Today we’re talking with some I've wanted to get on the podcast for a while, Travis King.
Travis and I first traded emails way back in 2014 when he had some early questions about the land investing business.
Ever since then, this guy has become a powerhouse land investor. He’s introduced me to some really important people over the years and he’s the kind of guy I go to when I have questions and want to hear his thoughts and learn about what’s working for him.
Travis is also a land investing coach who helps people who want to focus on bigger deals and scaling things up, which we’ll get into as well.
Links and Resources
- LandInvestingMastery.com Want to join one of Travis' live 12-session coaching groups? Use coupon code SETH, and you'll get a big discount!
- BiggerPockets Podcast Episode 039
- 80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall
- Principles by Ray Dalio
- How Land Specialized Real Estate Agents Can Change the Game for Real Estate Investors
- PRYCD Review: Is This the Best Way to Value and Price Land?
- PRYCD (REtipster Affiliate Link)
- REI Pebble (REtipster Affiliate Link)
- PriceBoss 3.0 (REtipster Affiliate Link)
- Realtors Land Institute (a good list of rural land agents)
- REtipster Certified Coaches
Seth: Hey everybody, how's it going? This is Seth and Jaren, and you're listening to the REtipster Podcast. Today we're talking with somebody I've known for a while now, and I've wanted to get him on the show. His name is Travis King. We actually go back aways. We first traded emails back in 2014 when Travis had some early questions about the land investing business, and ever since then, this guy has become sort of a powerhouse land investor.
He's introduced me to some really important people over the years. And he's the kind of guy who I go to when I have questions and want to hear his thoughts about what's working for him and that kind of thing.
Travis is also a land investing coach who helps people who want to focus on bigger deals and scaling things up, which we're going to get into as well. But we got a lot of good questions here for Travis. We're going to hear more about his story and how things are working for him. Travis, welcome to the show. How are you doing?
Travis King: All right. Thanks, Seth. Thanks, Jaren. Thanks for having me, guys.
Jaren: Hey, Seth. Didn't you and I also meet in 2014? I feel like we did. It was somewhere around there.
Seth: Was that the year? It might have been.
Jaren: It might have been.
Seth: I don't know. I'll have to look back at my emails and see when we first communicated.
Jaren: That's weird. It's serendipitous.
Seth: That was a big year, apparently.
Travis King: Yeah, that was.
Jaren: Yeah. Why did Travis decide to jump into the land business model?
Seth: Travis, why don't you just let us know, how did you first learn about the land business? What made you decide to jump into this and give it a shot?
Travis King: Like a lot of people, I was in search of a better asset class than single-family rentals. At the time, like you said, it was late 2013. I was listening to a lot of BiggerPockets podcasts as I was commuting, driving to my job. And some guy named Seth Williams came on there, back in October of 2013 and was talking about flipping land as a business model. And it just resonated with me. And then I started going down that rabbit hole.
And at the time, we were focused on single-family rentals. And really, it's tough to cash flow to the level that you want to with single-family rentals, buying one door at a time, and then dealing with vacancies turnover. It's just a great long-term play, but at the time, my goals or ambitions were to replace my job income really. And I didn't see how I could do that. When I threw it on a spreadsheet buying one door at a time every two years, it just wasn't going to work. So, when I heard you talking about flipping land as a business model, that's when I started researching it more.
Jaren: Travis, I want to ask you if you could take yourself back to that point where you just heard about the land business, something that beginners or people who have never heard of flipping vacant land before run into, it sounds way too good to be true. And I was wondering, what was your process with that? Because I was fortunately in household sailing and the business models between household sailing and land are similar. So, it wasn't a far jump for me, but I know for most people to look at a world where it's normal to make 100% ROI in a deal, that kind of stuff, it sounds too good to be true. So how did you overcome that?
Travis King: Yeah, absolutely. It was for sure, it's one of those things where you go, “Well, why isn't everybody doing this if that really works?” And you later realize that most of the courses, most of the business models focus on lower dollar properties. The ROI you get excited about but I recall telling a friend about 500% ROI, 1000% ROI, and we had that conversation. Well, yeah, you could buy an item at a garage sale for a dollar and sell it on eBay for $11. There's 1000% ROI. I really wasn't concerned with the ROI because that was kind of the marketing. But it's really more like, okay, so on a flip, I could make $2,000, $3,000 and have less than 10 hours into it. And I can do that supposedly 10, 20, 30 times a year on the side.
So, it got my interest. Yeah, I was skeptical like everybody at first because I'm like, “Why wouldn't everybody do it?” Because you don't realize all the parts and pieces involved. Because the business model, the concept is very simple. But when you get going with it, there's a lot of moving parts and pieces, and that's where you go, “Oh, okay. That's why everybody isn't doing it.”
But yeah, I was a little skeptical at first and I think that's why I was so slow to start actively pulling list and sending mail. I was in that research skeptic/research phase for several months to test this out and then learn everything I could to satisfy those skeptical questions I had.
Seth: Yeah. It's interesting. I really like that. The point of bringing up about the ROI, it's not the whole picture. It's one thing to look at, but that's totally not the end goal necessarily. I think for a lot of people, it makes sense and it's probably even appropriate to some degree to start out with those really cheap deals that do have a high ROI, because there's not as much risk. You can cut your teeth on something where the stakes aren't as high. But I'm curious at what point did you realize and start consciously pursuing deals that were bigger in dollar amount, but the ROI maybe wasn't that large? And how'd you figure out, “Okay, this is the profile I want to go after?” Was there any way that you got comfortable with the perceived risk or just the bigger numbers that might seem scary to most people?
Travis King: The thing was I started out with $4,500 to play with. I was basically like, “Okay, I can lose this and the world won't end.” But that's all I've got to play with. So, you can't do massive takedown deals when you're working with that little amount. For us, it was all about, like you said, one small deal at a time and then ploughing the profits back in. And it was flip, flip, flip. For me, I wanted a systematic, repeatable approach.
As soon as I had that figured out, we were banging out 50 to 70 transactions a year, the first couple years. But then when you start doing the math, you go, “Yeah, this is a good second income.” I think we did 70 transactions in one year, my wife and I. She works the business with me and it was like, okay, this is the stress test. If I want to make more, I'm going to have to do more transactions. And it was just too high touch. At the time we were doing self-closing with everything and listing everything ourselves. And like a lot of people do, getting started.
But we were also trying to build up our own war chest of funds. I think we were limited by capital really a lot. Using our own money took us a while. Probably the first two, two and a half years, we stayed focused on sub $10,000 properties. And every once in a while, a bigger one would sneak in there. But I wasn't targeting those properties.
But I think the key here is that I didn't quit my job. A week after this started working or I did my first deal, I really looked at it like, hey, there's got to be a lot of overlap here. I want a lot of overlap, and I want to be able to plough all the profits back into the business to do bigger deals and more deals.
And like you said, when we finally got to that point, we also started to leverage other people's money and get a capital partner. Because I really felt limited with what I could target or mail. Because first I'd heard this only works with the cheaper properties. That's why it works, it’s because these individuals can't use realtors. No realtor wants to take that listing. There's not enough commission. In my mind, based on all the podcasts and courses I had heard, this business model only worked because it was an inefficient market with these sub-20,000, sub-10,000 properties.
Then the pain of self-closing and listing and talking to buyer leads. I was just like, “I can't do this.” And it came at a good time. I listed this 80/20 rule, 80/20 principal book, which I know you guys are both familiar with and fans of. And I said, “How can I apply this to our land investing company?”
And so, for three months, I used a time tracking app and I really tagged every activity, like sending mail, pulling lists, talking to buyer leads, self-closing buy-side, self-closing sell side. Anyway, we went through and I looked at where all my time was spent. And I also looked at what I don't like to do. I found a lot of our time was spent on self-closing on both sides of the transaction, the buy and the sell, and then creating listings and talking to buyer leads.
We decided, okay, let's 80/20 our land business. That's where we decided to move to a model where we used realtors and we used title companies on each side. And we could only do that by moving up, like you said, to the higher value property, you can't do that with the lower properties. Because there's not enough meat on the bone. We moved up, and we started using some funding, started using some other people's money paired with our own. Yeah. And let's say it worked. By that point, I had enough transactions under my belt. I knew the transaction life cycle. There's not much work in a bigger deal than there isn't a smaller deal. Maybe less. Right, Jaren?
Travis King: Since you're using realtors and title companies, maybe less. More risk with your own money, but there's not much work. For us, it took us a couple of years because we needed to build up our own money. But we were also focused on seller financing. Most of our net worth was tied up in a note portfolio, which wasn't liquid. We used some capital funding and started going after bigger properties and leveraging realtors and titled companies.
And that's where I feel like for me, our business took a turn. And I think it’s also when we started enjoying the business more. There's one point where we were self-servicing over a hundred notes and then listing all our own properties. And yes, we were making money, but it wasn't fun. You know what I mean? It wasn't fun anymore. It was death by a thousand paper cuts, I call it. It was just painful. Moving to the bigger stuff really re-energized me about the business model and also proved that this can be done at a higher price point.
Jaren: Yeah. There's a lot to impact there, but I will say going up in price point is a huge 80/20 leverage point. Because even if we talk about the bell curve of competition, like you could be in the most competitive county and the most competitive state. And if you do north of $25,000, all of a sudden, the sandbox you're playing is a lot quieter. Sure, there's other investors and stuff that you'll run into, but it's not like that kind of south of $15,000 acquisition price, especially between that $5,000 to sub $5,000 acquisition price. There's a lot of activity there. That alone is one of the reasons why I'm a big proponent of it. If you can afford it, all things being equal, you just get a lot more done with less effort.
Travis King: When a transaction moves the needle. I mean, if you're netting $10,000 plus, $10,000, $20,000 a deal that could move the needle in your life where $1,500, $2,500 certainly helps but…
Seth: It's chump change, right?
Travis King: Well, it's disposable money. It's extra money, but you're not going to build an empire. You're not going to quit your job if you're making $1,000 a transaction, if that's the goal. And I think that's really what starts with you, “What do I want to do with this?” And for me, it was once I validated this, Seth, like you said, I’m a skeptic at first. Once I validated and it worked, then it was just about, “Okay, how do I get a hold of money? How big can this get and how fast can we get it there?”
Yeah, I probably hung into smaller stuff longer than I should, but I also really liked not having risk. And I like that wash, rinse, repeat approach. I liked all those small bets and just stepping up the plate hitting the single every time. I was really comfortable with that and probably stayed in there a little longer than I should have.
Jaren: I do have a follow-up question for you, Travis, just on higher-end properties. When I used to work at Simple Wholesaling, we would be buying property between, let's say on average $30,000 to $50,000. These were houses and we would sometimes have big wins, like we'd have big spreads. But I think probably our average was something like $6,500, $7,000 a property. Whereas I hear that a lot of land investors who do similar pricing, like $50,000, $30,000, they won't do a deal unless they're doubling their money, at least as a general rule of thumb in terms of the list price. So, if you buy it for $30,000, you're at least going to try and list it for $60,000. Is that your personal experience too? Is that kind of what you shoot for? What are your thoughts on that?
Travis King: The offer price percent goes up as the market value goes up. So, you might be picking up properties for 25%, 35% in the lower price points. But if you get north of $50,000 market value, $50,000 to $150,000, you're probably paying 40% to 55% of market value. So, you do lose that ROI. Where ideally, you always have 100% ROI or a multiple, you're doubling your money.
But we have a rule of 55 personally in our own business where we don't exceed 55% of list price or conservative market value. That's our own rule just to insulate ourselves from risk. And that was a rule of 50, six months to 12 months ago before the sellers’ market right now. We're offering 5% to 10% more than we did at every level right now.
Yeah, we try to double, but it's really more about the margin or the net. What are we walking away with versus ROI? I'll gladly pay $60,000 on something I can sell for $125,000. And then I'm going to have some realtor costs, some closing costs, so it doesn't have to be, but that tends to be where it works out. We like to have a multiple, or at least double. But really, where we try to be at, in our own business is netting $20,000 to $40,000 a deal, it’s where we try to land.
Seth: Say you do have a property that you have conservatively estimated is worth, I don't know, $100,000. Does that mean when it comes time to sell with an agent, they're listing it at $100,000, or is it discounted at all from that? And then do you ever offer c with this stuff? Or is it just cash?
Travis King: It depends on when you're listening to this podcast, right? But in this market in December of 2021, we're in a seller's market. So, the cons are when you're sending mail, it's a little harder to get a deal because people’s property values are going up. The property tax bill they're getting is bigger. They see houses are going up. Everybody knows their property is worth a little more. They might view it as more of an asset than a liability like they did even two, three years ago.
But the flip side of that coin is if you're able to get an acquisition, the disposition is much easier. You don't have to market as hard or as heavy as we did our first years one to five, let's say. That's the good thing of being in the seller's market. They're selling quicker.
Right now, we're listing it at almost full market value, 98%. We just want to be right under maybe 2% to 5% under full market value we're currently listing for. And that might change. Like I say, if the market changes, we'll adjust. I've always felt with land like I'm willing to take a cash offer at 80% of market value. At the end of the day, I plan on that. I build that in when we're acquiring the properties. But in this market, we're getting full asking prices right now on almost all of our properties.
And then the second part of your question, the seller financing, I kind of will take them as backup offers at first. If we list something and we get an offer in the first 48, 72 hours on a property and it's a seller finance, we'll say sit on it. We’ll sit on it for a minute and let's see what else comes in. And the realtor will tell them, “The owner is currently only taking seller finances backup offers. We'll circle back to you.” And then some people say, “Okay, well, I could do it cash if you could knock 10% or 15% off.”
But yet, at the end of the day, seller finance isn't our model, but we'll take it. There has to be like a minimum 30%, usually 35% to 50% down. And that's common apart for the course when you're dealing with MLS type properties. Market values of $30,000 to $130,000. That buyer type or buyer pool has that to put down.
And the sub $20,000, sub $10,000 property is where when people hear seller financing, they think 99 down, 99 a month and that's what a lot of the courses and a lot of people think when they hear seller financing.
When I say, yes, we'll take it. It's more like we've got one right now that's $720, we took 30% down. It was $15,000 down on a $50,000 property. And then at $726 a month payment for five years. So that's a seller finance, a deal that we would do, but we all almost always say 35% to 50% down. But we prefer cash first.
Seth: Yeah. Does ROI matter at all? Is that even something you're looking at, or is it more just like dollars in, dollars out?
Travis King: ROI doesn't. Like you said, we like to have a multiple, we like to double our money. But if you start running financials on seller financing on not the cheaper stuff, but on property values $30,000 to $80,000, that's our sweet spot. We pull data at like $25,000 or $30,000 up to $180,000 in market value when we pull our lists. But the reality is our sweet spot, the bulk of our sales is somewhere between 40,000 and $80,000. That seems to be where the buyer pool really contracts or shrinks when you get north of $100,000.
For us, we do like a multiple, I like to double our money, but when you start looking at a note that's five to ten years long, and it's 10% interest on a $50,000 or $70,000 property, the interest income alone is a lot over the years. It's a whole different story than the seller financing 0% interest, $99 a month, 99 down type a thing.
And if you end up with a note, ideally, you keep it, you could sell it, whatever. If you've got a 10% note that's 5 to 15 years in length and you've gotten 35% to 50% down. It's a note that's going to pay you really well for a long time. And at the same time, you could sell it at any minute with those stuff.
Seth: It's actually worth the trouble then. It's not some like little piddly source of income. It was like, “Wow, this is actually worth the effort and the hassle.”
Travis King: Yeah, I agree. Yeah, I feel like it is. And you have the title company or a loan servicing company servicing it anyway. That's the key there, is that you are not chasing somebody for an updated debit or credit card or something. You've got somebody else servicing the loan.
Jaren: And you are still using agents when you do seller financing. You're letting the agents say, “Hey, if an offer comes in for seller financing, we're open to it under the right circumstances.”
Travis King: Yeah, absolutely. We really say, “Hey, tell them the owner is taking backup offers at first.” And sometimes that creates some motivation. And then we circle back if we test the market and it's cooler than we thought, then we'll certainly come back and work with them. We try to push cash first, but if they've got a good down payment and some will even say, “Hey, I've got 50% down and want to do 24 months, $1,400 a month,” or something. They just don't have all the cash.
It really depends on the terms with the seller financing. It’s looking at what's the monthly payment and how much down. But we're still paying the realtor full commission. We're paying them. It's the same for the agent, as a cash sale versus a seller finance sale.
Jaren: When you pay them, are you typically paying them out of the down payment, or do you have to sometimes come out of pocket to pay them if the down payment is not large enough to cover their commission?
Travis King: Well, that's where we’re getting 35% to 50% down. Most of the time, that is what our offer price percent is acquiring the property. We're not paying more than that. It's not often we dip in our own pockets. Sometimes it might take 9 to 18 months to get your money back. If you paid 50% of market value on a high, let's say $100,000 property, and you bought it for 50% of market value and you only get a 35% down, that might be the case. I'm kind of a fan of sending more mail versus pay more, pay, higher offer price percent. We top grade. This one I was telling you about, we paid 13% of market value. We bought it for $6,500. We sold it for $49,947. We bought it for 6,500. We sold it for $50,000. The seller finance one was we bought it for $5,184. We sold for $50,000 with $15,000 down.
Those are the ones we're more inclined to take with seller financing. If we paid 50% of market value, I'd really try to push that cash just so we can bring our money back in and redeploy it. But yeah, we prefer to top grade really rather than pay 50% on all these deals. I'd rather dedicate that extra $10,000 to $20,000 more units of direct mail and see if I can get some deals out of that than pay more.
Seth: Your comment about whether we paid a small percentage of market value or a 50%. Are you sending out blind offers, and what would make you pay much more versus so much less? What determines that? Is that just part of your blind offer pricing process, or what goes into that?
Travis King: Well, we send out three different types of letters. If there's a ton of variance in the county or the area, and it's tough to price, we'll send out a letter of interest, also known as a neutral letter. I'm not a huge fan, just because you have a huge response rate and everybody seems to want full market value. I move to doing what I call a range offer, where I set a lower limit and upper limit. That gives me some room. And the reality is that most offers come in that range.
If I know it's a really homogenous kind, like size properties, like in the Southwest, think of that, there's a lot of subdividing where everything's very square, very neat and easy to price. Those might be more blind offers.
Or we do a lot of hyper-targeting just at a subdivision level. I've got one here in the Phoenix area where they go for about $100,000 to $110,000 for a one-acre lot. It's commutable to the Phoenix Metro. Subdivision of less than 300 properties. Very small, but we would hyper-target that and buy between $40,000 and $50,000 and then resell at $100,000.
That would be a blind offer one because they're close enough. But usually, when we do a range offer, the range or what we pay is, and that's why it's nice you're not misleading anybody. You're saying, “Hey, we can pay between this lower limit and upper limit based on road access, property improvements, utilities, attributes nearby. These are all things that we do factor in.” When you give them that offer and they go, “Well, wait a minute, this is a lot closer to your lower limit obviously than your upper limit.” And you're like, “Yeah, you didn't have a septic. You didn't have a well, it's not fenced. It's not a paved asphalt road. It's not next to the lake so you can go fishing and water skiing.” It didn't have those attributes. That's why the offer came in here.
That's what I like with the range offer. And then there are times we would pay upper. Yeah, it's great. It's a maintained county road. It's got power to it. Every third or fourth lot has a house. That's a situation where we would pay more if it has utilities and has great road access and it's near mountains or something like that. We're happy to pay more because we know the realtors are going to be high on the property.
Jaren: Word on the street is that the whole concept of range offers originated with Travis King. I don't know if that's true or not, but that is a word on the street.
Travis King: Yes, I was using blind offers and neutral letters. I was working with… You guys know Max and Ryan over at PRYCD?
Travis King: I was working with those guys, and I made a feature request for something. When I pulled my data, I pulled my mailing list, I said, “Hey, when I pull that into my CRM, rather than bringing up the calculator when we're on the phone with a seller, I would like to know what an offer looks like at 35%, 40%, 45%, like all the way up in 5% increments.” I'm telling Max and Ryan about it and they go, “Oh, you mean like an offer at all increments.” I'm like, “Yeah, that sounds great. An offer in all increments.“
They added that feature to their data set when you pull it. So, you can see what an offer would look at 5%, 10%, 15%, 20% all the way up to 95%. And after I had that, my intent was to pull that and upload it into REI Pebble, our CRM. And just to be able to have that in front of me when I'm talking to the seller and grant myself or somebody else the autonomy of saying, “Hey, you can go up 10% or down 10% of our original offer.”
That was the intent of it. But then I'm looking at the mailing list, the dataset one day, and I'm looking at it and I'm like, “Man, all these properties are coming in between.” PRYCD had a 20% offer and a 50% offer. I'm like, I can't price the subdivision. There's water, lots on the water. And then there are lots far away from the water. There's a big variance and I'm like, I'm not going to price these one by one. Let's just roll with this lower limit, upper limit, and I just called it a range offer and went with it.
Then I moved to that because what I found is it set expectations. When people got the letter, instead of assuming they're going to call me and I'm going to give them a full market value offer like they do with a neutral letter, I've set those expectations. I'm in the ballpark. If they're calling me back, they're motivated enough and I'm in the ballpark. That was a range offer.
But at first, I called it the PRYCD range offer. That was the PRYCD range offer. And then, obviously, you can do it with any data set. And then I just moved to a range offer. And then Jesse and Kevin were willing to upload my template into the CRM there. And then I shared it with the community and everything.
Jaren: Oh, sweet. The range letter within Pebble originates from you. That's awesome. I have a question, though. One of the things that I think I've actually talked to Seth about this, because I've never done a range offer campaign at all, but I would assume that people would just instantly go to the higher number. If you have a range of, let's just say for a sake of example, $10,000 to $20,000. I feel like the seller leads are going to call you and be like, “Yep, I'll take $20,000 for it.” How do you navigate that?
Travis King: Yeah. People, obviously, that's what gets them to call back. It’s that upper limit. But keep in mind that upper limit, as long as the market value that you're working off of, the estimated value is accurate. Like I do a range of 20% to 50%. That's usually my range offer. In the worst-case there you're only offering 50%. You're not walking back an offer that you led with 80% or 90%. But like I say, in my range offer, that's a template in there, it says the offer that we give you will depend on road access, property improvements, utilities, all of these things. When we're valuing the property, sometimes we do pay the upper limit if it has those. And then sometimes we go, “No, well, here's the offer and it's closer to the lower end.”
We also leverage realtor opinion of values with all our properties now. A lot of times I can come back to the seller and I'll have somebody say to me, look, I don't want to expect full value, but I think you valued it low. Here's what we need. And then I'll even say, well, let me share with you what the realtor thinks. If you're saying you're willing to sell it for 40% of market value, determining an accurate market value is the first thing we have to do if we're basing a percent off of that.
Obviously, some people want the higher, but you can justify it with all of that. Road access, property improvements, utilities, all of those things factor in and they do, or they don't have them. And if they do, we will pay more.
That's why I'm comfortable with the range offer because I'm not an incredible salesman. For me, I feel like I'm leading with honesty and transparency. I'm saying, “Hey, we'll pay between this and this. And that's where the offer's going to come in.” I t really sets expectations. You will have a lower response rate than a neutral letter campaign, but you also don't have people inflating your live answering call service, your PATLive bill by everybody that's calling in and bought it between like 2000 to 2007 or something and they overpaid and now they want to get back.
Whenever I look at the date ahead of time, if somebody calls in, I'll look at the purchase date and I'm like, “Okay, they're probably overpaid. Now they want to get their money back.” But yeah, people's eyes go to the higher value and that's what gets the call back. But then when we actually review the property, that's where we lead with that and stand behind it.
Seth: Yeah. It's something I've heard us talk about several times in this conversation is what our offers are based on the market value. I'm curious, how are you determining the market value and how do you get confident with that? Especially when you talk about $100,000. For somebody to dig up $40,000 and put it on a property. That's a lot of money. Most people don't have that just sitting around. And even if they do get a money partner, it's still a lot of money, but it's all based on this assumption that you really understand what it's worth. How do you really understand what it's worth? What do you use to figure that out?
Travis King: Yeah, we weigh values. If you're doing a home remodel in your house, you wouldn't go with the first contractor. You would probably get three quotes. If you've ever done anything for a corporation or had any project managed, we'd get three quotes with every vendor we dealt with. And it wasn't because we thought the first one was dishonest. It was because we didn't know what the bid we would come in at. We could stare and compare and take these three and do what, in a great book “Principles” by Ray Dalio, he talks about a concept of triangulating and to dumb it down and simplify it by just really getting three opinions from three sources you trust.
We value the property ourselves. And then, we weigh our own opinion based on how well we know that market. And then we always get two realtor opinions of values every time. For any deal we do in our own business and any deal that we fund for like a student or client, we always would require them to get two realtor opinion values from local realtors.
And that's where you triangulate. It's like the three bids from three different contractors. We weigh those opinions of values. We might give some more weight than others. And then we arrive at a valuation that we're confident in. Because when you're left alone making a decision in a vacuum just guessing essentially, even in markets I know well, I'll give you a good example where I had one that I thought was worth $30,000. I thought it was worth $30,000. I reached out to a realtor that we use and he said, “Oh man, that area is hot right now. There's a lot of speculating. Let's list it at $50,000.” And I'm like, “No, I don't want 180 days on the market. I want to sell this quickly.” And he's like, “No, trust me, there's a lot of speculating. Let's just list it at this. And if we don't have much activity, we'll drop it to whatever you want 30 days from now.”
We got a full price of $50,000, full asking price. He had local knowledge there that they announced they're building a smart city. I hadn't done a thing. A shovel hadn't touched the ground. It was all speculating, but he was aware of that and knew that.
Reaching out for that realtor's opinion value, even with my transaction history and number of properties I've comped, I was valuing it at $30,000. I think that triangulating with other people that you trust and have local knowledge of the market, it really puts you in a position. And that's key when you move up in higher prices. Because when you're off 10% of a $10,000 property, that’s $1,000. But if you're off 10% on $100,000 property, yeah, that's $10,000. So, I think getting those realtor opinions of values is key.
Jaren: I will say that the longer I do the land business, the more and more I'm convinced that the most accurate way to get the answer to the market value question is land specialized real estate agents. Because I can't tell you how many times I've run into the same type of situation, where based on my knowledge, based on looking at souls and the data I have access to, it would be worth this, but it was substantially higher in value just because of inside and information of being local to the market. Or even the opposite where everything that I'm seeing says that it should be this, but this particular subdivision is really tough, and unless it's like on the water or it's like a corner lot or whatever, things just don't sell there. And so, I've had agents save me from more bad deals than they've helped me sell good deals, but it's been absolutely incredible.
I do have a follow-up question, though. For the listeners who do not use agents to sell their property, what would be your advice on them using agents still for determining market value without having the sale of “Hey, if you work with me and you do this, then you're going to get the listing.” Without dangling that carrot in front of them. I don't know how you would find somebody to be motivated to help you do due diligence and all that stuff.
We haven't really touched on that quite yet, but do you have coaching students that will reach out to an agent that they're not going to be listing, and do you have them pay? What are your thoughts?
Travis King: No, I don’t. And I tell people this. You're looking for eventual team members. These realtors, actually, I want to highlight that for folks on that perspective. You said land-specialized agents. When I say realtor, there's a difference between a realtor selling $500,000 homes in a gated community or something and a land agent. So that's key there. When you select an agent, they've got to know land, they've got to know land.
Seth: How are you finding those people? Just out of curiosity. I know Jaren's got a good video in this, but I'm curious what your method is.
Travis King: It's not that sophisticated. We quite often will go to the Zillows, will go to Lands of America and we'll look for research sold. A little for sale, because sometimes I told the student to go check out the sites, see who's got listed property. And then he sent me a link and said, yeah, here's one. And I'm like, whoa. Yeah, but let's look, it's 190 days on the market. This is an agent we don't want. If you want to know who not to pick, go to "for sale" and sort by longest listed. We're really looking at sold comps. We're looking at agents that have multiple sold comps in that immediate area. That’s a great, quick, easy way to start.
But the Rural Land Institute has a good list of land agents. Typically, we find them by searching sold listings in the immediate area. And then we see how many days are on the market. And then also, when we reach out, we know that we're not going to get a 100% response rate. You might need to reach out to three for every one that actually responds to you. But again, they're starting that relationship off by showing you, are they responsive? Do they answer their phone live, or do they call back immediately or not? You're already getting a feel for how they're going to work for you if they were a realtor.
But I don't have students use them as a comping tool. Because I just think if you find one that will take a couple hundred bucks a comp, that's great, but I don't think that's the way to go.
The upside of paying for comps, we don't, but I know a number of people that do the upside is that you usually get more than an email that's like, “Yeah, it feels like $100,000, probably list for $90,000.” That's an email you get when you ask for a comp. If you pay for a comp, you quite often get a report that is the upside of paying for it, they feel like the output or deliverable they give you needs to be quality.
Jaren: How much are people typically paying realtors?
Travis King: Anywhere from $50 to$ 200, I would say. I don't. I just don't. We reach out and we reach out to multiple agents and we let them know. I have a script for my coaching students. I have a script of the email to send or what to say. And just let them know, you're actively investing in their area. You plan on doing several transactions that you'd potentially like to use them as a listing agent on. But first, you need the value of this one, what they think of it.
But I tell them, don't use people as a comping tool if you're just going to list it and sell it yourself. It's really bad. It's a great way to earn a bad reputation. You can figure it out, if you're in that price range where you're not going to use a realtor, if you're off a little bit, like I said, it's not that big a deal if you're off 10% and it's a $10,000 property. So you can usually value it yourself based on sold comps pretty easily. Where it gets tricky is the higher dollar properties, I feel like.
Jaren: And if you have a relationship already established with the land specialized agents, more often than not, they'll happily take on those lower listed properties, just because for them, it's a relationship. It's a long-term play. I've had agents sell, I think the lowest property we listed I think at $3,500, and they were happy to sell it for me because of the relationship.
I did want to just throw it in there for our listeners. My number one tip on land specialized agents is very similar to what Travis said. Go check out their agent profile on Zillow or LandWatch, or what have you.
But I'll look at the ratio of land properties to other types of real estate, both on their listing and sold properties. And that is really telling. And I don't like to literally factor it out or count it, but just at a gut level, are there more land properties than other types of real estate? And if the answer is yes, especially on the sold side, then most likely they're worth a call.
Travis King: And you could also go on like Land of America and look at the broker directory is a good one to look at. The Rural Land Institute has a realtor land agent directory, so there's a number of resources if you want, but I also found people that are actively selling properties where you're looking to work is the best way.
Seth: Yeah. I haven't used it myself yet, but I had a little demo of Price Boss 3.0 yesterday with Howard Zander. And he was showing me, he created this new tool built into it where you can go to the Lands of America, search for whatever you want, wherever, whatever zip code or state or county property type. And whatever results come up there, you copy the URL and paste it into Price Boss. And there's a tab that will show you the number one agent in terms of quantity of listings. I think it did something. I don't know if it was PRYCD or I don't think it was time on the market, which I thought Travis, that was a really good point. But it's not that it tells you, this is the best one, but at least shows you this is the number one player in terms of quantity of listings. It's a way to just, instead of clicking all over the players, it just shows you right there. Boom. These are the biggest guys.
Travis King: That's cool. I'm always looking for new tools to add to the tool belt.
Seth: Travis, I know with these bigger properties we're talking about. Are you using your own cash, at this point, or do you have money partners that you're continuing to work with? And if so, what kind of arrangement do you have? Is it like 50/50 or a different kind of split?
Travis King: We use our own money at this point, but keep in mind, we're seven, eight years into this. Hundreds of transactions and seven to eight years into this. But yeah, we use a capital partner for a number of years, and then through coaching and consulting and helping people you train somebody up on sale.
Here's how to do a campaign right, in my very subjective opinion. Here's the right way to do a direct mail campaign. And I would help somebody execute a campaign and then they would get a property. And it's, “Hey, I've got a signed offer for, let's say, $42,000. And it looks like it's worth $100,000,” and I'm like, “Awesome. Sounds good.” And they're like, “Well, okay. I don't have $42,000, that's the problem.” It's like, “Well, good, you got the contract.” He's like, “It all worked, but there's just that small question of money.”
It was really organic, but we started funding our own clients and our own students after coaching and training them to a point. We also have one where clients, sometimes you mail somebody and they go, “Hey, I've got 10 properties or five properties, a portfolio.” And it's a little more than somebody wants to bite off. Even if they have the capital. Maybe they don't want to tie it up.
We actively fund, in addition to landinvestingmastery.com, that's our coaching website. We also co-own freedomlandcapital.com, which is a formal entity just for funding, just for funding in the land space.
Yeah, that's why I'm a big fan, like I said, of other people's money. We leveraged it and it helped us explode our business to the point where now we can return the favor and do the same thing.
Capital is something that hamstrings you. Even when I was pulling data for years, I would put a ceiling on the market values. I pulled my list because I'm like, why even mail something over $50,000? How would I ever buy it? Or $100,000?
It really limits you on record count and counties on everything if you've got to put a ceiling on what you can go after. But I would just tell people, our approach is more like, and even me that's how I work is very relational.
There's a number of funders that are transactional and stuff. If you get a big deal that's too big for you to take down a one-off, you can find funding. But really view it as a partnership. You're looking for a capital partner. It's what I recommend. Find somebody. It's a joint venture agreement usually, but you're still in the way of going into business together if you plan to work with that individual a lot.
And then also build trust. Whoever you work with, build some trust. And once you get some transactions under your belt, revisit your split. I know Jaren and I talked about this little where in the house world, nobody had ever asked for a 50/50 split. Of course, you're dealing with $100,000, $200,000, $300,000 houses. Even when I started funding it, 50/50 just seemed crazy to me to give up 50% of the transaction.
We'll do a number of things like right now, we'll even have clients say, “Well, can I just get an assignment fee? Will you pay me an assignment fee for it? I don't want to wait on the money to fund it.” We'll do assignments, we'll do funding.
And I'm a big fan of, and I think I first read about it with Robert Kiyosaki, “Other People's Money.” And it just resonated, it made sense. And it really allowed us to level up. I think if I hadn't taken advantage of that, we would've been trapped in that endless treadmill to nowhere. The flip, flip, flip cheap properties, a lot of the same, and it can be a good second income, but you're never going to build wealth if you're focusing on slower-end properties.
Seth: Well, yeah, you might have mentioned it and I was just looking at something else. But as somebody who has been on both the borrower or the active investor side and the funder side, what is a good fair split? What would determine whether it should be 50/50 or 30/70, or otherwise? How do you look at that objectively?
Travis King: I think when you offer price percent. If somebody comes to you with a deal and they're offering 50%, 55%, already you're starting off without a multiple. So, there's not as much to work with. I think you have more to work with when people are getting deals under contract for 30%, 35%. There's more room there, but that's when we made the decision to start this. Because even when we use funding, it was like you said, have that perspective of being on both sides and when we use it, you go, okay, I'm just going to use funding on the big deals that I can't take down myself. But you don't view it as a partnership.
When we started Freedom Land Capital with our partner, my wife and I, we said, how do we make this so generous or that it makes sense for people to continue to use it? What we landed on and are currently at is whatever the purchase price is of the property, we charge a 20% fee on that purchase price of the property. And that right away is going to get back. Not the sales price, the purchase price that you have under contract for.
And then we start out with your first five or six deals, it's a 70/30 split in the land investor's favor. And then after five or six deals, we move to an 80/20 split in the land investors favor. That's after a 20% fee though, on the purchase price. You could be six, seven deals in, you could be getting an 80/20 split on the net profits after the 20% fee on the purchase price.
We felt like that was a number that was more generous than anybody else out there was offering. It also would allow us to set it up so that we're viewed as a partner. People would build us into their business and use us for every deal instead of just one deal here and there.
Jaren: I have a couple of questions to dive into that topic there, Travis. First, are you open to funding brand new investors to the land space? Or do you want them to have a bit of a track record first? Because obviously, you have the knowledge to underwrite the deal regardless of the borrower's experience or the partner's experience. The operator, I guess, is a better term.
Travis King: Yeah, we definitely prefer intermediate and advanced investors because when the deal's brought to us, there's already been some due diligence performed. Our preference is intermediate and advanced investors. That doesn't mean we'll turn other beginners away, but that's kind of really who we would prefer to work with. So, it's not that we don't end up in that position of playing that red light, green light, would you do this deal game. It's more of, by the time you come to us, you've got a signed purchase agreement, you've pulled comps, you know you've got a deal. And some new investors even have that approach. As long as it's somebody who you're looking for, thumbs up, thumbs down, you know it's a deal by the time you bring it, that's kind of who we like.
Jaren: The other question that I have for you, how are you structuring the deal? Because up until this point, I have had private money guys come in as mortgage first position lien holders on the property. And that actually creates a bottleneck when you start doing more volume that I wasn't aware of. There are these pesky things called mortgage payoffs, where if you want your private money lender to actually be passive, 100% not involved, that structure is not necessarily the most ideal. And there's a number of different ways to do it. Are you guys taking title to the properties, or what's your structure?
Travis King: We take title. We take title to all the properties and that allows us later. If it were to sell seller financing or something like that, we could just buy out the land investor. Us taking the title is just cleaner and easier. That's evolved from how we originally started. But that's what we're currently on is just taking the title.
Jaren: Would you both be on title or exclusively your company?
Travis King: Exclusively us. We have a JV agreement that would say that the land investor has equitable interest. And so, it is pretty cool, actually. As we launched and we rolled out our agreement, we have one client who is also a coaching client and using funding. He was making some revisions and red lines and he said in his day job he's a contract negotiator. So, we said, “Hey, we'll welcome the feedback and the gift of feedback and we'll improve the contract.”
We have another client, a very new one who's an attorney. From a land investor perspective, he said, “Hey, we want to make sure that the agreement's not one-sided.” So, we worked with him on revising the agreement so that the land investor feels protected.
Yeah, it's neat. That's why it's cool. It's not something formal. Like anything, we collaborate and work with our partners. It's kind of funny, we start out going with the big contract and go, “All right, let's get this really lean and simple from 10 pages down to three”. And then now with all those revisions, now we're probably back up to seven or ten pages, but it's got everything in there to make everybody feel good about the deal. And that's where we're currently at though, we are on title. And that just seems to work easier with the title companies and disbursements or if it sells seller financing.
Jaren: Are there any limitations in your funding in terms of it has to sell within a certain timeframe, limit on acquisition price, that kind of stuff?
Travis King: Well, we usually have it so that there's not a constant back and forth. We try to set thresholds of property. It could be priced cut up to 10% without. We have a marketing agreement that we send to the realtor that they know what they can and can't do. We'll fund a lot of portfolio deals too, not just one deal. We will also keep in mind, like right now it's a year, 12 months is what our contract is 9 to 12 months. And there are considerations where it's not like, “All right, you hit nine months. We're taking the property back.” We own our own land investing business. We don’t need another property to list. I don't want your land. I want to do a deal with you. We want to partner. We're really not trying to grab the land.
We've got one in Idaho. There are areas where through the winter, there's going to be more days on market, based on season. We had initially launched in six months because we're aggressive, and we push realtors, and we get things sold, but then some clients are a little uncomfortable with that.
Based on client feedback, we moved that to nine months. And then now I think we're at 12. Like I said, everybody feels good about it, but that's something that definitely with coaching, there's a lot of synergy in it and you help somebody get properties under contract. And if it's something they either don't want to use their own capital for, or don't have the capital. It's like with anything, you're solving a problem. We just launched something people asked for and needed.
Seth: Yeah. Kind of going back in little ways. Out of curiosity, when you start dealing with intentionally going after bigger properties like this and not going after the little stuff, when you're sending whether it's blind offers or neutral letters or range offers, that kind of thing. Are there different expectations that you have, like a different response rate or a different close rate, or just other nuances that, okay, now you're dealing with a totally different subset of land, the normal expectations go out the window. This is how it works in this other ballpark. Anything come to mind?
Travis King: Yeah. Well, I think you start out with the most response rates are going to be a neutral letter. You're going to get the most response rates. If you're building a database of leads, you can work and follow up. That's probably it. But if you're wanting to convert, that's where we move to a range offer and a blind offer.
I think blind offers are wildly efficient. I just don't think there's anything out there as efficient as blind offers, if they're priced accurately and intelligently. I think they're the most efficient thing. The challenge is as you scale your business and you send more mail, like, for the first couple years, I was sending 1,500 letters, 2,000 letters a month. I can manually price every row, every property on there and have a great conversion rate.
But as we try to scale up our business, and now we're sending 80,000, 100,000, 120,000 units, how do I manually price? How do I accurately and intelligently price that?
The manually pricing blind offers don't scale if you're sending a ton of units. That's where I think you introduce the neutral letters or range offers that can allow you to spray and pray at a county level.
And I really prefer, most of our blind offers are at a subdivision or hyper-targeted level and manually priced. That's what I call land sniping. It’s at that subdivision level manually priced either blanket price or by unit within the subdivision.
And I think blind offers are the most efficient thing out there, that the challenge is the pricing takes so long. You can use a PRYCD as the easy button and just know that, hey, if I send enough units. We'll use PRYCD and I'll know that, okay, every 10,000 letters I send with the blind offer pricing, I'm going to get a deal every 3,500 letters. If I manually price those, I'm probably going to get a deal every 1500 letters. If I manually price it.
So, the response rate for a neutral letter, you're going to get the most responses. Range offers, you're going to get less. And then blind offer, you're going to get even less than that. That's the response rate. And I feel like conversion rate has everything to do with offer price percent. I have people say, nobody opens these standard class ugly letters. I wouldn't send you a letter. My letter looks terrible and they'll say, “Nobody opens those, or nobody's opening my mail. Nobody's getting back to me.” And I say, “What are you offering? Well, 25%.” And I said, “Well, offer 50%.” And all of a sudden, the number of people that open these letters will skyrocket.
So, you have no idea if the letter's actually getting opened. But the reality is your response rate is certainly going to go up if you adjust your offer price percent; if you increase that, people are going to call back.
I feel like converting has a lot to do with offer price percent and how strong you or your acquisitions person are on the phone. Building that rapport and talking has a lot to do with conversion.
Seth: Got you. Do you do that a lot where you'll send blind offers? Because a blind offer is like, “This is the offer.” Whereas a range offer is like, “It might be this high. It might not”. But in terms of going up to 50%, is that something you recommend offering for a blind offer where you're like setting the line in the sand? Or do you reserve that for the range offer?
Travis King: No, I do a lot of blind offers right now. A lot of our offers are landing around 40%. I mean, 37% to 42%, 37% to 45%. A lot of our blind offers are in that range in today's market. Just in the seller's market at a price point of $30,000 to $100,000 properties, somewhere around 40% plus or minus five, seems to be the strike price right now.
Seth: Cool. Are you ever making changes or alterations or improvements or anything to these larger, higher-end properties or is it just the typical buy it, do nothing, and resell it?
Travis King: The most we'll do is, we kind of stumbled into subdividing and I'll do minor land divisions. When I say subdividing, I try to clarify to people, hey, we're not building sidewalks and jogging trails and developing. Although you can make a lot of money with that, there's a lot of risk. You put out a lot of money and it takes a long time.
We do minor land divisions, which are usually five parcels or less. Usually, you take the parent parcel and you split it up into five, four, three, or two children or child parcels. We do a lot of that in Northern Arizona, specifically. That's a play in the playbook that certainly two years ago, that was probably my favorite play.
What we're subdividing right now it's more like portfolio takedowns, targeting portfolio owners and trying to buy 10, 20 properties in one swoop. But no, we're not improving it right now at this point. We're still working on that velocity. A lot of flipping, a little bit of subdividing.
Seth: Yeah. That probably has a lot to do with the subdividing piece, like what markets you're in and how easy is it to subdivide? Can you just write it into the deed or is it like this giant year-long process of approvals you got to go through and it changes a little bit?
Travis King: It absolutely does. It is viewed at a city level or county level only. And yeah, that's really it. It’s how slow it is going to be because already when you move from self-closing to closing with title, you've already added almost 30 days on the buy-side and sell-side on the bookend, moving to that model. Then you start adding subdividing and things like that. You could tie up your money for a long time.
Seth: Yeah, totally. Let's talk a little bit about the coaching that you do. Who ideally do you help? Is it the beginners? Is it the intermediate, the advanced person? When a person comes to you, what is it they're trying to figure out that you can help them solve?
Travis King: Well, usually it seems like it's intermediate-advanced. It’s usually who we cater mostly to. It's a mixed bag, I've got a number of beginners, but usually, it seems that the intermediate investors are the bulk of it. And then advanced investors that seem to be attracted to my business model or what we're doing.
I think it's because a lot of them have been through other programs and they're six months or 12 months in, they've probably paid for some very high-priced coaching somewhere else. Maybe they haven't done a deal or have done a few deals or they're focused on low dollar seller finance properties. And then I think they just get oriented and then look at the numbers and go, “Hey, I don't want to do this. I don't want to do 99 down, 99 a month”.
And so, I think that seems to be the people who are attracted to me, those are the advanced investors who have been through multiple courses and are doing a lot of deals, but are looking to move up in market value and say, “Hey, I've done 30 deals”. I've got a client that had done 70 deals when he came to me. He already knew the model and was good at the model, but it was like, “How do I shift from buying and selling sub $10,000 properties to doing $30,000, $40,000 properties?”
So, that seems to be who's attracted. It’s the intermediate and advanced investor. But because I was a beginner once too, I always feel like the most I can distill down and transfer that knowledge, I'll certainly share it with anybody.
Seth: I think a lot of people fall into that boat where they get the business, they've been able to prove the concept in themselves, like it's working, but they're burning out. It's either getting boring or it's like we talked about earlier. It's not a life-changing amount of money. It's like, “Yeah, it's nice to have a couple thousand bucks, but it's not like $40,000”. And I think there's a big need and desire for a lot of people who want to level up and understand like, okay, how do we play with the big boys?
Travis King: Yeah, a lot of people have these golden handcuffs. There's a lot of individuals making six figures in their day job. So, it's tough to replace that kind of income, especially flipping cheap properties. I think people get two, three years into it and realize, hey, I could be doing this forever. Hustling and working after hours and on this side business thing, but how do I take this side business to be a full-time business?
And obviously, you have two decisions. Either you can do more deals at your current rate, way more deals. Or bigger deals. I think there's a lot of people that go, “Okay, this worked. I've proved the concept, but now I'm ready to make $10,000 minimum a transaction or something.”
Jaren: Are there any kind of qualifiers that you look for with coaching students? If somebody were to reach out to you from today's podcast and they were interested in exploring the possibility of coaching with you, what would you look for as the preferred character?
Travis King: Well, I think you got to be willing to fall in line and follow the process. How I teach is very systematic and it's my business model. It's our business model that my wife and I use on our own. I'm sharing that.
I think the challenge is some people will see value in parts and then go, “Well, if we just adjust this or tweak that, or maybe this.” I go, “Well, if you came to me, why don't you learn from me? Try it my way. And then we'll see some success, then you're welcome to make any adjustments you want on your own. But while we're working together, if I tell you you're going to get a deal that'll make you $10,000 or $20,000 every 3,000 letters, you can't be cold calling or sending texts if I'm telling you to send direct mail.”
I think somebody that's willing to follow the process and buys into it. Because you can't get those predictable results if somebody's not willing to follow your systematic approach. I think that's the key thing is this, hey, are you a “know it all” or are you a “learn it all”? Because I like to work with “learn it all.”
I choose attitude over aptitude all day long. So, are you a go-giver and got a positive attitude and you want to learn? That's the type of individual I want to work with. Not somebody that comes in reading me their resume of all their experience that they've done somewhere else, and then wants to change or adjust and do it a little differently. You go, “Well, I don't know what the results will be if we switch this up. So, let's just follow what I'm teaching and do some deals and I can get you the results that I know I get for myself and other clients. And then you can do anything you want.”
But I think that's the same with any course, Jaren, Seth. You can give all the information, but if somebody's skipped steps or goes a different route on that decision tree, you can't promise they're going to get those results that they would've if they'd followed your approach.
Seth: Yeah. And there are a lot of opportunities to do that too. It doesn't take a whole lot of variation on the process to totally screw it up or bring them to a different place. Yeah, I think it's where a coach comes into play. It's just keeping a person on track and making sure you're like, “No, no, no, do this, this and this and this.”
Travis King: Yeah. I think accountability is the key part of it. Trial and error by yourself or accountability and distilled wisdom or knowledge are your two choices.
Jaren: Insanity checks too. I think that there's a lot of value in having just somebody who understands land in your corner, who can be like, “Hey, this is a good deal. You're good. You got this.” That actually goes a long way.
Travis King: And sometimes yeah, you'll say, hey, that realtor, I don't like their opinion, I disagree or I've heard that before, but let's get a different one whereas somebody if they're new, especially take that as gospel and go, “Well, the realtor said this.” And you go, “Okay, well, we weigh that opinion, but maybe not so much in this situation.” Sometimes just being able to tell somebody like, “Yeah, you're good.”
I had a client who I told him after we get 14,000 letters out, here's what we can expect. We should have four deals that are all in net $10,000 to net $20,000 deals. And about letter 7,000, he called me a little concerned. “We haven't got these yet.” And I said, “Well, that's the thing I can't tell you. I don't know if these four deals are in your first 7,000 letters or your last 7,000, but stay the course and let's revisit this,” and sure enough, by the end of the 14,000 letters, we were right at that spot. We were right at three or four deals that we're going to bring through escrow.
But yeah, you've got to get enough, whether it's mail or calling or however your method is, ours is direct mail, you've got to get enough offers in the universe to hit those acceptance rates and conversion rates.
I think that's really the key there. But as people get along the way, they get discouraged. And who's to say, when I started and Seth wasn't willing to respond to my questions when I had reached out to him about it, if I would've just given up. And who's to say, if I didn't have some traction in my first one or two campaigns that I wouldn't have given up. So, you're fragile. You're fragile, especially in the beginning. I think having somebody to let you know, “Hey, you're fine. You're doing good. You're all right. Stick with it.” And then maybe let's iterate, let's adjust or tweak this. I think that's the key with it.
Jaren: Yeah. It's funny that you mentioned your client that is getting apprehensive on the 7,000 units of mail, because without fail, not everybody, but almost every client at some point when the mail first drops, typically it's like all the yelling and not motivated people. And then it's like people who want to negotiate and then it's people who want to do a deal. It's not always that way, but in terms of high-level rules of thumb, that's like the general wave that I've seen in the business. And so, they'll get a bunch of people that are not motivated. And they'll just like, “I don't know if this works.” And you just set them at ease, like, “Hey man, this is normal.”
Travis King: I still remember my first call back from a seller. I probably had the angriestseller I've ever spoken to in eight years of doing this. It was my first ever callback on my first campaign. And I was like, “This is terrible. I can't do this.” You forget that, though when you get farther along in your journey. You forget some of those concerns that you had in the beginning.
Jaren: Man, you're sending me down memory lane. I'll spare for the sake of time. But man, I got a lot of funny stories of me talking to motivated sellers.
Seth: Yeah. It's funny. I've been paying for a consultant in the self-storage space over the past six months or so. And working on this project, it's the biggest thing I've ever done. I can't tell you how many times I've looked back at the numbers to try to reanalyze it and look at it from every possible angle. And no matter what I do, there's always this element of uncertainty here. What if this is wrong? What if I made the wrong assumption here? What if this goes sideways? What if the economy changes? All this stuff.
And I think it was probably about a month ago just talking to the consultant and the thing that ultimately got me to say like, “Yes, let's do it” versus “Nope, put it on the shelf” is just asking him, “Put yourself in my shoes. Everything I know about this deal. Would you do this deal? What would you do?” And just hearing him say, “Yeah, I would do this deal.” That's all I needed to hear. I just need somebody to make me feel okay about it. Especially as somebody who's never done it before, that can go a long way.
Travis King: I think when you enter any space you look for that, you go, “Okay, who are the key players? Who are the subject matter experts here?” That's what I do. And then you go, “And who do I resonate or relate to of those?” I think that's what you've got to do, like you said, because you can accomplish the same results on your own, but you can take somebody else's distilled wisdom and if you can exchange money for that value or wisdom, that transfer.
What's the ROI on that? I even look back at the courses I bought when I got started in this. Imagine the ROI on paying like $1,500 for a course and then ended up making a million dollars from that. What's that knowledge that you applied? I think that's like you said, it's a $2 million deal you're talking about doing, Seth, right? Regardless of what the consulting fee is, it's just a drop in the bucket in comparison to the knowledge you'll gain and potentially the equity you'll capture.
Seth: Yeah. And not to mention future deals. And even if this one doesn't pan out, for some reason. It's permanent knowledge you have now that you can apply.
Travis King: Yeah. That's what I look like. Those are transferable skills too. It's like anything. It took me a long time to learn that too. And this isn't a pitch on coaching. It's just anything in any type of self-development or self-improvement, I feel like that is your best investment. Because you take that with you regardless of if that employer lets you go or whatever happens. Any investment in yourself in any type of self-improvement or self-education is going to give you the best ROI of anything, because you take that with you.
And it's understandable if you feel like your budget doesn't allow for that self-investment, but at the same time I remember viewing any type of self-improvement or self-education as an expense and not an investment. And it's taken me four or five years and then reading numerous business books, being around high-level people to understand now you view it as an investment.
And quite often, what people don't realize too, and I've come to find, is you don't just get that consulting. Like you probably are going to tap into this guy's connections, his network. You're probably going to get access to some of his resources and his connections as well.
Jaren: Case in point. If somebody was working with me and they were a brand-new beginner, and I referred them to you for funding, for example, you're more likely to pay attention to them despite their lack of experience because of our relationship. Whereas if they would've just reached out to you without having that investment in coaching with me, it may be a toss-up as to whether or not you'd work with them. Because again, it boils down to their experience and their competence and all that.
Yeah, I think there are a number of different ways to move up the social ladder in multiple different spaces in life. But one of the most efficient is just paying to get there through coaching and investing and the capacity to rub elbows with influencers in the space.
Travis King: Yes. I 100% agree. Yeah.
Seth: Travis, if people want to find out more about coaching and the kind of stuff you have to offer, what website should they be going to?
Travis King: You can go to landinvestingmastery.com. When you get there, you'll see that I do group coaching, I do one-on-one coaching, and just recently, I launched a mastermind also. That is one training a month with the mastermind that covers advanced strategies like portfolio takedowns, minor land subdividing, seller financing done right. There's a number of advanced strategies there that'll really appeal to people who have been in the space a while.
Jaren: That's the group I need to be a part of right there.
Travis King: Yeah. The portfolio takedown, it's something nobody's teaching. That one is going to be fantastic.
Jaren: You and Mike Marshall. I don't know if you've ever hung out with him at all, but you guys are like, at least in my world, the cutting-edge voices of all those niche strategies within land.
Travis King: There's so many directions you can go. That's an incredible thing. People think it's only just flipping cheap property, but there's so many plays or so many directions you can go with it. Yeah, I've heard great things about Mike.
Jaren: Mike Marshall was in our office hours last month and we did kind of a quasi-live interview and it was really awesome. He just is going through the conversation and then he just like mic drops this exact method of how to find underutilized properties. He's like, “Go to DataTree and you select commercial zoning. And then you have the land use be residential and that's underutilized.” And I was like, “What?” It was so awesome.
Travis King: It's exactly with the mastermind. What I'll do is how to prospect portfolio owners, how to specifically target those. Things like that we cover in the mastermind group. But that's a good one.
And then usually twice a year, I'll do a group coaching, Seth, where it's a live training, 12 sessions of live training. And it's what I call Acquisitions Mastery because the whole is centered on a lot of the courses, covering everything A to Z on the acquisitions, the marketing, the dispositions. And really, all I focus on is 100% on acquisitions. So, it's 12 live trainings on that. That's what the group is.
And then one-on-one is really just catered to where you are at in your land business, because people have different needs. So, it's not a factory. That's the thing I would just say, we're not a factory. We're a boutique agency that's completely focused on results, getting people results, and a smaller number of people.
And really, the only limitation is time. It's me, I'm screen sharing, I'm teaching you how to use the plays we use in our own business. So, that's really the only challenge on my end is sometimes having to have a waiting list. You want to be able to help everybody, but at the same time, I want to enjoy this. I want to make an impact. I want this to be fulfilling, but at the same time, hey, I've got a wife and three active kids that I want to spend a lot of time with. And that's why we're doing all of this. It’s for family. And to have that time. So, I'm really mindful of not overloading myself to where it feels like a job. But that's really landinvestingmastery.com. They can check out what I've got to offer.
Seth: Awesome. And if you guys want to check it out, just be sure to mention the coupon code “SETH” or just mention that you came from REtipster and you can get some kind of a discount.
Travis King: Absolutely. Yeah. Check out on anything. The mastermind, on group coaching or one-on-one coaching, we will give you a significant discount if you use the coupon code “SETH” and that's just going to allow us to track all the listeners that came via this podcast. But I’m happy to do that, Seth. Like I said, I wouldn't even be doing this if I hadn't heard you on a podcast seven, eight years ago. Definitely, a lot of gratitude there. And it was the genesis. That was the moment. That was the spark when I first heard about this. Without any of that, yeah, we wouldn't be doing any of this.
Seth: That's really cool. I'm honored that I played any role at any point and I'm really glad I saw your email and responded to it because it's really cool to see where you've gone and I take total credit for everything that you've done.
Travis King: And I want 50%, right?
Seth: Yeah. So, pay up. Thanks again, Travis, for coming on the show, it's been awesome to talk to you, appreciate your friendship and just being a good person to know in the industry. Again, you guys know how to reach out to Travis and how to learn more about his stuff. I'm going to include links to everything we talked about, including his websites in the show notes at retipster.com/122, because this is episode 122. Travis, thanks again. Keep up the good work with everything you're doing.
Travis King: Excellent. Thanks, Seth. Thanks, Jaren. I appreciate you guys.
Seth: Alrighty folks. There we go. That was our interview with Travis. As always, great to talk to him. He has a lot of great ideas. It's really cool to see somebody on his level who is doing things that a lot of people either aren't doing or are too scared to do or have a thought to do. And he seems like somebody worth paying attention to for sure, just because he's got a lot of innovative ways to approach this. But did you have anything that jumped out to you, Jaren?
Jaren: So much of 80/20. I might as well get 80/20 tattooed on my forehead or something. That principle, without question, has been one of the most influential principles that unlocked a lot and continue to unlock more and more and more stuff.
Just the way that he approaches things that we don't even think about. How many times have I bought a package deal from an investor that had other properties, but I didn't follow up with them? And if you were to target those, what he's calling portfolio owners, like genius.
Learning to hone the skill set of identifying 80/20 leverage points every day, all day, just obsessing over that is a key principle to success. You can just tell that that's what he does. He just constantly asks, “Where's the leverage point? Where's the leverage point?” I hope to be that way too. At least, that's what I aspire to be like. I really enjoyed this episode. I like Travis a lot.
Seth: Yeah. I don't think we've talked about this, and if we did, maybe we'll just talk about it again. But the question is, what criteria do you use to determine whether something is true?
Jaren: That's a really interesting question.
Seth: How do you know what truth is really in this world?
Jaren: Gosh, man. That kind of question you got to give somebody before we get on air. I got to think about that one. That one's deep.
Seth: I think the truth is a complicated thing. There are absolute truths and things that everybody, no matter who you are, can agree on. Like the law of gravity, obviously, it's there. You drop something and it falls to the ground. But a lot of things in life, whether it's like your creed or your political belief, or I don't know, all kinds of stuff, just beliefs and biases about the world and life and people.
I don't know, there is no objective thing you can point to, to say, yes, this is something we can all agree on and that's why it's true. Ultimately, you got to have faith in something or basically, you have to be able to believe something you can't prove. So, it's always interesting to hear you say this thing as though it's an objective truth. Why do you say that to what authority do you appeal to? How do you know that's accurate?
Jaren: I think a large portion, and it's not always perfect, because there's going to be outliers in this. But I probably say the bulk of my assessment of truth is the results and the fruit. If I drop something and it drops, the fact that I can see with my eyes and experience gravity, proves that gravity is real.
When it comes to more emotional or spiritual or psychological truth, it's like love, that's kind of less concrete, but you can know it's true based on the fruit that it produces. If somebody says, I love you, but they're beating you every time they see you. That's probably not love. Because obviously, the fruit's not there. But if somebody doesn't even say they love you, then it's very evident that they sacrifice for you day in and day out and they show up and they're always there for you. That fruit speaks to the fact that the evidence is there, that love is there or that love is true.
Yeah, I think that for me, that's probably the bulk of it. There are going to be some outliers, though, where I don't have evidence to support the truth. And I can't think of a good example, but I think that there's going to be circumstances where that would pop up. So, I'd say 80% is probably evidence-based, experiential-based, fruit-based.
Seth: Yeah. And that's the thing. Because even that, I could send out a direct mail campaign to a certain county using a certain criteria and it flops. And I could say, “Well, based on that, fruit direct mail doesn't work in this county.” It's like, well, it's not that simple. It's one of those things where I don't know that you really can know the truth. You can probably get pretty close to it and narrow it down based on your experience again. But it's like the second you open your mouth and make a statement and state a claim on something as being a fact, you probably don't definitively know that. It's just like, well, probably based on what we've seen.
I just think it's interesting because so much of life or anybody who states their opinion about something, there's a lot of assumptions about truth going into that, that they may not necessarily know. And they may even contradict themselves at some point.
I even hear somebody say things like, “Oh yeah, that guy over there, he's a good guy,” or “I'm a good person.” It's like, okay, based on what? How do you define good? And is there one objective measurement that we can all agree on in terms of what good is. Hitler would've said what he did was great for Germany. He cleaned up the country.
But I do think it's really interesting and probably important for everybody to think about where do you draw your basis of truth from? Not that you're going to get an answer in terms of like, “Oh yeah, that's the correct thing to do,” but just maybe questioning yourself about like, “Should I be? Are there other things I should be entertaining or thinking about?”
Jaren: That was deep. That was a good one.
Seth: Well, again, thanks to Travis for coming on this show. And if you guys want to check out the show notes, retipster.com/122. You can check out his website as well, landinvestingmastery.com.
We actually have a new thing we've been putting together called the REtipster Certified Coaches. And you can find this at retipster.com/coaching. And you're going to find Travis there. You're going to find Jaren there. And possibly other people there in the future.
The idea behind this is coaching is something that it's just not something that I feel like I want to spend my time on. I don't even know that I'm necessarily that gifted at one-on-one coaching and that kind of thing for a number of different reasons, but there are other people who are. And I want to make it easier for people to find the people that I believe in anyway.
Not that I'm the ultimate authority on that, but just these are people that I know, and I understand what they're teaching, and it doesn't mean we would always agree on every possible thing, but I at least see alignment there and I trust them to deliver a good service and charge a decent fair price and that kind of thing. If you guys are ever interested in that, retipster.com/coaching. You can see the REtipster certified coaches.
But again, you guys know where to find the show notes. And if you are 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 this stuff going on in the REtipster world. Thanks again for listening, and we'll talk to you guys again in the next episode.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.
Share Your Thoughts
- Leave your thoughts about this episode on the REtipster forum!
- Share this episode on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn (social sharing buttons below!)
Help out the show!
- Leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts Your ratings and reviews really help (and I read each one).
- Subscribe on Apple Podcasts
- Subscribe on Spotify
- Subscribe on Stitcher
Thanks again for listening!