Reasons Why Our Members Stay for Life (LA 975)
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 DeWit, broadcasting from sunny southern California.
Steven Butala: Today, Jill and I talk about the reasons why our members seem to stay for life.
Jill DeWit: I just thought of another reason, by the way. It ties into what we’re just talking about. I’m going to give you a little tidbit, a little sneak peek here. I really think that one of the reasons our members are with us and stay with us is because we are real. And we are moving forward and always trying to do the right thing and get stuff done. I’m having a little trouble right now today getting stuff done, because I have a real estate agent getting in my way.
Steven Butala: Let it out, Jill.
Jill DeWit: We bought a property. This is a House Academy transaction, and I’m selling it. Unfortunately, this property was ready for the end user. It didn’t need anything, so none of our normal investors who get it, who are not agents, were looking to buy the property.
Steven Butala: Our rehabbers. The people who we sell houses to.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. They get it. There’s no talking.
Steven Butala: Instead of wholesaling this house, we choose to retail it, because it was done.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: We just got a great deal on it.
Jill DeWit: Doesn’t need anything. We just got a great deal. So what does this mean? That means like, “Uh-oh, now we’re dealing with the end user,” and what does the end user often bring to the table? An agent. Okay. We can handle that. No problem. Well, now here we are, and I’ve got just the typical agent who thinks that he knows better than anybody and actually talking to me about my tone of voice today, by the way. Really? I’m the seller. I can walk, and then you get no commission, by the way. Anyway. He’s just being a … He’s not responsive. I can’t figure out how this guy gets stuff done. That’s it.
Jill DeWit: So I really stood there and told him what I thought. I’m like, “When you say you’re going to call somebody back, call them back. I’m standing by. I call you first thing this morning. Didn’t take my call. What’s up with that? I’m the seller. Do you want to get this done or not? This is your commission. I have other … I can move down the list.” Anyway.
Steven Butala: Since the early ’90s … Because I cut my teeth on this, too. Jill’s completing this deal as if it were 1955.
Jill DeWit: Oh, my God.
Steven Butala: Since the early ’90s, she and I have been devising step, by step, by step a way to buy and sell real estate, so she or anybody else doesn’t have to go through this. Real estate agents get in the way of deals.
Jill DeWit: They do.
Steven Butala: That’s it. Especially for our personality types.
Jill DeWit: They do.
Steven Butala: If you are an aerospace engineer, or a nurse, or anything else, and you just don’t have time to do a real estate deal, then maybe, maybe, there’s a place for them. Certainly not for as much money as they make, but there’s a place for them in a real estate deal as a consultant just to shove around the paperwork and make sure stuff gets done on time.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: That is the real problem. At Land Academy and House Academy, we take all that out of it.
Jill DeWit: [inaudible 00:03:19] You’re right-
Steven Butala: So your frustration-
Jill DeWit: I’m sorry, Steven, you’re right. I hate to say it, but his ego is huge. He sees value in what he’s bringing to the table, an all he’s done from day one is slow this down.
Steven Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: That seller and I would happily be splitting his commission right now, and everybody be winning, and we’d get the deal done so much faster. So no more retail.
Steven Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: Every time I forget, and I go, “Okay, fine,” then I’m like, “Here we are again.”
Steven Butala: Yeah. We actually have an investor on this house, and we’ve been communicating. This is the last retail deal we’re going to do.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Steven Butala: The amount of time-
Jill DeWit: I’m going to start … If you have an agent, move on.
Steven Butala: We could have purchased a piece of … And we do. We’re doing it right now. Bought a piece of land and resold it to a wholesale list of buyers that we have all over the country in a minute without any talking.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. Anyway.
Steven Butala: So, now, everybody’s emotional, and we’re splitting fees. It’s like …
Jill DeWit: It’s just not … It takes twice as long.
Steven Butala: When people have to argue about stuff like this, there’s something wrong.
Jill DeWit: I agree. I agree.
Steven Butala: If someone has to explain to you why their real estate commission is worth it …
Jill DeWit: It’s just … Right?
Steven Butala: … it’s not worth it.
Jill DeWit: Ridiculous. Wow. Okay.
Steven Butala: Before we get into the real topic, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the LandInvestors.com online community. It’s free. For the record, Jill, you’re 100% right.
Jill DeWit: Thank you. Thank you very much.
Jill DeWit: Greg asks, “Hi. Maybe a more general question, but what can you do on vacant land?” I like this. “Regarding zoning, what does it mean if it’s undetermined? Does this mean you can do whatever you want? Are use codes identical in all counties in a state? Where do you guys look up the code?”
Steven Butala: This is a very, very good basic question, and I chose to include it of the many question on Land Investors. Many, many that we read through, and I ultimately choose them. For whatever reason right now, I seem to be choosing them. This is a good question. This is a question that we all ask ourselves, even at incredibly advanced stage in our career.
Steven Butala: Like, “What can we use this land for? Can I put a house on it? Can I put a mobile home on it? Can I use it to hunt on?” There’s very, very, very specific … The short answer is this. There’s very specific uses for all real estate, depending on its jurisdiction, depending on the municipality that it’s in. In general, if it’s county land, there’s no city municipality, like Los Angeles County. There’s a ton of Los Angeles County … Unincorporated land, is what it’s called. Your use for that land is generally a lot more wide. If it’s in a municipality, now you got to get the county’s-
Jill DeWit: Like a city.
Steven Butala: Yeah, like a city.
Jill DeWit: Like a city.
Steven Butala: … the county’s sign-off and the city. Now, do you have to do this for every piece of property? Not at all. That’s what zoning is for. Zoning is very specifical about how you can use the property. So these use codes that this person’s talking about are embedded in our data, or it’s in ParcelFact, too. I think this is coming from ParcelFact. Because use code 400 comes up constantly, which is another reason I chose this question. No one really knows what it means, because 400 in Los Angeles County might be incredibly different in Michigan.
Jill DeWit: Exactly, so that answers the second one. It’s not the same wherever you go. Once you learn it, it doesn’t mean you got it [inaudible 00:07:08] so you know.
Steven Butala: Unfortunately, the real answer to this question is it really depends on where the property’s located. Then from there, you have to really find out.
Jill DeWit: Right. Yeah. That means you have to call the county and find out for sure. Then if it’s in a city, like he said, you have to make one more phone call and double-check for the city, and see if they have any further restrictions. I had one just like this, for example, where it was southern Arizona where it was zoned for rural residential, one unit. And that was based of the county zoning. Okay, got it. But it happened to be in the outlying area of a city. Well, the city took it a step further that not only is it zoned for residential one unit, but it had to be site-built, not a trailer or mobile, or something like that.
Steven Butala: Mobile or RV.
Jill DeWit: What that means is if it were five miles that way, you could put a mobile or something on it like that. But because it happened to be in the city jurisdiction, they required you pour a pad. That’s what that meant. So that’s the kind of stuff you just have to find out. And it’s not hard. It’s two phone calls, and you know. Then once you at least learn that county, and that city, and that area … Say you have a bunch of mail that went out in the same APN scheme, those all fall in that outline. You can figure out what the map is. At least you have that, hopefully, for your mailer.
Steven Butala: Yeah. I can almost guarantee that where it changes, where that line is that Jill referred to, the APNs changed, so you can smoke it out that way. We’ve all been in a car looking out the window, and then all of a sudden, it changes, whether it’s good or bad, or whatever. It just changes, like, “What happened here?” All of a sudden, there’s just a lot of junk on the ground. Or even like the pavement changes, so that could be now it’s no longer a county maintained road. It’s a city maintained road, or vice versa. So there’s always lines where all this stuff … This is a really important, incredibly basic question. But, “What can I use my land for?” It’s like in the soul of what we do.
Jill DeWit: Right. Thank you.
Steven Butala: Today’s topic, Reasons Why Our Members Stay For Life. This is the meat of the show. Jill’s so amped up right now over this real estate agent malarkey, that I …
Jill DeWit: I’m shocked.
Steven Butala: And I stand behind her unconditionally on everything. So it takes everything, when these kinds of things happen, for me not to crawl down these agents’ throats. Doesn’t happen that often, but when it does, it’s like, “Come on. We’re so beyond this.”
Jill DeWit: But at the end of the day, I just feel like he’s not trying to get the deal done. I’m like, “So why do you exist?” No offense. I don’t mean it like that.
Steven Butala: You know what? Really, let’s take an objective-
Jill DeWit: “Why are you walking around as an agent wanting to be an investor like me, and you can’t get a deal done?” The easiest type of deal. It’s cash.
Steven Butala: What did he really bring to this deal?
Jill DeWit: Zero.
Steven Butala: He introduced the seller … We fixed-price posted it-
Jill DeWit: All right. He brought the little old lady who wanted to buy our house.
Steven Butala: We sent out a bunch of mail. The seller called us and said, “Absolutely. I’ll sell it for that price,” and we got the deal done in days.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: We did our own inspection. There’s no real estate agent involved. We went through like a three or four step process, and we own the property. We set it up to be resold for a lot of reasons, like we chose the right escrow agent, so that’s going to keep the thing open. Not until escrow. We close escrow on it. We own it. But they’re going to resell the property for us. This is a template process for us.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: We fixed-price MLS it. We spent, I don’t know, two, or three, or $400 just to get it in the MLS. We said, “Yeah, agents, we’ll pay a 3% commission if you bring a buyer,” and he did. And that’s where it stopped.
Jill DeWit: Yep.
Steven Butala: He brought a buyer. He had the buyer, who lives out of the country … out of the state or out of the country. It doesn’t matter.
Jill DeWit: State.
Steven Butala: … sign the stuff and make sure that the deal’s going to close, make sure that they have the money, and then that’s when he stopped.
Jill DeWit: Yep. That was it.
Steven Butala: That’s when he, for whatever reason … Dramatically lack of organization, in my opinion, or maybe it’s just attitude … just shoved it all to the escrow agent. It was his escrow agent, too. He wanted to change to use ours.
Jill DeWit: Perfect. Right.
Steven Butala: Which is why, Jill? Because that escrow agent, I’m sure, has closed other deals for this guy, so he doesn’t have to do any work.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. And now they’re both mad, because I have a better rate, and I said, “We’ll use your agent if you match the rate.” She’s like, “I can’t match the rate.” Well, I don’t know what to say.
Steven Butala: We all knew that was coming. What’s really frustrating is that we already know what’s going to happen before it happens.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. It took them two days to catch up with me.
Steven Butala: It has been a personal frustration for me for the last two decades of my life, where I already know how to do this. I can tell you exactly what’s going to happen. I can tell you where all this things going to fall apart or where it’s going to go great. Inside of 30 seconds talking to somebody as a buyer, or a seller, or an agent, or all that, I can tell you that fast how much of a mess it’s going to be or how great it’s going to go.
Jill DeWit: It’s true.
Steven Butala: Then when it happens, it’s very, very, very frustrating.
Jill DeWit: Yep.
Steven Butala: If any of you who have ever wondered why old men get angry, that’s why. Because they can see into the future.
Jill DeWit: Thank you. Do you know what further, though? This further proves why our model is so successful, why sellers and buyers love dealing with us. It’s a dream scenario. We’re here to get it done as efficiently as possible, as easy as possible, with as few amount of paper as possible. And just, “Do you want to buy it? I want to sell it. Great. Let’s do it.” That’s it. That’s the way it should be, by the way.
Steven Butala: Welcome to Jill’s Rant Week. This is Jill’s Rant Week, by the way.
Jill DeWit: Thank you. Hey, so back to our topic, Reasons Why Our Members Stay For Life. This is true. I love this. We have so many members that have been with us for years, and I think it’s the greatest thing on the planet. It’s fine, because we get to know each other. We get to see each other at our annual events, which is really fun. We’re starting to do deals together. That’s, I think, one of the things is that. I mean, actually, that’s like three things. I think that … Do you want me to go first? Is that okay?
Steven Butala: Sure. Sure.
Jill DeWit: All right. The reasons why I think our members stay for life is, number one, they’re part of a family, part of a group, part of a community where we are all on the same page. We think alike. We are all trying to get to the end and flip property, make some money, and do it right, and be successful. We keep growing together, which is kind of a second thing. As they evolve and their businesses evolve, we show up with whatever tools they need. If they need some more education, help growing their business, some ideas to take it to the next level and help them, we show up with that. We also are real, just like right now, just like this show, just like every day.
Steven Butala: That’s it. You nailed it.
Jill DeWit: We’re going to tell you like it is, good, bad, otherwise. Like Steve said, today especially, I’m not holding back. I’m not happy, and this guy’s a jerk. I’m not afraid to say it.
Steven Butala: No. You’re right.
Jill DeWit: I am. He doesn’t know what he’s doing, and he’s handling it wrong. It’s sad that he doesn’t take a moment, take a step back, and try to realize, “Wait a minute. She’s trying to help me here and get this deal done.” Yeah, I am. “Just answer the phone, and let’s do this together, instead of trying to work against me.” That’s the thing.
Jill DeWit: Then my last thing is I hope that we’re entertaining. I think that we’re entertaining. I’m entertained.
Steven Butala: I think a lot of weeks we may be entertaining.
Jill DeWit: I’m entertained. What do you think?
Steven Butala: People, on the very surface of it, somehow identify with how we do this. We are data driven, period. We are proven. I take establishing our members’ trust very, very, very seriously. That doesn’t happen by jumping up and down like a monkey on the internet and just saying a bunch of words, like I see a lot of people do, about how to do a real estate deal. It’s proven. We talk about the details, and that excludes the vast majority of the potential members. I have inadvertently, by what I just described, excluded probably 80 to 90% of the potential members that would become a Land Academy/House Academy member. I think that incredibly appeals to the 10%, and that became our target market after a while. I didn’t even know we were doing this when we started it.
Jill DeWit: Right. Me, too. Yeah.
Steven Butala: When I say things like, “If you don’t understand spreadsheets, you can just keep moving,” it’s not that I’m mean about it. But I’m just telling you it’s such an integral part of this that … Either that or find somebody like me, if you [crosstalk 00:16:34]
Jill DeWit: We want you to be successful. We’re going to tell you like it is.
Steven Butala: Yeah. You identify with our approach. Maybe you’re frustrated. Like maybe this week you’re listening to this, and you’re frustrated with real estate agents and frustrated with how slowly people move, and being able to see into the future, and you’re just frustrated with that. If that’s the case, you’re going to be in great company in this group.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: Nothing happens fast enough for this group from a real estate standpoint.
Jill DeWit: That’s true. Thank you.
Steven Butala: What ends up happening is you become a member for life. The other thing, too, and a much more simplistic from an economic perspective, you have to get the data somewhere.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: We have priced this whole thing on just that. If you go to RealQuest and get the data, it’s going to be the same price as our monthly membership. This is not a sales pitch. Then you get all this other stuff, tons of it.
Jill DeWit: Thank you.
Steven Butala: That’s what I think people stay for life. Maybe they are entertained. I don’t know.
Jill DeWit: I just want to say that I know that there are a few, maybe three, good agents out there. Just kidding. I’m just kidding. Your sister’s one of them.
Steven Butala: We don’t know that, though.
Jill DeWit: You know what? If I’d had gone … I’d be killing it right now. If I was a real estate agent, I know I’d be number one, because I would walk around, tell everybody … I would, A, follow through with what I say. B, I would just say, “Are you in or you out?” We’d get the job done and do it right, not fluff people up or talk people into any things. And just do the right thing all the time, you know? Man, it makes me mad.
Steven Butala: Getting a real estate deal done quickly is not what a good real estate agent does, I don’t think.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. That’s true.
Steven Butala: So, no, I have to wonder if you would be a good agent.
Jill DeWit: Oh, I would be, because I’d be doing a deal a day. Watch me. People would love me.
Steven Butala: Well, you’d be a financially successful real estate agent. Here’s what I think good, valued real estate agents do. They listen. If you take 10 people through a house, they’re going to have 10 different opinions. And I’ll tell you right now, five to eight of them, maybe more, are going to talk about the type of furnishings that are at the house, the kind of faucet sink there is, what’s of the walls, what it smells like, if the carpet needs to be redone, which has nothing to do with the real estate deal.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: That’s not a real estate deal. That’s like going to shop for furniture. Hold on a second. This is incredibly important.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. I have a good point. I think I know where you’re going.
Steven Butala: What matters is the price per square foot as it relates to that other property in the immediate area, and that’s what an investor is. A real estate agent’s going to listen to what they’re saying. They don’t like the wallpaper. They want a house to be cleaner. What that real estate’s going to do is say, “You know what? I know you love this neighborhood, and I know you like this house, but I think it might be better if we went and looked at this house that’s all done over here. It’s a little bit more expensive, but it’s all brand new. Actually, it’s even a new home, so they’ll paint it the color you want, and all of that.” So that’s what I think.
Steven Butala: If the end user needs that kind of help, because they truly don’t have enough vision to walk into a house and say, “That wall needs to move. That wall needs to stay. I want a new back yard. How much is sod? [inaudible 00:19:59] Right now I’m at about $60,000 in renovation costs. That price per square foot is whatever,” which is how I look at real estate and our members look at real estate. Then if they can’t see that, then I think they should go work with agents for the rest of their life. They’re not real estate people. They have another profession in life, and that’s it. They’re nesting. They’re not buying real estate.
Jill DeWit: But what you said is true. I know they’re out there. The good real estate agents, like you just said … I want to recap … They listen to what their buyers want. If their buyers have no vision, what do you do? You take them to a house where it’s all done, because they don’t have the vision. You do whatever it is. You provide them with what they’re looking for. You don’t try to do the square peg, round hole thing and talk them into it. We’re on the same page.
Steven Butala: So different. Every single time I say to somebody, “I’m a real estate investor,” they say, “Oh, I was thinking about buying a house in X, Y, Z Beach.” And they just immediately think … Maybe I’m hanging out with the wrong crowd. But they immediately think we’re just real estate agents.
Jill DeWit: Nope. Very different.
Steven Butala: It’s such a very narrow-minded, unprofessional way to look at it.
Steven Butala: Join us next time for the episode called, Rich Girl Talk, with member Faith Hill and Jill DeWit.
Jill DeWit: And me. 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 DeWit: All right. No more ranting. It’s done. It’s over. I have about 10 days of this guy, and he’s out of my life forever.
Jill DeWit: Wherever you’re watching or wherever you are listening, please subscribe and 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.
Steven Butala: Yeah. Is the deal going to close?
Jill DeWit: Oh, yeah. It will close.
Steven Butala: Seriously. I mean, the buyer …
Jill DeWit: Dude, it will close. If I have to call the buyer myself, it will close.
Steven Butala: So the buyer’s got the money and all that. The basic stuff’s there. He’s just taking a long way around.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Steven Butala: Thank you, Jill.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at steven@BuWit.com.
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