real estate problem solving

Over the past couple of years, one of the more helpful voices I’ve noticed in the various land investing forums and Facebook groups is a guy named Josh Brooks.

This guy is a 20-year Army veteran and a by all reasonable measurements, he’s done very well in the land investing business.

As it turns out, he’s been following the REtipster Blog for a long time, and I was lucky enough to have a chance to sit down with him recently to chat about how his business works, how he thinks through some of the tough obstacles that come up in this profession and his philosophy about various aspects of the land business.

It was a fascinating conversation, and not surprisingly, he got me thinking about the business in some ways I hadn’t before. Listen in and I think you’ll learn a few new things from this one!

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About the author

Seth Williams is a land investor with hundreds of closed transactions and nearly a decade of experience in the commercial real estate banking industry. He is also the Founder of REtipster.com - a real estate investing blog that offers real-world guidance for part-time real estate investors.

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  1. Carmin says:

    Thank you Seth.
    Indeed, yet another, awesome interview! Really appreciate the whole dynamic discussion that you and Josh had about this business. I was wondering if you or Josh use a lot of contract contingencies to protect yourselves in case you want to back out of the deal? Seems some land sellers would be totally excited by an offer, any decent offer I guess. Is that something you guys deal with on an on-going basis? I’m doing my best to make offers wherever possible and on good lots but also want to be protected in case I need to walk away. Main issue is money tied up on other deals or some hiccup at the title company. Love to hear your ideas/experience on this. Thanks.

    1. Hi Carmin – I know my contracts have always allowed me an out for pretty much any reason I deem necessary… so yeah, if you’re making a ton of low-ball offers and you need the ability to back out, I’d say it’s important to include that. One such example of a contract that includes this can be found in this blog post: https://retipster.com/howtowriteoffers (it’s the paid template at the bottom of the blog post).

  2. Xing Gao says:

    This interview is great! A lot of good ideas and vast amount of knowledge.

    1. Thanks for listening Xing! Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Toby says:

    Great interview! Thanks for pulling together such an array of guests to show different unique ways people are working within the land space.

    Seth, I have a question for how you would handle a certain diligence issue. I have agreed to a price with a seller for a great mountain lot. Utilities and everything in place and it is top 10% of desirable lots in the community. In speaking with him, he mentioned that he put septic in about 5 years ago and cleared the lot when he did so.

    I spoke with the building and development office to verify utilities were in place and they mentioned that the top half of the lot sat within a restricted mountain zone meaning only 1/2 of trees over 8 inches in diameter could be cleared. I asked if a tree clearing permit had ever been issued for the lot and she said no. I spoke with the seller and he knew nothing of a restricted zone and reconfirmed that he had cleared the whole lot.

    This particular lot is only 2 hours from my home so I decided to drive up and take a look. He cleared five years ago so at this point there is a lot of growth present (too dense to walk through) so it doesnt look as if it were cleared. However, if you look at some neighboring lots they clearly have some 50-60 foot trees where the biggest trees on this lot are 20-30 feet.

    My concern is that if I purchase I could end up on the wrong end of some tree removal fines. Do you have any experience with issues that previous owners caused and any experience with dealing with them?

    1. Hi Toby, interesting situation. I don’t have any experience with this specific issue… however, if the property already has a lot of regrowth, and if the current owner hasn’t been fined over the past 5 years since they cleared the lot… my gut is telling me it would be highly unlikely that this would fall on you at this point in the process. A lot of these “rules” are very poorly policed – and just because a rule exists doesn’t mean anybody is paying attention and making sure they’re being followed (which it sounds like is the case for this property).

      If it were me, I wouldn’t let this stop me from moving forward… but again, that’s just me. I’m not advising you what to do.

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