Why a Career Land Developer Picked Land Academy (LA 977)
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 why a career land developer picked Land Academy.
Jill DeWit: This’ll be good, based on a call that I had, and then I shared it with you, and you’re like, “Oh, we got to talk about this.” So, I-
Steven Butala: It kind of ties into what happened yesterday. There’s a special type of person that gets involved in this, and it was a total unintended consequence on my part when we started this. We just wanted to help people and have that question stop, and it ended up all these smart people found Land Academy.
Jill DeWit: And look what we’re doing now.
Steven Butala: Now we’re doing deals together and stuff. It’s pretty cool.
Jill DeWit: I know. It’s great.
Steven Butala: Before we get into the topic, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the landinvestors.com online community. It’s free.
Jill DeWit: Linda asks, “I’ve been in contact with an owner of a 33.5 acre parcel in Virginia. But as I was looking through the current deed, it mentions a family cemetery and a right of ingress and egress. I asked the seller about it, and she said it’s very old, like 1800s. Some of her relatives are buried there, but then they were moved to church cemeteries many years ago. There are a few graves left, but they’re all people unrelated to the family and the seller has no idea who they were. Neither does anyone living in that area. She is supposed to send me a survey that shows the location of the cemetery. Sounds like it’s her at the front of the property on the left side, so not in the middle of anything. I had offered $25,000 which is $746 an acre before I knew about the cemetery, and the cheapest comp, comparable property in the market right now is listed for $2,400 an acre.”
Jill DeWit: That’s great.
Jill DeWit: “Prices go up from there to $3,000 an acre, and they keep going up. It looks like a great margin, but I’m concerned that having an old cemetery on the property would make it hard to resell. Thanks.”
Steven Butala: As you can imagine, this topic on land investors itself generate a lot of responses from other members.
Jill DeWit: Yep. Exactly.
Steven Butala: Would you buy it?
Jill DeWit: You know what I would do, I would try to see if I could get the property split to remove the cemetery. In a perfect world, I’d get that piece, chunk, cut out and leave it with the family.
Steven Butala: So that’s what the response was from our moderators.
Jill DeWit: Right. Okay. That would be my first choice.
Steven Butala: I like it. The economics of the deal are great, and I’ll tell you what. If you can buy at 33-acre property in the state of Virginia anywhere … There’s no bad place in Virginia to buy real estate. So that makes me say, “I want to go to the next … Let’s take it to the next … It’s the next level.” Plus, if she’s got an old survey and all kinds of stuff, that’s really positive.
Jill DeWit: I think the right attorney could get this done, and not be that hard. I bet the right attorney can do it in 30 to 60 days and get that piece off there. Otherwise, there’s nothing you can really do with it because no one’s going to want to move a cemetery, you know, kind of thing. I’m not even sure … You know better than I do. What are the legalities of owning a cemetery, Steven?
Steven Butala: Yeah, this happened to me. I bought a whole list of property once, very inexpensively, without looking in the properties the way that I should, and I ended up with a cemetery, full-blown cemetery, with tombstones on it and everything, and I luckily was able to donate it to the municipality. I’ll tell you what. I was sweating it. I couldn’t find a lawyer that would handle this because there was just nobody who handled this kind of thing. So I made a phone call, and they were more than happy to take over the property. For whatever reason, I think, it was a very small town in Alabama, and I think that there are people buried there that had ties to the city itself and stuff. It really worked out great for me and great for them. Those kinds of things are a little scary.
Jill DeWit: That’s true.
Steven Butala: It’s an interesting topic. So, if you’re a real estate investor listening to this show or coming at this from really any angle, this is not going to happen to you. The chances of these crazy, kooky things happening are very small, but they’re fun to talk about.
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Exactly.
Steven Butala: Today’s topic, Why a Career Land Developer Chose Land Academy, this is the meat of the show. Jill had a very detailed talk last week with the kind of person that we love to have in our group. He comes to us, or here she comes to us with a tremendous amount of experience in something. Maybe they’re an engineer, but [inaudible 00:04:50] experience in something.
Steven Butala: So, in this case, this guy is a career land developer, and informed Jill … This is why I wanted to make it a show … Informed Jill that he hasn’t been buying property the right way his whole career, which I’ve been in that seat before, and I turned around and said, “Wait a minute, a decade’s gone by. I’m not doing this right. There’s got to be a better way.”
Steven Butala: So, go ahead, Jill, with the story.
Jill DeWit: Well, here’s the thing. He wrote a really long thing into my team, a great, “Wow. I’ve been following you guys. I just wanted to say hello, introduce myself. I’m just getting ready to join. I think you’re great. Here’s what I’ve been doing, my career.”
Jill DeWit: It was just this awesome glowing thing, and I’m like … It somehow got to me. I’m like, “That’s fantastic.” And you described his background like that’s exactly who we want our group, and the way he’s looking at doing this. So I picked up the phone and called him, and it was not a scheduled call. I just picked it up and called him, and it was so cool because … I’m reading … I went and got my notes here from the call, and he recognized my voice right away. It was good.
Jill DeWit: He’s like, “I’ve been listening.” I said, “Thank you so much.” It was so cool and was interesting. He’s been doing his homework. He’s not new to our industry. He has been working as a sales manager for a contractor for many, many, many years is what he’s been doing. So he’s been in the industry, not necessarily investing himself, but basically his note was something about, “I just watched my boss buy a new car and that should be me,” kind of thing. “I’m tired of all these years of making money for somebody else. I’m just over it.” And he knows what’s possible. It was just getting the pieces from us to figure out what’s the roadmap.
Jill DeWit: “I see it. I know the beginning, and I know the end. I’m this piece of the puzzle here. I’m done with that. I want to do this for myself.”
Jill DeWit: So that’s why he came to us, and it was so fun talking to him. He’s like, “And it was so good.” He did everything. Everything that we’ve talked about, he’s like, “My wife is on board. Check.”
Jill DeWit: We’ve talked about that even just recently with somebody. I can’t remember who it was. But if your wife’s not on board, it’s not going to work. He’s got daughters who are in their twenties, and one of them was interested, and he’s like, “I’m roping her in.” He’s like, “This is going to be a family business. I see it. I know it. I’m going to get her in now. It’s going to be awesome.”
Jill DeWit: He’s basically done all the work. And you know what’s funny? The only thing that was holding him up is he was having a little bit of an over-analyzing it. So we talked about that.
Jill DeWit: He’s like, “Do you think I’m ready?” I’m like, “Yeah, you are ready.” It was just thinking about it a little too much. You should do all your homework and do a lot of homework and read and be involved in our community and listen to our shows and everything. But there’s a point you have to cut it off and just do it.
Jill DeWit: It’s like once you get in, and you learn how to do offers and get it out there, you need to cut it off. You’ve picked a county. Trust yourself. Send the mail and just go forward. That was the only thing. Anyway, it was so fun talking to him.
Jill DeWit: What were you going to add? Or do you have any questions?
Steven Butala: No. It doesn’t surprise me at all, right? The people who are successful in our group, and there’s more and more and more of them, and I think yesterday’s show was why they never leave.
Jill DeWit: Faith. Yesterday’s … Faith happened the day before. Yeah, yeah.
Steven Butala: Oh, yeah. Two days ago. It’s just amazing. I’m constantly amazed, and I know we have another second annual live event coming up in the fall, I guess. I can’t wait to see the difference between the first one and the second one. Because it’s just amazing that the deals that we’re doing in that, the variety from different types of industries that get involved in this. Do they all kind of have that similar personality type?
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Steven Butala: I’m proud of it is what I’m trying to say, I guess.
Jill DeWit: This topic is also … It reminds me of so many people that we’ve talked to in our industry that still look at us sideways, that don’t understand that you can do direct mail. Isn’t that funny? Remember when we talked … This is like two years ago, we went to this meetup, and went to meet at Manhattan beach, two years ago, it was a panel, remember this, of all these guys buying apartment buildings and somehow direct mail came up. We were just kind of … I don’t think we asked a lot of questions or asked any questions. We were just there and just learning what this group’s about and just wondering what kind of deals they’re doing. Just kind of figuring out that. Anyway, and someone brought up direct mail, and this one guy said, “Yeah, I use direct mail,” and he talked about a home run that he had with it, but he’s not focusing it there for some reason. Do you remember that?
Steven Butala: Yeah. He said this, “Well, there’s four panelists up there, all coming in at the small apartment industry from a different angle. Three of them said, ‘We don’t do direct mail ever.’ One of them said, ‘I think we sent postcards out, and that didn’t work.’ And then the fourth one said, ‘Oh yeah. We sent out direct mail. We don’t use it anymore. We don’t use it. But we sent out direct mail once, and we bought a property for like 25% of what we thought it was worth at the time.'”
Steven Butala: So what he was saying is, “It really, really worked.” And then it just stopped, and nobody knows why. Nobody asked him, and I didn’t want to ask him, “Why did you stop?” And the answer is, I’m sure, the answer is … None of them are data people up there at all. They’re all about buying an apartment building, cleaning it up, allowing pets, raising the rent, and reselling it, which is a great business model for some people. They’re not data people. This ties right into this. They’re not data people. So we’re data people, and we’re real estate people, but we’re data people first.
Jill DeWit: Right. That made me think about this call, too. It was just so good. This guy gets it. His boss doesn’t get it.
Steven Butala: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.
Jill DeWit: A lot of people don’t get it. He’s-
Steven Butala: That’s what I mean. Most of the people in real estate don’t understand this.
Jill DeWit: That I’m remembering, too. It’s like coming back to me now. That’s what I was so excited about. He’s going to turn around and blow this guy away.
Steven Butala: Yeah, absolutely.
Jill DeWit: I mean, because he’ll learn how to buy things the right way, the easy way. And just so you can focus on the stuff you need to focus on, which is more deals or bigger deals or having fun.
Steven Butala: I mean, if you listened to their earlier shows, we all know Jill’s having a rough week. She’s having a rough week because we’re retailing a house, which you should never do. And so, it falls into this exact same concept. She’s doing a deal like it’s 1955, and it’s not her fault.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Steven Butala: That’s because there’s an Asian involved, and the price is right, and we’re gonna finish the deal. But-
Jill DeWit: There’s no other way to get it done with these people.
Steven Butala: … why would you buy a house out of the MLS using a real estate agent or a broker or anything else? It’s just doesn’t make any sense anymore. It really, truly doesn’t make any sense at all if you’re in any type of real estate at all. Buying a house through traditional channels is … You’re maybe, from where you’re sitting right now, two to four hours away from sending out 10,000 offers if you want, that are priced correctly and are going to go to the right people, and you’re going to catch one or two or three or four or five or 10 of them right at the right time where they need some money and close the deal. So …
Jill DeWit: What?
Steven Butala: The light bulb went off over this guy’s head that Jill’s referring to. And so hopefully, if the light bulb could go off over your head, then it just ends up … Then now, it’s all about putting the people in the place to close the deals for you. Or close them yourself for a while, until you get so fed up with it that it’s so silly, and it’s so old that you move some stuff around.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Steven Butala: Well, I’ve done it again. You spent another 15 minutes or so listening to the Land Academy show. Join us next time for the episode called Stuff Your Father Never Told You.
Jill DeWit: And we answer your questions. Post it on our online community landinvestors.com. It is free.
Steven Butala: You are not alone in your real estate ambition.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, I surprised that guy. It was really funny. I like doing that now and then. I just kind of bust out calls and just like, “Hello,” and it’s funny how quickly … I’m sure you have this, too. They’re like, “Is this Jill?”
Steven Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, it is.
Steven Butala: I feel bad. What do you say when they do that?
Jill DeWit: Well, it’s-
Steven Butala: I have a whole speech.
Jill DeWit: Well, I just, “Yeah, it’s me.” It’s great. And yeah, sometimes they trip over their words a little bit in the beginning. It’s fun, and then we just started talking and have a good time. What do you …
Steven Butala: I just say, “Hey, look. I understand because I’ve been through it a million times, meeting people that you see on a screen somewhere or whatever. I’m just a regular guy at night. Got up in the morning and brushed my teeth just like you did this morning.” And it usually stops most of it.
Jill DeWit: I love it. Wherever you’re watching or wherever you are listening, please rate us there. We are Steve and Jill.
Steven Butala: We are Steve and Jill. Information …
Jill DeWit: And inspiration …
Steven Butala: … to buy undervalued property.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at steven@BuWit.com.
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