We didn’t mention, she also scored $50,000 on her first deal… No big deal! OK, yes that’s a big deal! In this episode you will hear about how her attorney noticed a minor detail within a lien on the property we didn’t mention, she also scored $50,000 on her first deal… No big deal! OK, yes that’s a big deal! In this episode you will hear about how her attorney noticed a minor detail within a lien on the property she was about to buy. This is a juicy one, turn up the volume!
Best Ever Tweet:
Marina Sud Real Estate Background:
– Co-Owner of investing company called “Sisters Who Buy Houses”
– Full-time real estate wholesaler
– Family immigrated from Russia when she was a child
– Also a licensed clinical psychologist with over 18 years of experience
– Based in Louisville, Kentucky
– Say hi to her at www.sisterswhobuyhouses.com
– Best Ever Book: Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill
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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, 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. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any fluff.
With us today, Marina Sud. How are you doing, Marina?
Marina Sud: I’m doing good, how are you?
Joe Fairless: I am doing well, nice to have you on the show. A little bit about Marina – she is the co-owner of the investing company called Sisters, who buy houses. She is a full-time real estate investor who has been wholesaling for three years. Her family immigrated from Russia when she was a child, and she is also a licensed clinical psychologist with over 18 years of experience. Based in Louisville, Kentucky. With that being said, Marina, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and your focus?
Marina Sud: I’ve been in real estate since March 2014; I started wholesaling, which is really what I do now, mostly. Since August 2014, at this point I’ve done probably 40-50 deals, I think. 48 deals up to this point.
Joe Fairless: Wow, you’ve been busy. You’ve done about 50 deals in about three years or so. I remember we met in Cincinnati. We had lunch right when you were getting started, and before you got your first check from a wholesale deal. Is my memory serving me correctly?
Marina Sud: Yeah, I think I was just about to — I had a really big deal coming up right after we met.
Joe Fairless: Yeah. Do you remember the details of that deal? Just to refresh my memory and catch the Best Ever listeners up to speed.
Marina Sud: Yeah, it was a house that was in a fire in a really great neighborhood here, and we got it under contract and ended up making 50k on this deal.
Joe Fairless: You got it under contract… So was it completely burned down, or was there fire damage?
Marina Sud: Yeah, it was bad. We had no problems finding a buyer. It was really early on, I didn’t really know how everything worked. I found a buyer, closed on it and that was the profit that we made. That was pretty sweet.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, if you said $15,000 on your first deal…
Marina Sud: Yeah. It wasn’t the first deal, it was I think my fourth or fifth deal, and it was 50k.
Joe Fairless: Oh, 50k? That’s different. [laughs] $50,000 profit. And your company name is Sisters Who Buy Houses, so I assume there’s someone else who you partner with?
Marina Sud: Yeah, there is a sister, Natasha, yes.
Joe Fairless: Oh, your literal sister.
Marina Sud: My literal sister, yes. Family.
Joe Fairless: Alright, so it’s a family wholesaling business. How do you and Natasha divvy up responsibility?
Marina Sud: I’m more somebody that meets with sellers, speaks with sellers… She’s more behind the scenes.
Joe Fairless: Okay. Let’s talk about the last deal that you wholesaled and you got a wholesale fee for. Can you tell us about it – how you found it, the numbers, how did you get your buyer, that sort of thing?
Marina Sud: The last deal that I wholesaled was land. It was vacant land. I got it from a list; it’s in a really great area here. I mailed the guy more than once – probably about three times – and about 4-5 months later he called that he wanted to sell it. I talked him down pretty low. He owed a lot of money on the deal, he had a lot of liens. My very smart attorney figured out that the liens were more than 10 years old, so they had to be dismissed by the city. I ended up making 25k on that particular one.
Joe Fairless: That’s is beautiful. Alright, let’s dig into this one… There’s all sorts of subplots within the story. First, you got his information from a list and you mailed him three times – where do you buy your list, or how do you compile your list?
Marina Sud: This was more of a list we put together here locally. We have in the city lists – houses or land that’s vacant. About 50% of the time it’s correct, 50% not… So that’s where this particular lead came from.
Joe Fairless: Okay, you said the city provides a list of vacant property – whether it is or isn’t, but they do provide a list?
Marina Sud: Yeah, like code violations, vacant properties, that kind of thing. I don’t think it’s like that for every city, but we do have that here.
Joe Fairless: Okay. And where do you go to get a list like that, for someone in another city who’s looking to acquire that in their city?
Marina Sud: This is really how I started wholesaling, other than driving. I just was doing research online one day and just put in the keywords “vacant houses” and found this database that resulted in quite a few deals.
Joe Fairless: Alright. Well, as simple as that – google it. You just say “Use Google!” Alright, you got a list, you compiled the list locally, and then you mailed this person 3-4 times. If you remember, how many mailers did you send out to the entire group that this guy’s property was a part of?
Marina Sud: I think because it was land, not as many as I would have with houses. I just wasn’t a real believer of land, like it wasn’t gonna work. Of course, I changed my mind after that deal. We mail every other month, but with this particular one, probably about four months of mailing.
Joe Fairless: Okay, four months of mailing… And how many other people were you mailing letters to at the time?
Marina Sud: Well, we have different kinds of lists. With land, there were probably not that many… Maybe like 30-40.
Joe Fairless: Did any of those other direct mail pieces result in a deal?
Marina Sud: No, not land, no.
Joe Fairless: So you mailed him 3 or 4 times. Does the message change month to month? And I’m just assuming it is every month, but what’s the frequency there?
Marina Sud: It’s every month. I try to have it monthly. Does the message change? Slightly… It depends. With him, we changed it from house to land. So not too much, but slightly.
Joe Fairless: As far as the mailers that he receives every month, is it the same mailer, or is his message different every month?
Marina Sud: I think that he received the same mailer.
Joe Fairless: Wow, cool. He just kept receiving the same thing. And what about your mailer do you think stood out to him?
Marina Sud: I don’t know that it’s my mailer… I think it’s more — you mail people, you do it regularly, consistently, and I think people kind of don’t get that with direct mail. It’s more about you happen to catch the person. The opportunity is there, they’re going through something. And if you mail them regularly, they remember you. It may be laying on top of their table that particular month. So it’s more about that. I don’t know that it’s the actual piece.
Joe Fairless: It’s more about timing and the opportunity that is arising based on their circumstance, versus the actual message included.
Marina Sud: That being said, I also kind of design my own mailers, my own postcards, and now my own letters, so I don’t know…
Joe Fairless: Anything in particular that you like to do that you think stands out or gets more attention?
Marina Sud: I think being women helps. We stand out in that way. Pictures, photos… Just being a woman, you can do sweet little pink things, that kind of stuff. Happy Valentine’s day… Just really trying different things.
Joe Fairless: As far as pictures, do you include pictures of you and Natasha just to let them know who they’ll be dealing with?
Marina Sud: On the postcards, yes, there’s always a photo. With letters, sometimes we’ll include a card with our photo, or stickers… We’ll put a sticker on the letter.
Joe Fairless: That way when you call them, they can put a face to a voice, and they know who they’re talking to.
Marina Sud: Yeah, [unintelligible [00:10:06].20] ask us out for dates, which has happened a few times.
Joe Fairless: Has that happened?
Marina Sud: Yeah, I had some older gentlemen ask who the blonde was, and he said “I want that one.” [unintelligible [00:10:22].10] “I want that one.” [laughter]
Joe Fairless: Did he end up doing a deal with you all, real estate-wise?
Marina Sud: There was no deal, there was no house; he wanted a date.
Joe Fairless: Okay, got it. Alright, so you send him the postcards 3-4 times, he responded later, and then he owed a lot of money because there were liens on this vacant land. About how much did he owe?
Marina Sud: He owed like $15,000, I think. It was too much, nothing was gonna happen there. It’s only because the amount of time – and my attorney knew about it – the city had to release, legally, the lien.
Joe Fairless: He owed about $15,000… What did you get it for under contract?
Marina Sud: Well, I wanted to give him something so he walked away with something… I think it was like $1,500 or $1,700. I had it under contract for like $1,700.
Joe Fairless: Wow… Okay, you got it under contract for $1,700, plus in his mind he’s got $15,000 worth of liens that you’re gonna have to pay off, but in reality you’re paying for an attorney who addresses it. How much attorney cost did that end up being?
Marina Sud: That was part of the closing fee… That was about probably $800.
Joe Fairless: $800, so you’re all-in — did you buy it from him, or did you wholesale it?
Marina Sud: We wholesaled. That’s all we do, wholesaling. Typically, I sign, but in this case, because of the fee, I had an actual closing. I had two closings…
Joe Fairless: You did a double close? Okay. So you’re all-in $2,500, plus maybe some miscellaneous costs, but about $2,500-$3,000, and you identified a buyer how?
Marina Sud: I knew this one particular guy that was a builder and a flipper. I know him locally, and the area was good; it was one of just a few lots left in the area here, really hot area. I contacted him, and he wanted it.
Joe Fairless: And how did you put a price on the vacant land for him to purchase?
Marina Sud: I looked at our county assessor site just to see what things were selling for, and just kind of came up with a number.
Joe Fairless: When you look at the county assessor site, what are you looking for exactly? I’m looking to see what it’s assessed at, which doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the correct number, but also what has sold in the area – you can get that through the county assessor’s. What has sold, for how much… ith this being land, it was kind of new to me. With houses, I would know better, but with land – not as much. So it was a little bit hit and miss.
Joe Fairless: Yeah… You ended up selling it to him for how much?
Marina Sud: $25,000.
Joe Fairless: $25,000. And what’s he gonna do with it? He’s gonna build?
Marina Sud: Yeah, he and a partner are gonna build a house on it, yeah.
Joe Fairless: Roughly how much are those new homes going for?
Marina Sud: I would say anywhere from 160k to 180k.
Joe Fairless: Alright, well that is the anatomy of a wholesale deal right there. I’m grateful that we walked through that. That was the last deal… You’ve been doing this for about three years – what’s something that you’ve learned along the way to help improve your business, so that you’re optimizing it as you go?
Marina Sud: I think at some point – early on is best – you have to decide if you’re gonna do this solo, or if you’re actually gonna have a business. And for me, I think that that’s the only way to make your business grow – to have a team. That was the approach that I decided I was gonna take, and hiring people has been challenging, but extremely important.
Joe Fairless: You have your sister, Natasha, as a business partner… Do you have other business partners in the business?
Marina Sud: Not partners, I guess employees would be a better description.
Joe Fairless: What are the roles?
Marina Sud: I have one man in India – he’s virtual assistant. He strictly has to do with Craigslist and Excel, scrubbing lists for me. Another VA in Pakistan has to do with Podio and anything online. And then I have a woman that answers the phone and calls people back. Those are the three people I have.
Joe Fairless: Where is the woman based?
Marina Sud: She’s local.
Joe Fairless: How did you get in touch with her?
Marina Sud: She’s the only normal person I met on Craigslist. I had a bad experience on Craigslist, but that’s how I found her.
Joe Fairless: Okay. And as far as the man in India and the VA – is it a male or female in Pakistan?
Marina Sud: It’s a male.
Joe Fairless: Okay. How did you find him?
Marina Sud: I found him on Fiverr, and I found the one in India on I think Elance, I think that’s what it was back then. And after working with them a little bit, I asked them if they wanted to work with me directly, which —
Joe Fairless: Of course they do…
Marina Sud: Yeah, so I could pay them more directly for them, and it would be cheaper for me anyway. They were good with it… I mean, I’ve gone through many, it’s not like I just found these two and it worked out. There’s been quite a few that did not work out.
Joe Fairless: What have you learned from the crash and burns with virtual assistants that you know a little bit more on how to screen them?
Marina Sud: I think it’s important on your end how you train them – that’s something to keep in mind, too. You have to train people. I’ve been using videos, which has worked better. Maybe if I used videos with the other ones it would have worked out better, I don’t know. I think English can be an issue, what they understand and what they don’t. Both these men speak and understand English pretty well.
Joe Fairless: How do you set up your calls with them and how frequently do you talk to them?
Marina Sud: The one in Pakistan is through Skype. I don’t know; he’s on Skype, I’m on Skype, we just chat or we have actual video talks. It depends on what’s going on with Podio… If there’s crashing, or I don’t understand something… The one in India is all e-mail, I don’t have any real conversations with him.
Joe Fairless: What’s the rate that you pay your virtual assistant?
Marina Sud: The one in India I pay $5/hour; the one in Pakistan has different packages, which are way much cheaper than local, as far as getting Podio together. This depends on the package.
Joe Fairless: Well, Marina, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?
Marina Sud: My best real estate investing advice ever is that it’s important to have a good team of people to work with if you wanna take your business to the next level.
Joe Fairless: Well, that is perfect, because we just talked about that. Are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round?
Marina Sud: I think so.
Joe Fairless: Alright, well I think we’re gonna do it then. First though, a quick word from our Best Ever partners.
Joe Fairless: Best ever book you’ve read?
Marina Sud: Best ever book I’ve read – Think and Grow Rich and Harry Potter.
Joe Fairless: Okay. What’s the best ever deal you’ve done?
Marina Sud: The best ever deal I’ve done was helping two elderly people who were hoarders with a house that was sitting in just an awesome area, but has been sitting not vacant, filled with stuff for about 10 years… I helped them move everything out, get storage for them, and made like 60k in that process. That was the best deal.
Joe Fairless: Best ever way you like to give back?
Marina Sud: Donate with every closing to animal shelters and breast cancer research.
Joe Fairless: What is the biggest mistake – or just any mistake – that you’ve made on a deal that comes to mind?
Marina Sud: Just thinking that it’s all done before you’re closed… Counting the money in your pocket when there’s none.
Joe Fairless: Yes, been there, done that. Multiple times. Got burned. Do you do anything in particular now to condition your mind not to think that way?
Marina Sud: [unintelligible [00:19:08].14] Just kind of relax and breathe and just let it go. It happens when it happens.
Joe Fairless: Yup. Well, what’s the best place the Best Ever listeners can get in touch with you?
Marina Sud: They can find me via our website, sisterswhobuyhouses.com, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joe Fairless: Sisterswhobuyhouses.com. Marina, thank you for being on the show. Thanks for walking through the last wholesale deal that you did, where you all made $15,000, and how you got right out of the gate quickly with a $50,000 wholesale deal, about four deals in… And then talking through lessons learned on even this last deal. One of them – perhaps you didn’t learn this lesson, but I sure just did, and that is talk to an attorney if there are liens on a property that you’re looking to buy, because maybe you can get those removed based on them expiring, or for any other reasons, I don’t know… Attorneys are usually pretty smart about that stuff. So talk to an attorney about that, if there are liens on the property you’re looking to purchase. And then how you structure your team and what they’re responsible for, how you met them, what you pay them… And then lastly, don’t count your chickens before they hatch, that’s for sure.
Thanks for being on the show. I hope you have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Marina Sud: Thanks for having me as a guest, Joe.
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