Posted on: July 13, 2020
WI 469 | Land Deals

 

If you need a quick lesson in crushing every excuse possible, today’s guest is your man! Ray Zhang is an inspiration in a lot of ways—from living in his car and finding free things to sell, he’s now running a successful virtual wholesaling business.

In this episode, you’ll be amazed by Ray’s no-nonsense approach to business and life and his willingness to fail his way forward. If you need solid proof that you don’t need money to excel in wholesaling, Ray’s story is exactly what you need to hear!

 

RESOURCES:

From Living in His Car and Broke to 57 Land Deals in Just a Few Months

Episode Transcription

If you are new to this show, welcome. You are going to love it. We have an awesome episode with one of my first coaching students. His name is Ray Zhang. He is based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Ray wanted to take his business virtually. He was already doing some land deals previous to meeting me. He came to me to help him put some of the pieces together. Let’s warmly welcome Ray. Ray, thank you so much for being on. How are you?

I’m good. How are you? Thank you, Lauren, for inviting me here.

I am doing good. Tell me a little bit about yourself. You live in Honolulu, Hawaii. That’s amazing.

I was a car dealer by trade. I started to rent and buy and sell cars. A couple of years ago, I was tired of going cars alone. I want to do something else. I started to Google, “What else can I do about real estate?” I came up with wholesaling and start to learn about it. Later on, I joined your program and things started to take off after that.

Did you use to flip cars?

Yes, I’m still doing that.

How do you flip a car? What do you do? Do you buy an old car? What type of cars? Do you have a specialty?

We buy cars after the year 2000 and sell them slightly higher than the price we bought them for. I used to buy and fix and flip but later on, I just buy and flip. I don’t have time to fix it anymore.

You then decided to get into flipping houses?

Yes. They’re the same thing but different products.

What intrigued me about you as a student is that you are investing in land. I don’t have a ton of experience investing in land. I did develop some homes but I don’t have the experience that you have. Tell me about your land investing strategy.

Some people want to buy in the middle of nowhere and want to live there. I don’t know why but it’s not me. I started to do that a year in Colorado and later, we started in Arizona. We bought 5 acres of land dirt cheap for less than $2,000.

Learn by doing it, not by sitting behind the desk and analyzing.

I want to get granular. Is this in Colorado or Arizona?

This is Colorado. Arizona is even cheaper.

Can you give me a city name in Colorado?

It’s called Costilla County.

You’re buying 5 acres for $2,000, $2,500.

Yes, pretty much. It was very cheap. Sometimes, they can pay $150 for 15 months.

Where are you finding these land deals?

We send mailers to the homeowners, the same thing with wholesaling.

You’re sending mailers, maybe postcards to these owners that own these 5 acres of land and you buy it for $2,500. You turn around and you’re selling the land on terms. If you’re not familiar, it’s essentially seller financing. Ray is carrying the note. You’re turning it around and selling it to someone who wants to live in the middle of nowhere and maybe put a trailer on it. They can build a shed, shack or log cabin. How are you finding the end buyer, the end-user?

We can go to Facebook and we do Craigslist marketing too. There’s some other land website we can post the property at. What I found is it’s pretty slow to find the end buyers, and also, they backup a lot. They pay a little bit, and then they’re gone. You cannot find them.

They don’t perform on the terms.

Correct. That’s why I started thinking, “Is there a better way?” I listened to your coaching call with us. Something you said inspired me to do something else, which changed my land business.

Enlighten me. What was that? I say a lot of things. Some of it baffles me, to be quite honest.

WI 469 | Land Deals

Land Deals: No business is about money. If you have a good enough deal, there are people going to buy it.

 

It started something about wholesaling because what I was doing with the land wasn’t wholesaling. I was thinking, “Why don’t I just do a wholesaling with the land?” I started to send postcards to the landowners who own more than two lots. I got this guy who has 280 parcels in Colorado. I got another guy in Arizona who has seventeen properties. They wanted to sell them right away, so I bought them all. We wholesale lands.

You’re buying and closing on them. Instead of doing the terms, you’re selling it outright to someone else?

Yes.

Who are those people that are buying random pieces of land, all cash, in the middle of nowhere in Colorado or Arizona?

This time, it’s those guys who are doing what I was doing. They try to find the end buyers. Instead of selling to the end buyer, I changed my approach. I reach out to the land investors. “This lot here is cheap. You can sell this to your end buyers for how much on terms. How much would you do for it?” They are land investors, so they buy a lot. I sold 40 parcels, a total of 200 acres, in 3 weeks.

Since joining my program, you’ve sold 40 parcels?

I sold a total of 57 parcels.

Most people just think of wholesale houses but you took and applied it to a different product. I say this in my actual course. My virtual course is teaching you how to go virtual. Whether you want to change up your disposition strategy, maybe you want to be one of those BRRRR investors, the Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat, or you want to be a landlord buyer or in your case, you are the only person I’ve met that’s taken my course and done land with it. That’s cool.

I’m excited because it’s something new and different that I’ve never explored. You’ve got this scrappiness to you where you don’t overthink, you just do it. That must have come from your buying and selling car days. I like that about you. You don’t overanalyze and get into analysis paralysis. In some of our calls, I’m like, “You need to do this. Why are you doing it like that?” You’re like, “Okay.” The next day, you apply and don’t overthink it.

I learn by doing it, not by sitting behind the desk and analyzing.

Why do you live in Hawaii? Have you always lived in Hawaii?

I was a student here in Hawaii. I love Hawaii. There’s no better place, I believe. It has good weather. Everything is very cool. The people are very helpful and lovely.

In business, it’s better to have a lot of deals than one deal in half a year.

Why don’t you invest in Hawaii?

Everything is super expensive. I tried wholesale in here. I did one deal but that has taken me a long time. In wholesaling business, it’s better to have a lot of deals than 1 deal in 6 months. I’m always fascinated by virtual. One day, Tom introduced you to me and I thought, “This is perfect.”

That wasn’t that long ago. I’m glad we met. I was happy to have you in the group, especially because you bring on this different angle of land. It opens up people’s eyes that we don’t just have to invest in houses. You can wholesale land and commercial property. There are other avenues out there in real estate investing that a lot of people don’t think about. We traditionally go to single-family residences. You’re here to say, “There are other things you can do that are probably even less competitive.” Everybody goes right into the single-family residence space.

Your program works either on house, land or everything else. It works on houses. We have already closed another land deal in Oklahoma. Your program works perfectly virtually, so you can be anywhere you want. You don’t have to be in your territory. You can wake up any time you want. By the time I wake up, it’s already noon in a minute. It works anywhere.

You are the silent killer because, in the group, you’re not bragging about how many deals you’re doing. I didn’t know that you were this successful with my program. There’s something to that. You hear a lot of people brag when they close 1 deal or 2 deals. There’s something to the guy that sits quietly on the sidelines that are secretly stealing 57 land deals in 4 months.

Even though I wasn’t on your coaching call live, I always listened to your coaching call afterward. I never missed one.

A lot of that’s because of the time difference. I remember at one point you were in China doing this business, so the time difference is completely different. If that’s not the definition of, “Live anywhere, invest where you want,” I don’t know what is. You were in China for a while doing these deals.

My first deal in Oklahoma was a land deal and I contacted the seller when I was in China. We have been talking for a while and he decided he wants to sell his properties. I said, “This house won’t work. Do you have any other properties for sale?” He said, “I have a land for sale in Oklahoma.” I said, “Let me see it.” Right after that, I bought it in China. I sold it when I came back. I sent it to my cash buyer list. One realtor contacted me and she wanted to buy it. We closed it two days after I came back to the US.

How are you financing or funding these deals? Is it your own money or do you use any financing?

If the deal is pretty cheap and the number makes sense, I buy them all with cash.

What if somebody didn’t have money as you do, what would you recommend?

This is something I’m passionate to share. No business is about money. If you have a good enough deal, people are going to buy it. That’s the beauty of post-owning. You don’t need to buy it. You can just put it on the contract and sell that contract.

You don’t even need money. You can assign your contract with land deals, the same way people are assigning wholesale deals with a single-family residence.

WI 469 | Land Deals

Land Deals: That’s why I love wholesaling. You don’t need to put a lot of money in there. You can secure the property, sell the contract, and it will save you a lot of sweat. There’s no risk.

 

There are people also saying, “What if I don’t have even the postcard money?” This is an excuse that you don’t want to take action. When I first came to America, I didn’t even have a place to live. I lived in a car for a couple of months. What I did is I went to Craigslist and there is a section called Free. You can go there, find items that are free and sell them. Collect your marketing money and start from there. Once you get your first deal, you’re good to go.

I have never thought to suggest that to a student with no marketing money but that’s amazing. It comes back to your car-slinging days. Is that how you would buy cars sometimes?

Years ago, I got a car for $100,000. People are willing to sell their property, cars or items even for free. Why do they do that? You don’t know why. They just do it. They gave up something for free. You can sell it on eBay for $100 that you don’t know why. I saw there someone giving an iPad for free. The key is you have to be on the lookout, go out and find it.

We are going to film another episode on raising money for your marketing budget by buying or selling things that you got for free on Craigslist. There is going to be 2.0 to this. I hear all the time that my students don’t have money for marketing. I’m like, “What I did is I got a credit card and made sure I had an $11,000 limit.” I put my marketing budget on my credit card. That’s risky because what if I couldn’t pay it back? What if, for whatever reason, it didn’t work out for me? Those were the thoughts in my head, so I was like, “You need to make sure you can pay that back. You might get in credit card debt.”

I had that pressure behind me, which made me work hard to get a deal to be able to pay off my credit card. In the end, I did but I got nervous recommending that to students. I’m being honest with you and I’m very real with everybody. This is how I started. I started with a credit card but I don’t like to recommend that because not everybody is like me and not everybody is going to keep going. A lot of people don’t have that tenacity.

This is a way where you’re not in debt. It takes a little work, a couple of hours of your day. You get things for free, sell them and make your marketing budget. Have you heard of Gary Vee? Gary Vee is all about garagesaling. This is essentially the same thing. He does it for fun and he teaches people how to make money off of buying things from garage sales and reselling them on eBay.

Even though he’s super successful, he still enjoys going to a garage sale on Saturdays. Another thing about credit cards is some people don’t even have a credit history. I am Chinese and when I first came to America, I didn’t have a credit history, so I could not even get a credit card. You can start from there.

You are single-handedly in this episode squashing every excuse I’ve ever heard anyone make. He came to the country, with no money, lived in his car, had no credit, so he couldn’t even get a credit card, had to sell things that he got for free on Craigslist. Come on. Give me an excuse, I dare you.

I used to get their mattress for free and sell them for $50. There are a lot of people buying it.

What was going through your head at that time when you moved and in this space of living in your car? How’d you keep going?

I was thinking, “I’m already at rock bottom. Where else can I go? There’s no way down, so the only way is up. One day, I’m going to be rich.”

I always say that because there was a rock bottom point in my life and I’m not going to lie, it’s not nearly as rock bottom like yours. I was born very fortunate in this country. My parents are middle-income people. I didn’t have any of these inherent struggles. When I was in that version of rock bottom, I said, “There’s only one way up. If anything, it’s exciting. I have so much to be excited about.”

I take comfort in rock bottom because there’s only one way to go and that’s up. Whereas when you’re up there already and high flying, there is always this fear in you that you could go back down, so you got to keep climbing. I had no idea you had this story and I didn’t know that this episode would go this direction but it’s cool. When did you first get into the land and real estate space?

Once you get your first deal, you’re good to go.

It was a couple of years ago and I started to do deals here and there but not too much value because the land is generally lower than properties. Very few people know about it but there are deals out there. When I listened to your coaching calls, that’s when everything started to take off.

It started ramping up once you got mentorship and coaching. You were involved in some coaching programs prior but were there some missing links and that’s why you chose to get virtual coaching?

Yes. I have tried to wholesale in Hawaii. That was very frustrating because I sent a lot of mailers and very few people called. Even those people who called cannot sell their properties because some of the island properties are protected. They can only be sold to Hawaiians, not outsiders. I’ve been doing a lot of stuff for nothing. I was thinking I needed to do something virtually, but I didn’t know how to do that. Something is blocking me to go forward. One day, you miraculously showed up. You saved me.

That was my story. I lived in Southern California, which is a very high price area. I live in Orange County and the average house price is $750,000. I used to be able to flip houses around here or LA, Inland Empire but as the market started climbing up, the deals started drying up. The margins were going lower and lower to where it became very risky to buy a flip deal. If you had any of your numbers off, whether that was your ARV or repair, you were losing money on that deal. I liked sleeping at night personally, so that was not my jam. I was like, “I don’t want to live like this personally.”

There’s also this feast or famine where I would go 3, 4 months and not get a flip deal. I was traditionally flipping, so my deals were bigger but I would go 3, 4 months and not have anything in the pipeline. I would be up at night sweating because I spent all this money on marketing and postcards and I have no deal lined up to pay me back. I didn’t want to live that way. That was when I decided to go virtual, similar story to you so I could have a consistent deal flow. The deals were smaller because I was wholesaling them and the property values were a little bit lower but I would rather get a check-in 1 week versus a check every 4 months.

That’s why I love wholesaling so much. You don’t need to put a lot of money on there. You can secure the property and sell the contract. It will save you a lot of sweat for sure. There’s no risk.

Ray, I loved having you, so we are doing a second episode on how to raise money for a marketing budget when you are broke. Stay tuned for that episode because it is coming. For now, how can people get ahold of you if they want to learn more about land investing and maybe you can partner up with people? Are you on any of the socials like Instagram or Facebook?

They can add my Facebook or they can email me. My email is Ray@LandProUSA.com.

Ray, thank you so much. This was an amazing episode and extremely inspirational, not only for our readers but for me as well. I can’t wait to have you on again.

Thank you, Lauren, for having me on. I’ll talk to you soon.

That’s all I have for this episode. If you like what you read, please subscribe to this channel. If you want to learn more about my coaching program on virtual investing, I want you to go to www.WholesalingInc.com/Virtual and apply there.

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About Lauren Hardy

WI 794 | Virtual WholesalingLauren Hardy is a Virtual Investing expert and Real Estate influencer who owns multiple companies in the real estate industry including real estate investment, coaching, and software companies. She is also a Wholesaling Inc coach and co-host of the Wholesaling Inc Podcast.

Her experience in the last decade has been focused on real estate investing and creating products and services to serve the real estate investing community. If you are interested in investing in real estate virtually, house flipping, or virtual landlording, Lauren’s your girl.

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