Today, we’re interviewing Mary and Ann Danielson, two sisters who have built a thriving land investing business while living and working from opposite sides of the world.

Mary and Ann are truly opposites, and that’s part of the secret to their optimized approach to doing big deals with a very lean operation.

  • One is the “Life of the Party,” and the other is a “Super Nerd.”
  • One is dyslexic, and the other prefers books to people.
  • One lives in Denver, and the other in the Philippines.
  • One is a night owl who thrives in chaos, the other is an early bird with time blocks and meal plans.

In this conversation, we will learn the secret of their success and how these different personalities and skill sets have worked together to accomplish great things in the land business.

Links and Resources

Key Takeaways

In this episode, you will:

  • Learn how opposite personalities can cover different business aspects for a smoother, leaner operation.
  • Discover methods for overseeing a land business remotely, even in different time zones.
  • Adopt creative solutions for common challenges in land investing or difficult situations requiring boots on the ground.
  • Understand why trust and a personal approach matter in communicating with your prospects.
  • Be equipped with knowledge and practical strategies for maximizing returns through property subdividing.

Episode Transcription

Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Seth: Hey everybody, how's it going? This is Seth Williams and Ajay Sharma, and you're listening to the REtipster podcast. This is episode 185.

Show notes for today can be found at

Today, we're interviewing two sisters who have built a thriving land business while one of them has been working from the other side of the world. These sister investors are truly opposites, and that's part of the secret to their optimized approach to doing big deals with a very lean operation.

One of these sisters is the life of the party. The other is a super nerd.

One of them is dyslexic. The other prefers books to people.

One of them lives in Denver. The other one lives in the Philippines.

One is a night owl who thrives in chaos. The other is an early bird with time blocks and meal plans.

And if you've hung out in any of the land Facebook groups, you might recognize the name Mary Ann Danielson and think that it's one person, but it's actually two people working as a single online presence. And together, they work their land business 24 hours a day.

So Mary and Ann, welcome to the show. How are you doing?

Ann: Doing well. Thank you, Seth. Yeah, we're the 7-Eleven.

Seth: So I'm going to make a guess here and guess which one of you is the outgoing one, which one of you is the introverted one. Ann, are you the extrovert? And Mary, are you the introvert? I had that right?

No? Seriously? So I got it totally wrong then, huh?

Mary: It's the glasses and because I'm frustrated right now, right?

Seth: No, no, not at all. Okay, I stand corrected then.

Ann: Mary has all the people skills and she's the one that you want to invite to the party.

Seth: Okay. Well, why don't I just start from the very beginning, the way we usually do with these land investor interviews.

How did land investing come into your lives? How did this come into your world and what made you decide to give it a shot?

Ann: As you just mentioned, I'm in the Philippines. I'm the one in the Philippines, Ann. And we had a very, very severe lockdown. And it was so severe that just one person was allowed to leave the house at a time for outdoor exercise. And you could walk on the block immediately in front of your house. And there were actually guards on either side that would send you back if you went too far.

So as someone who likes to exercise, that was driving me crazy. And I was just walking back and back, back and forth, back and forth on my street and consuming a million podcasts. At that time, they were all about real estate and single-family pretty much, because that's something I'm familiar with from before.

And then like all of us, we end up in some rabbit hole that leads from one podcast to another and then a guest that leads you to another. And then that's when I heard about land investing. And then, as soon as I heard it, I could click back to our childhood in our family and think, yep, this is the fit for us.

So I pretty much was obsessed with it. And I had nothing else to do and nowhere to go. And so I consumed all I could. And then as soon as I thought, yep, this can work, I presented the idea to Mary and just said, I think we should do this, right? Or should we do this? Or I like this idea. What do you think? And she just said, okay.

Seth: Well, I'm curious, what made you become obsessed with this from the outside? Like, was there something about it that clicked in a way that other things hadn't in the past? Or was there some special quality about the land idea that stuck out to you?

Ann: Yeah. I mean, it was actually almost everything that stood out to me because I'm already a a landlord, we own a home. And so, like the whole tenants and termites and toilets, all of that is a major stress for us, especially being overseas when we, you know, wake up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and we get the text saying that, you know, they think that the pipes are frozen. It's just, you feel so helpless.

Mary: And then I get the text, can you call a plumber?

Ann: Exactly. And so that was a big thing for sure. And then, along with that, is just how much simpler the model is.

So again, working remotely, that I can do everything on my computer and then be able to talk to Mary in real time for her to navigate whatever phone calls need to be made. But really that it was just so simple.

And plus, we grew up with a family that really leaned on land in terms of we had a really middle-class, basic, happy, normal childhood. But really our family always knew that our land was there when we needed it. And so if we had a life event, a wedding, or college, my dad would selectively timber our land to pay for it because there was an extra.

And so I guess that probably also just was like a little bit of a glimmer there too. Like, oh yeah, this actually makes a lot of sense for us.

Seth: How much land did your father own?

Ann: It was 80 acres, right, Mare?

Mary: Yep. We had 80 acres and then he had some there.

Ann: Yeah. A little bit.

Seth: Was there some reason for that? Or like, why did he own land at all?

Ann: It had been in our family and handed down from his father.

I mean, to hear him talk about it, it was the most valuable asset in the world, right? And so, and he made us…

Mary: He could go hunting, but it was also valuable otherwise.

Ann: Yeah. And he made us walk it and work it. And so we always thought it was so valuable. And now, looking back, we realized that the roads that we took were logging roads, they were actually landlocked. It was a handshake easement from a neighbor, which was how we accessed it.

The reason that it had value, which he always told us too, was that there was a lot of silica sand underneath it. So when the time came, don't sell to any Tom, Dick, and Harry, you got to sell to the right people.

And he kind of had also educated us as a family too, to say, when I'm dead and gone, make sure that you get the right price for the land. So I'm sure that that was also a connection that both of us made for why we understood the value of land and the importance of knowing its true value.

Seth: Yeah. Random question. What's so special about silica sand? Is it useful for building roads or something? Or do you sell it to somebody who mines out of the ground?

Mary: We actually did sell it. The silica mine was actually right behind us and they had approached my dad for years about buying our land and he's like, nope, nope, nope. And then we knew he was close to selling it because they were reaching retirement and going to maybe relocate and buy some other land.

But to be honest, I don't really know what silica is used for.

Seth: Well, I guess I'll ask ChatGPT after this.

Mary: Yeah. Let us know.

Seth: Yeah. Cool. All right.

So the two of you work together. It sounds like you're both opposites in a lot of ways. So I'm assuming that's played to your advantage. Like, you're both able to maybe fill in where the other person isn't the strongest. Is that accurate? And if so, how have you delegated responsibilities? Who does what and why is it set up that way?

Ann: Yeah, actually from the very beginning, we started just with a Google Doc and then whatever the agenda item is a column running down the middle. And then the left is Mary and the right is Ann.

And then with that agenda item, who's doing what is yellow. And when you do it, you turn it green and then it's like a running record. So we always have the newest items at the top of that record. And if it's important, like do it before you go to bed, we use a fire emoji.

Seth: Okay. So for example, Mary, what do you do and why do you do it?

Mary: I take care of everything, obviously stateside. So county calls and call all of the sellers or potential sellers. I like to talk to people. I like to hear their story for the most part.

And Ann would definitely be more like, okay, do you want to sell it or not? Whereas I'm a little bit more patient and like, okay, how can we use this, whatever their story might be, to our advantage or to figure out how we might offer. Or I call them back and try to remember their story and build a relationship with them.

So I guess I like to build relationships. I like people a lot and Ann not so much. So she looks at the data.

What else do I do? I take care of the unfortunate tax stuff.

Seth: Unfortunate tax stuff being like a delinquent tax property or like when you have to pay property taxes?

Mary: Yeah, just setting up our own for our business, setting up our taxes and dealing with the bookkeeper, dealing with the CPA as best I can anyway.

And then, yeah, other than that, basically just all the calls, calling realtors, and a lot of the emailing because she doesn't have to actually talk to them. And she's just better at that. For me, I would be like one liner. If it came to email, I would one-line. If we're talking, I can talk all day.

So I guess that's where we're very opposite.

Seth: And then, Ann, what kind of stuff do you do beyond what Mary just mentioned? Anything in particular that you shine at doing this?

Ann: Well, I wouldn't say that I shine, but I'm in charge of anything that's data, research, online communication, anything that is like chats in terms of groups, or we have a very limited social profile.

I would say we don't engage that much. But when you do, it's usually me. Anything asynchronous that can be done outside of office hours and on a computer is my turf.

Seth: So, if one of you two were to disappear all of a sudden from this business, Like, do you think it would suffer a lot? Like, would it continue to operate, but just like be limping along? Or how would that work?

Ann: It would implode within 24 hours, I would say.

Seth: Really? Wow.

Mary: I mean, I can use zero data. I can figure it out, but it would take me a year and a half to get started again.

Seth: Yeah. It makes me think about a lot of people. I mean, really, most people don't necessarily have a partner in this. Like, it's just them and they got to figure all of it out. And inevitably, they're going to not be very good at everything.

And it just makes me wonder, like, I wonder if everybody out there were to find a partner, maybe that's what they ought to do to have somebody who's their opposite to shoulder that workload. I think I would have a hard time with that because I don't just trust anybody with that kind of thing. It sounds like you two have natural trust system built in.

Ann: And you know, it's funny that you say that, Seth, because just last week, Mary and I were saying, imagine if you were doing this alone, right?

Because there are so many forks in the road or decisions that you're up against that you think it could be this, but I could be a genius or I could be a fool. Are we heading down the right path here? And we can always ping ideas off of each other.

Even when we're looking at a property together, we spend one of our meetings every week is looking and reviewing our properties and the things that we spot in the way that we see things. I just can’t imagine not having Mary's set of eyes.

And I also, just for like the loneliness of it, I really appreciate that we can laugh our way through all the Larry's and the Cherry’s and the Gary's in that.

Mary: We always have a set of names that run together. But yeah, I agree. Like at the end of the day, I can be like, oh my God, you don't even know who I talked to today.

And if you don't have a partner, I mean, obviously a lot of people don't, but maybe find one because it does help to talk to somebody. Our husbands do not want to talk to us about it. They don't care who I talked to today or how funny the story is, no matter how funny it is. I guess to Ann and I, that's where we do come together. We have the same sense of humor.

So anyway, that part of it is great.

Ajay: There are some stories that need to be shared though, right?

We had a property just a few months ago. We were doing a double close. So we had this property under contract, buyer lined up, and we're pretty much ready to go. And we call up the seller and we find out we're missing a survey and the seller's in Mexico.

So we're like, well, there's two issues going on right now. And we'd already pushed back the buyer side twice and they were about to cut the cord. And so I kind of came in and steamrolled. It was so funny.

We came in, I was like, what's the bottleneck with the surveyor? Why do we not have this done?

He was like, well, he doesn't feel comfortable walking onto the property because there's a fence.

I was like, tear it down. They're like, there's not even a lock on it. I said, I don't care. We're buying it. We're selling it. Tear it down.

We posted an ad on Craigslist and had it torn down within like an hour for 150 bucks. A surveyor calls us and says, I have a business partner, his name's Ben and they call Ben and they say, Hey Ben, fence is down. But quick question, what are you doing about the cow on the property?

Mary: Oh, my gosh.

Ajay: This is a quarter-acre lot in southern Texas. Maybe smaller—7,000 square feet. And now I'm like, Did we just let a cow loose? And whose cow is this? Because the sellers never said anything about a cow.

Well, I'll condense it and keep it short here. It was the neighbor's cow and they were keeping it on this property.

But it's one of those stories where you're like, did that really just happen? In this business, stuff like that happens all the time. You need somebody to talk to you about that stuff or else you will go crazy. You can't make these stories up. So it's great that you do have each other to talk through that stuff.

Seth: Yeah.

Mary: It's true.

Ann: So what happened? What was that, what is this, a cliffhanger? What happened to the cow?

Ajay: Yeah, I mean, we got the cow off the property. The surveyor got on the the property, we got the deal done, old girl came back from Mexico. All was good. So I think we made maybe five or six grand on it. It was a small deal.

Seth: Did the neighbor come and get their cow?

Ajay: There was a cow on the property and when we closed there was no longer a cow on the property. For about six hours, what happened in between, I'm not too worried.

Seth: Yeah. Well, even aside from that, like, just basic business decisions, like understanding what a property is worth, what you should offer on it, and what it'll probably sell for.

I second guess myself every time. There's never a time when I'm just a hundred percent confident and I don't need anybody's input. So just having somebody else, even if you're both wrong, at least you're not crazy. There's somebody else you can bounce ideas off of. That goes a long way.

Ann: And I think we also have times that we're emotional about different ones.

Like, for some reason, there's this one I just love so much on this river. And I can imagine it's just so beautiful. And this one’s like, no, cut the cord.

Mary: I mean, we should buy it for ourselves. It's wonderful. But I don't think that. I mean, I feel like it might sit for a while, but we'll figure it out.

She's the boss. If she wants it, she wants it. We can have it.

Ann: I'll steamroll it.

Mary: Yeah.

Seth: Right. So how do you two hold title to these properties? Do you jointly own one LLC that owns everything? Is that how it works?

Ann: Yeah, we do. We have a joint LLC and then we've just formed or elected a separate S-Corps between us so that we can allocate funds as needed.

Because, obviously, we have really different financial stories with me being an expat and then with me having teenagers that can work in the business and things. So we've just kind of done some new elections that way.

Sethj: So it's like an LLC owned by two separate S-corps, and then you each decide how you want that money to flow once it hits your accounts or something?

Ann: Yeah.

Seth: All right. Okay. So, I guess, when you own a property and when documents need to be signed to sell the thing, is that what you do, Mary, because you're right here in the U.S.?

Mary: Yup, I'll do all the notary stuff and then, yeah, sign it.

Ann: And Mary's lucky because her neighbor is a notary and he likes really expensive beer. So we can thank him properly. And then we just file a corporate resolution every time. So even though it's a partnership, Mary and I, we just have a quick document for that. And she can sign for the two of us.

Seth: When I see examples like the two of you that work together and your family, I mean, sometimes I'll hear about husband and wife teams and that kind of stuff. I mean, I got to imagine this happens when any two people partner together, where they occasionally get on each other's nerves or there's like disagreements on things.

And it's one of the reasons why I wouldn't intentionally go out of my way to work with family just because they're family. Because I need to be able to fire this person or I need to be able to make hard decisions and have hard conversations.

So does that ever happen with you? Like, how do you guys deal with conflict? Or maybe that never happens, but is that ever a thing?

Ann: The fact that we literally stay in our lanes, like our column, that's the only time that there's a disagreement or confusion. Sometimes I'll actually overstep and I'll realize, oh, it's in the middle of the night. These people have email. I can send this email.

And then I realize, you know what, there was a communication that Mary had had on the phone and I've just undone her work. And that's happened a couple of times. And right away, I'm just like, I need to stay in my lane.

So if anybody is changing lanes without a blinker, it would definitely be me. And I think I've gotten better about that. Mary's a super good communicator and she updates the docs or whatever before she hits the sack. So sometimes I just really want to be super efficient and that's my issue. Yeah.

Mary: Yeah. You like to use your open windows of time, which is great. I mean, and sometimes I'm like, sure, go for it.

But I mean, for the most part, we really don't have a lot of disagreements because, truly, we do stay in our lane. And sometimes we're even sharing our stories about what we did for the day. And then she’s like, wait, you don't need to hear about that. I don't even know what she's talking about.

Quite honestly, mine is obviously a little bit simpler, but I'm like, I really did do a lot, but it felt like nothing.

And I feel like I have to share it. And then I'm like, actually, nevermind. We're wasting our time talking about it. So I mean, truthfully, we stay in our lane.

Seth: Well, that's interesting. I hear “stay in your lane.” Does that mean like, you're not even allowed to look at the other lane? You can't even question that person. Like it's their thing that they own and you have no business even talking to them about it.

But how much overlap is there? Can you l make observations and be like, so Mary, I don't know about that decision. I mean, I'm not going to make it for you, but I kind of think maybe you should go this way. Do you ever do that? Or what does “stay in your lane” mean?

Ann: I mean, we talk every single day. WhatsApp is great because we can do voice texts and send them back and forth and texting and all of that. We're always talking. And we do all of our problem-solving, putting our heads together during the day.

But by “stay in our lane,” it's just sort of that we know exactly. Like, I know my job with the maps and how I add them to the CRM. I know my job for all of the data stuff. I know my job—we have one VA—and I understand that's my territory.

And then anything, I don't know what the title lady, what kind of donuts she likes or which realtor is the nice one and which one's the one you have to tiptoe around. So I think that's probably what we mean with “the lane.”

With the property, we definitely share ownership. But in terms of how we get the job done and who takes care of what, it's very, very clearly defined in terms of who does what.

Mary: Yeah, I mean, sometimes, we might be figuring out how we go about making an offer and sometimes we'll talk about it. And then I'll just let her know, no, no, no, you don't talk to the seller. I know when I need to approach them.

Sometimes I might need a little shove because I'm like, should we or shouldn't we? Or, when is the best time, because I don't want to bombard them because I feel like I have a pretty good ability to read people, read their story, understand it, and know what they need or maybe want.

Of course, I'm not always right. But for the most part, I'm like, no, no, no, Ann, I'm waiting two days because they asked for two days. Or, you know, I'm going to give them an extra day because I know they really were stressed with their family.

So I don't know, things like that… Yes, we talk about it, but really, ultimately, I'll make my choice and she'll make hers and, and we're pretty much okay with it.

Seth: Do you ever disagree on property values or anything like that? I feel like that's something that, if I were in one of your shoes, I would potentially disagree with people because I'm very conservative. I tend to underestimate property values. And when I see somebody give me a big number, I'm like, no, I don't believe that. And that's kind of a big deal. Cause if that number is right or wrong, everything hinges on that.

But are there ever situations where you just fundamentally disagree or it's a showstopper? Sounds like that doesn't really happen, right?

Ann: I wouldn't say so. I would say I'm very conservative as well. When I'm underwriting the deal, I'm always thinking about whatever the value-add is. I'm rounding up. I'm figuring, I know that the realtor, the broker said no brush clearing, but I'm just going to put the two grand in there.

I'm also very conservative, but I think Mary, when it comes to numbers or number-crunching or saying, yes, it's a deal or it's not, I think Mary definitely is flexible. And she will go with my direction based on the fact that she knows that I'm super thorough and I've looked at all of the comps and I'm not going to have rose-tinted glasses, even if it's in a really cute river.

Mary: Even if I'm a little more conservative than you. Just kidding.

But yeah, for the most part, Ann takes the lead as far as comping properties. I usually look at it quickly because a lot of times I'm trying to get a quick reference just to make the call and then I kind of like, hey ,you look at the comps. Because she's a lot more more thorough on it and she's not in a rush so much to get to the next lead and get ahold of them.

So kind of, I mean… whatever she says, great.

Ann: And it's kind of the beauty of our time zone, because when she goes to sleep, I'm working. And then, I mean, it really is 7-11, right? So it's kind of like passing off the torch. I do what I need to do asynchronously. She makes the calls in the morning. I have the answer and I know what I'm doing.

So yeah, in that way, I like the dance.

Seth: What do some of your typical deals look like? And when I say that, I mean, what's the buy price? What's the sell price? Are you doing anything to improve them in the meantime? Is direct mail your main thing? Are you using other marketing mediums?

Tell us about that.

Ann: Well, I think we have two types of deals.

We know the ones that we are snipers for that we want to have. And then we know the deals that come along that are the bread and butter and we do them. Especially if they're nice and clean. And actually, right now, we have two of those exact same things going on.

So we prefer subdivides, especially now because we've been really honed in on our niche and our region. So we just do one state. And now we know if we're in this region, it's this broker, it's this surveyor, it's this perk guy. We’re like, is it Randy? Is it Ryan? Blah, blah, blah. So it's just like this, you know?

So we do prefer subdivides, but when something's a tidy split or a tidy flip, then we go for it, especially if we just need to turn the capital a little bit quicker.

Up until now, we've funded all of our own deals and we funded two other people's deals as well a few times, but more and more, well, now we're looking at some bigger deals where we really can't.

You asked about the price of where we're at. Our first deal was our smallest, and I think it was a buy for 22, sell for 27. It was terrible. That's the only deal we've had so far. But we still love it. It was fun; we just had to learn and we had to do it.

Seth: Yeah, I bet you learned some stuff from that deal.

Ann: We did. And luckily it wasn't a long novel or anything, but that's the only deal that we haven't had a broker walk in advance. And he was the first one that said, ladies, you got to get boots.

And we're like, yeah, we do. But well, we don't have boots, but we'll use your boots. Thank you.

From then on, I would say, our average buy is somewhere between 60 and 150. And, let's see… for subdivides, the most recent subdivide we had was a really good deal. It was buy for 67, maybe by the time we paid. She had like some back taxes. So I think it was around 67. And we got out at 300.

Seth: Wow. That's awesome.

Ajay: That's a great deal.

Ann: Yeah. Our value-add there was a survey and two rounds of brush hogging because we had another season in there. Brush was fast to grow. And so, yeah, that was, 11 months, I think, start to finish.

Seth: So all you did was a survey and brush hogging?

Mary: Yes.

Seth: Did you say you subdivided that one or no? You just bought it?

Ann: Yep, that one was a subdivide. It was 33 acres yeah and we split it and we kept all the parcels different sizes to just appeal to a different market.

Seth: You split in half or how many new parcels were there?

Ann: Four or five.

Mary: Four.

Ann: Yeah, I think we had two that were close to five, and then two that were a little bit larger.

Mary: Or something like that.

Ann: Yep. The one that we're on now, we're funding it for a fella, and that is just a 20-acre. And it's going to come out at four or fives. And it's actually in the same county—

Mary: it's the same area.

Ann: Same cast of characters, yeah. So yeah, we feel good about it.

Mary: It's gonna go so much better than our first one because we learned so much from the first one. So that's why we're like, all right, this is it. We love it.

Seth: Yeah. So any particular lessons stand out in your mind, like things that you've learned? Like, if I see this attribute or characteristic about a property, no, we're not doing it. Or like, I'm going to specifically seek out this type of property for this reason. Anything come to mind with that?

Ann: It does. Things that have sat the longest on the market for us have been ridiculous topography. So things that are on the side of a mountain and it really isn't about access. It's really just about topography.

And for things that we're seeking out earlier, I said, we're kind of taking a little bit more of a sniper approach and we have our one VA and that is his job. He is scrubbing maps and looking for ample—we have two columns, ample and decent, I think, are our road access columns. And then from there, he makes sure no flood, no wet, no transmission line. And then if all is a go, he turns on the topography for the final green light.

So once that runs through—it takes him a minute, a record—that's a massive amount of information in terms of who we really want to put our time, energy, and marketing money into.

Seth: Yeah, that topography stuff is a pretty big deal and it's kind of hard to quantify, especially if you're not planning to do anything to it yourself but the next person is. It's easy to just put that on the next person.

But like, the example that comes to mind, the self-storage property that I bought, I got what I thought was a good deal on it. And it was, I paid 69,000 for it, but there were… It wasn't even terrible topography, but it was going to take a lot of work, basically $400,000 of excavation to level it out.

So there were a lot of hidden costs in there. And what I learned is that I would have gladly paid three times more for the same property if it had just been flat and didn't need so much work. It's hard to see that from a land flipper's perspective, if you're not really looking at topography and understanding like, what would a person have to do to get this thing ready to build on?

So it's one of the many little tricky hidden issues that can kind of fly under the radar sometimes.

Ann: Yeah. And it's also relative, right? Too, because like Mary's in Colorado, so she will come back from Aspen and be like, no, it's fine.

Mary: Look at this house up here! It’ll cost millions just to get it…

Ann: We do look at the neighbors and say, you know, are people building? And then is it just they need enough to drop a mobile on it, or do we actually need enough that we can run electricity to it on a decent road? And all of those things.

Mary: I would say we look at the neighbors a lot and just turn on the topo lines on MapRight and like, okay, they did it and the road's not that far up. Because I think sometimes we're like, oh we can put a road in, okay, well, how far are we going? And how much does that actually cost? So the neighbors are huge.

Ann: Yeah. And you know, the price reports are not so useful in terms of the price, but they do have a topography report on there that says the buildability of the property. And so sometimes that's really helpful too, I think, to go back to the seller and be like, well, it's 7% buildable and the buildable part is on the other side of the the mountain.

So that's tricky, right?

Mary: To get to the other side of the mountain, too.

Ann: Yeah, we appreciate that. And we use the 3D maps all the time. I really like turning on the 3D and rotating everything, and Mary really likes the topography lines. So between the two of us, we just make up an answer that we think is right.

Mary: And then we get boots on the ground.

Ann: And then we get boots on the ground, and he tells us we're crazy.

Seth: Well, that's interesting, the topo lines thing. So like the property I was just telling you about, like I'm looking at it on Land ID right now. It doesn't look that bad. I mean, it looks fairly mild. But when I got the actual topo survey, it was way worse than what Land ID led me to believe.

Which I don't know what the answer is to this other than to get a topo survey on everything, which isn't really feasible, especially on the cheaper properties. But it's just one of those things like it's not that simple. I mean, there's a lot of software out there that tries to make it as simple as possible, but you still just don't know until you really dig into that stuff.

Ajay: They really don't realize how useful boots on the ground are until you either lose money or you're not sure if you're going to.

We had a property, it's a beautiful 40-acre in Northern Florida. In Florida, it rains a lot. I don't know if you guys knew that, but it rains a lot in Florida, and because of that, things grow really, really fast.

So we had a guy go out and do some clearing again, post on Craigslist. This is where we do a lot of odd jobs and stuff. Had our realtor go back out to install some trail cams, you know, see if we can catch any deer on the property and get some new pictures. Cause now we've got this huge trail.

He gets out there and he's like, guys, there was no clearing done. I'm like, really? He sends us a picture. Very different than the picture we had our contractor send us. So either our contractor cleared a different property or scammed us. I'm not sure which yet.

This is pretty new information, but it's one of those things where you're like, man, didn't realize how useful boots on the ground might've been on something like this. And it was only 1300 bucks. Like it wasn't, you know, wasn't anything super crazy, but it's enough money to be like, gosh, I really wish we had some boots on the ground that were managing this as we were doing it, versus just Craigslist, send her out, let's go!

Ann: Absolutely. We just had a realtor too. We were looking at a a 50-acre that we were splitting and it had beautiful road access on two and a half sides.

And one of the roads had a lot less traffic. So it made sense to put all of the smaller parcels right along the driveways. And then, as soon as she went out there, she's like, it does make sense.

However, it doesn't show up on the topo map at all because it's such a small amount, but it's like a, not even a ravine, but just a ditch that's so severe. And so she said, just flip it, everything, and you're fine.

And I was like, okay, well, that's an easy fix on the computer now, but there's literally no way to see it on any of the computers. Just like your example, Seth, it's just, you really need somebody in real life to walk it.

Seth: Another random question. That example you were talking about, I think you said it was the 30-ish acre parcel where you split it and did the brush hogging twice. So I don't know if you can quantify this, but how much of that increase in value was because of the brush hogging and how much of that increase was because of the subdividing?

Could you have just not brush hogged it at all and still had most of that money? Any guesses on that?

Ann: This particular property was a very old farm and it had been timbered like 15 or 20 years ago. And so it really was just brush, but the brush was like brambles and things. One of the realtors even said, I took my dog and I was picking out burrs for days or something like that. One of those kinds of stories.

There are people who couldn't get on the property at all, and so we needed someone to take a trip around and then cut to the middle of the property. And I think by then our surveyor didn't ask for it, but we had kind of done enough, I think, in areas where he could clearly cut the lines and then people could walk and see, oh this is the parcel or the tract.

So that was definitely a price point thing in this area where everybody wants a five-acre mini farm, and it's affordable for them. And if it's unrestricted, you know, done deal. But definitely, I don't think we could have sold the properties nearly as quickly because no one can park their car, get out and walk, and see what they have.

Mary: We could have sold it to the guy down the road, for sure. Who was also doing subdivides, but we wouldn't have made nearly as much money.

Seth: What if you had not subdivided it and just brush hogged it? Could it be that that's all you had to do? I mean, probably not. I'm just asking the question to figure out what percentage of the value was the one versus the other?

Ann: Well, let's just say this ship has sailed. We don't really want to think about this property ever again.

Mary: Let's revisit.

Ann: Well, the issue here is that we did have a realtor who had done a subdivide that was very similar just down the street, which is how we chose him. Because we said, oh, this guy is selling five acres like a mile away, not realizing that he was a little bit shady… did you say choose my word carefully?

Mary: Yeah.

Ann: He did a lot of like, “little lady”-ing to us, but then he also buried our listing until he had sold his subdivide with his partner. And so that is why also we needed the second round of brush hogging because we had to wait out his contract and then move on with another agent, which we've never had to do. We've never had any issues. Like we've been really lucky with the people we work with, but he was definitely a bad seed, I suppose you could say.

Seth: When you say “little lady”-ing, is that like talking down to you?

Ann: Yeah.

Seth: Okay. Does that happen a lot? Being women in this business? What's it like? Any thoughts?

Ann: We don't really like to play like a gender card or like, oh, we're just little ladies in this big boys’ world.

That's not really who we are, but there are definitely moments I think where you can feel that somebody maybe knows that you don't own boots and you're not walking it yourself. which I think we just have to be really true and authentic and say, yeah, we're not. My buddy is going to go out there or a member of our team is going to go out there.

But just as many times, I think it actually works in our favor because we're approachable and very straightforward and honest. And I think as a woman, that kind of helps too, that people do see a couple of sisters. I mean, we're just snowballing our little properties one after another. That's all we're doing.

And that's the truth. And I think it's easy for people to see that that's just who we are, as a couple of “little ladies.”

Seth: Sometimes, when people do that, like it's a very material issue. Like in your case, they're lying to you. They're burying your listing. It actually hurts you when they do that.

Other times it's more just like, I'm kind of annoyed that you're talking to me this way. It doesn't really matter. I'm just kind of annoyed by it.

But I mean, would you say when this does come up, is it more just an annoyance or is it an actual material problem?

Ann: I think that was the only time that it was a material problem. And Mary had to deal with him on the phone. So she was really good at navigating him or waiting him out or setting down the phone and making dinner while he was going on and on and teaching her all the ways of all the things he knew.

Whereas then I was more straightforward and I said, well, I don't know what you're looking at, but here's what my data shows. Here are the photos. Here's this. Here's why it doesn't come up as this search and sending him the screenshots, which he did not appreciate or respond to.

So I think that was the only time that we really felt, I think, a jerk in general.

Seth: Yeah.

Ann: He probably would be a jerk to you.

Mary: Yeah, and maybe. And that's just it. Like you said, we aren't trying to play the female card, but he’s definitely like, “Well, it's listed under farm. Anybody looking for land, unless they're looking for a farm, is not going to find our property. And we've asked you to change so many things so many times. And like, it's very important to not be.

Ann: We had the filters set so that they had to put in the exact acreage, farm, and the street name to even find it at all. Yeah.

Seth: That's helpful.

Mary: But other than that, I think sometimes, too, for some people, it's an endearing thing to little lady. Like they're taking care of you in some way, shape, or form.

Seth: Yeah. I can see how they could kind of go both ways. It's kind of like how a lot of people, when they send out mail, they'll put a female name at the bottom or something like that, or use a female voice on. There are probably ways it is an asset too.

Mary: So we have had almost, I would say, maybe 5% hate. A lot of people call us just to chat, I think, because we do have our picture on there and I feel like they just want to hear our story. So I think our letter in and of itself has helped us, from what I hear.

40 of these letters and I'm calling you guys because X, Y, Z, you know, whatever, maybe it's our letter. And I hear that a lot, like at least 50% of the time, well, I'm calling you because I like your picture. Which one are you?

But okay, you called me. Now I'm talking to you. So we'll take it.

Ann: Which one do you want me to be? Right. Which one do you like better?

Seth: Well, it's really interesting. That may not be what you're going for, but it is a competitive edge in a way that most guys in this business don't have.

Ajay: So our team currently is 100% women aside from myself and Ben, because we have found the male bravado tends to be more alpha male and a male-to-male negotiation.

And so what's really interesting is I do hear the defenses kind of go down when they're speaking to women.

Again, this is a blanket statement, right? Not applicable to all situations, but a lot of times I feel like the perception is that women are trying to be helpful, which is really great because it helps you lower your guard in a business sense.

And so, yeah, I agree. I think there are some folks that like, if I get on the phone with, and we get into a price negotiation, if I'm not tactful about it, it can turn into ego and testosterone very, very quickly. But yeah, that's all I had. Sorry.

Ann: Me too, Ajay. That's why I need to stay off the phone.

Mary: You will go toe-to-toe all day long. Sometimes I probably could be more aggressive too.

Seth: Have you guys read the book Pitch Anything? Ever heard of that book at all? It was a pretty big book, like 10 years ago. It's by a guy named Oren Klaff, but I thought it was pretty, brilliant from my standpoint.

I wouldn't say I'm super strong interpersonally, if anything, it's kind of a handicap for me sometimes. But in that book, it's all about how to basically pitch anything, like how to do a sales pitch. A lot of it comes down to interpersonal communication. Like in any dialogue between two people, there's somebody who's kind of up here and then somebody who's down here.

And it may not be that obvious, but essentially, that's what's happening. Like one person is sort of talking down to the other person. Like one person is the authority and the other person is the submissive person.

And the example he gives is like, if there is a doctor driving down the road and the doctor gets pulled over by a cop, that cop is the person in authority talking down to the doctor. But if they're in the operating room, that doctor is in authority and the cop is down here. And there are all kinds of little creative ways that you can respond to certain things and phrase certain things that puts you in that authoritative position.

Another example he gives is say, you're walking into a meeting and the person's like, “Hey, I’ve got 10 minutes, so we got to make this quick.” So just by saying that, they're implying that my time is more valuable than yours. And you can respond by saying, “Okay, good. I've only got five minutes. So let's make this really quick.” So you almost kind of like one up them.

But I wonder if there's a way when these weird things come up, when people talk down to any of us in life, when we can just sort of reframe things a little bit by having these little magic phrases or something.

I don't know what they are, but that was an interesting thing to think about.

Ajay: So fun thing we're working on.

I do a lot of sales training with my team and it's something I'm pretty passionate about. And something we're we're working on right now are negotiation talk tracks.

So when somebody says no to your offer, right, you know, there's a bunch of pre framing you need to do. And we're really big on shifting blame with kind of our initial offer, because you know, as land investors, especially in the flip game, a lot of times you're making offers between 30% and 50% of market value, there's not a lot of logical reasons as to why somebody would say yes, you need to appeal more to the emotional side.

That being said, in our first offer, something we'll say if I were talking to Mary, I'd say, “Mary, you know, I'm seeing other investors are paying $30,000 to $50,000 for property like yours. If another investor were to make you an offer in that range, what would you say to them?”

So you see how I just made the offer, but it's not me making the offer. “Well, I think if they were on the higher end of the range, I might, you know.”

“Okay, great.”

Now we know how to have that conversation versus if they're like, “Hey, pound sand, that's horrible.” Whoa, whoa. I didn't say that was our offer!

The longer you can keep them on the phone, like we equate talk time to rapport in a lot of ways, you know, under the assumption that the seller's doing the talking, not us. And so if we can extend that talk time, the probability of that lead doing business with us goes up over time.

Now, full circle here, what we were just talking about, Seth, is negotiation talk tracks. When somebody says no, in that light of power dynamics that I think you're addressing, one of our go-tos is, well, Mary, if nobody were to buy your property at that price, what are you going to do then? If nobody gives you that price, what are you going to do? because they hold the power in the sense that they have the property, right?

So you can sort of remove that authority by stating, what if you never get that price?

Well, it'll probably go to my kids. Okay. God, like if something were to happen to you tomorrow, have you already set that up so that they know they're getting that? And do they know the responsibilities that come with the property?

You're really trying to get them to think about next steps.

We see that go one of two ways. Number one is they're like, no, but thank you. I need to call my attorney and adjust my will.

So, you know, even though it's part of our negotiation talk track, we're genuinely helping people. Like that's the goal here, right? We are salespeople trying to help and the more information you give me, the more the opportunities I have to help you. Because us guys as investors, we know a lot of stuff. And even if we can't help them, we can make a lot of introductions and serve them in different ways.

But in that, yeah, the whole point here is just kind of removing that power that you were referring to, Seth, and kind of reframing in the negotiations of how do I get them to think differently. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But they've already said no to your price, you've got nothing to lose, you know, you might as well kind of go for it.

Seth: I love that. That's awesome, man.

Ann: You know, my daughter has a term for this and she calls it social currency. Like in your situation, what is your social currency? I was like, oh, that is kind of scary that you're using this. But when she explained it, I thought that's exactly what it is, right? Who am I in this situation? And what do I have to use here?

Along those lines, this is a big shift that Mary and I are making as well in terms of some of these larger properties that are coming our way. And working with sellers is looking at, we understand that you want top dollar. We understand your land is beautiful. Like you have a premium property. So let's see what it's going to take to get you that top dollar.

And here's what we can bring. We have the surveyor. We have the perk guy. We have all these things in place. So do you want to partner with us? Because we do have the teams in place, but also we would rather partner with a seller than to get funding that isn't ideal. And we can't really work with banks if we're wanting to flip quickly.

And that is a huge value for that landowner to think, I have this land, I know I want the most for it, and I don't know what it takes to get there. And so for us, that feels really good because we can picture too, like our dad, going back to that story, had the skill and had done the research to know what the land was worth.

And so we always kind of see our avatar as our dad. So this guy needs help. He wants his best price. Can we help him get there? And can we profit too? Because that is a win-win and it feels good.

Seth: I'm wondering, other than what we've already talked about, is there anything else unique about how you two are running your land business compared to what other land investors are doing?

I know you've talked about doing subdivides. I mean, that's somewhat unique. Not everybody's doing that. And it was interesting, your direct mail template. I have got your picture of both of you on there. It sounds like that's a unique advantage that not everybody does.

But anything else come to mind about like, Like, yeah, we're doing this and we don't see anybody else doing that.

Ann: One thing that everyone told us we were crazy to do, but it hasn't been bad, is that Mary from the beginning said, I'm answering the phone. And I think we had PATLive for like a month and she said, just let me do it.

And I was very reluctant because I didn't want to blow up her world. And I know that she has, you know, an actual life and I didn't want her to have to shoulder the hate and things. But for some reason, we don't get a lot of hateful feedback.

And it has worked for Mary to be able to take the calls or to be able to call back quickly. If it goes to voicemail when she's in the hockey rink, you know, she can go out to her truck and call. So I think that part of it is different.

And that's actually part of our marketing as well. It says if you are on the computer, you are talking to Ann. If you're on the phone, you're talking to Mary. Like full stop. And I think that that actually, in a lot of ways, it does limit us in terms of our scalability, but we don't really care because our scalability isn't really about more deals; it's just the size and the quality of our deals.

So we prefer to stay how we are as a, you know, operation or whatever, because we found a way to make it our brand. Our brand is that it's the two of us.

Mary: And less can be more. We don't need 75 deals. We need five really good ones and we're happy.

Ajay: I think there's something so interesting in this, just like a really good lesson that we're seeing a lot kind of in the social media world with branding is that you guys are being super authentic, right? It's, hey, if you're on the phone, you're talking to Mary. If you're on the computer, you're talking to Ann, right?

It's that authenticity piece and that take off the mask piece that I think a lot of investors are missing.

Like you hear the expression, fake it till you make it, right? And there's some validity in that, especially when you're new and sort of coming up, but after you've been in this business for a couple of years, I find that there's just… you need to go back to your roots of just like being a human. And people forget that a lot of times.

It's so funny when you hear investors on the phone the first couple of times and like, Oh, we're this investment company that's doing X, Y, and Z.

I had a deal that almost blew up recently. It's a $70,000 double close.

Seth: When you say blew up, you mean like it almost got killed or like it was going to be a huge deal?

Ajay: The deal almost got killed. Yes.

Seth: Okay. Gotcha.

Ajay: So yeah, not any, not any people that I'm aware of, thankfully, the deal was at risk essentially. We were double closing it, and it was it was an odd one because normally it didn't go through our normal double close process, we got it under contract. And then sometimes we'll just call some neighbors to sort of test the area and see if there's any neighbors that are interested, and one was. And we got full asking for it. And so had a buyer and seller lined up.

And then two weeks before close, the seller reached out and said hey, actually, we are thinking about changing our minds. Can we get out of this? And we were like, we're kind of into this. And we spent a few thousand bucks on due diligence and already kind of have money lined up. Like, no?

It was all over text. And three days later, we get a letter from an attorney that says your contract's not enforceable. You can't do anything, blah, blah, blah.

So and I first reached out to a couple of people in my network. Hey, you guys been through something like this? What do you do?

Best advice I got was from one of my buddies. She called me up and was like, hey, dude, just get on the phone with him. Talk to him like a person. I promise it'll fix more than you think.

Everybody else, you know, saying you can file this lawsuit, do this memorandum, this, that, and the other. All that stuff in the background that you think about, how do I protect myself to get this deal done?

I followed up for a couple of weeks and finally get on the phone with him in the third week of ouble dialing him on my personal cell phone for a long time. And… no joke. I mean, we get on the phone, and I'll change this guy's name to Elliot to protect his identity, “Hey, Elliot, my name is Ajay. I'm the owner of Assets for Acres, or one of the owners of Assets for Acres. We're doing this deal, we're buying your 20 acre in XYZ County.”

And he was like, “I don't think we should be on the phone,” is how he started that.

So you know when any call begins that way, probably gonna end super well, right? Now I use, thankfully, you guys read Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss?

Ann: Yeah.

Ajay: Yeah. Fantastic book, right? I used some of that technique, I forget what it's called, but it was kind of like, “Oh, you probably think I'm a terrible person.” “No, no, I don't think you're terrible.” And now we're into it.

And so, we get into it and I'm like, “Hey, Elliot, listen, man, what I want you to understand is like, we're a small company. It's me and my business partner. We've got six on our staff. I've got payroll, but we're just, we buy and sell land. That's what we do. This is very simple. Last I knew, we were under contract.”

And then I got, “We got this letter from your attorney. Can you help me understand what happened in between?”

And like, I'm not joking, by the end of this call, he was giving me marriage advice.

It is crazy what happens when you just talk to people like people. What had happened is it got lost in translation over text and email over time. And when you lose that authenticity and that human touch, things go wrong in the business.

And so I think that's something that could go over really quickly that people might not catch from the two of you is y'all are doing something right with that, right? Like the authenticity shows and the fact that Mary's willing to still hop on the phone with sellers, after you've made hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, after you've been doing this for years and you can easily hire this out or use PATLive or do those things, there is something to be said. There's a huge, huge lesson in authenticity there.

So I just want to praise you for that because it's unique and not a lot of people are willing to do that now. And clearly, it's had benefits for your business.

Mary: Yes, thank you.

Ann: Thank you.

Seth: So with everything you two have done so far, is there anything that's still really hard for you? Is there anything about this business that's like, man, this almost makes you want to quit. This is really annoying. This is a problem. Anything come to mind or do you pretty much have it all figured out?

Ann: I don't think anything makes us want to quit. But what you said, is there any part of this business? It's the business part of the business.

So just the dealing with the taxes and the strategies and that kind of thing, it isn't why we're doing this and it isn't our strength. So I have two master's degrees, but I'm an art teacher. Like, so there's no part of me that is in business and same for Mary. We're just not business people.

Seth: When you say business, do you mean like accounting stuff? Is that what you're getting at?

Mary: Well, yes, that. And for me, sometimes negotiating, I'm like, ah, what's this, “Pitch Anything?” Okay. I'll start that today.

Just because it's not like we need to go to school for that. But I just kind of try to use our natural ability, but sometimes it falls short for sure. And some days I'm like, all right, you gotta listen to Seth’s podcast to get yourself like, hey, you can do this, get on the phone and do it.

But it's hard. You know, some days… I don't want to quit over it; I would rather succeed more than fail. But is it me or is it the person? I don't know. I just keep trying, I guess.

Seth: Yeah, actually I'm learning the more of life that I live, the more I'm realizing how unnecessary school is. I don't mean to like down talk higher education. I've also got a couple of college degrees. I believe in all this stuff, but I'm also finding that anything I really want to learn, I can figure out. Like, I don't need college to enable me to do that.

There are some careers that still kind of force you down that path, but for the most part, there are a lot of things you can figure out just if you have the will to learn it. And a lot of things that college just frankly doesn't teach, period. Like sales, for example I don't think there's hardly any colleges that teach sales, even though it's like one of the most important things you could ever know in business.

Mary: And how many people are actually in sales that didn't go to school a lot and they're doing very well?

Seth: Yeah, for sure. And I think what they're getting at is like, how do you do like a sales presentation? That kind of thing. I mean, there's probably some interpersonal communication in there too, but sales is really, I think, a lot about just human connection and being real. I kind of like what Ajay was talking about being authentic. And it's hard to teach that in a classroom environment.

Ann: And there's YouTube University, right?

Seth: I mean, that's huge.

Ann: If you don't know, look it up. It's almost all there. I don't know why so many people make so much content, but I'm very, very thankful.

Seth: So do you guys have any kind of like long-term business plan of where you want this to go? Like in five years, where do you think things will look like or what do you want them to look like?

Ann: Our first goal was to get Mary out of her job and we did that quickly, which is great. And then our next goal is to get me out of mine, which is a little bit more complicated.

And, right now, my life, my visa, and my kids' tuitions and everything is tied to my contract. So I pretty much just have to get them graduated and out the door. But that's like two years out. Well, we'd like to just be both full time.

And I would say that our goal is to do bigger deals. I mean, the thing that we looked at this week, or maybe yesterday, gosh, is 170 acres. And we know what we want to do with it. But our broker is saying this is meant to be a whole development. And this is meant to have this, you know, these rolling hills and and these roads, and whatever, all of the infrastructure.

So I think probably, ultimately, if we could go that route and do one of those deals a year and just put our heart and soul into it, particularly if we're a little bit closer to where we're working, that would be also part of our goal, I think.

Seth: So Ann, do you think you're going to stay in the Philippines long-term, or do you want to come back to the U.S. once your kids are done with school?

Ann: Well, we're in the U.S. every summer. I always say that. I still live in America every summer. But when you're from Wisconsin, the summer is enough because I just don't want to shovel. I just don't want to. We've been overseas 23 years now, so I think we'll probably stay overseas, but closer. I definitely want to be in the same time zone.

My husband and I will probably live in an area with a lower cost of living that's U.S.-adjacent, I suppose. That's the closest that we would get.

Ann: Really quickly here, I know in some of the notes you had sent me ahead of time, I think it was you, Ann. You mentioned stuff that nobody else is talking about in the land business right now. One of them is easements by necessity and systematized ways to file for them in states that have legislation for landlocked properties.

Is this something that you're actively doing or just kind of an idea you had?

Ann: I think it's something you should find somebody to teach us.

Maybe that's your next guess. I mean, it comes up so often, right? Like our one VA is there to make sure that we're just not wasting time on mailing or hearing back from people who have landlocked properties because we haven't found the key to unlocking them. And I think that there definitely are ways.

And so how do we, could we be the people who figure it out and then make sense of it?

Seth: Do any of you know a way in any of the data services to specifically filter properties by the ones that are landlocked and only get those on your list? Or do you have to look at them through a parcel map to verify that?

Ann: There's property access IO.

Seth: That's where they're basically manually looking at it, right?

Ann: It isn't manual. It's based on the GIS and it filters by, I'm not exactly spot-on on this, but I think it breaks it into: there's no access, there's likely not, there's probably not, and there's maybe. So you can decide your risk.

So I suppose if you use that, you could filter for landlocked. If you're interested, we have a whole column in our CRM.

Mary: That can keep you busy for a while. There was somebody that was like, that was his niche.

Seth: If you guys heard the Logan Fullmer interview, he does that in Texas specifically. I think that's the only place he really works for the most part. But I know Texas has those laws in place where you can do that, but it's finding the other states that have that as well.

In his example that he shared on Instagram, he bought a property for five grand and then spent $150,000 getting the access and actually building a road and then sold it for $500,000.

So even when you can do it, it doesn't mean it's cheap to do it. There are still costs involved in doing that and actually making it happen.

But I agree. I mean, I also find that fascinating. I'd love to learn more about where can you do it and how you actually make a systematizable way to do it over and over again.

Ann: Yeah. I mean, there's so much there.

Seth: You'd also mentioned something about alternative septics for properties that don't perc? Is this like an elevated bed septic system you had in mind?

Ann: Well, now we've had two deals that have fallen through due to failed percs. And I mean, if it's 50 acres and it's a failed perc on a 50-acre property, that is quite significant.

Seth: There were no places at all in the whole 50 acres they could find?

Mary: I think after a certain amount of pokes, they stopped.

Ann: Yeah. And this area is known for its bedrock. The location is so desirable. It's really near a huge metropolitan area and it's great. I mean, it's beautiful and there are a lot of reasons that people would want to build there, but not if you can't have a toilet.

And so this area also has a lot of rules against mound and different types of alternate septic. And so we did go the route of, because we were like so disheartened, how can it be 50 acres with no perc?

And so we thought, you know, this is the one we should die on this hill and figure it out.

And we didn't figure it out. And then just this week, there's a young, hungry broker that we just threw some of our old little deals that we got from a wholesaler a long time ago. But he's just eager and awesome. And so he said, wait a second, I got a guy. And so he's like, tell me.

So he's now he's digging into it again. So, again, I thought the ship had sailed, but we're back into the outhouse.

Seth: That is a pretty fascinating topic. I should look into that because I think there are totally situations that weren't that. The only question is, will the local health department allow that? Or what is the cost to implement it?

Even the house that I live in right here, we have a lot of clay in this area. And I wasn't there when the septic system was installed, but I'm pretty sure what they did was dig out a lot of what was there and just replace it with better soil that actually drains.

And like in 50 years, it has to be totally redone. But, there are ways around that. It's just a question of how much does it cost and what can you get away with and that kind of thing.

But a 50-acre property like that, I mean, it probably justifies a lot of money to make that thing work if it's doable.

Ann: Absolutely. We even looked into shared drainage fields and there's a drainage easement that you can get from the neighbor and then the neighbor didn't live there. But then we just, well, we didn't die on the hill. Well, we did die on the hill.

Mary: We're going back. We're going to figure it out.

Ann: Yeah, we might.

Seth: You also had a note here about online surveyors and who is using them and what are they?

What are they? Is it like a surveyor that doesn't actually go to the property or what does that mean?

Ann: Yes. And how amazing would that be, right? We had a property that the county had it as 74 acres and Land ID and Regrid, everything else had it as 44. Well, that's a significant difference. And the seller had inherited the property, but it was in a super rural county. So there aren't a lot of surveyors and, you know, we weren't looking to subdivide it. We were just looking to see how big is it really and what can we offer?

And so then, that's when we went down this other research rabbit hole of finding out about these desktop surveyors or people who are able to use satellite measurements and do things. And if they have certain metes and bounds on an existing deed, then they can.

Well, in this case, it was not that at all. It was like, go to Sarah's farm booth or something like that. It wasn't going to happen.

Mary: Like a little telephone call is what they used to share.

Ann: And to get a surveyor out there was nine months or something.

Mary: Yeah, you're right. That one was hard. It was crazy.

Ann: So we were just thinking, gosh, there has to be a way in some of these rural areas to find another method.

Seth: That's interesting. I don't know how you could actually do a legit survey without somebody actually being there, like the whole idea of putting stakes at the corners and that kind of thing. I mean, there's literal GPS tools involved with this and you have to be there to do it.

I could see how maybe you could like, guess if it's all online, but to really know for sure, I don't know how that'd be feasible. But maybe I'm wrong.

Ann: Yeah, I want to keep reading about it because there's definitely places that it's recognized.

Mary: Maybe. Let's find out. We want more of them that are faster.

Ann: I mean, some people read books for enjoyment but we just read about septics and surveys.

Seth: I'll put that stuff on my massive list of content to put together because I'm sure that would be pretty fascinating to figure out. It'd be cool to do a video about one of those elevated bed septic systems, just to see, what does that even look like? Like, how do you make that? When is it allowed or not allowed? When does it make sense to do? Lots of stuff about that.

Ann: I agree. Fascinating.

Seth: Mary and Ann, thanks so much for talking to us. It was great to get to know you and hear more about your business. You don't have to share anything, but do you want to share anything? If people want to get ahold of you or ask questions or anything like that?

Ann: I think you can find us on Facebook. We're Mary Ann Danielson.

Seth: Awesome. Any final parting advice you would have for new investors who are getting into the land business? If somebody's just getting started and what would you tell them?

Ann: Listen to Seth.

Mary: Listen to the podcast and use the community would be mine.

Ann: Yeah. And not get too distracted. You know, there's a new camp, I think, of investors that are very like, bro, you know, you need this and all these automations. And I think it doesn't really have to be that complicated. And so at least for us, we just zoned in on what we wanted to do and stuck to it. And I think that that's why now we're about three years in and we haven't really had a lot of doubts.

But I think the people who get a little bit lost or overwhelmed, it's because they're trying to do too much too fast or trying to compete with the bros or whatever it is. And so ,I think keeping it simple and and just putting your head down and working really hard.

Seth: Have you two ever gotten sidetracked or had moments where you felt like you like wasted a lot of time on something that was leading nowhere? And if so, like, what was that?

Ann: We wasted time on deals for sure. We have spent, you know, a really long time on deals that then ended up falling through or had title problems or something like that. But I don't think we've chased a market or a bell or whistle. No squirrel syndrome here.

Mary: I mean, we're definitely guilty of getting overexcited for a deal and then, but whatever, it was fun. And we probably learned something somewhere.

Seth: You know, I don't really see that the same way in terms of wasting time. That's just kind of an honest thing that is going to happen to everybody. I mean, you can't know everything about a deal until you get into it. So, but it's definitely easy to get sidetracked by shiny objects.

And anyway, thanks again for your input. It was great to talk with both of you. People out there want to check out the show notes, they'll find links to a lot of the stuff we talked about. see the video of this conversation, go to This is episode 185.

Thank you again, Ann and Mary, it was great to talk to you.

Ann: Thanks, guys.

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Seth Williams is the Founder of - an online community that offers real-world guidance for real estate investors.

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