Signs you have Arrived in the Land Business (LA 715)

Signs you have Arrived in the Land Business (LA 715)


Steven Butala:                   Steve and Jill here.

Jill DeWit:                            Hi.

Steven Butala:                   Welcome to the Land Academy show, entertaining land investment talk. I’m Steven Jack Butala.

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

Steven Butala:                   Today, Jill and I talk about the signs that you’re experiencing, that you may have arrived in a land business.

Jill DeWit:                            You’ve arrived.

Steven Butala:                   I saw you furiously take notes.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, I have some good things [crosstalk 00:00:28].

Steven Butala:                   Most of the time you take no notes. So, you must have an interest in this topic today.

Jill DeWit:                            I do. Nothing better … No, seriously.

Steven Butala:                   Jill’s got nothing better to do right now than do this show.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, nothing better to do. That’s what I meant.

Steven Butala:                   You know, this reminds me of those old Jeff Foxworthy jokes where, “You might be a redneck-“

Jill DeWit:                            Oh yeah?

Steven Butala:                   “Signs you might be a redneck.” We’ll get to it in a minute.

Jill DeWit:                            Signs you’re a real grown up investor.

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

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. Greg asks:

                                                “I got a letter today saying that a survey is required to transfer the appraisal and tax account to my name. The Deed has already been recorded. I’ve already sold the slot and five others in this neighborhood. They were all cash deals. Have you seen this before? Am I responsible for paying for six surveys? This could really hurt. What if it grows to 12 next year, then 24 the next? This is the first one.”

Steven Butala:                   May I?

Jill DeWit:                            Yes.

Steven Butala:                   There’s a small chance that you’re buying and selling these properties in a HOA … In a subdivision that comes with an HOA, a Home Owners Association, or an LOA, Land Owners Association, or a POA, Property Owners Association. There’s a small chance that … There’s a very small chance that they require a survey to transfer the property. I don’t know why they would do that to themselves because now they’re really punishing people for buying and selling land, and that’s how they make money, right?

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala:                   So, I say small chance. What I really think is going on is this is a bunch of malarkey. Somebody who makes money doing surveys is saying you have to do it.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, that’s true.

Steven Butala:                   That’s what I think.

Jill DeWit:                            You know what? There’s just so much to that, too. There’s a list-

Steven Butala:                   Well, its public information when you record a Deed. You just gotta know where to look for it.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, because we have it. We’re all using them.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. Exactly. That’s how we … The data subscriptions we use at Real Quest, Title Pro and Data [Street 00:02:30], that’s this.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative), exactly.

Steven Butala:                   I told this story probably two weeks ago last week. [inaudible 00:02:36] office buildings, and I found out looking at our financial statements that there was a company coming in, changing out our fire extinguishers every month, and charging us a bundle. A couple grand. Their whole premise was this is fire code. It’s required. And it’s not a code at all. It’s not required at all. Somebody lost their job on our staff over that.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala:                   I think that’s what this sounds like to me.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative). It could be do your homework and see. I’m not sure about that one, too. I’ve never had that.

Steven Butala:                   If that’s the case, there’s a way to do a survey that cost six cents, with Google Earth and all that. I’m exaggerating. It costs 20 cents.

Jill DeWit:                            But you know what else? You just bundle them all up. How many properties did I buy? I’ll just have one guy go out all at once. Fine.

Steven Butala:                   Sticks driven survey, like we’re all used to, is actually so antiquated. It’s kind of like an answering machine technology. There’s much better ways to … Unless you’re going to build a skyscraper and you really need to be on site. For our purposes here, an Internet survey is all you need. Good luck convincing people of that.

Jill DeWit:                            You know, also [inaudible 00:03:38] reach out in land investors and talk to other people that have done property in that state, or at least in that county, at least, and maybe in that area and say, “What did you guys do?”

Steven Butala:                   Exactly.

Jill DeWit:                            That will help too. Cool.

Steven Butala:                   Today’s topic: Signs You’ve Arrived in the Land Business. This is the meat of the show. Give us your list, Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay, this is the best possible thing to happen on the planet, by the way. You’ve arrived, you did it, you’re here, it’s done. This is your thing. How do you know you’ve arrived? Well, number one, you have zero stress or worries about money or where you’re going to find your next deal, or what county to target next. You’re so into this, you’re like … Oh, you can’t get to it fast enough.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            You just keep finding … You’re like, “Wow.”

Steven Butala:                   You just breathe it.

Jill DeWit:                            “I just bought-” Okay, I think I exhausted all the five acres in this area, now I’m going to do the 10 acres, now I’m going to do the 20 acres. Whatever.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah, Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            Then why you’re doing that, you’re like, “Oh, no. This is place is hot, too. Okay, I gotta get that one too. I gotta roll that in.” That’s how you know. It just comes to you-

Steven Butala:                   You’re exciting me a little.

Jill DeWit:                            You just know … Thank you.

Steven Butala:                   You know, that’s how I am.

Jill DeWit:                            I know.

Steven Butala:                   When it comes to data and real estate and all that, just like that. Seriously.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s like House Academy. You have the next three areas already mapped out. We can’t get there fast enough.

Steven Butala:                   That’s exactly right.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s how you know you’ve arrived.

Steven Butala:                   I like it.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you.

Steven Butala:                   What else is on your list?

Jill DeWit:                            Number two, you have very little that stumps you, or confuses you, and if anything comes along that you don’t quite get or something, you have the resources to solve it.

Steven Butala:                   Every once in a while … This is a real-time example of exactly what Jill’s talking about. A client will come back and say, “You need to issue a Corrective Deed.” It’s usually when the deal hits the assessor, and they’re reassessing the tax situation, they look everything over, and they say, “Yeah, this Deed is kind of [inaudible 00:05:30] title.” Then they call us, and they say … You guys, usually it’s been sold three times by then.

                                                This just happened last week, and we had to do what’s called a Corrective Deed. They asked us to do it, and we do them. This happens probably once or twice a month.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, it’s no big deal.

Steven Butala:                   The first time this happened, I flipped my lid. I thought they were messing with me. I had no idea how to do it. So, you want to talk about not rattling your cage, that freaks me out.

Jill DeWit:                            There you go.

Steven Butala:                   In fact, I avoided it. I avoided doing it. I wouldn’t call them back for at least like a month.

Jill DeWit:                            You’re like, “Good luck finding me-“

Steven Butala:                   For like a whole month.

Jill DeWit:                            I already sold it [crosstalk 00:06:06].

Steven Butala:                   I already sold it-

Jill DeWit:                            And then they sold it-

Steven Butala:                   You figure it out. You do the Corrective Deed, and I’ll sign it. That’s what I said. I was a total idiot about it.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s funny.

Steven Butala:                   This was back from the 90s.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   Now, this week when it happened, this last time, we saw it, everyone was laughing about it.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, whatever.

Steven Butala:                   We did it, and we fixed it.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. No problem. Yeah, any little … You know you’ve arrived, anything little thing happens, you’re like, “Oh, I got this. Here’s how we’re going to solve this.” Man, whatever. That’s number two. My number three that you know that you’ve arrived, is you’re starting to think about other things like philanthropy-

Steven Butala:                   Oh, that’s good.

Jill DeWit:                            Or, donating, spending your time and your resources on doing other good things. Hopefully, other good things.

Steven Butala:                   That’s beautiful.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s, for me. What do you want to add?

Steven Butala:                   I’m going to tell you personally. There’s been a few moments where I knew I made it. This is about probably 12 years ago. I sat down, hunkered myself down to do the next mailer, to do the data part of it where it’s all dark in the room and the whole thing. It occurred to me, just like a light bulb over my head, “I could do this anywhere. I don’t have to sit here in my office and do this mailer. I need to do it.”

                                                So I went … I got on a plane, went to San Diego, and did it on the back of my yacht. That’s when I said, “You know what? We could do this anywhere.” I just had a whole weekend moment of like, “Man, this is living.” I did. It’s been happiness on top of happiness on top happier ever since then. You have a big smile on your-

Jill DeWit:                            I do.

Steven Butala:                   [crosstalk 00:07:54].

Jill DeWit:                            It’s a good story, yeah it’s great. I love it.

Steven Butala:                   That was the moment for me where I knew that was it. Then, I had one recently. This is probably six months ago where we did the first House Academy deal. Not to flip the first house, because we’ve been whole-selling houses to one guy forever. But I mean, where we kicked this guy to the curb, this buyer, and we did a full blown take a chance. Just like we would be a new House Academy member, I did it just exactly how we teach it.

                                                You’re starting with nothing, you don’t have an investor, you don’t have any of it. We did it from start to finish and sold the house inside of 30 days and made $25,000.00. That, I knew … I’m old enough now to know and experienced enough, that this will be a billion dollar company inside of 24 months.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. Look at you. You are just … You just said a perfect example. When we started … We were not … How do I say this? When we started Land Academy and all the stuff that we’ve been doing, House Academy wasn’t … It was a little bit on our radar, but not totally on our radar. You know you’ve arrived because now you’re really focusing on House Academy.

Steven Butala:                   I’m addicted now.

Jill DeWit:                            And, you have the next one after that lined up.

Steven Butala:                   Oh, yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            See? That’s how you know you’ve arrived.

Steven Butala:                   We’re going to move through MSA to MSA. We’ll move through them, and step over the dead bodies, let’s say.

Jill DeWit:                            There’s no shortage of them … I don’t know what that is, but …

Steven Butala:                   It means you won.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Steven Butala:                   In like Roman times.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. Is that a World War something one reference? I don’t know what that is.

Steven Butala:                   Before that. It’s okay.

Jill DeWit:                            Anyway. It’s a guy thing. There’s not shortage for us of ideas, and they’re profitable, I mean, of new ways to do our business, other property types, we have other products lined up. We just can’t get to them fast enough, and some of them are bigger and need more help, like having a posting property service. I mean, that’s huge. I’d love to tackle that someday. That’s a huge one. There’s so many other things that we can do, too, to help us and our members, and it’s going to be time-saving, money-saving and profitable for everybody.

Steven Butala:                   Right.

Jill DeWit:                            There’s no shortage of all that stuff, so you just said it. If all these other things are just coming to you now, you know you’ve arrived.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            I love it.

Steven Butala:                   I still love doing deals. That’s the thing. You know, we have Land Academy, House Academy, these education groups, membership groups, and data mailing, all of it. They all work well. But in the end, I still love just doing the deal.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala:                   I love it.

Jill DeWit:                            I have talked to people in our group that have told me that for them, they arrived when they had things like they replaced … Even just one person salary, one person thought they arrived when they told their wife they could quit their job. I thought that was awesome. Another person told me they knew they arrived when they quit their job.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            One person, too, that we talk about a lot, he was like … It’s getting fun to him every year to see when he … He knows what his top salary was at his old job, right-

Steven Butala:                   He’s [crosstalk 00:11:02].

Jill DeWit:                            So he’s trying to hit that top salary earlier in the year, you know what I mean?

Steven Butala:                   Like January?

Jill DeWit:                            “All right, year one, I hit my top salary in September. Woo-hoo. So, the rest was gravy. Year two, I’m going to hit it in July. Year three, I’m going to hit it in March.” You know what I mean?

Steven Butala:                   That’s great.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s kind of … Thanks. You know your business is growing and all that good stuff, and it’s kind of, I think, a fun thing for him. Some people have told me that they felt like they have arrived when all the debt was paid off. Just something like that. It’s like, “Oh, this business has freed me up to breathe and now I can start thinking about having no mortgage, and now I can start to think about kids’ college fund.”

                                                We all have different things, too, by the way. To us … I think, for me personally, I shared one with you just recently. It’s not a big thing, but it’s big to me, which is number two, just started college. I am personally out of my … We divide up our income for different things, and stuff. And I have my money for my stuff, and you have your money for your stuff. I am paying for number two’s college out of my balance, my stuff, and it’s not-

Steven Butala:                   And it’s not making it done.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s just is awesome to me because a lot of people can’t do that. It’s special to me, and it’s really important to me.

Steven Butala:                   We talked about the three stages of wealth yesterday, because I was explaining it to number three. Number one is, for me, becoming debt-free. You know, the vast majority of people in this country never do.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   They never … I don’t know, but the numbers are staggering, like 95%.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   If you can get past that, you’re automatically … You’re killing it.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   Number two is, be in control of your own time. A lot of people that have really good jobs that are debt-free, but they’re not in control of their time. They got some idiot boss breathing down their neck, because some bosses breathe down that person’s neck and on and on and on. It’s just the broken corporate crap that goes on.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala:                   You’re still part of it, but you’re debt-free. You’re making a good living, you’re making your house payment, or whatever that means to you. Number three is you’re in control of your time, and you’re bossing it. That’s what we’re talking about here. Very, very few people ever come close to doing that. We have the good fortune, Jill, of knowing a lot of them, and helping a lot of them. That’s another sign I personally know I’ve arrived. We’re actually giving back.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   There was a time not so long ago where I would have said … This is probably 10 years ago, “Why the hell would I ever, ever, ever let anyone in on this secret of sending mail out to the sellers?” Now we’re like-

Jill DeWit:                            The [inaudible 00:13:45] help them. [inaudible 00:13:46] and take the time out of my day, and stop my mailer-

Steven Butala:                   Now.

Jill DeWit:                            To help them-

Steven Butala:                   Now I get a kick out of that.

Jill DeWit:                            But that’s what we do.

Steven Butala:                   I get a kick out of … I know the member you’re talking about. He just wrote on Facebook. He did 104 deals in his first year.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   He’s got a picture of his new truck there.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   I mean, I get a huge kick out of that.

Jill DeWit:                            Me, too.

Steven Butala:                   Almost as big of a kick out of doing a real estate deal.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala:                   But not really.

Jill DeWit:                            Really?

Steven Butala:                   I don’t know, what gets you off more? Doing a real estate deal, or seeing somebody like Justin, showing off his truck, saying he did 100 deals?

Jill DeWit:                            You know, I love it, and I haven’t got them in a while, but now and then members will send us little … Even just a thank you card. It makes me cry when I get those in the mail, I gotta tell you.

Steven Butala:                   Gift basket.

Jill DeWit:                            You know? I don’t need that. Even just a card, or a nice little thing, get little notes. You know, emails … I got one not long ago, that, “Hey, you changed my life.” I love that. That’s bigger for me.

Steven Butala:                   Well, you’re tearing up a little.

Jill DeWit:                            I am. It makes me tear up. I know.

Steven Butala:                   Somebody just wrote that recently, like earlier this week.

Jill DeWit:                            I love that stuff. That’s really what gets it for me.

Steven Butala:                   I had a call last week with a guy, he pays $500.00 to schedule a consulted call with me just to thank me. He didn’t have any questions. It was like a 10 minute call, and he paid for all this. He’s like, “No, I just want to thank you.” They took to concept of the mailing to owners, and he parlayed it into mobile homes … Grandfathered it into mobile home pads, and he’s making a fortune. He pitched the idea to his financial group a year ago when he got the program. He said they laughed, and now they’re begging him to back them, and he said, “No, I don’t need you.”

Jill DeWit:                            “Now I don’t need you. I did this on my own.”

Steven Butala:                   Seriously.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   I mean, it was a heartfelt, crying on the phone thing. But, it’s still not as good as doing a deal.

Jill DeWit:                            You know what’s interesting? There’s a lot of members in our group … This is one of the things that I love about group. The way we are is the way they are, and I watch them all the time paying it forward to other people-

Steven Butala:                   Yeah, that’s right.

Jill DeWit:                            In our community and outside our community.

Steven Butala:                   Right.

Jill DeWit:                            I think it’s the best thing on the planet.

Steven Butala:                   You can see it on every day. If you go in there, people are helping everybody.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, “Here’s what I did-“

Steven Butala:                   Open source, open free thinking.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   I love it.

Jill DeWit:                            Totally, “Here’s how you solve that. Call this person. Hey, you need someone to do a whatever in this area? I know a guy.” All of that.

Steven Butala:                   Right.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s awesome. I love it. So, we’ve all arrived.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            This is great.

Steven Butala:                   Well, you’ve done it again. You spent another 15 or 20 minutes with us, listening to the Land Academy Show. Join us tomorrow … Or really, [inaudible 00:16:38] Monday, for another interesting episode where we discuss how to avoid deal theft. What the heck’s deal theft?

Jill DeWit:                            Deal theft?

Steven Butala:                   Deal theft.

Jill DeWit:                            Deal theft?

Steven Butala:                   Is when-

Jill DeWit:                            Refund?

Steven Butala:                   You buy a piece of property, when you’re talking to a seller … Jill’s bringing us back to the 70s [crosstalk 00:16:55].

Jill DeWit:                            Sorry.

Steven Butala:                   You know, I never get tired of hearing you say that. When you’re dealing with a property, and you’re talking to a seller, and somebody finds out about it, they go in behind them in the back door and offer the seller a little more … That. This is whole topic came up because one of our members, our very successful members, emailed me and said, “Are you aware that this can happen?” I’m like, “Yeah, I’m very aware.”

Jill DeWit:                            I’m aware.

Steven Butala:                   It hasn’t happened to us lately, but it happens with houses all the time.

Jill DeWit:                            And we answer your questions. Post it on our online community. You can find it, and it’s free, at or go to

Steven Butala:                   You are not alone in your real estate ambition.

Jill DeWit:                            All right, I got the dead horse reference. Sorry.

Steven Butala:                   Dead horse?

Jill DeWit:                            Yes. You, oh so subtly, told me I was just beating a dead horse, and I got it.

Steven Butala:                   Oh, some jokes are just meant for you, Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, well. I got it. Thanks.

Steven Butala:                   There’s a scene in a movie from the 70s called Breaking Bad-

Jill DeWit:                            Breaking Bad?

Steven Butala:                   And the guy-

Jill DeWit:                            Breaking Away.

Steven Butala:                   Breaking Away. Breaking Bad … That’s a new … Nevermind, don’t get me started on that.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative). I don’t know if you need to explain this. I think the people that … I think the listeners that know it, know it. And those who don’t, it’s okay.

Steven Butala:                   Type in Breaking Away Refund on YouTube and you’ll see it.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh.

Steven Butala:                   Then you’ll see why-

Jill DeWit:                            They still won’t get it.

Steven Butala:                   Only [crosstalk 00:18:19] Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            Do you know why? Because my dad would walk through the house saying that, and I thought it was funny. He would do that one, and then his other line that he wore out was the Rodney Dangerfield, “No respect.”

Steven Butala:                   Yeah, no dad gets respect when the kids are little.

Jill DeWit:                            Right. Got that one a ton. That was really, really funny.

Steven Butala:                   What are some other movie lines from the 70s? Quick. Some of them that are funny. Like, “I want my two dollars.”

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, yeah. I know one of your favorites is, “Say it Claire.” What’s it called?

Steven Butala:                   “Answer the question, Claire.”

Jill DeWit:                            That’s it.

Steven Butala:                   That’s from the 80s. “Answer the question, Claire.”

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. I like the, “I want my two dollars.” That one was my favorite.

Steven Butala:                   Oh, we could sit here all day.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, we shouldn’t. It’s Friday.

Steven Butala:                   With breakfast [crosstalk 00:19:09] jokes.

Jill DeWit:                            Hey, share the fun-

Steven Butala:                   It is.

Jill DeWit:                            By subscribing on iTunes, or wherever you’re listening. While you’re at it, please rate us there.

Steve & Jill:                         We are Steve and Jill.

Steven Butala:                   Information.

Jill DeWit:                            And inspiration.

Steven Butala:                   To by undervalued property.

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