Born and raised in Uruguay, Meir Shemtov moved to the U.S. when he was 13. He started his first e-commerce business at 23, became a partner in a creative retail company, and sold it to WeWork at 25.
He launched a co-living startup, exited in 2020, and launched Lot of Land, Inc. shortly after that.
Meir has a rapidly growing team; he does a lot of double closings and assignment deals (10 to 15 contracts a month).
I have this radical idea that bills are paid with dollars and not with percentages. – Meir Shemtov
In this conversation, we're going to find out how Meir's business works, how he has managed to grow such a thriving land business, and a surprising competitive edge he's been able to find with email marketing.
Links and Resources
- How a Double Closing Works
- What Is Single Source Funding?
- Transactional Funding Explained
- How an Assignment of Contract Works
- 132: How Land Investors Can Start Using 21st Century Marketing Techniques w/ Callan Faulkner
- 135: $1-3 Million Per Month in the Land Business w/ Doug Smith
- Text Marketing 101 for Land Investors
- What Is Probate?
- A Closer Look at My Blind Offer Template
- Versium Review: The Future of Data-Driven Real Estate Marketing
- MailShake (Email Platform)
- Debounce.io (Qualify and Verify Emails)
- What Are Land Entitlements?
- LandVision (DataTree Alternative) with a layer to see developers and their logos
- Banking with Mercury: A Hands-On Review
- Ajay's Metrics Tracker
In this episode, you will:
- Maximize your profits with unorthodox BUT effective real estate investing strategies.
- Find opportunities to make higher offers and why you should do so.
- Increase your profit by up to 10X from a single deal.
- Learn the secrets of email marketing for real estate investors.
- Streamline your operations and increase productivity by understanding how to manage your real estate A-team.
Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.
“So I offered her 7000, and she was happy about that. I sold it for 45,000. That was an email. And right away I realized it was an opportunity in email, because emails is free. Like, you don't have to pay anybody, just an email.”
That's Meir Shemtov, a land investor who is absolutely crushing it in the land business right now. He has a team of 14 people and he does 10 to 15 deals per month. How does he do it?
“I have this radical idea that bills are paid with dollars and not with percentages. We make money when there's like 20 to 30 grand on the deal.”
In this episode, you'll learn Meir's framework for when and why he can make higher offers than anyone else.
“Why I think we get a lot of the deals that other investors don't is because [beep].”
You'll also learn how Meir uses email to find land deals all over the country, including his four tricks of email marketing.
“You want to have a domain that isn't your actual domain, and you also want to use multiple. Instead of putting an unsubscribe button at the end of your email, you should write [beep].”
You'll also learn how you can take the same $20,000 and instead of doubling your money, you can 10x your money without any additional risk.
“Buy a property for 20 grand and flip it for 40. Sound advice, but how about buy a property for a million, put 20 down, the same 20 grand that you have, and then flip that for 1.5. Now instead of making 20,000 now, you just made $500,000 with your 20 grand!”
And an unexpected twist that you probably won't expect.
How effective is this? Like, is it worthwhile to do this? The answer to that is we're about to dive into all of that and much more right now.
Seth: Hey, everybody, how's it going? This is Seth Williams and Ajay Sharma. You're listening to the REtipster podcast. This is episode 170. And today, we're talking with Meir Shemtov. So, born and raised in Uruguay, Meir moved to the U.S. at 13 years old.
He started his first ecommerce business at 23 and became a partner in a creative retail company and then sold it to WeWork at 25 years old. And then, he launched a co-living startup and then exited that in 2020. And then he launched LotofLand Inc. shortly after that and got into the land business. And Meir has about nine people on his team and he does a lot of double closings and assignments, about ten contracts per month.
And he is passionate about charity and mindfulness. And he turns off all devices for 25 hours per week with no TV or social media at home. And he lives on a farm. And there's a lot of unique things about Meir that we're going to talk about. The way his business works, the volume that he's doing, the sizes of the assignments in, the double closings that he's doing. It's pretty cool stuff. So I think this is going to be a great one.
Meir, welcome to the show. How you doing?
Meir: Thank you, Seth, so much. Thanks for having me, really. This podcast and this community are probably responsible for a lot of my growth, personal growth also, but mainly in the business. I definitely wouldn't have been here without you, without the content that you put out. And I just wanted to say thank you.
And when I started out, it was more about taking as much information as I possibly can. And I think I'm at a point now where I would like to share some of the different tips and tricks with everybody else. So, so excited to be here. I'm so grateful to be in this position and to be here with you guys.
Seth: That's awesome, man. I appreciate the kind words. And, yeah, I'm really glad you decided to do this with us. Looking forward to it.
Meir: Yeah. And shout out to Ajay. Ajay's been good friend, also on the land space, and thanks for the intro as well, and always connecting me with the right people. So thanks, Ajay.
Ajay: I appreciate it, man. I do my best, but you're an easy person to connect with.
Meir: Thanks, man.
Seth: How did you guys get connected, the two of you?
Meir: So I think we first met... So there are some episodes from the REtipster podcast that I've listened to multiple times. Doug Smith's episode was amazing. The episode with Callan Faulkner was really good.
And through Callan, we kind of met with Ajay, and then we flew to Texas. We had a little meetup there, and then Ajay introduced me to a few other, you know, the land community is so amazing. You get to know everyone. Everyone's so giving. Everyone's always sharing resources, and it's not that big. So it's just so much fun to have this community to be a part of, and that's really special.
Seth: Yeah. That is a striking thing about the small size of the land community is that everybody does kind of know each other. Like, if you're at all vocal anywhere about anything, there's a good chance that you're connected to somebody else through at least one or two degrees of separation. So it's kind of cool.
Seth: So let's start from the very beginning. So when did you first hear about land investing, and what made you decide to give it a shot?
Meir: It's a pretty unique story. A little unconventional, like everything else about me.
So we started, like you mentioned, co-living. That was kind of my foray into real estate. Margins were very thin. The concept was super cool, but it was very much a city, New York, kind of thing. And the time came that we just didn't like living in New York, in the city.
So we moved to the West Coast, and I'm very passionate about hospitality. I love real estate also. Real estate has really good hospitality. Real estate, like short-term rentals, they have really good margins. It's also fun. It's not the typical landlord tenant kind of thing.
So in California, I started looking for land to build a lot of short-term rentals and create, like, an experience. And very quickly, I realized that California is not the place to get permits to do things. It's just a little bit difficult to get anything done, especially in 2020. Things were just closed, and it was just so hard.
And incidentally, I had a brother, my brother Levi, he was buying and selling land. He was just getting started. I think he saw it from his friend was doing it or something. And I'm like, hey, you know how to send mailers, right? He's like, yeah. I’m like, why don't you show me how to send mailers? Because I want to just start buying land to do this thing. So he's like, sure, let's get on the zoom. And he showed me how to do it. And then he's like, I got one request for you. I'm like, yeah, what? He's like, just drop your Airbnb thing and start flipping.
I was like, why? He's like, what do you mean? Because it's so much easier. It's so much fun. The margins are there. You don't need permits. It's just like, why don't you just, let's do one together. And really, credit goes to him. He guided me through it. He was super instrumental at the beginning.
And then I started doing a little bit more reading, more watching, more listening to everything. And I actually remember because he didn't know about the REtipster community. He just kind of started through his friend. And then one day he sends me a link to your website or to your podcast, and he's like, oh, my God, I think I found the OG. His brain was like, oh, my God, I found the guy.
And ever since then, I obviously started listening to every episode, and it was uphill from there. And then slowly, gradually, we started building up the team, and then, thank God, where we are today.
Seth: So when was that, like, what year did this all start for you?
Meir: That was, I think, 2021.
Seth: What did your first year look like? Did you just start sending out mail like everybody else does, or, I guess, what was your volume that first year? Your typical deal size? And when did things start changing for you? Because I know you do things a bit differently than the average course teaches how to do this stuff.
Meir: I would say most courses say to send mail, and I think it's for a good reason. If you're new and you don't have a team, texting is very difficult, and mail is just kind of especially blind offers. They kind of qualify the sellers for you, so there's a lot less work.
So I started with mailers. I started in Joshua Tree, which is kind of where I wanted to do these hospitality retreats. And I was living in LA, so it wasn't so far. And I speak Spanish, my first language, actually. So a lot of the phone calls that were coming in were Spanish-speaking people, and a lot of them lived in LA, so it was just answering the phones I sent out. I don't remember how much mail, but I would go to people's houses to meet with them.
So this one guy was like, I don't know who you are. And it was a good deal. There was like $20,000 profit. So I was like, okay, I know where you live. Why don't we just meet? All this is in Spanish. And he's like, I'm not signing any purchase agreement. I'll just sign the deed. This is when I was at his house, and I didn't know the difference between a purchase agreement and a deed. I'm like, okay, I just need to FaceTime my partner real quick. I just called my brother and, hey, Levi, what should we do here?
So it was very much like that, the first few deals. And then right away, I realized it was an opportunity in email, because I guess I'm a millennial. And this whole concept of sending letters was weird. So I started sending emails from the skip trace that I would get. And they got also in California, and they got this woman whose grandparents left them a parcel. She knew it was worth a lot, but she said, every land investor calls me, they know that it has to go through probate, which means that my grandparents died without a will or without putting it in my name. And they all just leave. And I really want to monetize this property.
So I offered her $7,000 and she was happy about that. And I paid for all the legal fees. I sold it for $45,000. And that was an email. It was straight-up email. This is before I got fancy with emails. This is literally mail merge emails. I was jeopardizing my personal email. This is stupid rookie mistakes. But it worked.
And I started doing a lot of these very time-intensive, personalized deals with people and I really learned the ins-and-out of the business that way. And that's how slowly I started scaling. First brought someone to help me in general, then brought in a texter, then another one, then a comp person, then a data person.
We could talk about the team later, but that was kind of my early beginnings was very deal by deal. I still miss that. Talking to sellers and negotiating, but deal by deal, paying attention to what their needs are, bringing value to them, and then learning the process and scaling from there.
Seth: We got to get into this email stuff because you're right, this is not something that I hear often. I mean, I've heard it a handful of times, but this is definitely not the norm.
Of the dozens of questions I can think of, the first one would be like, what software are you using? What are you saying in your email? What kind of response rate do you get? Just tell us how that works.
Meir: Yeah. Okay, so if I were to break down my whole business into four pillars, the first pillar will be marketing channels. The second one would be markets. Which markets do I go to? The third one would be employees, and then the fourth one would be inventory.
Okay, now each one of those pillars have metrics tied to them. So how well is this particular channel performing? How well is this market? How well is this employee performing? And then the inventory that we have, how many views, how many saves, how many offers.
So everything has a number and everything is trackable. So right now let's talk about acquisition channels. Well, let's say we skip trace 130,000 people per month. Okay, so we start with texting and we text everybody. Then we take the people who never replied and we send them emails, we send them ringless voicemails, we send them mailers, and we also cold call.
Now, cold calling is still not fully our strength because the other four that we do, it's always range offers. So when we're texting somebody and they're like, oh, well, how much you want to pay for my property? Everybody wants to know how much you're going to pay. We throw them a range offer and if they say yes, then we take the time to comp it and we take the time to qualify them further.
Ajay: And how big is your range?
Meir: The range? We usually tell them like let's say $2,500 to $3,500 an acre because we think it's worth around from 45 to 65. So it's kind of just to keep the conversation going because everybody wants to know the number and we don't have time to give everybody a number. So we give them like a low ball range. And if they say, sorry, I want whatever, then it's not a good deal. And if they're cool with it, then we look into it further.
We do the same thing with email. We do the same thing with mailers. And with mailers, we do more of a blind offer. And if the property is too expensive, like if we're dealing with like a million-dollar property, we'll just give them a range. So also it's very hard to comp and to send blind offers for properties that are 100 acres plus at volume. So for those we just do a range. We just want to get on the phone with people. But anything smaller than 100 acres, we'll send a blind offer.
And RVMs is very similar where we don't give a range at the voicemail, but it's a voicemail.
The problem with cold call is that you're calling a guy, and he's at Whole Foods, and he's getting a phone call from you. He's not down to start discussing numbers with you. A text or voicemail, an email or letter, you send the piece and then they have time to think for a second and then they get back to you. But a phone call is very instant and very intruding, so we haven't been able to do range offers on a cold call. The problem with that is that it has generated tremendous amount of leads that aren't very qualified. They're just people who said, yes, I want to sell my property. So then we have to still perfect that.
So in this business, my role as a CEO is optimize scale. Optimize the process, optimize the four pillars of the business the way I see them, and then scale. More texting, more channels, more markets, more employees. But to your point, before I tend to scale and to do things before optimizing. And that's kind of my blind spot where I'm very eager to hire more people and scale and do TV ads or whatever without first optimizing everything else that we do have going on.
And to answer your question specifically about email, since I know that was something that was interesting to you, I started doing simple mail merge. Mail merge is, for those that don't know is you have a spreadsheet, let's say Google Sheet of let's say a thousand emails and then there's a Google Chrome add-on called mail merge. There's thousands of them and you create an email, simple email, say “Hey, your name came up because we're buying property in your county and let me know if you're interested in selling your land.” Very simple. And then it kind of sends like 50 a day or something, I think. I didn't have money then to pay for the pro account or something, so I was literally going out of my personal inbox and that's like highly risky.
Let's just say what's right about that was that I took action. And what was wrong about that is that I almost jeopardized my entire email and server and website because obviously too many people report spam and then everything just goes into spam. And then buyers are trying to get a hold of you, title, selling you, sending you like closing documents. Everything's just going, it's just a terrible idea.
So what you should do is a few things. So there's a lot of email platforms out there. We use Mailshake but there's a bunch. And what you do is you first want to qualify all the email addresses. So there's a lot of tools out there. There's one called DeBounce, DeBounce.io. There's so many of them that basically you pay like very little. But you upload your laundry list of thousands of emails that you got back from skip tracing.
Because a lot of investors don't realize. But when you skip trace list you get emails that nobody does anything with them and you get them for free. So a lot of them are garbage. Most of them are garbage. But still there is enough, especially if you're doing the kind of volume that we're doing. You can be sending 1,000 emails a day, verified, qualified emails per day. And email is free. You don't have to pay anybody to send emails, right? And emails as opposed to texting, you don't have to sit there sending email by email. You can actually just send a bulk email.
Now there's a few tricks of the trade. First of all, the whole objective with email marketing is deliverability, because everybody can send thousands of emails a day, but if they all land in spam or promotions, no one's going to see them.
Now, if you check your promotions tab, you'll see there are some billion-dollar companies that are still landing in promotions and they couldn't figure it out how to land in your inbox. So if they couldn't figure out, chances are I cannot figure it out either. So I don't pretend to know better than these humongous companies that are still landing in my promotions and spam. That being said, they don't have the luxury to do smaller batch testing or to do the little tricks that we do.
So first of all, you want to avoid bad emails, so you want to clean those lists.
Second, you want to avoid spam words. You can Google what are some spam words.
Third, instead of putting an unsubscribe button at the end of your email, you should write “Reply ‘unsubscribe’ if you'd like to opt out.” What that does is people reply “unsubscribe,” but that tricks the system into thinking that you're having engagement. That's actually good for you. When somebody replies unsubscribe, we obviously delete them, right, because we do what they say we should do. But that's good engagement.
The problem with that is on the flip side, if you're trying to track engagement, every unsubscribe is considered an engagement as far as the platform is concerned because you had all these people that replied to you, but it still works. There's some backend stuff that you could do, like emails going back and forth. You can schedule emails between two accounts just to show that there's some sort of activity.
And another tip is that you want to have a domain that isn't your actual domain.
So our domain is LotofLand.com. We have “MyLotofLand,” “TheLotofland,” LotofLand with hyphens. Use a bunch of stuff that look like your company but aren't actually your domain because you want to keep your domain safe and clean. So if anything happens, your domain doesn't go down.
And you also want to use multiple aliases. So let's say “sethwilliams at lotofland,” “seth.williams at lotofland,”, or “swilliams,” “williamsseth,” so multiple variations. So if one of them gets also, there's a recovery period till you come back.
We actually have a deliverability team outsourced, but they're in our Slack and they're basically in our payroll at this point. And their whole job is to ensure that our emails are landing in inboxes.
Seth: Yeah, I will say that whole unsubscribe button thing. So I've got like a filter set up in my Gmail where if you even say the word “unsubscribe” anywhere in the email, it sends you to a separate folder where I will most likely just delete your email and block.
I kind of hate those people who don't put the word unsubscribe in there because they're doing exactly what you say and it kind of gets past that filter I set up. And it's annoying to have to reply to them, but I guess it works.
Meir: What if someone sends you like a love letter? “Hey, Seth, I love your content and I'm never going to unsubscribe.”
Seth: Oh, man. That would be very unfortunate for them..
So with email, there's obviously a huge benefit in that it doesn't really cost hardly anything other than whatever you're paying to insure deliverability. But what kind of response rate or close rate or how effective is this? Is it worthwhile to do this? Is it like one in 1,000 or one in 100 or how well does it work?
Meir: That is a very good question. And it's something that I've been thinking about a lot. Let's talk about the other marketing channels, like mailers. Mailers are expensive but super effective. Texting, they work. So sometimes I ask myself, like, why reinvent the wheel? Why not just scale my texting team? Or why not scale the mailer team? So the answer to that is, you never know what will change with the texting regulations, the minute they change something or they stop something. I'm an expert in email marketing. I can just ramp that up. I already have the team for it. There's no wasted time. The same with mailers. Some states are banning or not. It's always good to have that.
I would say it's a different kind of person. So if I identify a market that really works for me, that there's super high demand, anything we get works. And you mail that place already. You've texted it and you still didn't get a hold of the owners. Like this woman in California. The mail was going to her grandparents’ house. No one's checking that her phone number wasn't associated with anything. But somehow her email was because maybe she was paying the taxes or somehow her email was associated with that property and she got the email.
The kind of leads that we get with email are actually very good leads. There are people who have email. You could imagine there are people who are doing business with you as if you're a businessman, it's a different conversation than a spam text.
So I don't know the exact number. I know we've closed a bunch of email deals. The ratio, I don't know how good it is compared to the other ones. But here's the thing. The margins are so good in this business that one deal pays for the time of the people, the deliverability team. It pays for the software. Like, just one deal. So you do one deal, and then everything else is paid.
And obviously the goal is to automate all of this as much as possible, so it doesn't take up much of my time. And then it's kind of just extra funnel, if you will, of cash flow.
To answer your question, not great, but still profitable, and I still keep it. There's a saying, what is it? Don't kill a cow that gives milk or something. If it's giving milk, just let the cow be.
Seth: Yeah, that makes sense.
So of all those different marketing channel pillars that you mentioned, we got texting, email, ringless voicemail, direct mail, cold calling. Which one is most important? Like, what is the one that you live and die by? Like, you're in huge trouble if that one disappears? Or does that even exist? Like, maybe it's not a big deal because you have these other four.
Meir: I've built my team around texting. Texting is very labor-intensive, so everyone on the team has a scorecard. So we meet every week with the team, and everyone, every day logs in. The texters have how many texts you send, how many people answer, how many leads. So everyone's got a number, which is great for them because they know what they're doing and they have goals they can aspire to. It's great for us because I see what's going on, what's not going on.
And texting is so labor-intensive. There are so many people sending those texts, qualifying those texts, that if texting goes down, a lot of my team won't know what to do. So that's why texting is, I think, the most important. Just because of the amount of families that it's supporting currently, if you will.
Mailers don't take that much time. But mailers are super effective because, like we mentioned before, especially blind offers, they do the qualifying for you. So if texting goes away, I would definitely do mailers. It's more expensive, let's just say, but it's more effective.
And then the rest, RVM and email and cold calling, those are kind of the alternative methods, we should call them.
Seth: Is direct mail, is that something where you may not ever send a mail to somebody? Like, if they just reply to the text, maybe that's all that will ever happen. Is mail like one of the last resorts? Like, if they don't respond to this and this and this, then I'll send the mail? Or is it one of the first resorts?
Meir: No, we scrub out the people who already answered us in the other channels because mail is expensive. We also send, nice mail, color, with questions and answers, you know. We do it proper. And I wouldn't want to send a blind offer to someone who already agreed to sell us via text for cheaper, and that would be a disaster.
But also, I wouldn't want to spend money or waste money on people who said unsubscribe or people who said we sold it or whatever. So we obviously scrub for those. But mail comes after.
Ajay: Yeah. I think it's worth noting that I heard this recently from, can't remember this house wholesaler's name. He's the guy that owns InvestorLift. You know, that big house wholesaling platform that helps wholesalers get buyers, basically.
He was in this interview talking about how anybody in real estate's goal, whose primary objective in acquisitions, in terms of metrics, is to track cost per acquisition and your cash conversion cycle in terms of when you spend money versus when you make money. And your goal is to drive down those two things as much as possible. You want the cheapest cost of acquisition and the fastest cash conversion cycle.
And so with regards to the marketing, I think it's really interesting because with texting, for example, my team's addicted to it because of how fast that feedback loop is. We send out texting in a new market, and we might get a deal that day. And if we do, we can buy it in two to three weeks.
We had one recently down in Florida. It's in North Florida. And we bought this property for $150,000, which is exactly what the seller asked for. So sometimes when people ask for things, and I know I can do it, I don't, and try to negotiate, I'm like, don't rock the boat. We can make money on this. We cut it up into two 20-acre parcels and listed each at 150. And we've been getting good traction.
So that was one we sent out the texting, and it was like, within, I think, two or three days we had this guy, and then a day later we had a contract. Whereas with direct mail, it can be a lot slower, but at the same time, and I think what Meir is talking about, is your leads are so much more qualified.
So maybe, depending on how your team is designed, you get to it quicker, or it's a lot less follow up-intensive. And that's why a majority of investors that try to go from direct mail to text messaging fail. That's the biggest issue I see is, like, our team will follow up usually 24 times before we put them back on a drip manually. We'll double-dial twice a day for a couple of days, and then every day, 24 times.
Meir: Whoa, 24 times?
Ajay: Yeah, we are ruthless, but we get the seller's permission to contact them, and typically that 24. So we have two layers of follow-up. And I'm sorry, Meir, you're supposed to be the one talking here, but we have two layers of follow-up.
The first one is to do that first intro phone call, basically. So we don't talk numbers until our lead manager goes through the basic script. And then that 24 is actually after that phone call. So we may follow up a lot more than that, but it's, hey, we're ready for an offer. We want to get an offer to this person, and that's when we'll go really aggressive because we've done a lot of work. Our cost for that lead is probably around $50 at that point.
And I don't like throwing $50 in the trash and lighting it on fire very often. So I tell my team to go really aggressively to get in contact. But we had a guy who lived in Alaska and does this thing every year where he goes to a remote cabin in Alaska and disconnects from all of his devices. And he said to me, he said, “Ajay, your acquisitions manager left over 17 voicemails on my phone over the past. Did you give her a raise?”
We actually ended up paying her for some maternity leave because she had a baby. So she was gone for a bit. But I think we did give her a raise a little bit after that, too. I can't remember, but I know we did at one point, but it was hilarious and was like, “Sir, that's what we pay her to do.” So I'm glad to hear it.
And he was like, “Well, tell you what. I'm a business person. Anybody that's willing to follow up with me this much clearly is going to follow through. So I'll give you guys my business. Let's go.”
And so that's a double closing. We did. We got under contract at 160, and we've got an offer right now at 230, and we're taking it. So we haven't closed on it yet, but it's a good double closing with good margins. But follow-up wins in this world.
But I'm sorry, I just needed to go through that quick.
Seth: That's worth going on a little tangent about, because a lot of people don't know how to do that. A lot of new people, I feel like they just kind of feel like I just take this first step, but they don't respond to people, or they don't respond multiple times. And it's like, why are you doing anything if you're not going to follow up? It seems like kind of a no-brainer, but a lot of people don't get that.
Well, we've kind of hit the marketing pieces quite a bit. There's a lot more we could talk about, but there are other things I want to move on to.
So tell us about what your average deal looks like. I know you do a lot of assignments and double closings, so what size are we talking about? How big are these deals? And I guess we talked a little bit about how you're finding them through texting and that kind of stuff, but maybe just walk us through a typical deal.
Meir: Sure. So I have this radical idea that many people in the land business don't seem to agree that bills are paid with dollars and not with percentages.
As a company, we make money when there's, like, 20 to 30 grand on the deal, and that's kind of like my sweet spot. I want to do a deal less than that just because of the time and energy. They say that a lion doesn't chase a rat or a mouse because the energy that it uses to catch that mouse is more than the energy that it gets from the mouse. You know what I mean?
So there are so many low-hanging fruit. There are so many amazing, juicy deals to do. Like, why bother with the small ones? So we try to kind of 20 to 30 also work well, because the minute you start doing more than that, there's a lot of earnest money that needs to go down, and it's just more complicated. So that's kind of the sweet spot for us.
And then we work our way backward from there. So if a seller wants 200 grand for a property, and we think it's worth 250, and we'll list it for 240, and we'll get somebody for 230, I'm never going to buy that outright, but if I can make 30 grand in that deal, why not? And sometimes they'll want earnest money, and that's fine. If it's a good enough deal, we'll do that.
So that's kind of why I think we get a lot of the deals that other investors don't end up getting from the sellers is because we'll pay more. And I'm okay paying more because I'm okay with the margin that is left for me. Whereas some investors won't do it because if I'm not doubling my money or if I'm not pieing it $0.40 on the dollar, I'm not going to do it, even though it's just not the way it works.
So we try to do a lot of volume. It's a numbers game, it's just a volumes game for us at this point. And that's kind of one part of the business that's run mostly by the team. And there's already processes in place, and everybody knows how to do it.
But then there are the bigger deals. And there is a housing shortage in America, and there are plenty of developers out there. The developers don't necessarily like buying, finding land, having this million or $2 million land sitting on their balance sheet for a full year until they figure out how to do the entitlements and how to get the permits and all that. So there are people actually that we work with who are kind of the bridge between us and the big developers. So they'll get the property under contract from us, and they will entitle it, and they'll make millions of dollars on these deals because they'll sell it. They'll sell the paper lots. They'll sell the parcel already parceled out to the developers, shovel ready, so they can come and start building. So they go through the entitlement process.
I know there are a lot of land investors who do this themselves. I could technically do it myself. It's just very time-consuming. And right now, I'm kind of super focused on the team and on the company that we have now. So it's hard for me to do that. That being said, I can flip a contract from a seller to an entitler, who then goes and entitles it and sells it to a developer. Now, those deals are more complicated.
Those deals require a lot of money down and require a seller who's willing to work with you. So a deal like that, I will, let's say, put in $20,000 earnest money every 60 to 90 days. I'll explain to the seller that we're going to entitle it, we have to develop it, and we're not going to buy it until everything's ready to go.
Best case scenario, everything's good. We buy the property. Worst case scenario, they keep all of our earnest money, so it's really a win-win for them. And then I go and shop. By now, I have contacts, but we still have to shop for somebody who's willing to buy that off from us with the same kind of time frame and sort of the same earnest money that we put down.
So what's interesting about this is that a lot of courses will tell you, like land courses, or people who are early in the land business will say, hey, you want to double your money, buy a property for 20 grand and flip it for 40. Sound advice, but how about, buy a property for a million, put 20 down, the same 20 grand that you have, and then flip that for 1.5. Now, instead of making 20,000 with your 20 grand, now, you just made $500,000 with your 20 grand.
Seth: It's assuming you can find that buyer in the back end. If you don't, then you just waste the 20 grand, right?
Meir: No, because you could have a 60-day due diligence period for those 20 grand.
Seth: Ah. And then you get your deposit back.
Meir: Then, yeah, you put it in there. But all this with utmost honesty and integrity with the seller, you say, “Hey, listen, I deal with developers. This is an interesting property. It's an interesting opportunity. I need 60 days. I'm giving you 20 grand. I just need 60 days so I can see if this is even feasible.”
And part of feasibility is finding an end buyer who's going to do it. And you're dealing at that level. You're dealing with people who understand business, people who understand what you're doing, and they're okay with it, and they're okay with making their million dollars. So it's just a little more sophisticated, but it's actually a lot more enjoyable and, of course, a lot more profitable.
So that's sort of one of our key hires for the last quarter of this year is going to be someone focused solely on finding. And you don't even have to do a lot of marketing to get these. They don't have to be off-deal. You could just find them on Land.com. The margins are so good that you don't have to go crazy. You literally have to go to markets where you see a lot of development. You see land that just looks like it's sitting there waiting to be developed, reach out to the owner, say, “Hey, what's the story?”
And sometimes there is no story, just nobody has come to them yet. But sometimes there is, there are wetlands, or there's this, there's that. But just a matter of finding these things. You do one deal a year and you're doing better than flipping a bunch of these other ones.
Seth: You're going after a lot of these deals with the intent to assign or double-close them. And that is a big part of the reason why you were able to offer so much more money, correct?
Meir: That's right.
Seth: Okay. And that is another distinction to make compared to those who are not willing to offer so much more money and they're more concerned about percentages is because that thought process is more of, I'm going to buy this thing and take title to it, and then just hang out for however long it takes to sell the thing. So there's kind of more skin that they're sinking into the deal, although it doesn't have to be that way, as you've proven, you could just go into it with the intent of never really owning it long-term at all, or even short-term.
I'm wondering, of all these different deals that you pursue, where you get them under contract with the intent to assign it or double close it. I mean, in my experience with that, the main risk on the table, if I'm not putting any earnest money down, is just that I might be wasting my time. Like, I could be putting all this effort into trying to find another buyer to assign this thing to. Maybe I can't, and then this contract will time out. And I just wasted a lot of effort.
How often does it not pan out for you? Like, what percentage of the time do you successfully find an end buyer in the time frame that you need to?
Meir: Most of the properties pan out because if it doesn't sell within the first 10 to 15 days, we don't get any traction. We keep lowering the price. Now, if we lower the price till we barely making any money and it still doesn't sell, then it's a problem with the property, and then it's a conversation with the seller.
So if a property doesn't sell, there's one of two issues that could be wrong with it: the price or the property. Either your price is too high, or the property has an issue. If the property is good and the price is good, it will sell. So if a property is not moving, there must be a reason, must be something that we didn't know when we signed the contract.
And it's always a conversation with the seller saying, “Hey, we didn't know that the first half of this property is fully wetlands. It didn't show up on the wetland map, or we didn't know that the easement wasn't a recorded easement. We thought you had access to the property.” So a lot of times, we have issues that we have a conversation.
Now, here's the thing. We try to provide value for the sellers. Okay? So somebody who has land in the middle of nowhere, there are two issues, two things that they do not know that we do, and that is why we're in business.
Number one, they don't know how much it's worth. They don't know data. So we're essentially a data company.
Number two, they don't know how to market land. We know how to market. So we're a marketing company. So that's why we have data analysts in the team and we have marketers in the team, because we know how to price land and we know how to sell land.
We also know how to do a lot of the due diligence, a lot of the investigations. We'll find out about the wetland. We'll find out about all these issues that come up. So the conversation with the seller is always, we are the best chance you will ever get to selling this property. You give it to a Realtor, they're not going to hustle it the way we do.
Our dispo team is pushing these properties everywhere, like, we're talking so many platforms, not just the MLS, and we send drones out there, and we literally do our 110% best to get this property sold. If it doesn't sell after a little while, we'll go back to the seller, we'll explain to him the issues. We'll give him everything that we have for free. Right? Here are the pictures. If we had a survey, we'll do a survey, all this stuff, and then it's a win-win. So they either sell it through us or they don't.
But now they have all this information that they didn't otherwise had, and they had somebody who, for free, hustled it to try to get it sold and still couldn't get it sold, which means they have to lower the price, or maybe they have to fix something and then they can sell it whenever they want. So it's really a value that we bring to the sellers, and we also bring value to the buyers. A lot of the time, buyers are so happy with the properties and the price that we bring, especially when we do splits, because we also do some subdivide projects.
We haven't spoken about those, but I do some minor splits all the time. And what's interesting about my minor splits is that lately, I've been double-closing subdivisions. And it's a pretty crazy concept, but it's a very simple conversation with the seller saying, “Hey, dude, you got 80 acres. Okay, here's what we're going to do. We're going to start selling these off in chunks, okay? We'll sell them off at 10 acres, 15 acres.”
Every time somebody wants to buy a chunk of the property—so we market it as if it's already 10 or 15 acres, and we write that we haven't yet subdivided the property—but somebody calls me up and says, “Hey, I want 15 acres. I want this.” I literally go in Photoshop, and we do a Zoom, and we're like, “Okay, which ten acres do you want?” And we draw it together. We send over a surveyor.
This is assuming that you could do a minor subdivision with the exemptions, and you don't have to go through the platting process, but in counties that allow for that, then we just do that, and then we create a new survey, a new metes-and-bounds. It's called when you draw the new area that the person is buying. The seller signs and notarizes the A to B, then we do the B to C.
And we started doing a lot of those. And then that's another way of doing subdivisions without fronting all of the money. Obviously, the seller has to be cool with it. And this 80-acre one in Texas was little bit complicated because there were so many parcels that we got out of that one.
But sometimes it's as simple as somebody like Ajay was saying. He had the 150, he split it into two, and now he's selling at 150 at a time. You don't necessarily have to buy it yet. You just market it as two separate parcels. And if somebody wants the whole thing, great. If somebody wants half of it, then you're on the hook for the other half if you don't find the buyer by the time you got to close, then you got to front the money. But that's another way of subdividing these tracts.
Seth: You had said something a while back about, if a property doesn't sell in the time frame you have in mind, it's either a problem with the price or a problem with the property. And the thought that came to my mind when you said that is, what if it's a marketing problem? Like, what if the price and the property are good, but the right pair of eyes just hasn't seen it yet?
And as I know from my experience, I'm probably not as good of a marketer as you are. But sometimes, it takes many months for a deal to come to fruition. So I guess what that leads me to believe is that you are very, very good at marketing these things. Like you're able to consistently sell these things quickly. And maybe that's a function of just getting really good properties under contract, I don't know.
But where the question is going is, how are you so good at this? Like when you say that we're going to do 110% best to get the property sold, what does that look like? Where are you advertising these things? How does a person get as good as you are at doing this?
Meir: Yeah, I don't think I'm really good at it. I just only go to markets where there's a lot more demand than supply. So I won't touch a market that doesn't have an insane amount of demand.
So it really begins from there. Choose a market that you have at least 100% more demand than supply in the last six months. If you're not seeing that kind of activity, I won't even go there. I'm dealing in a market that works well, that sells quick, that people are looking to buy property, that I'm seeing stuff sell. And if this particular parcel doesn't say, yeah, there's always bad luck and there's always just the right people didn't see it yet, and if it's a good enough deal, I'll buy it, I won't let it go.
But to answer your question more specifically, where do we advertise? So most of our deals come from the MLS. We actually don't really use agents. We feel like when we list properties ourselves, we have more of a finger on the pulse of what's going on. Every lead comes to us, every negotiation, every conversation works with us. We can move very quickly, right? We can send a drone guy there tomorrow, and then, in two days, we can have it listed. We can change the price on a whim if we want to drop it a little bit. We feel like we have more control sometimes.
If it's a bigger property or a property that doesn't have easy access, then we will work with a Realtor. Or, if in the process of comping this property, we asked an agent for their opinion, they gave us their opinion, they were good, and they took the time to go to see it, then I would actually give them the listing just out of goodwill. I wouldn't want them to work for free. So there are cases where we use agents, but most of the time, we list them ourselves.
We also list on Land.com, we have a signature account. Although I wish I could say we have a lot of deal flow from there, we don't. We have a lot of eyeballs. We have a lot of people who want seller financing, but we do know we sell a little bit there.
Facebook Marketplace, a lot of tire kickers there, a lot of time wasters. But we do list there as well.
And we put a sign on every property. We actually asked the drone photographers to go and buy a sign and put it there. That's a nice little tip. You can just give them $50, they'll do it. And we call neighbors, next-door neighbors say, hey, we're selling the property.
Also, because we don't buy property from people who live near their properties, we don't run the risk of them being, “Hey, why'd you put it for sale? Selling my property?” Or, “Oh, you're selling Timmy's property. Why are you selling it?” People don't really know who these people are.
And it's also more value to the seller. I don't want to steal someone's backyard. I just want to give someone money for property that's across the country that they don't even use, that their great-grandmother left them. That's kind of where I'm at.
So, yeah, we really push it. We really try marketing it. We could do better. I think as we scale the dispo team, we're going to start hiring some people to literally do cold calling to agents and say, hey, we have this in this property. Just to kind of give them a pocket listing, as we call it, an industry so they can always sell that if they have an interested buyer. So we could do a lot more outreach that we currently do.
But again, optimize scale. It's hard to be scaling constantly before optimizing what we currently have.
Seth: It's kind of a chicken and egg thing. It's like, how do you optimize until you scale to some point?
I wouldn't beat yourself up too much about, like, I don't really know what the right point is, but it's hard to nail that perfectly for sure.
Ajay: I was just going to say, to chime in, really quick, one of my really good buddies, that's a multi-seven-figure house wholesaler. His name is Chandler Sane. He built out a really pretty framework for people to evaluate whether you just need to spend more money, a.k.a., scale, versus optimize, your current process. And he boiled it down to a couple of key inputs.
So just like, high level, just for everybody here, I want to make sure people leave with something actionable out of this, is typically metrics we're tracking in our business. That model is number one, like net leads. So out of every single lead that comes into your pipeline, what percentage of those can you actually do business with?
For example, let's say like, 40% of your leads are all landlocked properties. Okay. And then it's a question of like, well, what if I filled my pipeline with just properties that weren't landlocked? Is there a way to filter that out on the front end? And now your pipeline is filled with people you can actually do business with.
And I always say people you can do business with, that's two things. It has to be the right property—the type of property I would buy—and the right seller, the type of seller I can work with. Because if it's some type of undivided interest that I can't find the other heirs for, if it's something messy like that, I can't really work with that.
There are a lot of different angles people hit in this business. But the point being, those are the two main variables. So we track net leads, and then you want to see out of those leads, how many can you actually get on the phone? So we track both calls and connection rate, and then it's how many offers you make out of that, then how many people accept, and then how many contracts you get signed.
And that's kind of like the whole flow there. I would love to put something together and share it with the audience if that's something you want, Seth. But that's something we've been working on, kind of, in the background.
And recently, we found a huge gap. We found out a few months ago only 50% of our contracts were getting signed, which is a huge issue, because if you're just looking at verbals, it's like, “Oh, man, we're doing a great job. We're getting all these contracts signed,” but where's the money, right? Or where are the properties? Or where's the inventory, whatever metric you want to look through that at? And we realized, okay, where's the gap? And looked through our KPIs and realized, for every six contracts we send out, we're only getting three signed back.
So something we did to optimize versus scale here was, we don't need to spend more money on ads or marketing. We don't need to send out more texts or send out more mail to get to basically double our business. For us to double our business, we needed to fill a very small process gap. And so what we have our team doing now is we actually on our offer call, our acquisitions manager will preface at the beginning and say, “Hey, Seth, our objective on this call is, if we come to terms on price, to get an agreement signed today.”
And so, as part of the process, if we come to terms on a price, our acquisition manager is trained to put them on a brief hold and draft up the contract. After that hold, walk them through it, so you can work through any contract objections live. Because how many times do you send out a contract and then it either takes three weeks to come back, or they just ghost you? And sometimes people ghost you because they're lazy, not because they don't actually want to do business with you. So we'll follow up aggressively.
But we have found if we just talk them through it live, we are able to get so many more signed contracts, and now we're closer to 80% to 85% if you don't screen for that front-end husband-wife objection. Or are you in a place to sign an agreement that'll screw that up a little bit, but you want to make sure, like, “So you're the only person on the deed. Are you the only person that has to make a decision on whether this is sold that way?” Later on, if they hit you with like, “I have to talk to my wife,” I’ll be, “Oh okay, obviously, please go talk to your wife, man. But just out of curiosity, is this something she would, like, divorce you over? Is this something, like, you mentioned you were the only person on, so I'm trying to get a feel for…”
I train my team to always make it funny. We like keeping things light-hearted and funny.
But anyways, we're putting together a framework on how to optimize versus scale based on what things look like. So it's a fun topic, something you can tell. I get a lot of energy from this stuff, so I just wanted to chime in. Those are kind of the key metrics we run through. I could put together something prettier, but I'll stop there.
Meir: That's great. That's really good. When we meet on Thursdays, everyone's got a number, like I mentioned, but then we also do a check-in.
One is like, your head and your heart, basically. So we do a check-in of clarity, one to ten, where are you? And everybody has to check-in. And also, how are you feeling? How are you feeling your life? How are you feeling at work? And those two numbers are so telling because if someone gives me clarity from one to ten, I'm a five, then you ask, why? Like, why are you a five? Well, because we just went in the new market, and whatever it is, and then I start realizing issues before they become bigger issues. And that's one way to optimize. Literally, just ask the team what's going on. What are you overwhelmed with?
And that's also a way to scale, because if somebody's at capacity, then we hire somebody else to help them out. And then let's say the texter is at capacity, we'll hire another texter, and then there's too many leads for the comper. We'll hire another comper.
So that's kind of how we optimize and scale at the same time. Just getting the feedback there. Yeah.
Seth: A few clarifying questions from what you said earlier, Meir. So first of all, we were talking about you're not really that good of a marketer. You just pick markets where there's 100% more demand than there is supply. So how specifically are you measuring and verifying this? Like, what stats are you looking at, and where is this information coming from?
Meir: We've tried with many different sources of information. We tried with Land.com. Now we basically follow Zillow. Just go to Zillow, just click land, click past six months, there's a lot of yellow dots, which means a lot of sold. And then you toggle over to For Sale and you don't see that much. Then you know that's a good market. Could you verify it with Land.com and with other platforms? Yes, but you're just going to get more confused.
And also, we don't really do counties anymore. I know a lot of people are very, like, “I'm going to mail counties.” I think counties are very big in some cases. And counties could have a city that's super expensive, or the suburbs. Or demand could vary within the county.
So we don't really do counties anymore. We do areas. So if there's a specific city that we think is great, we'll do something like northeast of that city. I don't care what county or city it is. I'm going after trying to stay very objective and very focused into where are we going, what are we doing, where we're going, how can we maximize what we're doing.
Seth: So just to verify. So on Zillow—and I like Zillow, too, think it's an awesome tool to use for this in terms of verifying that there's 100% more demand than supply. What I'm hearing is that you're basically just looking at Sold comps and comparing that to For Sale comps.
And if there's, what is it? Twice as many sold comps than there are for sale comps? And you're just kind of eyeballing it, right? You're not like, literally counting them up.
Meir: No, I am. In the past six months. So let's just pick one. So go. Just look at Austin. Last six months, land sold. If you're seeing 700 and then go For Sale and you see 350, that's 100% more demand than supply. So obviously, I wouldn't recommend you go after Austin. It's a city, but you can go an hour away from Austin in any direction as long as there is more demand than supply.
So yeah, we do count. We do want to hit at least that.
There's also a number that you don't want to go above, which is you don't want to go above too hot of a county, too hot of a market. So if it's too hot and there's nothing for sale and everything's selling, it's going to be hard to get a deal. It's just not necessarily a good place to go. So you kind of want to be somewhere in between.
Seth: And what do you consider too hot?
Meir: 800%. You go to these places where there's nothing for sale and anything that's for sale is already sold within a day. Sellers know that it's a hot market and they'll want market price. So if there's nothing for sale and so many things sold, it's kind of a rule of thumb.
Seth: And on that, the sold comps thing. So are you getting granular at all about the size of the vacant land or, like, any specifics, or is it literally just vacant land? I don't care if it's a half-acre or 50 acres, just vacant land.
Meir: Yeah, we do a minimum of five acres. it's just a random number, but it's very hard to, because we want a minimum of, let's say, 30,000 profit. So it's hard to kind of filter out the cheap properties.
So the sort of way to filter them out is by size. If you use Prycd, then you can technically do that, but that is not that accurate. So if you're just using any data provider, the best way to eliminate the cheap properties that I know of is just the smaller ones. Granted, half an acre in Times Square will cost you a billion dollars, even though it's a half an acre. So not necessarily does size equal price, but that's kind of why we weed out the smaller ones.
Now there are people that do infill lots, and infill lots are very profitable. It's just a completely different business. We're more after the rural recreational rural infills. Infill lots are very good. If you're in that business, then it's a completely different strategy.
Seth: And of all those different selling platforms that you mentioned, it sounds like you're on land, you've got the signature account, but it doesn't do a whole lot for you. You're on Facebook, but you get a lot of tire kickers. So it sounds like there are, understandably, problems with all of them.
But I'm wondering what is the most effective one? What is the one you're actually impressed with? Like, man, we need this thing. We sell lots of stuff on this platform.
Meir: For me, it's the MLS, hands down. If I get a call from an agent who has a buyer who saw the property, wants to submit an offer, there's a 95% chance that we're going to close on it. If I get a call from somebody on Land.com or on Facebook, there's like a 3% chance that they're not even going to go see the property, let alone close on it.
So the MLS is just where the most serious buyers are in the market to buy property with an agent.
And yeah, we give 2% to agents. Depends on the market. It's expensive because, don't forget, they get a percentage of the gross. So if we're buying for 200 and selling for just 230, they're getting 3%, that adds up. That's $7,000 or something, plus closing costs. So that's big.
So we have to kind of be careful also with the seller agent commissions, with the buyer agent commissions. And that's also another reason why we don't always use sellers is because seller agents, sorry for ourselves, is because they also take a chunk. And if we're dealing with very thin margins, relatively, to the price of the property, then it's hard to do that. Unless you work out a deal with the agent and be like, I'll give you a percentage of profits. Which we do.
By the way, I forgot to mention another time that we use agents. I've used this in the past. If in my mind this property is worth, let's say, 450, and an agent tells me, hey, dude, it's worth 550. And he's right. And he's very confident. I'll go with him out of gratitude, basically because it's because of him that I can make another 100 grand. I'll give him the business. So if an agent really was able to show me something that I did not see before, they definitely earned my business.
Seth: But you don't typically list your deals with agents, right? So you're just posting it for sale by owner on Zillow, but an agent happens to come across it. Is that what you mean when it says comes from the MLS? So it's not actually on the MLS, but that's how it's found?
Meir: Yeah, it's on the MLS. It's for sale by owner on the MLS. Flat fee services we use to list our properties. And then it goes through, like, a flat fee service listing provider, and then they forward me the leads. It's a little complicated, but it works.
Seth: Yeah. Which flat fee service are you using?
Meir: Every market has a different one. Flatfee.com is a good one. Beycome is a good one. I've tried others, but some are more annoying. Some are archaic, some are good.
Seth: I know you talked about buying these big, maybe 80-acre properties or something and then selling it to somebody, and then they will put the land entitlements on there, and then they will sell it to a developer and make a lot of money.
So question number one, is there some repeatable formula to find these deals? Is it just like a big old parcel of land and that's all you need to see? Or do you go to markets where you know it's easy to subdivide, or you know it's easy to get these entitlements? Or you're just kind of looking for large parcels where there's subdividing potential there.
Meir: There are two types of subdivisions. There are minor subdivisions, which is what we were talking about, the 10 acres, 15 acres, or what Ajay was doing with the splits.
Then there are the big entitlement deals for major developments. Those are actually super easy. We have LandVision, which is instead of DataTree, it's a different data provider. But they have a filter there where you can have a layer where you can see all the developments and developers with their logos and everything. So if you see a place that's super hot and there are so many developers and you see like a 50-acre tract just sitting there, and it's flat, and there are no wetlands, I mean, this is gold. And it's just a matter of seeing if the seller wants to sell and if they want to sell at a bit of a discount.
Now, you don't have to get fancy with LandVision or anything. Just go to markets where you know it's hot. You know, there are a lot of developments. You can see the developments in Google Earth, even in DataTree. You see the developments in DataTree. You see all these little, small, little parcels being built, and you see the dirt and all that. You know, there's development. They're usually near an interstate highway. They're usually near big cities.
And try to find those big parcels and see if the seller, like Ajay was saying, if the seller wants to sell and if the property is a good property, those are the two ingredients. And then, if you can strike a deal, then go to the developers and call them up. Go to D.R. Horton and just speak to the real estate person in charge there. Or go to LinkedIn. It's not that complicated. It's just finding the people who are developing and pitching it to them.
And by the way, many times, they're okay with you flipping it. Nothing's secret. They'll send you an LOI. And if there's a good enough margin for you to make the deal work, you kind of negotiate the terms of the earnest money deposit, the trenches, the timing, and you want to try to line as much as possible so you're not out of pocket so much. But those are amazing deals.
Seth: So let's talk a little bit about your team. So when did you hire your first team member? Why did you find it necessary to hire them? What role were they doing? Who are some of the other roles that you've hired for? And given that your team is the size that it is now at nine people, what is your role in the business?
Meir: I love talking about my team because it's like a family and it's amazing when we get together on the chat on Zoom, it's so much fun to have a team. They're actually getting together now. Some of them who are in the Philippines, they're having like a meetup. And if I wasn't married with three little kids, I would totally go there. But yeah, I love my team.
So the first hire was actually another new land investor who was kind know, testing the land investing waters. And he's trying to do a deal and he asked me if we can partner up, and I said, sure. And we did a deal together. And then I said, hey, why don't you come join? And he was doing, initially, a lot of the texting, a lot of the outreach. I was traveling at the time. So it was kind of good timing because I wanted to keep the machine running. And ever since, his name is also Meir, like me, and he's amazing. He really hustles it, really knows the land business in and out by now.
And as Meir was getting very busy comping and making offers, we had to hire somebody to do the texting. So now we have, our acquisitions team, made up of six people. There are two on the front lines, as we call them, doing texting, doing the RVMs, doing the emails. Then there's, well, it really starts up from the top. It starts with one person.
His name is Dean. And Dean does the finding new markets, downloading the data, scrubbing the data, uploading it to all of our platforms so we can do the marketing. So it all starts with Dean. Meir, he approves what Dean does, his markets, and then it goes down to the actual marketing.
Ron and Angela, they are the ones who are frontline, and their job is to qualify the seller and qualify the property. Right. Make sure the seller wants to sell, make sure he agrees to arrange and make sure the property is not landlocked, make sure the property doesn't have a ton of wetlands, make sure the property is relatively flat. And if the seller is cool, the property's cool, boom. They go into our CRM.
Now, in our CRM, we have Randy and we have Chantel. Those two are the acquisition managers. I would say they get the leads that are somewhat qualified. Now they have to call the sellers and just kind of chat them up a little bit, make sure they're actually interested in selling, because before it was a texting conversation.
Now it's actually like a human interaction, and they comp the property. Eventually, I'm going to get somebody just for comping so they can focus more on negotiating deals and talking to sellers and not, but they speak to the seller, they qualify them, they comp the properties, and then they put all the comps and their opinion of value on the CRM. Meir approves every deal, and then I approve every deal.
And once it's all approved, sometimes we have questions. I'm mostly looking at the property, not so much the comps, but mostly, like, looking at things they might have overlooked. Like, hey, there's this trailer park next door. And it doesn't look very well kept. This might be an issue. So that's something that sometimes Dean and Chantel don't really see that I kind of see those things. That's sort of more what I'm looking for.
And then they go back to the seller, back and forth, and then they send a purchase agreement, and then we're off to the races. Once they get the purchase agreement signed, we have John, on our dispo team, and John orders the due diligence. We don't do it in-house. It just doesn't pay. So we get the due diligence back.
We order a drone photographer, we write the copy, we start listing the property everywhere, and start pushing really hard. Also, once we get the purchase agreement signed from the seller, we have a transaction coordinator who has made my life incredibly better. It was like that one hire that was like, what took me solo… You have no idea. You're dealing with ten contracts a month. That's ten sellers. That's buyers, that's title issues. You don't even know. I don't know why it took me this long.
And also, I've given her power of attorney to notarize everything for me to sign, everything for. You know, these things were huge time wasters. So she really is like the oil of the engine that keeps everything just moving. So she contacts the seller, “Congratulations!” And explains to the seller the process.
And then John looks for buyers. And when we get a buyer, we send it to title, and then we schedule a closing. It's very difficult. There are a lot of moving pieces for double closing. It’s not for everybody. Double closings. You have to make sure the buyer and the seller are both at the same time. If I had unlimited money, I wouldn't do double closings. It's just because I have to sort of rather use the money that I have for earnest money on bigger deals. I'd rather use it to scale the team. That's why I do it. But if you had the money, do it. But that's a side note.
What do I do right now? I'm actually, like I said, I'm in the market for an operations manager or COO, someone to oversee the four pillars of the business, make sure everything runs smoothly, make sure we scale the things that work, and we optimize the things that don't really. So my job is really finding the talent, training the talent, creating the systems, the operations. I try to be in as many of the weekly one one-on-ones that I can. I try to review the team and the process and really working on the business, not so much in the business, and eventually just scaling and optimizing.
I think that would be my role also, like I said, I have a three-year-old, a two-year-old, I have a newborn, and the time that I have for work is very focused time, but it's not a lot of hours, so I really try to optimize the time as well.
Ajay: Meir, man, you dive into so much. I love that you don't hold back here. I feel like you've dropped like a trillion nuggets throughout this. I'm really curious. Thank you.
I think you said his name was Dean? He’s your data guy, is that right?
Ajay: What's his background? Where'd you find him? Because if this guy's pulling 130,000 records a month and then dealing with the flow through all five of your marketing channels, I assume he's got to be pretty advanced and organized to handle all that data.
So if you don't mind sharing, where'd you find him? What's his background? And then maybe what's his pay band, if you don't care.
Meir: Sure. Totally not what you think. He's just a regular guy who follows the process that we set in place. He has to look for markets who are more demand than supply. He has to pull the data more like a data entry job. It's a very entry-level position. Yeah.
And it's more Meir and me who oversee the work and just kind of make sure that it's done properly. And there's definitely a lot of holes that we need to patch, and we're working on that. But again, it's kind of like a spray-and-pray at this point. It's just like a volumes game. It's just text and market to as many people as you can, and try to lowest-hanging fruit, the most motivated sellers, and just get deals.
And it's kind of working. So sometimes I get complacent, so it's hard for me to optimize his work, but he's really just following the process.
Ajay: Got it. And is he overseas?
Ajay: Okay, cool.
Seth: With these double closings that you're doing, are you using single-source funding, like using the end buyer's cash to fund everything, or do you have to get transactional funding to make this stuff work? And if so, where's that money coming from?
Meir: Yeah, so it all depends on the title company that we use. It also depends on who the title company that the buyer wants to use. And again, I make things seem super easy. And simple. It's kind of a tendency that I have, but things are very complicated the minute you're doing, also the volume that we're doing. But like I said, if you have the money, don't do double closing. It's more if you want to scale at this level and go crazy, then do it.
So depends on the title company. If I manage to convince the end buyer to use my title company, then I vet the title companies that I use very carefully, and I'm very picky because I need them to: A, be okay with this; B, allow for me to use the end buyer to pay for the seller to pay the seller; and C, I don't want title insurance on the A to B on the first transaction because I'm only holding the property for ten minutes. I'm okay not having insurance for ten minutes, especially when my margins aren't amazing and I'm paying everybody out. So I'm very picky with the title companies that I use.
Now, sometimes we need to put up the cash. So I'll put up the cash, or I'll get a transactional funder for the day, and I'll pay them whatever it is to put up the cash for a day. So that answers your question.
Seth: So looking back at your team right now, what would you say is your biggest challenge in managing this many people, or even with your business in general? It kind of seems like you have things going really good and you know what you're doing. But what is difficult, what do you kind of hate about your business at this point?
Meir: I hate that I've become a manager. I'm not a manager. The EOS, the visionary and the integrator, definitely the visionary. There's a leader and the manager are two completely separate things. I'm more of a leader, and I've become a manager. I've become a people manager that I'm just not good at it. I don't like doing it.
I actually like talking to sellers. So whenever there's, like, a complicated situation with a seller, I call him up. There was this seller who wanted to FaceTime. He wanted to FaceTime me. And so Chantel texted me, hey, this guy wants to FaceTime you. And it was before he signed. So I FaceTimed him. I'm like, “Hey, what's up? He's like, oh, it's you. You're real. You're actually a human being!”
He saw my face on the website and on the mailer and everything. He's like, “I just wanted to make sure that you're a person and that I'm selling it to you.” I'm like, yeah, exists. With AI, you got to be a little wary, I guess, these days, but I like that. And every time we close, I call the sellers every single time and I ask them for a video review of their process.
I just want to see their face. I want to see what they say. Sometimes they say, yeah, sometimes they say, we love it and we had a great time. We just don't want to do a video. But I really miss talking to people, doing deals. Maybe I'm a deal junkie. I don't think so. But I really like conversations with people and I've become so far away from that and essentially just managing spreadsheets. And it's also stopping me from growing the team, which is why I think an operator or an integrator running this size team will enable me to scale this to 20, 30, 40 employees, even more.
Seth: Yeah, I've actually found that whole thing about being able to show your face and your voice and all this stuff and show people that you're real. That goes a long way. One way that I have done that is through just, like, video emails, like Loom or BombBomb. And the nice thing is I've actually closed some pretty big deals based solely on that.
Like, I played a major role in getting the deal done, just that they could see that I was a real person and I say their name in the video so it's not somewhere.
Meir: Yeah, but that's also because you're a good-looking guy, Seth. Not everyone can pull that off.
Seth: It is an unfair advantage, I'll admit that. Yeah.
Seth: No, thank you. But anyway, the struggle that I have with my schedule, is I would get on the phone with people all the time, but for them and me to be available at the exact same time can be kind of hard. So if I can just put a message together and send it, and then whenever they get around to seeing it, they can see it. But it kind of fixes that scheduling issue, I guess.
Meir: I like that. It's actually a good idea, Seth. I think every contract we send, if it hasn't been signed within seven days, I'm going to get on Loom and record a video and say, “Hey, Jonathan, we sent you a contract. This is Meir. I'm just wondering what's up.” Literally a ten-second video to the acquisition managers to have them email. That's a great idea. I'm going to write that down.
Seth: Now and it can be like 30 seconds, it doesn't have to take a ton of time, just something to show that you're real and you took time to actually talk to them directly.
Meir: Yeah. I could also do an AI impersonation of myself.
Seth: Yeah, I would strongly encourage you to do that. See how it goes!
So you seem really passionate about giving money away to charity. Like, that's almost like a core value of your business. And I'm just curious, why? What is your motivation for wanting to do that?
Meir: So if we zoom out a little bit, I believe that it's clear that there was a world before I came and there will be a world here after I leave. Right. So the world doesn't revolve around me. I showed up to this world, and there is a higher purpose. I'm here for a reason. This is not just some sort of accident that the world came into being. It doesn't really matter what you believe in, but it's clearly not just some random accident. Obviously, there is a reason why we're here and the reason why I'm here, and I think that reason is simply to leave the world a little bit better than how I found it.
So land investing and just this business that we're in, it's a very good vehicle for change. So every time we sell a property, we have many different buckets in our bank account. And the first bucket, which is actually a separate bank account, just for the money to be completely gone, is charity.
And we're very passionate about three things, and these are three things that ancient sages tell us that are very basic to humanity. Number one is procreation, having children, infertility treatments, anything that can help a couple who's struggling to have a baby and they can't. We want to back that. We're living in times now where it's amazing how literally, with money, you can solve infertility in some cases, but obviously not all of it.
So that's children. Children are a source of great joy, and this could also be a source of great pain. But that's the biggest one. It's literally making more humans.
The second one is health. Right. If somebody doesn't have good health, they could have a hell of a life. Health is very important, and some people are struggling, whether it's mental, physical health. So we really want to solve as much of that as we can.
And then the last one is putting food on the table or anything that has to do with people making ends meet, whether it's soup kitchens, whether it's just supporting people, helping people get married, helping people through school, whatever it is, just really helping people with their livelihood. And it's a completely different way of doing business because when I go to… I take my scooter every day to work and listen to REtipster. Sometimes there are no episodes to listen to, so I just space out or think about crazy things.
Seth: Not REtipster? Silence. We are the only voice worth listening to.
Meir: That's it. Dude. You got to put them out more often.
No, but it turns my work into something not just meaningful for me. I'm not saying that I'm doing it because it makes me feel good, but it really does. Ultimately, it does make it super meaningful because, obviously, there's supporting my wife and kids, which in itself is also my responsibility. And I don't do it just because I love them, because if I didn't love them, then I would stop doing it. But I do it because it's my duty, it's my responsibility, it's my privilege. So they're supporting those people, which is my family, but then they're supporting and helping the world at large.
And I really encourage everyone to see this as a pillar of their business and as a core thing of their business. And I'll tell you even more. I decide how much money I want to give away that particular year. I do this at the beginning of the year, and I basically tell God, “I want you to give me 10x whatever I'm giving.” But I pledge that money, and I give that money, and if a deal doesn't work out and it's not working out, I'll give money for that deal to work out.
In other words, I'll give the percentage as if that deal already happened. And now it's really up to God, up to the universe, to make that deal happen. So it's kind of very powerful, and it works. I've heard this concept many times. I never thought it worked. At the beginning of last year, I set myself an insane goal. I only had one employee. But I said, I'm going to give this tremendous amount of money away. And I mean, fast forward a year. This has been an incredible year.
So I look forward to New Year. I look forward to doing bigger pledges and to, I guess, educating as much people as possible about this phenomenon of just doing it, but doing it for a much higher purpose, not just flipping dirt and making money. So that's why I'm passionate about it.
Seth: That's a fascinating approach. I don't think I've ever met anybody who kind of goes at it backwards like that in terms of like, “I'm going to give this much away, and, God, I want you to give me ten times more than that.”
It just makes you wonder, has that ever not worked out where you've given the money away and you didn't make ten times more than that? Or do you make more than ten times more than that? Or how does that pan out for you?
Meir: It's been my first year, and so far, I'm happy to report that it worked. Now, don't send me an invoice. If you pledge a million bucks and you didn't make 10 million, and then I got to float that bill. You got to be somewhat responsible, and it has to be a plan. You have to put in the work. That's how God created the world, in my opinion. People need to work for it, so they deserve it, so they appreciate it. And it's not just free, but, yeah, it works.
And even if you don't do it that way, just 10%, 20%. My wife and I just started the 20% Foundation, we call it. It's a nonprofit where we're going to put all the money in, and then from there, it's going to go to all the causes. It gives me so much, even just from a selfish perspective, it gives me so much happiness to be able to support causes that before I couldn't, I didn't have the vehicle to do it. Sometimes we have these humongous deals that we're doing with developers, these subdivisions, and, like, what am I going to do with all that money?
So there's real causes, real people who need treatments, who need food, who need whatever it is that they need. And every week, somebody from our team picks another nonprofit where we give money away, so they get to choose also where a lot of the money goes to. And these are regular people who work at other companies, and they've never been able to give that much money away, and it's going to whatever cause they care about in their communities, and that's also very special.
Ajay: I actually want to jump in here real quick and reinforce this idea of inverse tithing, in a way. Reverse tithing. I Don't know what you want to call it, I don't know if you want to coin a term here, but I actually had a similar situation, I think, two months ago where I had, like, five grand that was supposed to come in, not a significant amount of money, but enough that. I don't know, it was just, like, know where I was.
The moving, shuffling money around sometimes between business and personal stuff, and I just moved recently, so I'm down in Texas now. So it was just like moving money around, and all of a sudden, I didn't have this five grand. It was slightly inconvenient, and I was like, you know what? I'm just going to trust God here. As if I had gotten this $5,000, and I went ahead and tied 10% of it, even though it was the opposite that had happened. Like, didn't come in, and I went ahead and just gave away $500. And it was really funny because I didn't know what to give it away to. And then some things were revealed to me, and I ended up giving it to this orphanage that supports Nepalese women. So really cool. My family's from Nepal. Women just aren't treated as well there socioeconomically, don't have as many opportunities and privileges.
Got this beautiful, beautiful email, this blessing that they were able to use this money for. And I found that God just has this way of turning on the faucet, right, and no way that you can predict it. We had a bunch of inventory that had gone stale. We had a couple of deals fall through. I turned that on. I got a full-priced offer on my one rental property that I owned that I decided to sell for five grand over asking. So immediately He replaced it.
And then I had $60,000 of gross profits in my land business that all came in over the next week. Like, it was like, contract, contract, contract, contract. I just want to reinforce, and again, don't send me the invoice. There's an element of faith component, and it's not in your control. But anytime I have done this on a much smaller scale, I'm sure Meir, I've seen it reinforced. Like, I've seen the money come in 10x over. So it's actually a really cool concept.
And honestly, a reminder for me, I'm sharing this with everybody, but it's not something I do regularly. And I think this is maybe a sign that I need to be, but just really cool. And I appreciate you sharing that.
Seth: I've said this before, but I'll read it again. This is Malachi 3:10-12: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of Hosts. See if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.”
Let's kind of get into the essence of this. I think for most people having that courage to actually put God to the test, or even if you're not, like, doing it because you expect something more, like just giving until it hurts because it's the right thing to do. Is that difficult for you guys? When you do this thing where you go out on a limb, it's like, okay, I don't know if the money is coming in or not, but I'm just going to do it. Is that a hard decision for you, or do you have this gift of giving?
Meir: It is. There's no way to sugarcoat it. It's not easy. It's not easy. But thank God, worst case, it went to a good cause. So with crypto and the stock market, with 2020, I made a ton of money lost a ton of money, made, lost. The money that was lost, was lost. But the money that I gave away, a bottle of water, is worth a dollar. But if you give it to someone who's about to die in the desert, that's infinite value.
So you're transforming something material into something finite, and you're turning into something infinite. And we have the power to do that. That's like, super powerful stuff. So, yeah, a couple of grand here or there, but it's really the fact that we could do that is amazing.
Seth: There is a book by a guy I know named Clare De Graaf. It's called the “10 Second Rule,” and it's kind of an interesting concept where he talks about this idea of when you see a chance to do something good or be helpful to somebody, like offering assistance, whether it's financially or whatever, just any good, act. Like, if you just have the thought, do it within 10 seconds. Like, don't wait because you can rationalize and explain your way out of it.
Or just, like, daydream about doing something good and give yourself a pat on the back, but you never actually do it. This idea is like, don't think about it. Just do it immediately. Because a lot of times, it could be God prompting you to do that. But even if it's not, even if it's just you having the thought and you do it, worst case scenario is you just did something good to help somebody.
It's like, there's not really a loss to that situation. And especially if you do have the viewpoint of everything that I have isn't really mine. These are resources that God has entrusted me with. So it's not like it's mine to claim or say that “It’'s my own. I earned it. And me, me, me.” it's just like, no, I'm the steward over this. So what's the wisest way to do that. Is it to get the new Tesla, or is it to save somebody's life and build an orphanage or something like that?
Meir: Yeah, we're exactly right. We're bankers. We deal with a lot of money. But it's not my money, it's the bank's money. I'm just here to distribute it accordingly. And, yeah, it's not easy always to have that perspective, but it gets easier as I see what it does. And as it reinforced that pattern in my brain, then it definitely gets a lot easier.
Also, like you said, about the 10 seconds, I get a wire into my account, I don't wait 10 seconds, right away, boom, chunk of it away, gone, done. And it's also very good, by the way, if you give a lot of charity to have an account, whether it's nonprofit or a donor advisory fund or even just a bank account specially for it, then you get a debit card, and then all the charity you give just goes through that account. And then you could also look at the account, see how much money you have left there, how much money you have. All of a sudden, there's like, oh, my God, there's a bunch of money in there, and you can give it away without feeling guilt.
Before I had this, I was always giving and always like, could I afford to give? Can I not? Did I give too much? Did I give too little? Is this showing up? And it was all, like, intermingled in my credit card with all my bills. This is, like, super clean. This is great. Just make an account, transfer money to it. You can Zelle to it, even. It won't cost you anything. And it's really made my life amazing.
We also have different buckets. We could talk about that later. But we have a bucket for taxes, where we put money away every single time. We don't touch it. So taxes can come around. It doesn't hurt as much because the money's already there. We have another one for profits, which is good. It kind of builds up like a profit chest, and then we can do different things with that.
So I advise you to do that as well. If you don't already do that.
Seth: What bank do you use for your business banking?
Meir: I've been using Bank of America since I was little, so I kind of stuck with them. They do have wire fees, which I don't like, especially the volume that we do. So I got a new bank called Rho, R-H-O. It's like an online bank, similar to, like, Ally or Mercury. They have free wires incoming, outgoing. They're like an internet bank. They're super easy to use. They don't have Zelle, which is annoying. But yeah, we also have Ally for the charity bank. Always playing around with different ones.
Seth: Yeah, I was just asking that because I know some banks, like I think it's Relay is the one I know of. I haven't used it, but I've heard it's set up specifically for this purpose to make it super easy to create new accounts and just make it seamless.
Meir: Yeah, they all really work well.
Meir. I totally appreciate your time. I know we've gone a little bit over, but appreciate you sharing your wealth of experience and information with us.
If people want to check in with you or reach out to you, you don't have to share anything. But if you do want to, is there a way they should do that?
Meir: Sure. My email is email@example.com. And if you want to chat or if you have a deal that it's more than you can chew or you want to partner, I love JV partnering with people as long as, like I said, if there's enough meat on the bone and you need help, whether it's a double-closing or subdivision, whatever it is, you can always feel free to send me an email and we'll review it.
And once again, I really want to thank you, Seth and Ajay, for all the content that you put out. And I wouldn't be here for sure without everything that you've done for the community. And I speak for myself, but also for all the land investors out there. So thank you so, so much.
Seth: Yeah, thanks for saying that. I appreciate it very much and thanks for coming on the podcast and sharing the awesome information.
And the student has become the teacher, it appears.
If people want to check out the show notes for this episode, again, it's retipster.com/170. And thanks again, Meir, and we'll talk to you again soon.
Meir: My pleasure.
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