The Right Questions to Ask (LA 1398)

The Right Questions to Ask (LA 1398)

Transcript:

Steven Butala:
Steve and Jill here.

Jill DeWit:
Good day.

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 the right questions to ask versus the wrong ones.

Jill DeWit:
Can I give a few examples? Is this a good question? I can’t find the Land Academy dashboard.

Steven Butala:
I will let the listener answer that to themselves.

Jill DeWit:
How do I price waterfront property?

Steven Butala:
That’s a good question.

Jill DeWit:
Thank you.

Steven Butala:
That’s a great question.

Jill DeWit:
Okay. I wanted to give a little good one …

Steven Butala:
That’s the right question to ask.

Jill DeWit:
Thank you.

Steven Butala:
Does Land Academy work at all? Great question.

Jill DeWit:
Do you recommend my mom quitting her job to answer my phone at night?

Steven Butala:
That’s not a question I can answer for you. Is that a good question?

Jill DeWit:
I don’t know.

Steven Butala:
First of all, here’s what Jill’s getting at: you know this whole thing about, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. [crosstalk 00:01:19] I am here to tell you, there’s absolutely such thing as as stupid question. In fact, probably 70 or 80% of the questions in life that get asked are stupid.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Butala:
And could be answered … what’s the definition of that? It can be answered by yourself. You can answer that yourself.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Butala:
Or with a tiny bit of research. You know what? Every single answer to every single question, with very, very few exceptions, is in your pocket or in your purse right now.

Jill DeWit:
I told this couple I had a call with a week or so ago, they said, “How do I know if I hired the right person?” I said, “You’re going to know real fast. Real fast, based on the questions that they ask you and if they repeat the same questions, if they’re getting it or not.”

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:
That’s Jack’s way of moving this along.

Steven Butala:
I’m going to be the let’s not watch Jill deteriorate moderator today.

Jill DeWit:
Why? Oh.

Steven Butala:
Because of this-

Jill DeWit:
Because I can go into a dark, dark place?

Steven Butala:
Yes. When I’m the voice of reason in this relationship, watch out.

Jill DeWit:
That’s funny. Yeah, I can go dark.

Steven Butala:
It’s not going to be [crosstalk 00:02:33].

Jill DeWit:
But she seems so nice. Not this topic. Nope, nope, no. She’s done. She got worn down. Okay, Rich wrote, “This is mostly a mindset question. As I am still trying to”-

Steven Butala:
Then it’s a good question.

Jill DeWit:
Okay.

Steven Butala:
I think.

Jill DeWit:
Okay. “I’m still trying to learn to buy and sell vacant land using these tools, not homes. A friend of mine just sold his house in Phoenix and is buying one in Idaho.” Gee, interesting. Him and how many other people?

Steven Butala:
The whole Western part of the country is all exchanging houses right now.

Jill DeWit:
Totally. That’s exactly what’s happening.

Steven Butala:
Some are moving north, some are moving south, most of them are moving east, not west.

Jill DeWit:
You know what, everyone should’ve just got into their cars, and then in Nevada, Vegas or so, just toss each other the keys. That would’ve been a lot easier.

Steven Butala:
Yeah, cut the real estate agents out.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Butala:
Just change houses.

Jill DeWit:
Meet there and hand keys and move on. That would’ve been so much easier.

Steven Butala:
That’s hilarious.

Jill DeWit:
Thank you. Okay. “When I look at the house in Idaho on Neighbor Scoop, I can see the owner bought the house in 2017.” Rich, you’re like me. This is how I … I’m liking Rich. I am a mindset, I dig deeper because I think I can get something out of that. Okay. “So the person bought the house in 2017, but the price shows 257,000 and her mortgage is 175,000.” Great, so we all know how much they put down. “He says he bought it for 500,000, and that is what is shown on Zillow.” Interesting. I see where this is going.
He’s buying a house today for 750,000, and he thinks he’s getting a great deal because it hasn’t gone on the market yet. “So I’m wondering if it’s possible she bought it for $250,000 and selling for $750,000. Not sure how accurate the sales field is typically. Also, this seems like a crazy high price to be paying even if it was $500,000 three years ago. Is it possible with COVID that prices have gone up this much and still make sense?”

Steven Butala:
Yes. It’s possible with COVID that prices have gone so much, does it still make sense, yes. I have a bunch of things to say, and so does Jill, but I’m going to start with the most important point here: what they paid, regardless of the source, whether it’s Neighbor Scoop or Zillow, it doesn’t matter. If the market is that hot and it went up … other like-kind properties right around it, there’s sales comparisons for 750 or a little bit less or a little bit more, it’s all about what’s going on in that market right then.
So I’m not a big advocate of looking back into the past, number one. Number two, you have conflicting sources of data here. Neighbor Scoop is our site and I built it, so the back end of Neighbor Scoop is an API-driven site from assessors, from the 3,200 … indirectly, but albeit from the 3,200 or so assessors all of the country, the county assessors. So if it says 250, it probably is 250, and the mortgage data comes from a different places, which is very, very reliable.
Zillow, by and large, is not input, it’s not an MLS site. It’s a free-standing site that involves the MLSes inputting data, but chances are somebody put that in there.

Jill DeWit:
A real person, like an agent.

Steven Butala:
Yeah, I don’t know, there’s no way real way … obvious mistakes happen and stuff, but here’s the good news, whoever you are, Rich: you checked two sources.

Jill DeWit:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala:
Congratulations, you win the Willy Wonka prize. You checked two sources, there’s conflicting data, you have some questions about it, you brought it up on the … this is exactly how these forums are supposed to work. I would go check a third source of data. Rich, I know you’re a member, so check DataTree and check TitlePro, because you have access to all that. Chances are, both of those are going to come up at 250, because those are assessor-based sites also. Go ahead, Jill.

Jill DeWit:
So I’m bringing this back down to the land level, because I understand where you’re going here and I do this for land. So you’re looking in Neighbor Scoop, you’re just trying to get an idea of how much they put into this property. And I look at this for two reasons. It doesn’t change my price, it does give me an idea to where the seller might be coming from. So if they paid $3,500 for a property 20 years ago and now they’re selling it to me for $7,000 because it’s worth 20, I go, you know what, I think they’re going to be excited about it, because in their mind, they doubled their money. I know what it’s worth today.
The other thing I want to point out is, I look at it like you just said, it’s not about really that number too, by the way, it’s what it’s worth today. That’s the bottom line. Sometimes people go backwards, too. It helps me have a conversation. Sometimes I see, shucks, they bought it two years ago, they paid $40,000 for it. Now they’re selling it to me for 20 or 10 or five? That happens sometimes. I’m going to be aware of that because they’re taking a hit, but stuff happens. [crosstalk 00:07:54]

Steven Butala:
Somebody should do a survey. The National Association of Realtors is a very logical person to hold a survey where they randomly pick a thousand people that have recently done a real estate transaction, all over … there’s no geographic, there’s no similarities between the thousand people that they pick. It’s all over the country, different levels of houses, prices and all that. Different neighborhoods. They should ask them a bunch of questions like, do you feel like you got a good price? Do you know how much you paid for the house, and how much did you pay for the new one? Did you get a mortgage? Are you satisfied?
I bet you we would be shocked and amazed at how much people didn’t know how much they paid for it, they didn’t know what the percentage of their mortgage is, they don’t know … nobody looks this stuff up.

Jill DeWit:
It’s true.

Steven Butala:
Jill always believes that … this is an indirect compliment.

Jill DeWit:
Thanks.

Steven Butala:
Jill believes that people dig into real estate data like we all do, and probably you if you’re a listener because you’re interested in real estate, and that they know exactly when they bought the house and how much they paid and what their mortgage rate was, if there was one, and improvements and all this stuff that we all naturally just go through because we’re in this business. But I bet no one knows a damn thing.

Jill DeWit:
Thanks. I give them probably more credit-

Steven Butala:
You know? Yeah.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah. You’re right.

Steven Butala:
My dad, personal story here, who made hordes of money in commercial real estate a long, long time ago, long before the internet or any of that, bought a house in a pretty affluent area of Detroit for $700,000, and 10 years later, 15 years later, sold it for $700,000. And I asked him how much it cost to live there, and he said, “What do you mean? I bought it for 700 and sold it for 700.” To which I just kind of said … then we had a couple of drinks and laughed about it, because I said, “That’s not what you paid at all.”

Jill DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Butala:
“You paid all the interest on all that for 15 years”-

Jill DeWit:
It’s true.

Steven Butala:
-“you did a bunch of improvements, all kind of maintenance … you rented the house from yourself.”

Jill DeWit:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala:
“You would’ve been better off renting it.”

Jill DeWit:
True. And letting someone else pay for all that stuff.

Steven Butala:
Pay for all of that stuff with no risk, by the way.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah. I understand.

Steven Butala:
Am I advocating renting? No, not at all. But the Midwest doesn’t experience high-growth percentage like what’s being described here with Rich. There’s so many little caveats that go on with the primary residences that I think end in tragedy.

Jill DeWit:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala:
Financial tragedy.

Jill DeWit:
Good.

Steven Butala:
So you better be happy with your house, because you’re not going to win financially, let me put it that way. Today’s topic, the right questions to ask, this is the meat of the show. [crosstalk 00:10:39]

Jill DeWit:
And the rant starts now. Wow. Here we go.

Steven Butala:
Certain people, their thought process involves talking out loud. So they’ll sit at their desk, or they’ll sit in a live event that Jill and I are putting on, and they’ll sit there and talk.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Butala:
Well, okay, so I sent the mailer out, and you’re saying if you send the mailer out, the sky is blue, and these 13 things come back, then I should do X. No, I’m not saying that at all. I say that sentence during our live events maybe 50 times.

Jill DeWit:
It’s the running … they’re repeating and regurgitating their thoughts in their head instead of just keeping them in their head.

Steven Butala:
Yeah. That’s all you got to do is just not move your lips, and you’ll get to the answer.

Jill DeWit:
Don’t move your lips. Wow.

Steven Butala:
Here’s another one, it’s a favorite of mine, but it doesn’t happen too much too often, because it sends me to the moon on our Thursday calls, so people have learned not to do it.

Jill DeWit:
Oh my gosh.

Steven Butala:
Should I do this deal? Here’s the APN. With no other details. There’s a whole format that those deals are supposed to be submitted, starting with the county that it’s in, because I can’t read your mind. If it’s just an APN, the APN without the state and the county, there’s no way I can look it up.

Jill DeWit:
Right. Okay, so are we going to do a few minutes of the wrong questions and then talk about the right questions?

Steven Butala:
Sure, let’s try to do it light.

Jill DeWit:
Okay. Here’s the wrong questions to ask: interrupt me via Teams or Skype or whatever you use, or Slack or something, and say, “I can’t find this file.” That’s a good one.

Steven Butala:
Oh, you mean with employees?

Jill DeWit:
Yeah. I mean, the other questions … that’s the main thing, that’s the questions for me that are the wrong questions. That’s usually what I’m dealing with on a day-to-day basis, are people asking things. And then I’ve learned that, don’t answer it, don’t answer it, don’t answer it, don’t help them, don’t answer it. And then an hour later, they’re like, oh … they got it, kind of thing. I’m like, mm-hmm (affirmative). And then they learn. Takes just a few times like that, then they’ll figure that out.

Steven Butala:
What it is is a massive indicator … the crew that we have working for us right now are amazing, and I mean that, I’m not just blowing smoke. But it hasn’t always been the case. You can tell a lot by somebody … some people just need a mom, you know? [crosstalk 00:13:14] They need validation. They’re not asking a question to actually get the answer.

Jill DeWit:
I’m going to make the point for me of this whole show to make it really crystal-clear for everyone, and then if you need some follow-up information, you just ask me. You should be asking questions of someone to gain knowledge and make sure they’re good, valuable, sincere questions that you have done everything in your power to answer on your own and you can’t find it, you’ve done … you’re going to that expert, whether it’s your tech department, whether it’s us, whether it’s your accountant, I don’t care who it is, you really … so then it’s a good question. And I need to spend some time on it.
Because that person will then … if it’s a good, valuable question and you’ve put all the time and energy into it and you’ve learned something along the way, then the benefit is that person will want to help you. They’ll know that, they’ll go wow. So when people come to us on the Thursday call, for example: “I did this and it goofed up. I did that and it goofed up, and I did this and it goofed up and I did that and I goofed up. Okay, Jack and Jill, what am I missing here?”

Steven Butala:
That is exactly how you ask a question.

Jill DeWit:
Love those.

Steven Butala:
“I’ve spent a bunch of time on it, I researched chapter three and I’ve got five of these properties, and I want to buy three of them. I have enough money to buy three of them, I really need your expertise … so here’s the five, which ones would you guys choose?” That’s why we’re here. We’re here to answer questions like that.

Jill DeWit:
I’m using it in life, it’s not even just us. It’s in life, I don’t want to … no matter who you’re talking to, whether it’s a mentor, I guess an accountant, your attorney. Do a little bit of work. Not only that-

Steven Butala:
Do a little bit of work.

Jill DeWit:
It’ll save you money. Number one, it won’t piss them off, and number two, it’ll save you money. For example, do you need to call your attorney for every little thing? You can probably google a lot of things with your attorney. You can probably write your own documents with attorney.
We’ve almost done versions of that, like hey, we kind of know how this needs to go, we need help getting this transaction done, it’s a … whatever it is, it’s an attorney close title issue. Whatever, we know how it needs to go, we can cue it up. We do this with title work, here’s a good example. Sometimes we give our title agents all the information that we’ve gathered to make their jobs easier, and then they go better and cheaper and faster.

Steven Butala:
I’ve also found that the venue in which questions are asked really is … if people write a question, like in Land Investors, there’s almost no bad questions. It’s self-policed and it’s truly … there’s such intelligent questions from members and non-members. On the written questions in the Thursday call, 95% of them are truly like, wow, this person … you can tell right away that person sat there knew asking these questions … that’s incredibly intelligent, well-worded question.
It’s when it’s verbal and this thought process of just words coming out, I have a peeve with that.

Jill DeWit:
Right. Just like, where are you going with that?

Steven Butala:
Because you can answer this yourself. If you can look it up on Google in less than three minutes and really get a good answer to the question, you should never, ever ask somebody that question, in or out of Land Academy.

Jill DeWit:
I have a question.

Steven Butala:
Yeah.

Jill DeWit:
Where does this come from? I’m trying to figure out … I don’t think it’s a nature thing, it’s a nurture thing.

Steven Butala:
So do I.

Jill DeWit:
I think it’s a learned behavior.

Steven Butala:
So do I.

Jill DeWit:
What’s amazing to me is we all are carrying around mini-computers in our pockets, that people are still asking sometimes the most basic questions. Isn’t that interesting? So somewhere along the way, someone told them it was okay to ask the basic questions.

Steven Butala:
And then reinforced it over and over and over again.

Jill DeWit:
Exactly.

Steven Butala:
Yeah, and I think solving your problems, in the distant past Jill and I did a series of episodes about the traits that people have that are going to do incredibly well at this or whatever they’re going to do. And if you can solve your own problems efficiently and quickly and get over the small stuff and not be a perfectionist … I’ve never heard anyone who owns a couple of companies already come to us and ask us silly questions. They’re all asking great questions, and they’re wrapped into compliments.

Jill DeWit:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala:
Wrapping a question in a compliment’s never hurt anyone.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Butala:
But you’re right, our customers, this topic came from … because I talk to our people, they bring up topics. Our customer service for all these companies that we own is jam-packed full of ridiculously stupid questions, like how do I log in, I forgot my password. There’s all automated scenarios for that.

Jill DeWit:
Exactly.

Steven Butala:
So they’re not asking the question to get an answer, they’re asking it to get validation. And if they’re trying to get validation for, or just have some contact with somebody, let’s say, they’re not going to be good at this. You don’t ever crawl out of that hole and become a fantastic real estate investor if you can’t log in and you can’t solve the problem to log in at all.

Jill DeWit:
Oh, that’s a good point. Want to end it on that?

Steven Butala:
Yeah.

Jill DeWit:
That was awesome.

Steven Butala:
Oh my gosh, it’s been too long, yes.

Jill DeWit:
I mean, it’s great. I think we covered it, and I couldn’t do anything better than that. That was awesome.

Steven Butala:
All right.

Jill DeWit:
Happy you could join us today. Five days a week, you can find us right here on the Land Academy Show.

Steven Butala:
Join us next week for another interesting episode on the Land Academy Show. You are not alone in your real estate ambition. [crosstalk 00:19:25] too much.

Jill DeWit:
No, we actually toned it down and I think that was very valuable, and I loved the whole point, how you wrapped it up. That’s it. If you can’t figure some of this basic stuff out, I don’t think you’re going to make it.

Steven Butala:
I think, too, the problem with asking a lot of individual questions is that you don’t look at things in a system. This is a system, buying and selling real estate is a systemic, there’s a lot of moving parts, there’s decisions to make on the fly, and there’s a lot of things, especially now, there’s a lot of tech things to do. Isolating one question and getting the answer isn’t going to move you forward through that system at all.

Jill DeWit:
Right. Brilliant. Thank you for tuning in, we hope you find our content valuable, and we really appreciate your support. If you haven’t already, please get on over to our YouTube channel and hit the subscribe button.

Steven Butala:
And your comments and suggestions help us to create the type of content that you’re here for. Hitting the like button on your favorite episodes helps to support our channel’s algorithm and gauge your interests for future shows. We’re Steve and Jill.

Jill DeWit:
We’re Steve and Jill.

Steven Butala:
Information-

Jill DeWit:
-and inspiration-

Steven Butala:
-to buy undervalued property.

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If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at steven@BuWit.com.

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https://deedperfect.com

https://ownersdata.com

https://houseacademy.com

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