make money for our children’s education.
Jill DeWit: True.
Jack Butala: So that’s number one. Safety stuff. If you have a daughter or a spouse or whatever you want, make sure everybody’s safe. That’s about it. [crosstalk 00:20:15] Reasonably good food.
Jill DeWit: Good talk.
Jack Butala: Cheapest stuff on the planet. Sorry. [crosstalk 00:20:24]
Jill DeWit: Nothing else matters.
Jack Butala: You know? Fresh vegetables are like three cents an ounce.
Jill DeWit: Love it.
Jack Butala: I can go off and go nuts about it, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money on anything.
Jill DeWit: No.
Jack Butala: To be happy.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Jack Butala: If you do need to do that, then you need to spend some money on psychiatry.
Jill DeWit: There you go. Love it.
Jack Butala: Join us on another episode where we discuss the top three ways to wreck your real estate career. Wow, these are all positive topics, Jill.
Jill DeWit: Right?
Jack Butala: Top three ways to wreck your real estate career and your life. That’s awesome. That was one of my talks.
Jill DeWit: This is going to be hilarious. I know. And in our next episode, we answer Marcus’s question about needing help pricing offers.
Jack Butala: Excellent.
Jill DeWit: I know that there’s a lot of people who are going to tune in for that one.
Jack Butala: You are not alone in your real estate ambition. That was a go off tangent show.
Jill DeWit: We needed to get that out.
Jack Butala: I think so too. I’m glad-
Jill DeWit: That’s really it.
Jack Butala: Because this is not just about real estate because if you’re interested in buying or selling real estate to make a bunch of money, you’re going to come across these things.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: There’s several people that have joined our group because they have too much money. It cracks me up every time I get the email.
Jill DeWit: That’s funny, and several have joined because they have too little money because they are house poor.
Jack Butala: We have too much money and we don’t want to learn how to do a mailer and all that. I just want to be in your group so I can be exposed to people who I can partnership deals with. I’m like, come on in man. The door is wide open.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Jack Butala: Too much money. That’s [crosstalk 00:21:47]
Jill DeWit: I love it. Yeah. Love it. Hey, and if you love it and you like our show, please subscribe and rate us on iTunes or wherever you are listening.
Jack Butala: Information and inspiration to buy undervalued property.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at jack@LandAcademy.com.
I would like to think it’s entertaining and informative and in the end profitable.
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