James: Hey, audience. Welcome to Achieve Wealth podcast. Achieve Wealth podcast focuses on value add real estate investing. I’m James Kandasamy. Today I have an accomplished couple, Jack and Michelle Bosch. And Jack and Michelle Bosch have done more than 4000 land flips across the nation. Land flips is something very interesting to me. And, you know, it’s an asset class, or an asset class, which I think is very interesting. And you can learn how we make money out of it. They’ve done a lot of single-family houses. And they also have done apartments; 330 units apartments. And, you know, they are continuing to look for more and apartments as well, but I think they are the masters of land flip.
Hey Jack and Michelle, welcome to the show.
Michelle: Thank you so much for having us, James we’re excited to be here.
Jack: Thank you for having us, James.
James: Tell me, did I miss out anything in your credentials or you know, did I —
Jack: No, other than we’re both immigrants, we both came from other countries. So we started here with, just like you, just came over from another country and so we have that in common. But now we flip now 4000 pieces of land. We teach it now; so we have seminars on that. But then for asset allocation, basically the money we make for land flips and whichever way rental properties now, we rolled that into more and more two apartments now.
James: Got it.
Michelle: To produce what we call one-time cash with the land flips like you work for a once and you get paid once. We’re also able to produce some cash flow because we are also able to sell those properties using seller financing, you know.
James: Got it.
Michelle: And so you do get some mailbox money, but those notes usually come to an end once the property is paid off. And so, we’re always in the back of our minds is okay, let’s roll cash profits and cash flow into what we call forever cash, which would be a partner.
James: Got it. Before we go into the detail of land flipping, I want to understand your background because I know all of us are immigrants So can you tell me when did you guys move to the country? And how did you move? Were you already successful on the day that you land in this country?
Michelle: Oh no.
Jack: Of course, we’re like, we’re a billionaire.
James: Did you find gold outside the boat?
Jack: No. So, Michelle…
Michelle: Yes, for me I came from Honduras here in 1995 to study. I came to a tiny little town like about three hours South-West of Chicago called McComb, Illinois, that’s where I met this man in the middle of the cornfields. It’s basically university town, you know, and nothing else to do.I came here for a business degree, my undergrad, and I was in my senior year there, my third and last year when I met Jack. We shared some upper finance courses together because he was here for an MBA, 10 months. He met me and then he couldn’t leave anymore.
James: Got stuck, you got stuck in the US.
Jack: She’s right. She summarized it. I came in 1997, Michelle was in her last year in undergrad. I did come in for a Masters to that same university that had an exchange program with the university I used to go to Germany. And I was kind of like be able to kind of accomplish three goals in one year.
Number one; I was able to get an MBA in the United States because it was an accredited school and I was studying business Germany. Already had enough credits and I just needed these 10 months, was enough to give me the American MBA. They give me, I tested out and all of these other things.
Number two, I was able to get credit for the missing classes in Germany. So with that, I didn’t have to go back to Germany to do more classes. I completed my degree in Germany, those same classes gave me the MBA. Also helped me complete my degree in Germany and improve my English. And the fourth and most important thing, I met this one.
Michelle: But to answer your question as to whether we came here successful, absolutely not. I came in with two suitcases to my name, Jack pretty much the same. You know, I was raised by a single mom and my father passed away when we were very, you know when I was very young. And it was, you know, she was sending me here to study with a lot of sacrifices. I had to take several courses, you know, take seven courses per semester, like advanced as much as possible, because I couldn’t afford to be in the US for more than two and a half, three years, you know what I mean?
And eating soup towards the end of the semester when you run out of money. And, but I didn’t have, I did have in the back of my mind the thought that real estate has been incredibly good for my family. You know, before my father passed, he had made an amazing decision. And it was to buy a piece of commercial property that to this day spits out cash, you know, for my mother. And so —
Jack: And that piece of property brought her to college here in the —
Michelle: Got me through college.
Jack: And still sustains her mom over there. Yes, in my case and my dad’s, again the same thing my mom, not the same thing but similar. My dad is a high school teacher, retired now. My mom’s a stay at home mom. So no, I came here with student debt. I came here with enough money to pay for one semester, I didn’t have, really didn’t have a clue, how I would even pay for the second semester. Luckily, I got a job at school. The first car that I bought in the US was a $900 old Chevy caprice, like the old [inaudible05:31] car that they use to drive around —
James: It had four wheels, right? Four wheels?
Jack: Four wheels, yes.
Michelle: And I was like Jack, why did you get this, I mean, there are so many cars, why did you get this car? And his answer was like, cars in Germany are so tiny, I was looking for the biggest car possible in the US.
Jack: Like Germans and every single one of them bought the biggest car that they could find.
James: That’s good. That’s good. Yes, I like to, that’s a very interesting story from both of you, right. So I like to, I mean before we go into the technicality of the commercial real estate and all that, I like to understand a lot about the thought process and you know, the people behind it, right. Because I think that’s what makes everybody successful. It’s not about the tool like real estate, right. So tell me about what was your family thinking when looking about the US from outside, right? Did they think the US is the land of opportunity, easy to get rich? Or how I mean, can you talk about the process that when families outside of the country when they want to send their children to the US, what do they usually think, you know, what do they think that you kids will get here?
Jack: Well, I think Michelle’s mom was perhaps not thrilled that she would stay here.
James: But not thrilled?
Michelle: No, yes.
Michelle: The whole point was to come here, study, not find a husband, go back home and basically help her manage, you know, this piece of real estate and hopefully, you know, continue growing the legacy that was left to us.
Jack: Next, get a job, right?
Michelle: Yes, yes.
Jack: Same thing here. My parents were absolutely not thrilled that I was staying here behind. They, I literally had the job lined up in Germany. I had the, I just put my student furniture in my parents’ basement. I had a good degree from a good university and good things and they’re like, what are you doing? What are you staying there? What’s going on there, you’re so far away. In particular, my mom had a really hard time with it for several years. But then once they saw our success, particularly once we entered real estate, and once we saw success and what that success actually means for them too and for us.
It’s like we don’t, we see our parents, this year we see my parents three or four times even though they live in Germany. And it’s like, and they, we support them a little bit financially. They get to come here and they get to spend time here. And they see that they don’t have to worry about us like we’re the one or like, we’re my, Michelle and our family, they don’t, they’re like a peace of mind. They’re okay. They’re good. They’re happy financially, they’re good. So, you know what as a parent you wonder, you want to have that feeling. So they know, ultimately, it’s a good decision and took them like 15 years to say that, but they did.
Michelle: Yes, I mean, we also contributed to, you know, being able to retire Jack’s dad before time. You know, a couple of years before he had been working as a school teacher for many, many years. And he was just at the point where he just didn’t want to do it anymore but he couldn’t leave it because, you know, that involved a big reduction in his pension if he did. And so we put the pedal to the metal back then and it was just through land flipping, to be able to make up for that, you know, for those two years of early retirement and being able to retire him early. So —
Jack: So he ended up retiring a year and a half, two and a half years early because of that and
James: Wow, awesome.
Jack: And so overall so now they totally have changed.
Michelle: Yes, so family has been always I think also big why for us, a big driver to get things done.
James: Got it. That’s absolutely what happened, you can come here and help out your family back home. It’s just sometimes people, I mean sometimes they think that okay we want to come to the US and stay here but that was not the case for both of you, right? I mean, you came to study and you’re supposed to go back. But you got stuck with each other.
Jack: The United States is a wonderful country to be. But then we also, we realized, I don’t want to live in Honduras, Michelle didn’t want to live in Germany. Nothing wrong with these two countries, they are beautiful countries but language barriers, cultural barriers [inaudible09:40] we’re already here, let’s try to make this work here. We got lucky, we both got jobs here. We got the job that got the visa, the h1B visa, took five and a half years to get to that process.
Michelle: And it was a job, jobs we both hated. But we were handcuffed because of the, you know, green card situation. And so we had to stay but —
Jack: Yes, but yes, it was just something, let’s see if we can make this work here because we like it here. And we —
James: Got it.
Jack: Beautiful neutral ground also for us.
James: So do you think that as an immigrant, did that whole life situation gave you a boost, a reason for you to be successful in the US?
Michelle: Absolutely, it like, I think it was incredible, it gives you an incredible drive and hunger. Like I don’t come from a wealthy society like Jack’s, you know. I was going back to a third world country, you know, yes, from a middle-class family, but still to a very poor society. And so for me, yes, that, you know, that was an incredible drive, you know. You still go back home and those wealth disparities between the haves and have nots are brutal. And so you definitely don’t want to be caught in the haves not part. You want to be caught in the other group of people. So, yes, that was definitely a big, big drive for me for sure.
Jack: Yes, absolutely, yes, same here. I mean, but a different way. Here, it’s more like I could, anytime I could have left and go to Germany, first-class country, Mercedes Benz, would’ve gotten a good job with a BMW as a business car and expense budget and staying in nice hotels and all those kind of stuff. But the overall I mean, there’s something really amazing about the US and I keep saying and it’s not like blind nationalism. It’s just for business and for success and for comfort, and for just that particular business. It’s just an amazing country. It’s like so once we started setting our eyes on that, it’s like, it’s so easy to do this. And definitely helps to be an immigrant, I don’t know if the hardship helps if you use them, right.
Jack: So we use them as fuel. We used them as a reason why we needed to succeed because we did not want to live a life like I was travelling 100%. I mean, sounds glamorous, like I was jumping the plane on Monday morning going somewhere. But I was staying in Holiday Inn Express where ants were crawling up the walls. And in some cases, and usually, in small towns, where there are five restaurants, three of them are fast foods and I was like working in some companies up till midnight and I didn’t enjoy it. So I use those things as fuel to say okay, I really got to do something extra in order to succeed.
Now, having said that, being an immigrant here, which as you can probably confirm, is you start, you see way more opportunity that the non-immigrant see. Because it’s not normal to you, what you see around you is all new. So as it’s new, you look at it from a different angle and you see the holes in it, based on compared to what you see in other places in the world. And it’s like well, and any kind of opportunity that ever existed is really masking itself as a problem. So you see, like anything that created like glasses, have been created because people don’t see up with eyesight anymore. The problem is the eyesight gives is the solution. So anything even multifamily is the solution to a problem.
You take a problem, you take a problem property that’s been run down and you make it into the prettiest property in the neighbourhood. You provide a solution for people who want to save, solid, good well-working place, affordable place to live you can make something out of that. And it’s true for everything and as an immigrant, I have a feeling you see that much more than then if you’re born and raised here and it’s everything is just normal.
James: Yes, yes. Hey, I had a friend from the UK and he left the UK came to the US and he kept on telling me this. I don’t know whether the UK or entire Europe, right, I mean it’s a well to do country, it’s a rich country but there’s no easy part to break out from your circle.You can’t break out as a breakout and go to the next level, you’re always within that, you’re probably working, you’re earning, you’re learning, you are living an average life like everybody else, but you can’t break out to the next level. So I’m not sure how is that in Germany, but in the US.
Jack: Plus Germans, they don’t move a lot. So you’re on top of it, almost like down by your social circles, that like there’s a party, a thing and a friendship. So if you start breaking out, you become you’re almost alienating the people around you.
Michelle: An anomaly.
Jack: An anomaly.
Jack: And if you don’t have the stamina to keep that off and build a new circle of friendships or so, then you’re going to be pulled back down. And that’s another benefit as an immigrant, it’s like, hey, it’s like you didn’t burn the boat but you cut the ties. It’s a brand new world, it’s a brand new opportunity, you associate yourself and make friends with those people that you want to make friends with. And it’s just a, it’s almost, it’s a brand new world. It’s a different thing.
James: Got it.
Michelle: I think especially in Jack’s case, you know, resonates with that because he comes from a very small town in Germany. And he’s like, there are some people that even though I didn’t want to socialize, I had to because it was such a small town.
James: Yes, that’s true.
Jack: Once when I was younger I was in college, I went to study in Spain for half a year. I came back went to my favourite bar and they just asked me, hey you looked tan, what do you want to drink? So nothing changed in like eight months or so. And not a single thing had changed, the same people were sitting at the same desk, tables, in the same bar, drinking the same drink. And 20 years later, still is nothing has changed. It’s still, you know, look older and unhealthier but other than that it’s the same thing.
James: Yes. That’s maybe that’s why the index happiness index is much higher in some European country. People are just happy with the way they are, right?
Jack: Yes, and there’s no judgment in that.
James: Why do you want to rush? Why do you want to rush? Why do you want to get rich just leave as it is, right so?
Jack: Yes, there’s nothing set to be there but if you have ambitions if you enjoy growth, like a bit like we enjoy personal growth. We’re really on a personal growth journey, it comes with challenges, it comes with new hurdles, it comes with expansion and so it wouldn’t be my work.
Michelle: And those challenges, you know, are our part, we know are part of the journey. And you think that the goal is you know, a worth goal, but it’s really, the goal is a being on a constant process of becoming, an expansion kinda like what Jack said.
Jack: And the wealth comes as a side benefit of that.
James: Got it. Got it. So let’s go to your businesses. So you guys, you had your green card, you came here. You worked for how many years did you work on a corporate life?
Jack: Five and a half.
Michelle: Five and a half.
James: Five and a half, so what happened after five and a half? When did you start your land flipping thing?
Jack: Well, the land business, we started about three years in or two years in we realized this is not what we want to do with this job thing. So we started dabbling with real estate. And we really didn’t find success until about four years into it, until the end of 2002. So —
James: Hold on, on the two years that you realize that your work is not the thing that you all wanting to do, right?
James: What was that ah-ha moment, say that?
Jack: The ah-ha moment was actually, for me was the first particular day that the company of 7000 people, let go a 1000 people in one day.
Michelle: Right after September 11.
Jack: And the economy did a massive shift downwards, the software company that had grown from 500 people when I joined them to 7000 people, three years later to two or three years later, we’re starting to go back down from 7000 to 4000 people. And they did that in one year. As a matter of fact, it was within three days, during that one year.
Jack: So one day 1000, another day 1000, another day 1000. These cuts were like for a few months apart from each other. But the first time that happened was when they literally, left and right when they when we were at the customer side, there was a software company. But I don’t know anything about software and just wasn’t a business, account department.
They, business analyst, we were so worried about the customer side, that the phone would ring and our network was shut down. Usually, connect the internet to our corporate networks to get to files and stuff, all of a sudden, nobody could get into the network. It’s like, oh, you get it, you get it.
Michelle: You know what’s happening, right?
Jack: We started calling people in other offices, what’s going on, you get in, no, nobody could get in. It’s like oh, our network is down. Next thing you know, few of them, was over the phone rings, the guy picks up and all the colour leaves his face. And three minutes later, he picks up, he grabs his stuff and says, hey guys, nice meeting you. I was just fired. And he basically picks up his stuff and leaves. And that’s it. And I was like, what you mean that’s it? Like, again, Germany, if somebody fires you, they have to give you three months, —
Michelle: Three months.
Jack: Three months notice.
James: I thought it was 12 months notice.
Michelle: Yes, so then you can actually train your replacement.
Jack: Train your replacement and so on and or least have to pay for three months, some company say go home, but they have to pay for three months. Here, you’re off and they gave him I think of four weeks severance if they signed something that they wouldn’t sue the company.
So and then during the course of the day, a whole bunch of people that I knew were let go. And I was sweating bullets, obviously, you know, we both were sweating bullets, because obviously, we work —
Michelle: And at that point, I had joined actually Jack’s immigration, you know, files and paperwork because we figured, okay, there are very few people trying to emigrate from Germany. And there’s so many more coming from south of the border, that stuck on Jack’s application. And so we were both, you know, on his paperwork.
Jack: So if I would have lost that job, we would have 60 days to find another job or leave the country. So at that moment, we realized, okay, this is, we’re so breaking replaceable here, we’re just a number in this big wheel of 7000 people. And after the day only 6000 people were like, okay, we got it, we got to do something else. We don’t like it.
After five and a half in an industry, you’re almost like pigeonholed in that industry. I didn’t want to stay for the rest of my career in that industry. So we wanted to get out. And we didn’t know how to do that we just looked around. And after a few months or weeks of looking, we came across real estate, tried all kinds of different things, but couldn’t get anything to work until we came across land flip.
Michelle: And I think the land flipping thing was even, like falling forward.
Jack: Yes, like pure coincidences, just like —
Michelle: We’re looking into taxing and taxing you know, taxing investing. And I had gone up to somewhere in Northern California to a taxing option and stumbled upon, you know, a piece of land, a lady that owned a piece of land and we auction it off. And we’re like, oh my gosh, you know, how could we do something like this?
But instead of waiting until an auction happens, you know, how can we get to people much, much sooner. And because if she’s a, you know, an owner of vacant land and wanted out, there must be other people.
Jack: So we started sending direct mail to owners of real estate who have back taxes. And only people that own land, call us back. And —
James: You know what, that is exactly happened to me. I was trying to look for houses and all the people with land call me back. I said I don’t want land, I want houses.
Jack: There you go, you just missed out on a big opportunity right there.
James: Yes, I should have known you guys.
Jack: And then one guy had a property, it was worth about $8,000. But he hadn’t done it, what’s called a percolation test to make sure to put a septic tank in there, to see how the water, how fast the water sinks in the ground and it hasn’t passed the septic test. So to him, it was worthless and he was leaving the state and he was wanting to leave.
And he’s like you guys can have that thing. And it’s like, well, how about $400, he’s like take it. So we got this thing for $400. And we sold it literally the next day to the neighbor across the street for $4000.
Jack: And that became the beginning —
Michelle: And that’s because our negotiation skills sucked. We were, the neighbor shows up
Jack: And they just offered 4000 and we said, yes.
Michelle: We were ecstatic, you know.
Jack: Instead of like negotiating, we’re just like —
James: You were like 10 times more, that’s it, done, right?
Jack: Right. And then the next deal was 10,000, the next deal, babe then we got to deal with like 21 properties for $30,000 that we sold for over $100,000. And then all of a sudden things started working. And then we also realize that most people that want to get rid of these properties don’t actually even own property taxes.
So now we go after all the general land and we generated millions of dollars, and we started doing this part-time then. Then Michelle quit her job because she was on the visa, started this full time. And then in March of 2003, I got, we got the green card. And then a few months later we felt comfortable.
Michelle: I retire again.
Jack: Retire, exactly.
James: So my wife styles me.
Jack: Then so in October of 2003, we quit our job, but it just we stumbled into that, bonded, built it up. And then for several years, we put the blinders on and all we did was land flipping. We only put our head up when the market crashed and everyone around us was losing money and we’re still making lots of money. And then that’s when we started buying single families and then later apartments.
Michelle: Because we could buy houses here for forty, fifty thousand dollars, you know, with five grand in repairs and rent them for anywhere between $900 to $1100.
Michelle: So you know, it made sense. And we had all the cash profits, you know, from the land business, because that land business actually, we’re able to grow it very rapidly to almost an eight-figure business. You know, the first year we did about 60 deals, the second year, we did about 120 deals, 130.
Jack: The third deal, 3800 deals.
Michelle: Because we use them, we figured out a way to flush a lot of these properties. And by using auctions. So we used to have big live auctions, you know, we advertise on TV, radio, billboards, periodicals, online flyers. And get like 600 people to a room here in the Phoenix Convention Center, and sell them in one day 250, 200 to 250 parcels. And so we were quickly able to scale that and —
Jack: Build a bigger operation then, with like 40 full-time people. At the auction days, we had 120 people work for us, it was a big operation and we built them. And then we use those profits to then get into the forever cash market meaning buy, put asset allocation, as I call it, take the money we made and roll it over into something that brings cash flow for the rest of our lives. Now we have like 50, completely free and clear rental properties, which now have quadrupled in value. And we still own.
James: That’s awesome. Awesome. It’s very interesting on how you stumble upon doing yellow letters. So that’s how, I mean, I was looking for houses. And I believe I look at tax lien lease, if I’m not mistaken, people who didn’t pay tax because most of the people who have an empty land, they don’t want to pay the tax, right?
James: Because I think there’s no cash flow, there’s nothing coming. So
James: So many calls coming back, I was surprised at the number of response, people calling, but was calling all for empty land. And I say, I’m not going to buy that. So but looks like you guys monetize that I, I should have known that.
Michelle: And you know, and even there, it’s like in our countries, there’s no way that you’re going to lose your property over for taxes. But here in the US, you do, you know, the tax lien foreclosure method or through the tax [inaudible 0:25:16]. So those are opportunities that perhaps we were able to really, you know, hold on to because neither of our country’s —
Jack: We would like, it blows away that people would even let these properties go for taxes, it was a perfect opening for us. And yes, so we monetize it in two ways. We learn, we wholesale them, we wholesale them. And we still do that, we just sold one week, actually two last week and, I don’t know, every week there are sales. And we wholesale them, basically we buy something for $2,000 and go sell it for 10, that’s not a bad profit, right?
Jack: You can live off that. And plus, they’re very affordable these properties. Or what we also do is we sell a seller financing. So a couple of months ago, there was one particular deal I want to highlight, is we bought the property for $5,000, an empty lot here in the city of Phoenix. And we sold it for $64,000 with a $6,500 down payment. So if you do the math, we paid five for them, and we got 6,500. So we got all ready —
Michelle: Our money is back.
Jack: The moment we sell the property, our money is back. And now for the next 20 years, we get $500 a month and we’ll make over $112,000 total on a property that we have zero money in, the moment we sold it.
James: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. So let’s walk through the land, the best land flipping strategy. Right?
James: Because you guys have done it many times, right? So first is where do you get the list of landowners? What the, where’s the best place to find?
Michelle: So there are three possible places, we are still in love with a more difficult one. Because the harder it is for me, the harder it is for everyone else.
Michelle: So there are places like Rebel gateway or Agent Pro, where you can get lists. And I think these two —
Jack: Lists services.
Michelle: List services that basically,
Jack: Online lists services,
James: Lists source, right? Is it list source or —
Jack: List source or logic or agent pro 24/7.com. There’s a whole host of different websites.
James: What kind of list should we look for?
Jack: We’re looking for land lists, ones with value
James: Other criteria, right?
Jack: Yes, land, the other criteria is that the land value is below $100,000. Typically, because we found that to be our sweet spot, now you can go up above, but then your response rates are going to drop. [inaudible27:41] the pay for these properties just skyrockets and so on. But you can do those deals like we have a student the other day that made $192,000 flipping a deal that he put on the contract for much more than we usually put the properties under contract for.
It went for 80 and he sold then for, what is that, close to 270 or something or 300. And then he made his offer to closing costs 192,000. But usually beyond that, we like out of state owners, but they don’t have to be out of state. So there’s a couple of other criteria. Then once you get that list, —
Michelle: You send them you know, you send them a letter and you can either you know printing stuff and stamped and lick all your envelopes and your letters. Or you can send it through a mailing house if you want to outsource that and send out letters and just hold on to your seat because you’re going to get —
James: You’re gonna get a lot of calls.
Michelle: A lot of calls.
Jack: Right, you’re going to get a lot of calls, exactly. We did, for example, yes, when you send out these letters also, so we don’t use the yellow letter, we’ve developed our own letter and split tested that hundreds of times until we got it to a point where we could not improve the performance of it anymore. And so our letter sometimes, there are a few counties where you get lower response rates, but usually, you get at least a four or five, six percent response rate. And it can go as high as 15 to 20%.
James: So let’s say now someone calling you, say I will land to sell, can you buy from me? What are the things you look for, to see whether you want to take down their number and follow up with them?
Jack: First thing is motivation.
Jack: Because almost any kind of land sells, it’s just if you get it cheap enough. Now, having said that, there are certain areas, certain pockets that we don’t buy. I mean, there are areas in Arizona, where its land, an acre of land is worth $500, that’s not worth pursuing. So the value needs to be there. So we typically don’t just go below $100,000. We also start above 10,000. So that we have, —
Michelle: So you don’t get crap.
Jack: So you don’t get crap.
Jack: So good language here. So you gotta get you together, you don’t get junk land.
James: Thanks for being nice.
Jack: Yes, we have that ongoing, she’s the foul mouth in the family.
Michelle: Hey, you throw me under the bus.
Jack: So then you, yes, you sent out these letters, I thin I forget the question.
James: The question is, once they call, what are the criteria —
Jack: You asked them a few questions, you go through a list of questions that we created the script for and asked like if there’s early access, if there is utility to the properties, and none of those things is a deal-breaker, they just determine how much you ultimately going to offer for property.
James: Got it. And how do you determine what you gonna offer?
Jack: Comparables, you run for market comparables similar to houses plus there are a few extra ways, like for example, particularly in rural areas, there might not be comparables of the same size. So if you’re looking at five acre parcel, and you only have like 10 and 20 acre parcels, and there’s no other five acres to sold or listed, you gotta adjust for size sometimes.
So basically, a 10-acre parcel is listed or sold for $30,000. Well, five acres, not automatically worth 15, it’s more worth a little bit more, because in rural areas, the smaller the parcel, the higher the price per acre.
Jack: So you get down, it’s like the other way around, the bigger you go, the more kind of volume discount you get on the acreage. So going from 20 to 40 is not a doubling, it’s more like a one and a half times in value.
James: Got it.
Jack: So 20 is, so the value over 20 years because of comparable shows you that’s $40,000 and an 80 is not a 20 to 40 or 40-acre parcel is not $80,000. It’s more like $60,000. So there’s kind of you can adjust for those things. But the nice part is we buy our properties for five to 25 cents on the dollar. So that’s the key to this entire thing.
Because when you buy at 10, 15, 20 cents on the dollar, you can be off in your analysis and still make money. And you can make money by selling the reseller of financing and getting a down payment that pays for the property. And you have so much margin of error and so much offer in there that it’s almost impossible and I’m not saying it is but it’s almost impossible to screw up.
James: Yes, yes. And what tool do you use to find those comparables?
Jack: We use, we go on Zillow, we go on Redfin, we go on realtor.com, we go on landwatch.com, the same free websites, because I ideally go on the MLS, but the MLS only has, doesn’t have all the land is allowed land it sells like owner to owner. And also even if you have access to the MLS, we do deals from Hawaii to Florida. Our students do deals out of the country, you usually only have access to the MLS in one little pocket. So it’s impossible to almost have access to the MLS all over the country.
Michelle: And it’s relatively easy to do the comparable analysis we develop, like our own proprietary software that basically connects through you know, to Zillow, Redfin and all these services. So when I’m at a record, you know, and I’m looking at it immediately it populates for me, you know, whatever comparables.
And if it’s a little bit, you know, more, if it takes a little bit longer for me to do that, it’s maybe eight to 10 minutes, you know, to look up a record elsewhere, specifically, like if it’s an info lot, and it’s completely built out, you kind of have to like back into the value of the land by figuring out, you know, what are the average, you know, prices in homes in this area? What is the average square foot? How much would it take a builder to, you know, building your house and, and kind of that way back into the value by —
Jack: So we build five methods to the value of the thing, not less, not the least is actually assessed value, any counties the assessed value as a relationship to the market value. And if you can prove over the first 10, 20 analysis that you do that this relationship is reliable, and you can just use the assessed value too for evaluation.
Michelle: In a particular county. Yes.
James: So you have to pay property tax on all this land, right? Do you try to flip it within the year so that you don’t pay property taxes?
Jack: As a matter of fact, the way most of our students are doing this is that they don’t actually ever buy the property. What they do is that they put the property on a contract and then go market the property right away, and then either do an assignment or do it what’s called a double closing, where they use the same day transaction where they buy it and sell it both in the same day. And the buyer brings up all the funds that pays everyone. So —
James: That’s a wholesaling technique, right?
Jack: It’s a wholesaling technique,
James: Yes, like in houses, that’s what —
Jack: Exactly it’s same, the same technique just that we use land for it. And the nice part about land is there’s no tenants, no toilets, no termites, there’s no repairs. There’s no you don’t have to show anyone the property.
Michelle: James and in the competition —
Jack: Is almost none.
James: That’s why so many people call me.
Jack: Somebody on this podcast just told us that he walked away from owning land because he didn’t know —
James: I know. You know, I was thinking that time why are these people selling all their land. I mean, there must be some business here. But I was so busy looking at houses, right. And I thought…
Jack: Right and that’s the normal thing. So there’s almost no competition. And for the last 12 years, we have done this entirely, virtually we have not looked at a single piece of land ourselves.
Jack: Google Maps, Google Earth, you can see it all, you don’t, Google Street View, you can just drive by your lot, take pictures. And it’s all there, no reason to get dirty and dusty out there.
Michelle: And that’s another thing that I think I want to add in terms of like how simple it is. And now that we’ve like perfected our system, how predictable it is, you know, is that when we started looking into real estate, because we’re both not from here, we had no clue completely clueless about construction, about estimating repairs for kitchen or bathrooms, for flooring, for roofing, we had no idea.
And you don’t have to deal with any contractors, any, you don’t have to deal with any of those headaches that usually you have to deal with improve property when you’re dealing with land. So that’s something else we forgot to mention.
Jack: And that’s actually why we also, the main reason why we didn’t jump from that multifamily right away, but we took the bridge of single families because we first needed to learn the details of how much does it cost to rehab a kitchen and the bathroom, and the flooring and windows and things like that. We didn’t want to tackle a $10 million project first. We wanted to go, start small, so we bought some rental houses with their own money so if we make mistakes, it costs us money and not our investors. And little by little we then learned and after realizing that we can manage those also remotely because our houses are in three different markets; Phoenix, Cleveland, Omaha and an even though new houses in Cleveland, I just hold a show last week.
I may have a few houses that I couldn’t even find anymore because I haven’t, the last time I saw them was like eight years ago, and they spit out cash flow every month. The property management companies who charge them, everything is good. So after that experience was like we’re ready for a step up and now buy the bigger buildings and manage them. And we can also do that remotely.
James: Okay, that’s awesome. So I’m thinking why did I miss this opportunity, right? And I think the answer to my question was, I do not know who to sell to. So how did y’all solve the problem? How do you go to market, okay, today you get land, how do you go and find the seller?
Jack: So initially, we started with eBay and newspapers and then we figured out this big land auctions. But the big land auction stopped working about 2007, 2008.
Michelle: And started doing online auctions.
Jack: And then we started doing online auctions, we shifted, started everything online. So since about 2008, the middle of 2008 now, we have been pursuing and we have been selling all our land online through websites like Craigslist, through Zillow, through MLS. If you own the property, if you have a paragraph in it, it’s just that you’re allowed to market it.
You can even a property if you own it, it’s easy to sell it on the MLS anyway, if you don’t own it, you can have a paragraph in your contract which we have, that allows you to market this then you can put it off to the brokerlessMLS.com for $99 goes on the MLS. Again, but in other, this land specific websites like land watch, landfliprealtor.com again, land of America and the biggest one that is right now driving the most traffic for us and everyone else is the Facebook marketplace.
James: So they are people looking to buy land from people?
Jack: Oh, lots of people like —
Michelle: Facebook marketplace and Facebook groups land, land groups.
Jack: Yes, Facebook land groups. Yes, there’s a big market. I mean, we focus on three kinds of land. Number one [inaudible 0:38:34] lots, can sell immediately to a builder. Number two, the lots in the outskirts of town, right, if this is the city right on the outskirts of the city, that’s where we still buy land because it’s in the path of growth.
Cities like San Antonio, cities like Austin, cities like Dallas, cities like Phoenix, cities like LA, like Denver, all over the country, they’re growing, their growing infill. They’re there. They’re growing in the outskirts of town we’re there and there are two ways and the third way is we’re focusing on larger acreage in the more rural areas. And that is for the multi-billion dollar market off RV, ATV’s, hunters, campers, how would you love to have a 40-acre ranch out into the hills of East Texas, right? Wouldn’t that be beautiful?
James: Yes. Absolutely,
Jack: Yes. And there’s millions of people that are looking for that. And then we put the one on top because we get so cheap. If you offer those properties with seller financing, they sell very quickly.
Michelle: Or a discount —
Jack: Or discount or market value, wholesale, there is price, will advertise it’s a good property, it sells very quickly. And for example, one of our students just posted something that they put, they put an ad on the Facebook marketplace and within 24 hours that has 4250 people look at it and comment and message them.
And obviously, they had to take the ad down and had multiple offers on the ads in one day. Now that’s not necessarily typical, it might take a few weeks for the property to sell. But there are buyers with it’s a b2c market right, we’re the business to the consumer market. And the end consumer buys a lot of these lots and the [inaudible40:18] lots are B2B to the builders.
James: And how do you check the entitlement of the land? What is it zoned and all that?
Jack: There’s another company,
Michelle: Yes, so you go through a title company, make sure titles free and clear.
Jack: There are title companies that we use are not the same companies, different department that we use when buying a $10 million apartment complex than when we buy for it for a $30,000 piece of land. Obviously, the cost is different because they charge us a minimum cost, which is usually anywhere between $700 and $1200 a deal. But if you’re about to make $50,000 on there, you can pay $800 and then make 14,200, still okay.
James: What about land, which has a utility or going to get utilities, is that much higher price than?
Jack: Usually it is and usually it’s already, Michelle you can.
Michelle: Go ahead.
Jack: Usually, it’s already in the assessed value included, occasionally it’s not because the assessors like a year or two behind. But it’s definitely already when you run your comparables, it’s already in the market because that word is out and then other properties in the market are going to be listed higher, which tells you, okay, or listed or sold higher, which shows you the market value is higher. So your offer is going to be higher and the seller is going to be happy to accept it. And you make more money in the process.
Michelle: And it’s much more attractive to buyers too.
Jack: And it sells quicker. Yes.
James: Yes. So I can see people like me doing this, right, because I already have done the yellow letter marketing, I know all the languages and you know all that. But so anybody can do that, right? It’s a simple business, which makes a lot of money. And you are basically bridging the gap between people who need the land versus marketing to their direct seller who is in a distressed situation or who just want to get out from. Most of the time they inherited the land, they don’t want to pay tax and they just get rid of it.
Jack: Looks like you talk to a few of them.
James: I did, talk to a few of them. A lot of them said hey, you know, my mom gave me and she died and now I have to pay property tax on it. And can you buy it or not?
Jack: Exactly right.
Michelle: So you’re helping them and then you’re helping your buyers too. And I think the how quickly you sell the property has a lot to do with how you market the property, how what kind of listing you create, you know. There’s a lot of crap where you just show a piece of dirt and no, you need to dream it, you know, you have a catchy headline. I mean, you have to understand a little bit of marketing and copy and grabbing people’s attention and so on and so forth. But nothing that you can’t learn.
James: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And what do you think? I mean, you have a property software on it, right? What problem does it solve?
Michelle: So what that does is, so back in the day, when we were starting, and we were doing in just a few deals, you know, we could manage to keep our stuff, you know, on paper, on an Excel spreadsheet. But the moment we basically started really scaling this, you know, at the point that we started doing the auctions, we could no longer continue using Excel spreadsheets, we really needed you know, a CRM.
And not just a CRM to keep track of our buyers and our sellers, but to keep us organized in our process flow. From the moment that the mailing went out to the inbound call being received to are we ready on the status where we’ve done research and ready to send an offer, has the offer come back, accept it and we sent this out to title escrow, is it back? Is it ready to be put into the catalogue for the auction, you know, for sale? And so it basically it’s a process deal flow from beginning to end for land specifically.
Jack: And we build the software in-house that guides you along step by step through the process of buying a property, keep them organized, like statistics, as tax, there is a built-in buyers website, seller’s website, calculator for the numbers and things like that.
James: So why do you need like, you know, like you said, you have like 15 staffs, right, you have the CRM, what function does the staff do?
Jack: The staff does the work, I mean, the CRM organize to work for you, but somebody needs to put in the data. And somebody really needs to press the buttons and do the —
Michelle: And somebody needs to pick up the calls from the buyers. Like we have a lady that is just in charge of that as of this position, basically, there are other people making sure that the phone rings and she’s just answering them.
Jack: But having said that, this is us, right, we want to spend our time with our 11-year-old daughter travelling the world. We want to spend our time focusing on apartment complexes and not focusing but spending our time, we love learning right and looking at complex deals and things like that. So after building our land business to the level that wanted to build it, we started putting a team in place of it.
Having said that, we have many students that run one of them, at the top of the head, I think of one of them is also a coaching organization. He is on track this year to do 120 deals alone with one assistant with one virtual assistant. So the thing is, because it’s simple because you don’t have to rehab anything, because if you don’t have to do anything like that, he can do a, he can do 120 deals just as a two-man or a man and woman, kind of show.
And so you don’t need a big staff is a point, we have a staff of like somebody picks up the phone calls, answer them they, you can outsource everything. So we use a mailing and a call center to take the phone calls, we use a mailing house to send out the letters. So what we have inhouse is somebody does the deal analysis to figure out what the properties are worth, and somebody who team of two people that prepare the listings and go sell the properties. Anything else you don’t really need, anything else you can do, you can outsource.
Michelle: And documentation, unless you like to work with documents, paperwork.
Jack: But all of that is electronic. Again, it comes in we have buyers signed by DocuSign. We have, we scan things, we put it on to Dropbox, we use different files. We attach them to our CRM and stuff. But it doesn’t require a lot of people to do this, which makes it even more profitable.
James: Yes, yes. I mean, I think you’ve sequence it very nicely so that you can scale gracefully and you can have your own time too, awesome.
Jack: Probably the biggest thing I think that this business because there’s no competition and as you said the sellers have people that are, there are people that inherited this property, they’re not getting 25 letters a week, like the hospitals.
They’re getting nothing a week, so when your letter comes in and when you make that offer, we sent the offer by mail to them, we give them 10 days to actually accept the offer. Then when we buy it, we get a contract and we have three months or four months or six months, whichever we want to close on it. So it destresses the entire thing. That means we can design this business around our lives. And so the life designing with a life —
Michelle: Retrofitting it into the business,
Jack: Yes, determining when we have free time. So it’s truly a business that can be done based on everyone’s work schedule and in full time can be designed such that you work with around the things that are important in your life.
James: So does it still work now in this economic cycle?
Jack: It’s actually right now is the best market that we have seen in probably 15 years.
James: Why is that?
Jack: Because the market is up so it means that buyers are, still buyers will, the sellers will always be there.
James: Sellers always be there, yes.
Jack: There’s always going to be people that inherited the property and don’t want it anymore. But the buyers are right out there, right now out there in the market. They’re positive, they’re upbeat, they want to buy these properties. They want to take them up, take their RV’s up there.
Michelle: Ride their RTV’s.
Jack: Ride their RTV’s, spilled something on it so the properties are flying off the shelves, and probably the big right now our properties and our students’ properties, we see the highest margins that we’ve probably seen since we teach this.
James: Awesome, awesome.
Michelle: We have people that are doing this that are you know, stay at home moms, single moms to Rob, who’s a dentist, he no longer is a, well, he will always be a dentist, I guess. But he sold his practice because, you know, 10 months into the land flip he’s like, I don’t need to be behind the chair anymore. And now his wife who is also a dentist is looking to sell her practice as well, to people that are having a job still in parallel because they, you know, they are already 30 something years in it. And they’re like they have just one more year for their pension. So they don’t want to go back and are doing it in parallel. I mean, we have —
Jack: It’s across the board.
Michelle: It’s across the broad, from all works of life.
James: Yeah, I can see anybody doing this, right? It doesn’t take a lot of time and effort, not like house flipping or even rentals or…
Michelle: Yes, in the house flipping world, you get a call from a seller and he says I’m interested. I mean, you better meet him at the property, like within a few hours, because you’re going to have two or three people that are chasing the same house.
James: Yes, yes, yes. That’s what happened to me. I missed out on the land flipping, I went house flipping, life has become so busy. So coming back to the next level commercial asset, not the next level. I mean, the other commercial asset class that you guys are doing, which is multifamily, right. And you said you’re doing it so can you explain that to me why you’re doing that?
Jack: Yes, we’re doing that for long term generational wealth. So in other words, right now we do syndicate deals. So we have some deals that we make very good money, but and we have our assets and our paid-off properties. But so we wanted to take the next step in complexity, the next step and leverage the next step in personal growth. So we —
Michelle: Exactly, I think our investing has really followed our own personal journey, you know, of development and growth. So
Jack: Right, so one of the things, so we started buying these properties. And the first one, we realized, we syndicate it with our investors. And then the second one, the first few we syndicate investors. As a matter of fact, the first one we came in as a junior partner. So we raised the thing, the guy that couldn’t raise all the money. And the moment he was about to lose this deal and he basically said, like, if you guys raise half of the money, you get half of the deal, which is obviously a great, great deal. I’ve never come across that.
Michelle: And we’re gonna learn how to do it, as he has been doing this for many years. I’m like, that sounds like a perfect situation.
Jack: But we also needed to put in $80,000 in escrow deposit, which we could have lost. So it was, he asks for something and he gave something, was a great deal. So we came in, we ended up raising 60% of the money. And doesn’t matter, we didn’t get more than 50% of the deal. We got in we learned a ton and then we started doing this on our own.
And the first few deals like there was just, we have a lot of income, but we have like your cash availability is not always $3 million, right? So we basically looked at it as like we needed $3 million. Let’s put some money in ourselves and let’s raise the rest through syndications. So we did a syndication for the last few deals.
And at some point of time, we might transition into doing deals without investors, the reading hold on for the long term, 10, 20, 30 years, and then our daughter can potentially then inherit and she can keep them or sell them and upgrade them and so on. But in essence, it’s a way to, what attracted us to it over the single families is that there’s another layer of management, another layer of separation between us and the actual issues on the problem.
Michelle: Yes, because now all of a sudden, you know, when you’re looking at 100 doors at a time, and that scale allows you to have you know, on the ground, a full time, you know, leasing person, a full-time person for repairs or maintenance. Another one that is turning units around, you know, we have the regional director with, you know, with the property management. And so for us, it’s really a lot of asset management, but not the everyday thing of like, would you approve, you know, the repair on a toilet or on this, small things–
Jack: Which, today, I got two more in our single families because they have an authorization limit of $500 on me there because I don’t trust them with more. So on a single family, so everything over $500 goes to me, which is literally something three or four things a week that happen especially in summer when it’s hot, and AC breaks and so on, that are just like driving me crazy.
Because every single time it’s like they don’t give you the information you need. They don’t give you the details you need, you have to jump on the phone call, you have to email back a few times. They don’t follow the instructions and how to submit it versus when you operate on a larger property, you can distance, you’re removed from these things.
You get a status report, you can dive in with your expert partner on the deal, I mean, the regional manager into it. And more than anything, the other thing we realized is you very well know, you can force appreciation and you can force value increase rent, which on the single-family house, you can just, you just cannot do.
Michelle: Yes. And elevation is not based on the income but it’s fixed but based on other properties.
James: Yes, yes I always say that you can build a house, painted with gold, on real gold but the value is still going to be following the other houses surrounding it.
James: Are you guys using the depreciation from multifamily to offset the active income on your land?
Jack: Yes. Of course, yes. Big time. I mean we —
Jame: That’s double right.
Jack: We have done on all the units we have, we have done the cost segregation study, and it is literally.
Michelle: It shows a lot of the profits from the land flipping even from the educational business, you know, it’s a very purpose-driven business for [inaudible 0:54:03] and it throws a nice chunk of cash. And I’m like, we need to, you know, protect that. And so we’re, it feels like, you know, with apartment investing, we get to have the cake and eat it too, in terms of, you know, getting the cash flow in.
Jack: We get cash flow, we get income, any cash flow, we get appreciation and we get the tax benefits that wipes out almost the entire income of the other things that we do. So it’s a it’s like a dream come true. Yes.
James: Yes. So you want to consider real estate professional, not because of the land, but because of that single-family homes?
Jack: Because of really everything I mean,
Michelle: That’s all we do.
James: If you do just land, are you considering real estate professional?
Jack: Yes, the land is real estate. As a matter of fact, I always say that when somebody says I’ve never dealt with land, only do houses. I said like, it’s actually I said, it is actually an incorrect statement. Because you have never bought a house —
James: Without the land?
Jack: What you buy is the land and the house on it.
James: Yes, correct.
Jack: That’s truly a land transaction that had a house on it. The legal description of the property is not the house, it doesn’t say it’s a four-bedroom, three bath house, no, you’re buying this lot, lot number 23 with whatever it happens to be on it. And what is on it is a luxury house or a dump is just defines the value differences. But so with a real estate professional, doesn’t have to be defined by analysis, or commercial, or you can be land too
James: Got it, got it. So let’s go to a bit more personal side of it. So no technicals? So why do you guys do what you do?
Michelle: I think for me, you know, in the beginning, it was about us having freedom of money, time, you know, relationships. And right now, it’s about freedom of purpose, you know. It has you kind of like, you know, when you’re struggling, somebody is listening to this, they’re struggling, or they have a job they hate or whatever, the very first thing that you look at is how can you take care of your immediate family?
When you have that taken care of, then you start looking at, okay, how can I, you know, start, you know, helping them my church or helping in my community or helping on a much, much larger scale. So for me, you know, a lot of my, you know, what drives me right now, and my purpose and my why is to become a mentor and a leader.
You know, for other women to start investing in real estate, to start, you know, having their money work for them, for example, and set an example, you know, I want to be a hero for my daughter. And I want her to also grow into a lady that you know, knows how to manage your finances, that is very comfortable with investments, whether small or large and so on. So,
Jack: For me, along the similar lines, I remember the year 2007, when we were and we had accomplished our first major, big financial goal, which was a certain number, I feel everyone has their number and goal in mind. And we had just moved into a gorgeous, semi-custom home that we designed from scratch up and all of a sudden, we’re like, you reach those goals, and you almost like fall into a hole. And we fall in that hole because you expect to be like all candy and rainbows and everything and unicorns, but actually the quite opposite of that. But it’s like for a moment you celebrate and then you’re like, what now, right? So we basically sat down and was like, okay, so we can sit down now and we can go retire in essence, we can go sit down, we can do nothing.
But we realized, for example, there’s a charity in Michelle’s home country Honduras, that we said we could go work in charities, in charitable work. But we realized, we’re really very good at getting businesses to a profitable stage, we’re good at kind of creating money,
Michelle: That’s kind of like our genius.
Jack: And so that we are not the person that’s going to live in the Honduran in rain forest jungle and feeding the poor, so but it’s close to our heart. So why don’t we stick to what we love doing
Michelle: Our strength.
Jack: So that we generate the money that we can be more impactful in those kinds of things. And as a side thing, I love real estate, I mean, I don’t see myself not doing real estate ever. I mean, I hate it the entire the IT industry. I’m not personally involved in the continuous development of our software, because I’m kind of scarred from that time in the IT industry.
I get involved into the what the vision is of it, but, and then we have a great guy that drives the implementation of these things. But we focus on deals, we focus on and if I can focus deals for the rest of my life and opportunities then I’m a happy camper, it’s just what I love doing. So and it throws off money and that allows us to help more people, that is awesome.
Michelle: And be transformational in the way, you know, and the way we treat our investors and the way that you know, people that want to participate in our deals.
Jack: So the teaching side of things, we started the teaching side of things also kind of like almost like a mission kind of the point of view that not that we need the rest to save the world. But there are so many people out there that do real estate either the wrong way or that they don’t know that there’s an easier and simpler way that you can do real estate.
And learn and grow build the confidence and capability in your life that then allows you to do whatever the heck you want to do afterwards that we feel like I was called to teach this and show the land flipping part of things to people. So they can also get on their own feet. And we have had years where we lost money in that business where we put it on their own pocket for and it was still fulfilling because we see the difference that it makes in the people’s life. So we were committed and our core values are to be transformational.
Michelle: Yes. And it’s not just walking a person through a deal by really sculpting someone’s spirit you know, someone’s confidence, someone’s courage through the process of a real estate deal. So it’s incredibly rewarding work for sure.
James: Okay, okay. So why don’t you tell about how to find you guys. How can the listeners find you?
Jack: Easiest way to find us on the land flipping side is to go to landprofitgenerator.com and you can also go to www.orbitinvestments.com, there’s a link over to the land flipping side. There’s a couple of other links on too.
Michelle: I’m on Facebook Michelle Bosch, Instagram michelleboschofficial.
Jack: And again on the land site we since we don’t teach the apartment complex things, you do that. We have no educational things about that, we just, we do syndicate with investors. We do probably similar deals and but on our website like all the educational things all about land flipping.
So we have a Facebook group called Land Profit Generator Real Estate Group. So everything we do on the land side is called land profit generator. So you look for land profit generator, you find us and orbit investments is more like the overall holding company above everything else with links to all the different pieces that we do.
James: Awesome. Well, Jack and Michelle, thanks for coming in. I learned so much and I learned what I didn’t miss too, but I’m sure the listeners learned a lot of things from today’s podcast. Thank you for coming in.
Michelle: Thank you so much for having us, absolutely.
Jack: Looking forward to seeing you at the next mastermind.
James: Absolutely. Thank you
Michelle: Thank you, bye.