Today’s guests are two massively successful real estate agents who decided to give wholesaling a try. And in this episode, they shared how they failed their way forward and made things happen. Mark Dunn and Nick Jensen are business partners from Salt Lake County, Utah. While they already have extensive experience as real estate agents, they are still kind of finding their way around as wholesalers.
If you’re a real estate agent who would like to give wholesaling a try, you’d surely find this episode of tremendous value. For starters, you’ll not only learn how they found a massive deal (and netted $52,000 from the transaction!). You’ll also discover how they resolved some of the setbacks they encountered, among many others. So many gold nuggets in today’s episode; you owe it to yourself not to miss this one!
What To Do When Nothing’s Working
I get this question a lot because there are different definitions of what wholesaling is. What is wholesaling exactly? Let me give you my definition of it and see if it feels good inside your brain. My definition of real estate wholesaling is simple. It is sourcing real estate opportunities. It seems like it’s crazy because there are different markets and trends. It’s a moving target on how you’re going to find these opportunities. Is it going to be direct mail, internet leads, cold calling, door-knocking or text blasting? What is it going to be?
If you focus on what the foundation of sourcing real estate opportunities is, it is one thing only and that is being consistent in having quality conversations with distressed property owners. This leads in beautifully because I have a guy on here that invested in the TTP program over a couple of years ago and has been crushing it as a real estate agent. A lot of people start in this business and they want to get a real estate license so that they feel competent, which gives them confidence moving forward to find these amazing opportunities. After two years of being in the TTP program, he has broken through with his partner in crime. Let us welcome Mark Dunn and Nick Jensen out of Salt Lake County, Utah.
How’s it going? Thanks for having us.
I’m excited to have you on here because when you posted to the private TTP group about what has been happening in your real estate journey, we had comment after comment. Everybody wants you on the show so I know that this is going to translate to a lot of people that are reading. Give us your background and an idea of who you are. Set the stage for us.
I’m Mark Dunn. I turned 33. I’ve been a realtor since 2011. I have built up a pretty good automated business where I don’t have to do much prospecting. Years ago, I started following this show. I had this idea in my brain like, “I’d love to get into this.” I flipped maybe 4 or 5 properties. I loved doing that. I also held a few rentals. I have an awesome family, a beautiful life and three kids. That’s a little bit about me.
Nick Jensen here. I’ve been a real estate agent as well for years. I played college basketball here in Utah and went the traditional route of making $60,000 a year as a stockbroker. I started buying properties. I house-hacked a couple of owner-occupied rental properties that had turned into rentals. I got my license because I got into it and wanted to represent myself. I had a lot of friends interested in real estate. I met Mark probably six months after I got my license. I’ve got four kids. We both like to play basketball. We’re simple guys. We love all things real estate. We’re excited to share our experience.
There are a lot of realtors that read this show wanting to break out of the traditional business because they do have a huge passion for real estate investing. I remember as a real estate agent, you see some people get these incredible deals when you’re running comps. You’re looking to go to a listing. You see this super low-priced house and you’re like, “How did this happen? This isn’t real life.” All of a sudden, you start digging a little bit and you’re like, “Somebody got this off-market. They went direct to the seller. How did they get these deals?” Have you guys gone through that similar experience?
I did years ago. You also think, “It’s so hard on the MLS. There are no deals out there.” You get that mindset as a realtor because all you’re seeing are market prices. What piqued my interest was the first couple of flips that I did. They have trashed houses and I was able to purchase them for cash offers. What got me going on that was following this show years ago. That made me think, “There are some deals out there,” but it’s hard to get over that realtor brand thinking there are not a ton of deals out there. That has been one of the biggest hurdles for me.
For me, coming from an investment background and studying Finance in college, it’s the concept of buying low and selling high. Especially here in Utah, I bought my first home years ago for $175,000. It’s a pretty decent city. You’re pretty close to downtown. Now, those homes are going for $330,000. What drives me to get off-market deals starts there with Mark trying to invest ourselves to get those 2015 prices.
Mark is always saying that you make money on the buy. We view the MLS as where we go to get top dollar when we sell as far as if we did hold a property. We love the concept of wholesaling too. If we don’t want to flip it ourselves or hold onto it, we love giving that opportunity to someone else and the deal that Mark posted about exactly hits home there.
That’s why I don’t want to buy a condo for $300,000 where the cashflow is $50 a month. Mark talks about the 1% rule and all these different things that BiggerPockets, this show and everyone talk about. That’s we’re attracted to off-market. To your question about other agents, every agent has had that annoying investor client they brag about. They’re like, “I’ve got an investor from California or out of town.”
They want you to do all this work finding them a great deal. Simply, a lot of times, these deals start on the MLS. Especially in Utah, who wants a 6% cap rate if we go off-market? We can simply send them all the wholesalers’ deals, mark it at $10,000 and they’d be getting a better deal than the MLS. As an agent, that’s where we’re at.
The definition I have of wholesaling is sourcing real estate opportunities. That doesn’t mean you have to assign it and make an assignment fee, buy it and flip it or buy it and rent it. You can do any of those things because you sourced it. All of a sudden from a finance background, you’re getting it at a discounted price. I bought an Airbnb because it was $20,000 more than what it sold for in 2013. It’s phenomenal when you get these opportunities.
There are two things and I want to touch on this for anybody that’s thinking about getting their license or is licensed as a realtor. You guys are successful agents out there. You are making the top 1% or top 2% of agents’ income in the country. Not only that but how do you sprinkle wholesaling into that or how do you let wholesaling take over that business? That’s the first thing.
The second thing is, how do you flip the switch in your mind that says, “I’m going to go there with fiduciary duty,” which means that you have the seller’s interests in mind as an agent versus you go there as a cash buyer where your interests are at the forefront? That’s two things. What are your thoughts here on this carousel? You guys are making fantastic income as traditional agents.
For us, it is extremely hard to get off that carousel but now that I finally got my first deal, it changes the chemistry in your brain. I could do 30 deals to make $200,000 or $250,000 when we could do 10 wholesaling deals and make that. For me, that’s where I’m getting excited. I can do fewer deals and have these amazing opportunities. We can do whatever exit strategy we want and move forward.
The second question is how do you go into these houses being a realtor for so long and go into it as the cash buyer, not Mark the realtor saying, “I want to get you the highest price possible for your house?”
That’s been my biggest struggle of not getting deals. I was thinking too much as a realtor and not presenting it in the right way. What’s changed for us is we did go in as cash buyers. If they do ask about market value, we give them our honest opinion. We don’t give them the market value unless they ask for it but we’re very honest in that. Being honest in giving them all their options is where it has changed for me too. Asking them, “Why aren’t you listing this on the MLS? Why don’t you turn this into a rental,” had helped me to switch off the realtor hat and become more of the cash buyer going in with confidence that we’re going to buy their house with cash.
Keep failing your way forward, whether it takes a month or two years, and it will change your life.
A lot of my friends want to go into the retail market and buy a nice home wherever it may be in Utah so there is a bigger pool on the MLS. It’s a different mindset. It’s like, “I’ll negotiate you the best deal. You might get it $.097 on the dollar.” It’s more of a time thing but it’s not that hard to say, “This guy wants a brand new home.”
When we go into these listing appointments with cash buyers, a lot of times, they don’t know how much it takes to fix a home. As Mark said, we tell them, “How much do you think a kitchen, a roof and all these things are?” By the end of it, it could sell for $350,000 if they dumped in the $80,000 but they don’t even have $5,000 in their bank account. Being a realtor and I’m not saying everyone should, has given me more knowledge to be able to know what’s a good deal, educate people and say, “If you didn’t fix this up, you could sell it through this.” They’re like, “I don’t have $80,000. I don’t want to deal with it.” I don’t think it’s that hard to switch it.
This is early into my wholesaling when I was still learning and getting it figured out. I remember my grandma referred me to one of her friends. This house was cluttered. It needed the carpets cleaned and the paint done. It also had this big annoying dog that lived there. I said, “You can put a couple of thousand in to paint, clean up the carpet, de-cluttering and put it on the market. You can sell for $200,000 or I can give you an offer for $125,000. You don’t have to do anything as is. Nobody comes through it.” She was thinking about it and goes, “I’m going to take the $125,000 because I don’t want my dog to bite anybody or get upset that people are coming to the house.” That’s a $75,000 difference.
We hallucinate a lot, especially real estate agents, about what they think people are going to expect for the price of their property. I get it because everybody wants more than it’s worth for the most part but we’re talking about the 6% to 10% of the market and everybody’s market across the country that is in distress of some sort, whether it be mental distress, financial distress or they’ve inherited a property and don’t want to deal with it.
In the 6% to 10%, that’s where you find these wholesale opportunities. It’s not regular or everybody else that you know and wants to live in a nice 4-bedroom, 3-bath, brand new granite countertops and bathrooms that are done type of house. We’re talking about houses that need some love. That leads me to what you’ve been doing over the couple of years, which is smart. Over the years, you haven’t been taking as much action on this list that you’ve been compiling but once you started to, it’s amazing what happens. Why don’t you explain to everybody what you’ve been doing over the last couple of years?
I have one more point with the question you asked. As a realtor, I was always about the house and real estate. It was so hard for me to get over that but we’ve had success because it’s all about rapport building, all about them and their situation. That’s the biggest hat that I’ve had to take off as a realtor. It’s all about the value and the house.
When I started, Brent was always like, “Push that driving for dollars. Get it. That’s going to be where you can get your first deal the fastest.” I hired a guy immediately and paid him $10 an hour, which is an amazing price. He drove for probably 10 to 20 hours a week and has done that consistently for 2 years. We have around 8,000 or 9,000 tagged properties. Here is what is blowing my mind about that. That’s only about half of Salt Lake County. There are probably about 12,000 to 15,000 distressed properties in Salt Lake County. That turned a light bulb on in my mind that there are plenty of deals for everyone. That’s one of the biggest things.
There are a lot of big players here in Salt Lake County. There’s a new wholesaler every day that I see a deal from but I go back to my driving for dollars list. There are 15,000 properties in Salt Lake County. Those guys will sell at some point and I bet 95% of them don’t have the money to fix it up. This fighting for dollars list is insane. We’re excited to attack this thing like crazy. Some of our big plans are to take more massive action than we have on this list.
Break it down. Are you using any apps or are you just writing it down old-school?
We use Deal Machine with code TTP. That app is incredible. We’re looking for some driving for dollars people in other counties as well. We’re excited about the potential of that. We’re going to put all of our marketing money into that list for sure.
You’ve got your driver. It’s loading up fees and organizing the app. You skip trace them and get the phone number. Who’s calling these people?
We’ve had a lady from the Philippines calling those for $6 an hour. We are going to switch strategies on that. We’re going to have her call the bigger list because she’s good at calling for eight hours a day. For the next few months, I’m going to take over the driving for dollars, leaving the voicemails and trying to pull better deals out of that list. That’s our plan with cold calling but it has been our Filipino cold caller in the past that has gotten a few of these deals.
Let’s talk about a deal that you’ve done. Was it the one or do you have a couple going? Tell me what was going on.
We closed one massive deal that we’ll talk about and then we’ve got a couple of other awesome deals under awesome contracts. Another side that we’ll talk about too is we took the massive deal. We’re 1030-ing that to own a couple of these other deals that we’re buying. Why we got into wholesaling is to build a rental portfolio. We make good enough money as realtors to have a good lifestyle. We would love that to be wholesaling money and we’re going to get there but we got into this to build a huge rental portfolio. We’re excited about this 1031 opportunity and the deals that we have.
It only took you 730 days to take it seriously.
I took him on a motivated seller appointment and this took the wind out of us. This house had cars all over. It was trash. The guy was on house arrest. He had an AK-47 at the front door. He yelled at us. That was a pretty scary situation.
Tell us about your big deal.
I’ll give a little preface. Mark and I have been friends for a while through playing basketball. He approached me and it was from my conversion on the real estate leads that we were working on before as realtors. He sent me a CRM. I’d never heard of a CRM before but it had 50 phone numbers in it. I love negotiating, closing deals and talking on the phone. Everything else like systems and things like that, I feel like I’m not maximizing my time and skillsets so I took action.
The Filipino cold caller vetted the driving for dollars leads and I started calling. It was the third guy I called that picked up and said he was willing to have an appointment. It was a pretty cool property in a city called Midvale here in Utah. It’s fifteen minutes South of Downtown Salt Lake. We went there. He was smart. I didn’t even know how to do wholesale. Mark told me to look at what it’s worth on Zillow. I called him on my way to the appointment. He was texting me some pointers. Zillow said the home was worth $350,000 and that’s what the guy was going off. He said, “This thing is worth a ton.”
Mark kept telling me to build a rapport. I talked to him. It was friendly but no different than how I normally talk to people. He went through. I was like, “Show me the home. What are your thoughts and plans?” I asked a ton of questions. The biggest thing is letting them talk and tell you about it. He was like, “The roof is ruined. It takes $15,000 to fix that. It costs $30,000 for a new kitchen.” He then showed me this layout that he had designed on Paint or some other program. He had all these immaculate ideas.
I kept asking questions like, “What do you owe on the property?” I was trying to see what I was dealing with and tried to get to the bottom of everything. I let him know. He eventually threw a number. He gave out $220,000 for the property. I fumbled through it. I was like, “I don’t know if we can pay that.” He wasn’t ready to sign any paperwork that day. Mark says some wholesalers will go buy some spaghetti for their wife, come back with a $500 gift card and stay there all night. I’m not that type of person. I’m a, “It is what it is,” type of guy. He appreciated that. I went out of town, met Mark and kept talking about it.
At the appointment, we offered him $160,000. His motivation was his daughter and son-in-law lived with him and they have 3 or 4 kids. This house was trashed. It was disgusting. We felt bad for the kids. One of our main motivations was to help him get out of his house to get these kids out of this disgusting house. He was keeping up on his payments. It wasn’t financially motivated. He had a good job but the house was in complete distress. That’s the biggest motivation we could find and then the kids being sick. We kept going down that route. That’s a couple more things from the appointment.
That was a big thing. He wanted to talk to his daughter and her husband. It seemed like twenty decision-makers. Eventually, we got another appointment with him. He even called us when we offered $160,000. He was like, “I’m not willing to sign anything. Let me talk it over.” We met with him. That’s when he was bent on $225,000 and then at that appointment, he started telling me about his big, old plans of developing a fourplex on the property. He showed me all his stuff. He had all these dreams and aspirations. We took that information. Mark did some research. We found that the land was 24 acres, which is quite a bit here in Salt Lake City if you own that big of a lot.
He went cold a couple of times on us. How many times do you think you called and texted this guy?
Ten times. I don’t know. I probably met with him five times.
This wasn’t your easy peasy. We had to do a lot of follow up. This is a golden nugget for people. The reason I felt is I did a horrible job of following up. I was great on the first phone call and appointment. I don’t love follow-up. Nick is good at it. I don’t care if you follow up 1,000 times. Follow up. You can text and call ten times a day. You’re probably not even bugging them. In our minds, we think we are but until they say, “Leave me alone,” or, “Yes,” that’s the key to wholesaling or traditional real estate.
You’re not going to go poor and lose deals because of excess follow-up. Go there until it’s at that point where they’re ready to make a decision. As long as you’re the first one in their brain that they’re thinking of, you’re going to at least get a shot at it.
We’ve finally got this deal locked down at $196,300, which we wanted lower. That was the best he would do. He wouldn’t go any lower. We tried every negotiating method out there.
He had an investor friend that financed his mortgage. He said, “My buddy will fly over here if you go.” He had a little bit of leverage on us there. We settled the deal.
We’re going to try to make this long story short. This was probably a six-month deal. This was not your easy, get under contract flip in ten days but because we knew it was a massive deal, we closed on it with hard money. We have great hard money lenders out here in Utah. If you need any hard money connections, come to us here.
We sent this list out. I only had about 30 cash buyers because I didn’t focus on that. I know this show teaches you how to build a huge cash buyer database. Follow that program. It gets you farther ahead than where I got. I had 30 or 40 cash buyers. I was like, “I need some more cash buyers if we’re going to get the most out of this thing.” I busted my butt for about 4, 5 or 6 and got our list up to 2,000 cash buyers. We sent this list out and had about 5 or 6 offers from flippers that would only make us about $20,000 to $25,000 on this deal as an assignment fee.
We had spent a lot of time on the developing side of this thing thinking, “We could develop this.” I figured all this stuff out. We had gotten the neighbor’s house under contract, not fully but if you can get both neighbors on this property, you can get six brand new units. We went down a little bit more of that route. We didn’t take any of the flipper’s offers because we knew there was more in this thing than that.
There’s nothing better for building wealth than real estate investing.
Another key point is to slow down on your assignment. If you can get more, don’t hurry and take that first offer. Get as many offers as you can and as many cash buyers on the deal as you can. We went down that route and met with some developers. We’ve got an offer from a developer that was only going to net us about $30,000. We were excited to make $5,000 more. They didn’t proforma on it. For about 2 or 3 months, we went back and forth with this developer and finally got this deal still locked down and closed.
We held a lot of the leverage because that developer got under contract on the neighbor’s house. He had the neighbor’s house. We had our house so we didn’t have an option to sell to anybody else because we wanted to help this guy do the deal and not get screwed over by overpaying the neighbor’s house. It was an up and down rollercoaster negotiating for two months. He was probably trying to find financing. It was an insane negotiating process but we came out with a great deal. We’re good friends with these developers. We’re learning a lot from them. They’re awesome people doing big things.
Did you close on it or did you sign it?
We closed on it. We held it for a few months with hard money and then sold it to them.
This was a Swiss Army knife type of property. We knew that if we flipped it, we could make $70,000. The flippers were not giving the property enough credit. It’s in a good area so we were like, “We don’t want to spend the time because we’re over here wanting to grow our wholesaling and churning our realtor deals. Our family lives are crazy. We both have a bunch of kids.” That was our last option but for an extra $40,000 or $50,000, we thought flipping it might be good but then the developer went and overpaid for the neighbor.
There was even a point where we were going to then get him out of the debacle of the neighbor and we were going to develop it ourselves because the third neighbor almost got locked up. We then could have built a fourteen-unit subdivision. If you don’t have the cash and the returns that a lot of these investors want, we penciled it out that we ended up selling it to this developer for $250,000.
We got them to pay all of our taxes, which the title company thought was absurd but we were staunch on that. We negotiated we’re going to be the listing agents on all 6 townhomes that are going sell for about $420,000 so there’s another $72,000 in about a year and then if they don’t develop, we have a $50,000 clause that they owe us. It’s a $100,000 deal no matter what. The cool thing is we’ve poured late this 1031 money into more off-market deals.
How much did you make that you’re 1031-ing?
That is awesome you’re taking those profits. You guys are successful in real estate because from a cashflow standpoint, you don’t need that money to live off of reinvesting into rentals.
We’re under contract on a duplex-type property in West Valley, Utah. That’s an interesting one. It’s a reverse mortgage short sale. It sounds like it’s going to take a bit of time but I’ve never met a more motivated seller. She’s willing to sell it to us for $1 if the bank would short sell it for that price. We’re working on a seller finance fourplex that we’re going to put together after this call. This guy is awesome.
Is this source from your Filipino caller?
Yes, 100%. It’s pretty amazing.
It’s amazing what happens when you do lead follow-up. Good job there. To break it down so that everybody is seeing the process here, they have somebody driving around for $10 an hour using the Deal Machine app. Use the code TTP to get a $10 off a month. They’ve got 8,000 to 9,000 tagged properties. They’ve got another double that they can get and they’re going to expand into other counties. They got their skip tracing batch. Skip tracing is getting the phone numbers for those addresses. If anybody’s wondering how to do that, I use BatchSkipTracing.com. Do you guys use Batch Skip Tracing? What do you guys use?
I’ve used both Batch Skip Tracing and Lead Sherpa because they were cheaper. I feel like both are pretty good quality. I haven’t compared numbers but these deals have come from Lead Sherpa. That West Valley deal came from texting on Lead Sherpa. There’s no better way to do it that talking to people and texting people.
Nick mentioned that there is a CRM and that means Customer Relationship Management. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a database. He calls in, follows up, gets the appointment, follows up even more, gets this thing locked up and closes on it. They then sell this. They’re taking the profits from that and putting it into other deals that they’re getting from talking to people. I love it. It’s phenomenal. How do people get ahold of you in your area or if they want to reach out and get into your world?
You can find me on Instagram, @MarkDunn.Realtor. That’s the best way for me.
I’m on Instagram as well @Nick_Jensen_Real_Estate.
Do you have any advice to give to anybody that is a real estate agent about the potential of doing some wholesale deals?
Number one, join the program and the Wholesaling Inc TTP. If you have the money, join them both. Get around the people that are wholesaling and are successful. Number two, take massive action. We’ve felt and tested it so we’re ready to take quadruple the action that we’ve taken. Also, fail forward. Wholesaling is such a different animal. Keep going and failing forward. The deal will come, whether it takes 1 month or 2 years. It will change your life. There’s nothing better for building wealth than real estate investing. Those are my tips for realtors.
For me, it adds to your value. Anyone can go on solo, find a home and pick it out. As an agent, you could even wholesale deals to investor clients that want long-term holds. You don’t only have to wholesale to a bunch of flippers who want to make $20,000 and then put it on the MLS. Being an agent, the way I view it and I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, I want to optimize every opportunity and get a return on my time even if that means holding it as a rental, seller financing the deal myself or passing it on because we don’t want to deal with it and give someone else the opportunity. That’s why I love wholesaling. As a realtor, all these “investor clients” that people have, you can add that value as a wholesaler but to be honest, the best deals, generally, if you have another source of revenue, are deals that you can keep for yourself and others that are close to you, which is cool.
Thank you so much. It has been phenomenal. I’m thrilled that you’re getting going with this and adding that into your real estate business. To anybody out there reading this that’s interested in joining the most proactive group in real estate investing, it is the TTP family. Go to WholesalingInc.com/TTP. Check out what the program is about. There are 36 videos breaking everything down that you need to know to set up everything so that you can be a productive beast in your market. Plus, you get access to me. Go check out all the testimonials. If it feels good, sign up for a call. I would love to work with you.
- Mark Dunn
- Nick Jensen
- Deal Machine
- Lead Sherpa
- @MarkDunn.Realtor – Instagram
- @Nick_Jensen_Real_Estate – Instagram
- Wholesaling Inc TTP
- 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!