I tell you all the time that your speed to income is directly proportional to the number of offers you make. And RJ Bates is absolute living proof of that. After making $750,000 in assignment fees in one year, he decided to challenge himself by closing 50 deals in 50 days in 50 states. And to up the ante, he did it in front of a live audience on YouTube.
Until 2017, BJ could find all of his deals on the MLS, and in fact, he’s never even done marketing. He didn’t even know it was a thing. But as his leads dried up, he knew he had to put together a marketing budget to find more sellers. Cold calling, texting, and Facebook ads started pulling in more sellers, and by then, he’d learned to narrow down his phone conversations to just 3 questions:
Then he sends them a digital contract and asks them to sign it. He takes massive action, and he makes offer after offer.
Now, you might have this perception that some markets are crazy hard, like Anchorage, Alaska. But after pounding the phones for 50 straight days, RJ says that the market’s only hard if it’s oversaturated with wholesalers. For him, he noticed that anything west of Texas was extremely hard to find even a tiny marginal deal. Anchorage, Alaska, on the other hand, had so little wholesaler competition that it was easy to scoop up deals.
Checkout his YouTube channel for some of the craziest moments, like when the seller he was talking to Googled him and then hopped into his live video feed. If you’re ready to jump into wholesaling, check out my newest FREE calculator at PartnerWithJoe.net that’ll help you nail down a good price for a property, offer an easy contract to a seller, and lock up a deal in this hot market.
Joe: What's up, everybody? Joe McCall, Real Estate Investing Mastery podcast. A great show today, man, I'm bringing to you a guy named RJ. A lot of you have heard of him, he's all over YouTube already. And I heard somebody else him on somebody else's podcast, my good friend Brent Daniels. And he was talking about doing 50 deals in 50 states. What!? I've done deals in maybe 10 different states .I've not met anybody who's done deals in 50 states. I'm glad to have him here. I just want to let you all know, too, if you would like to learn, maybe not how to do 50 deals, but you want to just learn how to do your first deal. I've got a new program I'm super excited about. It's called Partner with Joe. What Partner with Joe is I have a software that I'm gonna give you for free if you just go there right now to PartnerWithJoe.net. Oh, and I had the link here and I don't I'm just going to type it in here in a minute. But with partner with Joe Dot Net, you see some real fancy and got all this stuff prepared in advance anyway with partner with Joe dot net.
Joe: What you're going to get there is a free calculator. It's a software I created that will help you evaluate your deals, come up with two different cash offers, pick one and then it'll create a cover letter, a one-page contract, and then two pages of like supplementary. This is why you should close with me and not with somebody else. Really cool tables. And you can get that for free if you go to PartnerwithJoe.net and then if you're interested in that, you opt in for that. I'm going to give you a little training that tells you how you can actually partner with me on deals. And that's a 30-day training that I have. Just seven bucks. Go check it out right now, PartnerwithJoe.net. All right. And I think my technology is all working good. Now I'm going to bring RJ Bates, who is in the house. How are you doing, RJ?
RJ I'm doing fantastic, man. Thank you so much for having me.
Joe: I'm glad you're here. And your mike sounds really good. We were just talking a minute ago about how his new mike is set up and looking real good and sounding real good, RJ. So I just want to jump right in. I was playing around on YouTube. I see this loud, obnoxious guy, Brent Daniels now who's awesome. I just had him on my podcast the other day. I love Brent. He's so I just get tired watching him. He's so passionate. Right. And I'm like, oh, man, relax. I want to go play some golf or something. Like, but he had you on his show and he was talking to you about how you do fifty deals in fifty states. And I thought I got to get RJ on my podcast and I just loved hearing your story and you're a laid-back cool guy. You know, you're not all about the hype. You're just real. You're who you are and you're crushing it, doing a bunch of deals. So welcome to the podcast, RJ. How are you?
RJ Yeah, thank you so much. And you know, I have to tell you a funny story about Brent and that podcast, because I've known Brent for a couple of years now and he is super energetic. But it was funny because he was a little bit different before that podcast. He was kind of all business, very almost similar to my personality, like, all right, this is what we're going to do. This is the flow. I'm going to do this intro and then we're going to talk about this and that. And he was kind of lacking the energy a little bit. It was kind of surprising because he's usually always energetic and then he's like, All right, you ready? I'm like, Yeah, and Susie, let's play. Then he's like, Hey, guys, welcome to the show. And I was like, wow, that is impressive that he just flipped the switch like that and turned it on. But thank you so much for having me here. And I'm looking forward to talking about my journey with the fifty deals of fifty states.
Joe: I love hearing about it. All right. So let's talk, go back to your pre real estate days. If you don't mind me asking. I'll tell you how old I am. Forty-seven. How old are you?
RJ I'm thirty-six.
Joe: All right, cool. What were you doing before real estate?
RJ So I it's kind of funny because I'll give a quick, like, three-minute synopsis of my career here. Eighteen years old, football season ends. Mom comes in on the Saturday morning after my last football game and says, you got to go get a job. Don't come home unless you have one. And I went out I started applying everywhere. Finally, there was a new Pizza Hut right down the road, went and begged the manager for the job. And my first ever job was a pizza delivery boy. And I started making way too much money for an eighteen-year-old. Part of that was, is it took my dad like four months to realize that I was using his gas credit card for all the gas that I was using, delivering pizzas. But I stayed at Pizza Hut. I went to North Texas, but I kept working at Pizza Hut. College wasn't for me. And I became a shift manager, became an assistant manager, and then helped open new restaurants for Pizza Hut, eventually got my own restaurant over by TCU. Really.
RJ And there is one day where someone from corporate came in. He was looking at my restaurant that I had just taken it over, which taking over a restaurant is similar to like flipping a house. There's a reason why there's a new manager coming in. It's probably because the restaurant was distressed and I was in part of the rebuilding process. There are a lot of turnover with the managers and employees and things like that. And he came in from Jacksonville, Florida, walked around the restaurant for about ten minutes, took me out in my lobby and said, you're nothing but an overpaid shift manager. We should have never promoted you to general manager. I'm highly disappointed. And walked out the door. And it was that moment that I realized I had dedicated eight years of my life to Pizza Hut and this wasn't going anywhere and it was an eye-opening experience for me because I literally was just so dedicated to the job that I never even thought about. Holy cow, I've wasted eight years doing this. And so I immediately resign. I cashed out my 401k. I bought a house from someone on a lease option, which I love. My whole family thought I was crazy. I just quit my job, cashed out my 401k, paid all the taxes and penalties and then bought a house. And they're like, RJ, you don't even have a job.
Joe: So you married at the time, have kids?
RJ No kids, no kids or anything like that. It was just, hey, I was taking a chance on myself. Right. And I just I needed a change in my life. And so I went out, I got the house and I got a call from my now partner and best friends since fifth grade, Elijah Delagarza. And he said, hey, I've got this opportunity. I started this business. I want you to run it for me. And so I took the chance. I remember crying in my backyard because he said, I'll pay you five hundred dollars a week and plus an opportunity for commissions. And we turned that that business around. And I just I took the bull by the horns. It was a contracting supplement company. So roofing contractors, you know the hail hits the house. Insurance company says we'll give you ten thousand dollars. And then we were supplementing those claims and getting them more money for the claim and then taking a percent of the money. And that really kind of started my entrepreneur fire, even though I always knew it was something that I wanted to do. I needed that springboard from Elijah to really do that.
RJ And then Elijah ended up selling that company and made good money on it. And it kind of left me in a weird place because I didn't want to stay without Elijah there and my other business partner, Cassie, she said, hey, we should start our own business. And that's when we went out. We started the exact same type of business that we were just running that led to, hey, why don't we go out now that we're entrepreneurs and we could do whatever we want, why don't we become contractors and we sell the roofs and we could do this. And so we started doing that. And then that led to us getting hired by investors that were flipping houses. And I asked questions and found out about wholesaling. And long story short, after the sixty thousand dollar education program, that's what led us to getting into wholesaling and flipping houses. That was 2014 is is when we found out about wholesaling.
Joe: And you spent 60 grand, if you don't mind me asking 60 grand on my coaching program or something?
RJ I did. So I fell for the hotel seminar. Come, go to the back of the room. My mom was actually the one that that spearheaded that my dad passed away in twenty twelve, so I'll give a brief synopsis of that. So twenty twelve. My niece was diagnosed with leukemia. My father passed away. Cassie and I started our business and my son was born on my birthday. So 2012 was the year that my life completely changed. Two years later, my mom was kind of like, hey, I've got money from my dad passing away from life insurance and things like that. And she was wanting to invest and we were obviously running a contracting business. So she saw a path for, hey, I could go buy the houses, you could do the work and remodel it. Maybe this could be a little partnership for us to do this. So she fell for the Facebook ads of Hey, come this hotel seminar, we're going to teach you how to do this.
Joe: You fell for it. But look where you are now. I did it. It did do some good, didn't it?
RJ It did. But I'll be honest with you, it gave me enough to be dangerous. But without mine and Cassie's personalities, the education wasn't there. I mean, they didn't teach us about the right to sell or marketing or anything like that. They were saying, go buy deals off the MLS and wholesaling that way. And we actually did a lot of that. But that was because the market was absolutely insane here in DFW in twenty fourteen and twenty fifteen. So yes, it helped me. But thankfully my mom was in a place where she could put the sixty thousand dollars on a credit card and allow us to get dangerous. Our first year in twenty fifteen which we shut down our contracting business, we went full time into the wholesaling, we did about seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars and assignment fees. And from that. Yes.
RJ Yeah. And majority of those were directly off the MLS with like zero dollars marketing. So I literally thought I was like the smartest guy of all time. I'm not even spending money on marketing. I found out very quickly that that was just because of where the market was and we had to get a lot better in marketing.
Joe: I'm just curious about that, too, because I remember those days back then. Right. Were you making full price offers or were you making offers a little bit less than list price or what?
RJ No, we were making significantly less. The way we worked it out was is we had what was the role was property analysts. So they were just scouring the MLS all day and then they were in. Turning into our serum, which at the time we were using Trello, which was free, they were just entering them in. Cassie and I were going in and analyzing them and then telling our realtor offer this and we were sending out twenty-five to thirty offers a day. I mean, there's Swiss Avenue is a very famous street here in Dallas. I'll never forget it. Property was listed for four hundred thousand. We offered three hundred thousand and they accepted it immediately.
Joe: Here's a crazy, awesome thing that still works today. Just a few weeks ago, as in Louisville, I was doing some virtual wholesaling in Louisville, Kentucky, and I pulled a bunch of properties from the MLS that have been on the market over 60 days. The market's hot in Louisville. It's hot in Dallas, Fort Worth, it's hot in Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Nashville, everywhere. It's hot, right? I emailed the realtor. It was listed for ninety-nine thousand. I just emailed the realtor. This is I said, you know, I'm an investor. I'd like to buy a property in the next few days. I like this property here before I send you a formal contract and proof of funds and all that. Do you think the seller might accept something in the 60 to 70 range? And it was listed for ninety-nine thousand. And I just said in the 60 to 70 range and the realtor reply, they might accept something in the upper end of that range. Right. A thirty thousand thirty percent drop in their asking price just by sending a little e-mail up.
RJ And, you know, that's what we were doing. And we were very quickly I realized, hey, there's nothing that's keeping us here in DFW. So I took a weekend trip down to San Antonio and Austin and it was like, let's start doing it there. Let's start doing it and use them. And then after probably six to nine months, it was, why not Portland, Oregon? Why not Phoenix, Arizona? Why not Baltimore, Maryland? And that's kind of what led us to becoming virtual.
Joe: At that time that I just love this guy. So are you getting what RJ saying here? He's taking massive action. If you were to sit down and have a coffee or a beer with RJ, you would probably see pretty quickly. He's just a mass of action takers like that. Let's just jump off the building and we're going to figure out how to fly as we fall. Yep. That's sometimes the best way to succeed in this business. You know, let's ready. Fire, aim. Not ready. Aim, right. Ready, fire. Aim and adjust. And the fix and change. And then fire again.
RJ I love this because this week on that note, I want to tell a story about that because we just started our two-day boot camps here at our office where we're helping people and teaching them right and so ourselves process. And that is, is that I schedule consultations with people that might be interested and I just talk to them about their business. And I just talked to a guy the other day that said, you know, I'm working on getting the title reps, my business license. I'm doing talking, building my buyers list. I'm pulling my list. And he rattled off like seventeen things that he's doing.
RJ And he's like, I think I've just now get to the point where I'm ready to go. What do you think it I didn't know how to not be rude with him. I was just like, I'm really not that guy. I'm the guy that just kind of never really worries about what title company we're going to use when we go to a new market, because, like that's like twenty minutes of work and you're going to find someone that says, hey, here's a good title company for an investor. Yeah. So I think you probably should have started taking action like six months ago when you started taking action on all these seventeen items that you thought you needed to do to make money in this. You're just wasting time and energy. And what came out of it was he has a fear of talking to sellers. Yeah. That was the true reason why he was doing all of this other B.S. before he finally started taking action.
Joe: Oh, here's something, guys. Write this one down. This is a writer downer. Your speed income is directly proportional to the number of offers that you make. Right. And RJ I get guys like that all the time and I just say, I've done this, I'm doing that as. All right. How many offers have you made in the last week. Well, but none. I got to get all this stuff ready first if I got to figure this out. No, nothing else matters yet. Make offers. That's it. And if you haven't talked to any sellers yet today, go to the MLS and make an offer on the MLS. Yep. Somebody's supposed to come in here. I'm not going to put up the name, but this person said this doesn't work for people who don't know their numbers and rehab and burden of proof. And then sometimes the realtors don't know and you have to know how to talk to them, etc., etc.
Joe: I'm a little worried that they're like overthinking this over analyzing it, saying it doesn't work. And I've seen this over and over again. People say this doesn't work in my market. One time, RJ, I had a student, two students in the same city in the same day sent me a message saying, this doesn't work. I've got tons of sellers, I have no buyers. And the other students said, this doesn't work. I've got tons of buyers, but no sellers. Right. They both said the same thing on the same day opposite like. Right. But it does work. Right. And it's all about making offers. We complicate this. I'm on a preaching soapbox here. You got me fired up.
RJ No, I'm right there with you. To be honest with you, I think sometimes it's hard for four guys like me and you because this industry changed our lives, right? I know it changed my life. And so I want everybody to feel the same way that I feel. I want everybody to get that taste of how I felt when I got my first twenty-seven-thousand-dollar assignment figure. I literally no joke. I remember after closing that deal, sitting in a restaurant, looking around and I'm like, I'm the only guy in there has got twenty-seven thousand dollars in my bank account right now. I felt like I was like a billionaire, you know, I felt like I was so rich. I want everybody to have that same feeling. I think at the end of the day, for people that have that mindset that say, hey, this doesn't work if you don't know this or that, what you need to realize is, is that the reason why it's not successful for you right now is because you have that mindset. I, I didn't know anything. I mean, looking back, twenty, fourteen and twenty fifteen, RJ did not know what he was doing, but by taking massive action and having conversations with buyers, that explained to me, this is why I can't buy your deal at this number RJ.
RJ And taking that advice and then going back to the seller and having the literally just repeating what the buyer just told me and learning from there and saying, OK, I'm not going to make that same mistake again. That's what got me to the point now where I'm confident in no matter what we do, no matter what terrible scenario the sellers in or how bad of a situation I dig ourselves into, because twenty nineteen RJ decided he wanted to go buy every house in America that he could possibly get his hands on. I'm still confident in the fact that we're going to come up with a solution at the end of it because we've been in every scenario we could possibly be in and we've learned from each failure that we've made instead of letting that define who we are.
Joe: Yeah, so I understand it's like it's easy to let excuses come into your head and trip you up and say, man, it doesn't work on the MLS. There are no more deals on the MLS. I mean, everybody gets their deals from the MLS. Well, it's either one or the other. But here's the thing. When sellers want to sell their house, 80, 90 percent of them, the first thing they're going to do is they're going to call a realtor. They're going to try to list their house on the MLS. And you may think the market's hot now. You've got to do stick a sign in the yard. I was just this morning in what city was Birmingham, Alabama, or St. Louis, Missouri, I forget. And I looked up all of the houses that have been on the market over sixty days and there was two hundred and eighty-nine of them. Right. And they were priced in the median price range and they were not new construction. You can find it on Redfin.
Joe: These are properties on the MLS that have been there for sixty days and I sorted it from low to high and I found a ton of them that needed work. Why haven't they sold yet? They're just overpriced. They're needing too much money. So there are no more excuses. You may not have any budget for direct mail. You may not like cold calling. We're going to talk about that because it's awesome. You may be like, I don't know, I can't I can't do it. I don't know how to estimate ARV. I don't know how to estimate repairs. I don't know where to get the money from. I don't have the title companies. All you need to do, guys, is look on the MLS for properties that have been on the market over thirty days that need work. Call the realtors up or email the realtors and send them an offer. Right. Just make them an offer. It's 70 percent, 70 percent of list price or 80 percent of list price. Just make offers. That's my whole point.
RJ Well, and I'm also just the last thing I know you want to move on, but in 2021, if you have the excuse of I don't know how to determine the nature of or I don't know how to determine repair costs, then you're just making excuse to not take action. I mean there if you're watching this on YouTube right now, then you know how to use YouTube. Then you also know how to go type in the search bar, how to comp a property, how to determine Airbnb. And there's probably tens of thousands of videos out there that you can learn how to do that. So to your point, Joe, you can absolutely if you even have zero dollars, go start making offers and at least start training yourself on how to analyze properties and get some offers under your belt.
Joe: Here's the thing, guys. Just use Zillow value for the ARV, right? What I do is I take the average of Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, Propstream, e-appraisal, all of the different sites that give you estimated values and just average them. Just do that. Right. Or if it's a property that needs a lot of work, take the average of the lowest four or so sold in that neighborhood, the average of the lowest for solds times. Eighty percent like that. That's it. If you need to figure repairs. Twenty bucks per square foot, I don't know, just figure and then rounded up to the nearest five thousand dollars.
RJ The other thing about it is, is if you're buying deep enough, it doesn't really matter what the ARV is. I mean, that's a reality. I mean, we just thought that the deal today in somewhere in Tennessee that the ARV is one hundred thousand and we locked it up for twenty-three thousand. I mean, I don't even really care what the numbers look like in between there. It's like I know we're buying it so deep that we're going to make a nice little assignment fee on that deal because we're buying so deep will determine what we're going to sell it for later on once we do some more due diligence. But just by having conversation with. That's where we landed, they wanted twenty-five. We got them down to twenty-three because they we knew we could.
Joe: Yeah, well here's the thing and I'm just going to one up here, RJ, we're buying properties that are worth, 50 vacant lots. These are vacant lots in the rural areas. We're buying properties that are worth one hundred for twenty thousand. Right. Properties that are worth fifty thousand for ten thousand. Right. Like, we're just buying these. So ridiculous. This is vacant real land that's different than houses. I get it. Like we're getting on our vacant land deals. We're making offers of 20 cents on the dollar and we're getting one out of every twenty twenty-five accepted. Like, are you kidding me? So why wouldn't you make 20 offers a day.
RJ So you turn around or you sell those. Are you seller financing?
Joe: Some of them. Most of them we're selling with cash. That's what we've done for the last couple of years. My two teenage sons are helping me with this just now, starting to get into selling them on terms with owner financing. But, you know, Acasti brings up a good point here in the comments. Even if you don't know how to analyze or offer the deals, connect with someone who does at least. Right. And if you bring them the deal, someone will work for you with you on that deal. So like you could go to RJ or go to me and say, listen, I understand what you're doing here. I'm going to start taking massive action. I'm gonna start making offers and you get some deals. I mean, you start making offers. You're going to find another wholesaler that can partner with you on them and tell you now you know what, you're about ten grand too high. Go back to the seller and offer ten grand less, renegotiate a new price. And by the way, use this contract, by the way, use my title company here, by the way, use my hard money lender. Use my money. If you lock up this deal, I'll partner with you on it. We'll split the wholesale fee. So all of that stuff that you're worried about, that's step seven and eight. Just start worrying about steps one and two right now. And that's where the magic will start. And that's why he's doing these deals. Yep. From Dallas, you're in Dallas Fort Worth now. Dallas Fort Worth. Yep. All right. Let's talk about twenty, fifteen, twenty sixteen. Your first year you make about one hundred and fifty thousand dollars in assignment fees. That's seven hundred fifty. Seven hundred and fifty.
RJ All right. A little bit of the difference there.
Joe: OK, all right. That's seven hundred fifty grand in assignment fees your first year or so doing this and you're just going to the MLS. You're not really spending any money on marketing are you?
RJ Know, zero. I mean, I don't even know that that was the thing. That's how ignorant I was. I didn't know. But I literally never heard the term direct mail cold call. I mean, that's a mess. Wasn't around back then. So, no, I didn't even know that that was something that wholesalers did.
Joe: All right. So then fast forward a couple of years. Did you keep on doing that or when did you start doing other types of marketing?
RJ The well, kind of dried up there on two ends. We were mainly disposing the deals to other education programs that were teaching people to virtually flip houses. So they were telling the guys in California and New York and Boston to buy houses in Dallas because, hey, you could go to Dallas, buy a house for two hundred thousand dollars where they've never heard of buying a house for two hundred thousand dollars before. Right. So that well, kind of dried up because the education program itself kind of fizzled out. It just it wasn't really a good strategy for us anymore, as well as it became more difficult just for us getting deals in on the MLS and as well as we started networking with other people and finding out, hey, they're buying deeper than we were able to buy because they were doing direct to seller marketing. So from that point, we really jumped heavy into like Facebook ads, Google Pay per click. Those are those are places where we really started branching off into the creative financing side of things where we started buying property subject to.
RJ Because when we started doing Facebook ads, you could get very specific. And the demographics on Facebook ads were we were essentially only reaching the people that were pre foreclosure. And so we were getting the new build houses in Fort Worth that we wanted that we could take down subject to and keep them as rentals or Flip's even myself and Cassie. We now live in houses that we took down subject to from Facebook ads. So that was our first thing that we did. And then we jumped in to direct mail. And from there it just kind of spiraled into they called me the Cookie Monster. And so I was like, all right, let's go call this Texas RBM, let's do everything, because I wanted to get a taste of it.
Joe: All right. So Facebook and you still doing those?
RJ Not as much, no, because it's gotten a lot harder. I mean, we use them for other things now, but mainly pay per click is what we're bigger on than Facebook ads. Really.
Joe: Google Pay per click. Yes. Instead of Facebook. It's interesting. All right. So when did you start when do you start thinking let's turn let's try to do 50 deals in fifty states.
RJ So that that actually came for my good buddy Aaron Bevan's a little bit. We're working on a new business together. And he kept talking about this book, Relentless, which is actually right behind me, written by Tim Grover. And it's about basketball players. So he was the trainer for Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade. And he was. Talking about their personalities and the difference between what made them great and he calls them cleaners, and as he's describing what a cleaner is, I'm like, this is me, like this is who I am to my core. And he was really describing some of our personality traits and how we feel about certain things and how we take ownership over certain aspects of our lives. And while I'm listening to the book on Audible, I was thinking about where we were as a company and how I wasn't happy with how some of the things were going. And I'm listening to this book about a cleaner. If they don't like how the game is going or when the game is on the line, their personality types are a give me the damn ball and get out of my way. I'm going to go make the shot. And I'm like, this is what I need to do. And so I was like, how can I do this? And so I'll never forget. I said, Hey, Cassie, I've got this idea. I want to run it by you and I'm big and she's going to shoot this down. And I said, I want to do 50 deals and 50 states in 50 days.
Joe: What year was this, by the way?
RJ This literally just happened in 2020. OK, so it start I started in August and finished in October and I said.
Joe: Wait, wait, wait. August, September, October. Yeah, three months.
RJ I did it 50 days in a row.
Joe: I didn't say that. I said 50 deals, 50 states, 50 days.
RJ And 50 days in a row live on YouTube and Facebook. So I said, I want to do this live on YouTube and Facebook, because the people that watch will be my accountability. They're going to make me successful because I will not fail in front of all these people watching. And she's like RJ, we've never done deals in North Dakota and Wyoming and all these random locations. I know we can do them in a lot of places, but how are you going to make this happen? And I said that's the reason why I want to do it live in front of strangers, because if I just say I'm going to do it and it's not livein front of other people, when I get to North Dakota, I'm going to be like, screw this. We don't have to do North Dakota. We'll just go get another deal in Alabama because we know that's easy, right? So I said this is what's going to make this successful as well as it's going to build the brand or YouTube channel or our affiliates, all of that.
RJ This is what I need to do. And so we had to make some adjustments because I was so heavily involved in the business and it was like, hey, guys, I'm basically going to be gone for 50 days. All I'm going to be doing is going to be live on camera for eight to 12 hours a day. And so then I had to reach out to our good friends that batch and ask them, because my plan was is to use their program match leads to do this. So I had to ask them, hey, are you all OK with me using your program live? Because if I fail, I mean, that could be a bad look for your program. And so we had a brilliant depth conversation about RJ. Do you actually think you could do this? And I assured them that I could. And so at that point in time, we pretty quickly got started thereafter.
Joe: Oh, man. All right. So I got so many questions for you. Let's rewind a little bit to virtual. A lot of people listening to this. They're like, how do you do a deal without looking at it? Right. So what are the steps for virtual wholesaling a deal? And are you doing this with cash or terms or how are you doing this?
RJ So it was it was all the above. I mean, there was a couple subdues that we did in there, a couple seller finances. But that's because I'm very comfortable in analyzing deals and understanding what's the best scenario. I'm very big on determining what the best exit strategy is for the property, and then that determines what my acquisition strategy is. So whether that's a cash offer sub to or seller finance, that's a very big that's where I think one of my core strengths is as an investor, as far as virtual wholesaling, I made it very easy on myself. I make it very easy on my team. And anyone that I teach how to do acquisitions, I'm going to tell you, I want to buy your house. They tell me, yes, I'm interested in selling that point in time. I'm asked a series of questions and then I'm making you an offer. Is it tenant or owner occupied? If it's tenant occupied, what is the rent? And then how would you rate the condition? Scary, ugly, good or perfect. Those are the only options at that point time. If they answer all of those, I will ask them what their price is. If they just want me to make an offer, then I'm making them an offer.
Joe: On the phone or sending it to them?
RJ It's either through text or on the phone, depending on how they want to communicate. If most of the time I was reaching out through text. So if they wanted to continue the conversation through text, it was happening right then and there through text. If they wanted to talk on the phone, then of course a little bit more rapport building and asking questions, because that could go really rapid. And I almost feel like I'm not serious about it. But through text, that was pretty much all I was asking.
Joe: Wow. All right. So how are you getting these leads? I'm sorry. Let's before we go there, I want to go back. To virtual civil, so the steps in that you're texting them, you're calling them, hey, do you want to sell your house? And they either respond your texting or calling in, they say, and ask them some simple questions. They're open to selling. You just make them an offer right then and there. Let's say they say, yeah, OK, then what do you do?
RJ Send them the contract.
Joe: Nice. Digital signature. Mobile notary. DocuSign. DocuSign. Right. Oh, this is a great question. You just send them the digital contract to sign and then say, call me after you sign it. What are your steps there?
RJ So, yeah, there's times where obviously there is like a smoking hot deal and it was a little bit more nerve wracking, like, hey, let's get them on the phone to make sure, hey, I need to hold your hand and make sure we're getting this contract signed right. Then in their majority time, though, if the conversation was smooth flowing, it would be a I'm going to say, what's a good email? I send you the contract at that point time, which, to be honest with you, this is all life. I mean, the people that we're watching, we're seeing the cell phone number, the seller's email. I think I got a couple deals taken from me that people watched on the live. But hey, my mind set on that was is if you needed it that bad. If you're watching me and you're gaining value and you need that that bad, that's OK. I'll go get another one. I was willing to take that risk. I didn't hold anything back. I let everybody see that. And yeah, I mean, there are times where we it's in the contract. Give them 30, 40 minutes and then follow up with a text or a call and say, hey, did you receive it? You have any questions? Do you need me to walk you through the contract? It's a very simple two-page contract. Terms are very basic, so most of the time sellers don't have questions.
Joe: All right. You signed a contract. They sign it. Then what?
RJ So at that point time, we're scheduling an inspection where we're going to send somebody out to take pictures, inspect the property. And how do you find that person? Yeah, so there's a couple of different ways. Either we have boots on the ground there because it was a market that we were already in, which we were already in quite a few or we use what's called Velocity REO's, which is I think it's BPO, photo flow, dot com. It's for like thirty-six bucks. They'll go out and they'll take like fifty pictures as well as videos for you. It's basically like they're taking inspection photos for you or if they're not in the market then we were reaching out and trying to find like a JV partner to dispel with. So to your point earlier about joint ventures and splitting the whole selfie, we did that a lot with people. We did that with a in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that we got. We'd never done a deal there before. Someone that was watching on the live, we said, hey, can you help us dispo this? They went out, they took the pictures. We said, hey, this is where we think the dispo price needs to be. And then they ended up bringing the buyer and doing the showings for us on the back end.
Joe: Oh, I love this. All right. So you're getting and by the way, that website, you guys are just wondering, it's BPO for broker price opinion, BPO photo flow.com. I'm looking at it here. It's Velocity Oreo's. It's just a company that does field photography and evaluations. How much does it cost for pictures?
RJ It's like thirty-six dollars to get the forty, thirty-five or forty pictures or something along those lines.
Joe: It looks like they also do inspections too. Did you ever them for that?
RJ I've never used them for that. I've pretty much only used them for that, that one criteria which was just go take pictures of the property for me because that's pretty much all I needed for dispositions.
Joe: So you get a property, you need somebody to look at it. Many times you said you would find a local wholesaler there to partner with on the deal or something. Yeah. Did you ever use a local realtor?
RJ No. You know, for me, it was I want to I want to deal with somebody that is fully understanding what I'm doing. And because of my podcasts and YouTube channel and doing the fifty-day challenge, I mean, we're pretty well connected and there is very rarely a time where we couldn't find somebody that was wholesaling that already had a buyers list and can help us with the disposition side of things.
Joe: If somebody is not well known like you are, how do they find another wholesaler in a market like that?
RJ Facebook groups. I mean, that's one of the easiest things. Second, there's it's absolutely free to get five thousand friends on Facebook, so go out, do that, because that was one of the biggest things that I've ever done, is just a friend request everybody that had a couple of hundred mutual friends. And then the next thing you know, as you're posting on Facebook about what you do, you become well known and well connected. I've seen people go from not knowing how to do this business at all in less than a year, becoming well known throughout the United States, just within the Facebook world. But Facebook groups is a huge way to do that. You can just go in there and go into the groups and then search and see who is frequently posting deals in here and then who's frequently talking about selling deals in here, like, hey, I actually sold this one.
Joe: Yeah, you do search for whatever city you're in Pittsburgh. Right. And you'll find all the threads in there with the word in there and you can contact the people who are talking about deals. Yep. Nice. OK, so you find a wholesaler to partner with. What do you do then. You say, hey, listen, can you help me sell this? We'll split the deal.
RJ That pretty much. I mean. We acquired the deal, we need to go out, take pictures at that point in time, let's reconvene, analyze it, set of dispositions, price, we want to put a time limit. So, hey, we've got 30 days on this. We probably give you seven of those 30 days to find us a buyer and then we'll split it with you 50 50. If you're not able to find a buyer within those seven days, we're probably in need to move on to find somebody else because, hey, we have an obligation to the seller that we need to perform on. Most people fully understand that within that time period, most of the time you're going to realize that they're going to be successful in selling it or not.
Joe: Did you ever take these deals down?
RJ Yeah, we did a couple of them, you know, mainly the creative finance ones. We try to stay really laser focused on just wholesaling during the challenge because I was so busy and they put a lot of stress on everybody else within our company because of my absence as well as I was just really churning out a lot of deals. So it really put a lot of pressure on our team because I was adding so many new markets and title companies, the transaction coordinating companies that we were working with, that there was a lot of conversation after the lives where it's like, OK, RJ just got us a deal. And Knoxville, Tennessee, who's going to be the person that finds the title company in the JV partner and gets the pictures and all of those types of things? It put a lot of stress on our team. So taking down the deals was probably the last priorities. But there were a couple that we did take. Oh, yeah.
Joe: And the other I mean, people don't realize this when you're doing things like this live. And I've done the same thing, not fifty deals in 50 states in 50 days, but it's it's hard because you're thinking talking to the seller, but you also have a camera or you're documenting it. And so you're kind of after talking to some you may be talking to the camera and explaining what you just did or teaching something about this and that if you were if you didn't have any cameras, it would be way easier.
RJ Oh, yeah. Well, and the other aspect of this is, is that there were the conversations that not every conversation went perfect. There were times where the seller stopped me. And then and then I was upset with my performance. And then there was the feedback from the people and then wanting to ask questions. And then it kind of became a little beast of its own, where it was like people were jumping in and saying, hey, RJ, I've got a deal in Portland, Oregon, right now that I'll JV with you on. Can you pull comps for me? And so then it was I I'm pulling comps for people. Yes. The amount of exhaustion that I had after these 50 days was unbelievable. I mean, I don't think people can understand. I was actually saying it probably the last ten days. I'm like, I'm so tired of this little light, my face, like I just want to be done because it literally just felt like the there was a lot of pressure on me and it was all self-imposed, but it was exhausting, to say the least.
Joe: And I know I've tried it. It's definitely hard. All right. So people are going to be wondering about like, how did you close the deal? This is a great thing about partnering with local wholesalers is they know the title companies already. They have the buyers already and they can kind of take care of that. Right? Right.
RJ Yeah. I mean, some of the some of the deals we were pretty hands off on, to be honest with you. Like we had deals in Indiana that it was very easy for us. There was person watching on the live in Indiana, saw me a lot to deal up. And he's like, I got a buyer for you right now and is disposed within a couple of days. They already had the title company for us to use the buyer. Three weeks later, the check showed up.
Joe: So these local wholesalers you're partnering with, did you give them a JV agreement or did you have any kind of written agreement?
RJ Oh, yeah, it's just a JV agreement, very templated. One page, like if you bring the buyer. Fifty percent of the profits, nice. Straightforward.
Joe: Wouldthe wholesalers send you a check in with the title company send you a check?
RJ We send the JV agreement to the title company. Title company wires the funds. Fifty fifty to each party.
Joe: So most of these are wholesaling deals, cash deals and your end buyers were investor buyers, not retail buyers, correct?
RJ All of them. Yes, that's it.
Joe: That's a virtual wholesaling deal. Yeah. It's not that complicated.
RJ No, it's really not. And you know what's funny about that is, is people were so blown away about like some of the random locations. You know, I guess there was a point in time before the fifty-day challenge as well known for doing deals in Hawaii, in Alaska. And people are like, how are you able to do that? And I might I want to ask people how they're able to do deals right now in Phoenix, Arizona. That's what I want to ask. Don't ask me how I could do a deal in Anchorage, Alaska. I'm like one of three guys out there, you know? I mean, the location doesn't make it hard. It's about how saturated the market is and what your cost of your average cost per contract is in a market. That's where I start looking at what amount of marketing am I going to have to do to get a deal in the market? That's where I want to avoid those hard markets. What I found out in the. The challenge was it's pretty much anything west of Texas is just brutality. I mean, the markets like Idaho and Colorado and Utah, which, by the way, I just want to let everybody know Utah was the one state I did not get a deal. And I still have not gotten a deal there. And I hate Utah because I had a deal there. But everything west of Texas was extremely difficult. I mean, it was it was extremely hard. I mean, we're talking about some the average amount of tax that we had to send to get a deal was twenty-five hundred. But some of the markets like Colorado, it took like close to ten thousand records for us to get a marginal deal with a very small assignment fee.
Joe: You need to do. And we can do this right now. We need to send some direct mail or skip, trace and call vacant land owners in Utah and Colorado. Some of the easiest deals to do are vacant land.
RJ Well, I will say and to that point I made, I made a commitment to myself that I was not going to do that because I wanted to show people how to do single family. I know exactly what you're talking about. I mean, we could have gone in step like some land for like two hundred bucks out there and the middle of nowhere. And seller financed it for like five hundred bucks. But it was just I didn't want to do that. I wanted to show people like, hey, I'm going to show you how we could go get a deal in Denver, Colorado or Salt Lake City. And in sometimes I regretted doing that because it was extremely difficult.
Joe: I did a challenge of my own one time to do a deals to do a deal in Southern California. This was probably seven years ago, right? I did. I did eventually do one. But it was because I got a deal under contract for lease option. I was so sick of it. I just I found somebody else that wanted to do the deal. And I said, hey, you just take this ad out of the contract and I don't care. Just take it. And they flipped it or I don't I don't even remember what. Right. But yeah. So there are certain markets like and this is why I love wholesaling. It's hard to do deals in Denver and San Diego and Nashville. Dallas Fort Worth. Right. But you have the entire United States in your backyard now. You can do this anywhere. And in fact, the smaller towns are actually easier to do deals in there. All right. So let's talk about finding these sellers. What did you do? What was the main marketing channel when you're doing this?
RJ So everything was a mess and everything. I didn't I didn't do any cold calling or direct mail or anything. So on the live, I was pulling the list within Batch leads, skip tracing it, creating the campaigns and then doing all the texting right there live.
Joe: So were you doing it yourself? Click, click, click,
RJ Yeah, literally like one hundred clicks at a time. People are like RJ, you know, you can hold down dinner and just takes one hundred people and I'm like, no, I want to hear the clicks. Like I wanted people to realize like hey, this is real life. Like I was doing this and I've told people I might you could have literally watched exactly what I was doing. You could go back and watch the videos now and see the criteria, the filters that I put in on the list, why I talk through it like, hey, I'm going into Jackson, Mississippi. This is far different than Phenix, Arizona. So I'm going to get more niche down on my list in Jackson, Mississippi, because I don't want to get inundated with leads. I want a very specific price point and type of motivation there. In comparison to Phoenix, Arizona, it's like I know this is a highly saturated market. I just kind of want to take the buckshot approach and hit as many people as possible because I don't want to niche down and miss out on what could have been my deal.
RJ And so there was a lot of conversations about that during the list pulling and me breaking down the reasoning as to why I was doing what I was doing. And I mean, at the end of the day is just like anybody else. I mean, obviously the most ideal list that you could possibly pull is like out of state absentee owners that are tax delinquent and vacant. Right. I mean, that's like the lowest of low hanging fruit, but that didn't always work in every single market. And in case in point, Rhode Island, I talked about this and Brent Daniels podcast's out of state absentee vacant houses were a terrible list in Rhode Island because Rhode Island is like what I found out is the place that people go on the weekends that live in Connecticut, in New York and Massachusetts, because that's apparently where all their houses were. So I was talking to were angry rich people want to know why I was trying to buy their weekend lake house, you know? And so it was it was fun to see how the lists perform differently and each different market.
Joe: All right. So you pull lists, general in most states. What was your best list that you were pulling?
RJ Personally, for me, what fits my personality the most is I want the tired landlord. Yeah, right. So I'm very straight to the point. Black and white. I want to talk to the business professional. I don't necessarily want to talk to the owner occupant. So almost all of our deals that we did. Or some form of a rental property with a tired landlord.
Joe: You only skip tracing the Non-LLC, right? Correct, yes. So, I mean, what if you could have and there are ways to do it. It's a little more labor and you could have separate the LLC. And how many more deals could you have done?
RJ Maybe, you know, there were some markets that we did skip trace their losses. I still think that it's better to reach the landlord that is not as sophisticated. And I know that it's like setting up an LLC doesn't necessarily mean that there are sophisticated investor, but the guy that owns 10 properties in his personal name is probably not running as tight of a ship as the guy that did take the efforts to go out and create the LLC. So for me, if I'm going into a new market, I always that's one of the criteria, the filters that I put in is I want to talk to theindividual you own first and then tackle the company.
Joe: All right. So you would pick if you want to go into Jackson, Mississippi, you'd say, all right, we're going to go after Jackson. Is that what you did?
RJ So every state I picked a city prior to the beginning of the challenge.
Joe: And how did you know, like what zip codes or counties to pull from?
RJ I didn't pick specific zip codes. I have a very strong opinion about there's no such thing as a hot or cold zip code, OK. There's buyers in every zip code in the United States, so otherwise they wouldn't be owned by somebody. So I love it. When I talk to someone, they say, oh, that's not a good zip code in Fort Worth, Texas. It's like, no, it's not a good zip code for you or the people that you know. There's somebody out there that loves that zip code and wants to own that entire zip code and the way that we handled the disposition side of things in-house, which was if we didn't have a JV partner and we didn't have a cash buyers list in that market, we would actually go pull the cash buyers list from either batch leads or Prop Stream and Skip trace it. And then we were just doing the exact same thing that I was doing on the acquisitions, on the disposition side of things. We were sending out SMS and cold calling, asking if they were looking to buy more properties and that's how we were dispo-ing them. And very rarely did we ever come across the hey, this is a bad zip code because the filter that we were using was the zip code. So, you know, we were if we went to Jackson, Mississippi, and we got to deal and whatever zip code is in Jackson, Mississippi, that we got the deal and that was the filter. Cash buyer within the last couple of years and then that zip code. And then we're calling them saying, hey, do you want to buy another property?
Joe: I love it. OK, so you would like Jackson County, Mississippi is where Jackson, Mississippi is. And you would just pull all the absentee owners. Non-LLCs there. Did you do like an equity filter on that?
RJ Yeah, yeah. Most of the time I wanted like fifty the free and clear fifty percent free and clear. And I was also niching down the specific value of the property. So I didn't want to get the five, ten thousand dollar properties. I'm going like, Hey Jackson, Mississippi, which actually I'm doing tomorrow on Batch TV. I would probably do somewhere in the range of like forty to one hundred and fifty thousand dollars in the entire city of Jackson, Mississippi right now.
Joe: So let's talk about marketing my text estimates broadcast. Yeah, it's getting harder and harder to do. Right. And there's a lot of people kind of freaking out about what is it going to become illegal or is it illegal now or what not? And it's getting a lot of the carriers are getting smarter and blocking text messages, things like that. That's does a pretty good job, don't they, of making your texts compliant, getting through.
RJ Yeah. So funny story about that is, is I come up with this great idea, this 50-day challenge, I start and there were no opt out messages when I started the challenge. And then as I'm right in the middle of the challenge, the mandate comes down for certain carriers that, hey, you have to add in the opt out option at the end of your text, which is like if you don't want to see these text anymore, just type in or stop or quit. And everybody started freaking out about the opt out messages. And so I was getting people jumping on my lives probably for three, four weeks straight. You know, this was working. Now, the opt out messages, I can't do this anymore. And I got so salty. I mean, I was I would lose my mind, Journalize. I mean, Joe, I mean, first of all, I'm talking to a camera for eight to 12 hours a day. Right. I'm not having actual human interaction other than people coming on and commenting on my live, complaining about opt out messages while I'm doing the exact same thing they're complaining about and locking down deals even though mine had opt out messages. So I just got the point of, guys, just pay attention, stop complaining about what's going to come down. We're all dealing with the exact same issues. Right. And even now with, like Twilio’s coming out and saying, hey, we're no longer going to allow you to send out initial text messages without having proof of opting in, right, so they you can no longer go out and pull the list and just send out an initial text message, is what you're saying there's always going to be a pivot to that.
RJ Twilio is one option for us to use as a carrier to be able to send out our text messages. And at some point time, will it become so difficult that it's no longer an option for us? Sure. I think at some point time people had this fear about cold calling when the DNC lists were coming out and people were afraid of scamming with telemarketers. I don't know that you can ever fully eliminate people being able to market through the same channel. But if that's the case, that's why we don't have all of our eggs in that basket anyways. We still cold call. We still do. We still do direct mail as well as ringless voice mails and all of the other forms. It's just a lot easier for me to go on YouTube and show what I'm doing through SMS marketing. And I think it's still a viable option until event. I mean, we're locking down deals on a daily basis, using it at this point. And even though it has gotten harder and harder.
Joe: Here's the thing, too. There's always these kinds of trends, the things that are popular and now don't be discouraged thinking, oh, man, now everybody's doing it. I can't do it. No, don't think that's like a very limited mentality. But let me just say this too. Direct mail is not dead. Direct mail is not dead and in fact, fewer people are doing it. It's becoming the response rates are getting better. Now, we're not seeing the three to five percent response rates that we used to see. Now it's maybe one percent, half to one percent response rates. But I'm telling you, when you start actually even looking into the smaller cities, the counties outside of the big main counties, we're seeing three to five percent response rates in our direct mail for land. We're seeing 10 to 20 percent response rates. And so direct mail still works, postcards still work. I would encourage you, though, if you're wanting to do postcards, like still stay out in the small towns, in the counties around the big cities. And there is so much opportunity now in the small towns and people will still buy houses. I mean, you think who wants to live in the small town of only five thousand people, right?
Joe: Five thousand people do. So I learned this from Larry Goins, his big rule of thumb. He'll buy any house as long as it's on a paved road and it's within a 30-minute drive of a Wal-Mart, a Dollar General or Piggly Wiggly. There you go. And you can buy those things so cheap and there's tons of mattress money out there. And people that people that live there, they want to stay there. There's no inventory. And you buy a house for five grand, 20 grand, turn around and sell it for ten thousand assignment fee, or you turn around and sell it on owner financing. There's so much opportunity. Absolutely. Oh, and also, Larry, one of the things that he does and I created a course with him on this called Small Town Profits, and we're starting to do this as well. You can find local realtors in those communities that will help you sell these deals. And there's a lot of a lot of good activity there. All right. So, R.J., looking back over this thing, we're coming up to an hour and I want to wrap it up. What were some of your biggest lessons learned during this 50-day challenge?
RJ You know, it was funny because I had lessons learned from my activity and then I have lessons learned from my interactions with the people that were watching. And it was funny because of the feedback that I got from people first and foremost when it comes to talking to sellers, I think authenticity and being transparent within your offers and who you are is key to success. This fear of you have to become some amazing salesperson with these sells techniques is not necessarily true to my best buddies in this industry, Steve Trang and John Martinez. They run incredible programs around sales training. And I'm not underscoring their abilities to teach people how to do this, but you have to get comfortable in your own skin and find who you are as a closer and as a person that is not there to buy a house, but to solve the seller's problem. And when you do that, all of the other things that they talk about in the sandlots training as far as go negative and things along those lines, that helps you become better at solving their problem. But just find out who you are as a closer secondly, no matter how crazy of massive action you want to take, as long as you go out there with the mindset that I'm going to accomplish this, it will lead to massive results.
RJ And even with as much action that myself and Kasey had taken, going in to the fifty-day challenge was a huge risk for us. I mean, I literally put all of my brand, my name, everything on the line that could totally fall flat on my face. I mean, Joe, you wouldn't have me on your podcast right now if I said I tried to do 50 deals of 50 states, but I did 18. You would be like, oh, dude, congrats on doing your eighteen deals. You know. Taking that risk was a huge risk. But the mindset that I had the entire time was this. I'm going to do this. There's nothing that's going to stop. Me for doing that case in point, going into the last day, I had to go live for 13 hours because I still needed deals, I believe in nine states on the last day and I got eight out of the nine. The only one that I didn't get was Utah. And I went literally until it was legally possible to keep texting until finally Bache shut me down and said, You can't text me boy anymore because it's too late. And Utah time. But it was like eleven thirty my time here. It was just a mindset of keep going. And outside of those two things, man, I mean, there was a lot of other lessons learned, but those were the two main things that I really took away from the challenge.
Joe: Awesome. Then you're inspiring. RJ, this has been really good. I wish we could talk some more about it, but we got to wrap it up. How can people reach out to you? How can they find your stuff? We're going to find these videos that you.
RJ Yeah, so just search RJ Bates the 3rd on YouTube. You'll see me with an angry face. That's me. Just go there. That's the best place to find all of my content there. I have a playlist of all of the fifty-day deals and 50 days of videos there that you go check them out, go watch your local market and tell me how I did
Joe: RJ Bates the 3rd.
RJ So that's three I. Three eyes.
Joe: If you just look at our debate, you'll see them. Yep. And get some really good videos there. And the playlist is called and I'm clicking on playlists here. Fifty deals. Fifty states, 50 days. Here yougo. And how many videos did you have.
Joe: Fifty-three videos. And how long is each video on average?
RJ Eight, eight to ten hours.
Joe: Cedar Rapids, Iowa. So why did you pick Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I just see this right here.
RJ And you remember Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is because they had a derecho storm that had recently hit. And so they were extremely distressed and we killed it. We got nine contracts in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Joe: Holy smokes. Yeah, that's interesting cause there's always those communities where you can go in after a natural disaster happens and you don't want to take advantage of them. But how did you do that? Like there's a house that just got demolished. They're getting some insurance money from it. They still sell it. I know the answer to this, but I'm I'm asking this for other people. Can they still sell it when they're in the middle of trying to get this claim or how does that work?
RJ Yeah, so it was kind of a unique situation because the reason why we went to the market was because of the derecho storm, majority of them that we actually got. The claim was already settled. So we never actually had to get into the process of, hey, we're taking the house and they want to take the insurance proceeds and not recover the depreciation and things along those lines and get a little bit tricky. And I would say if you've never done that before, that is definitely the type of deal that you need to partner with someone that's experienced or have a mentor that hold your hand through that process because you don't want to accidentally walk someone through insurance fraud or something along those lines. So definitely make sure you know that. But in the nine deals that we did there in Iowa, we actually never had to deal with the claim because the claim was already settled and there was no insurance proceeds changing hands or not or closing out the claim without the work being done or anything like that. So we actually got really lucky with that.
RJ Because we were probably several months after the storm. So most people were kind of already made up their minds. And the crazy thing about it, Joe, is the sellers were so excited that we were reaching out to them because they had already made up their mind, like, hey, we're in a place that if we can essentially just get our payoff, we have the funds now to go buy our new place. And we wanted to do this anyways. So it was actually some of the most enjoyable closings that we had because it was such a win win situation for everyone involved, including our end buyers, that it has become one of my favorite markets. And I would have I would have told you before, Iowa would have been probably in my bottom five markets just mentally because I didn't know anything about it. But now it's definitely in my top five.
Joe: So who who's buying these houses? Rehabbers?
RJ Yeah, rehabbers, landlords. You know, some of them were not severely damage. It was like, hey, it needs a new roof and maybe some new siding. And it was already tenant occupied. So the seller was willing to sell it at a discount. And then the new landlord was able to come in and just say, hey, I'm going to add a good discount. All I got to do is slap on the roof and siding on. Let's do this.
Joe: And I'm looking at this one video here. You're in Billings, Montana. It's an eight-hour video. Seven hours. Fifty-nine minutes and fifty-six seconds. You're insane.
RJ There's the one in Washington, DC. I think it's thirteen hours, but the Billings, Montana one. The reason why that one's gotten so much traction, it has so many views is because I actually do dispositions at the start of that one. So that's the one video where I actually work on dispositions at the beginning. I have conversations with some cash buyers, talk about this, some of the properties that I had previously gotten and then transition into acquisitions. And I actually had a. The conversation on that day with the guy that was willing to sell or finance, I believe, forty-seven units in Montana. Unfortunately, it didn't work out because some of them were a lot more distressed than he wanted to admit. But that was probably the craziest lead that I got, was from a simple text from a guy that couldn't even text back. His texts were coming back so jumbled up it was like literally look like a messed-up coding was coming through. And he eventually called me and he's like, I'm old. I don't know how to text, but he's like, you want to buy houses? I got forty-seven of them. I'll sell you right now on terms. And I was like I was thinking I was like, dude, this thing's going to go viral right now. I'm about to buy forty-seven houses in Montana. Unfortunately, during our due diligence period we found out that, hey, they, they were falling down. But it was it was a pretty it's still very good conversation to hear kind of how I navigate that conversation as well.
Joe: And you just called him from your cell phone?
RJ Well, it was a text, so I sent him a text through Batch, and then he called me because I kept texting saying, is this a real person? I don't understand what you're saying. And then he called me and I will say just one quick. This is a huge nugget. You said earlier as a writer down, this is a writer down, OK, if you're going to do any form of marketing, SMS, direct mail, col call, RBM I don't care what it is when your phone rings, you better answer it. Oh, yeah. I don't I don't care who tells you. I even if it's Joe obviously agrees with me, thank God, because I'm on a show. But they tell you let it go to voicemail and filter out all the F-you and all that. Now you take those effused with a smile on your face because the best leads in the world are those callbacks. And those are the ones you can close right there on the spot.
Joe: That's awesome. So when they called, you were texting them from a virtual number from that call that number back. How would you get that call with you? It would redirect your cell phone?
RJ Yes, to my cell phone. The only time that gets awkward is, is if I text them from a local phone number, they call me and I don't answer and then I call them. I'm calling them then from my cell phone, there's no way I could call them from that number. That's the only time it's awkward. But then I honestly, most of the time to be real with you. I was literally using my real name. Hey, this is RJ Bates the third I had probably 15 to 20 cellar's jump on the live on YouTube. And they're like a literally I bought an iPhone in the house on the live in the chat in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She got my texts, she called me and then she showed up on the live. And I was freaking out because I'm like, Shelly, Shelly. And I'm like, oh, she's like you see me on your live and on my Hi, Shelly. And she's like, this doesn't change anything. And I'm like look, I'm just trying to show people how I'm doing what I'm doing. But yes, there are many people that jumped on the live that I actually takes because they were just Googling, which, by the way, Google your name because sellers do that. So you need to find out what people are saying. But they were just Googling my name and they're seeing I was live on YouTube.
Joe: Here's the problem. When I started, when I use my name in my direct mail, people Google me and they say, oh, you're some guru. And yeah, so I'll use my business partner's name.
RJ I get that too. I just know I'm not a guru. I'm just a big, angry, bearded guy. Come on, sell me your house. Anyways, let's move on.
Joe: Yeah, I need to grow another beard. That's all right RJ. It's been one of my favorite podcasts I'm sure. Appreciate you. Thanks for being on the show again, guys. The best way to get RJ and to see this stuff is go to his YouTube channel, his YouTube channel. It's called RJ Bates the third. Or just do a search for RJ Bates. You will see this YouTube channel. I don't know. Is there another YouTube channel, RJ Bates?
RJ No, no. The problem is, is RJ Barrett got drafted in the NBA. So when you type in RJ, be a it's like all these NBA. So you got to go all the way to RJ Bates before I pop up. So, OK, damn NBA players.
Joe: Awesome. Well, you don't look like an NBA player, but that's all. Hey, thanks for being on the show, guys. Check out our YouTube channel. Go to that playlist. I love seeing that live. All right, let's do it. Let's get to it and take some big waves. And RJ, I tip my hat to you. Good for you. Thanks for that.
RJ It was an honor to be on your podcast, man. You're a true pioneer for a lot of us. You're someone I've looked up to for a very long time. And so I was honored when you reach out and have me on your podcast. Thank you so much.
Joe: Thank you. You're welcome. And we'll see you guys later. Bye bye.