Today we’re talking with Justin Sliva.
Justin has been a rising star in the land investing space over the past couple of years, he and his co-host Adam Southey are running a pretty awesome podcast called Casual Fridays REI.
There are actually a couple of reasons we wanted to talk with Justin. In addition to being a land investor, Justin has also been pretty heavily involved with other people’s land deals. He gets involved by partnering with other investors (contributing cash when others are short on funds) and even buying out existing notes on seller-financed land deals.
This is actually a pretty unique thing because most lenders and note buyers are pretty skittish about land (because it’s difficult to appraise and quantify the value of the collateral), but Justin has found a way to make it work.
In this session, we’re going to figure out how this arm of his land business works and how to put together win-win-win scenarios with other land investors.
Links and Resources
- Plum Investment Group (Justin’s Company)
- Casual Fridays REI Podcast (Justin and Adam’s Podcast)
- What’s the worst investing mistake you’ve ever made?
- How Land Investors Can Leverage the Power of Real Estate Agents by Jaren Barnes
- What is a “Cash for Keys” Agreement?
- How to Identify (and Avoid) Wetlands by Seth Williams
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Thanks again for joining me this week. Until next time!
Episode 077 Transcription
Seth: Hey everybody. How’s it going? This is Seth Williams and Jaren Barnes and you’re listening to the REtipster podcast. Today we’re talking with an individual that some of you probably know. His name is Justin Sliva. Justin has been a rising star in the land investing space over the past couple of years. He and his co-host Adam Southie are running a pretty awesome podcast called the Casual Fridays REI podcast.
The reason we wanted to talk with Justin today, it’s kind of twofold. So, in addition to being a land investor, obviously, there are lots of things we can talk about there. Justin has also been pretty heavily involved with other people’s land deals. What I mean by that is he gets involved by partnering with other investors and contributing cash when others are short on funds and even buying out existing notes on seller finance land deals.
And this is actually a really unique thing because most lenders and note buyers are pretty skittish about land because it’s difficult to appraise and quantify the value of land as collateral. And Justin, being familiar with the land space, is not afraid of that. And he has been able to find workarounds and ways for this to work.
So, we’re going to be talking all about this whole concept of partnering on land deals and buying land notes and the slew of questions that are involved with that. Like how you can break up profits and who controls what, and who does what. The list goes on and on. So, we’re going to talk about a lot of interesting stuff here. So, with that, Justin, welcome to the show. How are you doing good?
Justin: Good. Thanks for that introduction. I feel special now.
Seth: Yeah. That’s the goal.
Jaren: To make you feel even more special, man, my hat is off to you because out of a lot of people that I’ve interacted with, both potential coaching clients and stuff like that, your reputation—you and Adam’s reputation—goes before you. And I hear very good feedback about the trustworthiness of your brand. And I think you guys are doing some really cool things.
Seth: Yeah. Absolutely.
Justin: Dude, I really appreciate that. One of the things that we try to do is treat people like we want to be treated. That’s simple. I mean, that’s stuff you all talk about. But try to be the person that you needed when you first got started. And we all run into situations when we’ve got started, that we just kind of needed that brother, that cousin, that uncle, that aunt, that just kind of knew how to get us through that problem. And that’s kind of how Plumb started.
When we got started in the land investing niche, it was the idea of, “Hey, there’s private money everywhere. Just go get it, just reach out”. And when you’re new, you don’t know anybody. You’re like, “How do you do this?” And after about a year and a half of land investing, it was a natural progression. I’d flipped an apartment complex. And my partner, he knew I was real having a land. He’s like, “Let’s put the money towards land”. And we started funding other deals in that way.
Jaren: How big was the apartment?
Justin: It was an eight-unit apartment complex in Cleburne, Texas. We bought it for direct mail for $350,000. I put two appliance packages in it, some carpet on some stairs and sold it in two-and-a-half months to another investor for $450,000.
Seth: That’s awesome, man. It’s a great deal.
Jaren: It’s a way to fund the land business for sure.
Justin: Yeah. I’ve owned a couple small businesses throughout the last six, seven, eight years. Before that I was Corporate America. And this guy I worked with, he started a company. We ended up launching a supplement company. It was private label. Me and Adam had an FBA business with Amazon. And then when we migrated into the land. So, it was just kind of natural fit. Me and my other partner with Plumb had worked together for a while. And so, we knew how each other worked. We have kind of our defined roles and we’ve moved pretty well because of it.
Seth: When did you first get into land? Like when was your first land? Just to get an idea for how long you’ve been doing it.
Justin: 2016. So, went through, but I don’t know, four or five properties in 2016. 2017 this was originally set up for my wife. She was stay-at-home. We just had the kids. We have twins that are about to be seven and we have a two-year-old. And it was one of those things, Adam, we had our Amazon business and he says, “Hey man, I want to liquidate this”. And I was like, “Okay, cool. What are we doing next?” And he’s like, “Ah, I want to get back into real estate. I want to start investing in land”. And I’m like, “Great. We’re going to be land investors now”. And he’s like, “Well, I kind of want to do it by myself”. And I was like, “Okay, well what about I be?”
And so, we started, it was going to be just a side hustle. I bought a couple properties in 2016, 2017. First of the year, we sent our first big marketing push and we bought 21 properties, made about $70,000 off that first marketing push and thought we had it figured out. Next to mailers, we got one deal off of it, made like $16,000. And then I lost my job and I’m sitting with this new company going, I don’t know, what do we do?
And I remember it vividly today and I talk about this moment a lot. It is I’m sitting outside, just lost a 200-plus thousand dollars a year job, sitting outside by my pool, thinking I’m a loser because I don’t have a car. I don’t have a job. And I’ve got a wife and two kids inside that are dependent upon me. But I had this new business and it was really four months old at this time, four or five months feeling pretty good about it. I took what I knew with houses and land and just common sense and tried to melt it all together and is kind of where we are now. And it’s just snowballed from there.
Seth: Man, that must have been a kick in the gut. It’s terrifying to lose that kind of a job.
Justin: Yeah, it was. And so, I worked for a Fortune 100 Railroad for 13 years and made it a D-level manager there. So, I was a director there and then I got recruited to go to a smaller railroad and I went over as an executive. You’re like, “Well, I’m leaving this big company”. It’s got a lot of future in the security, but I moved seven times in eight years with them. And my wife, we had kids, she didn’t want to move. We were back and forth. This is where our family is. And so, it turned into “Well, hey, we’ve got this really good opportunity with a smaller company”. And it was privately held and that two years there, and it just wasn’t a great fit, but it was home and it was doing something that I knew really well. And then here we are.
Seth: Yeah. Well, chances are most people out there have heard enough of either our podcasts or your podcasts. Like they get the basic premise behind land investing. So, let’s kind of skip over that and dive right into the meat of, I guess, we’ll start with you partnering with other land investors on deals. So, how does this work? Are you lending money to them or are you owning a portion or all of the property? Help us understand what’s going on there.
Justin: Okay. So, what we do is if somebody brings a property, we have some guidelines that we go through. Figure, we’ll talk about that in a little bit. But super high level is we take ownership of the property. We go through title. It goes into Plumb’s name. You work as a manager; we are the investor. You find the property, I pay the property acquisition price, the closing cost. You take it to market. Whether it’s a realtor or your avenues there, we have some guidelines that we put in place. And then when you sell it, we sign off on all the paperwork with everybody. We split the profits 50/50. We take on the risk with you. You have no carry costs other than your marketing material on the backside.
Jaren: Do you provide oversight? Like if somebody was new to land and they were sheepish about their due diligence or their comps, do you guys provide any of that kind of guidance as well?
Justin: That Jaren, that’s a great question. And one of the things for us I’ve taken pride with Plumb on is I try to turn it around in 48 hours. If you haven’t heard from me in 48 hours, your email got buried. Typically, it’s within 24. So, if you send me a property, I asked for the owner’s name, the APN, the county, the state. And that’s it. If you know something like, hey, they have a well on it or the dad is dead or something like that. I want to know that so we know if we’re going to have to do a quiet title or something on the front side to get the property bought. But we’ll look at it and I’ll say, okay, hey, this is what I think it’s valued at. If they’re off on our pricing a little bit, say, hey, we can negotiate it down. Or hey man, this looks like a home run and let’s go from there. And so, we do give some oversight.
We ask that you bring all offers to us. That way we can look at it with you. And then we do something different than a lot of deal funding people don’t is we are willing to own our finances for our groups. So, what that means is you bring me a property. So, we bought it for $5,000. It gets listed for $15,000 and we got $10,000 in there. So, if you have $5,000 equity when it sells, I’ll buy you out of your portion and I’ll keep the note or you can buy me out of my portion at the same rate. And so, it really helps guys either create wealth with no money out of pocket. They get a note after they bought me out if they negotiate the down payment, right. Or we create a note for our company and just continue to grow that.
Seth: So, is there some kind of like profit-sharing agreement that you guys sign on the front end?
Justin: There is.
Justin: It’s an investor agreement and we lay out, it’s like 12 bullet points. It’s not very long. And we can provide that. It’s extremely easy to go through. It’s super simple. I like to keep everything extremely simple. And I know a lot of the stuff that you provide, you do as well, it’s real clean, real easy, and easy to follow.
Jaren: So, what happens if some of something goes south? I’ve mentioned to Seth that we have an opportunity. I get asked a lot and literally just last week I had somebody in our land masterclass forum reach out to me privately in a DM and say, “Hey, I heard on the podcast a long time ago that you’re looking for funds and et cetera, et cetera. I’d love to work with you”. And our policy is kind of like, well, we don’t typically work with people within the REtipster community because if a deal goes south, even if it’s not my fault, all of a sudden it’s going to be pretty easy for somebody who’s upset to be like, “Oh, REtipster sucks” even if it’s not my fault, even if it’s just the circumstances of the deal. And that puts a big liability on the table for us. So, we just kind of shy away from it.
But you guys have kind of taken the opposite approach where it’s like, “Nah, come on, let’s go and do deals, guys. Come on, let’s make it happen”. So, what happens when things go bad? Like have you had anybody bad mouth Casual Fridays or has there been anything catastrophic that’s happened so far?
Justin: So Casual Fridays is different than Plum. That’s separate companies. We advertise a little bit on there. So, there’s a little bit of a correlation there. It’s kind of mine and Adam’s companies are all different except for Casual Fridays. So Plumb, we funded 106 deals in the last, I don’t know, 15 months. Out of that I’ve had three that I’ve taken back over control. All three of those three, people just decided they didn’t want to be in a business anymore. So, they’ve been marketing it three or four months. It’s not like this home run that they heard about on some shows somewhere. And they just say, “Hey Justin, I don’t want the property anymore”. We offer a buyout agreement if you go to 60 days. Or originally, we did a change a little bit now, but we would wholesale it from you.
So, if I put my money up on a deal, I’ve vetted it, I feel comfortable with it. And that’s one of the things about a joint venture is I’m taking ownership with you. I’m putting up all the cash. You have some cost and marketing, but I’m taking I’m putting my money where my mouth is. I’ve been right more times than I’ve been wrong. I’ve had some where I had a client, she brought me something and it was, it was $20,000. I felt really confident it was going to sell for $40,000. And she ended up selling it for $60,000 on day two. And I just missed the mark on it. I didn’t fund it. She ended up having the funds herself, but there’s stories like that.
But then there’s somewhere I looked through it real quick. And I didn’t know something about this area because I mean, I’m looking at funded deals in 41 states. So, you’d miss a neighborhood or something. And the access is a little janky and you’re like, “Oh look, yeah, it’s got a maintained road”. And then there’s a gate somewhere about a mile away that you didn’t realize. And so, I take that ownership too. To answer it, it’s kind of a long way around to answer your question, but we haven’t seen that because I’m putting my money where my mouth is, in essence.
Seth: I wonder if, and this is one of our other questions on the list here, but how well do you need to know the individual land investor before you work with them? Is there some kind of vetting? Like, I know this person is not a psycho, they’re good. If something goes south, like they’re not going to kill me or something. Is there some application or something?
Justin: So, you don’t typically have, I guess, a courting period where I’m like, “Oh, do I like this guy or not?” 100% the merit of the deal. And the reason I can do that is because when we close through title, it gets put in my company’s name. So, at the end of the day, I have control of the property or the asset where my money’s at. And when we move through it, they see everything they’re going through. We’re all in communication all the way through.
I’ve had some people submit properties or deals that I’m just kind of like, “Yeah, this just doesn’t smell right”. But that’s why we close everything through title. You’ve got an attorney double-checking it with the title company. So, they’re verifying everything’s on the up and up. They’ve cleared title where they haven’t. If we can’t clear the title, then we don’t get the property. So, to answer your question, merit of the deal, not necessarily the person.
Now, there’s some people that I’ve dealt with that if they brought me a deal, I’m pretty scrupulous about it, just because I’ve seen what they’ve done in the past. But for the most part, it’s the merit of the deal.
Seth: Gotcha. Am I hearing this right? The underwriting and due diligence, is this mostly on your shoulders then? Or is this on the shoulders of the person who brought you the deal? Like who does what amount of work?
Justin: That’s a great question. When somebody brings me a property, I’ll just walk you through. So, if you send me the county, the state, the APN, and the owner’s name, the first thing I do is pull it up in a parcel software. And I’m looking to see if it has access. From that point, I take the GPS locations and I drop it into Google Earth, which I also have a parcel software and overlay on there. I’m looking at typography verifying that you can get off the road onto the property. And that’s a big thing for a lot of people, I think this is like, “Oh, it’s got a highway next to it. So, it’s got access”. Well, in some places you have to kind of get off the highway onto your property. You have to have to build that culvert and turn-in our 10 horn. I don’t know the term you all use, but in Texas we’re 10 horns and culverts. So, to make that turn-in to the driveway.
So, we want to be able to get on the property. The topography is good for the end user. Then the next thing is, is it in a flood zone? Is it a wetland checker? Check that stuff. Just the basic stuff that you would check if you got to deal back. And then I’m checking the value against it. So, I’m looking at sold comps, listed comps that are in immediate area. It’s not much more than that because if it passes those, it’s going to title.
Seth: So, it sounds like the answer is you are doing most of the due diligence then. Right?
Justin: Well, I verify everything for myself.
Seth: I got you. Every time I see somebody throw a deal at me like, “Hey, here’s an opportunity”. It’s just like, is this somebody who’s never done a deal before? Like, do they even know what an opportunity is?
Seth: It just seems like you could waste a ton of time. Like if you didn’t know, hey, this land investor has done a few deals. Like they sort of get it at least. They’re not just going to bring me something that’s stupid. So that’s why I wonder, like how much of, if I think about doing this, like I could spend all day just running due diligence on deals that aren’t going to happen because they’re not good deals. Is there any kind of like vetting or some kind of filter that the deals go through before they hit your desk? Or you’re okay with that?
Justin: You kind of learn the different counties and what their pricing are pretty quickly. I would love to say that there is a filter there, but there’s not. But to do what I just told you that I do, it takes me about five minutes. So, it doesn’t take a lot of time. And it’s kind of one of those things that I’ve gotten pretty good at. I know exactly what I’m looking for. So, if it doesn’t have the access that I want, I don’t look at it anymore. Just, “Hey, it doesn’t have a maintained access. Sorry”. If that person continues to send me stuff, that’s not like that then you just say… I respond to everybody and say, “Hey, it doesn’t have access. Make sure it has maintained access next time”. And you keep track of that.
Then I’ve gone through, I’ve probably looked at, I think I’m probably up to 5,000 properties now in the past 18 months. If I don’t know them and I add, my first question is, “Hey, what education course did you go through?” And you can kind of tell from the education courses, like what you’re dealing with. Good, bad, or indifferent, there’s just certain courses focused on certain types of properties. I want it to go through title. So, a lot of people believe that they need to be at $5,000 or above. I’ve put stuff through title at $2,000 just because it had the backside on it. And I’ve had it saved me on deals that had liens that I wouldn’t have seen any other way.
So yes and no, that’s the manual process to it. But that’s part of the business too, because I treat it like it’s my own. And that’s part of the joint venture pieces. I’m putting my own skin in the game. I’m treating it as my own. So, that’s the oversight or the partnership. And there that’s that part of the partnership.
Seth: Yeah. Is it safe to assume when somebody brings you a deal, what they’re actually bringing you is this parcel number, location stuff? And do they also have, like, an accepted purchase agreement so you actually know what the price is or do you still have to feed that?
Justin: Yeah. The contract, the price per contract. So, I don’t want somebody going on MLS and saying, “Oh, this looks like a good deal. Let me send it to Justin”.
Seth: Got you.
Justin: There is a contract price.
Seth: That helps. Cool. I know you sort of just hit on it, but in terms of what the property is actually worth or what the profit margin stands to be, is there a certain range that like “No, it’s too small” or “Nope, that’s way too much. I’m not interested”. Like, what is the ballpark that you’re willing to look at?
Justin: So, I’ll give you the averages of everything that’s completed the sales cycle of what we’ve done. I’ve got them written down here because I figured people like numbers. Our average size deal was 14.2 acres. Purchase price $11,000 with a $38,000 value. And on average, these are people that there’s gone all the way through the cycle. Average sale price is $24,000. And again, those are averages over quite a few deals. But what we see a lot of are these $5,000 to $10,000 deals. I like to refer to them as a bass boat property, but because it’s going to sell and at $25,000 to $35,000. At first, when we started, “Hey, we’re providing money” people would bring us their most expensive deal they could get. And you look at it and it just didn’t have that three times value I want. I want to see it three times value. It doesn’t mean we’re selling it for that, but that’s kind of the catch all there. So, if we bought it for $10,000, it’s worth $30,000. We’ll sell it for $22,000 to $24,000 and not worry about it and just keep the money moving.
Seth: And has it ever happened where you’ve just like, you guys have totally missed the mark? Like lost money on a deal or something? I understand you’re doing deals in 41 states. Like there’s a lot of question marks there about learning a new market every time you look at a deal. I mean, there’s just so much variation in that.
Jaren: That was what was going to be my next question is I feel because I understand the due diligence process that you walk through is kind of like the run-of-the-mill, like what all land investors go through, but they’re even deals that in my own land business for myself, I actually shared about it in the REtipster forum, the public forum at retipster.com/forum. If you guys haven’t checked it out, you definitely should. It’s awesome. Greatest real estate forum out there for free.
But I was on there and I was sharing about a deal that I did in Florida where literally there’s a road right next to it. And from a parcel map, I even had an agent going to vet the property and she goes there and she’s like, “Yep, there’s road access. Everything’s great”. But then after we bought, after we closed, we find out that that road is private and it completely destroyed the deal. And I actually lost money on it. That was my own personal money and it was okay. And it was a learning experience.
But there’s no way I could have been able to see that on the front end. And if I opened up my operation to the REtipster community, I feel like, man, if a situation like that happens, people can get angry and then they can go all over the internet and be like “REtipster sucks. Jaren doesn’t know what he’s talking about”. But I do know what I’m talking about. I just had a really bad deal and it just happened. So, how do you navigate that thing where it’s like bad deals, especially if you’re doing high volume?
At Simple Wholesaling, we used to sell, I helped build the company to where we were selling like 30 properties a month. And when you’re doing that kind of volume, there was one or two deals we lost money on or broke even on every single month. And it just was part of the thing we made enough to keep it going. But it just kind of was a part of the process. So, how do you navigate those waters or set expectations with people that work with you?
Justin: Yeah. Yeah. And that’s a tough question because a lot of people that have sent me deals, they’ve been upset because I don’t see the value as much as they do. And so, there’s a couple checks in there. For value, if I’m not seeing a solid three times value, I’ll let them know what I think. And then I’ll say, “Hey, use that 10 and 30 again. So, hey, you’ve got it for 10. You say it’s worth 30. I’m seeing 22. See if you can get the person down to $7,500 and I’ll fund it. If not, then I can’t do the deal”. I’ve gotten more and more strict on the front end. Like if something looks off on access, you can’t tell it it’s maintained on your Google Street or you can’t get out onto the property.
That’s why that caveat has to be able to drive onto the property. Because we’ll get a lot of properties that have a legal easement to get to it but it’s wooded, the 200 feet to get there. And so, the question is, “Can you drive your car onto this property?” And they’re like, “Oh, well, I don’t know”. Well, that’s what we want. We want to be able to drive right onto the property.
We had a live event the beginning of the year where we did something called Project One. And we sent out 53,000 pieces of mail at one time to see what would happen. And we had probably, I don’t know the numbers off the top of my head, but it was like 60 yes’es and 98 counter-offers on what we offered blind offers on. And we closed a very small percentage of that because we wanted the best of the best. And that was just because of the strict guidelines, you don’t know if you can get onto the property, there’s a road next to it.
And that’s been like those little questions like that have improved over the 106 deals. And since we started this in the end of 2018. But that’s kind of how we catch it. We were extremely strict and people were like, “Oh, Justin, there’s two tracks to it”. And it’s like, “Well, is it maintained? Who maintains it?” And we have a guy that works for us and he’s a land investor full-time, but he does part-time work for us. And he would get mad right at the beginning and then he realized why I was doing that was because I want you to be strict on the asset class you’re getting, because that is what’s going to sell it faster and that’s going to increase your volume. It’s cheaper to send out a couple more pieces of mail than it is to sit on a property and lose $1,000 or $2,000.
Seth: Gotcha. Maybe we should transition over to the note-buying side of this. So, can you explain what you do in this realm?
Justin: Yeah, there’s two different pieces of that. And I kind of touched on it a little bit on one of the pieces of it a little bit earlier. When we provide private funds or the capital for a deal, we have a caveat in our investor agreement where we’ll offer owner financing for your client. And what that does for the people that we partner with is that opens up a whole new group of people, a new class of buyer for them. But we do it in a way that we’ve covered usually the property amount on the front side. So, we say, “Hey, 25% to 30% is required down. Here’s the interest rate. Here’s the service fee. Here’s the origination fee”. All those things are in play upfront. So, you know that so you can advertise it that way. That limits our risk because it’s an unseasoned note with no credit check and we’re able to help the person we partner with, either they can buy us out or we buy them out and give them the cash upfront. So, at closing on a down payment, they get their percentage right off the bat. And they’re off back to the races again.
Seth: And what is that percentage like?
Justin: We pay out 60% of their equity. So, if it’s that 10 and 30 deal again, their equity, if it’s sold for $30,000, would be $10,000. And then we give them 60% of that upfront. We keep the interest, the note, the asset and everything.
Justin: I’ve had a couple guys. So, say that same type scenario, the property was worth more and we bought it for $10,000 and it was worth $45,000 or they sold for $45,000 and they got $20,000 down. Well, it would be better for them to buy me out and I let them buy me out at the same rate. And now they have a note. I deed it to the property to them because it’s in our name, but I deed it to them so they have ownership and they collect the payment every day. So, we go both ways with that. And I think that’s a really cool thing that we offer that not a lot of people do.
Seth: And just to make sure anybody who’s listening to this. So, the reason somebody would want to sell their note to you is mainly just to get the liquidity and keep moving, right? If they want to get it faster. Is there any other reason or motivation for doing that or that’s pretty much it, right?
Justin: I like to believe it’s the cash. Some people may have some non-performing notes and they try to offload them to you. That’s the 99% good, the 1% bad. But when we look at note packages and that’s different than what we just talked about, when we look at a note package or a note, those are a little bit more involved. They take a little bit more time because I’m held to the contract I buy. So, I have a certain way that I like to write my contracts and people do it differently. They’ve been through different courses. They talk to different people. They have different attorneys telling them what to do. So, you really have to spend some time in that.
And one of the biggest things I see is I see a guy or a girl who will take a note and say, it’s a $20,000 face value note and it’s got 10% interest on it and they’ll figure up how many payments they have left and what the value of that entire note is with the interest and everything, and be like, “Oh, it’s worth $27,532”. And you’re like, “Well, no. Because if the guy pays it off the next day, he pays it off at $20,000 or whatever that is”. And that’s the hardest thing for a lot of newer investors to swallow is that the value is what it is at that time. The realized value, not necessarily what’s going to come in on the interest side, the future. Because I’ve had where I’ve bought notes, where I bought it and the guy paid it off two months later. And so, if I would evaluate it against that interest rate that had been there, it wouldn’t have done me any good.
Seth: You may have already answered this, maybe I just missed it. But am I understanding it right that the only notes or seller finance deals that you will buy out are the ones that you’re already involved with? Or will you just go in cold, not knowing anything about this deal and just buy it from them?
Justin: So, most of the notes that we buy are the ones that we’ve already been involved with. We’ve vetted it, it’s in our name. It’s a really easy transaction. We do look at other notes. People typically will bring them to me. I’ve bought in several packages, several six-figure packages where a guy’s like, “Hey, I’ve got these. I just need some cash now, what do you get?” And that gives them usually what they have in the property back. And they’ve made their money over a year or two. But again, it comes to the paperwork on that. The contract has to be written certain ways. Like I bought into a package and the package is performing, but I had one guy that didn’t. And his contract read, it was like a 60-day than a 30-day cure period. So, he had 60-days default and a 30-day cure period. So, it was 90 days waiting for this guy to catch up. So, he gets at 88 days where I’m a 30-day and then I give him anywhere from 7 to 15 days to cure and then go from there. So, there’s just different periods. You have to account for that.
Seth: Yeah. It seems kind of confusing just because I know what you mean. There are even from state to state and even when everybody is using the same kind of loan instrument, there’s still all kinds of variations that can be in that thing. So, it just seems like a lot of stuff to keep track of.
Justin: It is. There are good things that you can get from some of the software, just the basic alone and say how much the balance is when you take it in, what the payment’s going to be, and automate that to a point. But you’re still held to the details of that contract. And that’s because they’re essentially assigning whatever that’s a deed of trust or land contract or whatever that is to you. And then you’re taking ownership of the property. So, it’s not as fun as it sounds, but it’s a way to do it.
Seth: And if you’re just going into this cold and you don’t know anything about the investor or the deal, what is all the stuff you need to see before you’re like, “Yup, thumbs up. Let’s do this”. Like, is it any of the original loan documentation, all the property details, maybe like every historical transaction up to that point? Is there anything else?
Justin: Yeah. I mean, you hit the nail on the head. All that stuff is great. I want to see the original contract. I look at the property and kind of value it on my own to see what it is, because it would be really easy for somebody to go out and buy a bunch of 40 acres in a desert and sell them on $30,000 notes. And you know they’re only worth $4,000 to $5,000. We are going to only value them at $4,000 to $5,000 each. They’re at $125-, $250-acre properties. And these guys put these inflated notes on it.
And so, when you start looking at things like that, and you’re like, “Okay, I offered the guy 45% of the face value of the note, it still comes to four times what I think the property’s worth”. And so, you kind of go through that piece individually and then it’s to the contract. What does the contract bear? Is there no interest on it? Is there 8% interest? Is there 10% interest? Is there 15% interest? The service fees, the late fees, what all is included in that and try to put a value to it.
If the investor, you can kind of get a good feeling if the guy’s like, hand you over his books and he’s got everything per person. If they send you the reports and you’re like, “Okay, this guy kind of knew what was going on”. And then you can see whether they were late or they’ve been on time.
Jaren: So, in terms of buyers, if somebody brings you a property and you buy it, and then they’re doing their thing and they’re marketing it. In that phase, if they were open to seller financing, are you simultaneously pushing the property to your buyers list and your buyers’ network? Because I’m assuming with how many deals you’ve done, you probably have like people that know what you do and are interested in seller financing and stuff like that. Are you guys simultaneously marketing the property in addition to the investor that brings you the deal? Or are you just kind of, like, staying standby and then if it happens and a buyer comes through their marketing efforts that wants to do seller financing, then you could buy them out at that point.
Justin: So that’s a kind of two different pieces to what we do. Do we help them market it? We do in some points, like, you’ll see they’ll get the link and they’ll put it on their Facebook. I’ll usually run it through Facebook. And I do some Facebook marketing boost a post in a certain area. So, if like, say I’ve got two running in South Carolina right now that I’ve got financed out or I’ve got a partnership with. So, I’ve got an agent who’s got their listing and everything. Because I don’t want it to run through him or me. I want it to go through the channels that we have there. So, I’ll use the agent’s listing, drop it on my page, boost it, and then hit the target market that I want to hit. And then it pushes all the leads through them.
If I have a property that’s not performing, I’ll do it as a split test on my marketing side to see what I’m getting and what we’re missing. I may change the pictures, change the wording in the ad, change the price a little bit just to see. You get some agents mad at you a little bit if you drive somebody to them and the stuff’s a little bit different, but at the same time, I tell them I need you to do your job to close. And these people when they come. So, to answer that we do help in that aspect. But the main responsibility that person that brought the deal is to market it. That’s why they’re there for, I provided the funds.
Seth: Gotcha. I kind of want to talk more about the risk associated in taking out an existing note like this, particularly on a land deal where most people don’t do any screening for the borrowers. With such a lack of information about credit scores and all that, how do you quantify the risk associated with each deal and how do you get comfortable with that? Is it just a matter of like, you buy it assuming like, “Hey, if this thing tanks tomorrow, that’s fine because there’s still a great deal for us”? Is that just kind of how you get comfortable with it?
Justin: Yeah. We can look at anything and say, you know what? I feel really comfortable with this price. And I feel okay at this price and now I wouldn’t even touch the deal at this price. And that’s the mentality behind is “How do you take the risk out of it?” Well, if the note is $10,000 note, and you know the property is worth $4,000 all day, as a wholesaler like if you went to go buy it yourself, worst case scenario, then you know that, okay, hey, I’m not going to do $8,000 or $9,000 because the asset doesn’t cover that in your opinion. And so, you kind of adjust it from there.
So, my risk tolerance is adjusted by the price that we offer on the note. I know like in houses and things like that, you’ll see people offer 70%, 80%, where on land you’ll typically see that 40% to 50% range. I know some guys that are working models to try to do it at 60%, but just for what you said, you have lack of clarity of the buyer. You don’t know their history. You don’t know if their auto pay is great, but that can go south pretty quickly too.
Seth: Yeah. Do you have like employees and stuff helping you with all this? This seems like a ton of work to do everything you do.
Justin: We’ve got a couple that are just kind of… So, I do. A lot of stuff is contracted out. I’ve got one that’s here. I keep losing them because they decide they see the land investing niche and they start on another, watching me from behind. And then they ended up investing on our own, which I want. You always want to help people become better. But then it’s like, “Oh man, I really need somebody that’s full-time sitting next to me that doesn’t want to do anything more. They just want to be here.”
Seth: You need somebody who’s amazing, but has no personal ambition to do anything.
Justin: That’s exactly right. Yeah. That’s what we all want in life. But yeah, we’ve got different tasks for different people. But yes, a lot of it does fall on me though. That’s why we utilize agents on a lot of things. And that’s why my check on the due diligence piece for me is it takes me five minutes so I can do that and then respond back to them. But it does get bogged down with other stuff as well.
Jaren: And just for our listeners today, if you guys are interested in learning how to use agents in your land business, there’s an amazing article written by a handsome guy that I know named Jaren Barnes at retipster.com/landagents. You can find that in the show notes.
Seth: Yeah. By the way, this is episode 77. So, you can find a link to that at retipster.com/77. So, Justin, if you were to buy a note or assume control of a note, and then tomorrow the borrower defaults, everything falls apart. Your next step to gain control of that property is, I guess, just understanding the laws of that state and going through foreclosure, or do you reach out to them and try to get a quick claim deed back? Like, what is your standard procedure assuming the worst-case scenario happens?
Justin: So, it all starts with what type of instrument we’ve got the note in, right? So, a land contract, a deed of trust is all going to be a little bit different. Do I have to do a full foreclosure? Or can I get them just to sign a release? And a lot of times I’ll offer them cash to sign a release really quickly. So, I’m like, “Hey, your payment didn’t get paid the last few months. I want to go out and give you the last two months back to that if I can get you to sign this release for me”. They weren’t going to pay you anyways. But if for a couple of hundred bucks, you can get them to sign a release free and clear and you move on, that’s typically the easiest way. And I’ve seen that, it’s only happened twice.
So, you know that are some other people that have asked to just get out of their thing and then I’m just, “Yeah, perfect. If that’s what you want to do, I don’t mind signing a release and we’ll go ahead”. And they’re usually pretty quick about it because I can send it, they e-sign it and do it on their phone and they have it back. But I try to incentivize that with a month or two, because I know I still have the asset. It’s still worth some. It sucks if you have, I’m losing $250 a month, but I’ve got this asset that I know is worth X amount. And I got it at a lower value than when I know it was worth.
Seth: And when you say release, is that like an actual deed, deeding it back to you or is it just like a one page you’re saying, Hey…?
Justin: Yeah, it’s… I release. So, like a land contract, it’s still in your name. So, there wouldn’t be any clouds. So, it’s a release for that, but like a deed of trust, I would quit claim back. And in Texas, my attorney here, he keeps a deed in lieu of foreclosure on file for us. And so, we use that as well. It just depends on the state too. And like I said, it’s an instrument in the state and there are different options you can do.
Jaren: What do you do from a structuring standpoint when you’re in so many different states? Like, do you just have a Texas base entity and then just do foreign filings everywhere?
Justin: Yeah. I’m Texas-based. Some of the states push a little more on the foreign file filings and others. And so, I’ll push those limits. The ones that are real hard are West Virginia and California, they are pretty hard on foreign filings. And those two, I try to stay out of it if I can. It’s pretty easy and I report everything. So, it’s not like it’s hidden, you just get all your documentation back at the end of the year. And we push through, we take it in. And then we send a 1099 to the person that we worked with and they can take that and run with it. And there’s clean and easy for them. There’s no series LLCs to shut down. We could do that in Texas, but I don’t utilize that option.
Seth: Yeah. It’s kind of a gray area too, in terms of when you actually have to do that. If you are just like a one-and-done, and you’re gone, like you could probably get away with that and not do anything, but if it’s like, you’re doing 20 deals a year, I don’t know. It’s kind of a weird thing.
Jaren: By the way guys, not one of us are giving tax advice or legal advice.
Justin: We had that happen in Idaho and the closing agent, she was dead set that I need to file as a foreign entity there. And I got the code for her and I gave her the code where I didn’t and she was like, “Oh, Oh, okay, well, all right”. Let’s say, if you want to pay the $400 for me to file there, I will, but I don’t need you. Your law says I don’t. And she’s like, “Okay, cool, go ahead. Carry on”.
Seth: I’ve had those kind of conversations with CPAs where they’re just like, they are dead set on what the facts are and as soon as you prove otherwise, just all of a sudden, I don’t know, it’s frustrating that people act so confident when they really don’t know what they’re talking about.
Seth: Well, if somebody is listening to this and they’re like, “Hey, I want to do what Justin does. I want to buy land notes”. Do you find these opportunities because people come to you or do you openly seek them out somewhere? Is there an online marketplace where people can find these people who want to sell their land notes? Or where would somebody go about finding them? And is there a huge demand for what you do or do you kind of have to search hard to find these opportunities?
Justin: I think it kind of comes and goes. There’s an online marketplace, teal folio, I think, is the website. I’ve never bought anything off there. Usually it’s people that I’ve interacted through Plum and or I’ve seen a different group is like, “Hey, I’ve got a package of 10 notes. I need to get rid of them. I’m getting out of the business. I don’t want to deal with it anymore”. They’ve gotten a down payment in a couple of months of payments and they’re just ready to be done. And so, you go in and look at those deals and you make offers on those.
So really, it’s a cool thing about Facebook and all the groups that are out there as you see so many people that are in different stages of their investing career, whether they’re wanting to get out or wanting to get started. And if you see an opportunity to just try to help them out and then go from there.
Seth: Gotcha. Is this kind of like a partnering in this note thing? Is this kind of like your main bread and butter now? Are you still looking for individual deals or does this kind of keep your plate full?
Justin: So, it’s funny how the business has changed. My goal with Plumb was to do a transaction a week, whether that was a buy or sell, and we’ve beaten that by a long shot. And so, my land company still, my goal has never changed on that. It’s I want to do $10,000 a month in profit just by my land company. Like last month we did $40,000. So, I’ve turned the volume down a little bit on that because I’m spread kind of thin, but the note-buying is not really a big part of the business. The funding is, the buying, selling land on my side is, but it stays pretty busy. But the next part was when we did Project One. We did 52,000 pieces of mail. That’s a different entity to itself and running through those.
And so, putting all that money out, I look at my inventory as a whole and say, “Okay, hey, between all the companies, I have X amount of money out right now”. And then either I need to bleed it down or I need to raise it up. At the beginning of this year, first quarter, we were really heavy. I had about just shy of a million dollars in cash out in deals, and I needed to bring some back. And I was like, “Okay, get ready for the second half of the year”.
Seth: Do you ever lay in bed at night and just think to yourself, “Man, my business isn’t complicated enough. I have to create some more entities and do more stuff”?
Justin: Usually it’s when I go on vacation. Like I go on vacation and I come back and I’m like, “Man, you know it would be really cool if we could do this”. And now the fun part has been growing the podcast and that aspect of it. And then how can we get more people involved with doing deals. And I know Jaren said, hey, you all took the opposite, but one of my big things for me is to try to be the person you needed at different times. And I’ve had people help me out along my career in different paths, whatever that was. But there’s things that I like to get involved in, I want to do. And I have what I want to do next and what that looks like, but you have to get to that level first and continue to grow that.
So, we’ve done everything. We’ve bought houses, bought multifamily, bought land off of direct mail. We’re really good at that. We’ve put funds out to help people with it. We’re really good at looking at deals. I mean, the company itself is 60% ROI on just the deals funded. So that’s not counting the 60% that went to the other person. So, 120% average. There are not many businesses you can do that consistently over a long period of time. And our land business does follow the same. So, it’s kind of where do you grow from there and how do you continue to help and what that looks like.
Seth: Now, when you take over a note like this, is there like a target range in mind for how long should it take for you to make your money back? Or do you want to be made whole within a certain period of time? Or is there a certain ROI you’re gunning for? Like, what’s the objective?
Justin: So, I want to get it for as low as possible, but still have a decent return. But a lot of people get stuck on, if it doesn’t meet my money, I don’t get my money back in three months or six months or a year, I don’t get too hung up on that. I just look at each deal individually. And if the money’s there, if I want to put up $5,000 for something that’s going to make me $10,000 over the next four years, I would do that in my normal business anyways. So, I just continue to look at it. And then you have an interest rate bearing on that equity that you didn’t really put the cash in.
Seth: And when you look at what is involved with this thing that you do, I think I know the answer to this, but what makes this better than just finding the land deal yourself, closing on it, selling it? Just kind of like the old school original format. Is it mainly just because you don’t have to cover the upfront marketing costs or on the back end, like you don’t have to do as much busy work?
Justin: Yeah. Let’s think about that real quick. We talk about scaling your business. What do you do? You either turn the machine and you’re cranking out a ton more mail, which you’re having to handle process through your system, or you have more people finding deals for you and you bringing them back. I look at life kind of funny. So, if you think about the places that make a lot of money, but make you feel like they don’t, they give you free popcorn. So, think about the bank. You go into the bank, they give you free popcorn. You go into the car dealership, they give you free popcorn. Because they’re going to hook you on interest for some time period.
And so, I look at it if I can have my money working for me, plus other people looking at that, it’s advantageous for the scale of my business or whatever that branding is, whether it’s my personal land business, or if it’s another entity that it’s helping other people grow their land business.
Seth: Would you say is the most time-consuming aspects when you get the direct mail process and vetting deals and then closing on them? I guess, the title company handles that, but the due diligence, the marketing selling, closing again. It sounds like you’ve cut out multiple steps of that process, except for, I guess, the due diligence. That’s still something which you’ve been able to streamline pretty well. In terms of scalability, it makes sense that you can get a lot further in the long run.
Justin: Yeah. The next step is the person I have working for me there. We’re going to crank back up our small land business and they will be able to look at the deal and check the due diligence like I do as well. And they can tell me, “Hey, this is a four out of four. This is a three out of four”. They don’t show me two out of fours and one out of four. So, if they hit all four boxes, then I’m only looking at the cream of the crop. And that’s typically what you get when you have a deal come in to be funded to you. It’s that they either need the money or they’ve ran out of money and they’ve kept a good deal for themselves. So, you’re looking at both of those.
And then the title company takes care of most of that. Then you’re going to an agent. They’re handling that marketing. So, you’re just constantly checking your ads and making sure that everything is dialed in. The easy button for me, if I could have just one easy button is when I’m split-testing, I could hit all my mail, my advertising dashboards at once. And that’s kind of the data input. I could get a VA to do it. It’s not one of those things that I’ve really used them very much for.
Seth: Kind of a random question, when you want to buy out an existing note, and if you cannot do that, what is the reason you cannot do that? Is it because the original loan instrument didn’t have the right assignment language in it or something? Or is it because the deal just isn’t a good deal? Or what kind of thing makes it not feasible?
Justin: Typically, it’s money. I mean, that’s just with anything. If the deal doesn’t fit what you need it to, I’m probably more, I don’t want to say conservative, or a little bit lower price than a lot of people on their notes. Because like you said, the risk that’s involved, you don’t know the borrower. You don’t know the investor. You might know him a little bit or her a little bit, but you don’t know them very well. The instruments are not your instrument. So, you add all this risk. And like I said earlier, I was part of the rail industry for 13 years, you’re taught to be risk-averse. So, how do you make sure it’s streamlined? And you have these checks and balances that you know everything’s going to hit. And if it’s outside of that, is it something you can work with or you reduce the cost to reduce that variability of that risk.
Seth: Cool. Well, I’m actually impressed that we got through all those questions this fast. I was thinking this was going to be like a two-hour long conversation. So, can you think of any other questions Jaren? Did we hit all the major stuff? Is there anything we should be asking you, Justin, that we’re not?
Justin: No. I mean, the big thing is, and I’ve really liked to put this out to people is the biggest thing I see come back is people get a false sense of value on property. Be conservative in your estimates. If you see it on Realtor and you see one property nearby that sold for $150,000, and you’re getting the property for $10,000 or $12,000, chances are, it’s not worth $80,000 or $100,000. Chances are it’s probably worth a little bit less. Don’t skip the steps on the wetland checkers, and do not, do not be lax on access. If we all sat down and looked at the deals that we had trouble moving, it’s going to be access or we didn’t price it right. Those are the two big things that are really going to slow down your deal. So, after looking at all the deals I have, it’s those two things keep coming back.
Seth: And I’ll also just plug a past blog post we did. So, Justin mentioned the Wetland checker thing a couple of times. I got a really detailed blog post video explaining what that is, where to find it, how to use it, all that stuff. So, I’ll include a link to that in the show notes as well, retipster.com/77.
Cool. Well, as we wrap this up, we’ve got three final questions that we’re going to grip really with. So, first question is what is your biggest fear?
Justin: Oh, so biggest fear for me is the unknown. You think about space, the vastness of space, and what’s all out there. That to me, kind of freaks me out a little bit.
Seth: Oh, yeah, for sure.
Justin: But when you look at owning your own business, you can only do what you know how to do. So, you have to continually try to grow that and learn from that. So, whether it’s you reading, listening to blogs, podcasts, and trying to make your bucket of your business a little bit more, so you have more known things inside your company. And so, for me, when I first started I went from Corporate America to being a business owner really quickly and be full-time. Every day I woke up scared that the whole thing was just going to fall down on me. And then it was like, I’m going to get to six months out or a year out and be comfortable in that. So just the idea of making sure I know what’s next and not having to fear of the unknown.
Jaren: What’s something you’re most proud of?
Justin: A typical dad answer. I’m proud of my kids. You see the meme that says, “Be the dad that you needed”. And I was lucky I had people around me quite a bit as a kid, but I’m proud that I can say that I didn’t choose career over kids and I didn’t go back in the corporate world and chase that. And so that’s why I left the big railroad is because it continued moving, new family life was important. But a lot of people say that, but a lot of people won’t kind of put essentially their money where their mouth is and say, you know what? I’m going to do this for what’s right for my family and continue to move forward for them. And if you follow us, if you follow me on social media, I’m pretty active in my kids’ lives. You’ll see me play a lot with the kids and take pictures with them and do stuff like that. I don’t hide that aspect of my life because I’m super proud that they’re happy to be around their dad and I get the opportunity to be around them.
Seth: So, what is the most important lesson you have ever learned?
Justin: Oh, man. I got so many running through my head. I don’t know whether to go to business-related or if you want to go life-related.
Seth: You could do both if you want it.
Justin: Okay. Okay. The, business-wise, I’m going to say follow the money. And what I mean by that is there’s a lot of people that put out things that it’s advantageous for them in a backdoor way, and you don’t see it and it’s not genuine. And Jaren started off the conversation with, “Hey, your reputation precedes you”. And I think that’s because I look a lot like what you do, Seth and Jaren, as you’ve gotten involved with it, you put out genuine information, you put out genuine stuff and your return, return that. There’s not a try to up sale on a backside. Hey, we’ve got these things, our knowledge is worth something, but it comes from a genuine place. And so, when I say follow the money, a lot of times, if you ask yourself, “Is somebody getting something out of this?” is a genuine or not, you’ll tend to get you into a pretty good note of what’s going on around you.
Seth: Yeah. That’s kind of a tough thing because I think like why does anybody do anything if they don’t get something out of it? It’s not that clear-cut, but I know what you’re saying. Sometimes it’s like shameless and it’s not actually in your best interests. It’s purely self-serving and it’s obvious. But sometimes it’s like in between, it’s like really hard to see and you don’t really know until you just do it and figure out, “Oh, I see that’s what’s going on”.
Justin: That’s what it is. In the coaching space and things like that, you will run across some that have good intentions, some that have bad intentions and we’ve tried to give more than we got back. And that’s when I originally did Project One, Adam was like, he’s like, “You’re crazy. You can’t just give people money for coming to your live event”. I was like, why not? They’re coming. They’re investing in us. They don’t know what we’re doing. We show them they’re going to get real life, real world data, be able to walk through it. And they’re not going to get that anywhere else. Where else do somebody send out 50 something thousand pieces of mail and tell you, this is how many calls we got back. This is who called us with offers, with this price, where you have full access to that for just showing up. And then whatever we close and we sell, you get a percentage of it. And that was one of those things I could see the light bulb in his head and he’s like, it’s so crazy out there, but it’s opposite of what everybody would do. So that’s okay. I can see why we should do it.
Seth: If I’m understanding this right, when you did that, sent out all those mailers and you’ve got those acceptances, the idea was to present people with these are accepted offers that we can pursue. And then how you’ve given them money?
Justin: So, here’s the fun part of this. And I don’t know how much you’ve heard about it or not. So, I know that some people talked about it a little bit, but we threw a live event, a month before the live event came on, we sent out a ton of mail, had offers come back. We went and visited some of the properties because they were kind of close by, I took some pictures of them. We put up all the money for the properties and anybody that was at the live event became a 10% holder in the properties that we bought. So, they got a 10% profit distribution for being there, split amongst everybody in the crowd.
Seth: Oh, interesting.
Justin: So, the idea was, if we sold X amount, they got their money back and they came to the live event for free.
Seth: And they didn’t have to do anything?
Justin: They have to share it on social media. That’s it.
Justin: So, I was watching Grant Cardone, do his 10X thing and he’s out there trying to raise money on this thing. So, you’ve got people that paid you a ton of money to come to your live event. And then you’re trying to take more money from them. And I don’t like that. Like I said, I want to do opposite.
Jaren: Very cool.
Seth: Cool. Well, if people want to learn more about you or check out the things you got going on, where are the places they should go?
Justin: Yeah. The easiest way to catch us is Monday, Wednesday, Friday on our Casual Fridays REI podcast. You can reach out to me, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or you can catch me on any of the social medias, Instagram, Facebook, on any of those companies that have a logo there.
Seth: Well, Justin again, thank you for coming on the show and sharing your wisdom and insight and knowledge with us. I don’t talk to many people who do precisely what you do. So, hopefully the REtipster audience got some cool knowledge from this.
Justin: Thanks guys. I do appreciate it and I appreciate what you all do.
Seth: All right, folks there, you have it. That was our conversation with Justin. Hope you guys enjoyed it. What was your biggest takeaway from that Jaren?
Jaren: I think that there’s a lot of opportunity, man. I feel like he’s doing what a lot of real estate investors should be doing in their business, where they should kind of have a really solid brand that they’re developing that provides a lot of opportunities for as many people as possible. Because the more opportunities you give to people, the more you can capitalize on it.
His primary or a large acquisition strategy is other land investors bringing him deals. We did the same thing at Simple Wholesaling. We bought from other wholesalers. And beginning wholesalers, we actually taught people how to wholesale in our monthly meetup. And as new guys that didn’t have a lot of money had deals, we would close on them and joint venture or pay him out or whatever. And I just think that it’s a really smart strategy and what they’re doing is really solid.
And I like how honest he is. Like he talked about genuine content. Because I feel like a lot of people give me the feedback that our brand is as more similar to Casual Fridays than a lot of the other land investors and land kind of educators out there and stuff. And I think the reason why is that genuine thing that he brought up. I think both them and us really just don’t have anything hidden. Like we just really want to teach people what works.
Seth: Yeah. I’ve never really thought that seriously about doing what he does, but he sort of overcame some of the objections in my mind in that conversation, just in terms of, I think I might do some things a little bit differently. I would probably narrow it down very specifically to a handful of people that I would work with. I probably wouldn’t just take anything and everything from all 50 states. I sort of have to fit into a smaller box just to cut down on the noise and that kind of thing. But if I could effectively find a way to do that, that actually would be kind of a cool way to deploy cash and not having to do every single aspect of the land deal, but offloading a lot of that work onto the individual that brings to the deals. So, I don’t know. I thought that was really intriguing. I might have to investigate that and see what might be possible there.
Jaren: I’ve always felt like one of the best strategies that not a lot of people talk about is being a private money lender. Especially if you can get in bed with a land investor, who’s willing to pay out 50% of the profit, like that’s huge. Most other types of real estate. They don’t do that. Head’s up there.
Seth: No, it’s definitely interesting though. And I know that a diamond doesn’t define people like this, you’d do this with houses because houses are something that everybody understands, but it’s harder to find land people that do this. So that’s why I felt like he was a pretty unique character to talk with about this issue. He seemed like a full of really good knowledge on that.
So, our little fun question for this episode is as follows – What is one item you own that has virtually no monetary value, but has such sentimental value that you would not sell it for a thousand dollars?
Jaren: Man. Well, for me, maybe I’m just not super materialistic or something, but for me, I can’t really think of anything that I hold as like a keepsake or like a necklace. There was some stuff that I had when I was younger. I had some like cross necklaces where I was like, I’m never getting rid of this. And then they broke and I got rid of them.
Seth: So, are you not the type of person who would ever rent a storage unit? Is that what I’m hearing?
Jaren: Yeah, probably not. I feel like if it doesn’t have a purpose or it hasn’t been used in like three to six months, you should just get rid of it.
Jaren: And my wife’s kind of that way too. We’re also pretty minimalistic. Not that we’re minimalists at all, but we just haven’t really talked much about it. I think I’m trying to wait for the big reveal on the blog post. But we just bought a triplex that we’re going to be living in for the next long while. And it’s like kind of a good, really solid situation for us. And we’re like looking at kitchens and different colors for the walls and in terms of paint and all that stuff. And we’re both very, just kind of simple, straightforward to the point. I mean, it’s all subjective, right?
But for us in my world where I come from, I feel like instead of fussing with multiple different colors, my wife is the one that’s like, “Let’s just paint everything one color”. And she just grabs one of the same colors. Like we’re doing the same thing with the floor too. We’re like, let’s just do one floor universally, across everything it’s the same and it’s uniform. And so, both of us are kind of just like that. We’re not fussy about, “Oh, I need to have this” or “I need to have that”. It’s just like, “Does it work? Is it practical? Do we like it? Let’s go, let’s move forward”.
Seth: I think I’m mostly with you. My wife is actually much better at this than me. Like things do not accumulate around our house. They get shipped off Goodwill or the Salvation Army pretty quickly if they’re not actively being used. But if there was one thing I could think of. So, my grandfather was in World War II and when he was stationed in the Panama Canal, he went through a couple hard things. He was actually like mostly blind at one point. And that’s why he went to Panama instead of to Europe. So, it almost kind of like, sort of saved his life in a way.
But one of the things he brought was this little, like, pocket Bible that I think was a government-issued thing, that every soldier in World War II got this thing. You can see where he underlined all kinds of stuff and wrote notes and stuff like that. You could tell this was like a well-loved, well-used Bible that was a lifeline to him during that point in time. And it’s like the original thing. You can see everything he wrote in there. And I think that would probably fall into this camp. Like I can’t imagine throwing that away or giving it away or even I don’t know why anybody would want to pay me a thousand bucks for that, but if they did, I don’t think I would sell it for that either. So maybe there’s other stuff too, but that’s like the first thing that comes to mind when I saw that question.
Jaren: Yeah, man. I wish I had stuff like that. Like family heirlooms or whatever, but I just don’t have any of that.
Seth: Yeah. I don’t know what value would actually bring to my life. It’s not like I read that Bible or it’s not like, I mean, I don’t even look at it, maybe like once a year, it’s not a huge, important thing, but I don’t know. It’s like this object that I feel like is important and has sentimental value. So, I don’t know. It’s hard to explain or quantify that.
Jaren: If that is something that cool, I don’t want to give it away either.
Jaren: I’ll tell you what.
Seth: Cool man. Well, if you guys are listening to this on your phone, pick up your phone and text the word FREE. That’s F-R-E-E to the number 33777. And you can get access to some cool stuff that not everybody gets to see. That’s how you can sort of stay in touch with us and follow along with what we’re doing on the blog and the podcast and all the other stuff we’re publishing on a regular basis.
But yeah, I think that wraps up today’s episode. Again, if you guys want to see the show notes with links to everything that we mentioned, retipster.com/77. I hope you guys enjoyed hearing from Justin. I hope you learned a thing or two. We’ll talk to you again in the next episode.