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As I was driving around doing some errands, I thought it would be helpful to talk about a recent vacant land deal and how we did it. Flipping vacant land is a pretty easy strategy and I currently have my teenage sons helping me. We’ve been doing these deals for about 4 to 5 years now and have done 30 deals total. I love it because it’s been a great way to teach my boys how to run their own businesses.

In this particular deal, we purchased a 5-acre lot in Wilkes County, NC for $11K and sold it for $26K to a cash buyer. The entire process took about 3 months start to finish. To find the land for this deal and the others we’ve done, I use the website Landwatch.com. I’ve been targeting land between 4-40 acres counties that are 1-2 hours from a major city. People like to buy this type of land for hunting or camping, to ride around on their 4-wheelers, build a cabin someday, or just get off the grid.

I walk through the entire process from how to source land to advertising and through to the offer and closing process. Direct mailing campaigns have been great for us. We’ll also use Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist to find people to help with advertising and due diligence. Vacant land deals are relatively easy to do, and I’m considering doing something around coaching or partnerships to help get folks into it – stay tuned.

Listen and learn:

What’s inside:

  • How to find land listings online and what search filters to use.
  • How to set up an automated campaign using direct mail to sellers.
  • Our advertising strategies and how we set them up.

Mentioned in this episode:


Download episode transcript in PDF format here…

 Hey, what's going on, Joe here. REI in your car.

Just driving around, running, doing some errands, and I thought I wanted to do just say hi and talk to you guys and I was trying to think about, OK, what would I talk about? And I've got a lot of things I could talk about. I love talking about real estate, but I was thinking, why don't I talk about the recent deal that we just did? And I'm I cannot tell you what we did and how we did it, and maybe you get some value out of it. OK, so those of you that know I flipped vacant land and I usually the reason I do it is because it's it'sit's an easy strategy for my teenage sons to help with. And I really like flipping vacant land in a lot of ways. It's easier than houses.

Now here's the thing I say this all the time. You know, you've got to focus, focus, focus. But sometimes they don't practice what I preach because I'll use do different strategies. I'll do lease options and and buy and hold or land vacant land, you know, and things like that. But I think there's a point where, you know, if you're just getting started, it's better to focus on one strategy. But once you've made a bunch of money, you know it's OK to add a new stream of income, maybe, right, as long as you're still doing well. So I say tongue in cheek, but here's the cool thing. Vacant land. So we've been doing it for four or five years now. I don't know. We've done 30 deals, very part part time. It's kind of depends on how hungry my boys are for making some money, and I kind of want to teach them how to run their own business. So anyway, this is what we do. I went to Land Watch, Land Watch dot com, so I'm OK. Let me just tell you the kind of background. First, we bought this property for 11 Grand. It's a five acre lot in North Carolina. I've never been to it. Never seen it. We did this all online. So I bought a five acre lot for about 11 grand in Wilkes County, North Carolina, and in the mountains. And and then we sold it for about $26000 to a cash buyer. All right. And it took us a total of a couple of three months from start to finish. So what happened? I went to land watch dot com, and the thing I like about Land Watch is that you can pick a state or something like that and then pick your filters for vacant land. I like to target for some reason, I don't know why I heard somebody talk about it once for to 40 acres and a vacant land. And I like to target counties that are at least an hour or two hours away or more from any major city. Because I'm wanting to buy and sell rural vacant land, you know that somebody would want to buy. Not for agriculture, right? Because usually for hunting or camping. Or they want a place where they can ride their four wheelers, maybe a place where they can build a cabin some day. Just get off the grid, you know, hide their guns. If some somebody in office, I won't say who wants to come and take all their guns, right? You know what I mean? Just like recreational, have fun. Go hide. Get off the grid type of land, right? Some land watch, land watch dot com. You can go there and you can pick in the area county and you can, you know, pick your filters. And then there's this thing on the left that shows you kind of the most popular counties or region of the state where the most vacant lots are for sale. Current active listings, right? And so let's just say you pick. Let me pick a state like Oklahoma and you can see which. So you say, OK, Oklahoma, four to 40 acres. No house has can't have a house on it, and these are just for sale listings, right? And you find for sale listing or you find the for sale listings, right? And then you can see which regions of the state have the most properties in that acreage range.

All right. I mean, if you want to, you can do a price filter, too. But a price filter is what we're trying to remove is the agricultural land. And then the land that has property on houses and stuff. So then you do a search for that and it'll tell you the most popular areas and you pick the you find the most popular region and then you'll then you'll see the most popular counties in that region that have the most number of listings. Does that make sense what I'm saying? And so I did that with North Carolina, and I got a list of about four or five counties. And if you dig into it, most of those counties are wooded. They're wooded areas with hills, even in states like Oklahoma. You do the same for any state you're going to find. Most of those properties are where people like to go hunting or camping or things like that. And so then what I did is I using props dream. I believe I went into each of those counties and I looked at which had the most souls. In the last six to 12 months, I used prop stream, I believe, for this which ones had the most sales like swords? And then I picked from those states, picked the top three, I think is what it was, right? So now I've got three counties in one state that is kind of residential. The thing I like about this area that we're targeting in South or North Carolina is, you know, it's a couple of hours from three major cities Charlotte, Atlanta and Nashville. I believe there's kind of they're in the Smokies. And so then what do you do? Well, you got to pull a list of people who own vacant land. And so in those counties, and what I like to do then is there's a website I use called priced PR wise CD dot com, pr wise CD dot com, and you can say, All right, pull me a list of all the vacant land in these counties and kind of filter that I like to uses. Their mailing address for the tax bill is sent is outside of that county. So it's not a resident that lives in that county, it's somebody who lives outside the county. They may live in the state, but they live outside the county. Makes sense. And then I choose somebody who has owned their vacant lot for at least 10 years. I believe sometimes I'll change that up if I don't get enough people and then does that it? Yeah, I think that's it. Oh yeah, yeah. Yeah, you need to do another filter for like building square foot equals zero. So there's not a building there that has any square footage on it. That's another filter I like to use, and sometimes I do improved assessment. So that means if there's been any improvements on the property, the improvements are zero. So there's no improvements, right? And you should get anywhere from a thousand to three thousand, maybe five thousand at the most, well, four to 40 acres. And so I pull that list and then I send them what I like to send as a postcard. And this is how I did these deals here and I'm postcards. I'll get typically three to five percent response rate, which is really good, but I go to freedom soft and I create a campaign. I hope I'm not boring you with all these details, and I'm just kind of just wanted to tell you how we did this deal. So I will start a campaign in freedom soft and I'll get a virtual phone number for that county, for those postcards and sometimes I'll send letters. But lately I've just been doing postcards and it's a plain boring looking postcard with an old typewriter font for the font. And so then I'll put on there from the spreadsheet, insert a new column and I'll put a reference number. So if it's like Jackson County, I'll do Jack Dash zero zerozero one and then every record has a unique number, right? And then on the postcard, I'll say, Hey, Mr. Jim Smith, I think you own a vacant lot. I think you own a vacant two point three acre lot in Jackson County, North Carolina. And if you are interested in selling, I'd like to make you an offer to buy it. Give me a call. Pretty much what the postcard says and the upper right and at the bottom is a reference number. So that's a reference number Jack. Dash zero, five zero seven or something like that. And so the postcard will say, Hey, call this twenty four hour recorded voicemail with the reference number above, and we will send you an offer so simple as that, right? Simple postcard if you want to sell your vacant lot. Call this number. Leave a message with that reference number and then we will send you an offer. So when they call that number, I set it up in freedom software. In that campaign, the campaign will be called Lake Jackson County and see vacant land postcard. So say postcard, right? So no, it's a postcard. And then I'll assign that new virtual phone number to that campaign. So anytime somebody calls that phone number, it'll track the lead and I know which campaign it came from. So the outbound voice mail will say, Hey, thanks for Hey this Joe. Thanks for calling. I think you got one of our postcards about a vacant lot you'd like to sell in Jackson County. If you can, please leave your name and number and the reference number from that postcard in the voice mail. And I will we'll send you an offer. Thanks. And so they leave a voicemail.

I'd say half the time three quarters of the seventy five percent of the time they'll leave a voicemail with the reference ID, they'll say, OK, here's Joe. This is Jim and reference ID Jack Dash one nine six four three, whatever. And then then there's freedom. Soft will send them a text automatically as soon as they call. It will send them a text saying, Hey, sorry, I missed your call. Thanks for calling. What was the reference number on your postcard? And I'd say about twenty five to forty five percent, not 50 percent, but like, let's just say, thirty five percent of the people. We'll respond to the text. They won't leave a voicemail that respond to the text with the reference number, so that reference number. Right. If somebody just calls like there's no address of the property, pretty, sometimes right. Sometimes it's just a street. And I'm not going to ask him to give me the APN number or the GPS coordinates, you know, so like, if they give me the reference number, I'm able to go to my spreadsheet then and see, OK, they're calling about this 4.6 acre lot. And then I have all this information from that spreadsheet, right? And then we copy and paste that information over into freedom solved. And then the cool thing about what price does PR wise CD dot com is they will look at comps and they'll tell you on a price per acre basis about what properties are worth based on the area of the county that that property is in. So we can see by active and sold listings from price kind of what the average price per acre is of this house of this vacant lot, right? And so then we make an offer at twenty five percent of that. So if a 10 acre lot sells for ten thousand dollars, you know, that's what it's worth. That's a thousand dollars an acre, right? So we will go ahead and just send an offer to that owner for two hundred and fifty dollars an acre or a thousand dollars because I get my numbers right there. No, no, no, that's not right. Twenty five hundred dollars. So if it's a 10 acre lot, we see it's a 10 acre, I'm going to offer $250 an acre, so I will send the seller an offer for twenty five hundred dollars. And so we just put in some, we did a document template for each county and we have a document template and so one page cover letter and then a one page contract. And this is what my this is the stuff that my sons do. So they put information in there. We create the letter and the letter says, Hey, Jim Smith, because we can get all this information. The mailing address, the property address, the GPS coordinates the AP and number of the vacant lot. All of that stuff is from that spreadsheet, from the data that we downloaded from Christ. All right. And perhaps streaming, you can also get data from them.

But anyway, we send them a cover letter and this vacant lot, we send him a letter where we had offered like nine thousand dollars. The one that I've started this podcast with. And so we sent them a letter, Hey, we'd like to buy. Thanks for calling. We'd like to buy your property. We'll make an offer and we'll close. And we put on there the date that the offer expires and the date that we'll close. And usually, we'll close 90 days out for due diligence because it takes time to do due diligence and stuff like that. And I would say we track our numbers, but right now off the top of my head, we are at about three percent, three point three percent response rate on this last campaign, three point three percent response rate and freedom stuff does a real good job of tracking these stats. Three point three percent response rate on the postcards. And then we get about one out of every twenty five twenty seven offers accepted. So if we sent a thousand postcards, we'll get about, was it thirty three calls? Is that right? Thirty three calls. And of those, thirty three calls will send about twenty twenty five contracts. OK. And of those twenty five, we usually get one accepted, which is pretty good numbers, especially compared to houses. You do direct mail like that for houses. You'll get half of half a percent response rate or one percent response rate if you're doing really good. I mean, so did you notice we never even talked to the sellers until we send an offer? And then if once we send the offer, if they call us back and sometimes I'd say about half the time they just signed the contract ones that we get accepted and the other half the time they'll call us with questions about it. But when they call, the cool thing is it goes in. Since it's that same phone number, it goes into freedom soft and it keeps their new phone call in their new conversation, in the conversation record for that lead. And and so then we also set it up where we send them a text after we send the offer. So let me explain this again. We send the offer through freedom soft using click to mail, email to mail, so click to mail, email to mail. If you Google that, you'll see what I'm talking about. So we email the template to clicked email, clicked email or print it next business day and send it first class to that seller. They get the contract and get one out of every twenty five will sign it and send it back or call us will do a deal out of it. And I would say probably we only actually buy maybe half of the contracts we get back to us because sometimes when we get it back, there's. Highways or there's too much taxes owed, or it's just it's just too difficult of a property. You know, you can kill a land deal because sometimes they have so many restrictions. So it doesn't matter really as much. It doesn't matter as much about access. But it has to have access. And so once we get a good deal, we'll tell the seller, OK, we'll close on it. We're going to need about 90 days, and sometimes that doesn't work. Sometimes they say, OK, whatever. Sometimes they'll say, No, no, I want it faster than that. And if we'll look into it and do some due diligence. But when we're doing due diligence, we're looking at, OK, you know, does it have any access to utilities? Does it have road access and other ways, back taxes that are owed? What's in the area? So things like that, and we'll also take a deeper look at the comps, but you notice we never talk to the sellers until they get our contract. Now, I know a lot of guys that do land investing, they'll just send blind offers. We're kind of adding an extra step. I don't know if it's better or not, but some people just, you know, the download a list of 5000 and figure out, OK, here's the average price per acre in this county, and they'll take the number twenty five percent of that and just send blind offers. And that does work. But I prefer to just send a generic letter or postcard. Hey, we want to buy your lot. If you want to sell it, call us so that when they do call us, we can at least look at it and see, because if it's a vacant lot that's on a lake, that's going to be worth a lot more than a vacant lot on the side of a mountain, right? So you kind of have to look at what it is that they're calling about and that will you'll adjust your offer. So when it comes to looking at comps too, by the way, we look at Zillow, we look at sometimes Redfin, but Zillow is usually really good and Land Watch, Land Watch and Lands of America dot com or two websites that we also like to go to. All right.

So once you do our due diligence, we decide, you know what? Yeah, this is a good lot. We'll find somebody usually from Facebook Marketplace who will go and or Craigslist, and we'll take photos of the property and do drone footage. So we'll have somebody do drone footage. We stick it on our website and then we will start advertising it on Facebook Marketplace. And we'll also advertise it sometimes on the different land websites like Lands of America or Land Watch, dot com, Facebook Marketplace, sometimes Craigslist. And usually we'll find out pretty quickly. We have we've got a good deal or not, because depending on the calls, I'd say most of the calls that we get are people asking, Hey, do you sell? Would you sell it with with owner financing? And so we've not done that. We've always sold our land with cash and we get about an average of, let's say, 12 to $13000 profit on each deal that we do with cash. But we would be able to sell it for more if we did owner financing. And so that's something that I want to start doing in the future because you definitely get a lot more calls. You sell your land a lot faster if you can sell it on terms with owner financing. And it's a great way to get cash flow because think about it again, if you're selling a vacant lot on terms, you're not having to worry about vacancies. Well, I take that back. You worry about non payment, of course. But like the typical landlord, tenant problems, repairs, maintenance, termites, foundation problems like that doesn't exist. So we if we decide that you know, it looks good, we get some pictures back, then we'll start the process of marketing the home. And sometimes if it's a really good deal, we'll go ahead and just close on it. We'll just buy it with our money. But sometimes we will try to double clothes. We try to double clothes as often as we can. So when we find a good buyer, we can use the buyer's money to close. We'll use the B to C to close on the A to B. That makes sense. So we use the end buyer's money to close on the on our transaction and we turn around and sell it right away. But sometimes it's harder to do that. Just kind of a hassle to explain what we're doing. And occasionally, you know, the buyer will look up who owns the property and see that we don't own it. And so there's a certain element of trust, and we have to explain to them, Well, we don't own it, but we're getting ready to buy it. And so it's just it's just sometimes easier to go ahead and close on it. So a lot of times we'll actually close on the property and then we'll sell it after we own. It makes sense. We're starting to do more deals now where especially if they're bigger deals and I'd say bigger is like if we buy it for more than 10 or 20 grand, we'll hire a realtor in that area to sell it for us. But you just have to, you know, make sure you've got a real good deal because they're going to get, you know, theirtheir commissions are going to be three to five grand. On a house on a vacant lot that you buy for, like 20 and sell for 40, so there are commissions are a higher percentage, but they will take care of everything for you, so they'll make sure you get the pictures, they'll take the calls, they'll coordinate the showings and help people find the lot and figure out how to get there. And they'll also do all the work of putting it out on all the websites and stuff. So the thing that I have done that's been cool too is I've I had a friend from church who has at one time was wholesaling houses, didn't like it. It kind of helped him with doing houses. And he said, Hey, let's do vacant land. And so we kind of do the acquisitions and he does the disposition. So we'll get it under contract and then he takes it from there and kind of negotiates and talks to the sellers after they get our contract and then advertises it and sells it, which has been a good, pretty good arrangement. So we got a deal split percentage that between us.

But again, man, doing this part time, it's been super cool because my boys are making some extra money and it's good work for them. And I know that like if if here's the thing, and I'll end it with this. If everything was taken away from me and I didn't have, I lost my business and everything, and I had to start all over again from scratch, I would seriously consider doing lease options or and or land in some ways. I mean, like, you do need a little bit of money to do vacant land because but you can borrow money, you don't need any money at all to do lease options. So it kind of depends on what you feel comfortable doing. But I really, really like vacant land and you don't have to talk to sellers and negotiate. You just make offers. Oh, and the other thing I forgot to tell you is after we send the contract, we send a text says, Hey, you should get our contract in the mail in a day or two. Let us know you have any questions and we send them a sly, sly dial voicemail. And then we set up a reminder and freedom soft in 30 days to send him another contract and 30 days to send him another text, another voicemail. And we do that at least three times. We send them follow up contracts so that follow up you got to make sure that it freed himself makes it really easy for that to happen. If I didn't have my sons helping me, I'd have vas virtual assistants do this for me. And yeah, so who? Twenty 23 minutes? This podcast has been going and I've been talking, and I don't. I hope this was of some value to some, just some of you guys. I'm thinking about starting creating a course and maybe a coaching slash partnering program because I want to do more vacant land deals. And I'm just so busy with a lot of other things right now. Like, I don't like the ROI in my time is better doing some other things in my business. So it's but it's good for my sons, but I'm thinking about maybe I can. Maybe I can train some people to bring me deals where I can split deals or, you know, I can maybe lend money on deals because one of the problems with vacant land is, you know, you need money, you need more money to buy deals. And so maybe I could make money on the lending side of the business, teach people how to find the land or something like that, just things that are kind of bouncing around in my brain. All right. So I'm out of here. Appreciate you guys. Thanks for listening to the podcast. Hope you're doing well. And I've been seeing our podcast downloads go up, which is pretty crazy. It's awesome. I think maybe since people are driving to work more now, they're listening to more podcasts. But ever since COVID really seen podcast downloads go down because people just aren't needing, you know, they're not listening as much. But now we're starting to see them come back up again. So thanks for listening to the podcast.

Appreciate you guys. It's all I got. We'll see later. Take care. Bye bye.

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  1. Hey Joe!

    I love this course! …and your sincere attitude.
    I know this time I will be successful and get my first deal and go on to do many deals and achieve my 10K a month, passive income!
    Warmly, Norbert Montoya

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