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The “Personalized Pitch” for MORE Off-Market Real Estate Deals


Off-market real estate deals allow you to avoid the multiple listings service (MLS) and find RARE properties often at a sizable discount, but many rookie investors are hesitant to send mail or pick up the phone. If that sounds like YOU, we have the tips, tools, and templates to make your life easier!

Welcome back to the Real Estate Rookie podcast! Today’s special guest is Brett Long, a rookie investor who managed to build a valuable portfolio in just three years. At a time when all of his friends and family members told him to avoid real estate investing, Brett went all-in—flipping houses for a HUGE profit. Little did he know that the money he would bring in from this strategy would help him fund buy and hold properties as well.

In this episode, Brett talks about his experience driving for dollars, as well as the “personalized pitch” he included in his direct mail campaigns to generate a TON of interest from sellers. Of course, once the calls started coming in, he still had some convincing to do. Brett provides the template for these productive phone conversations and shares how he was able to turn hesitant homeowners into willing sellers!

Ashley:
This is Real Estate Rookie, episode 354. My name is Ashley Kehr and I am here with my cohost, Tony J. Robinson.

Tony:
And welcome to the Real Estate Rookie podcast where every week, twice a week, we bring you the inspiration, motivation, and stories you need to hear to kickstart your investing journey. And, boy, do we have a story for you today.

Ashley:
We have a special guest, Brett Long on today, and he’s actually going to give us some great tips about flipping. We’re going to be talking about writing letters to find deals. We’re going to go through the process that Brett uses. And just to give you an idea, you don’t need a lot of money to actually do the process that he does to find houses to flip.

Tony:
We’re also going to touch on Ashley’s biggest fear, which is talking to off-market sellers. How do you approach those people? What do you say? And how do you actually make it a conversation that both of you end up enjoying?

Ashley:
So, Brett, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for taking the time to join us today to share your advice and your experience.

Brett:
Yeah. Glad to be here and thankful for the opportunity to come talk to you today.

Ashley:
We understand you’ve been investing since 2020. Can you give us an overview of what your portfolio looks like today?

Brett:
Yes. Today I’ve got three single family homes in my smaller market, and then I’ve got another triplex that’s a little bit closer to home. And between those six doors, total value is just shy of $1.5 million and the monthly cash flow is right around $2,200 a month.

Tony:
First, congratulations, man. That is amazing to be able to achieve those numbers in a relatively short period of time, man, so I’m super excited to dig into how you made that happen. But before we hear more about your marketing and what steps you’ve taken, what are you doing right now that’s working in this day and age? There’s a lot of folks, Brett, who are on the sidelines waiting for the perfect Goldilocks situation to get that first real estate investment. So what are you seeing this working right now for those people?

Brett:
Three main things that are working, right? Targeted lists with specific buy box and knowing exactly what you’re going after and being very specific about it. Two is personalized mailers, getting very specific with the language and information, and basically knowing who you’re talking to. And then third, taking that whole process at their pace. I think a lot of people realize that most people don’t like to be sold to, and so making sure that the whole process works for them in taking things at their pace.

Ashley:
Let’s break that down real quick. What is actually a buy box, and what are some general things that you should include when building your buy box?

Brett:
Yeah. So, to buy box is exactly like it sounds. You want to put certain things in the box for what you’re looking for. That’s property type, location. That could be square footage. That could be a very specific type of real estate, whether that’s single family, small multifamily, apartment buildings, really just getting very specific with exactly what you want to invest in and being able to paint that picture of, “That’s what I’m looking for.”

Tony:
So, Brett, I want to know, what was your buy box when you first started, and what steps did you take to build that out? Because I think for a lot of rookies that are listening, they maybe can understand the concept of buy box, but it’s like, how are people coming up with these boxes? Is it just arbitrary? Are there certain questions you’re asking yourself? What steps did you take to build out your buy box initially?

Brett:
For me, it was more of an emotional decision, but also an economic decision. So starting out, I knew I wanted to get into real estate, didn’t know where or how, and like a lot of people, I thought my direct market that I live in was too expensive because everything’s always too expensive. However, I grew up in a smaller town about an hour down the road and realized, maybe that’s an easier way, a more comfortable way for me to enter into real estate investing. I’ve always loved driving to and from school through some old historic neighborhoods back in my hometown.
We’ve got 100-year-old homes, and I drove through those back and forth across town for 15, 20 years and always saw these beautiful houses. However, over time, they started getting run down, and those are, to me, kind of a historical element of our town and one that I didn’t want to see go away. I think at that point I realized it all comes together, this smaller market that I felt was a little less risky, a little better entry point, but also being able to own and work on and improve these houses that I loved so much growing up.

Tony:
Brett, you’re a much more admirable real estate investor than I am because your buy box was emotional and data-driven. Reminds me of our friend, actually. I have a friend named Katie Neeson. Katie develops on Instagram, but she’s on a mission to revitalize her downtown, so a lot of her buy box is built around this desire to bring her downtown back to life. But for me it was very much economical. I was just thinking, “What’s my budget? What can I actually afford to purchase?”
So that puts a cap typically on purchase price and size of property. What zip code do I want to invest in? Where have I seen the strongest rental data to support what it is I’m looking for? And then also just condition the property. What kind of rehab project am I willing to take on? And when you think about those things, your ability to purchase, location data and project scope, usually those are things that you put together to build out your buy box.

Brett:
Yeah, absolutely. I can definitely speak to more of the economic side of things as well. So starting out, like a lot of newbies, don’t have a lot of money to invest as well, so looking for a lower price point. So looking for something probably about $120,000 all in when I was starting out. That includes purchase and rehab costs and holding costs along with that. But also, to your point, getting smart about places of population growth and economic drivers. I think that’s something that keyed me on to my hometown because, when I was growing up, the city was pretty much the same for what seemed like 20 years.
I left for a long time and came back in the area more recently and realized a lot had changed. There were a lot of industrial parks being built, a lot of life sciences and manufacturing companies who were coming to build in Sanford. It’s a more affordable market than the Raleigh area that I’m based in, Raleigh, North Carolina. And I think one of the biggest things that hit me was, I was driving through probably late 2019 and saw a Starbucks in my small town and realized, “Wait a second. Starbucks? Starbucks is putting something in this town?” And realized if they were willing to make the investment, it was probably a good signal for a growing area.

Ashley:
So, Brett, I want to get more into the market, but to clarify, you are actually flipping homes to buy rentals?

Brett:
Correct. Correct. So, a mix of both. BRRRR has always spoken to me, but flipping to be able to continue to generate that revenue, to be able to continue to buy and hold. Basically want to have multiple exit strategies with any property, but it’s got to make sense on both of those ends, whether that be a BRRRR property or being able to flip and sell at the end of the project. I’ve actually got two properties, two single family properties, that I wanted to have buy and hold originally, but they just made too much sense as flips and so let those go.

Ashley:
I’m very curious to hear more about this market where you’re able to make that last-minute decision because that’s not always the case in every market where you have to plan and strategize ahead of time before actually purchasing the property. But before we get into that, let’s take a short break and we’ll be right back.
Okay, and welcome back. Brett is going to talk to us about the market where he is able to make a last-minute decision whether he is going to flip a house or turn it into a rental after doing the rehab. So, Brett, let’s get into that market. Can you tell us a little bit more about it and how you found it and decided that you could actually do this in your market?

Brett:
Yes. Like I said, grew up in the market so have an intimate knowledge, and also still have a lot of friends and family that live in that market. So, even though I’m not there-

Ashley:
And what market is it, Brett?

Brett:
Sanford, North Carolina.

Ashley:
Okay.

Tony:
Sanford. And just to give us some context, Brett, Sanford, what’s the nearest big city?

Brett:
We call it a big city, but the capital of North Carolina is Raleigh, North Carolina. That’s where I live, and that’s about an hour away. But Charlotte, North Carolina, is also probably even bigger from a population standpoint, but that’s about two hours away to the west.

Ashley:
Tony still doesn’t know where that is. He doesn’t-

Tony:
Yeah, absolutely. I got to open up the maps right now to see where that’s at. But-

Brett:
Not too far from the North Carolina mountains.

Tony:
There you go. When you say smaller city, how many people are actually in that city? What’s the population?

Brett:
Yeah, the city population is probably around 30,000, and there’s only one real city in the whole county, and it’s the smallest county in North Carolina. But 50,000 people across the entire county. It’s not a one stoplight town, but it’s definitely not a really large area from a population standpoint. But I think that’s definitely going to change over the course of the next three to five years with all the industry that’s moving in, especially with, one of the ones I hadn’t mentioned, a company called VinFast is an electric vehicle maker out of Vietnam.
They just announced last year that they’re going to be probably about 10 minutes down the road from Sanford. They rezoned part of this area to include it in the Sanford city limits for tax purposes. And again, it’s right between where I live and the Sanford market. So Sanford’s definitely a path of progress opportunity.

Tony:
Just really quickly, Brett, you just said an important word. What do you mean when you say path of progress? And what are some of the indicators a rookie should maybe look for to know if the city they’re thinking about is also in a path of progress?

Brett:
In a lot of different markets, especially over the past three years with how much real estate has boomed, a lot of markets feel too expensive. And when you feel that way, a lot of other people feel that way as well, and there’s a lot of different ancillary markets that live outside of those major areas, and companies and corporations understand this as well. So, they’re moving slightly outside of that range in order to be able to capitalize on lower prices from land and development standpoint, and still be close enough to these major markets that they can be there in a short amount of time. The path of progress is understanding where those company industries are moving to and getting in the path of progress before the major population growth happens so that you can catch that tailwind.

Tony:
Great explanation, Brett. And honestly, I’m seeing a lot of the same things in the short-term rental space as well in the Airbnb industry. A lot of our strategy right now is moving away from some of those big vacation hotspots that everyone across the country knows because those markets are a little overheated in terms of purchase price, and there’s more competition. And we’re looking for more of those secondary, tertiary markets that are outside of those big metros that we can go into.
We’re actually going to be closing in a couple of weeks here on a 13-unit motel, and it’s very much in a tertiary market. But we’ve got big goals for this property because one of the benefits is, A, lower purchase price, we’ve got an amazing deal, but, B, that lack of competition means that if you just do a little bit better, you’re really setting yourself up to stand above the competition in that market. So I love to see that it’s working both on the short-term side and the long-term side as well.

Brett:
Absolutely. And that’s a great point is the competition piece. That’s not something that I mentioned when I was talking about it. When you start going to these secondary and tertiary markets, if you’re getting there before a lot of other people, there is a lot less competition. And especially if you’ve got a narrow buy box, the more focus and specific you can get from both a location and a buy box perspective, the less competition you’re going to have.

Ashley:
So, Brett, once you identified this market, what was the actual process you took or you are taking now to source your deals?

Brett:
Yeah. The first deal that I got was actually an MLS deal, and it was right at the beginning of 2020, right when they were shutting everything down. We had just had our second daughter and I convinced my wife that now was the best time to get into real estate during the beginning of a pandemic and just having a new baby girl. And so, got that under contract right at the beginning of the COVID lockdown and spent a lot of blood, sweat and tears working on this house in a very high traffic area of Sanford, and transforming what was an all-brown house, like a 1920s all-brown, two-story house that blended into the background and worked on transforming that into the former beauty that it had.
Now it’s a beautiful, light blue house on the corner that generated a lot of traffic and conversation in the community because people have driven by this house for so long, and that was the entry point of, “All right, I like this buy box. This makes sense.” And Ashley, to your question, as I was working on that house during nights and weekends, I would literally just drive around the neighborhood and drive for dollars. Not anything fancy, literally, with a notebook and my phone camera and taking pictures of these properties and writing down addresses and dropping pins. It doesn’t even have to be a long process, 10, 15 minutes at most, and just doing it where I found time. That eventually built up. It’s not a large area, but it built up a list of 77 different properties that fit my buy box.

Tony:
So, Brett, just to clarify here, you said that you were spending 10 to 15 minutes at a time, you built up a list of over 70 properties for you to target. How much did it cost you to do that?

Brett:
It cost me $0 to do that. It’s time and energy. That’s it.

Ashley:
Gas money.

Brett:
Yeah, essentially gas money. But it was essentially where I was going to and from anyway. So, to your point, not very much money at all, if any. Just, it’s the energy.

Tony:
And the reason I ask that question, Brett, is because there are so many rookies who are listening right now that are not taking action because they don’t have the capital, they don’t have this, they don’t have that. But what you just said is that you built a list of over 70 ideal properties that fit your buy box 15 minutes at a time with zero money.

Brett:
Yes.

Tony:
That means there’s no reason for any rookie that’s listening to not replicate what you just said, to go out there into their own backyard and start searching for deals that same way as well.

Brett:
Exactly. And it provides a good training ground if you haven’t done any marketing, if you will, or direct mail, and doing it on a smaller scale and getting your feet under you and understanding that process and how that looks and how it works to really be able to succeed or fail on a small scale and then be able to tweak that in the future for any other future marketing campaigns that you might want to do.

Ashley:
Tell us a little bit about your branding strategy in the marketing. Were you sending out handwritten letters? Did you get logo design? What are some of the important pieces that somebody should do for their branding? Is it yard signs? Give us some examples.

Brett:
Yeah, absolutely. It honestly started with an overall plan that I was committed to doing this and I bought this on-market property, and that I wanted to do off-market properties, and listening to the BiggerPockets podcast for so long and getting a lot of different ideas and understanding where you want to go ahead of time so you can be thinking about how to prepare and plan for where you want to be. So during that first project, I realized, if I want to continue doing this, I need to be visible and have people understand who I am and what I’m doing, even without having a one-to-one conversation with them.
So one of the first things I did was go online and create a yard sign with no logo or anything, just colors and company name. And at that time I realized I should probably have a website as well, drive them somewhere so that they understood. So over the course of about a week, ordered these signs, bought a domain, went online and created this website to provide information about who I am and what I do, and provide communication and inbound if anyone had questions about what was going on. And so stuck this yard sign right out in the middle of the yard.
I was up late afternoon on a hot July painting the side of a house so people could associate this color scheme and this website with that guy that’s up there on the ladder doing this work and improving this house. That was the initial phase of planning for the off-market campaign. And so that second phase was collecting all of those leads for me to create a list out of. And literally, again, to what Tony mentioned earlier, zero cost to find those mailing addresses and literally went on our city tax site and cross-referenced those properties to find the mailing address of the owner so I could create this list.

Ashley:
Which, to clarify, to break it down even more miniscule as you’re going, searching your county that you’re in and you’re looking for the property tax bills, and usually you can just type in the address and it’ll pull up a copy of the tax bill and it’ll show you the owner’s name and the mailing address where the property taxes are sent to. So that way you know, okay, so the person doesn’t live here, or maybe they do live there, but that’s the mailing address where they receive their mail, so even could be a PO box sometimes, too.

Brett:
Exactly. And you can find out a lot of information on these free tax sites because they tell you the mailing address, when the last sale was, what the tax assessment is. Sometimes they provide a drawing of the property itself and when any sort of improvements were made to the property. So a really good space to get to learn more about the property itself for free.
And so in doing that process, I built out an Excel spreadsheet with all of the property owners’ names and mailing addresses along with their property address, and started to create a mailer piece that I could send to each of these people. I definitely wanted personalization involved in this to speak to these people directly because I was letting them know who I was and wanted to make it more of a personal touch and not a cold, like, “Hey, I’m just looking to buy a house. Just looking to buy a house. Will you sell me your house?”

Tony:
So, Brett, what exactly did you say? Give us the template of, hey, how do I create this personalized mailer to send out to folks.

Brett:
I paired that from a branding perspective with what I put on my website as well, to kind of echo this sentiment that I was going to be communicating to people, which is like, “Hey, I’m just a regular guy. I grew up here. I want to help improve the community and save some of these houses that are in maybe ill-repair or people just can’t keep up with, and yours caught my eye.”
And at that point there’s a lot more nuts and bolts into the personalization, but literally taking all the information from the spreadsheet that I built, and including their name, the actual property address, and talking about the property with the information from the sheet so it isn’t just a, “Hey, so-and-so,” or, “Hi there, I like your property at X,” and really putting a personal touch on there. But essentially introducing them to who I am and what my company is about, and if they’re interested in selling I’d love to have a conversation with them.

Ashley:
I got a question for you, Brett, on that. If an LLC owns the property, how do you make it personal without just saying, “Hello, Ashley LLC?”

Brett:
Yeah, great question. In those instances, and, man, I’d have to go back and check, but finding a warmer way to do that, or not even addressing it in a personalized manner at all. So you might start something with, “Hi, Tony,” or, “Hi, Ashley,” in a letter, but build that list out in such a way that, if it is an LLC, you can go in and remove that so it doesn’t look terrible. Like you just said, if I wrote a letter that said, “Hi, Lee County LLC,” they’d be like, “Well, clearly they don’t know what they’re doing. I’m just a number.”
But literally building these out was a simple mail merge with Microsoft Word and using that Excel file, so when the mail merge is complete, you can go and customize each one of those letters. You can go customize the text within those individual letters in this large file, this Microsoft Word file that has 77 letters in it. At that point you can go in and delete. “All right, this is an LLC. I’m taking out the whole top of that.” The same thing with some of the property addresses where you can tweak it a little bit and format it so it looks better and there aren’t any mistakes.

Tony:
And just to clarify what Brett’s talking about, a mail merge is basically, you can take data from an Excel file and automatically populate a Word document with the data from the Excel file. So instead of having to manually type out 77 letters, you just type the letter once with the mail merge notes and then it’ll do it automatically. Anyway, Google mail merge and you’ll get a pretty quick and thorough explanation on that.
Now, Brett, I want to transition to what I think is going to be my favorite part of this episode, which is getting Ashley over her fear of talking directly to sellers. We’re going to get to that in a second, but before we do, let’s hear a quick word from our show sponsors.
All right, Brett, so we are back and I want to get into, your phone’s ringing, people are responding to these letters you’re sending out, someone actually calls, and now you’ve got to talk to someone. So what are you saying when you’re actually having these conversations with the sellers?

Brett:
Yeah, it’s a great question. And to back up a step. For me, personally, as a screening effort to understand when is a call coming in from one of these mailers, I created just a free Google Voice number that separated it from my personal number, so that’s the number I put on all these letters. For several different reasons that’s a good idea, but one of the main ones is to segregate that inbound traffic so you really understand, “Okay, this phone call I’m about to answer, I need to answer as, ‘Hi, I’m Brett from Team Long Properties,’” and have a professional sense to it as opposed to, “I don’t know who this number is. I’m not picking it up.” But, yes, once they answer, it’s typically just a warm greeting like, “Hi, I’m Brett from Team Long Properties. Who am I speaking with?”
And they’ll tell me who they are and usually they’ll give a brief introduction, but one of the first questions I ask them is, “So what made you pick up the phone today? Why are we talking right now?” And that’s when they typically go into a little bit of, “Hey, either your letter spoke to me. It was very personal and I understand, and it meets my expectations for who I’d want to purchase my house.” Or, “Hey, I’m in this situation that I don’t know if I want to sell, but I definitely might, but I have some questions first.” And basically that one question of, “So why did you call me today?” can open up a lot of different pathways for where that conversation could go. You always have a call sheet for specific questions you want to know about the property itself.
But I think it’s very important to take that initial phone call, and the first part of that phone call at their pace, and letting them dictate the beginning of that conversation because that’s how I want to brand and personalize what I do in real estate investing. This is not a fast, pushy thing. This can take as long as we need. I want to make sure that when we’re doing this process at the end of it, whether it ends in a transaction or not, that you feel good about how things went and I feel good about how things went, because if either of those things is not true, then this is not going to work for anybody. And this is something I want to continue to do in this market. So I want to make sure that people are treated right and they know that it’s more than just a quick sale, fast-money approach.

Tony:
Love that approach, Brett. And just one thing I want to share, this actually comes from Brett Daniels. I don’t think we’ve had him on the Rookie podcast before, but he has a lot of great content around wholesaling and specifically talking to people on the phone. What he encourages folks to do is to get four things. You want, condition of the property, their motivation for selling, the timeline, and then their asking price. And if you can get those four things, typically it allows you to have a really good dialogue around, “Hey, can we actually make this deal work?” So, Ashley, let me ask you, hearing that, does it make you less nervous, more excited about talking to people?

Ashley:
Well, I’ve done two batches of mailers and both times I did Google Voice, which I think is a phenomenal tip to give out, is to do that because you know that it’s somebody calling who got your mailer and it’s separate from your cell phone, but on your cell phone I guess, but not your cell phone number. And my immediate reaction… So, it was linked to me and my business partner, and he would take all the calls, but I still had it linked to my phone so I could see what’s going through and everything. And my immediate reaction would be, “Don’t answer, don’t talk to anyone.” And my job would be, I would Google the phone number real quick and try to find their address before he even answered the phone and said hello.
But we had Nate Robbins on the show and I think he talked more about cold calling. Where, Brett, you already have a warm lead where that, I feel like I would be way more comfortable with because you already know they’re calling because they’re interested about something, or maybe they’re just curious, they want to know what you would pay for their house. But either way, it’s not the, we’re just reaching out out of the blue and cold calling them. But Nate was episode 326, if anyone’s interested in hearing that side of talking to people on the phone, because I did learn a lot from him, too. So, Brett, when you’re on the phone with people, how are you being transparent about your process of purchasing their home?

Brett:
Yeah. Very, very good question. And, Tony, what you mentioned, I actually dug up my old notebook that has my screening questions that I would use, and I’d carry around this everywhere, just in case somebody called, I could wrestle it up real quick so I would remember, “I need to make sure I hit all of these things,” like you mentioned. Or, “Do you live there? Is it rented? What’s the condition of the house? Has any work been done on it recently? Do you own it free and clear?” A lot of different questions that lead to that next step in the process to where you figure out, by the end of the call, “Is this something that we should take the next step on? Is this something you’re still interested in?” And that’s the kickoff for asking what you asked about, which is, what does the rest of this process look like?
At that point you’ve got a go-no-go decision, right? After talking with them, they’ve felt me out, I’ve felt them out, and usually by the end of that conversation, either I realize this is maybe not something I want to pursue, or they realize, maybe I’m just not willing to sell. But if they do, I ask, “Is this something you’d like to continue with, move forward and move on to next steps?” And if they say yes, I start to explain what that whole process looks like and take it high-level start to finish to let them know like, “All right. Well, the next step after this would be me finding some time to come on-site and actually see the property and walk the property and verify some of the key things that we talked about today, and just verify the condition and understand the property itself.”
After that, I need to go back and understand, all right, if there are things that need to be done to the house, I need to run some numbers to figure out, is this something that’s going to make sense from a purchase and rehab standpoint? And just being very honest with them and letting them know, like, “Hey, I understand that you may be interested in selling, but if these numbers don’t make sense, this is not something I’m going to be able to move forward with either. But if for some reason we can’t move forward, I’m happy to help you with the information that I have and figure out what may be the best direction for you to go in.”
But talking them through that whole process of, all right, after the on-site, I may need to get an inspection to understand the property itself even more depending on what we see. And then at that point we’ll talk final numbers, and if we both come to a price that makes sense for both of us, then I start to explain what the actual closing process looks like so that they have a high level of how the whole thing works up front.

Tony:
Love that, Brett, and I appreciate you walking us through that. I think a lot of folks, they get the idea of sending the mail, but what happens afterwards is where they get a little nervous. And, guys, I’m going to put a little Easter egg at the end of this episode if our producers will help us out, but I have a hilarious voicemail from a very angry property owner that called me back a few years ago, and I’ll tack it on the end of this episode if you guys want to listen.

Speaker 4:
Hi, Sarah. My name’s (beep). I call bullshit (beep). You weren’t randomly driving around here with cash. I get one to two calls a day for the last two months. I’m an individual who enjoys privacy, but I’ve been getting one to two calls a day for the last two months of people who think they want to buy my (beep) property and make money off of it. I’m also a real estate investor, but I’m not stupid, so (beep) don’t call me again.

Tony:
So Brett, what I want to ask you is, for all these deals that you’ve done, about how much did it actually cost you to get started? Ballpark. What was the total investment for these seven deals?

Brett:
Geez, for the seven deals? Let’s see. I think the first portion, a few hundred dollars and rounding out a second marketing campaign, a few hundred dollars more. Funny, but probably just under $700 for the seven deals, and it’s not anything extravagant. Literally, the most expensive thing was I bought a printer so that I could print these letters. I found all the letters so I could print these letters out, and there’s some more of the personalization where I sign each one. And printing envelopes and stamp and return addresses, but that’s literally the most expensive part of that. Outside of that, it’s stamps, it’s paper. It’s not a lot of money to get started.

Tony:
Brett, I think you’re a shining example of just taking action, not being super fancy about it, not being worried about step 20 when you’re on step one. It’s just like, “Hey, what can I do next, and how can I keep making progress, and how can I stay consistent?” I think it’s a super important lesson for rookies that are listening. So I want to finish off, Brett, by asking you, and we touched on this a little bit at the top of the show, but there are a lot of people right now who are worried about investing in real estate. Interest rates are climbing, you’ve seen prices going up, prices going down. We’ve been on this rollercoaster ride, and a lot of folks are just waiting. So, what’s your take? Is it risky to flip homes right now, today?

Brett:
It can be if you’re not prepared and you don’t have a plan. I think now is a great opportunity to get into the market because of that fear and uncertainty. That’s the environment that I got started in with COVID. I can’t tell you how many people told me at the time, “Don’t do this. This is not a good idea. Everything’s going to go crazy.” And lo and behold, it was actually the best time to get started. And I think that’s another opportunity coming here soon. But back to why it’s a good time, you have to know what you’re doing. You have to have a good buy box, you have to buy properties at the right price. You have to understand the rehab costs and what you’re doing, and underwrite effectively upfront so that the numbers don’t lie.
You may have less opportunities now. Things may not pencil the way that they used to, but I think going in with a very specific plan and understanding very specifically what you want to do and what those numbers look like, I think it’s a great time, and especially now with off-market deals. There’s a lot of people who may want to sell but just can’t, and that’s where that conversation can go to where they feel like, “I can’t put my home on the market. There aren’t enough buyers out there.” Or, “I’ve wanted to sell my home for so long, but interest rates went up and I just don’t feel like my property is marketable enough to compete.” So, yeah, there’s definitely a lot of opportunities. You just have to be very specific about how you’re going about it and know your numbers, stick to your numbers.

Ashley:
Right. With your profits from the flips, we talked a little bit about how you’re flipping to buy rentals. Can you tell us a little bit of how those numbers work out? What are you making on average profit from the flips, and then how are you using that to buy the rentals?

Brett:
That first property, it was listed at 100,000 on market. I offered 60 and got it under contract for 70. We ended up putting, probably, let me see where that number is. Yeah, we put $47,000 in renovations into it and we had conservatively estimated that the ARV was going to be 160 and it ended up appraising at 181. So that’s a lot more money that we can take out and then reinvest into the next deal. So basically taking those profits from either a BRRRR and pulling that money out, or the revenue from a flip and then rolling that into the next deal.

Ashley:
Well, Brett, thank you for coming on and taking the time to share your process for creating your list, creating your buy box, and working us through and making me overcome my fear of talking to people. And I think Jody was too kind when he said it was talking to sellers or potential sellers. I think it’s just people in general, answering the phone. But if you want to find out more information about Brett or about Tony or I, we are going to link Brett’s website and our social media handles into the show description. You can find that below if you’re watching on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform.
I hope you guys learned a ton as to how you can take action today with building your buy box, doing driving for dollars, building that list out, and sending out those personalized mailers and waiting for the phone to ring. And I know it’s around the holidays and this is going to be released into January I believe. But I will tell you, last year I sent out mailers and I didn’t realize what I was doing and they got delivered to everyone the day before Christmas Eve. And I thought, “This is the worst timing.”
You have no idea how many times my phone rang that day. And so, don’t worry about waiting until the perfect time to send the mailers either. Just start taking action. You can always send another round of them a month later, two months later, three months later. Well, Brett, thank you very much. I’m Ashley, and he’s Tony, and we will be back with another guest and we’ll see you guys at the Real Estate Rookie podcast.
(singing)

 

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