Focus on Being Great at One Part of Your Business (LA 1266)

Focus on Being Great at One Part of Your Business (LA 1266)

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 focusing on being great at one part of your business. We talked about it a little bit yesterday. Jill, what are you great at? What’s your thing?

Jill DeWit:
Getting deals done.

Steven Butala:
Getting deals done.

Jill DeWit:
It’s in my soul. I can’t help it. I am a deal junkie. That’s it.

Steven Butala:
The truth is, I’m a deal junkie, too, but between the two of us, you’re better at it than I am. I love data. When I sit down … When it’s a data day for me, when I sit down and do prepare a mailer, that’s a good day. I truly get excited about sitting down, researching and pulling data, scrubbing it all out and pricing it and getting it out there. I don’t know if it’s like a … It’s a chicken and the egg thing. I don’t know if I was good at that before I learned how to do it or the other way around, like I had so much interest in it that I learned it the right way.

Jill DeWit:
I think it’s just nature for you.

Steven Butala:
Is it nature for you?

Jill DeWit:
Yes. And we’ll talk about that.

Steven Butala:
All right. This is a great point. Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on TheLandIvestors.com online community. It’s free.

Jill DeWit:
Nick wrote, “I’m about to call the county for a couple of properties I have under contract to purchase. What things should I be asking the county when I call?” Actually, I saw this question, too. Here’s a cute … One of our members, Lori, answered … There’s several in there, and we’ll answer, too. But Lori wrote, “Here’s what I ask when I call, along with the department that typically handles it. I verify the current owners name with the clerk or recorder. I ask them how to get a copy of the vesting deed if you haven’t been able to find it online.” These are all very different than what I thought it was going to be. This is just Lori’s response.

Steven Butala:
Yeah. I want to hear yours, too.

Jill DeWit:
Okay, good, because this is … Let’s just say, the view points in this thing are not necessarily those of the hosts. I will help with this in a minute here because … Okay, anyway. This is what Lori does. “And ask if the land is off the grid. Ask if the property has water rights or mineral rights included. That will probably refer you to the deed. Ask if there are any easements granted through the property. Check on the taxes owed; the assessor, the treasurer. Check on how the land can be used; zoning, planning, or engineering department. Also, ask them if there have been any permit applications for septic or building. And if so, try to get a copy of them. Is public water still available? That’s with the water and sanitation departments. Hopefully not the same thing. And most importantly, be nice and express your appreciation for their help. That’s very true, obviously. You might need them again. Best, Lori.”

Jill DeWit:
Do you want to talk first?

Steven Butala:
No, no. Go ahead. Actually, you’re more qualified …

Jill DeWit:
Okay.

Steven Butala:
… Than I am to answer this.

Jill DeWit:
A lot of stuff is overkill. I don’t need to know all that. And maybe because I’ve been doing it so long, I know some of the areas, I already know what the answers are. I can look up what R2 is or Land Use 400. And some areas I know and I keep a little cheat sheet. Here’s what I would say, too. As you’re doing this stuff, create yourself a little cheat sheet going along so you always know … Oh, yeah. That’s what that is. That’s what this is. Even when we do … I used to do a lot of recording ourselves, create our own deeds and send them in. I had a cheat sheet so I didn’t have to look up the address every time and look how much the check should be made out to and who the check should be made out to for recording and things like that.

Jill DeWit:
I’m usually not needing the county for most of this. This is my thing.

Steven Butala:
I agree.

Jill DeWit:
It’s so much more efficient for me to go into Neighbor Scoop. I have the zoning, I have the owner’s name, I have the legal description. I can see all kinds of things in there already that I don’t need to call the county. Next, vesting deed. I go two places. One is the seller. They usually have it. Can you send me a copy? Email me, take a picture of it, scan it in, whatever it is. A copy of the deed. Check. I don’t need to go to the county for that. That’s an extra step and a cost you don’t need to do.

Jill DeWit:
And if they don’t have it, I go to my sources, which is usually Title Pro or one of my other data things and it’s like two dollars and I have a copy. And it’s right there. Because if you’ve had to go to a county for something like this, usually you have to write them a letter, send it in, write them a check, they get it, they process it. And it could be two weeks by the time you get it back. I don’t have time for that. I want it sold in two weeks. I’m not going to wait for this deed to come back to me. And the only reason I need the vesting deed, honestly, is usually I’m confirming something; just making sure I get the legal description exactly right. That’s really why I want to look at it.

Jill DeWit:
The extra things here … Taxes owed, I do check on that. A lot of counties, you can look it up online. If not, absolutely agree with Lori here. Call the treasurer, find out where they are in the taxes. You never want to not know. You don’t want to be surprised by that. How the land can be used? Often I know, but if you … And often, it’s for something like maybe Info Lots or something like that … I’m looking for … I might be looking to see if there’s setbacks, things like that, just so I know from my buyers.

Steven Butala:
95% of the time that I’ve ever called the county is for this reason. Can the property be built on in its current zoning situation and in its current terrain? And the vast majority of the time, they’ll answer you very, very quickly and directly. But I’ll tell you, if there’s properties all over the place and the lots are the same size, that’s your answer.

Jill DeWit:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And you can see …

Steven Butala:
You can see. If there’s utilities at the property next to this property, the one in question, then it’s all … The utilities are at the … There’s a 99% chance you can do on your lot what the person next door or on either side of you did.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Butala:
Or the question is, lately, can I put a mobile home on here? Because mobile home zoning is always … It’s different everywhere. And if you call planning and zoning in any area in Arkansas and say, “Can I put a mobile on the property?” They’re going to laugh at you. They’re going to say some version of, “You can do anything you want. Why are you calling me?”

Jill DeWit:
Right. The very minimum that you … When you buy this property, the things that I really want you to know is ownership. Make sure you’re buying it from the guy that owns it, number one. Two, double-check the back taxes and just make sure that. Check for HOA/POA. That’s not on here. You want to make sure … Look around, do some checking. A lot of this stuff, ask the seller. That’s why I have my checklist, by the way, that you should all be printing out and using. Ask the sellers or Home Owners Association or Property Owners Association. And if you have any indication that there is, ask the county and dig a little bit.

Jill DeWit:
What I don’t want you to do is spend three hours …

Steven Butala:
Or worry about this.

Jill DeWit:
… On every property. Because what will happen is three hours will turn into 30 when you realize, okay, there’s no power out there. How is my buyer going to get power? And the next thing you know, you’re becoming a power expert and you find yourself looking at solar things in Costco. I had somebody …

Steven Butala:
Or you’re talking yourself out of a deal.

Jill DeWit:
Exactly.

Steven Butala:
Oh, man. It doesn’t have any power?

Jill DeWit:
I don’t want you to do that. There’s a line of too much …

Steven Butala:
Yeah.

Jill DeWit:
… And enough. And if you … I’d rather you not do a lot. Get just the basics down. Put your property … Once enough that you felt good enough to buy it, you buy it, you put it for sale and someone asks you a question. And if it’s a good question, you might help them. A lot of the questions, you have it in the posting. You kind of already know. But if someone … If you have 10 of the same question, too, especially … You know what? I should probably find this out about this property and put it in the posting. That’s it.

Steven Butala:
Yep.

Jill DeWit:
Thank you.

Steven Butala:
We certainly don’t call the county … What percentage of the deals that we do do we call the county on for information?

Jill DeWit:
Less than 10.

Steven Butala:
Yeah. I think that’s a great number. And it’s only because … I find myself calling the county because it’s like a deal where I’m going to make 10 times … We had a deal last year where it was zoned very specifically for hotel/motel. That can be …

Jill DeWit:
We didn’t even … We had people on … We had a broker. They took care of that stuff.

Steven Butala:
We didn’t call.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Butala:
But that can be a great thing or not a great thing.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Butala:
Use is why I call the county. I don’t call vesting deeds or any of that stuff.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Butala:
By the way, you don’t need to do any of this if you’re using a title agent.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah, it’s funny. I’m calling the county adverse because it’s hard sometimes getting them, getting the right people …

Steven Butala:
Yeah.

Jill DeWit:
… Especially right now, on the phone. I lock them all up. Even land use.

Steven Butala:
That’s what I think. All this stuff can be found …

Jill DeWit:
I would go …

Steven Butala:
… Online.

Jill DeWit:
I go and look up and I find the 20-page document and I figure out for myself …

Steven Butala:
Me, too.

Jill DeWit:
… What the land use is and what’s possible. Because that’s what they’re going to do with me on the phone, anyway. Let’s call a spade a spade. Unless the guy has been there for 20 years and it’s memorized, a lot of them, they have to go look it up themselves. That’s where I’m at. And I’ll tell you right now, there’s only one property in my whole inventory that we’re working with the county on right now because there’s something weird on the way it was subdivided. This family has property lines overlapping, even in Neighbor Scoop. So, there’s some question about whoever did the overlay for the map for this one little area. So, we’re going to the county to really get a flat map. But that’s one out of 500 right now.

Steven Butala:
And here’s a final point about talking to the county. The county assessor is inadvertently put in a customer service role when you call him or her. And the same thing with planning and zoning. Not so much recorder because they’re used to it. They don’t want to answer the phone. They’re not positive when you talk to them, especially if you don’t speak their language. Jill speaks their language, so she can get on and off the phone when them very quickly. They’re doing other stuff. They’re assessing property like they were hired to do. Or they’re planning and zoning. They’re not just there to just stare at the phone and wait for it to ring and answer your questions. They’re not happy to talk to you. The more work you can do yourself, the better off everybody’s going to be.

Jill DeWit:
Exactly.

Steven Butala:
Today’s topic, focus on being great at one part of your business. This is the meat of the show.

Jill DeWit:
I was going to add one more thing, too. I’d be careful about putting too much information in your posting because too much information can lead to someone asking you a lot of questions like you’re the pro. If you put in, I found a permit pulled for this or I found out this is possible, this is possible, this is possible, now they’re going to look to you and take up a lot of your time on that when I would rather them go off and think of it and dream it up all on their own.

Steven Butala:
Yeah. Here’s the thing about posting property and the sentiment … Jill’s exactly right … That you want to create for your potential buyer is this. This guy really doesn’t know, meaning the seller, meaning me. I don’t think these guys know what they have. They don’t know, really. They just say the zoning is whatever. I live in this area.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Butala:
I have a couple of other properties in this area. I paid a lot more for my properties that I own than these guys are asking for this property. I’m going to try to pull one over their eyes, buy …

Jill DeWit:
I’m going to grab it.

Steven Butala:
I’m going to buy it real fast because they don’t know it’s worth a lot more. When you’re sitting there, describing your posting, how intelligent you are about this property and how much time you spent and this is what you can do and there’s water rights and all these other details, you’re losing some buyers that way. You’re really kind of self-servingly showing off, in my opinion, rather than saying, “Hey, I’m in this business. We brought this property. I’m not really sure what’s possible. It’s zoned for this, or at least that’s what the county says. But …”

Jill DeWit:
Dream it up.

Steven Butala:
“… Knock yourself out because this is the price and we just kind of want to get rid of it.”

Jill DeWit:
That’s how I feel. I want the seller to be like, “The sky’s the limit. Dream it up.”

Steven Butala:
Yeah.

Jill DeWit:
Thank you. Okay. Today, you already started the show. Focus on being great at one part of your business. Or I look at it as what are you good at?

Steven Butala:
Yeah.

Jill DeWit:
It should be …

Steven Butala:
That’s the way to do it.

Jill DeWit:
Because if I walked in … Let’s just say, if I walked in and said … Which you can, don’t get me wrong. But my take on this, or how I do things, is what am I good at? What comes naturally me? And that’s what I should focus on. I could be better at data. I don’t have to. I have him, which is great.

Steven Butala:
Let’s start with … Really, the root of this is …

Jill DeWit:
Okay.

Steven Butala:
Let’s start with a profile of the people in the advanced group and why they’re doing so well in this program. They …

Jill DeWit:
[inaudible 00:13:32] profile. Sorry.

Steven Butala:
What do you mean?

Jill DeWit:
I could think of all kinds of funny things?

Steven Butala:
Why? Share it.

Jill DeWit:
Well, this is a funny group. You know what? The profile, the advanced group is … What we just said on this thing, they don’t get into details.

Steven Butala:
Yeah.

Jill DeWit:
They are just about let’s get it done. Buy it, sell it, wish you the best. Next.

Steven Butala:
The profile of the typical advanced member is this. They, themselves, or they have a partner like me, who is incredibly dynamic personality on the phone. They love to be on the phone. It’s natural for them. And they’ve done it in the most recent job they’ve had or the most recent company they’ve owned and they just have this dynamic, sales-type personality where you just want to talk to them. For me, I can do that. And hopefully some of it comes off on this show. I don’t like it. That’s not my favorite. That’s not my comfortable, fun spot. So, there’s that.

Steven Butala:
The other thing is that they have somebody on their team or they, themselves, do not struggle with the concept of data. In fact, they embrace it. Like I said earlier, I think it was on this show or yesterday, when it’s mailer day for me and data day, I jump out of bed. I’m so excited to be involved in that. That’s my one thing. Jill’s one thing, I think we just described it. You can’t get away with it in the beginning of your career as a one-man show. You have to do all this stuff. And hopefully, through that you’re going to figure out … I love doing this, I’m going to outsource this. Or however it works for you.

Jill DeWit:
One thing, if you have either the data talent that he has or the getting deals done drive that I have, I think another valuable talent in our business is just being organized and able to put systems in place. If you could half do data, half talk on the phone but you’re really good at doing a lot of things at one time, that is a huge, I see, valuable talent in our world. Because I see a lot of people focusing on one thing, they stop and they start. They do this job for a day, they do that job for a day, they do this job for a day and this job for a day. And you can’t get ahead. It’s really hard.

Steven Butala:
I’ve constantly been told throughout my whole professional life, regardless of where I worked or whoever I worked with or for that I can get … And I’m not boasting, here. I’m just reporting this … That I can get four times the amount of work that a normal person can get done. And it hasn’t been just in one … Like when I was an accountant, people were saying that. In fact, when I was in consulting for KPNG the partner that I was working under came to me and said, “You need to slow down. There’s no …

Jill DeWit:
“You’re making the rest of us look bad.”

Steven Butala:
… Way …” Yeah. “You’re making everybody else look bad. And number two, we can’t bill for your time if you’re doing this in five minutes and we could bill five hours for it.”

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Butala:
Which is one of the reasons I left that industry because I don’t think that’s cool. Organization, I would heavily, heavily encourage you. I don’t care if you’re a member or not a member or never get involved in real estate, there’s all kinds of stuff … Microsoft does a bunch of free learning on how to use their tools.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Butala:
How to use Outlook, time management, how you should be using email versus teams and all this other stuff. Jill, you nailed it. That’s not the one great thing …

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Butala:
… That you should be. Everyone needs to be crazy organized.

Jill DeWit:
That’s true. That’s true. But if that’s your forte, you will do well, also.

Steven Butala:
Break it down real … Put it in eighth grade, seventh grade language. I’m great at finding real estate deals that are under value. If that is what you’re great at, however it manifests itself, believe me you will be flying in a private jet at some point in your career. Think about that for a second. All you need to do is be great at finding under valued real estate and a little bit organized.

Jill DeWit:
I love it.

Steven Butala:
On Jill’s side, all you need to be great at is closing deals correctly and quickly and everybody’s got a smile on their face when they’re done.

Jill DeWit:
That’s it. Everybody’s hugging and happy.

Steven Butala:
When you can put those two forces together, you can make a lot of money and have a lot of fun.

Jill DeWit:
Thank you.

Steven Butala:
Whatever that great thing is … And don’t ask anybody else because they won’t tell you. They’re all wrong. Only you know that.

Jill DeWit:
In your heart.

Steven Butala:
Yeah.

Jill DeWit:
That’s so sweet.

Steven Butala:
In your dream catcher.

Jill DeWit:
In your dream catcher. Happy you could join us today. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we are here on The Land Academy Show.

Steven Butala:
Oh, sorry.

Jill DeWit:
Tuesdays and Thursdays, we are next door on The House Academy Show.

Steven Butala:
The episode on The House Academy Show tomorrow is called How Many Deals Can You Do at Once? You are not alone in your real estate ambition. 30.

Jill DeWit:
I’m sharing my number.

Steven Butala:
That’s higher than 30.

Jill DeWit:
The Land Academy Show remains commercial free for you, our loyal listener. So wherever you’re watching, wherever you’re 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 under valued property.

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