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Real Estate Wholesaling
Ron Walraven started his real estate adventure in 1999 when he decided to retool his career. He became one of the top selling Brokers in SE Michigan in 2004. While he was a broker at Keller Williams, he listed and sold over 3000 properties.
He changed his focus to work one-on-one with home sellers by 2012. He is now purchasing properties to fix up and sell, keep as rentals, or sell to his network of cash buyers. He buys houses of all kinds and in any condition. In this episode, you will learn more about wholesaling.
- How he started as a broke
- Getting into wholesaling
- What his wholesale business looks like
- Number of deals in a year
- The status of the market they are in
- Their typical deal
- Putting your deals in MLS
- Private money
- Probate and inherited properties
- Buying cars and other stuff in the house
- Difference between probate and inherited
- On how to negotiate with people who lost a loved one
- Having their own realty company
- How many mails they typically send out
- On Marketing
- "As investors, we are always looking for what of value is."
- "The money is in the follow-up."
RESOURCES AND LINKS FROM THIS SHOW:
- I Buy Michigan Homes
- Selling a House in a Michigan Estate by Jesse Boyd and Ron Walraven
- Contact information: 586-413-6190
- Email Address: email@example.com
Larry: Welcome to the Brain Pick-A-Pro show live from Lake Wylie, South Carolina. I’m Larry Goins. This is the Brain Pick-A-Pro show. I’m really excited today and I’ve got my good friend, Ron, on. Ron, what’s going on, buddy?
Ron: Hey, doing great, Larry. How are you?
Larry: Man, I am doing awesome, doing awesome. Now, you’ve been around real estate for a long, long time and you actually started out as a broker, didn’t you?
Ron: Yeah, I was, well, I’ve been an REO broker for many years in my real estate career.
Ron: And sold lots of REOs at the beginning and now I’m more into investing and wholesaling at this point.
Larry: That’s good, man. You’ve done thousands of REO deals, right?
Ron: Yeah. I’ve done – roughly, I did about three hundred to four hundred a year for about ten or eleven years in a row.
Ron: And our market as we all know kind of dried up in a sense because the market went short sales and then obviously the values are going up so it’s kinda going away.
Larry: So, now you’re doing wholesaling, right?
Ron: Yeah, we’re strictly wholesalers in southeastern Michigan market. I don’t do anything outside of this market, at least not today, but we started – I started wholesaling around 2012 and then a partner of mine, Jesse, we hooked up around 2014 and then started ramping everything. We’re strictly exiting as wholesalers at this point. We might have cherrypicked one or two to rehab but that’s few and far between, for sure.
Larry: Now southeast Michigan, is that like near Detroit or Flint or those areas?
Ron: Yes. Detroit is the central part of that. There’s roughly thirty-sixcounties that surround the Detroit vicinity which is actually in Wayne County. Oakland County which is in northern edge county from Detroit and I’ve lived in southeastern Michigan since I was fourteen, lived in Arizona and Illinois prior to that as a kid so my dad moved back to Detroit to work for GM. My dad is a retired GM worker at this point.
Larry: Wow, that’s great. So, you went from being an REO broker, you know, doing hundreds of deals a year, and you moved over in the wholesaling and that was probably around, what, 2011, 2012 somewhere around there?
Ron: Yeah, I kinda switched gears when REO started changing, you know, the banks were starting to help everybody which is a good thing. So, the portfolios and all of the HAMP and HARP and all of those programs that a lot of people got help from really devastated my business model in Detroit. In those early days, maybe in like 2001 to 2004, we did a lot of Detroit stuff, Detroit proper, until the market started dwindling in 2005 and 2006. The best month I had in REO was July of 2008 and there was a ruling right after that in Michigan, the governor of Michigan put a moratorium on foreclosures roughly around July of 2008 which was the best month we had had and I walked over to the drawer, opened up the files and told my staff, I said, “If we don’t get another deal – if they do what they say they’re gonna do, we’re gonna be out of business in 2009, in September,” which is exactly what happened in regards to the deals – the deal flow, so I don’t like to predict those kind of things but that’s exactly what happened.
Larry: So, you could see the writing on the wall.
Ron: Yeah, I could, for sure. But, of course, I was being a little stubborn ’cause I come from a mechanic background into real estate and so I was much – I was kind of a shop rat for many years so the REO business fit me very well, not the retail real estate, so I didn’t wanna get into short sales and things that a lot of guys did when that market shifted and of course in those days a lot of the banks were saying, “Oh, it’s coming back… it’s coming, it’s coming.” Of course, it never came and of course the market picked itself up before any of the REOs started getting released again so that’s why I just had to revamp what I was doing and I had a list of buyers from all those REOs I sold. I just said, “You know what, I’m just gonna wholesale,” so that’s what we started doing.
Larry: Good, so now you’re wholesaling and you’ve been doing this for quite a while now and what does your wholesale business look like right now?
Ron: Well, when we first started out, when I first started out, I was just doing anything I could pick up and then my partner, Jesse, when we got together, he liked doing probates and he had done, you know, a year or so of doing that, marketing to probate deals or probate sellers so we decided, you know what, we’re just gonna focus on that and in the meantime, Jesse, more Jesse than me, he wrote a book actually, like a forty-, fifty-page book, on how to sell house in a Michigan estate which was a soft way into people’s homes, from people that had a house typically to sell, so that was a soft way for us to get in with a lot of credibility, and we did it like that for six months to a year, probably just twelve, fifteen deals around 2014 and 2015, and then we joined up into a mastermind group that – which is how you and I met, and really just kinda took our whole marketing thing and just blew it up into the complete direct mail system, Googling, PPC, you know, Facebook, all of that stuff. We’re doing all of that right now.
Larry: That’s good, that’s good and you guys are doing, what, about sixty to eighty deals a year, I believe?
Ron: Yeah. We’re – I mean, last year we did like fifty-six, and I just looked at the books today, we’re at sixty-two for the year, mid of August. We just had our best month in July where we pulled, you know, pulled over six figures in fees and – now obviously we’re spending a lot of money to do that but we’ve got six people on our team now which, you know, if you said to me twelve months ago would we have a team like we have today, I would have said probably not. I think a lot between just, you know, getting feedbacks from guys like yourself and others and then just really focusing on what we’re doing, it’s working. The market’s changed, right? The market is not as hot as it can be retail-wise.
Ron: And we’re just cranking them out.
Larry: How is the market where you are in southeast Michigan?
Ron: Well, you know, recently the last month or two, I would say that inventory is finally picking up on the retail side. From our wholesale perspective, we do it a little different in the fact that we’re always going in to buy. In other words, we’re not doing a true wholesale where you’re jumping title, which I can – we don’t typically assign properties on a contract so we have a little different mindset when we’re talking to sellers. We guarantee that we’re gonna sell whenever we’re gonna buy their house, no matter what. So, it’s a number or our buyers, if we don’t assign it, then we take it down, we buy it, do whatever we do to get out the other side. Most of the time, it’s simply just clearing out the house and put it on the MLS, so the more answer to your question too is that on the retail side, if that house is pretty and done properly, the house just flies off the market at the right price. There is no – because buyers are hungry for that pretty house, for sure.
Larry: Right. So, it sounds like you’re generating the leads, you’re negotiating the deal, getting it under contract, and if you have a buyer lined up, you’re gonna just wholesale it and assign the contract but you may even end up closing on it if you don’t have a buyer, just close on it and stick it on the MLS and do what a lot of people call hoteling, right?
Ron: That’s correct. And you know something, it’s hard not to do the hotel model these days because the MLS is so hot that it seems like a lot of our investors kinda get upset at us because we’re pricing too high, because we know we can get it, right? So as much as I would like to sell to these guys, you know, as rehabbers, it’s not in my best interest a lot of times to do that, plus this allows us to pay a little more to the seller because there is some competition. There is a lot of guys trying to do what we do. The difference that sets us apart I think is just the fact that we have the resources to close and that we’re not hung up on reassignment. We’re not gonna get – we won’t back off.
Larry: That’s a good point. That’s a really, really good point. What does a typical deal look like?
Ron: The price ranges are usually between $35,000 to $150,000, and we tend to clear – if we put it on the MLS, we’ll clear $15,000 to $25,000. Now, if we do an assignment, we’re not trying to be too greedy to do it quick. One of the things that I’ve been able to accomplish because of my REO background and all of those deals I closed REOs, I have a really solid buyers’ list. So, and that list isn’t a squeeze page type or that, you can’t just get on it any other way. You have to contact me by referral to get on my list.
Ron: What that does for me is it gives me feedback quickly in regards to our price, right? So if I wanna simply just sell that as an assignment and I get crickets on my first hit, I just lower the price and resend it. And then if I decide if I don’t get any responses from the list, then I just tell my assistant to put it on the MLS and then just go from there.
Larry: That’s good. Do you typically take it down, close on it before you put it on the MLS or will you put one on the MLS before you close on it?
Ron: Well, it really depends on who the seller is and because we tend to market to the probates and inherited houses, to put it on the MLS prior to the purchase can be very cumbersome and very – you know, it just kinda – it doesn’t give the stars and good vibe about what we’re doing if we do that. Now, if you bring me an entire landlord or a house that’s just torn up and the guy lives in Florida and he allows me to put the lockbox on it, then I can and will do that.
Ron: But, typically, when I do find a house with a family member who’s just lost a father and I tell them I wanna reach investors for the house, it gets a little cumbersome and they’ll tend to not do that. So, that’s why we just decided, you know what, we’re just gonna go after – looking for the cash so that we have the money on hand to use to put these deals, you know, these deals down and out. The money that we have isn’t typically our money. It is private investors who invest with us. We have a unique situation where it’s like lines of credit so that they’re never waiting. You don’t have to necessarily submit a package for each property to each investor. You just – we tell them when we place the liens on the houses, but we’re not giving them all of the numbers ahead of time. It’s trustless to make those decisions.
Ron: So maybe just a straight up interest thing every month. It’s not like they’re making up most of our profit or anything on the equity. It’s always in interest payments alone no matter what. Which, in our case, makes us do what we gotta do, right? The money sitting in the bank doesn’t help us, right? Right, you just have to move it out.
Larry: That’s good. What do you typically pay for your private money, if you don’t mind me asking?
Ron: It’s usually somewhere between 7 and 14. It just depends on comfortability of that lender and how much we actually have and, you know, sometimes, there’s points where some of these guys, I mean, Jesse has his own cash that we use for our deals. I have some of the same scenario on my side. I usually pay a little heavier rate just because I’m – I look at it like this. The velocity of the money is key, right? If I’m paying 14 or 15 percent for the money for twelve months then I turn that same fifty grand over four times, my effective rate is like 3.5 percent, right? So, you can’t look at it as a percentage of what would be in your percentages, which I keep track with spreadsheets so that I can tell how many times I’ve turned that particular loan over, to be able to use it in the right way and on the right properties.
Larry: That’s a really good point, and you make a really, really good point about the velocity of the money. It’s one thing to buy a $50,000 house and sit on it for a year waiting on it to sell at 14 percent interest and it’s a totally different thing to buy a $50,000 house and sell that same house to make ten or fifteen or twenty grand every ninety days, right?
Ron: Right, yeah. Yeah, and that’s what I try to tell – that’s how I presented myself to the lenders to get them to just give me the cash, right? Because most of the guys that don’t necessarily know real estate, they’re apprehensive about doing that and also they don’t even have the resources to banter, you know, if you give them one deal at a time, right? So, if I just go ’em and say, look, I’m gonna plop X amount of dollars in your account no matter what every month or quarterly payments or whatever’s comfortable for ’em, they like that, right, ’cause then they know it’s just chinking away and they can’t get those same rates on the open market, right, or stocks and bonds or whatever else that they’re doing.
Larry: That’s awesome, I love it. So, let’s talk a little bit about – you mentioned you guys primarily focus on probates and inherited. Tell us a little bit about that.
Ron: Well, probates in Michigan, you know, typically end up at – you have to either be intestate or non-intestate which means you either have a will or you don’t. So, most people, if they had a will, then that directs people on how to do it. If they don’t have one, then in Michigan, you just simply get a representative of the family or a personal rep that’s for the area and open up a probate case and then dispose of those assets. That becomes public record. So, we can access what they call legal… for each county and go – and find those records. It’s very – a lot of people don’t do their probates specifically because that public record isn’t downloadable. You have to go in there and copy-paste the name, the personal rep, the address, and then you’re just hoping that they have real estate because it doesn’t tell you that it does. You’re just assuming that they do, right? One of the things that we do when our – when we set up an appointment for a house is that when it sends the confirmation to the seller, we put a little tag line down in the bottom that “We buy cars too.” Because when you think about it, a probate or a death from an elderly person, what do they always have? You have a new car with no miles or an old car with no miles.
Larry: Right, right.
Ron: With my background, I know what those values are and, you know, I mean, just a quick story, I had a house in Grosse Pointe that the guy had two cars in their garage and one was a 1978 Camaro – or Firebird, I’m sorry. It had 5,000 miles on it and never been outside, and it had the cover and heated garage from like 1978 ’til, well, it was a year and a half ago, and he sold me the whole kit and caboodle, two cars and the house, for one fee. Between the wholesale fees and the cars, I think I made like seventy-five grand off that one deal –
Larry: Car? Come on.
Ron: Well, you know, it’s a different – the difference between driving a 2016 Escalade than it is a 1978 Firebird, right? It’s just the difference. The car doesn’t run the same, it doesn’t stop the same, and, you know, the radio doesn’t – you know, your phone doesn’t hook up to it, you know? All those things, right?
Larry: Man, I figured you would be a muscle car fan being from Michigan.
Ron: Oh, yeah. If I was in a different position, maybe. I mean, right then, I’m just looking for cash, right? I’m just trying to turn things over. Most of the deals I have a partner in it so for me to keep the car, I would have had to buy him out of that car. That wasn’t the best thing for me at that moment.
Larry: I hear you. I hear you. That’s a great tip right there, you know, putting on your postcard, putting on your letter, that says “We buy cars too.” I love that. That’s awesome. That’s very smart. That’s very smart. How’d you come up with that?
Ron: Well, I think the first time it was more or less just that – ’cause when you walk through the house, right? You go into the garage. There’s a car sitting there.
Ron: Ask an obvious question. “Is the car for sale?” And most of the time, 90 percent of the time, they say, “I already sold it to my brother,” or, you know, “Somebody in the family’s taking it,” right? Because we’re gonna do the same thing that I’m thinking.
Ron: And sometimes they say, “Well, yeah, we haven’t decided what to do with it. How much would you offer me?” So, then I just get it. You know, I can even Kelley Blue Book it right on your phone and get it close enough and I had a chance to buy a 2012 Buick and it was such a – it was a clean car, you know, I asked them how much he wanted, he told me, right, which is always – it’s always as good when they tell you what they want, right? So I’m on my phone, just kinda dinking away with it real quick and it was like five grand below the Blue Book and so I’m trying to – I wasn’t successful buying his house but I’m talking to him about the car afterwards, right? I was thinking, you know what, I’ll just give you twelve grand for the car, knowing that I could drive it to the dealer literally with the title on my hand and sell it there for like sixteen, so, some of those things were just so obvious that people don’t notice, right?
Ron: And at first, a lot of our trade secret is to take all of their stuff, right? You can get somebody that’s living in Florida, they gotta come home and take care of mom and dad’s house or house was full of furniture that they don’t need, it has a car in the garage that they don’t need, it has antiques or whatever sitting in the house. I mean, we have the resources to do these things, right, if we need to. We’ve had a couple of them where we pulled, you know, the estate salespeople would give us 35 percent of the take, or take 35 percent of the take, and we’d end up making another four or five grand just on the contents because of this, you know, and they go home, right? They need this, we put the deal together, we close on it with them still in Florida, we wire the cash, we then go take off and sell all their stuff, you know, within a couple weeks.
Larry: That’s awesome, man. That’s awesome. And you know what, it happens more than you think because we just did a deal – in fact, we just went out and looked at a house earlier today that the guy inherited the house, right, and we’re buying the house, closing next week, and he said, “Give me a couple of weeks to get all the stuff out I want.” We went back over there today ’cause he called us last week, we went over there today and there’s still, I mean, there’s a huge piano, there’s an executive desk, there’s like three or four sofas, there’s all kinds of plates and stuff, I mean, it’s amazing, some antique porcelain stuff. It blew me away. I’m like, man, you know, you can take this stuff to an auction company.
Ron: For sure. I had a grand piano that ended up, I ended up making fifteen on it, and I think sometimes what you learn is if you anticipate the person value his stuff, ’cause as investors we’re always looking for where the value is.
Ron: And I think sometimes we estimate that in regards to some antique stuff like – so once you figure out, you start trying to sell it and you realize it’s worthless, right?
Larry: Right, right.
Ron: Or, like we got a house for the guy – the guy that passed away used to be an airplane mechanic for Detroit Pistons, so he had a bunch of tools and stuff up in his garage that I ended up keeping. He had a toolbox that I kept but we sold all his tools. You think as a mechanic that the tools were worth something, they weren’t. Nobody bought the tools. It was kind of interesting. But at the end of the day, he had a basketball, and you’re probably old enough to remember the Bad Boys of the Pistons back in the late eighties, right, ’89. He had a signed, autographed basketball from the 1989 Bad Boys, you have Dumars, Laimbeer, Isiah Thomas, all of those guys. I still have that ball. I still haven’t – I’m trying to think of how I can like value, for one, so I don’t just show up on eBay and take a thousand bucks for it or whatever it might be worth, right? I’d like to maximize that so I’ve been kind of waiting – my point to that is I might do all of that and figure out it’s not worth a thing, right? It’s like, okay. So, I love that chase, right? I know you can agree the chase of that is the key, right?
Larry: Yeah. It’s even sometimes we as investors have to think, you know, you’re like, man, we could sell this, we could sell this, we could sell this, but as investors, you’re like, man, we don’t have time to come over here and deal with all this stuff. We just need somebody to get it out of here, right?
Ron: Which is kind of a little bit of our selling point is as much as we think of having value, I got a really good debris removal company that’s there the next day and she gives me good rates just to empty the house out so that we can do what we do, you know? And she’ll come over and throw away anything. So, we just had a house that was full of like a library in the basement. She called me up like three days later and the guys were still tracking the books up the stairway so, you know, it’s like, okay, better you than me, but, you know, having that resource to get that stuff, get that stuff out of the house, allows you buy the house at a good price, right? If I know it’s gonna cost me three or four grand to get all the stuff out of it, then I just build that into my enticement to that seller in regards to the deal, right?
Larry: And if you make money on some of the stuff, that’s just a bonus.
Ron: Yeah, for sure. And I think that people in the probate and inherited side, that’s – they’re looking for that relief, right? That’s why when you say, “Why would you sell me your house for less than what you can get on the market?” Well, I don’t want all the furniture and I don’t want all the stuff and, oh, by the way, the basement’s been leaking and I don’t want you to know that today, right? That kind of stuff. They always do that. So, it’s just, to me, it’s just an added value of the knowledge and the ability to perform, right, at the end of the day.
Larry: That’s good. Tell us the difference between – some people don’t know the difference between probate and inherited.
Ron: Well, in Michigan, in the probate is the initial disposition of any assets, which most of the time is a house, right? Once the house gets out of that probate case and is settled, like a transfer to a family member or transferred to somebody else, then it gets into that inherited side because then they got it for nothing, right? So, there’s two sets of lists for that that we get one from a provider out of Seattle and we get the inherited list which is an online site called successorsdata.com that those guys will – they’ll sell to anybody and they have that extra – that like exit list that people, you know, where people – where investors can get to market those. But I think a little bit of our sweet spot is the fact that our marketing is very transparent. I think a lot of investors make the mistake of not putting their name or face or something on their postcards, or whatever they’re sending. For us, if you get the postcard, my name’s right at the top. This is Ron. And like a little character, it’s got a little cartoon caricature of me that my partner drew up and it’s white and black, it’s written like a fourth grader, and it’s very simple, and then we don’t do any like – like with the probate stuff, we have a whole system, you need to broker the letter and then follow-up letters after that, whereas the inherited stuff, it’s pretty much a built-in postcard. It doesn’t necessarily say we know that you got a house that you inherited, it just says that, hey, we’re looking for houses in your area. Please call us if you’re interested. So, there is a difference.
Larry: There’s a couple of different theories about that. One is the theory about saying I’m really sorry for your loss, however during this time I’m sure you’ve got properties you need to dispose of, we can help you. And then there’s another theory, just don’t even mention that you know that they lost a loved one. What do you think?
Ron: Well, I think when you’re doing it initially, I think it’s – because of the book we send and the empathetic letter with it, it’s more – it’s kinda like, if you know Keller Williams, Keller Williams wrote a book about the millionaire real estate, right? He doesn’t tell you – he doesn’t talk about Keller Williams in the book.
Ron: He talks about how you become a million-dollar real estate, right? So he’s not selling himself, in that he’s just telling you here’s where like we are, we’re just giving ’em a process on how to sell very strong.
Ron: And we can list their house, we can buy their house, we can do the estate sale for them, we can do whatever it is that they need.
Ron: We can refer lawyers to ’em for the probate if they haven’t done it, you know? So, for us, it’s a – I hate to use “cradle the grave” with the seller, right? Because that’s just – it just – ’cause that’s what you got, right? But it really is what we do. We can do anything that you want from the beginning to the end and if you want it then – because we have even like a package at the presentation sometimes that we have three different contracts. We have a cash purchase agreement contract, and also we have a listing agreement, and then if you just – if we’re gonna buy it right then, there’s like another contract for that. And we don’t necessarily give them like three different choices on how to buy it kinda thing. We just say, well, here’s our cash price and here’s the list price, right? They know that the cash is gonna be lower than what we can sell it on the market. And I try to use that as a tool to say, well, here’s what you – do you want quick and easy, or do you wanna go through the process like a listing agent. We can do either of those for you. Which one do you want?
Larry: And so you guys have your own realty company, you can list it if you want to.
Ron: Yes. Yes. ’Cause I’m a broker. I have my own company. And we have three or four agents on our team, they can be listing agents, so we have that resource. I’m the cash guy. In our current processes, we have an acquisitions guy around that does the appointments. We have an intake form guy that takes the phone calls. And then I’m the disposition guy. So, once we get it under contract and it gets into the sell side, that becomes my responsibility to sell it and then to close it. The intake sales guy determines whether it’s a cash buyer or a listing so he refers it out to the right person or sets the appointment for the right salesperson. That’s been working really well for us, for sure.
Larry: Now, do you guys actually physically go to every house or do you buy ’em over the phone or do the listing agreement over the phone?
Ron: No, we go to the house. Somebody goes there, whether it’s the listing agent or the cash buyer. They typically may see me at the closing. We have the title company set up now that they can sign docs for me. So, it just depends on the situation with the seller. You know, sometimes, the sellers are out of state, we e-mail it back to them, they send ’em back. There’s no reason for us to meet, right? So even on the sales side, when we actually dispose of it, most of the time I don’t go to closings. There’s no reason for me to do that. Now, sometimes, I’ll send my assistant to get testimonies, testimonials and things like that, or, you know, where she can sign a deed, because obviously we need that, on the sale side, a deed has to be executed, so sometimes I’ll authorize for her to do that. Most of the time, I don’t put the responsibility on my assistant to sign deeds. Just because I don’t wanna give them that – I don’t want something to happen and it turns out to be damned, if you follow me. I want that – that end result to be back on me if something goes wrong.
Larry: That’s very good. That’s very admirable. That’s good. I like that. So, you’re doing, you know, seventy, eighty, maybe close to a hundred deals you might do this year. How many pieces do you have to mail out a month to get that many deals?
Ron: Well, the direct mail, we’re sending out roughly about seven thousand a month. We’re about ready to ramp that – a week, I’m sorry. We’re ramping up that marketing with another source to do another county, a list with another county. We have – the main list we have is coming out of Oakland and Macomb County, and then we got another list provider that’s gonna be more of a complete process so they pull the list, they put the letters together, they do the mailings, they skip putting a return mail, and then they kinda collate that data coming in so that we don’t have to do anything except load up their bank accounts with money to do the maintenance. That should increase our weekly mailings to about twelve or thirteen a week, thousand a week. Yeah. So, I’m excited about that because our main list has really worked well in regards to the return on that. The Googling is kinda okay. Yeah, we spend probably five grand a month on that, on the Google PPC. We spend another thousand or so on Facebook. The guy that handles the Googling stuff is the same guy handling Facebook, so it’s all kinda inclusive and then, you know, the first list where, you know, there’s a cost to the list, right? Which is not cheap to get those really good data lists, and then you got the cost of the mail house and the letter and maintenance of all that, right? So, I mean, if you ask me how much we’re spending a month, probably about thirty grand right now to get where we’re at. Yeah, so, and I always try to tell guys when they come to me at REIA meetings, right? They wanna know how can you do ten deals a month? Well, here’s what you gotta do, right? ’Cause they look at ten times ten, that’s a hundred grand, right? Well, I didn’t keep all hundred of that, you know, I had to spend money to get there. And I give ’em a perspective on the mailing and the process to even do that to give them some credibility on how you do it, right? You’re not just gonna send out a thousand-name list once a month and think you’re gonna get deals all day. You have to kinda keep jerping and going and going and then refine it and manage that data as it comes in, right? Making the phone call, the follow-up. All of that is very, very cumbersome, at best, right?
Larry: That’s very true. A lot of people think, you know, all you gotta do is send out a few postcards and the phone starts ringing off the hook, right?
Larry: But you gotta have systems and processes and procedures and even something you mail out, you might not buy that house for another year and a half. But you got drip campaigns to follow up with them, right?
Ron: And I think that the best deals are always those follow-ups, right? Everybody will tell you that the money’s in the follow-up because if they’re not ready, you have to be willing to wait for the not-readys, you know? And even right now with the mailings we’re doing, we’re getting roughly about sixty-five, seventy calls a week. Figure about ten of those are call-offs or angry birds, I like to call ’em, where they just say, “Why are you sending this to me? Stop it!” and then the other, you know, probably another – we’re getting about three to four contracts a week out of those sixty-five net calls, right? Which I think in the grand scheme of things is a good – that’s a good return, ’cause when you think we’re sending out six thousand, that’s twenty-four thousand a month, right? You’re getting 240 phone calls, you look at that and say, well, that’s not pretty good. But if you’re turning over three or four deals a week, that’s actually pretty good, right? Yeah, ’cause if you’re doing twenty, thirty thousand a deal, times three, times four, that’s a good living, and we all should be thankful for that.
Larry: That’s exactly right. Man, this has been some really, really good info. And I can see why you focus on probates and inherited. I’ve seen a lot of people say that their biggest profit margins is on their probate list. Would you tend to agree?
Ron: I would agree, because there’s a lot of – there’s some real pain there and there’s a real problem that you’re solving, right? If you’re mailing to the absentee owner, that guy could possibly be just a landlord, and a lot of times he calls you just because he’s interested in what you’re doing, right? Because he’s just like you. He’s looking for a property. So, we started off doing the absentee list and it was difficult taking those calls at first. But at the end of the day, I think a couple of my private lenders came off of that list, because you kinda – when you start talking, you realize they’re not gonna sell you anything, so you start kinda just getting into what they do and how they do it, and we get some good referrals. We get good partners or good people and network off of that kind of stuff, right?
Larry: I’m really glad you brought that up ’cause that is so true. We got a house over in Spindale, North Carolina, I believe it is. We picked this house up for $10,000, okay? It’s rented out for $400 a month. And I was riding through there and I saw a house at the end of the street for sale by owner. So I saw – I called up and the guy’s asking $79,900 for the house, and I said, “Wow, $79,900?” I said, “I got a house I’ll sell you right up the street for twenty grand,” and he’s buying the house from me for twenty grand and he’s got another one on the street for – so you never know if a buyer’s gonna be a seller lead or a seller’s gonna be a buyer lead, you know? I sent another guy out to look at it then actually called about selling his house but he ended up buying another house from us, right? So, you just never know, you know, people call about selling you their house and they end up buying a house from you.
Ron: Yeah. I tend to shy away from working with like regular retail buyers ’cause we do get those calls ’cause they Google, they think you got a property, which we do. I don’t work that hard to bring in that retail buyer. So, I got a model that I hold a lot of investor licenses of people that I don’t wanna do regular retail real estate, I’ll hold license, so if I get somebody like that that’s just had to go to retail, I’ll just pick one of those guys and just e-mail it to ’em and say, here, take care of it, you want a buyer, here’s one you can work with. Because what I don’t allow my agents to do is to list their own – list property for others because there’s a lot of volatility in that. So – but I can list their own stuff and their own assignment deals and things like that, so I give them some fluidity to all of that, I give them some advice, and I’m cheap as a broker, I don’t charge them a yearly fee and I don’t keep any of their commissions, but I want their deals. I want them to call me, say they wanted to get this deal, it’s over so and so price, and here’s the numbers, what do you think, and then I either buy it from ’em or I beat them up. Say, “Don’t buy that house, you’re too hot,” or, “Hey, maybe I can buy it from you. Why don’t we just do this together,” right? So, I’m making the money, or maybe splitting the profits with them.
Larry: That’s great. That’s really good. I love that model. You’re letting them keep a hundred percent of the commission, why wouldn’t they hang their license with you, right?
Ron: Right, and when I try – I try to get it across to them too is that I’m not your – I’m not your educational piece, right? When you’re coming to me, I want you to call me with deals so I can teach you how to do deals. Don’t call me if you wanna know how to write up a contract. You should already know that, right? Because that’s what a regular broker does, right? He trains them on how to be an investor.
Larry: Exactly, that’s for sure. Now I’m assuming you have your realty company is a different entity than your wholesaling company, right?
Ron: Yes. Yes. The brokerage has different names, all – the brokerage doesn’t buy or sell anything. It simply collects commissions. Sometimes, other companies require in Michigan that the wholesale fee be paid to a broker, so if they push on that then I’ll have them just pay to the brokerage, but otherwise, my buy and sell company, which actually I have two of those, is separate, total – they’re not real estate brokers, they’re just real estate companies. And the main company that we buy with is IBuyMIHomes, LLC, and I have another company called Blackwater that I buy my own personal stuff in. So, if I wanna buy a house off the MLS or something, that’s the name I use, because my partner, when we first met, he says, “I don’t like Blackwater.” It kinda gives that connotation, right? So, it took me about a year and a half before we started flipping over ’cause we’re trying to brand ourselves, right? So, IBuyMIHomes is a better brand than Blackwater Real Estate, so that’s where the majority – everything that we buy that we flip and wholesale comes or gets purchased by IBuyMIHomes.
Larry: Ron, man, I really – this has been some awesome stuff. This is really a lot of good information. I really appreciate you sharing this. What can our listeners that are watching this right now, what can they do for you? What do you need? Feel free to give out your contact information or say, if you’re looking for this or need this. What can we help you with?
Ron: I mean, the easiest way to catch me is to text me at my cellphone which is 586-413-6190. If you want some help on a deal, you don’t like something, even though obviously if it’s out of state, out of Michigan, I can still kinda give you some parameters on how to analyze that properly. I’m always looking for deals. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t buy anything else out of Michigan. I just have to be able to analyze it properly and feel comfortable with those numbers. If you’re in Michigan and southeast of Michigan especially, I mean, you can look me up at any of the REIA meetings. I am the vice-president of the Oakland County Real Estate Investor Club that meets in Madison Heights, Michigan. I’m the vice-president, I’m there every month. And you can get a hold of me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can e-mail me there and like sometimes it’s better to text me than to e-mail me ’cause I get lots of e-mail. I’m sure, Larry, you understand that it just gets buried in the bottom. Yeah. So, texting me, I can usually scroll through my phone quick enough to respond. But at the end of the day, I like to help. I don’t necessarily prefer to coach or to mentor, so, you know, I get a lot of requests for that, I just, you know, I’d rather you just call me and let’s split up the deal. You wanna pay me? Bring a deal to me and let’s split the profits and have a humble attitude to do that, right? Don’t call me and try to take three phone calls from and then don’t do anything, you know, try to have a learnable attitude and I will certainly take the shirt off my back and give it to you, if I know that you’re trying to be honest and moving forward.
Larry: That’s good, man. That’s good. I really appreciate that. And I remember one of the first times we chatted and talked and hung out a little bit at one of your presentations at CG, I was just so impressed with, you know, everything you’ve gone through and where you started and where you are now and how you’re doing and I’m just – I was just – I’m like, man, that’s a good guy right there. that’s awesome.
Ron: Well, the perseverance is the key, right? I mean, I’ve been broke twice in my life. Once as an auto mechanic and once as a real estate guy. You know, God brings you through those things for a reason, right? And when you get on the other side, you should remember what happened so that you cannot make that mistake again or at least you understand what’s happening. I’m a God-fearing guy. God’s first, wife’s second, kids are third, the rest of the stuff just happens, right? Business, whatever, all the other stuff just kinda follows, so, I’m all about giving God the glory for everything that’s ever happened to me, for sure.
Larry: That’s awesome, man. I love that. I really appreciate you being on today. This has been awesome. Thank you so much.
Ron: Yeah, Larry. I appreciate you inviting me and asking me and I hope you have some good content here for your viewers.
Larry: Sounds great. Thanks a lot, man. I appreciate it.