Wholesaling properties is a tried-and-true method of acquiring real estate with no money down. The most awesome thing in the real estate investment marketplace and in real estate wholesaling is that finding discounted properties is the most proven path to financial freedom.
If you’re looking for alternative investing strategies that are proven to work, then it’s time to consider getting involved in Real Estate Wholesaling.
In this episode, Ken Van Liew joins Brent “Mr. TTP” Daniels as the two discuss how to make a healthy income from wholesaling and flipping houses. The two briefly touch on the history of wholesaling and then delve into the different methods Mr. Liew has used to generate multiple streams of revenue from wholesaling.
Listen, as Ken spills his secret on what it takes to find great deals from discounted properties and how he developed them into financial freedom machines!
How Thinking Bigger Led One Real Estate Investor into Multiple 100 Million+ Deals
This is going to be unlike any other episode that we’ve done for the Rhino Tribe. In this episode, we’re going to have an incredible conversation with a gentleman outside of New York City. He lives in New Jersey. He has been a part of a $1 billion skyscraper development and eleven $100 million developments. He keeps doing huge deals but has also done 116 wholesale deals. How does this all fit together? This is going to be the show where you’ll understand the power of thinking big and building up your network is so powerful. With great excitement, I bring on to the show, Ken Van Liew from New Jersey.
What’s happening, Brent? Thank you so much for having me on. I am so excited to talk to everybody.
I’m excited to have you on. We talk about on this show that the start and the foundation of being a real estate entrepreneur are finding discounted properties and these opportunities where you have quality conversations with the property owner and they’re in distress of some sorts. There’s some stress that they want to get rid of this property. We go and solve the problem with an as-is cash offer. That is the foundation. Building the skill of sourcing discounted real estate is the first step of being a successful real estate entrepreneur.
From there, you have so many different options. You can buy a bunch of rental properties, build a rental portfolio, do fix and flips or development, get into land and coaching, and all of these things. It starts with your ability to find a discounted property. You’ve been doing this for many years and started backward to that. You started doing these big projects and then got into wholesaling. Give us a quick recap of who you are and what your incredible career has consisted of.
First and foremost, I’ve been married for many years to the same woman. I have three wonderful kids. We had twins. My daughter got married. That’s the priority and what made me wake up at 5:00 in the morning every day and work until midnight. After 125,000 hours of working hard, anybody can do it. As I mentioned to you in the beginning, I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. I learned in reverse. I studied Civil Engineering, but I never became a civil engineer because I couldn’t pass the test. I finally passed the PE test and by that time, I was a construction super.
I knew a little bit about construction. As I increased my debt, I was six figures in debt and had the twins and everything. I was like, “I should get into real estate.” I read a book early on when I was eighteen, Robert Allen’s Nothing Down: How to Buy Real Estate With Little or No Money Down. When I finally graduated in Civil Engineering, I won this award on how to design sites. That was the first thing about real estate, but I didn’t know anything about real estate. I started a career, built the six-figure debt, and was building these projects in New York City when I said one day, “I have to get involved in real estate.”
I stumbled upon a development deal because that’s all I know. I know how to build buildings. Using other people’s experience and money, the principles you spoke about, the onset, and finding discounted properties, I found a piece of land in the back of an office complex that was sitting there. It had what we call is the highest and best use. It wasn’t a wooded area. The highest and best use coincidentally had to align with a certificate of need from the city or state. It says you can build an assisted living.
It’s about what benefits the other person when you start that conversation. It’s about building a tremendously deep emotional rapport.
My first project was an assisted-living healthcare project. I built out 113 units and I knew about paying fees. In this formula, I learned how to pay yourself nine different ways in development. On this first development, I said, “If I can get a $10 million deal in the pipeline, you can pay yourself a 5% development fee. That’s $500,000. That’s pretty good.” When I knew how to build, I said, “For general conditions, which pays for your project manager, super, and project accountant, these are people that manage your business for you, whether it’s wholesaling or not, you may manage it yourself.”
The money was paying for them. I didn’t have to pay for them. I got a staff that was paid for and made another 3.5% fee for building it. On that one project, I made over $1 million in fees. My ownership was rather small because that’s when I was getting started. That principle applies when you get started in wholesaling because if you don’t have the money, how do you get started? I started applying that, but we ended up doing the wholesaling. There were 137 deals we did in that one year. It was fun. We’re here to show you how to get started.
There was a piece of land that was sitting there. How did you find that piece of land? Did you know about it? Did somebody tell you about it? Were you looking for it? Did it fall into your lap? I talk about wholesaling land all the time. You didn’t necessarily wholesale, but you stuck in the deal, got ownership, and found the piece. It’s pretty similar. When you were stuck in the actual development of it, you didn’t say, “I’ll go lock-up this piece of land and assign this contract to you.” You stayed in the deal.
We talk about whether wholesaling or whatever it is. I joke about it. People say, “You got to get out there and network.” I use different terminology because I look at things from a different context. You can look at the finger or at that as number one or I’m pointing. There are different contexts. You got to look at it from a different context and the networking in the sense that I use proximity as power.
Fortunately, I live in New York City, New Jersey. You’ll hear the people say, “It doesn’t work in my neighborhood or town.” I disagree because, in every location in the country, there is proximity where there’s power within that location. I use the words, “You got to meet, get into the proximity, and have a gravitational pull.” That’s a little bit more than other people because you want people to gravitate to you.
What I use is I call it merging ecosystem. Networking to me doesn’t work. I learned a lot through my mentors, Tony Robbins and Sean Callagy, and how they look at the micro distinctions that create maximum impact. Merging ecosystems is key because it’s about what benefits the other person. When you start that conversation, it’s about building a tremendously deep emotional rapport.
Brent, when we started talking, it was about like, “How are the kids doing? What are you doing with the wife?” You continue, don’t travel, stay at home, and enjoy that. That’s what’s important. All of that comes into play, but the merging of the ecosystems comes with being genuinely interested in what your kids are doing like, “How’s your wife doing?”
When you have that relationship, they’re not going to go anywhere else to invest. That cash buyer is not going to go anywhere else because they’re going to trust you. You would look out and babysit for their kid if you had a chance because you have a genuine interest in what you’re doing. I call it the 1/3-2/3 rule. When you’re meeting somebody, the objective is to bring them from hello to yes. When you’re talking to them, if you’re going to talk 2/3 at a time, you’re most likely not acknowledging them enough and not listening.
We’ve had some conversations on listening where I laughed. My friend, Sean Callagy, has this Level 5 Listening. I’m like, “I’ve talked to people. They listen negative one.” If you ask them a question, they answer a whole different question. A lot of times, it’s frustrating, but I learned to play with communication because you can ask the questions in different ways where you have to help them discover what you’re asking them. We’re getting to the ability to take your networking skills to another whole level where people love being around you because you make them feel good. You’re acknowledging and validating them, you’re serious in what you do, and you have a gravitational pull. That’s what it’s all about.
The moral of that story is to learn how to listen. You asked me about the family and what was going on. It wasn’t surface level. You cared and wanted to know. You shared with me what was going on. That’s an instant connection, relationship, and merging the two different ecosystems. It truly is. That’s where you start. As long as people understand what you do professionally and what value you can provide to them in that business or professional setting, they’re going to think about you before they think about the other people because you’ve made them feel unbelievable. Did you get that piece of land from networking?
That’s what it was. Gabe Calenda, the architect that introduced me to the dentist, is still in a relationship with me. The dentist was the one that had the land. I ended up selling it off, but I kept in touch with his son over the years. I still know Dr. Loewen. Gabe Calenda is in his final stages. These are the relationships and the team that I built. I used that ecosystem merging with Bill Strohmeyer, the Head of the Building Department, Bill Salvo, my attorney who took care of my stuff, and the tectonic engineer, Rich.
These are guys I kept in touch with. If I go into those areas of Bridgewater, these are my dream team and the relationships that I built. When we were wholesaling, whether it’s a buyers list or a list of investors, you have your dream team and people you reach out to don’t have to try to be Jack of all trades and master of none. You call someone and let them remember everything because our mind is not designed to remember. It’s designed to create. That’s why I’m always big on information retrieval systems and systems around finding, funding, and facilitating real estate investing.
Your book The Modern Wealth Building Formula is incredible. To sum up that, it is how to buy real estate with other people’s money. We’re not talking about a 2-bedroom, 1-bath house. We’re talking about some massive pieces of land or development. These are some big-time things. The principles of what we have that were taught for these 2-bed, 1-bath condos are very similar to what you’re teaching here on bigger projects. You’re doing it with a bigger mindset. Is that right?
Exactly. I’ll keep it as simple as this. Most people getting started have had the experience of seeing somebody renovate their bathroom or kitchen. You’ve probably driven through a neighborhood and saw a house got built and watched it over time as you drove by for six months. The bottom line is building a skyscraper is stacking houses on top of each other. There’s still a sequence, approval process, finding, funding, and facilitating. Whether you’re finding, funding, or facilitating a wholesale deal or a skyscraper, it’s still the same. It’s a lot longer in this instance because a skyscraper with 30 stories will take you 2 years and 18 months. You’ll have the first seven floors open and then turning floors over thereafter. It’s the time difference.
When you’re meeting somebody, the objective is to bring them from hello to yes.
When you break it down like that, it’s the sequence. When you’re renovating a kitchen, you take the walls out and re-rough them, so the electrical outlets are in the right place. You change the plumbing, put the sheetrock back, tape it back while you put the cabinets on, put the countertop and kitchen sink in, bring in the appliances, and don’t forget to put the flooring in. It’s the same thing. You’re doing it over and over again. Fifteen of those are happening at the same time on the floor. There are fifteen bathrooms. Once you go, “I can see that happening a little bit out here expanding where I don’t have to worry about everything because a lot of it takes care of itself.”
It’s all about the systems. Stick with the basics. How do you differentiate yourself and ecosystem merge to find deals? How do you use that same principle to then get people that want to give you money and make it a win-win situation? When I got my first deal, I found it through ecosystem merging and building deep emotional rapport. I then put together a package like you put together in anything and went, “This is going to be for conversation purposes. It’s $100,000. The bank’s going to give me 80% of it. I want to buy in cash. I’m going to make this much return.” Divide the return by the investment. That’s going to be your rate of return.
Does it meet the criteria? Move forward. It’s simple math. I wasn’t smart in math, but most people can grab a calculator, divide two numbers, and figure out what the bank’s going to give you. It’s pretty simple. There’s a deposit and a loan, which we call the stack of money. You understand that the same principles apply to finding, funding, and building deep emotional rapport. Instead of asking them to find deals for you, you’re asking them for money. You want to get good at asking people for money because you’re in the money game. The facilitation process for anything when you went to school and took your first subject, you didn’t know it like that.
When TTP Brent did his first deal, he didn’t know everything. It was like an 800-pound gorilla. He slowly got his arms around it. It’s like anything else. You learn as you go. I’m like everybody. I was scared and afraid. In one of the projects, we used to have Sammy “The Bull” Gravano come to visit. He was a big gangster. There were a lot of underlying things going on in New York. You learn street smart and that applies in the business. It’s important here because a lot of times, your people say, “I don’t have the experience or the background.” That’s a story I’m going to leave you. You have to stop telling yourself that.
The second thing is to think about this deep emotional rapport thing and about making it bigger than yourself and realize that there’s a lot of money out there and there are people who want to help you. That’s why Brent’s here to help you get started. You have people who want to help you and the mentality that there’s money there, and you can learn how to feel confident about yourself and ask for it because no matter what your experience is, you can do this. Real estate investing is not a hard, complicated thing compared to what some of you probably have done out there raising families or the high-tech stuff you’re doing. This is easy compared to that. It’s not rocket science.
When I’m at work, that’s the easiest part of my day. Trust me. What is important here is I like the three F’s that you’re talking about, find, fund, and facilitate. As you’re going through this, in my mind, I’m thinking, “Wholesaling is finding, and then somebody else is funding this.” It’s great. We find these opportunities, whether they are coming from somebody else in our network like a referral, or we’re going direct to the property owner or getting them from an auction, the MLS, or whatever else. There’s a lot of different techniques there, but we’re finding these opportunities, putting them in front, and presenting like you are.
You were like, “I’ve got this piece of land. We’re going to find somebody that’ll give me the money. I’ve got to take this to private investors to give me the deposit and take it to the bank to get the stack of money.” It’s the same thing we do with our cash buyers, “Here’s the deal, what’s going on with this property, and the details. This is why it’s exciting. Nobody knows about this. It’s a huge opportunity. Here’s the potential of this thing.” The only thing that we don’t do as a wholesaler is facilitate the building, the construction, the rehab, and all of these things. What is natural in our business is do wholesaling, and then all of a sudden, we go, “I want to get the whole pie in this. I’m going to start doing the flips.”
You start facilitating that and building up what you say is your crew. I love every single one of those steps. Ken, you’re talking about merging the ecosystem. Somebody is three parts to that process. You are merging those ecosystems the same way we should be doing with our teams or the people giving us referrals in our network with the cash buyer database, and then potentially with contractors and all the people who will do the work and manage it if we decide to keep those properties. That’s beautiful. Fine, fund, facilitate, and merge those ecosystems. This is good and top level.
To elaborate, I want to expand everybody’s mind a little bit related to facilitation. In a world that I came from in New York City, facilitation starts and you’re facilitating the process of wholesaling. It may not be the type of facilitation where you have a development that you’ll facilitate that process or even if you’re facilitating a large portfolio. What I want to bring to the reader’s attention is to build a skyscraper in New York City. You have to build it on paper first.
We used to have these pre-con periods where we would get all the long lead items and figure out, “How long it would take to get the curtain wall fabricated? What had to be ordered first? What was the sequence of operation? What were the logistics of the site?” There are all of these little things facilitating that process. In wholesaling, think about systemizing what you’re doing. You want to reduce as much friction no matter what you do. Friction could be by you trying to do everything yourself.
I always believe that I’m pretty good technology-wise. One of the things is information retrieval. I use Evernote. I read a paper called The Secret Weapon one time and had to set up Evernote. I have 4,000 notes at my fingertips about anything that I need at all times. I set up little shortcuts on my phone and all these little systems. Through the years of having breakdowns, you realize there’s always a way to improve your systems. Someone gave me an app. I was in North Carolina locking up that acreage and the guy’s like, “You need to get this app.” It was unbelievable. It shares tax lot numbers and all the information about the property.
The readers know PropStream does that. You could get all that information there and read between the lines with PropStream. It’s fantastic. How do you go from finding the deals and building that you have ownership in the deals after the project is done and facilitated? Is it part of your fee upfront? How do you bake that into this deal?
I’ll give you an example of one deal that we did. I joke because my high school sweetheart went to another high school our senior year in Chester, New Jersey. There was this restaurant at the Larison’s Turkey Farm where it was homestyle cooking, and I couldn’t even afford it back then. I was scraping up money to get gas at a tank to go visit her, but I was able to buy the place in 2020. It was 28 acres. We’re going to restore the restaurant. I, fortunately, was able to make a deal with CVS Pharmacy on a twenty-year lease. We made another deal with the city to do affordable housing. They allowed us to do some market-rate housing so we could make some money.
We have a 20,000-square foot office building. I structured that and used to structure my wholesale deals to pay investors on my wholesale deals 20% annually and pay them every six months. People would hand me checks. One of our sources was auctions and stuff. In this case, I heard that this property was in foreclosure. It was a $6 million foreclosure and It’s the same thing that we were talking about. It was a property undervalued.
You want to get good at asking people for money because you’re kind of in the money game.
I figured, “Let me get cute,” and offered $2 million. They came back at $3 million, and I bought it for $2.8 million. I had this deal in the pipeline because I had a relationship with CVS. If I can sign a deal with CVS for $585,000 a year, that makes that pad when I’m done building worth $11 million. I go, “I need $2.8 million to buy it.” I raised $3.7 million, bought the property, my partner and me, and brought the money in. We do a 50/50 syndicate with CVS and carve out.
I reverse engineer in my syndication and carve out what rate of return I want to give to that investor. I want to give them 20% with a certain IRR to meet criteria that I know most people won’t say no to. I reverse engineer on how much I got to give away, so I get the big piece. I learned the opposite of what I didn’t get a lot before. When people syndicate, do things, register, and all that stuff, they get 35%. I like to give 35% and keep the 65%.
We were able to sell off 33%, raise $3.7 million, and use all the money to engineer the entire site on this deal. I’m going to get the CVS approved, break ground, and start paying myself to build it. I sold off the affordable housing for $550,000. For the restaurant, I’ll get $1 million. For the commercial office, I can either bill myself or sell it for $1.5 million. For the affordable housing, I’ll bill myself. I’m good to go.
That’s a lot of work to put all that together and organize all that. Is it going to probably take 24 months?
We’ll be building for a while. For the CVS, I’ll build and have that up open in six months and the rest will thereafter. We’re going to break ground no matter what day I get the approval. I don’t care if it’s snowing on the ground. I’ve learned to build skyscrapers in the middle of the winter. We’ll use temporary heat and we’re going to go full blast.
For people starting, this is their first real estate show. They’re excited, want to find these discounted properties, and have done enough research to understand wholesaling is where you start. What advice do you give them? Whether it be real estate or mindset or whatever it is, Ken points them in the right direction.
The whole the find, fund, facilitate, and Modern Wealth Building Formula, being an all-state athlete, has a little bit of a sports twist to it. Even if you’re not a sports person, you can relate to it. You look at where you’re at in the lineup and no matter where you’re at in the lineup, whether you’re the lead-off, the cleanup hitter, or down in the pitcher’s position, it doesn’t matter because you’re establishing where you’re at and worrying about sensory acuity.
When I was seventeen, I couldn’t figure out how Robert Allen was buying a property with no money down. I couldn’t even afford a car. I learned about sensory acuity. What I want to leave you with is that I had this Duster that didn’t even start when I bought it. When I got it started, I pulled up to a light, I got my license, and this Trans-Am pulled up alongside me. I was like, “That’s the nicest car I’ve ever seen in my life.” I didn’t realize it was sensory acuity because the next day, I saw two. By the end of the week, I saw ten.
There are opportunities in front of you that you don’t see. Clear your slate, forget about what you already know, have an open mind, and go out there and prepare yourself for the opportunity. It’s the old cliché. Luck is preparation meeting opportunity. I always suggest checking out my book in hanging out with guys like Brent because I started with nothing. I was not the sharpest tool in the shed. Thank God I was able to write about a formula that works for wholesaling, fixing and flipping, commercial real estate, land development, or multifamily. You can go out and have some fun with The Modern Wealth Building Formula. You can check it out at KenVanLiew.com. Discover how.
Is that the best way for people to reach out? Do you have any social media where people can reach out, direct message, or email you? What’s the best way if people want to say, “Ken, you’re the man?”
I have a tremendous YouTube Channel. I give daily content every day. We’re knocking it out of the park on that. I have an awesome Instagram and TikTok. I’m almost up to 20,000 people. We’re getting a following. My LinkedIn has 15,000 people. Come hang out with us. We got all kinds of great things going on. I was a real estate advisory firm for years in New York City. I helped other developers build $100 million projects also.
Is that just in New York or is that nationwide where you can help?
I can help nationwide. I’ve consulted advisory all over the world. They taught me that if you can go build skyscrapers in New York City, that’s like playing in the all-star game. Everything sports for me. Once you play in the all-star game, you can play anywhere. For whoever is getting started, whether it’s single, double, triple, football, volleyball, or whatever the sports are, the Modern Wealth Building Formula gives you a view and an approach. When you change your view and approach, you change your life. It’s that simple.
Thank you, Ken, for joining the show. If you are interested in joining the most proactive group in real estate investing, it is the TTP family. It is the TTP Coaching Program. Go to WholesalingInc.com/TTP. Check out all the testimonials and what the program’s all about. You’re going to have to scroll for a while. We keep adding success stories to that every single day, every week. If it feels good in your gut, sign up for a call. I look forward to working with you personally. That’s it. Thank you again, Ken. You are the man. I love this conversation, thinking big, and many opportunities to work with your friends and do amazing things that are long-lasting in this business. Thank you. To everybody out there, I encourage you to talk to people as always. I’ll see you next time.
- Ken Van Liew
- The Modern Wealth Building Formula
- CVS Pharmacy
- YouTube Channel – Ken Van Liew
- LinkedIn – Ken Van Liew
- Instagram – Ken Van Liew
- TikTok – Ken Van Liew
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!