Childhood Markers that Lead to Land Investing (LA 973)

Childhood Markers that Lead to Land Investing (LA 973)


Steven Butala:                   Steve and Jill here.

Jill DeWit:                            Happy Friday.

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 childhood markers that could lead to your serial land investing habit. This is show 973, by the way.

Jill DeWit:                            Wow.

Steven Butala:                   We are rapidly approaching show 1000.

Jill DeWit:                            1000.

Steven Butala:                   Which will be in June. June of this year.

Jill DeWit:                            Wow.

Steven Butala:                   Truly amazing. I’m amazed.

Jill DeWit:                            It is.

Steven Butala:                   When we started this, I figured we’d just do a couple weeks of episodes or something. I don’t know.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. I had no idea what were doing.

Steven Butala:                   I just figured nobody would listen to it. That’s really what I thought.

Jill DeWit:                            And then our weekly member calls, I’m like, eh, let’s see how it goes. Let’s turn it on and see if everybody wants to do it.

Steven Butala:                   Our listenership’s wide.

Jill DeWit:                            I’m like, wow. There’s a lot of people that show up and they want to talk. They like this. So we’ll keep doing it.

Steven Butala:                   Before we get into the topic, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the community. It’s online and it’s free. We will keep doing it until people stop listening. I’m serious.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you. It says Steven Jack Butala asks Jill DeWitt. Is that right?

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. I’m asking. Because I wrote a question.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh. I didn’t see it.

Steven Butala:                   Steven Jack Butala asks Jill DeWitt the following.

Jill DeWit:                            What common personality attributes you see in successful people and unsuccessful people? Well, this caught me by surprise. I’m like why is my name up there? What are you doing? Okay, so, what common personality traits do I see in successful people versus unsuccessful people?

Steven Butala:                   Because it leads into the topic. The answer to this question is all really about this topic. In fact, let me just say, this is the meat of the show.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. Gosh. I mean, we’ve talked about it recently. There’s an underlying drive. It’s nature, obviously, more than nurture. It’s your personality. You don’t stop. You don’t give up at things. You solve problems. You’re not afraid of things. And I think that’s what makes people successful. I’m really having to think about this for a second. Unsuccessful people, that’s easy. They give up at the first sign of any kind of a hiccup in the road, bump in the road. They’re like, “Oh, that’s it. I’m out. Never going to work. Done.” And usually it’s something else going on. It’s really not that. They were afraid of it. Or I think it’s usually fear and that’s why.

Steven Butala:                   So I could not agree more and here’s a glaring example of something that happened to me before we started recording today. I took a staff member under my wing recently, to help me do a bunch of land acquisitions. There are several places where I kind of go back to the well, so to speak, and it doesn’t happen all the time, but they have a tremendous amount of back tax property that just… They don’t advertise it. They only send it to like 10 of us that have purchased back tax properties directly from the county in the past. They don’t want to go through the whole process so I got one of these notices.

Steven Butala:                   And it said, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know we have like 17 million properties that we just put back on the… Come and purchase it and write a check and buy it.” To get the list, you have to send a check for… To get the list, go here and we will send it to you. And I said to my new assistant, “Please go do this.” And he came back and said after talking to everybody there 50 times, “You have to come and pick it up. It’s on a CD. To come to the county and pick it up. So we can’t do it.” And that’s where he left it. And this guy is one of the brightest guys I’ve ever worked with. I mean, truly, he’s a treasure. Once in a lifetime employee. And it stopped right there for him. So I got on the phone, because this is a place that I’ve lived in the past and I know a lot of people. In the end, we’ve got people going down there to pick the thing up and it’s working. It’s that. That’s what I think is the trait, because I didn’t even flinch about it. It’s we’re going to get that list.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s just so funny. You and I are the same way. It’s good news and bad news. You and I, my parents told me this a long time ago, you’re going to be either… You’re going to do great in something. You don’t take no for an answer kind of thing.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            And I don’t take no for an answer. I’m like there’s a way around this and I will get to the bottom of it and that’s what you just described. Well, that’s easy. Let’s hire someone. Heck, if I have to go on Craigslist and hire someone $50 to drive over to the county, pick up a dumb thing. I can get a notary that I can hire to go over to the county-

Steven Butala:                   Listen to yourself-

Jill DeWit:                            … pretend to be a representative of mine-

Steven Butala:                   Jill, listen to yourself.

Jill DeWit:                            I can send them a business card.

Steven Butala:                   You’re solving the problem already.

Jill DeWit:                            And they can walk in and say, “Hi, I’m here. I work for… I’m here for the CD.” “Oh, here you go.”

Steven Butala:                   Actually, I like your solutions better than mine.

Jill DeWit:                            And they’re leaving and they shove it in an envelope and they send it to me. Done. That was too easy. And I trust these notaries. I mean, I look them up, I know where to get them. I have a relationship with them. That’s easy done. They would do that.

Steven Butala:                   We were made for each other.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you.

Steven Butala:                   Your solutions are better than mine and cheaper. Faster.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you. Thank you.

Steven Butala:                   But there’s no way I’m not getting that list.

Jill DeWit:                            Yep.

Steven Butala:                   There’s just no way. I’ll fly somebody out there.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah. I also have that personal assistant’s business card if it’s near that person’s area. She’ll drive over there in a heartbeat and get it. Done.

Steven Butala:                   I have approached everything that way in my life since as long as I can remember. I have to ask, since we’re talking about markers in your childhood, were your parents like this?

Jill DeWit:                            My dad was, yes.

Steven Butala:                   Neither one of my parents were like this.

Jill DeWit:                            Actually, my mom was, too. You know what, they were. Yeah, they were. They both left town at 18 to start a new life in California and gone. And didn’t have any fear. It was weird, because they obviously didn’t know each other. They came from different states.

Steven Butala:                   Is your brother like this?

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, gosh. Yes.

Steven Butala:                   My sister is, too.

Jill DeWit:                            Same thing. No fear. None.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. My sister is afraid of nothing.

Jill DeWit:                            Like all right. We’ll just figure it out.

Steven Butala:                   And she’s been like that as long as I can remember, too.

Jill DeWit:                            For me, too. You know what’s funny? It’s not scary for me. This is even more, though. I wrote down childhood markers which are not like in your soul childhood markers, but these are kind of in your soul. But for me, the challenge of figuring it out makes it even more fun and more exciting. You know, like all right. I got this. I’m going to figure out a way. It’s going to be good. I don’t know how I’m going to do it. But I’m going to get it done. And the fear of not knowing, like all right, I’m going to try this. Watch. Got my back? That kind of thing. Here we go. That makes it even more fun.

Steven Butala:                   The older I get, the more I don’t want to execute it, I just want to oversee it and make sure the outcome’s going to be how I need it to be. And that’s kind of the attribute, I think, or I don’t know. That’s-

Jill DeWit:                            Funny.

Steven Butala:                   That’s the voice of experience coming out, because not even that long ago, I had to do it myself. I had to design the website. I had to create the graphics. Do the Photoshop piece of it. Add all the content. All the parts of the startup. I had to have my hands in it, and so I knew about it and then turned it over to somebody else. And I think, personally, looking back on that, that’s taking it too far.

Jill DeWit:                            Back to your first point. Like now you’re up here. That’s what Land Academy is. Now you and I are helping others and teach others and it’s more exciting for me to watch them do it and them to experience and them to get the excitement, like, “Oh, my gosh. I just sold this property. I’m so happy.” I’m like, “That’s great.” That gives me the inspiration and I love it.

Steven Butala:                   I still get completely jacked, off of buying a good piece of property cheap.

Jill DeWit:                            Yep.

Steven Butala:                   I mean, it’s the core of what we do. That’s the driver for this whole real… It’s just a great deal. And you created it by sending an offer. It’s not that somebody sent it to you or there’s a broker involved or any of that stuff.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. I have a couple things I want to run by you. I have four things on this topic. I want to see how you feel about it.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Number one, what do you think about, do you think it has anything to do with growing up in an area where there’s serious development all around you?

Steven Butala:                   Like real estate development?

Jill DeWit:                            Yep.

Steven Butala:                   No.

Jill DeWit:                            Really?

Steven Butala:                   No.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, I attribute some of that-

Steven Butala:                   Not anything. Because I grew up in an area where there was no development.

Jill DeWit:                            But it was a very affluent area. Weren’t there people moving up and getting homes and you’re seeing new homes being built and-

Steven Butala:                   No.

Jill DeWit:                            No? Interesting. See, I did. All right.

Steven Butala:                   Everybody I grew up with who was influencer in my… was all ordinary income. This is a chapter in my book called Ordinary Income. Nobody knows what it is. If you own a manufacturing facility, you make ordinary income. If you own a retail store, like a convenience store, ordinary income.

Jill DeWit:                            Cool.

Steven Butala:                   If you own a real estate company that buys and sells real estate constantly, ordinary income.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, I’ve got one, then let me get you my second one, then, and I think you’ll agree on this one. Family investing or someone else successful that you saw.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you.

Steven Butala:                   That was a massive influencer for me.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you. Me, too.

Steven Butala:                   In fact, chances are, none of this would’ve happened if I didn’t have… There’s several, two or three, a handful of key people that-

Jill DeWit:                            Kind of role models. They didn’t mean to be role models.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            They didn’t know they were role models. But they were role models.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. They didn’t go out of their way to even have a conversation about it, but-

Jill DeWit:                            But we knew.

Steven Butala:                   … kids are sponges, you know.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. Okay, that’s cool. What about did you have a job-

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            … that was somehow related, early on, in land investing? Okay. What was yours?

Steven Butala:                   Oh, no. You mean in real estate?

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   No.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. See mine was… I don’t know if I was drawn to it or if it was just my first full-time gig, but that was my first full-time gig working with these developers and for me, it just kind of hit it home again, like look at what these guys are doing here. They buy a piece of dirt. They built it. They literally got a construction loan, built an office building or a strip mall, lease it up, and kept it. That was the funny thing, too. They didn’t sell it. They leased it up and kept it.

Steven Butala:                   When I was a kid, my parents, the house that I was born in, they paid $13,000 for it. This is way before I was born. And then when I was about in sixth grade, we moved to another house, a much bigger house, in a different neighborhood. And so I started asking all the questions that a sixth grader would, like what did you pay for this house and what did you pay for this new one and where did you get the money for it? And how does it work with the loans and the whole thing? Or maybe normal kids don’t ask that. I don’t know.

Steven Butala:                   But I asked it at that time and I distinctively remember them saying, “We purchased the house for 13,000 bucks and we sold it for 87. And we’re buying the new one for 125 and we’re putting this 87 into it and we’re getting a loan for the rest.” Or they got money out of their savings. I don’t remember. It was a long time ago, in the 70s. And I specifically stopped and asked my dad this question, “Well, why doesn’t you just buy every single house in the block and do that?” And he laughed. And everybody laughed. And then that was it. I never got an answer to the question, but I was really, really answering that question. If it’s that easy to buy something, live there for five or six or eight or 10 years, sell it for that much more money, why wouldn’t you just buy the whole town?

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   And that was the beginning of all this.

Jill DeWit:                            Right. Well, that ties into my last point which is, at a young age, you were able to see the value in real estate.

Steven Butala:                   Yes.

Jill DeWit:                            And many people can’t do it.

Steven Butala:                   Hell yes. That’s the answer.

Jill DeWit:                            Right. Same here. I was watching it and going, “Hey, wait a minute.” Watching my parents move up and do different things, too, and I’m like, yeah, wait a minute. Watching my dad buy multiple… He did buy a bunch and rented them out. I’m like I need to be doing that.

Steven Butala:                   My dad bought a farm that he saw the value and he took us there. And he said, “See, this is a farm. But it’s going to be all houses.” And he was smart enough to meet us from where we were coming. We’re little, tiny kids. We’re in grade school. It’s a farm now. But look over there. See all of those houses? That’s what this is going to be.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   So he purchased… Back then, you could do crazy stuff, because there’s no internet. He went to the farmer and said… The farmer didn’t know back then, what it was worth.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   Everybody knows everything now, because of the internet. And so he bought it and immediately resold it. That was probably the first land deal I was involved in, I’m sure.

Jill DeWit:                            There you go. This is good. This is a good topic. I wonder-

Steven Butala:                   It leads in to, so hopefully everybody’s thinking, having these thoughts, whoever’s listening or watching this, is having these thoughts about how it applies to you. Because if you experienced these things or even if you experienced them last week and you’re still asking yourself these questions and everybody around you and they’re all looking cross-eyed like they don’t get it but you do, these are good markers for you to be a real estate investor. All kidding aside, if you ask a regular real estate agent any of these questions, they’re going to look at you like, well, do I get to dress up? Do I get to have a new Lexus?

Jill DeWit:                            Right. That’s not what this is.

Steven Butala:                   If you’re a real estate investor, you don’t care about either one of those things. In fact, you don’t want a new Lexus and you can’t stand dressing up.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah. That’s not what this is. Exactly. I was thinking, too, the number of member that we have that are they’re family, they saw it from their parents. I can think of a number of members right now that their fathers are involved with them, you know what I mean? And they saw it. They grew up in it, in their childhood, so this is really good. Good topic. I’m glad you brought this up. Thank you. I like this.

Steven Butala:                   What I think is even in more depth I ask myself this all the time, why would someone… Let’s say that you have all these markers and these childhood experiences, then what makes you become like the CEO of Shea Homes, where for whatever reason, it makes a lot of sense for you to buy a bunch of farmland or ranch land and subdivide it, do the entitlement process, put rows and stuff in and go vertical. Go vertical with the houses is what the industry calls it. So why would choose that over strip malls or inner city apartment buildings or there’s a million little facets of real estate that you can go into? Why raw land? Why not something else? Because there’s a lot of arguments. If you get six or seven or 10 people sitting around who are in different facets of it, they’ll argue great points about why theirs is the best.

Jill DeWit:                            True.

Steven Butala:                   And it’s not always, well, mine’s more profitable. It’s always just, well, it just kind of makes sense to me to bulldoze a 40 acre farm situation on the outskirts of Phoenix-

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steven Butala:                   … and slap up tract houses. That’s never made sense to me. It’s a massive freaking… When there’s arguing with municipalities, I’m out. Jill and I just tried to subdivide a piece of property in Mesa, Arizona and I lost patience after, I think, two months.

Jill DeWit:                            Yep.

Steven Butala:                   And we probably could’ve gotten it done.

Jill DeWit:                            We sold it before that, so that saved us. We were getting it done.

Steven Butala:                   Well, and here’s why, because I asked myself that question for a lot of years. I’m an acquisitions person.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   I was an acquisitions person when I got out of college and I am right now. I just happen to be buying a different product and I’m buying it for myself without lenders. Or partners, for most of the time.

Jill DeWit:                            Ding ding.

Steven Butala:                   What are you?

Jill DeWit:                            I’m a salesperson.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            I like talking to people. I do like the investing part of it, but I like more of the sales side of it.

Steven Butala:                   I ended up in data and I ended up with all these schemes of trying to reach sellers more effectively, because I’m truly an acquisition person. That’s the root of it.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   And so if you’re sitting around saying, unfulfilled somehow, it’s probably some version of that. Professionally unfulfilled, it’s like, God, I’m an acquisition person or I’m a startup. I see it with startup people a lot. It’s in their soul to just start something.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steven Butala:                   It doesn’t matter about the money anymore. Once you have enough money, this is in my book, too, once you consistently, for over six months, have enough money to pay your bills and some leftover, so it’s going into your savings, even if it’s like 10 grand a month left over, it stops being for money.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   That, in my opinion, is when you really start to make some good decisions and get that thing out of your soul. It’s in there and it needs to get out. Am I making an idiot out of myself?

Jill DeWit:                            Nope.

Steven Butala:                   No, seriously, am I?

Jill DeWit:                            Nope. No, you’re not. It’s really, really good.

Steven Butala:                   What’s just nope?

Jill DeWit:                            No, no, it’s great. No, I love it. There’s nothing for me to add. It’s perfect.

Steven Butala:                   Well, what’s in your soul, because you’re very passionate, every day. There’s something in there for you that you just need to get out every day.

Jill DeWit:                            I do. It sounds cliché, but I get the biggest kick out of passing on the tribal knowledge and helping the next guy, whether it’s helping our members, our kids, somebody else. I’m doing just fine. There’s nothing more that I need. Nothing more that I want. I just have so much fun seeing… I like seeing other people light up like, “Oh, my God. I just did that.” Yes, you did.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Even our employees, watching our employees grow.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. Me, too.

Jill DeWit:                            And get better at things and they’re like, “I did it all by myself.” I’m like, “Yay.” There’s part of me that goes, “Yay. I don’t have to do it anymore. And yay, now you know how to do it. And you’re good. And you might be better than me. And I think that’s awesome.”

Steven Butala:                   Well, you’ve done it again. You’ve spent another 15 minutes or so listening to the Land Academy Show. Join us next time when Jill and I talk about how a one year investor is not a veteran.

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

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

Jill DeWit:                            Good show.

Steven Butala:                   Heartfelt show.

Jill DeWit:                            That was really good. You brought up some really good points.

Steven Butala:                   Thank you.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s funny to see… We obviously don’t talk about this before our show, and it’s what’s fun to learn what you saw as a marker versus what I saw as a marker. There are some things that were different and then plenty that overlap.

Steven Butala:                   Exactly.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s really, really cool. Wherever you are watching or wherever you are listening, please subscribe and rate us there.

Steve and Jill:                     We are Steve and Jill.

Steven Butala:                   Information…

Jill DeWit:                            And inspiration.

Steven Butala:                   To buy undervalued property.

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