$149 was all it took for Kim and Ernie to find their first deal. The mother-son duo joins our very own landman, Brent Bowers, to talk about their journey that many of our listeners can relate to. From first hearing about wholesaling to deciding to take action to close their first deal quickly after, Kim and Ernie show that imperfect action beats inaction every time.
If you’re like Kim and Ernie and have heard about wholesaling land, but don’t know where to start, consider applying to Brent’s Land Sharks program. We’re running a very special 4th of July discount until July 7th, so don’t miss out.
How This Mother and Son Turned $149 into $10,000 on Their Very First Deal
I have a great episode for you. A mother and a son team are out there taking massive action. They sent a very small portion of postcards. They dove in headfirst and did their first deal within a short amount of time. They made a huge mistake while they were doing it as well but still were able to do a deal. This is the owner of a title company that I used many years ago, which is incredible because this owner of this title company teamed up with my father and did a land deal together. Without further ado, I’m going to go ahead and get into it and introduce you to Kim and Ernie.
We’ve got Ernie and Kim. How are you guys?
We are good. How’s it going?
I’m excited to do this. This is a special interview in my heart. It’s a very different interview. I had the pleasure of meeting your mom Pat at the title company. I did some land deals many years ago. Now, you and my father are doing land deals at the title company. Before we get into all that, tell me a little bit about yourself. We will start with you, Kim, and then we will go to Ernie, which is Kim’s son and also an aspiring real estate investor. Let’s start with you first, Kim, because I know you have a lot of experience in the real estate industry.
I grew up in the industry. My mom owns the title company. She has always been in the business. My father, when he was alive, owned a real estate company for over 40 years. I had taken a different path. I hadn’t planned to do real estate. I went to school to be an elementary school teacher. I quickly changed my path into real estate. It’s just in my blood. I started going with real estate. I have been a licensed realtor for many years. My son, Ernie, I’ve always known about the wholesaling but he was the one that kept harping on me like, “This is the way you do it. We got to get onboard.” When I finally looked deeper into it, I was like, “Let’s go.”
That’s what fascinated me the most. I remember our first conversation is like, “My son, Ernie, came to me wanting to invest in houses.” Where are you doing real estate at?
I’m located in St Lucie County in Fairgrounds in Treasure Coast. I have a real estate partner, and we work together. We work with people from St Lucie County down to Broward County. It’s an hour distance-wise or drive-wise but we have a lot of experience between the two of us in all the areas. We even went far North to Palm Bay Daytona and did one in Orlando.
It’s a huge part of the East Coast of Florida. The fun fact is this show was founded in St Lucie by the Head Rhino himself, Tom Krol. How about you, Ernie? What are you up to?
I went to school for Civil Engineering. I wanted to major in Structural. More than halfway through it, I wasn’t happy. I was struggling. I couldn’t justify making $75,000 a year and being a slave to the corporate system. I kept seeing this guy on TikTok about wholesaling like, “I sold four pieces of paper and made all this money.” I kept begging my mom and explaining, “You don’t need college to be successful and all this stuff.” She finally said, “Okay.”
Were you already in college for engineering?
I was. It was more than halfway done.
When you first find something new, there’s always the question of whether it’s a scam or legit. Figure out how to do it, and learn as much as possible.
FAU, down in Boca. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t doing well. I want to be financially free.
Let’s know about a little bit of this process. Ernie, you had been doing some masterclasses, as well as you, Kim. You guys were educating yourself on houses. I would like to know about that and where things lead. You are telling me about the first win that you had. I was so like blown away by it. I was like, “We got to do a show.”
If you think about it, it’s a unique way to make money. You are a middleman, and all you do is fill out a piece of paper. You get a check at the end of the closing, and it’s like, “Why would you not want to learn how to do this versus work at 9:00 to 5:00 for $10 to $12 an hour?”
You are solving a seller’s problem.
Those are distressed sellers who want to sell their house, can’t pay their bills or need work done on the property. If you can solve somebody else’s problem, why not?
Let’s talk about one of the deals that you have done. Do you want to get in the hot seat? I will hold your feet to the fire and see exactly how this deal works. Let’s start from the very beginning. You sent out some letters. Is that how it started?
I have to say I was very thankful that I was able to speak with you and pick your brain because Ernie first came to me, and we were talking about it. I’m a realtor, so I know traditional real estate, “This is the process.” What he was telling me was, “We are going to take this property. We are going to buy it, and then we are going to assign the contract.”
Here’s the confusing part for me. You even probably noticed because when I first started working with your dad some time ago and had to do an assignment, I thought we had to rewrite this purchase agreement or the contract. At that point, that’s when I realized there were other forms and documents, and you provided them for me. I was still in the gray areas. I got to pick your brain a little bit. I then picked your dad’s brain a little bit and a little bit more, and I finally got my answer.
You got to be careful picking my dad’s brain. Be very careful with it.
Your dad has taught me a lot. At that point, I said to Ernie, “Let’s do it.” You sent me the information I learned from you about where to do the postcards and whatnot. I got with the lady for the postcards. We didn’t have a lot of money to spare at that time, so I did 200 postcards. The funny part about it is I’m not pretty computer literate, and Ernie is better but when I went to set up my mailing list, I didn’t know what happened. She sent me the proof and I figured, “It looks good.” I didn’t even pay attention.
The postcards went out. In the first phone call I received, the lady said, “I’m in West Virginia. I received your postcard but didn’t want to sell my house in West Virginia. I would like to sell my land in Okeechobee.” When I went back and looked at the proof they sent me that I never looked at, the mailing address was in the postcard as the property address as well. Out of 2 on her postcard, I got 2 phone calls. We secured one deal, and it was the high. It was the adrenaline rush. It was like, “I couldn’t believe it. We finally did it.”
At that point, Ernie started advertising. He places it on social media and stuff that he knows. I started to advertise but I also started to google places where I could list this piece of land for sale. I did make one mistake. I wrote the initial contract for 60 days for closing. I’ve done it a million times for your dad, and I forgot to do it myself. We only had 30 days. Right around day ten, I start to panic. I’m telling Ernie, “We’ve got to sell this land.” I then started looking for a mortgage, “Can I get someone to give me the money to do a mortgage?”
The piece of land was $18,000. It was nothing. Ernie comes to me and says, “Why don’t we call Bo and do a JV deal?” I was like, “That sounds like a good idea.” I called your dad. I had consulted with him prior to even making the offer because I surely did not want to make a financial mistake for us. He already knew the numbers. He put the signed out and our numbers there, and within a day, he was showing someone the property. The next day, he was meeting me at the title company. We were writing the assignment. Two weeks later, we closed. It was amazing. I was like, “I want more.”
I want to know what the numbers are but let’s not give the numbers away yet. I want to mention this. You took action. You sent out postcards. You screwed it all up. It’s not just you. The mail house screwed it up too. He knows better. You didn’t look at the proof but it’s the imperfect action. You got a 1% response rate and got 2 phone calls from 200 letters. That’s incredible. You got a conversion with 200 postcards. Let me make a note of this. Everyone needs a good smart engineer on their team to sit back and think of things like, “Why don’t we call Bo?”
I’m working, helping all my friends and stuff. I’m doing late nights, and it hit me one night. I’m like, “Why don’t we call Bo?” I got home at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and said, “Mom, why don’t we call Bo and do a JV deal?” She’s like, “I didn’t even think of that.”
Those are postcards. The reason I didn’t look at the proof, I was so desperate to get them out that Friday. It was Thursday at 4:00. I’m driving home from the title company, which is a 45-minute drive. I see the email come up, and she’s like, “We have to have payment by 5:00 for these to go out on Friday.”
I’m driving and texting my credit card. I’m not even looking at the wordings, and then it goes out. With your dad, he just jumped right on it. What else happened was when we did a JV deal, in my mind, I was so desperate. I was like, “Ernie and I will have 50/50 with you. Do you have a buyer?” I was desperate because I was like, “I can’t fail on the first one.” When we started talking, the checks were coming to an LLC.
Ernie and I are together, and your dad was in, so it was going to be a 50/50. Halfway through the conversation, he said, “Wait a minute.” I said, “What?” He goes, “You and Ernie are 2, and I’m 1. That’s three of us.” We will split it 1/3, 33% each. I was like, “Sounds good to me.” He’s not greedy. He’s very generous in that respect. That helped a lot because it made it feel a little bit more worthwhile.
My dad is always looking out for the other guy. He had taught me a lot in life to do that. How did you guys end up selling the thing? I heard signs. I heard Facebook from another source. How did you guys find your buyer for that piece of land? It was pretty quick too.
It’s never, “I can’t do it.” It’s, “How can I do it?” Take the time to learn and invest in yourself. You might be able to change your life someday.
Ernie’s right. At 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, I was sitting out front. I was brainstorming. We are night owls. He came home and said, “Call Bo or whatever.” I could barely sleep. I couldn’t wait to get up the next morning to call him. As soon as he said yes, he said, “I will take a ride out to the property.” He went out to the property that day and sent me a picture. We put on the sign out there. We put on our phone numbers and the size of the property, and he put the price on there, which is a couple of thousand above what we were willing to settle on.
He sent me all the pictures, and I didn’t even have pictures of the property. Maybe that was the downfall for us. I’m in Okeechobee all the time. I should have gone out to the property and taken my own photos. I was using Google Maps or whatever for the photo. I learned right there. The next day I was at the office. He texted me and said, “I’m meeting a lady from Lantana, which is probably an hour and a half away from the office. I’m meeting her there at 1:00.” I said, “Let me know what happened.” He texted me a little later and said, “She’s running late. It will be 1:30.”
He called me at about 2:30 and said, “Are you at the office?” I said, “Yeah.” He says, “I’m bringing her over. She wants the property.” I quickly get the contract. I’m already with the assignment or whatever. We go to the back room. She’s Spanish and doesn’t speak English but she had her daughter there. Her young daughter was translating. I was trying to explain everything the best I could. She had another price a little bit, so we went $2,000 down than what we initially were asking. I said, “You have to give a check for a deposit.” She says, “No check. I give you cash.”
She walks out to her car. I kid you not. She comes in with a white kitchen trash bag with a bank bag that could barely zip, which is staffed with hundreds. She had enough to pay the full balance right there. We shut the door and started counting out $5,000. I got Valerie and brought her to the back room. I said, “I want you to count this with me and verify it.” I couldn’t believe it. I said, “You better not keep that in your car.” She had a little backpack. She goes, “I don’t want to keep it in my backpack where somebody might steal it.”
She’s land banking. She was buying the land to keep her cash safe.
That’s how it went. Ernie can tell you where he advertised but I basically advertised on Land.com. I did get some hits, as far as you can see, like how many people viewed it and clicked on the phone number. I put it on Facebook Marketplace. Ernie, I think you had some groups or something you are sending in.
It’s just in some Facebook groups, advertising, investment groups, and stuff like that. Going back to what you said about taking action and stuff, if I see something and see it over and over again, I got to try it. I’m not going to sit here and not be able to do what I want to do or live the life I want to live and struggle with all this stuff. That’s not for me. I’m not dumb. I don’t want to not struggle. I kept seeing it over again, day after day.
My thing is you meet somebody that has a lot of money versus my mom and me. What makes the two of us different? Nothing. We are human. The person that has a lot of money or makes a lot of money is human. What do they know that we don’t know? That’s what you got to find out. If you don’t have the motivation to do that, why wouldn’t you?
I would like to add one more thing to that. It’s what they know that you don’t know but what they do that you are not doing well.
What’s their mindset? Should they take action? Are they all talk? Are they risk-takers? To me, my thing with money is I’m always going to make more of it. If I take a risk and lose it, I can get more. It’s okay. You learn from your mistakes but what happens if I take a risk and it pays out?
They know something different or might not. They take action, pay someone to take action or find a partner to take action. It’s like you guys partnering with my father. He went out there and met the lady. He has great success selling land. He does incredible because he meets the people. I’m bad about going and meeting people about land. My team doesn’t even meet people on the land. We could probably increase our sales by doing that. Let me tell you. It’s dangerous too because he will meet them on a Sunday, and a lot of these people sell land too. That’s their only day off.
A lot of times, they are coming out to the country, checking out the land, and want to have beers. My dad’s like, “No, thank you.” It’s like you are almost disrespecting them by not taking it. When someone offers you a glass of water, they want to give you a gift. They want you to accept the gift. It’s a little dangerous too. You got to be careful with that. You could have too many beers in the woods. It’s a valuable lesson. You guys went out there and took action. We’ve held the readers long enough. Let’s break down some numbers. Let’s talk about money. What did it look like?
When a woman contacted me with a piece of land, I always asked the question. I do this in my real estate business, “What do you think your property is worth?” In this case, I asked her, “What would you be happy with?” You also have to remember it. I know you, and I have talked about this, and I’ve talked about this with Ernie. She doesn’t have a house on the property. It’s just a piece of land she invested in for whatever reason. She’s not emotionally attached to it. Looking back on it, I could have probably got it for a little bit less but I didn’t want to risk it. We finally got one on the hook. Let’s do it. Let’s not be greedy.
She said she was looking for $20,000. It was 0.698 of an acre. At that point, that’s when I consulted with Bo. We talked about the numbers and whatnot. He said, “Offer her $18,000.” I offered her $18,000. A lot of times, these sellers, I’ve learned in the industry, say things that they shouldn’t be saying. “I would be happy with something close to $20,000.” That means you are not getting $20,000 but if you tell me, “I want $20,000,” and it’s firm, I’m still going to try to come a little under but I will probably pay the $20,000.
We have to come a little under with the psychology of it because there’s something called seller’s remorse. If you agreed immediately to $20,000, she might go out there and shop at more because now she’s like, “Kim and Ernie, that was too easy. They are willing to pay $20,000. No, I think I can get $25,000 now.” They start going out and shopping and don’t take your phone call. Eventually, they will find someone that pays $25,000 or $30,000. We have to negotiate.
Anyway, I offered her $18,000 and said, “That’s pretty much the best I can do for you.” I said, “It would be all cash, and the buyer would take care of the closing cost. You will net out $18,000 at closing.” She was thrilled to death. Right away, I drew up the contract and sent it to her for eSign. She did eSign it. We were advertising it for $30,000. When we brought Bo onboard, he said, “Why don’t you put it out there for $28,000?” I said, “That’s another quote we are going to take.” My dad always taught me about the real estate industry. If somebody wants $500,000 for their house, it’s better to put it at $499,900. It’s a mind thing.
It looks better than $500,000 to the buyer. Bo said no. He says, “I’m going to put it up there for $30,000.” Sure enough, that was it. The lady came in. While I was preparing the contract in front of her because I was handwriting this one, she asked me if the price was negotiable through the daughter because they were translating. I said, “What did you have in mind?”
The mother said, “Ask her if she will take $25,000.” I said, “No, $25,000 is too low.” I said, “To be honest with you, I’ve got a couple of other people who are interested. What is the highest you are willing to pay?” She thought about it for a minute and said, “$28,000.” I looked over at Bo, and he nodded his head. I said, “$28,000 it is.”
She did the same thing. She didn’t want you having seller’s remorse. It’s so smart. You sold it for $28,000 and added it under contract for $18,000. That was a $10,000 profit.
It’s $10,000, and we will split it up between the three of us.
Money is everywhere. You just got to know where to look.
That’s $10,000 on the first deal that you sent out. How much did it cost you to send out those 200 postcards?
It was $149. What I didn’t realize back in August 2021 is when I started putting my feelings out about this. We never finally took the step and said okay until this transaction and this set of postcards, which was a couple of months ago. I was given a $50 coupon that I never used until this past mailing because I happened to find it in my email. It wasn’t $149 and not very much time worth the work, although there were a lot of sleepless nights for me prior to bringing Bo onboard.
I remember those sleepless nights. Sometimes our partners or sellers become pillow buddies. I’ll let you do the math with that. That’s like we are thinking about them in the middle of the night. I’ve got a $50 credit for you now. You can use this website. Anybody reading this, head on over to TheLandSharks.com/crm.
You will get a fourteen-day free trial to this software, plus a $50 mail credit so you can go out there and start mailing as Ernie and Kim did. Go out there and start taking action. These guys are resourceful. They’re taking action and making mistakes. Sometimes our mistakes pay us huge money. Let me ask you, Ernie and Kim. How many letters are you sending?
We did another mailing and still only did 200. They went out Friday. So far, I’ve gotten 4 or 5 people who have contacted me. Nothing has transpired. A lot of these people bought at the height of the market in ’04, ’05, and ’06. There’s not too much I can do unless they are desperate.
Let me teach you a new technique now. If those sellers want a higher price, give them the price but you give them your terms. You want to pay principal-only payments. Principal-only payments take the balance down every single month. You go out there and find a buyer willing to pay a little bit more each month at an interest rate. Now you have that positive arbitrage.
I do that in my real estate business a lot with seller financing.
Guys, you read it, 200 postcards out taking action. At the end of the day, this all happens as Ernie said, “Figure out what your mentors are doing or the people you want to be like. Figure out what they know. Figure out what they are doing and take action. Go out there and take the steps and do it. Be resourceful.” Sometimes we’ve got a squat up or find other people to joint venture with. We always bring something to the table like Ernie, the smart engineer thinking at 3:00 AM. Kim out there running the title company or being a real estate agent, and then knowing people like Bo out there doing deals, going out there and hustling and driving out and meeting at the property.
When you first find something new, there’s always the question of, “Is it a scam? Is this real? Is this legit?” It is. It’s real. Figure out how to do it and learn as much as you can. If anybody is afraid or anything like that, just try it. I didn’t think it was a scam but it was always in the back of my mind. There’s no way that easy or simple. You just do this and this, and you can close a deal. It really is that simple. You got to take action. It’s not a scam. We are living proof. It can change somebody’s life.
It just gets easier. I’m doing a deal now with the developer. He brought a piece of land to us and got it under contract for around $4 million. We already have a letter of intent from a huge national builder for $12 million to buy it. I’m bringing some other investors now to raise funds for this deal because I don’t have $4 million sitting around. Maybe I can call the sweet lady from Lantana. They get easier and bigger. In my first deal, I bought it for $285,000 and sold it for $5,000. They get better and better. Guys, any parting words that you want to leave the Rhino Nation wholesaling audience before we go?
Take the chance. I sat on it for about five months before I took action and said, “Okay.” To be honest with you, I didn’t want to not say yes because he was going to do it anyway. I wanted to make sure that he was going to succeed. He was very intelligent.
I pressed it up. I would always tell her, “If you are not going to do it, I know how to do it. If you are not going to do it, I’m going to do it.” At the end of the day, if anybody is skeptical or thinks it’s a scam, it’s your life. Money is everywhere. You just got to know where to look. It’s never, “I can’t do it.” It’s, “How can I do it?” Take the time, learn, and invest in yourself. You might be able to change your life someday.
People think you need money to do it. The only money you need is that first set of letters or postcards. I’ve got a stack of postcards behind me about postcards with labels that are printed out but all I need to do is slap them on and put the stamps on board in another area that we are going to target. Instead of using the mail company, do it yourself. Spend $200. If you get one phone call, do it.
That’s the thing. Many people think that they need to spend their own money to start mailing. I guarantee you. There’s someone that knows, loves you, trusts you, and wants to see you succeed in your life like your niece, nephew, mother, brother-in-law, sister or father-in-law. They would probably help fund your mailers.
My wife and I used to sit in our basement at nighttime and write letters. We just got to do it. Guys, thank you so much for being on. God bless. I’m happy to see you succeed. I still remember that first phone call we had together. It makes my heart swell knowing you took action because many people don’t. Thank you so much for being on Rhino Nation and the show. We will see you in the next episode.
I hope you enjoyed that episode. If you yourself want to see if real estate is a good fit for you or maybe even land, head on over to WholesalingInc.com/land. Schedule a call with our team. We will see what your real estate investing goals are. If we feel like we are a great fit, I would be honored to coach you and get you the success that Kim, my father, and Ernie have had. Get out there and start mailing. Start taking some action. I gave you the link. That’s TheLandSharks.com/crm to get a $50 mail credit for free and a fourteen-day free trial to start using the service and getting your mail out the door right away.
- Be sure to join the Wholesaling Inc Facebook group
About Brent Bowers
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 inland investments.