Posted on: April 29, 2020

While a bit more challenging, it is reassuring to know that finding deals and disposing properties can still be done even in today’s current economic downturn. The key is you just need to make a few tweaks and adjustments to adapt to the changing times.

Today’s guest is Chris Arnold’s director of disposition, Christa Swan. Thanks to Christa’s expertise and guidance, they are still finding deals and disposing them with ease. In this episode, Christa shared the changes they made to ensure they continue to find and close deals even in today’s current economic climate.

There’s no denying we are living in unprecedented times. And unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. Fortunately, as long as you make the right adjustments, it’s easier for you to steer your business in the right direction. For valuable tips you can use, don’t forget to tune in to today’s episode!

Key Takeaways

  • Shift they did in terms of technology
  • Options they offer for those who can’t view the properties through video
  • What they changed in terms of sales
  • Shift they made when it comes to the buyers they’re working with
  • What they changed in terms of financing
  • The shift they made as an organisation in terms of mindset
  • What “antifragile” means
  • What she has observed from lead sources they’ve gotten from radio

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Episode Transcription

Chris Arnold:
Whoo whee! I am Chris Arnold, your host, and I have a very, very relevant topic for us today. There’s a lot of people talking right now about how to move properties. The big struggle is actually not finding deals, there is a bit of a struggle there, but the real struggle is once we have the property, how do we dispo it? We have investors that might be backing out of contracts. We have lenders that are pulling money. We’re having to do deals in which we can’t get face to face. How do we do this? I’m very excited today and you’re going to want to hear this. We’re going to be talking about the five shifts that we made on our disposition side. And I’m going to be doing that with none other than Christa Swan, who has been our director of disposition and her and I have been working together for five years.
And if you are in Dallas, Fort Worth, you would know who Christa is because she moves a ton of properties and every investor knows her because they’re constantly calling her to get on her good side and just to try to get properties because she does a fantastic job of delivering volumes. Christa, excited to have you on and hang out today, welcome to the show.

Christa Swan:
Happy to be here.

Chris Arnold:
Good. Where are you located Christa? So people know. We’re doing deals in Dallas, but you live where?

Christa Swan:
I do deals in Dallas, but I live in Oregon.

Chris Arnold:
Absolutely. For you guys listening in, does a virtual model work? Well, our disposition director, Christa, doesn’t even live in Texas. Christa, have you ever even been to Dallas to meet us face to face?

Christa Swan:
No, I have not. The closest I’ve gotten is the airport, many years ago. I have never met our team in person.

Chris Arnold:
Absolutely. But we trust you implicitly with all of our disposition. Of course you do an incredible job, but we say all that right now to challenge your thinking on virtual world, because we are being really pushed into virtual world faster than we all thought we would be. Let’s hop in. Let’s get to the meat, Christa. Let’s talk about the five things that you shifted in our organization to make sure that we’re continuing to be successful. And that’s the thing that I would give my hats off to you is you’re still moving deals. You’re still closing properties. You’re still getting properties over $20,000 profit on deals. You haven’t slowed down. The question is, how have you done this for us? Christa, my first question around the shift is you said that we first had to shift technology. What practically did that look like? What did you have us do?

Christa Swan:
We’ve always operated on a model of, we advertise the properties, people were able to view them in person, but due to the circumstances right now that hasn’t been a possibility. We’ve really, as a team had to come together and think about how can we market this so people can see how they were? Get a feel for the properties, what the rooms look like and how we did that is we started attaching videos. We have five to seven minute videos attached to our marketing and we have a great person who does our walkthroughs for us and he shows the house, the rooms so the buyers get a true feel of what the house is like.

Chris Arnold:
Wow. So let me get this. If you’re selling a property, you’re utilizing a GetResponse, MailChimp, whatever anyone uses and you’re embedding a five to seven minute walkthrough video so that the person on our cash buyer list can see the property without ever leaving their house?

Christa Swan:
Correct.

Chris Arnold:
Now here’s the question. The audience is listening and they’re like, okay, Christa, you’re telling me that investors are buying houses without ever stepping foot into them, really?

Christa Swan:
They are. And they are loving it. Our click through rate on our marketing has skyrocketed. We know people are clicking those videos and we’re getting offers above what we’re asking. We did a deal last week, a $30,000 assignment fee.

Chris Arnold:
Wow. 30,000 last week. And that was often embedded video that got email blasted out to the cash buyers list. Fantastic. I love it. Those are great numbers. Another question Christa, that’s going to pop up is, well, what if I can’t access the property to do this nice five to seven minute walkthrough? Then what do I do?

Christa Swan:
We’re dealing with that as well. We do have situations where we’re not able to do that walkthrough. We hopefully have pictures, but we are still moving property sight unsold with the promise that the buyer will be able to walk the property before close.

Chris Arnold:
Interesting.

Christa Swan:
We did just move one in Dallas.

Chris Arnold:
They can walk it before they close but they’re going ahead and tying it up.

Christa Swan:
Yes. We moved one in Dallas that the buyer actually never saw the inside. They had outside pictures, but our numbers were solid. And we went ahead and closed that and made a $9,000 profit.

Chris Arnold:
I love it. Now, the other thing I understand that we’re doing is we’re also getting walkthrough videos and pictures from the actual seller if we can’t access the house. Talk to us a little bit about that as an option.

Christa Swan:
We understand that our sellers are apprehensive about having people come in. What we’ve done is purchased a tablet that’s very easy to use, great pixel count so the videos came out good. Our associate goes and does the outside. And then they hand the tablet off to the seller with directions. Please look at the floor, look at the ceiling, look at the kitchens, the bathroom. Very easy, precise instructions on how to take a video. They do that on the tablet. They hand it back to our associate and we process it for our advertising.

Chris Arnold:
I love it. If I were to sum this up, the first shift around technology was just getting super creative on keeping everything virtual and making sure there was no face to face interaction. But most importantly, and I think it surprised our entire team is how effective it’s actually working. Because it’s one thing to come up with the idea, it was another to execute on it and to step back and go, “This is actually a solution that’s enabling us to still sell properties.” Let’s go to the second shift and you’re calling this, the shift that you had to do on how you’re approaching sells. How you’re approaching the sell with the cash buyer when you’re dispoing, how has that changed? How have you shifted that?

Christa Swan:
Many of our sells relationship based. We maybe know the buyer, we know what they’re looking for, but in this environment, people are afraid. How do I know the market’s not going to drop? How do I know these numbers are accurate? There’s a lot more handholding and building that relationship. And we have past relationships because our numbers are always solid. We try and be as honest as possible and people trust us. We’ve been able to build on that, but there is a lot more handholding and alleviating fears and just telling people, “This is business, this is what we do.”

Chris Arnold:
What I hear you doing is somebody calls in as an investor and you’re not just providing a deal. You’re also really, it sounds like consulting them in a sense. They’re coming to you and saying, “Christa, I’ve bought deals in the past from you. Can you tell me about what you think about the market? Can you give me some data?” And you’re almost kind of coaching them through the process to move with the sell, with just good assistance and help and truth and numbers.

Christa Swan:
Yes. There’s nurturing and they’re leaning on us for our experience. Have you bought in this neighborhood before? I know I can’t see the property, but what have you sold there before? What has it resold for? We are able to coach them through this process.

Chris Arnold:
Wow. I love that. Really the second shift is approaching sells and maybe I could sum that up is moving over to a little bit more of a helpful heart approach. That means I’ll provide you numbers that you need. I will pass along any data that I have. And if I just need to get in and have a heart to heart with you about your fear of what’s going on, I will do my best to kind of coach you through that so that you can make a good decision for your business as an investor. I love that. I think that that’s a really important shift. And I also think that that just speaks to your years of experience in doing this, knowing that that needed to be done.
Let’s go to the third shift, Christa. Let’s talk about shifting the type of buyer because I think a lot of people are saying, “Well, my traditional buyers on my cash buyer list, they’re not getting off the fence. They’re saying I don’t want to make a move until I see what happens in the market. I don’t want to manage rehab crews right now because I’m not getting sick and bringing that home to my family.” What did we shift with the type of buyer that we’re working with? How did that change?

Christa Swan:
Well, we’re always growing our buyer’s list and adding to it. And in a lot of ways, there’s opportunities for new buyers in this market. We do have people who are sitting on the fence. They are looking to see what the future brings and they have that luxury, stockpiling cash, et cetera. But because they are not bidding at properties, there’s this great opportunity for new buyers to get into the market. Things aren’t snapped up by the big guys before they get a chance to make an offer. There’s been a lot of new buyers who maybe have bought one deal, maybe have not bought any deal. And that goes back to that education that we’re always trying to give people Wholesale 101 and explain the process to them and nurture them so we build this relationship. This may be their first deal, but they’re also going to buy their 50th from us.

Chris Arnold:
I love that. A couple things I hear you saying is some of the more seasoned investors, some of the we’ll call them, big dogs, are sitting on the sidelines. But some of the newer investors are going, “This is my opportunity to get in the game because the big dogs have taken themselves out. And I’m willing to take on that risk right now, because I want to get in the game when there’s lower competition.” And then you’re turning that into a coaching relationship that’s to build loyalty because you took the time to walk a newer type of buyer through the process of getting an early on deal. Maybe it’s their first, second, third, or fourth, but you’re selling them and they’re buying, which is great. That sounds like a complete win win.

Christa Swan:
It really is for us.

Chris Arnold:
And I think my biggest takeaway as we’ve talked about this in the team, is right now, the best focus you could be doing is making sure that you’re rebuilding your VIP list. Christa, I know that we have what, 20,000 on our buyers list? But we have 50 that are roughly VIP. We lost a good chunk of the VIP buyers that would normally buy from us and we got aggressive on rebuilding that VIP list and going, “We’re fine with this VIP list looking different. We’re just not going to rely on the same one we had before and just sit around. We’re going to get aggressive and we’re going to rebuild.” And so I think that that was crucial for us.
Let’s go to number four. This is a big one. I see this posted all over social media. Financing, I had a deal, my hard money lender pulled out. I want to buy this deal. I can’t find anyone that’s financing right now. How have we shifted there? What have we done to make sure that we’re continuing to dispo properties and get around this challenge or obstacle of financing?

Christa Swan:
Right now we are speaking to lenders. Some are new lenders that we’ve never done business before and vetting them. What’s your rates? How do you work? We can honestly tell people, “Hey, I spoke with them. They might be a good fit for you if you’re looking for hard money and they are still lending.” Because there, a lot of the hard money lenders have closed shop for right now, again, not wanting to be over leveraged if things go south.

Chris Arnold:
Absolutely. And one of the things I saw you doing, which was really interesting is you got really proactive about making sure that we had a list of lenders that are lending. When a buyer comes to us and says, “My lender backed out,” or, “I want to move on this deal, I don’t have one.” You’re like, “Here’s a list of people we know that are lending right now,” and being proactive in handing that to them, correct?

Christa Swan:
We are giving them that list, but we’re also doing personal introductions.

Chris Arnold:
Wow. Not just giving a name and a phone number, but making a personal introduction. A warm introduction.

Christa Swan:
Yes.

Chris Arnold:
Beautiful.

Christa Swan:
Even if it’s just an email saying, “Hey Greg, this buyer is looking at a deal from us. He’s looking for lending. I wanted to introduce you.” Just so those lenders who we’ve spoken to, they know that we’re bringing them the buyer.

Chris Arnold:
Yeah. And this is interesting. You can follow the pattern here. Some of the buyers right now are new buyers that want to get in the game when the competition is low. The lenders that are lending right now are probably newer lenders who are looking at it the same way. The big boys are out of the way, this is my time to gain some ground so I’m willing to take on a higher risk right now and I’m willing to lend. You’re again, you’re seeing this pattern of, there’s just a different kind of demographic of people buying and lenders lending. And so you got to shift over to that and start to rebuild those types of connections. But again, it makes so much sense when you sit back and you think about it.
Christa, let’s go to the last thing. This one’s interesting. Number five is a shift in thinking. And more importantly, this idea of is this our future? Is everything we’re doing actually a forced step forward, not a step backwards? Talk to us about what the shift has been in your thinking for us as an organization.

Christa Swan:
We were to a point where we were comfortable with our process and now we are forced to make changes. Maybe we talked about those changes. Oh, someday, or we’ll talk about it. Well, now’s the time to talk about it. And we have instituted those changes and had amazing results. Maybe this isn’t just our, oh, we’re in a crisis right now, this is our future. We’ve always been virtual so maybe we’re going to take that a step further and continue to do virtual showings and selling properties without ever showing them. I think it really changed our thinking.

Chris Arnold:
I love that mentality.

Christa Swan:
About what our future is.

Chris Arnold:
Right. There’s two ways that you can look at what’s happening right now. And that is these challenges are hurting my business and I’m going to be bitter about that. Or these challenges are actually growing my business and rather than being bitter, I understand that this is making us better. Christa, there is an actual book and I’m going to recommend it, that talks about this. And there’s a term called anti-fragile. And the whole idea of something being anti-fragile is the idea that in order for any environment, organism, anything to grow, it requires volatility and chaos. That if you remove volatility and chaos, then the actual system will die.
Let’s use the human body. If you’re not walking, if you’re not moving, if you’re not exercising, if you’re not putting stress on your body, then what happens to the body? We see this. It starts to become weak. But what’s interesting about the body is it’s anti-fragile when you break it down and you go into the gym and work out and you break your muscle fibers down, not only do they grow back, they actually grow back past the point they originally were. That’s why we build muscle and get stronger. That is why the body is an anti-fragile system. When you break it down, it builds up stronger than from what you originally broke it down.
And Christa, what you’re saying is so important is that I look at the volatility and chaos is breaking our system down, but I understand that we are anti-fragile and not only will we grow back to where we were, we will grow past where we were. We will be stronger. We will be smarter. We will be better. And I’m getting excited about this because if you can understand this concept, you will have the perspective that Christa has, that I have, that this is actually a step forward and you will actually embrace chaos and volatility, realizing that without it, your business will die. If you remove chaos and volatility from an economy, it will become weak and the entire economy will collapse when there’s chaos and volatility. What it does is it washes out the weak parts of our business and it strengthens what we have that needs to be made stronger. And that’s what grows everything. Really powerful thing you’re saying Christa about shifting the thinking.
Now, one thing I’ll say as you’re listening and you want to be able to like, hey man, I’d love to see video as I’m watching and listening to Chris on iTunes. Remember that you can always go to our YouTube and actually put a face with the name, which is great to do if you prefer video. And of course, that’s Chris Arnold, real estate coach. And I want to transition, Christa. You didn’t know I was going to ask you this question. I do this with people on the team because I want the real raw answer. You dispo properties, which means you sell properties that come through all different types of lead sources. They come from internet marketing. They might come from direct mail. What difference have you seen on properties that you dispo that have come from radio? Are they better? Do they get bigger profits? What have you observed being the director of disposition about the lead source of radio?

Christa Swan:
The radio leads, and I know this is going to sound weird, they’re more genuine. We do get leads that sometimes the seller is really sketchy or they are not committed, but the radio leads, those people who are calling us, they’re ready to sell. They are ready to work with us to clear title. They are ready to move out of the home, get renters out of the home. They are ready to sell.

Chris Arnold:
They’re more motivated.

Christa Swan:
Yes.

Chris Arnold:
They’re higher quality lead because there’s a greater motivation is what you see.

Christa Swan:
Yes.

Chris Arnold:
Cool. And what would be one other thing you’ve observed about these leads on the disposition side?

Christa Swan:
The profits seem to be bigger. They’re the ones that are doing 20 and 30 assignment fee, the 30,000 assignment fees. There’s more profit margin. I don’t know if it’s because they are so motivated, they are ready to sell. There is more profit imported. Or they are also better style of properties so there is more money to be made.

Chris Arnold:
Agreed. I’ll connect the dots for you because you know that the profit is bigger. You’re observing it, but you just gave really what I would call a cause and action. If you have a lead source that’s more motivated than your other lead sources, that allows you to get a deeper discounted price, which then will give you a higher average profit per deal on that lead source. That is just common sense. And you’re seeing that and I’m actually just connecting the dots for you on why that actually is in our business. I love it. If you’re listening and you want to know more about radio, you’re like, man, I need something in 2020 right now. I need something I can depend on.
I can tell you right now, radio is strong for us. People are like, well, people aren’t driving around. Yes they are. Some people are still commuting. People are getting out and going to the grocery store. People are still advertising on the radio. And the reason we know that is because last month we actually exceeded our monthly goal on executed contracts by a profit of $3,500. And I stood back and I said, “Wow, I’m grateful that we have radio right now.” Christa, you know that because our job is to provide you contracts to sell. And so March was actually a great month from us. And I know that most of our contracts we gave you to resell came from radio, which is fantastic.
If you want to know more, you want to see if your market is open and you actually want to figure out right now that radio stations are the most negotiable I’ve ever seen them. They have softened. I’ve not seen this in my nine years of doing radio. They are hungry for business. Ask questions, book a call, learn more about this. Go to wholesalinginc.com/reiradio. Again, that’s wholesalinginc.com/reiradio.
Christa, you are incredible. I’m so glad you’re a part of our team. You are just, it’s funny in Dallas if you were there and understand Christa’s position, she’s the gatekeeper to profit. You’re the one that moves deals and everybody is hungry for a good deal to fix and flip or add to their rental portfolio. And I’m just amazed at how well you’ve sharpened your skill of disposition. That is your baby and you run that show for our business. Christa, thanks for having you, really glad to have you on. And to the rest of you guys, we will catch you on the next episode. Thanks so much.

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