Why is There So Much Unwanted Land (LA 1038)
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 DeWit broadcasting from sunny southern California.
Steven Butala: Today, Jill and I talk about why is there so much unwanted land out there?
Jill DeWit: Lucky for us.
Steven Butala: Like yesterday, I’ve always wondered, you know, this is the kind of stuff that we end up talking about at cocktail parties.
Jill DeWit: True.
Steven Butala: Because I really think this is misunderstood.
Jill DeWit: True.
Steven Butala: Yesterday, too. I think that land itself is misunderstood and how much money you can make with land. And I think that it just centers around this word unwanted. It’s shocking, staggering how much unwanted property there is out there.
Jill DeWit: I want it all. It is not unwanted here.
Steven Butala: There’s something like 80 million vacant properties in this country right now. And so that’s a lot of real estate at unwanted prices. Garage sale prices, a lot of it. At least half of it is that a garage sale price. Probably 10% of what it could potentially be worth, so we’ll talk about it here in a second. Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the landinvestors.com online community. It’s free.
Jill DeWit: Marcus says, “Hey all, can you spreadsheet programs like Excel to be programmed to automatically scrub data? I think it would be great if I could enter in a bunch of words like school, township, cemetery, et cetera, and have the programs search the downloaded owner records and automatically delete every row that contain at least one of the keywords.”
Steven Butala: As you can imagine, there are a lot of responses to this on the Land Investors forum and Joe Martin, one of our advanced members, is gonna put a presentation on at our live event on exactly how he scrubs data. It’s literally the push of a button. I’ve created systems like this too, and it’s pretty amazing. The reason that we don’t teach it and don’t spread it around … I actually don’t even personally use one. I really want to still manually go through there and look at it. The reason is because I think you need to learn how to do it. I think if there’s an easy button to all this, that’s not good. I think you’re going to miss so much. Scrubbing data manually is how you learn.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Steven Butala: That’s the talent in this. There’s a lot of things that go on. A Lot of moving parts to this business, but it starts with choosing a good county or choosing a good zip code. Getting that data in a format that you can use it and create a mail merge, and then getting the stuff out of there that doesn’t make sense. Otherwise, you’re sending tons and tons of mail out. That’s inefficient, so this is a great intelligent question and yes, there’s an answer and yes, we’ll be talking about it in great detail in October.
Jill DeWit: Right. There are some things that break, like you were just saying. There’s some things that you can do to speed up the process for you that Joe is going to talk about at the event. But the other thing is you just got to get good at it too. If you’re trying to do a workaround, I don’t want you to do workarounds. you know what I’d rather you be doing right now? Spending time to not use a mouse in Excel. You think I’m kidding?
Steven Butala: That’s right, Jill.
Jill DeWit: I’m not kidding. You should really be that good and that speedy and just be able to work that quickly, and that would be a better use of your time, I think.
Steven Butala: I’ve been helping some people in our office do … There’s this incredibly brand new … a very new interest in all of our staff because they see how much money people are making in our membership group.
Jill DeWit: All of a sudden.
Steven Butala: Now they all want to do mailers.
Jill DeWit: It’s great.
Steven Butala: I’ve been telling them it’s going to be tough for you to, on a longterm basis, do a mailer if you don’t put your mouse behind your computer and learn how to use the shortcut keys and function keys like old school.
Jill DeWit: You know what I think what also really solved it to you, by the way, now that we personally fund deals? And our staff knows that they don’t have to have the money to … They don’t need to have to come up with $10,000 to buy your property. We’ll do it. I think that’s got a new … it just breathed new life into this whole thing for our members and our staff. It’s great.
Steven Butala: Exactly. Today’s topic, why is there so much unwanted land out there? This is the meat of the show. Driving on the way to Las Vegas if you’re on the West Coast or you’re driving up the coast of California and the East Coast driving through Texas … do you ever drive through Texas?
Jill DeWit: I have driven through Texas.
Steven Butala: It’s like, look, there is more real estate in Texas.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Steven Butala: And really just driving anywhere out of any major city in between. I used to drive between Detroit and Chicago all the time in my young professional career. So much real estate everywhere.
Jill DeWit: Even here to Palm Springs. We look at property. I’m like, look at that. Yeah.
Steven Butala: What makes it unwanted? And I know you wrote some stuff down.
Jill DeWit: I did. I was thinking why is there so much unwanted land? I came up with, well number one, life happens. I think that there’s a lot of property out there that never gets used as it is intended. And then people are … they just hang onto it. Everything from thinking we’re going to build a cabin there someday or we’re going to retire there some day to, I bought this property because it was supposed to be next to where LAX was going to be built. Things like that. Things happen. I think that’s one reason. Another reason I think is … I know this is on your list, too … people pass on.
Steven Butala: Yeah. That’s the number one reason.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. That’s just part of life, and people just inherit it and they don’t want it. They really don’t want it. They don’t see the value in it. They don’t know what to do with it. They don’t want to pay the taxes on it. Great, Mom and Dad saw something there that I don’t see it. I don’t, and that’s another reason. And then number three I think is that a lot of people just don’t get it. They don’t see the value. They don’t see value of an [inaudible 00:06:08] They just see it’s a piece of property and there’s no house on it. We see it as the potential. They miss the potential and they don’t see the value of what it could be. Every property has potential. Think about driving. Wherever you drive for your vacation, there’s a rest stop somewhere. There’s a McDonald’s somewhere. You have these little things. There’s value in property all over that you have to take a step back and envision it.
Steven Butala: It’s a full blown numbers game.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Steven Butala: If you send out, let’s say a thousand letters, a certain number of very predictable number of people don’t care about that land any longer. Here’s really why. I know you have one more left, but-
Jill DeWit: No, that was my third one.
Steven Butala: Oh. Every single time we do a deal, we ask people why they’re selling it and they say usually one of two things. Number one, “I never wanted this land in the first place. My husband wanted it and he’s passed on now.” Or, “My dad wanted it. He used to collect land and he thought we were going to do some stuff with it and we just didn’t.” The people that you’re actually dealing with that you’re going to buy the property from don’t want anymore.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: They never wanted it in the first place. That’s my point. The second version is my life’s just changed. Like Jill said, stuff changed. “We were going to build a cabin on this property long time ago, and the kids got older and some stuff changed and I got a different job in a different part or whatever.” So it just, now they don’t want it. In a smaller sense, there’s property that … There’s a lot of people that take on projects that don’t finish them for whatever reason, like a renovating a car or whatever. There’s a lot of unrenovated houses I’m seeing lately that are just half done in for sale.
Jill DeWit: It’s amazing.
Steven Butala: There’s a lot of garage sales out there too, and it’s exactly the same thing. There’s just a lot of unwanted stuff. Stuff changes. You have six or seven brooms and you’re going to sell a few of them. Who knows why it happens? But it does, so hey, it’s great for us.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: I think that you nailed it. I didn’t think about this until you said it. They just don’t understand. Or I think that we buy a lot of property from people who have taken it down the regular path of listing it with a real estate agent, and their real estate agent doesn’t care. Because if you talk to a regular real estate agent, including my sister, she’ll … they’ll just say, “What is it with you in the land?”
Jill DeWit: They don’t see the value, too. They don’t get it.
Steven Butala: Just don’t see it.
Jill DeWit: They don’t.
Steven Butala: They don’t want to list it. They’re not into it. It’s not a feather in their cap like a big huge house, and this isn’t the top at the end of the street. For some reason, it’s just not. They’re not interested in it, so it’s just more for us.
Jill DeWit: You know what’s funny? I’m curious … and you know this community better than I do. The only ones I think that in that group that get it are the commercial property ones. Now, they’re into it. They’re excited, probably because they have a list of buyers in their back pocket. They know that there’s going to be a Dairy Queen coming in or whatever it is, or that’s … they know it’s a gas station. Perfect property that’s really industrial, not commercial. But anyway, those kinds of brokers, they get it. They get excited, but they’re the only ones. I wonder how big is that community? Cause I’m not sure.
Steven Butala: Tiny.
Jill DeWit: That’s what I thought.
Steven Butala: Tiny, tiny, tiny.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: There’s a lot of people in Arizona that I’ve met, not a lot. A handful of people who love to go buy a piece of property, take it through the entitlement process, and literally literally subdivided. Put Roads in, put utilities in, and shake their hands of it and, say, sell it to the vertical developers who build the houses. There’s huge, huge money in that, so they’re actually improving the property. Jill and I don’t have the patience for that.
Jill DeWit: Correct.
Steven Butala: We sell the raw land to the guy who does that.
Jill DeWit: Right. We sound like we have ADD so bad, which is … it’s so funny because we do. Our goal is to own land for hours. That’s my perfect thing. I want to be recorded at 3:00 and I’ve already got it sold at 4:00.
Steven Butala: You’re so the right girl for me.
Jill DeWit: Because I was holding on sharing the address with my buyer’s list until it was done and I owned it and I fully had the control of the property because I wasn’t going to share it with them yet. That’s how fast, so we sound like there’s something wrong with us.
Steven Butala: That’s exactly what I think.
Jill DeWit: You know what? Isn’t that funny? That’s how we are, and people people go, “What?” Then when they hear us say things too, like we’re not trying to maximize the profit here. We’re just trying to get a good price for it. Really, the goal is double our money and get out. They were like, “But you could’ve made so much more if you hung onto it for 90 days.” I’m like, “No, don’t care. I moved on.”
Steven Butala: I’ve never had to explain this in so much detail as I do this exact topic. People understand data. People understand real estate. People understand real estate agents. They understand houses. Completely understand houses. I don’t know why this is. Maybe you can help me here. They can’t wrap their head around why someone would sell a piece of land for half of what it’s worth. I’ve been explaining it and explaining it for 25 years, and I still have yet to have somebody say … I think the people who understand this are Land Academy members, because I’ve never had to explain it in a live event or anything. They’re long past this. But to try to explain it’s for residents to a real estate agent, they just have a myriad of responses. Like, “Why would someone sell a perfectly good piece of property for half of you’re going to sell it for that day?” And, “Why are you taking advantage of them if you know it’s worth twice that much?”
Jill DeWit: That’s my favorite.
Steven Butala: In reality.
Jill DeWit: Go ahead, go ahead.
Steven Butala: Go ahead.
Jill DeWit: It’s like, you know what? I’m going to go to garage sale and I’m going to pull up and instead of me paying the $10 sticker price for that bike because the guy just wants to get rid of it, I’m going to actually sit there and go, “You know what sir? You need to know that I can tell you about that bike new and it was $200 and I can tell it needs this, this and this, so I know you’re ready to unload it for $10 but no, no, I’m going to give you $150 because I don’t want to take advantage of you. I know this is a yard sale, but I know that that’s really what it’s worth, so I’m sorry sir, here’s $150.”
Steven Butala: Okay. Total point-
Jill DeWit: And the guy’s going to look at me like, “Why are you doing that?” it’s the same thing.
Steven Butala: The total points taken, and every single person who just listened to you or watch you say that gets it.
Jill DeWit: Thank you.
Steven Butala: What is it about land?
Jill DeWit: Why can’t they-
Steven Butala: They can’t translate a garage sale to unwanted land.
Jill DeWit: Same thing.
Steven Butala: Do you know?
Jill DeWit: I don’t get it.
Steven Butala: It’s just a mystery to me.
Jill DeWit: It’s the craziest thing.
Steven Butala: Because the second I started this, it made complete sense to me.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, totally. I’m solving a problem.
Steven Butala: In fact, it’s-
Jill DeWit: I’m paying cash. They like me.
Steven Butala: It’s times 10 because if you had an 80 acre piece of property in Arizona, that … if you’ve owned it for 20 years or 10 years and somebody sends you a letter that says, “I’d love to give you $6,000 for this,” You know what they say in reality, the sellers. They call us back and say, ,”Thank you so much. You solved this problem for my wife and I. We tried to list it. We had listed it three years back. We keep getting the tax bills. We’re never going to use it. I’d be happy to sell it to you. Tell me what to do next.”
Jill DeWit: We are done.
Steven Butala: If you’re a Land Academy member already and you’re in it doing this, you’ve heard that sentence 150 times like us, but it’s so hard to describe that situation to people who are not in this business but are seemingly real estate professionals.
Jill DeWit: Yep.
Steven Butala: If I sound frustrated, I’m frustrated about this.
Jill DeWit: It’s because I am.
Steven Butala: I’m mystified by it.
Jill DeWit: I know. Every single one of you listening right now has something in your garage that you’re ready to just give away. You’re like, “Yeah.” You don’t realize it, but it’s the same thing with this land. Look at all the houses. There’s probably houses on your street that are paid for vacant, and you have no idea why. No one’s worried about it kinda thing, and they just don’t care. They moved on.
Steven Butala: Yeah. Joe and I tested Car Academy. We’re releasing Car Academy later this year, probably early, maybe early next year. The results were staggering. It is staggering how few letters or texts you have to send to car owners.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: And to get a response. This is not about cars today, but this concept about why if this show were called why is there so much unwanted? Why are there so many unwanted cars out there? If that were the case, everyone would understand. “Oh yeah, my son went to college and it’s just sitting there.” It would immediately click. but for land, no.
Jill DeWit: They don’t get it. It’s so funny. The thing about land, and that’s probably the thing with cars. You get a bill every year, so it makes you think about it. It’s not like it’s something in your garage at your knee that’s just gonna sit there and collect dust. You get a bill every year for this land, so you get a constant reminder that you need to pay.
Steven Butala: You get a bill for your car, too.
Jill DeWit: That’s why I said cars too. But, and if you don’t pay, guess what? They’ll take it back, so you do have to pay for it.
Steven Butala: Oh yeah, that’s different.
Jill DeWit: That’s the thing. They won’t do that with a car. They won’t take your car. Well, they could. They come after you anyway, I’m sure. But I’m not going to test that theory.
Steven Butala: Every person I’ve talked to you about Car Academy that’s either our friends or in our group, everyone’s said, “I have a vehicle right now. I’d just give it away. Come and get it for $1,000 and it’s worth 10.”
Jill DeWit: Yeah. Well, I’ve got one right now.
Steven Butala: I have three, and we’re in this business.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. That’s so funny.
Steven Butala: I didn’t mean for this to be Car Academy.
Jill DeWit: It’s all good.
Steven Butala: You know what? I’m just mystified by this concept. That’s really what it is. I’ve never understood it since the early nineties.
Jill DeWit: You know what? We get it and it’s good for us.
Steven Butala: Yeah. Congratulations if you get it.
Jill DeWit: Yep.
Steven Butala: Hey, we know your time’s valuable. Thanks for spending some of it with us today. Join us next time for the episode called The Top Three Reasons New Real Estate Investors Fail.
Jill DeWit: And we answer your questions posted on our online community found at landinvestors.com. It is free.
Steven Butala: You are not alone in your real estate ambition.
Jill DeWit: Did you get that out?
Steven Butala: Yep.
Jill DeWit: Okay.
Steven Butala: I feel better. I feel sort of better, but even saying it like that, I’m like, man, there’s no solution.
Jill DeWit: I know.
Steven Butala: Men have to find solutions to stuff, you know that right?
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Steven Butala: They can’t just have a feeling and have it unaddressed. It has to be over. Find an end.
Jill DeWit: I understand. I understand. I’m sorry. Like I said, I’m sorry. I’m sure there’s counseling for this. 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.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at steven@BuWit.com.
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