JF1360: Tools For Making A Landlord’s Life Easier with Jason Bangerter

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Jason has built multiple companies, most of which were started out a need he had. The focus of this interview is on his company, and our sponsor, Rentler. Rentler allows landlords to perform most or all of the duties you need to do on a daily basis. Not only can you perform credit and background checks, collect rent, list your rentals, and more, Rentler can also help automate a lot of tasks so that you can do less of the things you don’t enjoy doing. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!


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Jason Bangerter Background:

  • Entrepreneur and founder of multiple companies
  • He loves to take the seed of a creative business idea and bring it to fruition.
  • Started Rentler because he noticed that the rental industry served either tenants or landlords, but never both
  • Based in Sandy, UT
  • Say hi to him at http://tryrentler.com/bestever
  • Best Ever Book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Join us and our online investor community: BestEverCommunity.com

Made Possible Because of Our Best Ever Sponsor (and guest today):

List and manage your property all from one platform with Rentler. Once listed you can: accept applications, screen tenants, accept payments and receive maintenance tickets all in one place – and all free for landlords. Go to tryrentler.com/bestever to get started today!

Read Full Transcript

Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I'm Joe Fairless, and this is the world's longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don't get into any of that fluffy stuff. With us today, Jason Bangerter. How are you doing, Jason?
Jason Bangerter: Great!
Joe Fairless: I'm glad to hear it, and nice to have you on the show.
Joe Fairless: A little bit about Jason - he has started many companies, and one of which is Rentler. Rentler was started because he noticed that the rental industry served either tenants or landlords, but never both. He is based in Sandy, Utah. You can learn more about his company at Rentler.com. With that being said, Jason, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and your current focus?
Jason Bangerter: Sure. Just a little background - I've been a designer for years, and started a company called Struck. We began just locally, and we became a national agency doing work for companies you recognize all over the globe, including companies like Nike and LEGO and BMW etc. Anyway, a few years ago I started two new companies, one of which is Rentler, and the other one is called NUVI. NUVI pulls in all of social media and analyzes it in real time. My real love is Rentler, so I turned the other company over and then focused all my efforts on Rentler.
Joe Fairless: With NUVI is there any overlap, or ways you leverage NUVI to help your other companies? Because a company that pulls in social media and analyzes it in real-time I imagine is helpful for any company.
Jason Bangerter: It is. We can use NUVI in a variety of ways, but one of the ways we can use it is to see how people are feeling about any particular topic, and then redesign our system based on what people are saying on social... Or we can pull in some of the smart people that have built NUVI, for instance my chief technology officer was with me at Struck and at NUVI, and co-founded NUVI and Rentler with me. So we've got some really smart people. For instance, it takes a lot to pull in all of social media and analyze it in real time.
Joe Fairless: First off, what is Rentler?
Jason Bangerter: Great question. Rentler is a place for smaller landlords to manage their properties, and really from the beginning of meeting a tenant to by the time they leave, and everything in between. It was a need that I had when I was flipping houses as an investor when I ran my other company, Struck, and flipped about maybe 25 homes... And when the music stopped in 2007, I had these houses and I thought "Crap, I've gotta rent them."
I didn't know anything about being a landlord. I started looking around, and I really needed these tools, and no one made them. So I as an entrepreneur said "Let's just build it." It's what we did.
Joe Fairless: So meeting a tenant, to the time they leave, they are done with renting from you, you said everything in between. What are some of the main components of that?
Jason Bangerter: Great question. The first one would be obviously finding a tenant for your property. One thing I noticed out there was Craigslist was full of scams, there's a lot of challenges with the scamming side of things; I didn't like that. And then any listing site, once you rented your place, you couldn't save your listing. That was one big thing. I got tired of reposting the same thing over and over and over. So we have a feature that you can turn on and off your listing and manage your listing from one place. That was one of the first things.
The next one that really bothered me was the on-boarding process. Actually, screening. And just a quick story - I had a tenant living in my property, and I just kind of looked at him, he looked like an honest guy; he drove a Porsche...
Joe Fairless: He got your real good, I sense it.
Jason Bangerter: Yeah, I come to find out he declared bankruptcy, and he came to me and said "Hey, I can't make this month's rent" and "I'm good for it." It seemed like he was. I didn't really know what I was doing at the time, to be frank; I've always had good tenants... Long story short, I couldn't get him out of my property because I had a horrible lease I just downloaded online, that was full of holes.
Nine months later I finally got him out of my house. I lost a ton of money on that deal. It really stunk, but it reinforced my idea of starting Rentler, and I was in the middle of that problem when I was starting Rentler.
Joe Fairless: You had tons of inspiration at the time. [laughs]
Jason Bangerter: Yeah, bad inspiration, but nevertheless it got me going. Then the other features were things like background checks, as well as just the credit checks. So we've got some really robust things.
On the background checks, I also learned that not all background checks are created equal. People tout the idea of a national background check, and there's counties like L.A. County, just a little county in California, that does not report their county records to the national background check... And there's counties all over; it's like Swiss cheese. So if someone was bad and they were living in a county in Wyoming, for instance, and then moved into your house, you have no idea if they were a baddie or a goodie. And the only way to find that out is by actually running county searches on that individual.
As someone who's been screwed over before, I made that a mission to go out and get the best background checks possible. We're able to get into county searches, even into the smaller counties.
Joe Fairless: Do you have to know the counties to search for, or you just hit a button and it just searches all of them?
Jason Bangerter: You hit a button and we do it all for you. Sometimes the counties are so backwards... There's a few in Kentucky unfortunately where you have to actually send a runner to the county courthouse, and they physically look up the records.
Joe Fairless: Is that part of the hit the button process, or is that a special request?
Jason Bangerter: No, you hit the button and we go to work. The other side of it I learned too is credit checks are really regulated, and if I wanted to pull credit in the past, I would have to get my place inspected, and they had to make sure I had a fax machine, for some reason, and a lock on my filing cabinet. I'm not sure what that would do to stop someone, but... That was a requirement.
But the way we do it is we actually pull a credit check; the tenant actually pulls their own, and then shares it with the landlord, so we avoid some of those silly rules that have been put in place.
Joe Fairless: Got it.
Jason Bangerter: That was a big deal, and then it's a soft pull on the tenant. So we do credit and background checks, and then we have forms - they're not in every area right now, because we really research out who the lawyers are that we work with. If there's any good lawyers out there listening to this podcast, I'm all ears... But we'll vet you out and make sure that you're good. But we publish those forms on our site, and allow landlords to access those.
The other things are paying rent online. Something as small as that - I remember myself going to great lengths to try to get all my tenants' rent, and then I'd forget, because I was the COO of a major agency, and I'd be like "Crap, did that person pay me last month?" Then I'd look it up in my account and sure enough, they never did.
Then you have to go track down the rent. I had one tenant in particular - they for some reason didn't know how money worked, and they wrote me a check and I had to rush to the bank that day, or I knew it would bounce. So I had to create those things in mind when we created our payment platform, and we take into account all that kind of stuff.
The major one is we do two-day funding on ACH, and normally it's 5-7 business days, really. For some reason, our government takes a break during the weekends and holidays; their computers turn off for some [unintelligible 00:09:14.23] But in our system, we do two-day turnaround on ACH payments, which is absolutely phenomenal.
Joe Fairless: The finding a tenant for your property where you said you can turn on and off a listing, and you talked about Craigslist being pretty scammy or spammy - is the listing not on Craigslist, or is it just a different way of listing it on Craigslist?
Jason Bangerter: No, currently we do it on Rentler. We're looking at a feature where you may be able to syndicate out to other listing services... But Rentler right now gets over 7 million views a month on our site...
Joe Fairless: Holy moly! How did you do that? When did you launch Rentler?
Jason Bangerter: We launched it six years ago, and we just get a lot of traffic.
Joe Fairless: How?
Jason Bangerter: How? That's an ancient Chinese secret. [laughter] Actually, we did something kind of brilliant... It wasn't necessarily my idea, but we partnered with a local NBC affiliate in Utah, and they outdid Craigslist on traffic. The company is called KSL (KSL.com), and if you look under their Home section, you'll find that Rentler is embedded into that, and we actually power their Rental section.
Joe Fairless: Beautiful!
Jason Bangerter: Yeah, we started pulling all their traffic over. They just get so much traffic, and because of the relationship - it's a great relationship, and we love working with them - we've been able to increase traffic on our end, and we just get just a ton of traffic. So right now we don't syndicate out, but we're looking at that as a possibility... For instance, a future feature we're looking at is the ability to publish to Craigslist, so you'd be able to manage your listing for other sites from Rentler.
Joe Fairless: Now, you get millions of views a month, and the primary way it sounds like that you grew it to this point was through that partnership. I'm on that website, and it looks like that's a local...
Jason Bangerter: It's a local news site. It covers the whole state of Utah. Because of that, it grew outside of the state and we started growing incrementally in other states. We're getting around 5,000-6,000 new users every month, and outside of the state. We've already saturated our own state of Utah. One in every three people that live in the state of Utah is a registered user on our site.
Joe Fairless: Holy cow!
Jason Bangerter: Yeah.
Joe Fairless: Wow, that's incredibly impressive.
Jason Bangerter: Thanks. We wanted to make sure we dominate our own local market, and then move from there.
Joe Fairless: Do you work with people nationally, then?
Jason Bangerter: Yeah, right now our forms are still localized in our own market, but we're starting to expand that into other markets. We don't have anything published on that yet. My whole strategy, like building the agency for instance in the past, and building from a local agency to a national agency, working with some of the biggest brands, we focused on local, and then we expanded from there, and that's the exact strategy we've employed here.
We've already met our goals and exceeded them in our own state, and we're in the process of really starting to aggressively expand outside of our local market. We've got clients in every state at this point. It's fun to hear from them, and hear how they found us and what they're doing with our tool.
Joe Fairless: How do you make money?
Jason Bangerter: That's a great question. There's different revenue sources, but in the state of Utah we do charge to list; a part of that is we have a dominant presence here... But outside we don't. So that's one way we're able to take and run a large company, we're able to pull in that revenue in the local market, and we bring a lot of value to those customers. We work with some of the largest property management companies around: Greystar, Alliance, AMC... There's a lot of companies we work with here, and we work with very closely with that on the multifamily side. But a real focus is on the smaller 50-units and below, to build that property management software.
Joe Fairless: So the number one revenue source is Utah landlords ads for listing on your website?
Jason Bangerter: Right now that definitely is, and then the number two would be payments, and also screenings. With screenings, the landlord has the ability to choose if they're gonna pay for it, or if they're gonna ask their tenant to pay for it.
Another big feature -- because I'm all about bringing value to a customer, not just taking... And one big thing is I noticed tenants were filling out the same information over and over again, so we made a universal application, and when you create a listing, you can actually apply one time, and then send it to multiple places.
Some of those places may require screening, some may not... But that's why we split the application, the screening apart.
Joe Fairless: You've been around for six years... What are some majors things you can think of that's evolved since you founded it?
Jason Bangerter: Oh, boy... Well, we've learned a lot of lessons with scammers.
Joe Fairless: What was happening?
Jason Bangerter: One of the things we discovered was -- you've got the normal scam, which is someone steals the images from some website out there (Craigslist, for instance), and then calls it their own... And we work really hard to avoid that. We've got some proprietary ways to do that, that we share with other companies like Amazon etc., and we're able to identify scammers pretty rapidly... And we do some things that I'm not gonna reveal, but we do some things that really stop scammers pretty quickly.
Joe Fairless: Go get 'em.
Jason Bangerter: Yeah, it's one of my favorite missions, to stop scammers. It's one thing that's evolved. As far as scamming goes on, payments - we were a little naive when we started, and if you know anything about ACH, there's this thing called the float. What happens is the tenant would put their payment out there, and then we would pay the landlord before the tenant got their account charged... So we were floating the money to the landlord. What was happening was a scammer would come along and pretend to be both landlord and tenant, and then steal the money and then poof.
So we've gotten really wise to that, and once that happened once or twice, we've completely stopped that. We haven't had a scam on that side in years. We're very cautious about how we handle that.
So that's one way that's really changed, is learning -- because every time you do something, the scammers are out there thinking about new ways to scam, so we've gotta be on top of our game and we've got a great fraud team that monitors everything we do.
Joe Fairless: Anything from an offering standpoint that maybe you offered previously that you thought landlords or tenants would really want, that you found out "Oh, they don't really care about that. Instead, let's focus on XYZ"?
Jason Bangerter: Yeah, that's a good question. I thought we would offer simple pricing. We went to $8/month, where you would just pay a subscription and you would get all of our services. But what we discovered was someone would use our services up front and cancel a couple months later... When in reality they just wanted to use different parts of our service, so we said "Well, let's price it at the lowest possible price we can get away with, and allow them to just pick and choose what they wanna use. If they just wanna use this for screenings, that's great. If they just wanna use this for listings, that's great.
If they have under two listings, it's free. If they wanna use us for screenings and charge their tenant, it's free. If they wanna use payments and charge their tenants for the payments, it's free." So anything to help a landlord and a tenant kind of figure out their individual situation - that's really important.
I'll give you one more example, and that is applications. I went to school here in Utah, that's how I ended up here; I went to BYU. And what would happen was you'd move into a house or an apartment with three other guys. At first, everything's great, and then what would happen is someone would get married, or they'd move out, and if you signed the lease, you were screwed; they would be like "Hey, I'll see you later", and then the landlord would come after you.
So the way we built our applications and our payments is they target the individual. A landlord could manage each person in their unit if they have roommate situations. That was a major one doing that, and split payments. We've really made it so it's so customizable to the individual situation... That's one of the major things that makes it unique.
But going back to my design roots, I made it so all the heavy lifting is done below the surface, and to the consumer it looks like this easy to use site. Let's just say it's not easy, it's very complex behind the scenes, but to the customer it's this simple, easy to use site. But we've got a lot of stuff going on in the background.
Joe Fairless: Congratulations, you have unlimited amount of money and time to put towards Rentler. What's a feature that doesn't exist now that you would put in there?
Jason Bangerter: Great question. One thing I wanna do is build out a more robust maintenance system. Right now we have maintenance 1.0, where you can send in a trouble ticket, but I want the ability to do some additional things that will help landlords and tenants get that air conditioner fixed. If a landlord is busy and their tenant calls them or hits them up, they don't necessarily have the time to go help that tenant, but the tenant really needs that air conditioner fixed, especially if he's in the deep South, right?
By having a different way of thinking, we would like to even do things like allow the landlord if they wanted to put a limit in so the tenant doesn't even have to ask, they just get it done themselves, and expediting that would be really helpful. I wanna build a lot of that out, that's just one feature. I've got lots and lots of ideas... The problem is honing in and getting the best ideas really worked out first.
Joe Fairless: If you look back at challenges that have come up through the last six years, and if you were to be made aware of those challenges prior to starting Rentler, would you have still started it?
Jason Bangerter: Absolutely. It's a needed product, it's a needed thing. My team is just exceptional and we've helped literally 1.3 million people that use our system.
Joe Fairless: Based on your experience as an entrepreneur in the real estate industry, what is your best advice ever for real estate professionals?
Jason Bangerter: Wow... Best advice ever I would say is -- you hear a lot about following your dreams, but the reality is it's hard work, and you've gotta stick to it. If you have that thing you wanna accomplish, you've gotta not just set that goal, but stick to it every day. It's a grind, but at the end it will be a reward.
Joe Fairless: We're gonna do a lightning round. Are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round?
Jason Bangerter: Yeah, let's do it!
Joe Fairless: Alright, let's do it. First, a quick word from our Best Ever partners.
Break: [00:20:45.24] to [00:21:22.00]
Joe Fairless: Best ever book you've read?
Jason Bangerter: Best ever book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz.
Joe Fairless: What's the best ever project that you've worked on? And if you say Rentler, cool, but maybe specifically within Rentler, a project that you worked on.
Jason Bangerter: I'll make it a little bit more interesting - I'd say the best ever product I've ever worked on is we built an app for LEGO called LegoClick.com, and you could take a picture of someone and then turn them into a LEGO.
Joe Fairless: Oh, sign me up! I'm going to check that out. What's a mistake you've made in business on something?
Jason Bangerter: A mistake I've made in business - I've made a few bad hires, and not making the changes fast enough.
Joe Fairless: If you were to think about the characteristics of the individuals you fired, if presented a situation in the future where you come across an individual like that, what are those characteristics?
Jason Bangerter: Those characteristics are more of how the team sees that individual, and they don't see [unintelligible 00:22:23.29] He was the leader and needed to make a choice: what's more important - the overall health of the team, or trying to help that individual along? And I've learned that each situation is unique, but you have to really take into account your A players and not necessarily always focus on B players. Sometimes you have to make hard choices, and that's one way you have to do it.
Joe Fairless: Best ever way you like to give back?
Jason Bangerter: I give away 10% of my income.
Joe Fairless: And how can the Best Ever listeners learn more about your company and try Rentler?
Jason Bangerter: They can go to rentler.com, and they can go to /bestever, and we've got a page set up for Best Ever listeners to check out everything our company works on and what our services are.
Joe Fairless: Excellent. So let's see, the URL -- is it TryRentler?
Jason Bangerter: That's what it is.
Joe Fairless: There it is, yeah. There we go. It's TryRentler.com/bestever, or if you're lazy, just go to rentler.com; that's fine, too.
Well, thank you so much for being on the show, Jason. I'm grateful that I've gotten to know more about your business. Prior to our conversation, obviously, Rentler is a sponsor of this podcast, and I only bring in sponsors whose business I wholeheartedly believe in, and holy cow, you all are providing a tremendous solution for real estate investors and prospective residents...
So thanks for being on the show, thanks for talking about the evolution of your company, how you make money, and where you see it going with new features, as well as how it has evolved up until this point, some of the things that you all have worked through... As real estate investors, we're entrepreneurs, and this is some really interesting stuff, let alone learning more about a real estate investing company that has launched six years ago and is incredibly successful...
So thanks for being on the show. I hope you have a best ever day, and we'll talk to you soon.
Jason Bangerter: Thank you.

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JF958: Why Your Vacations are LAME if You’re Not ADVENTURE FLIPPING

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Vacation plus rehabs doesn’t equal humdrum work…out guest turned it into an adventure. The whole family goes to the property selected for rehab. Cosmetic upgrades, paint, and other easy expenses are put into the property while the family rocks! Hear how else he is investing in real estate!

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Doug Larson Real Estate Background:

– Real estate investor for 17 years with being full-time for 11 years
– Rentals, fix and flips, land, & lease-options in Hawaii, California and Utah
– Bought and sold over 100 properties
– Philosophy is not about collecting a certain number of doors, it’s about financial independence balanced life
– Based in Park City, Utah
– Best Ever Book: The Progress Paradox

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how to adventure flip


Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any fluff.
With us today we have a real estate investor who’s been investing for 17 years. How are you doing, Doug Larson?

Doug Larson: Hey, I’m doing great. Thanks for reaching out, Joe.

Joe Fairless: My pleasure, and nice to have you on the show. A little bit about Doug – he is a real estate investor, as I mentioned, for 17 years, with 11 of them being full-time. He’s done rentals, fix and flips, land, lease options, and he invested in Hawaii, California and Utah, where he is based in Park City. He has bought and sold over 100 properties.

Doug, with that being said, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and what you’re focused on now?

Doug Larson: Late 1990s I was a college student and working on a traditional path. I saw an infomercial, late-night TV [unintelligible [00:03:01].07] No money down! Make millions while you sleep!”, you know the routine. I just thought, “You know what? I wanna do that. If there’s really money to be  made, then I wanna do it.” I ordered the course and read through it like three times, and kind of dabbled in it. I made some phone calls; I probably looked like a fool on the phone, but eventually when I moved back to Southern California, I bought a house in [unintelligible [00:03:24].04] that was my first live-in-flip. I live there for a little over a year, I made some money on the resale… I thought, “You know what? I need to do this on purpose.”

At the time I really wanted to move back to Hawaii, where I had attended school. So I went back over there, I lived on Maui for five years. I had a day job, but on the side I also did four single-family residences, lived-and-flips [unintelligible [00:03:49].13] Then I also renovated and sold a condo.

In 2004 I met and married a wonderful woman from Utah, and I decided to move to Utah – I did have some family that lived up here – and I decided to do real estate investing part-time.

The first couple months were a little rough in Utah, just trying to get a feel for the lay of the land, and I actually started investing in the Park City market, because it was very similar to Hawaii; not the temperature, but the same kind of buyers, the same kind of homes… There’s their second homes, third homes, you have kind of a retail buyer that’s not constrained by the “Oh, it’s gotta qualify for an FHA loan”, and those kinds of things… You know what I mean.

So I started investing up there and it worked out really well after the crash – they kind of licked their wounds – and I have branched out into other spots, even back in California. It all worked out really well; I lost some money in the downturn, but we did not default on a single property. We just ended up losing a lot of money, but we still came out the other side doing okay, and life is good.

Right now we’re doing mostly rentals, land, a few wholesales… I do two or three flips a year in Utah, in California… The ones in California I call adventure flips.

Joe Fairless: Why adventure flips?

Doug Larson: Well, I live in Utah, so to do something out of state, you either have to have a lot of boots on the ground and organize things by phone, or you can go down there. This last summer we went down and picked one up about five miles from the beach, in North San Diego County, ocean-side. The whole family came down, and we lived in the property… More like camping, really, but… We went to amusement parks and the beach and all that kind of stuff. We lived there for almost three months while I was managing contractors and things. It really was a lot of fun, it was an adventure.

Joe Fairless: What type of condition was the property in?

Doug Larson: In good condition, just dated. All the cosmetics… I think we spent about $45,000, and probably two-thirds of that was labor with subcontractors.

Joe Fairless: Okay, it was enhancing it, it wasn’t anything major… It’s interesting that you turned a flip out of state into, as you call it, an adventure flip. I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a vacation, but it was an extended road trip with your family. That’s pretty cool, I hadn’t thought about that. What made you think of bringing the whole fam and moving into the house that you were flipping?

Doug Larson: Well, before my oldest – who is now 10 – was even in kindergarten, we did three fix and flips in the San Diego area, while still technically living in Utah. It’s just the market that I grew up in, I know it, I understand it, and beyond that, in some of those nicer areas there’s a little more upside. There’s people who really appreciate the turnkey, and maybe for living there, the doctors and lawyers – they don’t get their hands dirty. They see something turnkey and they’re like, “Hey, you know what? I know it’s 50-70k more than this nasty fixer-upper down the street, but I’m willing to pay for that because I just want turnkey. I wanna move in and not have to worry about stuff.” I really appreciate that in those kinds of markets – Hawaii, Park City… Certain parts of Utah will allow for that, but California – I just love it and it was an excuse to go and visit…

I did three of those in 2010-2011. The last one I sold in 2012, and then we just decided we wanna do it again. My wife wants to do it in Florida now. I’m like, “Okay, honey… Maybe we will, but maybe not this summer. We’ll see.”

Joe Fairless: Have you thought of doing the flips based on where you wanna spend time?

Doug Larson: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a big criterion. If you’ve read The Four-Hour Workweek, or the E-Myth (The Entrepreneur Myth), or books like that where they talk about — and I don’t agree with every little thing in all those books, that “you owe it to your business to get to this level” or something, but I do like the fact that they talk about “your business works for you, and not the other way around.” Make sure that it fits your lifestyle and the things that you really wanna do in life, instead of your business owning you.
There’s a lot of things that I think I’ve done, properties that I’ve had that helped with the lifestyle design and not just “Oh, will this make me money? You have to work yourself to the bone…”

Joe Fairless: Well, adventure flips – and I’m gonna keep using that term because I like that term – is one way of having your business work for you and not the other way around… What are some other ways you structured your business to align with that?

Doug Larson: I would say the move to Hawaii in the first place and the kind of lifestyle that I had over there was certainly conducive to that. As they say in Hawaii, “Any time off is time in Hawaii.” Everybody has to have a job still, everybody works and they’re busting around doing things, but hey, if you’ve got two hours off, you’re at the beach in Hawaii.

Things I’ve done here in Utah… In Park City there’s this couple neat condos up there that have quarter share rentals – almost like a tiny share, but they’re quarter shares, so you have 13 weeks. I was able to purchase about five of those at different times over the last ten years. They had day use privileges, so they were an investment, but we could also go up there, and I’ve made money on all of them except one. Collectively, I’ve made money more than that money would have made sitting in the bank. They’re between 40-60k dollars for these quarter share units, but you get access to this five-star resort. They’ve got owners lounges, full kitchens, pools and hot tubs, sauna steam room, and you can go up there and just spend the day like you own the place, but you can also get the revenue from renting the property out. You can use their management system and it’s a pretty hands-off thing.

I also own some recreational property quite a bit East of here – about an hour and a half East – and we go out there, we’ve got a couple of little mini-cabins, we spend time with the extended family and we play with quads, and go fishing and stuff like that. And again, I think those are good investments; maybe not as good as some other investments, but they help the overall freedom and lifestyle factor. They give you some fun, and it’s not just drudgery.

Joe Fairless: I’m glad you mentioned some of those specific examples. For the quarter shares, which I haven’t come across that term, but you said it’s just like time shares, but you rent by the week, right?

Doug Larson: You get the quarter share of a unit. You actually own 13 weeks. They have a schedule and they say “These are your 13 weeks.” Your weeks come up around Christmas time – those are the golden weeks – and you [unintelligible [00:10:08].04] for your unit, Christmas and New Year’s, and also President’s Day weekend because it’s a ski resort. It’s kind of a unique kind of a time share, but I’m only buying these resale; I would never buy one retail, because there’s just too many commissions and other things involved. But you buy these on the secondary market and they actually work out for [unintelligible [00:10:25].15] investment. The return on investment might be 5% per year, but if it’s incorporated into your lifestyle and the money is doing more than just sitting in the bank – at what, half a percent these days? – then that’s good to me, and it can really help to give you some more fun, freedom, adventure, rather than again just, as I say, toilets and termites.

Joe Fairless: Yeah. For someone who is interested in doing quarter shares, you said three of them have worked out well enough, but one of them you lost money… What’s the difference between the three and the one?

Doug Larson: I think there were actually five in total; I remember I bought two at one point from a bank that was selling some after they foreclosed, and I think one did not… We lost about 7k on that one. The only reason why we lost is because we sold it – I really needed to raise some capital for something else, and I could either borrow at hard money terms, or I could sell one of these units, and there was somebody that had said they were interested, and I said “Oh, what the heck, I’ll just sell that.” So I did, and we lost a few grand on it. But again… Vacation money.

The other ones… If you average them all together, we came out ahead. My wife’s on board, and anytime it’ll make sense we’ll probably go buy another one, but we’ll see how it goes and how it fits into our lives. We’ve got three kids now, so [unintelligible [00:11:37].22]

Joe Fairless: The recreational property – you called that it an investment, where you have a couple cabins, so I assume you rent those out?

Doug Larson: I don’t actually… I just let friends and family stay there. They’re not income-producing, but I sent out letters to people who had property on water – there’s a really nice stream out there – and I actually got responses… I sent maybe 20 letters and I got responses from about 5 people  who said they were interested, and I said “Well, what the heck?”, so I bought five different parcels that all are kind of in a similar area, and they’ve got water access, and good fishing, hiking, biking, off-roading and things like that. Eventually, we’ll probably market those.

I think a couple weeks ago we had somebody on that talked about investing in raw land, and I was very intrigued in his method of doing it, but I figured it works for me.

Joe Fairless: Are those five parcels connected?

Doug Larson: No. Actually, two of them are connected to each other. The rest of them are not, but they’re within five miles of each other.

Joe Fairless: Okay. What did the letter say?

Doug Larson: Probably the standard thing – “Hey, I’m interested in buying your property. I see you own this five-acre piece. I like it if something’s on the water, like yours is. Here’s what I can pay.” I don’t think I say “Can’t pay retail”, I just said, “Here’s what I can pay for your property.” And then they called back.

I actually got one person who called that was very irate, but anybody who sends out letters knows that. I don’t do a lot of wholesale letters and cards and yellow letters and things like that, but I knew what I wanted, I had the tax record and just printed things out… I’m glad I only offended one person.

Joe Fairless: You put the amount that you were willing to pay in the letter, so every letter was different?

Doug Larson: I think I said “per acre”. One was a four-acre, one’s a five, one’s a ten, one’s a twelve-and-a-half… So I just said, “Here’s what I want you do to”, and I had them call me back.

What I was hoping was that maybe some of them said, “Oh, by the way, I own this one next door” or “The neighbor next door might be willing to sell as well”, or something like that, so they could kind of have something to pass along. But I think I said, “per acre.”

Like I said, I had a pretty decent response. There’s was a lot of “Don’t want to” as far as property goes, especially if they’re delinquent on their taxes, or they’re just getting old and they just don’t have a use for this property anymore.

Joe Fairless: You sent it out to roughly twenty and you got five responses?

Doug Larson: Yes. You could say six if you count the guy who swore at me.

Joe Fairless: Yeah… [laughter] You definitely got six responses. When someone calls irate and they just are laying into you, what do you say to them?

Doug Larson: I say, “Well, sorry I offended you, I didn’t mean to do that. I’m just looking for some recreational property for me and my family. If you ever do change your mind, you can certainly give me a call back.”

Joe Fairless: [laughs] And what did they say?

Doug Larson: I can’t even remember. I don’t think he was still very happy.

Joe Fairless: Got it. So the five people that called you interested – you bought all five of their properties?

Doug Larson: I did, all five. I see a good potential for resale on these properties and making some money. I did have some ideas about improving them, with mini-cabins as well, but I just got so involved in other things that I haven’t taken that to full fruition. But it’s one of those things [unintelligible [00:15:02].17] legacy properties in the meantime, and hopefully appreciation of the asset in the meantime, and we’ll just see how it goes.

Joe Fairless: What do you attribute having a 25% response rate to on that direct mail?

Doug Larson: Again, I think if you find the right motivated sellers and you push some of the buttons, you’re gonna do well. I know that’s the case when wholesalers talk about their [unintelligible [00:15:25].12]. I attended a meeting very recently where one wholesaler said that he sends out 125,000 tickets of mail every month, and it’s “We’ll buy your home, we’ll buy it in any condition”, and those kinds of things. They get a 2% or 3% response rate with housing, and the people who do call are motivated.

Out there, I would say, these properties are not bringing in any income. They are mostly older people who’ve owned them for a long time. I didn’t necessarily look at tax records as a stipulation, but there were a couple of them once I pulled all that information up and I thought, “Oh, they’re delinquent a year or two”, so they’re probably getting tired of owning them, and sure enough, those are some of the ones that did respond back and said, “Yeah, it’s an offer… I’d be willing to sell.”

If they’re not paying their taxes, and their taxes are $100/year, then they could probably use a couple thousand dollars, right?

Joe Fairless: Yeah, exactly. How did you determine how much you were gonna pay per acre?

Doug Larson: I just called sold comps; there’s a lot of property for sale, but there might have been a dozen similar properties that had actually sold, and I just said, “Okay, if that’s what I can get it for, then I’m gonna reduce it by about half, and see if I can get the properties for that.”

Joe Fairless: You look at sold comps by the acre and then you divided it by two and that was what you were offering?

Doug Larson: That’s right.

Joe Fairless: Of those five people you closed on, how many of the five did you pay above that 50% threshold?

Doug Larson: I don’t think.

Joe Fairless: None of them negotiated with you, and you didn’t budge with any of them?

Doug Larson: I didn’t budge… A couple of them asked for a little bit more, and I just said, “Well, I’ll take a look at it”, and I was pretty firm on my prices. I just said, “Here’s what I need to pay. I really like your property…” I never insult anybody about their property. I never say, “Oh, it’s a piece of junk because of this or that.” I just say, “Hey, I really like it, and here’s what I’m willing to pay.”

Joe Fairless: Doug, based on your experience as a real estate investor, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?

Doug Larson: I would say networking. They say it’s easier to make friends than money, and it’s easier to make money with friends. By friends – it doesn’t have to be the guys that you’re hanging out with every weekend, but when you network at real estate clubs and when you’re online on some of the forums and you’re making connections and contacts, people begin to see what you’re really like, and they know you, like you, trust you, and you can make deals happen.

Most of my other deals, my rentals and flips – it’s about relationships. I don’t really have to search very hard to find deals. I’m not out shaking the trees very much, because a lot of deals just seem to come my way as long as I’m networking, talking to people and telling people “Hey, I’m looking for a rental right now, under $150,000. I wanna be all in with repairs at 150k, but it needs to rent for about 1% of the purchase price… Like $1,600/month. It can be anywhere from this point to this point, this city to this city.”

I’m also looking for flips and I’ll go up to $350,000 or $400,000 on purchase price, so long as there’s $100,000 margin. As long as you’re specific like that, you get in front of somebody’s face and say, “Here’s what I’m looking for”, eventually stuff just comes your way.

Joe Fairless: If you’re at a real estate meetup that you are attending for the first time, you walk in the door, what’s your approach at the meetup?

Doug Larson: Good one. I think everybody is kind of like, “Hey, hi. What do you do? Hey, what’s your specialty? Hey, what are you looking for? What can I help you with?” and that’s kind of my emo as well. I come loaded with business cards, and sometimes I’ll circle a couple things. The business card says, “I buy land, I also like fix and flips”… I might actually write in pen on 20 business cards specifically what I’m looking for: “I want to buy now, under $350,000 flip” and almost like they took my card and wrote something on it for them to remember later.

I get a million business cards, but as you’re going back through your pockets when you clean them out, you’re like, “Oh, cool, here’s this guy. What was he looking for? Oh, it’s right here.” And then they can go, “Oh yeah, I do remember this guy… He did tell me that’s what he was looking for.”

Joe Fairless: That’s a great tip, thanks for sharing that. Are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round?

Doug Larson: Sure man, let’s do it.

Joe Fairless: Sweet. Alright, first a quick word from our Best Ever partners.

Break: [[00:19:47].07] to [[00:20:29].08]

Joe Fairless: What’s the best ever book you’ve read?

Doug Larson: Do I have to pick just one?

Joe Fairless: You’ll kill the format of my show if you don’t. [laughter]

Doug Larson: The Millionaire Next Door, The Progress Paradox and How Much Is Enough? Okay, I’m sorry, that was three.

Joe Fairless: You said them so fast! Give me one.

Doug Larson: How about The Progress Paradox?

Joe Fairless: Alright, I’m gonna put that on my list. What’s the best ever deal you’ve done?

Doug Larson: I think 2011 I was down in San Diego and I was working on one of those adventure flips I mentioned, and a real estate agent up here in Utah called me and said, “Hey, I’ve got this deal… It’s a land deal, I would totally buy it, but I’m a little capped out on cash right now, and they need cash and a quick close. Income property, $50,000; they’ve just dropped from 100k [unintelligible [00:21:15].11]” and I said, “Send me the info.” They sent it, I ended up buying it for 38k. A little bit of legwork, I found out some of its issues, [unintelligible [00:21:23].01] and things like that.

Long story short, I got all those things cleared up, I was all in for about $40,000. I sold it a year and a half later for 190k, so a pretty good flip.

Joe Fairless: Pretty good flip indeed, I love that! What’s the best ever way you like to give back?

Doug Larson: My wife and I have been adopted three times, by three awesome kids, and we give a lot of time and energy to them. We’re also pretty active in church, in helping and teaching adults and youth, so… It pretty much takes up all our time.

Joe Fairless: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made on a deal, or just any mistake that comes to mind on a deal?

Doug Larson: On a deal… A specific deal, probably over-improving. The biggest mistake was believing the hype of 2002-2006 and that things were always going to go up. I think we all knew the music would stop somewhere, but just not how fast and how hard it was going to drop. I would say one particular deal – in buying into that hype, I invested in a condo up in Park City, and the wheels fell off during construction. I could either lose 25k earnest money, or just go all in. I went all in, and I lost close to 90k.

Joe Fairless: What do you do differently now?

Doug Larson: [laughs] Well, I wouldn’t buy that, that’s for sure. Again, it really is all about the numbers, and good, solid fundamentals. Make sure you’ve got cash flow, make sure you’ve got a plan A, plan B, plan C. Plan A – if it’s gonna be a flip, that’s great. If that doesn’t work, can you rent it? Can you lease-option it? Do you wanna live in it, maybe? What is your plan B? Plan C is “If I really had to get out of this thing really fast, with my lowest price, am I gonna lose my shorts? What are the other options? Can I wholesale it to somebody else? What are the other things?”

Have that all mapped out before you begin. If you know the fundamentals, it should tell you what to do.

Joe Fairless: Where can the Best Ever listeners get in touch with you, Doug?

Doug Larson: On LinkedIn, but I don’t really go there much, I’ll be honest. I’m on BiggerPockets, and I’m there at least a couple times a week. I’m giving some advice and talking to people, so if somebody wants to find me, they can find me there.

Joe Fairless: I have really enjoyed our conversation, as the focus has been — like you said earlier, your business has to work for you, not the other way around. We talked about your adventure flips, where you move your family for three months into a house five minutes from the beach. The move to Hawaii, the recreational property, the direct mail within that, how you acquired those five properties, and how you priced it out to offer the properties in the direct mail piece, as well as a networking tip, where you write in blue ink on the business card exactly what you’re looking for.
Doug, thank you for being on the show… Some interesting stuff, a different type of conversation than we usually have, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I hope you have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you soon!

Doug Larson: Thanks, Joe. Good talking with you!


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real estate pro advice

JF859: All About Leadership #SkillsetSunday

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Leadership is a trait that can be lost if not developed or maintained. Today you will hear all about leadership, how to develop leadership, maintain it, and be an example to others.

Best Ever Tweet:

To lead is to respect the potential of others.

Ryan Michler Real Estate Background:

– Founder of Order of Man, a blog and podcast dedicated to helping men develop in eight key areas of their lives
– Financial Advisor and entrepreneur
– Iraqi Combat Veteran
– Based in Saint George, Utah
– Say hi to him at http://www.orderofman.com

Click here for a summary of Ryan’s best ever advice: http://bit.ly/2j1PdGH

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real estate pro advice

JF851: What to Do at the LAST Second to Punch Through the Deal #SituationSaturday

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He was moving into another home while selling his and the buyer for his house made a frustrating decision… Hear what she said to our guest and how our guest overcame the struggle.

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Cameron D. Hall Real Estate Background:

– Founder at Virtue Boxx, LLC & Real Estate Investor
– Most recent real estate deal: new personal residence-Sep 2016
– Based in Salt Lake City, Utah
– Say hi to him at www.virtueboxx.org

Made Possible Because of Our Best Ever Sponsors:

You find the deals. We’ll fund them. Yes, it’s that simple. Fund That Flip is an online lender that provides fast and affordable capital to real estate investors. We make funding your projects easy so you can focus on what you do best…rehabilitating homes.

Download your free copy at http://www.fundthatflip.com/bestever


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JF807: How to Make $250,000 PROFIT in Your First Year of Wholesaling

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Only making $19,000 won’t cut it in any business, and before wholesaling that was his reality. Cody jumped into the flipping business by surrounding himself with mentors, extremely successful connections, and systems and was able to profit over $250,000 in his first year!

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Cody Hofhine Real Estate Background:

– Founder of Investor Grit and Utah Sell Now, LLC.
– Introduced to Wholesaling and now collaborates with Tom Krol
– In first year of wholesaling real estate, did over $500,000 in assignments
– This year on track to break a million
– Based in Salt Lake City, Utah
– Say hi to him at http://investorgrit.com/
– Best Ever Book:The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

Click here for a summary of Cody’s Best Ever Advice: https://joefairless.com/wholesale-way-250000-profit-one-year/

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Subscribe to Joe’s YouTube Channel here to learn multifamily and raising money tips: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwTzctSEMu4L0tKN2b_esfg

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JF732: When You Want it Bad Enough, You Do This

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Many problems took place when our friend was involved in the purchase in Utah. Hear how the deal dragged out and how our guest was put through the ringer!

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Aaron Marshall Real Estate Background:

– CEO at Keyrenter Franchise, LLC, the ultimate business model in residential property management
– Sold over 1,500 homes
– Successfully franchised a property management business
– Based in Salt Lake City, Utah
– You can reach him at keyrenter.com

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Get a FREE strategy session with Dan Barrett who is the only certified Google partner that exclusively works with real estate investors like us.

Go to http://www.adwordsnerds.com strategy to schedule the appointment.

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JF639: How You Could Own a Property Management Franchise

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Franchise? Yes, that’s right. Today’s guest has sold and bought over 1500 homes and has decided to create a property management franchise in which others can build their own business upon. Hear how he set it up, the rules and regulations he follows, the pros and cons, and what he’s up to next!

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Aaron Marshall Real Estate Background:

– Sold over 1,500 homes
– Successfully franchised a property management business
– Based in Salt Lake City, Utah
– You can reach him at aaron@keyrenter.com

Listen to all episodes and get a FREE crash course on real estate investing at: http://www.joefairless.com

Made Possible Because of Our Best Ever Sponsors:

You find the deals. We’ll fund them. Yes, it’s that simple. Fund That Flip is an online lender that provides fast and affordable capital to real estate investors.

We make funding your projects easy so you can focus on what you do best…rehabilitating homes. Learn more at http://www.fundthatflip.com/bestever.

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Best Ever Show Real Estate Advice

JF296: How to Manage Everything From a Single-Family Home to Hundreds of Apartment Units

Today’s Best Ever guest shares with us everything you need to know about property management. Whether a property manager or not, here are the things YOU need to know about it and what you need to look for in a potential property manager.

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Clint Collins’ real estate background:

–          Began managing apartments while in grad school for free rent 10 years ago

–          Been investing and managing properties ever since

–          His team now runs over 1,800 units and Clint directs an accredited property management training program for http://www.RentLikeAPro.com and HUDU University

–          He is currently consulting for a multifamily project in Micronesia

–          Based in Guam and Idaho and Utah

–         Here is the sample doc we discussed during the show: SAMPLEApplicationScoring

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