Bigger Pockets and Land Academy (LA 926)
Steven Butala: Steve and Jill here.
Jill Dewitt: Hola.
Steven Butala: Welcome to the Land Academy Show, entertaining land investment talk. I’m Steven Jack Butala.
Jill Dewitt: And I’m Jill Dewitt, broadcasting from sunny, southern California.
Steven Butala: Today Jill and I talk about Bigger Pockets and Land Academy. If you’ve never heard of Bigger Pockets, I’m not sure what rock you’re living under. We’re going to clarify it right now and how to use it with Land Academy. By the way, this is show number 926.
Jill Dewitt: Yeah. Can you believe that? We’re going to hit 1,000.
Steven Butala: We’re going to hit 1,000 shows here shortly.
Jill Dewitt: Like in summer, I think, it’s going to hit.
Steven Butala: I can’t believe it.
Jill Dewitt: Yeah.
Steven Butala: We have all the transcripts from every single show we’ve ever done.
Jill Dewitt: That’s a lot.
Steven Butala: I wonder if we just put all that together and took out the highlights and just …
Jill Dewitt: Wouldn’t that be a cool …
Steven Butala: … slap it all together in a pretty –
Jill Dewitt: Put it into a book.
Steven Butala: … pretty book or something, yeah.
Jill Dewitt: That would be awesome.
Steven Butala: It would be fun to do, too, actually.
Jill Dewitt: Not for me.
Steven Butala: See where we improved or where we’ve completely declined in the quality of entertainment and advice here.
Jill Dewitt: Thanks for taking on this project, by the way. I appreciate the volunteer.
Steven Butala: Remember when we started this and you said, “This is the dumbest idea you’ve had”?
Jill Dewitt: Which one?
Steven Butala: This podcast.
Jill Dewitt: Which idea? Oh, I’m sorry.
Steven Butala: She’s like, “Yeah, there’s seriously no way. No one’s going to listen to a stupid podcast about land.”
Jill Dewitt: No, what I said was, “What’s a podcast,” first of all. I did say, “That’s dumb. Who is going to listen to this?” Then I found out, oh, people commute. I didn’t know that.
Steven Butala: Every week I get the analytics on downloads and everything for the show and I just can’t believe it. There’s a lot of people that listen to the show.
Jill Dewitt: Yes, there are.
Steven Butala: It’s either that we got there first and it was like one of six shows on iTunes back in 2015, or people actually get something out of it. I don’t know.
Jill Dewitt: I don’t know.
Steven Butala: It’s probably the former.
Jill Dewitt: Yeah.
Steven Butala: Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on thelandinvestors.com online community, it’s free.
Jill Dewitt: Rob H. asks, “I don’t understand this idea of a closing attorney. I heard it mentioned in one of the webinars. I know some states require them, but what’s the advantage otherwise? Aren’t you paying them extra for working with a title agent? Can someone fill me in please? Thanks.”
Steven Butala: Go ahead, Jill.
Jill Dewitt: Oh.
Steven Butala: I know you’re dying to answer this.
Jill Dewitt: No. Here’s the best thing about it, Rob. It’s either or. An attorney can close a deal in lieu of a title agent or escrow company. I am so happy to report that we are finding it now. It has been faster, easier and cheaper going through an attorney. You want to make sure you seek out an attorney that that’s their specific specialty, not a divorce attorney that knows how to work with property or something like that.
Steven Butala: Or says they do.
Jill Dewitt: Or says they do, exactly. One that this is what they do and they really are real estate transaction based attorneys and getting it done. Because they’re set up to do the tricky ones. The bottom line is just to have them do it for you, even if it’s an easy one, they can do these in, man, 24, 48, 72 hours with or without title insurance, by the way. It’s kind of like the same thing as a mom and pop escrow company. They don’t have their own title insurance. They’re getting it through a bigger company, like maybe First American Title, or something like that, and then marking it up and closing the deal. It’s the same thing as an attorney, but gosh these attorneys we’re finding, again, like what I would spend $2,000 at a escrow company, $2,000 in 30 days, I’m finding getting done in under $1,000 in five days or less with an attorney. That is the advantage. Love it.
Steven Butala: In 2015, when we started Land Academy, we were very vocal. I was personally very vocal about how much attorneys suck. We would avoid attorney closing states.
Jill Dewitt: True.
Steven Butala: In fact, it was that, that was the case back then. This is actually an important topic, so I’m going to take it all the way back to the beginning. Long, long, long time ago, if you wanted to buy and sell a piece of real estate, you had to get a lawyer. They would process all the paperwork. They were still real estate agents, but they would send it all to a lawyer. Then, part of what the lawyer would do, was contact an insurance company during the course of the deal so you could get title insurance.
Well, the title insurance companies, like First American and Lawyer’s Title and Pioneer, those are the three biggest, I think, said, “Why don’t we just cut these lawyers out? They’re making way too much money. Why don’t we just get the title agent to actually act as an escrow agent, charge a lot less, we can do the deal a lot faster and these crotch deal lawyers that take 60 to 90 days to close a deal, let’s cut them all out.” That worked. Actually, it started in California and it moved its way westward in the 40s and 50s. This whole notion of escrow title came about. While some states said, “No, no. You’re not going to do that, California people.” Specifically New York said that. You want to buy a piece of real estate, you need a lawyer. It’s too important.
So, the pendulum has now swung all the way back because there’s lawyers that specialize in getting stuff done quickly and efficiently, and they’re called real estate investment lawyers. We’re getting reports back from members that are closing deals for about 750 to $1,000 in 36 hours because they’re very organized. They’re very comfortable screaming at people to get stuff done and they’ve got a crew of people around them that know how to get stuff done. This is all in response to the complacency and downright idiocy of some escrow agents right now.
Jill Dewitt: Go get them.
Steven Butala: Give us a story.
Jill Dewitt: Get them.
Steven Butala: Give us a story about this recent holiday insanity.
Jill Dewitt: Oh, I wanted to throttle this agent. We were all set to close. I think it was Thursday, and for some reason they didn’t act together, so it was going to be Friday. I wired the money …
Steven Butala: We’re at the full price of commercial piece of property.
Jill Dewitt: Full price.
Steven Butala: A lot of money.
Jill Dewitt: Oh, yeah. It was a lot of money towards a property. I wired it. I wired it Thursday, went in Thursday afternoon so it hit Friday morning. I’m waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting, we’re not getting anything. We finally reached out to them and we can’t get them. They’re dark. This is Friday afternoon coming into President’s weekend. I’m like, “What the heck? We’re supposed to close and be recorded today.” These poor people want their money that we’re buying it from too. We all did everything we’re supposed to do. Me as a buyer, this sweet couple as a seller, they need their money and the escrow company closed up shop. They must have left early on Friday and –
Steven Butala: They couldn’t care less.
Jill Dewitt: They couldn’t care less. They’re not going to close for us –
Steven Butala: They didn’t answer their phone.
Jill Dewitt: … until Tuesday. I think we finally … I don’t know if they got them on the phone, or how we … It was just ridiculous. I’m like, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. You’re sitting on my money. You’re not doing the deal like you promised. You’re sitting on my money over this whole holiday weekend, by the way, and these poor people making them wait to close on Tuesday.” Which, by the way, I can’t remember, it was still a day or two after it was done that we had to get them and go, “Hello? Do you have a book and page number for me? Are we done? Is this recorded?” It’s just ridiculous.
This particular company’s like, “Oh, we don’t like to do online recording too, by the way. It’s just the way we operate. We’re not doing that.” The sad thing is, it came from … There was a broker, a realtor involved, with the seller and they insisted on using this title company. Our hands were tied. It was a bummer because this broker made it harder for his seller, who he’s supposed to be representing and helping, he stuck it to them.
Steven Butala: Well, everybody in the state, the state governing …
Jill Dewitt: It’s stupid.
Steven Butala: … agencies over real estate agents and escrow/title is going to hear from me on this.
Jill Dewitt: Oh yeah.
Steven Butala: Unfortunately, this is the one where, this is like …
Jill Dewitt: Ridiculous.
Steven Butala: … the last one of 20. This anger and angst has been building over the last, probably, 25 deals that we’ve done. I don’t know what happened. It wasn’t like this a year ago.
Jill Dewitt: Makes me mad. I know. I’m not going to do that.
Steven Butala: Everyone’s going to hear about it on this deal.
Jill Dewitt: Because I’m not that person, but I’m sure I have a case there where I can say, “Look …”
Steven Butala: No, no, no. But they’re still going to hear about it.
Jill Dewitt: “You guys promised you’re going to close this way and you held my money for four or five days unnecessarily, that’s actually not cool.” I’m sure an attorney would love to jump on that, but I’m not going to do that.
Steven Butala: No, no. Neither am I, but the governing agency …
Jill Dewitt: It’s proving my point to …
Steven Butala: … needs to get on their radar.
Jill Dewitt: … that well, never again, this particular title company, we will never use again, obviously. That’s what’s going on and why we’re looking to other ways. Boy, these attorneys are popping up and solving our problem, so thank you. It’s a good thing.
Steven Butala: I didn’t even know a 36 hour close was possible. That’s truly amazing.
Jill Dewitt: It’s great.
Steven Butala: And they get it all done right.
Jill Dewitt: Yup.
Steven Butala: Today’s topic, Bigger Pockets and Land Academy. This is the meat of the show. If you don’t know about Bigger Pockets, in its simplest description, it’s a real estate forum. It’s an online real estate forum where you can go on and anything real estate gets discussed. It is the forum on the internet. Whether you’re a very seasoned commercial real estate investor, or you’re brand spanking new, still in school and just believe in real estate as an investment vehicle, or you want to retire, or you just need some advice about buying or selling a house, it’s all there. Bigger Pockets actually is probably one of the reasons that we truly started to go forward with Land Academy because there’s such a huge need for good advice and good mentoring/just a good source of data. In fact, when I designed Land Investors itself, I modeled it after Bigger Pockets. More and more and more, I thought it would fade away. More and more and more, Bigger Pockets is coming up as a source of …
Jill Dewitt: Information.
Steven Butala: Information and good advice from our members.
Jill Dewitt: Right. Resources.
Steven Butala: My whole point to this, and it’s not very lengthy at all is, if you don’t use Bigger Pockets regularly, and we have no affiliation with them at all, if you don’t use regular … And it’s free. Bigger Pockets regularly, as a land investor, or real estate investor, or a house investor, or let’s say what we were just talking about, you need a lawyer in, I don’t know, North Carolina, let’s say, to close a day, that’s a fantastic place to go and get one. That’s the entire show.
Jill Dewitt: Well, thank you.
Steven Butala: They should pay us actually to say this stuff with the distribution we have.
Jill Dewitt: I was kind of wondering, but that was good.
Steven Butala: Well, you’ve done it again. You’ve spent another 10 minutes or so, 11 minutes or so, listening to the Land Academy Show. You think I was joking.
Jill Dewitt: I know that. I know you’re not joking.
Steven Butala: That was it. Join us next time for the episode called, “One Third of Our Members Quit Their Jobs.”
Jill Dewitt: Oh.
Steven Butala: Jill’s excited.
Jill Dewitt: Yeah, that’s what I wanted to talk about. And we answer your questions posted on our online community, landinvestors.com. It is free.
Steven Butala: You are not alone in your real estate ambition.
Jill Dewitt: That’s so funny. You’re like, “Yup, that’s all I have.”
Steven Butala: Jill, you look lovely today.
Jill Dewitt: Why, thank you. What’s so special about today?
Steven Butala: I don’t know. It’s just something about it. I mean, you always look great, but …
Jill Dewitt: Ooh.
Steven Butala: There’s just something about, something going on, with you today. Maybe it’s me.
Jill Dewitt: Maybe it’s you. Wherever you’re watching, or wherever you are listening, please rate us there. We are Steve and Jill.
Steven Butala: We are Steve and Jill. Information …
Jill Dewitt: 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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