Wholesaling in major cities can be strenuous. Because properties are crazy expensive and there’s a lot of competition, Trevor Cotta knew that it would be more challenging to wholesale real estate in the Bay Area where he lives. So he started collaborating with Virtual Investing Mastery coach Lauren Hardy, and as a result, he has had numerous successes wholesaling in “hybrid” areas.
In this episode, Trevor talks about his initial concerns as a newcomer to wholesaling. He also shares his 3 keys to success which are finding the right JV partner, tracking metrics, and commitment.
If you’re new to wholesaling and interested in scaling your investment portfolio, tune in to find out more.
3 Things Every Wholesaler Needs To Achieve Success In The Business With Trevor Cotta
I’ve got an amazing episode with Trevor Cotta. He is amazing. He hasn’t even been in the business that long and he’s had incredible success. He’s coming on this show to teach you three key learning lessons that he learned in his first deal and getting started. You are going to be able to take these lessons and it’s going to help you when you are getting started. Trevor, welcome to the show.
Thanks, Lauren. It’s great to be here.
We are excited to have you. Were you reading the blog before you’ve ever got started?
Everyone starts with YouTube University trying things out a bit on their own. One thing I have found is flooding your mental space with as much content about what you are trying to learn or do. I followed a few different podcasts and by far, when you put out five podcasts a week, it’s hard not to continue to dive in further. It was a huge step forward for me when I picked up the show.
That’s probably why you had such incredible success in a short amount of time. Not all new wholesalers do as well as you have done in two months. You consistently listening and putting it in your brain has been the reason why you have done so well. How does it feel to be on a show that you used to follow all the time?
I have never been on a show so it’s quite a new experience for me. It’s a bit surreal, almost like imposter syndrome because I have heard of all these high-level people, their stories and everything they are doing. I’m still feeling like I’m not there yet. Coming into this is a bit of a dream come true because it’s me so much. I’m excited to give something back.
I know what you mean with imposter syndrome. That’s what they call that. Honestly, you have so much value to give because when you are new, you are still very in it or when in your first 1 to 2 years in the business, you are still very much in it. You remember what it was like to be new. There are probably 10,000 people that are going to read this newer episode. They need that affirmation. They need to feel like, “I feel that. That guy feels me.” There is something to that. We love having you. I want to get into your experience. Trevor, let’s get a little background. Tell me about you. Where do you live? What’s your family life like? Tell us why you’ve got into real estate.
I haven’t been in wholesaling very long and to be honest, it was not something I set out to do. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m in California. It’s crazy expensive here. I knew there was no way I was going to be able to wholesale in my backyard or invest in real estate even. I’ve got the bug a few years ago. Everybody read Rich Dad Poor Dad. You start to dive into those books. I learned early on that this was a fantastic investment vehicle for future growth and wealth, setting myself up for financial freedom. I’ve got into rental properties first.
I worked at a tech company. We do well. I was able to buy a couple of properties in 2020 with some money that I had saved from my W-2. I’m pretty aggressive in terms of my goal setting. I had set some targets for myself 2, 3 or 4 years out that I knew that there is no way my W-2 is going to fund that portfolio the way that I would like to grow it. For me, it’s not, “I have to wait until they give me money.” It’s, “How do I go make more money? How do I find another way to scale this portfolio without having to wait for somebody else to pay me for my day-to-day job?”
That’s where I stumbled into wholesaling. I bought a property in January or February 2020 and I was out of money. I didn’t have the money to go buy another property like I wanted to. I said, “What’s the best way to do that?” Wholesaling is so obvious. You find cheap deals, fund them yourselves, and keep them as rentals if you get to that point. For me, it made a lot of sense for a side hustle to scale some cash and start to invest further into real estate.
I love wholesaling as the ultimate side hustle. There is nothing better than having a full-time job that you do well. You’ve got your benefits and salary but then you start wholesaling as a side hustle. There is not enough content out there that promotes that lifestyle model. It’s always like, “Wholesale full-time. That’s all you do.” Why can’t you have both? You can. What’s wrong with making more money? There is nothing wrong with that.
Everyone gets bit by the bug and you hear all these people who move into the W-2, try and go full-time. I went back and did the math for myself. I was like, “If I was going to replace my W-2 salary with the stock options, benefits, 401(k), and everything else that comes with it, how many deals would I need to be closing?” I would need a team. It’s not to be like, “I make a ton of money.”
It’s, “I live in the Bay Area and we get paid a bit more here.” To scale this up to replace my W-2 isn’t necessarily something that I’m ready to take on at this point. For me, I’m able to commit 8 to 10 hours a week to this and still pull in a solid pipeline, deals and be consistent. It’s not going to be ten deals a month thing. My goal isn’t that. It fits my lifestyle the way it is.
If you did the deals you have done so far, even 1 deal every 2 months is awesome for 8 to 10 hours extra a week. What if I told you that you can make an extra $5,000 a month with eight hours a week? That’s a lot for some people and honestly, you can make more. That’s life-changing money to make $5,000 or $10,000 extra a month. That’s cool. You’ve got started in March of 2021. You’ve got your education. Tell me about that stuff.
Flood your mental space with as much content about what you’re trying to learn or do.
Taking one step back before signing up with Wholesaling Inc, I was wrestling with this idea of, “Can I even wholesale it? Am I good at cold calling? Can I do that?” A lot of us have some fear in our heads about, “I have never done this before. People are going to yell at me. I’m not sure I could do it.” I went to Tony Robbins coaching event. Part of that was challenging limiting beliefs. During that session that we had during that event, I was like, “The worst is going to happen if someone hangs up the phone on me.” Honestly, that’s not that difficult. Lauren, you talk about advising your younger self all the time.
I would care a lot less what other people think because you are out here trying to make a name and grow yourself. You don’t need to worry about what everyone thinks. From there, I said, “I’m all in.” The other thing that they taught me was when you are trying to master a skill, go get a coach. Don’t try and figure it out yourself to read 1,000 books that are going to take you 5 times as long. They cost you a bit of money but you will make that back tenfold in half or a quarter of the time. I immediately said, “I have already been listening to Wholesaling Inc.”
I set up a consultation. They immediately said, “Lauren is your girl. You’ve got to go talk to her.” The coaching was great. Walking through all the modules is very short and easy to consume. I would do probably 2 or 3 modules a night. I was trying to get as much done as I could. Come April 1st, 2021, I was ready to go and take imperfect action. I was making mistakes left, right and center. I knew as long as I was looking forward, that’s all that matters.
You are in San Francisco. You have decided to go with my program because I coach the virtual coaching program here at Wholesaling Inc. I live in Southern California. He’s in Northern. It’s the hardest real estate market ever. It is so hard to do deals where we live. Wholesaling is very tough in this market. To give you context, it would be the same as Seattle, Miami, New York or New Jersey. Most of my students come from all the Coastal markets. I’m so glad you didn’t waste any time trying to make San Francisco work. You straight for like, “I’m going to go virtual territory. That’s less expensive.”
A lot of that also came from the good coaching I’ve got up front. Somebody at Wholesaling Inc asked you about your circumstances, where you are or what you are looking to do. The person I spoke with gave me a lot of good advice. He’s like, “You can make it work. Just know it’s going to take longer and more difficult.” Lauren, you said when we jumped on our first call together that there are the elephant and squirrel hunters. Both can make it work. It’s just how thick of skin you have to make it work. I was trying to find somewhere in that happy medium. Thankfully, I found your program. It has been pretty successful since.
You found a market that’s a little bit more hybrid. I don’t know what animal I would call this. It’s not quite an elephant. It’s not as big as an elephant, not as small as a squirrel. What is another animal that you find? If anybody from PETA is reading this, it’s just an analogy. You are in the middle. It’s not too expensive. It’s not San Francisco.
We talked about that on the coaching calls a lot too, even in some of those hotter markets where it’s maybe not super expensive but it’s such a hot market. You have hundreds or thousands of people already wholesaling there. Trying to find these Metros or areas that are maybe 1 or 2 hours outside of that main hub, there are a lot of gold to be had there. People aren’t focusing that far out. When you can think a little bit further outside the box, you can expand your territory and it becomes a bit easier. People become a bit nicer. There are a lot of value to be had there.
Walk us through your first deal. You closed your first deal in June 2021. You’ve got your pipeline lined up. What did that look like?
This is a funny one. It was interesting. I didn’t know if we had anything. Going back to the March 2021 timeframe, I was going through the training. I happened to be in the area where I was wholesaling. I had traveled out there for other business. I decided to take a bit of a drive around to see the neighborhoods and understand a little bit more. I haven’t been back much since at all but I happened to be in the area. I did a bit of driving for dollars and wrote down a few addresses. The house that I called on and got contacted to was somebody on that list but they told me no.
I had hit them up again via another campaign. It was a High Equity Absentee Owner Campaign. My parameters on PropStream are fifteen years of ownership. One hundred percent equity absentee owners seem to work well in my market. The same name popped up on the list. I gave him another call and an offer. They said, “It’s not what we want but we will see.” In talking to the guy, I found out he’s an older gentleman who lives way away from where the property is. He’s retired. He wanted to buy a new trailer. He needed some cash to go buy the new trailer.
Every time I talked to him, I was asking about, “How’s the trailer hunting going? Are you able to find what you need?” We continued to keep in touch. After a while, he started to go a little dark on me. I was able to get ahold of his wife whose name was also on the skip trace list that I had. She said, “He’s not great at technology. We meant to get back to you.” I jumped back on the phone. We were able to get pretty close on numbers. I was calling my JV the whole time saying, “I think we are close.” Finally, he said, “If you can make $180,000 work, let’s go ahead and do it.” I knew that our MAO or Maximum Allowable Offer was $185,000. I said, “We will at least get $5,000 out of this.”
It was a great experience to get a contract coming in that you see it signed. It was crazy. The real adventure happened on the dispo side. One of my key lessons is to find a rock star JV. I have a rock star JV where I wholesale. He put it out on his buyer’s list. First came back at $190,000 and were cheering. It came back at $195,000. One of his wholesalers, a person that he works with, had another buyer lined up all the way out at $215,000. This deal that I thought I was going to make $5,000 on has a $35,000 thread on it and sure enough, everything came through. After paying everybody out for JV splits and finder’s fees, my net was about $21,500.
With your first deal, you net $21,000 but the total wholesale fee was $35,000. You partnered with someone as a joint venture. That’s what we mean by JV, a Joint Venture partner. He found somebody to find the buyer. The total fee was $35,000 but Trevor took home $21,000 first deal in two months of doing the business. Not bad.
I want to give credit where credit is due. I was calling my JV partner left and right. “How do I do this? Is this the right number?” He’s a super great mentor. I can’t say enough about him. This deal wouldn’t have gotten done without him. I was happy about all the splits that we had because it was a team effort.
When you’re trying to master a skill, go get a coach. Don’t try and figure it out yourself.
Don’t be afraid to share some of your profit with a joint venture partner. They say 50% of a no-deal is better than 100% of no deal. It’s a funny note about your JV partner. He did an episode with me. His name’s Matthew Arnez. He’s such a good guy. When he came into my program, he asked me this question. It was our welcome call. It’s me and my new student. I get an idea of what your situation is. If I can provide any value that pushes the needle in that call, that’s my goal.
Matt asked me, “I did get offered this job opportunity with this well-known flipper in the area. Taking this job opportunity, I’m going to make a salary. I’m not going to make as much money. I will gain a lot of experience or I’m going to take your program. I’m not going to make any money but maybe I will close some wholesale deals, and then I will end up making you more money.” He asked me, “What should I do? Should I take this full-time job and try to do this on the side or should I go full-time?” I was like, “This is a big life decision. Your life is in my hands.”
What if I tell him to do the wrong thing? I don’t know him very well. I don’t know if he’s going to take what I say seriously. When I’ve got to know him, I heard his hustle. I can always tell when I talk to people who are going to do it, who’s going to close deals and be successful and who’s going to maybe struggle a bit more. He had it. He was a go-getter and super go-giver, too.
He loved talking, getting and giving information. He figured it out. I told him not to take the job. I lost a little bit of sleep that night. I’m not going to lie. I was like, “Did I tell someone to do the wrong thing?” He joked. When we were talking after he closed several deals and was killing it, he’s like, “Don’t you remember? I almost took that job that you told me not to?”
You can think about the ripple effects of him helping me. I might not have found him as a JV and might have struggled for a lot longer. He helps everybody. You think about all the good you have done by giving that relatively risky advice. I appreciated that because when you were first joining, you were scared to ask questions.
After the first few calls, I was like, “I’m not going to get anything out of this unless I start to ask.” I have even started to help other people too with what I know. I have found that there’s always somebody ahead of you and behind you. It’s important to look up and strive for where they are but also help everyone up behind you as well.
The more you share and talk, the more friends you make in this business and you help each other out, the better you are going to do. 10 heads are better than 1. Be a go-giver. Listen to the abundance mindset that you have. Try to ignore the scarcity. We all have the scarcity mindset from time to time. It’s normal to feel that way. That’s human evolution. We wouldn’t survive if we didn’t have that tendency. In business, you’ve got to try to shut that down. Matthew Arnez is an example of that. You are as well. I try to be the best I can be. That’s awesome. You had some learning lessons and three key themes.
I don’t necessarily know. When I was going to be on a show, many people have provided so much to me that I wanted them to be a tad bit organized around what I could at least impart. There are three main things and I have touched on some of them already. Number one, if you are going virtual or even if you are not virtual, find a rock star joint venture partner. They are not going to be somebody who’s going to help dispo a deal. They are going to be a mentor or somebody you rely on.
If I’m trying to analyze a deal and I can’t find a good comp, they are always there to help out. “This is what you could offer but we could move it for.” Number one, find that person and spend the time to do it. Not the first person you call. Make sure you call as many as you can to find the best one. Number two is to track your metrics. For me, it’s important to stay organized and understand when you are going through your day-to-day working life in the wholesale business, what’s working and what’s not working. You can’t take or make adjustments if you don’t know what you are doing.
What I do is track minutes. I prospect each day. The number of texts that I sent because that’s my primary marketing channel, leads that I create, sellers I speak to, offers I give, appointments I set, contracts I signed and deals closed. For three minutes of filtering your Podio, figure out what you added each day and what you updated. Once you get to the three-month mark and look backward, I was able to set my goals for the next quarter based on all the numbers I had.
For my first deal, it was about 8,000 texts to get that deal. If I want to do three deals, then I need to do 24,000 texts divided by the number of weeks in a quarter. I need to do this many a week. It helped me plan things out strategically, track where I was going one step at a time and see progress. The last one was committing to it. One thing that a lot of people struggle with is the first person yells at you and you hang up the phone, “I can’t do this anymore.” I told myself, no matter how painful or uncomfortable it is, I’m going to do this for at least three months.
At that point, I will take a step back and say, “Is this working? Did I give it my all?” I tracked all my metrics so I could see that I met my commitments in terms of time and texts that I was sending and everything. That was also close a deal at that time. The other thing I would say when you make that commitment, the one tool that I use to help me stay committed was things like Wholesaling Inc. You should flood your media with anything related to what you want to do. Start following all the big wholesalers on Instagram. When you get bored and open your Instagram, half the time you are seeing wholesalers.
It’s going to focus you back into wholesaling. Download four books on Audible if you are an auditory learner about wholesaling or real estate. Follow all the podcasts wherever you consume media. If you are a book person or whatever, go spend the money or click the follow button so that no matter where you default to when you are bored or not thinking, it’s still someplace that’s in line with what your goal is.
I heard that Instagram thing from another influencer once on a podcast. You can make them either your close friends or something where their posts come up every time they post. See it more on your feed. There is a button for that. Dig into your Instagram and figure that out but you can make it where they are either a close friend so that way you always see their posts. That’s good advice. You went to the Tony Robbins seminar. Was that the Unleash the Power Within one?
It would be better in person but I went to the virtual one. It was good. I have another coaching, a life and performance coach through the Tony Robbins Coaching Institute. As part of that, you get a ticket to UPW or Unleash the Power Within. It’s not for everybody. Sometimes you feel a little weird but there are a lot of good exercises and things that you do at those events. It was worth it. The one distinction of you can do wholesaling, for me, hands down, worth all the money I paid for it. It was great.
Look up and strive for where the experts are and help everyone up behind you.
I have thought of doing it because I have heard great things. A lot of high-level people have gone through that seminar. I believe in flooding your mind with thoughts of, “This is going to happen. I’m going to do it.” Visualizing that you are doing it in the future. I have been reading a lot of Joe Dispenza books. I don’t know if you have ever dipped into his stuff. He has some good books. You can even look up his podcast at first to get familiar with his work. He uses science to back these theories.
A lot of these theories people say are woo-woo. The Tony Robbins stuff, the secret or that idea of thinking in your thoughts changing your energy and reality by your thoughts. Joe Dispenza proves it using science. He brings his books. He has a lot of scientific studies of how they have proved some of these facts. Look up Joe Dispenza books, anyone who’s reading. He has been on some good podcasts.
Some people aren’t into the meditation stuff. People that I wouldn’t normally think in my life would ever be into this. Believe it because he uses science and he has a lot of supporting evidence in his books that support these claims. That has gotten a whole different following that normally wouldn’t follow this type of thing.
You should get him on the show. It would be fun.
If he would talk to me. That guy is busy. His seminars are sold out way ahead of time. He’s very popular. Thank you so much for coming prepared and bringing the three key themes for the readers and I appreciate it. Trevor, we talked a lot about giving back. If anybody is wanting to reach out, what are your social handles, if you want to drop your IG, Facebook or anything?
The best way to probably get ahold of me is Instagram. It’s @Trevor_Cotta. Send me a DM. I will respond to anybody that reaches out. I’m happy to help anybody. Everyone has been so helpful to me in this industry. It’s the least I could do.
Trevor gave you full permission to slide into his DMs if you have any questions. If you are reading and interested in a coaching program specifically made for virtual investors, check out my coaching program that Trevor is in. It’s www.VirtualInvestingMastery.com. If you applied there, our team will reach back out and tell you everything you need to know about the coaching program. Trevor, thanks so much for coming. You gave a lot in this episode. I’m rooting for you. I’m so excited to see what you do in the future.
Thanks so much. I’m happy to be here.
Thanks so much for reading. We will see you next time.
- Trevor Cotta – LinkedIn
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- Matthew Arnez – Previous episode
- Unleash the Power Within
- Joe Dispenza
- @Trevor_Cotta – Instagram
About Lauren Hardy
Lauren 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.