Show Summary

This is episode #347, and today’s guest is Jeff Garner. Jeff is a St. Louis based real estate investor that started off as a real estate agent. After seeing his investor clients making a lot more money on deals that he was getting paid as an agent…Jeff jumped into the investing game…and has gone on to do a ton of transactions.
If you happen to be Realtor, but not taking advantage of the opportunities on the investing side, or trying but not gaining traction…this show was custom made just for you. Learn how to transition from the agent side of real estate to the investing side on today’s show.
Please help me welcome Jeff Garner to the show.

Highlights of this show

  • Meet Jeff Garner, St. Louis based real estate investor.
  • Learn Jeff’s story of how and why he transitioned from a Real Estate Agent to a Real Estate Investor.
  • Join the conversation on the benefits of investing as a licensed agent.
  • Learn how to avoid some real or perceived conflicts of being a licensed agent, as well as a real estate investor.

Resources and Links from this show:

Listen to the Audio Version of this Episode

FlipNerd Show Transcript:

Mike: This is the Expert Real Estate Investing Show, the show for real estate investors, whether you’re a veteran or brand new. I’m your host, Mike Hambright, and each week I bring you a new expert guest that will share their knowledge and lessons with you. If you’re excited about real estate investing, believe in personal responsibility and taking control of your life and financial destiny, you’re in the right place.
This is Episode 347, and today’s guest is Jeff Garner. Jeff is a St. Louis-based real estate investor and a buddy of mine that started off as a real estate agent. Now, after seeing his investor clients making a lot more money on deals than he was getting paid as an agent, Jeff jumped into the investing game quite a few years ago now, and has gone on to do a ton of transactions.
If you happen to be a realtor, but you’re not taking advantage of the opportunities on the investing side of the business, or you’re trying but you’re just not gaining traction, or you have these fears or these conflicts of being an agent and a principal or an investor at the same time, this show was custom-made for you.
After 347 episodes, we have really never talked about making the transition of a real estate agent or a broker into the investing side. But this is a great show for you if that’s where you’re at. So learn how to transition from the agent side of real estate investing, or how to add more investing into your business on today’s show. You don’t want to miss it. Please help me welcome Jeff Garner to the show. So Jeff, welcome to the show, my friend.
Jeff: Thanks, Mike. I appreciate it, man. I’m looking forward to it.
Mike: Yeah. Good to see you. I know you’ve got a lot of good stuff going on up in St. Louis and kind of the surrounding area. Maybe before we kind of dive into talking about the topics of today, you can tell us a little bit of your background and kind of how you got started.
Jeff: Well, honestly, I’ve had family members my whole life involved in some level of real estate, mainly as real estate agents. My dad was a broker and he started doing rehabs on the side because he was a very successful real estate broker. So he ran across a lot of opportunities. There were times when I was 10, 11 years old, he’d take me, drop me off at the house with a buddy and a sledgehammer, paid us $3 an hour, and we’d get to demo. So it’s always something that it’s kind of in the blood. When I was 22, I got my real estate license, and that’s really the only career I’ve ever had, has been in some form or another of real estate.
Like you said, between ’97 when I got my real estate license and 2000, I had had pretty good success selling to investors. That was my niche. I would go and make a $1,500 commission and they’d show up at closing, double close it, and walk away with $20,000. I thought, “You know what? Something is not right here.” So that was kind of my insight into, “Okay. I get it. Now, the next level is being an investor myself.”
Mike: Yeah. So your dad was a broker, is that right?
Jeff: Yes.
Mike: So was there a lot of talk at that point about this real estate investing side? Because I know now, like some statistics here are that, I think the numbers are around 20%, 25% of the deals that kind of happen in America roughly are off the MLS. Like they’re kind of in this underground community of real estate investors that a lot of people don’t even know exist until you’re a part of it. Right? So was there like awareness, do you think, in your brokerage or as an agent that . . . of course, you know there’s investors out there. But that there’s kind of this underground community that they just don’t teach you anything about in a brokerage, typically?
Jeff: Well, honestly, in those days, HUD homes were big. So you could buy HUD homes. People weren’t aware of them. The “billboard real estate agents,” I like to call them, wouldn’t dare walk into a HUD home. It would just ruin their image.
Mike: Yeah.
Jeff: So you had some bottom feeders like us that didn’t care what it looked like because we knew there was a lot of money in it that really worked that market. So that was kind of the underground market that was the “ugly homes,” the ones that no one wanted to go through. So we focused on every opportunity to get a hold of distressed property to sell to investors. At first, VA, HUD, REOs, things like that. So I focused in that as a real estate agent, and that really helped me make my transition because I already knew the sources at that time. Now, it’s different now. It really is off-market stuff now.
Mike: Right.
Jeff: I think it evolved. We found that finding those ugly homes, finding the distressed properties, finding the distressed situations on-market, whether it be through HUD, VA, or in REO listings, then we all evolved and said, “Okay. How do we get to them before they go to HUD? How do we get to them before they go to VA? How do we get to them before they go to the banks?” I think that’s more along what you’re talking about with what’s going on with us today, is we’ve evolved.
Mike: Yeah.
Jeff: If it makes it to the MLS or HUD, or VA, or REO, it’s been picked through from guys like us.
Mike: Right. I think, investors have known this for a long time, that they can market directly to sellers that might be distressed. Right? But I think at my house, I get postcards every day. Of course, they’re the nice, fancy ones from agents that want to list my house. But I think the typical real estate agent would have never purposely targeted low-end areas or distressed sellers that might want to sell at a discount. My guess is that a lot of agents still today don’t understand how big the opportunity is for people that they just, for one reason or another, don’t want to list their house with a real estate agent. It’s like the pawn business. Right?
Jeff: Yeah.
Mike: Like I could get more money if I sell this on eBay and take some fancy pictures, and all that. Or I can go to the pawn shop and be in and out in a half-hour. Yeah. I got less money, but I’m done. Right? Or like trading in a car. Right?
Jeff: Yeah, exactly. I believe and Shaun says this too, 90% to 95% of the market do not need us. They can list on the MLS. They have time. They have money. It makes more sense.
Mike: Right.
Jeff: But there’s that 5% to 10% that makes a lot more sense to deal with us because they’re distressed situations and distressed properties.
Mike: Yeah.
Jeff: They get money to get out. They get to move. They’re in a financial situation, a medical problem, and it’s a matter of, you’re right, an agent is not marketing for those people.
Mike: Right.
Jeff: There’s no one else, but us.
Mike: Yeah. Sometimes agents market for us, I think. They call us because they’re like, “Well, I called an agent and they said I needed to do all this work to my house before I listed. So I don’t want to do that.” Unbeknownst to the agent, there’s another tool in their kind of toolbox that they could’ve used, which was to say, “Oh, you want a quick sale and you don’t want to have to do anything? I’ve got an option for you.” That’s kind of what we’re talking about today is agents that can start moving in that direction of being a solution to a seller, which is a solution that they want.
I mean, I think, you know this better than me, because I’m not an agent. My wife is an agent, but she really doesn’t facilitate our business. She’s actually never listed a house for anybody else but has sold hundreds of our houses. But that you’re taught to kind of maximize the profit or kind of the sale price for the seller, correct?
Jeff: Absolutely. Yeah.
Mike: Yeah.
Jeff: As an agent, you are. So there’s situations, like you said, where they’ve got to move fast. Luckily, for me, I have a network of agent friends that I’ve had for years, and they do find there’s a handy tool, but they are not doing it themselves. They call me.
Mike: Yeah.
Jeff: They find a house, and here’s another scenario people don’t think of. You’ve got a lot of elderly that are moving. If you have a 75 or 80-year-old woman that’s living alone and you go into her house, even if it doesn’t need a lot of work, sometimes it makes sense to call guys like us. Because can that lady go for a walk five times a day with her dog for an hour, whenever someone comes to show the house? They just can’t. There’s scenarios like that [inaudible 00:08:43].
Mike: Yeah. “Clean it before you go on your walk.”
Jeff: Yeah. It’s not possible. It makes sense to go our route because they’re left alone. They don’t have to repair it and they can move fast, and they love you for it. You may know, I tell everyone and I know you do too, Mike, we are not the best route if you need all . . . if all you’re worried about is money, we’re not the best option. But there’s all these other things that we can help you with.
Mike: Yeah.
Jeff: As far as the agent converting over, the mindset for an agent is, “How do we do that and represent our seller correctly?” Right? They feel like there’s a moral or ethical dilemma there. The truth is that sometimes you’re doing them a favor. Sometimes you are helping them. Sometimes getting them an extra $1,500 is what’s making them go through all the hoops to list it in the situation where it’s an elderly person, or someone who’s house is in disrepair and they don’t have a job, and they can’t make it sale-ready. You’re doing them a favor by buying it.
Mike: Right.
Jeff: As always, your disclosures are correct, as far as disclosing matured license, disclosing . . . if you want to take it the extra mile, I know some agents will write, “I am buying this as an investor to resell for a profit. I am a licensed agent.” What I used to do when I was still an agent, I’d have them handwrite something at closing. “Hey, I understand that Jeff is licensed, and I chose to go this route because it’s best for me,” or something along those lines just to make myself feel better. Now, I stopped doing that, because I realized I didn’t have to. It was a little unprofessional, I think. But that was just the paranoia that I had from years of being an agent and getting that drilled into my head.
Mike: Yeah.
Jeff: The reality of it is, I’ve sat with real estate attorneys and went over this, it’s more you beat that into your head because the boards want you to just stay an agent, and pay dues and fees, and that’s how they make money.
Mike: And sell for top dollar.
Jeff: And sell for top dollar.
Mike: Right.
Jeff: I’ve walked out of many appointments and said, “Look. You don’t need me. I can and I will buy it. But I’m going to give you this and I’m telling you right now, your house is way too clean and nice. You’re not in a rush. You’re perfectly capable of selling this. Call and give them a realtor referral. You’re going to make $10,000 more.” There’s some situation where it goes the other way.
Mike: Yeah.
Jeff: For an agent, if you’re an agent, it’s a way to do both. You can buy it or you can list it.
Mike: Yeah. I mean, you’ve bought a lot of houses. I’ve bought hundreds of houses, and through coaching and stuff like that, been involved in thousands of transactions. I would argue that there’s not one single house we’ve ever bought or contracted where the seller thought that we were the most profitable solution for them. Right?
Jeff: Yeah.
Mike: They wanted time and convenience. They know we’re not a realtor that’s going to . . . they know that if they fix it up and they take their time, they could get more money. But in every one of those instances . . . by the way, just to save us 1,000 transactions, I don’t know what it is, a lot more than that probably across all my students and people that I’ve worked with, but it took tens of thousands of talking to sellers to get to those 1,000 transactions. Right?
Jeff: [inaudible 00:12:08] Mike: There were a lot of people that we weren’t the right solution and that was very clear, and the ones that did buy from us never thought we were the most kind of profitable route. They just said, “I want to be done.”
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The ones that did buy from us never thought we were the most kind of profitable route. They just said, “I want to be done.”
Jeff: Have you ever traded your car in and really thought you were getting the most money you could possibly get?
Mike: Never. Never. Yeah.
Jeff: But it’s the convenience of it.
Mike: Yeah. I use that example all the time. Because actually, probably about five months ago now, I got a new vehicle and I had this Tundra that I had for like seven years. When I went and traded it in, I started looking behind my seats and under my seats. I have a son that’s nine now. There were still like Cheerios there from when he was four or something.
There was all sorts of stuff that, “I didn’t even know I had that anymore. I lost that years ago.” They’re like, “Well, what do you want to take out of your truck?” I was like, “I’ve got my garage door opener and some change in the thing.” They were like, “You can leave anything you want.” I was like, “I want to leave it all. Like literally, I don’t want any of that.”
Jeff: Yeah. I don’t have time to keep my car detailed, perfectly clean, market it on the internet, field the calls, and show it all the time. I’m too busy driving it.
Mike: Right.
Jeff: So I can stop at the dealership, swap them out, try and make the best deal possible, and move on with my life if I choose to do that. Then, it’s the same thing. From an agent’s perspective as well . . . shoot. I lost my point. It’ll come back to me.
Mike: Yeah. So with agents, let’s just talk about some of the opportunity, because when you’re just getting a commission here and there . . . obviously, you saw some people getting bigger checks, maybe on some wholesales. Let’s talk a little bit about different exit strategies. I mean, I think every agent knows that you can buy a house and keep it as a rental. Every agent knows, I’m using broad statements here of agents because I know that some of you that are listening that are agents know far more than we’re talking about here. Everybody understands kind of how to fix up a fix-and-flip. Right?
But I think a lot of, probably the largest portion of real estate investing that happens is kind of at the wholesale level. So there’s an opportunity to buy a house well below market value, still mark it up well below market value, and make more money that you make in a commission. Right? It’s fast and it’s clean. Talk a little bit about, just kind of share your knowledge of wholesaling that the typical agent may not really quite understand.
Jeff: Well, wholesaling is just basically buying a property under market value, providing value to your seller in other ways besides getting a fair offer or providing other opportunities to your sellers that bring them value. Whether it be speed and being able to close, whether it be taking their junk, helping them move, helping them find a place, closing fast, there’s a lot of value in those things. So it’s finding that knowing you’re getting it at a discount, all you’ve got to do is clean it up, and since you’re an agent, you have access to buyers. You might have your own buyers list. The strength for me as an investor is I knew exactly what buyers wanted because I’d worked with so many of them.
So I could see a property and a lot of guys that are in real estate investing, that’s all they’ve ever done, they really had to focus on their evaluation and their comps. “Oh, can we add a bedroom? Can we do this?” to bring value to a property. I could look at it and I could go, “I could sell this all day long if it looked like this, if I did this, this, and this.” Or I could see a house and go, “No matter what I do to that house, I am not going to make it desirable to my buyers,” because I’ve been an agent for 10 years. I know what they’re looking for.
Mike: Right.
Jeff: So as an agent, you might be able to see value in something that no one else can, because you know the market, and you know people’s minds and what they’re looking for. So clean it out, remarket it as a property that has a lockbox on it that someone can go in and out of it whenever they want, and it’s much more showable. It’s much more sellable than when a hoarder is in it.
Mike: Right.
Jeff: You know, when you buy it from that guy. Or when grandma is there and it’s perfectly clean, and she’s an amazing woman. I love the grandmas. You know what I’m talking about. There’s lots of them out there that we go see.
Mike: You like older women, right?
Jeff: I like older women. What can I say? Yeah.
Mike: [inaudible 00:17:22] Jeff: No. Hey, I get it. I got you. I owe you one. You know you’re doing them a favor by getting them to wherever they need to be with the kids, in assisted living. You’re walking in the door, evaluating, giving them an offer that’s fair to them. They agree, that’s what they’re looking for, their family agrees, and you walk out. No one has to go back in that house until they close. They can have their privacy. They can have their time and stuff.
So wholesaling is about buying it at a property that you see value in that others might not be able to, doing a favor for your seller by buying it in that condition. Then, maybe cleaning it up or matching it up with a buyer that you know, that would pay $5,000 more, $10,000 more, $15,000 more. Providing a service to the buyer that maybe they’re a rehabber and they don’t have time to market and spend $20,000 a month trying to find the right sellers.
Mike: Find deals. Yeah.
Jeff: Yeah. Then, you’ve got a seller that might lose that house if you don’t do this. So you actually save them from that and put money in their pocket, and match two people up, and you get paid for it. That’s how I look at it. We are providing a service and we get paid.
Mike: Yeah. One thing I think a lot of agents will understand, there’s a lot of talk about home ownership rates. Right? So we know that home ownership rates have been dipping over the past few years and they’re really not expected to kind of go back to where they were before because it’s a little bit harder to get financing now. But if you think about the home ownership rate, I don’t actually know exactly what it is right now, 62% to 65%, somewhere in that range. Well, what that means, that the flipside of that is 35% to 37% of homes are rentals. Right? So basically, one in three homes in America is a rental, and that’s owned by an investor.
So literally, a full third of the market is not the traditional owner-occupant, that a lot of agents are primarily only working with owner-occupants. I think, you can maybe share some thoughts on this, the beauty of working with investors and doing wholesale deals is that every wholesaler I know wants to do more than one deal. Like they want to do as many deals as they can a month. Right? So you kind of build these relationships with people that you can get kind of repeat business from over and over, and over again. Do you want to kind of share your thoughts on that?
Jeff: Yeah. I know I’m bouncing a little here, but you’re making me think of all kinds of different perspectives that I’ve had throughout my real estate career as an agent, and as an investor. It’s true. Here’s one of the truths about me making the conversion to full-time real estate investor, is I got really burnt out on working with buyers and sellers.
You’ve got someone that’s buying their only house they’ve ever bought and/or they’re selling their family home, and there’s so much emotion. You go by their schedule. People lie to you. They flake on you. You’re not making as much money. It was really frustrating and you don’t build relationships because they’re all one-offs.
Mike: Right.
Jeff: I sold this person’s house. Maybe 5 or 10 years from now, I’ll do it again. So it can be a tense situation. You can do a lot of work for no money. As an investor, a lot of these buyers want to buy as many as you can give to them. So you can actually build relationships with those people. It’s a much more pleasant relationship because for one they’re paying cash.
Mike: Yeah.
Jeff: Two, if you know what they’re looking for, most of my houses are sold within the first day, because I already have five people in mind that would like that. They pay cash. They know as much about the business as you do. There’s no handholding. It can be a relationship that goes on for 5 or 10 years that you make hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they love you too. They’re happy you’re making money, and you’re happy they’re making money. It’s a much more relationship-based business than being just an agent.
Mike: Right.
Jeff: [inaudible 00:21:21] Mike: Yeah. You can scale it, I think. So actually, before we started this show today, I sent out just a quick email to a wholesale house that we have here in the Dallas area. In about five minutes, I created an email that I sent to 2,000 people. The thing about investors is they’re ravenous. Right? They can’t move fast enough in this market. If you’ve got a good deal, it goes like that. Instead of the traditional route of, “Let me get all dressed up, so I look nice, and schedule an open house. Hopefully, somebody comes.” It’s like we do showings now because it’s almost like an auction atmosphere. Like it creates tension that people want to beat each other out.
Jeff: Yes.
Mike: So when we do this little showing thing here in a couple days, I bet you there’s 50 people there and a bunch of them will have a check in their hand. So it’s a more scalable business, I think.
Jeff: Yeah. You need to send me that, what you’re doing, that process that you’re doing for that auction. That’d be nice to see.
Mike: Yeah. It’s not really an auction. But when a bunch of wholesalers show up at a house wanting to look at a deal and they see that they might miss out, it’s just that scarcity of, “I’ll offer more. I can take it faster,” whatever they have to do.
Jeff: The market is crazy right now, man.
Mike: Yeah.
Jeff: The market is doing really, really well. It is a good time. [inaudible 00:22:48] Mike: So why don’t you talk a little bit about wearing two hats? I think a lot of times . . . when I teach investors that are also agents that say, “Well, I can list houses,” they’re marketing for direct sellers. Right? They’re marketing directly to distressed sellers. They think, “Well, if I can’t buy it, then I’ll list it.” So I often teach them like, “Well, if it’s real obvious they’re never going to sell to you and they don’t have enough equity, or they don’t have enough motivation, then maybe.”
Jeff: Yeah.
Mike: “But you want to be careful and not shoot yourself in the foot.” Because as you know, a lot of the best deals come back after follow-up. So you don’t want to prematurely list it when you could have. But maybe just talk about an agent, in your experience, playing both roles, wearing two hats. “I’m an investor and I’m an agent. I can make money both ways,” but just how to not . . . like there has to be a line there where you don’t screw up the opportunity to get deals.
Jeff: Yeah.
Mike: Or even on the realtor side, there’s probably a line that you don’t want to cross. Like you said, there’s some perceived ethical issues there, as well. But maybe talk about that a little bit.
Jeff: Well, that was a dilemma for me too, is you walk into a property and it’s borderline, and you want to buy it. But you’re thinking, “Well, maybe they’re not real interested in taking my price down. Maybe I ought to just flip this over to a listing and say, ‘Hey, let me list it for you,’ because then at least I’ll make something.” It’s a dilemma because walking away from some money is hard. Walking away from some money, hoping for the bigger money, is tough. But I had to make a decision and I decided we don’t go for the listing right away.
We might do the listing on a follow-up down the road when it’s clear that they’re not motivated to sell as is. So we wait on a follow-up and try our luck. The reality of it is, I buy more deals that way and the money I would lose in commissions is insignificant in the long term. As far as the ethical line, it’s all about disclosure. If I am a full-time agent that buys on the side and I go into a property that I think would be a great opportunity to buy, you would have to present yourself as an agent that represents them, be honest with them on what the house is really worth today, and then you can throw out that option.
It would go something along the lines of this and it would be, “Mr. Seller, I know you probably want to get top dollar for your property, and I know you probably have no interest in selling it as is. But I am part of a real estate investment firm. We do buy properties as well,” however you want.
“Mr. Seller, we either buy a couple a year, or we like to buy them too. Sometimes we think that buying it can be a better option for our sellers in your situation. It’s totally 100% your choice. I just want to give you that opportunity. If you do the math on the listing, this is where I think we’re going to end at the end of the day. Here’s what you’re going to net out at.”
Mike: Right.
Jeff: “If I buy it, here’s how this math is going to work, and this is how you’re going to net out. As you can see, the listing is going to give you a little more money. But I’m just being honest with you. For one, I’d love to list your property. I have no problem at all. But this is beside the financial, the number you’re going to get, this is what it’s going to take. It’s going to take properties on the market go an average of this many days. I believe you’re going to have to do this much decluttering or work on the property to get it ready to even make this much. I think there’s a good chance the seller could beat you at this much.”
Most of the time, those numbers aren’t too far apart. You’ve fully disclosed. You had your broker disclose your form that every state has that says that they know you’re a seller’s agent, and you are completely above board and in the black, and covered both angles. Honestly, a lot of times, they’re going to consider that, because the numbers aren’t going to be real far off. They’re really not. That’s what most people don’t know.
Mike: Right.
Jeff: “What you net, we’ll just pay for you . . . to buy your house the first day is usually a 5%, 10% difference.”
Mike: Yeah. Especially, for houses that need a lot of work, like the ones that need a lot of updates that haven’t been updated in 40 years, might have some structural issues. Truthfully, as an agent, you can say with . . . I’m not an agent, so just to kind of disclose that one more time. But without any kind of qualms is that, “To get your house ready for a sale to get top dollar, you would need to do this, this, this, and these things might be $20,000, $30,000, $40,000, depending on the situation. Are you willing to get top dollar? Are you willing to kind of make that investment? If you’re not, maybe here’s what you could get if you kind of did a quick sale-type option.” Right?
Jeff: Yeah. It’s really the same process as you know, when you go into a wholesale appointment, you’re going through and you’re evaluating the property. You’re putting down all the repairs and how much it’s going to cost. You’re netting out what you need to buy it for. Whatever that bottom line is with your profit, carrying costs, repairs, is going to be what you’re going to offer. That process is not much different as a listing agent. Except for if you’re just trying to list it, you’re really selling yourself. If you’re trying to buy it, you’re selling the opportunity you provide.
So from an agent, if an agent is listening to this and they’re wondering how they would do that, it’s the same thing. You go in, you sell yourself and how you’re good at what you do, and then also you’re building trust and rapport. If you feel like it would be a good fit for them to possibly sell directly to you, you’re probably already telling them that, “Hey, this is probably going to be an investor that buys it, and I just want to make you aware that we also buy it too.” Sometimes that makes our sellers’ lives a lot easier.
Mike: Yeah. So Jeff, we’ve got a . . . go ahead.
Jeff: Okay. Go ahead. No. I just wanted to make sure [inaudible 00:28:54].
Mike: Yeah. So we’ve got a few minutes left here. So any kind of other things that you want to share in terms of agents that are out there? I know we’ve kind of predominantly talked about agents, but it really could be anybody, in terms of getting started, like how to kind of bridge that gap. Because some people are so set in their ways of life is busy and, “This is what I’m doing today,” and it’s hard to just shift gears. But it’s not like you have to do it all tomorrow. But in terms of making that transition, I mean, any kind of advice or thoughts you have?
Jeff: Well, I’ll just throw out there just some thoughts that are just coming to me right now. My process was my process. I slowly merged into it over time. To be honest with you, when 2008 came, it made it real easy. One of the hard things for a successful real estate agent is like, for example, if someone worked at Boeing and they made $80,000 a year. To quit that job to take the leap to be a full-time investor is scary and hard, even though you know you could make quadruple that.
But it’s hard, because [inaudible 00:29:57], and it was the same for me and it’s probably the same for any other real estate agent. “Do I walk away from making $50,000, $100,000, $150,000 in commissions, even though I don’t like it or it’s not my passion?” It’s hard to do. So I would say, if you’re there, unless you want to make the leap, it’s worth it. The leap is worth it. It takes time and it’s scary. But if you want to transition, maybe do it the same way I do, my wholesaling and offer the listing on follow-up. But maybe you go in there and you get the listing, and you sense that they really want it to be on the market.
Sometimes we take listings, and any agent listing knows what I’m talking about. They might not want to admit it, but they do. They take listings that they know are not going to sell at that price. But they’re making their seller happy and hoping that they’ll drop the price after they see what’s really going on. So maybe, you start working that into either, A, your pitch when you go in to meet with a seller that, “Here’s option B. We can go with the listing, and here’s option B,” and then leave it alone, and maybe bring it up in a month or two. If they’re struggling to sell, then you know that option is there.
Or not even bring it up in the beginning and just start rolling it into your follow-up. When you would get back with them in a month, six weeks, two months, and say, “Hey, we need to adjust this price,” say, “As you can see, Mr. Seller, the market is telling us that it’s too high. Maybe we should lower the price and here’s an option too, my company also buys properties.” Depending, that would be one way to ease into it. Another way would be, start going to your REIAs and your real estate investment clubs, and things like that and start making relationships with investor buyers. Then, start looking for property for them, and get your feet wet that way and watch the process from the outside as an agent.
Mike: Right.
Jeff: That’s how I did it too, is I started working with investors to help them find property. Then, a lot of times, I’d make deals with them, “If I find you a property, obviously, I get the commission, but I get to list it afterwards.” I’ve built relationships like that, and I watched them and I learned, and then eventually I partnered with one of them to do a house. That’s how I got my first one under my belt.
Mike: Yeah. I think it’s like anything. Once you do a deal or two, you start to get that level of confidence that, “Okay. This is how it’s different,” or, “This is how it works.” So sometimes even though there’s people all over the country doing it or people all over your market doing it, until you actually kind of see it yourself . . . I’ve seen that with a lot of folks that I kind of coach, and for me it’s as clear as day how things work. After they do one deal, they’re like, “Oh, okay.” They kind of get it. It’s like, “Well, okay.” You know that because you have experience. But until somebody kind of sees it and they put money in their pocket, then they’re like, “Okay. Let’s do that again.” Right?
Jeff: It’s scary. I mean, if I was to give any advice to any agent is, “Trust your instincts. Trust your instincts.” It’s really easy to go into someone else’s house and say, “I know for a fact it’ll sell for this,” and you’re generally right. But it does work the same for yourself. I know when you’re thinking about making that transition to do it yourself, it’s scary as hell and you start doubting yourself. But the reality of it is, if you’re an agent and you’ve had some level of success, you have an insight that no one else has and you need to trust your instincts.
If you’re ready to take that plunge, you think you’ve found property, and you take the emotions out of it, you know yourself, “This property will sell for this much. If I can buy it for this much, I know I’ll make money,” it’s true. Just do it. Like you just said, Mike, once you’re putting that check in your pocket, you’ll never turn back.
Mike: Yeah. Awesome. Jeff, if folks want to learn more about you, I know that you’re active in the St. Louis area and on the East St. Louis side, Illinois side, and you have some groups that you set up for wholesaling. But I mean, tell us a little bit more about that, and then if there’s any other ways folks can get a hold of you, or learn more about you.
Jeff: Yeah. If you guys, anyone on here ever has any questions or need any help with anything, you can just email me directly, [email protected] So it’s [email protected] My company is Starting Point Real Estate. If there’s any agents in the area that run across deals, they don’t know what to do with them, they can call us. We buy them. We pay a full commission. Your seller doesn’t have to pay the commission. You end up looking like a hero in the end because you sold it first day and told them not to worry about paying you, you’d do it for free because we’re going to put it [inaudible 00:34:43] and pay you.
Secondly, really, I would love to get as many people on my buyers group on Facebook as possible. So if anyone out there is looking for buy and hold, flip properties in my area, St. Louis, we have a page called St. Louis Wholesale Properties, and we have another page for Illinois, which is Illinois Wholesale Properties. I want to get with buyers on there that are either, A, seasoned buyers or, B, looking to make that next plunge. We do about 10 to 12 deals a month. So there’s going to be 10 or 12 opportunities that come up on that page a month to buy properties. I did it so that emails, people get sick of emails. Some of us get 100 a day. I know I do.
Another thing is, on Facebook, I’m a member of a lot of different people’s pages and I get blown up with notifications all day long. It’s kind of becoming like email. I don’t even look at them. So I thought, “You know what? I’m sick of that. Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to put all my properties the day I get them out there on the wholesale page.” I’m not worried about emailing anybody, nothing. It’s going on this wholesale page. I made it a closed group so that no one can chat about the house. No one can say anything. So if you get a notification from my page, it’s literally because we just posted a property.
Mike: Okay.
Jeff: If you’re interested, then that’s [inaudible 00:36:09]. There’s going to be nothing else on there. So we’re trying to cut out a lot of the extra chat and spam, and things like that and say, “If you’re a member of these two groups, St. Louis Wholesale Properties or Illinois Wholesale Properties, you will get opportunities on wholesale deals and that’s it.” So you know that you’re not just adding another group that you’re going to get to hear about people’s opinions on any and everything out there in the world.
Mike: Yeah. Awesome. We’ll find those pages and we’ll get links down below in the show notes here for anybody that’s interested. So Jeff, hey, thanks for spending some time with us today, my friend.
Jeff: Hey, Mike, I really appreciate the opportunity. It was a lot of fun.
Mike: Yeah. Awesome. Well, great to see you. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again soon, and really appreciate it. For everybody that joined us today, thanks so much again. This is Episode 347. We’re going to keep them coming. So keep watching. Keep listening. We appreciate you all. You can see all of our shows, and by the way our other show too, the REI Classroom, we have another show that we publish daily. So you can see all that on So everybody, thanks for joining us today. Have a wonderful week.
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