Posted on: December 03, 2021
WI 833 | Real Estate Wholesaler

 

“In the field of opportunity, it’s plowing time again!”

As you go along the way and pursue your wholesaling endeavors, you will learn new stuff. Real estate is an excellent vehicle for growing your wealth and it allows you to pass it on to the next generation.

All ears here! Because in this episode, Ph.D. holder and business genius Brian Penn will sort out why picking a real estate niche and putting yourself out there are essential in growing your legacy. He also gives his two cents on how you can thrive in land wholesaling and what you can do to stay committed to your business.

Legacy Wealth Alert – From Being Educated With A Phd To Becoming A Real Estate Wholesaler With Brian Penn

Episode Transcription

In this episode, I have an amazing guest with me. His name is Brian Penn. He is a local guy in Colorado Springs. We got to meet a couple of years ago at my real estate meetup. I’m so excited to see what he has been doing with lands. I’m excited to have him on here. Brian, how are you?

I’m doing great, Brent. It’s good to be here. I look forward to talking to you about this stuff and talking to people about how it changed my life in a lot of ways, the things I’ve done in real estate over the years. This is another step in the whole process. I feel like this is a super opportunity to change things.

I know you are a very highly educated man. You’ve done a lot of real estate transactions. Your son is a Marine pilot. God bless America. You guys are doing all these things. You live in a beautiful country. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. I know you have a PhD and you’ve done tons of real estate. I want to know why did you get into land. Of all the most simple niches in real estate, you are doing all these things. It’s almost like you are simplifying a little bit.

I was finishing up the last semester of my PhD. I have a very arcane background. My PhD is not one of those very popular PhDs. It’s called Igneous Petrology. There are not a lot of jobs there. I first started with the idea of buying when I got a flyer back in ’95 that said, “You can make money in probate.” I took a course in probate and bought my first couple of properties out of probate. I still wasn’t doing full time. I moved down to Texas where probate doesn’t work. They have made it so people can’t get involved in probate. I branched over and there was an infomercial. I said, “I’ll buy real estate this way.”

I started buying single-family houses in the early or mid-’90s. I acquired different houses over time using different techniques. I got back to Colorado and started buying properties. I was acquiring properties in Colorado Springs. It is all based on the notion that you have to prepare for the future because you never know when things are going to go against you. They usually do at some point. You think you get everything planned out and mapped out, but you’ve got to have a fallback position. I was working for the Department of Defense, doing a bunch of cool stuff. We then hit the Obama time and the previous administration. We fell on hard times from our DOD point of view.

WI 833 | Real Estate Wholesaler

Real Estate Wholesaler: Real estate is probably the best venue for acquiring wealth and having a good, steady income.

 

I had to start branching out and depending more on my real estate. It made a huge difference for me in terms of supporting me for a number of years. Things have changed in Colorado Springs where now everybody wants to come to Colorado Springs. A lot of times, most of the properties I acquired I took over the notes. That’s almost a virtual impossibility at this point. I’ve always worked with tenants, and sometimes you get tired of tenants. You get tired of them calling you.

We were talking at one time and you gave an overview of doing the land stuff. I said, “That’s great. I’d like to do that.” We got together and you showed me the ropes, so I started doing that. I try to learn stuff and go, “This is different and new but I can learn this and make it happen.” That’s what I did. I recognized what you had to offer in terms of the skillset. I’d like to have that so I can keep moving in real estate. It’s an excellent vehicle for acquiring and growing your wealth. It also gives you the opportunity to pass the wealth onto the next generation. That’s another thing I was thinking about too.

I’d like my kids to have the fruits of my labor and be able to have a little headstart on the world as they go forward. There are so many ways, but real estate is probably the best venue for acquiring wealth and having a good and steady income. I like the passive income side of the land stuff. In acquiring land, you don’t have to worry about bringing in a plumber or doing a window that’s gone wrong. That all very much appealed to me in the process.

What I loved about you, Brian, was you took action immediately after we met on a couple of Zoom calls and I showed you the ropes. How long have you been doing land now? When did you start learning about land?

It was in the June, July time frame. I went to one of our meetings and you talked about it. It’s been wacky because of all this COVID stuff. We had meetings in June and you talked about it and I said, “That’s what I wanted to do.”

You have to prepare for the future because you just never know when things are going to go against you.

How long did it take you to get your first deal in land? Was it difficult? Did it take thousands of mailers and hundreds of phone calls and door knocking?

It didn’t take very long at all. I selected the initial process of going to the county-owned properties. There was some in Park County that I like. I sent out some cards there and some in Pueblo County. I sent out the letters and within a week of sending them out, I had people calling me. You send them out and then you talk to people. I’ve got a couple that I’ve acquired. I’ve done the best thing. I’ve run out of money so I can’t buy any more. I have a couple of letters that are sitting on the side of my desk here, people that want to sell me their land. I’m just waiting for some of these other properties to turn over and then I’ll buy those properties.

How many of those letters do you have sitting there with people’s signatures saying they are ready to part with their land?

Two right now.

How many notes do you have? I’m pretty sure you bought and sold yours in payment.

WI 833 | Real Estate Wholesaler

Real Estate Wholesaler: Always do your due diligence.

 

I only had one that I sold. I don’t have any payments up right now. I’ve got a few people that are interested. I had one guy that paid me cash.

You took the easy way out.

I was ready to do a payment plan. It’s a small lot in Colorado City. It was barely a quarter of an acre. There are no utilities. There’s nothing there. He goes, “I want the property.” I said, “Okay.” He chased me down. I was driving down to Houston for Thanksgiving. He called me as I’m driving and he goes, “I want this property.” I said, “I’ll get back to you in a couple of days. I’m driving down to Houston for the holidays.” He called me 2 or 3 times during that time, “Are we going to do this?” I got back and he was calling me as I’m driving up to my house. I said, “I will get everything to you in a few minutes.” The next day we met down in Colorado Springs, he gave me the money and I put it in my account.

I love the motivated buyers once they are like, “Are you going to do this or not?” I can’t blame you for taking the easy way out because I did that on my first 7 or 8 land deals. People would offer me money and I would take it. I was still trying to figure out if this was real and if could believe this. That one note that you have, you said you have one on payments.

I don’t have any payments. My goal is to get payments. That’s where I want to go. He goes, “I’ll pay cash.” It was one of the cheaper lots. It was a couple of thousand dollars.

Don’t hesitate. Just take positive action and stay with it.

That’s when you know you sold it for too cheap. You want them to make payments. They have to come up with it later on. What did the profit look like on that one?

I made $1,000 out of it in profit, which was fine with me. It’s my first deal. As long as I turned a profit, I’m happy with that. It’s all a learning thing. I look at stuff and say, “If I got a cashflow, I’m happy.” If I buy a house and I’m getting $100 a month cashflow. I’m pretty happy with that. As long as I’m cashflowing, I’m seeing a positive thing. I’m still learning. This is a step in the direction towards where I’m going. I have these other properties. One is buildable and the other one is more acreage. They are going to come around too. It’s off-season right now. We’re getting between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don’t expect a lot of activity.

We did slow down a little bit. I don’t know if it was the elections or Thanksgiving or what was going on. It was a nice break too. I know my land sales specialists were ready to get out of town again and take some more time off. She’s partially retired. That’s good, $1,000 within a few months. You are getting paid to learn how many. How did you find that deal? What type of marketing strategies did you use to get that piece of property?

I’m just sending the letters out to folks, finding the people, going through the county tax liens, and setting a threshold on how much I’m willing to pay for it and how much I can make on it. I did some very high-level comparative markets or CMAs on the properties. Some were going for half of what I ended up selling for. I was very happy with what I got.

I’m sure you did. I’ve seen the market reports that you do for the meetup group. It’s about time to see another one of those whenever we’re allowed to meet again here. I’m sure you dove into the numbers on your comps. I take the simplistic approach but it takes me more than five minutes to learn a new county as far as what the land is selling for. That’s too much time. I keep it as simple as possible. I imagine you probably have some spreadsheets and some high-level numbers.

WI 833 | Real Estate Wholesaler

Real Estate Wholesaler: Act and commit yourself to doing it.

 

That is what I do. I just ballpark it to a great extent. That can get you in trouble but a lot of times, it’s a good first pass. When I get people who are actively interested, then I’m going to dive in a little deeper and see if it’s true. Always do your due diligence on this stuff. Get them hooked and then you can negotiate like, “This tax thing is way higher than I thought. Let’s see what we can do with that.”

In the Colorado city area, my insurance guy has a lot down there that he bought many years ago for $12,000. I said, “It’s not worth anything like that now.” He got a letter offering him $300, which I thought was too high. He goes, “What would you offer me?” I said, “I’m sure as heck not going to offer you $300.” He’s a good insurance guy. I’m like, “I think you should hold on to that for a while. You put that much money into it that many years ago.” Somehow people thought that area around Colorado City was going to grow by leaps and bounds and it hasn’t.

They have done very well in keeping it below the knee. They’re keeping it small for a reason and I’m fine with that. It’s beautiful out there. How many of those letters did you have to send to get that deal?

I’ve sent 500 to 1,000 letters. Their response was good. We talked about that initially like the ones in Park County, I sent out 100 and I got 1 or 2 responses right away. That was a weird one because that was a weird property. The woman who owned the property died in testate. Her sister got the letter and called me up and said, “I want to get this. I’d to sell a property to you but she died in testate.” She didn’t leave the property to anybody. It would cost somewhere around $2,500 to $3,000 to have a lawyer come in, look at the will, and have it transferred into her sister’s name. I wasn’t going to pay her anywhere near that for the property. It’s lingering out there because that property is stuck in limbo.

Unfortunately, it’s sad because you can’t help those people unless the land is worth thousands of dollars and then it’s worth it. I was talking to one of my guys that coach as well and he had the same situation. I was like, “They would have to give you the land.” Lo and behold, she’s like, “Take the land. I don’t want it anymore.” For some reason, a lot of times land sellers will think, “I’m so far behind on taxes. This is going to ruin my credit,” which is not true. They feel that burden on their shoulders and they want to get rid of it. Five hundred letters to have a couple of accepted offers is a darn good response rate. What I like to track is the conversion rate.

“In the field of opportunity, it’s plowin’ time again” – Neil Young, Field of Opportunity

That is truly crucial. In this business, we are people that help people out of jams. We help solve their problems. People feel like, “I got this burden.” We think of creative ways to help them relieve them of that suffering. That has been what I’ve done all along. People feel like they are in a bind. A lot of times they are, and they don’t know how to deal with it. You and I both know how to talk to them and see the situation for the reality it is and help them out.

We are not in the land buying and selling business. We’re in the problem-solving business. We’re looking at the problem. The problem is the land most of the time for them. The solution for our buyer is the land. All we’re doing is one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and making a nice profit on it each month. Last question, what advice would you give to the person reading this and thinking about getting started in land?

Do it immediately. Don’t hesitate. If you doddle around, you are frittering away stuff. Take positive actions but stay with it. Follow through with things and send out the letters. You can get a little sad or disheartened but just stay with it and stay focused. Be committed to it and you’ll find that it will come around to you. I consider it something newer and cool where there’s not as much competition as when you are doing single-family houses, which I focused on for a long time. You can have those and there may be a deal that comes through, but they are few and far between now, whereas this looks like it’s an open field. It’s an open opportunity. “In the field of opportunity, it’s plowing time again,” that’s a terrible Neil Young song.

Act and then commit yourself to do it. There are techniques and Brent gives you everything you need to do this and to make it happen. That’s the most important thing. That’s what I’m grateful to Brent for. I knew him before from all the different meetings we’ve had. I knew that I would be working with him and things would be well. He’s a genuine person that I enjoy working with and we follow along with stuff. It’s been great.

I usually try and repeat the number one thing that you say there, but you said so much in that one breath. I would say the only thing that I can regurgitate is in the field of opportunities is it’s time to plow again. Many people are afraid to get out there and plow. You can have all the education. I don’t like education. I like instruction, you take action, the results come, then that’s where the education is. I learned that from my mentor. Thank you so much for joining me, Brian. It was good talking with you and always a pleasure. Every time I see your texts come through, I know it’s going to be positive. You’re telling me you sold a piece of land. This was fun.

If you are interested in starting your way to generating passive income through land, head over to WholesalingInc.com/Land and schedule a call with me or my team. We will hop on a call with you and discuss your real estate investing goals. If it sounds like we’re a good fit together, I’d be honored to coach you in land investing. I’ll see you next time, land sharks.

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About Brent Bowers

WI 623 | Wholesaling Land

Brent Bowers, is an investor and coach with a focus on buying and selling vacant land. As an Army Officer with over 8 years of service, Brent was spending a great deal of time away from his family, and he knew he needed to make some changes in order to be more present with his wife and children.

In a short period of time, Brent was able to expand his business, hire a team, and (most importantly) spend quality
time with his family while still working hard and helping others.

While Brent invests in many different types of real estate, his favorite investment strategy deals with buying and selling vacant land, and he enjoys sharing his expertise in this area with his coaching clients. Brent chooses to live his life based on Bob Burg’s quote, “Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.” He is passionate about helping other people find success in real estate investing, particularly in land investments.

 

 

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