Task Rituals Make or Break Real Estate Investment Success (LA 764)
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: I’m Jill DeWit, broadcasting from sunny Southern California.
Steven Butala: Today Jill and I talk about task rituals that’ll actually make or break your real estate investment success. It’s one of those shows where it’s like, I’m not sure if it’s a captain obvious moment for us, or if it’s like anyone’s going to be enlightened here, or they’re all just going to say, “Yeah. Come on. That’s so obvious.” But here’s the thing. You’ve got to get a calendar and you have to put stuff in it. And even if things blow up, you just have to get the regular stuff done to keep the wheels on the bus, and then address the stuff that blows up after hours. I learned this the hard way a long time ago.
Jill DeWit: Tell us. Please tell us, Steven. What did you learn the hard way? And why was this so critical?
Steven Butala: I think everybody starts out thinking that they’re Superman.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, that you’re going to remember it all.
Steven Butala: I’m want to remember it all, that rules don’t really apply to me, all that old guy tells me.
Jill DeWit: I got this. I’ll get it done in a week.
Steven Butala: Yeah, all that. And it’s just not the case. You have to identify what’s absolutely important, put it on a schedule, and implement it, as much as you don’t want to do it.
Jill DeWit: Thank you.
Steven Butala: As much as you’d rather go fishing.
Jill DeWit: It’s so funny because … I’ll share some more about the show when we get to it about that, because I have my own spin on this and the way that I didn’t, that I learned this too.
Steven Butala: Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the landinvestors.com online community. It’s free. And if it’s all right with you, I would like to read this question because I pre read it in between the shows here. And I would like you to answer it.
Jill DeWit: Okay.
Steven Butala: Ellis asks, hi guys. I’m still a bit of a novice with everything. But I’ve encountered something lately that’s caused me some distress. I’m using a direct to county delinquent tax list method for my direct mail. The last three counties I’ve mailed have had higher than normal undeliverable mail rates, between 15% and 20%. It seems to me that these county records are simply not kept current. Wrong. Jill’s going to have a field day with this.
Jill DeWit: Keep going.
Steven Butala: Does anyone else experience high undelivered mail percentages like these? I’m used to seeing between 2% and 10%. If so, any way to circumvent without skip tracing? Are there list providers better for screening bad addresses. Thanks in advance.
Jill DeWit: Oh, my goodness.
Steven Butala: This is currently not a member. Most of the questions I think are asked by current Land Academy members. Go ahead.
Jill DeWit: Well, here’s the good news. I do know that we can absolutely help you, Ellis. And two, what a waste of time and a waste of money because you bought a list from not a credible source. And maybe you think it is, but it’s still a list that you get from somebody else. You should be downloading and doing this stuff yourself.
Steven Butala: Well, he implies here that he bought it right from the county.
Jill DeWit: Direct to county. Well, number one, delinquent tax list.
Steven Butala: That’s the problem.
Jill DeWit: I mean, you’re chasing people that probably don’t want to be found.
Steven Butala: There’s no circumstance. This is what our direct … There are other people out there who teach this, and I don’t know why. There’s no circumstance when you should send offers to people with back tax properties only.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: You might as well go drive for dollars.
Jill DeWit: Can I just go step by step? Because there’s a lot of little things that are wrong here. Number one, let’s say you did get it directly from the county. That’s good. What’s bad is you probably spent too much money. It’s every county’s going to be delivered in different format. You’re never sure if you get all the criteria that you really, really want. And some of these things, depending how you get them, reading it and deciphering it and figuring it out, and what goes in what column if it even comes in that format, it’s a disaster.
Steven Butala: It’s a disaster.
Jill DeWit: So you don’t want to do that. It seems like you’re spending money upfront to get access to good … Let’s just call it what it is. It’s RealQuest Pro, CoreLogic data, or Black Knight Financial Services, Title Pro, what we use 24/7.
Steven Butala: We’re licensed providers of both those.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. And that’s what our members get for automatically as part of their membership. They save money the minute they do a download, they’re saving money. What we say too is, don’t seek out the problem properties, which is what you’re doing, which is the delinquent tax list. Just roll them all into there. You want to hit every one that has a property in the price range you want, the size that you want, regardless of where they live, whether they’re in state or out of state, even seek those guys out. Throw them all in there. Send them all an offer. Number two, do it correctly the cheap way, the cheapest mail possible way, and use a good service. Huh, maybe we have one.
Steven Butala: The reason that you’re giving-
Jill DeWit: That scrubs out undeliverable mail and you’re not paying for it.
Steven Butala: There’s software. You should never type a letter on a computer.
Jill DeWit: Or put a stamp on it yourself.
Steven Butala: And stick it in an envelope and put a stamp out.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: This is the 21st century. Don’t I own a company called … This is not a plug. Offerstoowners.com, and all the stuff, the data, gets put through software to make sure that it’s a valid deliverable address.
Jill DeWit: And we check it.
Steven Butala: Yeah, like micro check it.
Jill DeWit: And if you pay … Let me run this by you, Ellis, because here’s how it goes. You pay for X amount, and you happen to send us a list that, 20% of them is not going to be delivered, we’re not even going to mail those for you. We’re going to let you know. We’re going to say, “Here’s your money back for that 20%.”
Steven Butala: Exactly.
Jill DeWit: Because these aren’t going anywhere. What value is that to know ahead of time? And it’s run through the USPS system.
Steven Butala: It’s their database.
Jill DeWit: To know that these are all deliverable, good, complete addresses too. We’re going to let you know, too, by the way. Hey, Ellis. You accidentally sent us a list that … Do you know you forgot the zip codes wrong on all of these? Maybe you just did something funky in your formula. We’re going to help you do that too. What a time saver. So man, that’s the thing. Our guys, we don’t have a lot. It’s interesting, I’m trying to think what is even our current undeliverable mail right now.
Steven Butala: It’s zero.
Jill DeWit: I haven’t seen any come back to us and say.
Steven Butala: It’s less than 1%. It’s less than one.
Jill DeWit: Because I’m physically getting the stuff for house academy because I’m micromanaging that right now. And I’m seeing the [inaudible 00:06:40] letters come back. I don’t have any undeliverable ones right now.
Steven Butala: Right.
Jill DeWit: So it’s really low. I know there’s going to be … Nothing’s perfect.
Steven Butala: There’s always one or two.
Jill DeWit: But I don’t have any. I haven’t had any in a while, so I know there’s a way. And without spending extra money, skip tracing, come on.
Steven Butala: Now you’re doing a lot of work.
Jill DeWit: There are ways to screen for bad addresses. That’s how you do it, with a credible company that does it through the post office and checks it in advance.
Steven Butala: I can’t express this enough. Please, listener, this is a moment here for this episode. A back tax property is not worth it.
Jill DeWit: No.
Steven Butala: It’s a sign that something else is wrong. It’s a sign that somebody’s passed away, or nobody wants the property any longer. Can you buy property this way? Yeah. We had a member, this is about a year ago now. He did a very detailed analysis because he came to us just like Ellis. He came to us thinking that back tax is the way to go. Somebody had got to him before he found Land Academy. And so he was a Land Academy member for about a year. And he kept meticulous records about what he mailed out and what he purchased. And the fact is that, he said in the end mailing everybody a property that’s in my criteria, not just the back tax property that’s in my criteria, is way more efficient and way more inexpensive.
Jill DeWit: Profitable.
Steven Butala: And yields more, way more money in the exact amount of time spent. What happens is people are going to call. Mail all the back tax property. People will call you back and say, “Absolutely, I want to sell you my property. It’s got some back taxes on it.” And then you dig into it and you find out somebody’s passed away. There’s issue with the chain of title. You’re going through these emotions and disappointed at the 11th hour.
Jill DeWit: There’s often a reason why. For example, if I passed on and none of my kids … This is a legit scenario. I pass on. I didn’t do it the right way.
Steven Butala: You didn’t pass …
Jill DeWit: None of the kids can get it in their name.
Steven Butala: You passed away the wrong way.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. I didn’t transfer the property the right way.
Steven Butala: Because sometimes you just die. You know?
Jill DeWit: What seriously happens, you die. This legitimately happens. People die. They don’t transfer the property ahead of time or the correct way. The kids get it. They can do nothing with it. And the kids find out that it’s not worth a lot, or at least not worth their time. We’re definitely not going to pay the taxes on it. We’re just going to let it go back to the county. Now that’s when you come along and you get it. Do you want that mess? No.
Steven Butala: Here’s what you want. Let’s end this question on a positive note. The ideal scenario is, almost every deal we do now goes like this. Hi Jill. I got your letter, and I talked to my husband. And it’s time for us to sell this property. We’ve been making the tax payments religiously every year for 25 years. There’s no debt on it. We really would like to cash out. And we don’t want to call a real estate agent and go through all that stuff. For all types of real estate, apartment buildings, all of it. We’re just ready right now to sell the property. We’re not going to use it. Please let me know what to do next.
Then 99% of the deals like that close. So the only way you’re going to get tons of phone calls like that is to send everybody a letter. And the numbers are staggering. Every 3000 letters we send out for houses, we buy property. For every 300 for land, we buy one. And we buy it like I just described. If it’s got problems and back taxes and all that, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment and a lot of work. The only thing worse that I can think of than buying back tax property is sending out a postcard where it says, “Hey seller. I’m interested in buying your property. Here’s the APN.”
Jill DeWit: Dear … What’s my thing? Dear owner, house owner.
Steven Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: Just not even.
Steven Butala: Occupant or resident.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. All that’s going to do-
Steven Butala: Even if you are smart enough to send it to Wendy Smith, I’m interested in buying your property, without any details and a price and all that.
Jill DeWit: Call me.
Steven Butala: You’re just going to waste a ton of time.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. Everybody’s going to call you and say, “Yay. That house down the street just sold for half a million, so I know my piece of dirt is worth … Mine’s twice as big, so I know it’s worth $300,000.” And you’re like, “It’s not anywhere near what I was going to spend.”
Steven Butala: You need to put yourself into a position of where you’re negotiating and you’ve sparked everybody’s unrealistic interest.
Jill DeWit: You just don’t want to answer all those calls.
Steven Butala: And again, I know about this because I’ve done it.
Jill DeWit: Yep. Thank you.
Steven Butala: Today’s topic, task rituals make or break your real estate investment success. This is the meat of the show. This is an offshoot of kind of what yesterday we talked about. There are very not smart people that do incredibly well in real estate because they are task masters. They make everything a ritual and they stick to a calendar hell or high water. I was brought up this way.
Jill DeWit: I was not.
Steven Butala: I know. That’s kind of the reason I wanted to put this in here because I want to talk about it with you.
Jill DeWit: Thank you.
Steven Butala: Like you get your stuff done, and that’s it. There’s no discussing it.
Jill DeWit: Thank you.
Steven Butala: And there’s no emotion about it. Not you.
Jill DeWit: Oh.
Steven Butala: That’s how I was brought up in this environment.
Jill DeWit: Well, I do anyway.
Steven Butala: I know you do now.
Jill DeWit: Oh. I always have.
Steven Butala: And when Jill and I started together, you look back on it now, it’s fun and [inaudible 00:12:09] because I’ve softened it and she’s hardened. So I think it’s important to … You have to have a calendar and you have to decide what really, really matters. And I’ll tell you for me, what I learned a long time ago is, if those mailers don’t get out, everything else falls apart.
Jill DeWit: Of course. There’s nothing to buy.
Steven Butala: It all starts right there.
Jill DeWit: And then there’s nothing to sell.
Steven Butala: Let’s say you’re doing a deal a month. You’re sending out 3000, 300, 400, 500, 1500 units a month.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: You’re doing two deals a month, and you want to double it. It’s pretty simple. You send about twice as much mail and then twice as much on top of that. And on and on and on. And I’ll tell you, it’s very predictable. You have complete control over real estate investment on how much money you make. And the stuff that you see online and on TV, like HGTV, it’s so like, let’s do this. Let’s fix this house up. And then let’s just see what we can get for it. And it’s all like this 1958 version. That’s absolutely not. You don’t want to get into anything ideally in life where you don’t know what’s going to happen. And what better way to look into a crystal ball and know the future than to do consistent stuff and only change it when it doesn’t … It’s starting to not work, let’s say.
Jill DeWit: I’ll just say one. What I coach people a lot on is getting down into tasks. You’re using big things, which you’re correct, sending out a mailer. Everybody’s like, “Oh, my God. How am I going to do this?” Well, let’s do this. First Sunday, pick a county. Second Sunday, pick your size. Third Sunday, download the data. Fourth Sunday, scrub your data. When we say this, and I do that with a lot of people that have … A lot of our members have full-time jobs, and then they transition to where they don’t have to have a full-time job, which is great. This is their job or their business. So that’s why we do it by Sundays, but it could be day one, day two, day three, day four. And when you break it down to, this is what sings to me, and I think works for a lot of people. Break it into smaller tasks, then it doesn’t seem so awesome and big and huge. And how much time’s that going to take? And then you cut yourself off too.
Steven Butala: That’s right.
Jill DeWit: So when you give yourself these tasks like, all right, I’m going to spend two hours this Sunday by noon, or 10:00 to noon. Preferably schedule it out and tell the whole family, “I’ll be available after noon. Go start. I’ll jump in the pool at 12:05.” Seriously, and join you. But from 10:00 to noon, I’ve got to get this done. So spend those two hours. Close your door. Pick the county and then go have fun. And then the more you get going to this too, you just feel the sense of accomplishment, number one. You got that done. Number two, you can breathe a little bit because you’re like, “Oh, all right.” So now I now I’ve got until next Sunday. I’m going to do this. All right. And then next Sunday. And before you know it you’re like, “I did it. It’s in the mail. It’s out there. And I know what I’m doing.”
Steven Butala: Right. I’ve always admired people who can compartmentalize time and emotion because I can compartmentalize emotion, no problem. But compartmentalizing time, ever since we’re taught from … There’s this ongoing debate about homework. We’re taught from when we’re in school that you’re just never really done.
Jill DeWit: Oh, I’m done.
Steven Butala: School’s done. It’s 3:15. School’s done, and you have two hours of homework. But do you have two hours or three hours? Do you have a half hour or four hours? And in college, it’s worse. In college you’re directly rewarded for never, ever ending your day.
Jill DeWit: Oh, that’s not how I roll.
Steven Butala: I know. That’s where I was going with this. I really respect how you have a healthy balance.
Jill DeWit: Because everybody’s different. That’s what I learned about my job. A lot of my jobs, there was times I’ve had jobs where I had sales goals and you had to meet a certain quota. And I would always hit my numbers and go above just because things happen. I knew I’d be fine. You know what, I might get my whole month quota done. That would be my goal. Get it done my first two weeks, then I’d coast for two weeks.
Steven Butala: I’ve seen that.
Jill DeWit: I know. My philosophy is, hey, if it takes you four weeks when I can do it in two weeks, too bad for you.
Steven Butala: Absolutely.
Jill DeWit: That’s not my problem.
Steven Butala: Absolutely. My problem in that situation is, what you’re saying is you’re an overachiever, but not coo coo about it.
Jill DeWit: Correct.
Steven Butala: That’s my problem. I always take it to the next level.
Jill DeWit: What do you mean?
Steven Butala: I’m just like, yeah, if I’m done with my sales quota two weeks in, I’m like, “Well, I’m going to triple it now.”
Jill DeWit: Oh.
Steven Butala: That’s not healthy.
Jill DeWit: You were commission rewarded. I wasn’t commission rewarded. I was salary at that point. If I was commission rewarded, oh hell yeah, like I am now. Hell yeah.
Steven Butala: Yeah, we all are now. But it’s not commissions.
Jill DeWit: It’s not commissions, but you know what I mean. The harder I work and the more people we help and the more customers we have and all that, it’s all different.
Steven Butala: We’ve done it again. You’ve spent another 15 minutes or so listening to the Land Academy Show. Join us tomorrow where we discuss financial goals first, then plan backwards from there.
Jill DeWit: And we answer your questions posted on landinvestors.com. It’s free.
Steven Butala: You are not alone in your real estate ambition.
Jill DeWit: I forgot to mention one thing about rituals.
Steven Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: One of the things that our members do is, they make our Thursday call a ritual for them.
Steven Butala: Yeah, yeah.
Jill DeWit: So I want to be sure that even something like that, I know that a lot of them check in consistently. Their family knows to schedule dinner around our Thursday calls, seriously, the East Coast people and all that, so they can get their questions in, catch up with us, share some kudos, whatever it is. That’s an awesome ritual.
Steven Butala: Thursday at 3:00 Pacific time if you’re a member.
Jill DeWit: Yep. Another thing that I know this too from our members. Know what a lot of their rituals are? This podcast.
Steven Butala: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Sure.
Jill DeWit: A lot of them say these questions that we cover are so beneficial because it’s stuff, even though they haven’t had that situation, they know when it comes around. They will remember how to handle it. That’s another ritual too, so that’s good stuff.
Steven Butala: Awesome.
Jill DeWit: Share the fun by subscribing on iTunes or wherever you are listening, and while you’re at it, please rate us there. We are Steve and Jill.
Steven Butala: We are Steve and Jill. Information.
Jill DeWit: And inspiration.
Steven Butala: To buy undervalued property.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at steven@BuWit.com.
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