Acre by Acre: 2000 Episodes of Land Flipping (LA 2000)

Acre by Acre: 2000 Episodes of Land Flipping (LA 2000)

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Join Steven Jack Butala and Jill DeWit for a special milestone episode of the Land Academy show! They reflect on the highs and lows of the past 10 years serving the land flipping community, reminiscing about memorable moments, big land flipping wins, and the amazing members who have been part of the journey, as well as the future of Land Academy.

Experience the journey from the beginning by visiting landacademy.com/podcast to access all episodes, including the originals! Don’t miss this celebration—tune in now! 🎊

Transcript:

Steven Jack Butala:
I’m Steven Jack Butala.

Jill K DeWit:
And I’m Jill DeWit and this is the Land Academy show.

Steven Jack Butala:
This is episode number 2000, I can’t believe it. We are calling it Acre by Acre, 2000 Episodes of Land Flipping. Jill and I will be covering the high and low points of the last 10 years serving the land community I guess, moments we remember, big land wins, and amazing members, and then ultimately Jill is going to cover at the end, the future of Land Academy.

Jill K DeWit:
What do you mean low points? Hold on a moment. What are talking about, low points?

Steven Jack Butala:
I can summarize this whole thing like this. This is not anything what Jill and I anticipated.

Jill K DeWit:
No.

Steven Jack Butala:
It’s been like a windy, curvy, switchback-y road.

Jill K DeWit:
Oh, no. For me it’s been all peaches and cream, skipping through a field of dandelions. That’s how this has been, so no. I mean, but seriously, this has been an amazing ride. I’m going to start right now because I peeked ahead on the script here and I know it’s not in there, but I got to just remind everyone here, I’m not even supposed to be on this show.

Steven Jack Butala:
Oh, my gosh.

Jill K DeWit:
I was never intended to be … It was the Land Academy Show, but it was never the Jack and Jill show. It was always Jack and the Land Academy show. And so day one, or not even day one, as we’re pre-episode zero, episode negative two, negative three, as we’re figuring this out and testing this and having guests, some of which showed up and some of which didn’t show up, some of the shows that you recorded we could air and some of them we couldn’t air. It’s funny. We had one guy in particular, we can’t cut that much of this up. This is G-rated. It’s just not going to work. So back in the beginning I was just a fill-in guest.

Steven Jack Butala:
When people didn’t show up, Jill would sit in and the numbers on the shows where she sat in were two and three times what the regular numbers and downloads were.

Jill K DeWit:
So that means three people.

Steven Jack Butala:
So yeah, [inaudible 00:02:11] it’s five instead of three, both of our parents included.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
We’re going to cover some of the high and low points all the way through this, but Land Academy doesn’t look anything like what we intended when we started it. And the real reason why is, and we will cover it in a few minutes, is we were constantly and are constantly listening to what our members want and not the changes that they want, and how we can better serve the land community is what this has been. And it ended up being through different products that we’ve released, which we’ll talk about in a few minutes here.

Jill K DeWit:
I still think it’s funny. You go back and dig if you really want to, you could find it on our YouTube channel and on our website, some of the old original ones. You would just call me at my desk and we’d talk for 45 minutes about the I’m doing.

Steven Jack Butala:
They’re all on there.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
You know what? That’s a great point. I didn’t think of this. If you want to go back and laugh, they’re on our website, so they’re on the free portion of our website. You can go all the way back to zero. You can’t do it on iTunes or wherever you listen to the podcasts or watch the podcasts usually. It’s too much data storage, but-

Jill K DeWit:
YouTube and our website can do it?

Steven Jack Butala:
I don’t think even YouTube can. I really think you have to go back on our website. I know you do. Those are all audio only anyway.

Jill K DeWit:
Feel free to make a collage and laugh at Jill’s hairstyles over the years or Jill’s hair color over the years.

Steven Jack Butala:
I was thinking about that because we don’t look the same.

Jill K DeWit:
No bangs. No, we don’t. Exactly. That’s so good.

Steven Jack Butala:
So let’s start with moments we remember.

Jill K DeWit:
Okay.

Steven Jack Butala:
I’m going to phrase this in the form of a question to Jill. What do you remember the most or the least or the most painful?

Jill K DeWit:
Starting just Land Academy?

Steven Jack Butala:
Mm-hmm.

Jill K DeWit:
I remember the yellow pad. I remember having a yellow pad and when we finally decided, I don’t know, it was like, I want to say around the holidays or something. For some reason I’m thinking it’s December, but I remember … So this was 2014 I want to say because we launched in ’15, but I remember getting a yellow pad out and drawing a circle and we have it somewhere. I know I scanned it and saved all this, and in the middle of the bubble I wrote Land Academy, and then we had all these little lines drawing out from the circle going what goes into doing a land deal? And I just remember writing down all … We had 10 big pieces to the puzzle to getting a land deal done and it was the beginning of sharing our whole business model and in there we would put down things like, oh, I know what it was, soup to nuts, but we would put down all the little things. I’ll get back to that in a second here. We would put down all the different things that went into having a business like ours. That was the whole point here.
And I remember every time we’d say, should we put that in? Do we talk about that? Do we cover this? How much detail do we go into this to share our business model with? We had no idea how many people would be interested, but who we thought would be interested. We always said, let’s just put it in there, and that was when you taught me the saying soup to nuts. And I’m like, what the heck? So, yep, truth, time. I didn’t know what soup to nuts was and it was so darn funny. So he taught me that and so, for me, that was what this was about.
In my mind, I was one off teaching people, our customers at the time, people were buying land from us. You and I were one off helping them and teaching them like here’s where you get the data, here’s what you do, here’s how you could do this, here’s how you do that. And then we decided to, let’s just say, one by one, it’s going to take a long time. Let’s put something together and call it Land Academy. You came up with Land Academy and share it with the planet and see what happens.

Steven Jack Butala:
Let’s take a few steps back.

Jill K DeWit:
Okay.

Steven Jack Butala:
I’ve been buying and selling land since 1994.

Jill K DeWit:
True.

Steven Jack Butala:
There’s a huge real estate recession that happened between 2007, and I was very good at it, a huge recession that basically sunk what I created between 2007 and 2009, entered Jill and Jill brought in what I didn’t realize at the time was a massive missing piece to all this, which was personality, personality and sales and just a presence. This is long before Land Academy, so we had to. I was forced to retool the business entirely and she got on the phone and so I provided a bunch of real estate at very good prices for her to sell and that’s when this thing really took off.
Fast-forward to 2014, we’re on vacation with Jill’s yellow pad and we created Land Academy because we ran out of money. We needed more money. We were buying so much property because Jill was and is fantastic on the phone from a sales and an acquisition standpoint. And so we put this thing together to raise capital and we said, you know what we’ll do? We’ll describe to the world, to whoever wants to listen to it or watch the program, this is how we buy property and if you’d like to get involved and fund with us, share in the profit, that’d be great, because we have tons and tons of deals, and it became something after that that I can’t describe. I mean how would you describe that? I just wanted it to cover the cost of … It was a pretty big undertaking. I had to learn the Adobe Suite. We didn’t hire anybody. We bought a camera.

Jill K DeWit:
No, that’s true. It was us.

Steven Jack Butala:
Bought a camera and bought a DVD burner and put the program together and I had to learn the Adobe suite of products so that I could screenshot it and-

Jill K DeWit:
I ordered and lovingly we created together these beautiful binders with an embossed Land Academy logo on them and that’s how it was delivered. That was so funny back then too.

Steven Jack Butala:
CD sets.

Jill K DeWit:
We did it all, down to, I’m going to the mailbox, I’m popping this in kind of thing and printing out our own shipping labels. We did it all.

Steven Jack Butala:
When I knew that we were doing it wrong is when multiple members, new members would send us a note saying, I really want to be a part of this and I love the product, but I don’t have a DVD player.

Jill K DeWit:
Oh, yeah, that’s true. That was true. Remember there was one person that we actually bought them a DVD player. I remember that. I’m like, it’s $39 nowadays, so literally we bought a DVD player and sent it to him. I’m like, got to be kidding me, but okay. That was funny. That’s a good memory. Yeah. What about you?

Steven Jack Butala:
I was thinking back. We have lived in five places since we started Land Academy.

Jill K DeWit:
That’s funny. Only five?

Steven Jack Butala:
What’s wrong with us? We’ve moved five times.

Jill K DeWit:
I know. It’s good.

Steven Jack Butala:
That’s not counting the summers that we spent in RVs, plural.

Jill K DeWit:
True. We got the starter RV out of the way.

Steven Jack Butala:
Here’s Land Academy since the beginning until now by the numbers. We’ve had thousands and thousands of members. We’ve had tens of thousands of just land deals, all land deals, Land Academy wide. There’s no way for me to confirm that, but I know it’s true because we look at these land deals on our Thursday member call, which we’ve been doing for years. It’s been years and years, probably seven plus years. We’ve had a webinar once a week. We’ve had hundreds of thousands of ebook downloads, millions of podcast downloads, and about 5,000 hours of recorded and available content.

Jill K DeWit:
That’s a lot.

Steven Jack Butala:
How does this make you feel? It makes me feel old.

Jill K DeWit:
Tired.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah, old and happy, and I don’t know.

Jill K DeWit:
Well, I was going to say we should not look as good as we look, but you be the judge. I’m sure you’re like, no, yeah, Jill, you look tired. That’s fine.

Steven Jack Butala:
There’s a politician who gets elected and they look great and then four years later it’s like, what happened to that guy?

Jill K DeWit:
They age 20 years.

Steven Jack Butala:
That’s this.

Jill K DeWit:
That’s probably us. That’s good. Thank goodness for hair color.

Steven Jack Butala:
Let’s move on from moments that we remember to big land wind.

Jill K DeWit:
Okay.

Steven Jack Butala:
So we’ve completed, again by the numbers, just Jill and I, over 1,000 deals since we started Land Academy in 2014 and over 16,000 since I started in ’94 Jeez, the average land deal for us right now, we generally will buy a piece of property for less than $100,000, let’s say between 60 and 90,000 and we’ll sell it for between 150 and $350,000. That’s the sweet spot now, but jeez, it never was. It changes all the time. There was a time when we started the first program we did, we’re up to Land Academy 3.0 now, but the first program was called Cash Flow from Land. We were still buying real small properties that are real inexpensive and selling them on terms, which we’ve long moved on from. Not because it’s a bad model, it’s just we saw a better opportunity elsewhere. That’s a reoccurring theme at Land Academy. We continually grow and change and adjust to the market.

Jill K DeWit:
True.

Steven Jack Butala:
And so-

Jill K DeWit:
Well, let’s pause on that for a second because that’s a bigger deal and I think gets talked about. I mean you figured this whole thing out. I want to back up. This is all in his head. You didn’t have a mentor, you didn’t have an education program, you had nobody to learn this from. You figured this all out on your own. Even I had you, so I had a mentor and an education, if you will, which was me at your desk and you showing me what to do and not on the data side, you always kept on that, but on the sales side, here’s how we run the properties through the system, go with it. Like, okay, I got this, and I would post my own property and all that good stuff back then. So we have, together, 15 years of full-time transaction history and experience, not counting the 15 years before that that you created.
And so back to what you were saying about pivoting and growing and learning, I mean that’s who we are, and you know it. Those of you who have been listening to us from day one, you know who you are and I know who you are, you go, wait a minute, I remember when you hated real estate agents. Now you love them and now you hate them again and now you love them. There’s all different things that we’ve done. Our data sources have changed. This has changed. I got tired of eating my words, by the way. I’m good at it now. And we continue to do that and we will continue to do that. So this episode 2000, by the way, is not, well, mic drop.

Steven Jack Butala:
Oh, my gosh. No.

Jill K DeWit:
And you’ll hear more at the end here of the show. This is like, oh, hold on. We are positioning ourselves to do even more and greater things with you.

Steven Jack Butala:
I really wonder. You’re right. I’m glad we paused on this because adjusting to your environment is a theme that should be happening in life, not just in business. It’s relationships, all of it. I mean, if you’ve ever had children, you don’t treat a two-year-old the way you do a 17-year-old. You just don’t as a parent. And why should your business be any different? The deals that we were doing 10 years ago or 20 years ago completely don’t even look the same at all. And we’re going to talk about some of the big land wins that we had here in a minute, but had those big land win opportunities come across our field of vision, I would’ve passed on that, largely because Jill’s involved and she knows now and I’ve had, what, 15 years to work with her.
So there’s another set of partnership eyes on the types of deals that we do that we would’ve passed on because I wouldn’t know where to start from a sell side. We can buy it. Jill and I can buy anything. We can buy and fund anything now because of Land Academy. We can fund any deal. We can fund it and we can receive funding. I mean, I think it’s almost infinite, which was why we started Land Academy is to get a group of people together to have a bunch of money so we’re better together, and so that is just a win right there.

Jill K DeWit:
True. Exactly. You had some good notes here about some of the transactions you used to do. That’s pretty good there.

Steven Jack Butala:
For me, I always remember the first land deal and the most recent land deal. The first deal I ever did, I was on eBay sitting at my coffee table in Cincinnati. I was a vice president of Deaconess Healthcare System, one of the vice presidents, and I hated it. And so I got onto eBay, didn’t know you could buy property and 30, 40 minutes later I bought 80 acres in Arizona for I think around eight to $10,000. Clean the whole thing up, clean the posting up, never went to Arizona, never thought about it, made the posting look a lot better, added a lot of information after I researched it online, got on the phone with the county and the whole thing, and resold it for 16 or $20,000.
I don’t remember the exact numbers and I remember receiving the payment on that. I remember it like it was yesterday, receiving the credit card payment. No, it was a check back then. They didn’t even process credit cards and the check clearing and me saying to myself, that’s it. This is what I’m doing for the rest of my life. All I need to do, this is the thought that I had, was institutionalize buying inexpensive property or undervalued property. That hasn’t changed.

Jill K DeWit:
Correct.

Steven Jack Butala:
That is exactly what we do now, and that’s what happened. I quit that job, moved back to Arizona and went on a quest of physical and what ended up happening was I would travel around the country at tax sales, tax deed sales, buy property and resell it online. This is before Jill and I joined forces, so there were some real memorable deals during then. I bought a big release of property, escrow release property in Grand State, Mexico. We made a couple million bucks. That’s a memorable big land win. I bought several hundred properties real close to the Grand Canyon, which by law back then we had to sell in six packs for a bunch of reasons and I made, I don’t know, eight or $900,000 on that.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
Jill and I did a deal, a tax deed deal where it was right in the middle of the recession and we just hit this tax sale at the right time and bought 1400 properties, 1400 APNs.

Jill K DeWit:
We were sitting in the county offices waiting for an hour or two, I can’t remember how long it was, while they printed out the deeds and they sent us home with a big stack, a ream of paper with all these APNs. I’m like, this is hilarious.

Steven Jack Butala:
I remember driving home stopping to get her an iced tea and I said, it’s probably about the time you should quit your job.

Jill K DeWit:
You did. I didn’t get it at the time. I remember you really looking, [inaudible 00:18:05] You were driving. You’re looking at me going, you don’t realize this is it. And I’m like, okay, I got this.

Steven Jack Butala:
We paid $11 in APM.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
We ended up selling those for over $1,000 each.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah. You can’t calculate those numbers.

Steven Jack Butala:
I can calculate.

Jill K DeWit:
Okay. They-

Steven Jack Butala:
I can calculate it in my head.

Jill K DeWit:
Okay, got it.

Steven Jack Butala:
So can everyone else.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah, that’s true, but that was insane.

Steven Jack Butala:
So from there, what was real interesting that happened, and this is a great example of the dynamic between Jill and I as professional partners, she said, well, are there other deals out there like this? This is her sales mind at work because I’m over here doing all the accounting. And I said, yeah, in fact, we should wholesale some of these properties out and suck some cash out of this so we can go buy all these other deals that we have on deck. And she said, well, can you just make a list of, I don’t know, the top 10 people that you think would buy these? And so she did, and that launched, this was around 2009-ish, 10 maybe, launched what would be the next several years of how we bought and sell land. We would buy land, she would contact … She built an email list of people. It was probably 20 or 30 people. I would put a spreadsheet together with prices and APNs, the most basic thing you can imagine, not maps. There was no real copier pros at all.

Jill K DeWit:
There are other investors, they’re pros. They don’t need that. Yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
These are people that were selling stuff all over the country and online on terms and God knows what they were doing with it, but my job became very, very easy. I had to just to do what I know how to do, which is go and to either tax sales or to find in the little corners of places where I know where to buy back then really inexpensive land, create a spreadsheet for Jill, and then she would distribute it and take the phone calls and process the deeds. So that’s a fantastic example of that was a huge win, that milestone. That’s a fantastic example of just change it with the times, improving. Geez, that was just probably 10 times the revenue. Well, I was out of business because of the recession and she came in and totally breathed new life into the whole thing. So I-

Jill K DeWit:
We had the property. Let’s define our business, had a lot of property, but just not a lot of gas.

Steven Jack Butala:
We had a ton of property and no sales talent because it was me, and she came in and sifted through. We had tons of real estate actually now [inaudible 00:20:45] tons of free and clear real estate that was sitting there and no way to sell it because eBay was done too, single point of failure.

Jill K DeWit:
Totally. So yeah, over the years, boy, we have pivoted, grown, moved. You know what’s funny? You remember the deals. Did you want to …

Steven Jack Butala:
Well, just to finish the thought, and then I’m sure you have land wins, too, we recently did a transaction that I would …This was a frequent thing between John and I, I would’ve passed on, and the deal came in, we bought it. I can’t remember where it was. I think it was Oregon. I’m not sure. The deal came in. I think we paid 140-ish?

Jill K DeWit:
Something like that?

Steven Jack Butala:
And sold it for 235.

Jill K DeWit:
More than that even, actually, it was 280, I think. Yeah. It was an easy double.

Steven Jack Butala:
Right, and that’s always been our thing. Try to double it and now it’s try to double it and make $100,000.

Jill K DeWit:
Right.

Steven Jack Butala:
So if we end up doing 40 deals a year at $100,000, you don’t need a calculator for that either, right? I try to make 2.5 million in profit in our land buying endeavor here the bottom, and so it ends up working out, and so that was a great example. I mean I’m just about done with our 2023 tax return and I can tell you it all worked. I don’t remember the deals anymore.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
I know the money and I think you know the people.

Jill K DeWit:
It’s even different for me now. Someone once told me this, don’t think about this, don’t think about how pretty it is, don’t think about where it is, don’t think about the attributes, don’t get hung up on these. Think about all of these properties as a line item on a spreadsheet. I was almost like a general giving a soldier a speech and I’m like, noted. I remembered that. It’s funny. So I’d stop paying attention. If you want to ask me what I closed on last week, I can’t tell you. I have to go look. I really cannot.

Steven Jack Butala:
That’s great.

Jill K DeWit:
Remember, I move on. But what I do remember though over the years is I pay way more pension to our deals some of our members are doing. I can remember some of the deals that are going on right now, I’m not going to share them, but some good deals in the works right now that our community is doing and more importantly our members in their lives and, oh boy, all of you who have shared with me, we call it the Quitters Club still. When you’re quitting your day job and have sent us notes over the years? Oh, I remember that. That’s what I [inaudible 00:23:28] because that is life-changing. Hey, my wife was able to retire. We don’t have to go back to work. I quit my job, fill in the blank. I love all of that, so that’s the stuff that I remember. Those are some of my big wins more than the deals.

Steven Jack Butala:
So the name of this segment is called Big Land Wins, but there’s been other wins now. I realized that I like to instruct. I really get a real huge kick out of … Again, we directly keep in touch with our membership group every single Thursday on a Thursday call-

Jill K DeWit:
In Discord.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah, in Discord, on a minute-by-minute basis, so we know what kind of deals they’re doing. We know what is making sense to them. Jill went through a whole phase in Land Academy a few years ago called adding a zero. You’re going to buy for 10,000 and sell for 180,000? Then just add a zero. Or I mean, buy for 10 and sell for 80, add a zero or add a one in front of it.

Jill K DeWit:
Well, it was even to be before that, because a lot of people were hung up with buying for 1000 and selling for 8,000. That was a big hang-up for a lot of people. I’m like, knock it off. Especially with our deal funding now, you don’t have to buy for 1000 because that’s all that you have. Buy for 10, make it count.

Steven Jack Butala:
Deal funding was a massive pivotal point, more for our members than us. It was pivotal for us because we started Land Academy and we immediately got four or five people that were throwing money at us, more money than we needed.

Jill K DeWit:
That’s always the case.

Steven Jack Butala:
WE then realized there’s a lot of other people that want to be involved in this. So we did that and then at some point several years ago, we came up with landfunding.com, and so now we fund people’s deals. And we’re very, very choosy, so we’re almost sure, within reason, if we fund it, we’re all going to do pretty well.

Jill K DeWit:
If I sign off on it, it’s going to be good. We’re going to be okay. Either way, it’s my money, so don’t worry about it. That’s usually the case. So yeah, it’s awesome.

Steven Jack Butala:
The next segment is our amazing members. So without naming names yet, they all have the same kind of profile or MO. Imagine you take a college course and there’s 30 people in the class and the instructor’s somebody with gray hair. If you ask, and I’ve done this with the college professors, what are the students that you really enjoy teaching to get out of it? They’ll always say some version of this, the people that actually got something out of the program and then went and used it in some different way that I never anticipated.
Well, the same situation happens here. My favorite members are the ones who take this basic concept of finding and trolling for real estate that looks like it might be a good place to buy land that’s undervalued and resell it for more, send people offers and then process the deal on the buy and the sell side. And then they see something else in there that no one’s seen, including me. These 80 acre properties can be subdivided or minor split into fill in the blank, or geez, I noticed there’s a ton of variants in a mobile home for sale and sold pricing. And so they take this concept of direct mail offers and make it their own or they make their spreadsheets that we provide their own, and so it just takes on this life of its own. And then we hear from them, I don’t know, six months later and it’s like, yeah, we don’t need to be members anymore.

Jill K DeWit:
It’s not that. They’re funding other people’s deals.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Jill K DeWit:
That’s the thing that happens. That’s what I see that’s funny, the progression. Some people, they’ll come in and they need the education, got it, and the funding, got it. And then after a little while, that’s going great and I’m like, Hey, let’s do some more deals. No, thank you, Jill. I don’t need your funding anymore. I can afford to do this myself. I’m not splitting any profits. Noted, and then wait six months and now they’re at the bank for somebody else.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Jill K DeWit:
I know that there are people that hang out in Land Academy for a very long time and some that even just come into Land Academy because they know how smart this group is and how strategic we are and how data focused we are. We’re using data, making sure we make really smart decisions and people love to fund our deals and love to work with us.
I remember years ago too, when we were first starting, and my peers at the time, other investors were doing deals together. I’m doing deals over here, they were doing deals over there. We all knew who each other was and I remember then when they would say, oh, I bought a property off one of your members, I know exactly that this person came from you. And I’m like, oh, that’s great.

Steven Jack Butala:
I remember that too.

Jill K DeWit:
That’s really cool, and they actually would thank me. They’re like, thank you. Honestly, it was like, thank you for teaching the planet how to do a deal and what all this stuff means and things like that. That was really good.

Steven Jack Butala:
Over the years, we’ve had people reach out to us and say, you know what? I’m in a position in life where I’m happy to help you guys with Land Academy because it’s working out for me and I’d love to take on partners or whatever their personal motivation for that is.

Jill K DeWit:
Give back.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah, I’ll give back. I have to mention Kevin Farrell. He was with us for years and years and years.

Jill K DeWit:
He’s still with us.

Steven Jack Butala:
He doesn’t, but he’s not a moderator.

Jill K DeWit:
Right.

Steven Jack Butala:
Kevin stepped up. He was directly involved in the live events that we had in the distant past and he was a moderator on all of the community sites that we’ve created over the years. The most recent one, the one we use now is a version of Discord. And so he was a moderator and he was also ended up being a consultant you could call him and [inaudible 00:29:28] coaching and consultant, paid for a half hour. And geez, the response we got from people that talked to Kevin was like, wow, he really cleared up chapter seven or really, that’s the push I needed to get the mail out the door, on and on and on. Same thing right now with Carl and Samantha Lathes. They both have really, really showed up. They’re brand new members. They’re career path graduates and just they’re giving it their all. They’re funding people’s deals and it’s been a pleasure to work with them.

Jill K DeWit:
I was going to say, what I noticed, what you just touched on here is people have over the years realized, okay, there’s a lot of giving going on in this group. There’s a lot of abundance in this group, and so there’s more helping than anything, and so I think that’s what you’re speaking to. [inaudible 00:30:24] Thank you for sharing all that. Wow, I can’t believe you just shared all that with me. You just gave me all your secrets and everything. I’m like, awesome. Please help us and pay it forward, and that’s going on.

Steven Jack Butala:
I remember a huge compliment somebody said to me that you guys have created what social media is supposed to be.

Jill K DeWit:
Aw. That was nice.

Steven Jack Butala:
I know. This is a lot of years ago, actually.

Jill K DeWit:
That’s nice. Yeah, helping each other, not cutting people down.

Steven Jack Butala:
Right.

Jill K DeWit:
There’s abundance. There’s enough property to go around. We used to get that, remember, in the beginning? This is a good one. We used to get this all the time and now we don’t get it anymore. Aren’t you guys nuts for sharing your business model? Because didn’t you just create competition for you? To which I say I understand your thoughts and don’t think we didn’t talk about that because seriously, before we sat down and even put Land Academy together, we did say, are we nuts for teaching other people to do what we do? That could be creating our own competition in the land buying and selling space. And we did the math and, trust me, there’s enough property to go around. I still don’t worry about it.

Steven Jack Butala:
There’s 150 million pieces of property in this country.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
We can all-

Jill K DeWit:
I can’t touch them all.

Steven Jack Butala:
There’s almost two million licensed real estate agents in this world all scrambling to try to get the same listings. There’s probably less than maybe 800, maybe 1000 people buying and selling land actively like we are.

Jill K DeWit:
True. I want to talk about amazing members on my side of the sheet here.

Steven Jack Butala:
Sure.

Jill K DeWit:
Who do I recall and remember and get excited about? All the strong women in Land Academy and you know what? There are more. I remember early on my Bay and Chelsea from a while ago who’s back, and Bay’s been with us for quite some time. So in the beginning there were very few women investors and then it transitioned to more couples coming in. The men would join Land Academy and get the wives involved and some of them … I remember a member in particular bought Land Academy and handed it to his wife. If you don’t want to go back to work, this is a way you can not go back to work and be home with the kids. I’m like, oh, this is smart. You’re good. And then watch the women get into this and take off, and so now I have … Gosh, thank you, Bay and Chelsea and Michelle and Sam and Shannon, and I’ve got some new ones coming up through the ranks right now. I got a Tara and a Zane that I’m like, oh, I’m keeping an eye. I’m hearing about you guys and I’m excited to see what kind of deals you guys put together.

Steven Jack Butala:
So as fun as it is to take this little trip down memory lane, I’ve tried to live my life by this saying, you’re only as good as the last great thing you’ve done, and I really believe that. So great, we did all this. Congratulations, Jack. You started in 1994, you did thousands and thousands of deals and you and Jill made it together. Congratulations.

Jill K DeWit:
And you’re still together.

Steven Jack Butala:
How does this affect me? Yeah.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
How does this affect me and what’s going to happen next? Which brings us to our final segment called The Future of Land Academy, which is my favorite. This is really what I want to talk about. We’re always, both of us, looking forward.

Jill K DeWit:
Oh, totally.

Steven Jack Butala:
I’m not patting myself on the back about past tax returns. All the products, as I said earlier, have been developed directly in response to members’ requests. From the very first product, people were asking us long before that Land Academy was even a thing, how do you guys consistently buy cheap land? And we would tell them, we wouldn’t hold it back. This is what we do. I didn’t give anybody seller’s phone numbers, but we told them, this is the concept.

Jill K DeWit:
This is where you go get the data, that kind of a thing.

Steven Jack Butala:
Then it happened so much because Jill was selling so much property to people just on email and verbally, can you teach us? That started happening.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
And so we said, sure, I’ll tell you what. Why don’t you give me this piece of property that we know you own and then we’ll all sit down for a few hours and I’ll answer your questions? That’s how it started. Then that happened more and more and more. So finally Jill and I sat down and said, this is where the yellow pad came in, we were actually on vacation, why don’t we just create a program so we don’t have to do this individually, one-on-one all the time? And I remember saying this to Jill, if we make $5,000 extra a month, it’ll cover all the costs and the grief and the labor and all of it and we’ll go on our way. And so that was the whole goal of Land Academy, to generate $5,000 to just cover costs.

Jill K DeWit:
That was so funny.

Steven Jack Butala:
Here we are.

Jill K DeWit:
I will never forget, I launched it early. I was doing my own little social media posts, my own little pictures and all the little stuff in Facebook and just doing what I thought and then I opened up … We had a checkout, you made the website, had a sweet little checkout page and I sent a little email blast and here you all came. I’m like, what just happened? It was so good.

Steven Jack Butala:
So my point is those products were at the request of people, our regular land buying customers, and then I remember launching Land Academy, and just what Jill said, and it was landacademy.org back then because we couldn’t afford the dot-com.

Jill K DeWit:
Yep.

Steven Jack Butala:
There were all these questions, so they got these DVDs, they watched them and they were emailing us question after question. So Jill said, we need a place on the internet where everybody can communicate with each other and help each other, not just get the help from us. And she said, oh, and I’m going on vacation. This is all a true story.

Jill K DeWit:
This is funny.

Steven Jack Butala:
I said, all right. And she was gone for, I don’t know, four or five days.

Jill K DeWit:
Just a weekend. You did give me some tasks. You said, I’m going to do this. You need to come back with three blogs. And I’m like, you did? I had to write three blogs. I’m like, okay, deal.

Steven Jack Butala:
Did you write them?

Jill K DeWit:
Yes, I had to. That was my assignment.

Steven Jack Butala:
Oh my gosh.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah, I remember that.

Steven Jack Butala:
It makes it sound like a one-way street.

Jill K DeWit:
Well, no, but you were doing something and I was doing something, so yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
Make no mistake, I work for Jill.

Jill K DeWit:
Oh, thanks.

Steven Jack Butala:
Let’s just be clear on that. So I created this website called Success Plant, and it was a WordPress plug-in, and geez, it just immediately took off. All these products, with a few exceptions, which I’ll mention in a minute, really took off. And so everybody that was in Land Academy and we had a free section and a paid section and everybody within Land Academy, that’s when we really got to hear or watch what the hang-ups were, where people were fumbling and one of them was data. Oh, my God, can you believe how much it costs at RealQuest? This data costs this and this. Then they started saying, well, maybe we should put together a group where we know we can buy this much data every month. And so Jill came up with, let’s just have a membership.
And we went to Irvine and sat down [inaudible 00:37:42] RealQuest at the time. We sat down with one of the directors or vice presidents of RealQuest and they said, you two are out of your mind. We will never resell data to you. You guys are land investors and I get it, but we were for oil and gas companies and all that. Enter Jill and so we came out of there with a drafted agreement for how we can provide way low-cost data in RealQuest. Now it’s DataTree. We did the same thing with DataTree. A lot easier with DataTree because they were looking at our usage in RealQuest, and so that became the data situation. I can keep going.

Jill K DeWit:
That was fun. I wonder what happened to that guy. We had a good time. Yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
Then we got so frustrated with attempting to find or do our own mailers that Jill and I started offers to owners and hat was pivotal, too, because that’s all we do. offersandowners.com only processes offers for us and members and people in the business, so we got really good at it. Jesus, this was a few years ago

Jill K DeWit:
And again, brought the cost down. That was the whole thing. People were getting hung up on the mail merge, and so that was one of our first products was we’ll do the mayor much for you and we can bring the cost down, because one by one people were trying to figure out how to save money, including a sweet member who’s been with us for this whole time too, who was first initial was L, getting his own big printer in his garage thinking that that would work, and then realizing that’s way too expensive.

Steven Jack Butala:
By the way, I did that.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah, I know, but we turned it into a company now and not a one-off. It was for us, one off. You can’t one-off do your own mail.

Steven Jack Butala:
It won’t work financially.

Jill K DeWit:
No, it won’t work financially.

Steven Jack Butala:
You can’t one-off get your own data.

Jill K DeWit:
And you don’t have a backup when the printer doesn’t work and your envelopes don’t show up and all of that, so that doesn’t work.

Steven Jack Butala:
Getting your own data and doing your own mail will end in tears.

Jill K DeWit:
Totally.

Steven Jack Butala:
It’ll end in bankrupted tears.

Jill K DeWit:
Yep.

Steven Jack Butala:
I know this because that’s what happened to us, minus the bankruptcy, but there were a lot of tears putting this stuff together. We started a company that’s still around called Deed Perfect because we noticed that people are having trouble doing their own deeds, and so you just plow in your information and it kicks out a deed.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
For a very long time, our transaction coordinator was using Deed Perfect to do our deeds. I don’t even know that.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah, I did know that.

Steven Jack Butala:
She said that recently. We provided a place to sell land called landpin.com, P-I-N. It’s not used so much now anymore because we use real estate agents for much higher valued real estate deals on the sell side. Geez, we started landfunding.com, landtank.com. Both of those are places where if you need to get a deal funded, you can put it in there. We started houseacademy.com.

Jill K DeWit:
And House Tank.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah, and House Tank. So Jill and I regularly, not super regularly, but consistently still buy houses and we will be, because the economy’s changing, get back to that, not exclusively. It’ll never replace land, but it’s a good product type to add to what we do. We started Career Path, which is our high-end class. It’s an eight-week class.

Jill K DeWit:
A mastermind.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah, it’s a mastermind group for people where it’s their career. They’re not just horsing around. They’re past all that and they’re real serious about it.

Jill K DeWit:
It’s like, I’m done making $200,000 a year. I want to make that two million a year. Okay.

Steven Jack Butala:
These are all the result of us getting floods and floods of requests of emails like, how do I do this? What happens here? And finally the answer is you should join Career Path and all these things will be answered. Okay.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
We have a program now as a result of … Again, and this is my final product, it’s not a conclusive list of all of our products, but because people in Career Path were being introduced to the people in Offers and Owners that do put the mailers together and being introduced to our transaction coordinator team, the people who do our deals, their response was, well-

Jill K DeWit:
Can I hire them?

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah, can I hire them? Why can’t they be my staff? And we started Land Academy Pro, so now you can use our staff and use our people to do the mail, the same people that Jill and I used to buy and sell property in this very small group.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah, so that’s a good recap. There’s some other things that we don’t need to bring up that didn’t work out over the years. There’s several sites. If you go back and dig, you’re like, what happened to that? Okay. So that’s part of why you’re here too, right? Well, we’re going to pivot. This is our thing for 30 years. Sorry, 30 years for you, 15 for me, this has been our gig and we’re not going anywhere and we’re even better at pivoting and spotting these things and staying ahead of it. And so for me right now, my big exciting thing is Landgals.com, that’s coming. There’s going to be a live event in the works. I’ve got new program stuff in the works. I’ve got special breakout things that I’m already doing right now just within the Land Academy community for my Sweet Ladies group because you guys are figuring it out and I want to help you. That’s it. Our theme has been retire your husband and I love that. We have had people in Land Academy that have done that and it’s so great.

Steven Jack Butala:
Who knows what’s next?

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
I can tell you we’re in a flat real estate market now, and for the first time in a lot of years professionals, reading their opinions about what’s going to happen with real estate and a lot of it’s nothing’s going to crash, I don’t think, like it did the last time, but it’s certainly flattening and there’s a shift in high demand real estate in urban areas to rural areas, which is our specialization. So why not? We will be buying and selling more rural real estate than we ever have, and so will our members. And so if that becomes some type of special product, then I’m sure it will. Then we’ll get involved in that forever. People have been asking us to pool revenue or pool investment capital and do syndications, and I have kept that in my back pocket, but we’ll see.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah, we’re too good at what we do to stop.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Jill K DeWit:
Honestly, I’m going to end it on this for me, like I said, we’re too good at this to stop. Why would I? We have built this amazing community that is just … We’re taking over the world here and I’m pretty proud of them and we have so many good ideas and things, and the lifestyle that we can do all this. We can take our RV, be anywhere, and we’ve been showing you how to do this too. So gosh, wherever you are in your investment journey, and if this is something you’re just thinking about, you’re not too late. I’m going to say you came in at the right time. No matter where you’re coming in, it’s the right time because we’ve learned a lot, solved a lot, and we’ve got new things going forward and that’s who we are. So maybe when I’m 90 and I can’t talk on the phone, but by then, when I’m 90 and it’s hard to talk on the phone, watch me still get some good deals [inaudible 00:45:15] I believe it will happen.

Steven Jack Butala:
It’s in your soul.

Jill K DeWit:
It is in my soul, and we’re here to help you and I’m excited for what’s to come. I have to share one little thing too before you end this, and I know you have a wrap up too. So one of our team members sent us the sweetest celebration, personalized M&M’s thing, and I just wanted to thank Erin for this. It has our faces on it. I can’t [inaudible 00:45:43] but the staff’s all laughing like, I don’t know if I can eat an M&M with your face on it. I’m like, I bet you can.

Steven Jack Butala:
I bet if you tried real hard, you could maybe put it under the sole of your shoe.

Jill K DeWit:
Our faces, and congrats on 2000. So we are going to be celebrating tonight, not with M&M’s, but with a real bottle. So thank you and thank you to the Land Academy members for this and our staff and to you.

Steven Jack Butala:
Thank you, Jill.

Jill K DeWit:
This is your brainchild.

Steven Jack Butala:
Do you think we’ll do episode 3000 someday?

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah, maybe 4,000 and 5,000.

Steven Jack Butala:
I really do too.

Jill K DeWit:
I do.

Steven Jack Butala:
If you would’ve asked me around episode 1000, I would’ve said, I don’t know. It’s a lot of work.

Jill K DeWit:
I think at episode 10. No, just kidding.

Steven Jack Butala:
Oh, at episode 10 I said there would be no episode 11.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah. That’s so funny.

Steven Jack Butala:
Join us next Wednesday for episode number 2001. You are not alone in your real estate ambition.

Steven and Jill:
We are Jack and Jill.

Steven Jack Butala:
Information …

Jill K DeWit:
And inspiration …

Steven Jack Butala:
To buy undervalued property.

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.

Office Hours Schedule

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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