How To Have A Successful Land Business | Interview with Karl (LA 1990)

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This week on the Land Academy Show, Karl Lathus, Land Academy Ambassador, shares how he started flipping land by joining Land Academy and Career Path and how he’s managed to achieve such great success in the business.

With the help of Land Academy, Karl and wife, Samantha really dedicated themselves to starting their land business the right way and their discipline and consistency in sending mailers is paying off.

Transcript:

Jack Butala:
I am Jack Butala. This is a Land Academy show. Today, I’m here with Karl Lathus. You may know him as the Land Academy ambassador. He and his wife Samantha have been with us now, geez, since Career Path, for I guess over two years. He happened to be in town. His wife’s in town, too. In fact, Jill’s recording with her as we speak. Probably going to air on different Wednesdays. We’ll see how it goes. I guess we’ve been talking about all kinds of other stuff except work, what I’m intrigued with is how’d you guys make this work for you? Or, was it just a natural thing? Everybody wants to know what the secret is.

Karl Lathus:
I mean, there’s a lot that goes into that. I mean, I say discipline has a lot to do with it. Samantha and I are very disciplined when it comes to this business. This is a great business. Jack has set this up for us. We’ve learned from his teachings and through Land Academy, through Career Path. We did all that. Most importantly is we’ve taken those things that we’ve learned, and we’ve actually applied them. We’ve been disciplined with them. We consistently send out mail when we say we’re going to send out mail. We consistently answer our phone when we’re going to answer our phone. We do what we say we’re going to do. We’ve learned all the subtle nuances that make this business profitable and doable and easy, and we focus on those. We don’t get distracted, very often, from those. So, I think our discipline towards this craft, towards investing in land, and towards building this business has really been pivotal for us.

Jack Butala:
I mean, you came to this with entrepreneurial experience and corporate experience on your belt already. Right?

Karl Lathus:
Yeah. Absolutely. I own a construction company. I started that when I was 25 years old, and we built that business. I’ve said it a million times, but when I started that business, I couldn’t afford extension cords. We couldn’t afford to make a singular mistake. We built that business from the ground up, and it’s been great. After that, we moved into real estate, buying and selling houses, flips, you name it, the nightmares.

Jack Butala:
How’d that go?

Karl Lathus:
Yeah. Well, I’m not doing flips anymore. I’ll tell you that. We made money. There’s money to be made there. I know you guys have made money doing it too, but I don’t see you guys doing very many flips, either.

Jack Butala:
I choose life.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah. Right. We built a rental portfolio that we’re proud of. We still do own and operate. When we really did come across this land and how this business works, it resonated with us, the data aspect of things. Samantha is just, as you know, just wonderful at that.

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
I have so much faith in the way she aggregates our data and the way that she sends out our mailers. I have so much faith in that process that it really helps me do what I have to do because I do a lot of what Jill does. I answer the phones, and I use that. I’m that part of the business. It’s nice to have faith in my partner who is really getting out the mail so consistently, and I have faith in what she says we could pay for the property. I know that that’s somewhere where we need to be.

Jack Butala:
I don’t think it’s any surprise to anybody that we have a ton of married couples like Karl and Sam, and obviously Jill and I, in our group. Well, I did this for a really long time, for decades without Jill. It was a whole different… Do you run your construction company by yourself, entirely, or does she help you there, too?

Karl Lathus:
She does the books. The construction company-

Jack Butala:
Probably why you’re still in business.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah. Right. She doesn’t know what I do. No. Yeah. Well, that’s the thing about this business is that… And, you know it. You’ve done the same thing with Jill. You can really work together with your team and your business and you can build it based off of really the roadmap that you provided. With that construction company, with doing these other businesses, you don’t always have that roadmap, and there’s not always room for somebody else. The way my construction company works is I need to be in charge. I am the person in charge.

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
Ask me if I’m in charge of our land business. There’s a little bit of a different story there.

Jack Butala:
I’m not either.

Karl Lathus:
This business is set up for this. In my opinion, it’s set up for exactly who we are. We’re very ambitious. We’re very much go-getting. Samantha’s extremely intelligent, and she’s able to really do that part of the job so much better than I could ever do. So, why would I?

Jack Butala:
I’ve long said that these roles choose us. We don’t choose them. I didn’t set out to be the data person. It’s just who I am, and that’s it.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
So, I mean, we’re having a blast with it still. Give us some numbers, just ballpark success numbers, year one, year two kind of thing?

Karl Lathus:
Well, you’re talking to the wrong person. I can tell you-

Jack Butala:
[inaudible 00:05:01].

Karl Lathus:
We were discussing earlier about the Meyer split that we had just done.

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
Right? I’m comfortable giving you the real numbers on that. We purchased a property. It was for $100,000. We went through the process using Jack’s transaction coordinator to help us through the process of minor splitting the property. So, we split that property from one APN to four APNs, and at that rate, we’re selling each APN for around $100,000, so-

Jack Butala:
So, buy for 100, sell for 400.

Karl Lathus:
Exactly.

Jack Butala:
Wow.

Karl Lathus:
We’re pleased with that. Not every deal is like that. That’s the truth, and that’s something-

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
… I do want to stress. At times, we buy for five and sell for 25, things of that nature. But, the reason we’re playing this game is so that we can do things like buy for 100 and sell for-

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
… 400 because that’s really what gets your blood going.

Jack Butala:
I mean, you send a bunch of mail out. The real truth is, and you know this, unless maybe you have a different experience. You send a bunch of mail out, it all comes back. You’re staring at 5, 10, 15 deals-

Karl Lathus:
Right.

Jack Butala:
… from the mailer. What we do is we look at the deal and we decide, based on the piece of real estate. We didn’t send it out with intent. We just sent it out to get some deal flow, and when it comes back, you decide what you’re going to do. There might be $15,000 margin in a deal. It might be conducive to a minor split, or just a regular flip, or you might just throw it in the trash can right there. The numbers really vary.

Karl Lathus:
Play the cards you’re dealt. Right? We did run into that this year, actually. For whatever reason, we had taken the stance that, “Hey, we’re going to start doing bigger deals, larger dollar amounts,” and that was our stance. That’s how the beginning of the year started out for us, and that was great. But, for whatever reason, and I can’t explain exactly why-

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
… but the deals that had started coming to us about middle of the year were in the five, $6,000 acquisition price.

Jack Butala:
Wow.

Karl Lathus:
They were able to sell for 25, 30, 35,000. We’re very against making our mailers smaller. So when there are $5,000 offers in that dataset, Samantha’s leaving them in there.

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
She’s going to make sure that it’s going to be something that’s going to make sense for us. When she’s going through and doing her test for reason, she wants to know that, “Hey, if this comes across our desk, would we still do it?” No. We don’t want $5,000 properties at our point in our career, but if we do, we want to make it profitable.
I trust what she does. So when I get these deals that come across my desk, we inevitably purchase them. I’m not going to pass that up. We play the cards that we’re dealt because of that. We had a wonderful year, but at the beginning of the year, larger properties at the end of the year, larger properties. For some reason, right in the center of it, we were just hit by these smaller properties. We did great, and I’m not complaining about it. It was wonderful.

Jack Butala:
I have to systematize everything. Every time I do a deal, I multiply it times 12. So, on your-

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
… minor split deal, buy for 100, sell for 400, you made 300 grand. You do 10 of those, you can make 3 million bucks.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
If you can do that in a year, that’s spectacular. It usually doesn’t happen that way. There’s no bad news in any of this. You buy for five and sell for 25, you’re making 20 grand. You do 10 of those, or 12 of those, it’s almost a quarter of a million dollars in profit. So-

Karl Lathus:
Right.

Jack Butala:
I’m not here to simplify it, just like you said. There’s a lot of work that goes into these real estate deals. There’s not a lot of work, I don’t think, in setting the mailer up, setting the systems up, and getting the mail out there and getting that deal flow in. There is a lot of work, it seems like more and more as time goes on, in getting these deals done. Are you guys seeing that with title companies and real estate agents on the sell side, and all that stuff?

Karl Lathus:
We’re not seeing it in our business. We’re blessed. We’re a part of Land Academy. We use Jack’s transaction coordinator to close our deals and through Land Academy Pro. So, we don’t really struggle with closing the deal because honestly that’s a system that we have in place for that. Samantha and I, we help members out often.

Jack Butala:
Oh, yeah, yeah.

Karl Lathus:
We do see that happening, deals not getting to the finish line. That’s, like I said at the beginning, discipline, where it’s important. If you don’t have a transaction coordinator and you have to be your own transaction coordinator, that’s fine. You need to make sure you’re following up and you’re making those phone calls, and you’re making sure these deals close. Because there’s a lot of these deals that we’ve come across that if it wasn’t for either our due diligence, or Jan’s due diligence, and moving forward and continue to follow up with sellers and continue to follow up with title agencies, that these deals would fall apart. They’re profitable deals and there’s money to be had there so that’s important.

Jack Butala:
We were talking earlier, just horsing around, not even talking about business really, but you said you get up at around 4:00 o’clock in the morning. Right?

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
So, what’s a regular day for you? What’s a regular day for you and Samantha and your whole family?

Karl Lathus:
Well, I wake up early. I’ve just always been that way. I usually wake up 4:00 or 4:30. I have to run my construction company, and that’s really when I do that. I set up everything. I set up all my systems and get everything ready for that. I’m usually down in my office working for those hours because quite frankly, any phone call that’s coming through from the land company at 4:00 in the morning, PATLive can handle it for me. Typically, I found that those are the calls that don’t really need my attention.
So around mid-morning, around 7:00, 7:30 is really when I switch my focus, and we start focusing on the land company. I’m a little ashamed to say it, but I don’t really spend that much time on the land company.

Jack Butala:
Neither do I.

Karl Lathus:
I answer phone calls. We make sure everything’s uploaded into our CRM, and we make sure everything’s in line. But realistically, when you have systems in place, you could really see what needs to be done in that day. Very rarely does that day extend very far into my day.

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
So most days, Samantha and I are done well before 3:00 o’clock.

Jack Butala:
I just think that’s a trait for an entrepreneur and somebody who is a systems person. I’m sure you are.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
I spend 90% of my time on Land Academy or on the mailing company, [inaudible 00:11:42], it may be 10%. Probably end up, in the bitter end, 5% of my work hours on buying and selling land or whatever we’re buying, mobile homes or houses or whatever, so.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
Jill and I’ve been saying this forever, if we only spent time buying and selling land, if that’s all we did, oh, my God, our numbers would be staggering.

Karl Lathus:
Right.

Jack Butala:
They’re pretty good, now. What I hear you say is it all comes down to time management and organization and consistency.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
Honestly, I bet you’re more consistent than I am. I don’t get up at the same time every morning and do the same thing. I do what’s in my calendar because I set it up that way. It’s not the same thing over and over again, at all.

Karl Lathus:
I’ve been a man of habits my whole life.

Jack Butala:
That’s good.

Karl Lathus:
That’s how I am.

Jack Butala:
That’s really good.

Karl Lathus:
That’s how I’ve always been. And Samantha, I mean, she has her mailer Mondays. She makes sure she gets a mailer out every Monday. That’s what we do.

Jack Butala:
Wow.

Karl Lathus:
A lot of times I do, I see a lot of members of Land Academy being like, “Hey, I’m going to send out this mail. I’m going to receive those phone calls. I’m going to buy this property. I’m going to close on it. Then, I’m going to list it. When I sell that property, I’m going to send out my next piece of mail.” That just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work for me on a personal level, but it doesn’t work as this business. I can’t stress it enough how important it’s to consistently send mail. When that phone is consistently ringing, you’re in a pattern. When my phone rings every single day, I’m in that pattern. I receive those calls better. I move forward better. The business continues to move forward better. When Samantha’s consistently sending out that mail, it changes everything.
We’ve had times where we said, “Hey, let’s just take a couple of weeks off and not send mail.” And, yes. We’ve survived and we’ve done great, but I can tell you, the business, it feels more clunky. I get in a rhythm, and I continue to move.

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
It really does well for us.

Jack Butala:
When you get like that, when you are relatively consistent and it stops for whatever reason, I don’t care if you go on vacation or some life event happens, it just feels like you’re all out of whack. Doesn’t it?

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
Your body and your mind is trying to set yourself back on that track that it was comfortable at.

Karl Lathus:
I wholeheartedly agree. As much as Samantha and I don’t live a life that’s completely 100% focused on working all the time, we are always in the saddle, so to speak. You know?

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
Because when we remove ourselves from that, it’s so hard for us to keep going. So, yeah. Consistency is just so important.

Jack Butala:
So, it’s no secret that there’s just a ridiculous amount of noise about buying and selling land out there on the internet.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
We’ve talked about it a little bit earlier, all four of us. I’ve been doing this for 35 years, together with Jill for 15, and then Land Academy is about 10 years old. We’re seeing a lot of people trying to make a quick buck in this business by explaining to everybody how to buy and sell land, which cracks me up a little bit.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
The effect of that, for us, is we’re seeing a different type of person join Land Academy. So, I would love your opinion on this. There’s a section, or a subsection, of people that are joining Land Academy. They join. They don’t call us to talk to us or our salespeople or anything, but they join. They sign up and they kind of have the attitude where they say, “All right, make me some money.” What do you say to that?

Karl Lathus:
I don’t even know what to say to that, to be honest with you. I mean, you’re going to find those people in life. And, here’s the thing. The reason the right people are joining Land Academy and finding us, and not finding those other groups, is because we’re serious about this. That’s not a serious way to go about a business.

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
As much as we joke around, we’ve spent the last what? Three or four hours together, just talking. We are joking around having a great time. There’s a time and a place for that. Right?

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
And when it comes to business, we’re very serious about it. I think that when you take a look at the track record of who Land Academy is, who you are and who Jill is, about how this has been built, it speaks for itself. I think that’s the members we’re trying to attract. At the same time, you have everyone out there, whatever business you’re in, you need to take it seriously. It’s okay to joke around and do whatever. No one’s going to go out there and do it for you. In life, in anything, you’ve got to go out there-

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
… and do it yourself. That’s something that we’ve attempted to do in our lives, and I feel success has been followed by that. No one cares about you. When you say, “Hey, Karl, make me a million dollars.” Say, “Okay, cool.” I just don’t know what to say to that.

Jack Butala:
I can tell you exactly step by step how to do that. I’m just not going to do it for you.

Karl Lathus:
Absolutely.

Jack Butala:
I could do it for you, but I’d rather do it for myself. Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. But, we do see that. I have seen that. I’m sure you’ve seen that, when people are saying, “Hey, how come I’m not making any money?” You ask three, four questions and-

Jack Butala:
Really, just one.

Karl Lathus:
One. Yeah.

Jack Butala:
“How many mailers have you done?” “Well, I haven’t done one, yet.”

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
And, that’s the answer.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah, yeah. For sure. Or, “What is your routine? What’s your intake?” A few simple questions. If you’re serious about this business, be serious about it. Go through the modules that Jack provided for you. Go through as much education as you can, surround yourself with people who are successful and people who are motivated. You’ll see that not a single one of them is going to ask you, “Hey, can you make me a million dollars?” No. They’re going to go out, and they’re going to do it.

Jack Butala:
Yup.

Karl Lathus:
We have a pretty great group here, and there’s a lot of information out there. If you are not going to educate yourself and be a part of it and help yourself, no one can help you.

Jack Butala:
Yeah. I mean, it’s self-study. I’m not selling anything here, at all. Land Academy caters to a lot of different levels of commitment, let’s call it.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
The self-study program, which is our most popular, probably because it’s the cheapest, has the lowest success rate. The highest success rate comes from a program we have called Career Path.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
In fact, that’s how I think you started. Didn’t you start-

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
You know what? Tell that story. That’s a good story.

Karl Lathus:
Well, it circles back a little bit further than before I joined. I met a member who’s been a long time friend of mine. I’ll just call him Mike, for now. I’m not sure how much he wants his name blown out there. You guys were starting the Career Path. It was an earlier Career Path. He knew Samantha and I, and we’d been investing for a while. We hadn’t done a land deal, but we’d done lots of real estate deals. He approached us and said, “Hey, you’re perfect for this.”
We didn’t even know what Land Academy was, to be honest. He said, “You need to do this.” So, we ended up looking into it and he kind of ran through some numbers with us to show us kind of how he’d done it. He’d been a member of Land Academy for quite some time. I mean, you guys know him pretty well, too. So what we ended up doing was say, “Okay. If we’re going to do this, we’re going to sign up for Career Path.” And, we did, which was pretty funny because we had to do an onboarding interview and all that. In the questions we’re like, “So, how many land deals have you done? How many mailers have you done?” I was like, “None.”

Jack Butala:
Zero.

Karl Lathus:
“Zero, but we’re going to do this. Okay?” I thank God you guys took a flyer and let us do that because not everyone is allotted, who wants to join Career Path. Career Path is set aside for people who want to elevate their business and who want to continue to grow. There’s not going to be a person who joins Career Path who says, Okay. Now I’m in Career path, make me a million dollars.” These are business people. People who understand how to make themselves a million dollars. So, yeah. We started our Career Path journey. We started our Land Academy journey at the same time we started Career Path. We really haven’t looked back since.
Samantha quit her job less than six months after we joined Career Path. It wasn’t just a standard job. She was a pretty important individual in her career.

Jack Butala:
Where was the thought process there? Was there a series of deals that just convinced you guys? You obviously had to go through some type of a set of experiences that led you both to say, especially for her quitting that pretty amazing job. Two intelligent people are making an intelligent decision to give up a huge revenue stream. Lead us up to that.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
Or, do you regret it?

Karl Lathus:
Yeah. Worst mistake. No. Worst mistake we ever made. No. To get in front of it, it is the best decision we’ve ever made. But, it’s not the decision for everyone. We didn’t make the decision out of necessity. We made the decision after we had evaluated everything. We had gone through Career Path. During Career Path, we sent out a mailer. During Career Path, we purchased a property and shortly after that, we had sold that property for around $140,000 in net profit.

Jack Butala:
Wow.

Karl Lathus:
We-

Jack Butala:
That’s not normal.

Karl Lathus:
It’s not normal. Then, at that point, we had several other properties in escrow on the purchase side, as well. We took a look at it, and we realized, what a lot of members, what you’ve realized, what Jill realized, that, “Hey, this works. There’s no doubt about it.”
When I first started this, everyone kind of has that thought, and we don’t really get that question that much anymore as things have progressed. But people ask, “Does this really work?”

Jack Butala:
Yeah. Proof of concept.

Karl Lathus:
Proof of concept.

Jack Butala:
Yes. You proved the concept to yourselves.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
You didn’t watch somebody else do it, like us or anybody else.

Karl Lathus:
100%. And, we proved the concept. We really realized that, “Hey, this is something that we are good at.” I will say that we have natural ability to navigate this specific business. We’re set up for it. For whatever reason, we’re blessed for that. We also put ourselves in a position where we can cultivate our abilities to increase what we’re capable of achieving. We realized that, when selling that first property, it was like, “There’s no reason for you to continue down this W2 job, to continue to travel to work, to continue to do all these things. We weighed the negatives and the positives. There wasn’t very many things that held us back other than… Samantha’s a CPA, which is difficult to achieve. That was our big holding ground. I was like, “Man, she spent a long time moving-

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
… down that path, and she’s done very great with it already.” She was moving up the corporate ladder faster than we could ever imagine, but. Now, she’s the boss.

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
It was an unusual path, but we proved the concept to ourselves. We knew that that’s what we were going to do. Realistically, it’s the best decision, I think, we’ve ever made.

Jack Butala:
Did it ever cross your mind, closing those original deals, that it was a fluke and that… You know? Because I’ve had this happen before, we closed a few great deals right in a row and I’m like, “Wow. I’m not sure we’re going to repeat that.” Then, it happened six months later, or so. Did you have that talk with her, “This might’ve been just a weird, strange experience, and how are we ever going to get back?”

Karl Lathus:
No. I understand that thought process. I think you even said it to me, though, before, “If you continue to produce,” and now this is fast forwarding a little bit. But if you’re able to continually do something and be successful at it for two years, you have a successful-

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
… business. Right?

Jack Butala:
For sure.

Karl Lathus:
I’ve had my fair share of struggles through business. I’ve had to fight, claw, and move my way forward through businesses before. I saw how ridiculously easy that was. Even if it wasn’t a fluke and I can make a 10th of what I made there consistently, it would make sense. It just made so much sense for me because it’s like, “This works. I know that.”
I’m in a community, right now. I open up Discord and scroll to Success Stories. Then, reach out to those people and say, “Hey, can you tell me a little bit more?” I guarantee you that they’re going to respond to you and help you and talk with you. I did some of that. I reach out to people on my Career Path. I reached out to other people and just said, “Hey, how is this going?”

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
And then-

Jack Butala:
… Mike helping you, too. You were probably asking Mike questions, too. Right?

Karl Lathus:
Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Mike’s been a resource. We love Mike. He’s been great for us. We immersed ourselves into it. At that point it was like, “Even if no deal ever becomes as good as our first deal,” which is a crazy first deal to be able to have, “it’s still going to work.”

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
I know that.

Jack Butala:
What are you working on now? Do you have anything that’s just come across through the pipeline really recently that you’re excited about?

Karl Lathus:
Well, I was excited about was one, but we’ve moved on from that. So, we purchased a property and we kind of took our… Backing up when I say, “Stay focused.” This is why you don’t move down the path that we all end up moving down, just thinking about at least. We purchased a property for… It was around $30,000, and it was a commercial property. Just on a whim, called the county. Well, we usually call the county and just ask them what we can do with the property. One of the things they listed off was boat storage, and-

Jack Butala:
They said that-

Karl Lathus:
Yeah. Because they want boats-

Jack Butala:
Oh, because they want it.

Karl Lathus:
They want it. It’s on a lake. Right next to the lake and they’re out of boat storage. It’s a small community.

Jack Butala:
It’s not a specific zoning for that. Is there? They just-

Karl Lathus:
No. She started rattling off. She said the zoning, and she started rattling off. The first thing she said was boat storage. And I said-

Jack Butala:
Oh, man.

Karl Lathus:
… “Boat storage sounds cool.”

Jack Butala:
Hell, yes.

Karl Lathus:
So, we started moving down that path. We realized that the return on our investment wasn’t where we wanted it to be with building facility like this. So, we were really excited about that. Now, we’re excited because we’re listing that property for 150,000.

Jack Butala:
There you go.

Karl Lathus:
And-

Jack Butala:
That’s the return on investment you want.

Karl Lathus:
That’s the return on the investment we want. So, that should be listed any day now. It’s just funny. It is easy in this business to get distracted and start saying, “Hey, maybe I’m going to start a boat storage company.” Now I’m thinking-

Jack Butala:
Oh, man.

Karl Lathus:
… “I don’t have time for that. I don’t feel like doing that. I want to-

Jack Butala:
No.

Karl Lathus:
… not start another business, right now, so.” But, yeah. That was our excitement of, I think, last week. Drone photos will be coming in soon, so we’re going to move on from that boat storage dream.

Jack Butala:
Isn’t it amazing when you really just take a few steps back? Every once in a while, I take a few steps back. Again, I’m not blowing smoke. It’s just shocking at any given time, how much real estate we control.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
You know? I know you help out with Career Path, now, you and Samantha. There’s a lot of different people that show up for Career Path that have stories. They all have stories. Karl’s got one. I’ve got one. And, what they bring to the table is so very different, sometimes-

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
… than the way that we do it. I remember the last Career Path. We had a wholesaler in there that would just send out hundreds of thousands of letters at a time, and he was probably-

Karl Lathus:
He’d mail the entire state at a time.

Jack Butala:
… ass backwards into money. Then, I saw him chime in in the success stories. There’s a big run of success stories in the Land Academy’s Discord. It was the end of the year, then the beginning of the year so we’re all kind of going to try to hit our numbers again this year. He said he did not have the year that he wanted to have. He made a ton of money, tons and tons of money. But, I was a little surprised to hear him say that, after all the stuff that he brought to the table at Career Path. Were you surprised?

Karl Lathus:
Honestly, no. The reason why is, we’ve talked about this before, a few times, of how important it’s for us to control the deals. I was surprised at how much money he was making. He’s a great guy, and I think he’s going to do great.

Jack Butala:
Oh, yeah.

Karl Lathus:
He’s so smart-

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
… and so motivated, but Jill talks about it all the time. When people say, “Hey, I’m going to wholesale this deal,” Jill, she pumps the brakes. She says, “Hey, if this is a good enough deal let’s close on this. Let’s make this deal-

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
… our own.” His problem, specifically, if you really want to get into that on Discord and read it, was that he wasn’t able to find a buyer before his contract expired.
Samantha runs those reports with the days on market going up and down on the trending reports that she does. If you’re confident in the deal, we close on the deal. We buy that deal. If you’re not confident on it and you’re going to go through a wholesaling situation, and days on market say increase due to, maybe, something crazy happens like someone increases the interest rates-

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
… or-

Jack Butala:
Something.

Karl Lathus:
… and days on markets jump up. Now, you’re going to have a divide. Now, you’re going to have this situation where you have a property under contract where you don’t own it. You know it’s worth $30,000 more than you have it under contract for, but you’re not able to quite find that buyer within that short frame of time. Deals can fall apart. That’s why I see an issue with that wholesaling model. The more I get into this business, the more I realize how important it is for us to control every aspect of the deal. That’s why we close on the properties. When we have confidence in them, we close on these properties.

Jack Butala:
That’s exactly my point. In a roundabout way, you made my exact point. We’re in the business of controlling real estate. There’s a lot of-

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
… different ways to do that. Wholesaling a property, you can get equitable title to a piece of real estate. You make an offer. The offer is accepted. You have 30 days to 90 days to actually close on the deal. In a roundabout kind of seedy way, in my opinion, you go and try to find a buyer and you can’t. Do you really control that real estate? I don’t think so.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
If you really want to control a real estate because you believe in the deal, like this boat storage deal, I’m sure you guys believed in it or you wouldn’t have bought it, you just buy the thing. It’s not a matter of-

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
… “I don’t have the money, though, Jack.” Come on. There’s tons and tons of people, us included-

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
… who have a lot of money and a lot of knowledge in this industry, within the Land Academy group, that are going to fund your deals. So, I don’t understand the wholesaling model. I’ve never done it. I really think, in the end, wholesaling sings to two types of people or there’s two things that are really attractive. Number one, you don’t have to put any money into it. That innately concerns me. I don’t like to-

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
… do things for free. I’m not a person who searches around the internet for two hours to try to find the free version of an app when I can spend three bucks on it. I just think free is bad, number one. And number two, I think there’s a huge element of investment/entrepreneur want to be people that think that you have to halfway, or sort of underhandedly, accomplish something without doing it above board to make money. The whole organized crime, “Those people are rich because they cheated.” That’s just not the case. We have a packed group full of really affluent people that have made money in real estate, above board. So, it’s sad.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
I would rather do half the deals that I could do if I were a successful wholesaler, and actually buy the property and sleep at night and resell it.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, back to the boat storage deal. We purchased that for $30,000, knowing very well that if we move forward with a boat storage, or if we sell the property, which is the direction we ended up going in, we were going to be successful at it. We had confidence in that deal, and we controlled every aspect of it. I couldn’t imagine if I put that thing under contract and try to list it and just watch that thing fall apart.

Jack Butala:
Well, what you would do is probably try to sell it for 40.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah. Right.

Jack Butala:
You buy it for 30 and sell it for 40, instead-

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
… of buying it for 30 and selling it for 150, which-

Karl Lathus:
Oh, yeah.

Jack Butala:
… is what’s going to happen because you control it.

Karl Lathus:
Because you’re not calling the county, you’re not doing all that kind of stuff when it comes to these things. If you are, I mean, I don’t know. I doubt it. Yeah. Exactly. We own that property. We were able to really own the scenario around it because that property wasn’t worth what it was worth being sold as a piece of residential, raw, vacant land as it was perceived. That’s not what the city planning had in mind for it. Now, it’s on the radar, and that’s why-

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
You know? We did the legwork on that.

Jack Butala:
What’s next? What are you trying to improve on in 2024?

Karl Lathus:
We’re always trying to improve on everything. That’s a hard question to throw at me, but-

Jack Butala:
That’s why I’m here.

Karl Lathus:
What is next for us?

Jack Butala:
We can talk about working with your spouse, if you want. Or, is that what you’re going to work on this year?

Karl Lathus:
Yeah. We’re going to work on that. No. Samantha and I, we’re moving into what? Our third year in this land investing business. This is the year that we’re really wanting to start to narrow down. Last year, we really narrowed down our processes. We got into the CRM. Airtable is what we use. Any of them, we use. We really narrowed down a lot of our processes so they’re streamlined and more efficient. So moving forward, I’d like to really hammer that out because it is nice. Used to preach about, “This is a business that you run from the back of your boat.” That resonates with me.

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
When you have systems in place, when you’ve done the things that you need to do, that’s possible. It’s not possible to run around like a chicken with your head cut off, answering phone calls, writing down offer ID numbers on a piece of paper. Then say, “I’ll call John back,” and put it on a Post-it note. You can’t operate your business from a distance. We really do want to be able to operate our business at an arm’s length to do quality work. To be able to be consistently operating this business at a high level, you need to have systems in place, and we really want to, I guess, test that water a lot more.

Jack Butala:
All right.

Karl Lathus:
So-

Jack Butala:
So, you’re improving on your systems.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
We’re just increasing our volume. That’s it.

Karl Lathus:
Volume of deals, or-

Jack Butala:
Yeah. Just volume of mail, which will-

Karl Lathus:
Mail.

Jack Butala:
… have a direct effect on the deals that we do. To our fault, we have been over selective on the transactions that we do for probably the last three years. I would like to put some channels in place where we take a fantastic $15,000 profit deal and send it to somebody in our group. We’re trying to figure that out because right now we’ll pass on that deal. We’ll pass on it, and we will just say, “It just doesn’t fit our acquisition criteria,” instead of sending it to somebody else. We’re trying to do that. We haven’t done that in the past. For whatever reason, and I’m sure you can attest to this, it ends up coming back to us, somehow, with work that we have to do, like selling a car to a friend.

Karl Lathus:
Yup.

Jack Butala:
Don’t ever do that. For whatever reason, selling a car to a friend because you think you’re doing something good for them, is going to come back to you, somehow, in a negative way.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
People are laughing on the other side of the camera, right now.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah. I’m laughing-

Jack Butala:
Ever sold a camera… Ah, sold a camera, sold a car to your friend. You know what I’m talking about because they’re not your friend anymore.

Karl Lathus:
That’s interesting, though. Yeah. So, expanding the amount of deals that you guys are doing, are you expanding the areas that you’re going to do?

Jack Butala:
No, and I’ll tell you why. Because we’ve sent millions and millions and millions of offers out. We’ve brought about four specific areas that we work, and they’ve always been good to us.

Karl Lathus:
Okay. So, a little bit about how Samantha and I send mail. We don’t work for specific areas. At a time, we do. We enjoy finding new areas to mail. That’s one of our favorite things to do. Regionally, we stay in areas, but we move around quite a bit. It’d be something to look into if we should start to narrow down our area. It is nice to work in the same area when you have your resources in place.

Jack Butala:
That’s what it is.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
That’s really one of the reasons we have real estate agents there-

Karl Lathus:
Agents.

Jack Butala:
… and all that.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah. And, title companies that you trust. I mean, we ran into a few title companies this year that I can’t stand. When you’re going in new areas like that, you have to find a new title company. You don’t know until you know-

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
… that you picked the wrong title company sometimes.

Jack Butala:
You mail an area that you’ve mailed 15 times before. A property comes back, and you could just know within seconds. In my case, I’ve been there, physically. Well, in all the areas where we send mail. I can just tell you, I know it’s going to work, or it’s not. It’s on the right side of the highway, “Nope.” On the left side, “Yep. We’re buying it.” That kind of stuff. Maybe, some of it’s lazy. I’m not sure. You know what it is? I know we will hit our target financial goals if I stick to it. That’s what it is.

Karl Lathus:
Did you see the mailer that came across your desk the other day?

Jack Butala:
The one that-

Karl Lathus:
Samantha sent you a mailer on accident.

Jack Butala:
Yeah. We got a couple of your letters.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah.

Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Karl Lathus:
Jill signed it, sent it back, but she didn’t know.

Jack Butala:
Oh, she did?

Karl Lathus:
Yeah. She wrote on there, “Just kidding.” It was a property you had already sold, but it was just funny. We got a signed purchase agreement from Jack and Jill, so that’s nice.

Jack Butala:
I didn’t know that. I don’t know. That’s how much Jill and I talk at work. I didn’t even know she did that.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah. It was just funny.

Jack Butala:
Well, thanks, Karl. Great information and I look forward to drinking with you tonight.

Karl Lathus:
Absolutely. From what I understand, the girls open a bottle of wine on their-

Jack Butala:
Oh, darn.

Karl Lathus:
Yeah. On their podcast.

Jack Butala:
We’re stuck doing this. Thanks. We’ll see you soon.

 

Thanks for listening, and finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts.

No need to hire staff - we did it for you.

Land Academy PRO is the brainchild of founders Steven Jack Butala and Jill DeWit. Designed at the request of Land Academy members who are ready for a higher level, we’re excited to continue to provide the tools and support needed by professional investors.

Each level comes with a preset amount of included data, Concierge Mail service, and postage. For example, the Green level includes 6,000 units of completed-for-you mail completely out the door at no extra cost to you.

All levels include a PatLive introduction and preset script (we will set up your phone answering for you), use of Land Academy’s personal Transaction Team to manage your deal flow, an AirTable (CRM) base setup managed by our (and your!) Transaction Coordinator, personal consulting, regular office hours, and includes your Land Academy subscription cost.

If you’re making this a business, Land Academy PRO takes the work off of your plate so you can focus on the things that matter – like running your business.

Green

$10,060

per Month

Silver

$14,590

per Month

Gold

$19,120

per Month

Platinum

$23,650

per Month

Black

$28,180

per Month

Concierge Data+ (with data) Included mailers each month (data + concierge + mailer + postage). Our team will do your data for it and get it out the door.
6,000 mailers 9,000 mailers 12,000 mailers 15,000 mailers 18,000 mailers
PatLive introduction at no cost We will help you establish your first script and get PatLive set up on your behalf to answer your phones.
$500 value $500 value $500 value $500 value $500 value
Transaction Coordinator Use of our personal Transaction Coordinator team to manage your deals. Trained and ready to go!
$7,500 value $7,500 value $7,500 value $7,500 value $7,500 value
AirTable Ready-for-you CRM managed by your personal Land Academy Pro Transaction Coordinator
$100 value $100 value $100 value $100 value $100 value
Personal Consulting 1 on 1 personal consulting with our Transaction Coordinator each week.
- - $1,000 value $1,000 value $1,000 value
Regular Office Hours Regular office hours with Jack and Jill + our staff. Private for LA Pro Members Only. (Think Career Path Office Hours)
$2,500 value $2,500 value $2,500 value $2,500 value $2,500 value
ParcelFact ParcelFact is included in your LA Pro membership with unlimited pulls.
$150 value $150 value $150 value $150 value $150 value
FREE Career Path Access
$23,000 value $23,000 value $23,000 value $23,000 value $23,000 value
Land Academy No more separate charges - Land Academy is included with LA Pro Membership. This includes all education, tools, support, and future releases.
$300 value $300 value $300 value $300 value $300 value
Subtotal: $8,550 value $8,550 value $9,550 value $12,050 value $12,050 value
Mail Value: $7,500 value $11,250 value $15,000 value $18,750 value $22,500 value
Total Value: $39,050 $42,800 $47,550 $53,800 $57,550
Apply Now Apply Now Apply Now Apply Now Apply Now

Green

$10,060

per Month

Concierge Data+ (with data) Included mailers each month (data + concierge + mailer + postage). Our team will do your data for it and get it out the door.
6,000 mailers
PatLive introduction at no cost We will help you establish your first script and get PatLive set up on your behalf to answer your phones.
$500 value
Transaction Coordinator Use of our personal Transaction Coordinator team to manage your deals. Trained and ready to go!
$7,500 value
AirTable Ready-for-you CRM managed by your personal Land Academy Pro Transaction Coordinator
$100 value
Personal Consulting 1 on 1 personal consulting with our Transaction Coordinator each week.
-
Regular Office Hours Regular office hours with Jack and Jill + our staff. Private for LA Pro Members Only. (Think Career Path Office Hours)
$2,500 value
ParcelFact ParcelFact is included in your LA Pro membership with unlimited pulls.
$150 value
FREE Career Path Access
$23,000 value
Land Academy No more separate charges - Land Academy is included with LA Pro Membership. This includes all education, tools, support, and future releases.
$300 value
Subtotal: $8,550 value
Mail Value: $7,500 value
Total Value: $39,050
Apply Now

Silver

$14,590

per Month

Concierge Data+ (with data) Included mailers each month (data + concierge + mailer + postage). Our team will do your data for it and get it out the door.
9,000 mailers
PatLive introduction at no cost We will help you establish your first script and get PatLive set up on your behalf to answer your phones.
$500 value
Transaction Coordinator Use of our personal Transaction Coordinator team to manage your deals. Trained and ready to go!
$7,500 value
AirTable Ready-for-you CRM managed by your personal Land Academy Pro Transaction Coordinator
$100 value
Personal Consulting 1 on 1 personal consulting with our Transaction Coordinator each week.
-
Regular Office Hours Regular office hours with Jack and Jill + our staff. Private for LA Pro Members Only. (Think Career Path Office Hours)
$2,500 value
ParcelFact ParcelFact is included in your LA Pro membership with unlimited pulls.
$150 value
FREE Career Path Access
$23,000 value
Land Academy No more separate charges - Land Academy is included with LA Pro Membership. This includes all education, tools, support, and future releases.
$300 value
Subtotal: $8,550 value
Mail Value: $11,250 value
Total Value: $42,800
Apply Now

Gold

$19,120

per Month

Concierge Data+ (with data) Included mailers each month (data + concierge + mailer + postage). Our team will do your data for it and get it out the door.
12,000 mailers
PatLive introduction at no cost We will help you establish your first script and get PatLive set up on your behalf to answer your phones.
$500 value
Transaction Coordinator Use of our personal Transaction Coordinator team to manage your deals. Trained and ready to go!
$7,500 value
AirTable Ready-for-you CRM managed by your personal Land Academy Pro Transaction Coordinator
$100 value
Personal Consulting 1 on 1 personal consulting with our Transaction Coordinator each week.
$1,000 value
Regular Office Hours Regular office hours with Jack and Jill + our staff. Private for LA Pro Members Only. (Think Career Path Office Hours)
$2,500 value
ParcelFact ParcelFact is included in your LA Pro membership with unlimited pulls.
$150 value
FREE Career Path Access
$23,000 value
Land Academy No more separate charges - Land Academy is included with LA Pro Membership. This includes all education, tools, support, and future releases.
$300 value
Subtotal: $9,550 value
Mail Value: $15,000 value
Total Value: $47,550
Apply Now

Platinum

$23,650

per Month

Concierge Data+ (with data) Included mailers each month (data + concierge + mailer + postage). Our team will do your data for it and get it out the door.
15,000 mailers
PatLive introduction at no cost We will help you establish your first script and get PatLive set up on your behalf to answer your phones.
$500 value
Transaction Coordinator Use of our personal Transaction Coordinator team to manage your deals. Trained and ready to go!
$7,500 value
AirTable Ready-for-you CRM managed by your personal Land Academy Pro Transaction Coordinator
$100 value
Personal Consulting 1 on 1 personal consulting with our Transaction Coordinator each week.
$1,000 value
Regular Office Hours Regular office hours with Jack and Jill + our staff. Private for LA Pro Members Only. (Think Career Path Office Hours)
$2,500 value
ParcelFact ParcelFact is included in your LA Pro membership with unlimited pulls.
$150 value
FREE Career Path Access
$23,000 value
Land Academy No more separate charges - Land Academy is included with LA Pro Membership. This includes all education, tools, support, and future releases.
$300 value
Subtotal: $12,050 value
Mail Value: $18,750 value
Total Value: $53,800
Apply Now

Black

$28,180

per Month

Concierge Data+ (with data) Included mailers each month (data + concierge + mailer + postage). Our team will do your data for it and get it out the door.
18,000 mailers
PatLive introduction at no cost We will help you establish your first script and get PatLive set up on your behalf to answer your phones.
$500 value
Transaction Coordinator Use of our personal Transaction Coordinator team to manage your deals. Trained and ready to go!
$7,500 value
AirTable Ready-for-you CRM managed by your personal Land Academy Pro Transaction Coordinator
$100 value
Personal Consulting 1 on 1 personal consulting with our Transaction Coordinator each week.
$1,000 value
Regular Office Hours Regular office hours with Jack and Jill + our staff. Private for LA Pro Members Only. (Think Career Path Office Hours)
$2,500 value
ParcelFact ParcelFact is included in your LA Pro membership with unlimited pulls.
$150 value
FREE Career Path Access
$23,000 value
Land Academy No more separate charges - Land Academy is included with LA Pro Membership. This includes all education, tools, support, and future releases.
$300 value
Subtotal: $12,050 value
Mail Value: $22,500 value
Total Value: $57,550
Apply Now

Disclaimer: *We have a monthly “use it or lose it” policy with mail and data – Land Academy PRO is designed to keep you on-track and consistent.

To cancel, all packages require a 30 day notice to move you back down to regular Land Academy membership.

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Scheduling a Career Path interview call is currently on hold and will resume closer to Fall 2024 as we approach Career Path 10.

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