Today on the show, Lauren Hardy joins me to talk about virtual investing…across multiple markets. We discuss when it makes sense, when it doesn’t, mistakes to avoid, how to choose your market, and much more! Great show…
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Let’s start today’s. Hey, everybody. Welcome to the show. Really excited to have my good friend Lauren here today. We talked ahead of time and we’re really pumped up for today. Uh, excited to have you join us, Lauren, how are you?
Lauren: I’m good. How are you?
Mike: Good. Good. I’m excited to talk about the, uh, virtual stuff, cuz as we kind of talked a little bit about.
Ahead of time. I’m the exact opposite of virtual. I’ve pretty, pretty much just said invested in one market. But of course I think everybody like me that primarily invests in one market is always interested in the virtual model of, uh, going off to far off lands and doing what we do in the same market. So excited to have you here.
Lauren: Yeah, no, I’m excited. Yeah.
Mike: Yeah. So we’re gonna talk today about like, kind of [00:01:00] why virtual makes sense when it doesn’t make sense, how to choose your market, different extra strategies, like all those things. But before we get into that, Tell us a little bit about, uh, you and your background.
Lauren: Awesome. Awesome.
Well, Mike, it is an honor to be on your live show. Super stoked. Um, a little bit about me. So I live in orange county, California. Um, I started investing in real estate about 10 years ago, so I was 25 years old. So if that gives you a little idea of how old I am now, um, I was working corporate real estate.
Actually. I was working in like commercial real estate for a company called Irvine company. And I had had my first daughter Reese at this time, Reese is one years old. And in that one year, man, you really learn how hard it is to be a working parent. Yeah. You know, before you have kids, no big deal. I’m gonna be like a CEO of a company.
Of course. Like my kids just gonna be in daycare. It’s not a big deal. Like. And then [00:02:00] you have a kid and you’re like, uh, oh my gosh, I see her one hour a day. This is terrible. Like, I can’t raise her this way. She’s gonna be like a, like on the streets. Like . Yeah. So I, um, after, you know, a year that I was so desperate to get out of my corporate job, I would’ve done anything just to be just to have any kind of work life balance.
I was really looking for something I could do where I could work from home and just have Reese home with. On top of that, I had a baby on the way I just found out I was pregnant. So like now the clock is really ticking. Um, I was also only making like 50 grand a year. So after paying two kids childcare in California, like.
It was like, why am I even working at this point? So nothing left. Yeah. So I had about, you know, nine months to figure it out. Um, and I learned about house flipping for my brother. He started flipping houses locally, and this was in California, in, in Southern California. And he had some good luck. [00:03:00] He had, I think he maybe had three or four project under his belt at that time.
And he said, you know, you should do what I do. And I was like, what do you do? I don’t even. Flipping is like, I never watched any of those shows, you know, on HGTV. Yeah. Um, so yeah, back then, uh, the education, there was like, no eCourses, there was no online eCourses it was like, you would get these CDs and you would just have to listen to the CDs in your car.
And that was like your education course. So he came with like a big book, like a binder full of CDs. And I listened to them in a week and I just learned all about how to flip houses. What, what
Mike: can you say what course that was or who the,
Lauren: yes, it was a local guy named Mike Cantu. He actually, I had. On the wholesaling Inc podcast.
Um, so I, I brought back my original mentor just to like, okay. Okay. He’s so awesome. He’s still doing deals, you know, still nice. Um, so I, yeah, I, I got, you know, I got some education. I, [00:04:00] I dove into the education in a week. I was like, all right, let’s do this. I’ve got nine months to figure it out. Cuz the baby’s due in nine months.
And like I need to be able to quit my job and not come back from maternity leave. Hmm.
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Lauren: you. So I had this goal to make, uh, to have one year salary saved up. Which wasn’t really that much. It was $50,000. um, and you know, if I had one year salary, I can quit my job. So I went to work and yeah, it took me like four months to get my first contract, to get a seller, to say yes to me.
And then it took me eight months to actually like, make my first dollar in, you know, house flipping, which wow. Made quite a bit, which that was in, that
Mike: was in Southern California. [00:06:00]
Lauren: I was in Southern California. Yeah. So this is post recession. I got started like the last day of the recession and the next day the market started going up.
Okay. So when I bought my first flip property, it was a condo in Laguna, Miguel. It went up like 10% just in the whole. Oh, wow. So if I, if you were in the business that back then, it was like 2012. Like it was all this sudden. It was like, we were so economically depressed for so many years. And then all of a sudden, like real estate was cool again.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. That’s great. That was my first deal. That’s where it all started.
Mike: And then, and then, so obviously at some point you were in your market, then you went virtual. Why virtual. And how long did you, uh, grind it out in your market before you kind of change models?
Lauren: Yeah. Okay. So I, I was grinding for a while.
Um, I started in 2012 for the first four years. I was in my backyard, but what happened? So I live in a really high price area. I live in [00:07:00] orange county, California. The average house here is a million dollars, so really expensive. And for those who are listening, right, you’re you guys know. Our whole livelihood as investors is convincing sellers to give us a property at a discount so we can, you know, make some money on it when we flip it.
Right? Yep. Well, when you live in an area where the demand is so high, it’s very difficult to convince a seller to take a discount on their home. So year after year, What I noticed was my marketing spend to get that one deal kept creeping up. It used to be like $2,500 would get me that one deal. And I would net like 30 to $50,000 on that flip once it was done, right.
Those were the days, it, it went from that to like $10,000 to, to get that one deal. And you know, what’s really scary is what if that one deal was the one time you were sick and you didn’t pick up the phone on time. [00:08:00] And you miss that lead right there, right? Yep. So four years into doing deals in my backyard, I was flipping primarily I was wholesaling a little.
I mainly wholesale what I just didn’t want or didn’t have the stomach for. Yep. Um, it got to where my marketing budget, you know, I’m looking, I’m going, oh my gosh, I’ve spent $10,000. I don’t have a deal lined up and I’m getting really stressed out. And there was a very, you know, kind of crucial moment in 2016 where I made that decision.
Like, I’ve gotta go virtual. I’m seeing people in these other states where PRI where prices are not as expensive and they don’t have the deal flow issues I’m having. They they’re like looking at me like I’m crazy. And I’m. The only difference is our average house price. Really that’s the only thing I could come up with was that just they’re in sheer areas.
Mike: Yeah. There’s a couple, I’ve got some friends of guys that are in my investor, fuel mastermind that are even worse than either in the bay area, which is like the most typical market. And, [00:09:00] and, you know, they deals are few and far between, but they might make like, you know, $400,000 on an assignment or something like that.
But then they’re like two months might go by where they don’t do a deal at all. And so it’s. This is, this is already an up and down business. Right. But in mm-hmm some of those high price markets, the roller coaster, the ups and downs are even bigger. Right?
Lauren: Yeah. And I, you know, I talk about this. I have a really good speech.
You gotta ask me at one point is like, do you decide to like go virtual or not? And I call it elephant hunting versus squirrel hunting. And you just described elephant hunting. Like that, you know, like you’re waiting for a while and you you’re, you know, really patient and you finally get that one, you know that.
Well, tell you
Mike: just, you just said you have a speech. I don’t know how long the speech is, but why don’t you go ahead and tell us cuz uh, as the next question is, when does it make sense to go virtual? When does it not? So maybe you could cover it in your speech.
Lauren: Okay. I can, I can. So to me it’s all about your psychology and your lifestyle.
So. What let’s explain first elephant hunting [00:10:00] versus squirrel hunting. So I call elephant hunting when you are in a higher priced area, but your deals are bigger, but your deal flow is less consistent. So you’re maybe closing one deal a quarter, but that one deal, you know, makes $60,000 or more. I know a lot of people, they love that.
They, they love those big checks. They love it so much. Right. But now let’s talk about squirrel hunting. Squirrel hunting is, you know, lower price point areas. So your, you know, your checks are not as huge. They’re not as sexy, you know, it’s maybe a $10,000 wholesale fee, even a $5,000 wholesale fee. Maybe when you’re flipping it’s $25,000 when you’re done, you know, but it’s more frequent.
You know, you’re getting like one check a week, you know, or at least once a month, you close a flip, like there’s some consistency. So there’s two ways you can go now. It’s okay. What kind of person are you and what is your situation in life? For me, I was in elephant hunting CR [00:11:00] territory for a while.
California turned into elephant hunting. Now it’s even, it’s like extinct animal hunting, like, so for me, I’m a mom. I have two children, you know, I have bills to pay. I have a mortgage elephant hunting was keeping me up at night. It was really scary to go three months and not get paid and not know when your next deal is coming.
Right. But squirrel hunting, even though the checks were smaller, it was nice that they were coming in regularly. And if you lost one deal, you know, you weren’t suicidal. Like we’re elephant hunting. Like you lose one deal. I mean, you are like, you’re devastated cuz you’re like, that’s how I was paying myself this this month or this quarter.
Right? Yep. Yep. So if you, what I notice elephant hunters are typically like, you know, maybe they don’t, you don’t have kids, you know, you’re, you’re low, um, low overhead in your lifestyle. You can go move back in with your parents. If like it really [00:12:00] gets bad, you know, you’ve got a roommate. You’re cool.
Elephant hunt all day long. Right. But the people that I notice really struggle with that is like the parents, you know, we’ve got mouths to feed, we’ve got, you know, a roof to keep over our head, that sort of thing. Yeah.
Mike: And the people that I know they done really well in, in markets, which is not a bad, what I’m about to say is not a bad thing.
It’s just takes up a lot of time is they really spend a lot of time on the relationship building side of the business. Mm-hmm like to. They’re network like powered networkers, trying to find deals outside of just paid advertising. They’re really big into the relationships, which is, I think is a great thing.
I’m big on relationships too, but it takes a lot of time to do that, right. Yeah. And if you don’t have that time, then maybe it’s not for you.
Lauren: Yeah. For sure. Yeah.
Mike: So talk about some of the, when you transition to a virtual model and obviously you coach a lot of people as well. Like when you see people do that, like, what are some of the common mistakes, maybe some mistakes you’ve made because it’s not the same.
Like it’s a different, well, you, you kinda, I’m gonna say it’s a different animal. You just [00:13:00] describe a lot of animal references. But when you go off to a far off land, there are other challenges that come along. Like some things are easier, but some things are harder. So talk about some of the common mistakes that, uh, people.
Lauren: Yeah, so lots of mistakes. Okay. We, we, we make a lot of mistakes when we go virtual, I made them all. Um, and you’re right. I I’ve got a ton of students that I’ve seen them all make the same mistakes I did. So they’re very, very common. Um, I, God, where do I even start? I would say the first, the most crucial mistake, one like the most game changing advice that changed the, the whole thing for me was not getting a partner.
So when you first go into a virtual territory, Everyone thinks that they can figure it out with prop stream and like, oh, well I have access to all this software and I can see this and I can find buyers. And I know like I can just pull a prop stream list and find a list of buyers and this and that. Like, it’s, I’m telling you, every area is so different, you know, it’s [00:14:00] not just, it’s like figuring out the geographic territory, right?
Like you could be, let me give you examples, different areas to figure out. Like Oklahoma city. I first went to Oklahoma city and I’m like, I was making offers like a house flipper. Okay. I was like, okay, I’m a house flipper. So like, these are how I’m comping out houses and I’m making all these offers and the sellers are like, no, you’re too low.
What are you doing? No, no, no. And I’m like, why? Like in six months I got like one deal in six months when I went virtual for the first time, like in Oklahoma city, couldn’t figure it out for the life of me. Finally someone said, you know, just get a JV partner, get a joint venture partner, and he’s gonna tell you what you’re doing wrong.
and I did. And within like a day of being on the phone, I just showed him like, well, here’s this lead and this is what I offered. And what would you have offered? And he’s like, no, no, no, no, no. Like these are landlord deals. You’re looking for a landlord buyer. So like, they pay way more than a house flipper.
If you flip this house, you’re offering 40,000, you, a landlord buyer [00:15:00] would buy this for 86. What are you doing? Yeah. And I was like, that makes sense because the seller was saying someone offered 86. Oh my God, right? Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, I’ve been in this business for, at that 0.4 years. Like I wasn’t, there’s a lot, you think like you would know.
Right. And I was, I didn’t know. I was like, oh, wow. Okay. Um, there’s areas that are developers’ markets, you know, and the, the name of the game is like, you know, development. So you need to be able to comp home like a, a, a property out as. Going to be, you know, knocked down and built into four different units, you know?
Right. Yep. Um, so there’s stuff like that. It’s also knowing that landscape, like the territory, you know, areas like a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a lot of the east coast markets, um, Kansas city, Missouri, hear that all the time up, like where you’re one side of the Street’s good. The next side is terrible. Yep.
You know, and you only know that if you were a local. I’ve heard
Mike: a few people. I know you operated in Tulsa too. I I’ve seen, I, I know several people that have tried to go into Tulsa virtually, [00:16:00] and they don’t understand that there’s like different parts of town and they just get hammered like in, in some of the lower end areas because they
Lauren: overpaid, you know, Tulsa is a funny market.
It’s the a hundred thousand dollars highway you’re talking about and they call it that. And so, yeah, if you’re, and I didn’t know either, like I was in Tulsa and I didn’t understand this highway. And if you’re on one side of. You know, price points. This, if you’re literally on the other side of it, it’s that nobody wants it.
Um, so there’s so many nuances to every single market that you think, you know, one market and you try it and, and it’s like, you’ll be shocked at how totally wrong you are. So the best advice is just getting a. To help you for like your first maybe five deals. Yeah. And
Mike: there’s always, and I think COVID has maybe changed a lot of this and people, some people have changed back.
They, they were buying over the phone and then now they’re back to in person or some folks have done really well with buying over the phone, but then they realize, um, that the margins are quite a bit higher to buy in person, which is a [00:17:00] common thing that I’ve seen. But I think, um, a lot of people don’t, you know, it’s, the question is always, can I invest virtually and.
Have a call center or a small team that’s calling into five different markets or do I need some boots on the ground that can go meet with people in those markets? Yeah. And be your eyes and ears. And so you’re an advocate for having some eyes and ears on the ground,
Lauren: right? Yeah. So another mistake I see people make is like, they, they think they got the whole nation , you know, open to them and they like, they do this exact thing and yeah.
I mean, you might get lucky and get one contract here or there. You know, but, um, in my experience, what ends up happening in that model is you spend so much money in marketing. You don’t close enough deals, you know, you don’t, you, you just don’t get lucky enough. Really? For me, it’s one territory at a time.
You really focus. You really like grow roots in that territory. Yeah. You know, and that’s, and you’re gonna just keep getting better at that territory and better at it. You know, maybe you start out as a wholesaler. [00:18:00] You know, if that’s your journey, you’re starting out as a wholesaler. And then the next thing you know is you’re gonna start buying rentals and you’re gonna do burs and you’re gonna start flipping houses there.
Like that’s the way, that’s how I teach it. And that’s what I’ve noticed people do better with. Yeah. Yeah. So
Mike: how do you choose a market? Like how do you decide to go into a specific market when the whole world is your playground? Like you could go anywhere. Like how do you choose a.
Lauren: Yeah. I mean, you could definitely get some analysis paralysis there.
Um, I recommend a few things. Um, number one is like, start with somewhere. You might know, you know, um, when in doubt working your backyard’s always gonna be easier. I, I’m not gonna even try to say like, no, you should always go virtual. Like no, like sure. Your backyard, you know, your backyard. You’re like, oh yeah, Mrs.
Seller. That’s so funny. My best friend lived on that street. Like those are, those are rapport building, you know, conversations. You won’t have if like you’ve never been there before. Right. So like if, when in doubt, you know, [00:19:00] work your backyard first, especially when you’re getting started, um, virtual comes out of necessity.
In my, like, in my experience, it’s come from a place of necessity. Uh, maybe you had a job transfer. You’re, you know, you move around a lot for your work. Um, you know, maybe you’re like me and your area just got way too high priced and it’s, it’s just not feasible anymore. Uh, maybe you’re in a rural area, like, and it’s, there’s like houses don’t have much value, you know?
Sure. Yeah. Then you start looking at like a virtual model. Right. And then when you’re thinking of going virtual start. Somewhere, you know, did you go to college somewhere? Do you have family somewhere? Um, you know, it’d really be nice to like, be able to call your in-laws right and say, Hey, can you go drive by that property?
Something’s going on? You know? Yeah. So start with areas of familiarity first. Um, you know, second now this is more, again, kind of the elephant hunts or squirrel hunt. It’s my preference to be in a market where there’s more exit strategies available to me. Um, I like [00:20:00] areas where you can profitably hold a rental, you know, so something where like the 1% rent to price ratio works, you know, 1% or better, which is around like, $300,000 purchase price or below.
Okay. Um, I like those kind of areas because like, if you get stuck with a property, you can keep it as a rental. Sure. You know, you also have more buyers available to you. You’ve got rental buyers, you’ve got flippers. Like there’s a little bit more of a mix going on there. Um, so I like that. I also think again, like why would I go to California or why would I leave California to go to another California and pick like, High price market.
Yeah. I would just do it in my backyard. so, yeah, so those are the things I recommend. Um, but then the big, big, big one right. Is find the proof of concept. So you mentioned Tulsa, I got Tulsa story for you, and this is probably why you’ve noticed people struggle. So Tulsa’s like fine now because everybody like Oklahoma city got so saturated that people moved to Tulsa eventually.
But about [00:21:00] four years ago, I started in Tulsa and I swear, like nobody was there, no wholesalers at all, that I was only wholesaling at the time and end buyers. I talk to these end buyers, these house, flippers and landlords. And they say, yeah, we see wholesalers every once in a while, but nobody really lasts.
It’s weird. Like they kind of come and they. and I’m like, oh, well, that’s great. Then I’m gonna have no competitions. This is awesome. Right? Well then what I realized is like, there’s a reason there’s no wholesalers. It’s very difficult. There’s no proof of concept for wholesaling in Tulsa at that time. It’s totally a different world now.
But at that time, wasn’t the proof of concept was not there. And it was very challenging. We were, we would get properties under contract that we thought would be good deals. And like, the buyers were real picky because they could be, they thought we were weird. They were like, what are you doing? Like they didn’t understand wholesaling.
It was really behind in the times kind of. Um, so my recommendation is you wanna make sure that whatever [00:22:00] you want to do, are you trying to house flip? Are you trying to buy rentals? Are you trying to do the bur concept? Are you trying to wholesale? Make sure there’s the proof of concept there. Like you can easily find like a handful of people that are like successfully doing what you
Yeah. You know, it’s funny that you say that. Um, because I, I think a lot of people have a natural tendency to say, I wanna find something that nobody knows about, right. Maybe there’s a reason nobody’s doing it because it hasn’t, it doesn’t work there. Right. And I’ll give you, this is kind of a weird example.
So not too far from my office here. There’s a, Chick-fil-A everybody loves Chick-fil-A there’s a line around the corner. Like whenever you go there at lunchtime, it’s like, the cars are all the way down the street. It’s crazy. Right. And I just drove by there the other day. It’s not normally the, the way that I go.
Uh, and they’re putting a canes, which I dunno if you know about cans. Yeah, literally right next door. I. How does proof concept, but the concept is proven there’s traffic there, and there’s gonna be a ton of people that don’t wanna wait in that long line at Chick-fil-A go right next door. Yeah. So that’s why a lot of [00:23:00] times when you see, when you’re out and about, you’ll see grocery stores right across the street from each other, mm-hmm, a new gas stations coming in right next door to the other one.
It’s because there’s traffic there. They know it works. Mm-hmm um, they’re just, you know, part, part of the opportunity is just to steal market, share from the person right next door to you.
Lauren: Yeah. Yeah. same. What
Mike: applies. Yeah. So talk, so you talked a little bit about exit strategy. So, you know, from my perspective, I’ve rehab hundreds of houses right here in Dallas.
Even though I hate to go look at houses. I always could. And I always honestly did, uh, go check on what’s going on when you’re virtual, you can’t check on rehabs as easily. Of course, there’s a lot of technology that helps with that today, but talk about like how to choose exit strategies. I mean, you don’t always have to wholesale when you’re virtual, but you know, some things are easier than others.
So talk about not just picking a market, but picking the exit strategies you
Lauren: should focus. Yeah. So, you know, it, it would help if I just kind of go through the exit tr strategies, give you pros and cons. Right. So wholesaling, right. I call it the [00:24:00] gateway drug of real estate investing. Okay. Wholesaling to me is a really good, it’s a, a new, I would say new person strategy, right?
It’s, it’s a great newbie strategy. Um, especially when you’re virtual, you know, there’s not a ton of risk. Um, I think that wholesaling is the easiest to pull off virtually, but you still need a joint venture partner to really speed that learning curve up like. Don’t try to be a hero and do it yourself.
Like just get a JV partner and like, learn about the market from that person. Right? Yeah. Wholesaling easy. I, you know, freshman, freshman entry level kind of, kind of thing you can do. Um, the next thing that is, I would say next easiest virtually is just owning rentals, you know, um, once you get, you know, the property stabilize.
You don’t really have to do much, but just like collect your check. And especially as long as you have a good manager, right. As long as you have a, yeah. A good manager, like that’s pretty like easy to do and pull off as long as there’s not a lot of [00:25:00] rehab, like when you acquire it, like, you know, easier to pull off virtually.
Um, I personally, like my dad is the OG of virtual investing cuz he had a rental portfolio in Ohio and we lived in California, like growing up. OK. So, OK. So my, yeah, my virtual roots run deep so. The next thing would be like house flipping. Now a house flipping is like a varsity virtual strategy. If you are just dying to be a wholesale or a house flipper, and maybe like it’s not working in your market, you live like in New York or Miami, or like bay area me here, Seattle, like all the expensive areas.
Well, but you still wanna have this dream of like being a house slipper. I’m gonna tell you it’s varsity. It’s, it’s very difficult. Um, you really wanna like have a lot of boots on ground in that area to have your back, um, I, I recommend go at it in stages. Stage one would be partner with [00:26:00] someone mm-hmm so like partner with a local house slipper, Hey, I got this deal.
I’ll even help with the funding if, you know, make sure they got some skin in the game too. And like let’s be partners 50 50. And like they manage the rehab cuz they’re physically there. They’re using their contractor that they know and love and trust and like partner for a while. Until you have replaced that person in the boots on ground aspect, like you got their contractor, you’ve got like property, um, project management, like there for you somewhere.
So like that would be like stage one. Then you could be crazy like me and just go straight to stage, stage two, which like I thought I could figure it out cuz you know, I’ve been wholesaling in my market for a while. So I had contacts, um, Stage two would be like, we have a project manager that is there.
Okay. I’m gonna give you guys the horror stories of house flipping virtually. It can go really well. In some, some cases there’s some areas that like just [00:27:00] general contractors are terrible and it’s like an epidemic of it. so I’m flipping homes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s known for. Not having the best contractors and all of us flippers in that area are like crying.
Like our contractors are terrible. Okay. So I like I’ve had project managers that are like babysitting. Um, we could not find a contractor, like a general contractor to manage the whole job doesn’t exist. So we have to sub everything out. Our. Oh, wow. Um, we have officially gotten to the place cause we have enough projects to support it.
We are shipping a crew, our own construction crew there. So we have in-house construction in Pittsburgh now varsity, like that’s a, I can only pull that off because my boyfriend is, he’s got a lot of construction background and he’s setting that up for me. So like that’s a very rare situation that I was able to kind of milk that relationship.
But. [00:28:00] That was really tough if I I’ll be honest, if I was, if I was a new person trying to like flip in Pittsburgh and I just did it and bought that first home I did, I would, I would’ve just had to sell it to another investor. I would’ve been like, okay, never mind. I can’t find a juicy, forget it. Like somebody take this, but I was lucky that I’ve got the boyfriend with the construction experience and he’s been like project managing it from a distance.
You know that now we’re bring, we’re shipping people over there to finish
Mike: these. Yeah. You do what you gotta do. You gotta be resourceful right. In this business. So,
Lauren: right. And I wasn’t about to like, give these deals up. I was like, no, there’s too much money in ’em so yeah.
Mike: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. They’re awesome.
So folks, if you’re listening right now live, um, And if you’re not listening live as well, uh, just chat in the comments here and let us know like where you’re joining from. And if you’ve done any virtual investing yourself and feel free to ask any questions we can hit ’em up. Uh, while we’re, while we’re here with Lauren for just a little bit longer, if you’re listening after the fact, just know that we do these shows a couple times a month, uh, the live version we have [00:29:00] over 1500 podcasts on flipping.com over the past.
Uh, actually coming up on our nine year anniversary of the podcast. You can believe that, uh, but if you go to flipper.com/. You can opt into our live version of the show here. We’ll notify you when we’re doing our next episode. We’ll send you a copy of, uh, this show, how to get access to it after we edit it here in the next couple days.
So let us know where you’re joining from, and if you’ve done any virtual investing or you have any questions for Lauren while we’re here. So Lauren tell us some other things, some other, um, things that kind of differentiate somebody being successful from not from getting into virtual investing and maybe, maybe touch on.
Do you think a lot of people have asked in the past? I actually do a lot of, uh, large multifamily syndications now. And there’s always this discussion of, do you have to have done single family before you do multifamily, which you don’t have to, but I think the mindset of being an investor helps, do you have to have ever invested locally in a market before you get into virtual investing?
Or can you go right into virtual?
Lauren: I think you could go right in. Okay. Yeah, I [00:30:00] do. I think you could go right in for sure. Especially, like I said, get a, get a partner at first.
Mike: Yeah. You honestly, I think even if you start in your own market, like it’s a good idea to work with somebody, whether it’s a mentor or a coach or a partner or something, this business is a lot harder than what most people think.
Right. It’s not as glamorous is what people are led to believe. There’s just a lot of work.
Lauren: mm-hmm yeah, 1000% get a partner. Anyway. when you’re starting out, for sure.
Mike: It’s a perfect business, uh, to be, be a partner with my wife was my partner. I mean, she handled all the stuff that I didn’t want to do, um, right.
Fortunately for me. Um, but so awesome. Yeah. Somebody here saying that they think they bought some deals from me in Tulsa.
Lauren: Yeah. You might have. For a while. We were like the only ones wholesaling deals. And then now it’s like a totally different, yeah. Um,
Mike: I know a couple people in Tulsa that have done a lot of volume, but they primarily were landlords.
They would just mm-hmm , you know, do a hundred dollars a year and keep ’em all maybe.
Lauren: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It’s a good area. It’s a great area for rentals.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. So what are some other things that [00:31:00] kind of separate somebody that gets into virtual wholesaling? Um, that is successful. Mm-hmm . And not. And then what, what’s the difference in those two people?
Lauren: Yeah. You know? Okay. I don’t know if this is in general, virtual or not. You could probably, I know you’ve had a lot of students like go through your programs, Mike and I have too. I don’t know if it’s virtual specific, you might argue and say, no, that’s just in general as this business, right? Sure. Is when you are going virtual, you’re gonna get, you’re gonna have a lot of bottle.
So like bottlenecks, for example, is I couldn’t find a contractor in Pittsburgh. What do I do? Do I give up and just sell the home and like lick my wounds and like, I don’t know, get into another business or whatever, like, right. You know, or do I go, no, we’re gonna hire a project manager. We’re gonna, I can’t find a general contractor.
I’m gonna build my general contractor business. Like, I’m gonna. Ha have a project manager and we’re [00:32:00] gonna find the best subs. I’m gonna call every single buyer on my buyer’s list and ask them for a recommendation for roofers and H V a C guys. And this that’s what we did. So like every time you hit a bottleneck, like it’s not like, oh, go and like cry and give up or whatever.
It’s okay. What are all the things that I can do? To like break through the bottleneck, you know? Yeah. Um, and I noticed it’s not so virtual, you’re gonna get a lot of bottlenecks. You’re gonna get more cuz you can’t just like go in your car. Like you can’t just get in your car and go solve the problem, you know?
Like you just can’t. Yeah. Um, so, so you’re gonna run into way more bottlenecks. So you have to get really resourceful and kind of crafty, like you’ve gotta. Thinking out of the box, like of how, you know, you can kind of replace yourself there. Yeah. I think
Mike: that’s probably all real estate investors. You just have to be resilient.
Right. It’s probably all entrepreneurs like you, you’re gonna, you’re gonna hit hard times. You gotta figure it out. Yeah. I, I bet one thing that happens with virtual investors is they decide to [00:33:00] go into a market and they try it for a while and things get hard and they’re like, they think the market is a problem.
Well, oh, I better just change to a different market and only to have the same problems there because it’s more of like process problems. That’s probably pretty
Lauren: common. For sure. For sure. Um, yeah, they hate a couple bottlenecks. They say this doesn’t work. Sometimes they just choose the wrong market. Yeah.
It’s, you know, what’s really cute. It’s it’s like the California person like me. Who’s like, yeah. Like, oh my gosh, I’m gonna go to like, you know, some expensive Florida market. Like, I don’t know. I can’t think of one off the top of my head, like, but like another market that’s like saturated in its own way.
Like maybe it’s not a million, but it’s 500,000 now. Whereas two years ago it was 200,000 average purchase rate. Did you do that? Oh, I did it with Nashville. Oh, okay. So Nashville was my first virtual territory and all the thought that went into that one, cuz that was my first was just like, oh, this sounds like a cool place to visit.
And that was it. Like, and I just, you know, and [00:34:00] I saw that people were building homes. So the first thing I did it, um, virtually ever, I, it was build new homes. So I was building houses in Nashville cuz that’s like what you did in Nashville. Yeah. And. It was like, I got in right at a time where like, this was super hot, but like, not, it wasn’t as competitive, but within like a year, like I could not compete with the local guys, like, cuz there was so much development.
Like you gotta imagine we were all fighting over, you know, these homes and like a seller say a seller had a lot that we could build two homes on or four homes on. All this seller had to do. And so I’d make, ’em an offer and they’d go, okay, thanks. Let me think about it. And they’d hang up and they’d walk outside their house.
and there would be four investors right there, cuz they’re building houses like right in front of them and they would just walk over and be like, What will you offer me for my lot? And the local guy always could offer more cuz they have, you know, one [00:35:00] right there, you know? So I was getting, um, outbid quite a bit and I was like, okay, this is feeling like California.
Like why did I even leave California? If yeah. You know, Yeah.
Mike: Yeah. So one, one question is how do you know how deep to go into a market? Like, let’s say you go into a virtual market and you’re operating in a few markets. How do you know whether you should go deeper in that market or bolt on a second market?
Lauren: Mm, okay. I used to be, you know, we change, right. Cause when you’re virtual,
Mike: I think sometimes you come like a, a virtual market junkie. You’re just like, yeah, I’m gonna go into 20 markets. It’s easy because you’re just like, I’ll just start over somewhere else and
Lauren: somewhere else. Right. I love that. You just said virtual market junkie.
I’m gonna totally use that. I’m copying that one. Um, yeah, I, I went through that face that learned from my mistakes. Okay. I was a virtual market junkie, so I went, you know, Nashville. And I was like, oh my gosh. Like to then I did Oklahoma city. I was like, oh, once I figured Oklahoma city, I was like, this is easy.
Okay. Like, this is so much easier than Southern California. Like [00:36:00] sellers are so much nicer in here. And I thought, okay, well then I’ll just do Tulsa. and that was when, like, it was like, wait, hold on. This is not as easy as Oklahoma city. Like I became a junkie, like, you know, but like I refused to give up on Tulsa.
So then, you know, in hindsight it’s like, I probably should have just stayed in Oklahoma city, honestly. Yeah. Like just gone deeper. It started flipping or something like I should have gone deeper, to be honest. Yeah. Um, so like, yeah, I, I am a little bit more under, uh, after life, you know, life experience. I do really subscribe to just like one market and like make that market like your home.
And if you feel like, okay, I’m ready for another market. Like let’s wait couple years. Like. You know, you’ve really successfully like proven the model and then maybe you pick like a second market to invest in or something. Yeah. But I, I’m definitely more under the, like, just, you know, pick one market and that’s it.
Mike: That’s a good idea. Yeah. Yeah. You know, you get a problem when you say [00:37:00] just one more and next time you say just one more yes. And then, you know, you’re a.
Lauren: Right, right. I know. I
Mike: know. So, uh, we got one question here. I’m asking about, um, marketing channels. So I, I, I don’t know if that impact, if that’s different for virtual wholesaling, other than, uh, than, you know, if you’re in your own market, but you wanna share any insights.
I, I run a lead generation agency for hundreds of investors. So I’m obviously very biased, but any things you wanna share on maybe something that works better. Um, I guess one of the cool things about being in a virtual market is you can, you can kind of try stuff and if it doesn’t work, it’s easy. Easier to get in and out.
Right. But anything you wanna share on marketing channel?
Lauren: Honestly, all of them work virtually, and I think it’s more market specific. Like it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter whether you’re virtual or not. Like if there’s a lot of people in your market that just happen to be on the text message, campaign trend, you know, like texting, isn’t gonna do very well in that market.
Cuz you’ve got too many people and it really only takes like maybe what, 10 people that are [00:38:00] texting the same absentee owner list to like saturate. You know, a marketing method. Um, so I’ve, I’ve done every single, I think I’ve done every type of marketing you can do as far as, um, real estate investing goes aside from, I never did radio ads, um, but some work better in others.
I had TV ads running for the longest time and they were terrible in Oklahoma city, but they killed it in Pittsburgh. Um, you know, direct mail. It works in some areas. It doesn’t work in others because there’s too many people doing direct mail in others. So. It really is market specific. You kind of have to try some things.
Yeah. Um, but you know what I’m noticing now, Mike, and I don’t know if you are, um, because of where we are in the market. I’m actually getting a lot of deals from wholesalers. Hmm. And I think MLS is gonna come back. I was like, well, this though
Mike: has gotten harder. Right. Just generally speaking. Yeah. Mm-hmm um, and that makes sense, cuz a lot of wholesalers are still finding ways to.
And they, you know, if they were selling to hedge funds or other people, institutional [00:39:00] buyers that have pulled back. Yep. Then it’s starting to kind of, some of those are starting to shake out and maybe come back to.
Lauren: That’s exactly. I that’s what I’m noticing. So actually I’m kind of focused on like working in partnerships, working with other people.
Um, you know, if there’s a wholesaler in my area and they, you know, want an easy deal, I’m buying, you know, off of them, um, realtor relationships, things like that. I’m noticing that’s coming back, which is very exciting to me because that’s all free. You should.
Mike: Why don’t you tell us what markets you’re in, in case somebody’s listening right now and they wanna reach out to you?
What markets are you in, where you go. Love to see
Lauren: multiple deals. Yeah. Oklahoma city. So I, I do a few things in Pittsburgh. I’m flipping, um, Oklahoma city. We could flip in, um, Tulsa where we’ve been still in Tulsa. Um, we just started moving deals on the disposition side in Idaho. So in Boise, um, and I wouldn’t mind picking, I’ve actually got a good partner out there.
Um, so I’d pick up deals in Boise, Idaho, too. So if any of those. Markets, you guys have contracts. Um, we help other people move their contracts. We [00:40:00] also are a buyer as well, so. Okay,
Mike: awesome. Awesome. Yeah. Well, I know you share a lot of knowledge. You have, you know, coaching and other things around virtual, uh, virtual investing.
If folks wanted to connect with you, learn more. Where should they go?
Lauren: Yeah, check me out. I think Instagram is where I’m most active. So go to this mom flips on Instagram and, um, my website, Lauren Hardy, co dot. Com’s got like, you know, some free stuff, free seller script and all that. So it’s Lauren Hardy, what would you say, Lauren?
Hardy. Lauren Hardy, coo.com. You guys can check out the, the free seller script.
Mike: Lauren hardy.com was not available. Somebody snaked it from.
Lauren: Lauren hardy.com. Believe it or not was not. So I had to add a co at the end. Ah, I know. So annoying, right? Yeah, yeah,
Mike: yeah. Yep. Cool. Awesome. Well, any, any kind of final words of wisdom to share with folks that you might be listening
Lauren: right now?
Oh my goodness. Uh, final words of wisdom. Um, I don’t know. It’s such a, [00:41:00] it’s an interesting time in the marketplace right now. Yeah. And I’ve noticed people, you know, I always heard that this would happen. I don’t know if you are. How long you’ve been in this business, Mike,
Mike: 2008. So I started in a down cycle.
So this is okay. This is my time. This is, this is honestly this, I think this is the best time for real estate investors. You just have to get over the mental hang.
Lauren: Right. Okay. So I started in 2012, so I didn’t quite like, I didn’t get to be in it when it was like easy to buy. Yeah. Like easier to buy. I was always in it when it was where it was always a seller’s market.
And I was just waiting for the day, like when is it ever gonna be a buyer’s market again? Like, and I always heard that when it becomes a buyer’s market, like when you’re in this phase, you’re gonna see a purge. Like you’re gonna see a lot of people get out of the real estate business and. Lately. I have heard from so many people that are like, I want I’m over it.
I’m burnt out. Like, yeah, I’m freaked out. I don’t wanna do this anymore. You know, why did I buy [00:42:00] these properties so high? You
Mike: know, that’s the problem. This is honestly, this is the best. Now when I started 2008, it was, and my wife and I, it was coincidence. Like we didn’t plan that. It was just like, I lost my job.
We’re this is the time we’re finally gonna do this. It was just coincidence that we got in. It turned out to be the best time to get in. Yeah. Even though when we were getting in a lot of veteran people, uh, people that become good friends of mine thought we were nuts. Like this is the worst time. Why are you starting now?
But the reality is, is. We didn’t have any baggage. We didn’t have a bunch of inventory that we paid overpaid for. We didn’t have bad habits yet. Our work ethic was stronger than ever because we were committed to making it work. Mm-hmm . And so I think that’s what happens during kinda what we call the shift here is there’s this transition period from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market.
mm-hmm and people that were kind of on principled or they got sloppy because values keep going up and it’s covering up mistakes. Like they’re kind of like so called the tide is going out and we’re seeing who still has a swimsuit on and not right.
Lauren: I know, I know. [00:43:00] It’s really interesting. And I always heard, you know, from original mentors who had been through several cycles, I got, I was built in good principles and in many ways I was really.
Frustrated with myself, cuz I saw these people just like killing it, like being way less risked versus I was and buying all these flip houses and stuff like that. And now I look and now when I see the fear in their eye right now, I’m like, I’m glad I wasn’t them.
Mike: Yeah. And there’s always, you know, at the end of the day, if social media makes it so hard to like compare yourself and a lot of people get disgruntled and I won’t say any names at all, but I know somebody.
Is all over social media that does a ton of deals. And then I kind of found out recently I was kind of doing based off some information they shared of, yeah, you’re doing a lot of deals, but your margins are so low. And I was like that first off, that’s not gonna work in this new market. Like that just doesn’t work.
Right. And at the same time, it’s like, you’re not as cool as I thought you were, cuz you’re not really net. You can’t be netting, anything [00:44:00] off of those things. Right. It just looks like you get a lot of volume, but at the end of the day, that’s not success from my
Lauren: stand. For sure. And I have this same thing and I actually just wanna say this, like, cuz I hope that in no time in this interview I came off.
Like I have it all figured out. Like I’m still learning and figuring it out. And um, you know, I was not, you know, like I was a turtle as far as my success goes in this business, like it’s been 10 years guys, like. 10 years. And I would listen to these podcasts when I, I remember like when I, now I just don’t listen to them.
Like, but I would, when I first got started, I remember like listening to these podcasts and it would be like some guy. And he’s like, yeah. So like I quit my restaurant server job and I decided to flip houses and like, you know, within six months I got my first 27 deals and, you know, I. It’s just crazy. Like we’re, we’re on schedule to buy a hundred by, you know, by the end of the year and, and all this.
And I’m like, what, like, what am I doing wrong? Like, I, I only did three deals this year, you know? [00:45:00] Yeah. But in the end I think, um, a lot of people are lying on social media. Number one. Well,
Mike: there’s certainly an asterisk next year, right? I mean, at the end of the day, this has been a great business for me. I know it’s been a great business for you.
people need to stop worrying about what other people are doing. Yeah. Like there’s people that you should follow and people that have great information, um, such as Lauren Hardy, co.com and ner.com. Like you don’t need to go anywhere else. Like, we’ve got a lot of good information, but there’s a lot of people out there that will bump their chest and, and mm-hmm, , you know, puff up a little bit when it comes to success.
So as you find out, it’s like, well, your margins are really thin or yeah. Like, yeah, you did a bunch of deals, but you’ve got like five partners in your office. Yeah. That’s why you don’t have any employees and you’re doing hundred deals a year. And so it’s like an individual doing 20 deals a year. Yeah. You never wrong with that.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s like, okay, there’s an
Lauren: asterisk next to it sometimes. Right. I love that. Yeah. That’s true. It’s true. You know? Yeah, for sure. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else you’re in your own. This is your own race.
Mike: That’s [00:46:00] right. That’s right. Mm-hmm Lauren. Awesome. So we’ll put links down below for Lauren on, uh, on IG and, uh, her website.
Again, if you guys, um, have it, if you’re not getting notified of our, of our live shows, here you go to flipper.com/group and kind of opt in to get access to this very same show right now. And then we’ll notify you of each new ones that comes along. So Lauren, thanks so much for sharing some great info with us.
We definitely appreciate you joining me today.
Lauren: Thanks so much, Mike, it’s been great. Thanks for watching guys and everybody. Thanks
Mike: a ton for joining us. Uh, we’ll see you on the next show. Again. If you go to flipper.com, you can access over 1500 video podcasts from the past nine years on pretty much anything you could possibly think of.
I’m sure we talked about it between one and 50 times. At least. Uh, we have so much content out there, but appreciate you all a bunch. Uh, if you’re watching this on social social media right now, maybe chat down below as. Who else I should consider having on as a guest on this live show, I will tell you, I’m only bringing on people that I think are rock stars, people that I want to get to know better or great friends of mine.[00:47:00]
And so we’ve had some amazing people on the show up up until this point. We’re gonna keep ’em coming, but I’d love to know who else we should have on the show. So everybody, thanks for joining again, Lauren. Thanks so much. Five everybody have a great day. Bye-bye. Thanks for joining me on today’s flip nerd live to get access to our upcoming interviews with experts and get your questions answered and join our free online community.
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