Dwan started as a broke, single mom who had been fired from Denny’s. She now heads up “investors Edge University” – A company that specializes in training new and seasoned investors in a wide range of real estate investing techniques through live workshops, weekly webinars, a member site, coaching, and seminars.
Dwan Bent-Twyford Real Estate Background:
- Full-time real estate investor who started out as a broke, single mom who had been fired from Denny’s
- Manages “Investors Edge University”
- Portfolio consists of over 2,000 flips
- Based in Denver, CO
- Say hi to her at: www.dwanderful.com
- Best Ever Book: Real estate podcasts
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Best Ever Tweet:
“Stop over-preparing, and just go for it” – Dwan Bent Twyford
Theo Hicks: Hello, Best Ever listeners, and welcome to the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show. I’m Theo Hicks and today we’ll be speaking with Dwan Bent Twyford.
Dwan, how are you doing today?
Dwan Bent Twyford: I’m doing so good. I’m excited to be here.
Theo Hicks: Well, we’re very excited to have you. Thanks for joining us. Looking forward to our conversation. A little bit about Dwan’s background—she’s a full-time real estate investor who started out as a broke single mom, who had been fired from Denny’s. She manages Investors Edge University and has done over 2,000 flips. Based in Denver, Colorado, and you can say hi to her at her website, dwanderful.com, which I had said before we began, amazing website title.
So, Dwan, do you mind telling us some more about your background and what you’re focused on today?
Dwan Bent Twyford: Well, I really started off really truly as a broke single mom. I got married, and when my daughter was only eight months old, just eight months old, her dad and I had an unexpected split, and I was sort of faced with that decision. “Do I go back to work? Do I try to do something for myself?” What was my thing that catapulted me. And I always tell people – because so many people that listen on your podcast, they’re looking for real estate investing. I was just specifically looking for any job I could do from home and raise my daughter. And as I went searching, real estate investing found me. And I rehabbed my first house. I used to move in, rehab them while I was living there, sell them, move, sell them, move, and that’s how I did it for years and years and years.
Then I started flipping houses, which completely changed my life. And then as things progressed, people started having me teach, and start doing workshops and seminars and writing books, and then here we are today, I’m still doing deals, and podcasting myself, and just trying to educate. My whole goal is teach, teach, teach, teach, teach. Because I tell everyone, “Listen, if a broke single mom like me with no education, no nothing, could literally have been fired from 15 jobs ahead of that, can become a millionaire real estate investor, everyone can do it.”
Theo Hicks: Absolutely. So I want ask a question about the live-in fix and flips. So would you buy them all cash, or would you do the owner-occupied type of loan?
Dwan Bent Twyford: Oh, Lord, let me tell you… [laughs] Now, you have to remember — I mean, you don’t know this. So when I first, first, first started, this was like 30 years ago. So back in those days, and I know people are going to be like, “What? She’s that old?” Any kind of job, any kind of anything, everything was in the classified section of the newspaper. So I was looking in the papers, and going to all these meetings and jobs, and a lot of it was multi-level marketing and things like that. So I happened to meet some people at one of these, and they were investors and they said, “Well, we fix up houses then resell them.” So in my naive mind, I thought, “Wow, I could decorate houses for a living. I love to decorate. This is going to be so easy.” So I had no technology. I would drive to the courthouse, I would handwrite all the foreclosures, use those big city map books, take my child and go door-knocking with a baby on my hip, looking for deals.
Once I found my first deal, I had no idea what to do. I had no experience, I had no real estate license… I literally made a deal with this woman – a deal on a handshake and a hug; that was kind of it – I would move in, because I couldn’t afford to live here and do this. I’ll rehab this house, and when it it’s all done, we split the profit on it. And I did it 100% using credit cards; I lived on full credit cards. I made $22,000 on my first deal, which at that time—$22,000 is a lot of money now, but 30 years ago, that was the largest amount of money I’d ever seen in my entire life.
So my first few deals – I would knock on doors, find the homeowners, and they would move out and I would move in and fix it… And we would just make deals. And I look back, I’m thinking, “Oh my god, what was I thinking?” I would never let one of my students do that now. So I didn’t even have my deals really papered up. It was really by the grace of God that they all worked out; nobody ever sued me, or tried to keep the house, or didn’t want to follow through on it.
So I then started wholesaling, because it was getting harder to find deals, and moving in and out… I was not exposed to hard money lenders yet. We still didn’t even have a RIA in South Florida, so I didn’t have any resources. So I discovered wholesaling, so I started finding and flipping them, finding them and flipping them. So my first few deals, I really worked the deal out with the homeowner, which I would totally not recommend any person doing it that way. If my students did a deal like that and didn’t pay for that thing with debt, I would murder them.
Theo Hicks: Yeah.
Dwan Bent Twyford: It is crazy how I started off.
Theo Hicks: So while you were fixing up the houses that you were living in, at the same time you were still door-knocking, finding more deals and then—
Dwan Bent Twyford: Finding the next one.
Theo Hicks: But the ones you couldn’t do, then you would wholesale those.
Dwan Bent Twyford: Yes. So the first three years, I strictly moved in, rehabbed myself, I fixed them up myself, sold it, moved to the next one. I did that until my daughter got into kindergarten, and I thought, “Okay, I can’t keep moving around now,” and then I actually discovered wholesaling, because a REIA group had started. I heard people talking about flipping houses and I thought, “Well, I do know how to find them. I know a lot of people now, so I’m just going to find them and flip them.” So at that point, I jumped into wholesaling.
And you know, my first year, Theo, I wholesaled 75 houses my first year, because I was a working machine. I was living in these houses, I’m working like day and night, day and night, trying to get them rehabbed. For about the first three years, I just moved and fixed , moved and fixed, and then started wholesaling like a crazy woman. And then, when I would rehab after that, I started using hard money lenders. So I would rehab one, flip a few, rehab one flip a few, and kind of did both simultaneously for even still today.
Theo Hicks: When you say flip a few, you mean wholesale, right? You’d flip the contract.
Dwan Bent Twyford: Wholesale. Yeah, I would wholesale.
Theo Hicks: That’s why I was confused for a second Okay, got it.
Dwan Bent Twyford: I like the word wholesale, too. By the way, all these TV shows have everybody talking about flipping. I feel like a lot of people don’t understand wholesaling anymore, but I still to this today – we rehab a few, and we flip as many as we can still today, because I love wholesaling.
Theo Hicks: So when you originally were looking for deals, you were doing door knocking. How are you finding deals now, and how are you obviously teaching clients how to find deals? What’s the best way right now in 2020 to find deals?
Dwan Bent Twyford: Right now this sounds like a super old-fashioned way, but I still to this day put out those bandit signs. So we find those “I buy houses cash” signs, I buy those, and what I started doing about five years ago is as I would be out sort of driving for dollars, I would see all these vacant properties. Because as you know, once the house is vacant and the bank takes it to foreclosure, that house sits vacant for about two years. And so I started putting my bandit signs in the yards of all these vacant houses. So it’s not on the street corner, it’s not on the telephone pole, it’s not littering and not trespassing; you just stick them in the yards of vacant houses. And then in any given neighborhood, you put a sign in every vacant house that there is, and everyone suddenly thinks you bought the entire neighborhood, and now you’re the go-to person. And people will call you and call you and call you and call you. So even though it’s 2020, I still like to go put signs in the yards of vacant houses. It’s quick, I can get 50 signs out in a couple of hours, and they’ll work for me for months.
Theo Hicks: What’s the message on the bandit signs?
Dwan Bent Twyford: I have a couple. One is obviously just “Cash for your house.” I have one also says “Facing Foreclosure? No equity? No problem”, because a lot of people don’t have equity and we like to take subject to’s. And then I also have some that say, “Owner Financing, No Money Down”, because a lot of the houses that I find, I have people deed their properties to me as a subject to, and then I owner finance them back out, [unintelligible [00:11:20].09] turning them into rentals. I have a lot of owner finance deals going on all the time.
Theo Hicks: I was talking to someone the other day that does the same thing, and that’s a super fascinating strategy.
Dwan Bent Twyford: So good. I tell you what, you can make so much money, so, so, so much money owner financing deals, and especially – -just any market, because there’s so many people that had a bad thing or had some bad credit or has something and the banks don’t want to lend them any money. But whatever that was, they’ve fixed it and resolved it and they’re working, and they really want to own a house again. So owner financing is one of our top ways that we make money.
Theo Hicks: So you buy the house and then sell owner financing, or you buy a house with seller financing and then seller-finance it to someone else?
Dwan Bent Twyford: Yeah, the homeowner deeds it to us, and then we have the deed, the power of attorney, we put it in a Land Trust, we do all those things like that, with the homeowner knowing that we’re going to do that; they sign [unintelligible [00:12:11].25] on that deal and then we let them know that in somewhere in the next 5-7 years, we will get that house refinanced. So their name comes off of it, so they’re free to buy something else later.
So I find a homeowner in distress, they deed the house to me, and then I find a person out there that wants to own a house and I owner-finance it to them. So I basically become the bank; they pay me, I pay the bank. And then we give them five or six or seven years to fix their credit or whatever they need to do, so that they can actually turn around. They don’t purchase at that point, they actually just do a simple refinance on it.
So I get it from the homeowner, I find a new homeowner, I finance it for them, and the homeowner, if they are on the mortgage, I have the deed, I have the ownership and I offer it back out over here as owner financing.
So this person over here has to come up with a down payment, [unintelligible [00:13:03].26] have a good credit, and as they’re making the payments on this owner financing, after a few years they’re able to actually just do a refi, which is easier to qualify for than a brand new purchase. So it creates a win-win for all three of us, because this homeowner that deeded the house to me, every month that goes by and the payment is being made, it’s helping reestablish their credit from all those late payments that they had. I’ve got this house and I’m in the middle, and I have the money, and it’s coming in, and I’m paying everything.. But this person over here is also reestablishing their credit, so they can refinance and own the home outright.
Theo Hicks: As I would imagine, it can be a really good strategy now with the COVID things going on for sure. Maybe you’re able to do even more.
Dwan Bent Twyford: People are literally like, “Here, take my deed, take my house. I’m moving back in with family.” I have people that are inundated with homeowners that are just giving them the houses and walking away.
Theo Hicks: I was talking to someone yesterday too, who does the exact same strategy with actual restaurants and stuff.
Dwan Bent Twyford: Yeah.
Theo Hicks: So it’s definitely a super fascinating strategy. Another question I have is obviously you teach people, and you have different mastermind groups and consulting. How are you doing this now that you can’t actually go and do it in person? Is it just all virtual and are you finding it’s more difficult to do the things over the internet than in person, or was it a pretty smooth transition?
Dwan Bent Twyford: So it hasn’t changed a lot for me, as we do a lot of live workshops for the REIA groups around the country. So obviously, there’s no workshops at all right now, because hotels aren’t letting anyone book the ballrooms and things, but our teaching and our strategies have always been online. But if you are one of my apprentice students, I would talk with you, work with you, with your paperwork, tell you all the things to find a deal. I would help you work with the homeowner, work with the bank on short sales, or whatever. So we partner with people, we split deals with them and such. So none of that has changed for us. We’ve been doing that for 10 years.
Theo Hicks: All right, Dwan, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?
Dwan Bent Twyford: Honest to God, I know it’s going to sound really, really simple… I’ve been teaching workshops now for over 20 years. I find the biggest thing I find when I’m talking to people in the audience face to face is they say, “Well, I need to take one more real estate course. I need to learn this. I need to learn that,” and they keep using the excuse, “I need more education” before they’ll jump in and do their first deal. And I feel like people need to get past that fear and get past thinking that they might not know what to do, and they need to just jump in, and have someone like me that guides them along so they don’t make a bunch of dumb mistakes, and stop overpreparing. Because people get stuck in this, “I have to have an LLC, I have to have this. I have to have that. I have to have 10 more hours of training. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. I’m not ready.” So I think people need to “Stop.Doing.That,” and just go for it. I would knock on doors with a baby hanging on my hip, with no knowledge whatsoever, and I was able to make it. So if I can do it, they can certainly do it.
Theo Hicks: Alright, Dwan, are you ready for the best ever lightning round?
Dwan Bent Twyford: Oh, I am.
Theo Hicks: Okay.
Theo Hicks: Okay, Dwan, what is the best ever book you’ve recently read?
Dwan Bent Twyford: I have to be honest with you. Recently, I have not been reading books. I have become a podcast addict. So I listen to yours, I listen to many, many, many, many real estate podcasts all the time right now. So I’m trying to get in as many people’s ideas and just all the things, I’m just absorbing it like a giant sponge.
Theo Hicks: If your business were to collapse today, what would you do next?
Dwan Bent Twyford: I don’t know. If my real estate business were to collapse as far as investing in things, I still would do something where I would help homeowners that are in distress… Because I was that broke single mom, I also lost the house in foreclosure, and I know how that process is so devastating. So I would still somehow work with people in trouble and still try to help them find their way back out.
Theo Hicks: What is the best ever deal you’ve done?
Dwan Bent Twyford: Wow, I have so many 1,000s of deals. I have one deal specifically that I don’t know that it was financially the best deal, but it was one of those deals that was extremely rewarding. I had met a woman, at that time she was actually about my age. I thought she was you know, an older lady. [laughs] She was in her 60’s. But she had a house that was completely paid for, she was doing fine, she was retired, and unfortunately, her son became a crack addict, and talked her into refinancing her house. He was literally coming into her house and taking her TV and selling it, her furniture, and selling things. And by the time I met her, she had not eaten for three days. And her son just controlled her and manipulated her and had her living in her house with a chair and a bed. It was just a really tragic situation.
And I was like, “You know what, I’m gonna step in over and above. I’m going to help you and you’re going to get away from this son of yours.” And I took her, I found her family, I made arrangements for someone to help her and take her. I went and got her, I bought her house, I drove her to the closing. The money, I wired it to her sister, put her on a bus and sent her over to Tampa with her sister, and helped her escape this terrible trap she was in with her own son, and I had him arrested.
And at the end of the deal, her sister called me several times after thanking me that I had rescued her out of this really weird, dysfunctional relationship she was in. And that was one of the deals that stuck with me forever, because it’s so weird to go to someone’s house who has not a bite of food, there’s not even a cracker in the cabinet. And I was just so devastated about that. So that’s one of my favorite deals, because I don’t know, it just made such a super big impact on that woman’s life.
Theo Hicks: Yeah, that’s probably the best ever, best ever deal stories I’ve heard, so thank you for that.
Dwan Bent Twyford: Thank you.
Theo Hicks: I don’t want to ask the other question, which is what’s the worst deal, so I’ll go to the next question, which is what’s the best ever way you like to give back?
Dwan Bent Twyford: I am just a big volunteer on anything. I work at the church, I work with [unintelligible [00:19:45].22] I mentor these young girls. I go to the schools in my area, and I teach and talk on finances, and just to try to teach the kids. I say “Listen, you don’t have to grow up and get a job and get married and save a pile of money and buy a house. There’s way more exciting ways to buy houses.”
I really like working with the teenagers. Weirdly, I love teenagers, and I like working with them and showing them the options that are out there. I was raised in Ohio, so I was grew up with “Work in a factory, get married, have kids, and that’s what you’re going to do.” And after six weeks in a factory, I thought, “Lord have mercy. If this is my life, I can’t do this.”
So I like working with the young people and like, “Listen, forget this path. Let’s go over here and have way more fun in your life.”
Theo Hicks: And then lastly, what is the best ever place to reach you?
Dwan Bent Twyford: Oh, so easy – dwanderful.com. So it’s obviously a play on my name Dwan, so dwnaderful is wonderful.
Theo Hicks: Perfect, Dwan. Thank you for joining us and providing us with your best ever advice and your starting point. So the biggest takeaways for me – I really like your unique marketing strategy where you make bandit signs, messages from “Cash for your house,” “Facing Foreclosure? No equity? No problem,” and then your “Owner Financing, No Money Down.” And then rather than just sticking them on random street corners or high traffic street corners, you’ll actually put them in the yards of vacant properties. So you’ll put your messages in the yard of every vacant property in one neighborhood, and everyone thinks that you own all these houses, and you bought all these houses, and so you’re the go-to person, and so your phone blows up. And you do this once and then have calls for months.
You also talked about your double seller financing strategy, where you acquire a deal through seller financing and then you, in a sense, resell it or re-contract it back out, seller-financing to someone else. That’s been a very good strategy for you and your consulting clients, and now it’s probably going to be a very powerful strategy moving forward in the next few years.
And then lastly, your best ever advice, which was not using the excuse that you need more education, which is why I always like to focus on the first deal with people that I talk to every time, even though it’s more of a story, and not technically tactical advice. Whenever you hear someone’s first story, 99 times out of 100, the person just kind of figured it out, and they didn’t really know what they were doing and it worked out, or it didn’t work out, but they’re still investing today. So just hearing that and realizing that you don’t need to have encyclopedic knowledge on real estate to get started is always good, always inspiring.
So thank you, Dwan, again for joining us.
Dwan Bent Twyford: Thank you, guys.
Theo Hicks: Great conversation. Best Ever listeners, as always, thank you for listening. Have a best ever day and we’ll talk to you tomorrow.
Dwan Bent Twyford: God bless.
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