Posted on: September 12, 2019

Are you interested in wholesaling land but don’t know how to go about it? Today’s rockstar guest will show you how!

Steve Kiser is an exceptional wholesaler from Charlotte, New Carolina. While he had the opportunity to land a secure and cushy job, he chose to give it all up and go after his dream of becoming a real estate rockstar. With the way things are going, there’s no denying it was one of the best decisions he has made.

However, while armed with a real estate license and ample real estate background, Steve’s venture into real estate and wholesaling has not been a walk in the park. Fortunately, Steve’s positive attitude and his willingness to take action has made a world of difference.

If you want to make your mark in the wholesaling world (and make a killing wholesaling land), today’s episode is exactly what you need to hear!

Key Takeaways

  • What he liked about wholesaling
  • How to find hard money
  • Why raw land is one of the easiest wholesaling deals to do
  • Key things he takes into account when looking for land
  • A great way to add value to land
  • What infill lots are
  • An example of a good deal he has done
  • What his business looks like moving forward
  • A good way to find land if you have a tight budget
  • Advice he’ll give to people who want to do land deals

RESOURCES:

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Episode Transcription

Brent Daniels: Welcome back everybody. It is your host Brent Daniels and welcome back to the Wholesaling Inc podcast. We are so excited today, but you know what? I want to kick this off right. I want to kick this off fast, and I want to kick it off with a little bit of mindset. I want to read out of this book by Dean Graziosi called The Success Habits and just bear with me because I think it’s important to listen to this. I once heard a fable about a Navajo woman who told her grandson a story about how we all have two wolves that live inside of us constantly battling one another. It starts with the grandmother sitting her grandson down and explaining to them that one of the wolves is jealous, has envy in his soul, is malicious and has a scarcity mindset. To that wolf, everything in the world is wrong and unpleasant.
He believes that people are mostly bad, things are no good and that the world is a cold place. As you can imagine, nothing good ever happens for that Wolf because it is negative, pessimistic animal, always seeing things as glass half empty. Then the woman says to her grandson, “But you also have a different powerful wolf that lives inside you. This wolf has empathy, love, compassion, positivity, and knows it can accomplish anything it puts its heart and soul into. This wolf sees the bright side of everything and constantly sees things glass half full. And grandson, this wolf, the powerful wolf can take you to so many amazing places.” Then the grandson looks at his grandma and says, “Well, which wolf wins the battle, grandma?” She replies, “The one you feed grandson, the one you feed.”
Boom. Are you kidding me? I absolutely love that because I think it’s absolutely true. I think if you live with abundance in your heart, if you live with collaboration and not competition, this business is just absolutely incredible, and I’ve got really an incredible story I’m interviewing a phenomenal, real estate wholesaler builder specializing in land here on the podcast today from Charlotte, North Carolina, Mr. Steve Kiser. Steve, say hello to everybody.

Steve Kiser: What’s up, everyone? Thanks for having me.

Brent Daniels: Absolutely. Before this interview, Steve and I were just talking, and we’re going to go through his whole story, but you can definitely tell that when it comes to feeding the positivity or feeding that winter part of you, that pilot light inside of you that says that you can do this. Steve is a perfect example of this because he really went through a lot from his youth to growing up and going through and becoming the entrepreneur that he is. So Steve, give us some background on you, tell us where you’re at, tell us how old you are. Tell us how long you’ve been in this business. Give us your background.

Steve Kiser: Cool. Yeah, so I am 28 years old. I’ve been in real estate since the start of 2015 as a residential realtor. I did that for about two years, saw that it was not for me. I hated driving people around and them telling me that they were going to rent after three months of wasting time with them selling a $200,000 house and getting two grand for it. All these fees and stuff. So I saw my broker in charge making $5,000, $10,000 on these $30,000 houses just assigning them over to investors that he knew personally and would go get beers with and hang out with after. I just had a really nice relationship with them, and I was like, this is what I want to do. So I jumped into it around the very end of 2016 handwriting yellow letters, about 500 a week, handwriting the envelopes, put my own stamp on them, sending them out, taking my own calls. I mean it was rough, but I got my first deal that way.

Brent Daniels: I love it. What’d you do before you became a realtor? Give us…

Steve Kiser: Yeah. So in 2010 I got kicked out of college for academic probation. That 1.7 GPA just wasn’t cutting it. So I floated around for a while. I washed cars for about four years, got promoted to assistant manager. They were about to hand me the store after the store manager got fired. I knew that that was my decision. You know, I was either going to get stuck in this life, or I was going to go out and just sink or swim basically. So I turned around and looked at all the employees. I was like, “Hey, guys, I’m clocking out. All you guys can come with me, but I’m out, and I’m the only one that didn’t go back. I sold stuff from Goodwill on eBay. I fixed broken iPhones for a year, just did pretty much anything I could to pay the bills. Luckily I was staying in my grandparents’ old house, so I didn’t have to pay any rent, so the bills were cheap. Then I ended up getting my real estate license, thinking that was going to be the answer to everything, and it was just the start. It just opened the door to the next door and then the next door and the next door and the next door, and then here we are.

Brent Daniels: Yeah. So you get kicked out of college to working at a car wash to selling things on eBay. How’s the mindset? How do you pull yourself out of that and how did you know that it was the right decision to say no to like a career in this because I assume as a manager of one of these shops or as a district manager or whatever, there’s move to go up, or at least there’s a decent income there, right? I mean what does a manager make?

Steve Kiser: Yeah. So at that store he was making about 60 grand a year. He got a company car, he got benefits. I mean they took care of him. If you’re looking for that type of thing, it was a good opportunity. But the two years previous to that, I had been really big into Jim Roan, Les Brown and all my lunch breaks I would just pound their YouTube videos. I mean I’m getting cold chills right now just because I’m starting to feel that way that I was back then. It was a very dark place for me and a lot going around with my family. A lot going on with my personal life. So just a kind of dark time. I just clung to Jim Roan, Tony Robbins, Les Brown. I read everything I could. I listened to everything I could. All my friends were not this way at all, and I was living the constant battle of trying to pull myself up and get drag right back down.
So it was ups and downs. It was definitely not this one day everything clicked and then I was there. It was, I mean I got journal entries of me saying, one day I’m going to be a real estate investor from 2014. I don’t know how I’m going to get there, but I’m going to, I sit back and read them now. Like at the time I had no… It looked down and dark and like it was hopeless, but you just keep going. Just wake up every day and just try to do something.

Brent Daniels: I love it. I totally agree with you. I mean, I think that there is so much to be said about reading really good books, surrounding yourself with really good audio when you’re driving around or even when you’re just sitting there, and you have downtime, you can throw your headphones in, watch it on your phone now. I haven’t listened to music in my car in probably eight years, for real.
It’s just a great opportunity to fill your mind in with such great information and instruction, but also inspiration, right? I mean there’s that part of it that, you know what, it doesn’t necessarily… I think if it makes you take some action in your life, like you ended that that whole sentence with, the action you take, the little things even a little bit each day to get you towards that.
That’s what this is all about. It’s just those little things every single day. That’s why we break it down into just a simple three letters of talk to people and really start, right? Literally, you can literally start talking to people today. You know what I mean? I think that’s kind of what you did. So kind of walk us through your evolution from driving around as a real estate agent. Going through that whole thing because being a real estate agent, let’s be honest, that just means that you have a different boss every week, and they’re looking for something to do in this, and they might like it. They might not like it. They might buy something, they might sell something, might not. So kind of go through that. you saw your broker doing essentially wholesale deals and then was he open? Did he share with you? Did he get training? Did you find it yourself?

Steve Kiser: So he definitely shared what he was doing, and he told me, certain people in the market, you’re like, “Hey, you need to know this person, he’s having a meeting next Tuesday, go to it.” So I’ll go to it. Then I danced around for a while after getting to know some of these people. What should I do? Should I do direct mail? Should I do bandit signs? Like what should I do? I was sitting at the table at one of these REIA meetings, and I had the bandit sign ready to check out and buy them on my phone. I was like, I can’t justify spending $500 on bandit sign.
They’re like, “Dude, you got to do something. Like if you don’t do anything, you’re not going to get anything.” So I bought him right there. I put him out. I didn’t get any deals from it. But then I started doing handwritten letters. I didn’t know about templates or anything like that, but I was a realtor, so I could pull a list of absentee owners. That’s all I had. So I’d pull some absentee owners. I just started handwriting 500 a week. I started that in November of 2016 and by February 17th of 2017 I had a lady call me. She lived out of town. She had a house that was in basically pre-foreclosure per taxes. She owed 10,000 in taxes, I offered her 12, she took it. I turned around and put it on Craigslist for 22, I had a buyer that day. Then about 10 days later I got a wire for 10 grand, and my mind exploded.

Brent Daniels: Right. It’s the best feeling in the world. Oh my gosh. That first time that you get five figure check, it’s like, Oh my gosh, and then it starts rationing. I’m telling you, it really does change your brain chemistry.

Steve Kiser: It does. I started dressing different on appointments. I wouldn’t wear a collared shirt anymore. I just started wearing really nice jeans and a t-shirt. I was like, I can’t do this. I have no one to oppress. So, and then about two weeks later I got another one for eight grand and then I ended up locking up two lots about two weeks later.

Brent Daniels: Awesome. So let’s get into this a little bit because you actually have some real estate background, right? Your family has real estate background, I should say. So kind of talk about that.

Steve Kiser: Yeah, so my dad, he’s been a general contractor since the early ’90s ever since I can remember building houses, custom houses, back houses, subdivisions, townhomes. I mean, at one point he owned, I think it was 30 townhome units that he had built himself. So I definitely know the lingo and the process of everything, and that’s something that I kind of take for granted because I don’t realize how much I do know in that field. So I’ve been around it for awhile. He got hit pretty hard in 2009 when the market tanked. He had two subdivisions that he had going on and lost everything on that. But to me that’s what kind of made me want to go into wholesaling even more because the liability aspect of things, you’re not stuck with all this debt over your head. So if the market does take a sudden turn, you know you’re not stuck with a $2 million loan to Bank of North Carolina or whoever it is.
So that’s another thing I like about wholesaling. But yeah, so after he got hit pretty hard, we went through that period of me looking for jobs and working at the car wash and the market started to get better. I saw an opportunity to get him back into building. So I started, once I got the whole selling thing, kind of going into what was possible. Lots started to pop up. At the same time they started to pop up, I happened to run across a hard money guy through the Rhea. So you want to know how to find money, just network. There’s someone you knows who know someone. So got connected with him and just started taking down lots. I mean the first one I bought, I still own it. It was the worst decision I’ve ever made. I’ve probably lost two grand on it, but it’s what started everything. We built probably 15 houses since then. So if I never would have made that mistake, I may not have 15 houses already built and sold by this point.

Brent Daniels: I love it because we are getting into something that I think is huge coming down the pipe with going after raw land. I mean, and we were talking about this before. It is the easiest wholesale deals I’ve ever done in my entire life because there’s no analysis. There’s no buildings, there’s not… I mean there’s nothing. It’s either you want the land or you don’t want the land. Right. But there are a few things that you need to know about the land to be able to effectively communicate what people can do with it. So I mean you’ve done a bunch of these. Tell me some of the things, like if somebody has an opportunity right now to find a piece of land in their town, what things should they know to see if it’s worth them going after?

Steve Kiser: So for my area specific, and I don’t know how it is other parts of the country, but my big thing is checking whether or not it has city water, city sewer. That’s big. Because if it’s well and septic, it usually just causes a little more headache. A lot of builders won’t touch it because it takes a little longer. So find out if it has city water, city sewer connections, and then let me give you a city a call and just find out how much that cost. So if you do one, so because if you have a lot that’s only worth 15 grand, knowing a builder has to be in at less than 15 and the seller wants 14 for it and you know you’ve got to put five grand to connect to city water, and city sewer tabs. You’re kind of backwards on that when you need to get a cheaper, but other than city water, sewer, you want to make sure that topography is flat.
If it’s a hole and they’re going to have to bring a lot of field dirt in, that’s cold, or a basement lot, that’s basement lodge don’t really sell as well here as they do flat lots. What is it zoned? Some zoning only requires 50 foot lot width on the front. So if you have a lot that’s a 100-foot wide and the zoning’s 50 foot, you just got two lots. So if they want 15 for it and you know each lot is worth 15 you just made 15 grand and I’ve done this before. I didn’t actually wholesale it, I just kept it because it was such a good deal. But subdividing land is a great way to add value to land. I live in the setback to the zoning. Is it in a flood plain? Most builders won’t mess with anything in a flood plain because you’re going to have to jump through a lot of hoops to either get it out flood plain or just environmental things.
Then some areas are in historical zones. You may not be able to build certain things. Maybe it’s in a area where they require the house to be 1800 square foot minimum and you think someone can come in there and build a 1200 square foot house. So you just got to check a lot of different things. But the main ones honestly are city water, city sewer, zoning and floodplain topography. Most people that buy land know what they’re doing, at least what I’ve experienced. So you don’t really run into a lot of issues with people asking you a lot of questions that you don’t know the answer to. Because they kind of already know.

Brent Daniels: That’s what I’ve found as well. I mean, it’s really, really interesting because like the first couple that I did, I was like, well, you know what, I’m going to call down. I’m going to talk to the zoning department. I’m going to talk to the neighborhood services department. I’m going to find out all these things, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. They never asked me any of it. The buyers never asked me anything. They were going to do it themselves, right? Because that’s part of…

Steve Kiser: They’re going to verify everything.

Brent Daniels: The only due diligence they do is maybe three or four calls that they make. They gave him a thumbs up and now you assign the deal to a really for real, and it obviously this is different if somebody is trying to do a big subdivision or trying to split at a ton of times. But honestly, when it comes down now, this is why I think it’s really important to kind of distinguish what we mean by land.
These are in town, right? These are what would be considered infill lots where you actually literally like build. Like if you’re driving in your neighborhood and you see an empty lot, that’s what we’re talking about, right? We’re not talking about stuff that’s zoned commercial. We’re not talking about stuff that’s just zone agricultural or industrial. We’re talking about residential lots in town, or maybe we’ve been doing some great things on the outskirts. Steve Joseph Marando here in my office, locked up 20 lots in town here and it’s selling them between $2,000 and $6,000 each. He can’t keep them. I mean he can just go so fast, but nobody thinks to think about land. But it’s like anything else.
I think if you understand anything from Tom Krol and wholesaling, it’s not about real estate. It is about the people. It is about their motivation. We are just a pawn shop. We were getting it at this price and we’re selling it at 20 grand more, 10 grand more, five grand more. I think land is such an untapped resource. I really do.

Steve Kiser: Yeah, it’s true. One thing I’ve noticed is a lot of sellers don’t realize the value of their land as much as they realize the value of their house.

Brent Daniels: 100% yeah. Because what’s the Zillow for land? There’s no land Zillow, right?

Steve Kiser: Oh, the tax assessment. Usually, if it’s not, it’s either way too high or way too low.

Brent Daniels: Yeah. Well, and it’s unemotional. Let’s talk about how you talk to these people. So and these are smaller deals, but some of them are huge. I did one that was 17,500, and we did another one that was 32,000. I mean some of these, we did some that were 5,000 but you did a couple that were, what, how big were they?

Steve Kiser: I’ve done probably seven or eight that were in the three to 6,000 range and I’ve passed up on and when I say passed up, I mean we took them down and bought them to build on that would have paid 20 to 30,000 each. I’m just from the subdividing them because I got a new construction house closing Wednesday that if I would have sold the lot, I got both. It was one lot and I got it under contract for 20,000 but we got two lots out of it and each one of those lots was worth 20 to 25 by itself. So that’s a 20,000 to $25,000 wholesale fee that we just decided to pass on and build on.

Brent Daniels: Awesome. So give me some juice. Give me, give me a deal that you literally picked up the phone and cold called somebody and got a deal. Let’s keep our budget low. Now when it comes to getting deals, let’s use our, let’s use our voice or our sweat equity, right? Our proactive being on offense. Let’s talk about something juicy. Give me, give me a good deal. Let’s talk about one.

Steve Kiser: So when I first joined, I did college for about a week. I didn’t land anything but I wanted to outsource it as soon as possible. So I did it just enough to kind of figure out how to work the Mojo Dialer and get everything, here’s some rejection and just kind of see what they’re going to go through. So I would say about a month ago, a lady called or we called a lady Tonita and she had a house in New York, you need to get in that. We had a house that her brother had owned for three years. It was vacant, falling apart. A tree had just fallen on it and she wanted it gone. She lived in Raleigh, which is about two and a half hours away. Tired of dealing with it, tired of paying the bills on it, cutting the grass, all that good stuff.
So I followed up with her, basically just broke down the numbers for her, this is where I need to get it at to resell it, this is what it’s going to need in repairs probably, you know, this is where I need to be. She went and talked to her brother. It was a part owner on it and we agreed at 70,000 about six hours late. I mean it was very quick. Send her the contract via write signature for electronic signatures. I’d say about a week later, someone was under contract to buy it for 81,500, so we had a $10,000 spread on there. When it actually closed, the attorney had forgot to put a couple of fees on the buyer side from the seller, so I just took it out of my assignment. Ended up coming out about 9,600 but it was just easy, just easy, just you know.

Brent Daniels: Yes. The contract. So you, you had somebody calling for you. This is like a phone prospect or that you pay on a weekly basis?

Steve Kiser: Yeah. I have three Jamaican girls who call, one in the morning from 8 to 12 and two in the afternoon from 4 to 8 and they give… I pay them $8 an hour and they just brought on a leads manager at $8 an hour. She works for four hours a day, Monday through Friday. This is just me doing things without really knowing what I’m doing, but I’m not too pleased with her. So I’m going to have to figure that out. But I probably will end up getting rid of that and just take them back over lead followup until I can outsource it to someone in house.

Brent Daniels: So you have three Jamaicans making $8 an hour calling for you and you make a $9,600 check.

Steve Kiser: Yeah, you have the check.

Brent Daniels: I love it. Hold on a second. I love it. So tell me about your business moving forward. What does it look like? How are things going? How’s 2019 shaping up?

Steve Kiser: 2019 has been good. So I started the second week of January and I had based everything off of the 2018 projections that you had made like last year. I’ll be honest, my numbers were a little off. They were about half of what the projection was. So my own projection for what I was going to do were way off and that kind of hit me. The reality kind of hit me in the face. But I really don’t have any other option than wholesaling. So it’s like fight or flight, sink or swim.

Brent Daniels: Yeah.

Steve Kiser: We’ve got four or five deals right now under contract in the pipeline. I just got one under contract for 12 grand the other day. All thanks to the one little tip I got from you of anchoring low because I still got that realtor brain wanting to give people what their houses’ worth. But yeah, I’m really just trying to get myself out of it, keep the bills consistently coming in and then build a team that’s not too costly.
But efficient and keeps me working in the business at a minimum. I really like how you guys do things, getting yourself out of the business and kind of looking at it from a 10,000 foot level. So that’s what I want to do. It’s just a matter of figuring it out and getting there. But it will happen.

Brent Daniels: Well, it takes time. It’s all about the momentum. It’s all about the momentum, momentum, momentum, and once all of your, like, once your day is just overflowing with all these things that you’re doing, you start picking off the things that you’re worst at, hiring those out, and then you start picking out the the most important and then boom, you’ve got a business you’re running, you’re making over 1 million bucks a year, life’s good. You’re kicking a bunch of it and you get to cherry pick the best deal and you get to build houses, and you get to buy land, and you get to buy apartments or whatever. You know what I mean? Like it’s just wholesaling is the bridge that gets you there and it’s just a phenomenal business. I love it.

Steve Kiser: I couldn’t agree more.

Brent Daniels: Yeah. As we wrap this thing up, why don’t you give some advice to somebody that… Why don’t you give some land advice? Okay. We always do advice on somebody that’s starting out, but maybe you can, if somebody has never done a land deal, what advice would you give them? If they’ve got a motivated seller on land.

Steve Kiser: Get it under contract. Honestly, just get under contract for whatever price you can and try to sell it. If it’s too high, you just learn something. that’s pretty much like I didn’t go to my dad when I was doing this and ask him every time I had a question, I tried to figure it out. So really just go out there and get it under contract. Don’t try to think you need to know everything before you do this because as soon as you take a step, you’re going to realize that there’s another step you have to take. Then after you take that one, there’s going to be another one that pops its head up. But you’re not going to know unless you just start walking. So just do it. Just get in our contract and try to sell it.
A good way to find land that I’ve found. I tried to pull land list and it always comes up kind of shoddy and you can get a VA to do this, but I’ll just go on the GIS, whatever my County GIS site is and just all the empty parcels in the areas that I like, I’ll just like put it in a spreadsheet, get it skip traced and then call them up. I’ve made money, definitely a good bit of money, just doing that and you don’t have to pull a list or anything.
So if you have a tight budget, just get on your GIS system and get all the, all the addresses you need. They’re all right there. Parcel numbers. I mean you could make 5,000. Literally, I feel like Lance, so you can make $5,000 in 30 days so easily just because no one’s really doing it.

Brent Daniels: I know it. I love it. Anybody that wants to get ahold of you that lives in the beautiful state of North Carolina, how do they get ahold of you?

Steve Kiser: Yeah, they can get… Instagram is good. My Instagram stevekiser12.

Brent Daniels: Stevekiser12, got it. Yep. Awesome. Steve, thank you so much for sharing some of your land wisdom. I think this is going to be a huge podcast. When people look back and they’ve done 50 land deals and they’re like, that’s Steve guy, man. He just told me to just go for it. Not overthink it. I love it. For anybody out there that’s looking to join the most proactive group in real estate, go to wholesalinginc.com/ttp. Get in, look at the page there. Check out the video, check out the testimonials, check out what’s involved there. If it’s the right fit for you, I’ll be working with you personally and I look forward to it. Steve, say goodbye to everybody.

Steve Kiser: See you guys. Thanks again for listening. Hopefully I didn’t ramble too much.

Brent Daniels: You did awesome, man. See, guys, rhino trap, you guys are the absolute best. I don’t care if it’s on Facebook or if it’s with this podcast or with everything. You guys are unbelievably supportive. On YouTube, if you want to see this video, go to Brent Daniels-Real Estate on YouTube, checking out, check IT out all the interviews, and until next time guys, I encourage you to talk to people. See ya.

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