Real estate wholesaling tips from a guy who’s learned it from the ground up
For many people, wholesaling is the doorway into real estate investing. It’s one of the simplest ways to get in and learn how the real estate markets work, and how to take advantage of the selling and buying of properties that happens every day in the United States. Our guest on this episode of the Invest Four More Podcast proves that by the wholesale investing success he’s experienced in just under three years.
Getting started in real estate wholesaling
Mark Skowron is from Chicago – born and raised there – and got into real estate investing after a typical high school and college education. He spent time with a sales company before trying his hand at real estate investing, where he was the most successful salesman in the company within a short time. When he heard about real estate wholesaling Mark was eager to try his hand, so he read up on how wholesaling works, got some “We buy houses” signs to post at some major intersections, and started interacting with people who needed to sell their properties fast. His philosophy was, “Learn as you go.”
From his first deal to today, Mark Skowron has proven that wholesaling properties is not only the best way to learn the fundamentals of real estate investing, but also an awesome way to build a huge business. Mark and his team close 5 to 15 deals a month, which amounts to anywhere from $25,000 to $75,000 in revenue per month. He’s learned how to leverage an active buyer’s list and a competent team to buy and sell properties quickly for a profit.
An unusual wholesaling strategy: working WITH the competition
Property wholesaling can be a very competitive niche, but Mark Skowron has discovered that there’s a very powerful benefit to actually partnering with the competition. He’s built relationships with other wholesalers in his area to co-wholesale properties. The reason this works so well is that Mark has focused intensely on building an active, legitimate “buyer’s list” and he is usually able to find someone to purchase properties when other wholesalers can’t. So, he’s made himself available to partner with other wholesalers to offload their properties to his buyer’s list, and get a cut of the profit from the deal for himself at the same time.
Add some fix n flips to the wholesaling business for a well-rounded strategy
There’s all kinds of buzz these days about “fix n flips” and Mark’s been working on rehab deals himself for almost 6 months now. Mark see’s a lot of deals as a wholesaler and is able to cherry pick the best deals for his own flips. Mark has discovered how to hire managers and contractors who work on all his projects so that he can stay focused on finding properties and building relationships with buyers.
Turnkey investments to augment the wholesale business
In addition to all that, Mark’s gotten into “turn-key” investment sales lately (selling properties that already have renters in them) and is seeing great success there as well. You’ll learn a lot in this episode, so plug in your headphones and hit “play.” This is time well spent. All that on this episode of the Invest Four More Podcast.
OUTLINE OF THIS POWERFUL EPISODE
- Mark’s introduction of Mark Skowron, wholesale investor.
- What Mark Skowron was doing before real estate investing.
- How Mark got started in real estate investing.
- The importance of focus and commitment to one thing.
- How long it took Mark to start making headway in wholesaling.
- A step back: What is a wholesaler?
- The power of an effective wholesale buyer’s list.
- How timing is an issue with a great wholesale buyer’s list.
- The path a typical wholesale deal follows.
- How Mark Skowron’s business is structured.
- How Mark does co-deals with other wholesalers.
- Mark’s initial steps into rehabs (house flips).
- The first steps into turnkey rental property sales.
- Mark’s plans for the next few years.
- The importance of taking massive action in wholesaling.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS GREAT EPISODE
For Mark’s wholesale deals: http://www.FocusOnBuyers.com
TWEETS TO SHARE THIS POWERFUL EPISODE
[tweetthis]Show me your friends and I’ll show you your #future – Mark Skowron[/tweetthis]
[tweetthis]The biggest #mistake people make is trying to #avoidmistakes – #realestateinvesting[/tweetthis]
[tweetthis]Understanding #wholesaling is understanding the foundation of #realestateinvesting[/tweetthis]
[tweetthis]#Takeaction. That’s the most important part of #realestateinvesting[/tweetthis]
[tweetthis]#Wholesalinvesting #success in less than 3 years, with Mark Skowron[/tweetthis]
MARK: Hi everyone, it’s Mark Ferguson with another podcast from Invest for More. I want to thank you for listening in. Today I’ve got an awesome guest, Mark Skowron from Chicago, who is a real estate investor, wholesaler, really a great guy too. I met Mark in a mastermind group that I am a part of. He’s helped me out in my business and he has done some amazing stuff, so I am really happy to have him on the show. His main focus is wholesaling, which when I first got into the business, others, you know, had a bad name. You kind of thought they were not doing the types of things that typical investors do. There is a lot of people who started their wholesaling and never ended up getting very far, but Mark has taken it to an incredible level and I think you will be really impressed when you hear what he’s done and what he is doing right now.
So Mark, great to have you on this show. How are you doing?
MARK SKOWRON: Awesome. Thanks for that intro Mark. I am doing well. Thanks for having me on here.
MARK: Oh yeah, thank you for taking the time. I always like to start just to get an idea of how people got started in the real estate game. So, first off, what did you do before you were an investor or wholesaler? I mean, where are you at in your life?
MARK SKOWRON: Well, first off, I have actually never done a real estate deal but thanks for having me on anyway. For me starting I grew on the north side of Chicago, born and raised in Chicago. My parents were immigrants, they came from Europe, came from Poland, they kind of instilled in me, you know, a ridiculous work ethic and I saw first-hand that to make it in this country and any country you got to put the time in, you got to work, so whatever it takes – 12, 14 hour days, grinding it out. I think as a kid you learn more from what you see, from what’s modelled versus, you know, what’s told, especially if your parents are telling you, hey don’t do this, don’t do this, makes you want to go do the opposite. So for me, when I think back in the 20 when you get older now you really tend to appreciate what your parents did for you in your upbringing. So like what I really learned was just that I modelled from them really, just that, put your head down and just grind it, you know, work at whatever it takes to provide for your family, to feel good about yourself, so, you know, versus being told what to do. So I think that’s the key, you want to hang out with people, that’s why they say show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. You really want to hang out with people that are doing well in life. So that’s kind of like where I got the start of having that work ethic instilled in me. You know, I grew up kind of just like any other kid, you know, liked sports a lot, baseball, football, basketball, hockey. It really wasn’t that much. I didn’t study as much growing up in school. I got good grades but I just didn’t apply myself 100%, I was just more interested in just guy things growing up, playing sports that kind of stuff. So, I grew up, went to high school, average student they’d say. It wasn’t until I went to college that I really kind of applied myself because you had to, you know, if you are paying that much and I kind of self-financed my college. My parents helped out a little bit but I did the bulk and so it really kind of instils in you too that, hey if you are putting this much money into something you really got to get an investment out of it so I definitely took that serious, did pretty well, graduated and then the education really begins, right? So, I have always had that kind of mind-set of, even growing up, being an entrepreneur, being in sales, you know, working for myself, I even took a sales job right out of college. It was very kind of lucid as far as you don’t have to be there 9 to 5, it’s just you got to sell, so I was out just selling. I did really well there. I think one of the things, when I started there, my sales manager, the way that these sales organisations would operate, obviously you are new, you are fresh out of college or whatever you and you get hired underneath a sales manager who is supposed to, you know, help you, sculpt you, mentor you that kind of thing . So it’s kind of like a blessing and a curse, it is good and bad because he, for whatever reason, he left the company so I was kinda on my own from, you know, almost day-1 so I had to kinda figure out everything on my own. I was nervous, didn’t know what to do or say, had to learn everything, you know, kinda on my own. I mean, I had some help but it was just, a lot of it, the bulk of it, I did on my own, kind of like on the fly. So I think that helped out a lot because it really instilled in me that, you know, wow man, I can do this, I can do anything then. You know, if I can sell this, I didn’t know what I was doing initially, that I can make it happen no matter what it is. So I did that for a while. I did very well. I finished top salesman the second year within the region. So then I got the itch to kind of do it on my own and to get into real estate. I always kind of thought about real estate, you know, no one in my family was an investor or contractor, nothing like that, so I didn’t have any kind of ties to it, I just, you know for some reason you hear and you see Donald Trump, you see the images on TV and then they ask him, hey how did you make it, how did you get this house or whatever it is, real estate, that was the underlying theme there. You know, 90% of millionaires got their wealth. So that’s why I figured, hey man I got to give this a shot and that’s how the same thing kind of like I just got into it, didn’t really know anyone, know anything about it. I kind of flying on the seat of my pants, I said, you know what, I’ll just do whatever it takes. Probably like a lot of the people that visit your block, whether they have rental properties or they are looking to get into real estate, the same mentality, I think the key is you just got to get in, do it, you’re gonna fall down, you’re gonna make mistakes but just fail forward, you know, get through as quick as you can and make the mistakes, learn from them and then move on. You know, I think the biggest mistake people make is they are trying to avoid mistakes in whatever realm, in whatever calling they are doing. Mistakes are going to happen, man, it’s just a part of business, a part of life. You just got to learn and move on from them.
MARK: That’s great. Now, when you first thought about real estate did you think about wholesaling, did you think about rental properties, did you want to flip, did you have any idea what you plan was or you just wanted to do something and you just started. Did you have that goal in mind?
MARK SKOWRON: So for me when I started looking at it I said, alright ‘how can I get in’, and I looked at everything, whether it’s the rental properties, flips and then wholesaling. So, kind of what I got is, you know, hey listen the foundation is wholesaling, if I can learn this then everything, kind of, is built upon this. So I really just shut everything off and focussed all my time on wholesaling – building the business, finding the sellers, especially finding the buyers, that’s where I really kind of excelled every day, because I think it is one of those things, it’s a foundation no matter what part of the business. Even if you are doing flips or rentals, you know, if you get a bad month in flips or rentals whatever it is, you get extra repairs you didn’t know about but you’ve got some wholesale deals closing; it definitely bridges the gap. It’s like you build a house starting with foundation so I think understanding wholesaling is like understanding the foundation of the house and then once you kind of get that going, once you get that wrapped up and understand A to Z, then you can move on, if you want, to the rehabs or do REOs or to rentals or all of it. So for me, while it’s a challenge, you know, because there is so much coming at you, even specifically in real estate there is a million ways to make it in real estate – commercial, residential, industrial. I mean, the whole thing is commit, commit to, if you are looking at wholesaling, just commit to it, get it right before you move on to the rehabbing or the landlording or whatever else you want to do. So that’s right, let’s say focus and commit, probably the most important.
MARK: When I first start out I was an agent and I flipped with my dad a little bit too and I did pretty mediocre for a long time because I was trying to do 3 or 4 different things at once and when I focussed on being, you know, an REO agent and a HUD agent, I really excelled and once I got that down then, like okay, then I will start focussing on flipping and it was kind of a, you don’t do everything at once or else you will be just mediocre in everything but if you can focus on one thing, excel at that and then build that business then maybe you can build something else on top of it. That’s a great point.
MARK SKOWRON: I agree. I mean, real quick just to interject Mark. So like what you just said, the guys in our mastermind, the guys that mentor us, the guys that are a couple steps ahead of us, that’s like the common thread, right. I always see, you’ll never hear them say, oh man I got 63 things going on and they are all going perfect. No, they’re like, hey I dialled in on this, whether it’s a turnkey, whether it’s a wholesale, whether it’s rehabbing, I’m dialled on this, I got this up and running, that’s why I’m successful and then now frees up my time or now frees up my energy resources to do something else. You know, another aspect of real estate. So I see that with every successful investor.
MARK: Yeah, exactly, and a lot of unsuccessful investors I see trying to do a flip, trying to buy rental, trying to wholesale, trying to be an agent all at once before they’ve even done a deal or it’s too much to try and do everything at once, for sure.
MARK SKOWRON: That’s right
MARK: When you first start wholesaling, how long did it take you to do your first deal, to understand what it would take to be successful at it?
MARK SKOWRON: So I think when I started out, what I did is I just put in a bunch of bandit signs, I think I ordered like 1,000 bandit signs and then just littered the region, mostly for sellers, I think at that time but when I was looking at it, I was still sales so I just part time started reading about it, thinking about it, so it took me maybe a couple of months to actually kind of commit to do it full time, but once I committed I said you know what, I’m gonna just spend 100% of my time on this. Within 30 days I had my first deal and it was from a sign, it was a seller sign and good story with that is, like when I went into that endeavour, you know it very nerve wracking because you don’t know what you are doing, you know, I just kind of read some stuff on line, I got to order some signs, find a cheap property, find a motivated seller and then I will find a buyer. So it sounds simple but there are steps in between and I was just nervous because I don’t know what to do or say, I had no one to really lean on so I just put the signs up, but thank God, that’s what I say, you cannot mess up a truly motivated seller, which was the case. So the first deal, a lady called me from the sign, went to meet her, I remember walking up to the house, I was just so scared I’m like my God I don’t know what to do or say, what am I going to say, so I just walked up and on the inside I was so nervous but on the outside I was acting as if confident 100% and she picked up on that and she really trusted me right away, like from the get-go. So, it was a retired lady, her husband died, she was living like in a, kind of like a little town home in the suburb of Chicago. She just didn’t know like what was going on, what to do, I think her husband handled all of her affairs and so she was just like freaked out, almost crying so I kind of just, you got to be a human being first, I just like connected with her, I said, hey I can’t understand but I can try to help you, I can’t imagine what you are going through but at least I can try to help. So in just talking to her, we found a price that works, that was fair for her, I thought it was still a pretty good deal for me, it created a $5,000 spread for myself, but this one took a while because I didn’t know what I was doing so I really, like, lent her all my time. I was helping her find a new apartment, like more than her daughter was helping her and it was really kind of weird but whatever. Helping her find an apartment, helping her like with the Salvation Army to come pick up her things, estate sale, helping her coordinate that kind of stuff. When I was done I was like, I felt really good but I was like, man I spent a lot of time on this but I felt good that I really helped her move on. Every time I was there she was like crying so I helped her out, I calmed her down. So, you know, I think it’s one of those things, you have to have the heart to serve, have the heart to help, that really made the difference. I don’t know if I would do it, spend as much time on every deal like that but I learned a lot from that.
MARK: Right, so you definitely earned your money on that one. I am sure you learned a lot about the process too. So before we get too far into this, a lot of people know exactly what wholesaling is but a lot kind of know and some probably have no idea. So, basically a wholesaler, like Mark, tries to find properties that are great deals. Some use MLS, some use off-market properties like Mark focuses on, bandit signs are the signs you might see that say we buys houses for cash, we buy ugly houses. Many wholesalers use direct marketing to send to owners who live out of state or any kind of distressed owners, try and get those properties under contract or buy their properties and then sell them to another investor who might own rental properties, they may want to flip houses but most of the times and from what I see, the really good wholesalers, they are not using MLS, they are finding their owner properties, off-market properties and they have an awesome buyers’ list. Now Mark, I know one of the things that impressed me was your buyers list. How many people do you send your properties out now to?
MARK SKOWRON: Yeah, and one of the good things Mark, I think, your subscribers, your readers, your listeners, so they should really check out your blog because all the information is there. When I was starting out it was available but it wasn’t as available, the information, as it is now, you know. So what is Wholesaling 101, I think everything is on your blog. The basic premise is just like the basic premise of any business, right? You buy at a low price and sell at a higher price. It doesn’t have to be a high price, just a little bit higher than what you got, you know, to pass on the savings to the end-rehabber. So, like for me, when I started out, I mean obviously you don’t want to not focus on the sellers, I was, but I really spent, I was like ridiculous everyday I’m making the calls. I think when I started out, it was whatever it took – $200, $250 every day, you know, cold calls, calling buyers, seeing where they are buying; making sure they’re legit. So every day I would focus on that. Whether it’s 20 or 100 or 50, whatever that number is for you. Focus on calling those buyers every day and then creating that relationship with the buyer. Our mentor is such a good thing, I love it. He’s like, you know, have you ever …think how ridiculous this sounds, ‘man, I’m going out of business, I’ve got too many buyers’. That sounds so ridiculous. Think of any business, you know, ‘ah man, we’re shutting our doors, we just have too many buyers.’ So like, take that to heart. I think, you’re not going to go out of business if you have enough.. you know, what I call, my mobilised buyers, my hungry buyers that are … I am constantly in contact with them, ‘hey guys, where’re you buying, what areas, you just sold one, you know. So, that’s what I would recommend. Focus on creating the relationships with buyers. Inventory you can find. Obviously you got to focus on finding sellers and cold wholesale deals but, you know, if you’ve got a buyer’s list, like a real healthy buyer’s list, the wholesalers will come to you because they know that you close the deals and they’ll say, ‘hey Mark, I know you got a lot of buyers in Chicago, help me sell this property, let’s go wholesale.’ ‘Yes.’ So I think, the more the merrier, because what you realise about wholesaling is that timing is a big part of it. I notice, because I got a lot of good buyers, let’s say some of them might buy, let’s say 2, 3 rehabs at a time, whatever it is and then they are done, you know. So they’re busy until their rehab builds and then sell them in another 4 months, so they won’t even really look at anything I send to him. So, they’re still a real buyer but it’s just the timing is not right. So timing is everything, that’s why you want to have as many buyers, whether you are going for landlords, rehabbers, turnkey buyers, whatever it is, have as many quality buyers as you can because timing is everything. Some buyers are ready to go right now others will be ready in 4 months.
MARK: Right. Right. Now we are talking about buyers, I will give you a little plug here. One thing I lack in my business is a good wholesaler in my area. I found a couple that had some decent deals but I still get almost all of my properties from the MLS. I do some direct marketing myself and have had some success there but, let’s say someone who is looking to flip a house or buy a rental property, take me through a typical deal and what kind of discount you can offer someone who is in the Chicago area looking for an investment property.
MARK SHOWRON: Yeah. Sure. You are right, it depends on the market. I know some markets have a lot, there’s a good amount of wholesalers here in Chicago, I think, than in any major city. I guess for you, maybe there are none.
MARK: I don’t know. I couldn’t find them.
MARK SHOWRON: They got to be around somewhere, I guess. Right.
MARK SKOWRON: Some of the typical deal for a wholesaler would be…you are right, you mention that we do off-market. For most of our deals we do search for off-market, for whatever reason, there’s an occasional hot deal or REO foreclosure, whatever, a listed deal that will come across too. Most of our buyers, they’ve got access to the MLS, they want the off-market stuff, the underground. So, you know, for us what a typical wholesale would do is, just like what I did with that lady, my first deal, market through or via bandit signs, put them at busy intersections, direct mail, direct postcards, direct letters, zip letters, any kind of variation there and then what you want to do, obviously, you want to send those to any lists that you think would have a higher than normal response to your letter, whether it is a divorce list, absentee (meaning they don’t live at the property, so it’s likely a rental or they just don’t live at that property). Fire damaged, code violation homes, because that kind of keys you off that, hey, maybe they are not paying attention to their property or something bad happened and they just want to sell it. Probates, you know, inherited houses, we like a lot too because usually the people, the houses that are given to them they don’t have that built-in equity. So you want to market to the areas where not everyone is going and where you think there’s going to be some kind of motivation to sell and then from that point we talk to the seller direct. We meet with them, we talk to them on the phone, meet with them if we have to, send them a contract, a simple 2-page contract, it’s not like the 5.0’s or the 6.0’s, it’s very simple, everything is very clear in there. We agree on a price and we both sign off and then at that point that’s when we blast it out to our buyers’ list, we can do text blasts, voice blasts, SMS blasts, email blasts. I try to vary. Email blasts, I try to stay pretty consistent. I want to be omnipresent there. So I try to send an email blast all the time whenever you get a good property and then I also vary that with throwing in a text blast and then a voice blast too, because some people, it’s generational I think, you know, some people love to respond to an email, some people love to respond they actually want to talk to you and then some love text. So you kinda want to hit every segment. You know, not all people are going to respond or communicate in a certain way, so just to get the best odds of you, it’s all marketing at that point, you just want to get the message out – ‘hey guys I got an awesome property, xxx George Street, here’s the info, let me know right away, we got a lot of interests, call me at this number. So that’s really what it is. You get the property under contract. Try to get it as cheap as you can. Usually, I’m sure you guys have seen the formula out there where you want to get at least 65 or 70 cents on the dollar or less, so that’s up to you. Usually you leave it to the seller – ‘hey what’re you looking to get out of the property, have them name their price first. You don’t want to take advantage of everyone but you also want to make sure they realise, hey, I’m not going to pay you retail. They know what time it is, I’m going to give you cash and peace of mind and certainty for a little bit of equity so they kind of understand that. Usually, there’s repairs that have to be done on the house or they just need to sell because they are losing it to taxes. So they know that, hey, I’m not going to be able to list this on the market and sell this in two weeks; I can buy off you in two weeks. So, and the other thing, this is the one thing I know is between like the great wholesalers and the not-so-great is, so if I agree to a property, you know to a contract with the property of a seller, I’ll whatever it takes and I really will make sure, now it’s to the point that I’ll actually close on it if I say, hey, we’re going to buy the property at this price. So if I can’t find a cash buyer and I’ve exhausted every resource that I can, I’ll do whatever I can, whether it’s closing on it or maybe renegotiating. Whatever it is, because you really want to do the best that you can with the seller because, I think the problem I run into with a lot of wholesalers is they just don’t care, they just want like easy money, you know the, if I can sell it with one email blast I’ll do it but if not I’m not going to bother. You really…I think that’s what separates, you know, maybe the top guys from everyone else, is like we’ll do whatever it takes, you know. We’ll hire the people in place to call them, to email them, to put the signs up, to do whatever it takes to sell that property. It’s impossible to sell everyone, but I know at the end of the day, hey man I tried literally everything that I could to help out this person. So real quick, to get back to that, I think any market, I don’t want to say universal because some markets are real hot and heavy and you are not going to find deep discounts but, I mean, they say overall 70% of ARV or less minus the repairs, so and then the whole key is you want to mark up a couple thousand or 5, 10, 15, I mean, whatever. So the numbers justify to your rehabber or your landlord. If they can hit their numbers and still be happy, then it’s a win. You know, what I’ll try to do is if a rehabber says, hey, as long as I hit my number, you know, if it’s landlord, I just need 13%. You get him 14 then and get him more of a rate of return but then you create more spread for yourself too, you know, so you’re happy, he’s happy, the seller is happy.
MARK: Very nice. Very nice. I mean, if you can find 65%, 70% of ARV around here, those properties are gone in about 10 minutes.
MARK SKOWRON: Yeah, that right. Yep.
MARK: Yeah and the wholesale deals I’ve seen have not been that good, they’ve been 80% maybe and it’s just not worth it, there’s just not enough room there. When you start sacrificing your percentages for a hot market, that’s when you can get in trouble and start losing money. Those are great numbers, I mean, I’m sure if you can get properties discount that much you’ll have no problem selling them, especially with the amount of buyers you have; that’s great. I like how you said about really working to do what’s best for the seller and not just half-way trying; I see that a lot with wholesalers too. I see that with wholesalers on the MLS even where they’ll get a property under contract and I’ve even seen one wholesaler email blast it out to all the agents in the area, saying hey, I’ve got a great wholesale deal, you can look it up on the MLS, it’s like, okay, yeah I see you have this under contract, then two days later it’s back on the market because their email blast did not work and that’s all they tried and not only is that, you know, an MLS is a little different but they can hurt you even more because you’ll get a reputation among listing agents that, you know, this person can’t close and I’m going to tell my seller they can’t close and it’s going to make it a lot harder to ever get properties under contract in the future.
MARK SKOWRON: Bingo, there it is, that’s what you want to avoid.
MARK: Yeah. Yeah. So, tell me what your business looks like right now. I mean, if you don’t mind, if you don’t feel comfortable you don’t have to, but how many deals do you do a month, you have staff, are you turning it into a business that kind of runs by itself or are you still day-to-day doing a lot of the work. How does it look right now?
MARK SKOWRON: So yeah, there’s definitely a good learning curve there, you know, starting out I did everything and I think everyone should so you understand every part of the business. The way that it stands now, I mean, I work with Frankie and we are trying to grow even more. I definitely spend more time working on the business than in the business now but the other part is I really like what I do, I love deal make, I love putting deals together so, whether it is a co-host sale or closing it out with the seller or closing it out with the buyer, I’ll still handle. But we are doing about 7-10, 7-11 deals a month, probably right around average of around 8-9, some months more, some less but I mean, we’re cranking here. I’ve got an assistant on the sell side that handles all the income seller calls, from whether it’s the signs, websites, direct mail, all that stuff, so she handles all that, gathers the data, gathers the info, finds out if they are motivated sellers, if they are, you know, talks to them, finds out the amount, emails them the contract and then once that comes in to our other guy who I just hired on the buyer side, then his job is just to liquidate, sell the properties, market them, email blast, voice blast, text blast. So that’s the A-side and then he is the B-side, so we get them in and then he has to get them out. So, I’m getting him up and running and working with him now so, yeah, my time working in the business is drastically fallen from when I first started or even a year ago, so now I am more in the mentality of scaling it and how can I free myself up to work on the higher things, bring more quality leads in, meeting more buyers, more high quality buyers every day, that’s every day for me, I don’t think that will every change, you know, creating that rapport with the buyers. I still talk with them all the time too, I try to hit them, whether it’s through an email or even a phone call, hey how’s it going, what are you buying, what are you selling, what did you sell, what are you looking for right now. One of the best things, actually, to ask the buyer, whether it’s a season buyer that you’ve got on your list or just a first time contact, just ask them, hey, what’s the one piece of property or what’s the one thing you are looking for in the next week, you know, what are you looking to buy? What do you need right now? And they’ll tell you, hey man, I really need single family in this area or whatever it is and then just take mental note and then you kind of stress that to your sales team and say, hey, we need properties in this region, in this area, this price point, this bed/bath, whatever it is and then you can of just reverse engineer, put the deals together. That’s really the best way, you know, finding what the buyers want at first, creating that rapport with them, finding out what they want and then just kind of reverse engineering; shopping for them basically. So, as far as that we are just, like I said, we’ve got the guy on the buy side so he’s getting it cranked up and then, like, we’ve got an admin back office that handles all that and then I also have a VA, virtual assistant, that handles literally most of her tasks or just like skip-tracing buyers so we’ve got that buyer software that we use that shows the last 3 months, the last 90 days of cash transactions in any county in the United States and the zip codes. She’ll go in that software, pull up the records and then just literally be a financial, like a business creep job, in a sense. So what you are doing there is, you’ve got their name, you google it, you any-who it, you try to facebook them, linked-in, however way you can find their phone number, we get their phone number, we call them and say, hey, you know, this is Mark, I noticed you’re buying zip code xxx and I’m a very active wholesaler, got a lot of deals, what are you looking to do, what are you looking to buy. So, that’s her job. So for me, like right now I’m still working on the higher level stuff, trying to build a little bit more, finding more quality leads, both for the sell side and then finding more buyers every day. That’s something I’ll focus on every day. The business is still in place, I’ll focus on finding more buyers.
MARK: That’s great, and one thing that I was really impressed with from your buyers’ list that I learned from the mastermind talks and different things we’ve done, is your cold wholesaling, which is, basically what happens is another wholesaler will have a good deal, they’ll have a motivated seller but they don’t have the buyer’s list, they don’t have the people to sell it to and they’re kind of stuck but they can come to Mark and Mark has such an awesome buyers’ list that he will sell those properties, just send an email out, a few calls and you guys usually end of splitting fee, right?
MARK SKOWRON: Absolutely. That’s a great point because in your market, for sure, I think in my market here in Chicago, you know, the same for yours there in Denver, just north, is the inventory is a little bit lower, I think right now everywhere, so I’m not affected and the reason I’m not is because I have so many wholesalers, investors, other partners that know about me. I go out of my way to make sure, hey guys, send me your deals, you co-host sale deals, I have buyers that are ready. So for me, even though, my numbers might be a little down as far as contracts from online, direct mail, etc, but my numbers are actually up because of the relationships I built, you know, the relational capital with other wholesalers that know me. You know, the fighting is once you start closing deals with other wholesalers, word gets around quick. I don’t even have to say anything but word gets around very quick. The REOs and other people, they talk, other wholesalers and they’ll say, hey man, I just closed a deal with Mark, oh man, that’s great, I got this property I can’t sell, I’d better call him or you should go and call him. So I get a hand full of calls every day, hey man, I heard you sold so and so for this guy, can you help me with this one? Yes. That’s a great point because now at a time when inventory is down you’ve got to find a way, how can I leverage the people that I know, whether it’s resources people, you really have to leverage that.
MARK: Now I was really impressed by that. It just shows, if you build your business right, if you build connections, are good to people, good things will happen. You don’t have to compete with all the other wholesalers. I mean, obviously, you do compete but you can work with them too; it’s not all about beating the other guy. And then you are doing some rehabs now, right?
MARK SKOWRON: Correct, yes
MARK: So how is that looking, how many rebahs. Do you like rehabbing better than wholesaling or do you still like the wholesaling better?
MARK SKOWRON: Initially starting out it’s exciting because for some reason, you know one of the guys in our mastermind, Joe, I would always joke with him, I felt like that there was a time where I feel like I had to graduate wholesaling into rehabbing, right, but that’s just not true. I mean it’s good because you always want to learn more, do more. I kind of had wholesaling dialled in, so I threw in a couple rehabs. So I do about 2 or 3 at a time now and I do like them. I think the first couple were challenging because I wasn’t doing everything but I had to coordinate with all the contractors; that was a little time consuming, challenging. The advantage now is I kind of worked it backwards just like my wholesaling. So I kinda put the people in place – my GC, my Realtor and contractor – so that I’m not as actively involved. So my learning curve was definitely less there, as far as timing, than wholesaling; wholesaling, I did everything. You know, with the rehabbing, I did everything from the first one or two, but then I kind of dialled in the team to handle; mostly the GCs, the contractors, the Realtor that kind of oversee everything, so you know and then my assistant handles anything back office with it. So I don’t do actually as much. I’ll do the initial consult, the numbers, verify the numbers and then I can meet with my GC contractor on site and say ok this is our plan but after then, there’s no point for me showing up until closing, unless some situation happens. I mean, I’m in constant contact with them. So to answer your question, I think yeah it’s fruitful, it’s enjoyable, it definitely takes a lot of your time, if you don’t do it the right way, there definitely are more variables and you get to know your number I think; that’s really the key. I think Warren Buffet said profit’s not made when you sell, it’s when you buy. So meaning, you got to buy it right. So when you buy the rehab you really got to make sure you got a good deal, you know, because there’s always going to be nonsense. Once you tear down those walls, there’s going to be nonsense coming at you, surprises, so yeah, so far, so good.
MARK: Nice, very nice. And when you sell those rehab properties, are you using an agent or are you still using your buyers’ list, how are you marketing those properties?
MARK SKOWRON: So on the back end actually, I do use an agent. I am not licensed so I do use a Realtor to market those, you know. Just because, like my buyers’ list is mostly… so I do have a good amount of landlorders and rehabbers. I don’t have as many retail buyers so that I definitely use the Realtor for.
MARK: Yeah, no, that makes perfect sense because the investors gonna look for the deal, the cash flow property but if you are rehabbing them the owner/occupants gonna pay the most money. They’re gonna find you through MLS, through agents, so yep, that’s how we sell all our flips as well. And are you doing some turnkey stuff as well?
MARK SKOWRON: Yeah, so the turnkey stuff we do in Indianapolis. We’ve sold about maybe 2-3 a month of those as well. So that’s kinda like that we’re building from the bottom up to. Our mentor actually just specifically does the turnkey assets and the reason why I like turnkey a little bit more maybe than the idea of turnkey is that, you know, once you are done, you got the asset, let’s say you go 3 months and you can’t sell it, with a traditional fix and flip, money is going up but there is no money coming in until you get that buyer, but with the turnkey, let’s say you can’t sell it for whatever reason for 3 months, you got rental income. So you are getting money now and then when you sell it, you can make whatever it is – 5, 10, 15, 20, how much ever spread you have in there.
MARK: So you got wholesaling going strong, flipping going well, turnkeys in the ‘e-venture’. For your future, what would be the perfect future, I mean, are you just trying to build everything at once, are you focussing on one thing, how do you see your business in a couple of years?
MARK SKOWRON: Sure. Good question. So, remember in the beginning of the program we talked about focussing and dialling on the one, so I really do have the wholesaling dialled in, you know, I got a good foundation. It runs with, I’m not going to say without me, I’m still involved but the core and the foundation is there without me, you know. So that way I was able to free up my time when good rehab opportunities come up, you know. So the good thing is, if you are marketer, as a wholesaler you got to be, hey man, I’m a marketer #1, it just happens to be for houses, right, but it could be anything. So the best deals actually when they come in, if there’s a good spread, I can elect to rehab those. If it’s an easy, quick rehab and it’s in a good area then you can elect to just rehab that, if, you know, the team is in place and it’s just quick and easy, but if not everything else then, maybe if there’s a medium spread or whatever it is, then you could just wholesale right away. So for me, I actually try to wholesale still pretty much everything. But then, like if a really good deal comes through with a healthy profit, I can choose to rehab that and so as far as how I see, you know, in a year, 2 years, 3 years, whatever that is, it’s still, every day I’m still focussed on building the wholesaling, dialling in that in more, feeling it more, I’ve got the people in place now so now I’m just working on more marketing, more leads, more properties to sell, so that can definitely be built. For us, the rehab side, same thing, I mean, I’ve got capabilities with my team now that we can add a couple, another 2 deals at a time and the money too. So it’s just a matter of, I think, for me right now is finding the best deals.
MARK: And one thing I didn’t ask you, how long did it take you to get to this point. When did you first start getting into real estate?
MARK SKOWRON: So last Thursday was my first day and then…..
MARK: Right. One week
MARK SKOWRON: I’ve lived a lifetime in a week but what has it been like. So it’s my third year full time now so it hasn’t been that long actually. So it’s a testament to if you put your head down and bulldoze and work, anyone can do it. So, yeah, third year, full time right now, I’m in it right now.
MARK: That’s awesome.
MARK SKOWRON: So wholesaling was, just 100% wholesaling the first couple of years and then just like 6 months ago, 9 months ago I kind of got into the rehabbing and turnkeying addition.
MARK: That’s a fantastic timeframe for doing what you’ve done. That’s impressive. So, I think we’ve gone through everything I want to go through, is there anything else you want to add on what your business looks like, any advice you can give people.
MARK SKOWRON: Yeah, I mean, I would say, Mark, for people that are reading your blog, listening to this, I mean, education’s awesome, it’s key. So this is a great resource, check back here all the time but just take action. You know, I think what I have noticed, with me and with other successful people is, I don’t have to know everything, I don’t have to know 100% of what I’m doing, just give me the basics and then I’ll figure it out on the fly. Let me just get out there and do it. So really, the most important is just take action. If anyone has read the Grant Cordone 10X, I mean, that’s it right there, just take massive action. You know, it’s funny when I read that book I was like, now I kinda realise why I’ve been successful in life. You know, when most people are like, man you’re crazy. Why are you calling people at 8 o’clock, 9 o’clock, why are you working on a Saturday, why are you working on a Sunday, but like, just take massive action. You know, at some point it’s not about the talent, the knowledge, it’s just about heart. So you just got to do whatever it takes. Just take massive action.
MARK: That’s great. When I first started my site, you know, it’s 2013 I’d never written an article since college. I had no idea what I was doing, never blogged before, I just said okay, I’m just going to start writing articles and see what happens. You know, I didn’t know I didn’t have to be completely educated to start taking action and it’s kinda like the ready-aim-fire; ready, fire, then aim, shoot once, figure out where you’ve missed, then you can figure out better where to aim the next time. Once you get immersed into something you learn so much more than you can sitting on the side lines, trying to read up. It’s always good to educate yourself but you have to be in it too, to really get the full benefit.
MARK SKOWRON: There it is. If listeners just took that one nugget; that would make all the difference. That’s impressive too. Two years, you’ve built it up to just an amazing site too. Same thing, right, you didn’t know what you were doing but that’s what it takes. Every successful story you’ll hear that same thread, that same exact thread.
MARK: Alright. So if there are wholesalers, buyers, even sellers in Chicago who want to get in touch with you, how can they contact you, what is the best way to reach you?
MARK SKOWRON: Yeah, so as far as any wholesalers in Chicago or Indianapolis or even if you’ve got good deals nationwide, just let me know, get a hold of me. You can visit my sites, my blogs at www.focusonbuyers.com. My contact info is there, I got a couple blog posts there as well. Not as good as yours, it’s more about like mind set, but mind set real estate, that kind of stuff. I’ve got a mentoring program too so if anyone’s interested in that, certainly let me know, but yeah, if you’ve got deals, I mean you know, we are doing deals. I actually enjoy doing and talking about deals more than anything else. So if you’ve got deals I want to hear about it, you know, in the Chicago area, Indianapolis area or wherever it is.
MARK: And you also have a podcast as well, right?
MARK SKOWRON: Correct, yes, The Festival Flip Show, check that out as well.
MARK: Yeah, so, alright. Well I think that’s about all I’ve got for today. Great job Mark! Really enjoyed talking with you. Hopefully people took away some great nuggets, learned how quickly you can build up a wholesaling business if you really put your mind to it, take massive action. You know, wholesaling is not just a step into other investing either, it can be its own massive business. Yeah, I didn’t realise that until I’d met you. Thanks again, I’m sure we’ll talk again soon. Enjoy the rest of your day.
MARK SKOWRON: Sounds good Mark. Thank you for having me on and I appreciate what you do with the crowd that’s on your blog. I definitely want to give you a commendation of great work.
MARK: Thank you. Appreciate it.