Financial freedom requires that you build a business first. Hieu Bui joins Brent Daniels to discuss his path to becoming financially free. If you’re an introvert, this episode is going to help you get out of your comfort zone and start building your wholesaling business.
Building Your Asset Machine Ft. Hieu Bui
I want to welcome to the show and the Rhino Tribe an incredible real estate investor/wholesaler from Augusta, Georgia, Hieu Bui. He has one of the greatest closing techniques I’ve ever heard. Fifteen minutes before this show started, he was on an appointment with the property owner and said, “I need to get this contract signed now because I got to go and do a show.” He got the contract signed, got the deal locked up with the closing technique that he had to be on this show, and it worked. Welcome to the show, Hieu. How are you?
I am doing well, Brent. How are you?
I am excited about this because you and I have had an indirect relationship for a long time and a more direct relationship, which has been an absolute blessing, not only for myself but for everybody in the TTP Coaching Program. It’s phenomenal. You took the classic approach to your real estate business. You took about a year of studying, reading books, listening to BiggerPockets Podcasts, going on YouTube, and getting to the point where you feel like you are comfortable and confident enough to start taking action. It took about a year of that process before you got your first deal. Let’s talk about what was the magnet that drew you into being a real estate investor in a real estate wholesaler.
I got to go back all the way because I am not a native of America. I moved here when I was sixteen years old. At a time, I didn’t even know how to speak a conversation with an American because that’s how bad my English was. I remember receiving a D in one of my PE classes because the teacher told me to do a bench press while sitting there doing some curls.
When I went to college, I chose Engineering as my major because I hate TTP. I don’t want to Talk To People. That’s why I choose no down into the technical world. Fast forward, I graduated college in 2017. I had a job for the first two years and realized I hated engineer even more. It’s one of those things where you study one thing in class, and when you are trying to apply it to the real world, something doesn’t click for me.
That’s when I decided, “How do I get out of this office from 9:00 to 5:00 because if I got to be here for the next several years, I’m going to be depressed. I got to find something quick.” That’s when I come across real estate. My dad used to do real estate a lot from an early age. It’s always in the back of my mind but it wasn’t until the point that I hated the way my life is to be able to push me to pursue another option.
That’s when I came across BiggerPockets and all the typical books. I study that for a whole year. I was able to buy some deals on the market, get into a contract, do an inspection, freak out, back out of the contract, and destroy my inspection money. I do that three times. I lose $1,200 on inspection fees because I am scared. I was conservative and felt like I didn’t have a good deal. Something doesn’t feel right. I should back out. Looking back, I wish I had bought them all. Hindsight is 2020.
I realized that there are few people in my local REIA. They always seem to do something called assignment. They always say, “I’m looking at their deals, and I’m looking at the deals on the MLS that I see with my realtors.” It’s like day and night. I’m like, “How do I get these deals? They are so deep.” it’s always seemed to be a mystery for me.
Later on, I realized that they go direct to the seller. They don’t look at the market stuff. I realized, “If that’s the way they buy it, I need to do the same thing too because what if I come across another on-market deal.” I always have to wonder, “Do I buy a good deal or not? If I buy at their number, I will buy it all day long.” That’s safe at a number for me being a conservative person. That’s when I discovered I got to go through off-market.
If you hate how you’re life is going with your job, pursue other options.
I love it because you are the perfect example of how to do this the right way once you get on the track of wholesaling. When we start out, initially, we are learning from Rich Dad Poor Dad. You buy assets, you have these rental properties, you get cashflow, and you get enough cashflow. It covers your expenses, and now you have financial freedom.
What they don’t tell you is you have to create an actual business that finds deals. That’s the start. We want to own assets and cashflow. You build a system, machine or business that’s out there every single day, finding new opportunities. You get to do whatever exit strategy you want. You can either assign it where you assign your rights to buy a property to somebody else. You clean it up, flip it, buy it, close on it, and flip it as it is or you rent it. You own it in your portfolio.
He’s done between 20 and 30 deals. He stopped counting after twenty and made with equity because he’s kept, flipped, and wholesale some of these deals. He has kept some of these properties but he’s over $500,000 in income and equity from going out, being proactive, and reaching out to the property owners. Let’s walk through this. You are sixteen years old. You don’t know conversational English. You are intimidated to have conversations with people, and here you are making cold calls on people’s biggest assets that they own and asking them if they would consider an offer. How do you get that courage?
I don’t go from zero to hero in one day. It’s a spectrum that spans across two years. Looking back, I have a way I do it. It’s always raised my comfort level a little bit every time. When I first started to market directly to the seller, I did direct mails because, “I don’t have to talk to them. I can send them mails, and they can call me.” That sounds not scary at all. I remember, at that time, somebody told me to stick with a process for at least six months. I carry that advice still through to this day but when I first did direct mail, I did with six months, and that’s how I got my first deal. It was through direct mail.
On month six, somebody responded and have a deal that made the number work. We locked it up and assigned it. I remember I don’t know anything at all about wholesale. I don’t even know what contracts to use. I don’t know the whole process and what attorney even to use. What I do know is I connected with a local REIA guy that helped me through that whole process. He said, “All you need to do is get a contract to me. I will take care of the rest for you.” We split it 50/50.
It is about $11,000 and split 50/50. I make about $5,500. It’s not much but it showed me the whole process. On my next deal, I know what attorney to use, what contracts to use, how to market it, what to ask for it, and all of that. During my first year, I paid half the commission to someone else but I don’t regret it because that’s how I learned.
You are not going to learn from reading a book. You are going to get energy and instruction from this show. You are not going to get deals from this show. You are going to get deals from taking what you read in this show, going out there, and having a quality conversation with the distressed property owner.
That happens either by you sending out marketing, and they give you a call or saving the money and trading your time for the money. Maybe you don’t have a huge budget when you start or don’t want to start with a huge budget. You want to get the proof of concept before you invest in this thing and then got to be proactive. To be proactive, you can go and knock on the doors of ugly houses.
You can call them. All of a sudden, you find these opportunities and go, “Is there anybody in town that will help me out?” You’ve mentioned REIA a couple of times. For everybody who has never heard of that, which most people have, it’s a Real Estate Investor Association. It’s a get-together. It’s a group meet-up of investors in local markets. They are all throughout the country and fantastic.
You go and find somebody and say, “When I find a good deal, can you help me get it through the finish line?” People will say, “Yes.” They want those deals. It’s a free deal for them. You got $11,000, which means you got $5,500. He got $5,500 for doing what he does. It probably took him an hour’s worth of work. To blast it out, negotiate the offer, make sure it gets done and get it done. People want to get paid $5,500 an hour. Be brave. You go out there, make the connection, squat up with somebody that’s local, and they can walk you through the end process. It goes smoothly.
I want to comment on my mom in my story here. The reason why I bring up direct mail is because that’s the easiest level of comfort. It’s sucked for me because it’s cost me tons of time. I used to lick my own mail. I sent them out, dropped them in UPS, and dumped the whole box into it. It cost me a lot of time. Honestly, I got a deal from it but I’m looking at this and saying, “I need to snuff fast enough by sending out mails.” It took me six months. I feel I could be doing something different. This is when I do some more research. One thing that keeps coming back to me is two things. 1) Cold calling, and, 2) Texting.
At that time, I still had my engineering job. I have to be from 9:00 to 5:00. Logically, the thing that, “I can text while I’m at work. I don’t have to work all the time. I can goof off for half an hour.” I’m trying to blast out a text and respond to one-off here and there when I’m on break. Number two, I hate talking to people. Texting to see naturally for me, anything I can do to reduce the amount of time I have to talk to people, I will do it.
For the next several months, all I was doing was texting. It has been phenomenal. I closed pretty much a deal or two per month from texting alone. The way I do it is I will send out a text and follow exactly what you advised. I would be pre-qualified for as long as I can. I’m sure I can. If I can at least get their condition and timeline, I’m going to hop on the phone right away. Sometimes, the relationship, motivation, and the price are harder to get them via text. If I get the first two pillars, I hop on the phone, talk to them and go from there.
You still have to talk to them at some point. How does that go? You are texting with them. You are doing this thing and getting them on the phone. Are you nervous? What do you do? How do you get through it so that you can build trust and build a relationship with this person that’s in a distress situation?
Everything I do is a skill that can be broken down by the process that I can improve and focus approach to it. I like to compare everything to weightlifting because that’s my favorite hobby besides doing this. When you first go to the gym, you don’t know what to do, so you go home, watch YouTube, and see how other people do it. You are trying to watch ten videos on a certain topic and see how different people have different approaches. You will see which approach can resonate with you.
I am the same way. After my 1st or 2nd conversation, or before I even picked up the phone to call somebody, I watched probably fifteen YouTube videos on seller recordings, what to say, and what to ask for. Even though I watch a lot of YouTube videos, it doesn’t prepare me for my first one. I had to go through the suckiness of talking to someone. It sounds horrible. I don’t know what I’m doing. Half the humble to go back and say, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” It can be improved like any skill by working out. You can observe somebody else do it and practice enough to the point where you get better over time.
Look at you now. You are at 30 deals. You have spoken to every single one of those sellers. Have you ever spoken to a seller that didn’t do a deal with you?
All the time.
If you’re scared of talking to sellers face-to-face, do direct mail. You can send emails and they can call you. That’s not scary at all.
It’s reps and refining. When you were starting and having conversations, were there certain things that were tripping you up? I’m curious. Are there certain things that maybe you couldn’t pull out of the seller? Were there certain parts where you didn’t feel confident that now you feel confident?
I’m a super introverted person. It takes me a long time to know how to build rapport with people but I’m better now. I have to take notes from the previous conversations. I have to imagine how I would build rapport. I say, “They mentioned this. How do I naturally bring it up so I can have a rapport with them.” I wrote down on my iPhone, “Hey, James. This is Hieu.” I would write out exactly what I’m going to say. I was nervous, and building a rapport was tough.
After a while, I realized that if you were focusing on the conversation on a property, the rapport was going to come out naturally. They might mention someone off, and I can get onto that easily. I can ask them, “Why do you want to sell it?” They might say, “I want to move to Texas.” I was like, “Why Texas? I love Texas.” I go from there. I feel like I don’t have to be creative and force a rapport if I keep focusing my conversation on the four pillars. That’s going to be stuff that comes out that I can latch on to later on.
Tell everybody what the four pillars of every conversation you have with the seller are.
I always go in this order. I won’t go into this condition to ask them if they have done any upgrades to the property the whole timeline. If we agree on a price, “When do you want to sell it?” Number three is motivation. “It sounds like a beautiful property. What motivates you to sell it? You seem to get a steady rent.” Sometimes I mentioned, “With all the inflation coming, when are you going to dump your money because it’s going to get eaten up.” There are different ways to ask questions. The last one is, I’m going to ask them for the price, “How much do you want for it?”
You got it right there, condition, timeline, motivation, and price. The beautiful thing is when you get the condition out of them and the timeline, typically, they give you the motivation. It is the greatest one. I always think that the most awkward conversation is why are you selling it as opposed to, “What price do you want?”
The price, I have no problem. Price, I can ask them fifteen different ways and techniques to try to find out what their expectations are. Motivation is what we are looking for. “Is this somebody that wants to trade potential equity/price for speed and convenience?” That’s what we do. That’s what wholesaling is. Wholesaling is the art of finding discounted properties. People will want to get a lower price to save on time and convenience. That’s it.
It’s not people that are going to foreclose next week. That’s always what I thought, Hieu. I always thought, “The only reason people would sell for such a discount is that they are about to lose the property.” That is 1% of the deals that I’ve ever done. We are going to lose the house timeline. The rest of them is a free, willing choice, and it happens every single week of the year for us. It’s the same for you.
You find these people you got to talk to a lot but have to understand that 6% to 10% of the real estate market is in distress at all times. That’s from the US census. We know that there are over eleven million properties that have been vacant for over a year. We know the foreclosure statistics, inheritance statistics, probate statistics, all of those things. They all get combined into one.
All of a sudden, you got 6% to 10% that is in some distress, whether it be the condition of the property, emotional distress or financial distress of the property owner. It’s our job to ask those four things, conditioned, timeline, motivation, and price. I love that you knew them right away. That means I know it’s either by you, on a sheet by you or you have been practicing.
That gives you confidence in what you have to ask in these conversations. You are not going there feeling, “I wonder if they are going to judge me for my accent or the way that I communicate.” You are going in there confident pulling out these four things. Certainty and likeability are more important than the words that you’re saying.
I used to be intimidated because I saw the guys around me were all slick looking and smooth on the phone. They know exactly how to say, what to say, how to pull back, how to push, and all that. I realized I didn’t have a thing. It’s truly impossible to screw up motivated sellers. I have talked to many people. I texted them on the first day and closed them on the second day. It’s happened in a span of 24 hours if they are shooting motivated. It does seem almost impossible for even a guy with a thick accent and study all the time at night. If I can screw up, I’m pretty sure you’ve screwed up.
You move to this country at sixteen, engineer, introvert, getting on the phone and crushing almost 30 deals. You are such an inspiration. I feel like I’ve gotten all of that stuff. I was born here, know the lingo, I have been talking forever, been in real estate since 2004, and all these things. I couldn’t imagine having to overcome all that and learn the nuances and conversation styles when it’s asking questions and responding. When they ask you a question, you respond and ask them a question to control the conversation. You’ve learned all this stuff in a couple of years, and that’s because you have been obsessed.
The reason why I want to highlight that is that I feel like for someone with a low starting point like me, and get to this point, now I’m talking to people. It is in my blood. The four pillars are in my DNA. I remember it without even having to think about it. It’s snap responses. All I want to say is if I can come from a low point to this level, it’s all in the rep and training. Everything can be improved even from such a low starting point.
It’s all learned. The beautiful thing about this business is we’ve already done it. You already got a roadmap. You already know what to do, who to call, what to say, how to pre-qualify them, and what to do on appointments. It’s already laid out there. We don’t have to reinvent this thing. Anybody can learn and do this. That’s what’s incredible about this business. That’s why it’s the best business, in my opinion, ever.
The people should start focusing and maybe switching their strategy instead of, “I want to buy a rental property and flip and do all these other things.” I know you do this, Hieu. I’m talking to you here too but building an actual business where you have people running it, you work a couple hours in it and get passive income to the tune of $1 million, that is an incredible lifestyle.
You take your excess funds after-tax funds, and you are buying all these incredible properties. You are getting the best properties. It’s not the properties that you get because there are deals in the middle of nowhere. These are in the best school districts. They have the best appreciation. You get the best tenants because they respect and love the area. That’s what we are talking about. Build your wholesaling business to find all these deals, and get everything else.
I’m guilty when you said that because after my third deal, I was like, “I’m going to buy this one. I’m going to live in it. I’m going to fix it up. I’m going to rent it. I do everything myself. It’s my nature not to trust people when I first start doing something. I cannot fight it. If I don’t know how to do it, I’m not going to ask it. If I don’t know how to manage my building, I’m not going to find a property manager. If I don’t know how to fix it up, I’m not going to hire a handyman. It’s always in my blood. I always thought of doing something first by myself. This way, I could appreciate the money I spent when I had her out. It is my philosophy.
Never do the job that you can hire out people to do.
After my third deal, I got a smoking deal, and it’s almost impossible not to keep it. I keep it but the only problem is I spent so much time and now regret it. I spent time brushing the paint and scraping up the floor. It took me a whole three months to fix up those duplexes. I don’t do any deal. All my time was spent doing labor jobs where I could easily hire out. I’m guilty of that. I got to say now that I have learned a lesson. I would never do the job that I can hire out to people that most do than me.
The way I do this flipping is I have a partner. He handled all the flipping. I don’t even have to worry about it. On the rental, I found a good crew that knows how to do from A to Z. I’ve even given them my credit card so they can charge however they want. I trust them. I know that they are always looking in for my best interest.
My rental portfolio is passive in that way. I can buy a house, give it to them, and they will fix it up, charge me later, and I know that I was going to get a better price than the next guy. At this point, I never stopped my lead generation. We can get into how we get it through cold calling, but now, I’m getting to a rhythm where it doesn’t matter what happened. I’m going to do lead generation every single morning without fail every single day.
What’s your schedule?
I start between 8:00 and 9:00, and I usually call between 2 and 3 hours. My target is if I can talk to between 20 and 30 contacts per day, it’s a good day. I used to stop doing it altogether, but now, I realize I need to keep it going even if I don’t contact the whole 30 sellers. If I can get 10 or 5 contacts, keep the train rolling, even though I don’t hit my content goal, as long as I don’t stop. I don’t stop the momentum, the skew offer, the habit of picking up the phone and calling a stranger every single morning. I like to keep that going. It doesn’t matter what.
You are at the point where you are making hours of calls yourself every single day for lead generation. Why not outsource it? You’ve made enough money. Why not hire some people to make the calls for you now?
I wholeheartedly believe that I could but I always hear you say, “I’m going to be twenty times better in the phone call, even for myself.” I don’t mind doing it. I don’t hate it anymore. It’s the most income-producing activity that I can do now. Until my lead generation is packed with leads that I cannot follow up anymore, that’s when I would hire out. I don’t think I’m at a point yet.
How do you feel it has affected the rest of your life? Having that many conversations with a lot of people all day long and starts blending into the rest of your life. How does that affect you?
If I can talk to two sellers, I can talk to anybody. I can talk to attorneys, bankers, and my boss and negotiate salary. I can talk to my landlord and negotiate rents. I can talk to anybody I want to talk to. The confidence is through the roof. I still label myself as an introvert but I can be an extrovert when needed.
We wear different hats. Labels are powerful, and it depends on what you want to put on yourself. Some of it is true. Some of it is stuff that has been pounded into your head. You got to investigate that yourself. If you can have enough flexibility with any label, you could do something if you wanted to if there’s a big enough goal and the reason why you will do it. That’s fantastic. Let’s break down whatever deal you want. Let’s break down a big, fun or hard deal. What’s the deal that you want to break down? We are going to talk about how you found it, what you did to negotiate it, what the condition, the timeline, their motivation, and their price was, and we are going to ring this victory bell.
Before I even do that, I want to say that I decided to join your program several months ago. The reason why I do that is because I was getting so much leads and was successful with my texting and my referrals that I decided that it was the right time to quit my full-time job. I was doing three deals per month at one time for three months.
You said, “If you can do 3 deals for 3 months, that’s when you should take it to the next level.” I decided to quit my job. I look at all my different options. I feel like cold calling is something that I have always wanted to do but I don’t have the time to do it. I decided to do that and join the tribe because I know that the first six months are almost the hardest.
I wholeheartedly believe that if I take action for six months, there’s no way that I will fail. The only way I fail is if I stop before the six-month mark. That’s why I decided to join the program because I know that you are going to be there. The community is going to be there. I pay for this thing. I’m better to stick with it. It’s all of this combined that says, “If I pay for this, I’m going to stick with it for six months.” There’s no way I am going to fail.
I know in my heart, and you always say, “There are going to be 200 contacts per deal.” I’m way past my 200 contacts now. I have a couple of deals in the pipeline but this one I want to talk about. I found it through cold calling. It took me a month of following up because even though the price is good, the motivation, the house is completely destroyed but the seller is a natural procrastinator.
He thinks that everybody is out there trying to get them. He gets some PTSD from the Vietnam War that doesn’t help him think straight. He took the longest time to even do anything. I was getting frustrated because we agreed on a number that he said that he was going to get back to me later that night. That night turns into the next night.
Every time I called, he would pick up and say, “Hieu, can you call me tomorrow?” I keep going on. I called him every single day without fail for the next few weeks. Finally, he was able to find an appointment. I dropped at the house. That’s an hour and a half away from me. We sit down and talk. I know that I’m not going to be able to but I sign a contract with this guy.
I have to spend as much time as possible trying to build rapport and make his best friend before I even talk about real estate. I spend probably an hour and a half talking about different things, my life, and his life. I’m trying to build a relationship. I want him to be my real friend. I truly mean that to come out authentic. By the time we ended the conversations, he was feeling comfortable with me, and we signed a contract.
What list was he on? Why did you call him in the first place? Was there some indication of distress?
That’s why I love cold calling. I pull 10,000 people from my texting already. I already have their phone number. I might as well call them. It doesn’t cost me any more extra money because the leads are already there. Without cold calling, I would never get this deal because it’s only a landline. If I only text him, there’s no way that I can get ahold of him. Locking up like landlord typical list. It is a ten years ownership absentee owner.
If you have the confidence to talk to sellers, you can talk to anybody.
You lock it up for how much?
You put it out to your cash buyers and sold it for how much?
This one, we are going to flip ourselves because it’s right there where we have our crew ready. We are going to put about $55,000 into it. We are all in for $110,00. It sells for a minimum of $200,000, if not way more.
You are going to net after closing costs and agents $65,000 to $75,000. What about the deal you locked up? You locked up a piece of land right before this show for $2,500. What do you think you can sell?
Based on the former owner I’m going to be able to sell it for between $20,000 on the low side and $40,000 on the high side.
Give people advice, people that are starting out or maybe some people that have started and they’ve done a deal but can’t build the momentum. What would you do to jumpstart your business if you were starting or restarting?
You got to believe that it’s going to get easier over time. That’s the main thing. Don’t expect to be hard like this after a few months in. It’s hard to say that because now, I look back, I can comfortably say that but at that time, I don’t see it. If you are doing this process, if you call them people every day for six months, I guarantee you this, there’s no way to fail unless you quit too early. Whatever you do, don’t quit before the six-month mark. Stick with it.
Are you saying that the guy who started hating TTP is suggesting that people TTP?
I am incredibly inspired by you, personally. What a story, and over the last several months of you being in the coaching and getting these deals, I see you blossoming on the support calls. I see blossoming in your business, the conversations, and the texts that we have. It’s incredible. You are getting to that point where you are getting to that almost superhero bulletproof place where you know that you can get predictable business if you stay focused and keep the lead generation going, locking up these deals and getting these deals sold. I’m incredibly happy for you. You are an inspiration to everybody.
Thank you, Brent. I appreciate you saying that.
How can people get ahold of you? If they want to reach out, you are not on Instagram. That’s the whole introvert thing. I’m kidding. Is there a good email that maybe people can reach out to you or Facebook or something?
On Facebook, if you search for Hieu.Bui.140, that’s my URL right there. I am active on Facebook. I always get loud. I post every single deals. I raise private money on Facebook. I post my flipped progress on Facebook. Everything is on Facebook. You can also email me at HBuiInvesting@Gmail.com if you want to reach out. I know that some people need some help when they first start with cold calling or whatever. I’m here to serve.
If you are in Augusta and Athens, Georgia, those are the two main markets for Hieu. Make sure that you squat up. He’s getting these deals sold and a buyer himself. Make sure if you’ve got some opportunities there, bring them to the Hieu and connect. What an inspiration. It’s a perspective change that goes, “If Hieu can do this, I can too.” The biggest message right there to other people that didn’t have to come over the certain challenges that you had. It’s wonderful. Thank you, Hieu, for being on here. You are the best.
If you are interested in joining the most proactive group in real estate investing with Hieu, it is the TTP coaching program. Go to WholesalingInc.com/TTP. Check out what it’s all about. Check out all the incredible wholesalers from around the country that are involved. Check out what the program is all about. If it feels good in your gut, sign up for a call, and I look forward to working with you personally. I sign off as always encouraging you to go out there with energy and enthusiasm. Go talk to people until next time.
- Hieu Bui – LinkedIn
- TTP Coaching Program
- BiggerPockets Podcasts
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- Hieu.Bui.140 – Facebook
- Be sure to join the Wholesaling Inc Facebook group
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, and “don’t-wait-around-for-business” attitude to help you CRUSH your wholesaling goals as quickly and easily as possible!