Technology Dictates How We Buy and Sell Property (LA 1074)

Technology Dictates How We Buy and Sell Property (LA 1074)


Steven Butala:                   Steven 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 Jill DeWit, broadcasting from sunny Southern California.

Steven Butala:                   Today jill and I talk about how technology dictates how we buy and sell properties.

Jill DeWit:                            Yup.

Steven Butala:                   We’d like to think we have a lot of choices in life, but we have no choice about this.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, you got to keep up, man.

Steven Butala:                   I was talking to one of my buddies recently and I said, “Hey, what’s going on?” Like a guy that I went to college with, like I haven’t talked to him in five or eight years. I said, “What’s going on?” He said, “Well I’m reading this book that Bill Gates just wrote.” And I said, “That’s really interesting ’cause I’m a huge fan of Bill Gates.” And I said, “What’s it about?” He said, “It’s about the future of Windows and not just Windows, but computers and operating systems and how it’s going to go.” And I said, “I didn’t know you were interested in that.” And he said, “Yeah, I’d like to see how my life’s going to go.”

Jill DeWit:                            Do I know this person?

Steven Butala:                   No.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh.

Steven Butala:                   The whole point is I’d like to see how my life’s going to go. Like we don’t decide how our lives are going to go, Windows does.

Jill DeWit:                            Like, I’m just kind of curious. You’re like, “Nope, you don’t know.” Like what the heck?

Jill DeWit:                            Is he too smart for me?

Steven Butala:                   What? No.

Jill DeWit:                            I don’t know. “He’s a really smart guy, you don’t know him.”

Steven Butala:                   It’s somebody that I went to college with that I haven’t talked to forever and we were just social media back and forth. It’ll be another … his name’s Chris. It’ll be another probably 20 years before I talk to him again.

Jill DeWit:                            Are you just embarrassed ’cause you were instant messaging or whatever on Facebook? I’m just teasing you. And communicating with an old buddy. It’s good.

Steven Butala:                   No.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Jill DeWit:                            I’m making light of it, we’re just having fun.

Steven Butala:                   Good.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Steven Butala:                   Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the online community. It’s free.

Jill DeWit:                            ‘Cause I am here to have fun, by the way.

Steven Butala:                   Me too.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. Just making sure.

Jill DeWit:                            All right, so here’s the question. Lee asks, “Hello, all. Been reading the forums for a couple of weeks and joined Land Academy yesterday. I’m going through the Land Academy 1.0, watching the videos where Steven does the data. Here’s my question. How much is the data? I’ve seen ten cents. When I purchased those from List Source in the past, it’s per record. Does this mean Steve would have to pay $2,300 for the 23,000 records in his example? I’m planning to get my first mailer out within two weeks. Those starting with 1,000 to test my systems before I’m slowly ramping up. If I’m sending to a company-

Steven Butala:                   A county.

Jill DeWit:                            A county, excuse me. “With 20,000 records, is that going to cost me $2,000 before I scrub it down? Thanks.” And I see some of our members have already chimed in, so I’ll read that.

Jill DeWit:                            Kyle wrote, “Lee, great question. Yes, Steve does spend that much on the data on this example. Each record is ten cents but you don’t have to spend that much. When you’re pulling data, you can set the parameters of what records you want RealQuest Pro to pull up. For example, if you want every vacant parcel in the county, it’s going to be a ton of records. But do you want to limit it to the vacant parcels between five and ten acres? Your sample size would be much smaller. The last mailer I sent out, I pulled 2,500 records, cost me $250. And ended up sending 1,400 offers, that cost $800. You can do a lot of pre-scrubbing and that will keep your data costs down. Hope that helps.”

Jill DeWit:                            And that’s exactly right. Be specific. You can tailor it however you want. I know that you do a lot of that. Do you want to expand?

Steven Butala:                   Well I don’t know if I could answer … really improve on the other members question, answer. This cost a little bit of money to start.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, there’s a couple things. There’s three, well, there’s hundreds of parameters, let’s just say, that you can choose from when you’re doing this. I know some people go for … like we choose 100% equity, we choose 0% improvement. So we make sure that gets us land, right. 0% improvement meaning nothing’s on it. So we pretty much can tell it’s a rural vacant land, never been improved. And then 100% equity, which is-

Steven Butala:                   Meaning there’s no debt.

Jill DeWit:                            They own it 100%. So there’s no bank involved.

Steven Butala:                   It’s a lot of other land use parameters too.

Steven Butala:                   If you just go in and choose five acre properties in a county, you’re going to get a ton of records. But this is what we teach in our education, so this person hasn’t been through all of the education yet.

Jill DeWit:                            They’re just getting started, yeah.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   I mean you don’t send offers to people who own cemeteries or hospital vacant lots or stuff that’s zoned, heavy industrial. You don’t want to buy that property. You’re just wasting their time and your time and spending money on data and mail and stuff. So there’s a real specific way that we teach about … these are the parameters that work for us, rural vacant land, and I can’t list them all now, there’s too many. But you know what we found too is that there’s other business models in sending mail to, not necessarily cemeteries, but for somebody maybe.

Jill DeWit:                            somebody wants to buy a golf course, somebody wants to buy a pond.

Steven Butala:                   Right.

Jill DeWit:                            Somebody wants to buy, you know … that’s true. It’s all available. It’s all in there.

Jill DeWit:                            I was going to add, too, one thing that’s a really good example is spend the money on the data, and I learned this from you. Spend the money on the data because that’s cheaper than spending the money on the mail.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            And having more data is not a bad thing. Because in there, you get a real good gauge of not only the county, but those are also your buyers. People that you’re not going to send six offers to, you’re going to download it and say, “Wow, shucks.” You might kick yourself and go, “Darn, that guy owned ten, maybe 50 properties. Gosh, I didn’t need to spend 50 cents,” or whatever. Or $5, really, when that’s what it is. Guy owns 50 properties, spent $5 to download the same guy’s information, big flipping deal. For $5, now you know he’s your buyer. I mean, that’s the thing to look at it, too. And you’ll get into it and you’ll learn. And you really want to save them money on that mail, you want to price it right. And that’s why we help you with that.

Steven Butala:                   The return on investment for sending out mailers is staggeringly positive.

Jill DeWit:                            Yes.

Steven Butala:                   I can go through the math really quickly here.

Steven Butala:                   It’s 10 cents a record if you use Offers To Owners, which Jill and I own, which everybody does in our group because it’s made for this. I think it costs 50 cents. So you’re into an offer for about 60 cents-ish. You know, if you send out 1,000 offers, I think that, what is that? $600. You’re probably going to buy property and you’re probably going to make $10 grand on it.

Jill DeWit:                            You’re going to buy a great property.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah, ’cause you’re not going to make a bad acquisition decision because you went through all of our education and watched our stuff.

Steven Butala:                   So let’s say you make $5 grand on it instead of $10, you do some stuff wrong or whatever. I mean, you spent $600 bucks to make $5 grand.

Jill DeWit:                            Yup.

Steven Butala:                   This group wouldn’t be how it is and lasted this long and have this much comments if this didn’t work.

Jill DeWit:                            Hey, that’s a good point, I hadn’t thought about that. Can you imagine? We wouldn’t still be sitting here like we are from 2015 if this wasn’t working. Could you imagine? That would be-

Steven Butala:                   1999.

Jill DeWit:                            Or that too. But I mean, just since Land Academy.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            I look at it that way. I mean, even just since we started Land Academy, started sharing it, we wouldn’t have this many people doing this well if there wasn’t something to it.

Steven Butala:                   Here’s another thing, it costs a little money upfront. And so I have this rule that I never go to anything that’s free, like free, free. Like a state fair, which is probably not even free anymore.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s not free.

Steven Butala:                   But you know, stuff that’s free attracts a certain type of person.

Jill DeWit:                            Good point.

Steven Butala:                   So this is not free and it’s not free for a reason, because it weeds out the people that expect some stuff that are free.

Steven Butala:                   So you got to put some money into this and you got to educate yourself. We provide all this stuff, obviously, upfront and realize the value on the back end and make sense of it. And we just interviewed one of our members, I think it’s two weeks ago, it aired two weeks ago, I think. And this guy owns and owned a very successful home remodeling contractor.

Jill DeWit:                            Travis, is it Travis?

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, yeah. I was thinking about him too.

Steven Butala:                   And he was just shocked at how effective these mail campaigns are and how much positive stuff comes back.

Jill DeWit:                            It was great.

Steven Butala:                   I don’t like to use this terminology, but he called it hot leads. Like people will call you back and say, “I do want to sell my property for this.” There’s a lot of reasons why it’s great and we talked about it for 1,100 episodes almost.

Jill DeWit:                            And they were like what number are we on? I don’t know.

Steven Butala:                   Every once in a while people get sticker shock like this. Like, “It cost 60 cents to send out an offer? Oh, my gosh.”

Jill DeWit:                            Isn’t that hilarious?

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Don’t even get me started on that one.

Steven Butala:                   I know, I riled you up.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah. Thank you.

Steven Butala:                   Today’s topic, technology dictates how we buy and sell property. This is the meat of the show.

Steven Butala:                   So my Bill Gates thing and my Windows comment at the very beginning of the show is not that far off. You know, this topic came up because Jill and I, quite literally, were getting ready in our bathroom together and she said … this is what we talk about in the morning. How sad is this? “Oklahoma’s no longer really an abstract state because it’s become obsolete. How much gigs aren’t we?” It’s exactly what you said. And I’m like, “Oh, yeah, this is great. I want to talk about it.” This is our life.

Jill DeWit:                            Like this is what I’m digging up right now. That’s how I came up with this topic. But go ahead on this abstract thing.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, I’m still doing some of the research, but the way it used to be and the way it is now are very, very different. You know, it used to be you had to have an abstract, which is basically the chain of title, and it was like a book. It was a stack of papers and you would hand it to the next guy. And it would show that the chain of title, it was valuable, it’s worth money. And it would show the chain of title being passed along.

Steven Butala:                   Forever.

Jill DeWit:                            Forever, right. And it was done correctly and everything.

Jill DeWit:                            So we’re in the process of, with another member, helping them purchase a bunch of Oklahoma property. And I’m going, “You need to get this from them.” And none of the sellers have it. They’re like, “Nobody knows what I’m talking about.” I’m like, “All right, call the county to see what’s going on.” ‘Cause we haven’t done, aggressively, been doing it at this level in a while in Oklahoma. So I said, “All right, I want you to do this.” And they called three counties and like again, they’re going, “I don’t need that.” Like, “All right, we got to do some more research.”

Jill DeWit:                            So we’re still digging a little bit deeper. I will, I have to add that we’re still digging a little bit. I said, “I need you to talk to a couple of title companies and then get back to me on this one just to confirm we’re not nuts.” So the jury’s not out yet. So follow, man. So hang with me there. But it opened up this whole discussion about, God, look at all the things that have changed.

Jill DeWit:                            So here was my thoughts on this, my thought processes, I believe that maybe this was something that was done back in a time when title was being created. You want me to continue on this path?

Steven Butala:                   I do. I do.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Steven Butala:                   I do.

Jill DeWit:                            This is what we were talking about together in the bathroom, right, as I’m brushing my teeth. This is really what was going on. And I said, “I was thinking about this whole Oklahoma abstract thing and I think … ’cause everyone I could find online, it was all the scroll-y thing like it was from the 1800s and in the early 1900s. I said, “I think this is back when California was getting going and creating their own version of title companies and doing it themselves. This is what Oklahoma I think was doing.” And now I think the whole title search and the whole title everything has now just become a norm across the country.

Jill DeWit:                            So I think that’s maybe wiping out this old way of doing things. And that’s why it’s not an issue right now and why these sellers don’t have anything to hand to the next guy anymore. So that’s where this is coming from. And that launched you and I talking about, well look how much things are just changing. Not just technology but the way that we’re doing deeds. I mean, my staff, it’s a rule now. We don’t send them in the recorder. You find out if there’s online recording first, mail is a backup. If they don’t do all the coding, then we do when we do regular mail.

Steven Butala:                   I mean, the way that when I started in this, the way that you bought and sold a piece of real estate, if I described it to everybody listening to this, you would laugh. There’s no such thing as email. So it was all telephone and FedEx. And the older guys in my office were like, “Can you believe we have FedEx. We don’t have to send us in the mail? And it doesn’t take two weeks to get it back?” Used to take six months to close a real estate deal.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s crazy, yeah.

Steven Butala:                   And we don’t have any choice about it. We don’t have it … if you sit around and say, “You know what, I’m never going to use that thing called email. I’m going to do it my way.” You’d be done.

Jill DeWit:                            Could you imagine?

Steven Butala:                   So this whole abstract thing and I love your e-recording. In some counties you still like you still have to physically mail the thing in with the check and they get it and they record it, put a book and a page number on it, and send it back to you in the mail. And all that takes two weeks. And some counties, like mostly urban counties, they have an online system for it. You get a book and a page number in seconds, it’s all automated. So that’s a perfect example of technology’s changing.

Steven Butala:                   So, and this whole story about, I didn’t really realize this whole Oklahoma abstract thing until we had … and they’re doing deals, that happens to us every day. And if you’re a real estate investor or a business owner, you know this. You don’t sit around and pre-plan Oklahoma to be no longer become an abstract state. You get in there and screw all up.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   Use the wrong terminology, the people that you’re talking to are up to speed, like escrow agents and stuff. They laughed their heads off at you.

Jill DeWit:                            Like, “Here’s another one.”

Steven Butala:                   Yeah, “Here’s an old old man. Got another old man on the phone who thinks they’re supposed to be an abstract.” And everybody laughs about it and then you move forward on the deal. That’s just how you get through it.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   So there’s hundreds and hundreds of examples that we have that we could have about what’s changed in real estate deals and it’s everything. You just have to embrace it and you have to say, “Wow, this is great, it’s actually faster,” and not fight it. I see people older than me really fight this stuff and they’re wrong.

Jill DeWit:                            I know. It’s all meant to be better and faster and easier, which it really is. You know, I think that’s-

Steven Butala:                   Another thing that … and I’ll leave it on this. There’s all these laws that are way old laws that say everybody who owns a piece of real estate, it needs to be a matter of public information. And back when that law was made, you’d have to go into the county, dig through some big old dusty book, it’s called book and page. And find out who owns that piece of property over there and see that Mrs. Smith owns it. And here’s her address and it’s all written in there. And so nobody did it, it was too hard.

Steven Butala:                   So this business model sending these offers to see if they want to sell their properties has been around since the 1700, 1800s. It just wasn’t feasible from a time standpoint. So the laws haven’t changed, technology changed. And companies like RealQuest Pro and Data Tree are aggregating all this data and then making it, for people who are up to it, like us and in our members, it’s the greatest thing ever. Jill and I have made, it’s almost $100 million dollars monopolizing on this technology at the right time all throughout our careers combined with different stuff. So you know, it’s a great thing. The whole point of this show is it’s great, not bad.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Jill DeWit:                            I got to add something, which I’m shocked and amazed and it’s awesome. I really am wondering what the fate of title agents are going to be. Because let me tell you, what I have at my fingertips right now ’cause of the tools that we have, I can go in and I can pull not just the vesting deed. I can do really do my own thing. I can look at mortgages, I can look at liens, I can pull up all … I do everything that a title agent does right now, today. And I questioned some of the …,here’s my thing too. I questioned some of my title agents and like are you even as up to date as I am?

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Do you have the latest and greatest access?

Steven Butala:                   I’m sure they don’t.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s one thing.

Steven Butala:                   I’m sure of it.

Jill DeWit:                            So it’s so interesting. We might be coming on a big shift here as far as what’s really needed with that. ‘Cause we all know too, if you ever do … look, we all know if you’ve ever done a property, bought and sold a property and had title right, and you ever actually read the title report, they only guarantee what they can find.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s it. That’s it. They don’t guarantee anything else that they can’t find. So if I can find and I have access to more than them, I kind of wonder what the point is. I’m going to get off this.

Steven Butala:                   Every once in a while you say, “Look,” all the kids are like … and me too. We’re like, “What did she say? What did I do?” And sometimes in the office, too, it’s like everyone stops, she said, “Look.”

Jill DeWit:                            “Look, listen here.”

Steven Butala:                   That’s it, right there.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s right. “Look, listen, title agents. I’m not seeing the value. You need to up your game. Sorry.”

Steven Butala:                   Join us next time for the episode called, the real deal on these silly land education courses.

Jill DeWit:                            And we answer your questions posted on our online community. Found at, it is free.

Steven Butala:                   You are not alone in your real estate ambition.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, I liked that.

Steven Butala:                   I mean, we scratched the surface on this. There should be books or series of books, like textbooks, on keeping with technology and the business that you’re in.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Jill DeWit:                            Except as soon as you write it, it’s outdated.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. No, it should be like … it shouldn’t be a book. It should be like … I know there’s like keeping up with like a website subscription thing about, “Here’s the latest and greatest stuff on how to close a real estate deal.” And this is probably what our company is.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s kind of who we are. Thank you. I’m not going to say it. You know what I was going to say but I’m not going to say it.

Jill DeWit:                            Wherever you’re watching or wherever you’re listening, please subscribe and rate us there. We are Steve and Jill.

Steven Butala:                   Information.

Jill DeWit:                            And inspiration.

Steven Butala:                   To buy undervalued property.


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