Recruiting is Your New Full Time Job (LA 753)
Steven Butala: Steve and Jill here.
Jill DeWit: Hello.
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 today from gorgeous sunny south Lake Taco, Tahoe.
Steven Butala: Today, Jill and I talk about recruiting is your new full-time job.
Jill DeWit: Oh, I love it too.
Steven Butala: What does that mean?
Jill DeWit: Isn’t that great.
Steven Butala: What it means is this: Congratulations, you’ve done enough deals, and this is now your career, buying and selling real estate, and you need some help.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Steven Butala: I mean, man, is getting the right help imperative to making this a full-time gig.
Jill DeWit: It’s true.
Steven Butala: We are literally at 11 to 1. For every 11 people we hire, 1 person sticks. It’s tough. So we’re gonna talk a little bit in the show about what we’ve learned. We’re gonna share the positive stuff, and some of the negative stuff, and hopefully you can learn from it.
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm.
Steven Butala: Before we do that let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the landacademy.com online community. It’s free.
Jill DeWit: Okay. Sarah asks, “Hi all, when selling a property I typically send the deed straight to the county recorder for my buyers, but occasionally they request I send it straight to them, or I’ve met a few people who purchase lots locally and gave them the deed. There were around eight people who just never got the deed recorded, and I continue to get their tax bill. Some are about to lose the property. I’ve contacted all of them letting them know a few times, but I don’t want to spend much time on it. A few just lost the paperwork, so I would resend it, but I was wondering how often do any of you all buy back the lots from people? One of the guys who bought locally called this week and said he’s low on cash and would sell it back to me for half what he paid for the property. Well then got-“
Steven Butala: We met.
Jill DeWit: “We met, sorry. Got the notarized deeds back and I paid the taxes on it, and will resale. Can’t complain about that. Does this happen to many of you, and do you find it usually a cash thing, and people are willing to sell it back to you? Thanks.”
Steven Butala: I love when people ask questions and then they answer it for themselves.
Jill DeWit: This is true.
Steven Butala: This is exactly what we do. You can bank on 5 to 15% of the properties that you deed to other people, they just never record the deed. What you don’t want to do is sell it again for, and I’m not going to go into why. There’s a thousand reasons why you shouldn’t do that. But, if you wanna send them a check.
Jill DeWit: Can I back up on this here?
Steven Butala: We just pay them for the back taxes is what we do sometimes, go ahead Jill.
Jill DeWit: That was confusing to me, so I wanna reiterate. So what we’re saying is, these examples are people that didn’t record the deed. So they said, “No just send it to me, and I’ll get it to the county,” or maybe that’s your policy. Your policy is, you send them out the completed deed with the recording instructions for them to then turn around and mail it to the county, get it all recorded. And now, the transaction’s over with. So there’s two parts to talk about here. So, sometimes what happens is, these people have their deed, you send it to them, they don’t even read what’s in the recording instructions. They file it away in their envelop in the safe with all their important documents and that’s it.
Steven Butala: It never gets recorded in the county.
Jill DeWit: And what happens is, they never get the tax bills, and they’re not even … there’s no light bulb that’s even going off. They think they own this property, which technically they do because the deed has been signed and notarized. Which technically it is their property, it’s not yours, but the assessor doesn’t know you completed this document, and the recorder, and it’s still in your name so you’re still getting the tax bills. So that’s what’s going on with Sarah. Sarah’s going ut-oh. “The bills are still coming to me, I’m obviously not paying the taxes because I sold it to Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith doesn’t know what’s happening right now because he’s not on their radar. He didn’t record it. He doesn’t know he’s about to lose the property.” So she’s reaching out to Mr. Smith to tell him.
So this is a tough one. So what Steven was just saying, you never wanna resale the property. Right, you can’t just, “Oh he forgot about it, now it’s mine. I’m gonna sale it again.” No you can’t do that. You can’t-
Steven Butala: There’s some serious legal ramifications for that.
Jill DeWit: Oh it’s stealing. It really kinda is.
Steven Butala: Yeah, I mean it’s actually worse than that.
Jill DeWit: It’s so, you can never-
Steven Butala: It’s real estate fraud.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, so yeah this is true. They come after people that used to do that as a scam years ago.
Steven Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: And you don’t, you have to be careful too, you gotta keep track of your properties, because you don’t wanna accidentally. This is a thing too, we’ve had this. You have so many tax bills that come in every year. You have to really go through them and make sure like, don’t just throw it in there because there’s a tax bill, think I forgot about it. No, you need to go through and make sure, “Yes we still own that one. Okay, I will pay attention to this tax bill,” or, “No, I’m not gonna even think about this tax bill because I don’t own it. I don’t need to worry about this property.”
So, a couple things you can do here, and I like Sarah’s. I really appreciate Sarah going above and beyond and trying to tell the people, and reach out to them, and go, “Hey, Mr. Smith, you need to know this. You bought this from me. You obviously didn’t record it. It’s now, four years have passed, and we’re starting to get these notices, and it’s behind on taxes. They’re going to start proceedings in another year,” or whatever it is. “You gotta catch up with this.” And hopefully then, they’re gonna go, “Oh, thank you, goodness.” And they’re gonna go and have it recorded, pull it out of their safe, find your instructions, and it’s good to go. That’s one scenario.
The second scenario is what I think Sarah’s saying what’s happening is, they’re going, “Oh, well hack, okay do you still … I don’t even want the property. Do you wanna buy it back from me?” And I think that’s what you were saying. Don’t just say, “Okay, we’ll call it a wash.” You want him to now do a new deed, putting it back in your name and I would take both of those deeds. I would tell Mr. Smith, “Okay, let’s do a new deed, where you’re deeding it back to me on this date. I’m gonna pay you this amount of money. You send me both these deeds, and I’m gonna record it. So it’s all, the transfer of title is all correct.”
Steven Butala: I wouldn’t do that.
Jill DeWit: You wouldn’t do that?
Steven Butala: No, I would just say, “Send me back the original deed unsigned.” Or unrecorded. I’m gonna shred it.
Jill DeWit: Oh, we could do that.
Steven Butala: And there’s no paperwork, and but you know-
Jill DeWit: I’d still have them sign something. I want something saying that this all occurred.
Steven Butala: Yeah. Well I’d sign a release. I would absolutely do a single page, I would do a release.
Jill DeWit: There we go.
Steven Butala: We have everybody sign a release by the way.
Jill DeWit: Right, just to make sure we’re covering everybody’s …
Steven Butala: Even when we send a deed to a seller, they sign a release saying that they hold us harmless for anything and everything. And it’s part of what the notary just notarizes.
Jill DeWit: Right, so but that’s interesting. So Sarah, could I … I wanna see the rest of that question, Sarah had some more parts to that question. Was, does this happen to many of you? Probably not that often, but it does happen sometimes.
Steven Butala: Every year it happens to us a few times for sure.
Jill DeWit: See it’s no big deal.
Steven Butala: We don’t deal with low end property as much any more. This happens when you do your own, this is when you don’t use an escrow agent, and when your property value’s less than 5,000 bucks. So, that’s not our M.O. as much. That’s a big benefit to doing larger deals. Not only do you make more money, and everybody’s more excited to get bigger checks, but also you use an escrow agent so none of this stuff happens.
Jill DeWit: I felt bad for those folks, that whatever it was, they weren’t able to take advantage of the property, and now they’re in some kind of a pickle. You know, and I hate undercutting them, but if they offered and I’m really getting them out of a jam, you know I would do it.
Steven Butala: I’ll tell you where your dead rights are at is this. Don’t spend that much time on this, you have enough stuff to do. Send them an email and say, “You know what? I got the tax bill, it’s year number two. I got your tax bill again. You clearly don’t want the property, so how about I just take it?” This is what I’ve done in the past. “How about I just pay the taxes, and you send me the old deed. You send me the unrecorded deed, I’m gonna shred it, then I’ll pay your taxes and you just forget it.” And most people will do that.
Jill DeWit: Maybe.
Steven Butala: Is that taking advantage of them? I don’t know.
Jill DeWit: I don’t know, I don’t know. I would still give them something for the property. That’s kind of one of my things, so. But that’s why we’re different and it’s good.
Steven Butala: I don’t really even work in my own company any more, so whatever you guys do. Keep doing it, okay.
Jill DeWit: That’s half of the show. He thinks this is how it goes, but whatever. Don’t tell him.
Steven Butala: These shows end up being our weekly meetings, too.
Jill DeWit: This is true.
Steven Butala: This is where I find out what’s going on.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, that’s not how we do it at all Steven, but okay.
Steven Butala: You know that’s, you don’t-
Jill DeWit: You keep on thinking that.
Steven Butala: In 2003 that’s exactly how we did this.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. Whew, that’s great babe.
Steven Butala: Today’s topic, Recruiting: Congratulations, You’re So Successful. Recruiting is now your new full time job. Here’s what, this is the meat of the show. Here’s where I got this title. So I was watching this old interview with Steve Jobs, and they were asking him, this was towards the end of his life. And they said, “What, what’s the deal? Like what is so difficult for you? Is it the technology, is it the sales piece, it is having a pilot company,” and there’s a million moving parts to this, and he without flinching, said, “Recruiting.”
He said, “Recruiting is my full time job. I don’t do anything in my own company any more. All I do is find good people to be department heads so that they can do recruiting.” Finding people is way, way more difficult than I ever thought, Jill. You know like I said in the earlier part of the show, we’re 11 to 1.
Jill DeWit: And it’s not 11 to 1 that we hire and they’re full time on our staff. It’s just there’s a lot of weeding out that you have to do. So we don’t fire 10 people and keep 1. It’s …
Steven Butala: I mean, outsources versus virtual assistants. Even like companies, like marketing companies. We go through 10 of them before we find the one that’s right.
Jill DeWit: That’s more accurate.
Steven Butala: It’s everything.
Jill DeWit: I’m getting really, you know it takes a long time. I’m getting better now, much better, thanks, about some of the key people in our staff, but I hear you. You’re right, the main point is, the numbers don’t matter. What does matter is, this is a full time job sometimes. When you need to replace someone, you’re trying to grow, you’re trying to build something, it takes a lot of time. You know, writing a good description, posting, and weeding out the people, meeting the people. Are they really a good fit? Do they accurately portray themselves? Do they really know what they’re talking about? Do they fit in with your corporate culture? There’s so many things.
Steven Butala: Here’s a few things that I’ve failed at personally. You hire somebody and they do a good job. Then you, so then great. That person, you did a good job in marketing lets say. Well maybe you can build a website for us? No, no, that’s completely out of their talent, and then they fail at it, and you’re like, you can’t do it. And it’s that, I personally have stopped doing it long since … I’ve stopped doing that, but you wanna make sure what you’re hiring, you wanna first of all, like Jill said, you wanna know what you’re hiring for. You wanna write a good description. And hire the person, make sure that person has some experience, as crazy, as Captain Obvious as it sounds. Make sure they have some identifiable, checkable experience succeeding, before you hire them.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, if they’re in marketing, ask what they’ve done. Go look at their stuff.
Steven Butala: Here’s a few other things, if you’re actually hiring full time employees, and I learned this the hard way. Only hire people that live maybe less than five to eight miles from where you are. Commutes and car time and all that, it kills. It’s just such a hard, you’re not doing anybody any favors. It’s so, I mean any of 10 of these things, Jill. What other suggestions would you have about hiring people? Commuter times-
Jill DeWit: Well you know, one of the things that we do sometimes, depending on the position, is we’ll have a two week trial period. And it’s a two week trial period for us, and for them. And we don’t even put them on payroll yet, it’s like we’re just doing cash checks, like-
Steven Butala: 1099.
Jill DeWit: … yeah, like 1099 pay for the first couple weeks. And I think we’ve had some people that have appreciated that also, because I want them to fit in with us and I want us to fit in with them. It’s a two way street. You know some, I am sure that there are people out there who would not appreciate the way we work, because some of our stuff, is so … there’s some of it’s, we have fun. Some parts are relax, some parts are kick ass. They’re we have, it’s never a dull moment around here. Most of our employees wear a lot of different hats. So, a good example is, if you’re set up to be a telephone answering person and just take messages, and be like a receptionist, and that’s all you wanna do and you never wanna grow, you wouldn’t make it in our community. You know, in our office.
When we hire people, one of the things we’re looking for is growth. I’m really looking people that want to be here, want to learn, want to better themselves, and I’ll do that. One of the things I’ll tell every person on our staff is, “If you find some education, some training, some certifications out there that you wanna take that’s gonna better you and your career, and help us too, I’m in man. I’ll pay for it all day long.” And I’ll give you company time to do it. You know, let’s fit it in, not like, “Hey, I’m only doing this, this week,” but we’ll fit in an hour a day, whatever it takes. Because you’re gonna now be my 365 expert, just for an example. And now I can stop outsourcing some stuff in that area, or struggle. That’s great, I love that.
Steven Butala: Jill and I are big fans of not micro managing anything, and not training. As crazy as that sounds, we don’t have any training program. If you’re gonna come out, let’s say as marketer or IT, I just need you to sit down in a seat and start the whole thing up.
Jill DeWit: That’s kind of one of the-
Steven Butala: And look at our stuff and make it better. The first day.
Jill DeWit: And you know it, you’re right, in 2003 that’s how it went. Right?
Steven Butala: Oh is it all different now?
Jill DeWit: It’s all different now.
Steven Butala: Is it really?
Jill DeWit: Yes it is.
Steven Butala: You guys do training?
Jill DeWit: Yes we do.
Steven Butala: Wow.
Jill DeWit: Yes we do.
Steven Butala: Well like, don’t listen to what I said.
Jill DeWit: Here’s an example. I’ll give you an example. Offers to owners. For folks that, we would Jen, the girl who used to run our offers to owners division of one of our companies, has moved to a different state. And she’s-
Steven Butala: Her husband got dramatically promoted in the military.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. So and Jen-
Steven Butala: It’s a good thing, not a bad thing.
Jill DeWit: I know, it was a very positive thing for her, and Jen might come back. We’re waiting to see how much free time she has, and Jen might be still be able to work for us remotely in other ways, which is really great, so. But the point is Jen, we spent a lot of time, lot of time finding, interviewing, testing, hiring the person that we have now. And, there was a week to two weeks of training, full on scheduled out training transition for that person. It’s not like Jen just threw them the keys. So that’s, and it really, really, in some of these instances really pays off. So there may be other ways that other parts of our business or just in business that people can figure out on their own. It’s like, figure out the filing system I’m not gonna hold your hand, you know kind of thing. There’s maybe not so much train on that, but some of the other things, we do train and it’s really because it saves time in the end.
Steven Butala: In the end, yeah. So to summarize, never outsource the stuff that you should not be outsourcing, like for instance, doing the mailers. I will forever do the mailers myself. But, for everything else that you’ve identified as just being a task, lets say, hire the right person. You’re only as good as your people, and how they make you look on the internet in this day and age.
Jill DeWit: That’s true.
Steven Butala: Join us tomorrow, for another interesting episode where we discuss, no one finds new acquisition markets like you do.
Jill DeWit: And answer your questions, posted on landinvestors.com, our free online community.
Steven Butala: You are not alone in your real estate ambition. Good stuff, Jill.
Jill DeWit: Hope I didn’t just take that over and change, turn it upside down.
Steven Butala: I was just gonna thank you. I mean I was just gonna thank you, because the truth is, I’m not there every day. I’m not there every, once a month really. In that, those companies, so you know what you guys do and however you have overcome, we had a pretty bad period for a while, probably under my direction. Just some tough people working for us, that just didn’t, you know. Well it’s just they, they flat out lied about what they were capable of throughout the interview process.
Jill DeWit: You know, maybe that’s part of it, and I hate to, I’m not picking on you in any way.
Steven Butala: No, I don’t, go ahead and pick on me.
Jill DeWit: But maybe that I’m a little more in tune with that, and I can spot it a little bit easier. Because I think that’s what’s happened. I can think of one employee from last fall, that was released because she did, she really did misrepresent what she’s capable of. And I was not really able to spend the time with her initially, and I wonder if I would have smoked that out.
Steven Butala: Oh I’m sure you would have.
Jill DeWit: So, I may or may not have, but thank you for the compliment. So I appreciate that.
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