Another addition of Follow Along Friday for you today. Once again, Joe is sharing three things he learned from interviewing the Best Ever Guests from the podcast interviews last week. These three lessons today are from Logan Freeman (https://www.livefreeinvestments.com/), Caroline Carter (https://carolinecarter.com/), and H.J. Chammas (https://www.employeemillionaire.com/). If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
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“I’ve had no bad deals, but I have lost money through bad habits and practices” – H.J. Chammas
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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast, where we only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff.
We’ve got Theo Hicks with us… How are you doing, Theo?
Theo Hicks: I am doing great, Joe. How are you doing today?
Joe Fairless: I’m doing well, and looking forward to this. Follow Along Friday – today it’s gonna be a recap of just three of the lessons I took away from last week’s conversations with interview guests. These interviews will be aired on a future date, probably in about three or so months, so here’s a sneak peek of some things that you’ll be learning about.
First lesson – this comes from Logan Freeman. He’s a real estate investor, developer, he’s an agent… He completed over 120 transactions in less than one year, based in Kansas City, Missouri. That’s what I wanted to hone in on, because that’s a whole lot of transactions in a short amount of time… And he partnered up with someone who had more experience, and that person showed him the ropes… But one thing that Logan told me during the interview is they looked at 650 homes during that year, and made offers on about 450 of them… And clearly, when you’re making offers on 450 homes in that period of time – or really in life, but in this case it was over 12 months – there’s gotta be some efficiencies and some tips that he could share, that would help us during the process if we’re making offers on homes, because they’re doing it at a higher volume; so what did they learn, and what did he learn in particular?
One thing that he mentioned — he mentioned a lot of things, very helpful things, but one thing in particular, he said he would always call the listing agent. He found that when he called the listing agent prior to submitting the offer and built rapport with that listing agent, he would get those homes more often than the ones where he was not calling the listing agent, and be it a similar offer, but the only variable was the phone call. He said what he realized is that the listing agents have a lot more pull than what we give them credit for… And just that one phone call and talking to the agent about why you’re offering what you’re offering and establishing a connection with them would allow them to get more deals, and allow them to get really good deals as a result of building that rapport.
So there’s a tip for anyone who’s making an offer on a house or a property… Call the listing agent first, or have your agent call the listing agent first, whatever is the most appropriate thing, talk them through why you’re offering what you’re offering, attempt to build rapport with the listing agent, and you’ll at minimum be where you started, so you don’t lose anything; at most, you’re going to give yourself a competitive advantage and build rapport – or your agent will build rapport with them – and you’ll have a higher likelihood of getting your offer accepted at the price that you want, with the terms that you want.
Theo Hicks: Yeah, I’d imagine this kind of strategy would obviously work for any type of deal you’re buying, but I’m sure Logan might be looking at residential single-family homes, just because as you mentioned, the listing agent does have some sway over the seller, just because they’re supposed to be the expert, whereas this person selling it – it might just be their personal residence and they don’t know anything about what the value should be, what they should ask for from the buyer, things like that. So yeah, if you call them up, not only will you build rapport, not only will you might be able to get additional information about why they are listing it for that price, but you might also by explaining your offer to this listing agent – they might be able to present that to the buyer, and it might actually be the buyer who’s not necessarily changing their mind, but wanting to go with you over someone else. I don’t know specifically why, but in my mind that’s what I’m thinking makes sense.
Joe Fairless: I can tell you, when I’ve purchased a property (a single-family home) and I knew some people who the seller knew, I wrote a letter to the seller and I name-dropped the people that we both know, and just made some inside references, inside jokes about the person, because the person we both know was kind of a goofball… And I mentioned that, plus why we’re looking to buy the property etc. and they said — not directly to me, but they said to someone else who we both know, they said “That was the main reason why we’re able to get it at the price we get it at.” We still paid a fair price, but it was a very competitive situation, and they said that the letter and the correspondence is really what stood out and allowed us to get that deal.
Theo Hicks: Yeah… I’m kind of going through that right now; I just thought of this as well, as you’ve mentioned the letter… By you doing that, the person that’s selling the property is gonna trust you more; at the end of the day, when you’re selling a property, your main concern is actually closing. You can get the best offer ever, at $100,000 above the second-best offer, but then they don’t close and you’re back to square one, maybe you lost that initial second offer and [unintelligible [00:06:04].26] even lower… So by sending a letter, or by calling up the agent and actually putting a face or a voice to that offer, you’re building more trust, and they’re gonna trust that you’re gonna be able to close, as opposed to someone that just sends in an offer and doesn’t necessarily do anything else above that.
Joe Fairless: I agree. Alright, Caroline Carter – she’s the founder and CEO of Done In a Day. She’s helped more than 2,000 prepare their houses for sale, for top dollar, and avoid the chaos and stress of moving. Based in DC. She gives us five tips for how to appeal to today’s buyer. So when we’re selling a property, primarily 1-4 units we’re talking, here are five tips to appeal to today’s buyer. And before I get into those five tips, let’s talk about her approach.
Her approach is to think of our house as a marketable product that we have to package and sell. It’s not our home, it’s not about us, it’s about the buyer, and this is now their prospective home. So first think of it that way, and then think about “How do we market and package this product so that it appeals to the buyer?” That’s the thought process going into it, and now here are five tactical things you can do to appeal to today’s buyer.
One, neutralize the walls. She goes into all of this in detail during our conversation. One, neutralize the walls. Two, declutter, and making mindful decisions about what you own and what you don’t wanna own anymore, what you wanna give away… Because when you’re selling your property, then it’s much easier because you have less stuff whenever you’re moving into the new property.
Three is make fast, easy and inexpensive updates. She gives some specific examples. Upgrade hardware on cabinets… She said you can resurface appliances… There’s a sheet metal cut you can put on appliances to make it look stainless steel, so you can simply refinish appliances.
Three, have white stuff all over, like white bedding, white towels, make the room look nice and clean and airy.
Four, you want to make sure that you guide the buyer’s visual tour. As you’re going through the home prior to listing it, make sure you know what is the likely path they’re gonna go through your house, and be intentional about what you’re putting there. For example, not having pictures of your family, and instead having things that really highlight the features of the home. I know that tip isn’t as specific; she gets in more details during the conversation, and it’s not my personal strength having that fine touch… So hire someone who does have that fine touch, or find someone who does have that fine touch.
So that’s five – neutralize the walls, declutter, fast, easy, quick expenses (3), white bedding (4) and guide the buyer’s visual tour (5). And just a bonus thing – in the backyard make sure that you look as closely to the exterior as you look at the interior, because the exterior is gonna be the first impression, especially in the backyard, to make sure you’ve got nice, colorful flowers, things like that. So those are five tips, plus a bonus tip for appealing to today’s buyer.
I liked her stuff so much I bought her book. If you search on Amazon you’ll find her book, Caroline M. Carter, and her website is carolinecarter.com. I don’t have her book title in front of me, it’s downstairs – because it already arrived – but she gives some really good tips if you’re looking to sell a home.
Theo Hicks: When you said neutralize the walls, it reminds me – whenever I go home for a weekend, HDTV is always on at my parents’ house… I understand that those shows aren’t real, but they’re kind of real in a sense, and one of the consistent themes you’ll see when they walk in a new house – they’ll see really ugly color walls, and that will be something that goes in their decision of not buying the property, even though [unintelligible [00:10:12].22] but it’s like, they see it and they’re instantly turned out from the house itself. [unintelligible [00:10:17].08] it’s very true.
Joe Fairless: Yeah.
Theo Hicks: Neutral color for all of your walls. No pink, purple, crazy blues, crazy greens, things like that.
Joe Fairless: A $1,000 fix if you pay someone influences if they purchase a 300k, 500k, 700k, $1m dollar home. That’s insanity, but that’s just how it is.
Theo Hicks: It kind of goes back to the fact that people make their decisions off of emotions, not based on stone-cold facts, like “Oh, this is just $1,000.” No. You go in there and if you don’t feel right in that ugly room, you’re not gonna want to buy the house.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, it’s true. And the last tip – and such a powerful mindset tip… This is from H.J. [unintelligible [00:11:00].14] He invests all over the world. Based in Dubai, he’s got property in Asia, Europe, Dubai… He’s got two or three properties in five or six countries. I’m like “Why do you do that?” and then he talks about his thought process and why he does it.
I asked him about a bad deal that he’s done, or a deal that hasn’t gone right, and here’s what he said – this is what’s so powerful… He says “I’ve had no bad deals. But I’ve lost money through bad habits and practices.” Just powerful. Because any deal can be a good deal if approached the right way, if purchased the right way, if having the right terms, if executed properly, if getting the right financing in place, if having the right team… It’s not about the deal itself; the property is the property. It’s how you approach that transaction.
I love this thought process, because it’s really taking ownership of what we do. It’s not the deal that went wrong, it’s us that went wrong.
So he said “I’ve had no bad deals, but I’ve lost money through bad habits and practices.” I love it because it puts the ownership on us, and on us to get better. Jim Rohn talks about “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.” That’s in line with this. So really focusing on our habits and practices that put us in a position to be successful, or unsuccessful, based on what those habits and practices are… Because my worst deal could be someone’s best ever deal, because they approached it much better, with better practices and habits, and I approached it vice versa.
Theo Hicks: Yeah, I 100% agree with this concept. I haven’t talked about it yet, and I won’t go into a lot of details – I still haven’t closed on my properties yet, but it was kind of the same thing. Whenever I made the decision to sell them, I didn’t necessarily lose money, but I didn’t make as much money as I wanted to, and I was like “Oh, whose fault was that? Is it the person I bought it from, who misled me on certain things? Is it my management company’s fault? Is it my real estate agent’s fault?”, blaming other people, whereas in reality, even if you can say that “Oh, the property management company made mistakes”, well, it’s my fault for allowing that to happen, or it’s my fault for being misled, or it’s my fault for whatever other excuse I make.
So you can really apply this to anything… Even if someone did something wrong to you, there’s still always a way to figure out what you did incorrectly, what you missed, what you didn’t see, what you failed to do, because at the end of the day you can’t really control what your management company is going to do; you can just control who you pick and how you manage them. And even if they are the worst property management company in the world, it was your fault for not changing them faster. I’m not saying that’s the case on my deal, I’m just using that as an example.
Joe Fairless: Yeah. I love it. When we take ownership over things, then we’ll be more successful financially certainly, because we’re not concerned about other variables we can’t control, we’re just concerned about ourselves and improving ourselves incrementally every day. I love it.
Theo Hicks: Yeah. There’s a book — I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve listened to the author’s podcasts, and I’ve heard him on other podcasts; I’m sure you’ve heard of this guy before, his name is Jocko Willink…
Joe Fairless: Oh, yeah. The Navy SEAL.
Theo Hicks: His book is called Extreme Ownership. The dude gets up at like four o’clock in the morning and just gets after it in the gym… That’s kind of his entire philosophy as well – take ownership for everything. It’s all on you, it’s on no one else.
Joe Fairless: Yup. Cool. Good stuff.
Theo Hicks: Those are some solid lessons.
Joe Fairless: By the way, last week we closed on two deals.
Theo Hicks: There you go.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, we’ll celebrate that… But more importantly, we’ll celebrate that we have a lot of returning investors in those two deals, and they’ve seen the results that we’ve generated, and we’re continuing to get word of mouth referrals from those investors, which is the highest compliment we could get… So we’re grateful — for everyone listening who is in those deals, we’re grateful to be partnering up with you on them, and looking forward to successful projects together.
Theo Hicks: Absolutely. It’s your first deal in Florida as well.
Joe Fairless: Yup.
Theo Hicks: You guys followed me down here.
Joe Fairless: Yup.
Theo Hicks: Alright, so moving on to the trivia questions. This is the month of the wacky real estate laws… This is the last week of that. I’m not sure what we’ll do next month, but it’ll be some other category. So our last week’s question was what North-Eastern state has a law that states you aren’t allowed to build a fence that is taller than six feet?
Joe used his deductive reasoning and picked Rhode Island, and he was correct.
Joe Fairless: Awesome!
Theo Hicks: In Rhode Island you’re not allowed to have a fence taller than six feet. I think the other state that has a law for how high fences can go — I think it was California, and they can’t be over ten feet.
This week’s question – again, this is the last wacky real estate law trivia question… What Western state — again, I’ve gotta get more geographically specific; I can’t just do all 50 states… So what Western(ish) state has a law that has a restriction on keeping upholstered chairs, couches and mattresses in the yard or front porch? In other words, it’s not manufactured for outdoor use. I’m gonna give you an extra hint; the reason is because in this particular city a lot of people are known — it’s a party city, and a lot of people were burning their furniture and mattresses and stuff in their front yard, so they implemented this law in order to minimize that.
Joe Fairless: So are you looking for a city or a state?
Theo Hicks: It’s gonna be a state.
Joe Fairless: Okay, but it’s only about a particular city?
Theo Hicks: Within that state, yeah.
Joe Fairless: Okay, so in the whole state you can’t have that because of a particular city within the state?
Theo Hicks: Yeah.
Joe Fairless: Got it. Well, I know this isn’t West, but in West Virginia, Morgantown, they burn couches all the time whenever good things happen… But you said it was in the West.
Theo Hicks: Yes.
Joe Fairless: I don’t know… Utah. I don’t know why. No deductive reasoning there. Just a random guess.
Theo Hicks: [laughs] Alright. Well, everyone else put their random guess either in the YouTube comments, or you can e-mail info@JoeFairless.com. The first person to get the correct state will get a free copy of our first book.
And then lastly, we’re changing up how we conclude these episodes. Rather than doing the review of the week, we are going to do the free apartment syndication resource of the week. So if you haven’t already, check out our Syndication School series; we release two episodes every Wednesday and Thursday, focused on a specific aspect of the apartment syndication investment strategy… And for most of these episodes we give away some sort of free resource/document/spreadsheet or template, and all that can be found at SyndicationSchool.com. We’re gonna start mentioning each week a free resource that is available on there, and then we’re gonna put that free resource in the show notes of this episode.
This week’s free document is going to be our Master the Lingo document. This was all the way back in series number two, where we discussed the two requirements before you’re ready to become a syndicator, and one of those was education… So if you bought our syndication book — obviously this free Master the Lingo document is not as detailed as that, because it’s not 450 pages long, but this is going to be not only a glossary that defines all of the important terminology and concepts and return factors for syndications, but we also go through a lot of examples; there’s also data tables, graphs, so you can visually see what these are. So that’s the Master the Lingo document, and you can download that by just clicking the link in the show notes, or you can go back and listen to the episodes 1499 and 1500, where we went over the Master the Lingo document.
Joe Fairless: Wonderful. What a gift… And Best Ever listeners, I enjoyed our conversation, and I hope you got a lot of value from it. We will talk to you tomorrow.