Rich Girl Talk with Member Faith Hill and Jill DeWit (LA 976)

Rich Girl Talk with Member Faith Hill and Jill DeWit (LA 976)


Jill Dewit:             Good morning, just Jill here. Welcome to the Land Academy show, entertaining Land investment talk. I am Jill Dewit broadcast from Sunny southern California. Today I’m here with member Faith Hill, just Faith, who shares her experience with us at Land Academy. I am so happy to talk to you, Faith. Thank you and welcome.

Faith Hill:              Thank you, Jill. I’m excited.

Jill Dewit:             I picked you specifically to do this show with me alone for two reasons: Number one, you, like me, started in this business ground up with your husband/partner and that is unique, and I think we are very special because of that; and then two, just you and as a professional coming into this too I mean you had another career you were very successful I’m sure and happy in your career before this, but here you are doing this.

Faith Hill:              Absolutely.

Jill Dewit:             I want to talk some business questions. We talked with you and Germaine it’s so fun now just us girls because we have a different spin on things. I have some kind of business questions I was going to talk to you about and then I was going to ask you some female investor kind of related questions. First of all, tell me, talk to me about the East Coast. You guys, this is, for me, what’s your experience East Coast? You’re on the East Coast, I’m on the west coast, properties are so different. This morning I was having coffee with Stephen he was talking about, ask her, I said what do you want to hear? What do you want from Faith? He says you know there has been, over the years he’s done well in some of the east coast states and not so well in some east coast states. So you guys are killing it in Virginia and some other states out there, what do you think is the difference and what can you share with us?

Faith Hill:              Yes. I’m glad you asked that question Jil because definitely we see that there are not a lot of people in the land space that are working on the east coast. At least when we initially started, we saw most folks were targeted in California, Arizona, Texas, so we certainly did have to learn by trial and error in terms of applying the model to Virginia and North Carolina. Those are the two main states we target here on the east coast. It still works here. I know that some people initially might be skeptical of applying the model to different states, but it does work certainly in Virginia and North Carolina. I think some of the differences that we notice early on was that our initial offer prices needed to be a little higher than we originally anticipated.

Jill Dewit:             I was just going to say that.

Faith Hill:              Yes, not saying it’s not possible to find properties you can buy for a few hundred dollars here, but certainly in our experience, going into, we target one to five acre parcels, we certainly did need to start a little higher in terms of price points. I think might be the biggest difference we’ve seen, at least with pricing. I think, other than that, the people interaction I’m sure is very similar in terms of knowing who to talk to sellers and being relatable and things like that. That’s pretty universal no matter where you’re doing this business. I think that would probably be the main difference we saw earlier on.

Jill Dewit:             Pricing. The people, are they you get the same response with your mailers and your offers? Do you still get those people that are, obviously you are, receptive to it.

Faith Hill:              Yes.

Jill Dewit:             Me coming from southern California, I never forget the first time I was dealing with people in New York, right. I’m like, what the heck? The way that they talk to each other and the way that they interact, I’m like oh my goodness. If I lived there, I’d be eaten alive. It’s so funny.

Faith Hill:              I guess maybe people are people no matter where you are. Certainly we still get a first wave of hate call when our letters go out, unfortunately. But, once that first wave passes of folks who are like, why did you send me this letter? I’m not interested in selling and expletives. We then get the next wave of calls that come in and people are like, hey, I received your letter, I’m really interested in selling. The price you ave me might be a little low, can we talk a little more, possibly negotiate.

Faith Hill:              My husband and his team, they oversee the acquisition and they handle a lot of those direct calls with sellers and they really try to take the time to understand our story. Why do they need to sell? And see if we can offer a solution for them. They’re really good about making sure that hey, Ms. Jones I understand that the price might be a little low, but we certainly want to make sure that this transaction is mutually beneficial and they try to make sure that, approach it from a problem solving aspect. I think that approaching that call with some humility I think can allow that situation to diffuse, when callers might be initially upset about the initial offer. Those tactics still work here on the east coast as well.

Jill Dewit:             So tell me about your division of the roles. Tell me when you guys started, who did what? Then now what are your roles?

Faith Hill:              It’s still adapting too, but when we initially started, I initially jumped in the business, Germaine had been pretty much doing everything with the assistance of a virtual assistant. When I first jumped in, I started taking over transactions and marketing. And that’s pretty still what I oversee although we’re still looking to adapt the roles a little bit just for efficiency sake.

Faith Hill:              Pretty much on the marketing side, I ensure that the letters get out when we do our initial direct mail and send out our initial offers. And then when it comes to the sales we ensure that the listings after we’ve acquired a property gets posted everywhere as quickly as possible. So that’s kind of what we oversee, what I oversee on a marketing side.

Faith Hill:              And then on the transaction side I serve as the point person with setting up, if we’re doing a closing in house, setting up the mobile notary appointments with the seller and just ensuring that process goes smooth. And then if we’re working with a title company, serve as a point person to communicate with the title company and the seller to make sure things are still moving forward.

Jill Dewit:             Right.

Faith Hill:              So, that’s what I oversee and Germaine, he oversees acquisition and disposition. So that’s how we divided the labor and as I said it’s still adapting because we notice that there’s some points in our business where we may be doing double work because we didn’t quite think about, Hey you know maybe we can gather certain information at this stage in the process so that we don’t have to repeat later on in the process, so those are still things we’re working out as well.

Jill Dewit:             Yep. Sounds like you guys are a lot like us; like he’s acquisitions, in the big way, and you’re kind of sales, in a big way. I love that. I remember that too. When you’re doing your due diligence and you’re looking at photos, and that’s a little step that we learn too, all of your homework when you decide to buy the asset, that’s going to be all those pictures and all that due diligence and homework and all the maps and things, you need those when you go sell it.

Faith Hill:              Absolutely.

Jill Dewit:             So we actually have a system. Acquisition engineering sales, so everything from the acquisitions side goes into the engineering folder, because when it comes on a post-it, half of it’s right there.

Faith Hill:              Absolutely.

Faith Hill:              And that’s the area that we are trying to refine a bit, because we noticed that some of the information that’s gathered in the due diligence section, in acquisition, hasn’t been always translating to our marketing, where there may be key things you want to highlight when we market that we forgot, because the acquisition department handled that and that communication didn’t get translated over to marketing. So we’re working on trying to refine that communication a little bit more so that we can assure we’re marketing those things that we believe will help move the property quicker.

Jill Dewit:             It’s like whatever that attribute was that caused you to see it as a valuable property needs to be conveyed [crosstalk 00:09:28] to your broker.

Faith Hill:              Absolutely.

Jill Dewit:             That is fantastic. So I gotta ask to, all right, being a lawyer, is it helpful or hurtful? And do you disclose it?

Faith Hill:              Being a lawyer, I guess, initially I would say that for me, when I first got into the business, to be honest, I think it was more hurtful.

Jill Dewit:             Okay.

Faith Hill:              The reason being because in general with entrepreneurship…

Jill Dewit:             Yeah.

Faith Hill:              You, one, cannot overthink things every step of the way. Because many times there isn’t already a path laid out for how to do ‘X’ right? You’re kind of forging your own path and you’re building your own business from scratch. There are a lot of things you’ll be doing that you’ve never done before or that you have to learn about and [crosstalk 00:10:29]

Jill Dewit:             Or create.

Faith Hill:              Yeah! Or create.

Jill Dewit:             Like there is no system, we’re making one, okay.

Faith Hill:              Correct.

Faith Hill:              And for me, when I’m wearing my lawyer hat, I’m looking at, okay, what laws or what regulations are already in place to be able to accomplish ‘X’ and so it’s challenging to approach the business that way, because, like I said, there’s not always a clear path that’s been laid out. That, for me, I have to tell you, it seriously was something I had to push through and kind of be like, Faith, guess what? It might not be perfect the first time, so [crosstalk 00:11:10] don’t overthink it. Hey, test it out, if it doesn’t, adapt. So I think in the beginning it was a little, for me personally, held me back a little bit, trying to push myself to do things outside of my comfort zone.

Faith Hill:              I think now, it is helpful, because of the fact that it helps us, or me personally, it helps me with kind of to stay organized in approaching the business and systems in a logical manner. Actually, being a lawyer, I hold it close to my chest. We don’t always reveal that or say that, because, in my opinion, it’s not really that relevant in most of what we do when we’re talking about interacting with sellers and buyers. In fact, it can be a turn off [crosstalk 00:12:08] for some, so we don’t mention that, unless we feel it’s necessary.

Jill Dewit:             I see it as such an attribute. It’s just like how accomplished you are. You know what I mean? It’s like, come on, you’re smart. Look at what you’ve done. You’ve already killed it in one career, by the way, and now here you are in a whole new, different world, so, I mean, go Faith. Come on.

Faith Hill:              Well, thanks Jill. I will say that, hey, coming into a new environment, when you’re starting to go into a new industry, like real estate, sometimes the past knowledge translates over and sometimes it doesn’t.

Jill Dewit:             Right.

Faith Hill:              Yeah, so I still approach it as if I’m learning everyday, because, certainly, even with my background, my legal background, I do not know everything, at all. I still definitely push myself to continue to grow and learn when it comes to this business.

Jill Dewit:             That’s so, so cool. I was gonna say, does it help you all in closing deals? Do you need to put your lawyer hat? Can you put your lawyer hat on in getting some deals done? And say [crosstalk 00:13:25] I know how to do this, or I’ve got a guy over here. We’re going to get through this whatever situation.

Faith Hill:              Yeah. There are times where it can be helpful if the buyer or the seller’s represented by an attorney. For us, me being able to communicate with them on that level, I think, can help move the transaction through. Sometimes when you’re dealing with sellers and buyers and you’re a new business and they may still be hesitant as to your credibility. You know, they see you as an online company and they’re not quite sure if you are legit, sometimes buyers and sellers will like to bring an attorney, which is fine, and when they do that we’re like, hey, you know we’ve worked with attorney’s, we’re happy to work with your attorney. Like I said, being able to communicate with that attorney on a legal level certainly helps move the transaction through.

Jill Dewit:             [crosstalk 00:14:28] It probably calms everybody down. It’s kind of like, for us, when people look us up and they realize this is not our first deal, kind of thing, and how much we’ve done and our whole thing; calms everybody down and then we never have to talk about that again. [crosstalk 00:14:45] legit or anything like that or our experience [crosstalk 00:14:49]

Faith Hill:              Right.

Jill Dewit:             Or, you know, the process. They go, oh, you obviously know what you’re doing, we trust you.

Faith Hill:              Right. Absolutely.

Jill Dewit:             That’s so cool. So I want to talk to you about girl stuff.

Faith Hill:              I’d love to!

Jill Dewit:             You know what? And this is something that’s very near and dear to me, obviously, because I’ve been going back and forth with several books, and one of the books that I’m kind of drawn to right now is a kind of a real estate investing for women kind of book, because I really believe that we bring different things to the table, we make decisions differently, and there’s a lot that we pick up on. I guess my first question is what do you think, as a woman in this business, first of all, what do you think that you do better?

Faith Hill:              Yeah. One thing that I think that, as a woman in this business, it’s funny, because I think that there are times when we can be underestimated. I know that in a lot of the circles that we operate in, if we go to meet up groups and things like that, many times those meetings are male heavy in terms of the presence there. And so there are times that, one can be underestimated, but I see that as an advantage, because it’s like, hey, just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I haven’t done my research just as well. But I think, again, whether you’re interacting with men or women in this business, if you can come to the table having shown that you know your numbers, you’ve done your research, you know what you’re doing, you can establish your credibility, I don’t see it as a hindrance at all in terms of getting deals done. Especially if, again, you’re buying right and you’re offering a service.

Jill Dewit:             Exactly. You know what’s funny? You brought up a good point. I can’t tell you how many times that we’ve been in situations where they look at me like I’m the plus one. I’m like, you guys have no idea what goes [crosstalk 00:17:20], so darn funny. We’ll be at places and they look to Stephan and then when I start talking they’re like, what just happened? [crosstalk 00:17:34] wait. Even right now in our business, we’ve kind of divided up some things, and [crosstalk 00:17:42], as you well know, is really my baby.

Faith Hill:              Yes.

Jill Dewit:             In the beginning, he was kind of in there and now he’s kind of like, you’ve got this, see you later, kind of thing and it’s totally mine and I’m making the decisions and all that. And I truly love these deals. This is like back to what I really love to do, and that’s what’s so funny about it. I talk about these deals and people, they look at me like, really? Oh dear, sweet Jill.

Faith Hill:              Yeah.

Jill Dewit:             Then, like you said, I can use that to my advantage too, because I can be at the back of the room and they think I’m a fly on the wall, but I’m taking it all in. I know all of what’s going on. They don’t know me. It’s really funny.

Faith Hill:              Absolutely.

Faith Hill:              Have you found it as an advantage in negotiations?

Jill Dewit:             Totally.

Faith Hill:              Yeah.

Jill Dewit:             Totally, because I can come at it, this is one of the things that I think about, I think we’re better at reading people right away. So when I get someone on the phone, or I’m doing a transaction or something, I can pick up real quick like, all right, do I turn it up or do I turn it down? Depending on that person. Do they want me to be really smart? Do they want me to just know enough? And I use that. That’s like our good instinct. We can read people and use it. Usually what I do though? I usually hold back. Say I’m dealing with a seller, I want them to know that I’m a professional. I never want to over talk them or anything like that. I just kind of read them and I’ve learned to give them just what they need. And then when I’m dealing with a seller, I really want to come across, or a buyer I should say, real professional, obviously.

Jill Dewit:             You know what I think to? Like you said, this is so much of this is a mans world. And being a chick on the phone makes a difference, and then if you’re a chick with a good voice, boy does that make a difference. [crosstalk 00:20:06]

Faith Hill:              A good voice and a good laugh, right Jill? [crosstalk 00:20:09]

Jill Dewit:             I appreciate that. I’ll never forget, back in the day when we were first starting, it was me on the phone. I was the only one doing all the calls, inbound and outbound, and there were days that Stephan would go, all right how many marriage proposals did you get today? And I would be like, I couldn’t get this guy off the phone. He’s like, no kidding. I’m like, all right, I can use this now, but you still got to figure out, there’s times that there’s a tire kicker they just want to talk to you. I’m like, all right, come on, are you in or you out? We got to make a decision here.

Faith Hill:              Right.

Jill Dewit:             And think that’s one of the reasons that I am drawn to this business too, because I actually like being a smart woman in a mans world. They don’t know always what I know, and I can use that to my advantage.

Faith Hill:              Absolutely.

Jill Dewit:             It’s really, really fun for me. Is there anything else that you can think of that, as a woman, for you and what you do differently in your operation?

Faith Hill:              Yeah. I’m trying to think. I guess with our land business, Germaine’s department is the one who does the direct negotiations with buyers and sellers. It’s funny though that many times, even though I’m not directly involved in that part of our business, there are times when we still use it as an advantage for negotiations, because if there are times when Germaine will communicate with the potential buyer that, hey you know I think that we might be able to do that price that you’ve countered at, but let me talk with my wife, and we’ll get back to you. And I guess, us being properties where we’re the owner of the property…

Jill Dewit:             Yeah.

Faith Hill:              Many times the potential buyer respects that. It’s like, oh, I understand that you all have to make that decision jointly, and what’s best for your family. And that gives us time and little bit of advantage in negotiations, even though Germaine’s department is the one that oversees that area for our land business. So we have been able to use it [inaudible 00:22:38] advantage there.

Faith Hill:              It’s funny, even just the other day with our other business, you know that we just recently entered into self storage, we used that advantage there as well. Where we had an individual come in and wanted to rent a couple of units, and he wanted negotiate on price a little bit, because they were bigger units. He did that initial negotiation with Germaine and Germaine on site said, well, let me go touch base with my wife and, in this instance, since our rolls are a little reversed, I do oversee operations there, so he came in and we touched base, and we agreed we could do that particular price, and then the customer came into the office and kind of joked like, oh I didn’t realize you were the boss, I should have been talking to you at first.

Jill Dewit:             You do exist.

Faith Hill:              Right. So it is funny in those instances where, again, you can use that as an advantage in negotiations.

Jill Dewit:             Totally.

Faith Hill:              Yeah. And that’s [crosstalk 00:23:43]

Jill Dewit:             [crosstalk 00:23:43] and Germaine probably knew this isn’t going to fly, but I’m going to tell you this right now, we’re going to hang up the phone, and I’m going to wait an hour and I’m going call you back. This is what we’re going to do, and you’re going to think that.

Faith Hill:              Exactly.

Faith Hill:              But I agree with you too. I’ll second the comment that you made earlier, Jill, about being able to read people. I think that approaching a business when you have both perspectives, men and women involved, there’s some things that we pick on that my husband might not pick up on, and certainly vice versa. Being able to bring both those perspectives to the table, I think, helps us in our decision making, for sure.

Jill Dewit:             I love it.

Jill Dewit:             I have one last final question. So what is it about you, Faith, that you figure this out, there’s two parts, you figured this out so fast and you guys are not stuck in second gear. You guys quickly went from A to B to C, look at you, you’re already going the self storage phase, stuff that we haven’t really talked about as a group. You took it and ran. And what is it? I’m asking you this so we can help the next person.

Faith Hill:              Yes.

Faith Hill:              I will say it did not happen overnight, for sure. Because we’ve been doing the Land strategy for going on three to four years now. It certainly did not happen overnight. We made mistakes, that’s for sure, but we didn’t let it stop us. I think that’s the key. I mean, even now we make mistakes, and we come across road blocks, but I guess having the mindset that entrepreneurship is about learning as you go. You are going to make mistakes, it’s a fact. That doesn’t mean you failed, necessarily, it means that you need to keep pushing forward.

Faith Hill:              I think for me, having that mentality and getting past that, removing my lawyer hat thinking that everything has to be just so and perfect, and realizing there are times when mistakes will be made, but you keep pushing forward anyways. I think that has been crucial for us to continue to move forward in this business. For those that are looking to continue to push themselves and grow, certainly it’s about being all in as well. So when Germaine and I made the decision to quit our full time jobs and pursue the Land business and real estate full time, it adds another dynamic, another level of pressure. It’s kind of like, now we’re all in, we have to be successful. For us there’s no room to fail, to a degree. Adding that additional level of pressure, in a good way, it has allowed us to continue to push forward and have that motivation to keep moving forward, keep growing.

Jill Dewit:             That is fantastic. I got to tell you, Faith, I hope everybody else felt it too, when you brought up the all in, that gave me goosebumps. Because you’re right. That’s just a perfect way to end this. You did it, you made the decision, there’s no turning back. So we can’t get stuck in second gear, we are all in. This is our life now, and look at what you’ve done. It’s amazing.

Jill Dewit:             Thank you so much for being here with me today, Faith.

Faith Hill:              Thank you, Jill.

Jill Dewit:             I am so happy.

Faith Hill:              It was awesome talking to you today.

Jill Dewit:             Thank you. We have to do this again.

Faith Hill:              Yes.

Jill Dewit:             Well you’ve done it again, wasted another, I don’t know 15 or so minutes, listening to the Land Academy Show. Join us next time for another interesting episode. And, of course, we will get back to answering questions that you have posted on our online community at It’s free. You are not alone in your real estate ambition.

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