If We Could Go Back to 1998 (LA 856)

If We Could Go Back to 1998 (LA 856)


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 DeWitt, broadcasting from sunny Southern California.

Steven Butala: Today Jill and I talk about what would you do if could go back to 1998?

Jill DeWit: This is gonna be good.

Steven Butala: So I’m sitting here thinking, there’s a professional piece to this and a personal piece.

Jill DeWit: I didn’t-

Steven Butala: So I’m gonna ask some tough questions.

Jill DeWit: Okay. I didn’t really think about the personal one, I only thought about the professional one.

Steven Butala: Me too.

Jill DeWit: I’ll be on the-

Steven Butala: That’s what’s nice.

Jill DeWit: Totally on the fly here. So, cool?

Steven Butala: Personal stuff’s more interesting though.

Jill DeWit: ‘Kay.

Steven Butala: Before I get into it, let’s take a question, posted by one of our members, on the landinvestors.com online community. It’s free, and as you’re listening, please drop your question into the comment section below.

Jill DeWit: Jeremy asks, “I’m having trouble figuring out what criteria to use in a county selection. In going though the modules a few times, a lot of what Steven says is somewhat nonspecific. I’m using countywise.com for my initial data. County density seems pretty straight forward. How many back tax properties is a good minimum? How many personals is a good minimum? Anyone want to share some of the criteria you used when you got started? If anyone know a member [inaudible 00:01:24] discussed in more depth, pointers would be appreciated.”

Steven Butala: This is a really good question.

Jill DeWit: Yeah.

Steven Butala: Very, very good question, and I’ve said this before. Whoever you are, welcome to the membership group. I can tell just by the questions that you’re asking right in the beginning how successful you’re gonna be. This is a spot, it’s one of the first bottlenecks. If you do experience bottlenecks, this is one of the first ones.

Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala: I wish there was some type of checklist that you could go through and check, check, check, check, check, yup meets all the criteria I’m set in mail there, and there’s just not. So I’d devise a three point plan. This is for rural vacant land only now, this is not for 2 point 0 info lots at all. 2 point 0 info lots there is pretty much a checklist, because they’re urban areas, and you’re looking for consistency, but for rural vacant land you want to find property, there’s three point concept.

Steven Butala: Rural property, where the population density according to the census maps is dark green, that’s the most rural, does that in and of itself mean you’re going to do well if you send mail there? No. Number two: You want to make sure that there is some type, in general, this is not a hard and fast rule, in general you want to make sure that there’s some type of back tax scenario happening there whether it’s tax leans or back tax property, so you want to find out , as a gage, how many properties are in a back tax status situation. I’ll tell you, for example, if you just looked at that in a of itself it wouldn’t work because Los Angeles County has the most highest number of, and it doesn’t work from a density map standpoint ’cause it’s very, very urban obviously.

Steven Butala: So time of tax presence, this is just if you’re starting out. And then the third test is a test of reason where you want to go out on the internet and see how many other properties are for sale. You want to do it on Land and Farm, Land Watch, Craigslist, all kinds of places. If you’re shooting for 100, 200, 300 dollars an acre, real low end stuff, if you find a county that meets all three of those criteria you’re gonna do great. If you price it right.

Steven Butala: So that, in the beginning owe talk about one deal at a time-

Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala: We’re getting a couple deals done. That should get you where you need to go. And then pricing is a whole different concept, but you can use what’s for sale on the internet already as a pretty good guide for what you’re gonna get.

Jill DeWit: Hey! Kudos too by the way for knowing and using countywise.com, and Steven made that site and spent weeks putting that together to create that site as a free resource to everyone, to help you find this information. Look at the density maps.

Steven Butala: Right.

Jill DeWit: And look at back tax properties for the area that you’re looking at. Lots of great and other good things there. If you wanna get into that information, so kudos that you’re using all the tools and the resources that we provide-

Steven Butala: That’s right.

Jill DeWit: That’s really what I wanted to say and thank.

Steven Butala: Today’s topic, if you could go back to 1998 what would you change? This is the meat of the show. What would you change, Jill?

Jill DeWit: I was thinking back, okay so I had to do the math. That was 20 years ago, so what was I doing 20 years ago? Well one of the things is I was watching ER faithfully.

Steven Butala: The television show ER?

Jill DeWit: Yeah, do you remember that?

Steven Butala: Yeah, I do.

Jill DeWit: Yeah.

Steven Butala: God that was a long time ago.

Jill DeWit: Right? Yeah, ER was alive and I wanna say it was Thursday nights and I swear I’d plan my life around it because I really liked the show ER, it was such a good show.

Steven Butala: It’s what launched George Cloony’s career.

Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Isn’t that funny? Look how far he went.

Steven Butala: Yeah.

Jill DeWit: It’s amazing, so that’s where I was. Watching ER 20 years ago. I was also about eight years in;

Jill DeWit: 9, 10, 90. Yep. I was eight years in to a job that I had no idea that was going nowhere. I really thought that there was room for growth.

Steven Butala: Does any job really go anywhere ever?

Jill DeWit: Yeah.

Steven Butala: I’ve always wondered this.

Jill DeWit: I mean, even though I worked for very big company, it’s an airline, and there was things I could do, you always hit the ceiling. There’s certain caps for if you’re in this position there’s a salary cap, if you go to this position now you’re at another salary cap, you go over here, it just was ridiculous.

Steven Butala: And you always report to someone.

Jill DeWit: Oh yeah.

Steven Butala: So, I don’t care if you become the CEO in the airline. Coca-Cola’s famous for-

Jill DeWit: That’s true.

Steven Butala: I don’t know who the CEO of Coca-Cola is now, but somebody started in the mail room and became the CEO of the company. This is recent too, like within the last few years.

Jill DeWit: Yep.

Steven Butala: Several years. But you still report to the board then.

Jill DeWit: Exactly.

Steven Butala: So you’re never really free until you run your own show.

Jill DeWit: Right? And the third point that I remember from 1998 that I watch and I kinda knew and this is good. I probably should have paid for attention is why I’m bring this up. I was watching my parents about this time they had transitioned from Southern California to Texas, and huh! They bought a much bigger house. Huh! And they could afford to buy a lot of little houses. Ohh. So Dad had built up about ten little houses that he was renting out. I’m like, “that was brilliant”.

Steven Butala: Outstanding.

Jill DeWit: So, would I go back? I would have been all in with Dad. That’s what I should have been doing. All in with Dad and watching him and helping him and doing it myself.

Steven Butala: Oh.

Jill DeWit: Yeah.

Steven Butala: So you really were answering the question there.

Jill DeWit: I was. I wasn’t just talking. I’m not just pretty face. Just kidding.

Steven Butala: I can honestly say I wouldn’t change anything professionally at all.

Jill DeWit: Oh.

Steven Butala: 20 years ago I had a fantastic, but short career in public accounting.

Jill DeWit: Yeah.

Steven Butala: Which launched me into all kinds of;

Steven Butala: Opened a lot of doors, and a stint in investment banking where I did really well financially, and all of it lead to, but every single minute of it I knew I was going to leave.

Jill DeWit: Right.

Steven Butala: I was always planning to leave the job that I had. I never put stuff in the drawers. I was there for years, two years in accounting and-

Jill DeWit: Don’t order me business cards. I’m not gonna be here that long.

Steven Butala: Seriously, and some of the best clients, I worked with those clients afterward, so I just always knew that that wasn’t for me and I needed to run my own show.

Jill DeWit: That’s good.

Steven Butala: And I didn’t want to do it ’cause I wanted to work less or anything like, I just knew that that’s financially just never going to take me where I wanted to go. Plus like most people in our group, I just think we’re not, none of us are very good at taking orders. Or there’s a lot of alpha males in our group, I’ll tell ya. It’s pretty funny when everybody gets together.

Jill DeWit: It’s true.

Steven Butala: There’s a lot of figurative chest beating.

Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala: So, professionally there’s only maybe tiny little things I would change. Like probably a couple jobs where I stayed a little bit too long. There’s only a few real estate deals I look back on, really actually recently, and say, “damn it I shou have bought that”.

Jill DeWit: Oh.

Steven Butala: But in general, I never look back and say, “I should have sold that for more”. Boy, if I did that I’d be climbing the walls.

Jill DeWit: Got it.

Steven Butala: If I went back through our database and said, “well, what would that be worth now? What would that be worth now?”, we would go nuts.

Jill DeWit: You know, the only thing; I didn’t want to interrupt you. You done?

Steven Butala: No, that’s it.

Jill DeWit: Okay. The only thing, as I think about this, what advice would I give to somebody if it were me back then. The only thing I think I would have done is jump ship sooner. Sometimes we get; complacent’s not really the word. I think I had false hope for what was possible, and is really not possible. I do wish I would have done things a little bit faster, but since meeting you, oh things are plenty fast.

Jill DeWit: That’s a little bit of an inside joke, a little bit of a public joke. ‘Cause-

Steven Butala: I’m the one in this duo that is running two miles ahead of everyone and not tired at all.

Jill DeWit: Well-

Steven Butala: And here’s why. Here’s why. I have these great ideas and I don’t have to do any of the real work.

Jill DeWit: That’s the point. I have to do the real work. Or at least put the team in place. You throw me the keys and run.

Steven Butala: And start the next one.

Jill DeWit: Exactly. Hey, you got it? The lights are falling down over there, but here you go! I’m just kidding.

Steven Butala: So it’s not ’cause I haven’t done the work myself before.

Jill DeWit: I know. No, I’m just teasing you.

Steven Butala: So in the end it works out-

Jill DeWit: Yeah.

Steven Butala: Just fine. It’s just not as smooth as it could go, but when is it ever? If you talk to somebody and they say, “oh yeah! Everything’s fantastic. Are you kidding? Everything’s great in my life. These companies are running really well. They run themselves. I don’t really have to do anything and everybody that works for me is fantastic. They come to work with a smile on their face. They’re on time and they do what they’re supposed to do”. That person is a liar.

Steven Butala: I don’t care if they’re billionaires.

Jill DeWit: That’s hilarious.

Steven Butala: In fact, if they’re billionaires it’s gonna be worse. Their reaction is gonna be worse. Like, “at least half of what I own is probably failing right now”. That’s person telling the truth.

Jill DeWit: And I don’t even know about it. They’re all lying to me ’cause they’re yes people.

Jill DeWit: That’s good.

Steven Butala: If I could go back 20 years, I would have scaled. When we talk about non-2 point 0 as scaling your business.

Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala: I would have scaled a lot faster. I would have taken on;

Steven Butala: If I could go back and do one thing it would be take Jill on as a partner way, way earlier-

Jill DeWit: Thanks.

Steven Butala: Than we actually did. Because the minute that happened the thing went to the moon.

Jill DeWit: Thank you.

Steven Butala: First of all, I’d cut out half the amount of work that I had to do. And it was a win there for me. I could go and actually do the stuff that I’m good at which is send mailers out and generate more undervalued property. It was a win for Jill because she got out of her corporate thing. And she got set free too.

Jill DeWit: Yeah.

Steven Butala: Let out of her cage, so she could actually be the sales slash, let’s call her, politician, Which is what she really is.

Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Thanks.

Steven Butala: She just got let out of her cage a bit with no real oversight.

Jill DeWit: Thanks.

Steven Butala: Our personality types don’t need oversight, we need freedom.

Jill DeWit: Yep.

Steven Butala: There’s a lot of people that are not like that. They need boundaries and they need times to show up and places to be. I’ve never functioned that way.

Steven Butala: So, that what I would change, and I would’ve change how the size of the transactions that we were doing and taking on partners, on every deal financial partners. Which is what we teach now, and that’s the whole point if you’re part of our crew. You should be listening to the stuff that we screwed up because I’m sure you’re a lot younger than us. Younger than me anyway.

Jill DeWit: Yep. We can save you.

Steven Butala: Yeah, well we can just beat the whole thing up for you.

Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s what I mean. I agree.

Steven Butala: Well, you’ve done it again. You’ve spent another 15 minutes yourself listening to the Land Academy Show.

Steven Butala: You know what we didn’t talk about? Was our personal. We’ll talk about it another-

Jill DeWit: That’s okay.

Steven Butala: Join us next time when we discuss what 2020 looks like for Steven and Jill.

Jill DeWit: That’ll be good.

Jill DeWit: And we answer your questions posted on our online community at landinvestors.com. It’s free.

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

Jill DeWit: What personal stuff do you want to talk about?

Steven Butala: We can get all personal.

Steven Butala: I wouldn’t really change anything, personally.

Jill DeWit: What car were you driving?

Steven Butala: 20 years was 1998, I was driving a 1989 Volvo DL. The square kind.

Jill DeWit: Oh.

Steven Butala: Blood red. Like a oxblood color with a tan, no it was a tan interior.

Jill DeWit: Oh.

Steven Butala: I loved that car.

Jill DeWit: Oh, that’s cool.

Steven Butala: I had a lot of those DLs throughout the years.

Jill DeWit: Oh that’s cool.

Steven Butala: You know I wrote it all down recently, speaking of cars.

Jill DeWit: Oh, that’s funny.

Steven Butala: I’ve owned 63 cars in my life. 63 vehicles.

Jill DeWit: That’s a little scary.

Steven Butala: It’s a lot more than my age. In fact, it’s probably not healthy.

Jill DeWit: Yeah, that’s probably not healthy. That’s okay.

Steven Butala: What were you driving?

Jill DeWit: I was driving an old Taurus. A Ford Taurus.

Steven Butala: The Station Wagon?

Jill DeWit: No, no, no, not the Station Wagon, just the Sedan.

Steven Butala: What color was it?

Jill DeWit: It was green.

Steven Butala: Was it your parents car or something?

Jill DeWit: No, but it was just one of those; you know what it was? It was a practical car and the price was right, and it ran well and I didn’t need anything flashy, I just needed something that ran well and got me from point A to point B, and it was paid for.

Steven Butala: Do you remember selling it?

Jill DeWit: I do remember selling it. Actually it’s kinda sad.

Steven Butala: Were you happy or sad?

Jill DeWit: I was a little sad, ’cause I got a brand new car, I’m not gonna tell you what that one was ’cause it involved a sliding door.

Steven Butala: Oh my gosh. You had mini van?

Jill DeWit: I did.

Steven Butala: Alright.

Jill DeWit: So, it was a brief period in my life. I actually coached soccer, kid’s soccer.

Steven Butala: Oh, that’s good.

Jill DeWit: I did.

Steven Butala: I did too.

Jill DeWit: So yeah. But, anyway, I was sad to see that car go, ’cause it ran great. It was a good car.

Jill DeWit: Please be sure to hit the subscribe button to stay up date on our podcast.

Jill DeWit: Like us and comment [inaudible 00:14:35] in future shows.

Steven Butala: Right when I had like 12 more questions.

Jill DeWit: Oh, I’m cutting it off now.

Jill DeWit: Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, by the way. Oh, yay!

Steven Butala: I know.

Jill DeWit: And if you’re listening on iTunes, please rate us there.

Jill DeWit: We are Steve and Jill [unison 00:14:44].

Steven Butala: We are Steve and Jill [unison 00:14:44].

Steven Butala: Information-

Jill DeWit: And inspiration.

Steven Butala: To buy undervalued property.

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

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at steven@BuWit.com.

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