Working with Your Wife (LA 791)
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 am Jill DeWit, and we are broadcasting from sunny Southern California. Why is that funny?
Steven Butala: It’s not.
Jill DeWit: Oh okay.
Steven Butala: We just have a lot going on. Today, Jill and I talk about working with your wife. We decided to lighten it up a little bit just for a minute.
Jill DeWit: For a minute? This is actually valuable information I have to say because we have a number of people in our community that that this happens. I think sometimes by default like, “Hey sweetheart, I need to answer the phone. Help me with the phones. These sellers are calling back.” And some by design, they want to have a business, a family business, and that’s the first person that they look to is their spouse.
Steven Butala: I can’t overestimate this topic enough.
Jill DeWit: Overestimate, like don’t do it?
Steven Butala: No, I mean, it’s just so important.
Jill DeWit: Because we’re going to talk about that.
Steven Butala: It’s so incredibly important. Here’s a little anecdote before we start the show. Yesterday, I was horsing around on YouTube and there’s this couple from Pennsylvania that bought a very large boat. They never had a boat before, and they bought this boat. The first episode of what is now like a very, very popular show on YouTube is them going over, “What the heck did we do? How much does it cost?” And so, I watched the whole thing, and it ended up being in the end cheaper than actually having a nice house.
Jill DeWit: True.
Steven Butala: So that’s what they did. They went all … They’re doing it right now in real time. I’ll call the loop, you know, on the East Coast. My comment on the YouTube page was, “Yeah, it’s expensive and it costs money, but finding a woman … ” because his wife’s like you, enthusiastic and interested and showing up.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: I’ll tell you what. That’s what my comment was. Yeah, it costs a lot of money. But finding an enthusiastic female who really is actually interested in this stuff-
Jill DeWit: And stuff that you’re interested in.
Steven Butala: … priceless.
Jill DeWit: Thank you. Exactly.
Steven Butala: She seemed like she was into it, or she should get an academy award.
Jill DeWit: She might get an award. Just kidding. Move on.
Steven Butala: Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the Land Investors online community. It’s free.
Jill DeWit: I love this person. They want to be incognito, I guess. So on our website, they’re Land X. So Land X asks, “Hi there. I’m new to the land game. I need help calculating the price of a certain deal to see if it’s worth it. We started by mailing out offers to a certain area, and when a lady called us back about one of her properties, she happened to say that she had another larger property in Kern County, California. It’s 49.9 acres with road access but is on top of a hill with the land extending down to the bottom about … ”
Steven Butala: That’s good.
Jill DeWit: ” … at about a 600 foot elevation change. She wants $30,000 for it and said that she was actually offered $75,000 for it two years ago and never took the offer then. It’s been hard to find good comps since a lot of them are on the flatter land. If anyone could please help determine if this is a good deal or not deal, do please let me know. Thanks.”
Steven Butala: So do you want me to go first?
Jill DeWit: Sure.
Steven Butala: Property, land specifically, is worth only what you can sell it for more. That’s it. And again, this is another one of these things you have to undo, you have to unlearn. It has nothing to do with the property itself and everything to do with how much you can resell it for immediately.
Jill DeWit: And not like sold comps in the last two years.
Steven Butala: Correct.
Jill DeWit: That’s the thing people get hung up on too.
Steven Butala: So 50 acres in Kern. Jill and I have sold tons of property in Kern and all the counties surrounding it. 50 acres in Kern, I’ll tell you right now, we would offer about five to 6,000 bucks. I’m cutting to the chase because I know we can sell for maybe 15 to 20 pretty quickly if it’s got access and all the stuff that you say. It’s as simple as that. So I wouldn’t obsess on this.
Jill DeWit: The best thing I would do, like what you’re just saying is go right now and see what’s available at the same size, and don’t get too into, “But that’s flat and this has hills.”
Steven Butala: Exactly, Jill.
Jill DeWit: So that’s not really going to play into it so much. So if you can find anything … If you can’t find any other 50-acre properties, look at a 60 and a 40 and figure out what the price per acre-
Steven Butala: Price per acre.
Jill DeWit: … is and use that as your thing. And so, like Steven’s saying, what’s available for sale today is who you’re competing with, not the comps two years from now. You’re not going to argue with somebody over the phone going, “Well the comps show … ” whatever. Uh-uh. It’s really what’s available, what they can turn around, because what’s going to happen is if they can’t afford yours, they’re going to hang up the phone and buy the other one.
Steven Butala: That’s right.
Jill DeWit: So that’s what you need to do. The fact that it has access, that’s great. And you know what? With that many acres, with 50 acres, even though there’s some slope and some things to it, you have a pretty good chance you could find a pier area of that that you could build on. So I feel good about that too. I’m not worried.
Steven Butala: I agree with everything you just said.
Jill DeWit: I love that county.
Steven Butala: I do too. You don’t want to start down this path of explaining it, why it’s worth more, because they’re already doing that.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Steven Butala: Well I received a $25,000 offer or whatever it was, or I received this, and it’s got the slope, and mine’s better than the other one. Then what you’re doing is … Even by listening to that, you’re setting yourself up to actually repeat it when you go to sell it. All you’re doing is explaining why it’s overpriced, and you don’t want to be-
Jill DeWit: And you don’t want to negotiate.
Steven Butala: Yeah, you don’t want to be in an overpriced situation. It’s either take it or leave it five or six grand and move onto the … open the next letter.
Jill DeWit: That’s it. So the sad reality is that woman already knows. She already knows that, “Wow. 75,000 is now 30,000, and 30,000 might be 10.”
Steven Butala: Or five.
Jill DeWit: She’s already set up for that. And like I said, and like Steven said, you just need to get into the mindset of looking at these not as how pretty that is but just looking at it as a line item.
Steven Butala: That’s it. That’s it.
Jill DeWit: So that’s really my thing. So think about it as a line item and figure out what the … not the comps and all the things we just talked about. What’s available now. Maybe it’s $12,000. Let’s just think about this. Maybe run all your numbers and there’s things out there for the way it works out. Everything’s selling right now at $1,000 an acre. So $50,000, let’s just say. That would be awesome if it was. So you want to sell yours for less than 40. So you want to buy yours for less than 20, and that’s your thing.
Even though she wants 30, you’re going to come in and go, “You know what? Here’s the deal. I can come up to $18,000. That’s the best I can do, and I understand your situation. Gosh. I’m so sorry to hear that. If this works for you, great. I’ll make it happen on Tuesday. If it doesn’t work for you- ”
Steven Butala: Good luck.
Jill DeWit: ” … I wish you all the best. And by the way, hey, my door’s open. And in 90 days, if nothing’s happening, and you want to call me back, then my offer will stand. I can do that. Just let me know. Thank you, Mrs. Smith. Have a great day,” and leave it at that. And so, you never want to say, “Kick them to the curb.” No, because you know what? She might either, A) grab your 18,000 and whatever you just offered, B) sleep on it. She’s going to talk to all her family members and just say, “Everybody, I can now get 18,000 for it. Does anybody in the family want it for 18,000?” You know, whatever, and after they all say no in two weeks, she might call you back.
If she doesn’t, that’s okay. Again, it’s a line item. You moved on. You have three other deals you’re doing right now.
Steven Butala: Here’s the thing too. You sent a letter to her on a different piece of property. And so, now, this is something that she’s … It’s a foreign transaction, potential transaction that’s in your perfect little world. Your perfect little world of stamping out property in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out and here comes the wrench. Now you’re negotiating. You’re doing all this stuff. Jill and I just … I catch myself doing this all the time.
Jill DeWit: Don’t get sidetracked.
Steven Butala: I said, “There was a point when we were doing so much, so many deals just like this, real vacant land, where I would have said to this seller, “You know what? I don’t even … Please stop right there. If you didn’t get a letter on the property, an offer on the property that we’re talking about, which we can’t do it, because I don’t want to even spend five minutes on trying to hear about why your property’s great or not. It just doesn’t matter. It’s all just money.
Jill DeWit: It’s a tough one. It’s a tough one because sometimes we always say that that’s when some great deals just come at you. We had some home runs that come at you that I wasn’t looking for-
Steven Butala: Here’s an example.
Jill DeWit: … and I’m glad I grabbed them. By the way, Land X, hopefully, if you’re still working on the other property, think about this too. Okay, now, you got two that she wants to sell.
Steven Butala: You get six grand for everything.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. And however she and her head does the math on like, “Well I’m actually getting 20 for this one and two for this one,” you know, whatever what you see it is. “I’m paying 15 and whatever. 15 and seven. That’s how I’m doing the math.” That doesn’t matter. So roll them in. What else do you have? [inaudible 00:09:11] make an offer on all of them kind of thing. You might get one for $1,000 and this for that. So that’s perfect.
Steven Butala: After you do a bunch of deals, here’s what you’re going to find that when somebody brings up a point like this like, “Hey, I’ve got this 50-acre property in Kern and I was offered $50,000. Do you want to make an offer on it?” They’re not a seller. I’m telling you right now. What she should say is, “Yes, this letter that you sent me on this property, I do want to sell it for that, and thank you so much. Your timing’s great because we’re moving to Oregon, and I have these other two properties that I would really just love to get rid of too and check it off the list so then I don’t have to have any more of this property any longer because I’m retiring.”
That’s the conversation you want to have. Not, “My elevation is better. My access is better. I got an offer on this,” and you-
Jill DeWit: I think it’s okay. [crosstalk 00:09:58] see you’re sharing that information. I think it’s good information.
Steven Butala: And there’s value in the fact that we think there’s different ways to handle it.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. All right. Let’s move on to working with your wife because this guy-
Steven Butala: That’s what I’m doing right now.
Jill DeWit: Thank you.
Steven Butala: Today’s topic — working with your wife. This is the meat of the show. Where do I start?
Jill DeWit: I’ll start.
Steven Butala: Okay.
Jill DeWit: So what I was saying-
Steven Butala: That’s an example of working with your wife.
Jill DeWit: … if this comes up often, you know, here’s how it often goes in our community. I know this after hundreds of members. It’s awesome. It’s usually one of the partners, and they start off with this crazy land investment thing that they’re going to do on the side. Next thing you know, it’s taken over their life, and they need some help. If they have someone around who’s at home or has extra time that could help on the phones or do some paperwork or something, they’re often pulled in. I’ve watched members, and it’s usually too … It’s like … I don’t want to be sexist or anything. I’m just relaying some stories.
But I’ve had more than one situation where for whatever reason there’s one main breadwinner and then there’s often the person that’s helping. It’s not always the right same gender by the way.
Steven Butala: Oh yeah.
Jill DeWit: But whoever has the part-time-ish or not as much income, they are the lucky ones that would leave their jobs first. And then-
Steven Butala: This is very astute.
Jill DeWit: It’s true. Okay, so then they leave their job first, and they’re now taking care of the home and the family and the majority.
Steven Butala: You thought about this.
Jill DeWit: No. This is stories that really happens.
Steven Butala: Oh they’re stories. They didn’t happen to us?
Jill DeWit: No. No, it didn’t happen to us that way.
Steven Butala: Go ahead.
Jill DeWit: But anyway. So anyway, then it gets busy and busy and busy anyway. Then the next thing you know that main person, you know, you hit that point that that’s … even I talk about where you’ll know it. Hopefully, you do it a year or two late going, “I should’ve left my day job because now I’m losing money” kind of thing. Then you’re both into it and here you are. So, working with your spouse … Is there a working-with-your-husband show or just working with your wife?
Steven Butala: Oh there should be a husband show.
Jill DeWit: Okay, I’m just going to say working with your spouse.
Steven Butala: There isn’t one this week. We could do it next week.
Jill DeWit: Okay. No, we don’t need to. This is good. I’m going to share it up that I think you’ll get the idea. Let’s just call it-
Steven Butala: You can even say that it’s [crosstalk 00:12:21]-
Jill DeWit: … working with your spouse.
Steven Butala: A lot of times, Jill just sits here.
Jill DeWit: What? Oh I was about to say-
Steven Butala: You were about to say … yes.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, this is my show.
Steven Butala: Yes, it is.
Jill DeWit: In case you didn’t notice. Well, because I’m working on this as a book. So let me back up and give a little. So that’s the premise is how this often happens, right? Then let me back up too to take it a step further that we obviously have some experience here, and I think that might be some of the reason a lot of people are drawn to us and why this happens because they’re like, “Well heck if Steve and Jill can do it, so can we.” I’m here to tell you it’s very hard. It’s very difficult. It’s so difficult, and I now realize we’re so unique because I’ve been working on several book things here for the last year.
This is the recurring theme that comes up. Every person I talk to that’s like book person, media person. You know, whatever promotion person. They’re all in the book world. But all they keep saying is, “Oh my gosh. That’s your hook. Who cares about what you’re doing here and who cares about that.”
Steven Butala: Nobody cares about land.
Jill DeWit: “The fact that you two can do this and not kill each other, that’s unique.” I’m like, “What?” So we’ve been talking about a lot recently, and this is perfect for this show, which is the whole thing about working with your significant other is … It’s difficult, and it’s true. When you and I sit and talk about it, you know, Steven’s first thing is … I tell everybody, “Don’t do it. Don’t go there. It’s hard. But if you must, we can help you.” So what do you want to … I could keep going but I was going to let you have a few-
Steven Butala: Just from a numbers standpoint that I obviously tend to think of everything from a schematic number standpoint. I mean, if you can successfully raise children, you won. If you can successfully have two jobs and be married in a house and live together, you already won. But then you add working together, it should never work. So in fact, the rates of failure for marriages and raising children who end up to be criminals or semi-criminals are very high. When you start to throw in working together and the stress of that and then a single point of failure from a revenue standpoint-
Jill DeWit: True.
Steven Butala: The numbers are staggering. Again, the odds of it actually working are-
Jill DeWit: Against you.
Steven Butala: … truly, truly almost unaccomplishable. So we have a bunch of people in our group who are married and seem to be … that this seems to be working for them. And so, I think there’s always got to be, like the best-
Jill DeWit: I have to say I do know of one divorce though.
Steven Butala: The best work-together marriages I’ve ever seen are ones where they just don’t have a choice. I always used medical doctors for a lot of reasons. But the divorce rate for medical doctors, because they make so much money, is like 75% because they don’t need it. They don’t need the other person.
Jill DeWit: We have a choice.
Steven Butala: You can hire a maid. You can hire all kinds of outsourcing things that you typically have inside of a marriage. No pun intended. So yes, we have a choice. And for whatever reason, we’ve made this work. We’ve chosen to make this work. You know what the real reason is for me? Because it’s a blast, because it’s fun. You’re funny.
Jill DeWit: Thank you. Thank you.
Steven Butala: Because this is funny. This whole thing. I mean, we continue to make more money.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Steven Butala: And that’s even more funny.
Jill DeWit: Thank you.
Steven Butala: So yeah, it’s all a real serious topic. But I mean if you’re not laughing and horse around having fun, that’s not just-
Jill DeWit: That’s a good point. That’s true. You do have to … So I want to give some good tips to help with this.
Steven Butala: Okay.
Jill DeWit: If you must do it … If you must …
Steven Butala: If you’re think you’re within the one percentile of people-
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: … who can actually have a marriage and have a business together-
Jill DeWit: Kids.
Steven Butala: … and live in the same house and figure all that out.
Jill DeWit: Work on the income together.
Steven Butala: What are your tips for the 1%?
Jill DeWit: So my tips are, number one, some of the things that will be in the book that I’m doing too right now. Lay out the ground rules ahead of time, maybe even a contract-
Steven Butala: Yeah, write it out.
Jill DeWit: … and decide who’s doing what and have it in writing. Make sure your paychecks are equal. You guys should each get equal pay.
Steven Butala: This is good advice.
Jill DeWit: Thank you. When you divide up the roles … After you divide up the roles and you shake hands on who’s doing what, you need to stay the heck out of the other person’s way. Don’t mess with their stuff. Nothing will lead to an argument faster than if you sit down and critique what the other person is doing on their side of the sheet.
Steven Butala: That’s right.
Jill DeWit: That’s an instant failure.
Steven Butala: This is good advice, Jill.
Jill DeWit: So that’s somebody sleeping on the couch or getting a hotel room that night. Not that we’ve done that.
Steven Butala: This is awesome.
Jill DeWit: Just saying.
Steven Butala: She means literally take a piece of paper.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, write it down.
Steven Butala: Write a line down the middle, and one side is acquisition. One side is sales. One side is running the office; one side is hiring. One side is take-
Jill DeWit: Here’s what I have to say.
Steven Butala: … the kids to school; one side is picking the kids up from school.
Jill DeWit: You should divide up … You need to each respect what each person’s good at and let that person have that role. Then when you get down … Remember playing dodgeball? Remember dodgeball? You line up all the kids, and you pick like, “I’m going to … He’s the fastest,” and you one by one pick all the kids.
Steven Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: Then come on. We all know there’s five kids left over.
Steven Butala: One kid, the last kid.
Jill DeWit: Then it gets down to that too. But when you’re at the end going, “All right. you have five kids left over,” and you’re looking at, “Well, who’s the … Of the five that are left over, what’s the best I got to work with here? All right. I’ll take him. You’re stuck with him and you’re stuck with that.” It’s kind of like that with your jobs. I hate to say this. But at the very end after you divide up all the good stuff and you know that, “Hey, I’m great at this, this one’s mine. You’re great at that, that one’s yours.” Then what’s left is the poopy stuff. It’s like, “I don’t want deeds. I don’t want deeds.” All right. Well you know what I mean?
Steven Butala: I know. Then hire somebody.
Jill DeWit: Then you have to … No. I don’t think you can afford it yet.
Steven Butala: You have this all figured out.
Jill DeWit: I do. Hold on a moment. You can’t afford that yet. Work with me, Steven. Just make it fair like, All right,” and talk through it. “I’ll do deeds, but you got to do property posting because I hate deeds, but I hate property posting more, and I think this works.” Done and then stick to it. So I think that’s fair. That’s what we did. Eventually, you can hire it out. But right now, you’re working with your wife, and maybe you have a day job, you know?
Steven Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: Or somebody has a day job and somebody’s doing this. For a lot of us, this is the goal. This is an important show for me because I think for a lot of people here, I know people in our group that their goal, it may not be to necessarily work with their spouse. But they need to be able to have this business, take over so no one has to work outside the home. And maybe working with their spouse is not necessarily, “I need you in my business,” but it might be something like, “I need you to run the rest of our life” kind of thing. So everybody’s got to be on the same page.
Steven Butala: Here’s why this works in summary, unless you have lots more to say.
Jill DeWit: Oh I do but go ahead. It’s okay. We’ve got a long-
Steven Butala: Here’s why it works. It works because … for us anyway … because Jill and I have the same 10-miles-out goal.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: We both want to get to the same place, and it’s a lot easier to define then, “I just don’t want Jill to work at American Airlines.” It’s more like we have a same revenue goal. We both want to retire in the same place geographically. I mean, it’s pretty detailed. Then both of us fully realize that we have different ways of going about that and a different way to do it on a day-to-day basis to get to that same goal. That’s the real secret, I think, is they have the same goal. And I fully expect that to fail next week.
Jill DeWit: Funny.
Steven Butala: Hold on. I don’t mean like, “Blow up.” I just mean, “Oh man, that didn’t work. We worked on a project together. We started yelling at each other. Let’s just back off,” and then restart and say, “Yeah, that didn’t work. So I’ll take it over or she’ll take it over,” or whatever and you just fix it. So it’s tacking like in sailing. You got to tack back and forth-
Jill DeWit: I think that’s one of the things that you-
Steven Butala: … to get to that goal.
Jill DeWit: If you could find the yin and the yang like we do, that’s the best too.
Steven Butala: It is not smooth sailing in the beginning at all. We had to learn.
Jill DeWit: I like to think that you’re together. If you’re working with your spouse, you’re together for a reason, number one. You already picked him as a spouse, so you know that you have a chance. You don’t pick two people like you usually, because a lot of things will fail, not just your business. So it’s like raising kids. If both of our parenting styles are hands-off parenting, these kids will be running the show, and everybody would be running amok, and we’d be getting a call from the principal every day, which we don’t because one of us steps in and discipline. It’s funny that it changes now and then.
Steven Butala: Or the warden.
Jill DeWit: Right, because we sent them away. Exactly. So we’d be like, “Yep, your problem now.” No, I’m just kidding.
Steven Butala: Don’t tease me.
Jill DeWit: But it’s funny. One of the things that struck me is you said you expect things to fail. But that’s just how you look at things, and that’s okay. Then you’re pleasantly surprised. I expect things to succeed, and we meet in the middle.
Steven Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: So I hope that helps everyone. I think that will.
Steven Butala: Well you’ve done it again. You spent another 15 minutes listening to the Land Academy Show. Join us next time where we talk about rules are made for the lowest common denominator. I’ll explain tomorrow.
Jill DeWit: Have we answered your questions? Post it on our free online community, and you can find it at landinvestors.com.
Steven Butala: You are not alone in your real estate ambition.
Jill DeWit: I could have gone even longer than that-
Steven Butala: Go ahead. Go ahead. But you have to-
Jill DeWit: … which is actually funny. No, it’s okay.
Steven Butala: I know it’s going over, but it’s actually really helpful, and I’m learning a lot too.
Jill DeWit: No. I really do think I covered a lot of it. You know, setting up expectations, following through, sticking to it, having fun. You know what’s funny? I’m surprised that didn’t come up to me the first-
Steven Butala: Having fun.
Jill DeWit: Usually, that’s me. Boy, what does that say about me right now? I’m so into-
Steven Butala: Well you’re writing a book.
Jill DeWit: But everything should be fun though. That doesn’t make a difference.
Steven Butala: It should be.
Jill DeWit: I know.
Steven Butala: That’s part of it. It should be easy to flip a land and sometimes it’s not.
Jill DeWit: I used to be the one that would walk in every day, and you were serious in work, and I was like, “Gosh. Just lighten up everybody.” Now, you’re telling me to lighten up, which I think is funny. You’re like, “Have fun.” I’m like, “I forgot about that.”
Steven Butala: We have different stress points. The better you know your business partner, life partner, or spouse that you’re working with, the better … I know what your stress points are. My stress points were years ago cash flow. Since then, honestly, everything else is just details.
Jill DeWit: That’s true.
Steven Butala: Once you cross … You know you’re making X amount of money per month in your positive side cash flow scenario, and it’s pretty consistent, and people aren’t … You and your spouse are not killing each other and killing it at work and trying to-
Jill DeWit: Yeah, not getting ahead.
Steven Butala: Yeah. Once you’re ahead-
Jill DeWit: Feel like [crosstalk 00:23:41] treadmill.
Steven Butala: Now it’s just details. Yeah, we have all kinds of stuff, and we get stressed out. But the real stress, the money stress, and that quality of life stress is gone, and that for me, then that’s when I can start to have fun with it.
Jill DeWit: That’s true.
Steven Butala: But before that it’s a total disaster. Trust me.
Jill DeWit: That’s true. Okay, so that’s my goal for you. I’m going to end on this for me in the after show here. My goal for you is just think about getting to that point. Have some fun along the way. But think about getting to the point where you both look at each other like we do and say, “What do we really have to complain about right now?” That’s the reality.
Steven Butala: That’s exactly right.
Jill DeWit: Share the fun on iTunes or wherever you’re listening. While you’re at it, please rate us there and please subscribe. 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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