Nick Baldo started investing in real estate in 2011 with a focus on flipping houses in the Buffalo, NY area. He has since expanded his business to focus on value-added rental investments. Nick created and manages the real estate educational site, Income Digs to help aspiring real estate investors get started. He has a focus on leveraging technology to create an investment business that is both efficient and scalable.
Overview of Pain
Overview of Strategy:
11 Actionable Tips for getting yourself out there and finding deals
“Bonus” – Even if it’s not a deal you find, a solid consolation prize is finding a private lender
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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 interview, strategies, stories and motivations 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.
Alright. Today we’ve got a great new episode. We’re back for the series on marketing to find great deals for house flipping real estate investing. Today, we’re going to talk about 11 actionable tips for marketing yourself to find incredible deals. What I mean by that is not you yourself going out there and doing marketing to get deals, but marketing yourself to people getting out there and networking. I know this can be hard for a lot of people, but it’s something that really produces results and it’s pretty necessary to get a good level of success in flipping houses so it’s going to be great episode. I’ve got Nick Baldo on the show to talk about that and he started investing in real estate back in 2011 with a focus on flipping houses in Buffalo New York. He’s since expanded his business focused on value added rental investments and Nick created and manages the real estate educational site Income Digs.com to help us aspiring real investors and get started. He has a focus on leveraging technology, create investment business that is both efficient and scalable, so I’m looking forward to having him on the show. I hope all of you have been enjoying the series that we’ve been doing in The Flipping Junkie podcast where we started with foundation, motivation and mindset, getting everything right with you to be able to change your life and change what you do and so that you were doing more of what you love when you want to do those things. A lot of people get stuck in where they’re at and want to make a change and I think real estate investing is one of the best things to get into just because the amount of freedom that it allows you and so I applaud you on finding this and listening to The Flipping Junkie. Thank you very much and one thing that keeps all of this going is our house flipping business of course, but also the software that we provide at leadpropeller.com as real estate investor website. You can get leads texted to you as soon as they come in so you can contact those sellers right away. We have some really cool stuff come out pretty soon so be sure to check out leadpropeller.com and then our real estate investor CRM system at REIMobile.com also some more cool things in automation that we’re adding to that service every month so check those things out, thanks for listening and let’s go ahead and get to the show.
Danny Johnson: Hey Nick, thanks for being on the show.
Nick Baldo: Hey. It’s good to be here. Thanks for having me Danny.
Danny Johnson: Yeah, no problem. So today we’re going to get into – we’re now at the beginning of this part of the series where I’m talking about marketing to find great deals and this is what a lot of people have been waiting for because it’s really the heart of any successful house flipping business is being able to find good deals. A lot of people struggle with where to find those good deals and even if they’ve done some things that they’ve read about or heard about in another podcast, I think the majority of people will say even after doing some things “It’s very hard. I don’t know that it’s possible where I am” or “There’s too much competition so everybody else is getting all the good stuff. I’m not going to be able to get anything myself” and maybe new investors are little bit more shy so they don’t put themselves out there so much. What is your strategy for doing that?
Nick Baldo: Yeah, it’s a great question. I agree it’s one of those huge hurdles that really puts a lot of hopes and dreams at a standstill when those folks are trying to get into investing. I know that was true for me. What I found to be the best way to get deals in a broad sense is to really leave whatever kind of fear aside and put yourself out there as a real estate investor in every possible way that you can to the highest number of people and organizations as you can. I really come to find that finding deals is not necessarily a science, but one thing is for sure, the more people that know what you do, how you do it, what your values are, what your mission is, the more the deals will come. Often we’re not sure exactly where those deals are going to come from, but the fact that –a lot of large numbers kind of comes to mind here, the fact that we’re out there so much and so many people know we do, the deals eventually will find their way to us. It is possible. Just embracing that overall concept has worked well for my business and it kind of snowballs on itself as well as you get going and get rolling.
Danny Johnson: Did you did you have the same sort of nervousness about marketing that you buy houses for fear that somebody would question you and you wouldn’t have any answer for them or something? I think whenever I get some kind of course or something or I get something where I had it on a t-shirt and it said “We buy houses” on it or something and I was actually nervous about wearing that when I first started.
Nick Baldo: Yeah. I definitely had that concern. I mean part of it was I have a sign that says, “We buy houses” and I had never bought a house before. I mean when you look at it in a literal sense when you just start, it’s really hard to get over that fact that you haven’t quite done this yet. The good thing is once you do one, immediately maybe 90% of the fear goes away, so that’s good. But getting to that first one is often difficult and there is that fear of maybe “getting found out.” But here’s the deal if what you’re doing is morally right, you’re trying to help people and the good flippers out there – yourself, those who you’ve had on the podcast are good people trying to help people out, if you stick to your guns, stick to your mission, and your values, you should have no fear at all. If people don’t want your help, if they don’t want the value you can bring, that’s okay. That’s not going to be a deal, but you shouldn’t feel bad about it. All you’re trying to do is find a solution for everybody. And by the way, you’re trying to make a living at the same time.
Danny Johnson: Awesome. So do you have a unique value proposition or an elevator – what they call an elevator pitch or something like that, like a quick…
Nick Baldo: Yeah I do. I call it the “win-win-win.” It’s my spin on the win-win solution. I’m looking at three parties here when I when I’m looking to buy a house, I’m looking at first and foremost the seller, the motivated seller. They have a problem that I want to solve. They are the first person that I want to win. The way they’re going to win is I’m going to buy their house. I’m going to get them cash. I’m going to get them closed quickly whatever those needs are, whatever those triggers are that’s the first win. The second win is for me, this is my job this is how I make a living so of course we want a solution that works for me as well and the third and sometimes depending on the seller, the one that really jumps out the most is that whomever buys this house next or whoever, in my case, I do some rentals as well whoever rents this house next, it’s starting their life for continuing their life in a beautiful home in a region that hopefully we have some pride in. That’s the third win. It’s that end buyer down the road, the end renter and region as a whole. I really try to focus on those three wins and a lot of times it works of course sometimes it doesn’t, but I feel really good about that pitch.
Danny Johnson: Okay. So if you’re getting started and you’re nervous about having the “We buy houses” vehicle wrap you’re just ordered, you’re afraid that somebody is going to find out that you’ve never yet bought a house, I think that’s probably one of the last things people do as an initial thing just because it’s so obnoxious. If does work though from what I hear. I just don’t want to do it myself. But say you did that and you were nervous about somebody asking “what do you do” is there something that we can give a tip for people to be able to tell those people about how they buy houses or something. Do you have something that you use when people ask you “what you do?”
Nick Baldo: Yeah. I try to stay honest because that helps to make sure I’m not caught in a lie. I really think that that helps in any kind of business. Basically the way that I explain it is, I help sellers find solutions to sell their house when their specific situation means selling a traditional route doesn’t really work out. So that’s what I do. The way that I make money if that were to come up in the conversation is I’m adding value to the house, I’m taking quite a bit of risk that most other people are not willing to take and I’m able to sell it at market value to somebody who really enjoys the house and that’s how it all works. I’m solving the one problem to the seller and then ultimately I’m adding value to the marketplace with a renovated home.
Danny Johnson: Right. That’s a good one because it talks about instead of just saying “I flip houses” you talk about solving people’s problems so that the person that you’re talking to might trigger something in their mind about a relative or friend they have they just talked to that maybe is facing a real estate related problem and if you just said that you flipped houses I don’t think that that would trigger that as much as talking about solving people’s house problems, right?
Nick Baldo: Yeah, absolutely. One of those obstacles that we – I think it’s our responsibility as real estate investors to be cognizant of and to work hard at is the reputation for whatever reason. I think we know some of the reasons. When you say you’re a house flipper most people would think a negative connotation to that. Hopefully not everyone but I feel a responsibility to really show what a good house slippers are out there to do what the truth is about adding value and solving problems and all that, and you’re exactly right, we should use that when we talk to whether it’s motivated sellers or it’s somebody in our network who’s going to eventually find us a motivated seller via relationships.
Danny Johnson: Right. So let’s get right to the topic today which is the 11 actionable tips from marketing yourself to find incredible deals. I think we discussed this a little bit beforehand because we wanted to be real thorough about it and you provided a great list of which you also described in a PDF that you provided for the show notes page which people can find at flippingjunkie.com/40. But the first one that you have on the list here is tell your friends…
Nick Baldo: Yeah. And this one, even though it sounds simple, I am a little surprised at how many new investors are a little bit hesitant, a little bit scared to tell their friends and family about what they want to do or maybe what they’ve already started to do. Obviously there’s many ways you can tell your friends. One easy actionable tip is to go on Facebook whether you have a page for your business or not. Go ahead and throw up post or maybe send a message to 10 to 20 close friends and say, “This is what I’m trying to do.” Explain that value proposition, say, “Just so you’re aware, if you were to come across anybody who might be in need of my services.” Again it’s one of those things where when you look at the fear about it, that’s one thing that you have to get over, but also from an accountability standpoint this can really help you out. It’s one thing to say to myself I’m going to flip houses, I’m going to build this business. But as I think you know Danny and a lot of entrepreneurs out there know, entrepreneurship can be a bit lonely because not everybody knows exactly the drive you have and the motivation you have. But if you can get your friends on board to what you’re doing, that can help with accountability as well. They can help you as far as tracking your goals. You can say, “Hey I’m trying to do this and hold me accountable to it. Ask me about it. Talk to me about it.” And they’ll keep everybody honest and hopefully keep you motivated to get going in real estate.
Danny Johnson: Yeah, I like that because you’re telling people you don’t want to let people down or be embarrassed by not doing something. If you’re telling them that’s what you’re doing and then they might ask you about that whenever you see them again and you kind of want to have done some things so that you can report back to your progress, right?
Nick Baldo: Exactly. I mean you see this in something like working out a weight loss a lot is when people work out with a buddy or they have maybe a competition to work out or lose weight or something people do a lot better. When there’s something on the line, when there’s some kind of social accountability out there, we’re all motivated to do a lot more and to try to get to our goals faster.
Danny Johnson: Cool. So that was Facebook and then you also had mentioned some other ones.
Nick Baldo: Yeah, yeah. I mean one that I did right off the bat was an email blast and I used this one for folks in my network who weren’t necessarily my peers, not necessarily my exact age. I was 23 when I was getting going with this. I sent an email to some of the, maybe mentors, people that I’ve gotten to know through business school or within the community people that I want to be a little bit more formal with. I did a bit of a – I call it an email blast. All I did was I copied and pasted the email so I was able to personalize it to those folks and just really lay out here’s what I’m doing. Any advice you can offer would be would be great and you phrase it like that and of course you’re welcome advice, but at the same time it’s less of a direct sell. You’re not saying, “Hey tell 10 people about what I do” you’re saying “Here’s what I’m up to. I would love some advice.” They’re naturally going to think of, “Hey maybe I know somebody who could benefit from this.”
Danny Johnson: Yeah, I like that. I like that a lot. That’s a much better approach if you tell somebody through an email “Can you tell other people?” They’re like, “Oh, I’m busy. I’ve got too many things to do” or that’s just a deleted email or “That’s cool” reply, and that’s it. But asking for advice, that’s a great way to do it
Danny Johnson: And on this same topic of telling your friends and letting people know is if you’re comfortable with it and again I think we should push to be comfortable with it. Within your social media profiles Facebook and Twitter and whatever you use the most, go ahead and write your normal blurb and say whether you have a company or maybe you don’t yet, but throw in the words “real estate investor” or “house flipper” or tell your story quickly within a few words. You want a perk interest of those who come across your profile, “Hmmm, I wonder what Danny’s doing when it comes to flipping houses. Maybe I’ll reach out and find out.” That’s another quick tip. It takes seconds. Most people just get caught up on the fear of what people are going to think of me. But I’m telling you that the more we’re out there and people know what we’re doing, the more deals are going to come our way.
Danny Johnson: Awesome. So that all still falls under the first actionable tip which actually is three. So really this list is probably more like 50 actionable tips. So that was “tell your friends” and then I think you told me set up your brand is another one.
Nick Baldo: Yeah, exactly. Now this kind of corresponds to what you’re saying about the car rap. I definitely don’t suggest that at all when it comes to setting up a “brand,” and we can put brand in quotes, I don’t suggest that new real estate investors go out and spend a ton of money on marketing, spend a ton of money on web site design and all of that. But there needs to be some kind of identity associated with what you’re trying to do. So if you have a business set up that’s great. You’re a step ahead. You can do that for relatively cheap. You don’t need to do that especially if you’ve never done a deal yet. You do a few deals first, that’s fine. But $100 can get you a set of business cards and maybe a t-shirt. A t-shirt has been one of our best marketing our best marketing tactics. We wear a t-shirt that has our name and what we do on it wherever we go in it doesn’t matter if we are “working” but people see us and ask questions about what we do or maybe they call the phone number later.
Danny Johnson: What do you say on the t-shirt.
Nick Baldo: So it has our logo on the front “New York Home Solutions” and on the back it just says “Let us solve your real estate problems” with a phone number. We kept it very general because our business happens to we flip houses, we also do rentals and we do general contracting as well. We kept it general but I would suggest that new real estate investors keep it general to because you never know what kind of opportunities are going to come up. So that kind of got the phone ringing. We didn’t really expect it to. We just kind of threw it on because we have to fill space. It worked well.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. I’ve never actually done that and I don’t know why. I mean 13 years of flipping houses and I have never made a “Danny buys houses” t-shirt. I think I’m going to design those and maybe order them within a week or two. Awesome.
Nick Baldo: Most of it was, it’s not like we thought “Hey, this will be the marketing piece that’ll really get our business going.” Honestly when we’re starting out, we thought it would be cool to be able to have a logo on our shirt. That’s what we did and that had led to some deals, so that’s part of when you say you never know what person you’re going to meet that gets you to a deal. You’re never sure what action you’re going to do that gets you to a deal. It’s kind of random but the more you do, the better your chances.
Danny Johnson: Right, right. Alright so we talked about business card, shirts signs. Did you mention signs at all?
Nick Baldo: I didn’t yet but this is a quick one too. We don’t do too much in terms of bandit signs, other people do and they work great. When I was specifically talking about signs, I was referring to houses that we’re currently working on. It’s so easy if you’re flipping a house throw up a sign and a lot of interest gets ___. We’ll talk a little bit about that too when we talk about a tip down there about the neighbors. But people see action and they want to know who is responsible for that action at that house and so we throw a sign in the yard and that really helps out.
Danny Johnson: And what does that sign say?
Nick Baldo: Very similar – logo. It’s kind of like a “for sale” type although we have a top and a bottom rider, so the middle says our logo and the phone number the top says “Fully renovated” and the bottom says “Coming soon.” Again we’re not giving too much information because we want to pique interest. We want to pique curiosity so we might find people that want to buy that house so that’s great. We don’t pay a realtor then. That would be good, but at the same time maybe I get a general contracting lead or they understand that this is some kind of flip venture going on and maybe I know somebody might have a need to sell my house. Again it’s just kind of keeping it open to whomever might be interested in learning about you and your brand and your identity.
Danny Johnson: Right. I think whenever I was getting started I think Steve Cook – learned a lot from Steve Cook when he had flippinghomes.com I think it was – but he used to put those big banners up. He put vinyl banners, I don’t know, it’s like 3 x 9 or something vinyl banner across the properties they are rehabbing.
Alright. So we’ve covered the “tell your friends” and “set up your brand” and what is the next actionable tip?
Nick Baldo: Yes. The next one might not be too exciting. Some people cringe when they hear this one but the real estate investor meet ups are really important and I say some people cringe because, again as you mentioned, some people feel shy. Some people don’t want to get out there but you really should get to know those people within your community who are doing what you want to do. Going to investor meet-ups is a great way to at least meet some people, let them know what you’re up to, maybe you can meet some wholesalers here which is a great way to get leads and to put yourself out there. Even if you haven’t done a deal yet most meet ups are extremely receptive to new and interested young investors.
Danny Johnson: Because the majority of people are new.
Nick Baldo: Right. Exactly. And this is one of those areas where I always hated. When I was in college and it was recruiting season for all the big companies and even when I go to real estate investor meet-ups I hate the fake networking, and just because you haven’t done a deal yet, maybe you done one or two deals, that doesn’t mean you have to be a fake networker. Again coming back to honesty, telling people exactly what you do, what your interests are, what your mission is and trying to find some way to add value to the conversation. Now as a new investor it’s hard to do that, it’s not like you’re going to be throwing somebody deals but you can potentially birddog for them. You could do some sort of admin work for them. You can simply reach out to your network for them. Maybe they are real estate investors interested in rentals and somebody was looking for a rental or something like that. There’s plenty of ways for you to be a legitimate part of this networking event without coming off as a fake networker.
So bite the bullet. Find out where these meet ups are whether it’s Bigger Pockets or whether it’s your local real estate investor meet-up. You can put them on the calendar and go and raise your hand and talk and mingle and get yourself out there and you’ll feel a lot better. Every single one you, do you’ll feel a lot more comfortable.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. And people like to talk about themselves. So just walk up and ask what they specialize in, what they do if they’re a rehabber, landlord, whatever.
Nick Baldo: Yeah. Great piece of advice. People absolutely love to talk about themselves so finding good questions is the best kind of prep for those kind of events.
Danny Johnson: Alright. That’s a good one, number three. So number four, what is your actionable tip for number four? So this one is meet the neighbors and I touched unequivocally when I was talking about the signs, but this one has been awesome. I got this tip, it’s probably my second flip and somebody, a family member had come in and they were checking out the house and they saw some neighbors in and around it, “Oh are the neighbors nice?” And I said, “I don’t know.” And they told me this person not in real estate investing said, “Well, you should meet them.” And I thought about it for a little bit and I said “Okay. I will meet them.” And I went and introduced myself to the neighbors, told them what I was up to and they were so excited to meet me and learn about what this process was that that was going on because the neighbors get really excited about a flip typically. In all the ones I’ve done, they have gotten really excited to see an eyesore of a house be taken by somebody and renovated and done up nice because obviously the better that house is, the better the house values in the neighborhood are going to be. In addition they’d rather have a nice young couple or a new family or a professional or somebody who’s going to – somebody who buys a newly-renovated house will typically take care of that house. They’d rather have somebody like that that than the neighbors they had previously potentially. I found that talking to the neighbors was one, a great way to make me feel better about being there for work and managing the project. But two, they tell people what we’re up to, maybe they have whether it’s a parent or a grandparent or know of somebody who has that kind of situation that they need to sell their house soon, you could easily meet people that eventually get you deals just by talking to the neighbors a few doors down and across the street on a flip that you’re doing.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. That’s a great tip and do you find that maybe that the neighbors know anybody else that has house problems where you might be able to find another deal from them?
Nick Baldo: Yeah typically that’s the case. I mean it’s usually not them specifically but it’s usually “I have a friend whose mother is moving into a nursing home” or “I have a friend who needs to leave town, he just got a job out of state.” I’ve probably had – it’s not a huge majority of my deals, but I could probably count four or five that have come from some roundabout way coming from the neighbor or somebody driving by seeing a sign and knowing somebody who could benefit from the situation. These are all interactions that if I didn’t go and make my introduction, they would have never happened, they wouldn’t know what we do. I wouldn’t have never gotten to the point of the next deal.
Danny Johnson: Yeah absolutely, and you say just three or four, but when people are spending anywhere from $2,500 to $5,500 dollars to get a deal, you’re talking about saving anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 dollars on marketing.
Nick Baldo: Right. Absolutely. I always say if it’s something that, if I didn’t do this action, it wouldn’t have come about then that is a great bonus. In your example too spending the money, I didn’t spend the money, all I did was open my mouth and I was able to get deals that I would have never known existed had I not overcame that fear and made that introduction.
Danny Johnson: Awesome. So tell your friends, set up your brand, REIA meetings, meeting the neighbors. What do you have for number five?
Nick Baldo: This one, I went to pull out landlords and property managers specifically. So obviously you’re probably going to meet them at the REIA meetings and meet-ups and everything. But I would like the audience to really think about how this could help you find rehab deals. So landlords and property managers – one, they might be flippers themselves. Personally I do both and some landlords do both so that’s good, but they’re also in tune with a market of renters that are all over the world connected to people that have issues with their homes. So sometimes renters are renters because they have a house that they couldn’t sell, so they were previously in that situation, but also property managers and landlords are aware of the various neighborhoods. For example, I have one neighborhood up in Buffalo here near the University of Buffalo where there’s a man who to own 50-60 houses. There are also some areas in there that are single family homes. They are there all the time because they’re turning over their properties. They know what’s going on in the neighborhood. They know of homeowners who might be looking to sell. It’s a great way to open that door in a non-competitive way and potentially open yourself up to some deals.
Danny Johnson: Yeah, great tip. What about agents? What about real estate agents?
Nick Baldo: Yes. This one again should be relatively obvious but a lot of people fail to do it. A lot of flippers have different experiences with real estate agents and I think that the negative experiences with real estate agents are bound to happen and just move on and look for the next one. I would say that the average real estate agent is mediocre and average at best. And I only say that because there are so many real estate agents out there. The good ones are really good and having a good real estate agent can be a huge plus for you. And what that means, a good real estate agent is not just looking at the MLS. We all know that most of us can do 90% of what they can do by looking at the MLS with all the tools out there like Zillow and whatnot. A good real estate agent has pocket listings. They have other investors in town and out of town. They have their ear to the ground on what deals might be coming available and that’s who you want to find. It can be very difficult to find that person. But having a goal to find a good real estate agent or two is something you should really be working on. When I talk about pocket listings, I think most people are familiar, these are “for sale” listings that are not on the MLS yet. The seller wants to sell, but they’re not listed yet. Sometimes these are because the real estate agent has friends, families that might want to sell and they don’t want a list yet, so it’s a pocket listing or it’s another investor in their network, but you never know where deals are going to come from. It doesn’t hurt to have somebody else out there working for you day-to-day to find good deals.
Danny Johnson: Right. And that had come from talking to them all the time and talking to different agents any chance you get. Knowing that maybe a small conversation that you have for 10 minutes at some kind of meet up with an agent even though they’re not flipping houses, that conversation could be something that generates some leads over time and you never know who’s you talk to that’s going to be able to start sending you things or talking to as many people as possible can help with that. What do you have next? What’s the next actionable tip?
Nick Baldo: The next one is to be hands on. A lot of us want to systemize our business. I’m certainly one of those. As you get into investing you might have this urge to, “I read the e-myth and I’m not going to pick up a hammer and I’m not going to be on the project site.” But I can tell you that you don’t necessarily have to pick up a hammer, but you should be on project site especially if you’re doing your first few. Now most people would do that because it’s a big risk and you want to be there, but I find a lot of value in that even as you find success and you do quite a few deals. Being on the projects site, one it gives you access to all the contractors who are there working on your project – all of the appraisers and bank people and those people that you meet at the property, so that’s more people who know what you do. Meet them, tell them what you do. A lot of contractors renovate a house and they don’t know that it’s a flip. I think that’s silly. They should know what is going on here and they should know what the owner – you – are doing with your business. At the same time, you open up all the other tips we talked about already as far as meeting the neighbors and having that t-shirt on, having that brand somewhere, having some kind of presence on the property. You’re not some out-of-town investor who “it’s all a numbers game.” You actually care about the region, you care about the house, you care about the flip. So again you don’t need to do the whole rehab yourself although that could be a fine thing to do, but you should show some interest in your first few projects at least and show a presence and that can lead to deals. That can lead to people knowing what you do and sending people your way.
Danny Johnson: Absolutely. And it is kind of fun to see the transformation to happening instead of just seeing it from when you bought it and then seeing it when it’s done.
Nick Baldo: Right.
Danny Johnson: Alright. So number eight that you sent over to me was use sort of a tracking mechanism.
Nick Baldo: Yeah. I’m in I’m a bit surprised sometimes to see when I’m talking to a new investor and they’re talking about struggling with finding deals. They say well, “What prospects have you had?” And they’ll start going to their memory and start thinking about, “Well there’s that one that didn’t work out. There’s this other one that didn’t return my phone call.” I think that a new investor, an experienced investor, we should all have some kind of mechanism for tracking the leads that come in, the prospects that we think of that we see as we drive by, to track them, to filter them, to sort them, to close them, so that we have the tangible data there in front of us. There’s a lot to be said to seeing a tangible list. A lot of people just simply writing something down with a pen and paper really helps with recall, really helps with action, etc., so get some kind of system. And again, we don’t need to break the bank and spend a ton of money here. You could easily get on Microsoft Excel or I would recommend, if you’re going to get a spreadsheet route, doing something like Google sheets because it’s cloud-based and free and you can access it from anywhere. But setting up a table in Google sheets simply to say here’s my motivated seller, here’s a property address, a bunch of different fields, build the table out and put them out of status: New, Contacted, In Negotiation, Rejected, or Contract. And you can track all of those leads that you have and you can sort those that have the highest potential of giving you profit. That’s a really quick way to at least see what you’re doing and to gain a grasp on things and then you can make goals like, “Well, I’m at 13 leads right now and two of them are maybes. Let’s try to get 10 more leads by the end of this week.” And you can track all that. You can track dates that you get leads, etc., so that works out nicely. I personally I use Podio for my entire business including my lead capture that works great. They have a free version you can get started on if you wanted to, but something a pen and paper is better than going to your memory to think of the leads that you’ve had.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. And we have REIMobile which is our CRM system in case you want to try that out and just check that out because we have all the things set up as far as status’s and tracking all that kind of stuff set up for you. So yeah, all those different options, several different things to maybe start out with free as you get going and build up to a paid professional version is up to you. What’s the next one here? I think you get local officials and employees. This is an interesting one.
Nick Baldo: Yes. So this one, it depends on what kind of community you are in. Some of the bigger cities are going to be a little bit tougher although there are neighborhoods that can talk to that. Specifically, I’m in a suburb of Buffalo. I also have investments outside of that area, but we found success in this town of Hamburg. We did a project and we had a lot of people interested. It was kind of on a main street. It was actually a rental project. We got a lot of people interested, “Oh, you’re renovating that ugly building. Who are you? What do you do?” So people such as the mayor of the town and the building inspector is a big one, and the planning review board we had to go to. Being on their good side was an amazing thing for us. Again, we didn’t go out and planned to do it. It kind of happened because we were going a nice job at one of our projects. But the number of referrals that are coming from them is really impressive. Especially I would say that building inspector because not only are they out to look at new work that’s being done, but they’re also the ones that drive around and give tickets and fines for houses that don’t meet code. They know of those houses that might be in disrepair and could need some TLC. So that’s been nice. Now again that’s a small suburb. It’s very easy to talk to these people. If you’re in a bigger city it could be harder of course, but a lot of these different neighborhoods have different neighborhood meet-ups and council meetings and things like that that you should attend. If you have active investments there or if you’re sure that that should be your farm area, go and introduce yourself to the people that live in those neighborhoods and make sure they know that if they see a house or they see a potential deal or a motivated seller that they have somebody to call because if not they might just go to Google and maybe you’re not ranking too good yet. It’s not a bad idea to introduce yourself and to put a face with what you’re trying to do in that area.
Danny Johnson: Yeah. A lot of times you can get the code compliance list and usually that’s the code compliance complaints for a city or something like that. It’s Neighborhood Services I think usually like San Antonio Neighborhood Services. It’s interesting because if you walk in and you ask to see about getting that list, it really depends on who you’re talking to. The first person might say, “I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. We can’t provide that.” And then you go in a week later talk to somebody different and they’re like, “Oh yeah, give me your email address, I’ll email it to you.” Don’t give up after the first one if you don’t and you might find the right wording as you’re talking to somebody and maybe you’re asking the wrong way.
Nick Baldo: Right, right. And again it all goes back to “it doesn’t hurt.” The worst they can say is “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Get out of here.” Okay, well that took you maybe a half an hour of your time and no money and maybe you give it another shot or two, but it keeps not working, let’s move on to the next. The best thing about most of these tips is it’s inexpensive, it’s quick and it doesn’t hurt if you fail.
Danny Johnson: And you know that I like is one where I do fail because if you go in and it’s difficult for you to get that, the way to think about that is to think, “Well, shoot if I can find a way to get it, then I can almost guarantee you that nobody else is going to have it because of how difficult it was.”
Nick Baldo: Right. You’re doing something that nobody else is and that increases your chance of getting the big fish as opposed to as opposed to the other deals.
Danny Johnson: Awesome. So we covered local officials and employees. What do you have next for actionable tips for getting yourself out there?
Nick Baldo: So this one is again just about building your network. It’s the professionals that either you employ to do your work or that people in your network, your friends and family use. I’m talking about professionals like attorneys and accountants and bankers and financial advisers. Those kinds of folks are connected with people all the time. Their clients are individuals. There are companies that they’re meeting with constantly and their network is huge. If you look at, for example, somebody who does financial advising or life insurance if you know anybody who’s ever worked in that field they’re making so many sales calls. Their job is to build their network to such a high level. Again if you can get in there to what you’re doing, they have such a broad reach with those in their network. And again it’s not necessarily their clients, you’re not going to have a wealth manager say, “Hey my client can’t make his mortgage payments and he’s a motivated seller” but he might be the kind of person whose mother or father needs to sell their house or he might live next door to somebody’s house that is in disrepair and it’s ruining the whole value of the neighborhood. These are the kind of people that you can obviously help. Informing these individuals of what you do and how you do it is a really big step. You don’t need to go too crazy with this either. Just take whoever you use, who is your accountant, who is your banker, who is your attorney, make sure they know what you’re up to and what you’re doing and the very least they can spread the word if the opportunity presents itself.
Danny Johnson: Nice. Yeah. Great tips. I think we’re on number 11 already. So the 11th actionable tip is?
Nick Baldo: Yeah. We’ve been echoing it throughout the entire time here. Do not be afraid to ask. If you’re driving by somewhere, if you see somebody, if you have any kind of hunch you should ask the question, “Are you looking to sell?” “Are you in some kind of trouble?” Ask the question as we were just talking about. The worst that you can hear is “No.” The best you can hear is “Yeah, I would to sell my house. Is that something you can help me with?” Within all of these tips, overcoming the fear is really really important. It’s kind of like you never know if you don’t do something and that pain of not knowing is a lot worse than the potential fear of failing and asking at question.
Danny Johnson: So absolutely. I think I’ve seen it on several blogs over the last several months but some study done from people at the end of their life and what their regrets were and it’s not trying. Most of the regrets were just not trying something, so it’s good to keep that in mind so that you don’t have one of the main regrets that most people have.
Nick Baldo: Yeah. And another thing about all of this is we’re talking specifically about finding deals and these 11 steps will certainly help you do that. They’ve helped me. But the other thing about potentially failing at finding a deal by using these steps is you might find something else. For example you might find a private lender. If you’re talking to, let’s say, a landlord about finding potential flips, maybe they’re not able to find you deals but maybe they’ll say, “I’m looking to retire and looking for something a little bit more passive and maybe I can lend you money. Is that how you fund your deals?” That can happen. It has happened. It’s happened to me specifically. So the secondary or tertiary result is sometimes just as great as that primary result which was finding the deal. You’re never quite positive how it’s going to work out but you won’t know until you start trying.
Danny Johnson: Absolutely. So do you have any interesting stories about any of this or anything that relates maybe?
Nick Baldo: Yeah certainly. Kind of what I was saying, it was actually a combo of the two. I was working on a rental property that we’re flipping, so a multi-unit property that we’re flipping and we’re at the project kind of managing some of the contractors there. Again we had out shirts ons. I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, but I came out and there was an older gentleman kind of curiously looking around and he said, “Can I talk to the owner?” And I introduced myself said, “Yes I’m the owner. How can I help you?” He asked a few questions what we’re doing. I told him we rehab houses, we rent houses, we do all sorts of real estate investing and told him what we we’re up to. And he said, “Come with me.” And he brought me here across the street to another double that he owned. An empty double in pretty decent condition and they took me down the street two more houses to a single family house he owned and also rent it out. He said, “I own these two houses” and is an older gentleman and he said “I want to retire. I want to get rid of this. Would you like to buy them one, for a really reasonable price tag? And two, I’ll hold the note on 90% of it if that’s something you’re interested in. I want out and I want to manage tenants I don’t want to be in this anymore. I just want a nice steady check coming in and is that something you’re interested in?” It was amazing. We didn’t negotiate. Everything was perfect. The price was good the 90%. I could have tried to push for 100%, I guess, but I didn’t because everything was extremely fair. That’s one of those examples that if we weren’t onsite at the project, if we weren’t able and willing to tell somebody what we’re doing and what we’re up to, the lead would never have come our way and we wouldn’t have gotten such a great deal. You never know where these things are going to come from. You really don’t, but the law of large numbers. Put yourself out there as much as possible and deals and opportunities will come your way.
Danny Johnson: Yes. It’s absolutely awesome. And these have been some great tips and sometimes a lot of people can say, well, I know I’ve heard a lot of things, listening to podcast and reading blogs and going to Bigger Pockets things like that. But I got to say even in this list some things that maybe you hear that you don’t take action on might be common knowledge but not common practice. And just the t-shirt thing got me excited like, “I’m going to go get me some t-shirt.” You just never know what’s going to produce any of those. You could be at the grocery store and have somebody approach you because they saw the shirt and maybe were just in the middle of thinking about some problem with the house that they have or something. Is there is there a way that anybody out there listening can reach you if they want to get a hold of you somehow?
Nick Baldo: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. I have my own website. It’s incomedigs.com. I’m just kind of getting that up and running. You can subscribe there and see what I have there. I’m doing a lot of videos as far as how I manage leads and how I manage projects, things like that. So go there, it’s great. You can also on there find links to some of the Podio templates that I have set up and other than that, if you’re on bigger pockets you could find me there and I do quite a bit on that site as well.
Danny Johnson: Cool. I appreciate you being on the show and Nick was also kind enough to send over a PDF on finding rehab deals, that’s “Ten Tangible Tips To Find More Solid Rehab Deals” and so that’ll be available on the show notes page so you can take advantage of that by going to flippingjunkie.com/40 and you’ll be able to download that for free to get even more great info from Nick. So once again I appreciate it.
Nick Baldo: Thanks a lot Danny. It was great to be here. I really love what you’re doing and a lot of awesome information getting out there.
Danny Johnson: Great. Awesome. Well, keep in touch.
Nick Baldo: Alright. Thanks.
Danny Johnson: Yeah, have a good one.
Alright. Another great episode of The Flipping Junkie Podcast. Nick, I really do appreciate it. You did a great job. We got a lot of great actionable tips for getting yourself out there and finding great deals and be sure to go to the show notes page to get his PFD that he sent over that’s got some great tips on finding good rehab deals. Also very information packed. It’s not just a couple pages of stuff. It’s actually got a lot of great info on it. So go to flippingjunkie.com/40 and you can download that and be sure to subscribe on iTunes. If you’re really enjoying the show please leave a rating and review. It really helps. I really do appreciate it. I’d like to get you guys’ comments and feedback. I’ve been getting a lot of emails from people talking about how much they’re enjoying the show, so I really appreciate it because sometimes you record all this and I send it out and I can see stats and things that, but I can’t just have all of your ideas and comments and everything just magically appear for me, so when I do hear from people I’m really appreciative to find out that it’s really helpful stuff. We’ll keep doing it. I’m going to be continuing this series. It’s basically like a free training course so be sure to subscribe on iTunes so that you’re going to get the next messages as we continue in this awesome part of it where we’re talking about finding great leads which has always been my favorite, just finding ways to find awesome leads and deals to do to make me some great money and become financially free. That’s the goal. I have a great week. I’ll talk to you next time.