Direct Mail Acquisition Ideas (LA 945)

Direct Mail Acquisition Ideas (LA 945)


Steven Butala:                   Steve and Jill here.

Jill DeWit:                            Howdy.

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

Jill DeWit:                            And I’m Jill DeWit broadcasting from sunny southern California.

Steven Butala:                   Today Jill and I talk about direct mail acquisition ideas.

Jill DeWit:                            Well we all know one.

Steven Butala:                   Let’s hear.

Jill DeWit:                            What we do. Land. But wait there’s other ways? There’s other things?

Steven Butala:                   We purchase real estate through direct mail sending direct mail offers.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   Mostly land. Jill and I buy a lot of houses this way and immediately resale ’em house flip renovators. And we’ll be releasing a program called House Academy in a couple months. Or a month or so if everything goes right.

Jill DeWit:                            Yep.

Steven Butala:                   Today’s show is about some other things that you can use this real estate data for if you’re a little bit creative and quite frankly I learn a lot about this from our other members. They’re like, “Hey did you know that we’ve been buying and selling land and houses for quite some time and we just bought an office building ’cause of doing this?” That kind of stuff. That’s what this shows about.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   Before we get into it let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the online community. It’s free.

Jill DeWit:                            Riley asks, “Hello there my name is Riley and I’m based out of Davis county Utah. I’m 18 years old and about to graduate high school.” Well this is cool. “However, I didn’t attend a regular school. I attended an early college.” Okay therefore you’re smart. I got that. “Therefore I will be graduating high school with my associates degree in Science from Weber State.” Good job. “The last few years people have always asked me what I want to do and I always tell them I want to go into sports science. The full truth is I have always wanted to be an investor. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Something where I can work for myself on a daily basis. I do not want my salary to be set by a boss. I want to be my own boss and make a good living and that gives me plenty of time for a future family.”

Jill DeWit:                            “The biggest concern is how can someone like me, 18 year old minimal budget, get into rural estate, rural real estate investing? What are some methods I can use to find smaller and cheaper properties that fit my budget to start off? Would it be worth my time to find someone that would invest in me and supply monetary value to kickstart my investing? I’m open to all advice as I have no experience and I have many years ahead of me to learn and take risks.” Cool Riley.

Steven Butala:                   Let me talk to you like a father for a second.

Jill DeWit:                            Uh-oh.

Steven Butala:                   No it’s very good.

Jill DeWit:                            I’m just kidding.

Steven Butala:                   You’re already way ahead.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s awesome.

Steven Butala:                   Way, way, way ahead.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   Not only are you graduating from high school on time you’re graduating with an associates degree which is great. And I’ll tell you what I’ve always wanted to be I had a secret too just like you. I always wanted to be a private investor. And not necessarily in real estate, but I always wanted to use my money or people who believed in me, their money, and place it into companies, not the stock market, not mutual funds, not the crap on Wall Street. We all know what that is.

Steven Butala:                   Anybody can do that, but end of things that, private equity. A private equity private investor and so the best vehicle that I found at that age same year same age it’s real estate. So that’s number one you’re way right on the right track. Number two don’t do this right out of high school/associates degree school. As crazy as this is gonna sound you need to suffer a little bit first. You need to drive in rush hour traffic.

Jill DeWit:                            Suffer?

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Suffer? All right.

Steven Butala:                   You need to drive in rush hour traffic. You need to work for an idiot boss like all of us. You need to come to a point where you say something like this, and I’m not, this is what happened to me, but some version of this will work for you.

Jill DeWit:                            All right.

Steven Butala:                   “I would rather flip burgers for the rest of my life than do this even one more week.”

Jill DeWit:                            Like work for that guy. Or work in that industry or whatever it is.

Steven Butala:                   Whatever’s pushing you on the edge.

Jill DeWit:                            Commute on the freeway.

Steven Butala:                   It might be a woman.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh gosh.

Steven Butala:                   That can happen too.

Jill DeWit:                            I’d rather flip burgers and be alone. Oh no.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah in a one bedroom apartment with a light bulb hanging with a string.

Jill DeWit:                            With three people.

Steven Butala:                   So-

Jill DeWit:                            Can’t spend another day with that person.

Steven Butala:                   All kidding aside you need to get some real world experience and hopefully it’s in the industry that [crosstalk 00:04:28]-

Jill DeWit:                            You think everybody has to do that? For real?

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Really you don’t think there’s some people that can just-

Steven Butala:                   No.

Jill DeWit:                            Think about Doogie Howser. He didn’t have to do that. Doogie Howser-

Steven Butala:                   Doogie Howser the real person is probably an atrocious mess.

Jill DeWit:                            Well I’m not saying the real person I’m just saying the character. Maybe there’s a version of a Doogie Howser out there.

Steven Butala:                   Well Doogie Howser was working for somebody else.

Jill DeWit:                            Straight into the medic … But he wanted to be a surgeon or a doctor or however it was. He went right into that. He wasn’t a-

Steven Butala:                   I mean he put two years of residency.

Jill DeWit:                            Well yeah, but he didn’t deal with something else. He wasn’t flipping burgers for a while and then decide I’m going to be a doctor it’s better. I’m just curious.

Steven Butala:                   I just said. What I said was you need to try to find put your two years in. I don’t mean digging ditches. I mean put your two years in at a professional place somewhere where you’re trying to be a private investor. There’s tons of internship. Internship will be fine. There’s all kinds of relatively low paying jobs that … I don’t care if you work in the mail room for an investment company.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Steven Butala:                   Or don’t be a licensed real estate agent. That’s a waste of time.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s true.

Steven Butala:                   But there’s a lot of commercial real estate companies that would love to have some young talent like you. I’m sure of it.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   So, but go work for somebody else for a couple of years. Just to see what it’s all about and what [inaudible 00:05:37]. I’ve made this mistake-

Jill DeWit:                            Fair enough.

Steven Butala:                   I’ve made the mistake by holding myself up into a dark room and creating my own stuff and I’ve been very good at it. But if I did that right from the beginning I would’ve missed out on all this incredible experience working with other people.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steven Butala:                   Some people are way smarter, some people aren’t, some people are right at the same level and those people end up being your partners or your enemies or whatever and it’s a very healthy thing. You’re coming out of school so you know who’s at your level, who’s higher and who’s lower. So that’s an all very healthy extension and here’s my final fatherly advice. The reason that people get really sidetracked, males specifically at this age between about 18 and 25 are because they try to start a family too soon. Or try to get into a serious relationship too soon. And the don’t work on their career for the next five years. They work on a relationship or the biggest one I’ve seen is buy a house.

Steven Butala:                   Do not buy a house regardless of how good the deal is. Because pretty soon you’re gonna replacing the time that you should be spending on your career on relandscaping it or whatever version of home project which never ever pays off in the long run.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Steven Butala:                   Like 99% of it. So I hate to see you’re doing everything right. I just don’t want you to make bad decisions.

Jill DeWit:                            I have two things to say. Number one I do partially agree because I do agree. We just talked about it today over coffee this morning how I spent many more years in the corporate world than you did.

Steven Butala:                   Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jill DeWit:                            And I think that’s a good yin and yang for both of us ’cause that makes me a different kind of a boss and I bring some other experience to the table that you were removed from earlier. So that’s good. We talked about ramp up times. That’s what we were talking about when you have a new employee. I’m like I was out there a lot longer. It does take a normal employee a healthy amount of ramp up time. And your latest experiences have been like with me the most closest person that you worked with that you brought in obviously.

Jill DeWit:                            And my ramp up time is like this compared to other peoples.

Steven Butala:                   That’s a different between a partner and an employee.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steven Butala:                   A partner, what Jill is saying is, a partner will come in and say, “Oh yeah in fact that’s great. But this is how we do it over here and we’ve had a tremendous amount of success. So what do you say tomorrow we implement it and then it’s done.” An employee kind of looks at you a little bit and says, “I’ll give it a try.” And a month later they’re kind of doing it sort of. Still working it out and six months later they can do it and maybe teach it.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   So that’s why we’re partners.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   And why I don’t work for you or vice versa.

Jill DeWit:                            For one Riley you are ready. I would like to just quickly briefly touch on your questions. Number one you have a small budget so start small. You can start small. If you need to. I’m not a huge fan of that. I’d rather you save up some money and do this right than start buying little piddly couple $100 properties. Save up some money and buy some good properties and then double your money then. So save your money while you’re working this job and then the second thing is you could also look to others to fund your deals. That’s a great way to get rolling fast. Like that’s one of the reasons why we now do Land Academy and Land investors deal funding that I oversee. Because you can bring good deals to me that you’re like, “I could never afford to put down $20000 now that we all know it’s worth 80, but I don’t have the $20000. Well I do and that’s what we’re here.

Steven Butala:                   Very, very, very few people know what they want.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   So you’re in the 90th percentile right out of the box.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s true.

Steven Butala:                   That you know what you want and when I was 18 I knew exactly what I wanted. I just didn’t know how it was going to manifest itself. So sports, medicine and healthcare in general I don’t care if you’re at the tip top from a surgeon standpoint or at the bottom like a CNA, certified nursing assistant. You’re gonna work for somebody else and you’re gonna get a paycheck.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steven Butala:                   For entrepreneurs like us who are in this group that gets old really really fast.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steven Butala:                   I would rather make 1/10th of the money working for myself and then working for somebody else.

Jill DeWit:                            I understand.

Steven Butala:                   Today’s topic direct mail acquisition ideas. This is the meat of the show. I know you’re writing some stuff down Jill. We use direct mail to acquire land and houses and commercial real estate.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   There are people in our group that constantly now that our groups getting bigger and bigger all the time.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   They’re coming back saying, “We just bought an office building.”

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   “We sent a mailer out. We sent 300 mailers out and bought a strip center.”

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   The Land Academy itself, the roots of it are rooted in my commercial real estate experience in the 90s. So what I set out to do with Land Academy with Jill is to release these secrets of commercial institutional real estate companies about how people that are not regular old people like us purchase real estate.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   And this is how they do it. They get very creative about contacting people who own property-

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   To buy it.

Jill DeWit:                            Keep going.

Steven Butala:                   All types of property.

Jill DeWit:                            And it’s silly how creative they get. I watch it all the time in other online areas where they’re like, “Skip tracing and knocking on doors.” It’s almost like how can that possibly work by the way? I still don’t understand. If you come knock on my door and I don’t want to sell what you’re gonna have a five minute conversation try to talk me into it. Ask me how old the kids are and when they’re leaving for college and so you’ll be back then. What is the whole point of driving for [inaudible 00:11:35].

Steven Butala:                   I’ve never believed in any type-

Jill DeWit:                            I think it’s the silliest thing.

Steven Butala:                   Cold calling sales.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s dumb I know.

Steven Butala:                   I never.

Jill DeWit:                            There’s still big issues about emailing. You can’t just blindly do that too. I mean come on guys.

Steven Butala:                   Nobody takes it seriously.

Jill DeWit:                            I agree.

Steven Butala:                   Look in your junk box.

Jill DeWit:                            Well you know that’s true also. There’s something to be said for professional reaching out to someone professionally. With a nice letter, not a flyer, not a pizza coupon looking kind of thing. It’s not yellow and pretending to be handwritten. Those I think are ridiculous too. There’s not a dollar tucked in it. There’s not lipstick on the back. Whatever … I’m just kidding. I mean who knows what people are dreaming up nowadays. I’ve heard all kinds of crazy things. All of that turns me off immediately. It does not get my attention at all. And I wonder, I was having this conversation with somebody one time like it was a online forum, not ours, and I was saying, “Would that do it for you?” And I’m sure they’re like, “No I guess you’re right. That would kind of bug me too.” I’m like yeah think about what you would like to get in the mail everyone. What sings to you?”

Steven Butala:                   Okay.

Jill DeWit:                            You’re a professional. Sorry.

Steven Butala:                   No that’s okay.

Jill DeWit:                            I’ll chill out.

Steven Butala:                   Think about what you … No, no. Everything’s great. I just want to parley that into this.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh sorry. We have a topic.

Steven Butala:                   Think of what you would like to get in the mail?

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   If you’re in an apartment building owner.

Jill DeWit:                            Right. Perfect.

Steven Butala:                   And you get a letter or even a postcard that says, “We want to buy your apartment building give me a call.” You know what you’re gonna do? Throw it away.

Jill DeWit:                            Usually they don’t even say that we want to buy your property. They didn’t even say it’s an apartment building.

Steven Butala:                   If you get a letter that’s all, it’s closed.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   You know how you get when you get a new debit card. That’s what we modeled it after so there’s nothing at all on the front of the envelope except our return address and the recipient. So you have to open it just to see what it is.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   And if the letter says something like this, “We love apartment buildings just like you and we know that you own three. The one on Main street that’s six units all two bedrooms that was built in 1934 that has six … actually it’s fully occupied as of October. That fits our acquisition criteria perfectly and by the way we love brick buildings. So, but we noticed that the windows they’re original windows. In our experience, by the way we bought a property two years ago and did this, this and this and made it work. So this building clearly fits our criteria and we have a lot in common. Give me a call so we can actually discuss the price, but we valued it at this.”

Jill DeWit:                            Perfect.

Steven Butala:                   “So if that price works or it doesn’t let’s say it’s just in the ballpark at the worst we’ll have a meaningful conversation get to know each other as co-people in the same industry.” That guys gonna run drop through the ceiling and call you. Just to have a talk. And so that’s how you do use direct mail.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   The problem direct mail gets dogged a lot because have tried it the wrong way for a lot of years.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   They just stop using it.

Jill DeWit:                            You know what I feel like that’s part of half of my career here, I don’t know what to call it. Half of what we do is undoing people’s misconceptions. And I still talk to people nowadays that say, “What do you mean I can sell my own house?” People still don’t know that and I’m like, “Yeah you actually can really go to drive to Home Depot get that for sale by owner, put it on a stick and put it in your front yard. Sell your house.” They’re like, “Really?” “Yep you sure can. You can do that if you want to.”

Steven Butala:                   We had somebody said to us recently that they didn’t know you could buy a lockbox at Home Depot. They thought only real estate agents-

Jill DeWit:                            That’s true. Had access to the lockboxes.

Steven Butala:                   There’s a lot of misconceptions about what’s out there.

Jill DeWit:                            Totally. So I think part of what’s interesting about what with direct mail half of it is I’m having to tell people there’s a better way if that makes sense. So-

Steven Butala:                   Well you nailed it. Think about what you would like to get in the mail and what you would respond to?

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   And that’s your answer.

Jill DeWit:                            And I would it for all kinds of things. So think about this and I know some day we’ve talked about this and I’m sure we have members that are already doing it ’cause we’ve alluded to us teaching it, but think about getting mail. You have a car you don’t want. A classic car in your garage under a tarp that you’re sick of and you get an offer for someone who wants your classic car.

Jill DeWit:                            I mean it could be all kinds of things. Boats, that’s your area. We’ve talked about even right before the show you brought up cabins.

Steven Butala:                   The mortgage industry is grossly misusing direct mail.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steven Butala:                   Because they don’t know how to do a mail merge.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steven Butala:                   Mortgages, when you look at a piece of a line of data in a 1000s of 1000s of lines and they all represent a single piece of real estate you can see who’s mortgage is where. How much equity they have in the house. Whether they’re upside down or right side up, but there’s no-

Jill DeWit:                            Who the mortgage company is.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            All of that.

Steven Butala:                   So you can send them a very meaningful letter saying, “Hey you’re about, you own 80% of the equity in this house if you knew that or not. Which means $342621. If you want to refinance we can get you better interest rate.” Or some version of that. Or let’s just at least have a meaningful conversation. No pressure. I mean you get a high response on that.

Jill DeWit:                            I agree. Totally agree.

Steven Butala:                   I mean we’re actually out of time. I’ve list and list of direct mail ideas.

Jill DeWit:                            I know.

Steven Butala:                   Direct mail acquisition ideas.

Jill DeWit:                            I know. We’ll get to ’em. You know what we’re gonna have another show probably tomorrow.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. Yes we are actually.

Jill DeWit:                            Good.

Steven Butala:                   Well you’ve done it again. You spent another 20 minutes or so listening to the Land Academy show. Join us next time where Jill and I talk about how to buy your next primary residence with direct mail.

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

Steven Butala:                   You are not alone in your real estate ambition. That’s fun talking about data and mail.

Jill DeWit:                            I know. I know. That’s your favorite thing.

Steven Butala:                   I do. What do you like to talk about?

Jill DeWit:                            You know what I like to talk about-

Steven Butala:                   Feelings?

Jill DeWit:                            Feelings?

Steven Butala:                   Yeah inspiration and feelings.

Jill DeWit:                            No, well I do. That’s true, but you know what that ties into that. I like to talk about people who learn from us and where they are now. And I’m glad we’re gonna … Actually I’ll leak it right now. We’re gonna start doing some shows like that. We’re gonna start bringing in some members and really talking about their stories.

Steven Butala:                   I like that too.

Jill DeWit:                            And what they’ve been doing and how they got here.

Steven Butala:                   I love to hear their stories.

Jill DeWit:                            And every time we do that we’re like we always learn something. It’s kind of funny. “You said one thing on this show and that stuck with me and here I am today and now we’re doing this.” I’m like, “Wow.” From that one little thing. So it’s coming it’s gonna be great. Wherever you are listening or wherever you are 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.

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

The BuWit Family of Companies include:

I would like to think it’s entertaining and informative and in the end profitable.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes.