Don't Forget to Listen - Episode 42
Oscar: I guess they're telling us something. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Playing your song after.
Tim: It is my jam.
Melina: Welcome to "Flippin’ Off," a purpose-driven podcast about flipping houses and making a difference.
Oscar: All right. Hey, good morning. So, here we are where we're actually gonna be filling in for Dave and Melina. This time around we have Frank...
Frank: Good morning.
Oscar: ...and Tim.
Tim: Good morning.
Oscar: And myself, Oscar. Hey, guys. So, good morning, again. And here's what we're going to do today, and this is kind of the idea that I had. A few weeks ago we started a series, and for those of you guys that don't know out there, we actually go live every Tuesday at 12:10. We really start our conversation at 12:12. So, we call it the "12:12 Show." It's on our Facebook fan page, so if you don't know what that is, check us out on Facebook and you'll be able to see some of the previous episodes on our Facebook Live. And the three of us, John is not with us this morning, but we're on the board of advisors for the club, so we took it upon ourselves to start providing a little bit more education out there to people, so they get to familiarize themselves with who we are and what we do. So, we started a series on creative acquisitions. Really cool stuff. We do a lot of those types of things. And what I wanted to do is, Tim and I did this transaction, I think, Frank, you've probably heard about it...
Frank: I did.
Oscar: ...on what it entailed, and it was interesting. But before we get into the nuts and bolts of that transaction, let's talk a little bit about creative acquisition. So, Frank, why don't you start us off?
Frank: Well, on the creative side, every time I'm talking to a homeowner, I always wanna take their temperature and see where they are with that. "Can we acquire this property subject two, the existing mortgage? Are you open to carrying financing on this property?" And my goal there is to create more spread for the offer and be able to save on money costs. Obviously, we're not going to pay as much as money cost if we can cut those things in half by keeping an existing mortgage in place. I'll share later with some different deals that I've done that were creative, but there's so many different things that you can do with that. And I think for the seller, giving them options instead of just a straight, what they might call, lowball offer because their neighbor just sold their house for 350 and I was like, "Well, you don't want to tell them that their house is not as nice as their neighbor's."
Tim: Your house is...
Frank: Yes. So, showing them the numbers and giving them some options and then backing into those numbers to show them why and letting them choose, right? So, they have more control over the transaction and they feel better about the decision where instead of, if I just said, "Here's 200,000, take it or leave it." They're gonna leave it. So, we wanna build rapport, give them some options, let them know that we are on their side and we wanna create a win-win for this transaction.
Oscar: Yeah. Very cool, Tim.
Tim: Everything that Frank just said, I also, when Frank says, take their temperature and see what they're open to, I think the key is really to find out what they really need. A lot of homeowners, they think that they need a bunch of money, but at the end of the day, what they really need isn't gonna cost as much money as maybe they think it's going to. And if we can get down to what they really need and show them that we care about getting them their needs met, then we can maybe have a conversation with them about creative ways to get their needs met. And obviously, you're gonna have that homeowner that, "Nope, I need my 200,000. That's it." And those homeowners, maybe we can't be creative, but in homeowners that really understand what they really need, right? Like a new place to live because they're getting ready to lose this one, we're able to get creative and get those needs met. And I think that's the biggest thing, is getting what they need.
Frank: I'd love to hear an example of what somebody might want or need other than just cash.
Oscar: Way to set that up.
Tim: Love that.
Oscar: So, a while back, Tim approached me and said, "Hey, I got this opportunity that I think we can get creative on." So, immediately I went into space, the same conversation Frank just had. Well, what do they need, right? And in that conversation, Tim and I like to...I'll steal it from Tim because he's really the one that says this, but it's mine now, is what value do we bring to these homeowners, right?
Oscar: Because that's really what it all boils down to. Any opportunity that you can come across where you're going to create a solution, there has to be value that you bring to the transaction or to that relationship. So, that said, it was in Hesperia? Is that it?
Tim: Hesperia is the one that we're thinking about.
Oscar: Yeah. So, he says, "Hey, look. I got this opportunity. I'm meeting with the homeowner. Do you wanna walk it with me? Let's take a look at it." I was like, "Yeah. Sure. I'll go. I'll go out there and take the ride, by lunch we're good." So, he didn't by the way, but different story. So, anyhow. So, we get out there and definitely what Frank was saying, "It doesn't look like the other houses. Structurally, maybe, but condition-wise, right? Not so nice." I think there were some challenges with the son where I don't... You want to share a little bit about that?
Tim: The son had anger issues and every single wall in the house had big holes in them. Every single door in the house had big holes in them. One of the dad's mattress was all cut to shreds, like the son got in there and shred it. The Dad was sleeping on a couch for the last three years because his mattress was trashed because of his son. Their house, it was a hoarder house. It was full of stuff. There was feces everywhere. Animal feces, they had dogs. There's probably some human in there, too, I'm sure. But, so, anyways, with that being said, this house was in really bad shape. Probably in my history, the top three or four properties I've ever seen, this property was among the top that I've ever seen.
Oscar: As far as worst condition.
Tim: Worst conditioning. Yeah.
Oscar: Okay. And if I remember correctly, the son owned what he did.
Tim: Oh, yeah.
Oscar: Because there were like badges of honor for him.
Oscar: Like, "I did that. That's my hole, right? Look what I'm capable of type thing. Give me that look, Frank, but it's true.
Frank: So, he writes his name then autograph it?
Tim: The son was almost like a grown man.
Oscar: You could almost take pictures next to the hole and have him stand by it and he'd be proud of it. It's just bizarre behavior.
Tim: We say son, but he was a grown man. He was mid to late 20s, the son was. Of course, the father, the one we were working with, he was probably 60. He was around 60 and he had a almost 30 years old son who completely trashed this house.
Oscar: That was crazy. So, a sister was involved as well.
Oscar: The owner's sister.
Tim: Well, the owner ended up having us contact the sister to communicate with her...
Oscar: Because the property was inherited. Right?
Tim: The property was inherited from their mother. The mother actually owned three properties. There was three siblings. This property was left to the son, not the son we've been talking about, but there was two girls and one boy. This property was left to him. He was living in the property, but his sister was definitely the matriarch of the family and he deferred all decisions to her even though it was his house. He trusted her to make sure that we weren't trying to take advantage of him. So, it was good. We wanted to keep another family member involved so that he has somebody looking over stuff and make sure he is to be interested by that.
Oscar: A second set of eyes. And she had a family attorney as well and so there was some involvement. So, to your question, Frank, what do they want other than money?
Oscar: So, I don't know, Tim, you go ahead and share what that looked like for him.
Tim: Well, to start out with, he wanted money. The house was owned out, right? He, like I said, the house was left to him by his mother. Probably, it was almost eight years before mum had passed away and left this property it was paid off. And he had been in this situation where he couldn't even afford to buy himself a new mattress, he couldn't pay the taxes and this property was being...he was getting ready to lose this house and he thought he just needed money. And I think when he first started talking to us, he wanted 60 or 70 grand for this house and there was just no way that was gonna happen.
So, we spent a lot of time talking to him and found out, "I can give you...let's just say I give you 20 grand." And he basically was, "That's all I can get." But we talked about, "So, I give you 20 grand, but you're like, now you're homeless with $20,000. That doesn't really serve you. So, what do you really need?" And coming down to it, he told me that, "What I really want is a motorhome. I wanna be able to travel. I got some family up north, I'd love to be able to just go and then I can park this motorhome and go find somewhere where to live. And I just want a motorhome I can live in and travel."
Oscar: So, I walked the property...
Oscar: ...and we find that he wants a motorhome. So, you draft up. Well, you have a contractor after you, but obviously, attorneys are involved, and they draft their contracts and so forth. So, the contract is drafted up, it's signed off. Then I receive a phone call from Tim, he says, "Hey, I think I got this under contract. We're good." I was like, "Awesome. So, how much do we need to pay?" He goes, "Well, here's the cool part of it, is we don't have to pay really anything to him in cash. He just wants an RV."
Tim: Like, "Dude, so, a real RV or a matchbox RV?"
Oscar: Like something to live in. So I was like, "All right. Cool. We don't have an RV, Tim."
Tim: Oh, yeah.
Oscar: Details, right? So, now the quest starts for, "Hey, let's shop around for an RV. Let's fulfill the contract." And so earlier we were talking about how people get hung up on, "I don't have the money to get into real estate and I don't have the financial backing, let's say, to pull the trigger on a deal." We didn't have an RV. So, forget the money. Now, it's the money and the RV to get things done. So, let's talk a little bit about the RV adventure because that was...
Tim: So, we were figuring about $20,000 is where we could spend and still make the deal make sense. So, we went and we started searching for these RVs and we were able to even create more spread for ourselves by negotiating that RV. So, we found it was like in 1999, really nice RV. The owner had some really hard times with the electrical system on it. He couldn't get the blinkers to work and things like that. So, we were able to negotiate that down. We ended up buying that for right at $9,000 and then took it up to my parents' house. My Dad helped me tear the thing apart and I figured even if we have to spend like 10 grand on electrical stuff and run electricity through this whole thing will be fine. But we found one bad part, took the part out, cleaned it up, cleaned all the connections, put it back in, everything worked fine. And it took us about three hours to troubleshoot that and find it. And basically, we bought the motorhome for at the end of the day, we bought the motorhome for nine grand, gave it to the guy and took ownership of his house.
Frank: So, didn't spend 10 grand cleaning that part?
Tim: Nope. No.
Oscar: Probably a few...
Tim: My Dad tried to get me to write them a check. I said no.
Frank: 10 grand for me?
Oscar: It was probably I think six or 700 bucks and some additional maintenance that had to be done to the RV to make sure that it was...
Oscar: Essentially, we had it...it's like buying a used car. So, you wanna have the one silver on it and make sure mechanically everything is sound, everything is working properly and so forth.
Tim: Yeah: We had it smogged. We did maintenance on it, new oil change, all that kind of stuff. So, there was some additional cost there.
Oscar: When it's all set and done, it's probably about 10 grand.
Frank: I see a new business for you, Tim.
Tim: Flip them over.
Frank: Tim John motorcoaches.
Tim: Yeah. I don't wanna do that again. But it was a fun deal to...
Frank: Do that again.
Tim: It was really a fun deal to put together. It's probably one of my favorite stories.
Oscar: I think I still have a video of that. Well, when I'm following the RV because we're gonna go deliver it. I got a little confused on that one when you were looking at the RV. I was like, "Is Tim gonna flip RVs now. What is he doing?" You told me after like, "No. That's creative." "Uh. Interesting. That's really creative. Nice job."
Tim: So, flipping RV into a house. That's pretty cool.
Oscar: It's cool. And so the final outcome on the house though was...
Tim: We ended up wholesaling that property. At the end of the day when all was said and done, he had back taxes that had to be paid. So, we paid the back taxes, obviously. So, when all was said and done, I think we were at 22,000 total, which was his back taxes and the RV and maintenance on it. And then we wholesaled it for 58, I think. So, almost 60 is what we wholesaled it for. And we wholesaled it to a club member. That club member went and did the rehab and I'm not sure. I know he flipped it, but I don't know what his numbers were, but we wholesaled it to him and I know that he made money on the deal, but I just don't know how much.
Oscar: Nice. So, and I guess really the moral of the story here is that, that's a great example of being able to create the opportunity. I won't say out of thin air, but pretty doggone close out of RV.
Tim: Right. Because in working with this homeowner, if we would've just came in and said, "Look, we can give you 20 grand and out of that 20 grand, you're gonna have to pay the back taxes and you're gonna walk away with about 10." First of all, he would have never been able to go and find...he probably could have bought a motorhome for 10 grand, but not the quality that we were able to get him because he could have bought a 1978 motorhome and it would have worked and served his purposes, but we've got him a really nice bounder. It was really nice. And he wouldn't have been able to do that. So, we were able to put him in a much better position. And if we would have just said that, he would have not moved forward with us and probably would have lost that house to a tax sale or something else and would have ended up just on the street or living with his sister, but she didn't want that.
Oscar: And I remember that we had to...we essentially had to come in and make sure that the taxes were paid off with sufficient time so that he wouldn't lose it. So, there was a very time-sensitive transaction that need to happen pretty quick. And so, again, in the market that we're in, there's always opportunity to create things versus because that's an example of one that I think the average person would have walked away from because they wouldn't have been able to see the play there. And I'm confident that just from meeting him and understand the space that he was in, that he wouldn't have accepted anything other than what he'd really wanted and needed.
Oscar: And so pushing cash on him wasn't the solution because he was actually going to be left, I guess, homeless rich to a certain extent. So, very cool example. So, now I know, Frank, you've done some other creative things in the past, so why don't you...let's talk a little bit about maybe the thought process behind because you shared a little bit already about being able to identify from the homeowner what they need, but there's also a piece that we haven't talked about yet of what we go through on our end to once we identify what the challenges for the homeowner, how we formulate things and how we put things together that makes sense for everybody. Because we wanna make it a win-win for everyone.
Frank: That's right. Yeah. A lot of times, like with the RV, what their goal is on selling is having enough to get into another place, move, relocate, and I was working with one, or they wanted to relocate to another state and the timing of everything was going to be difficult. When they wanted to move, they had a sick family member. So, they wanted to move immediately, but we couldn't close immediately on the property because there were some issues. So, we negotiated where we would give them money to move. We would keep the property their existing mortgage and that existing mortgage was on their...the balance of the purchase price was gonna come to them when we close. So, they got an early release and they moved. Got an early release and then they moved and then we closed the transaction with a combination of subject two and a hard money loan because it wasn't enough to get them out of the property. But the $20,000 was enough to get them to move, meet their need and it was good timing for them.
I think it's their family member that was sick and the whole reason they were moving, they got there and they weren't there for long and that family member passed. So, we were able to get them there as quickly as they could, be with that family member while they relocated to help with that family transition from losing that family member and they relocated and worked out. Worked out really great and we did the flip and we sold it, but it was...when you're dealing with the homeowner and you're building rapport with them and they're in a position where life's hitting them for some reason, there's things that happen and there's nobody in their family or a cash offer is not gonna do it exactly. So, when we can build rapport, get trust that they'll allow us to keep that property subject two because they normally, you can't get a property with creative finance in place if that homeowner doesn't trust you and believe that you have their best interests. So, that's a huge part of the process, but we're able to do that.
Oscar: Yeah. That's a great point that a lot of folks look at the house and they forget. We talked about this a few weeks ago in our live session that people forget that you need a willing participant, also known as the homeowner. They have to, to your point, Frank, they have to be willing to work with you and you have to be able to...I'm not gonna say convince or sell or any of that. It really is showing up who you really are and they accept who you are and are willing to work with you because you've proved to them through your actions, through the process that you are your word. Which is really what it boils down to, is you have to, if you say A, B, C, then A, B, C is what happens. You don't drift off somewhere else or lose communication where I see a lot of folks that get started in real estate, that's the piece that they lack. And unfortunately, the fortune's in the follow-up. And if you're not connected, you don't stay connected with the homeowner and continue to build that credibility and that value that you bring, then it becomes an issue. So, I completely agree.
Tim: One of the things I always get when we work with newer club members or newer investors that maybe don't have the confidence or even maybe not even the know-how to go out and structure something creative. Frank has tossed around words subject two, hard money, things like that. Sometimes people don't really know what subject two actually means. I can think back to a class we had and somebody actually raised their hand and they're like, so, we asked them what their question is, and they're like, "So, we're talking about subject two, what is subject one?"
So, people don't really understand what subject two actually means and that's okay. So, the question I always get from people is like, "How do I do this if I don't know?" And I think what it comes down to is you've got to be really good at...we keep saying it over and over and over again. You've got to get good at finding out what the homeowner needs. And then it's a really simple question. If it's a matter of, "You know what, I need $20,000 because I really need a motorhome." "Okay. Well, here's the real simple question. So, you really need a motorhome?" "Yes."
"Okay. If I can come up with a creative way to get you that motorhome, are you open to that?" And if they say anything other than, "No. I just want 20 grand." If they say yes, if they say, "What does that look like?" Then reach out to a senior investor and say, "Well, let me get with my business partner and let's come back." And then Oscar or Frank or myself, we can go back and talk to the homeowner and maybe structure something with them as long as that homeowner is open.
Oscar: Yeah. And that's a great point as well because we've been talking about it here recently at the club that we were going to continue to work with people and help them understand when it's time for them to bring one of us in. And it's you definitely have to learn the timing, the language and so forth. So, we're gonna work with a lot of folks to get them to that point because we know that it can be challenging because we have a tendency as people to want to be able to provide all the answers. And oftentimes, you need to be able to step back, especially if you wanna walk down to the creative side of things, you have to be able to stop and bring someone with more experience that's gonna be able to take this and see it through to the end versus you trying to get through it and then causing more headaches and more problems. You've seen it, Frank, where people step all over the transaction and...
Frank: Yeah. There's definitely, maybe they heard something on another transaction, so they introduce that language from that other transaction and it didn't apply. So, we have to undo that, and then we lose credibility and often lose the deal when you start to say things that you've heard and you're not sure exactly why they said that or how that scenario applied to that deal. But you heard it, then it looks similar. There's a lot of examples that I can give. There's just too many.
So, introducing the coach into the scenario as early as possible and also having that balance. Is this actually a motivated seller? But that comes with experience, even for the student, just sitting in on those meetings, listening to what's taking place, and then being able to identify specifically what it is and then asking the right questions like you've seen this and then saying, "Did this mean here because of whatever the situation was? Did you offer that? Because why? Was it reverse mortgage? Can you do that?" All those questions are better than, "Well, I think is what I heard. Let me go verify after I already commit to it with the seller." Yeah. That doesn't work. We're gonna probably lose the deal.
So, and then I know if you don't know what you're talking about and you're talking to a seller and you're hazed, you're mixing and matching words and trying to sound like you know what you're doing, the homeowner is gonna see right through that. I know when somebody's telling me something that they're not 100% confident about, you can read body language and just the tone of voice. So, you've already lost credibility for us.
Oscar: Yeah. That's key because you need to be able to...the better job people do in establishing credibility and rapport with those sellers, the easier it is for us to step in and close the deal. And that's really what it boils down to because if not, what I heard Frank saying was we have to come in now and overcome all of this. And the odds of us overcoming things that someone has already committed to, that are like completely off base, then slim to none. It's very difficult for us to overcome things overpromising, underdelivering. All those things come to mind. So, I think for everybody out there listening, you need to just really understand that you're not alone unless you choose to be alone out there. And for the club members, reach out. We're all available. We'll make ourselves available. All the coaching staff makes themselves available to be able to support and walk with you through things.
What I heard Frank say as well was that when you're involved in a transaction like that where one of us steps in and is having that conversation with the homeowner, pay attention, listen. Listen to everything that's said. Just be that fly on the wall. And take it all in and then ask your questions later because the language we use, the words that are used, the tone we use, it's all with a purpose because we're feeding off of that homeowner to make sure that we communicate with them the best way possible so that it's clear for them and we're listening for what the homeowner is not even saying. Right. I don't mind doing phone calls with homeowners, but I'd much rather do them in person because I get to read that person better, I get to see what they're going through, I get to see the actual raw emotions. And I understand where they need to be. For any other reason other than I need to be able to give them the solution that's best for them. So, good stuff. Good stuff. So, what other nuggets you guys have out there for people?
Tim: I wanna go back to the question that you asked Frank, which is you talked about, when is the right time to reach out. And for me, probably the worst timing for somebody to reach out is when it's too late. So, that changes every time, but at the end of the day, I think we have this tendency as human to want to, like, Oscar said, you wanna show the homeowner that you know all the right answers. And I would much rather somebody bring me in early and have it be the wrong time because it's way too early than to bring me in too late. Because if it's too early and it's not a deal, then okay. So, we wasted a little bit of time.
As long as you're coachable and can hear my conversation with you as to why it's too early and you're gonna learn through that process, I would much rather blow a lead that isn't a deal than to blow something that could have been a deal, but you were too prideful to reach out too soon. So, that's my take that you should reach out as soon as you feel stuck. Don't hesitate to reach out and we'll coach you through that. So, that would be my answer to, "When do we reach out?" As soon as you feel stuck.
Frank: When we're talking with the student and if it's a sense of being too prideful or they don't wanna waste our time because maybe they have in the past, it's not even something like, but this wasn't even close to being a lead. So, that's easier to deal with when they present something way too early that's not even, you shouldn't even be sitting there, but then you can point out why and then they'll understand that they can grow. So, I'd rather experience that instead of, like you mentioned, you've brought them in too late. This could have been a deal. That's much more painful. And we're their coaches and there's oftentimes where it's not even a lead or a deal, they're just asking about some instance.
So, if they have a question or they wanna bring their first lead. That's their first lead they just got out of class and they're not sure of the time. It's like, "As soon as you have one, just bring it and then you'll learn through that process, the timing and as well learn what you should be saying by bringing me in early." Anyway. So...
Oscar: Yeah. I like that, what you just said about, learn what you need to be saying because you brought me in early. Because here recently we've had situations where we get the word that the homeowner is ready to go. They're selling. That's what it's all about. And then, Tim or I or both of us get on the call with the homeowner and it's like the complete opposite like, "Nope. I wanna keep my house." "Okay. Cool. We'll help you with that. But..." So, there's a miss there. And one of the things that stands out for me is when that miss happens, it's usually because we're so focused on an outcome. We're not really listening to what they need or want. And we're focused on, this looks like a viable opportunity, this is what the profit looks like, I already did all the numbers, everything looks great. You wanna sell?
Oscar: And I'll use the term, a lighter term of you shoehorn people into a yes when reality it's "No, I really want to keep my house, but I don't know how to say no to you."
Frank: Yeah. Who was I talking to? I think I've said it many times to my students. So, you have to assume that they're keeping their house. You have to assume that it's not listed. There's not a "for sale" by owner sign in the yard and we're reaching out to them. They're in foreclosure and they have not listed the property and it's not for sale by owners. So, you have to assume that they wanna keep their house. So, you wanna jump on board where they're at in the process and help them out with any resources that they might need. And in the background, you need to make sure you let them know, "If all else fails, I'm here, I can help to purchase a property." We don't wanna wait till the last minute.
Let's make a really focused effort on getting the papers together to save your house so that we can get an outcome and an answer on if that's going to be possible and not wait till the last minute, which and we know homeowners in foreclosure want to wait till the last minute and they don't wanna get the answer of no. If they knew 100% they are gonna get a yes. They could keep the house. They'd filed that paperwork today, but they're so afraid of the answer being no. So, they wait and wait and they actually put themselves into a position where it's gonna be no because you waited too long. So, we need to come alongside that homeowner, rather we're working with a student or we're out there on their own and talk them through that process. Assume they wanna keep their house. And when we tell them what we're doing that we're investors, they'll let us know so long as we're clear about what we do.
Oscar: Yeah. Because I'll tell you, starting out in this business, it was an eye-opener for me anyways when I realized that I was giving them a lot of information, so much so that the thing that I didn't share with them is that I bought houses. That I could be part of that solution by acquiring the property. And then I would sit back and try to figure out what happened? What did I miss? What did I say wrong? Did I not talk about what we actually do? How we serve them. Just going through the circles and then why do they list it with an agent when I could've helped them with that? And then after a few instances, I realized, "Oh, yeah. They didn't know that."
Tim: Yeah. I didn't tell them.
Oscar: Apparently, I did everything, but that.
Frank: That's one thing you don't wanna hear from the homeowner, "Oh, you buy houses. I would have totally sold it to you, but you didn't tell me."
Oscar: Yeah. "I like you. I'd really like you. I would have done it.
Frank: "And I would have sold you for cheap. I like you so much."
Tim: All right. That's horrible.
Oscar: But it takes a few of those to realize, "Huh? Maybe I have to change something." So, it's good stuff. So, any saved rounds. Any last...?
Tim: No. This conversation can go on for days. I think that's the reason why we did the series for the 12:12 and we might even readdress this on future podcasts, but I think we kinda have reached a good spot.
Oscar: Very cool. So, we'll call this a wrap, guys.
Oscar: Appreciate you guys hanging out with me and had some good laughs. So, everybody out there just tune back in and keep up with the podcast. We're pumping them out as much as we can. And tune into our Facebook Live on our fan page. And we'll...
Tim: Josh says by lunch.
Oscar: Boom. Look at that. Bonus. All right, guys, take care. We'll tune in next time.
Frank: All right. Thanks for having me, guys.