Member Nick Sliger Shares House Academy Success Stories (LA 1043)
Steven: Steve and Jill here.
Steven: Welcome to the Land Academy show, entertaining land investment talk. Today, we have Nick Sliger. I think Nick, you’ve been a member for since when?
Sliger: About two and a half years. I think I joined in 17, or maybe … I think I joined in 16 right at the end of the year.
Steven: And I’m pretty sure you were at the last last live event, right?
Sliger: I was. I’m coming back again and I’m looking forward to it [crosstalk 00:00:26].
Steven: Give us a little background on how you found us and maybe what you did before you started buying and selling land? And tell us why it’s working or not working?
Sliger: All right, cool. I was in the fitness industry. I have a background in kinesiology. I was a sprint coach for awhile and worked in health clubs. And I guess the story goes, I was looking at how bad food was. It got me into gardening, which got me looking into wanting to farm, which took me to wanting to figure out how to buy some farmland.
Sliger: Watching some YouTube videos came across a guy that bought this cool little farm from a back tax over the counter sale from a county. I started looking into that. I joined another program. Did that educational one, but I was still looking for some more information. And as I was looking around trying to learn, I came across you guys. It was back when you guys were giving away a free acre in Cochise County with a signup.
Steven: That was a long time ago. You’ve been with for quite awhile.
Sliger: And I signed up and got that one and that was my first one. I followed your guys advice. I did the $1, no reserve, 30-day Ebay. $3.99 doc fees. I sold it for $4.20. I got $8.19 out of it.
Sliger: That was pretty cool. One to get me going.
Steven: Was that your first deal?
Sliger: That was my first one. I didn’t technically buy it by source in any mailers or anything like that but I got it with the program and I sold it. And that was my first one. [crosstalk 00:01:55]
Steven: My first deal. You remember the first girl you kissed.
Steven: And the last one. You recouped almost all of the purchase price for that program, right?
Sliger: Yeah, a huge amount. And I remember listening to your podcast back then you were always saying that, “Don’t quit your day job until it’s costing you money.” Well, I was in between jobs right then and I was actually looking to start a little farming business. But I put that on hold and I started this land business. But I started to go through and buy some more properties it pretty quickly ate up all my acquisition funds.
Sliger: And as I extrapolated where my money was going, I had determined that I needed to go back and get a regular job or I was going to spend through all my capital just paying bills. I went back and I got a job, just a couple months after I started, and I’ve been working that though the whole time driving a truck. But my goal is to quit that here soon. Hopefully, within another property or two I’ll be in a position to end that.
Jill: You’re close.
Sliger: I want to join the 33%.
Jill: Yay. That’s so good. I’m so glad.
Steven: I’m so glad it’s working out for you.
Jill: Well, I’m glad that you did the right thing. You went back and said, “All right, I want to do this right. And if I have to get a day job for a little while, fine. It’ll pay the bills.” And you can breathe and have acquisition funds. And so if you’re getting that close to that, that sounds to me like you probably have money set aside that you’re trying to …. Am I right? You’re wanting to reach a certain threshold and then you’re like, and now I’m out.
Sliger: Exactly. I had a little bit of debt I wanted to pay off. I still have a little bit of student loan that I’m trying to knock out as well. And then I just wanted to build up enough capital that I can live for about a year and have enough for acquisitions for a little bit. I mean, I constantly burned through it. Go down to zero and filled it back up. But as soon as I sell a property it’s like, “Well, this money is in my account.” And then a couple weeks later I spend it all.
Steven: We’ve been doing this for decades and we go through the exact same thing. We rip through capital constantly.
Sliger: It is fun to see that equity build.
Steven: It’s really just a catch 22. It’s like, I think when we have too much money, I’m like, “Man, we need to place. We need to place this.
Sliger: Otherwise, it’s just sitting around in the bank.
Jill: Exactly. And I love it too because now that you … I mean, when you say it Nick, and you know, and you put it out there it’s going to happen. I bet if you picked a date and wrote it down on a sticky note you’ll probably hit the date. It’s weird how that stuff happens but it does.
Steven: How much mail do you send out a month ballpark?
Sliger: I really wanted to start off with a 1,500 but over time whether it be I run into a little hiccup here or there. I don’t get them out that frequently. Maybe it’s more closer to every two months or three months trying to send out 1,500 letters. I have a schedule that tries to do it, but I often times don’t stick to my schedule the way I’d like to. It’s there but it doesn’t always happen. I’m right now, I actually just got together a house mailer because I’m also on House Academy.
Sliger: And my sister moved up to Minnesota so I’m helping her try to find a place. I was up and visiting her last weekend so we drove around and looked at some of the zip codes and tried to zero that down. I didn’t find as many homes as we wanted to sell. Because when you start putting in the square footage, and no pool, and this many bedrooms, and that many bathrooms, the more criteria you put in smaller the list gets. I came up with a 1,058 I believe. But I just sent that off to Offers 2 Owners this morning. And they’re going to hopefully get that data back to me because I’d like to just scrub that out and send it out by the end of the week.
Jill: That’s great.
Steven: How great is Data Tree?
Sliger: It’s awesome. I mean, the information in there is really cool. But I remember seeing it at the live event when you were showing us the infill lots. We all had access to it as far as being able to see how many homes were in a county to do that process. But it’s nice to have all the access to be able to pull it down and go through it. I’ve been playing around with it a lot. And one thing I found was a little interesting was trying to figure out how to get the one … My sister had some specific requirements. 1.75 bedrooms, or bathrooms, excuse me.
Jill: You’re like, “Really?”
Sliger: When I put that in it, I don’t know, it came out as 1.5. But I’m just going to roll with it. I mean, there’s so much to do in there.
Jill: That’s got to be pretty fun. I want to hear how this plays out. When it comes down to it and you’re … When you get it down and you have three dream homes for her to choose from or something. That’s a show. We talked about that. That would be a whole … That could be an HGTV show. You know? Wouldn’t that be funny.
Steven: Did you hear the … Go ahead.
Jill: That’s some House Hunters and they narrow down the thing. We do it. It’s the data hunters. Who cares about the flipping wallpaper.
Steven: Did you use smart pricing?
Sliger: I just sent that off today. This morning. I’m waiting to get that back and then I’ll go through and try to figure it out. And see if I want to do price per square foot or do just the straight margin. Or, I also thought about putting in another category for percentage and just seeing how all those fan outburst with each other.
Jill: How are the days on market in that area that she wants to buy?
Sliger: They are really low. I did the red, yellow, green test and across they didn’t all come out green and some of them even came out red as far as the number of properties for sale versus the total number in the area. But the days on the market are less than 30 for a lot of them.
Steven: How about the average sale price?
Jill: That’s great.
Sliger: It varied. I wish I had the sheet up in front of me. I turned off my other computer so my phone didn’t ring through it. The average sale price and what we’re going for is right around let’s say 285 to 320.
Jill: That’s great. [crosstalk 00:08:09].
Steven: We’re going to use this on House Academy, this interview. Actually, I’m going to air it this Thursday.
Sliger: All right. Cool. And she’s going to do the boots on the ground role.
Jill: You might get a couple. You know what, and by the way, all her rejects that she doesn’t want to move into or buy you could submit them to me for deal funding.
Steven: We have a House Academy deal funding so rip it through there.
Steven: We’re doing a purchase right now.
Jill: You guys could make some money to put towards the one she does buy.
Sliger: That’d be awesome. That was my plan. Anything that she doesn’t want I just submit it to you guys and then possibly house tank if it’s up by that point.
Steven: Summertime in Minnesota too. This is the time to do it. Minnesota … it’s Minnesota you said, right?
Sliger: It is. I was just there. And it was nice but I realized living in Arizona I don’t really like the humidity.
Steven: I miss Arizona.
Jill: And mosquitoes maybe. There’s other things.
Steven: I miss the people in Arizona. Not the weather so much.
Sliger: Half the year it’s just beautiful out here, but the other half it’s pretty miserable.
Steven: I can’t remember. You’re in Queen Creek, right?
Sliger: No, I’ve lived all over. I’m in Mesa right now.
Steven: We just tore through Mesa. Oh, you saw the program. We bought and sold and bunch of houses in Mesa.
Sliger: It’s funny. I live in the 85201 zip code.
Jill: Good to know. We have an emergency backup eyes that can go look at a property that’s right there.
Steven: Hey, do you have any interest in being an Arizona BOG?
Sliger: Yeah. I actually did submit it. I heard you guys talk about it and mentioned me on the last House Academy call.
Steven: Done, done, and done.
Jill: You did. Aaron has another list that we’re running. I got to make sure that I get that in there.
Steven: You’re in West Mesa, right? That’s what that zip code is.
Sliger: Yeah. It’s northwest Mesa. Pretty much where the 202 hits the 101. In that area.
Steven: We still have a place in Old Town Scottsdale it’s right by the mall. Next to it. That’s on the edge of Scottsdale, right?
Sliger: Yeah, it is. It’s just kitty-corner to South Scottsdale. And I grew up in the Scottsdale area. I lived in Phoenix, and Mesa, Tempe all over.
Jill: I know.
Steven: We might have to do a Nick Sliger specific BOG mailer.
Jill: We could.
Sliger: That’d be cool. I’m happy to map it to travel.
Jill: Cool. Good. Help him get rid of that job faster.
Sliger: It’ll be another incentive to quit the job. I could probably quit it now, I just don’t want to quit too early. But I got one foot on the boat, one foot on the dock and I’m just waiting.
Jill: Exactly. Hang out a little bit longer and then you’re going to, “Oh, yeah. It’ll be good. You don’t want to stress.
Sliger: But hopefully, I’ll be doing a lot of land. As far as I’ve had a lot of successes as far as increasing my capital and really growing. I’d like to be able to spend full-time on it. But I have this other obligation for the time being. When I’m off work, I pretty much spend all my free time that I have working on land things.
Jill: Have you ever done LandTank? Because one of the great things too, while you’re doing this because you know what you’re doing, you could just mail away and use somebody else’s money for a while to fund them and get there faster too.
Sliger: I really need to. I’m just sometimes I feel like I’m always catching up on the work that I need to do for my own business as far as the advertising, I mean, I probably spend more time advertising than anything. Posting things everywhere. I’m posting on my website, your website another land website. The lands dashboard, LandHub, Land Century, Facebook, my own page, the market, the marketplaces. I’m doing Zillow and Trulia, and Craigslist in about 10 cities. That just takes forever even though I can just copy and paste to keep up all of that. Make sure you refresh it. Try to bump to the top. That’s probably one of the first things I want to arm out to someone else in the future.
Steven: I mean, the group in the Philippines that works with us, they’re intimately familiar with how that goes. At three or $4 an hour, it’s worth it.
Sliger: Definitely. I’d do it all over. I built my own website, I answer the phone for the sales, and the buyers, and just everything across the board.
Steven: You’re from Arizona and you do stuff yourself.
Sliger: Pretty much.
Steven: Unlike most the people in California.
Jill: Silly. It’s not as bad as some areas that we talked about. There’s some areas we want to bring back. I mean, that’s one of the things we … Right now we’re working on bringing back TitleMind. I know you know. But Listing Gopher or some version of that, that we can do that for people and post properties that is … I want to do that because we all need it.
Sliger: What would you pay, speaking of Listing Gopher? What would you pay to have your property posted everywhere? A flat fee. What do you think would be a reasonable price?
Steven: I don’t really know off the top of my head. I haven’t really spent much time pricing it. but, obviously, the lower the better for me, but I don’t really know to be honest with you.
Jill: Some days I’d pay $1,000.
Sliger: Man, that’s true. For the amount of time, it’ll free up.
Jill: That’s fine. I’ll just roll into the deal.
Sliger: Well, I currently have two properties that I’m selling together in Arkansas and I’ve never had a title company take so long. I think we’re stretching on into a month and a half. And they don’t seem to be in any hurry. The buyer doesn’t seem to be in any hurry. I’m calling them a couple times a week but try not to drive them nuts, but it’s driving me nuts. But, at this point, all I can really do is be patient and let them know that I still want them to get it done and I’m available to do anything on my end that’ll expedite it.
Jill: That’s good.
Steven: I don’t mind that. Turtlemine will solve that problem for you overnight.
Jill: Well, the nice thing is you’re in communication with the buyer. And it’s not like if you wanted to camp on there this weekend, you can say, go for it. It’s not like you can’t use it kind of thing. It’s cool.
Steven: Exactly. Hey, back to this farm thing. Farms and Arizona usually don’t mix. Was it in Arizona this farm business?
Sliger: It’s actually, it’s a glorified farm. It’s my backyard as one big huge vegetable garden. But I incorporated as an LLC because if you’ve been farming for three out of the last 10 years, then you’re eligible for really low-interest-rate loans on farm property through the FSA, which is the farm service agency. But at one point, I had learned about this before I had joined Land Academy but I thought that might be one viable way for me to actually be able to get some property because farm land is pretty expensive. But I don’t really want to buy laser level farm field where you need a big $300,000 combine. I want to do more fruit, nut, edible trees, stuff like that. Run animals, chickens, cows. A piece of property that I’d want to live on. I thought about …Oh, sorry, go ahead, please.
Steven: Are you selling the product?
Sliger: I do. I sell a product but it’s not a big moneymaker for me. I just sell it to the mostly friends and family and then sometimes because the LLC is a different legal entity than Nick Sliger himself, I just sell it to myself. Then I give it away I account for it.
Steven: Do you get any property tax breaks?
Sliger: No, because I’m renting.
Steven: But I mean, would you be eligible for that?
Sliger: You would. I think definitely if you … I’m not sure if you have to rezone the property agricultural if it’s a residential zone but I’m pretty sure that you do. I’m not exactly sure what that whole process would be though.
Steven: I have a friend out here and they, he has nothing to do with farming, but he grows a lot of lavender and property taxes are zero.
Jill: And the winery. He’s got it all.
Steven: But in California, that’s a big deal.
Sliger: That’s one way that I’ve heard that people that are trying to get into … Sometimes people are trying to get into farming. They find a large landowner and make that proposal to them. “Hey, let me farm your land and we’ll bring down your property taxes.”
Steven: That’s all right.
Steven: That’s the name of the show. How to bring down your property taxes?
Sliger: That would be a good one.
Jill: A little patch in our front area. I could plant a few things there. Let’s see what I could come up with. Wouldn’t that be funny.
Sliger: Exactly. Because farming technically is just the buying and selling of agricultural goods, so they don’t say how much you have to grow or sell.
Jill: There we go.
Steven: Awesome. Everybody’s wondering how you started from nothing and ramped your business up to the point where you’re contemplating quitting your job. Can you share it with us?
Sliger: Definitely. The free property didn’t hurt. Add a little bit of capital saved to get into it. I didn’t get into it with no money but my initial investment was about 5,000 bucks. And I was buying properties cheap ones, 500 bucks, selling them for 1,000. Selling them for 1,500. On a couple like that, I kept building up. Bought properties for 500 sell them for 3,000.
Sliger: But after about 10 of those I realized that I just wanted to go bigger. I started buying 20-acre properties for about 6,500 bucks. Selling those for about 15 to 20. And then it moved up to some forties and some eighties. But one thing I realized was although it’s the same amount of work, in fact, it’s often less work when a title company does it for you as opposed to you closing yourself. They just don’t sell as fast.
Sliger: And I don’t want to sell on terms. Probably 85% of my inquiries are people that want to sell on terms and I just let them know that, “Hey, I can take your credit card, you can finance it, or I’ll send them a link to a couple of websites that do funding for things like that.” But they don’t, for whatever reason, they want me to fund it.
Sliger: Because I think I told this story may be at the live event, but the one time I did sell something on terms, I sold it on terms. The guy defaulted after four payments, had it in my name the whole time. I sent them what I thought was the proper paperwork and then about two months later I resold it. But when the new buyer went to the property, he found the previous buyer squatting on it.
Steven: Oh, man.
Sliger: I had to refund his money. But it was at a bad time where my personal account and business account were pretty low. I had bought some 20 acres up in Washington that had some title problems so I went back to the seller, renegotiated down what I thought it was going to cost me to do a quiet title action. That was a couple of months previous. But when I got that check in the second time for the property cash, I wanted to pay off the attorney. But I wrote that check.
Sliger: But then now the buyers coming back to me and he needs his money back. And I can’t in good conscience, not refund him because it’s not his fault to deal with this third-party maniac. I pretty much wiped out of all my money in my business account, my personal account. And went to my sister and borrowed some money. Those were a couple tough months. I was running a one-man Ponzi scheme of sorts, just like taking money from one account, balance it back and forth just trying to keep my finances and everything alive.
Steven: And you’re officially now a real entrepreneur. If you borrow money from family you’re an entrepreneur.
Jill: That’s perfect.
Sliger: A couple of things that I’ve learned even though I’ve done well on some stuff with no access. I don’t think I’d buy another property without access again. I have one that’s just beautiful but I can’t sell the darn thing and I got it priced really low with that access issue. Because I really disclosed it in my ad and I just can’t sell it for whatever reason. The other ones I sold were to adjacent landowners so it was a lot easier.
Steven: And did you quiet title successfully quiet title the Washington properties?
Sliger: I did. I did two. And I probably wouldn’t do it again unless it was a much higher price point. That was probably about … There are two properties so they varied a little bit. But let’s say 6,000 and 7,500 into them each. And then turned around and sold them for 15 to 18. But the amount of time it took and how much of my percentage of capital it wrapped up during that time, it wasn’t worth it. I’d do it again if there was a big net to be had in the end. But, otherwise, it just eats up too much time.
Steven: What were the legal fees?
Sliger: I got a good deal. I paid about 1,750 to 2,000 per properties.
Steven: That’s great.
Sliger: But I had to do some negotiating with the guy. He was a nice guy but typical lawyer. They come back and they always want a little bit more. I really had to hold him to his original agreement with me because he thought it would be less work than it was.
Steven: How long did it take?
Sliger: Six months.
Steven: That’s about right.
Sliger: I don’t think I’d do it again like I said unless there was a lot more a net to be had in it.
Jill: When you’re buying for 12 and selling for 50.
Steven: I did this in Arizona on a bunch of 40-acre properties in Maricopa County. I bought it for 21,000 for … It cost 2,500 to foreclose on it, and we sold it for $1.8 million.
Sliger: Those are the sort of nets that I would do it again for.
Jill: That works.
Steven: You know that shrimp farm out there?
Sliger: No. Where is that?
Steven: On the way to … If you drive to San Diego from Phoenix on the eight. Right behind that shrimp farm. Right by the prison down there.
Sliger: Oh, all right. Nice.
Jill: Almost to Juarez.
Steven: This is a lot of years ago actually.
Jill: Exactly. Cool.
Steven: Nick, it was great talking to you. Do you have any questions for us?
Sliger: No. I got one more quick story though if you guys want to hear it. All right, cool. I’m on a property, I got this 40-acre in Washington. Got the title, insurance. Bought it from a gentleman hadn’t been there in about 10 or 12 years. And he told me that there was a gate but it was just dummy locked you could push right by it. I’m like, all right. I hire a photographer to got out there, he’s a drone photographer so he doesn’t bother going to the property he just flies his drone over.
Sliger: I get thinking about the gate. I’m like, I wonder what the story of that gate is. I hire another photographer that I’d used before and it’s a coded gate. You can’t get through the sucker. And so then I went and looked at all the title stuff. I see there’s another road. I send her on that one it’s a little perilous. She gets stopped by some down trees. I called the fire department, the police department. The mail is wondering how I got there. The mailboxes are outside the gate. The police department it’s always a civil issue for them.
Sliger: But, fortunately, she found someone on the other path that is in the area was talking to them. Got their number for me. I talked to them. Got the backstory on when that more bigger gate went up. Come to be that her husband is a UPS driver and his friend has that route. Hopefully, I’ve got fingers crossed. They’re going to call me today and furnish me with the gate code so that I can call back about five or six people that are waiting to go see the property that really-
Jill: That’s awesome. I just see the gate code.
Steven: We never cross the line.
Jill: That’s good. You have to do that sometimes. I’m glad.
Steven: What are the economics of that deal?
Jill: That one in for 14,300 with everything so far and should be out of it in 40.
Steven: Those are great numbers.
Jill: That’s good.
Steven: That’ll be one of my better ones.
Jill: That’s really, really good.
Steven: That’s awesome. Nick, it was a pleasure talking to you. I’m glad you’re with us, man. And I’m glad this is working for you.
Sliger: I love the group. I think it’s awesome.
Steven: All right, pal. We’ll see you soon. And thanks again for being on the show.
Sliger: Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. Take care guys.
Sliger: Yes, bye.
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