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Behold Brandon Pitt
Cross between Brandon Turner and Brad Pitt
Brandon is a painter, extortionist, exorcist, and lover (not a fighter.) He’ would also like everyone to know he is not a robot, despite claims to the contrary. Little known fact: He’s the VP of Growth and Communications here at BiggerPockets.com.
Brandon joined me on the Flipping Junkie podcast way back in episode 2 of the show. He’s very busy and I really appreciate him taking the time to be on the show again. I enjoy talking with Brandon and consider him a great friend.
On this episode, we cover over 22 actionable tips for beginner real estate investors. Even though we say these are tips for beginners, I think we can all say that even experiences house flippers do not do all of these things. If we all would work at putting these tips into action, we’d all make more money and have more free time.
The important thing to always remember is that this is a marathon, not an all out sprint. Do not try to go out and do all of these things this next week as you will burn yourself out and half-ass all of them. That’s just a waste of time.
Take your time. Pick 3 and commit to do them well.
My favorite actionable tips from the show are:
1. Eliminate 2 words from your vocabulary completely: ‘I Can’t’ and replace them with ‘How Can I?’
2. Write your first “yellow letter.” Simply get a yellow pad of paper and write, Dear Johnny Appleseed, I’m interested in buying your house at 123 Plum Orchard Rd. If you would consider selling, please call me at 222-2222. Very sincerely, Joe Investor. Yes, it’s really as simple as that. Drive for dollars and find a vacant house. Look up the owners address from your county’s tax assessor website. It’s very simple.
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Danny Johnson: This is Flipping Junkie podcast episode 29. [music] Welcome to the Flipping Junkie podcast. My name is Danny Johnson; former software developer turned house flipper, flipping hundreds of houses. Each week, we bring you interviews, strategies, stories, and motivation to help you get started flipping houses and on your way to becoming your own boss and achieving financial freedom. Thanks for spending time with me today. Now, let’s get to it.
Hey, everybody. Thanks for listening to the Flipping Junkie podcast. Today, I’ve got Brandon Turner back on the show. He was actually on the show back on episode 2 so long ago. But Brandon is a good friend of mine. I really enjoyed talking to him, and I’m glad he was able to take the time to be back on the show.
The bio that Brandon sent to me, it always changes. He’s always got something different. This time, I guess he’s all of a sudden became a painter, extortionist, exorcist—believe it or not—and lover but not a fighter. He would also like everyone to know that he is not a robot despite claims to the contrary. And a little known fact about Brandon is that he’s the VP of Growth and Communications at biggerpockets.com. So for all you people out there that think that Brandon might be a robot, he’s not. That’s what he says.
But anyway, Brandon is on the show today. We’re going to talk about actionable tips for beginner real estate investors. So I wanted to have an episode here in the series of episodes that we’re doing to get started in flipping with the motivation, mindset, goal setting, and give you some actionable tips for things that you can start doing right now to help further yourself to get that much closer to be flipping houses and becoming your own boss and living the life that you want to live, spending your time that way you want to spend it and all those great things that all of us would want to flip houses for. So let’s go ahead and get into this episode and talk to the Brandon about actionable tips that we can take as real estate investors to make a difference. [music]
Hey, Brandon. Thanks for joining me on the bigger—on the Flipping Junkie podcast. Thanks for being on the show.
Brandon Turner: Thanks for having me. That was quite the intro.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. That was my podcast voice. I’ve been trying to find the right podcast voice to stand out and be different, but maybe I shouldn’t.
Brandon Turner: Keep trying. Keep trying.
Danny Johnson: Yeah, I will.
Brandon Turner: And by the way, I want to tell a quick story here if I could.
Danny Johnson: Well, it depends on what the story is.
Brandon Turner: The story is… This is how Danny got me back on the Flipping Junkie podcast here. I actually got a nice picture in my email of probably the most handsome guy you have ever met. Ever, ever –
Danny Johnson: I sent him a picture of myself.
Brandon Turner: Not quite. This is a picture of Brandon Pitt, we’ll call him. It is a morphing picture of Brad Pitt and Brandon Turner. And I got to tell you, it’s a pretty handsome looking fella. I’m not going to lie.
Danny Johnson: So that’s how I got Brandon back on the show. I always say we’re great friends, but I have to send him pictures like Brandon Pitt to get him on the show.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. That wasn’t the only picture you sent me, but we’re not going to talk about the rest.
Danny Johnson: No. I’m sure everyone’s going to want to see the Brandon Pitt picture though, so we’ll include that on the show notes, flippingjunkie.com/29. People can check out that picture.
Hey, Brandon. So you feel like talking about actionable tips for beginner real estate investors?
Brandon Turner: Either that or we can talk about like sandwiches. I think something like that would be good, too. My favorite cellphone apps. Whatever you want to talk about.
Danny Johnson: Well, I like sandwiches. So that was a toss-up. We were debating flipping houses or making sandwiches.
Brandon Turner: I actually recently discovered on the sandwich note and we’ll move on to sandwiches. I recently discovered, I don’t know, it was like six months ago—peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They’re absolutely incredible, and I never had them growing up. So I’ve been eating a lot of those lately. And then, just two weeks ago, I discovered the panini where if you take bread and put it in a panini maker, it makes it like you’re eating an angel and it’s really good.
Danny Johnson: Well, I’m curious what have you been eating if you hadn’t been eating peanut butter and jelly or paninis.
Brandon Turner: My parents fed me rocks, and that was about it, you know.
Danny Johnson: Rocks with ketchup on it.
Brandon Turner: That’s exactly what –
Danny Johnson: So what kind of jelly do you prefer? Is it the grape? You go with the standard grape?
Brandon Turner: I don’t. I actually got like a… it’s like a cherry rhubarb from Costco. It’s pretty good.
Danny Johnson: Oh, cool. See, I like strawberry jelly.
Brandon Turner: I do, too. I actually grew up with some homemade strawberry jam. I had it all the time but usually on toast, not on a sandwich.
Danny Johnson: And then you threw peanut butter on. Okay.
Brandon Turner: Yup.
Danny Johnson: Well, awesome. Okay, we covered the sandwich thing. So actual tips for creating the best sandwich.
Brandon Turner: Okay. Those are them.
Danny Johnson: So, actual tips for investors. I’ll just let you start talking about things. If I come up with something or… Actually, we’re sort of reading off of a script a little bit here because we have a PDF of things that Brandon had already come up with, and we’ll provide that on the show notes page also as well. But we’re going to go through those.
Brandon Turner: Cool. Well, why don’t we start with a really, really actionable one that I like a lot? And that’s this idea—obviously Craigslist. You’re familiar with Craigslist, right? Danny, you’ve heard of it?
Danny Johnson: Yeah.
Brandon Turner: Okay. Craigslist is this brand new site that just came out like 20 years ago, and people put classified ads on there. So it’s free to post an ad in most areas anyway for most things. And so, why not go post an ad for, you know, “I buy houses. I’m looking for houses. I buy for cash,” whatever. And you posted that. Now, that in itself is cool but it’s not cool enough.
So here’s what I want everyone to do that’s listening. Take out your phone. If you have an iPhone, it’s probably cool. And if not, you can pull out your Android or whatever. And then, hold on that button so that Siri pops up like this. And then you say, “Remind me every Monday at 5:00 PM to renew my Craigslist ad.” “Okay. I’ll start reminding you.” There we go. And now every week, my male Siri is going to remind me to renew that ad. It takes you one minute every week and you’ll have an ad renewing in Craigslist every week. So that’s my tip.
Danny Johnson: And that’s actually a really good tip because most people hear that and say, “Oh, come on. I posted an ad on there once. It didn’t work.”
Brandon Turner: Exactly. Yeah. It doesn’t matter if you do it once. Systems are what matter. And that’s a system right now that every week I’ll be reminded on a Monday like, what, 5:00 PM., and I’ll go and do it.
Danny Johnson: I talked to a newer investor that went through some training and everything. And she had done this deal and called me and said, “You know, I made…” I think it was $100,000 on her first flip, and this is a house that was bought for like $100,000. So it wasn’t like $900,000 and made $100,000. It was a crazy amount. Of course, my first question is: How did you get the deal? “Craigslist ad.”
Brandon Turner: There you go.
Danny Johnson: It’s insane.
Brandon Turner: And the other way to use Craigslist is you can always like go look for mom-and-pop landlords that are listing their properties and just call them up and say, “Hey, I’m not interested in renting your property, but I am interested in buying it.” And you never know. One out of ten might be somewhat interested. And out of them, maybe one out of ten of them will sell you. You never know until you try.
Danny Johnson: Right. And you can even have a high school student or college student or somebody else to do all those calling for you and do the screening and then you just talk to the ones that say that they are interested in getting an offer.
Brandon Turner: Exactly.
Danny Johnson: See. There we are. How many is that already? That’s like 10 actionable tips.
Brandon Turner: I’m going to group that all into just the Craigslist actionable tip. Cool. All right. Next.
Danny Johnson: What’s the next one?
Brandon Turner: All right. Next one I got is… So this is a piece of advice that I wish people would’ve explained to me when I was first starting out. Out of all the things I wish I would’ve known when I started this, is that real estate is a funnel and very much so. You get a lot of leads that come at the top, and you get very few that come out the bottom. And if you want to get more out the bottom, you’ve got to put more in the top.
To summarize this point, I recommend people. If you want to buy more property, you’ve got to make more offers. If you want to make more offers, you’ve got to analyze more deals. And if you want to analyze more deals, you’ve got to get more leads coming across your desk.
So specifically, we could dive in each one of those but then we’d be here all day. But maybe just get leads coming in and then analyze them every day. And I like to tell people to set a goal, three a day. Quickly analyze three deals every single day. That’s roughly 100 a month. Make offers on a certain percentage. Let’s say 10%. And then maybe out of the 10% you make offers on, you might get one, two, half of one. Who knows? Accepted, but the whole point is it’s a funnel. And so, if you want to increase your funnel, just break in into those parts and work on each part.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. Absolutely. It really is that simple. I think people are trying to make it a lot more complicated than that. But if you just focus on getting that top part of the funnel… Don’t worry about the rest of it yet. Work on that, and it’s going to work.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. And I like to set goals too like: My goal is to analyze three deals every day. My goal is to make 10 offers every month. And then, you just keep track of those metrics. You can do it in a simple Excel document or Google Docs or on a big whiteboard in your room. Just keep track of that stuff. And so, you can always improve those things and just follow your process.
Danny Johnson: Yes, sir. All right. That’s #2. What’s #3?
Brandon Turner: Number three: How about we talk about finding investor-friendly agents who also invest? It’s really helpful. You don’t have to. It’s not required, but it sure is helpful to have somebody who understands that you’re a weirdo and is okay with that. We don’t care about how pretty the front porch is. Maybe we do a little bit because of, you know, curb appeal. But we don’t care about all those little things that agents are used to telling people.
And so, I want an agent that’s going to tell me this is what my cash and cash return is going to be, not how cute the countertops look. And so that’s why I want an investor who either invests or at least really understands investors.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. And you can quickly tell the ones that understand because they won’t tell you everything that you ask them to do is illegal because that’s like the quickest. It’s like, “I want a wholesale.” That’s illegal.
Brandon Turner: That’s illegal. Yup. “I want to have a peanut butter sandwich.” That’s illegal. Okay.
Danny Johnson: Right. Yeah. And that’s really just a matter of talking to people at your REIA meetings and things like that asking around for agents or even just calling, picking—I was about to say phonebook, but there’s not many people that have a phonebook anymore. So get online and look for all the agents and start calling offices. And just call the office and ask for an agent that deals a lot with residential real estate investors.
Brandon Turner: That’s exactly it. I love it.
Danny Johnson: Simple. Do it now.
Brandon Turner: Do it.
Danny Johnson: Number four.
Brandon Turner: Number four: We’ve got connect with a local investor who’s doing what you’re doing, what you want to do at least. So if you’re trying to flip houses, then probably find somebody local in your area who’s flipping houses. The reason I say that is because Danny here can tell you that you should be doing direct marketing or he could tell you, “You should be flipping $100,000 properties because that’s what works for him.” But who cares what works for him? He’s not in your area. And so, what works for you in your area. You’re going to have to figure out by talking to people who are doing it in your area.
Danny Johnson: Absolutely. Yeah. So how do you find those local investors?
Brandon Turner: So obviously, go into REIAs and things like that. You can connect with them there. Obviously, I’m from BiggerPockets, so I advocate that. Check on BiggerPockets for people in your area. So an easy way to do that, biggerpockets.com/meet, M-E-E-T, not like “beef” what’s for dinner. Go there and you can look up people in your area in your zip code.
Danny Johnson: I didn’t know you guys are doing mail-order meat.
Brandon Turner: We are. Do you remember last year though? April Fools of last year, we did BiggerPockets LOVE, and it was a dating site for investors.
Danny Johnson: I miss that.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. It was pretty amazing. The site is not up anymore, but it was really, really funny. It was amazing. It was all about finding a cash flow-positive spouse.
Danny Johnson: Oh, that’s cool.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. Good dating site. All right. Next one. Should I take it?
Danny Johnson: Go ahead.
Brandon Turner: All right. I’m going to talk about house hacking real quick because when people are starting out whether you’re flipping or whether you’re on rentals, it doesn’t really matter. The idea of house hacking can save you a lot of money, time, stress, whatever and kind of an easy way to get in.
So what is house hacking? Essentially, it’s the idea that you are living in a property that is also going to be your investment. So for example, if you want to flip a house, you find a house to live in that you can flip while you’re living in it. Flip it and then you… It kind of reduces the risk a little bit because you’re living there anyway. You have to live somewhere anyway. Or maybe buying a duplex that you live in one half and rent the other out. So it’s kind of like easing in, and house hacking is the way. I got started in a way a lot of people do.
Danny Johnson: Isn’t there a tax benefit as well?
Brandon Turner: There definitely are tax benefits as well. And if I was a CPA, I tell you what they all are. It’s definitely like when you live in a property for two years then you sell it, you pay zero taxes. Again, talk to your CPA about that. But generally speaking, if you meet certain qualifications, you don’t have to pay taxes when you move. Also, no self-employment tax and all the other good stuff that comes with regular excessive flipping.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. And there’s a lot of power behind that. We’re going through this pretty quick through this episode here, but something like that. And we’ve done that ourselves. Melissa and I have bought a house to fix up, live in. We live in it for so many years and we sell it. And I think the house that we’re in right now, we’ve been in for longer than any of the previous ones and I think it’s four or five years. But we’re already getting that itch to kind of look more even though we weren’t going to. And of course, she’s looking at things that are already fixed up and I’m saying, “No.” I just can’t. I can’t buy a house that’s already been fixed up.
Brandon Turner: I know. Same here. I just bought a brand new house. Not brand new but it’s like 10 years old. It feels like the nicest house I ever lived in, but still I found something ahead like ugly 2000 oak trim everywhere, like everywhere. And oak floors and oak—everything. And I’m like, “That’s an easy way to improve a property, just getting rid of all the 2001 oaks.
Danny Johnson: Was there a lot of brass in it, too?
Brandon Turner: Yes, brass everywhere. Brass and oak.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. What was the deal with that, right?
Brandon Turner: I don’t know. People love their oak and brass. That sounds like a band name, right?
Danny Johnson: Oak and Brass?
Brandon Turner: Yeah, Oak and Brass.
Danny Johnson: Like a bluegrass band?
Brandon Turner: Yeah, like it.
Danny Johnson: All right. So the next one is going to your local library. I don’t know that. Some people might not even know that those exist.
Brandon Turner: They do exist. I know. It’s kind of like Bigfoot. If you go to a library… And that’s actually how I started. I went to my local library and got every single book on real estate that they had in their entire like regional library system. And I read over a hundred books over a given year. It cost me $0, and I learned a ton. So it’s a good way to do it.
Danny Johnson: Any of those books that you would recommend over others that stand out, that you remember?
Brandon Turner: I do. A few of my favorites would be like Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Obviously, it was important just like it is to everyone, I feel like. If you’re into the like small multi-families, there’s a book by Larry Loftis that’s called like Investing in Duplexes, Triplexes, and Quads. If you know apartment complexes, ABC’s of Real Estate Investing by Ken McElroy. There is a book. Let’s see. A guy named John T. Reed. I don’t know. He was an investor back in the day. He’s an older guy, I think. I never met him or talked to him. But anyway, he wrote a book called like… It’s like Sell & Publish like maximizing profit while something. It was like a big apartment complex like managing them. It was hands down the best book I ever read on that topic until my wife and I co-wrote the book on The Book on Managing Rental Properties, which is far, far better.
Danny Johnson: I’ll agree.
Brandon Turner: It was fantastic. Anyway, those are few.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. Didn’t he have a page on his website that was like sort of a review of all the gurus?
Brandon Turner: Yeah.
Danny Johnson: Is he that same guy?
Brandon Turner: Yeah, same guy. I’m very afraid he’s going to put me on there someday because like he’s scathing off everybody. I’m hoping I’m a good guy that pass his check. But man, he’s scathing to everyone.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. I think he would. It’s been awhile since I checked that out. I’m sure it’s still there and he probably has some updates on it.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. I just saw you on there earlier. You have a big red mark next—
Danny Johnson: What?
Brandon Turner: Yeah, you have a big red mark and like a guru.
Danny Johnson: With a picture of a donkey next to it?
Brandon Turner: Pretty much. Okay, you aren’t there. But we will be someday just because we talk about real estate. Everybody like from the ‘90s is on there.
Danny Johnson: Well, but we’re not charging $50,000 for a weekend.
Brandon Turner: Exactly.
Danny Johnson: All right. Not that it’s wrong, whatever. Okay. So #7.
Brandon Turner: Next.
Danny Johnson: Go ahead.
Brandon Turner: No, you can take it. Okay. Number #7.
Danny Johnson: Work on your credit.
Brandon Turner: Credit. Dang it! This time I jinx you. You know like jinx? You owe me a Coke or jinx. You can’t talk until I… Whatever. Anyway. All right.
So work on your credit. It doesn’t cost any money to work on your credit. So work on your credit because you’re going to need it. Even if you’re like, “Well, I don’t need a credit right now. I’m not going to buy a house right now or whatever.” At least go to annualcreditreport.com and get a copy of your credit report. You can also go to like creditkarma.com. You can get your credit score and start monitoring it. What measures matters and what matters usually gets measured. I read that quote today. So if you care about your credit score in the future, start measuring it today and try to improve it a little bit every month.
Danny Johnson: Yeah, definitely. I remember last time I checked, I probably should. In this day and age too with everybody’s, whatchamacallit, being identity problems.
Brandon Turner: Identity theft. Yeah, it’s a problem. Actually, I was talking to a buddy last night. He actually lives down in Mexico right now. He’s living down there for the year, and he’s up here visiting. And he said, “Yeah. My account got hacked last night.” Maybe it has something to do with Mexico. I don’t know. He said, “My account got hacked last night. And somebody started buying just thousands of dollars’ worth of stuff and just put us under. We lost our money.” Now, he’s fighting with credit companies because of like… I don’t know. It’s a mess.
So you never know what people are going to do and steal your information. So the more you monitor it, the less chance you have it happening.
Danny Johnson: Yeah, I had that happen and I’m pretty sure it was whenever we ate at Bubba Gump’s or somewhere.
Brandon Turner: That usually happens there.
Danny Johnson: It was about two weeks later that some bunch of stuff like—I don’t know—somebody is buying some crystal or something. Not meth.
Brandon Turner: Crystal meth?
Danny Johnson: No. With our credit card buying crystal meth.
Brandon Turner: You’re at a local like Walmart and pick up some crystal meth. I don’t know if that makes sense,
Danny Johnson: Right.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. Awesome.
Danny Johnson: But I got a call about that. It’s like somebody was using it and I don’t know. I had a bad feeling when we were… But anyway. I’m trying to be careful about what I say here. Number eight is: Join a real estate club or attend meetups.
Brandon Turner: That’s true. They say you are the average of the five people you associate with the most. So why not hang out with people who are into this game like you want to be. If you want to get into real estate or want to improve your real estate, go hang around people who are doing that. And you’re not going to find them at the local Super Bowl party or whatever. Most likely, you’re going to find them in local real estate clubs or local meetups.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. I think some people can be a little bit nervous about that. But when you go to one of those, especially the Real Estate Investor Association meetings, the majority of people there are just like you. They’re new. You’re not going to be like called on to go up front and start talking about things. It’s like you’re there. Go and get used to it, and you will find that everybody is pretty friendly. And it’s nice to be somewhere where you don’t have people telling you, “Oh, that’s crazy. You can’t do that,” or, “It’s illegal.” They don’t want to see you succeed. But you go there. Everybody is trying to succeed and help each other out.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. I like that. Your family and friends usually don’t get it, but people at real estate clubs kind of get it.
Danny Johnson: Right. Just be careful of the person that hasn’t done a lot but wants to teach you how to do it.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. There is a lot of that.
Danny Johnson: Right. But anyway. Okay. Number nine: Eliminate two words from your vocabulary. Do you know what those words are?
Brandon Turner: I don’t know but I can’t do it.
Danny Johnson: How can you?
Brandon Turner: Those two words are, eliminate the words “I can’t.” Anytime, you want to say that with anything, right? Like I can’t get in shape. I can’t go to bed at 10 o’clock at night. I can’t—whatever—clean my room. I can’t invest in real estate. I can’t buy rental property. I don’t have any money. Replace that with the words “how can I.” How can I invest in real estate? How can I go to bed at 10:00 at night? It gets your brain working and it keeps you from shutting down.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. That’s big. Every once in a while, I get things like that, and I’ll print them out. I’ll put the font size like 200 pixel or whatever they rate it at. And I print it out and then stick it somewhere where I could see it all the time.
Brandon Turner: There you go.
Danny Johnson: One of them recently. I just moved offices, so I don’t have it here. I think it was from Hal Elrod from his book, but it was Do What’s Right, Not What’s Easy.
Brandon Turner: Oh, I like that.
Danny Johnson: Because a lot of times you’re just tempted to do what’s easy instead of what you should be doing to get the maximum use of your time.
Brandon Turner: Yup. It’s very true.
Danny Johnson: All right. Number 10: Automated alerts from your agent. Is that possible?
Brandon Turner: It is with most real estate agents. They can set you up with some automatic alerts so when things change in the market like a new property comes on. For example, I have an automatic alert set for every multi-family property that comes in the market. I get an email instantly when it gets listed, so I can be the first one to know when a new property is up or when the price changed a little bit.
Danny Johnson: Is that what’s called a “hot sheet?”
Brandon Turner: Maybe.
Danny Johnson: I don’t know. I think the system down here is called a “hot sheet” or something like that, but it’s really… I did say hot sheet, not…
Brandon Turner: I’m a hot sheet.
Danny Johnson: You’re calling some agent. “That’s for some hot sheet, right?” All right.
So it’s pretty simple, I think, in most of the system. So it’s not like you’re going to put the agent out by asking them to set up something to send you something that matches your criteria whether that’d be three-bedroom, two-bath houses and a certain zip code. It’s pretty simple and usually automated for them. So it’s not difficult.
Brandon Turner: And we have a hot market today. Most of the country is pretty hot. So if you want to get a good deal, you got to be the first usually or the last. Get something that’s been on the market for forever or just get something that just came on yesterday and be prepared to act on it.
Danny Johnson: All right. So I wonder if you could probably set those up after a listing has been on the market for X amount of days, like if it makes 91 days or something. I wonder if you could do that.
Brandon Turner: Good question. I’ve never thought of that before, but that’s actually a fantastic idea.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. Well, you would figure most of the time people or at least banks maybe have sort of their process. So after it’s been on for X amount of days, they’re going to do a price change. So if you understand when that usually happens, you can make that offer right as they’re making that price change or right before they do maybe, right?
Brandon Turner: Yeah. I suppose that could happen. You know what’s funny about price change of a bank repo. I noticed that a lot where like… One of my friends just bought a house recently. What was the deal? They offered like 85 for this house or something like that. And then, the bank didn’t respond and instead two days later, they lowered their price down to like 75. It’s like they offered them more. It’s just like, “Are you serious?” And so my friends they go, “Never mind. Seventy-five.” And do you know what? They just got a discount because the bank was stupid and they had their systems that they follow. Something didn’t get plugged in right. Anyway, so yeah.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. I’ve heard of that happen before, too. It’s crazy.
Brandon Turner: Cool. All right. Number… I don’t know what we’re on right now but next one.
Danny Johnson: Number 11.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. People, they talk a lot about direct marketing and a lot of people think it’s something like a big huge thing that’s going to take—I don’t know. You got to be like a master’s degree in marketing in order to know how to do it.
But like today, it was an actionable thing. Right now while you’re listening to this show or if you’re driving—don’t do it right now—just grab a piece of paper and write down a quick message that says, “Hey, my name is Bob.” If your name is Bob, then “I want to buy your house at this address.” And then, just stick it in the mail and send it. Just one. Even if it’s one letter. I don’t care. Just get over that fear. This is what direct marketing is. And then, maybe tomorrow do two or do a hundred or a thousand and figure out ways to make that quicker, but yeah. Just write your first letter even if it’s just one.
Danny Johnson: All right. Absolutely. And I think there’s a bit of beginner’s luck sometimes if you’ve never done something like that before.
Brandon Turner: Yeah.
Danny Johnson: Because I think I remember the first ones that we sent out. I maybe did 11 or 20, and I got like two calls I think. And now, I send out thousands and I don’t get that kind of return. I don’t get that response rate. So there’s a little bit maybe of beginner’s luck in that. So use it to you advantage. Start with 20,000 letters.
Brandon Turner: Cool. All right. Next one. I don’t know. Number next one, I don’t know, twelve I think we’re on. Choose a farm area, which means get a cow and a pig and just head out to the… No, a farm area is obviously like where you try to target, like what’s your area that you’re going to invest in.
So if somebody says, “I want to invest in San Antonio.” Good. “I want Oreo cookies right now, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to get them.” Define that a little bit more carefully like: What are you actually going to do? “I want to buy in this part of the town” or “I’m going to buy this kind of property in this part of the town.”
So yeah, choose a farm area when you’re getting started. Later on, you can expand to the entire state. But when you’re starting out, get to know one area pretty good.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. And I guess that depends on what you want to do. If you want to fix and flip, probably a good area would be a place where a lot of people are doing rehabs where you still have a lot of housing stock that needs repairs so probably at least 20 years old or so and find those areas. So it’s not just a matter of like, “I like that area, so I’m going to invest in that.” Maybe you can do that, but you might like the real high dollar area and that’s going to be kind of hard to get a great deal. So it just makes sense to maybe pick something that’s lower than median home price where there’s a lot going on.
Brandon Turner: Smart. Listen to this guy. He knows what he’s doing. All right.
Danny Johnson: And then you laugh.
Brandon Turner: Oh, they know the truth. It’s okay. It doesn’t matter what I say. All right. Number 13: After you drive for dollars, walk for dollars. If you find that farm area that you really like, it’s good to go drive around and see what you can find, looking for properties that might be vacant. But actually, get out there and go take your dog for a walk and talk to neighbors when you see them. Just get to know your farm area really well. By walking, you will learn a ton and you’ll lose some weight in the process.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. And as long as it’s not a warzone.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. Don’t go walking for dollars in a warzone because then you might get shot and your dog will be like living with some jerk who shot you, and it just gets weird.
Danny Johnson: The dog would be living. Seriously though on a serious note, be careful about some of the areas because as investors, sometimes people… They’ve never been in certain parts of town and you kind of are surprised by how certain parts of town really are. And most cities have some pretty rough areas, and it’s really no joke.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. You can get hurt in some areas. There’s areas that I just won’t go in. I refuse. And that’s kind of what knowing your farm area is about. Know what you’re investing in. And if you want to invest in those areas, then yeah, avoid that tip of walking for dollars. At least leave your dog at home and then go do it.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. We got all kinds of stories like people trying to jump into moving trucks and five guys coming out of nowhere and just like rocking a truck back and forth. Just weird things. I don’t know. Anyway.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. I avoid that when possible. All right. Next one. So this one is a little bit specific for BiggerPockets people. If you’re a BiggerPockets person, obviously then you would like this. So set up keyword alerts for terms that you care about. For example, if you are in San Antonio, it would be weird not to have a keyword alert set up for the word or the phrase “San Antonio.” Because then if somebody comes on the site and says, “Hey, I’m a new guy from San Antonio.” You can jump in and say, “Hi.” Or if they say, “Hey, we’re having a local meetup of all real estate investors here in San Antonio,” you get a notification about that. Or if they say, “Hey, I got this duplex that I don’t want anymore. I’m selling it. It’s in San Antonio,” you get notified about that, too. So keyword alerts. They’re free. You can set up like 20 of them or something like that.
Danny Johnson: Well, not for San Antonio. That’s limited to me.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. Ignore San Antonio. We booked that one now just for Danny here.
Danny Johnson: Right. So you would be locked out. You won’t get those alerts.
Brandon Turner: You will not get them. Yeah. All right. Number 15: Go to your local eviction court or like whoever is in charge of evictions in your area, and go and talk to them. Evictions are typically public record. So if you go there and find out who’s getting evicted right now, et the entire list of all landlords that are doing evictions maybe in the last month or so and then contact them.
I know when I go through an eviction with a tenant like the most irritated like, “I hate that property” mode of my life. And so, if you can hit those people in those moments, you can solve their need. Solve a problem. Take a crappy property off their hand that they don’t want and they can’t handle and then you can make it right and fix it up whatever and it can be a decent way to get leads that nobody else is doing. Who does that?
Danny Johnson: So when you’re getting evicted? Is that what you said?
Brandon Turner: Yeah. When I get evicted from my last place.
Danny Johnson: But one thing, a word of warning on that in some places if there is actually somebody going to court, you can’t really solicit them. I know that’s for like here with co-compliance like they actually have signs everywhere. So don’t. You can’t be—
Brandon Turner: Yeah. I wouldn’t actually talk to the mayor. I wouldn’t like to wait out front and ask from him. I just get their phone number and address and mail them a letter.
Danny Johnson: From the list. Right.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. I wouldn’t harass them in person. That would be awkward.
Danny Johnson: So I just imagine you’re kind of like following people like, “Excuse me. Excuse me.” With your jacket with all the dollar signs on it.
Brandon Turner: How did you know about that jacket?
Danny Johnson: It’s funny. I have to Photoshop a picture like that now.
Brandon Turner: You have to. All right. Next one. The next comment, I guess, #16: Go checking at the courthouse and learn when the foreclosure sales are actually being held and then go to the next one. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, who cares? Just go and see how that’s done. Sales are usually held, I don’t know, usually once a week. Is that your area once a week?
Danny Johnson: No. You know what? Honestly, I don’t even know. Well, the foreclosure ones are just once a month.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. Mine are weekly, and they only have like two sales every week. I don’t know why they do them weekly. I should just do it monthly. But yeah, just go and attend. You’ll just see kind of a cool process and how it works. You’ll also meet people probably that were buying the who could eventually be cash buyers for you. They could just be other flippers. It could be people that you just get to know. You might be taking them out to lunch or whatever. Just kind of a cool… Buying at the courthouse is kind of an advance step that usually only advanced investors do. So why not go hang out where advanced investors hang out and go learn from them?
Danny Johnson: Yeah. That’s a great tip.
Brandon Turner: Thank you.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. I like that one. So 17: Contact a local lender.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. Contact the local lender. Ask him up for dinner. I’m just kidding. Contact your local lender and then ask him about your financial situation and be like, “Here’s where I’m at right now. Where do I need to be to be able to get qualified for a loan?” And they might say, “Hey, your credit is a little low” or “Hey, you need more income” or “Hey, you need a longer job history” whatever. But how are you going to know? You’re going to eventually want bank loans most likely. And so, why not start planning that today and have a banker help you. They’ll do it for free because it’s in their self-interest to do it.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. Great. And also, probably contacting hard money lenders in town would be a part of that.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. Figure out what do they want. If you can find out the qualifications of lenders, then you can mold yourself to become like their ideal borrower. It might take a year or two. But if you do it now, then two years from now you won’t look back and regret, “Why didn’t I go do that back then?”
Danny Johnson: Right. Yeah. Those are definitely steps that are great to take no matter what level you are. All right. So then #18 is: Go print out your bank statement.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. So this is all about budgeting. Nobody like to talk about budgeting except for like Dave Ramsey. That’s all right. Well, we’ll talk about budgeting.
Danny Johnson: Just Dave Ramsey?
Brandon Turner: He’s the only guy on Earth that enjoys it. Yeah. Budgeting, it’s not very fun but look, when you’re trying to build up a real estate empire, you’ve got to start at home. You’ve got to start in your own household to be able to financially live and live responsibly, live smart. And to do that, you need to know how you’re spending your money. I know there’s a time when early on where I finally sat down and did my budget and I realized… I printed all my bank statements and I put them all into categories of how much I’m spending in each category. And I figured out I was spending an extra $1000 a month that I made. There was a reason I was like losing money left and right. I was just spending so much money. I made a few tiny tweaks and all of a sudden I was saving like $1000 a month. And all it took was just knowing what I was spending money on. So yeah. Check that out definitely and stick to a budget.
Danny Johnson: And be prepared to be shocked at how much you’re paying for your cable, internet, and phones, and all of that stuff. Number 19: Automatically save up a down payment. So how do you do that?
Brandon Turner: There’s a few ways to do it. But one way to do it, you could just automatically transfer. For example, if you have that budget, maybe you set aside $500 every month for savings. So set up an automatic transfer on the day your paycheck comes if you’re working in a job to pull out $500 and put it into a savings account.
Actually early on, what I actually did is my online banking that I have through my bank was under my social security number which is normal, right? So like all of my accounts, all my credit card, checking account, everything was on my online banking. So I could transfer money and do what I wanted with it. So what I actually did was I opened up a separate account in my wife’s name, only in her name which wasn’t hooked to my online banking. So when I went to my online banking, I couldn’t see that account. And then, we automatically transferred money from that account to her account. And the whole goal was I don’t want to see that money was there. So we set up automatic payments to go into this savings account so I would forget about it because I didn’t want to be tempted to go and borrow that money if I needed to or take it or go use it.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. That’s the key. Automatic.
Brandon Turner: Yup, automatic.
Danny Johnson: Because if you have to manually do it, you’re probably going to stop doing it.
Brandon Turner: That is true.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. There is something from Jim Rohn… Because a lot of people, there’s a common thing. It’s 30 percent of your income. You should save 10%, give 10%, and invest 10%. And obviously as you become more financially independent, everything you can… You’re financially free. You can invest more and change those ratios. He was saying some people when they don’t make much money have a hard time giving 10% and saving 10% and all that kind of stuff. But his statement was—let me try to get it right here—“If you can’t give $1000 whenever you’re making $10,000, you’re sure as heck not going to give $100,000 when you’re making a million.”
Brandon Turner: Yeah. I fully, fully agree with that. I think giving, investing, and all those things, they’re not… They’re hard issues really more than anything. They’re about priorities and they’re about like, “Do you have the personality that can do that?” There’s people that live on minimum wage that are saving money. It’s just a matter of where do you place your priorities. And yeah, if you don’t do it when you’re making $50,000 a year, you won’t do it making 5 million a year.
Danny Johnson: Right. Creating the habit. Creating who you are. Becoming. That’s what it’s all about. Number 20: Learn about construction.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. Even if you don’t want to actually do the work and never want to swing a hammer, that’s fine but you should learn at least the basics of how it all works. And a good way to do that is watch like This Old House. It’s on TV like every channel, like every hour of the day. You can find it somewhere all the time, it feels like. Or watch YouTube. There’s a billion videos on how to do things.
So get an idea on what does it actually take to replace a water heater, what does it actually take to re-roof a house. That way later on you’ll be better equipped to be able to handle contractors who are trying to rip you off or you could get a better idea of how long a task really takes.
Danny Johnson: Right. And what I did whenever I got started because I like a little bit more of like having a start and a finish, I grabbed like a Black & Decker, I think it was, a home improvement book and just read it from cover to cover. And I picked one with a lot of pictures. That way it was a lot easier to get through.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. I don’t do words very well. That’s exactly what I did when I started. I didn’t know anything about construction when I bought my first house. I just knew it would be cheaper for me to buy a house than rent a house, so I bought a house. I was 21. And I went to Home Depot, and I got this book called 1-2-3 Home Improvement, a big orange book that like everybody on Earth seems to have. I just read that book. And whenever I needed to learn how to do some, I just go back and study that chapter. So I learned wiring and plumbing. Yeah, I learned everything in a house off reading that book, all the basics. And yeah, it’s helped me a ton.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. And you just got to be careful. How long it takes you to change something is probably not how long it should take a professional. I know I spent countless hours crouched down underneath the toilet trying to fix a small leak that probably would’ve taken a professional maybe two minutes.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. I’ve done that many times. I remember once during that first house. I was trying to learn how to solder a copper pipe. I spent probably five hours on the stupid one-light connection and then I called a friend of mine whose dad is a plumber. I talked to his dad and I’m like, “Can you help me out here?” And he tried to help me. And at the end of the day, it still leaked. I don’t know.
There’s something about knowing a little bit about it and then there’s doing it yourself. And I’m not saying you should do it yourself, but you should at least know this is how copper is joined, this is how copper works. You put it together like this. That way at least you can hire the right people to do those jobs for you.
Danny Johnson: And don’t reuse a pipe that was used for a gas line for a water line. Not that I did that, but I did buy a house where it was done. I was wondering, “Why is that, that when you turn on the cold water, it smells horrible?”
Brandon Turner: Oh, weird. I never heard of anybody doing that.
Danny Johnson: And so the contractor went on there and replaced it and they gave it to me. And I said, “Why does it sting?” He said, “Well, this used to be a gas line.” And they reused it for the water line. And it’s amazing how much smell comes off of that, but anyway.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. That’s crazy. All right. Number 21: Understand… I guess more like educate yourself in financial literacy. In other words, get to know all of the key terms that are important to know about real estate. If you don’t know what cash-on-cash return is, figure it out. If you don’t know what capital expenditure like capex or operating expenses or any of those big words, it’s probably a good idea to know those things. And you can find them all over the world. Look online. Every time you find a word and you don’t know what it means when you’re reading a real estate book, look it up.
There’s a guy named Frank Gallinelli who has a book called What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow… And 36 Other Key Financial Measures. Fantastic. You’ll learn all about cash flow and 36 other key financial measures.
Danny Johnson: That’s right.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. It’s a good book.
Danny Johnson: Good actionable tip there. And then, #22 is: Listen to podcasts.
Brandon Turner: Listen to podcasts. Yeah, listen to podcasts because podcasts are like the best. I listen to podcasts about any topic I want to know about. I’m training my dog to like not pee inside, so I listen to dog training podcasts. I just like when you listen. You just comprehend so much more even like on a subconscious level. It goes back to that “you are the average of the five people you associate with the most.” It’s almost like you’re hanging out with the people talking about real estate. So everyone listening to this right now, hopefully you are a little bit more like me and Danny than when you started. It might be minute or a little bit at a time, but over time you’ll hopefully become more like the people you’re listening to. And I don’t know I you want to be like Danny, but—
Danny Johnson: Who would, right?
Brandon Turner: Who would?
Danny Johnson: But yeah, I think that’s true. It’s one of those things I really enjoy doing it while I’m going to look at properties or I’m going across town. You’ve got all that time. You can either put on the radio and you’re not really listening to it or put on something you’re going to get something from. And then a big tip as well is to always realize that there’s something you can learn from everybody. Because I think sometimes if you’re tempted to say, “Well, I already know about that thing. It’s so basic,” but there’s always going to be something in there that makes you think of something else or something that never clicked before that’s going to click that one time. So even though you’re listening and you think, “Oh, I’ve heard that before,” have you used it? Have you done something with it? And yeah, there you go.
Brandon Turner: I know how to do a lot of things. I know how to get a six pack. It doesn’t mean I have one. People say –
Danny Johnson: I thought you’ve done it.
Brandon Turner: Not like a dream six pack. I know how to get like my sexy abs, but it doesn’t mean I have one or I ever will because there’s a difference between knowing and doing. So listening to podcasts, reading books… I still read real estate books because I might pick up something or be reminded about something. Just one solution to one simple problem and the book might trigger an idea of how I can solve another problem in my life in my real estate business. So yeah, never stop learning.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. And when you do, you stagnate and things get boring.
Brandon Turner: Yup.
Danny Johnson: So that’s the 22 actionable tips. And you guys are now on BiggerPockets showing… You’re recording a video, right, of the podcast?
Brandon Turner: We are. We do. Yeah, we record video on everyone.
Danny Johnson: And that’s on youtube/biggerpockets, I think it is. Yeah, youtube.com/biggerpockets. You can find that and a bunch of other cool videos all teaching you more about real estate investing.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. Well, I really appreciate you being back on the podcast, Brandon.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. Happy to be here. It’s been fun. And you agree to the next five also, so you’ll be hearing from him for the—
Brandon Turner: I think we should do a one-hour podcast on every one of the tips we covered today. We’re good for the next 22 hours.
Danny Johnson: Right. Let’s do it.
Brandon Turner: Marathon podcast right now.
Danny Johnson: I think it’s really good in having this. We went through it pretty quick. We’re going to all have that in PDF for download on the show notes page at flippingjunkie.com/29. So you can get that there. Brandon, how can people find you and get in touch with you if they want to?
Brandon Turner: You can stop at my house but that’d be creepy, so probably the best way is going to be Twitter (@BrandonAtBP) or Instagram. I think it’s like brandonturner_official, I think because there’s an unofficial Brandon Turner out there somewhere trying to pretend to be me. So clearly, I got to be the official one. There is actually another Brandon turner. He’s a famous skateboarder, and so people confuse us a lot. That’s not actually true at all because I don’t skateboard. He’s 5 feet tall, and I’m like 7’9’’, not quite but—
Danny Johnson: Yeah. That’d be kind of interesting to you see you on a skateboard.
Brandon Turner: I did for a while. I took up skateboarding. I can ride down a hill and then back up a hill.
Danny Johnson: Nice. I used to skateboard.
Brandon Turner: Did you really? No. You look like you could be a skateboarder.
Danny Johnson: I wasn’t any good but I skate, but that was high school.
Brandon Turner: Yeah. It’d be pretty cool. I’m sure.
Danny Johnson: Yeah.
Brandon Turner: That kind of looks like a skateboard you’re wearing right there.
Danny Johnson: This is OshKosh. This is an air show t-shirt. I’ll let you borrow it. I’ll mail it to you.
Brandon Turner: Thanks. I hope so.
Danny Johnson: That’s kind of weird, huh? All right. Well, thanks again, Brandon. I really do appreciate it. [music] And talk to you later.
Brandon Turner: All right. Sounds good. See you later.
Danny Johnson: All right. I hope you enjoyed that episode as much as I enjoyed recording it with Brandon. It’s always good to have him on the show. We’ve got a PDF with all of those on there so you can download and keep those and work on taking action on all of those steps to help further your progress in getting into flipping houses. You can get that at flippingjunkie.com/29. That’s flippingjunkie.com/29, the show notes page. We’ll have the links to books that were mentioned and other things that were mentioned on that episode so that you can check into each and every one of them. And be sure to check out leadpropeller.com. That’s real estate investor websites that we provide and doing a lot of great things with those. So check out leadpropeller.com. Hope you have a good week and see you next week.