How to make your Land Stand Out on the Internet (LI 698)

Transcript:

Steve J. Butala:                  Steve and Jill here.

Jill DeWit:                            Hi.

Steve J. Butala:                  Welcome to The Land Investors Show, entertaining land investment talk. I’m Steven Jack Butala.

Jill DeWit:                            I am Jill DeWit, broadcasting from sunny southern California.

Steve J. Butala:                  Today, Jill and I talk about how to make your land stand out on the internet. We talk about buying property, night and day it seems like. We don’t talk about selling it as much.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steve J. Butala:                  Here’s a spoiler alert. Here’s what’s ahead. If you buy property so cheap and sell it so cheap, it’s going to stand out on the internet.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s number one.

Steve J. Butala:                  That’s not what the whole show is about. There’s a lot of ways to make your property stand out, but nothing makes it stand out … if you’re pressed for time today, you can turn it off.

Jill DeWit:                            What does that mean?

Steve J. Butala:                  Price is the best way to sell a piece of property. It turns out you have incredible control over how much you pay for a piece of real estate.

Before we get in to that, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on landinvestors.com online community. It’s free.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. Mark asks, “I’m coming across some big land holding LLCs and invest …” I don’t know. Was the name on there correct or not correct?

Steve J. Butala:                  It’s correct. You’re correct.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. “I’m coming across some big land holding LLCs and investment groups in a county, and was wondering what type of success others are experiencing when making offers to the corporate world.”

Steve J. Butala:                  I’m extremely confident you’re talking about Nevada. Here’s a story with Nevada and some parts of California, but mostly Nevada.

Jill DeWit:                            Nevada Land Company.

Steve J. Butala:                  Yeah. Nevada Land Company. Nevada Land Company is a land ownership holding company for a mining company. They’re not interested in service rights, which is what we buy and sell here. What all of us do. They have an arm where all the rogue employees that are kind of weirdos work. They’re responsible for selling huge, huge properties, like square miles, and square miles, and square miles of property. I just wrote an article for our newsletter that’s going to go out Thursday. The title of it is The Top 10 Landowners in the Country, and how we rank against it, and what we do. It’s actually pretty impressive.

Jill DeWit:                            Cool.

Steve J. Butala:                  Anyway, these guys don’t come close. There’s people who own millions and millions of acres. But, when you run across these large owners of LLCs that just … you look down the list of ownership, and they own like 80% of it. Make contact with them, and ask them. Talk with them. I personally have purchased thousands of acres from Nevada Land Company. One of our competitors, our first student, Mark Podolsky, The Land Geek, made his career off that, off of my advice.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s good.

Steve J. Butala:                  Back in the day, you could buy a section of property, like 640 acres, and cut it up into 40 acre properties and sell it on terms. You literally buy it for, I don’t know, $50,000. A whole square mile. Cut it all up, and sell it the 40s for 20,000 each. You don’t need a calculator for that math.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. Well, you do. I do.

Steve J. Butala:                  Make contact with them. The Nevada Land Corporation, specifically, has all their property posted on their website. I’ll tell you, it’s not in my wheelhouse to buy 640 acres anymore and then resell it. You can buy it for 40, 50 … I saw one go off recently for $11,000. Then you put it on the internet, you dress it up, and try to sell it for 20 or 30. The market for that is pretty limited. You’re looking for a ranch buyer who’s got a lot of cash. Wouldn’t you rather have 20 really good acres, versus some really barren square mile?

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steve J. Butala:                  If you’re into it, and you’re into that county, to answer your question, check it out. Contact them and see what they’re going to sell. It’s going to … nine times out of 10 it’ll turn into a dead end. It’s better just to send mail out.

Jill DeWit:                            Do you think your experience, are they easy to work with, or not easy to work with?

Steve J. Butala:                  Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            They’re pretty easy to work with?

Steve J. Butala:                  It’s like talking to an employee at any big company. They don’t really have a vested interest.

Jill DeWit:                            Do they have a set bottom number that they’ll say, “Yeah, we’ll let it go for this, if not, have a nice day”?

Steve J. Butala:                  No, they don’t. They have been told by whoever works above them that this is the price, and that’s it. There’s no negotiating.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s what I mean. Yeah, they have a set.

Steve J. Butala:                  Yeah, they have a set. The answer’s, “Yes.”

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you. Now who’s not listening and zoning out a little bit.

Steve J. Butala:                  I know. I knew you were going to call me out on this.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s hilarious. You are not even listening to my questions.

Steve J. Butala:                  Let me tell you, listeners, there’s 20 ways to buy real estate, maybe 200 ways. I’ve done them all. I’ve purchased property directly from the county tax deed. Did that last week, actually. You look through a list, you buy it. We paid $500 a property. We bought some of the best acreage I’ve purchased in northern Arizona in my life ever. We got lucky. Truly, we got lucky.

You want to get lucky every time, or do you want to have a really, really consistent outcome every single week like a machine? Where you just purchase property and sell it, and purchase it and sell it. The same way over, and over, and over again until you have 20 million bucks in your bank account, and you can stop it. Which one?

Jill DeWit:                            I guess, B.

Steve J. Butala:                  Then send a bunch of mail out.

Jill DeWit:                            I know. I agree.

Steve J. Butala:                  The time to get creative, like yesterday we talked about the mobile home [inaudible 00:05:41] The time to get creative is after you’ve tested and succeeded at just sending a bunch of offers out, buying property and selling it.

Jill DeWit:                            [inaudible 00:05:50] that true. That’s the thing. I totally agree with you, Jack. Don’t get creative yet. A lot of our members come in and go, “Oh,” and they get distracted. Like, “Something shiny over here.” Knock it off. Keep your head down. Stick to the plan. Whatever plan you set out for yourself, buy and sell those. Perfect it. Build up your money. That’s the thing, too, you’re going to turn around and go, “Wow, where did that come from?” as you’re staring at your bank statement. Now you can get creative. Now you can make different decisions. Now you can go, “Well, I got that figured out. I think I’m going to try this now,” or whatever it is.

Steve J. Butala:                  Because, what will happen after you do 10, or 20, or 30 deals, there’s going to be a couple that are a little bit different. That’s just how it works. Let’s say the sellers that sold them to you, the person died, and the kids are handling the estate. You love to work that all out with them. You love to work through the estate situation. You’re not going to choose your little niche. It’s going to choose you. I know that’s hard to understand when you’re new.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steve J. Butala:                  Jill and I, our niche that chose us, Jill and I are cash people. We buy it for cash, we sell them for cash. We love to send out mail. Personally, Jill and I do very, very well at certain tax deed auctions and buying property. We don’t talk about it too much over the internet for our OTC property on tax property, because it’s not our core business. I wouldn’t recommend that anybody start out buying over the counter tax property.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steve J. Butala:                  It’s giving you a false sense of … because, this goes away.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steve J. Butala:                  I’ll tell you the mail never goes away.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s true.

Steve J. Butala:                  Today’s topic, how to make all that land we’re talking about, when you purchase it, stand out on the internet. This is the meat of the show. What do you think, Jill? You’re perusing through Land Watch. You’re trying to buy 10 acres in Montana or, I don’t know, some county in Carbon, Wyoming, let’s say. You see 22 properties there, but you’re the seller. You want yours to stand out. What do you do?

Jill DeWit:                            Well, I was going to … What I would as a seller?

Steve J. Butala:                  Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            I would think about what I would do as a buyer. Seriously. And, what I would do as a buyer, is I’m going to put in all the parameters in my search. 10 acres, this county, whatever. Pops up the list of 100, let’s just say. Next thing I’m going to do is sort by price.

Steve J. Butala:                  That’s what I do.

Jill DeWit:                            Lowest to highest.

Steve J. Butala:                  And, I look at the cheapest one first.

Jill DeWit:                            Yep. I’m going to start … I’m not going to start with the highest to lowest. That’s silly. I’m going to go lowest to highest, and then I’m going to work my way through. Now, I’m reading the descriptions. This is what’s going to catch me. It’s like curb appeal. It’s the same thing. If you don’t have a halfway decent description telling what it is, and number one, have a photo, you have … So many people, they might have a decent price, there’s no description. It might be the APN, or something like that.

Steve J. Butala:                  [inaudible 00:08:38] some old man who posts property that way.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s silly. The description is four sentences that says … maybe it’s a legal description copied in there, and that’s it. And, the price and a phone number. Like, “I’m really going to call?”

Steve J. Butala:                  A woman would never post a piece of property that way, I’m telling you right now.

Jill DeWit:                            I know. Some of them are so bad, they might put a map in there, an old plat map. I’m like, “Well, that’s great. That helps no one.”

Steve J. Butala:                  That a took a picture with.

Jill DeWit:                            Totally.

Steve J. Butala:                  On the desk.

Jill DeWit:                            With their cell phone. With their flip phone, and that took them an hour to figure it out. Most of them, they don’t even … I’m like, “What the heck?” Anyway. I skip past those, and then the next, I go, “Oh. Oh. This one’s priced right. I know what it is, because the description told me, and it’s good.”

Maybe it’s mobile ready, or it’s zoned a special way, or something. Ranch zoned, or something like that caught my attention, because it’s in the description. I actually have a photo, and it’s not a Google Earth photo for your lead. You want those in there, but you don’t want it as your lead photo. You want something good. Whatever the attribute is, maybe there’s mountains behind it. You want some good, not a gray, gloomy sky with dirt. I see people doing that, too. Not your lead photo. You shouldn’t even have those in there anyway. That’s, for me, what gets it. Just something to get me to click on it. Right, Jack? Those are the tree things.

Steve J. Butala:                  That’s the whole point. Yeah. That’s my point. When you’re perusing those 100 properties, and sort by price, you need to be … because, you have so much control over what you buy, in the top five, if not the top one. That means you’re buying dirt really cheap.

Number two, you need to have a fantastic title. Here’s a title not to have, 12 Acres in Elko County. Yay.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steve J. Butala:                  I always ask my staff to title properties like you’re a middle aged man in Japan. What’s he going to understand? He doesn’t know where Elko county is. He doesn’t care at all.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s your avatar?

Steve J. Butala:                  Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Steve J. Butala:                  But, you know what he understands? 20 Beautiful Acres, Homestead, 14 Miles from Las Vegas.

Jill DeWit:                            True.

Steve J. Butala:                  Or, 82 Miles from the Grand Canyon.

Jill DeWit:                            True.

Steve J. Butala:                  Or, Lake Tahoe, Los Angeles, Hollywood. If back, it’s New York. Any big city, Chicago.

Jill DeWit:                            Dallas.

Steve J. Butala:                  Right. Commute to Nashville.

Jill DeWit:                            Pretty lake.

Steve J. Butala:                  People understand that. Homestead Near Nashville.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steve J. Butala:                  The title matters. Then that lead photo needs to be picture perfect. You need to have high contrast. Beautiful blue sky with green foliage. As a real estate professional, we all tend to gravitate toward … Here’s an example. We just turned a house in Scottsdale. Our boots on the ground crew, because they’re real estate professionals, they took pictures like they were an assessor. They took pictures like they were a real estate professional. So, they took pictures of every single crack. Cracks in the ceiling, cracks in the foundation. You need to not do that.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, hold on a moment. They did everything correctly. Here’s what happened on that one. They the pictures to properly show us the property. Then our transaction coordinator, at the time, accidentally posted all of those photos. We had to go, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Who are you trying to …

Steve J. Butala:                  Yeah, we’re selling a piece of property here.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, yeah. Those are for us.

Steve J. Butala:                  Right.

Jill DeWit:                            They’ll see it when they walk the property.

Steve J. Butala:                  We’re not inspector.

Jill DeWit:                            Let’s not sit and poke out …

Steve J. Butala:                  Right.

Jill DeWit:                            We had to go, “Okay, can we pick the 10 good ones, or the 20 good ones? Not the 80 …” Because, we don’t need the front, back, inside of the toilet.

Steve J. Butala:                  The property … Right. Moving on. If the property is close to Las Vegas, let’s say, don’t put a picture of Las Vegas strip.

Jill DeWit:                            True.

Steve J. Butala:                  That’s going to … I will skip by that property every single time.

Jill DeWit:                            Isn’t that hilarious?

Steve J. Butala:                  Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            That cracks me up, too. You put in a dreamy photo, let’s just say, which you want a dreamy photo. It’s gorgeous, and it’s heavily treed, and it’s beautiful. Now you got my attention. I’m in to the post. I’m [inaudible 00:12:58] at the posting. I go pop in the GPS coordinates, and it’s barren. You can’t do that.

Steve J. Butala:                  Right. You don’t want to do that. People who buy real estate are not stupid. You’re not going to fool anybody.

Jill DeWit:                            No.

Steve J. Butala:                  In fact, you’re wasting your time, and you’re destroying your credibility in just seconds on the internet.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. They’re like, “Well, and you lost me,” kind of thing. “I’m not going to go to your website. I could care less, because this is really not the right property.”

Steve J. Butala:                  You got to a good title and a good still shot that accurately represents the property.

Jill DeWit:                            And, a good price.

Steve J. Butala:                  Now your potential purchaser … and, a great price. So, now your potential purchaser clicks on it. What do they need to see?

Jill DeWit:                            More photos.

Steve J. Butala:                  A video.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s true.

Steve J. Butala:                  A flyover video with you, as a regular human being, narrating it. You as a seller. In Google Earth, we use Snagit, the software package Snagit. I think Mac users … What do Mac users do, Jill? It comes with the Mac, I know.

Jill DeWit:                            On my Mac, I used Snagit.

Steve J. Butala:                  Okay.

Jill DeWit:                            You had me trained.

Steve J. Butala:                  I know Mac comes with some type of screen shot video thing. If you go to our YouTube channel, our property is plastered all over our Land Academy YouTube channel. There’s a whole section of properties … that’s what they need to see.

Jill DeWit:                            Over the years.

Steve J. Butala:                  People love to be narrated and talked to about, “Oh, this is how you get to the property. Maybe you could put a little barn here. Maybe you could do this and that.”

Jill DeWit:                            “Oh, look at the neighbor has horses there. How cool is that?”

Steve J. Butala:                  “The neighbor’s got all-”

Jill DeWit:                            “A beautiful ranch.”

Steve J. Butala:                  “… the electricity figured out. You can see the lines here.” Just walk them through it.

Jill DeWit:                            “Here’s where the Walmart is.” All that stuff. The post office.

Steve J. Butala:                  Exactly. This far from the freeway. People love the mountain protection. Jill and I bought several 40s in Texas once, and there were all against this ridge, and they sold like … we owned them for minutes. To this day, the second most clicked on video in our YouTube channel is a 40 acre property in Texas that we owned for like 20 minutes.

Jill DeWit:                            Jeff Davis. Exactly.

Steve J. Butala:                  I know it’s hard, the first time, to get used to your own voice. If you’re comfortable with it, put your face up there. They want to know they’re buying from a real person. You will sell the property.

Then finally, to make your property stick out, a perfect template of a property … We own a company called LandPin. If you need a template to sell a property, go on LandPin.

Jill DeWit:                            A copy of ours, yeah.

Steve J. Butala:                  There’s one seller who, just say they do a better job than we do, called Hemingway Land. Click on any of their listings. They just do it right, and consequently, do really well.

Jill DeWit:                            Awesome.

Steve J. Butala:                  What else do you think?

Jill DeWit:                            I’m trying to think what else to add to that.

Steve J. Butala:                  I made up this saying recently. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a thousand pictures.

Jill DeWit:                            I’d say, you know what, too? Don’t put the videos [inaudible 00:15:49] lead there, because that’s boring. I’m going to scroll past it. I want a photo. I don’t want the half of your face with the big red Play button right there. Make that your second or third.

Steve J. Butala:                  Yeah. It should be in the body of the deal.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. The thing, too, about these, my best thing is properly describe the property. Don’t think that just because it’s way out there, that someone’s not going to want it. Don’t pretend the … show the location of nearby amenities. If they aren’t nearby, then describe it like that. Say, “This is great. This is your own piece of seclusion out here. Sure, if you really want to drive, it takes you about 30 minutes, but you know what? Also, no one’s going to show up and surprise you on your doorstep, because you’re 30 minutes away.” There’s a market for everything. Just make each attribute stand out, because someone will want that.

Steve J. Butala:                  You nailed it, Jill. When I got in this business [inaudible 00:16:49] constantly running through the back of my head is, “Who the heck would ever buy this property?” I see new people making that mistake all the time, and it’s shocking. Even today, it’s even better than it was, because you can get an internet connection anywhere. You can live anywhere if your job’s on the internet, which most people’s jobs are. I don’t know if most people jobs are, but lots … people who are interested in buying and selling real estate the way we do, it seems to me that their jobs are on the internet.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah. Or, just there’s more and more people that can do this, that’s true.

Steve J. Butala:                  You can take a piece of property that’s truly really, really rural and talk it up like Jill is saying.

Jill DeWit:                            Make it beautiful.

Steve J. Butala:                  “Get off the grid.”

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steve J. Butala:                  “Get yourself off the grid. Build your dream home. Build your dream shack.”

Jill DeWit:                            Right. “Privacy, seclusion, trees, view. You want clean air? It doesn’t get any cleaner than this.” You know what I mean? Fresh air.

Steve J. Butala:                  Yeah. That’s a good … I never thought about that.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steve J. Butala:                  But, health reasons.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s true, too, “No smog here.” That’s going to be one of our new titles.

Steve J. Butala:                  Yeah, that’s good Jill. I’m actually writing these down.

Jill DeWit:                            That would be cool.

Steve J. Butala:                  Well, you’ve done it again. You’ve spent another almost 18 minutes with us, I guess, listening to The Land Investors Show. Join us tomorrow for another interesting episode Selling That Little House on the Prairie Story. We kind of alluded to it today. If you tell a story about what could happen in somebody’s life on this piece of land, and you’re only asking 10, 20,000 bucks for it, you’re going to get a buyer.

Jill DeWit:                            I agree. And, we’re going to answer your question. Post it on LandInvestors.com. Go there, it’s free.

Steve J. Butala:                  You are not alone in your real estate ambition. God, I wish I had this advice when I started.

Jill DeWit:                            I know.

Steve J. Butala:                  I made every single mistake you could make. I was that guy who you described, who posted a legal description of the property with a picture of the Las Vegas strip.

Jill DeWit:                            Really?

Steve J. Butala:                  Yeah. Back then, nobody was selling land on the internet, so I got away with it.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steve J. Butala:                  There was a time where I was passed up. We learned all this stuff not by accident, by necessity.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s why we’re here to save everybody else.  You know what’s funny? People haven’t asked me in a long time, like, “Aren’t you afraid of sharing all your secrets?”

Steve J. Butala:                  I got that yesterday.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, did you?

Steve J. Butala:                  Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            I have not had that in a long time. I was going to say, “Well, thank goodness.” I was thinking, “Maybe word finally got out that there is enough land and there are enough houses to go around.” By the way, they’re recyclable.

Steve J. Butala:                  This guy said, “Man, it’s too late.”

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, really?

Steve J. Butala:                  Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s hilarious.

Steve J. Butala:                  You know what I did? I was lucky enough to meet with him in person, and I said, “Oh, really? Let’s look at the population growth.” I just pulled it right upon the screen.

Jill DeWit:                            Good for you. He thought that he’d missed the boat?

Steve J. Butala:                  It’s a hockey stick. Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            That hilarious? Okay. That’s one of my funny things, too, whenever I talk to someone, and they don’t get the direct mail thing. They’re like, “Oh, that never works.” I don’t know. I only got 16,000 examples.

Steve J. Butala:                  Why do people say that?

Jill DeWit:                            They do. It’s the funniest thing. You know what? Here’s what they do.

Steve J. Butala:                  I think they tried it.

Jill DeWit:                            Hold on a moment. Every time I’m reading, and this is very often. I had one just the other day in bigger pockets. Every time I read someone talking about finding things, they list their ways of getting, then call them leads, right? And they say, “Direct mail.” They all say, “I’ve got a few home runs that way.” Why they don’t focus there, I don’t know.

Steve J. Butala:                  I’ve noticed that, too. Especially commercial real estate people.

Jill DeWit:                            Why is that? They all agree that it’s good, but they don’t want to put all their-

Steve J. Butala:                  “Well, I had to send out 10,000 letters.” …

Jill DeWit:                            How much did that cost?

Steve J. Butala:                  Okay. You spend $4,000 to buy an apartment building where you made 10 million.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steve J. Butala:                  “Oh, well, I’m not going to do that again.” Okay. Thanks.

Jill DeWit:                            Whatever.

Steve J. Butala:                  I guess I will, then.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steve J. Butala:                  I literally had that conversation with somebody.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah. I totally agree. That’s hilarious.

Steve J. Butala:                  I think what happens is that, in the case of the guy that I was talking to yesterday, they don’t fully understand what a mail merge is. So, they really think that you have to write 10,000 letters.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh.

Steve J. Butala:                  They don’t understand that it takes, maybe, 20 minutes on the internet to literally generate 10, 20, 30, or 800,000 letters at the same amount of time. It’s a mail merge. You send it to a printer. It’s just math. You don’t ever touch an envelope or print anything. We’ve got it all figured out.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. That’s true. They don’t understand that we have the cost so cheap, now. I think you’re right, too, there’s a lot of people that say, “It’s a big barrier of entry.” You know what, though? I got to say, “Well, then go buy an ice cream shop.” This is way cheaper. There’s nothing that we really … we try to come up with some … I can’t think of any other business you could start with less money up front.

Steve J. Butala:                  Neither can I.

Jill DeWit:                            There isn’t any.

Steve J. Butala:                  Well, if I did think of it, I would start it.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s true.

Steve J. Butala:                  Like next week, actually. You know that.

Jill DeWit:                            I do know that. Thank goodness.

Hey, share the fun by subscribing on iTunes or wherever you are listening. While you’re at it, please rate us there. We are Steve and Jill.

Steve J. Butala:                  We are Steve and Jill. Information-

Jill DeWit:                            … and inspiration.

Steve J. Butala:                  To buy undervalued property.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please review it in iTunes . Reviews are incredibly important for rankings on iTunes. My staff and I read each and every one.

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