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Posted on: June 17, 2022
WI 975 | Death In Land Buying

 

Buying land is a way for you to build an incredible life. Today, Brent Bowers connects with Micah to discuss the largest transfer of wealth: death. Micah is sending letters to thousands of people to get deals done. His company bought a house from someone after a five-year connection! This episode is going to teach you the details of wholesaling in a very different way.

Key Takeaways

  • Dealing with the leads that are struggling with a recent personal loss
  • Marketing is a bit of art and science when purchasing and selling land
  • How death impacts the transfer of land and property in America

Work with Brent here: inheritedlandlist.com

Dealing With Death In Land Buying Ft. Micah

Episode Transcription

I’ve got an amazing guest. We’re going to be talking about one of the most exciting lists that I am mailing in my land and house business. Twenty-five percent of the people on this list will be selling in the next years. That is a huge number of people on this list. This list is people that need or have to sell. They don’t want the property. This is a burden on their back. You want to help these sellers and get in touch with these people. I’m going to be introducing you to Micah over at USLeadList. I hope you enjoy this episode. He’s got tons of golden nuggets to share with us. Let’s go ahead and get right into it.

Micah, how are you doing?

I am excellent. Yourself?

I’m good. I’m excited to talk to you because you’re not only a real estate investor. We met because you had a deal that you wholesaled in my backyard, as well as you are the owner of a very successful data company. Let’s first talk about how you got into real estate and married that with data. Was it data first and then real estate? Let’s also talk about the amazing offer that we have with how you’re helping me out with my land investing business and also other land sharks. First, how did you get started? Tell me a little bit about the story of you marrying data with real estate.

It was real estate first. I have been an entrepreneur since childhood but they were mostly failed attempts. Real estate is such a wonderful business. It’s so simple. If you do the numbers, it’s hard to fail. I bought my first property. It was a little fourplex that I bought for $58,000. It made $1,800 a month. It was the easiest slam dunk deal. I bought another one a month later that was a fiveplex. I owned and managed them. I didn’t take any money out and put all of my money back into it. I made them cool. They were old historic properties in a historic town pretty close to me here in Wisconsin. I did that for six years.

This business washed up on my shore. I wanted to grow. I wasn’t quite seeing all of the pieces come together for the vision of my life, the financial dreams that I had, what I felt like I could claim as a person and then give back to people as well. I sold those two properties that I referenced. I bought US Lists from two super cool guys, Terry and Lance. I started this in 2006. When did you use them?

I first heard about USLeadList on this show. They’re OGs. I got on the waiting list in 2017. I was on their waiting list for a little over a year for the two counties that I was interested in Colorado. They were not messing with land back then or I didn’t know if they were. These were for inherited houses. Finally, I started using them in late 2017. That’s about the timeframe.

They started maybe a couple of years earlier. Once I saw the opportunity, several things clicked together. I was like, “Do you mean I can handle large volumes of data and incorporate it into my real estate business, refine, practice, test, play around and daydream about what makes for good data to market to?” That probably sounds boring to some people but what excites me is finding groups of people that share the right mentality of wanting to sell and being motivated.

The most basic event that causes the largest transfer of wealth in the world is death.

There’s always a little bit of interest there but how do you find that sweet spot where people need or have to sell? That’s been a super fun exploration process for me. Our main product, which is the inheritance list, comes down to the most basic event that causes the largest transfer of wealth in the world and that’s death. It’s morbid. I have a lot of feelings and thoughts about how to treat this list, market to this list and talk to people when you get calls. There are a lot of things that you need to understand.

Mostly, you have to be a good person and treat people kindly with respect but there are certain tricks to disarm people in highly emotional situations. That is a large opportunity. The data that we’ve found is within 2 years, 25% of these people sell. Here is an even better example. We published our list. It was 250,000 records. We started scrubbing our records against what Zillow has. With those 250,000 records, we scrubbed 20,000 that had been sold. Granted, we’re doing it quarterly, so that would take us to the beginning of that cycle. You can see how much motivation there is.

People have to sell these properties a lot of times or they get put into someone’s lap who doesn’t have to sell but they’re an inconvenience. That’s the basis of what we do with our main product. We’re working to expand more into other things. This land situation was something that Lance and Terry never worked on. Frankly, I was blind to it until I called you up and talked to you.

We started overlapping our data with vacant land and put together this sample list for you to work with and play around with. From your response, it felt like we were onto something. It’s almost better than home and inherited home because the land has no real value. It’s just sitting there. It’s not something you need.

I bought three parcels in an area that I was not in yet. My acquisition manager, Jen, worked with them. They were so easy to work with. They were thankful and appreciative of our help. It was not our usual sellers when we did a house deal. Most of our land sellers are pretty thankful to work with us. I’m grateful but the best explanation of these guys that sold us these three parcels in Pennsylvania was grateful. One of them has a building on it. It was land but the county messed it up. The building is okay but it’s an extra plus that already has electricity, water, sewer and all that stuff.

One thing you mentioned is the 250,000 records. You said over a quarter, 20,000 of them sold. That’s 12% percent of them in 3 months. Those are pretty good numbers. If 12% of that list is going to sell within 3 months, would you rather talk to someone that’s planning to sell within the next 3 months or someone that’s never planned to sell?

They might sell. You don’t know.

WI 975 | Death In Land Buying

Death In Land Buying: You have to be a good person and treat people kindly with respect, but there are certain tricks to disarm people in highly emotional situations.

 

Those are pretty good numbers though. In 2 years, 25% of them will sell. You’re right. The largest transfer of wealth is death. You hit on so many great points. Keep going. I want to keep diving into this. I feel like I knocked you off track but I wanted to re-mention those.

Marketing is a little bit of art and science. Finding the nuance, the right message and the timing is hard but it’s a lot better when you’re doing it at scale. You can have a crappy message and still close deals if you’re sending it to enough people. In my marketing and what I do, we wholesale houses and looking for buy and hold as well. We do any deals that monetize themselves and spin-off a little free cashflow. What we do is we scale up quite a bit. We mail Minnesota and Wisconsin with all of our lists. That’s how we’re turning and getting our capital back from our marketing dollars. Keeping your marketing small is hard.

Another thing that I love about letters is until they’re thrown away or destroyed, they’re sending that message. That’s so much different than a phone call, voicemail or email. All those things disappear. One of my favorite stories that Terry and Lance told me when I was working with them on the transition of the business was, “We got a call five years after we sent the letter. It wasn’t even the person who we sent to it. It was the daughter and they were going through their stuff. They found it in a file. They called us and then sold us the house.”

We had the same thing happen. We had mailed someone years ago. They said, “Grandpa had good files. We found this file with this vacant raw piece of land in Colorado Springs and had your letter in it. It was a land offer letter. It was a purchase agreement. Will you still honor this?” We asked for the reference number and the address.

We figured out which one it was and we were like, “We will honor that.” It was a great deal. There may be readers that don’t understand inheritance. I also don’t claim to be an expert on inheritance. I’ve only done a small number of deals with people that inherited land and houses. Will you give the layman’s terms? What does inheritance mean?

It covers a broad swath. The event that we’re wrapping everything around is death. There are several different ways that a property can be held. It affects how that parcel of property is either given to the surviving spouse or goes through probate. It’s a legal process or in a trust and it bypasses probate. We’ll start with death. Someone passes away. They own property and that property gets sucked into probate. There’s someone who is the executor if there is a will or there’s no will. Those assets are distributed to the rightful heirs. Those could be named or unnamed.

If you’re gathering this, it’s a complex thing. There are so many variables and types of situations that arise. For us, we think it’s best to lump them all into one. You send them a letter. You don’t talk about death or imply that you’re aware. You just sent a letter saying you want to buy property, which is true. Once you start getting calls, you collect on that interest, whatever it may be. It can be like, “You’re a jerk. I can’t believe that you would send this letter.” That’s going to happen. In all fairness, I feel a fair amount of those phone calls. If your skin’s not thick enough to withstand a few of those, I don’t suggest mailing to this list.

Vacant land is almost better than home and inherited home because the land has no real value. It’s just sitting there. It’s not something you need.

That reminds me daily that we have to have thick skin in this business. Not to point out the negatives but I had someone upset that their grandfather had passed away and they’re getting a letter within a week. I remember that message. It was like, “His body is not even cold yet and you’re mailing me.” I was thinking to myself, “This stat is good.” On the other hand, I was like, “I feel bad.” I could have chosen to dwell on that or know that she was taking that out on me and I had to be there for her. We did not end up buying that property. I didn’t follow up with her either. I was too afraid to.

The best thing to remember when you get calls like that is love makes us do crazy things. It’s at stake or it’s gone and you can’t get it back. The people who are the angriest are the people who care the most. They miss their family or whoever it was. I do my very best to honor them. I’d be respectful because I care. It’s part of my personality.

I’m going to die. People I love are going to die. That’s part of this. It’s good to come in with a proper understanding that people are going to be sensitive. You can use that to be helpful or be scared of it. It depends. It’s best to come in with awareness. You can help people. People need help but they don’t always know how that’s going to look because they’re blinded by their emotions.

I was supposed to look at a commercial building. It was rescheduled because the seller’s wife died. I didn’t mail an inheritance list, probate list or pre-foreclosure list. This was an office building I was looking to buy for myself. You never know. Let’s set up the odds in our favor. I want to talk to people that need or have to sell, not people that might sell, because it’s like the sun shining the right way. Thanks for breaking that down.

I’d love to talk more about what you’re doing with the data and how you’re cultivating it. It’s all about data. Be a data-driven real estate company. As business owners, we should go off of data and not drama or how we feel. There was a time in 2016 during election season. I was convinced mail didn’t work because there was a one-month period where I mailed this huge list and no one called. I realized, “This is election season.”

I stopped mail. I went off my emotions, not off of data and Key Performance Indicators, KPIs. Let’s always remember to be data-driven. What are you doing with these leads? We’re working on some stuff to benefit the land sharks community and other land investors. I’m excited about the list that we talked about over text message. How is this looking? What’s the future looking like with this? Where are you going with USLeadList? What will you be doing with this land list as far as the inheritance for vacant raw land?

Lance and Terry were great guys but they were not technologically savvy at all. We had an online database company where our product was data-driven and they ran their business with paper. They didn’t have any system to make the business work well. I’ve been working on data delivery via a website rather than a phone call or taking your credit card information over the phone and running the card.

WI 975 | Death In Land Buying

Death In Land Buying: Love makes us do crazy things. It’s at stake or gone, and you can’t get it back. The people who are the angriest are the people who care the most.

 

We made it a lot simpler and easier but what that’s done for us, which is way better for investors, is that it has allowed us to change the cadence in which we publish the list. For forever, USLeadList has been driven quarterly. You buy a list and get that quarterly data. The problem is we started scrubbing it down and seeing these big gaps of lots of properties being sold that you couldn’t capitalize on.

We’re transitioning to a monthly platform. We’re 90% there. Our new website has been launched but we’re still building all the backend capability. What that does, whether it be at parcels of vacant land or inheritance leads, is you’re getting the information closer to the events. I’ll caution again that it does get you closer to those negative emotions but the opportunity too.

Moving into the vacant land, our process around is that we’ll publish monthly lists. These will be people who own additional properties other than the home that they lived in when they passed, including vacant land. That is where your audience will benefit to market to a group where the thing is sitting there. Either they’ve got a big plan for it or they’re going to get rid of it because it doesn’t serve a purpose for them. Death shakes up your emotions so much. I’ve talked to enough people in this situation, particularly with surviving spouses. This is what I was talking about earlier that you have to be careful how you talk to these people. They’re grieving. They’ve been married to these people for 30, 40, 50 or 60 years.

Most of the leads on our list are older people. You talk to them and they’re like, “I’ve got this house. It has four bedrooms. I don’t have a purpose for it.” You can hear the sorrow and the dread but also the motivation. They don’t need to be there. They don’t need that much. They want to move on with their life. This is where you get to help. You get to solve a problem for these people, come in and make a win-win situation. You’re taking this extra load off of their hands. You got to make money as a real estate investor by being in the right place at the right time.

Be a good listener. Be a problem solver and a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes, I feel like we’re unlicensed therapists. If I’m on land or houses, this is a great way of getting data. I could be in both businesses. We probably got the reader salivating. I’m going to go ahead and throw it out there about how to get in touch with you. I encourage you to reach out to Micah over at InheritedLandList.com. Check out what he’s got in the state that you’re in.

A lot of times, it’s more a sniper approach. We’re not just throwing a bunch of spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks. We’re talking to people that have to or need to sell because they no longer need that 4-bedroom and 4-bath house. They need to downsize. They don’t want to take on that management.

We’re looking at a piece of land that’s 19 acres. The lady is selling off everything. The husband was a serial entrepreneur. He acquired everything from jewelry to real estate to a shrimp farm. She’s selling it all. A real estate broker brought me this deal. I’m sure I would have found her with Micah’s list, the inherited list. I wouldn’t have to be dealing with a real estate broker. I’d rather be dealing with her directly.

Marketing is a little bit of art and science. Finding the nuance, the right message, and the timing is hard, but it’s a lot better when you’re doing it at scale.

You’ll save that 6% or whatever it is on the commercial sale.

It’s not just the money. The 6% on a $1.7 million purchase is huge but how do I figure out how to solve her problems and what she’s looking for? It might not be money. She might want a monthly income for the rest of her life. I don’t know but I’m not getting that information because I’m dealing with a broker that works directly for her.

That’s hard. It’s so much better to be able to pick up the phone, give them a call, ask them good questions and listen.

You’ve given a lot of tips on how to talk to these people. Someone goes to InheritedLandList.com and purchases the whole state of Arizona, which I’m pretty sure is a hot market. A lot of people go there. Elderly people go there and eventually pass away. If I call you or go to the InheritedLandList.com, is there any direction you give me as far as a sample letter or how to talk to these people when I do start mailing them?

We have a fulfillment company. It’s small and we do everything by hand. We don’t handwrite but we hand stuff, print and stamp letters. There are a few important things to be aware of. We do have a couple of letters that we use. We proofread a decent amount of letters from other people and give our feedback based on the lens that we have of experience. The employees who do the printing have been doing this for years.

We can help with that. We have sample letters. Something worth mentioning is we always recommend using first-class service for our letters. The reason for that is because first-class handling allows the post office to forward your letter. Let’s say someone’s father passes away in Madison, Wisconsin, close to me. The children moved away and they’re in Georgia. What they do is they forward all that mail because they’re managing the estate to their house in Georgia. If you don’t do first-class handling, they won’t ever get the message. Your message will never land in the right mailbox.

I implore everyone to spend an extra $0.10 or whatever it is to have that 1st-class handling because your delivery rate is going to be way higher and you’re going to get that envelope in the right place. It’s fun being in the position that I am in. When we took over the business, I started calling all of our customers, talking to them and asking them, “How do you use this? What works? What doesn’t?” I’ve talked to hundreds of people who are doing the same business that we are and collected interesting ideas. One of the things that I found and the most reverberating message that I got over and over again is that if you’re mailing a list once, you’re leaving 90% of the profit on the table.

WI 975 | Death In Land Buying

Death In Land Buying: That’s what a good business does ideally. They solve problems and make what you need to do easy, pleasant, and enjoyable.

 

I have this awesome lady in Los Angeles. She’s been our customer for thirteen years. Every quarter, she says to charge her card. She spends a lot of money with us. It’s $1,000 on the data. For her, she doesn’t care because she’s taking our data, putting it into her CRM and mails these people eight letters no matter what. They all get eight letters unless either it’s sold or they come back to her and then she tries to requalify them.

She has built such a physical presence of her business with this letter. I like her, so I call her every quarter and I’m like, “Tell me what’s up.” Every time I talk to her, she’s in one of the most competitive and highly markets in the US and the world. She’s like, “I closed two more deals from you.” We do 90% of the work and we don’t cross that last 10%. For her, the data that we sell is not the most expensive part. By the time she’s done, depending on if she’s doing postcards, letters or a combination of both, she’s spending $20 per person on the list. That’s how much she trusted us. She has built out such a large network.

Those are eight mailers though. It is $20 per person. If you break that down to eight different touches, that’s a pretty decent deal. That’s less than $2.20 per touch. You’re doing all the work for her. We were talking about the list that you pulled from me. I’m happy to hear that you’re going to do the mail too. I love my land offer letters but I have to grab that list from you, purchase another number and put it into my CRM for that specific area.

It’s simple. That’s what a good business does ideally. They solve problems and make what you need to do easy, pleasant and enjoyable. You’re on the receiving end of, “I’m getting calls,” or maybe it’s not working and we need to go back to the drawing board. “Was the message wrong? Do we need to shift some things?” Marketing is part science and you have to work with it to find that right spot.

I love it. I’m even more excited about what we’re working on with the land mailers and the vacant inherited raw land. I’m super excited for anybody reading this that’s doing land or houses. Head on over to InheritedLandList.com. Micah will give you the most up-to-date data there is and help you mail it. Eventually, this will be out monthly.

That’s a great tip with first-class mail. A lot of people say, “Do the standard mail.” That’s the problem. You could be making $100 bills when you save pennies. I would rather trade $0.1 for $100 every single day of the week. Knowing those little extra tips is amazing. We need to end this episode because it’s running long. We might have to do two parts. This is such amazing content. Are there any other final words of wisdom or golden nuggets you want to leave the audience with?

The last piece that I left out about my friend in Los Angeles is that her cadence is important as well. Collecting interest from someone who’s got emotional scars over a long period gives you the best chance to find that right moment. Don’t buy anything from people who don’t want to sell. You get to buy something when they say, “I need to get rid of this.” There are a lot of reasons why that could come up. What she does is she mails out quarterly, not monthly or weekly. From that first touch to the last touch is two years.

That’s a pretty good long cycle of follow-up. That’s amazing. You don’t buy anything from someone that doesn’t want to sell it. That’s pure gold there. If you’re reading this thinking, “I want to get my hands on this inherited list. I also want Micah to take care of the mailing for me and do it all for me. I want to use your amazing letters because I know you have some cutting-edge letters,” head on over to InheritedLandList.com. If you’re looking to get started in land, head on over to WholesalingInc.com/Land and schedule a call. I’ll talk to you soon. God bless.

 

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About Brent Bowers

WI 975 | Death In Land BuyingBrent 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 inland investments.

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