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!
- Wholesaling Inc – TTP
- Brent Daniels – Real Estate Coach on Youtube
- Millionaire Success Habits by Dean Graziosi
- Mojo Dialer
- Steve on Instagram
From Realtor to Wholesaling Behemoth With Steve Kiser
We are excited. I want to kick this off right. I want to kick it off fast and with a little bit of mindset. I want to read out of this book by Dean Graziosi called Millionaire Success Habits. Bear with me because it’s important to learn 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 not good, and that the world is a cold place.” As you can imagine, nothing good ever happens for that wolf because it is a negative, pessimistic animal, always seeing things as glass half empty.
“The woman says to her grandson, ‘You also have a different powerful wolf that lives inside you. This wolf has empathy, love, compassion, and positivity. It knows it can accomplish anything it puts its heart and soul into. This wolf sees the bright side of everything and constantly sees things as glass half full. Grandson, this wolf, the powerful wolf, can take you to so many amazing places.’ The grandson looks at his grandma and says, ‘Which wolf wins the battle, grandma?’ She replies, ‘The one you feed, grandson.’”
Are you kidding me? I love that because it’s absolutely true. If you live with abundance in your heart, if you live with collaboration and not competition, this business is absolutely incredible. I’ve got an incredible story. I’m interviewing a phenomenal real estate wholesaler and builder specializing in land here on the show from Charlotte, North Carolina, Mr. Steve Kiser. Steve, say hello to everybody.
What’s up, everyone? Thanks for having me.
Before this interview, Steve and I were talking. We’re going to go through his whole story. You can definitely tell that when it comes to feeding the positivity or feeding that winner part of you, that pilot light inside of you that says, “You can do this.” Steve is a perfect example of this because he went through a lot from his youth to growing up and going through and becoming the entrepreneur that he is. Steve, give us some background on you. Tell us where you’re at. Tell us how long you’ve been in this business. Give us your background.
I’ve been in real estate since the start of 2015 as a residential realtor. I did that for about two years. I 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 and selling a $200,000 house and getting $2,000 for it, all these fees and stuff.
I saw my broker in charge making $5,000, $10,000 on these $30,000 houses assigning them over to investors that he knew personally and would go get beers with and hang out with after. They had a nice relationship with them and I was like, “This is what I want to do.” I jumped into it around the end of 2016, handwriting yellow letters about 500 a week, handwriting the envelopes, putting my own stamp on them, sending them out, and taking my own calls. It was rough, but I got my first deal that way.
What’d you do before you became a realtor?
In 2010, I got kicked out of college for academic probation. That 1.7 GPA wasn’t cutting it. I floated around for a while. I washed cars for about four years. I got promoted to assistant manager. They were about to hand me the store after the store manager got fired. I knew that was my decision. I was either going to get stuck in this life or I was going to go out and sink or swim. I turned around and looked at all the employees. I was like, “I’m clocking out. All you guys can come with me, but I’m out.”
I’m the only one that didn’t go back. I sold stuff from Goodwill on eBay. I fixed broken iPhones for a year. I 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. The bills were cheap. I then ended up getting my real estate license thinking that was going to be the answer to everything. It was the start. It opened the door to the next door, then the next door, and then here we are.
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? How did you know that it was the right decision to say no to a career in this? As a manager of one of these shops or as a district manager, I assume there are moves to go up. At least there’s a decent income there. What does a manager make?
At that store, he was making about $60,000 a year. He got a company car. He got benefits. They took care of him. If you’re looking for that type of thing, it was a good opportunity. The two years previous to that, I had been big into Jim Rohn and Les Brown. On my lunch breaks, I would pound their YouTube videos. I’m getting cold chills right now because I’m starting to feel the way that I was back then.
It was a dark place for me. A lot going around with my family and in my personal life. A dark time. I clung to Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, and Les Brown. I read and listened to everything I could. All my friends were not this way at all. I was living the constant battle of trying to pull myself up and get dragged right back down.
It was ups and downs. It was not this one day everything clicked and then I was there. 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. At the time, it looked dim and dark and hopeless, but you keep going. Wake up every day and try to do something.
There is so much to be said about reading good books and surrounding yourself with good audio when you’re driving around. Even when you’re sitting there and you have downtime, you can throw your headphones in or watch it on your phone now. I haven’t listened to music in my car for over eight years, for real. It’s a great opportunity to fill your mind in with great information and instruction and inspiration.
You will face dark and hopeless times. Just keep going and try to do something.
If it makes you take some action in your life, as you ended 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 those little things every single day. That’s why we break it down into simple three letters, talk to people. You can start talking to people now. That’s what you did.
Walk us through your evolution from driving around as a real estate agent and going through that whole thing. Let’s be honest, being a real estate agent means that you have a different boss every week and they’re looking for something to do in this. They might like it or they might not like it. They might buy something. They might sell something and they might not. You saw your broker doing wholesale deals. Was he open? Did he share with you? Did he get training? Did you find it yourself?
He shared what he was doing. He told me about certain people in the market. He’s like, “You need to know this person. He’s having a meeting next Tuesday. Go to it.” I’ll go to it. 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? 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 a bandit sign.” They’re like, “You got to do something. If you don’t do anything, you’re not going to get anything.” I bought them right there. I put them out. I didn’t get any deals from it.
I then started doing handwritten letters. I didn’t know about templates or anything like that. I was a realtor so I could pull a list of absentee owners. That’s all I had. I started handwriting 500 a week. I started that in November 2016. On February 17th of 2017, I had a lady call me. She lived out of town. She had a house that was in pre-foreclosure for taxes. She owed $10,000 in taxes. I offered her $12,000. She took it. I turned around and put it on Craigslist for $22,000. I had a buyer that day. About ten days later, I got a wire for $10,000. My mind exploded.
It’s the best feeling in the world. That first time that you get a five-figure check, it’s like, “Oh my gosh.” It does change your brain chemistry.
I started dressing differently for appointments. I wouldn’t wear a collared shirt anymore. I started wearing nice jeans and a t-shirt. I was like, “I can’t do this. I have no one to impress.” About two weeks later, I got another one for $8,000. I then ended up locking up two lots about two weeks later.
Let’s get into this a little bit. Your family has a real estate background. Talk about that.
My dad has been a general contractor since the early ’90s, ever since I can remember, building houses, custom houses, back houses, subdivisions, and townhomes. At one point, he owned 30 townhome units that he had built himself. I know the lingo and the process of everything. That’s something that I take for granted because I don’t realize how much I do know in that field. I’ve been around it for a while.
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. To me, that’s what made me want to go into wholesaling even more because of the liability aspect of things. You’re not stuck with all this debt over your head. If the market does take a sudden turn, you’re not stuck with a $2 million loan to the Bank of North Carolina or whoever it is. That’s another thing I like about wholesaling.
After he got hit pretty hard, we went through that period of me looking for jobs and working at the car wash. The market started to get better. I saw an opportunity to get him back into building. Once I got the whole selling thing going into what was possible, a lot started to pop up. At the same time, they started to pop up. I happened to run across a hard-money guy through the REIA.
If you want to know how to find money, network. Someone you know knows someone. I got connected with him and started taking down lots. The first one I bought, I still own it. It was the worst decision I’ve ever made. I’ve probably lost $2,000 on it, but it’s what started everything. We have built probably fifteen houses since then. If I never would have made that mistake, I may not have fifteen houses already built and sold by this point.
I love it because we are getting into something that is huge coming down the pipe with going after raw land. We were talking about this before. It is the easiest wholesale deal I’ve ever done in my entire life because there’s no analysis, no buildings, nothing. It’s either you want the land or you don’t want the land.
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. You’ve done a bunch of these. Tell me some of the things. 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?
I don’t know how it is with other parts of the country, but my big thing is checking whether or not it has city water and city sewer. That’s big. If it’s well and septic, it usually causes a little more headache. A lot of builders won’t touch it because it takes a little longer. Find out if it has city water and city sewer connections. Give your city a call and find out how much that costs.
If you have a lot that’s only worth $15,000, knowing a builder has to be in at less than $15,000 and the seller wants $14,000 for it and you know you’ve got to put $5,000 to connect to city water and city sewer taps, you’re backward on that when you need to get it cheaper. Other than city water and sewer, you want to make sure that the topography is flat. If it’s a hole, they’re going to have to bring a lot of fill dirt in. Basement lots don’t sell as well here as they do flat lots.
A lot of property sellers don’t realize the value of their land as much as the value of their house. It’s either way too high or way too low.
What is it zoned? Some zoning only requires 50-foot lot width on the front. You have two lots if you have a lot that’s 100-foot wide and the zoning’s 50-foot. If they want $15,000 for it and you know each lot is worth $15,000, you made $15,000. I’ve done this before. I didn’t wholesale it. I kept it because it was such a good deal. Subdividing land is a great way to add value to land.
I live in the setbacks of 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 of the floodplain or environmental things. Some areas are in historical zones. You may not be able to build certain things. Maybe it’s in an area where they require the house to be 1,800 square feet minimum and you think someone can come in there and build a 1,200 square foot house.
You got to check a lot of different things. 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. You don’t run into a lot of issues with people asking you a lot of questions that you don’t know the answer to because they already know.
That’s what I’ve found as well. It’s interesting because the first couple that I did, I was like, “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.” They never asked me for any of it. The buyers never asked me anything. They were going to do it themselves.
They’re going to verify everything.
The only due diligence they do is maybe 3 or 4 calls that they make, they give a thumbs up, and now you assign the deal to them. This is different if somebody is trying to do a big subdivision or trying to split at a ton of times. It’s important to distinguish what we mean by land. These are in town. These are what would be considered infill lots. If you’re driving in your neighborhood and you see an empty lot, that’s what we’re talking about.
We’re not talking about stuff that’s zoned commercial. We’re not talking about stuff that’s zone agricultural or industrial. We’re talking about residential lots in town. Maybe we’ve been doing some great things on the outskirts. Joseph Marando locked up twenty lots in town here, selling them between $2,000 and $6,000 each. He can’t keep them. They can go so fast.
Nobody thinks about land, but it’s like anything else. 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 a pawn shop. We were getting it at this price and we’re selling it at $20,000, $10,000, or $5,000 more. Land is such an untapped resource.
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.
What’s the Zillow for land? There’s no land Zillow.
The tax assessment is either way too high or way too low.
It’s unemotional. Let’s talk about how you talk to these people. 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. We did some that were $5,000. You did a couple. How big were they?
I’ve done probably 7 or 8 that were in the $3,000 to $6,000 range. I’ve passed up on lots that would have paid me $20,000 to $30,000 each just from subdividing them. When I say passed up, I mean we took them down and bought them to build on. I got a new construction house closing. It was one lot and I got it under contract for $20,000. We got two lots out of it and each one of those lots was worth $20,000 to $25,000 by itself. That’s a $20,000 to $25,000 wholesale fee that we decided to pass on and build on.
Give me some juice. Give me a deal that you picked up the phone, cold-called somebody, and got a deal. Let’s keep our budget low when it comes to getting deals. Let’s use our voice, our sweat equity, our proactiveness, and being on offense. Let’s talk about something juicy. Give me a good deal. Let’s talk about one.
I did college for about a week. I didn’t land anything, but I wanted to outsource it as soon as possible. I did it just enough to figure out how to work the Mojo Dialer and get everything. Here’s some rejection and see what they’re going to go through. We called a lady and she had a house in New York. We had a house that her brother had owned for three years. It was vacant and falling apart. A tree had fallen on it and she wanted it gone. She lived in Raleigh, which is about two and a half hours away. She’s tired of dealing with it, tired of paying the bills on it, cutting the grass, and all that good stuff.
I followed up with her. I broke down the numbers for her, “This is where I need to get it. I have to resell it. This is what it’s going to need in repairs probably. This is where I need to be.” She went and talked to her brother. He was a part-owner of it. We agreed on $70,000 about six hours late. It was very quick. I sent her the contract via written signature or electronic signature.
You need to know everything before you get your land sale under contract. As soon as you take a step, there will be another step you have to take.
About a week later, someone was under contract to buy it for $81,500. We had a $10,000 spread on there. When it closed, the attorney had forgotten to put a couple of fees on the buyer’s side from the seller, so I took it out of my assignment. It ended up coming out to about $9,600. It was easy to call them and get it under contract.
Did you have somebody calling for you? Is this like a phone prospect that you pay on a weekly basis?
Yeah. I have three Jamaican girls who call, one in the morning from 8:00 to 12:00 and two in the afternoon from 4:00 to 8:00.
What are you paying?
I paid them $8 an hour and they brought on a leads manager at $8 an hour. She works for four hours a day, Monday through Friday. This is me doing things without knowing what I’m doing. I’m not too pleased with her. I’m going to have to figure that out. I probably will end up getting rid of that and take them back over lead follow-up until I can outsource it to someone in-house.
You have three Jamaicans making $8 an hour calling for you and you make a $9,600 check. Tell me about your business moving forward. What does it look like? How are things going? How’s 2019 shaping up?
2019 has been good. I started the second week of January 2019. I based everything on the 2018 projections that you had made. I’ll be honest. My numbers were a little off. They were about half of what the projection was. My own projection for what I was going to do went way off. Reality hit me in the face. I don’t have any other option than wholesaling. It’s fight or flight, sink or swim.
We’ve got 4 or 5 deals under contract in the pipeline. I got one under contract for $12,000, all thanks to the one little tip I got from you of anchoring low. I still got that realtor brain wanting to give people what their house is worth. I’m 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 like how you guys do things, getting yourself out of the business and looking at it from a 10,000-foot level. That’s what I want to do. It’s a matter of figuring it out and getting there but it will happen.
It takes time. It’s all about the momentum. Once your day is 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 most important. You’ve got a business you’re running. You’re making over $1 million a year. Life’s good. You’re kicking a bunch of it. You get to cherry-pick the best deal. You get to build houses. You get to buy land. You get to buy apartments.
Wholesaling is the bridge that gets you there and it’s a phenomenal business. I love it. As we wrap this thing up, why don’t you give some land advice? We always do advice to somebody that’s starting out. If somebody has never done a land deal, what advice would you give them if they’ve got a motivated seller on land?
Honestly, get it under contract for whatever price you can and try to sell it. If it’s too high, you learn something. 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. 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. After you take that one, there’s going to be another one that pops its head up. You’re not going to know unless you start walking. Just do it. Get it under contract and try to sell it.
I try to pull land lists and it always comes up shoddy. You can get a VA to do this, but I’ll go on whatever my county GIS site is. All the empty parcels in the areas that I like, I’ll click them, put them in a spreadsheet, get it skip-traced, and then call them up. I’ve made a good bit of money doing that. You don’t have to pull a list or anything. If you have a tight budget, get on your GIS system and get all the addresses you need. They’re all right there, parcel numbers. You can make $5,000 in 30 days so easily just because no one’s doing 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?
Instagram is good. My Instagram is @SteveKiser12.
Steve, thank you so much for sharing some of your land wisdom. This is going to be a huge episode when people look back and they’ve done 50 land deals and they’re like, “That Steve guy, he told me to just go for it and not overthink 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, and 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.
See you guys. Thanks again for reading. Hopefully, I didn’t ramble too much.
You did awesome. See, guys. Rhino Tribe, you guys are the absolute best. I don’t care if it’s on Facebook or if it’s with this show or with everything, you guys are unbelievably supportive. On YouTube, if you want to see this video, go to Brent Daniels – Real Estate. Check out all the interviews. Until next time guys, I encourage you to talk to people. See you.
- Steve Kiser
- Millionaire Success Habits
- Brent Daniels – Real Estate – YouTube
- Be sure to join the Wholesaling Inc. Facebook group
About Brent Daniels
Brent Daniels is a multi-million dollar wholesaler in Phoenix, Arizona… and the creator of “Talk To People” — a simple, low-cost, and incredibly effective telephone marketing program…
Also known as “TTP”… it helps wholesalers do more, bigger, and more profitable deals by replacing traditional paid advertising (postcards, yellow letters, bandit signs, and PPC) with being proactive and taking action every single day!
Brent has personally coached over 1,000 wholesalers enrolled in his “Cold Calling Mastery” training, and helped 10,000’s of others who listen to him host the Wholesaling Inc. podcast, watch his YouTube channel, and attend his live events…
A natural leader, Brent combines his passion for helping others with his high energy, and “don’t-wait-around-for-business” attitude to help you CRUSH your wholesaling goals as quickly and easily as possible!