Finance Friday with Steven Butala and Justin Sliva (LA 888)

Finance Friday with Steven Butala and Justin Sliva (LA 888)


Steven Butala:                   Welcome to Finance Friday with Steve Butala and Justin Sliva. Jill is sitting in for Justin.

Jill DeWit:                            I am.

Steven Butala:                   This is actually, what, the third or fourth time that Justin and I were scheduled to have the show, and you know what it reminds me of, Jill?

Jill DeWit:                            What’s that?

Steven Butala:                   Why you became the co-host in the first place.

Jill DeWit:                            I forgot about that. Yeah, I was never supposed to be the total show co-host part on the original Land Academy Show. I was the fill-in.

Steven Butala:                   We love Justin, but we’re going to throw him under the bus right now. It’s the fourth show, and he had to reschedule, so Jill’s going to fill in.

Jill DeWit:                            I can do this.

Steven Butala:                   Right at the beginning of the Land Academy Show years ago, I was constantly having guests on, and they were constantly rescheduling on me. And that’s why Jill became the co-host.

Jill DeWit:                            I won’t do that to you.

Steven Butala:                   I know.

Jill DeWit:                            I’m here, happy to help. And I like to think I’m better-looking than Justin.

Steven Butala:                   You’re better-looking than everybody, Jill, [crosstalk 00:01:00]

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, I wouldn’t go that far, but thank you.

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

Jill DeWit:                            With Jill DeWit filling in for Justin Sliva, broadcasting from Southern California today.

Steven Butala:                   Today, Jill and I talk about Finance Friday. And I have to admit, I’m not sure what we’re going to talk about. I guess it’ll just-

Jill DeWit:                            I have some questions.

Steven Butala:                   Oh, good. All right. That’ll be easier then.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, this is going to be really good. Yeah. Don’t worry. I’ll carry you.

Steven Butala:                   Before we get into the …

Jill DeWit:                            Just kidding.

Steven Butala:                   Before we get into the topic, let’s take a question-

Jill DeWit:                            He’s carrying me.

Steven Butala:                   … posted by one of the community members on It’s free.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. [Kramer 00:01:42] asked, “I was wondering how often other members work a producing county? Do you only mail once and move on or mail the county several times a year? Please advise. Thanks.” I like this question [crosstalk 00:01:54]

Steven Butala:                   I do too. It’s a good question, and we haven’t gotten it recently. But it does come up pretty consistently. We never send mail out to the same county twice in one year. Never. And I don’t know why.

Jill DeWit:                            I know why.

Steven Butala:                   I’ll tell you what we do, what we do-

Jill DeWit:                            There’s too many other places just to move on and hit.

Steven Butala:                   Let’s pick on Mojave County, Arizona. I use it as an example all throughout Land Academy one and two. And what happens is I’ll send out a mailer, a rural vacant land mailer, for property between five and 10 acres, let’s say, and send out thousands of letters. And if we get a good response, one that’s … If we get one for 300, let’s say, one acquisition for 300 letters, then I will send out everything else. I’ll send out 11 to 640 acres, because I know that, for whatever reason, we’re getting a response. So that’s what we do. But then it won’t even probably be the next year. We just move all the other place.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. I think that’s why you do it because you’ll do so much at that time, so much goes out. There’s no reason to go back. There’s so many new people to get our letter for the first time. It’s fantastic.

Steven Butala:                   Now, this is rural vacant land with Info Lots. We have not sent a secondary mailer, but I think it would make a lot of sense to do that. I think it would make sense to send a letter and then, with no response, maybe sending up a follow-up postcard, a mail merge postcard or current resident. Never do that. Saying, “Look, I sent you an offer a couple weeks ago, and we just didn’t hear from you. So you either thought it was too low, or you didn’t get it. I’m just checking to see. I really do want to buy your property.”

With houses, that’s really effective. With House Academy, it’s totally different, and you’ll learn this in the program Listener that you have a boots-on-the-ground program so you’re not the person who’s actually going to the house and talking to the owners. That makes a lot of sense to hit multiple markets at the same time and then send up follow-up letters.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you.

Steven Butala:                   We talk all about it in House Academy.

Jill DeWit:                            And the new show.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. What’s the new show? The House Academy show?

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala:                   Yeah, Jill’s really excited about doing a House Academy show with me.

Jill DeWit:                            I love it.

Steven Butala:                   Today’s topic, it’s Finance Friday, and Jill’s sitting in for Justin, like we said. This is the meat of the show.

Jill DeWit:                            I am. Thank you for having me. I would like to ask some questions about Finance Friday and deal funding. So please tell me, what do you guys usually talk about on Finance Friday, and what is this for?

Steven Butala:                   Here’s what happens. Obviously, you’ve never watched the show.

Jill DeWit:                            Nope. I never have.

Steven Butala:                   I ask Justin to wrap up or summarize the deals that he’s done this week.

Jill DeWit:                            Ah.

Steven Butala:                   And he usually says, “I did XYZ deal for this person who’s a Land Academy member. I did this deal with a Jack Bosch member. And, as always,” and he says this on the show constantly, “The Jack Bosch slash Mark Podolsky Land Geek members have an entirely different way of doing this.” There are almost always back tax property that’s all complicated, and so [crosstalk 00:05:28]

Jill DeWit:                            Do they have less of a chance of getting funded?

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Are they less exciting deals? I’ve heard that, too.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. And he says this with a lot of tact, and he says it, but he’s very clear that they come at this business in a different way. And so the quality of the property that he gets from those types of people-

Jill DeWit:                            Is different.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. He does say this, that for people who have never had any education, just been career land people that are not a member of any group, they usually have it worked out.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, that’s good, because they figured it out on their own. I like that.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah, like us. That’s what I am.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah. That’s true. Well, and if you figure it out on your own, you realize that, “Huh. There are a lot of people out there that are actually paying their taxes that have good property that don’t want them. Why would I not just focus on those easy ones?” And that’s what we do.

Steven Butala:                   Yep.

Jill DeWit:                            Doesn’t have to be that hard. That’s what’s so funny. I think people get confused. They think that, “Oh, I need to go after that problem property. There has to be some real bad thing. That’s the only way I’m going to get it less expensive.” And that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Steven Butala:                   Right. So he also says it’s about for one in every four or one of every five, like 20% of the properties that he gets, he actually funds. And he said that people get pretty cranky about that.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, if it’s not a good deal, it’s not going to happen.

Steven Butala:                   That’s what I think.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s fair.

Steven Butala:                   And he said a lot of times, they already own it, especially in the beginning how I said they’re … He’s like, “I don’t think they would have purchased it if they would have come to me first.”

Jill DeWit:                            That’s a hard conversation to have too. I’ve had that with people in the past that they’re like, “Okay, I’m thinking about Land Academy. I’m coming to you. I just have to sell this property first, and then I can afford it.” I’m like, “Well, tell … ” They’re like, “And I can’t figure out why it’s not selling.” Like, “Well, let me ask you two questions.” And usually, in those two questions we ice it out, and it’s usually always the same thing. “Okay, what did you pay for it?” “Oh, I need to get X out of it.” “Uh-oh. Okay. Let’s talk about this.”

Steven Butala:                   [crosstalk 00:07:23] That’s not good.

Jill DeWit:                            “Well, I bought it for this, and I had it this long. And now I’m doing this.” I’m like, “All right. Well, you overpaid. Now you’re in a pickle, number one. And then the other thing, usually, it’s the double going on at the same time too. “Okay, so where are you marketing?” “Well, I have it on Craigslist.” And then that’s it. I’m like, “Really? Seriously. So you overpaid for it, so you’re asking too much. And you only have it on Craigslist and you’re wondering why it’s not selling.”

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. I mean, you’re not doing the deal done.

Jill DeWit:                            No, you’re not trying.

Steven Butala:                   You’re waiting, sitting and waiting.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, you’re not trying, and that’s not going to work. You need to move on. Yeah. I would sell it as a loss, get some money out of it, and move on and get rid of it. So I agree.

Steven Butala:                   It’s almost always access. One of the things we talked about at the live event, we haven’t talked about it in a while, is seeing something in the deal that’s not there. But you want to be a real estate investor so bad that you’re making bad decisions.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, yeah.

Steven Butala:                   You don’t want to do that.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah. Someone called you back. The fact is they called you, so you really want to do it. That doesn’t mean it’s right.

Steven Butala:                   I personally had a problem with that in the beginning of my career.

Jill DeWit:                            Really?

Steven Butala:                   I wanted to leave my job so bad and be a full-time real estate investor, coffee table real estate investor so bad that I didn’t make some good decisions.

Jill DeWit:                            Wouldn’t that be cute to have that on your business cards? Steven Butala, coffee table real estate investor. I like that. That would be cool. So what changes are you guys have coming up? Finance Friday’s about the deals you’re doing and the things that are submitted through and our deal funding area there. That’s where they come into, and they get funded different ways. Do you guys have some changes coming for this year?

Steven Butala:                   Yes. What he has determined, and me too, what I’ve determined, is that this works, that people need funding and we are both, the money that we’ve allocated for this, we’re separate right now still. The money that has been allocated for us to fund other people is rapidly running out. So what we have decided is to do, with the advanced Land Academy group, everybody’s going to throw 10,000 bucks in. We’re going to create another pool and keep replenishing that with the best deals that both of us are getting. And we’re noticing that other people in the group are offering the same kind of service. And so all of us together-

Jill DeWit:                            Can do more.

Steven Butala:                   … and it’ll probably be at, Land Tank, where you submit, if you’re a person who has property, you slap it up there. It’s a crowdfunding type thing, and if it’s a good deal, somebody in the group will … It’s only group access. It’s not open to the public at all. In fact, the public can’t even see it for a lot of regulatory reasons. So that’s coming up.

Jill DeWit:                            Awesome.

Steven Butala:                   It all points to one thing for people who are in this group that it all points to getting deals done faster for you and not having to worry about money. I wrote down a quote you said a few days ago when we were just talking about all that stuff at the kitchen table.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh.

Steven Butala:                   “Money’s not an issue anymore.” Quote, unquote.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s true. Yeah, that’s true.

Steven Butala:                   It’s just not. When you take money out of it-

Jill DeWit:                            That shouldn’t be an issue.

Steven Butala:                   When you seriously think about that, you, as a Land Academy member, money’s not an issue for you anymore. All you have to do is find the deals and get them in the right system, and it’s all going to happen.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, that ties into my last question, which is, “What do you want from myself and other members of these deals that we’re submitting?” Is there certain criteria that you guys are looking for?

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. Number one, it needs to make a bunch of dough, all right? It needs to generally make between five and ten thousand dollars. There needs to be five or ten thousand dollars of profit margin-

Jill DeWit:                            Minimum.

Steven Butala:                   … and almost immediate profit margin, number one, minimum. And I also won’t do a half-a-million-dollar deal. There are such thing that’s too big, number one. Number two, the vast majority of the properties that we get in don’t have any access. If I were a member of this group, I would stop what I’m doing and every single deal that I’m looking at, I would submit it.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh. Okay.

Steven Butala:                   I mean, what do you have to lose?

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   First of all, I’m going to say, “Yes, I’ll do it,” or, “No, I’m not going to do it.” I personally do this, by the way. We don’t have a staff member yet that actually sifts through this stuff. You have nothing to lose. It’s completely free. So go to and fill out the form. It’s take you five seconds.

Jill DeWit:                            Check if you’re a member or not, because that does make a difference. We know if [inaudible 00:12:11] check you’re a member, we’ll know right away anyway. Yeah, no, we can tell.

Steven Butala:                   The turnaround time is almost immediate because of ParcelFact.

Jill DeWit:                            Do you want us to add any due diligence?

Steven Butala:                   No.

Jill DeWit:                            I mean, I guess provide everything we have. Or do you just want state, county, APN. Don’t worry about it.

Steven Butala:                   I’m going to look at the property as if it came in for you and I. It’s inside of 60 seconds, and I’m going to know whether or not … And what I’m looking for is access and profit margin. The other thing that has not come up too much for me, but Justin says it comes up with him is undoing stuff with title issues.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh.

Steven Butala:                   So I’ll personally pass on every single deal that’s got dead people and stuff that we have to figure out. We just have too many deals to have to do that.

Jill DeWit:                            So this is-

Steven Butala:                   Justin’s a little bit more accepting of that.

Jill DeWit:                            What I hear you saying is this venue is not for deals that are too hard for you to get done on your own. This is for deals that-

Steven Butala:                   That’s well-said.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you. They are that great. You’re just short on the cash or you don’t want to use your own cash.

Steven Butala:                   That’s right.

Jill DeWit:                            Maybe you’re doing a little bit of both. If it were me, by the way, I’m quietly building my own little business. I would be aggressively buying all the acquisitions I can afford and then anything that comes in over and above that, sending here, so I got them both working at the same time.

Steven Butala:                   If I were a new member or even a very experienced, incredibly successful member, like Joe Martin is or Tory Watson or Luke Smith, I would put this in my checklist of stuff that goes on in a regular deal. I would say, “Get funded.”

Jill DeWit:                            Love it.

Steven Butala:                   I mean, by the end of 2019-

Jill DeWit:                            That’s your new tagline, by the way. “Get funded.” How cool is that?

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. Well, that’s what the menu item says. “Get funded.”

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, does it? Oh.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah, that’s the actual menu item.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. That’s awesome. That’s like a bumper sticker.

Steven Butala:                   By the end of 2019, here’s what a real estate deal should look like for you as a Land Academy member. You pick a county or a zip code, in the case of Info Lots. You send out just a tremendous amount of mail. This is houses too, for the House Academy. You send out a tremendous amount of mail. It all comes back through PATLive so you don’t have to do that. You pick and choose the best stuff that’s in the spreadsheet. You get a spreadsheet back from PATLive every morning. You choose the deals that you want to do or you think you want to do. You only have $25 in your checking account, by the way. Forget about money. Money’s not an issue anymore.

You submit all of them through the website. Eventually it’ll be Land Tank, but right now it’s still Land Investors. I literally choose which deals you should do or not do and fund them. I say, “Yes,” we run it all through title and the whole thing. We only do deals through title in this.

Jill DeWit:                            Good.

Steven Butala:                   So you got that going for you. Now, so you’re still responsible to do the deal or you can get Title [Mind 00:15:24] to do it. I personally, if I were a Land Academy member, I wouldn’t do anything. All I would do is just keep sending mail out and decide which … I’m actually deciding which deals you should do now. Title [Mind 00:15:36] completes it, and they use a product that we’re going to launch this year called Listing Gopher lists it all over the planet. And all the other stuff that needs to go on, like things that don’t involve decision-making, keeping yourself organized, managing the spreadsheets, you use with the virtual assistant that we provide.

Jill DeWit:                            Wow, that’s pretty great.

Steven Butala:                   In 2019, we are closing … All the products that you need will be available to completely do a deal so you basically don’t have to do any work except make decisions and send out mail. And we might have a product where we send the mail out for you. I’m not sure yet. It’s not going to be cheap. It’ll be efficient, and it’ll get done right. Where I actually price it, I’m on the fence about that.

Jill DeWit:                            I don’t know.

Steven Butala:                   But I am going to charge a lot of money for that. I’m like, “Oh, my God.”

Jill DeWit:                            I’m like, “Do you want to take that on?”

Steven Butala:                   This is the kind of stuff that we talk about when you’re not around.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh my gosh. Okay. This is my final, final, final question. Let’s see. My list. I’m checking off my list of questions since I get to be on Finance Friday this week. Okay. What the heck do you two talk about when I’m not around?

Steven Butala:                   It’s a little bit more … Well, you know what? Justin’s the fastest-talking Texan I’ve ever met.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, yes.

Steven Butala:                   So it’s rapid fire.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, he is fast.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah, he doesn’t have any patience, like I don’t. So there’s not a lot of horsing around. We don’t talk about our kids or anything.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. I love it. Do you talk about, “Jill, yesterday, I wanted to strangle her … ”

Steven Butala:                   No.

Jill DeWit:                            No?

Steven Butala:                   No, there’s no Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. Oh.

Steven Butala:                   At all. It’s direct, and our numbers reflect that. Those Finance Friday shows are pretty popular.

Jill DeWit:                            Cool. We’ll see how this one does. You’re welcome, Justin.

Steven Butala:                   Well, you’ve done it again. You’ve spent another 20 minutes or so listening to the Land Academy Show. Join us next time where we discuss another interesting topic.

Jill DeWit:                            And we answer your questions posted on our online community, It is free.

Steven Butala:                   You’re not alone in your real estate ambition. Script’s different too a little bit.

Jill DeWit:                            Just a little bit. Not bad. I kind of like it.

Steven Butala:                   So what do you think?

Jill DeWit:                            I think it’s good. How’s-

Steven Butala:                   [crosstalk 00:17:45]

Jill DeWit:                            Well, more importantly, how’s Justin doing? Doing as me. By the way, at the end of this, do you guys in unison say, “We are Steve and Justin”?

Steven Butala:                   No. No, I do all the narrative. He doesn’t see this.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, okay.

Steven Butala:                   He’s in Texas.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, that’s true. Okay. So you do the ending and the-

Steven Butala:                   I do it all.

Jill DeWit:                            … intro and the extro.

Steven Butala:                   I read the question. He actually answers the question. I read the question.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, okay. I just thought about that. That would be really funny. I want to hear you say, “We are Steve and Justin.”

Steven Butala:                   Oh my gosh.

Jill DeWit:                            How about we do this? Let me do the extro like we normally do here, and we’ll wrap it up. It’s Friday.

Steven Butala:                   Justin’s literally, literally out shooting coyotes with his five-year-old son.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s awesome.

Steven Butala:                   That’s why he couldn’t be here to record this.

Jill DeWit:                            Lucky him.

Steven Butala:                   I’m jealous.

Jill DeWit:                            He’s doing what I’m going to do and take some time off. Good for him.

Steven Butala:                   Yep.

Jill DeWit:                            Wherever you are listening or watching, 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.

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