Why We Have Stopped Yelling at Title Agents to Close Faster (LA 1276)

Why We Have Stopped Yelling at Title Agents to Close Faster (LA 1276)

Transcript:

Steven Butala:
Steve and Jill here.

Jill DeWit:
Hello.

Steven Butala:
Welcome to the Land Academy Show, entertaining land investment talk. I’m Steven Jack Butala.

Jill DeWit:
And I’m Jill Dewitt, podcasting from sunny Southern California

Steven Butala:
Today, Jill and I talk about why we’ve stopped yelling at title agents to close faster. Have you stopped yelling at title agents altogether, or just the close faster? That’s my question.

Jill DeWit:
A little bit of both. I’ll share.

Steven Butala:
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:
Brandon wrote… Okay, this is kind of long. Looks like we have the question-

Steven Butala:
It’s a good question.

Jill DeWit:
And then I have one answer.

Steven Butala:
Two answers.

Jill DeWit:
Two answers from some members that piped in. Okay.

Steven Butala:
And they’re great answers, which is why I included them.

Jill DeWit:
Awesome.

Steven Butala:
Brandon wrote, “Hi guys, I’m sending my second round to purchase infill lots in the county. I’ve developed my own red, yellow, green spreadsheet, which I use for SFRs and infills.” And he attached a screenshot for people to see. That’s really cool. “Thanks to Jack, I realized that I’m a data nerd.” Love it.

Jill DeWit:
Happy to help. Sorry, Brandon.

Jill DeWit:
“Once I put in zip codes, I got about 3000 results. But as I go through the list before purchasing, I see pages and pages of associations. Some are county wildlife preservation. Many are city owned or county owned. My best guess is probably 50% of the 3000 units or offers are either HOA, state, county, or city owned. So is it best to, one, buy and download the list, scrub out the city, county, and state owned, and HOAs?

Jill DeWit:
Number two, do I sit and uncheck all those boxes before downloading the list? More work, but you can go and uncheck full pages at a time. Number three, delete the others and leave in the HOAs and mail them for one of their lots?”

Jill DeWit:
So, Laurie, one of our members, wrote in, “Hi, Geraldo, you didn’t say what service you’re using for data. If you’re using any of Land Academy provided ones like RealQuest Pro, DataPro, or DataTree, you can use the search filters to get rid of most of the government owned properties.”

Steven Butala:
She means keyword search things like county, HOA. Just the keywords. The names of the city and the county, the state names, the US government, there’s a lot of them. She’s right.

Jill DeWit:
“HOAs aren’t filtered, but from what I’ve experienced, you’ll save a lot of time if you don’t try to go through the search results and uncheck the suspected HOA properties.”

Jill DeWit:
That is a pain in the ass. If you sit, you’re looking at 5,000 units. Could you imagine? I’m just like, my head on my desk, uncheck, uncheck, uncheck, uncheck.

Steven Butala:
There’s keyword search filters.

Jill DeWit:
Uncheck, uncheck, uncheck. He’s talking about before downloading the data so he doesn’t have to pay the [crosstalk 00:02:51].

Steven Butala:
Well, that’s one way to do it.

Jill DeWit:
But, yeah.

Steven Butala:
But our keyword search filters to remove that stuff.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah. It’s much faster to delete rows in a worksheet if you recognize there [crosstalk 00:03:00].

Steven Butala:
Use a map. On a 3000 unit, the top line of 3000 units, if you end up with 50% of the property… So to download 3000 units of our data costs $300. If you’re going to not use 50% of those, you’re going to save yourself $150 spending about two hours moving them before you download them.

Jill DeWit:
Check, check, check.

Steven Butala:
So you have to ask yourself, and again, we just talked about it, yesterday we talked about the math on this.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Butala:
If you download 3000 units, you’re going to save yourself 150 bucks and you’re going to buy an infill lot, you’re going to make $20,000 on it net. Ask yourself this question. Do you want to save 150 bucks if you know you’re going to make some number like that? I don’t think so.

Steven Butala:
She’s right. It doesn’t make sense. Just download the data.

Jill DeWit:
Then Luke answered, “You can get rid of most of them by asking for taxes over a hundred dollars, or assessed values over a thousand dollars, and change a number around and look at the list and see what happens before buying it.”

Steven Butala:
What he means is-

Jill DeWit:
It’s good.

Steven Butala:
I do this at the very end. I download all the data and I figure it out the spreadsheet. What he’s saying is you can. At the end of my scrub… And we teach this. This person is not a member, I don’t think. I take a look at the really low assessed properties and like the slivers.

Steven Butala:
If you have a chunk of property that’s got an assessed value, depending on where it is in the country, less than a hundred dollars, or even a thousand, it’s a property that’s probably unusable for how we want to resell property. So just take them out unless you really want to get the phone calls for that or whatever. I mean, unless you’re specializing in that kind of property, and we have members that do that.

Steven Butala:
So there is some use for assessed values, and I hope that’s clear. Is it clear?

Jill DeWit:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala:
Okay.

Jill DeWit:
Clear as mud. I’m just kidding. I just wanted to say that.

Steven Butala:
That’s a good, intelligent question

Jill DeWit:
That’s good, but, well, Luke was talking too, like, I know for a fact for those of you who are going, what are they talking about? Here’s what we do. We picked a county, we picked an area, we’d go into RealQuest Pro, we put in the county, the state, the county, and we’re pulling up all this ownership data, and you could sit and add filters. Like, do I want anything that is zoned XYZ? Nope. So I’m going to take those out. Do I want anything that’s assessed at this price? Nope, take that out. Do I want anything there with the taxes? Nope, take that out. And even Lori saying, you can even shrink it down. There’s other things. There’s a lot of filters. That’s who we are.

Jill DeWit:
Was this Brandon who wrote this note? Yeah, Brandon, who’s now become a data, he realized he’s a data nerd. That’s what he’s getting into.

Jill DeWit:
I actually find it fun, too. I get in there and I like to look at that stuff. But I’m not doing the mailers, obviously. That’s your thing. But I look at it in the after fact. I kind of go look at, oh, that’s what Steven was looking for when he sent out this batch. I can uncover it on the due diligence side and see where you were going.

Steven Butala:
There’s a lot of cute little tools out there. More and more you’re seeing cute little tools that are developed mostly by former Land Academy members to make this easy, to press a button, it scrubs all this stuff out for you, and you end with a dataset and then you click a button and send it to offers to owners.

Steven Butala:
I can’t describe to you how I believe this is the fastest way to wreck your real estate career. These cute little buttons, you don’t learn anything.

Jill DeWit:
The easy button.

Steven Butala:
Yeah. You need to get in the data. We don’t have any Land Academy member in the advanced group that would ever use a tool like that. Ever.

Jill DeWit:
They wouldn’t a batch pricing thing.

Steven Butala:
Yeah. Downloading this data, we’re working through it, looking at it, getting a feel for it, pricing it correctly. I don’t even want to get into pricing. Then having this sense of pride when you send it to the offers to owner, the mailing company.

Jill DeWit:
It’s true.

Steven Butala:
Then if it doesn’t come back, maybe the mailer doesn’t yield the results that you want, your fingers are in there. All 10 fingers are in that data, and you can look back and say, wow, you know what? I either overpriced that, I under priced it, I didn’t price it well enough from a small geography standpoint. Wow, I’ll never send offers to a HOA again. That yielded nothing. I can just pick up the phone and call the HOA like Jill does and see if they have any properties for sale.

Steven Butala:
In fact, in this specific case, if you get a mailer back that there’s a ton of HOA owned properties because they foreclosed on it, call the HOA.

Jill DeWit:
Call them.

Steven Butala:
They’ll give you some property just to get it back on their roles. So you can’t learn with an easy button. You just can’t. You know, none of us.

Steven Butala:
When I was a kid, we all knew how to work on cars, because you just had to. They’re carborated and stuff went wrong. We all knew how to change tires. Now we have AAA and we’re raising a whole generation. I’m not complaining. I think it’s actually it’s progress in our humanity. I don’t know anything about these cars. I wouldn’t know the first thing to do because they’ve made it an easy button.

Steven Butala:
Is that good for us? Yeah. I don’t want to be an auto mechanic. If I wanted to, though, it would be bad.

Jill DeWit:
Okay. I can just imagine what our driveway would look like. By the way, thank you. I’m just not that person. I don’t need you out there tinkering on four half done cars in our driveway.

Steven Butala:
No, neither do I.

Jill DeWit:
Your way is much better. Find a professional, take it to them, let them take it apart in their driveway.

Steven Butala:
Well, like I said yesterday-

Jill DeWit:
That’s what they are good at.

Steven Butala:
I think working on a car would require me to leave my desk, and that’s not efficient.

Jill DeWit:
That is true.

Jill DeWit:
Today’s topic?

Steven Butala:
Oh, today’s topic is why we have stopped yelling at title agents to close faster. This is the meat of the show. Jill’s meat.

Jill DeWit:
Glad you can join us today.

Steven Butala:
Yeah. I was having like a little daydream [inaudible 00:00:09:03].

Jill DeWit:
Like, where are you going? Are you imagining yourself as a mechanic?

Steven Butala:
Four cars in the driveway. What cars? I just had like a flash moment.

Jill DeWit:
Oh no. Wow. You tuned out.

Steven Butala:
Yep.

Jill DeWit:
That’s hilarious.

Steven Butala:
Flash moment on the four cars I’d be working on.

Jill DeWit:
What are they?

Steven Butala:
They’re-

Jill DeWit:
I think I know one of them. I hope one of them is the one that I really want. Go ahead.

Steven Butala:
They’re all German and they all have engines in the back.

Jill DeWit:
Does one of them start with a three and end with a six?

Steven Butala:
Yeah, 356.

Jill DeWit:
Oh, thank you.

Steven Butala:
Of course your 356 is the first car we have lined up there.

Jill DeWit:
Okay, thank you. I’d like it to be done in the driveway. Not un-done. Not laid out in the doorway. Hey baby, here’s your car.

Steven Butala:
I have a late seventies Volkswagen bus which is in the driveway right now, but all done. Anyway, this is the meat of the show.

Jill DeWit:
Okay. Here we go. So what’s changed, Jill? Things have changed around the office a little bit. Here’s what I’ve come to realize, and I’m saying this to share you, because it’s frustrating unless you can just chill out, and you need to hear this.

Jill DeWit:
Their pace is now set. It always has been set, virus or no virus. Pre-virus, I could push them along, I could get them going, I could dangle carrots, I could threaten. Talking about the yelling. Hey, we did this post-virus, and they’re just like, that’s it.

Jill DeWit:
In some situations, I’m not kidding, you’re almost lucky to get one. Because I’ve had areas that they’ve said, we can’t even take any customers. I’m like, are you flipping kidding me? Hire help. But they’re like, I can’t find good help. I’m like, okay. So I had to chill out and say, this is it. Stop hitting your head against the wall. This is who they are.

Jill DeWit:
So what do I do now? What are my best practices to make this work? So here’s what I do, and actually this does work and I’m not suffering at all. Number one, when you find a good one, keep them. Most of the time, I have one agent doing multiple deals for me at the same time, and I reward them. I send them treats. I thank them. I’m nice to them. We just do our best to agree on the closing data up front, do our best. Even then, it’s not uncommon now this Friday becomes next Friday, because, and it’s not even necessarily them, that my sellers are kind of dragging their feet getting the documents signed for whatever reason. There’s always a reason. And you just can’t hit your head against the wall.

Jill DeWit:
So another thing that I do, number two… So number one is find the good ones, reward them. Number two, help them through the process. I have multiple people on my team that work directly with these agents, and we do our best to anticipate their needs. We pretty much know. We’ve done thousands of escrow transactions, and I know right away what they’re going to need. What’s really nice, too, by the way, with the same agent, they already have all my LLC docs. They have this, they have that, they know how I do it. I’ve got their bank wire and account routing is already in my account. There’s a lot of things we don’t have to do anymore.

Jill DeWit:
But if it’s a brand new person, I just had one the other day. I’m selling a property and we’re going with an attorney in a state that I’ve never worked with. He’s facilitating the transaction. I just sent him an email packet, but included the six documents I know he’s going to ask for.

Steven Butala:
Six documents that every agent, title agent, and every lawyer want.

Jill DeWit:
Yep.

Steven Butala:
So have it ready to go on your desktop, all zipped up and ready to go.

Jill DeWit:
Exactly. The last thing you want is him saying, oh, I need this, and then you email him back, and now I need this, and then you email it back. That’s a pain in the butt for everybody.

Steven Butala:
Right.

Jill DeWit:
So I just send it to them right up front. I think I shocked the guy. I’m sure I shocked the guy. He’s like, oh thank you. I guess we have nothing to talk about.

Steven Butala:
Nothing he can complain about.

Jill DeWit:
No. I’m kind of ready. It’s like, whew. He doesn’t have to chase me for anything, too.

Jill DeWit:
Then here’s the best tip. The third and the most important tip of why I stop yelling at agents. I accept this is their process. You know what? We’re just going to do three to five times the volume, because they’re taking two to three or so times to close.

Steven Butala:
It makes me want to kiss you.

Jill DeWit:
Thank you.

Steven Butala:
There is an efficiency solution around people’s inefficiencies nine times out of ten.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah. So instead of doing a fewer deals and a quicker volume, you know? Because now my communication is all spread out. I send them to this attorney, I’m going to wait three weeks anyway for him to close. What am I going to do, just sit on my hands for three weeks?

Steven Butala:
No. Heck, no.

Jill DeWit:
No, I’m going to do more and more and more deals. That’s how you keep your volume and your money going. Great, it’s going that much slower, I can do that much more done.

Steven Butala:
The only downside to that is you need more cash on hand because deals take longer.

Jill DeWit:
Not necessarily, because I’m wiring the money, because you know what? My selling… Yeah, I guess-

Steven Butala:
But it gives you more time to prepare to sell it, get it posted correctly, doing all that stuff. So there’s a silver lining in that. You can work with inefficiency and idiocy nine times out of ten. You can make it work for you.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Butala:
Instead of getting angry about it. That’s what this episode is really about.

Jill DeWit:
Exactly. I’m just sharing with you, your frustration is not just you, it’s me too. It’s the way it is. And in our environment, the bigger the deals that I’m doing, the more I need title insurance, the more that’s the way I’m going to have to close.

Steven Butala:
By the way, these are listing agent approved transactions for Jill. So she’s already gone to a very reputable, experienced land broker in the area and said… This is even before she buys the property.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Butala:
What can you sell this for? They tell her 80,000 bucks, and she does not tell them, well, we’re buying it for 20 next week.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Butala:
So do you have to yell at anybody when the numbers are like that? No. You don’t. You have to have some patience.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Butala:
I can’t believe I’m saying these words coming out of my mouth.

Jill DeWit:
I know. It’s a bummer. I’ve had my brokers saying, tell me when you have a deed, tell me when you have deed, Because I get the right brokers, too. This is not about brokers, but they’re excited and they want to sell, and I’m trying, I really am. I want to hurry and close these deals because whoever he’s got in his pipeline who’s interested, I don’t want to lose that buyer.

Steven Butala:
I have one final point if you’re done.

Jill DeWit:
Yes.

Steven Butala:
Yesterday, last night, Jill and I went to dinner with some very successful friends that we have. I got up to go to the restroom, and I did, and I came back to the table and I said this to these guys. This is a statement of the world that we live in right now, and I don’t think it’s going to change. It used to be at that same restaurant, it’s a tiny little neighborhood restaurant here, I would walk through the restaurant and they would say hello, Mr. Butala, what can I get you? Are you having a great experience this evening? Is there anything I can get you? You know, and on and on.

Steven Butala:
The experience that I had last night was, I’m sorry, put a mask on, whoever you are. Don’t stand there, stand here. This is how we do it now. So it’s the same thing in a real estate deal. Did I get angry like a lot of people do? No. No. That’s unfortunately, or fortunately, however you look at it, this is the world that we live in.

Steven Butala:
The people that had these small responsibilities, like a title agent, to complete a deal, have a lot more power now because of these current events. Getting angry about it, it’s just going to make you like a hermit old man. That’s all it’s going to do.

Jill DeWit:
Sad day.

Steven Butala:
Nobody wants that.

Jill DeWit:
Nobody wants that. What’s the version of me?

Steven Butala:
I don’t know. They used to say spinster, you know?

Jill DeWit:
Ooh. Cat lady.

Steven Butala:
The lady at the end of the block that won’t let you go on her lawn. Which still kind of is. We’re at the end of the block-

Jill DeWit:
Get off my driveway!

Steven Butala:
And she gets upset about the driveway. She’s not alone, though.

Jill DeWit:
Well, I’m afraid these little kids are going to wipe out and hit their head, and I’m like, you’re in my driveway. Anyway, thanks.

Jill DeWit:
Happy you could join us today. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you can find us here on the Land Academy Show. Tuesdays and Thursdays, this week, that’s a hint, we’re on the House Academy Show. There’s changes coming.

Steven Butala:
The episode on the House Academy Show is called why SFRs Are Better Than Multi-tenant Properties From An Investment Standpoint.

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

Jill DeWit:
Boy, I chatted a bit on that.

Steven Butala:
It’s smart, though.

Jill DeWit:
Okay.

Steven Butala:
It really is. That was a good show. It’s good Jill-type advice.

Jill DeWit:
Thank you.

Steven Butala:
I think you’re on the frontline every day.

Jill DeWit:
Thank you.

Steven Butala:
And I think now is not the time to fight against the stuff that’s going on.

Jill DeWit:
No.

Steven Butala:
Especially in real estate deals. You just got to go with it and it can work for you. It’s just, we have to change. We’re all going to have to change.

Jill DeWit:
Exactly.

Steven Butala:
I don’t like it.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Butala:
I want it to go back to November of 2019. But I don’t have a choice, so why fight it?

Jill DeWit:
Thank you.

Jill DeWit:
The Land Academy Show remains commercial free for you, our loyal listener. So wherever you’re watching or wherever you’re listening, please subscribe and rate us there.

Both:
We are Steve and Jill.

Steven Butala:
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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https://ownersdata.com

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