There was just so much good information from Ken Gills that we had to add a part 2! That’s right folks, a double dose of “Oh Yeah” for you guys. Ken is excited to return and share with us again; he just couldn’t get it all in.
Last episode we learned how Ken got started and what makes him tick. Now he gets into the nuts and bolts of his operations, what he has his VAs doing, and much, much more. If you listened to the first episode then you have to listen to this one. If you didn’t listen to the first one, then do it now and come back here! Either way, you don’t want to miss it.
Listen and enjoy:
- 03:07 – How reverse engineering can lead to your biggest deals
- 05:13 – What forms of marketing can jumpstart your business?
- 09:03 – How text marketing can land you deals when voicemails don’t
- 11:50 – What are the advantages of Post-it notes?
- 16:45 – How do you structure your offers?
- 17:41 – Mix up your deals with some creativity : here’s how
- 21:16 – How do you find out what is going on around you?
- 22:00 – The way Ken structures his lease options
- 27:10 – Set yourself up to spend your time doing what you love
- 27:45 – What activities can your VA do in their down time to make you money
- 31:59 – Why would you call a landlord?
- 34:32 – What kind of lists to mail to?
- 39:10 – VAs in two-step negotiating and complementing with local VAs
- 43:25 – Partnering with local wholesalers.
- 44:22 – What is mastermind?
- 46:45 – Why mentoring is a great tool for newbies
- 52:00 – “These are the stories that fuel me…”
- Post-it notes work! Let me tell you how. [Click to Tweet]
- These are the two places I make money in my home. [Click to Tweet]
- I can show you how to fire your boss. [Click to Tweet]
- I can show you how to change the income of your family forever. [Click to Tweet]
Mentioned in this episode:
Joe: Welcome. This is the Real Estate Investing Mastery Podcast.Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Real Estate Investing Mastery Podcast. Really glad you're here. This is going to be an exciting call, this is part two of our call with Ken. Go to our website, RealEstateInvestingMastery.com and you can get our fast cash survival kit. A lot of the stuff we have in there is stuff that we're going to be talking about today with Ken using virtual assistance, the importance of marketing, how to wholesale deals virtually. We’re going to talk to Ken. I'm sure Ken, you don't go look at every house that you get under contract. Am I right?
Ken: Yeah. That will be correct. That would be too many.
Joe: That would be too many.
Ken: Yeah. Exactly.
Joe: Right. Ken is crushing it right now. I'm going to guess, Ken, you do ten to 20 deals a month?
Joe: In the Baltimore area.
Ken: Correct. Baltimore and Maryland area.
Joe: You just dropped 10,000 yellow letters. Guys, this is not postcards which you get an average response rate of maybe 2% to 3%. These are yellow letters you get an average response rate of maybe 8% to 10%. He's got the systems in place to handle those calls. That's going to be about 900 to a 1000 phone calls from those letters this month. He's doing some crazy things, and he's insane enough to do it, and talk with us about it which is awesome.
Alex couldn't be on the call, he's on his way to meet a seller on a really, really big deal. He called me right before we started this podcast and he said he was so excited about this deal. He meets with the seller in about 15 minutes. I told him to call me when he's leaving if it's really a deal, and he'll tell us all about it on the podcast here. That would be interesting.
When he told me, I was really happy for him but I was also really jealous because I'm like “Damn, the numbers are so good on this deal.” The county appraises it for about 290. The seller just wants to walk away with $45,000. Obviously, it's going to be a huge rehab but he said “I don't care, I'll just tear the house down and build a new one on there. Such a good property in a prime location.” Anyway, it sounded like “Dang. Man, how come he gets all the good deals?”
Joe: I want those, but that's what happens when you do a lot of marketing. Alex does a lot of marketing. He's been doing it for a long time and who knows, this is probably some seller that got his postcard six months ago and just kept it. Maybe got his second or third postcard, and finally decided ‘Yeah, I'll give him a call.' That's good. When you do this long enough, you’re going to get those kinds of deals.
Ken, what's one of the biggest deals you've ever done?
Ken: One of the biggest deals I've done was a townhome in Baltimore and where I made 90,000 on
Ken: I was in the same situation, somebody just really want to get out of it. They didn't live in the area, so they didn't know that the market had changed and they owned the house for a number of years. It was an out-of-state seller or I'd say an investor, and he had been renting the house for years, owned it outright. They just didn't want to pay the taxes and didn't want to have to deal with trying to find another renter to move into the property.
They didn't know about the area, what was going on. They lived out of state and I was able to get to the property from them renovated, and then sell to a buyer home investor for a lot more, and with that were to ask me 90,000 on that one.
Ken: I was really, really happy about that.
Joe: You went in and added some value to the property.
Ken: Correct. What I did was I reversed engineer and found what the investor was looking for. The investor was looking for buying a whole property that will generate a certain amount in return. It was already approved for a certain amount, and I knew that this house was renovated in this area. It would give them what they're looking for. I went in, got this house, renovated it, brought it up, and was able to sell it to them, and that was my total profit.
Joe: Beautiful. Good.
Ken: It was really good and it worked out well for them as well.
Joe: Nice. Good. Ken, we have a lot to still talk about. We had a great interview yesterday on part one, and we talked about how you set up your virtual assistant team and some of the systems and tools you use. I'd like to get into more detail on the marketing you do, and what your VAs actually do. What do they say to sellers? Do they answer the calls live or do they go to voicemail and some things like that? I guess let's talk about some of the marketing that you do. What are your favorite forms of marketing?
Ken: My favorite forms of marketing are actually yellow letters. I like yellow letters because it can be the highest rate of return like an average of 10%, I also do postcard, mailings, I do actually posted notes where I have in the posted note “Please feel free to call me about your house.” I have people that take the post note and just walk down a desired neighborhood that I want to target and just post it and just stick it in the wall, on the front door on people's home.
Joe: On every door?
Joe: Wow. Where do you go to print those?
Ken: Actually, I go to Vistaprint to print some of those, type of what I'm looking for. There's also a print warehouse out here called Apple Prints that actually prints a lot of the things that we're looking for that are unique in which they have a printing press they can print out and be creative when I don't know what I am looking for. It's unique in how it all got started into this creative designing. It was some years ago. Now, I am not sure where you're at but have you ever been out and you've seen maybe an event, or a nightclub, or something that is going on, and they'll have these postcards inside of your windshield to say, Hey, come to this event,' or ‘Come to this right here.'
Ken: I saw one of those and I said, ‘Wow. This person over here is very creative in the way that they design. They have some means of distribution.' I contacted the person who created those, and he went to the office. They were doing so many different types of creative marketing and they had people who would go and put those out. That was how I was able to get a system to design some creative forms of printing, as well as a means of distribution.
Joe: Nice. Your posted note, is it a regular-sized posted note?
Ken: Yes, it is. Just a regular-sized posted note.
Joe: What does it say on there?
Ken: It does say, ‘Hello, I would like to buy your house. Please call me at …' and it had the number.
Joe: Nice. Then, would you get a good response rate with that?
Ken: Yes, and the good thing about this is I have all these calls going to my VA because sometimes, you'll get a call and people will tell you. They would call you and everything on what's on your birth certificate.
Joe: Yeah. That's a good way to put it, okay.
Ken: Right. We're all human and we have a tough skin in this business but I really only want to focus on the warm leads. I have all that filtered through my VA. Those numbers go on my call fire number, and they transfer to my VAs. They answer those calls.
Joe: Your marketing, does it all go to a live? Somebody answers it live, or does it go to voicemail and prescreens them out? What do you there?
Ken: They all go to someone live. I found that when it goes to a voicemail, there's a drop-off rate because not everybody leaves a voicemail. Then, if we try to call them back, basically the missed call, it's sort of touch-and-go. You call back someone and you don't have a name, and you're saying, ‘Did someone call about selling a house?' It could be a different family who will answer the phone. They could say, ‘No. I don't know what you're talking about,' and that could be a missed opportunity. My calls go to live calls. The only time they go into a voicemail is if someone is on the phone and a call comes in while you're on the phone, and talk to someone else. They don't go to a voicemail.
Joe: Have you ever tested sending in your marketing including the message that says, ‘Just call our 24-hour recorded voicemail to see what this is all about,' or something like that?
Ken: I've tried things similar and I've had a drop-off rate. It's just from my experience, nothing converts as high as someone answering the call, but default that they can't answer the call didn't have to go into a voicemail that prescreens. What we've also found is text messaging. Text marketing works well also because sometimes a person is apprehensive about calling just because of someone live. They want to find out, they want something less evasive. What I found is the next best thing for me is to have in that ‘Call or text at …' and I receive a lot of text messages regarding that as well.
Joe: That's interesting. I always flip-flop on the issue. I've done it where it's gone live or it's gone to just a regular short voicemail. Lately, I am a big fan of all my marketing that just says, ‘Call our 24-hour recorded hotline to learn about us,' or whatever. Then, I seem to get more calls by doing that. I get about two to three times the calls. Then, I still get about the same number of people that would leave a message as I would talk to live. I need to test it more but all of my friends are telling me you got to answer the phones live as well. I don't know. It's a …
Ken: I guess …
Joe: Go ahead.
Ken: If someone is to say, ‘Six in one hand and have this in the other,' I can understand why the market would call to know there's going to be a recording. From my experience, doing them the opposite at text satisfies that non-evasive of somebody who want to find out without having to be committed.
Ken: The society and culture we are in now, we communicate way differently than how we communicated before with all of the Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, you name it. We're communicating in so many ways that are not face-to-face and that are not person-to-person or over the phone that's giving them the opportunity to communicate in the medium a person seems to respond well to it.
Joe: I am writing it down. I want to test that. I want to add texting to these letters.
Ken: Actually, I have a leasing company in which I sold and the leasing company, we were getting applicants to fill houses, the buy a whole investor's ad. We will put in there, call us for an application or for a showing, and we had a certain ratio. We put in all the ads, call or text. We increased it by 30%.
Ken: People just wanting to find information before committing to a call.
Joe: Interesting. The posted note, I like that idea and I've done that before, and I got good results with it. That was when I was buying a lot of homes subject to. I don't do that anymore. I am not a huge fan of subject to, but I've not done that since and I've been thinking a lot about doing it again. I used to buy posted notes. I used to buy posted notes from this website called the DiscountPrinter.com. DiscountPrinter.com.
Richard Roop is a real estate investor educator or guru, and he is a really good copywriter. He's written a lot of good copy for marketers. He wrote a post note that is really good that you put on people's doors. It's small print. It's not just a big … It almost looks like those notices that sometimes the UPS store leaves on your door when [crosstalk 00:12:50].
Ken: Right. That intention to make it look like a UPS note. That's one like you missed-a-package type of thing.
Joe: If somebody is interested at looking at that, just Google Richard Roop post-it-notes or do … Just do Richard Roop, R-O-O-P as in Peter, Richard Roop post-it-note, and you'll see in the results there, a website from the DiscountPrinter.com, I think. I think if you Google that, just also go to the images and you click on the images. You'll see an image of the actual post-it-note. Anyway, it does work and if you have a target market, it works really well in an area that you know you have a lot of buyers that want properties in those areas. Do that.
I have a guy that I found similar to you. He delivers a lot of stuff for pizza companies or he hangs things on doors. He loves my post-it-notes because they're so easy. He can fit 3000 of them in his pockets. He's got a team of five guys, and they'll bang out. It's amazing to me. They'll do 5000 doors in a couple of hours. It's surprising how small of an area that is actually too.
Ken: It's pretty quick.
Joe: Yeah. He only charges eight cents for post-it-notes. My cost to print a post-it-note, I think, was about 11 cents and then to deliver them was about eight cents. It's about 19 cents to do these post-it-notes, and it's cheaper to do that than it would be to blanket the neighborhood with postcards.
Joe: Believe it or not.
Ken: That reminds me too. When I went to the day laborers and I found individual data looking for work, and so what I did was hired a gentleman who had a pickup truck and hired him at a rate of $10 an hour, and hired two additional workers that worked in the back of a pickup truck, and hired them at a rate of $9 an hour, and had them go canvass the neighborhood without the post-it-notes or the postcards that I created. They had to go from merely nine. You can't put them in the postcard. You can't put them in the mailbox but you can put them in front of the door.
When I did the whole campaign, to send out the letters, it costs me about $1100 to send out 1000 letters, shipping, design, and so forth. When I did the same campaign but used the day laborers, it came up to a little less than $300. They would hit the area and they call us. If we start the marketing, let's say they started at noon, 1:00, I was getting a phone call. ‘Hey, somebody just put this in front of my door. What's going on?' I'd say, ‘Yeah, they did.'
Joe: You know when the post-it-notes hit. You're certainly getting a flood of the calls. How will I know that they actually delivered it? You'll know by getting the calls.
Joe: You can also just drive the neighborhood. It's really easy to spot these big yellow post-it-notes in people's doors but yeah, you will get angry calls. Gotta, be prepared for that. You'll get realtors. You should tell your guys, don't put these post-it-notes on a house that has a realtor sign.
Ken: Right, exactly.
Joe: That will really tick some people off. Oh my gosh, don't get me started on that, but you don't want to tick off the realtors. They're sensitive, they're emotional. You just got to treat them with care, Leave them alone, they'll leave you alone.
Joe: Anyway, are you only making offers to buy these properties or how do you structure your offer? Do you do lease options or owner financing to buy properties?
Ken: I do. What I do first is I have them go for the low hanging fruit. The low hanging fruit are ones where you can create a spread for a wholesale deal. Then, from the low hanging fruit, because it needs some quick win, some quick hits, as somebody mentioned, the pay structure that I have on my team and they're looking to get that commission check. You can get the easier commission check off of a quick hit when you know the numbers make sense, do a wholesale. Then, from there, we go back and we visit the other ones that may require more understanding or more finessing, so to speak, to create a deal. Those are the ones that are going to be more the lease options, rent to own, or some type of structure financing.
Joe: How do you structure those deals and first of all, let me ask you, what percent of your deals that you do are regular traditional wholesaling, and then the creative stuff?
Ken: Okay. As we mentioned, on a 1000 letters, the average are two deals that close per 1000. Those two that close are the quick hits, those are the two wholesale deals. They easily close four numbers per thousand. On direct mail campaign where I am using yellow letters, per 1000, the average is 10% I get calls from. That's the average. That means, they're usually about 100 calls. From those 100 calls, there are usually two wholesale deals that come from that. Sometimes it may be three, sometimes it may be one, but the average is two quick wholesale deals.
Those two quick wholesale deals usually get everybody to … We all need quick wins. We all need momentum to keep going through. As I mentioned, my team have eight staff members overseas working and office for a total of $8 per hour on all of them. They're working to get that quick close and get anywhere from $250 to $500 commission to the whole team. Once they get those two quick hits, then that could be a $1000 they make.
From there, it's easier to go back. Now, let's look at the ones that will close but for some reason, we couldn't make it work. Maybe that could be something we could structure for a financing one.
Joe: Real quick. You pay the $250 to $500 for the whole team or the person who got the deal?
Ken: No. I pay it to the whole team.
Joe: Okay, all right.
Ken: The whole team. My manager that I have over there, he will take the $500 and deal with it appropriately amongst the team.
Joe: Talk about the deals that don't turn into quick wholesale deals.
Ken: The deal that don't turn into quick wholesale deals, those are going to require some more personality, more relationship building, and more structuring to figure out there is not a deal now, can it be a deal later? If it's something that's retail that can then leverage one of my realtors that I work with or is it something that did not really have enough room in there to make it a flip but it's more of a buy-and-hold. If it's more of a buy-and-hold, can I then turn and create a rent-to-own option with it, and structure something with the owner that way. These are going to require higher knowledge of real estate to make these deals work and more time. That's how I work on the other ones.
Joe: When you structure the more creative financing deals like owner financing, maybe subject-to or rent-to-own, are you still flipping those? Are you keeping those long-term?
Ken: It all depends because the market changes and my needs change. If I am looking for something at that time as a buy-and-hold, I may keep it in-house. If someone in my network is looking for something that's over there in a feasted area and criteria, then I may ask them for a small fee. It changes. There is not really a set of rules. The time of the year, there's some cycles in real estate and there are cycles in the year. I found there are certain times I am more in agreement with doing renovation which is usually in the earlier part of the year. I have it sold by summer or spring. Then, there's certain time where I may be looking to do more of a buy-and-hold for some environment.
I keep a really stressed importance of going to local meetings and networking with other real estate investors because that's who you find out who is in your community and what they are looking for. Something that doesn't fit what you have, what you want, it may be ideal for someone else.
Joe: Interesting. That's what I wanted to talk with you more about too. You have a local mastermind group that you coach there and you do a lot of deals with your clients which I think is awesome. The lease options, how do you structure those deals? Can you talk a little bit about it because lease options have always been near and dear to my heart? I love lease options but how do you structure lease options?
Ken: We offer lease option. It's, I look at the home and find out first what type of environment, what type of home is this in because I am a firm believer that every house is going to attract a certain type of resident. No matter how nice a home is, where it's located is only going to attract a certain type of family or a person to move in. I am looking for a home that's going to be less hands-on. A home that's going to require individuals that understand the homeowner mindset. Someone that's going to come in that understands that, hey, they're working on a lease with option and they understand that they are going to take care of the property, and they're going to do what's needed to be able to purchase the property at a later time. The property must fit in the area that I can market at that type of client first. That's the first thing.
Joe: You're only looking for nice homes and nice neighborhoods.
Ken: Exactly. I am not going to try and make something fit that doesn't fit because the one thing as investors we value is our time. Even though I've gotten first quick hits from wholesales, I am not going to spend too much time with something that's not going to yield me the return for my cap that I am looking for. I am going to look for a house that's relatively a nicer neighborhood that doesn't require a lot of work that will allow me to market to the individual that is looking for the lease with option.
Joe: Right, okay.
Ken: Then, on that situation, what I've done in the past is I created an agreement with the owner that will allow me to sublet the property and allow me to pay them a certain percentage that they pay for mortgage. Then, I would in turn sublet the property to the person who will rent to own for what will be the going rate for rent. There are various websites, a site that I use a lot is Rental Meter to give me an understanding of what the rents go for in that area. I go to RenterMeter.com, put in an address and say, ‘Okay, this house over here rents very easy for $2100.' Then now, in turn asked the homeowner, what is your mortgage note, what do I need to cover this? Since mortgage, it's is a lot less on average what it cost to rent a property. You should be able to keep a spread in between there.
Joe: Are you looking to hold the property or to wholesale it as a rent-to-own?
Ken: Once again, Joe, it all varies depending on the rate you're getting. Now, I'll be looking to wholesale it.
Joe: Okay. If you're going to wholesale it, typically I'd guess, you would probably be more inclined to keep the properties that have cash flow, right?
Ken: Correct. If I got cash flow, I am going to keep those. Due to my network, some individuals are saying, ‘Hey, I love this area, and I am going to pay a premium because I want to keep all my properties in this area.'
Joe: They don't necessarily care about cash flow. They are looking for long-term appreciation or long-term growth.
Ken: Right. Looking for long-term appreciation and long-term growth. When I am dealing in these volume, let me mention, my mailing this month is 10,000 letters. I've come to realize that, how's a kid when you go to this mortgage board, sometimes you put some food on your plate and you can't eat it all. I've seen so many good deal that I am no longer at the place where my eyes are bigger than my stomach. There are a thousand good deals out there every day. It's just a matter of me getting it.
Joe: Okay. Good. I love it. By the way, I found that Richard Roop post-it-notes.
Ken: You did?
Joe: At Google, yeah.
Ken: Okay, cool.
Joe: It just says, “Attention Homeowner. Our company is now seeking to purchase several houses in your neighborhood.” I won't read this whole thing. “Are you looking to sell soon? Your home has been identified as a good candidate for our real estate buying needs. When we become your buyer, you can sell your house as is for a fair price on the date of your choice,' et cetera, et cetera. If there is an interest, he says, at the end, ‘Do you have any interest? If so, listen to our 24-hour recorded message at … or read our Special Report online at …' then, the website.
Interesting. The post-it-notes work. They really work and I just wrote myself a note. I am going to start doing that again.
Ken: Yeah. The funny thing is they all work. It's what I have learned in my personal experience is how much are we going to stick to it? Also, what I learned on my own personal experience is what best fits us. Each of us has a different … something that we like different. Something that we say, ‘Okay, this is something that I'd love to do.' What I love to do is make real estate a way that it stays my passion and what I love. That's why I have the VAs work through all the deals. I only deal with the hot leads. My expertise comes in on that part. I rarely hear people say from a probate marketing and so forth, a variety of people beat me up and call me everything but my name on an ad, I used to get the ones where it requires my expertise to come in and wrap it up.
Joe: Right. Good. Let's talk about physical marketing. For sale by owner marketing. You talked about this the other day. You tell your VA, when there are not many calls coming in with your letters, you have your VAs go to Craigslist, go to FSBO sites, and they go out and look for deals. Talk about that a little bit more. What are you having them look for?
Ken: What I have them do is I have them go on to websites such as Craigslist or Zillow for-sale-by-owner websites and look for … First, call them up and ask them about the home they have listed, and then to look for keywords to find out if the person is wholesaler or not because having these websites, and Craigslist is one of them, you're able to go and we have actually bought homes from Craigslist and have wholesaled them but the keys to find out if this a natural homeowner or if this is another wholesaler acting as if they are a homeowner.
Ken: I use this to fill in because there may be a day or two of the week, depending upon what week of the month it is that the direct mail marketing may not be … calls may not be coming in quite as much. What I have them do first is if the calls from the direct mails campaign is starting to, say, become less that day is to go and do follow-up calls on the ones where the person didn't seem quite as motivated as we need them to be. Then, follow up on them first.
Then, after they followed up with them, then also to follow up along the calls where they've left a message and we haven't been able to catch up with them. After all those have been followed up, then we'll go to the for-sale-by-owners.
Joe: You just go into Craigslist and different for-sale-by-owner sites, and you call them up. What kind of questions do your VAs ask?
Ken: They post the questions, they're looking to buy the home and the questionnaire sheet is on the website that's sent through as far as the VA script. They ask some questions about the layout of the home. They ask them questions about what does the person need. That's really important. The framing of that question, what does the person need for the home as opposed to what they want. It starts off negotiations at a much lower dollar point, dollar value when you ask first what do they need.
Then they go to what they need for number-wise. Then, they go through and ask them about the condition of the property. They ask them first, are they the homeowner on title, and that's where we can find or you see if it's a wholesaler or not. We also go and look up online to find out who the homeowner on title, and then make sure that the person who gave us that name is the actual name that's registered online. Then, we take that information and then begin asking them questions.
We also go look up the tax assessor value. Here in Maryland, the tax assessor value of ahome is usually a lot less than the actual value of the home. Then, we use that along with Google or Street maps to get an idea of the neighborhood. The VAs being in a different country are able to use the tax assessor's value, the websites to find out who actually owns the home in Google street maps the whole conversation with the homeowner in real time.
Joe: Okay, it makes sense. You're looking for motivation.
Ken: Yes, you're actually correct. We ask them what they're looking for. I'm always speaking to that motivation. Is it tax? Is it they don't want to pay the taxes on the house or they have young ones about to go to college and needs some extra money? Is it that the house has become vacant and being vandalized, and they want to get rid of it? We could always touch back on what's important to them because that's what's more important. It's speaking to them with where they're at.
Joe: Right, okay. Then, do you ever call landlords, properties that are listed for rent at Craigslist?
Ken: No. We don't call landlords if the property is listed for rent except when we're doing reverse engineering. Now, we only call landlords or go the subsidized websites where they have Section 8 or some type of subsidy program, and landlords as you're posting houses that they have for sale, we go there when we're looking for buyers. We have some of the lease with options that we mentioned about earlier or some of the other maybe good buy-and-hold, we'll go look for the landlords or those who own properties in that same area and let them know that we have a property they may be interested in that's not too far from what they currently own.
Joe: Okay, but you never contact landlords who are listing their houses for rent and ask them if they want to sell?
Ken: No. I've done that in the past but here recently, what we have going on, I've only contacted them to see if they wanted to buy. I haven't contacted them to see if they wanted to sell.
Joe: You might think about doing that. I've been doing that for years. I had pretty good success. It doesn't work as well as postcards and letters direct mail but it's still a good method. I've been doing that for years. I even created a little mini course about that whole topic. If anybody is interested listening to this, you can go to OneHourLeads.com. One Hour Lead with an S, leads dot com. You can see more information about that.
That's something that you can easily have your VAs do. Sometimes you could send voicemails or text messages to those landlords and say, ‘Hey, I saw your rental property on Craigslist. You would have any interest in selling it, would you?” Then, you only are talking to the ones who respond to that. Then, you talk to them about what they need to sell it for. If they want too much money, then you offer a lease option on it or something like that.
Joe: All right.
Ken: That reminds me, have you heard of the website, the app called Live Dial?
Joe: Yes, I use it.
Ken: We’ve used that on some of the strategies where we want to contact a number of homeowners in a particular … That must be similar too and actually we use that Live Dial strategy for that right there. That does work. I agree with you on that.
Joe: Cool. One thing I forgot to ask you here, we're talking about direct mail, what kinds of list do you like to mail to?
Ken: I like to mail to non-owner occupied list. It's very important that there is a lease 70% equity in the property. I like non-owner occupied because there's less emotional attachment to the property so it's easy to negotiate from that standpoint. Also, with [PIFA 00:35:03] laws and they are writing different laws of foreclosures and so forth, I don't really run any challenges there because it is non-owner occupied. Even if the investor owns the home when they're behind, then they don't live in it.
I also look for 70% equity in a property because if I go too high, you may get a larger list but they still may not be able to go lower in price point to meet what I need to acquire it because their mortgage is too high. You just stay with 70%, from zero to 70%.
Joe: I like to mail to people who bought their house between 2008 and 2012. From two to … What is that now? Eight, six years, what is that? Six years. Two to six years ago maybe, and the reason why is real simple. Most investors who bought a home between 2007, 2008, and now hate cash. They couldn't finance all those properties and start lending to investors. A lot of investors are ignoring that list. Not many people are mailing to them. Usually when investors are mailing to the absentee owners, they're going to look to make sure that they bought the house over ten years ago. They're going to look for some of the older property owners. I don't know. It's something that worked pretty well. I don't want to chase the same leads everybody else is chasing.
Ken: Right. I see what you're saying.
Joe: I've done pretty well with that. I know another guy who mails to a … He calls them the ‘don't-wanters.' The don't-wanters, these are people who have been transferred, either have a quick claim deed or had a property sold to them for under $1000 in the last two years. He takes his favorite zip codes. He looks to see any properties that have been transferred ownership in the last two years, and the sale price has either been zero, blank, or it's under $1000 because a lot of people when they inherit property, they'll transfer deed, and either it's a zero dollar or sometimes, they'll sell it to them for a cheap amount, for 100 bucks or something like that. Those are called the don't-wanters and you'll be surprised how many of those kinds of leads you find.
Ken: Wow, that's something new.
Joe: Something to think about.
Joe: Then, of course, are you able to go in and find out who is delinquent on property taxes?
Ken: No. I haven't paraded down that far. I am just creating a list based upon my equity in the property and picking a desired zip code. I've learned that I pick the areas where I get the most return. We're in the middle. Not where there the value is right high because in those areas, I usually find that people's motivation to sell is usually is taken care of by their close circle for financial challenges where I am focusing more on the middle income bracket because they may be more susceptible per 1000 letters that I send out to call for some immediate help.
I look for the e3asiest lines where the X meets. I look for the areas that are very nice, first time homeowners, but yet their median income is moderate. Then, I look for where they have at least 70% with the equity, non-owner occupied. Then, from there, some of the actual sellers are out of state. The actual sellers may be on the other side of the US and they may be just looking for a quick cash out because they owned the property for a while.
Joe: Right. Good. Let's talk about the VAs now. Are they negotiating these things, getting them under contract or they're just asking some basic prescreening questions, and then you have somebody that goes and meets the seller in their house? What do you do in there?
Ken: I use this step called the two-step negotiating. It's what I use. They help me out because they are actually doing the step one of negotiating. The step one of negotiating is they first look up the tax assessor's value of the property and the person may state they are willing to sell, let's say for example, the tax assessor's value at a house is right at $100,000. Here, usually if the tax assessor's value says $100,000, it's usually worth at least 50% more than that. It may be worth 150 or more.
If the person on the phone states … If the sellers states to my VA that they're looking to sell and their first initial asking price is, let's just say, hypothetically speaking $80,000 and we want to get down a little bit lower, the first step is just start asking them what type of work needs to be done in the property.
They'll go through and use their VA script. I provide it. They ask them about the windows, the roofs, the plumbing, the heating, flooring, a variety of things like that. Then they will state based upon the amount of work that they've figured out as they go to the property, need to get a little bit less. Are they flexible in the price? If the person isn't flexible in the price, then we move to the next one because the person who is hard on the price point, we need there to be some room because you know without enough room where you have to begin with.
If the person says they are flexible on the price point and they go down a little bit, they pass the first step of negotiating. Then, my VAs will send that need over to me and let me know that the person initially came in at, say, $90,000 and they were able to get the person down to, say, 70.
The second phase of negotiating is to go out and verify that what they said didn't need any work actually does not need work and what they said do need work, it needs the amount that they stated. If we go out there and let's say they said the windows were fine and we go out there, and realize that the windows are not fine or there is a leak in the roof and they said there wasn't. They only say, ‘Hey, this is the second part of negotiating. We give you a price point based upon the information that we stated on the phone. Now that we're out here, it looks like there's more work needed to be done.' Then that's when we get the second phase of negotiating.
Joe: You still look at the house?
Joe: Do your VAs ever just get the properties under contract over the phone?
Ken: We can get to them a price point but we need to actually see the property before actually we commit to a price.
Joe: Just going out and looking at them.
Ken: It varies. Maybe myself or I use what I call local VAs. I have individuals that are here that I've known and trust and who I've trained going to my programs where we'll split the fee, the wholesale fee, and they'll go out, look at the home, and place it under contract for me. It's in the bag.
Joe: Okay, cool.
Ken: That's when I use the assignment, a tool for that. They'll get the information. They'll get the assignment task which will have the property, the comps, and all the information in it that my VAs have acquired, and this task would be for them to go out and meet the seller, and to take pictures of it, and upload those pictures to us along with the purchase contract.
Joe: Okay. Good. I understand. Again, those of you who have missed our last call, we talked about Asana. It's Asana.com. That's a project management tool that you can use, but I think I convinced him that he needs to start putting that Podio.
Ken: I think you have.
Joe: Because you can do all of that and get rid of your spreadsheets, and use that to be able to manage that.
Joe: Okay, cool. I am doing something similar right now actually too. I am finding that local wholesalers are very smart because I am partnering with them. I am giving them the leads that are prescreened and they'll look at the house and negotiate with the seller because there's two places you make your money, on the phone is one. Then, number two, at the kitchen table with the seller. Having a heart-to-heart, building some rapport, pushing their hot buttons, and negotiating.
Sometimes you need somebody who is really good at that who already have been wholesaling a bunch of deals to be the one that goes and looks at the homes, and negotiates, and get some under contract because those guys will often times get a lower price accepted than what anybody else's offer because they just have a better relationship and more trust built with that seller.
Joe: That's really important. We're almost done here. I wanted to talk with you a little bit about you do a local mastermind in the Baltimore area. How does that work? What is that?
Ken: I am glad you asked. What that is, is a way which individuals get together and we actually help them with their business one-on-one. Let them know the latest things that are going on in the market. It's really important to be a part of individuals that are doing this at the higher level. They say we are a reflection of our peer group, and you don't want to be the smallest person in the room. We allow those who want to join the mastermind to come in and learn what's happening because one thing that's relevant in this market is that it's constantly changing with all the social media platforms and the way sellers are engaging right now is completely different than it was about ten or 15 years ago.
We also help them to make real estate fit their like. That, to them, is really important. Sometimes I found that investors, they will come and meet, I hear somebody talk about fixing and flipping and they may love and by ended up investor's passion and love as they set forth but may not like anything that goes along with doing it. It's really important to find out what part of real estate fits you. What part fits your personality type?
As you may mention, the person who goes and meet the seller, and who is able to get the house at a lower price point, this is a certain personality type that I find in my experience. The person that loves meeting with people that is very good at communication, who is very good in understanding what the seller wants and how to meet their want and needs. That person loves that right there and they will do well with that and will make a lot of money. I found that others who love working with title companies. Who loves making sure that all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.
Joe: Who is that?
Ken: I know. I look at these on my mastermind to actually break down because in the beginning, they say, ‘What is a wholesale?' or ‘What is a buy-and-hold? What do you do?' Understanding what's involved with each one and how to make it to fit your life.
Joe: You partner with these guys well, don't you?
Ken: Yeah, we do. I partner with them to the point to where I tie their success with me. Meaning that …
Joe: That's what I am really interested in.
Ken: Yeah, okay.
Joe: Let's talk about how do you make money with a group like that?
Joe: Just get together to feel good and scratch just that.
Ken: We'll get together, and go roast marshmallows, and sing a couple of songs, and go ‘It was great.'
Ken: No. What they actually get to do is they get to use my team. They get to use my VAs. They use my proven system that's working so that way, they can learn how it works. Have someone walk them do the deal. Have someone work with them when calling the seller. Sometimes, I've actually put them on the phone and have them on mute while I'll call and negotiate with the sellers. They can hear and understand what's going on with the seller.
I'll go with them or they can come with me as you go put the house under contract so they can find out what's involved in the contract. What are the points that we must point out? What is our escape clause? We also work with them to help get the house sold before you buy it. Meaning that networking with buyers, keeping your buyers' list long, engaging with them so that we know what they're looking for.
Actually, in the one of the mastermind meetings, we had a house that was bought and sold doing the mastermind meeting with some student that I worked with previously. I showed them the text messages and they were saying, ‘Hey, we went to the house and got it under contract. We already identified the buyer.'
Ken: They get to see this and it was like, wow, this is going on right now. I say, yes, and the key is, where am I right now? I am here with you. Now, I am giving away 50% of my profits but I don't mind that. I am here with you sharing with you how these deals take place as somebody else is leveraging my system to give 50% of profit that we're going to split.
Joe: I imagine, they're paying for the marketing, right?
Ken: I actually go 50/50 with them on the marketing.
Joe: Wow, okay.
Joe: You go 50/50 with them on the marketing. Your team prescreens the leads. Any net profits after that … The partner that you're working with, they'll be the one that go looks at the house, right?
Ken: Correct. It can be out of them, themselves, or someone in my team.
Joe: Then, whatever the net profits are after your expenses, you split that 50/50?
Ken: They see that I've board in to them, and I've asked people to put money where the mouth is because I am going on in them 50/50 with the marketing.
Joe: Now, do you charge any … If you don't mind me asking, do you charge upfront fees for this kind of coaching partnering program or how do you do that?
Ken: Yes, I do charge them upfront fee for this kind of coaching program and it ranges anywhere from $3500 to $8000 depending upon how much involvement they want. They'll pay an upfront fee and sometimes I want to say, ‘Hey, Ken is paying you through the deal,' and I express to them, it doesn't really work that way because at the end of the day, they're getting my time and that is some value to that. The money that I am paid …
Joe: Right. When you get on the bus, when do you pay the bus driver?
Ken: Exactly, when you get on. When you get off, go to work and they come back, they didn't pay you.
Joe: That's so important because I get asked that a lot as well. You can spend a lot of time with somebody and then invest a lot your valuable time that's taken away from your business, from your family to spend with them and teach them how to do the business. They could learn all these great stuffs, and say thank you, and never do anything with it, and never partner on you with any deals.
Joe: Yeah, you got to value your time.
Ken: That's true and that's how they show some commitment. They show they're committed and value my time, and I am committed and value their time as well. They show that by the initial payment and then the rest of the upgrading cost we split, as well as the profit.
Joe: Very nice. It's so cool. You've got the team in place. They can just piggyback on that.
Ken: Right, they go from zero to 60 in a matter of seconds because they get to use an all ready system that's been embedded, that's proven, that's closing deals, that's working right now. They get to use these systems in place. It took me a long time to build up to where I'm at right now. I've been in this business for about 12 years, and this has been 12 years of me working a lot of hours to really master my craft. It would leverage the tools that I've personally used to close deals on my own.
Joe: You mainly just work with people in the Baltimore area?
Ken: No. I work with people all over because now VAs can, with qualifier, we can get a number in a different state and my VAs can actually make the phone call to different states. We've done deals in Alabama. We've done deals in Pennsylvania. We can do deals in any state.
Joe: Very nice. Cool. Ken, you're a genuine guy.
Ken: Thank you. I appreciate that.
Joe: I love the story you told last episode of coming from the school of hard knocks. That's awesome. That's an inspiring story. I have a coaching client that Todd Toback and I worked with. He was homeless living out of the car and didn't have two pennies to rub together. We taught him a little bit and he started just going to the library. This is how hungry he was. He'd just go. He would go to the library and he was contacting sellers and landlords on Craigslist. He would use friends' cellphones or he would use payphones to call sellers and get these things under contract, and then he had a car so he goes look at the house and meet with them.
After about four or five months of working with them, he was able to get his own apartment, able to get a nicer car, and he gets some furniture. This guy was so awesome to see. He went from living in a car to making a good $4000 to $5000 a month just by … He was actually flipping. I won't go to all the details but he was flipping leases just for the renters and finding tenants, and then doing some regular wholesaling as well, but I love hearing those stories.
Ken: Yeah. Joe, those stories, those experiences, to me, those are what fuel. Those are what fuel me. We're going to always experience challenges. It didn't end with what I experienced in high school. I didn't go into as I was leaving government career to go into being an investor. I can't say what job I did for the government but it was classified and was very secure. When I decided to go and be an investor, one thing we can talk about is I was actually going through divorce at the same time which was very hard emotionally. I had a newborn, my youngest daughter was on the way as well.
What I would just want to express is that there will always be a reason why not to do something but the passion that drive in us has the why has to be bigger because answers come from your why. Answers come from your desire where you're once being bad enough, there is no reason why you can't achieve it. You'll find the reason and I find that when you move in a certain way, move in a certain direction, with a certain determination, obstacles get out of your way because there is no place for them.
You may get to see them. When you're so focused on what you want, things that don't fit into that, you end up missing them. They just become blind to you. You don't see them anymore. That's what I put into what it is I do. I love the fact that before, I used to be able to tell people, Joe, I could say, ‘Hey, I could help you get a good job,' and that made me feel good. Now, I can tell people, ‘I can show you how to fire your boss. I can show you how to change the income of your family forever.' That's meaningful to me right there.
Joe: Yeah, you're making a difference.
Ken: Yes, sir.
Joe: Paying it forward.
Ken: That's what it's all about at the end of the day. To me, that's what it's all about. It's about doing goodwill, doing good work, helping others. That, to me, was all about creating people true freedom.
Joe: Good Ken. Really awesome. Alex just texted me.
Joe: The seller had to reschedule. I am going to text him back here. She probably has another five investors schedule to look at the house before you.
Ken: Because of that, as I was going … The game begins.
Joe: Yeah. She had to reschedule to 3:00 today.
Ken: That's good. It gives him a chance to come in after anybody else had put in their bid.
Joe: He texted me back, “Don't tell me that.” All right. Ken, that website again … He's texting me back. He says, “But that's not the case. I know that for sure.”
Ken: Okay. All right, good.
Joe: Ken, your website, people want to get a hold of you is RealSuccessUnlimited.com/Outsource. Is that right?
Ken: Correct. Yes, sir. RealSuccessUnlimited.com/Outsource. There, they'll be able to find out where they can get in contact with me, they'd be able to listen to myself and my VA discuss deals that we're currently working on. They'll get for free a copy of my call sheet that my VAs uses to stream and analyze over the phone, and there are other variety of tools that could help them start their business today.
Joe: Awesome. Ken, thank you very much. Guys, if you want the show notes of this call, if you want to get our fast cash survival kit, all that good juicy stuff, go to RealEstateInvestingMastery.com. RealEstateInvestingMastery.com. if you like the show, if you like what we've talked about with Kenneth, please leave a review on iTunes. The more reviews you leave, the more other people can hear about and find out about this show. Thanks again, Ken. We'll talk to you later, okay?
Ken: Great. Thank you, Joe. Have a beautiful day.
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