Adam Rothenfluh joins Rafael on the show today to share how he went from an employee with zero background in real estate investing to freedom in just four months! Because he wanted out of the rat race, he dived into the wholesaling blueprint, really put in the work, and found ways to stay ahead of the game.
In this episode, Adam will talk about his first deal, giving a preview of Rafael’s system for building a business. He will also share how he overcame challenges, stressing the importance of building a buyer’s list. Tune in to see how far tenacity and commitment can take you in a short amount of time.
The Exact Steps One Wholesaling Newbie Took that Netted Him a $45,000 Deal
I’m excited because I’m bringing to you a case study. We have Adam here. He started in January 2021. That’s when he dove deep into the process of the wholesaling business blueprint. He started having massive results. It’s been insane. He somehow someway found a way to stay ahead of the game, almost doing 1 or 2 steps before he even gets there. I want to break down his story. It’s an amazing showcase of commitment, tenacity, and diving deep into what this business can do for you in a short amount of time. Welcome, I’m glad to have you.
It’s an honor to be here. This show started it all for me. It has been instrumental in my short journey so far and my growth and on days when I was feeling down, I would read and Brent Daniels and beyond here and I’d be ready to jump into the octagon after he was done. I love this show and I have a lot of respect for the whole Wholesaling Inc. community. Thanks for having me on.
Brent is magic. He’s one of the most energetic dudes I know. He’s a great friend of mine. The whole process of you tapping into it, you’re coming in from the cold. You didn’t have any background in real estate. I remember having jumping on that first phone call and throwing some ideas back and forth. You were a little bit hesitant about getting into it but you’ve managed. You’ve been crushing it since you started taking massive imperfect action. I remember it was one of the highlights of the conversation that we had. Massive imperfect action is okay, follow the process, and you’ve stuck with it. Give us a little bit of insight on you, your background, how you came about, how you found a real estate, and how you ended up right here?
I’ll give you the CliffNotes. I grew up playing sports and was blessed enough to get a scholarship to play football in college. I began working the coachability muscle early in my life and I feel like that’s been the trait that I’m thankful for developing because it pays off in everything. If you can be coachable and when I got with you on this and whatever it was, I did it. I did exactly what you told me to do. I didn’t try to figure it all out on my own. Sports had a huge impact for me in my life and coming out of college, I was very fortunate. I got a great job in the pharmaceutical industry with a big company, ended up transitioning to medical device and surgical device sales these last several years, which has been great.
However, I realized that I was still in the rat race and I wouldn’t be able to exit doing what I was doing, wanting to provide a little bit more freedom for my family. I’ve got two young kids and looking into the future. I’ve been honing the skills that are paying off in this business for a while and when I met up with you, it was like when the student is ready and the teacher appears and it was beautiful. I love the way you laid out the system for me, spoon-fed it just how I need it. I’m not the smartest, most creative guy in the world but I can be coachable.
When you are committed to your business venture, you can achieve your goals.
I got ahold of the show and I started reading it and you interviewing one of your students. He had a similar background to me. His name was Dan. Once I read that episode, I was like, “This is it.” My wife and I had been talking, we knew we needed to start investing in real estate. During these last several years, I’d watch my brother-in-law exit the rat race going from an employee to freedom through real estate investing. I knew I needed to get into real estate.
I spoke to him and said, “How can I learn from you? What can we do to work together?” He said, “You can bring me deals.” I had no idea what that meant. That was a little bit before Christmas. A few weeks later, my wife signed up for this Facebook real estate investing course for women. It was by a lady named Teresa Todd. She did this week-long Facebook seminar and my wife did it so that I would look over her shoulder and watch it. I did and I got interested, found the show, and here we are.
You said a couple of things in there that are very important. You said a lot of important things but two of them that pop up is you find out that there comes a point in time where you figure out, “I’m sitting in almost like a glass ceiling.” It’s not a dead end but you feel like you have more potential, like you can do more that you want to get further in life and you’re not completely satisfied. It becomes an itch. It’s hard to get rid of it once you see that through that window. I completely get it. It’s something similar that happened to me, too. That’s why it’s happened to all different things in entrepreneurship.
I ended up in real estate but I love the journey. You’re one of the people that I’ve had come across a program that dives deep. Shoot here and it’s done. That’s easy with you. It’s one of the biggest reasons for the result. You’re going through a paved road. It’s already something that’s been tried and tested. It’s satisfying to see where you’ve gotten so far in such a short amount of time. Let’s break it down. Let’s get into the meat and potatoes. You started, you’re going in and out, and then you closed a deal. Let’s start from the beginning. How did you find that lead? How did you start building up that pipeline? Walk us through the process that you went through.
One of the things that I appreciated and loved right away about your course was, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I thought I was going to find something that I could make some money at but I realized right away that you were teaching us how to build a business. One day, on our terms, we could walk away from or we could work as much as we wanted to. The way that all you coaches now do you have all this time to coach and do other things because you’ve built your business. That’s why I saw that. I was like, “This is a system that Rafael’s rolling out.” I loved it. It clicked with my thinking. I bought in completely to it and we started rolling. Leading up to this deal, I’m about three and a half months in to get my first deal which I’m hearing is for the people that get committed. That’s about what it is, 3 to 6 months.
You locked it. You closed on it from zero to close.
Exactly four months.
How did you find the lead? Where did the lead come from?
The lead came from a code violation list and it was a code violation list that I emailed the county for it. It wasn’t just a list that I downloaded. I found a couple of emails on the county, like assessors’ websites and things like that. I emailed the lady. She emailed me back and she said, “I don’t know how to do this. If I did, it’s been years. Let me find out how to do it. I’ll email you back.”
I remember that conversation on one of the coaching calls, the live coaching calls we were talking about that.
I thought like, “If I get this list, at least I know nobody else has it.” She emailed me the list. That’s where the lead came from. By this time, you had told me, “It’s time for you to start getting a cold caller.” I was a couple of months in and I have a full-time job. I only have a few hours a day to do the cold calling. I was doing the cold calling on my own, which was great. I’m glad I did and learned it. I understand what my cold callers go through. That was great but this lead came, my cold caller put it in my Podio. It was a Saturday morning. I remember usually I don’t make any calls or do much on Saturdays.
I have a couple of little kids. I’m usually playing with them but for some reason, I was in organizing Podio and I thought, “Here’s a lead that I haven’t been able to get ahold of. Let me try to call them on a Saturday morning.” I did, the lady answered the phone. The property that I was calling about and I was interested in, she didn’t want to sell. It was her primary residence. That magic question that you taught us to ask is, “Do you have any other properties you might be interested in selling?” As a matter of fact, she did, and she had one that had a fire in it.
There were some problems going on with it. She wanted to get rid of it. We met about 45 minutes later at the property. I ran the script. Brent has a podcast he did that tells you exactly what to do on a seller appointment. You sign first and you hand it to them. You show the confidence, all these things. The negotiation went like clockwork and we’ve got it under contract. It was great. That was how it happened in acquisition phase.
You’re in the Bay Area.
I’m in Central California but I also do business in the Bay Area. Central Valley, Northern California.
This property is Central Valley. That’s a very competitive market. It’s one of the active markets in the country. Whenever you have big metropolitan areas like that all compiled together, you’re going to have competition there. It’s the process. It’s amazing how when you go through the conversations or the discovery sessions, you figure out what the problem is. You can walk away with a big win like this and also creating a win for the seller, which is ultimately what we’re looking for. What’s a big problem that you solve for this seller?
What happened was they had the fire in place. They had tenants in there at some point after the fire happened. It was an older couple. They were in their ‘60s. They had planned to do the renovations themselves. What happened was they got into it. They spent about $15,000 cleaning it up and got some quotes from contractors and realized it was way more than they were willing to deal with at that time. They needed to get rid of it. Honestly, I wasn’t super confident on my comps. There weren’t a lot of great comps in the area. It was on a very busy street with a lot of businesses around it, but it looked like a house and it acted like a house.
I went for it. What I realized after that was, I talked about being coachable, but there was one part of your course that I decided to skip over and I wasn’t so coachable on, that was building the buyers list early on. I had a grand total of zero buyers on my buyers’ list by the time I got my first property. Obviously, that presented a little bit of a problem for me because I was scrambling and trying. You have a lot of great systems to get buyers but I was behind the eight ball. I learned the lesson on that one.
Break down the numbers. What did the numbers look like? You’re in this populated area, it’s competitive and everything. What was the ARV of the property?
The ARV that I found was about $330,000, but again, it was hard because it was a lot of businesses around it. There was a car wash next door, a professional office on the other side. There weren’t a lot of great comps. Most of the comps in the area of the houses are much smaller than this one. I come to find out later on that it was a zoned commercial main street, which was why there weren’t a lot of comps because it was much bigger than the houses. It had a lot of room. There wasn’t a master bedroom. It looked like it had been set up as offices before of some sort. It was a little bit strange and not very straightforward.
It pays off in everything if you can be coachable for personal development.
Massive imperfect action is okay. That’s what we always talk about. Whenever it comes to comps, sometimes we get caught up in the cycle of trying to dial it in and perfect comps and almost wear that appraiser hat. It’s not what we’re doing. As sourcing the deal, we are looking for a point of reference. A ballpark where we can goal off and it’s going to be a sliding scale depending on the condition, depending on the location of the property and all that but we want to have a point of reference where we can start to structure the numbers and present an offer. You figured out it was somewhere around the $330,000 range, and you met with a seller, what did you locked it up for?
I locked it up for $180,000. They had some quotes from contractors and obviously, as we know, contractors’ price is much higher than what a flipper can do it for. They were a little scared away by some of those huge quotes that they had gotten six figure quotes to do everything. I walked them through the process, like you taught me of what I thought I could get for the property. Once it was all fixed up, I walked them backwards through my expenses, what I thought it would take to get the property up and running. I showed them exactly how I arrived at my cash offer, which made a lot of sense to them. They did ask for more. We negotiated back and forth just a few times and went ahead and signed the paperwork.
You locked it up for $180K. For the big question, you have this deal, it’s a ton of equity on it. How much did you dispo it for? What was your spread? How much did you make on that deal?
The dispo ended up being $225,000, so $45,000 spread.
I know you went through a couple of things on the dispo side when you were selling the contract to your end buyer. You had a couple of challenges on there. You didn’t have a buyers list yet. You were working on that process. How did you handle that?
Everything that you coach on getting the buyers list but obviously, I was behind. I was trying to do everything at once. I was still knee-deep in building all my acquisitions and everything like that. I realized, “It’s going to take a lot of time to do this dispo part.” I got to show the property and meet people since I don’t have someone I can call and they’ll buy it sight unseen. I went through a couple of weeks out. I had some people come to the house, but it wasn’t getting the traction that I wanted. I’m grateful and lucky. I ended up getting connected with another wholesaler in the valley, a guy named Dean Rogers, who’s extremely experienced.
We agreed to JV on the deal and within five minutes of hanging up the phone with him, he had three people on the line that were ready to pay more than I was even looking to get for it. It was extremely valuable. Ever since then, we’re working on some other deals together and he’s been a great mentor to me and been kicking down the knowledge and helping me deal with tenant issues and some of my other properties. It goes to show how important the JV can be.
JV is a great tool, especially when you’re starting off, you’re tapping into different buckets of experience, different networks. If you partner up with somebody and you can bring value to somebody who has a good solid business with buyers list and systematic approach to a wholesaling and what they’re doing, a lot of times, these guys are even the end buyers, the flippers. They’ll cherry-pick the properties and they’ll keep work with you. They’ll keep you in whatever they want for their own portfolio. They’ll do the wholesale spread and become an asset.
That’s the beautiful thing about building a power team as you’re going through it. Now you have the second half of your business. If you wanted to focus on the acquisitions for a while, the second part of your business is handled, at least in that area where Dean is at. At the end of the day, you’re creating something where everybody wins. The seller got rid of their problem. You solve that issue. You came in, you close your deal, you made a ton of cash on that deal, and your JV partner, who’s also given you a resource, he’s solving a problem for you and also made a ton of cash. Everybody eats at the end of the day.
We ended up even splitting it. I made more than I would have been happy making on my own. I would have been happy with $15,000 or $20,000 and ended up getting, $22,500 and being able to have a new mentor, helping me out and showing me the ropes, cultivating. That’s been awesome.
Don’t try to figure it all out on your own. Seek help and be coached so you can grow and learn.
Especially in the area that you’re working, that’s invaluable. Reach out and then you level up, you partner up, $45,000 spread between two, it’s not a bad deal. You want to have a grape or do you want to have a big piece of the watermelon? What do you want?
It was the great lesson learned about the buyers’ list, too. That was the one part that I skipped over and there was a reason you had it there right where you did. Kudos to you and your system. You know what you’re doing.
Thank you for the feedback. I appreciate that a lot. What does a business look like for you right now, as far as the pipeline, your daily activities and stuff like that? Give us a quick little breakdown on that before we sign off.
Shout out to another wholesaler in our community, Stratton Brown, who you hooked me up with. He got me connected with my cold caller through Call Magicians. He’s affiliated with. Taking those steps as necessary as things began to get a little bit too much from my plate, being able to hand them off to the VA’s. I didn’t even know what a VA was before Christmas. I never even heard the term wholesaling real estate. All this stuff was so brand new to me. It’s amazing having a coach that can tell you, “Now you’re ready for X, Y, and Z. Now it’s time for you to do this.” I don’t even have to think about it or ask questions.
I’ve got a VA who’s in my Podio now handling follow-ups for me and doing a lot of the busy work that became a little bit too overwhelming, pulling the lists and all these things. I’m taking the steps down the line and I’ve got a nice little pipeline built up and realizing that a lot of people, when you hear him on the podcast talking about their first deal, they usually have 2 or 3 more in the pipe. It’s because it’s the things that you did to get that first one. It’s those habits. You repeat them over and over again, and you start. It’s no wonder that the pipeline is a little bit built up. I got some more things going and I’m continuing to try to stay consistent, time block, and do the things that got me the first one.
Once you have a linear process, you can come back and plug into it. It’s repetitive. I don’t want to say predictable but it’s manageable. You build this machine. Now you have a car that you can drive around and get results through. Kudos for the commitment. I’ve seen you go in, get stressed out, get pissed off, get anxious, go through the highs and lows that we talked about initially, and then come out on the other end. You’re killing it now. Out of curiosity, give us a number. What does your pipeline look like right now, potential revenue?
I’ve got four now under contract since that one closed. I feel like I’m pretty close on some others. I didn’t have huge expectations for myself. I gave myself a rookie season. I thought, “If I could close 3 or 4 deals in a year, I’d be happy.” Now, my expectations, I’m raising the bar for myself and hopefully, we can do some big things.
You had a rookie quarter. That’s what happened. It wasn’t a year or a season. It was a little bit of a time there. I’m looking forward to seeing your progress. I totally enjoyed working with you and helping you build that process that you’re going through. Hats off, kudos, and biggest respect. I’m so happy for what’s going on. Thank you so much for sharing your story. The biggest thing is that people can take away the reality. I keep saying it. Once that first check kicks in, once it lands, once you see it in your bank account or you go and pick it up, you touch and you see the numbers on there, everything becomes real. Blood, sweat, and tears that you put become real. One cool thing that I want to highlight.
You told me, “I closed a deal yesterday,” but you forgot to tell me when the deal closed. That tells me the level of commitment that you have. You were focused on the rest of the stuff and the rest of the deals. The money became a byproduct of your operation, right of your business. That’s what it comes down to, focusing, keeping up that consistency, and then creating that flow in your business so that you can have deals come in through the pipeline, through a well-set machine that you’re in the process of building. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your time. It’s been a blast having you and sharing your story.
Thank you, coach. I couldn’t have done it without you. Hats off to everything you’re doing with your coaching program and your system. That made all the difference in the world. There’s no way I could have done this on my own, trying to do this through YouTube.
Thank you. I’ll talk to you soon.
There you guys have it. For the Rhino Tribe, if you’re interested in a little more about what we do at Wholesaling Inc., just go to the Wholesaling Inc. website. That’s WholesalingInc.com. Set up a call with one of our guys and then have a conversation, see if it matches what you’re looking for. Until then, stay focused. You got this.
About Rafael Cortez
Rafael is an Organizational Psychologist and real estate professional holding ownership in multiple companies in various verticals. He has profitably invested in wholesale real estate over the last decade, runs an active business doing an average of 15 deals per month and is now passionate about using his investment knowledge, entrepreneurial experience and training as an organizational psychologist to help others learn about real estate investing through the Wholesaling Business Blueprint Coaching program with Wholesaling Inc.