Because plenty of real estate markets are getting saturated, carving out your niche is the way to go.
Today’s guest is Phillip Vincent, the owner of Mom’s House who has been in the business for 20 years. Mom’s House is a homebuyer network for seniors in transition. Because Mom’s House buys properties as-is, it’s a quick and stress-free process that provides families with funds to get mom or dad the care they require. This is also an industry that has zero marketing costs.
In this interview, Phillip shares how he got into the senior living industry and talks about the satisfaction that he gets from connecting with sellers. In addition to that, he explains the reason why this market is not suitable for everyone.
A Unique Real Estate Investing Niche that Produces More Than Just Profits
We are sitting down with Phillip Vincent. He’s the Founder of Mom’s House, which is an investment company that’s based out of St. Louis, Missouri. Phillip, you have a very interesting niche specifically in lead generation and the quality of the deals that come your way. I want to tap into all that stuff. You also have a background of over twenty years in real estate from development, flipping and wholesaling. You’ve seen the highs and the lows. Welcome to the show. Thanks for taking the time being here.
Thank you so much. I’m glad to be here.
Kick us off. Tell us a little bit about your background on how you got started.
I always like to say I did this business backward. When I was twenty years old, I built my first house. I started off as a developer. I realized very quickly that I wasn’t a good adult babysitter, which is what I like to call general contracting. It was a rough business on their grandmas and moms because they always seem like they were hurt. Usually on Mondays I noticed is when they got hurt a lot and when I couldn’t come to work.
It’s always something. To control my own destiny, I’ve always been a curious person trying to find what the root of the best deal is. Where are the best deals coming from? I’m excited to share with you what I figured out because it’s been good to me for the past decade. What’s exciting is what I do is not trendy or sexy but we have a twenty-year run in front of us of what I do.
The first thing that caught my eye out of your business was the title, Mom’s House. What does that mean? Break that down for us.
We don’t think about as investors, transactional money hungry. I like money too. That’s not what I’m saying but we don’t think a lot about who we’re buying these houses from and what these families are going through. Look at the flipping shows, they bought it for $50,000, put $50,000 in it and sold it for $150,000. Why didn’t that family sell that house for $50,000? Who was that person? What was happening?
Why it’s called Mom’s House is simple. If you and I were brothers and we find out that mom fell down again and she’s going to have hip surgery, she’s going to live but we find out from the doctor that in three weeks, a mom gets out of rehab that she cannot live on her own anymore. She has to move into senior living. Does she live by you? Does she live by me? Does she live by where she lives? Do we pick the place at $6,000 or $8,000 a month? Mom’s pension is only $2,000 a month. How are we going to pay for this? Is it coming out from your pocket or my pocket?
These are the discussions we are having. You and I are going to go out and find people in senior living to get good advice from. You have to make a good decision very quickly as to where’s mom going to get the best end-of-life care. At that moment, we’re going to realize we’re going to need to sell the house. What are we going to do with the house and the stuff because I don’t need any more stuff in my house and you don’t need any more stuff at your house? Mom’s moving from a 2,000 square foot home down to a 12×14 room. She has 99% too much stuff. Mom’s House was born out of it.
Even if dad is still alive, it’s funny. They still lovingly refer to it as, “What are we going to do with Mom’s House in the industry?” I fixed that problem. I solved a senior living issue. I lovingly call her daughter Judy. She’s the adult child that’s helping her mom move into senior living. She’s being pulled in four different directions, at least. We, the investor, if they have the right heart condition, I want to be clear about that. This is not for everyone because most investors are too transactional. They’re only about the dollar and not about the love. I’m in the hugs and kisses business. I get to do real estate on the side.
It’s a by-product of providing a solution. A lot of times, people don’t know the problem that they have or they’re about to have. Unfortunately, it comes down to having sensitive conversations. If that’s the case, it may sound crude to some or, “You have no feelings,” but at the end of the day, it’s a very real conversation that most households are going to have to have.
This is pretty much a category on its own. I was talking to somebody else about creating categories. What I’m looking at is a category within the industry, which is super clever. Even if you’re in an industry where you feel saturated, there are still spots where you can find niches. This is a very particular niche that I haven’t seen being tapped into. However, it’s a real problem. How’d you get to that point of finding that out?
Build relationships, network, and work with the right people.
Laziness. I was tasked back in 2011 to find my own leads. We spent a lot of money on marketing every month. We all know how to spend money. We do the pay-per-click, yellow pages and pizza top box marketing. If there’s a marketing strategy out there, I’ve done it. How do we find leads and network? I started telling stereotypical stories of what my clients look like. What does the best client look like?
Dad died years ago. Mom’s been on a fixed income. She’s doing the best she can. She fell down again and she’s going to have to have that surgery. The doctor says she can’t move back home. The children are scrambling. They go get information from people they can trust. At that moment, when those stakeholders in senior living refer to Phillip as the most trusted guy in town, you could be halfway and confident and buy a lot of houses because that transfer of trust is so powerful in that situation.
There’s also got to be a foundation. It doesn’t happen overnight, especially when you’re building this type of business, which can be somewhat sensitive in its very nature. Usually, there’s this stigma or connotation towards real estate investors and wholesalers. “They’re out to get the property and low ball. They’re out to steal stuff from people.” There’s a negative connotation to it. In reality, when you come to a deal and you have the best interest in mind for those people and try to provide a solution, which is what we do, you end up doing something good for them. However, the public does not absorb it that way.
I can’t stress enough that most investors when they hear this show, they’re going to think that I walk in the front door of a community. I put my hand out and I say, “I’m Phillip. I’m an investor and I buy houses from old people moving into nursing homes.” In that sentence alone, 3 or 4 things would blacklist me if you guys go out and try to do it that way.
We’re the investor. All they hear is shark. The word realtor is even worse because their crocodile brain shuts down. That’s what the industry has been doing for the past years. It’s not the solution. It’s a, “Clean this place out. Get this house fixed up. The market’s good but it’s hard.” Imagine from across the country trying to rehab a house. How hard that would be?
Especially if you don’t have the assets on the floor. How do you break through that? I’m trying to tap into the approach. How do you get through a stigma so big and you start dominating pretty much a niche within an industry that’s saturated?
When I show up, I’m not an investor or a realtor. I might have an investor background and I’ve been a realtor forever but that’s not what I’m leading with or what’s on my business card. I’m a senior transition specialist. It means something very different because I’m coming in and solving these problems. When done correctly, I’m a tool for the senior living industry. There were about fifteen different job titles that have been very successful for me.
Back in 2011, I’d take lunch with anybody that would take a lunch with me but in senior living, you don’t know this yet but there are guys that sell incontinence products, wheelchair ramps, ambulatory devices and all these things that are this niche of senior living and those guys weren’t the ones that were best for me but the fifteen I teach about, they consistently give me deals every single day.
I’m going to go look at a house. The guy called me and he’s in that three-week window of when he can’t move back home. He’s saying to himself, “How am I going to pay for this? It was a referral from a placement agent senior living. I need to call you there.” When they call me, they’re like, “I need you to buy this house. The keys are under the mat. Tell me what you’ll pay.” Are you kidding me? I’m in the home-buying business. I’m not in the marketing business anymore. My whole business comes to me because I’ve built relationships with the right people who used me as a tool.
There’s a void and you found a gap in services. This is almost like B2B. You’re not directly going to the seller. You’re going through the company that’s attached or linked to them. It’s something that they need to be done so they’re going to reach out to you because they know that you can get it done. That’s where that trust comes in, especially with a track record of over twenty years.
Usually, when something has a stigma or something is as sensitive as dealing with somebody who’s going to go to hospitals, adult care facility or anything like that, that’s sensitive and hard conversations to have. Was this always an easy conversation for you? Did you naturally jump into it? Was it something that you have to build your way up to it?
I put my foot in my mouth a lot. I couldn’t stop saying the word investor or realtor. It’s like, “That’s what I am.” I’m not having a hard conversation with them. By the time they get to me, hard conversations have already happened. In fact, I get to be a savior at that time. Let’s go through it. If mom falls down, that stinks. That’s not good news. Mom’s having surgery, that stinks. I’m not the doctor who said, “Mom can’t move back home.”
I’m not the community that we pick out $8,000 a month and we’re like, “Why did we pick the one with the prettiest chandelier?” It’s because we think that’s where mom’s going to get the best care. I didn’t give him that bad news. Sometimes there’s a realtor involved and the realtor seals the deal for me. They walk in and say, “Clean this place out and do this list of demands before I list this precious home.” The market’s good but they’re not going to list a hoarder house. Do you want to call it a hoarder that you like? Maybe an aggressive collector.
“Mom was a bit of an aggressive collector.” It’s a nice way to say it. What I love about talking to investors nationwide is that they all tell me, “I’ve been buying houses like this every once in a while.” They were some of my favorite people because what I do is so fulfilling. I can see the weight come off a daughter, Judy. I’m working with the stakeholders in senior living. If I can buy a list of daughter Judy’s, I am the first guy to buy it. If I can buy a list of people moving into senior living, I’d be the first guy to buy it. I build relationships in senior living with the right people who are my filter to say, “You need to talk to Phillip.” When they refer to me, it’s the best leads.
When you get knocked down eight times, get up nine times.
There are six reasons why these are the best leads. Number one, the families need to sell the house versus want to sell it. I don’t have to convince them of motivation. The second reason is that they almost always have 100% equity. These are people that bought the house in 1973 for $48,000 and then it’s worth $480,000. They have equity. The third reason is it’s a house I can add value to. If the house was two years old, they probably don’t need me. I’m buying people’s forever homes.
Even if they’re clean, they’re usually grandma clean and we all know what that means. Wallpaper everywhere, paneling in the wrong places and kitchen from the wrong decade. If you’ve ever seen my Mom’s House logo, it’s cross-stitched. This is from a house they might’ve taken care of. The roof and hot water heater’s new but everything else is dated and they’re full of stuff. Let’s not forget that one of the biggest hurdles is the stuff. The fourth reason is there’s less competition in what I do. It’s usually me versus myself like, “I’m going to go buy this house with the key under the mat.”
I’m not competing with anyone. Sometimes, I’m competing with a realtor but I’ve got tons of ways to outperform a realtor and it’s never a cattle call. It’s never me versus ten other investors like direct mail, pay-per-click or all these other things we’re producing. Think about direct mail. Do you think you’re the only guy in your market mailing to over 65, have lived there twenty years with high equity? Why do you mail to those three attributes? It’s because you’re trying to find what I already have, which is them holding their hand and say, “This is the time.” The other ways we’re spraying prey is this is the flashpoint of when it’s happening.
The fifth reason is the most important. When there’s a transfer of trust from someone, in my example, you and me being brothers, when we’re going out trying to find good advice in that short period of time, if we’re getting moms to end of life care advice and they also have a person that can get rid of this other thing that I don’t know how I’m going to figure out, they want to talk to me.
You’ve been through the wringer. You’ve done it once and twice. You’ve been doing it for years so they know that you can perform. If it’s a seller or an agency that you’re dealing with, that’s what they want to come to terms with like, “These guys can get it done.”
It’s the only case I’ve seen where it’s not about the price. It’s always about, “Can you close on the date I want and give it to these other issues?” You had those five reasons together and you’re like, “I’m in. I want to work these leads.” The sixth reason is the cherry on top. These leads are free. I help the stakeholders in senior living to make more money with the clients they already have.
It’s by having those conversations and building those relationships. It comes down to basics. You found a gap in what needed to be done and you’re feeling that in. How does that become sustainable?
I built a nationwide network of people in senior living. They sent me leads all over the nation. I have a chicken and egg problem. I have leads coming in nationwide and I am not nationwide. I’m just in St. Louis. I need a bigger boat and more people. The problem is I can’t just have any old investor. If I needed an investor in every city, I could have done that easily in one week years ago when we started this. Who wouldn’t work those six attributes?
The problem is it’s a different heart and mindset. Can you put daughter Judy first and help her with all of her problems and then be the real estate guy? The money is there. These are the best deals I’ve ever heard. You heard those six attributes but can you be not so transactional? Can you have a little love in your heart? It’s not for everyone and that’s okay. It’s my goal to only work with the right people and so I do this three-day training. It’s three days of drinking out of a fire hose because there’s so much. This could be a three-week or three-month training.
I’ve been doing this for years in senior living. I want to empower people to build relationships. Sometimes, people tell me, “I can’t build relationships.” I always say, “Do you ever buy houses from a wholesaler?” They’re like, “I do all the time.” I said, “How did you meet that wholesaler?” They’re like, “I networked.” People are networking. We’re just not networking with the right people yet. You want to know even better too.
What’s the problem with both a realtor and a wholesaler? They’re in the real estate business. After a while, they’re going to get rid of us, replace us, shop us around or all this. All people in senior living are always going to be in senior living. I’m their tool and they use me all the time. I don’t know what the lifetime value of these relationships is yet because I’m still doing deals with people I’ve met in 2011. Imagine sending a postcard in 2021 that you get a deal in 2031. It sounds ludicrous to say that but that’s what’s happening.
That’s a pretty good return investment, especially with the rates of responses in direct mail. It comes down to having that capacity to network. You threw out a very important word, which is empower. Empowering not only comes into the space of the client but also the different agencies. Sometimes, the assumption can be like, “These are big companies. They have it all figured out. They got to have a system.” The reality is a lot of them don’t. A lot of them have got to the size and they have multiple homes, a ton of clients and everything. They still have gaps in service that we can come in and fulfill. That’s an incredible model.
Tell me a little bit about what it takes to build up a company like the one you have. You started years ago. I’m gearing a little bit into the mindset side of things and the entrepreneurial strategy. When you came in, you started developing stuff then you started backward per se. How did you get to the point where you’re like, “This is the sweet spot. This is how I find it?” How’d you get rid of the excess weight in the business and get it to the point where you’re performing?
Consistency is a big one. I was doing it wrong a lot. I put my foot in my mouth a lot at the beginning. Why I created the training is that I can speed somebody’s learning curve up to the inside of a month, if they come correct. You’ve been hinting around to it a lot of times. I don’t care if you bought 100 houses a year or not. That’s not what I want. Can you present yourself as trustworthy? Will you do what you say? In investors nationwide, all I need them to do is do what they say and that’s so hard for this industry. I put people in two different categories in my training.
The genesis of this was a super short story. I was at a wedding when I was ten years old and the sermon was, “Denita, you look like a beautiful vase on your wedding day.” Chad is my cousin. “Chad, you look like a Crockpot.” Everyone busted out laughing because Chad was so abrasive. I used the Crockpot and the vase as an analogy. If you’re reading, ask yourself, “Am I more the guy that runs the business that only cares about money, that’s only transactional?” “I can still work with you but I’m going to have to help you hire a vase.”
What’s the vase look like? They’re a person that’s maybe a care provider. Let’s say this out loud. Females have the advantage in what I do. I love my husband and wife teams because they usually fall into the husband’s a Crockpot and the wife is the vase. I’m being stereotypical there but that’s what I see. Women have more empathy naturally and that plays very well in what I do, the trustworthy side of it, everything about the house side of it. I used to try to teach people how to be more vase-like and I’ve gotten away from that. “Which one are you?”
For all your business in a box readers and all these people that want a career change, I don’t care which one you are. Some people tell me they’re both. That’s great and that’s super rare to be that but I will meet you at your level. If you’re a vase, it’s easy for me to fill in the Crockpot side. If you’re a Crockpot, I can help you hire the vase side. I naturally am a Crockpot and I had to become a vase but I had to do it the hard way, hit my head up against the wall.
If you’re following everyone else, it’s going to be hard to be successful.
It can almost become a learned behavior. You’re right. The acuity for social awareness is higher in women. It’s not to be stereotypical but a lot of guys tend to be a little bit rough around the edges and more abrupt.
It’s helped my business a lot because I used to try to convince people to change. The leverage doesn’t lose its spots very often. If you’re a Crockpot reading going, “I need a vase,” there are so many in your city that makes $30,000 a year as a care manager, makes nothing that knows everyone in town that is the right person could springboard this thing and I can help you get that person to build this the right way.
What does that look like? If somebody wants to reach out to you and then maybe work with Mom’s House, take a look at the leads and understand the process, what are we talking about?
You can find me on Facebook under Mom’s House. We have a big Facebook page. My email is Phillip@MomsHouse.com or go to MomsHouse.com. If you want to know more about the actual training, go to MomsHouse.com/3day.
You’ve been through the wringer and the ups and downs of real estate investments and entrepreneurship altogether because it’s a journey. It’s a rollercoaster from the point where you kicked it off and decide to build a house at twenty years old to the point where you’re at. You find this big boy that’s in the space that nobody else has seen. You tap into it and then crush it there. Give me the top three biggest lessons that you learned along the way.
Get knocked down eight times, get up nine. Try to fish where there are no other people in the pond. It’s a fool’s errand to try to be like everyone else. It’s going to be hard to be successful if you’re a lemming. If you’re following everyone else, it’s going to be hard to be successful. How do you stand out in a crowded market? What business are you building? It’s the best advice I can give you. I know people doing 200 houses a year. I wouldn’t trade places with them because they have 100 employees and they work 100 hours a week. No way. I talked to 10 families a month and I buy 3 or 4 houses locally. That’s ten highly motivated sellers.
I don’t work as many hours. I work a lot of hours on Mom’s House but not my personal business because it’s built to a point that it comes to me. The question I have for anyone is a mindset piece. What business are you building? What I mean by that is can you build a life you want and then build a business around that? It is usually the opposite of the way most people think about life.
Life is by design. It comes down to it. What are we looking for? We often jump into it thinking financial independence and freedom. Financial freedom can come at a cost of time freedom if we don’t play the cards right. There’s got to be somewhat of a balance and sweet spot in there. It’s a very doable thing to find that sweet spot depending on the type of life that we all want to have as individuals. What type of business are you building? That’s the big question. Phillip, it’s been a blast. Thank you so much.
That was an amazing spin on how to get new leads, create new relationships and build it up with practically zero marketing spent. To find out more about the wholesaling business blueprint, go to the Wholesaling Inc website at WholesalingInc.com/WBB and click the button. Have a conversation with one of our guys and if it makes sense, I look forward to working with you. 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.