Today, I’m talking with my new friend, David Hansen.
David Hansen is a civil engineer and planner with a wide breadth of experience in land development. He recently gave me a great education on taking any property with a potential for development and figuring out how to set it up so it’s worth the most after the development.
Why is this important? With David's knowledge and skill set, he can create money out of thin air by understanding municipal planning and zoning ordinances and creating subdivisions that can deliver the most value and achieve their highest and best use.
If you have any interest or experience subdividing land, you will get immense value from this conversation!
Links and Resources
- Open Land Communities (David's website)
- [VDEO] How to Read and Interpret a Zoning Ordinance with Claude
- How to Find (and Avoid) Wetlands
- Land id
- What Are GIS Maps?
- [VIDEO] Why California Has So Many Problems
In this episode, you will:
- Learn how to apply creative thinking in land development to maximize property potential beyond conventional methods.
- Gain insights into the importance of zoning and subdivision ordinances in shaping land development strategies.
- Discover the role and impact of professional networking in creating opportunities and fostering successful collaborations in land development.
- Absorb practical knowledge about negotiating with builders, understanding contracts, and navigating municipal regulations in land development.
- Understand the importance of adaptability and resilience in real estate, particularly in response to economic cycles and market challenges.
Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.
Seth: Hey, how's it going? This is Seth Williams. You're listening to the REtipster podcast. This is episode 176.
And today I'm talking with a new friend of mine named David Hansen. So I met David through a mutual friend, Chris Duff. Chris runs Land Daily Diligence in Sirius Land Capital. And the first time I met Chris, it was at the Land Unconference Inner Circle, and I just overheard him talking about how he was working with this guy named David Hansen.
And he kept mentioning David Hansen this and David Hansen that, and I was like, who is this David Hansen guy? Am I supposed to know who he is? It sounds like he's like Mark Cuban or some huge name or something.
And so eventually, Chris put me in touch with David, and I got on a call with him, and just learned a lot more about who he was, and I started to see why this guy was kind of a big deal.
So, David Hansen is a civil engineer, planner, and land developer, and probably a lot of other things I don't even know about yet. And he has a wide breadth of experience in the world of land development, and today I'm gonna talk with him about how he's been able to take a lot of different properties and figure out how to set them up so that they're worth the most on the back end when the development is done.
And he's got a very interesting mix of experience and abilities that I think can be pretty valuable to learn from. So we're gonna learn right now.
So David, welcome to the show. How are you doing?
David: I'm doing great, Seth. Thanks for the overwhelmingly positive vibe you've set. I hope I can live up to what you just said.
Seth: Oh, yeah. I'm sure you will. No problem.
Other than what I just said about you in that intro, why don't you tell us your story? Who is David Hansen, and what have you done in the past, and what is it you do now?
David: So, let's see, I was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida, went off to college in Tennessee, went back to Pensacola. In 1985, I moved to the D.C. area. I sold paper and office products for three years, and I woke up one morning and said, “I can't do this any longer. I need to find something else.”
And I promise you, I pulled out one ad and I opened them to the civil engineering ads and I read a couple. I went, sounds interesting. I actually went on five interviews. I knew nothing about civil engineering; my degree’s in mathematics. But I went on five interviews.
And at the fifth interview, at the point in an interview when you think you're probably about halfway through, I looked at the guy across the table, stood up, and I said, “Everything sounds great, when do I start?” And I reached out to shake his hand and he stuttered. He shook my hand and said, “How about Monday?”
I said “Great!” So I was at that firm for 11 years.
And on my five-year anniversary, the VP of the company came in. When you were there for five years, they gave you a week's pay, and ten years, two weeks paid, just as a bonus. And I could feel—his name was Lou—I could feel him standing behind me.
I stopped and I said, “Yeah, Lou, what is it?” He goes, “Well, you've been here for five years,” we shook hands, and I went back to work, whatever I was working on at the time. And I could feel that he was still there.
So I turned around and I went, “What's up?” And he goes, “Don't take this the wrong way, but why did we hire you?”
And I said, “I don't know if there's a good way to take that, Lou.” I went through my story that I just told you, and he paused for a minute, and the guy that hired me—his name was Dick—and he goes, “You know, you might be the only good thing Dick ever did for this company.”
And as I said, I was there for almost 11 years.
Seth: One quick question, was I hearing you right in your interview? You basically hired them? It almost sounded like you made the decision that you were gonna work there, and they just kinda accepted that. Did I catch that right?
David: Yeah, you got it right.
Seth: Yeah. Is that a good tactic that new employees should take when they want a job? Just interview your employer and then say it.
David: I don't know. It hit me at that point that, A, I really knew nothing about the industry, I mean, other than you deal with it every day. You drive on roads every day, you pull into the shopping area, and you notice how traffic flows and things. And all of that just kind of hit me all at once, at a point where I was like, “Okay, it's gonna go one way or another. Either he's gonna say, no, we need to take this decision or whatever.”
But it just felt like the right moment. So yeah, you kind of hit it. I just said, “This all sounds great. When do I start?”
Seth: So you didn't need a degree in engineering or something to get there? You can just, like they just taught you, based on your math knowledge?
David: Actually, in high school, I've always wanted to be an architect. And we can do this again and I can tell you all the things I've restored: eight historic homes in Virginia with my own hands, done all the engineering, all the architecture. But when I found out it was a five-year program and I knew I was a four-year student, that wasn't gonna work.
Yeah, you don't need an engineering degree to learn how to practice. I can't seal and sign plans—I'm not an engineer—but I still get phone calls from firms that I've worked with and worked for. The engineers that I engage for my current projects, we sit down and confer on how I like things laid out, how I want to handle stormwater management, where I think the best location for, whether it's ponds, low-impact design, things of that nature.
Once I started, I immersed myself in it. One of the things that I did then, and I still do, and I recommend people do—I think you and I talked about last time—is to read the zoning ordinance and read the subdivision ordinance in a jurisdiction that you want to be working in.
Those are the Bible. It is what the bureaucrats in the jurisdiction use to counter anything you're trying to achieve. They always roll back to, what's the standard zoning ordinance? What's allowed in our subdivision ordinance? Those are the tools that they use. So my recommendation to everybody is that you should be well versed in in those tools. That is what is going to be, the end of the day, how all the decisions are taken.
Seth: Cool, and then after the civil engineering thing, so you said you had some other career after that? Or what was next?
David: I worked for one of the national builders for a couple of years, not in their engineering. I thought I was going into work in their engineering department, acquisitions and entitlements, where I ended up was in the field, developing land.
To be honest, I couldn't be more thankful. I learned a lot in two years. I'd seen a lot. I'd watched a number of my projects, whether it was big road design or things like that, I'd watched things get constructed. I've been in the field watching heavy equipment move, watching rock being blasted, and all that of excavations.
Two years of learning how to move dirt from one spot to another on the phone with the excavation contractor on one phone and my dirt hauling guy in the other, negotiating prices to have them come in with 400 trucks and how I had to pull permits from the city of Alexandria to ensure that.
But you learn a lot. I learned a ton about not only how to engineer it, how to plan it, but then how to develop it. And I continue utilizing those skills to this day.
And then after that, I went back to engineering. I was at another big national civil engineering firm for another six years, where I was the assistant director of planning. So I got out of the day-to-day civil engineering end of it and worked strictly on town and urban planning.
Seth: And when was that? What year?
David: 2004. In 2004, I stepped away from engineering and I went full-time doing owners’ representation. I had my own projects. I had three huge projects in West Virginia and got everything teed up just in time for the 2008 crash. That was a party.
Seth: Oh, I'm sure.
Now, that decision to leave your job and go out on your own, so what led up to that? Like, how did you know, okay, it's time to move on and do my own thing? Like, did you get people asking you to do some kind of consulting on the side?
David: That is a great question. In my time with the National Builder, I'd stayed in contact, of course, with engineering. As the development wing, I was in meetings with sellers and property owners as we were negotiating the acquisition of property, rezoning, and everything.
But I stayed in touch with people. I had my old clients, my development clients, I stayed in touch with them. And like anything else, I'd gotten immersed in land and land development, so I was still finding deals and sending deals to whether if my group didn't want it or to other people.
And when I went back into engineering, I was still kind of juggling those things. And finally, what hit me at some point was that I was really running the risk of a conflict. I had to sit down with the owner of this company, who's still a very good friend of mine. We had a conversation. I said, I can't run the risk of you guys risking somebody brings a deal into the office that I'm working on on the side.
I know about it, this guy. They come in and say, oh, well, your guy saw the deal, stole the deal, took it to somebody else. And so I felt it was time for me to put it aside, you couldn't do both. You can't serve clients and serve yourself at the same time.
Even though ethically, I don't think it was a problem. It was, ethically, it was a problem for me to run that risk. I couldn't, I didn't want to risk a relationship that I'd built up and so many other things, it wasn't worth it. So I decided to just do it on my own.
Seth: So these three big developments in West Virginia that you're doing, was this the kind of thing where you're putting your own money into it or people come to you with money and you just tell them what to do to make the development? What's your involvement in that?
David: Yep, a little bit of both. I was lucky to have been introduced to landowners who had the desire to develop their property. They had some of their own money to put toward the entitlement cost. They, for the most part, had very low basis in the land and I also had investors, guys that I knew would step in.
I had the relationships that I built up with all the national builders over almost 15-plus years in the engineering world. So it was fairly easy for me to take deals that I planned to builders that knew my reputation and set up the deals, the projects in West Virginia.
One of them was, it's built out today, it's called Archer's Rock. It finished out at 3,800 units. Another one called Morning Dove, it was almost 600 units. And they're both finished today. The third one never got built, but it's one that I wish it had. So this is one that's 3,800 units.
Seth: So like, tell me, what was that property originally? How many acres was it? How do you take a property like that and figure out, okay, this size property should be this number of units. Like, how do you know what to do with it?
David: It was a total of 1,400 acres, three owners. It was an old apple orchard. It was in Berkeley County, West Virginia. It was planned in, I think we had six or eight phases. The original land plan that I did was, you do it in big bubbles. They're big bubble diagrams. You lay out the main infrastructure, the main roads, the big divided roads, how you're getting the traffic in and out and distributing it throughout the site, and then created the pods of varying lot sizes.
Again, working with the builders, and I still do this today, I don't do a deal today, if I can't lock down a builder during my study period, I'll kick out of the project. If it's not interesting enough to the builders, there's really no need to proceed.
The other thing I do, and I'm going to steal a phrase from somebody else, I hate to bake a cake with the wrong ingredients. So, not having a builder and not knowing what product they're going to put on the project and what product lines, how many different product lines they want to use.
You know, you can go from a 45-foot lot to a 55 to a 65 to an 80, depending on product width and depth. And I like to work with the builders to make sure that what I'm specing, now you can run into a lot of problems if, say, you spec a 50-foot lot, but all the builder's product is with two 5-foot side yards, so you've got a 40-foot envelope, but everybody's product is 42 feet. Nobody's product fits on your lots. Or they have to step down to a smaller product, which is less expensive. They'll pay you less for your lots.
Had you designed all your lots at 55s or 53s, everybody's product fits, or the builder's product fits, and they can build what they want to build and you can sell at the number that you need to sell at.
So the big projects start out as big planning efforts. And once you create the framework and the grid, you work your way down into the individual blocks and lot sizes within those, then it gets passed on to the engineers and that's how they engineer it.
Seth: Man, tons of questions are coming up as you're talking. Just kind of like an off-the-cuff question. By the way, when you say units, you're talking the parcels, right? Like making lots? Is that what you mean when you say that?
David: Yeah, when I say unit, it's a building unit. So if the builder wants to do, say, three product lines, so you're dealing with NBR and they want to do three product lines. What they're gonna want is a 30- to 35-foot piece, a product.
And then a 40- to 48-foot product, and then they're going to want a big product that'll fit on an 80-foot lot. It's going to be 65, possibly 70 feet wide.
Seth: And when you say product, are you talking about like a type of residence or something? What does product mean?
David: So the builders program and they have product. Their program is how they're combining their product lines and sizes. But the product is the individual building that they're going to build.
Seth: How do you determine what that size is supposed to be? Is that after a long discussion with the builder to figure out what they want? Or do you just kind of know, no, this makes sense. I'm going to make it this way. I'll lay it all out and then I'll start talking to builders to see if they want it. Like, what comes first?
David: Two things. Yes, you kind of hit a couple of things that happen.
One is, once again, the zoning ordinance and the subdivision ordinance come into it.
A good example is my city of Augusta, Georgia. I have a project there. It's got three different zoning categories. It's got R3B, R1B, and R1A.
R3B is a multifamily townhouse. Minimum lot boundary is 2,500 square feet. The R1B is a minimum lot size of 7,500 square feet, and the R1A is a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet.
That said, I dug deeper into their zoning code. They have an option called “open space conservation design.” If you give them 40% open space, they'll allow you to reduce your lot sizes by 40%. In the R1B, 7,500 square feet goes down to 4,500 square feet, and the 10,000 square feet goes down to 6,000.
I take all of those into consideration, then I start talking to the builders. First question to a builder is, do you have product that will fit on a 45-foot wide lot?
They all do. The question is, are you building it in this market? If you're not, what's your preference?
There, they've come back to me and everybody's got a product that will fit on the 45 and the 60.
And we've also got some 10,000 square feet that's either 80 to 100 feet wide depending on what we do for depth. So they can do three product lines on that particular job, possibly four, but they do have one that fits in those lot sizes.
Now they could have come back to me and said, “Look, in this particular market we don't have the bigger product. So we only do two. If you got to have 10,000 square different lots, we've got to put the only other product that we build, so we're not going to pay you more for those lots because we can't get any more out of the house just because it's on a bigger lot.”
Seth: Now, the first time we talked, you mentioned something about—maybe this is a good example of what you're talking about—a 149-acre development in South Carolina where the owner was going to do 70 single family lots, but you figured out how to do over 260 lots, which made the deal a lot more profitable. And I think at the same time, you also added more green space to that development.
And the first I was like, how does that work when you add more green space and get more lots like that? And that's probably what you're talking about right here, right?
David: Yeah, that's the same thing we're doing in Augusta. If you did it per the ordinance with the lot sizes that they had, you end up with significantly fewer lots, and you basically lot out the entire property by going in.
And the same thing in South Carolina, that was in Richland County. If you utilize their open space option and give them 40% open space, you can reduce your lot sizes down to… they didn't even have a minimum. I could have made them anything.
So on that one, we were actually working with the builders to lay out the lot size based on product that they wanted to build, because there was no absolute minimum in the lot sizing, as long as you came up with 40% open space.
And there were some bonus densities in there. If you gave them more contiguous open space, you got a 5% bonus. If you created parks and amenities, you got a 5% bonus. So, all of those add up to constantly increasing the yield.
The other interesting thing about that in South Carolina was that I didn't have public water or sewer. That's never scared me. I've done communal-based water systems and wastewater treatment with disposal. And that's what we were going to do on that particular project.
And again, as I said, unfortunately, the contract wasn't exactly right to make it work the best. So, the guys that I was helping out decided to kick out of the contract. It's funny, I actually reached out to the seller over Thanksgiving and he said he's under contract right now, but if they kick out, he'll call me back.
Seth: It sounds like, you know, say you find the piece of land, and maybe your first step is to read that zoning ordinance, understand maybe a few different scenarios of what's even possible. Then you have this discussion with a builder or two or three to figure out what they want.
And once you understand that, then you can go and actually start plotting it out and just saying, okay, well, given that this is what they want, we could put these things here and those things there. Is that the right order to think through this?
David: Kind of, yeah. One of the things that I do in between, I'll do a sketch almost. Before I speak to the builders, based on the ordinance, I'll do a sketch. A little bit more clean than rough. I can say, “I'll email you one of my hand sketches. They're to scale, they're detailed, show the open space, whatever preservation, I show wetlands.” I try to get all of that out of the way first, but I use that to entice the builders.
The one deal that I've got right now in South Carolina is funny. All the builders looked at it, we got it under contract. And when I sent my sketches out to three of the builders, three of the nationals, one of them called me back and he was laughing. He goes, “We looked at this and the engineer we took it to could only get 125 lots on it. How did you get 200?” And I explained to him how I'd configured everything and what I'd based everything on. That particular builder actually has that project under contract with us right now.
Seth: That right there, your ability to do a hand sketch… are you literally like putting pencil to paper or you have software or something? I have no idea how to do this kind of thing.
David: There it is right there. I do everything absolutely by hand.
Seth: In order to do that, though, don't you need topo surveys and wetland delineations to actually know for certain where all that stuff is?
David: Yeah, it's amazing how accurate it is; there's a ton of ways to find all of that. I utilize every available tool.
Local GIS is fantastic now. Jurisdictional GIS is unbelievable. Most jurisdictions that I'm working on, if they're developing right now, they're fairly sophisticated. All of their topography is LIDAR-based, and if you interpolate, even if it's at five-foot contours, most of them go down to two-foot contours. But even if it's four and five-foot contours, you can interpolate in between the two.
The National Wetland Database is great to work with. Once again, most jurisdictions that I'm working in are sophisticated enough to have at least a rudimentary wetland determined area. I normally stay a minimum of 50 feet off anything I plot.
One of the first things we do when we move in and are looking at a project, I find a local engineer and surveyor, I have boundary done. I send out a wetlands survey, or bare minimum, I'll have the wetland scientists do a desktop survey for me.
It's amazing. The wetland scientists, and I don't know if a lot of people know this, have a lot of really powerful tools now. Whether it's the LIDAR-based infrared. They know with probably 90% accuracy where the wetlands are on a piece before they leave their desks to go flag it. And most of them will give you a desktop version for maybe a thousand bucks.
Seth: Do you use Land ID for any of this stuff?
David: You know what? I looked at it briefly. I don't want to say whether I trust it or not. It's enough, combined with a couple of other things. Again, I've been doing it for a long time. I can look at aerial photographs and tell you from the color of the flora and fauna where the likely spots for the wetlands are.
But I trust the local wetland guy. Again, with a phone call and 10 or 15 minutes on the phone, if he knows you know what you're talking about, he'll generate a desktop version of what the potential wetlands are for you based on soils and his infrared LIDAR. He'll be about 90% correct.
Seth: I guess what I'm getting at with a lot of these questions is when I look at a huge deal like this, where you sink tons of money into it and put a lot of work into it, what questions need to be answered before you actually close on the thing and buy it? And what do you do to lock up the property in the meantime to get those questions answered?
David: Okay, well, now we're down to contract and then there's not a deal that I've done unless it was; we closed on part of a deal in Augusta, because it was too good not to close on, price-wise, it was ridiculous.
Generally speaking, you're looking at appropriately contracting things. Most of our contracts, 90- to 120-day study. We go hard after the 120 days. I try to contract as well as possible with an approval. Generally, final site plan, if at all possible.
If they're looking for more of a date certain, and most attorneys or counsel will ask you, you know, we need some kind of date certain. I'll start out at 18 months after the execution date of the contract, and the least that I'll do is 12 months.
Seth: And this is, you have that much time to get the property purchased, all of the entitlements, everything completely finished?
David: Yeah, and I usually base it on that, and I try to have fairly in-depth conversations with the jurisdiction. I talk with the engineers. For any deal or any new jurisdiction we're working in, I'll interview four or five engineering firms. And from that, part of that interview with me is asking, you know, what's the generalized processing time on a buy right, construction, and plats here?
And you'll hear a ton of different things. Generally, what they're going to give you as the processing time is six to nine months. And then you have to add in the ramp up time for the engineer to get the plans done and submitted, the engineer's time to respond to comments and scheduling.
And it runs, again, depending on the jurisdiction, it's nine to 12 months. I do a lot of work still in Northern Virginia. It could be 18 to 24 months.
Seth: Yeah. So talking about money, I guess a few different steps in this process, you got this initial earnest deposit that you're putting down for 90 to 120 days. Is this like a 5% or how much money do you put in it just to lock it up?
David: Nah, normally, and here's the way I negotiate that. Normally, depending on, I mean, it tracks back and forth with the value of the contract, because most of what we're doing exceeds a million, to two million, let's just say.
Seth: Just to buy it or to do all the development?
David: To buy. Just to give you an example, the piece we have in South Carolina, 105 acres, it's 1.85 million. $10,000 at contract for the first 120 days. If we decide to proceed after the 120 days, we put up another $40,000. So the at-risk deposit at that point is $50,000.
The reason that number is what it is, and I do a couple of other things too, and I'll allude to those and I'll actually disclose them, because we've run into issues where it's difficult to negotiate contracts because people have been misled by other folks in our industry. And I don't think it's malicious, I just don't think they understood what they were doing.
And what it does is it kind of sours the pool. So if somebody else came in and had a 120-day study and didn't do anything, then the seller is soured. And if I come in and ask for, yeah, the last guy didn't do anything.
So one of the things that we do is, during the study period, I stay in touch with the seller's counsel or the seller, at least monthly, I disclose all of our due diligence. And if we decide not to proceed, I do two things.
One, I release all of my due diligence and I do it with a written report as to why we're not going to proceed. I tell them why. “I can't make the numbers work. Here's what the builders are telling me. Here's what it's going to cost to extend sewer or water or whatever, whatever the issues are, that make it a deal that that's just not going to work for me.”
If we decide to proceed, one of the things in the contract is that I have my engineer either bi-weekly or monthly write a status report and he signs it and seals it. One thing to remember is an engineer's seal is a license, just like a lawyer's bar certificate. It's a license. If his veracity comes into question, he could lose his seal. He's not going to risk his seal over giving bad advice.
So I make sure that all my engineers will do that. They'll sign it and seal it. And we provide that to the seller and to his counsel monthly, because when I'm negotiating a contract, one of the things I tell them is about the project in South Carolina.
So we got 50,000 hard. We're going to spend probably close to 230 grand to entitle the property. And if at the end something goes wrong, we can't settle, guess who gets all that? The seller does. It's his. We release it. His only cause against us is the deposit and everything we've created while we had it under contract.
Seth: How often does that happen, where you do all this stuff, the due diligence, like you go the whole nine yards and then something falls apart, you spend 230 grand and then you lose it all? Has that ever happened? Or what would cause that to happen?
David: Yeah, not quite that much in engineering, but yeah, I had deals in, well, I lost a lot in West Virginia in 2008, and somebody got it all.
Yeah, I keep, to this day, copies. I had $9 million worth of worthless paper or selling finished lots to three national builders. It all fell apart, and it felt like overnight, but I think it was probably like a week, but it was pretty tough.
Seth: You kind of skipped over and got into the good stuff, but back in 2008 when you made these, or tried to make these three, and they kind of fell apart, was that your money into that, or was that somebody else's money? And how do you recover from something like that if it just goes so horribly wrong? How do you bounce back from that?
David: It was both because I'd rolled not only my own money, I'd left some in and I subordinated to a bank a couple of times to get settlements across the table. A lot of people lost a lot of money and it really happened overnight. How do you recover? It was a bloodbath.
Seth: Yeah, it was awful.
David: I mean, they went from selling, I mean, man, they were rolling through those two of the subdivisions. I can tell you very briefly. I attended a meeting at a bank with the guys from NBR, and we were sitting at the table, and the banker, a lovely woman, but she told the guys at NBR, and I was there with one of their VPs, and she said, well, we have your deposit, because we were trying to renegotiate the deal. They were going to keep working their way through the project.
At the time, we were selling finished lots for $72,500. They came in and said, we can't do $72,000 anymore, but we'll keep working through it. We'll buy lots from you at $55,000. And they were getting 70 at every closing—the bank was—to pay down their debt.
And the banker goes, “Well, who's going to pay the other 15?” And we're all looking, I'm there with the owner and the developer, myself, the guys from NBR. And we all went, “Nobody, you'll get 55,000. Nobody else is getting anything. You'll get the 55,000.”
And she's like, “No, we get 70.” It's like, “But there's not going to be 70, there's going to be 55.”
And she looked at the guys at NBR and she said, “Well, if you're going to walk away, you're going to walk away from the deposit.” it was like, 700-something thousand on that section. And she goes, “You're going to walk away from 700,000?”
And the guy from NBR, it was great. He goes, “Do you read the papers?”
She goes, “What do you mean?” He goes, “We just walked away from a $35 million deposit. Do you think we care about 700? We're trying to work this deal out and the place you are, you can't even see the forest for the trees.”
But that's how it was. She was so filled in the week before, where everything was great. Not even paying attention to what was going on in the world that day, and basically told NBR, no, we'll just take the land and sit on it, thinking that it was all just like a bad dream. And I think, well, and I think the bank would belly up, I don't even know.
But yeah, NBR would have stayed in the deal. They would have kept buying lots at their takedown at 55, and the deal would have worked, but the bank couldn't buy what was taking place.
So, yeah, it was tough, it was a weird time. I had to go and tell my wife we were losing the house, and it's hard, it was hard. You know?
Seth: Yeah, did you kind of just get out of the business for a few years, or like, what did you do at that point, when it's so catastrophic?
David: So, when I graduated from college in 1982, I learned how to build houses, and I worked for a couple of big builders in Northwest Florida, and then I worked for a couple of custom builders. I've always stayed in it. I would build decks and do additions for friends and stuff like that.
When the market crashed, there were still people that were still doing stuff. Not everybody got pummeled. It certainly wasn't as bad as when the S&Ls all failed in ‘89 and ‘90 because I was there for that too and survived all the layoffs as a civil engineer.
But I just started building things. I started restoring, like I said, I restored eight historic homes. I've got real older friends who are doing the fix-and-flip things. I would go in and roll through a house and roll it back out for them, anything to keep rolling.
I still kept dabbling in what I knew. I had a friend who owned his own small engineering firm. I would do all of his comment responses and land plans. If he had a client come in and ask for a land plan on a piece, I would do all the layouts and everything. And I kept that up and then rolled it down from there.
Seth: Does that make you gun-shy, I mean, going through that? I know I got into land in 2009, so like from the very beginning, I was also in banking at the same time, and like you said, it was just a bloodbath. It was terrible everywhere, and that was kind of the mentality that I got into the business with.
I never had really seen it any other way, and that kind of made it hard for me to go out on a limb with this stuff, because it's like, well, what if there's another 2008 after I do this, now what? But it sounds like you were able to overcome that. So was that hard? What did it take for you to be like, yeah, let's take another risk?
David: You got to remember, I watched 89 and 90, you know, when they all the S&Ls failed. And I watched just the community where I lived in Northern Virginia, countryside, like overnight, people were selling houses, new homes were going in, and they were like in the 390s.
And overnight, that fell apart so badly with the S&Ls, nobody knew where to send, there were people who didn't even know where to send their mortgage checks because the bank was gone. And, you know, people tried to get out of houses that one day were 390 and the next day were 150.
And I was at the engineering firm that I started with and I lasted through all the layoffs there and watched it all roll back up again. And then I saw what happened in 08. Now we are where we are right now.
But the one thing that I learned in both of those, in 89 and 90 and 08, you know, the national builders, you know what they did? They kept building because it's what they do.
So I even look at today and say we're in the 08 thing, which was catastrophic to the point that it put us in the housing deficit that we're in today because, you got to remember, everything slowed down and everybody was afraid from like 08 to 15 or 16. And that's a long time. I mean, the builders kept building, but historically, year after year, if you look at the number of building permits that are being pulled in any jurisdiction that's seeing growth and whatnot, and there's a number.
And then you look at what happened during that time frame, and you noticed you were in banking, so say you're at 5,000 permits, which is the norm. But then for five years, you're only pulling 3,000, so it's 2,000 behind. Then, even when you swing up and you think you're catching up, you're still behind.
I live in Northeast Florida now. When I first moved here, I hooked up, I met all the builders. I'm doing some stuff down here. One of the builders, super smart guy, nice, he's a great regional builder, he and I were out having drinks one night. He goes, “In 2018, in this area, we were 30,000 permits behind.” Even what happened from 18 to 21 or 22 with all this huge growth, he goes, “we are still 18 behind.”
Even with this, with what's going on in the markets today, yeah, there's going to be ebb and flow. I mean, I was lucky to live in Northern Virginia. You got the federal government there. It flows. But there's always something there. I feel for some of the areas that really get hard hit and shrivel up and die.
It's funny. I'm working on a deal, oddly enough, in Lackawanna, Pennsylvania, where there are no national builders. We're trying to figure out how to make this little deal work, which is really tough because… So it's right next to Scranton and, you know, essentially, when steel and that industry died, Scranton was just kind of bumping along. There's no big draw there. There's nothing happening. It's very funny to try and work in those.
And then, when you see the economic impacts of today, they kind of tighten back up a little bit, too. You know, there's not a builder that wants to go out on a limb. And that, looking down at what's going on in the Southeast, with industry moving out of the North and Northwest and Middle America, moving down to South Carolina and North Carolina, those areas are kind of thriving and moving. It's interesting to see those subtle shifts and changes.
But again, what I did notice was that the national builders are machines and they get to feed their machine, even when it slows down. Those guys are more innovative. I mean, right now, they're buying down points on 7% more. Whether it works or not I don't know. You said you were in the banking industry. I don't know whether those things work, but it's what they do.
The national builders don't have a fallback plan. What are they going to do? They don't wake up and go, “Hey, let's start making cars.”
Seth: Yeah. On that whole thing of talking about the Southeast U.S., what does a market need to look like for you to pursue these projects? Like, are you looking for something like certain demographics or growth trends? Like, what makes you spin the globe and be like, okay, we're going to go here and not there? Or when you see a big development opportunity, what would make you say, no, we're not gonna go there because there's not enough demand. Like, what are you looking at?
David: Yeah, that's another great question. For me, so I've spent my life essentially up and down the eastern seaboard, the southeast. I was in Chattanooga for a couple of years. I was just outside Nashville for a couple of years during college. And I grew up in northwest Florida, so I know the Gulf Coast, Alabama, doing some stuff.
I've got two or three projects in Alabama. I know the Mid-Atlantic from having been there. I know how the Mid-Atlantic functions. And I learned interesting trends on things, just me personally, where I think people are heading and why. I look at the right-to-work state and the opportunities there.
And then COVID. I mean, myself, we were in Northern Virginia. They shut Northern Virginia down. And I have teenagers, my daughter's a senior in high school, our son is at the Fire Academy of the South in college here in Jacksonville.
But when they shut everything down, my children didn't take to the electronic learning. They needed that peer push. And we sat down and had a long conversation, the entire family, and it was like, we have to go somewhere where A, school's in session, and B, preferably, if they lock down the globe again, I wanted to be somewhere where it was warm. So, Northeast Florida, so we're here.
And so what I noticed from that, just also being a student of people, I watched people streaming out of the Northeast, out of Middle America, South. And a couple of other things happened with that was we can work from anywhere. I mean, I do what I do here. I have projects anywhere from Texas to Virginia, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky. I don't have to be there. I can go there and visit and look at things. I can have somebody put eyes on the ground and take photographs
It's the idea of being able to virtually accommodate what we do that has become unbelievably prevalent and a lot of ease in function with electronics and better access to information. Things that started out in engineering, when I started out, everything was done by hand. You were in a jurisdiction. I mean, there were computers, but it wasn't like it is today. Everything was paper copies of ordinances that you went through.
So I noticed those things. And to me, people are going places for a reason, whether it's to escape the cold, escape an over-aggressive regulatory arm, whether it be government or quasi-governmental, that was kind of where I look. And I gravitate toward areas that appeal to me, you know?
I mean, I'd love to do a deal in Colorado, because I think it's—to me, Colorado is where the people that flooded out of the east and came to a mountain range and basically said, I'm not crossing that, we're stopping here.
David: You know what I mean, they were like, “Man!” Yeah, think about it. If you left the Blue Ridge and you rode in a covered wagon and you saw the Rockies, I'd pitch my tent under where we are, I’m good.
Seth: I saw this video a while back explaining why California sort of operates like a different country. Like in its prices and its culture in a lot of different ways and a lot of it has to do with the Rocky Mountains, because it's so hard to, or for a long time, it was so hard to transport oil there and just travel there at all. You had to come around the other side of the country just to get there. So, it's interesting.
David: Yeah, well, until the Panama Canal. But I think that's a lot of people, Seth. I think a lot of people focus on… not necessarily what they know.
And actually I do, I see it in the industry that we're in. I see the guys who… I don't understand it. I appreciate it but I don't understand it. The guys that flip lots, one lot, 10 lots, but individual lots everywhere. I don't understand it because to me, 20 transactions criss-crossed everywhere, versus I find one piece and I can turn it into 20 lots and I can do it. The timeframe takes longer, but it's what I know.
For me, I see the added value of that operation. And that's not to discount the fact that there's been a lot of money made. I'm sure there's a lot more to be made in finding those one-off lots and finding the right buyer.
Seth: Can you tell me about a time that a development opportunity crossed your desk, and you just said, no, this is a terrible idea. The market's bad, the property's bad. Why did you say no? What went wrong with that?
David: Nine times out of 10, it's not right off the bat. I look at a ton of things. I’ll give you a great example.
I had somebody bring me something in Oklahoma. And for all the world it actually might have been a really cool opportunity. Eventually, it was east of Tulsa, almost at the Missouri border, can't think of the name of the city. Although I want to say Roger Maris's house was in the little town, Converse right above it. And it was really neat. And the gal that brought it, and I explained to her after I went through everything, like the little town is kind of coming back, Route 56 goes through there, and all these things.
And her big thing was that the American Heartland is about to do this park, you know, like Disney World in the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma. And her thing was, this would be great for housing and things.
And I paused for a minute, and one of the things that hit me was, and I sent this to this gal, was Orlando and Disney World. Go 30 miles, draw a circle, 30 miles around Orlando, and what are you going to find? It is still rural as hell. And this little town was like 45 or 50 miles from that core. And I went, it's not what you think it is. It won't work. I mean, it theoretically has a potential, but it's not going to work.
But I didn't walk away from it immediately. Anything that I look at, I embrace. I'll look at what it could be and what all the options are. I guess what I like to see myself as, I'm not a problem finder, I'd rather be a problem solver. If there are too many things to overcome, then I have to just say, you know, it's probably a deal for somebody, just it's not a deal for me. Does that make sense?
Seth: It does. And the next question is, when you find a deal that does make sense, how are you figuring out how much to offer for these things? Are you just paying full market value, whatever that is, or do you need to get it at a certain discount or something?
David: There are a couple of ways to look at it. I look at as many, people say, off-market. That always makes me laugh. It's off-market. Is it for sale? Yeah. Well, apparently it's on the market. If it's for sale, it's on the market. You stumbled upon it. I know guys have lucked out. A blind squirrel finds a nut kind of thing.
But yes, there's a negotiation. Once again, I open book them. I'll sit down with a seller and tell them exactly, “Okay, here's what you have. In my opinion, you've got this much wetlands. I think I can get this many lots out of this, the builders will pay me X for the lot, I need to be here.” They can either get down to that number or we go back and forth with a few things.
What I learned a long time ago is that I don't have to buy every deal. Many times, sellers are too stuck on a number that doesn't work. Have I put things under contract at a seller's number because I thought, yeah, we kicked out of two deals this year, maybe three, one north of Atlanta and one in Savannah.
What I do with those is the deal in Savannah. I told the builders what I wanted for it and I had a builder come back. And he gave me my number and I still couldn't get it over the line. I went back to the seller who was an elderly gentleman and I made him a great offer of a structure and he didn't want to do it.
But what I ended up doing in the end was I hooked my builder up with the seller because the builder, he'll entitle himself to develop. So basically, I didn't get there in time, I couldn't assign my contract and get a fee or anything, but it was a builder that I haven't worked with before. And by putting him in the deal, I built a relationship so I can go back to him.
We had this conversation and I said, “So okay on the next deal, you're gonna pay me a little bit more.” And he goes, “Yeah, if it works, we'll do that, definitely.” And actually, we're looking at a South Carolina deal that we'll probably do with him.
So I was able to post it with a builder, saved the deal, kept the seller happy because I know the seller's got some other stuff, and it created a relationship with a builder that I didn't have before.
Seth: So when you're coming up with an offer price, it sounds like you're kind of reverse engineering this, right? It's not like you're comparing other comps, if comps even exist, it's more of, okay, what's the end game and what's that gonna make and how do we back into our offer price number? Is that right?
David: Yeah, a comp to me is, it's useless. Because, I mean, I'm sure it's useful to someone. To me it is, it's useless.
Seth: No, I totally get that.
David: I don't care what somebody else paid or what they got. And I've heard that from sellers who, well, so-and-so across the street sold for this. And I'm like, yeah, they sold on a rezoned piece with construction plans done. You don't have that. You've got a raw piece of land, and I don't know how we're going to make that work.
Yeah, I do. I basically reverse engineer. And then figure from there what could go right and could go wrong.
Seth: I don't know if you've ever heard this, but I know when I first started learning about house flipping many, many years ago, which I did not end up doing, because I was not good at it, but I heard this idea that anything is a deal at the right price.
And when I think about what you do, and the fact that, you know, going back to this Oklahoma example, say if you got that land for free, and you put half a million dollars into developing, you know, a development that nobody's going to buy. Would you disagree with that statement, that anything is a deal at the right price?
David: I would disagree with that every day. But you made a great point. In that genre of a house flip or a lot flip, then that's 100% correct. If you can pick up a lot for a thousand bucks that has any intrinsic value and roll out of it for $2,500 or $3,000, that's a deal.
What I like to think that I'm doing is, and others do—I mean, this is no innovative thing that I just somehow managed to figure out—not every deal is a deal. There's a lot of things that… again, I've looked at a lot of things where I wanted to make the deal work and if you can't, you can't.
What I like to think of it as is leaving a deal where I don't sour the other side.
Seth: Yeah. So how are you finding these deals? Are you finding them yourself or do other land investors bring them to you? Where do these come from?
David: Yes and yes. I'm in a couple of deals where other people have come to me who couldn't figure it out and have asked for help. I'm in deals that I've found. I found the one in—the big one that we have in Augusta. A couple of South Carolina deals, realtors.
Seth: So you're kind of just always scanning the horizon and people know they can come to you with these kinds of opportunities?
David: I'd like to hope so, yeah.
Seth: And how many of these projects do you do per year?
David: It depends on the level of involvement.
And again, like we talked about earlier, I'm trying to get better and I can't keep doing everything for everyone for nothing. But I love it, so I kind of do it in my sleep.
But I think once you get to a certain point in the engineering process, once you get past the study period, the 120 days, because I think somewhere between eight and ten of these per year, there's a lot of work in it, but you got to be backfilling. You need them staggered and you got to backfill with things coming in. As long as you can't just have eight of them and stop and then scramble for eight more than that.
I think as they roll forward, juggling eight to ten, because again, not every deal is a deal. You're going to kick out of a few. Some will make sense, some don't. And some things get through the process faster.
Seth: I'm trying to figure out, how do you make money and how much money can you make from these deals? And which hats are you wearing in this process? Is it you doing literally everything? What are you not doing in this process?
David: Okay, well, it depends on how the structure is. I'll just focus on the deals that I'm working on with one partner.
So we're 50-50. He's the money guy, I run the show. Just a quick example, right now, the deal in South Carolina, 1.8 million. Our contract is for 3.9.
Seth: So that profit you guys split 50-50?
David: Yeah, and once everything is paid back, entitlement costs and things like that are netted out, yeah, 50-50 of the net.
Seth: And then being the money guy, so whoever this other person is, they're kicking in all the cash? Are you getting like a bank loan to float it while it's being developed and sold off? How does that financing work?
David: Right now, he's covering the entitlement costs, and then as we close deals, money will stay in to fund other deals.
Seth: And was I understanding the timing right? Like you get a property under contract for, say 120 days, in that time you're doing your due diligence like your topo survey, your wetland delineation, anything you need to know to get the thing figured out, and then the entitlements happen after you close or before you close?
David: You're not gonna close until it's fully entitled. So now after the 120 days, your deposit goes hard, then you start your entitlement work.
Seth: Okay, so after the 120 days, what is the time frame after that you have to get your entitlements done?
David: Depends on the contract. The least would be eight months, both probably 18, or depending on the jurisdiction, if they entitle quickly, it'll be less.
Seth: Okay, so like on that $1.8 million deal, say if it takes, I don't know, 12 months or something to do that, once the entitlements are done, then you buy it for $1.8 million, and then it's up to you to, are you putting in roads and utilities and all this stuff?
David: No, although I can, I don't like that. I'm not a fan, but we could. If you get that far in, it's debt and equity to finance.
Seth: So you're just doing the paper entitlements and then you're selling off everything to a builder and they come in and put in the roads and do all that stuff?
David: Yeah, or a third party developer. My preferred method is to contract directly with a builder developer or a third-party developer.
In Augusta, we're going right with a JV between a third-party developer and the builder. I've got a project in Alberta, Alabama. We are contracting with the third-party developer who has an agreement with the builder. I put the builder in, he brought the developer to the table. Now we're working with the developer who's got an agreement with the builder.
Seth: So, that builder is super important. How do you know that they're committed? And at what point did they come in and say, yes, we'll do it, and do they put money down or something? How do you know they're serious about it and they're not gonna flake out?
David: Yeah, my builders, my preference is to have a builder either under contract or right at that point before we go past our study period.
Seth: So, before you go past the 120-day due diligence period?
David: Yeah, to give you an example, on the South Carolina project, we had six LOIs from the national builders.
Seth: So six different builders were like, “Yeah, we'll take it.”
David: Yeah. And the builders post 10% of the contract value in a deposit.
Seth: And that happens before the 120-day, or whatever the research period is?
David: No, that'll happen after their study period, depending on what the terms of their contract are. Normally, 60 to 90 days.
Seth: And if something were to happen like what you were talking about in 2008 in West Virginia, maybe they would walk but you would get there 10% that you could keep?
David: But hopefully they don't. What you do is you restructure.
Seth: So just like, ask for less money?
David: Well you know hopefully everybody sees the writing on the wall and you go back in maybe restructure a little bit with the seller, restructure with the builder you know, and just try and keep the deal like anything else to try and keep pace together.
I mean, we did everything everything we could to try and keep things pasted together, and it was just, as you and I spoke about earlier, everyone was in shock. You said you were in banking, right? The bankers were in shock.
Seth: Yeah, for sure.
David: They didn't believe it. It was like, “No, no, no, this will all change tomorrow.” Like, it ain't changing.
Seth: Yeah, that was a crazy time. I don't know if we'll ever live through something quite that bizarre again, but yeah, it was nuts.
David: Yeah, it was definitely different. And it's hard to explain to folks who missed it.
Seth: I know demand for new building and that kind of thing is super important for this kind of thing, because if you're creating all these new products for builders and that kind of thing, there needs to be sufficient demand.
So given this environment that we're in with rising interest rates and buildings kind of slowing down in a lot of places around the country, does that pose a serious risk to you? Say, if you started these projects back when interest rates were a lot lower, and now they're going higher, I don't know, does that ever happen where a builder's like, you know what, things have changed, we don't need this anymore, see ya.
Is that only the most catastrophic situation where that kind of thing would come up?
David: You know, it could, it did in no way. I'd like to hope we're a little more savvy about it now and that people are more realistic.
No, I mean, you certainly could, I mean, it's a risk. Anything we're doing's a risk. The question is, how do you minimize your risk? How much are you out, you know, can you afford the deposits? Can you afford how much entitlement you've spent?
It's the biggest reason to avoid closing on a property until you have something. I mean, imagine you spent a million eight on a piece and now you gotta sit on it for five years. It might be better to walk away from 70 or 80 grand than try to figure out how to juggle a million nine for a certain time frame.
Seth: If somebody's out there, they're listening to this, they're hearing you talk, and they're like, man, this David guy, he's awesome, what he's doing. Like, I want to do what he's doing.
And admittedly, it sounds like a big unfair advantage you have with your ability to look at a property and just intuitively know and sketch out, “This is what I think is the best thing. Here are a few scenarios.” I don't know how to do that. I have no clue where to even start with that.
So, is that because of your civil engineering background? Or if somebody wanted to become like you, what would you suggest they do in terms of their career path?
David: Again, well, career path, I mean, trustable engineering if you have an aptitude.
Without that in place, no, I'll tell you the same thing. I've said it a few times in this, read the things that matter. In this industry, to me, if you're looking to do this, you need to understand those things that matter, the zoning ordinance, the subdivision ordinance. It sucks to read them. They're technical manuals. But in those, there's little ClipArt pictures sometimes and some ordinances that show you what they're looking for.
And all that does is give you a basic understanding. The rest of this is, I guess, you could find the right engineer in. I don't know, but you're killing me. It's a tough question.
Once again, I use the tools that I've forged over 35 years to kind of do my end of it. There's a dozen ways to skin this cat, find an engineer, but then you're trusting someone else. My issue with these things, and I tell this to folks I help. It's not that I don't trust everybody, but here's one thing, it's why you need a lot of people looking at things.
If I had one piece of property and I gave it to ten engineers and I got ten of the same answers, I don't need nine of you. You want ten different answers, but you also want somebody who's looking.
I'm the most unconventional engineer I've ever met. I don't think in terms, in boxed terms. Given an opportunity to lay something out where somebody tells me that the minimum lot size is 15,000 square feet and the minimum frontage is a hundred square feet, I know that five out of ten engineers are going to give you a layout with lots that are a hundred by a hundred and fifty.
And I'll use an example. I had an engineer do that on my project in Alberta, Alabama and he gave me 75 lots and inside of an hour I've set in my layout with 95 lots. I've magically found 20 lots? No, all I cared about was, if my minimum lot size is 15,000, what's 111 by 130? It's 15,000.
Now, I just picked up 20 feet on three-size lots, that's 60 feet. I picked up another row of lots. I double-loaded a street he had single-loaded, but he thought inside of a box.
My first vision of things is not inside of a box. I have guys in our industry calling, going, what's your buy box? I'm like, I don't have a box, I'll look at anything you send me and we can take a decision from that. Because once you're in a box, it's hard to get out.
Seth: Maybe the box is the zoning ordinance, right? So whatever that says you can't do, that's essentially the box, right?
David: Yeah, yeah. But there's one thing, there's nuance in every zoning ordinance. And there is because they want to build in some flexibility while trying to contain you. But if you think in rigid terms, then you're stuck there.
But if you step back a second and go, “I can make 15,000 square feet look different a bunch of different ways,” that's when you start nailing the success.
Seth: And I hope people are catching what David's saying here in that taking a plan of 70 lots and turn it into 90, or however many he's able to do, effectively he's creating money out of thin air. And sometimes a lot of money, because you can sell it for a lot more. And when you have that kind of a brain that can think in those dimensions, it is surprisingly uncommon.
And in terms of finding a good engineer, I mean this is probably a huge discussion, do you have any pointers on how do you know when you've got a good engineer who knows how to think outside the box or just see things in different ways.
David:Here's one of the things, this is a good one, maybe we should do this again, Seth.
One of the things that I've learned is, in 35 years, see I can speak with you on your level, with your experiences, right? When I'm on the phone with a lawyer, I speak to a lawyer in ways that he can recognize that I'm educated, I know what I'm speaking about. When I'm on the phone with a bureaucrat, jurisdictional bureaucrat.
I've been dealing with them for 35 years. I speak to them the way they see things and I don't try and argue with them over their reading of the ordinance. I merely point out the way I read the ordinance and I don't ask them what can I do on this piece of property. I tell them what I've read in their ordinance so immediately they know that, “Wait a minute, this guy read the ordinance!”
And then when I'm having a conversation with an engineer, I speak to him using engineering terms and speak about it the way an engineer would.
And I think that can all be acquired and it doesn't have to be in those terms exactly. I mean, if you read enough, if you know enough about what you're seeking to find and you're asking the questions the right way, the answers you get are significantly different than the answers you get if you just ask someone, “What do you think I can do with this?”
Because then they're going to revert to a box. “Oh, well, you can do these five things.” And they're going to leave out the fact that we've got this other part of our ordinance that if you give us 40% open space, you can shrink everything down and do something completely different.
You'll never find that out if you don't say, “Oh, I noticed that you have this other section, and if I read it correctly, if I give you 40% open space, I can make my lot 6,000 square feet.” And a lot of times, whether they read it or not, then they're going, you hear the pages flipping. “Oh, yeah, I see that. That's interesting.”
So I think, if anyone wants to learn anything, it would be to focus on not necessarily asking an open-ended question, because you're not really gonna get the answer that you're seeking. Even if it's subtly educating yourself before you ask the questions, you're gonna get better answers.
Seth: That's a huge lesson right there that I can totally vouch for. Being able to dispense with any assumptions that a lot of us make when we ask and answer questions and really get clear on what you want to know.
Those open-ended questions, I can't stand them. I see them all the time in our forum and my answer is it depends on 500 different things. Get really clear about what you want to know and show me that you've actually thought through it yourself before you start asking questions and wasting everybody's time.
David: It's great because we talked about earlier, I met my one partner because he asked the question online and I read it and what I knew was that the question he really wanted to ask he didn't know how to ask. And so I responded to what I thought the question was they was and I wrote it out pretty detailed like, you're not asking it correct here. Is this what I think you're looking for and within three minutes I got a DM from going can we get on a call?
Seth: Yeah. Well, David, this has been awesome talking to you. So appreciate your time and sharing your wisdom with us.
If people wanna get ahold of you, do you have a website or something that someone else can learn more about what you do or anything like that?
David: Yeah, our website is openlandcommunities.com. If you got a deal or something that you're not sure of, reach out, man. I'm happy to give it a look, give you an honest opinion. I tell people I got enough of my own. I'm certainly not gonna steal anything from somebody. I've never done anything like that in my life.
I’ll also sign NDAs or non-competes, I have no ill will. I'd rather give somebody free advice and help them structure a deal right than run into a deal that somebody has just soured or clouded the water and then you got to unwind it. Besides, I like this community and I think we should all help each other.
Seth: Yeah, I'm with you, man.
Well, thanks again. Thanks to the listeners out there. If you want to stay up to date on everything going on with REtipster, you can text the word free, F-R-E-E, to the number 33777, stamp it in, all the stuff that's going on.
Thanks again for listening, and we'll talk to you next time.
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