I believe the best way to learn the business of real estate investing is to hear how others have done it. When these interviews were recorded, I asked the interviewer to ask questions that would help the viewer see how these folks got started.
I wanted to hear the struggles, the successes and a clear path and explanation of what they had to do to make these deals happen. I did NOT want them to be a bunch of people telling you how wonderful Joe Crump was. I wanted content, examples and real life experiences.
I hope we succeeded.
Case Study – Jeff Nichols – Milledgeville, Georgia
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I Use Joe’s Real Estate Systemization Techniques In My Other Businesses
Jeff: My name’s Jeff Nichols. I’m from a little town called Milledgeville, Georgia. I don’t remember. I think I probably found Joe on the internet like everybody else does and probably started watching his videos and listening to his stuff and researching him and just found him to be real personable and seemed real transparent, so I just like him off the bat.
Jeff: We’ve bought several properties, bought and sold, a lot of them the old, traditional way where you would take a bank loan, buy a property, rehab it, fix it up, rent it out, pull the equity out of one, buy another one, and then during the great recession of 2008, 2009 and 2010, we pretty much lost all that business because we were way over leveraged. And then people were losing their jobs. They couldn’t afford the rent anymore and then the houses were going vacant and they were being vandalized. It was just a giant mess.
Jeff: As far as good deals, I think probably the house we’re living in now, I mean, we got it at, we got a really good deal on it and financing in place and that kind of stuff. And we bought some other properties since. We’re not as active as a lot of investors. That’s what I’m trying to get back into. I’ve applied a lot of Joe’s principles to my other business. I’ve got a B to B business where I sell industrial fire and explosion protection systems and keep manufacturers from burning down, but, I was always a solopreneur so I took a lot of Joe’s stuff and started hiring virtual assistants and started outsourcing our marketing and doing a lot of that kind of stuff. Same principles in a B to B business that, and so that’s been very successful.
Jeff: I’ve learned how to hire people, how not to hire people, hired an outside sales guy. I’m looking for another one right now. So that’s been a big part of it, to free up my time, so now I can start focusing on the real estate business. We really want to build a portfolio of incoming producing assets now.
Jeff: Got one I’m working on right now where a guy wants to give me two properties. I’m looking at taking them over subject to. I’m just not sure if I want them yet or not because one of the properties he’s already taken the equity out and it’s not in a great part of town, it’s not really a property that I’m interested in. But the other one is in a part of town where there’s a big employer, it’s a three-bedroom home, it’s in great condition, it’s got a little bit of equity, but moreover it’s got cash flow available. And so I really want that one. But he wants me to take them as a package deal.
Jeff: Now, the kicker is he wants me to give him some equity on the back end when I sell the second one, and I’m like, nah, I just can’t do that. So we’re working out those details and maybe I’ll get it, maybe I won’t, but, you know, that kind of stuff’s exciting.
Jeff: I don’t remember if it was through the Automarketer or just calling off of craigslist, but somehow I got in touch with a guy who, it was a for rent ad, you know, and I called on it and asked him if he’d like to do a lease option on it. So we just started talking and developed a relationship and I went to go look at his properties and I could make them both work, I just don’t want to give up any equity to him for doing all the management things I’m going to have to incur.
Jeff: I didn’t really have to. It’s really exploring his pain, his pain of being a landlord and not wanting to deal with the landlord issues anymore. He wanted somebody to take those headaches off his plate and I was perfectly able to do it, but I’m not willing to do it and give him part of the equity.
Jeff: I am not, because it’s not a hundred percent of my focus right now. My focus right now is building out my other business and automating and outsourcing most of that so that I’ve gotten a lot more time freed up to do the real estate and build some income producing assets, build a portfolio there and then be able to do what I really want to do, is travel and do some missionary work and some other stuff.
Jeff: They come pretty fast once you start making the phone calls. You know, then a few days or a week I had a signed lease option contract. Then I went to go inspect a property, found out this guy was in foreclosure. And then a few weeks later I had another one under contract and it was a young couple, they had moved and they had rented the house out and then they didn’t realize it, but the previous tenants had vandalized it and you know, taken everything out of it and destroyed the house and they were just crushed. So, we’re kind of waiting to see if the insurance is going to fix that up and then we’ll go from there.
Jeff: My goal is to do the lease option system and flip a couple houses a month and then keep one a month. That’s pretty much my goals right now, is to really just get back into the mode of talking to sellers and landlords and start putting deals together, really is my whole focus. And then start doing it more consistently and then start outsourcing talking to buyers, the outsourcing talking to sellers and then outsourcing the marketing so that really we’ve got inbound leads coming in that I can go close. That’s my whole goal this year.
Jeff: It’s given me a much bigger vision of what I can do. My business, my brick and mortar business, my B to B business is, while I make good income, it’s not self-sustaining. It’s, like, you know, the hamster wheel that you’re constantly on. Every year you’re starting new, every month you’re starting new. If you’re not selling you’re not making money. And I’ve been happy doing that for a number of years, but then I recently took a mission trip to Haiti and really thought that, man, this is what I want to do. How come I’m not retired? How come I’m not doing this? And so I started looking at my business and then taking some of Joe’s principles to outsource and automate a lot of it so that I can focus more on building a portfolio, income producing portfolio that we can basically retire and go do some of this kind of stuff.
Jeff: We have set up some CRM systems, some automated marketing, some automated sales systems so we can follow up with prospective leads, that kind of stuff, and keep them in the loop. And then even for existing customers I can send them out a mailing, email newsletter every month and keep them up to date with what’s going on. Just keep in touch with existing customers kind of thing and so, and I’ve also outsourced a lot of those components of the business, the marketing, the writing technical quotes and that kind of stuff. Doing CRM, and those kind of – and then I’ve recently had to hire and fire an outside sales guy and I’m looking for another one right now. I’m supposed to meet with one next week. But that’s really what I’m trying to do, was outsource and automate all if not – or, most if not all of that business so I can focus on the real estate and then retire.
Jeff: I went on Upworks and wrote an ad that said I was looking for a virtual assistant. And at that time I really wasn’t real familiar with a lot of virtual assistants and their different capabilities and stuff. So I hired one to do technical quotes but she was not as technical or as detailed oriented as I needed her to be, so I moved her over to marketing and hired another girl to do the technical quotes who is very detail oriented. The problem with hiring her was that she was actually just doing that part time until she could find a “real” job. And so I learned through this process of hiring that now what I do is, I’m very detailed in the job description. I go through a sequence of tests designed to find out who they are including personality tests.
Jeff: And then I actually give them a project to do to find out how they’re going to work in the real world. And then when I hire them now I’ve got much better people and it’s more geared toward their personality. The girl that, I just love her to death, but she was not detailed oriented enough to do the technical stuff, but she’s doing a great with the marketing. And then she will follow me over into real estate because she’s real interested in learning how to do real estate, too. So it’s just a matter of building out the right personalities for the right job.
Jeff: Well, you’ve really got to jump in feet first and that’s what we’re doing now. We’re jumping back in, focusing on real estate and I think you’ve really got to have a much bigger vision that’s going to keep you motivated to do it. I have a much bigger vision for my life and what it can be, how I can retire now and this is the vehicle to get me there. The key to doing it is building income producing assets. And so that’s what my whole focus is on this year is building teams and leadership so I can focus on the big stuff.
Jeff: I’m going to Haiti in a couple months and I really want to have these teams in place that, so we can start doing the fun stuff in life and not be so bogged down in all the minutiae of running the businesses. I’ll still oversee everything, make sure everything’s going right on a weekly basis. We’ve got team meetings and everything se do, but, there’s no need for me to be spending all my time writing a technical quote or if I can outsource the sales end of it, doing that as well. But I still want to work on the big deals and keep my fingers in the mix, because I enjoy it, but, I’m looking more for passive income now, I guess.
Jeff: I don’t remember when I initially found Joe, but I think it was after the big recession where we just lost all those properties and it was just a nightmare because you know, as a guy our self-esteem is tied into, you know, what we do for a living and you know, all the stuff that we do. And so it was just a real tough time. But I knew that even though it was one of the worst times in my life, that, and I knew that somewhere there was a silver lining behind all those dark clouds. And it was a tough time, but I knew that better times were coming. And so to get out of that funk I started serving. I went down to the food lines and just started serving and helping out wherever I could. And that kept my mind in the right focus to be able to go out and serve people again and start building my business again. And I’ve always had the real estate in the back of my mind, to build a passive income portfolio. And then I somehow found Joe and started watching his stuff and you know, doing his stuff here and there, but not consistently while I was rebuilding my other business.
Jeff: We lost several businesses during the recession. We had a construction cleaning business and we were doing some remodels and we were buying houses and fixing those up and selling them and renting them out. And so there was a lot going on, but it made me realize it wasn’t the important things in life, you know? So that’s where my focus is now and so we haven’t done it consistently, but now I’ve got a much bigger vision since going to Haiti and wanting to go back and start doing more of that kind of stuff.
Jeff: Because I think it’s just a higher purpose in life and so instead of working every day just to make a buck, I don’t see a lot of focus in that. So I think for new people getting started it’s, you’ve got to have some kind of big vision and then you’ve really got to jump in with both feet and just start talking to your sellers and for, and landlords and finding out what they’re problems are that you can go solve.
Jeff: What I’m running into when I’ve called for sale by owners is real interesting because you get a lot of owners who don’t understand how the odds are stacked against them and being able to sell their own home. And then when you’re talking to for rents, you run into a lot of frustrated landlords and so there’s a lot of deals out there. Because those guys don’t know what to do with those properties either. So, I mean, if you can help solve those problems, then I think you can do well in this business.