It’s critical to understand how to find deals because if you can source them yourself, you could get and close the best real estate deals. Today’s ingenious guest is new to wholesaling. However, she has already achieved something truly impressive: she has found ways to generate leads and close deals without spending any money on marketing! Lili Thompson was a professional basketball player turned wholesaler. Creative and astute, she has made wholesaling look easy, especially for a newbie! She shares how she figured out ways to get into the real estate industry and get more cash flow. To help others out, Lili is documenting her wholesaling journey on her YouTube channel and her other social media accounts. If you want to learn awesome tricks, tips, and techniques from someone who’s new to wholesaling yet successfully thriving, this episode is for you!
How A Former Professional Basketball Player Gets Deals With Zero Marketing Spend With Lili Thompson
I am going to start this off with a quote because it just leads us perfectly into the conversation that I am having with my guest and it starts like this. “Remember cause and effect are not necessarily closely linked in time. It might take thousands of hours of practice to produce certain results. The key to success is the consistency of execution on the right things at the right time.”
That is perfect because I would like to introduce to the show and to the Rhino Tribe, a wholesaler coming out of Tulsa, Oklahoma that has spent her whole life practicing, perfecting and understanding what it takes to become a professional athlete but has now transferred those efforts into a professional wholesaler and is documenting the whole thing on her incredible YouTube channel and her Instagram.
It is my pleasure to introduce Lili Thompson to the show.
That was such an amazing introduction. Thank you. I am super happy to be here.
Let’s go back to your life a few years ago. What were you doing?
At the end of 2018, I had just finished up my last year of college basketball at the University of Notre Dame. I had been at Stanford before that but I spent a year at the University of Notre Dame going to Business School and we won a National Championship that season. That was an amazing season. I tore my ACL halfway through that season along with a couple of other teammates. It is like a Cinderella story of winning a National Championship, and then I was transitioning into playing with the Harlem Globetrotters. Traveling and playing professional basketball. That was an exciting time that you chose to time travel us back to.
How does real estate enter your life? How do you find wholesaling? Where does that come from? This is not a normal thing for people to just stumble upon playing professional sports and then all of a sudden, learning the world of wholesaling.
It was an interesting journey to wholesaling. As you said, it definitely did not start there. Being in the professional basketball world, I am lucky enough to be around some successful people from all walks of life and just constantly hearing real estate come up as a topic of how to invest your money, how to make money, etc.
That piqued my interest. I started listening to podcasts. The BiggerPockets Podcast was one that I found first. Reading different books like Rich Dad Poor Dad or The Richest Man in Babylon. It started off with, “House hacking is the way that I can get my foot into this real estate investing door.” From talking about it, I was working with another Harlem Globetrotter who said, “Have you ever thought about wholesaling?” I was like, “What is that?” He gave me the quick spiel and I was like, “It sounds illegal,” which is probably something a lot of people say when they first hear about it but then just like everything else, I dove into learning about it. After I’ve got my house hack, I was like, “The next step is wholesaling.”
Talk to me about that house hack. What does house hacking mean?
It is the idea of buying a property using an owner-occupant one. I am going to go live in this property, which means I can put down 3.5% rather than putting 20% or 25% down if I was just buying it as an investment. You can use an FHA or 3.5% loan on anything up to four units, which means I could buy a duplex, triplex or fourplex. Live in one unit, rent out the others, start to cashflow and get my first property. That was a cool low barrier to the entryway.
For me, coming out of college, I was on the road with the Globetrotters for six months straight. I did not have a home base after college. I was like, “I do not want to go back home after this tour and rent somewhere. Let me figure out how I can get a house hack and live for free just from the jump, and then I will figure out what is the next step from there.”
Exert high energy into something you’re passionate about.
What did you buy? Have you bought a duplex?
I bought a duplex. I purchased it from flipper. He becomes one of my cash buyers in my wholesale business. There’s some full-circle stuff going on there but it was a top/bottom duplex, freshly renovated and I’ve got it quick at a price that made sense for me with the rent that is coming in from downstairs. I am basically living for free. I pay my utilities and I set aside a couple of $100 a month so I can care for the place and in case there are any repairs or anything like that.
You are upstairs and downstairs, is there a tenant in there that is essentially paying your mortgage?
You can do it as a primary residence. You can buy it as an owner-occupied. You cannot do that 1,000 times because they know where your primary residence is. That works now so you are like, “I have got this property. It is getting paid for. I am feeling it. I understand the finances and the numbers behind this,” but you have to do more. You have to find more opportunities.
You have to keep the fanning the flames of your real estate investing passion of this thought in your head that you can start building up your portfolio and doing something special. Is that the path that you are looking to and be one of those people that has a lot of rentals, big portfolio and looking for that cashflow or are you looking to do more flips development that type of thing? What was going through your head?
My horizons have opened up so much and it changed a lot. Originally, I was like, “I can house hack once per year and I am in this duplex now. Once that year is up, I will go get another multifamily and put someone in the unit I am in now, and that will build my rental portfolio.” That was too slow. I like to go after things and just like you, I am pretty high energy when I get into something. I am into it. That was too slow so I was trying to figure out other ways to get into real estate and get more cashflow. That was my goal at first, without having so much capital to buy a rental property. The first thing I did was I found an owner-financed deal for a property that was in pretty poor condition.
I and my dad fixed it up with some savings that I had leftover. We did most of the work that we could do ourselves and hired out for some of the things that need licensing. That is how I’ve got a little bit more cashflow of getting a property there. I did not have to do a down payment on that one in exchange for just fixing up the property with the seller-financed deal. From there, I was like, “That was great to find. Now what?” I love the wholesaling because it is the lump-sum payment but also a very low risk as opposed to being the flipper.
Finding opportunities, finding real estate deals, sourcing real estate opportunities, that is the foundation. That is the heart that we build our real estate investing business off of because once we get the lead generation side of it down and the conversion side, getting those people to commit to working with us, then the exit strategy we have is wide open.
We can flip it, hold it, wholesale it and wholetail it. There is so much potential but it starts with, “How do you find a deal?” You read Rich Dad Poor Dad, Richest Man in Babylon and Think and Grow Rich. You start getting into YouTube channels and podcasts but how do you get the deal? How do you find it?
That is the key. That is what we teach you. That is the instruction that we try to put out on these shows and the YouTube channels. Once you learn how to source opportunities, you are in the driver’s seat. Now you are off and running. Even if people have a lot of money, are ready to buy rentals and are ready to do flips, it is so critical to understand how to find the deals because if you can source it yourself, you get the best deals for sure and you have all the options. It is absolutely incredible. What did you start doing? How did you start getting into the flow? You are an action taker and athlete. You are driving like you are going to go out and you are going to get it. What did you start with first?
It is funny. I was like, “Mom, let’s go driving for dollars.” That is how I heard a lot of people getting their first deals and I was just like, “Let’s do it. Hop in the car. Let’s go.” I had already started my YouTube channel at that point, documenting the house hacking journey. I was like, “Let me create some series on this YouTube channel in real-time of trying to get my first wholesaling deal.”
That was episode one of driving for dollars and I’ve got the PropStream app. I’ve got the Driving For Dollars app and I was driving through this neighborhood and seeing cash purchases that had closed days or weeks before. We even came across a duplex that was in poor shape but had closed for $5,000 a week before. I was like, “There are a lot going on here. I am in the right area.” I did not yet know how to close all of those deals, run the numbers and do the things but I knew I am onto something and have got to keep working at it.
You are starting that all out and I love something that you did there. What you did is you are documenting everything. There’s literally a video of you and your mom in the car having your properties. This is something that I have been pounding on this show and the YouTube channel with my TTP Family members in the TTP Program. I tell them all you have to get loud.
You need to document, whether it is Instagram or YouTube. You need to get out there and you need to be loud because if you were loud, opportunities are going to come your way. There’s something about the authority that you get when you are committed, showing something that you are passionate about and people support you.
Maybe you get some haters but for the most part, it is overwhelmingly supported from friends, family and people, even cash buyers. We were talking before this even started. The cash buyers and opportunities that are coming your way. The way that you have a voice now, and you get to show people your vulnerabilities. These are the mistakes that you made, the successes that you have, and people celebrate and cheer for that. How does that feel? Is your channel has been around a year or a few months?
We just started in June 2021 consistently posting. It has been amazing. There are a couple of naysayers. It is the internet so we expect that but the vast majority of people who have been so supportive started to look to me as an authority, which was not something that I expected at first because I am like, “Guys, I am going out driving for dollars. Let’s go.”
As I am learning things being able to turn around and share it, create a community, connect with buyers, other beginner wholesalers, and people like you if I did not document my journey, we would probably never be speaking even if I was still doing all the same things in real life. I completely agree with you. Getting loud just brings so many opportunities, especially when we are all sitting at home anyway. We have to find a way to connect with each other.
You have a vision of this off the bat like you already have the courage to be able to put yourself out there. You are like, “I know that I have a lot to share, I am going to be open, authentic, honest and I am going to just do the best that I can. Is that how this starts?
Pretty much. We are talking before about my journey through basketball and getting to play for high-profile teams that are winning national championships is number one in the nation. I was in charge of most of the media, interviews and trick shots for the Globetrotters. I have been used to being in front of a camera, sharing my journey and what I am doing. That gave me some confidence and authenticity to be like, “This thing went well. This thing did not. Do not do that because I made a mistake.” That is where I am coming from.
The key to success is the consistency of execution on the right things at the right time.
It describes to people your day when you start getting loud. We are going to get into break it down a deal, we are going to get into the nitty-gritty of wholesaling but this is important because, in the next few years, it is going to be more important than ever to be proud of the efforts that you are putting in. It is not braggadocious and it is not a, “Look at me and look what I can do.” It is literally just documenting what you are doing in your journey because you are excited about that. What are your DMs look like? What are the comments on your YouTube channel look like? Were you seeing and responding to them? Are people engaging with you? What does that look like?
I have the opportunity to respond to every single comment and every single DM to, “There is way too much.” Even if I spent 24/7, that shift was made in a day. I tried to figure out how I can respond to people, take questions that people are asking me over and over, and make videos about them. Doing some things like hopping on Zoom calls and just sharing my experience. It is blown up in a great way, and trying to create a community that is maybe I am not five years into wholesaling but I have learned a lot in three months and here’s what I can share.
You were driving for dollars and then how were you getting a hold of these distressed property owners? Were you mailing, calling and texting? What was your process there?
It was cold calling. Getting my list from driving for dollars and then going home, and just trying to talk to people.
I love some of those videos because you are like, “That was brutal.” These are real calls. You were calling, you did something that is smart and some that we have talked about for a few years on the show here, which is, “Start reaching out to real estate agents.” Talking to people is not just calling distressed property owners. It is calling other investors and agents. It is being in the action of being proactive. It is not waiting for the business to fall into your lap or not buying all these calls to come your way but being proactive, you calling and reaching out to them, and that is what you did. That is how you’ve got your first.
It is funny how I made that shift because in the video you are talking about where I am cold calling, I just set my camera up and start calling. I talked to a distressed property owner that I found while driving for dollars and he wasn’t happy to hear from me. I had to bleep out a couple of things on the video but then I had another list that I was working on that I saw from a YouTube video that I was watching and wanted to try out, and it was expired listings.
I do not even know why but I decided, rather than calling the property owners, I will call the listing agent from that expired listing and then they can see if their previous client is still interested in selling. I connected with an agent and she was like, “I think he might be. Let me give him a call and get back to you.”She then calls me back and she was like, “He is interested in selling. He wants this much.” I am like, “Can you give me the address again? Let’s talk about it.”
I realized that agent was talking about the same property owner who gave me some choice words a few hours prior. It made me realize it is much easier to go through the listing agent who’s happy to get my call and they already have a relationship with the property owner. It is less animosity in the relationship between me and the property owner. That deal, we did not end up working out on numbers but it lit that spark in my head that listing agents can be very useful to me getting deals.
Where did you get your expired listing data?
You skip trace it. You are calling them. Are you hand dialing or using a dialer?
I am hand dialing Google virtual number.
It is not the most efficient. You’ve got to get going at some point. The beautiful thing is if you could put a list of 10, 15, 20 agents a day that you are calling and just asking for the opportunity to buy their ugliest properties or talking to them about their expired listings. When you go in and have those conversations with expired listings, maybe that is not the right fit or something is going on with that property but if you ask that agent, who do you usually send your fix and flip properties to? You are rough and you are problem-child listings, too.
I love to be that person. If you have got somebody in the first place, that is great but I would love to be in second place. Maybe they run out of money or it is not the right fit for them but I would love the opportunity to buy any ugly properties. You keep all the commissions, you can represent me, the seller and build that relationship because all of a sudden, they are starting to send you listings before they even hit the market.
That is where you get your big deals. That is when you can do some damage because when you are going after expired, you have to not only get it lower than the price they had, you have to get it significantly lower because they did not sell on the open market. The reason they did not, typically is because of the price.
It was not that deal that worked out for that exact reason but building those relationships with agents. I now have agents texting me. Every week I am getting texts, “I’ve got a property coming on the market next week. Do you want to take a look at it first?” I am the only person making an offer on that property competing for it. I am not competing with all the other wholesalers and investors in my market and that is where deals are starting to come through that.
When I talk to people, either DMs or my students through texts and calls, they are more intimidated to call agents than they are calling the property owners. What is your experience? Is it an easier call to have calling agents versus property owners or vice versa?
I am the opposite. It is much easier for me to call an agent than it is for a property owner. What I do is look for all the distress listings in my market. I just call the listing agent and I say, “I see you’ve got this property.” I try to make an offer on it but also if you ever get anything else that is in distress condition, you keep the full 6% of the commission, let me know and we can make a deal happen. I find it a lot easier to talk to those agents, especially because they might have multiple properties we can talk about versus the property owner who has that one that they own.
Jamil Damji from KeyGlee talks about this all the time. He talks about, “Do you want to go to your friend and buy some drugs one time or do you want to go to the drug dealer and get drugs out anytime you want?” That is what real estate agents alike. A real estate agent has multiple streams of opportunities that you can go after.
It is a crude example but it is a good analogy. You can have a stable of 10, 15 or 20 agents but set up your whole career and a whole year. If they are always in the community working with some of these properties that need a lot of love, they are sending it to you, and they get to keep 6% instead of 3%. It’s a win-win all the way around and things go really smooth. Let’s break down a deal. Anyone that you want. You can break down your first one or your biggest one. Whatever you want to break down. Let’s put you in the hot seat here and find out where this came from? How you did it? What your approach was? Start with how did you first make contact.
I first made contact about two weeks prior to doing this deal with the listing agent for another property. I made the offer, I’ve got a bunch of offers over mine, the seller rejected it but I had built up some good rapport with the real estate agent and just let them know, “If you ever get anything else, give me a call.” Two weeks later, he did reach out. “I’ve got something you might be interested in. Do you want to take a look at it?” I was like, “Yes,” and I jumped on it.
When you call the agent the first time, was it on an expired listing?
It was on an active listing. It was about 30 minutes after a new listing had come on the market. I just saw it was as-is sale, no repairs, needs cosmetic updates and needs a new roof that I knew would be good for cash, and I’ve got outbid by other investors. I knew it was distressed and so I figured this agent has this distress listing. He’s probably going to get some more as well.
Do you have an alert set up through PropStream or Zillow that pops up and sends you an alert anytime a new property comes on the market that says something like, “Fixer-upper or as-is?” How did that work? How did you get on top of that so fast?
I have Redfin alerts for certain keywords that tell me there might be some distress. As is, fixer-upper and cash only. They come right to my phone and I just dial the agent immediately.
You dial them immediately. You do not wait around. You do not sit down and do your research, you do not look at the satellite shot and make sure that it is not backed up to a major highway or something. You just go.
I do not even run my numbers until I talk to the agent. I call him right away. I want to be first, especially since I do not know other investors are working with their own agents and can offer the full 6%. If I get there first and offer 6%, then that agent might want to help me move things along quicker.
What does that conversation that you have with the agent when you go in and you say, “I am interested in this property and you can represent me?” How does that go?
I call him and I am like, “I see you’ve got a distressed property. I am looking for these. It seems to be perfect. I am unrepresented so you can represent both sides of the deal. Can I get a little information about the property?” They just take it from there and I would be quiet and listen.
That is simple. This is not rocket science. It is just getting in front, being proactive, having those conversations and building your network of people that will work with you and will send you these opportunities in real estate agents. A lot of people get intimidated by it and think that they are going to be like, “Where is your proof of funds? I want to see your bank statements and I want to see the properties that you bought.”
When you are working with real estate agents, a lot of times, they do ask for proof of funds. Jerry Norton has great proof of funds if you want to go with that. Jerry Norton is a great friend of the show. You can check that out. Google Jerry Norton’s Proof of Funds or go talk to a private lender before you get this up so you feel confident having those calls because they are going to ask for it. You then go that this property went too fast but they brought you something else.
When you are committed to something, you have authority and control over it.
Two weeks later, he was like, “I’ve got something coming on the market but the sellers do not want a bunch of people walking through the house due to COVID. Do you think we could get something done quickly with one show?” I am like, “Absolutely.” That same day, I ran my numbers. What are the comps looking like? What are other fixed-up homes is selling for? What might the rehab be?
I have made an offer, the seller accepted it, and as soon as the seller accepted it, I turned around and I called my best buyer. Only one buyer. I had built up a rapport with him, knew exactly what he was looking for in exactly what area and this hit on the mark. He came out to see it two hours later and I was like, “He is going to walk through this one time and he won’t have to come to see it again until we are close.” He walked through maybe 30 to 45 minutes in the house. He came out and he said, “Let’s do it.” It was less than 24 hours done.
What price did you get it at? What price did you sell it to him at?
I’ve got it under contract for $74,000 and he took it off my hands for $82,000. I made $8,000.
That is incredible and I am telling you just like that. That one conversation led to $8,000. Not only that, it is really proof of concept. It is passing over that bridge of faith that you can do it the fact that you can do it. Faith is fantastic but the fact in this business is so much better. Once you have that seed planted, once it takes root in your brain and you start believing that you can do this consistently, that is when it becomes special.
That is when you can really do something incredible with your professional life because now you’ve got the plan, blueprint and something to follow to keep doing it. To start getting opportunities left and right, you start doing one a month, once a week, start building a team, and then you’ve got a company, you are rocking and rolling.
It is incredible. You went out there. You are showing the struggles that you had, the successes that you had and you are celebrating. People can feel your authenticity and feel that you are out there trying to document and let everybody know what’s real because that is the toughest part. You see stuff on YouTube. You are like, “This feels too staged and too class-like. Are they reading from a teleprompter? What’s going on here?” You are going in there, you are just being you, you are being real and showing people that they can do it too. It is a huge inspiration. That is why I wanted you on this show. That is why I reached out to you and I prospected to you.
I appreciate it. I have seen all the videos too, where there is someone who gets at $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 on their first deal. What I have realized is that with on-market, there might be a smaller wholesale fee but I am doing deals so much quicker and it is adding up. It has been three months and it is over $20,000 because you can do more deals more quickly as you’ve got this team of agents working for you to bring you distressed properties.
That is what I like about on market is getting started with that. I do not need a lot of capital. I was able to get my proof of funds letter from my cash buyer and just go from there. Now I can have this money to reinvest in any other type of marketing that I want to do and still have those agents bringing me deals.
How do people find your channel? How do people reach out to you? They want to tell you congratulations. They just want to be in your world. What’s the best way for them to contact you?
I am here on YouTube. It is @LiliThompson or you can check me out on Instagram and that is @LiliInvests. I am just trying to document what I am learning, teach people along the way. There are some great opportunities to hop on Zoom calls with me, learn from my experience so far and connect with other like-minded people, which is really the key.
You are the perfect example of documenting, being loud, going out there and having the courage. Everybody can learn from that, from picking up the phone, not being intimidated by real estate agents, going out there and building those connections. They can be one of the best sources for deals that you have.
Thank you so much for being on here, Lili. Everybody out there reading, if you want to join the most proactive group in real estate investing, it is the TTP Family and TTP Program. Go to WholesalingInc.com/ttp, scroll down, check out what it is about and check out the testimonials and if it feels good in your gut, sign up for a call. I look forward to working with you personally. That is it, Lili. We are out of here. Thank you so much, everybody out there. As always, I love you and I encourage you to talk to people. Until next time, see you.
- Lili Thompson
- BiggerPockets Podcast
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- Think and Grow Rich
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- Proof of Funds – YouTube
- @LiliThompson – YouTube
- @LiliInvests – Instagram
- YouTube – Brent Daniels
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, “don’t-wait-around-for-business” attitude to help you CRUSH your wholesaling goals as quickly and easily as possible!