What does it look like become a full-time real estate wholesaler right after leaving college? Lauren Hardy brings in someone who fits this description nicely. Hai Nguyen is a Rhino Tribe Member and Lauren’s Virtual Investing Mastery student. He’s applied what he’s learned in Lauren’s program and has now closed THREE of his biggest deals! In this episode, Hai shares how and why he got started in real estate wholesaling and what it’s like from being a total newbie to closing three deals. He gives one piece of advice for anyone who wants to take the route he also took and the lessons he learned three deals later. You surely don’t want to miss this episode!
Going All-in – Leaving College To Become A Full-Time Real Estate Wholesaler
We’re back with another jam-packed episode where we share the tips, tricks, and strategies you can immediately implement to start making money in real estate…RIGHT NOW!
I’ve got Hai Nguyen with me. It’s a funny coincidence that the Hai Nguyen that is here is not the Hai Nguyen that’s worked with me for six years. He is a Rhino Tribe Member. He’s one of my VIM students and he’s closed three virtual deals. We are going to talk about what is going through his head going from being a total newbie to closing three deals. What was it like being new? What has he gone through? What has he learned three deals later? Welcome to the show, Hai.
Thank you. It’s good to be here.
I am so glad that you are here because when I first spoke to you, I remember you are putting some pressure a little bit on me, not intentionally but you were like, “This has to work.” Why don’t you tell us what was going through your head when you first got started?
When I first got started, I took a semester off from college to figure this out. In me, I was always an entrepreneur. I always try to figure ways to make money to help my parents out. I dabble in Bitcoins. I dabble in dropshipping but none of those worked until I found real estate. Real estate has been around for a long time. There are multiple ways to make money from it. Being a college student, I don’t have much money, so wholesaling has to work. Luckily enough, it did work for me.
Tell me about college. You’re a college student. What college are you going to?
I am at the University of Illinois at Chicago. It’s almost downtown Chicago. I get to see the skyscraper every day going to school.
You were going to school for a little bit and you decided, “I don’t think this is for me?”
Going to college, I was majoring in biochemistry to be a dentist. That’s a lot of pressure. I felt like that wasn’t for me because I have my brothers to take care of and I want to retire my mom early. If I went through with all of that, I wouldn’t graduate until I’m 27 and that’s a long time. That was a lot of money just to go to college.
What did your parents think about you taking a semester off to pursue real estate?
An entrepreneur always finds ways to make money.
They were not happy at first but as soon as my first deal closed and they saw the wiring into my bank account, they’re like, “He got it. He knows what he’s doing.”
The hater only believes until they see the money. They’re like, “I always knew you’d be an entrepreneur.” All of a sudden, they change their tone. They’re like, “I totally knew you can do it.” That’s true. You took a big risk. I’m imagining from your relationship with your family, you were going to be a dentist. Was it ingrained in you that you are going to take that path of going to college? You’re going to either be a lawyer, a doctor or an engineer. Is that your thing?
That was very ingrained in me. They want me to succeed in life. Being a dentist or going to college is always the safe route for them. They never graduated high school or college themselves, so they think that going to college, getting a 9:00 to 5:00 job is the safest route.
When you have that mindset, it’s sometimes hard to break away from it. I understand. Your parents were probably a little afraid when you’re like, “I’m going to take a semester off.” You took a semester off and then we met right about at that time.
No. I took a semester off starting September of 2020 and then I joined the course in January 2021.
What were you doing from September 2020 to January 2021?
I was trying to figure it out. I was stuck in analysis paralysis. I was studying at YouTube University. I bought these smaller courses that teach me the basics of wholesaling but nothing instructional like Wholesaling Inc.
You started with that. You’re doing YouTube University. A lot of people go down that road. You finally got the courage to sign up for my coaching program. What were you most afraid of when you signed up for a larger coaching program?
I was scared on the budgeting side but luckily, there’s a payment plan for it. It helped a lot. Being a college student working a part-time job helped with the payment.
I imagined it was going through your head, “Am I going to make this back?” Every coaching program I have ever purchased, that’s the first thing that comes to my head. Take me through it. You got started. What happened next after January 2021 when you join the tribe?
I started pulling lists from one of the lists polling sites PropStream. I was pulling lists, give trades. At first, I was straight-up cold calling because I didn’t understand the SMS text message. I was cold calling on the Batch Dialer. When they first came out, I was the test trial. The price was a lot cheaper than other competitors because I was one of their earlier members. I cold call almost every day around 5:00 to roughly 7:00 because I had a part-time job also. I came home and cold call. There were a lot of people cussing me out and say no. It played a big role in my mental health. It’s sad.
It’s hard. Cold calling isn’t easy. You have to have thick skin to do it. That’s interesting you bring up your mental health. You’re cold calling and people are cussing you. What did you notice after a long day?
I feel down almost every day. Sometimes it will be yes. That’s my happiest moment but they would want prices over what the market price is. That turned me down a little bit more. Over time, I started building thick skin. I got used to it. All these noes will come to a yes eventually. I kept at it and then I got my deals.
I’m going to tell you and anybody that’s reading a little secret about myself. I hate rejection. Cold calling was not for me. I always knew that I would not be the person cold calling. I also hated making offers to sellers because I hated that rejection. I hated the feeling I felt. There’s a saying, if your offer does not embarrass you a little bit as it’s coming in your mouth, you offer it too high. Everything embarrassed me and I hated that feeling. I loathed it. It was tough to get that thick skin for me. It’s hard for me. My first goal was to scale so I didn’t have to do the parts of the business that I hated and I got there.
I got there eventually. I blocked all the negativity out. I know what I’m doing for. I have my why, which is to retire my parents as soon as possible and starting my real estate journey.
What an honorable why, I’ve got to say. You are very selfless. Most people, why are some self-serving why but you’re thinking about your parents. You’re getting beat up on the phone but eventually, you’re now three deals in. You’ve got three closings. Do you mind sharing anything about those deals? Any tips that you can give on how you got them?
You have your own life, just stick with it, put in the hard work and just believe in it.
One of the deals I got, which is my biggest one was all three houses for one deal. It was a follow-up lead. I called this guy before I joined the course. I had the number saved as his son, who’s also a junior. His name is Junior. I didn’t know that. I kept following up until one day I went to my system and tried to call all the numbers and the actual owner picked up. He’s like, “That’s my son. He lives in all the way in Britain.” I was surprised. I started building rapport, which is a big thing in our course. You emphasized building rapport a lot. At first, his price was crazy. It was way up there.
Off the top of your head, what did he want at first for those three houses?
It was a super beat-up house. There were these teenagers doing drugs in there. He had the agreement for $30,000 with someone else. I told him, “I would love to make you a backup offer if anything worked out.” I called him again two weeks later. He said, “I didn’t want to deal with this guy because he was out of state, which is in Maryland.” The guy who gave him the offer was virtual also but I had a guy in Louisville, a JV partner. That’s how it worked. I asked him, “Do you have any other property you might consider as a package?” He started giving me all these other houses that have been vacant for years that he never thought about. We gave him a price range, unlike the other buyer’s range. We give him the range. He’s like, “That’s reasonable.” I gave him the address. He gave me all three houses.
What do you remember your contract price?
It was $60,000.
Let’s back up. I love giving a piece of practical advice in every episode. I’m going to catch you for were explaining something that you can all take away. What Hai did is he supported his narrative of pricing. He gives a price range. He gets that price range based on the comparable sales in the neighborhood that other investors purchase. He looks for cash sales. He looks for purchases that look to be investor purchases. He gets maybe 2 or 3 addresses so he could then quote them and say, “Mr. Seller, we’ve got 123 Main Street and that’s sold for X price by another investor.” The more that you can support your narrative, the better you sound to the seller. You’re doing like, “Don’t shoot the messenger. Other investors are paying it. It’s not my fault that this owner sold their house that low.”
As they did, that’s the pricing in this neighborhood. The more that you can do that, you can bring a seller down in price. It’s insane. I’ve had sellers at first say crazy prices. You show them the comps of what other investors are saying. They’re like, “Okay, fine.” A practical tip is, do not ever not make an offer or not follow up with the seller because you are overpriced. The seller needs to get educated. They need to think about it and sit on it. Eventually, they come to terms if they’re motivated enough or if they really want to sell. You did that. You follow the instructions. You did what you needed to do. You locked it up. What did you sell it for?
It was a hard disposition. The first one that I and the seller talked about, no one wanted that house because it was so beat up. It’s hard to package 3 for 1. Most people want the other two good houses. We’ve promised the seller that we’ll take care of all three. We found a buyer that would take all three of them for $82,000 but they didn’t want the first beat-up house. We agree with the seller, “We’ll help you out. We’ll give you an extra $5,000 to help you pay it all off.” We took it a little bit less but everyone won.
Sometimes people count houses as deals. They might have counted that as three deals in one. However you want to do it, you’re more humble. You’re like, “That was one deal.” That’s cool. It is a good idea to ask every seller, “Do you have any other houses?” People forget to do that. Sellers don’t realize that you’re buying multiple. They think you’re talking about one. That’s amazing. I’m very proud of you, Hai. You had a lot riding on this. Is there any advice that you can give to somebody who maybe has zero deals, just getting started and maybe they’re on YouTube University?
The biggest thing I picked up from our coaching calls was the squirrel versus elephant deals. That stuck with me because as a young person on social media, all the time I see all these people getting 50, 20 of these big deals. These are rare occasions and it’s not realistic. You’re not going to get it consistently. I would say, don’t compare yourself with others because you’re on a different journey and path. You have your own life. Stick with it. Put in the hard work and believe in it.
I wouldn’t have thought that is what would be your big takeaway from some of the things that I’ve said. You bring up psychology a lot. You brought up your mental health. We don’t talk about that enough. I don’t feel like this is something that real estate influencers are vulnerable and candid enough but I definitely had this same inferiority complex when I would jump on social media. I would see someone who is maybe one of my peers or someone who just started and they’re super braggadocious on social media. They are posting their checks and talking about how good they are. It would get me down because I would go, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I not posting these $20,000, $100,000, $80,000 deals?”
I learned through time that usually, those people aren’t showing you the full picture. They’re not doing including that they only did that in that whole year. They’re not showing that it took $70,000 in marketing to get the $80,000 deal they got. They’re not showing everything. It’s almost better to block out that noise and focus on yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back for the habits that you take every day that are going to eventually get you to where you want to go. If you make the cold calls for the amount of time that you set out to do, pat yourself on the back.
Give yourself praise for the actions you’re taking and the results will come. Don’t get on social media and start comparing yourself. I do it too with influencers because now I’m in that world. I’m getting on Instagram and all I see is real estate influencers because Instagram has the algorithm now. It gives me anxiety. I see work all the time. I’m like, “I’m not working enough,” because I saw someone posted three times a day and I only posted one. It will drive you crazy. It’s cool that you’re bringing up some more mental and emotional stuff. We all go through it but nobody talks about it.
It doesn’t sell. It doesn’t give them the followers that they would want if they started talking about their mental health. People want to see those big check, big fancy cars.
When you go on YouTube and you look at people’s videos in the thumbnail, which has the title over it, it’s usually a bright color. The thumbnails that have some large dollar figure in that top title are the highest viewed on all my channels. It’s ridiculous. People are attracted to like, “He made $50,000. Click.” Nobody would be into like, “He admits he struggled with his mental health while cold calling.” That thumbnail won’t sell. It doesn’t get the clicks. That’s social media. We want to live in fantasyland but I’m all about being real and being honest. We offer through all good from that.
Don’t compare yourself with others because you’re on a different journey.
The squirrel versus elephant concept is a little analogy I throw out, where squirrel deals are the smaller ones but you’re more of a volume person. Maybe your wholesales are $10,000 on average or less but you do more of them. The elephant hunters, I call them, are the ones that are usually in the bigger cities, the higher price areas like SoCal. They are the larger techs. The $50,000 plus are the elephant hunters, I call them. You need to decide upfront before you pick your market, whether you want to be a squirrel hunter or an elephant hunter.
I am a squirrel hunter and I am fine with that. I used to be an elephant hunter. My first go at real estate was SoCal. These deals were $50,000 or more and I could not sleep at night. I was in the most anxious state of being in my entire life for probably 3, 4 years when all I relied on was Southern California. It wasn’t until I went virtual and I started squirrel hunting on this side that then I could handle elephant hunting. Ask yourself whether you’re a squirrel hunter or elephant hunter. Do you have a lot of responsibility financially? I had two kids. I have to support my kids. I’m a single mom. I have to support myself and my kids.
Waiting four months for a $50,000, $60,000 check to hopefully hit is going to put me in a state of anxiety for those four months. If you have to support or help support your family, squirrel hunting might be where you are. You’re getting regular checks at a more regular pace. Honestly, at the end of the day, they equal out. Just because you’re an elephant hunter doesn’t mean you’re making more money than the squirrel hunter. It’s more getting a little drip-feed. Checks drip feed it to you versus all at once. I like that you brought that up. Hai, thank you so much for coming and sharing. A lot of people will relate to your story. If anybody wants to get ahold of you, are you on Instagram or anything?
I’m on it but I don’t talk about real estate on it.
Can people email you or anything?
If they want to reach out to my email, it’s HaiBuysHouses@gmail.com.
Hai, thank you so much for coming. Thank you so much for reading. If you are interested in taking your real estate wholesaling business virtual, check out my coaching program at www.VirtualInvestingMastery.com. You can join Hai and me. We have a great group. Thank you so much for reading. We will see you next time.
About Lauren Hardy
LaurenHardy is aVirtual Investing expert and Real Estate influencer who owns multiple companies in the real estate industry including real estate investment, coaching, and softwarecompanies. She is also a Wholesaling Inc coach and co-hostof the Wholesaling Inc Podcast.Her experience in the last decade has been focused on real estate investing and creating products and services to serve the real estate investing community.If you are interested in investing in real estate virtually, house flipping, or virtual landlording, Lauren’s your girl.