Tell Stories in Land Postings (JJ 673)

Tell Stories in Land Postings (JJ 673)


Jack Butala:                         Jack and Jill here!

Jill DeWit:                            Hi!

Jack Butala:                         Welcome to the Jack Jill show, entertaining real estate investment talk. I’m Jack Butala.

Jill DeWit:                            And I’m Jill Dewit, broadcasting from sunny southern California.

Jack Butala:                         Today, Jill and I talk about telling stories in your land posting. It’s really actually how you sell real estate, put this subcategory or sub asset of real estate anyway.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                         Paint a beautiful picture. If you, as the story teller or as the lister or the seller of your own land, really question whether or not at the end of your posting, “Boy, this sounds so good. I really wonder if I should sell this thing.” Then, you’re doing your job.

Jill DeWit:                            I think it starts even when you buy it. When you’re looking at the asset and you’re deciding whether or not to purchase it … if you don’t do this, you should be doing this.

Jack Butala:                         Do you ever really … decide you’re gonna sell a car and you get it all cleaned up and and it’s like, “Man, I should keep this.”

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Jack Butala:                         That’s the feeling you’re looking for.

Jill DeWit:                            Right! So, you’re already starting, when you’re buying the property, you should already be thinking about what the end use is.

Jack Butala:                         Right.

Jill DeWit:                            And that’s how you’re gonna paint the picture of the story. Cause you’re gonna know that …”You know, wow, this is an interesting acquisition. This would be great for selling to people that I’ve talked to that love to hunt and find deer.” You know that. You’re already thinking about how you’re going to tell that story and post the property for sale.

Jack Butala:                         Right.

Jill DeWit:                            And get other people excited.

Jack Butala:                         Before we get into the details, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the online community; it’s free.

Jill DeWit:                            Cool! Matt asks, “I was recently scratching my head as to the low turnout of a recent mailer. I close on two properties out of 800 mailers.”

Jack Butala:                         Hold on a second. (laughs)

Jill DeWit:                            I know.

Jack Butala:                         How is this a low turnout? 800 mailers by my calculation costs about $300 to send out from start to finish, and you bought two properties? Let’s read on.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative). “I offered $4000 in an area where market value is somewhere around $18,000, so I should have presumably been able to get .521% I would think, which is 4-8 properties. I’m selling one of the lots now, and the buyer actually owns another lot in the subdivision, and she mentioned, ‘I’ve received two letters and a postcard in the last year or so.’ Sure enough, one was mine hahaha”, that’s funny, “so, clearly, someone beat me to it, which is fine. I still will pick up a few lots and move on with my life. Now I’m curious if anyone has a trick to check the sold comps to see if one name or LLC has made multiple purchases in the past year or two. I presume that the lots won’t still be in their name. If they are any good, they will have sold them by now, but picked off the motivated sellers in the process. Does anyone screen this kind of thing? Or just price your mailer and move to the next mailer?”

Jack Butala:                         Would you like to answer this first?

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Jack Butala:                         I’m gonna sit over here and cool off.

Jill DeWit:                            Why why why?

Jack Butala:                         Because this is so backwards and this person … you know how a lot of times we say, “Man, I’ll tell you, this person is really gonna do great in this business.” I can tell by the question you’re asking, you’re early on, you’re gonna do fantastic 9 times out of 10, this is the diametric opposite.

Jill DeWit:                            Just reading too much into it?

Jack Butala:                         Go ahead, you can answer first-

Jill DeWit:                            No, I want-

Jack Butala:                         I’m gonna cool off.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, okay. Okay, for number one, if you’re buying things for $14,000 and you could sell them for … okay, say the market value is $18,000. So, you’re buying for $4,000, you double your money for 8, you’re still $10,000 under market value? Hmm. Sounds like a home run to me! Number two, maybe you could even buy some for $6,000 and send them for 12! Hmm. You’re still way under market value, again, sounds like a home run to me. I don’t understand. The other thing is, I do … I think I know … this is why you’re getting mad. Just because someone else sent something out there doesn’t mean it’s bad or we don’t use that area or whatever. The situation is a situation at that time. They could have had three letters, filed them all, like in the trash last year, and guess what? All of a sudden, now something happened, they retired, they’re … whatever it is, their situation changes and now they’re ready to go, and your letter shows up. That’s it. You’re reading too much into this. Is that what you’re saying, Jack?

Jack Butala:                         Let’s take it apart.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Jack Butala:                         He sent out 800 mailers. What we say all through the program is do not send out a small amount of mail. You’re gonna be disappointed. Don’t dip your toe in the water, jump in.

Jill DeWit:                            Double that would have been more appropriate.

Jack Butala:                         1,500 is the bare minimum, and here’s why. We all know statistical samples, the larger that they are, the more accurate they are.

Jill DeWit:                            True.

Jack Butala:                         If you have the means, send out 4,000 to 10,000. That’s what we do.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                         And, that’s how we achieve the half to one percent. With houses it’s even … we are experiencing a house closure rate like I have never experienced before from a yield in a mailer. It’s because we’re pricing it right.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                         Number two … and I can’t express this enough … repetition in advertising or marketing is the key.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Jack Butala:                         So, this notion that somebody got there first … somebody got to a county first and they sent one mailer out to all the 5-acre property owners, and so it’s over and wrecked for the rest of us, (laughs) is ludicrous.

Jill DeWit:                            Hilarious, yup.

Jack Butala:                         If you’ve ever watched a football game or any kind of sporting event, there’s a Pepsi commercial at the beginning, and then there’s one four minutes later, and then eight, and then sixteen, you’ve seen the same Pepsi commercial 18 times in one three or four hour period, you’re really seriously thinking about drinking a Pepsi, repetition works.

Jill DeWit:                            Bingo. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                         All the things that we’ve spent a lot of … almost 700 shows talking about doing are diametrically opposite in this question.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                         One of the things that irks Jill … for whatever reason, she’s in a good mood today, so I’ll take the brunt of it (laughs)-

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, what, what, tell me.

Jack Butala:                         Is complaining about closing on two properties!

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, it’s true, I know.

Jack Butala:                         When you buy it, send 800 mailers out-

Jill DeWit:                            I didn’t even pay-

Jack Butala:                         You bought two pieces of real estate?

Jill DeWit:                            I know. Come on!

Jack Butala:                         And you’re upset about it?

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. Darn it, I only double my money. At the end of the day, this person probably invested $300-$400, and they only made $10,000. Oh gee, I’m sorry. (laughs)

Jack Butala:                         At the end it says,-

Jill DeWit:                            “Guess I was a fail.”

Jack Butala:                         No, “I’m curious, if anyone has a trick?”

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah …

Jack Butala:                         To check sold comps?

Jill DeWit:                            And see if someone is buying them all up.

Jack Butala:                         Sold comps for this asset type don’t exist. We’ve made a whole career out of pricing mailers to LLC’s and anyone else based on current property that’s available. You want to be way lower. Maybe I’m out of line here, but-

Jill DeWit:                            No.

Jack Butala:                         We’ve addressed these things. I don’t understand how much more clear we have to be about it.

Jill DeWit:                            No, so that last question, what he said is “Does anyone screen this kind of thing or just price your mailer and move on to the next mailer?” Yup, that’s what we do.

Jack Butala:                         That’s what everybody in our group does who’s successful.

Jill DeWit:                            Yup.

Jack Butala:                         You just plow the industry.

Jill DeWit:                            You know what it is, it’s like … you can’t get emotional. This is sounding to me like getting a little too emotional, a little too like, “Oh, I did it all wrong, I guess I should just give up.” No!

Jack Butala:                         You nailed it. You nailed it, Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you. Don’t get emotional, don’t give up, just move on. By the way, Jack’s right. If you spend time trying to do whatever little nit-picky like, “oh, someone whatever”, that’s a huge waste of time and energy and money. Move on, it’s fine. It’s okay. There’s enough property to go around, and like Jack said, more than one letter never slowed us down.

Jack Butala:                         He mentioned a half to one percent yield on a mailer, that’s what Jill and I get.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                         Maybe a little bit better, actually no. If this is your first mailer, and it sounds like it is, you can’t expect that.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative). You’ll get better. You will get better. Stay with it.

Jack Butala:                         Or maybe not.

Jill DeWit:                            Or maybe not.

Jack Butala:                         If you continue down this path you won’t. (laughs)

Jill DeWit:                            Okay, Jack. Can we get to the meat of the show?

Jack Butala:                         Today’s topic? Telling stories in land postings. This is the meat of the show … and why it’s so important. What I’ve recently been going through with our excellent staff, by the way, how to post and kind of refresh how we sell property and how we present it online. One of the things that I say, in the news it’s kind of the two points to all this.

Number one, break a posting down into separate parts. Right? So the reason that you write a title in a land posting is to get someone to take the next step, which is click … click from the actual picture or the thumbnail, read the title and say, “oh, this is interesting”, click on it, step one.

And then, there should be what I call a ‘hook’ immediately, right below the beautiful picture and the title that says, “your 40-acre ranch is now available.” That’s a good title. “Your Arizona 40-acre ranch is now available … just made available”, and a beautiful picture. So, great, I’m going to click on it. Now I see the hook. “The uses of this property are only limited to your imagination” or “live off the grid, mortgage free” or “invest short term to long term in a piece of real estate.” Some type of intriguing thing … and you start to go down this path where you see yourself in the land. Auto manufacturers and advertisers have been doing this forever, you have to start to see yourself inside that car, or you see somebody that looks like you, or maybe a younger version of you … whatever intrigues you to say, “You know what? Man, I would look good in that car.” Or, “I do need a car anyway”, and you start to tell yourself, “Man, this is an interesting situation. I really don’t like the mortgage situation that I’m in. The kids are out of the house. It’d be great to have 40 acres in northern Arizona … build up a tiny house … You start that thought process. That’s what these land postings are about.

So many times I see … and the reason we’re doing this topic is because … we’re going through it right now in our office because we’ve had kind of a shift change and I’m going through explaining this, and it’s actually kind of fun. It’s interesting to see what people come up with. A fresh set of eyes that are not industry specific is always really interesting.

Jill DeWit:                            May I ask a question?

Jack Butala:                         Absolutely.

Jill DeWit:                            How do you feel about including the area … I called it area “nice-ities” because I don’t know how else to describe it … Where do you see or … what value do you place in the posting where you share, “Hey, when you need to go get groceries, here’s where you go. And when you need to get mail, here’s where you go, or you need to do this”, how important is that?

Jack Butala:                         I think that … I kind of take the keyhole approach where you start wide and then you get real narrow, like an old school skeleton keyhole, then you come back out wide. You talk about this big picture concept of having … living the cowboy dream. Then, you do exactly what you said, you bring it down more narrow, “Here’s what’s going on in the state, here’s what’s going on in this little region area, maybe the county, and here’s where you might see yourself getting groceries every day.”

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Jack Butala:                         So, yeah. Then all through that, you’re describing and telling a story about why it would be great to live there. And here’s-

Jill DeWit:                            Remember the place-

Jack Butala:                         A beautiful sunset.

Jill DeWit:                            [inaudible 00:11:56] bunch of properties one time in southern Arizona that was … I did not know until we got into it … this was years ago … there was a huge bird watching community. Do you remember that?

Jack Butala:                         Uh huh. Yeah, sure.

Jill DeWit:                            I remember it was … I was like, “This is very interesting.” I was uncovering that, and that’s who was buying up all the property. There was all these people that were … I did not know that that is a big community of people that are all into bird watching.

Jack Butala:                         Yeah, it turned out there was a lake on the property, and it was a migration spot between north and south birds, and they would spend time … you could-

Jill DeWit:                            It’s amazing!

Jack Butala:                         Only like three places in the world that you can see certain types of birds. I do remember that, Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            It was so funny. I think there was a lot of Canadians at the time too, I’m like, “Maybe they have a lot of birds up there, so they’re all into it?” I don’t know, not that we don’t, but different birds. I just remember it was interesting, it just came to mind … this bird watching community.

Jack Butala:                         (laughs) People have written their dissertations on trying to understand Canadian behavior.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, there you go. (laughs)

Jack Butala:                         I’m from Michigan, so we have a healthy ribbing of each other.

Jill DeWit:                            Totally.

Jack Butala:                         Cause we’re so close to Canada, Eh.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s … hey, some of our best friends are Canadian.

Jack Butala:                         I know! That’s why I can say it.

Jill DeWit:                            (laughs) There we go. That’s so funny. The puck doesn’t fall too far from the goal.

Jack Butala:                         (laughs) Did you just make that up?

Jill DeWit:                            Yes. (laughs)

Jack Butala:                         That’s outstanding, Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you very much.

Jack Butala:                         You kind of want to have … you have to want … it’s hard to explain, but if you’re a land person and you’re probably listening to this, I’m a born land person. I just love land, and I love that whole notion of having a quiet place where you can … I don’t know, bang out a novel, or … whatever it ends up being, that little land fantasy you have … maybe for a lot of people it’s just to be completely debt free and out where there’s fresh air. You have to tell that story and your posting needs to convey that type of possibility. That’s really what I’m saying is possibility.

Jill DeWit:                            Why is this hard for people to understand?

Jack Butala:                         Well, I’ve come to … I’ve asked myself that. I think the real answer is that they just aren’t innately land people.

Jill DeWit:                            Hmm … Do you think that they could do it in a house versus land, like if they-

Jack Butala:                         No.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh … Maybe they can’t really convey anything. Okay, like, they can’t walk into a room and … whether it’s describing a piece of land or putting furniture in a living room, they can’t walk in and see how the layout’s gonna be.

Jack Butala:                         Can I ask you a couple questions?

Jill DeWit:                            Sure!

Jack Butala:                         I think it will be real clear.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Jack Butala:                         When you walk into an open house, it’s an older house, not a new one …

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jack Butala:                         What do you do? What’s the first thing that comes in your mind?

Jill DeWit:                            Move walls.

Jack Butala:                         You look at what’s possible.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Jack Butala:                         You don’t look at what’s there.

Jill DeWit:                            No.

Jack Butala:                         You look at, “Ah man, in two weeks I could have this thing where it needs to be.”

Jill DeWit:                            Cause usually it’s an older home, it’s smaller rooms, and my mind goes to exactly what’s possible, right. I’m with you.

Jack Butala:                         I just learned recently that this is the absolute opposite of what most people do.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s interesting.

Jack Butala:                         What they do is they move in, they walk in the door and they say, “Where’s my couch gonna go? Where would we put the bed in this room?”

Jill DeWit:                            You’re right. I know you’re right, cause we all watch those home shows, it’s so funny because they walk in and go, “Oh, I hate yellow, let’s leave”, and my thing is, “Oh, cause we can’t change paint?”

Jack Butala:                         Right.

Jill DeWit:                            They really in their head … they don’t see it. Even the outside of the house … it’s very sad. You could probably … I mean, that would be a good thing people should do. Maybe, before you even stage the house, you really should look at the outside of the house and just spend … if you only can have so much money, spend it on that. Get them in the door at least.

Jack Butala:                         I just watched a … It’s wasn’t on HDTV, but it was a contest. Three groups of people were given a certain amount of money in a Canadian market to buy a house, and they were given six months to renovate their houses. The person who … they had an accountant reviewing every single dollar. Did you see this show?

Jill DeWit:                            You know what’s funny, I’ve seen a British version of it.

Jack Butala:                         At the end of the thing, whoever wins … makes the most money, they get an extra $50,000 from the show producer.

Jill DeWit:                            Maybe it’s … I’ve seen … it’s the same show I think.

Jack Butala:                         One group is a married couple, it was their first flip. One group was two brothers who’ve done a bunch of deals in that market, and the other one was two step sisters, one didn’t live in town. What caught me about this show, the two … I’ll tell you, I’ll spoil the whole thing … the two experienced guys won, they won the money. They were … by leaps and bounds they made like $100,000 more on the house than the other two. The two step sisters didn’t touch the outside of the house. In fact, on the open house, the day of the opening house to sell the property after it was renovated, they were outside sweeping up leaves and stuff.

Jill DeWit:                            Wow. As an afterthought.

Jack Butala:                         I just think that sometimes for whatever reason … and I’m not stereotyping, but women tend to really concentrate on the inside of the house and just forget about the outside.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh … yeah, no.

Jack Butala:                         (laughs)

Jill DeWit:                            No, no, you’ve got to have … yeah.

Jack Butala:                         The two guys, they just really … curb appeal was their whole point. They went in and they got down to the studs in the inside, put in … it was reasonably nice on the inside, but they didn’t [inaudible 00:17:21]

Jill DeWit:                            Did they stage them?

Jack Butala:                         Yeah, they were all staged.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. So, that’s what you’re doing. In these property descriptions, when you’re telling a story, you kind of have to describe how it looks staged, you know? Imagine drinking your coffee from the porch with this view. That’s what you’re trying to convey.

Jack Butala:                         Yup! With a steamy thing of coffee and it’s kind of a little bit nippy outside and it’s beautiful.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. Exactly.

Jack Butala:                         Quiet.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s like that house that … one of the ones that we did where … I mean, this is my thing anyway, not just one, but … when we were doing house flips all the way through, and we were moving walls and doing all that stuff, I always made sure that I had fresh flowers in the house every time anyone would come in. I had it on a schedule … and it was just me doing it back then too … literally had a schedule on my phone that every four days or so I would go get fresh flowers and swap them out, and make sure … Cause, by the way, back then too, we had help selling the house, but I couldn’t count on the help so I was doing it …

Jack Butala:                         With that specific house, I recall, Jill, you are an expert at presentation. I …

Jill DeWit:                            I am pretty good at that, thank you.

Jack Butala:                         Multiple times when we were done with that house I’m like, “You know what? This is in a different neighborhood [inaudible 00:18:37].

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Jack Butala:                         I walked around that house at the end and I’m like, “Man, man we did a good job.”

Jill DeWit:                            Yup.

Jack Butala:                         For not a lot of money, and we did it in less than 45 days. These people get six months to do it on TV.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jack Butala:                         So, If you’re sitting around saying, “Wow, this property is great. Maybe I should keep it for the kids, maybe I shouldn’t” … then you did a good job on the posting. That’s my whole point.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s perfect.

Jack Butala:                         Join us tomorrow where we discuss, “would you want to buy it?”

Jill DeWit:                            Love it.

Jack Butala:                         Carrying along the theme of, ‘How to Post Property on the Internet’.

Jill DeWit:                            Perfect. And we answer your questions, should you have one, posted on our online community found on

Jack Butala:                         You are not alone in your real estate ambition. Wow, was that a rant for me.

Jill DeWit:                            Totally. Are you a little frustrated? Cause you keep describing this over and over and over again.

Jack Butala:                         You know what, I thought we were past … right when we started [inaudible 00:19:36] there were several times where I just said, “I’m over this.”  I’m over trying to explain why … we don’t need this. I’m over explaining why sending out direct mail in an offer format like we have been doing for years and years … why it works.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Jack Butala:                         We haven’t had a question like this in a really long time where it’s got that tint of sarcasm / “Oh, yeah, you guys … what you say is really not that accurate.” I don’t do well with that.

Jill DeWit:                            No.

Jack Butala:                         Cause, we don’t need to do this.

Jill DeWit:                            Right. Well, you know, we’re here to save you. You either get it or you don’t. I’m not gonna … there’s so many people that really want our help and they do get it and they are learning and they are doing some awesome transactions, and we’re just gonna focus on those folks.

Jack Butala:                         Well said, Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you.

Jack Butala:                         (laughs)

Jill DeWit:                            Hey, share the fun by subscribing at Itunes or wherever you’re listening, and while you’re at it, please rate us there.

Together:                            We are Jack and Jill.

Jack Butala:                         Information …

Jill DeWit:                            And inspiration …

Jack Butala:                         To buy undervalued property.

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