This is where an investor lines up both the original owner and the end buyer to close on the same day, a few hours apart.
For example, let’s say Luis found a motivated seller willing to sell their property for $5,000.
Luis will sign a purchase agreement with this motivated seller, locking in the sale price.
Then he’ll go market the property for sale, at say $15,000… before he even buys it from the original owner.
Once he has someone interested in purchasing it at $15,000, he will schedule the closing for both transactions to occur on the same day, making the $10,000 difference between the original transaction and the final transaction.
This is how a double closing works – and the powerful thing about it is Luis is able to scale his land business very quickly because he is not using any of his own capital to acquire his inventory.
This is a very common strategy among house wholesalers, but it’s not as common among land investors… and it might be a way for people with limited funds to scale their business quickly. So needless to say, we’re excited to have Luis on the show to discuss exactly how he does this in his land business!
Links and Resources
- Wholesaling Made Simple! A Comprehensive Guide to Assigning Contracts
- What is a Double Closing?
- How Does an Assignment of Contract Work?
- What is Single Source Funding?
- What is “Flash Cash” and Why is it Useful?
- 030: A Decade of Land Investing Experience in 60 Minutes – Interview w/ Renee Riker
- 054: Karl Made Six Figures Last Year Assigning Contracts – Here’s How He Did It
Episode 98 Transcription
Seth: Hey everybody, how's it going? This is Seth and Jaren from the REtipster podcast. Today, we're talking with a land flipper named Luis who sells most of his properties through double closings and assignments. Double closing, or an assignment, is where an investor will line up both the original owner and the end buyer, and typically close on the same day, like a few hours apart. There are some slight differences in those two closing maneuvers, which we can get into in a little bit.
But we wanted to interview Luis because this is a pretty common thing with household selling, where household sellers will get a house under contract and assign the contract, or do a double closing. It's not quite as common though with land. So, we just kind of wanted to figure out more about how is he doing this? What portion of his properties is going double closing versus assignment? What are some of the challenges involved and how does he make this all work?
We actually did have a couple of other conversations in episode 30 with Renee and an episode 54 with Carl who both pursued the assignment strategy quite a bit, but not so much the double closing thing. So, I'm interested to find out more about that. Luis, how are you doing? Welcome to the show.
Luis: Hey guys, thanks for having me. Thanks, Seth. Thanks, Jaren. I'm grateful to be here and I appreciate your time and your audience, and I hope I can motivate them to execute their dreams.
Seth: Yeah, absolutely.
Jaren: Awesome, man. So, Luis, the biggest pressing question for me when we were talking the other day and why I thought it was a good idea to convince Seth to get you on the podcast here is when it comes to double closing and assignments, it makes sense in my mind when it comes to house wholesaling because typically your end buyer is an investor. So, you can just explain to them what you're doing and they're going to understand because they get real estate investing. But with the land, your end buyer is not an investor typically, unless you're like selling off to a developer. So how do you get the end buyer to agree to an assignment or to a double close when typically, they're not going to understand that as just kind of conventional retail buyer?
Luis: Yeah, that's a very good question. First of all, when I do an assignment fee, my prices are very good. So probably they're the cheapest property for sale. So, I have to explain to them how it works, that they're purchasing the contract from me and they have all the rights to the property and they're going to be the owners. It takes more time, but they get it once I explain. When I do the double close, no one knows there's another seller on this transaction. They know that we're going to be closing on a certain date, but they don't specifically know how much I have a contract with the seller and how much I'm making on the deal. They might see the names on it and I have to explain to them that there are more partners.
Seth: Maybe I should just explain for anybody out there who doesn't already know what an assignment or a double closing is. Just to give a quick example here. So, let's say if Luis found a motivated seller who was willing to sell their property for like $5,000, Luis can sign a purchase agreement with that person, locking in the sale price. You can then go and market the property for sale at say, I don't know, $15,000. And you can do this before he even buys it from the original owner. And once somebody is interested in purchasing it at this $15,000 price, he can schedule the closing for both transactions to occur on the same day, making that $10,000 difference minus any closing fees between the original price and the final transaction. And one way to do this is with an assignment. And that's where you get the purchase agreement signed with some special language in it that allows you to sell that contract to somebody else that they can then close on that transaction.
I think that, in a lot of ways, maybe that's a little bit cleaner because there's only one closing happening, but one of the downsides is that that end buyer can see the original purchase agreement and the assignment agreement, which makes it very clear to them how much Luis is making in the transaction. Whereas with a double closing, there's literally one closing happening, and then turn around and do another closing. And that buyer on the second closing doesn't see how much money the original property was sold for on that first closing. So, Luis can kind of conceal how much he's making on the deal. He doesn’t have to give that away.
Jaren: And before we go on, we'll go ahead and link into the show notes two different videos where I was a narration voice. I don't actually show up in the video because they're animated, but I have a pretty good explainer video on assignments and double closings that we'll link in the show notes.
Seth: And the show notes are retipster.com/98 because this is episode 98.
Luis: What Seth said, it's pretty much what happens. When you have an assignment fee, depending on the state in which you're closing, the buyer and the seller will know how much you're making, even the seller. But in some states, only one party, one transaction, one person, or either the buyer or seller will know how much you're making. So, what I do, I explain it to the buyer. I tell them everything. I tell them what I do. I send them emails with the past deals and I tell them, “Hey, I'm going to make this much. Are you okay with that?” Most of the time, they're okay.
And on the double closing, that's right, you'd have two separate transactions. One in which I'm going to be the buyer. I own the property for a couple of hours. The second one, I am the seller and I'm selling that to a new buyer. So those are two different transactions and no one knows how much I'm making, who was the original seller. It’s just very clean. If I'm making a higher profit, then I would say like $7,500, I do a double closing. If I'm not making more than $7,500 or I'm in a state in which both parties have to know that I'm making a profit on the deal, I will do the double closing because I do not want the seller to know that I'm making a profit on their land.
Seth: Who determines whether or not both parties have to know? Is this like an association of realtors or local government? How do you find out what the rules are for your state?
Luis: What I do, I just call the title company.
Luis: That's how I get my information.
Seth: Are you always close them in these types of deals, both assignments and double closings with the title company, or do you ever self-close this kind of thing?
Luis: Only with a title company when I double close or have an assignment fee.
Jaren: I'm a big advocate for closing with a title company as well. Luis, I want to backtrack a little bit before we move on. I want to kind of narrow in a little bit on what this conversation looks like with the end buyer because this is the biggest reason why I've never pursued assignments or double closing in my land business. Because in my head, maybe it's like the same thing that people who aren't familiar with real estate investing, they struggle with understanding why would anybody sell at such a deep discount in order to make the business work, but it happens. And maybe it's just a limited belief or something weird on my end, but can you walk us through what that conversation looks like?
So, you have an end buyer on the phone. They're saying, “Hey, I love the price. I want to move forward”. How do you then explain, “Hey, by the way, I don't actually have title to this property.” What does that look like? Because that could be like a really awkward conversation.
Luis: What I do tell them is that I have a contract in place and that contract can be sold to someone else. And that's what I do. I tell them that I'm the owner, I'm executing the contract and I'm in the process of buying. And I explain to them that I'm a land investor. I flip land. And that's pretty much it actually, it's so simple.
Jaren: Do you get a lot of pushback? Because what I used to get a lot when I was trying to sell properties outside of using real estate agents, like when I was doing Facebook marketplace and stuff like that, I'd get people questioning me all day long. How do I know you're not a scam? How do I know you're not just going to rip me off and take my money? And that was just a normal transaction. So, when you add in the element of assignments, I'm like, how do you not get people questioning your every move?
Luis: What do I do? I just send them an email we'd pass deals in which they have recorded deeds so that they can see the proof. Also, I send them to my website, which has a lot of testimonials and that's pretty much it. And if they don't want to do a deal, if they think I'm making too much money or whatever, I just go to the next. I don't have too much patience for these people. But I have never encountered someone that's like, “Hey, you're making too much money. Give me a higher discount or I'm not going to do a deal with you, or I'm going to find that seller and I'm going to tell him what you're doing.” No, they're just okay because like I said before, I have the cheapest property for sale.
Seth: I think a lot of it does have to do with explaining it well to both the buyer and the seller. Just making everybody clear on the same page. When I say that I'm talking about assignments specifically, just making it really clear what's happening. And if you explain it well enough, you sort of get rid of any questions, just through a good explanation, because the questions are all answered there. If there's a problem, it's going to be a problem and they'll tell you and you'll know, but the problem won't be from confusion. It'll become, “There's an issue with the price or something like that.” There's a really detailed blog post that I put together several years ago and I've revised it a lot. I'll link to it in the show notes again, but it's all about what do you say specifically. What words do you say and in what order and how do you make a person understand it either by email or by phone. And for me, anyway, it's always been pretty bulletproof whenever I've tried to explain it.
Luis: When you have the assignment fee, the buyer is going to know how much you're making. So, it's your job. It's my job to explain why am I making that money and I'm very good at explaining. I might have an accent, but I'm very good at talking on the phone. And the seller will know that your company is not signing the deed. They're not transferring the property to your company in which you have a contract for. So, what I tell them, I tell them that they're my partner, that they're doing business with me and they're going to be the ones that the title is going to be under their names, not mine. And they just want the money. They don't care about who's going to be on title or not.
Jaren: Yeah. So, it seems like the thing that you have to get locked down is you have to be working with somebody who's truly a motivated seller and selling it cheap enough where the person who's buying it, they're like, “Yeah, I'll do whatever, man. I'm getting a crazy awesome deal.” If you have those two things down, then you can pretty much structure it however you want. That seems to be the moneymaker right there.
Seth: Well, I think maybe an ancillary question that should also be posed here is how long do you have these properties under contract before it has to close? Because I know sometimes it might take six months to find this new buyer and that seller, if they're sitting around for six months, they better have a pretty good explanation for that. That's why I've always had to explain it. But do you sell them faster than that? Or how long do you have them under contract for?
Luis: When I started, I had a contract and it was six months. I asked for a period of six months. You're going to get your money in six months, but I have changed that so I can get more sellers. I have changed that to 45 days and now I have changed again to 60 days. So, I'm always testing the market. That's what I do. And with 45 or 60 days, Seth, I'm able to see if the property is going to sell it or not. I might not be able to sell it in 60 days, but I know how many people are calling me. Are they offering money? If they have not done the 45 or 60 days, I'm not going to be buying that property. I'm going to be telling that seller, my due diligence period is over and I have found some things that I do not like. And unfortunately, I'm not going to be moving forward. If I have people calling me, people making offers and I think that the property is going to sell in the future, I will use my own money. But I figured at 45 to 60 days, it's enough for me to know, especially in today's market.
Jaren: And you do that longer closing period, whether it's an assignment or a double close? Like you always do that, right?
Luis: It's on my contract. 60 days.
Jaren: Walk us through what it looks like to market a property that you don't own yet. Because that could be interesting, like with Zillow's restrictions. And then what happens if the seller, what if they find out that you're marketing their property for $10,000 more than what you offered them?
Luis: All right. So, most sellers don't have access to the internet or if they do, they don’t know how to use it. So, I have done over, I would say, 70 deals in two years. One seller has found out. What happened? I got the contract signed. The other day I posted on Zillow. And that guy, he had claimed that property on Zillow. So, he got an email saying that someone else claimed to be the owner and it wasn't for sale. So, she called me right away. She was super upset. I took the listing off. I managed to talk to her for five long days. After following up for five straight days, she agreed to signing the document. She wanted the money, she was motivated. She wanted to make the money and have no hustle whatsoever. And what I had to do, I had to purchase that property. Then I had to market it, but I did not put it for sale in Zillow or Redfin. What I did for the first time in my career, I used a real estate agent. I told him, I will give you the listing, but I do not want that to be on any website. I want to be only on the MLS. So only realtors will know about it. And that lady is happy because she got her money about $26,000. I accepted an offer two days ago for $65,000.
Seth: Wow, nice. Awesome. So just backtracking a little bit there. So, this lady, the problem was just the fact that you were not going to hold it. In her mind, she didn't like this idea that you were going to assign a deal or do a double closing.
Luis: That's right. Because I was purchasing for $9,000 each lot. I purchased three and I put them on the internet for $25,000, I was trying to sell each one. So, when she saw it, she got super upset because you're going to buy my property and you haven't even closed and you're going to sell it for three times more from whom you're buying from?
Seth: Yeah. Interesting. So, the lesson from that is what exactly? I mean, to do what you're doing, you have to list it before you own it. Right?
Jaren: I think the lesson is that out of 70 deals, it's happened once. And if it happens, do what you can to salvage the deal. But there's plenty of opportunities that Luis has done where it hasn't turned into an issue. So, if it's an issue, just an absolute worst-case scenario, walk away from that property, we try to fight for it like he did. And he got it, which is awesome. But in a worst-case scenario, he has a lot of other business that he can do if he just cuts his losses and moves on.
Luis: That's correct. That's pretty much what I do. 70 deals, one person has called me. Believe me, after that, I was afraid. I was like, I'm not going to do this and everything else. But I was like, it happened one time. What's the likelihood of happening again? And in my business, I do high volume. So, if one deal does not work, I'm okay with that. It's just normal. It's not like I'm dying for a deal. I will fight for it. I'm going to call that sell. I'm going to make everything. I'm going to send them a gift card. I'm going to send them a basket with chocolate wine. I do that.
Jaren: That's awesome. I don't think I've ever sent a seller a gift or basket. That's a great idea.
Seth: I hear what you guys are saying. Like it doesn't happen often. And that's a fair point for sure. I'm just wondering, in this particular deal you made like $40,000. I mean, that's a big deal that would have not happened. And also, could you have done something differently? The fact that you weren't going to hold it, like that was a deal-breaker. Nothing could have been done. Or do you think if there was a way you could have explained it better from the very outset? Is there a best practice that would avoid this or for some people, it just doesn't work with them?
Luis: I think most people would not accept that I'm going to be making a profit on their land. So, I’d rather not have that conversation. I am going to be the owner. I am going to be purchasing the land myself. It doesn't mean that I'm lying, but it makes them trust me more. And I'm paying them, I'm giving top dollar for their property and I'm paying on time and I'm sending a mobile notary to their home. So, they don't have to do anything. They don't lift. They use a pen. And that's pretty much it. I did not make $40,000 because I had to pay a land realtor 10% plus for the first time as well, I used a money lender. Someone put their cash upfront because I didn't want to use my capital.
Seth: Okay. And you are a real estate agent, right? You're a licensed agent.
Luis: Yes. I am licensed in California.
Seth: But these properties that you're doing, are those in California or are those in some other state?
Luis: Other states. I don't do too many businesses in California.
Seth: Okay. Because I know in several states and I feel like I don't even have a full list of which ones are like this, but I think Ohio is one of them. Doing what we're doing, what we're talking about here, listing properties that you don't own and assigning it, that's basically seen as practicing real estate without a license. You have to be licensed to do that. Not everywhere, though. In a lot of states, that's not an issue at all. And even a separate point, I think I've heard it highly recommended that if you're listing a property for sale that you don't own, you should specify in the listing. We have this under contract. We are not the current owner. Just to make it totally clear. So, two questions on that. Has it ever been an issue for you? Has anybody ever challenged you as trying to sell real estate without a license? And do you put any kind of disclaimer in the listing itself?
Luis: Never. And I don't put any disclaimer. My listing is just like five lines. Very short.
Jaren: What about your mail piece? Are you doing anything different? Especially with having a longer close cycle, like a lot of the selling points that I bring to the table was like, I can close really quickly. I'm all cash. But you're not saying that you can close quickly. You're saying you can close in 60 days. So, do you do anything different on your mail piece? And then do you disclose anything about you being licensed on your mail piece at all?
Luis: I do close quickly, Jaren. Quickly it's different for you and for me, right? Quickly for me, it's 60 days. It's really quick in the land business. For a person that has that property for 10, 15, 20 years, 60 days is nothing. In my opinion, of course. Also, I do not disclaim that I'm an agent because I'm not joining basis in California. That's why I don't do it in California. Because if I would do it in here, I would have to have in there that I'm an agent.
Jaren: That's what I did in Indiana too. I did the exact same thing. So, I'm licensed in Indiana. And when I was doing the land business in Southern Indiana, I did disclose that I was an agent, but in Florida I haven't because you don't need to. Because I'm not licensed in Florida.
Luis: That's correct.
Jaren: None of us are giving any legal advice. Obviously, don't believe anything we're telling you, but to my understanding.
Luis: And also, my offers, there are more things that I do than some people. I offer more things, not just money. I'm not comfortable sharing because it's like my trademark. But they have more incentive to do business with me.
Jaren: Man, what a cliffhanger.
Jaren: I have this industry secret but I'm not going to tell you guys.
Luis: It's hard. It's hard. Sorry.
Seth: Is it legal?
Luis: Just like a matter of testing the market, I'm always testing. I'm always sending more and more letters and checking. I have to say thank you to you guys, to Mark, Jeffrey. He has helped me in the beginning. You might watch this later. He's a land investor. He does tons of deals.
Seth: Yeah. I've seen him in our Facebook group.
Luis: Yeah, he's great. He has taken the time to teach me some things about blind offers and everything else. We haven't spoken in a while, but he was the guy who was helping me. Besides that, it was all on my own.
Seth: And it speaks to the value of getting to know and becoming buddy-buddy with really anybody else out there who is doing this and taking it seriously. Because they're always going to, whether it's a mastermind or even just like a single other person who really takes it seriously. Because man, you can learn so much from just being in constant contact with somebody else who's in the trenches with you.
Jaren: Yes. I want to echo that and bring that point home because I'm actually involved in an apartment syndication mastermind right now. I don't know if it's going to happen, but the only goal that I'm trying to focus on this year is to make this apartment syndication deal finally happen.
Because I've been on this journey of trying to figure it out for so long. And somebody who's in that mastermind, who has done deals before, who has been through the trenches already, I told him that I have somebody lined up here in Northwest Indiana who's actively buying and who pretty much has agreed to take me on and let me be their boots on the ground. Let me be on the GP and all that stuff, which is awesome.
But he said that right there is the secret sauce to getting started in apartment syndication. If you can find somebody and then convince them to bring you on, that is what's going to get you in the game. And I told him I don't even care if I make any money on this first deal because I just want to get the track record. Like if I can say, yeah, it was a general partnership of a 125-unit apartment deal. Like that alone is worth gold because in it, everything will change. And so, what you just said there is actually very, very, very insightful.
And it's also been the way that I've gotten success in my career. Instead of paying for a course, I mean, I have paid for lots of courses and there's definitely a lot of value there, but what my path is always kind of ended up being is just go work for the person that is doing what you want to do. With Brett Snodgrass at Simple Wholesaling. And then it's like working with you. And that's kind of how I've found success. It’s just like go find somebody who's doing it and become their friends, develop a relationship and add value and just be hungry and aggressive to be involved. I mean, you'll find yourself getting paid sometimes to learn the business instead of paying somebody to teach you the business. It's a really good insight there.
Seth: Yeah, totally.
Luis: I have someone, actually a lady, that does not have too much experience and she doesn't have too much time. So, I have agreed on helping her. We made an agreement for the first three deals in which I was going to make a percentage on the deal and she's happy because she's making money. I'm making money. We closed on a deal here in California that I helped her. I found a buyer for her. She couldn't find, I was like, “All right, I'm going to find you the buyer. We're going to bump up my percentage.” And we just closed. I got my check yesterday and that was a pretty sweet check and I ended up selling the property to a solar company.
Seth: Oh, cool. Interesting. Was that a good deal then?
Luis: Yeah, that's an awesome deal. Yeah. We were able to make good money and they paid for everything we asked for.
Seth: I have heard of people talking with solar companies, but I've never actually talked to somebody who legitimately sold it to a solar power company. So that's interesting. Was it a pretty big piece of land? Must've been, right?
Luis: Five acres. The thing is this solar company owned two lots on one side and the other side. She got a contract in the middle. The lot was in between. And I told her when she got it, this is going to be your buyer. Nobody else is going to buy your property. I'm not sure what she did. She could not get it sold. So, she was like, Luis, I need your help. What I did, I sent them a letter and a week after we had a deal.
Seth: That's awesome. Very cool.
Jaren: Hey, Luis, I want to dive into a little bit about how you get properties sold. I think this is a really good segue with what you just mentioned there. Because in my business, maybe because I'm using agents, I don't know, but I'm typically selling property within three to six months. So, I average, like I run my numbers based on a sales cycle of four and a half months to sell a property. There are times where I sell property in a week and that does happen. But by and large, when you average it out, I'm holding properties for at least three months on average, but you have 60 days to find an end buyer. So, what are you doing to get properties sold so quickly?
Luis: Buyer's list. Every person that calls me, I keep a track record that they are on my Excel and phone number. Sometimes I have their name. Sometimes I don't have a name, just have a phone number. So, when I get a new property, I text all of them. I have a new property, size, price, everything else. I'm able to negotiate a better price if you're willing to.
Second, Craigslist, Trulia, Redfin, and Zillow. I was selling a lot of properties on Facebook, but for some reason, they cut me off. I'm trying to fight to get it back. So, it's just Zillow, Redfin, Trulia, Craigslist, and buyer's list. Also, I sent a letter to the homeowners next door to the lot. So, I find who are the owners and I send them a letter.
Seth: So, you mentioned you sent a text to your buyer's list. Do you ever send emails? I don’t want to say I have never heard of people doing that, but it's less common, usually emails where people go to. Do you find texting is more effective or people more responsive to that?
Luis: They are. They're more responsive.
Seth: It seems like it would have been.
Luis: I also do emails. You're right.
Jaren: I like the text idea because it would make sense if I was on somebody's buyer's list. Because I'm on so many different subscriptions and stuff and I'm busy when I'm checking my emails. So, I won't even open them. I just click them on and hit read. And then it's like move on with my day. But if I got a text message and someone was like, “Hey, I got a deal right now that you're looking for. Check this out,” there'd be a much higher response rate from me for sure.
Luis: Yeah. And my average days on the market, it's pretty low actually. I would say it's like between four weeks to seven weeks. There are some properties that take longer, but most properties are so quickly. So that's why I have to keep sending offers. I cannot stop. Every single week I have to send offers.
Jaren: So, what happens Luis, when you hit that 60-day mark and your contract expired, like you have to go to closing? Let's say you're in a situation where you don't want to take down the property yourself. You still want to sign a double close. Can you talk to the seller and just extend the contract? Or do you just walk? What's the normal process there?
Luis: It depends on the seller, but I have walked away. I have asked for an extension. I have done one deal right now that I just walked away. But I left the property online for sale. Because I'm like, if I find a deal, this person is going to be selling that property. It doesn't matter what it has expired or not. And that happens. A buyer was interested. So, I called the seller and I apologize. It took a little longer, COVID-19, but now I am ready to buy your property. Are you willing to sell it still? Yes, I am. Good deal. It's just like that.
But another thing. I have two options, Jaren, when my contract expired or it’s about to expire. One, I can't cancel. Two, I can use my money to buy the property. How do I do that? I'm going to buy the property if I got enough traffic, if enough people have called me, texted me, emailed me. If I have not gotten the response that I want, I cancel. At the same time, Jaren, I'm always dropping the price. So, when I drop the price, I find this buyer, most often.
Jaren: What's the process on dropping the price? Are you just like every week religiously, you're going to drop by a certain percentage, or is there any rhyme or reason to guide you on dropping the price?
Luis: Not really. Actually, I'm just checking the dates. Usually, it's like every 10 days, usually $500, $1,000. It depends on do I want to close this quickly and depending on the property. So, it's not something that I have a rule. I always change.
Seth: How big is your buyer's list? Just out of curiosity.
Luis: It's big. Depending on the area, 150 buyers, 50, 30, 20, 10. Depends on the area.
Seth: Because it sounds like maybe that's part of your secret sauce for getting stuff sold fast is, you're just willing to work that thing hard. You don't just list it and wait for people to call you. You very proactively text this person, text that person. And it sounds like that's working for you.
Luis: Yes. I call a lot of my buyers. I talk to them and I ask them, what do you think how much money is going to require for you to, I don't know, put the utilities? Can I give you a better deal? Let's make something work. And that's what I do. I'm very proactive. Yes. That's for sure.
Seth: Because a lot of people are either scared of the phone or it just takes too much energy or they don't have the time for it or whatever. But man, for people who are willing to pick up the phone, that's something like a superpower that definitely not everybody has.
Jaren: Yeah. I've been talking to a house wholesaler in Indianapolis and he said that their primary way to get deals right now is cold calling. They kind of like modernize it by using some kind of a rotary system. I don't really know exactly how it works, but they upload a list and I guess it just automatically calls people like back to back to back to back or something. But needless to say, he's not doing mail. He's not doing anything except cold calling. And he said that their overhead is like $3,500 a month or something, which is ridiculous for household selling. Because they're not touching mail and mail is super expensive. So, if you're willing to pick up that phone, that's a superpower for sure.
Luis: And that's not easy. It wasn't easy in the beginning, guys. This land business, it's not easy. It's simple. It's very simple, but it's not easy. You have to do the work. In the beginning, believe me, I would come home from my current job. I was a server. I got my license. I learned how to do the land and I was a server. So, I had three jobs. I would call for sale by owners. I would call listed properties. I would call expired listings. I would call all of them. And at night when I would come home around 10 o'clock, I would spend like two hours, three hours downloading lists of properties, posting properties for sale. Then I came into a point in which I quit my job and I focused on being a realtor. And it did not pay well. I stopped for about five months sending letters in the land business. And I focus on calling for sale by owners, but it did not work. Competition is so fearless. So many people are calling that same seller.
Then I figured out I have to focus on my land. So, I start sending more letters and more letters and more letters. Now I am at a point that I focus 95% of my time in land. I could do two hours a day, but I don't. I do six, seven, eight hours a day on my land business because I want to grow. And I'm growing. Thanks to God and my actions. Also, I do mail about 5,000 to 7,000 letters a month. So, I don't get good response actually. My response rate probably is about 2%, but when I get a contract, every week I got a new contract on the mail. Let's say every two weeks I get three, but it's because I choose not to send a regular letter.
I just send them an offer because I do not want to spend my time on the phone. When I'm sending a regular letter, I want to buy your property, call me. They're going to call me and I'm going to be on the phone all the time. So, what I do? I send them an offer. You don't have to call me. You have an offer in your hand. Do you want me to do business or not? Sometimes they don't want, most of the times they don't want. The percentage of people that calls me saying that they do not want to do business with me or cursing me or insulting me it's way, way higher than the accepted offers, but that it's not personal to me. I don't have any emotion to that. It's just business. I just move on to the next and next and next.
Seth: Yeah. I know you mentioned earlier an example or a couple examples of deals you've done. What is a typical price point? At what point is a deal too cheap or not profitable enough for you to get involved with? Your buy price, your sell price.
Luis: My offers, they start about with $500. If you have a property for $500 up to $1,000, I can turn it around and I can sell it for $4,000. So, I'll make a good $3,000. And it's a numbers game. But I go up to $25,000 per lot. That's what usually I do on my offers, but I have sent offers to $30,000. But usually, let's say I get a property for $6,000. I'm able to sell it for $12,000. I'm always doubling or tripling my money. Sometimes I have cases in which I made way less, but I still made a profit.
Jaren: It's crazy what's our reality in the land business. Like I've been working on a blog post recently and I don't want to go too much into the details on it, but I've been like systematically breaking down kind of the returns that you can make in land. I forget sometimes how ridiculous it is because it's like baseline hit. You're going to make 100% ROI. There's no reason not to do a deal. Like there's so much opportunity in land and that just doesn't exist.
And I've been talking to some people recently who have approached me and are interested in the land business, but they're like, “Well, what about other types of strategies?” And I'm trying to convince them like, “No, you don't understand. I could have been a whole house slipper. I could have been a wholesaler, but I chose land because it's the best.” And when it comes to transactional real estate, active investing, there's nothing better.
Seth: Yeah. It is kind of weird. A lot of people just won't sink in. I don't think there's anything you can say, they just don't get it. That's kind of a shame for them honestly.
Jaren: That's the magic. Don't tell too many people.
Luis: And something that I have learned with you, Seth and Jaren, it's about the ROI, return on your investment. I'm in an Excel forum that I know how much I'm going to be making. I know how much I can offer up to 25%, 35%, 45%, 50%. I watched one of your episodes and I was listening and doing the calculation. Listening, stopping, calculating. Putting everything so I would know what to do.
Seth: Yeah. That's awesome, man.
Luis: So, thank you.
Seth: You bet. Thanks for listening. So, I'm curious. You've got this assignment approach. You've got the double closing approach and just the traditional closing where you just buy it out. Which one do you prefer and why?
Luis: So, you guys might know. I would prefer anything that will come my way. It does not matter if it's a double-closed, assignment fee or if I self-close myself. What is important to me is that if I'm going to be making a profit. I love double closing because I don't have to touch my money. The money comes from the buyer and I just get my 1099. I love assignment fees because I do not have to touch my money as well.
Seth: One question on that, when you say you don't use your money. Are you using what they call single source funding? So, the end buyer's funds are being used to cover both your closing and the original closing.
Luis: That’s correct. The buyer funds cover everything. Covers my feet and pays the seller and the closing costs.
Seth: Was it hard for you to find a title company that would do that kind of thing for you, both assignments and double closings? Did you have any issues with that?
Luis: It's hard. I'm on the phone. If I am going to a state that I have not done deals in the past, what I do, I call five, ten title companies and talk to them for like 10 minutes. Do you guys do this? Can you do this? No, no. Next, next. Until I find one that does it.
Jaren: Then what I really appreciate about your approach to your business is your hustle, man. You have hustle where other people would just be like, “Ah, it's too hard.” You are like, “No, I don't care. I'm going to make it happen.” So that's a big takeaway for me from this conversation.
Luis: Thanks, man. It's because of my wife and my son, because I see that I'm able to provide them more and more if I hustle, if I work, if I do the hours. And that's just so grateful to me, I'm so happy for you.
Jaren: Yeah, man. My wife is my source of inspiration. I had no work ethic until I got married.
Seth: Yeah. That's interesting. It is really cool. Just example of like in America, at least, I don't know what other countries are like, but if you're hungry, if you want to put the work in, the opportunity is there for you. But that's the thing. A lot of people aren't, they just can't tolerate it. But it is really cool to see somebody who's willing to do it and it's working for them.
Jaren: Yeah. My wife talks a lot about that. We have a lot of friends because my wife is from Kazakhstan and we have a lot of Central Asian friends and they'll come here with absolutely nothing. But then within a year or two, they have houses and cars and whether that's driving a truck or being a taxi or Uber or whatever, they'll figure it out. They'll do everything and they'll get there.
Luis: Thank you. Yes, that's what we do. I'm from Brazil and I have lived in China, Thailand, South Korea, Mexico. I have lived in various places and here is the land of opportunity. If you're willing to execute, to work, you're going to get it done. But if you're not, you're not going to get anything.
Seth: So, do you speak Portuguese and Spanish then?
Luis: Yes. I speak Portuguese and I learned Spanish when I was living in Mexico. So sometimes my buyers, they are going to talk in Spanish and I'm like, “Hey, cómo estás?” I kind of have like broken Spanish because I don't practice too much, but I'm able to help them and they're good buyers. They're really good buyers.
Seth: Has that opened up a lot of opportunities just being trilingual like that? Like being able to have conversations with people, whatever language they're speaking?
Luis: Yes, it has because I have buyers that are from Brazil. I have done numerous properties that we were speaking Portuguese. It's not because they didn't speak English. It's just because we were like, “Hey, you are from Brazil? I'm from Brazil.” And others from like Mexico. And they're just happy that I can communicate with them because sometimes they have to ask their kids to talk to me. I'm like, “Hey, no, I'm able to help you. Let's talk.” It might be a little slower for me. I apologize actually, but they're happy.
Seth: That's awesome. Yeah. I got to think that gives you a leg up just in terms of credibility.
Jaren: Yeah. A hundred percent.
Luis: And also, it's hard sometimes because I have received voicemails in which the seller is telling me, “Go back to your country and you didn't deserve to be here,” because of my accent. So, it's a sword. How do you say?
Seth: Double-edged sword?
Luis: Double-edged sword.
Seth: Yeah. Man, that's rough. I hope that's not a common thing. It's like, one in a million.
Luis: No, it's not. And at the same time, I have learned not to take this personally. So, I just let it go. The same moment I listened to the voicemail, five minutes later, it's gone. I don't think about it. I don't slip. I go to the next seller.
Jaren: Yeah. I think a lot of it is people for whatever reason, they just want to be really nasty. They'll grab a hold of anything that they can be nasty with, whether it's race or your weight or your voice. Sometimes I get a lot of hate on the way that I talk because my voice is pretty high pitched for a guy that's approaching 30. And so, a lot of people would be like, “Are you like a 16-year-old kid? You're not serious. You don't have any money. You're like, nothing.” And when they're in that mode, they're just going to do anything they can to insult you. And I don't know exactly what drives it.
If I got a letter, I actually get letters. I've gotten letters from other land investors on properties that they got like old lists or whatever. And I just take it and I throw it away. I'm not going to sit there and be like, “How dare you?” And they're paying for postage to send it back to me half the time. I don't get it.
Seth: I think it boils down to that, saying hurt people, hurt people. Somebody has to be hurting or dealing with some kind of inner demons to think it’s worth their time to call you out and teach you a lesson and be nasty to you.
As we kind of wrap this up, Luis, how big of a deal would you say it's been to be able to do double closings and assignments just whenever you want so you can figure out how to make that work? If you weren't even willing to do that kind of thing, how much worse off would your business be?
Luis: It was going to be hard because in the beginning I didn't have any money. I had to purchase my course. I had to learn and I had to put it on a credit card. So, I had a lot of debt because of these seminars. I spent so much money. I told you guys about $20,000, not on the land itself but on the real estate industry to learn. So, I had debt on my credit card. I wasn't able to afford to buy a $500, $1,000 piece of land. So that helped me a lot in the beginning.
And with the traction, doing deals after deals, assignment that will close, I have built enough capital to invest in myself. But I love when I don't have to put my money to work for me. Other’s people money it's working for me. I'm just able to find the seller, the buyer, the money wise workout and they're happy. The seller's happy because he got his money. He didn't have to worry about anything. And the seller is happy because he got the property that he wanted for the price that he wanted.
So, I have grown like crazy. I could not have thought that I was going to be in this way. I told Jaren I have closed seven deals this month. Seven pieces of land. I have two more than I'm closing this week. Another one next week. I have four more lots in two weeks from now. I have a lot of properties in Astro for sale and coming soon.
So, I keep track of everything, Seth. And for me to not use my money, it means that I can offer it as much as I want. And if something happens, I will find an investor that's going to be willing to put their money to work for us because he's going to make a profit on the deal as well. And I was not happy to get a 50% split. I do not share 50% of my profits. So, what I did, Seth and Jaren, I called. Are you willing to do this? How much are you going to charge me? And I got 13% interest on the profit.
Seth: Oh, that's awesome.
Jaren: That is what is more common than other types of real estate. If the land industry ever goes mainstream in the real estate investing world, I hope it never happens, but if it does, I think that gone will be the days of kind of the standard being 50/50 splits. Because I think the whole premise of land is more risky than other types of estate. I think it can be depending on what market you're in, but if you're in like Florida or Arizona or other places where comps are readily available on Zillow, the numbers are there. You can figure out how much your property is valued at. I just don't think that it's viable, like 50/50 splits, it just eats me inside. I just did a deal this morning with a friend of mine and I'm offering him like 30/70 split. And even that I'm like, “My goodness, man. They're killing me with this in the land business.”
Luis: I can't take it because it's my hard work. I spend so much money with letters per month. $4,000 a month just with letters. So, I cannot provide you 50% or 30%. I had to shop around. And now this guy is happy because we've got an offer. And I have another investor that wants to lend me money on the same deal, because he has seen what I do. I explain everything. I showed them on a Word document. This is how much I'm getting. This is how much the properties are selling for. And this is how much is my worst-case scenario. So, I can tell you the guy's name because he does that. And he'll be happy to help you if you provide him that information, that you are going to be able to sell that property and make money on that.
Seth: It's a big deal, this thing about being able to do it without any of your own money, because that's really everybody's bottleneck ultimately. Some people talk about selling big is the bottleneck and it is, but the only reason that's a problem is because people can't get their money back. But if you don't need money at all, if you can just use, yeah, that's a huge game changer.
It does make me wonder. I know when we talked to Renee about this in episode 30. I think we talked about this on the episode, but if not, I know she's told me that it's probably like half the time, her time ends up being wasted. Deals will fall apart. All the stuff she went through, it doesn't pan out. I'm curious, what is your fall apart rate Luis? How often do they just not go anywhere? And why do they die, exactly?
Luis: They would die because I'd got it for too much money and I couldn't sell even dropping the price. That's the main reason actually. I don't waste too much of my time. It's a process that I do for every single property. And I don't put too much time on every single property. I try to look at a broader perspective. When I post it online, I'm always dropping the price, dropping the price, talking to sellers, and it happens I would say 20% of the time. Let's say in hours, 10 hours. So, if something didn't work out, I wasted 10 hours, which is not a lot. It's one and a half day for one property.
Seth: Yeah, it's a reasonable price to pay, again, for doing deals. It's going to happen.
Jaren: Because it gives you the ability to scale, for real. That is even with working with other people's money, like if he brought on private money lenders, there's still a certain cap on your growth there with their level of comfort. Whereas if you're doing double closing or you're assigning, it's really just down to how much mail can you send out?
Luis: You got it.
Seth: Well, what do you think, Jaren? Are there any other specific questions we have to ask Luis? Or did we cover it all? Anything else we should be asking Luis that we haven't? Any thoughts to share with people who are maybe wanting to do what you do and then they're not sure they can do it. What would you say to them?
Luis: Yeah, sure. I want to share something actually. I said before, it's not easy, but it's simple. And if you're doing it for three, six months, don't get discouraged. We all have been through that. Give yourself more time. But the main thing is how many offers are you sending? That's going to dictate if you're successful or not in real estate. How many offers are you sending you? Don't call me and tell me, I have sent 50 offers and I haven't done any deals. I'm so sad. I'm going to cry. Come on, dude, are you kidding me? I sent 5,000 to 6,000 offers and I get two accepted three, four. What are you crying about? You know what I'm saying?
I read a lot. So, every morning I'm reading on how to be my best self, how to execute better, how to have commitment, how to be honest. That has helped me a lot. So, I would say to your audience, to everyone out there, I'm not the best. I am the best version of myself every single day and I'm happy with that. I do vacations. I spend time with my wife, my son. I have a balanced life, but at the end, it's about your actions.
Seth: I love that. Good input. So, something that we do sometimes when we have time as we wrap up these podcasts, we ask our guests three final questions to understand more about how they tick and how they operate and how you think through issues in life. So, the first question here is what is your biggest fear?
Luis: My biggest fear is to get old and look back and wish I have done more.
Jaren: Wow. That one's good. What's something that you're most proud of?
Luis: My connection with God. I talk to him every day, multiple times a day.
Jaren: That's awesome.
Seth: Very cool. Do you think that plays any part in the direction you end up going or results or peace of mind? What's the benefit you feel like you get from that?
Luis: I get peace of mind and it's just a blessing because I'm not in control of anything. It's not me. I control my actions, but the rest is up to God. So, I feel clarity and I just don't get upset. It's just part of life.
Seth: Yeah. That's actually a huge, huge thing. I actually know somebody who's dealing with cancer right now. He says that all the time and I totally get it. What do people do in this situation if they don't have God? Like how do you process that and think about your death and your purpose in life. It's just, I don't know. It would be way harder to go through that without believing in a God.
Luis: Yeah, it's hard, Seth, because I have lost three people in my family due to cancer. My uncle passed away two months ago and he was kind of my father. If I did not have God, I would not be here. And then my auntie, my other uncle, they all went away because of cancer. That's why I said, I don't want to get old. If something happens to me, I don't want to look back and wish I have done more. That's why I wake up. I pray. I have my “why” and I execute. Because if something happens 10 years from now, I'm going to be okay with that because I have done my best before.
Seth: Yeah. That's awesome. So, what is the most important lesson you have ever learned?
Luis: Actually, I told you already. I told you guys, I'm not in control. I'm not, I only control my actions. God takes everything else, the rest. So, when I wake up and I do my actions, it's good. But the rest is God. When someone is calling me and upsetting with me, it's not about me. It's about their own self. So that's it. I'm not in control. It's not me.
Jaren: I love it, man.
Seth: Good lesson. Awesome. Well, Luis, thanks again for spending your time with us. I learned a lot of interesting stuff here. If people want to get in touch with you or anything like that, you don't have to, but do you want to share any contact info or a website or anything like that?
Luis: Yeah, I can give you my email, which is firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can find my Facebook as well. And I answer your email and if you guys send me an email, I'm going to answer it. I'm going to take the time to answer.
Seth: Awesome. Well, thanks again, Luis. I appreciate having you on the show and we shall the best in your next years of business.
Luis: Thanks guys. I look forward to talking to you again.
Seth: Well, there you go, folks. That was our interview with Luis. I thought it was sort of invigorating and just cool to see another example of somebody with hustle who can really make stuff happen and willingness to just really hammer that buyer's list and pick up the phone and call and text and email. I think when you get down to any business, that's how a lot of people do well. But it's hard. It takes a lot of energy and stamina to constantly do that.
Jaren: A lot of grit, man.
Seth: It's working for him.
Jaren: Yeah. I really liked Luis. I really liked this interview. It was definitely within my top five. I don't have like a running list, but just shooting from the hip.
Seth: It’s definitely in my top 98 of the podcast.
Jaren: Yeah. I think that his hustle and what motivates him, really at the end of the day, he's really trying to provide for his family and be the best version of himself. And it's just really inspiring.
I will say that I'm very thankful that we had him on the podcast because I feel like he's one of the few people that we've talked to in the context of assignments and double closing that do it as a primary strategy. I know we talked to Renee and we talked with Karl, but Karl, if I remember correctly, he had done a couple of assignments to some developers. It wasn't like a primary strategy. But for Luis, I think he said he does something like 30% assignments, 30% double closes and like 30% of taking down the properties himself, which I think comes out to 90%, but whatever. I think that's what he said.
I liked that we had this conversation because I feel like this was one of the most honest, this is what it looks like to do this in the land business. But for me, I still think that even though private money is more expensive, I think I would just rather go that route in the way that I do the land business. I agree that using other people's money is super smart. Cash on cash return. We have articles. I think we should link in the show notes about cash on cash and other people's money, but there's a lot of power in leveraging and scaling using other people's money. What do you call it? It's like a foundational principle in real estate.
But for me personally, having to do that dance of not necessarily like lying, but just omitting information to either the buyer or the seller. Just for me, maybe I'm just overly sensitive or just like, I don't know, religious or something. I don't know what the right word is, but for me, I don't want to have to deal with that and navigate that. It would just be emotionally stressful for me. So, I'd rather, just scale using other people's money. But there's pros and cons and drawbacks. And if you're going to do it, I think the way that Luis is doing it is the way to go.
Seth: I see what you mean. It certainly feels cleaner when you're just traditionally buying the thing. You own it. You can take your time to sell it. Hopefully it doesn't take long, but still, you're not doing this dance. You're not doing anything unconventional. It's very straightforward. There's not even financing involved or it doesn't have to be anyway. So yeah, in terms of like stress level, maybe, I don't know if that's the right word, but…
Jaren: Yeah, maybe that is the right word. I just don't want to have the mental gymnastics to like, “Okay, how am I going to say this? What am I going to do?” It's just much easier to just be like, “Yeah, I’ll buy your property.” Close, and then turn around and sell it.
Seth: Although I do think a little bit of that stress is probably coming from just not knowing what to do. And once you've done it a few times, you do know what to do and it's not stressful anymore.
Jaren: Yeah, it's true.
Seth: I kind of liked how at least it sort of seems like he has different buckets. Like this deal is worth this much. It'll make this much. It's going to double close. This one's going to be an assignment. It seems like if you have it really systematic like that almost where it's like, it's not even me deciding anymore. This is just the policy. This is where this deal is going to go and this is how I explain it. Even then it still seems like the traditional way is always going to be easier. But again, you're going to get bottlenecked, you're going to run out of money or you got to give away a bunch of your money to a money partner. So, there's costs everywhere you go.
Jaren: Yeah. There are pros and cons for sure. But I thought that that was a really solid episode.
Seth: Yeah, definitely.
Jaren: So, we're going to do a trivia question. Is this our first one for 2021?
Seth: I think it is. Actually, I got this interesting thing. It's called the Pod Deck. I don't even know if this is something you can buy anywhere, but our old podcast editor sent this to me, Steve Stewart. It's kind of like a list of conversation starters, but I think it's actually meant for exactly what we're doing. Just having thought-provoking questions to ask. But the first question I'm seeing here is this. Would you rather be the best player on a horrible team or the worst player on a great team?
Jaren: That's a great question. I would rather be the worst player on the best team.
Seth: So, you'd rather be the dead weight that slows everybody down.
Jaren: Well, I don’t know.
Seth: There is no right answer to this.
Jaren: Yeah. But I feel like if I were to go the route of being the best player on the worst team…
Seth: You're never going to get very far because the team is horrible.
Jaren: Maybe I didn't think it through a little bit because my gut reaction was, I don't want it to just be a Jaren show. Like there's no point to that. And what motivates me is being the best. So, if I was on the best team, but the worst player, I would still be the best. So, for me, it's weird. My motivator good, bad or ugly is, I want to be the best, like the real best. I don't care if people know it. Like it's not accolades. It's not attaboy. It's like, I know that legitimately, when anybody actually assesses a situation like factually, I am the best option. Like I have the best set of skills. And so, because of that, the surface level I'd rather be on the best team. However, as I'm thinking through it now…
Seth: That's the thing. It's sort of a trick question because you're not the best in either scenario. You're either not the best as a team or you're not the best as an individual. You don't really win either way. I guess it depends on do you care more about the goodness or the well-being of the team or the well-being of yourself.
Jaren: Yeah, to that end, I'm actually thinking I'm going to change my answer and be the best player on the worst team because I would be in a position to influence the team and maybe increase morale and increased performance. So maybe because I was there, if I'm really good, I could impart a lot of my knowledge and stuff to the team and make them better. So, I'm going to go with that answer. What about you?
Seth: Yeah. That's a good perspective. I hadn't even thought of it that way. But I can see that totally being a valid point. I don't have a lot of experience with this personally, but to sort of draw a weird parallel. So, when I was in high school, my senior year of high school, I didn't even really know why looking back on it, but for whatever reason, I ended up being a really popular my senior year of high school. I used to be really serious about playing the guitar and lifting weights and stuff in the few interests that I had. And in those things that I was interested in, I was the best in my entire school because my senior class was only 78 people. And the whole school was about 500 people. So, it wasn't hard to be the best.
And honestly, it was awesome. I really enjoyed kind of feeling like the top dog. And I also learned some valuable lessons about pride and ego through that because the following year I went to college. And at college, that was still pretty small. There were like 5,000 people at the entire school, but overnight, nobody cared about me. I was not special at all. None of my things that I excelled at, I was the best at it anymore. I was like kind of a nobody automatically. It was hard for me. I didn't fully understand it at the time. I was just kind of feeling depressed a lot, but it's just a very different mentality when all of a sudden, it's not really about me anymore. It's about, what am I part of now?
And so, I don’t know. I really enjoyed being sort of the best player on the worst team or the big fish in a small pond. But I think maybe some of that was based in immaturity maybe. At least my reasons for feeling that way. But I think you made a really good point though, about if you are an influencer, even in a very small team or group or whatever, you do sort of have leverage in that. Like people will listen to what you say and what you say matters. Whereas if you're somebody with no credibility in a huge organization, you're kind of a nobody in a way.
Jaren: You can have much more of an impact for sure.
Seth: Yeah. I think I would probably have the same answer as you. I don't know if that's right or wrong, but that's kind of my gut response to that.
Jaren: Yeah, man. I think that's spot on.
Jaren: These questions are a lot better than the other. I liked that one. That was good.
Seth: I was looking through a lot. They all seemed pretty good. Well, again, folks, if you want to check out the show notes where we linked to a lot of different things, you can find the transcription, video, all this stuff. Go to retipster.com/98 because this is episode 98. And if you're listening to this on your phone, go ahead and text the word “FREE” to the number 33777. And you can stay up to date on all of the new things that are going on with REtipster. So, thanks again for listening. I wish you all the best and we'll talk to you in the next episode.
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