I am currently looking at buying rental properties from a long distance. Prices in Colorado have increased year after year and it is very tough to cash flow in the current market. I thought it would be awesome to interview an investor who is not only buying rentals from a long distance, but also flipping. Bob Couture is the guest on this weeks episode of the Invest Four More Real Estate Podcast and he is buying rentals and flips from 3,000 miles away. Bob lives in the Los Angeles area and invests in Massachusetts.
Why did Bob want to invest in real estate?
Bob Couture grew up in a family involved in real estate, specifically contracting. Like me, he did not want anything to do with it when he was growing up. He ended up joining the military and having a number of other jobs. Along the way he migrated to California and still lives there now. Bob saw an incredible opportunity in real estate with flipping homes. Living in California he knew it would be very tough to make money flipping, because of the high dollar amount to buy property. Bob grew up in Massachusetts and still had some connections in the area. he decided to check out the area and see if he could make any money flipping from a long distance.
How did Bob choose an area to flip houses in?
Bob grew up in the area where he flips houses and he says that was a huge advantage to him. he had family and friends who knew the area and could help him reduce his learning curve. Bob did not blindly start investing in Massachusetts, he spend weeks of time there learning the market and figuring out of he could set up a flipping business there. After a few months of research and multiple trips to the area, Bob decided it was a great market and he could flip homes there. Bob suggests investors who are interested in investing in a new market check out the area thoroughly and it helps a lot if you have connections in the area as well.
How does Bob find his deals to flip?
Bob has used the MLS, networking and direct mail to find his deals. Bob recently got his real estate license so that he could save money buying and selling flips and because it would be easier to value homes and get great deals. Bob also uses direct mailings to potential sellers and has people do a lot of driving for dollars for him. Being 3,000 miles away Bob cannot see every home he buys or be there for the closings. He has found a partner in the area who can help Bob complete the repairs and look at homes for him. Bob still focuses on finding awesome deals to flip or hold as rentals.
How does Bob finance flips from 3,000 miles away?
Bob has had to find many ways to finance his flips since he plans to buy over ten in the next year. Bob has found local portfolio lenders who will fund his flips and has had success using crowd funding as well. Bob also uses some private financing and of course his own cash to finance his flips.
Bob does have any training programs, but he loves to talk to investors and you can find him on his website http://sc-homebuyers.com/.
If you liked this episode, be sure to leave us a review!
My new rental property book first draft is done! It is over 350 pages and should be ready in the next month or so.
[0:00:57] MF: Hey everyone, Mark Ferguson with Invest Four More. Welcome to another episode of the Invest Four More real estate podcast. Today, I’ve got a great guest, someone who I’m really interested in talking to myself because of how he has invested.
Bob Couture lives in California and not only buy his rental properties across the country but also has a flipping operation. He helps with some across the country. I’d love to hear how he’s doing it, how he got started in real estate and hopefully he has some tips for me and other people as well.
So Bob, thank you so much for being on the podcast, how are you doing?
[0:01:34.4] BC: I’m doing great Mark, thank you, It’s an honor to be here.
[0:01:37.2] MF: Great, really appreciate you being on the show. So you’re in California right now correct?
[0:01:43.3] BC: Right, I live in Los Angeles California. Specifically, Hermosa beach in LA.
[0:01:49.3] MF: Very cool. And obviously, for most people who are in California right now or wanting to invest in real estate, it is really hard to do anything in California I imagine as far as flipping or buying rentals.
[0:02:01.7] BC: Oh absolutely. It’s not a huge cash flow area on the rental side and then also the price entry is pretty high and wildly competitive over here. It becomes pretty tough, it was tough for me when I started to look around here and it just wasn’t going to work for the money that I had and the skill that I had and so I had to start looking other places.
[0:02:29.9] MF: Right, and I think a lot of people in the same boat as you, I like the affordability in California, it’s just crazy how few people can afford to even buy a house based on what they make let alone invest in what. Before we get really into that, you’re from Massachusetts originally, how did you end up in California?
[0:02:51.8] BC: I moved to California after college, I figured it was time to kind of try something different and if that didn’t work out I could always go back and fell in love with California, I like the idea of driving to snow and then driving away from it when I was done. The California kept me with that. So I have the great weather over here and enjoyed it but all my family is back east or back in Massachusetts in the Greater Springfield area. Stay here but then go back and visit and we thought about moving back to Massachusetts but that lasted about a minute and we were staying for sure.
I had a number of different jobs while I was out here in the corporate side, worked in finance and also worked in aerospace and defence and while I was out here I was part of the California army national guard and I had a number of different deployments. After I got back from my last deployment is what got me — I came back from Afghanistan, I went back to my corporate job at aerospace and defence and I just kind of realized, “This is not what I want to do for the rest of my life,” and that’s what got me thinking about real estate.
I joke, I think I was the last one to know that I was supposed to be in real estate. I grew up in a construction family, my father was a painter and then remodeller. He took a lot of summers from me as a kid going to work for him and then I think I kind of wanted to leave out of that business and I would go out and do other things but it brought me back kind of full circle. And then on my wife’s side, they’re in commercial real estate. Once I said I need to work for myself and this seemed to be the path.
And it was over a conversation about with my dad about doing a winter project. Normally slow for him, we went hunting for a house and did one together and then things kind of took off from there and it was great for me because I had kind of a built in mentor with my dad and he was great about keeping me out of trouble and not getting into kind of a projects that were over my head and he’s retired now and it was time for me to kind of look on some different things.
Although I was in California, I still wanted to invest there, I knew that area, I knew my dollars could go much further over there and as I was learning the business and it just felt like a comfortable place to be and that’s how I met my business partner Justin Simmons and we kind of realized really quick that we were the pieces at each other were missing. I had more of the finance sense in marketing sense and he had that construction sense and from there we S&C Homebuyers was born.
With me being in California, I can burn up the phones and I do a lot of the fielding the calls for the direct mail and then contacting agents and attorneys and all that. I can do that from California and then he’ll go view the houses, get the rehab numbers. Either he’ll negotiate it there on site or it comes back to me for further negotiation and then we close the things and then he’ll manage the rehab, I’ll go in.
And after that I’ll get it listed on the MLS, get it sold and things been working out great. I fly back about once a month to make sure I’m meeting with our investors, the banks, continuing to network and worked out wonderful for me, I get to visit with my family. That’s kind of been the journey up to date.
[0:06:36.6] MF: That’s great and first of all, thank you for your service and I’m sure it’s not fun going to Afghanistan but it’s funny because my father was in real estate when I was growing up too and the last thing I want to do is become an agent in real estate to what he did. After college I got a finance degree and I’m like, “Well, I can’t really find the perfect job I want to. I’ll just try real estate for a little bit part time.”
Then I realized, “Wow, this is pretty awesome. I’m probably going to stick with this.” But yeah, I know what you mean growing up, you don’t want to always follow exactly what your parents or family are doing but very cool. I’m curious when you first got started investing, were you looking for a rental? Were you looking for a flip? What was your strategy when you first were learning about real estate investing?
[0:07:21.0] BC: I wanted nothing to do with rental properties or being a landlord. I wanted to flip, I thought it looked so cool on TV and it look like such a sexy industry and all I want to do is flip houses and I ended up becoming a landlord after the first two. That’s kind of how the strategy did not go as planned.
I eventually got better at it and understanding the market better and there were some items of bad luck along the way but I take full responsibility for all the decisions, the good or bad on them and yeah, ended up being a landlord for the first two and the funny thing is, those first two are my best performing rentals. I guess everything happens for a reason.
[0:08:09.3] MF: Right, that’s funny. You kind of used the term “accidental landlord”, I’ve heard that before. Was it just because you didn’t quite make enough money to flip and you decide to rent them or what was the decision into turning those into rental properties?
[0:08:23.1] BC: The first one I had been holding for a very long time. I kind of had a good sense of what the ARV would be, the after repair value, the sale price should be for that house. But I was using an agent at the time and she thought from her CMA that it was going to go for another $30,000 more than that. And I thought, “Gosh, I don’t want to leave $30,000 on the table.”
We went with that and then it just hung out there, we continue to lower it and I think we got like through about six months and then that thing wasn’t going to move anymore. We’re getting closed to getting into the winter and I knew if I didn’t sell it in the fall I’d be holding that thing through the winter and I said, “Well I’m going to just try to rent this.” and It went that way.
[0:09:13.8] MF: Okay, brings up a good point. I know real estate agents are vital to, in the investor’s team as far as selling them but I think you make a good point, the investors should always have double checked and know their own numbers as well, you should never rely solely on the real estate agent to tell you if something’s worth or especially when you’re buying a flip, real estate agents mostly have no clue what the numbers need to be or how much room you have to have to make money on them. Have you found that out to be true as well?
[0:09:44.1] BC: Oh absolutely. When we have an agent, when we’re on the acquisition mode and we walk in with the agent, that’s always the question, “What do you think this will sell for, all done up?” Whatever number that they saw we know that it’s got to back off on $20,000 for that. That’s probably where the truth lies. Yeah. We’re much more cautious with that and for sure, now that I have my license and even before my license, I could run comps pretty easily with all their tools but now that I have the active for the MLS and running our own comps and really scrutinizing any comps that come in from anyone else. That’s the thing that will sink us the worse is going in, that expression, “you make your money when you buy,” if you’re buying too high based on a false ARV, you’re sunk before you started.
[0:10:40.5] MF: right, I completely agree. Speaking of that, one of the challenges because I’m looking at buying in different areas of the country for rental properties because our market’s gone so hot, I’m still flipping here in Colorado, I’m doing okay with that but the cash flow is just disappearing. I know you grew up where you’re investing but how long did it take you to learn that market and figure out what values were and what good deals were before you felt comfortable investing there?
[0:11:09.2] BC: I would say about three months. It was about — and it was looking at a lot of different properties, either physically going out there and just going through a week or two of just property after property or going through the MLS. It took me I think before I felt really comfortable, I think it was a three month part.
You need to get those property, this look like, “Wow these great numbers,” and then you get out to that area and you’re like, that’s why this numbers are great, this is an awful area. I’m running into that still from time to time you’ll get some pockets and something like, “The number here seem too good to be true,” and sure enough, there is a reason for it. That’s why I feel very fortunate to have a partner that has boots on the ground or prior to that, my father can go over and look at those properties.
To me, I think it’s really important to be able to walk on the ground or know that there’s someone there that can go walk into that area. I know there are some people, some investors I feel very comfortable with, just using Google Earth or other online resources to get a sense of the value but I need to know that someone’s kind of walked it. Someone that I trust has walked it and were able to get those eyeballs on it.
[0:12:34.4] MF: Right, that’s great. Yeah, Google Earth can be six months or a year outdated. You never know what you’re going to find with those pictures and sure you have agents that help and help you, but at the same time, you can’t always trust them 100% as far as what they’re going to tell you about neighborhoods and different things.
Or investors trying to sell you a house that they own obviously, they’re going to bias towards the neighborhoods and what’s going on. Great advice. How long do you — how much time did you physically spend there when you first began and first were starting out your investing in that area?
[0:13:08.9] BC: I would go out for two to three weeks at a time when I first started out. Then now I’m down to maybe a week, week and a half but go off for some pretty long spells and then, or bring my family out for the summer but yeah, I was spending a lot of time up front just to reaffirming what I knew about certain areas, getting better acquainted with others and putting in a lot of time initially.
[0:13:42.2] MF: Very cool. I have one question for you I know it might not be easy to answer, but obviously it helps that you had your father and you grew up in the area and you knew it somewhat, maybe even when you were there, you probably weren’t looking at some real estate investing wise. A lot of people looking for new areas to invest in, I always suggest, start out first with someone you know or if you have someone you trust in an area, you don’t have to hire them or have them work for you but at least they can give you an idea of areas and what’s going on.
I mean how much more important to have someone you know and trust there as supposed to investing somewhere that might have great numbers or just great deals where you know nobody if that makes sense?
[0:14:24.2] BC: Yeah, I’ll give you a little side story that’s outside of Massachusetts. I have a rental property, it’s a lactation rental in Palm Springs. So that’s about two hours, two and a half hours from Los Angeles. Across the street from my rental property over there, there is a house and all it is, is a façade of a house. That house was sold on online auction and the first buyer that bought it saw the side of the house, bought it, I think it was like maybe $250,000, which is a decent price for houses over there. Three to $500 in that neighborhood all done up.
He bought this house, it looked like a great street, great neighborhood and went in there to go walk it and opened that front door, there was no roof to it, there was no back side to this house, it was just the front wall window and door. He was able to get out of that transaction and then the next buyer bought it for I think it was $125 or something near there, which is a much better price for that house to be able to level it. It was a great price for that house to be able to level it and put a new one in there.
That kind of situation speaks to me of the “having someone over there” because at $250, that wouldn’t have been a bad house, you would have gone that 50 cents on the dollar at a $500,000 ARV which was perfectly in the realm of reason over there. That sounds like a pretty good deal. But that was awful and luckily he was able to get out of it.
It’s just crazy to think, I mean that these things exist and he was able to get out of it because that wasn’t disclosed but that doesn’t happen all the time but those are the real stories that are out there about not being able to… someone that you trust being able to walk over and at least open the door to make sure that the roof is there and the whole backside of the house.
[0:16:29.6] MF: Right, that doesn’t happen too often but man that’s crazy. Something else you said that ring a bell. Even in Massachusetts where you’re investing. You know, you said you’ll find houses, it looked like they have awesome numbers, great potential but then you go to the area and it’s like, “Oh there’s a reason,” and even when you know an area or have people, you’ve just got to have someone you trust be able to walk in or go to the property and tell you everything that’s going around it.
[0:16:57.0] BC: Yeah. Very similar on that for Springfield, there’s some historic areas and historic homes and if you end up buying something like that, your normal numbers go out the window because you’ve got to restore these things to historical guidelines and we had one that was a potential wholesale opportunity, we couldn’t give the house away because no one could make the numbers work with all that historical stuff that they would have to do or historical guidelines that they would have to meet to rehab the house.
So those things, if you don’t know that you’re getting into a historical house or that area — so maybe back to your original question is, do you need to be there? Maybe not need to be there, but do you need to have someone there that you trust? I think absolutely. There’s nuances of areas. Like I had mentioned about Springfield, the nuances of the historical sections.
In Palm Springs, there’s a nuances of the — there’s Indian land versus what do they call, like fee simple versus lease land. There’s houses that seem like a great deal and they’re going for cheap and they look like they’re in great condition but there is a lease that expires on that and that you have to — you don’t know what the Indian lease will be on that when that expires.
So there’s no rules — I say no rules, but you don’t know what that renegotiation’s going to be. A lot of scary things that happen with areas that you don’t know about and it changes from state to state, from counties to county. Those are the nuances that you got to be able to talk to someone that’s on the ground over there and that knows it. Ideally maybe it’s an agent, maybe it’s a friend or a family member that’s in that area.
Someone that you meet through some networking or I think there’s a lot of different companies that are out there too that are doing like the turnkey sale if you do some good research and learn about those and get references that might help but there’s just too much of the scary stuff out there.
I’m definitely not the type to say, “Don’t do it because of this hurdles,” you got to ask yourself how you’re going to do it and how do you protect yourself. What could go wrong and how do you mitigate that risk?
[0:19:20.4] MF: Right, that makes perfect sense. That’s a little scary. Not knowing what they’re going to do. Very cool. So changing directions, how have you ended up buying most of the properties in Massachusetts from California? You said you were on the phone a lot, you’re doing a lot of the negotiations, how does that work from a long distance?
[0:19:43.7] BC: With FedEx. We’ll get the closing documents and they get emailed to me, I’ll get my side of it notarized and it goes back to the, so in Massachusetts we use attorneys. They’ll go back to the attorney and then we’ll meet them at the closing table to sign his side and to close that way. We run into no slow down with that and the ability to purchase properties, I had no issues there. And then often I’m there once a month anyway, so if the timing works then I’ll be there in person.
On that part, not a big deal and then in terms of offers, over email or make the verbal or I’ll email or fax, however the recipient wants to receive it, and then go that direction. Yeah, we’ve been able to not need me over there for closings and purchases or the sales, it’s worked out just great. I’ve got a FedEx envelope sitting right next to me that I’ve got to go out and get some documents notarized and dropped in there for a closing this week.
[0:21:00.9] MF: Very cool. I know you do some direct marketing for finding properties, do you think most of your properties you’d use the direct marketing or do you use the MLS as well to find deals? How do you find those deals?
[0:21:13.5] BC: Great question. I would put it into three buckets for us, it’s direct marketing is the third, the MLS is a third and then our network is the other third. I would put maybe the, we get very few — the website leaves just don’t really pan out for us. I’d say we get a few of those in there too but the overall, that’s kind of our three major buckets, the direct mail, the MLS. On the MLS it’s more so on the REO and short sales and then our network with attorneys, other agents and referrals from friends and family.
[0:22:02.0] MF: Okay, great. And Massachusetts still has a ton of foreclosures if I remember right? If I remember, it takes like three years or more to foreclose in Massachusetts. So I think they still have a ton of inventory, don’t they have distressed properties?
[0:22:16.8] BC: They do. I think we’re starting to see even more of an optic. I almost feel like there is quite a bit that were held back and that’s still running in squares. I think we had someone come out to our Real Estate Investment Association and I think their analysis was a good two to three years still.
[0:22:40.3] MF: Wow, are you seeing prices kind of stable there or they decreasing or increasing? What’s the market look like?
[0:22:48.1] BC: The area where — over the last couple of months we’re seeing more and more of the bank owned coming in to the market. In those particular towns or cities, in their areas, we’re seeing some downward pressure on home prices. Nothing drastic and also, this is a tough bend in the year for us with winter for home sales, so a culmination of those two things. The rest of the area, I’m relatively stable, pretty good, it’s staying strong, some respectable increases for home prices. So a little bit of mixed bag, it really goes neighborhood to neighborhood.
[0:23:31.9] MF: Yeah, it’s interesting to hear because as you know, most parts of the country are seeing increases in prices and very low inventory but there still are a few areas out there that have quite a few. Florida is another one that I think, I just looked this up, the average time to foreclose the property in Florida was 935 days. I think it was higher in Massachusetts but I can’t remember the exact number.
[0:23:55.1] BC: Wow.
[0:23:56.9] MF: Yeah, in the states, they made this huge crazy foreclosure laws hoping to help people and keep them in their houses, but in the end it kind of destroyed the market comeback because it took so long to get through these properties. That’s interesting to hear.
[0:24:19.7] BC: I’m sorry Mark, quick question for you, what’s attracting you to Florid? Is it the high level of foreclosures or what’s got you looking down that way if you don’t mind me asking?
[0:24:30.9] MF: Yeah, the high level foreclosures always peaks my interest because I know there’s inventory there and then the population is really increasing. Like they just pasted up New York for the third or fourth most popular state in the country. They’ve got an increasing population, the economy seems to be doing pretty well and home prices are increasing there but not crazy increasing.
So it seems kind of like this interesting situation where they’ve got a really good economy of people moving in but there’s so many foreclosures that prices aren’t going up as high as maybe some other areas of the country. That’s what really — and they have low taxes which is nice too. That keeps my interest but yeah and it’s close to the ocean. If I go down there and visit…
[0:25:19.3] BC: Visit?
[0:25:20.7] MF: …that’s a nice break.
[0:25:22.5] BC: There you go.
[0:25:26.1] MF: My family and I are going there March 12th to 22nd to explore some properties and have a vacation too, so we’ll see what it’s like.
[0:25:34.2] BC: Right on.
[0:25:38.3] MF: I’m curious, I don’t do a lot of direct mail myself for marketing, I do some but it’s definitely on the third of my business, most of mine is still MLS and it helps me on agent. But what do you focus on when you’re doing your direct marketing to get those deals?
[0:25:53.8] BC: A lot of driving for dollars for us. It’s having the eyeballs on the property and seeing some level of distress and that helps to at least give us a reason to send out the mail, our direct mail doesn’t say your house looks like crap and that’s why you’re getting the sweater. At least we know that there’s some kind of level of distress to start off.
We also are engaged with the absentee owners as well with the kind of the same thinking as most of them. Maybe there’s some tired landlords in that bunch and might be willing to sell or haven’t kept up with the maintenance or whatnot but our driving for dollars are probably kind of the main one, looking out at the foreclosures and seeing if we can use our expertise to help stop a foreclosure or look at alternative strategies or short sales and things of the like. So that’s pretty much been it for us on the direct mail piece.
[0:26:59.3] MF: That’s great. It seems like if you’re doing the driving for dollars, you’re getting much more targeted people than you are just sending out to every out of state owner or absentee owners. Does that have a higher success rate for you as far as the absentee owners?
[0:27:16.7] BC: It does, it does. We’ll get more calls form the absentee owners but I think it’s more of a, they’re probably used to it and they’re either calling to make you stop or trying to, fishing for the higher price if they’ve got a fish on the line or not. When we’re getting on for the driving for dollars piece, it’s normally a situation of one or two things; a very angry phone call or are one where, “Gosh, my prayers have been answered I can’t keep up with this place, I’m really happy that you called,” and some really great phone calls have come out of that.
[0:27:58.4] MF: That’s great. Yeah, if you’re going to do any type of direct marketing, you have to be prepared for angry phone calls, that’s part of the business. It happens.
[0:28:08.6] BC: That was the toughest part for me in the beginning. Like, “Wow, why are people so angry at me?” It is just part of the business and understanding where they’re coming from and just laughing it off, they can’t hurt you over the phone and I don’t think that they’d need to. They’re frustrated, they’ve got different things going on and just gotta laugh that stuff off.
[0:28:28.9] MF: Yup. Some people need to be mad at somebody for something.
[0:28:33.6] BC: Well said, well said.
[0:28:35.9] MF: You know, so you’ve got your real estate license, what prompted you to do that and how — was it a pretty simple process for you to get your license?
[0:28:44.3] BC: Yup. Part of that was just to make sure that we’re keeping as many of those dollars in house as possible. Also, to leverage the MLS and for that, for further research and what not. I got my California real estate license because I thought this is where I was going to start business and then was pretty easy to do. I didn’t have to take the educational part back in Massachusetts, I just needed to get the books in and sign up for the test and they had like a reciprocity for California.
That worked out pretty good. It was pretty easy and I think it was very worthwhile, it allows us to see properties when we want to see them and have to go around someone else’s schedule. My partner is registered as an assistant, so it gives him — affords him those opportunities as an agent just about the same as an agent other than negotiating prices. It works out great for us. I think it was, for us it was a good, good move. It’s not for everybody but I think it worked out great for what we wanted.
[0:30:02.3] MF: Great. Yeah I think when you’re doing that level of dilator, makes a lot of sense for finding deals but valuing properties and then saving the money on commissions as well just kind of icing on the cake.
[0:30:14.4] BC: Yeah, for sure.
[0:30:16.0] MF: How did you go about choosing a brokerage in Massachusetts. I’m curious, did you pick kind of a low fee one where they left you alone or did you go with a big name firm?
[0:30:25.0] BC: I checked out some of the big named firms and then I got my head spinning on like how the commission structure worked. I ended up going with a friend of mine and he’s a real estate investor, and we became friends because he helped me try to sell my second or third flip and we got to talking, he was into real estate investing, he was on the multifamily side. So he started with single family and then gone into multifamily.
As he was focusing more into multi, it seemed like a good fit for us to be the single family guys within his brokerage and the synergy in that relationship has been outstanding. Get to lean on quite a bit for help and then I think we get to help out the brokerage as well. We almost, I like to say that we, “No lead’s left behind,” and when I can’t buy it for the home buying company then we have the brokerage as an easy way to get someone if they’re looking for retail value to list the property.
So I won’t be listing it but I can refer that into the brokerage. It gives us some more opportunities for both sides, a good referral stream for the brokerage and makes us look really good that we’re not just a one trick pony with, “Hey we can either buy your house or say goodbye,” we got another option for them and go and list it.
Or they can always keep us a plan B if things didn’t work out as they thought with the listing, they always have us there too. It allows us to keep the relationships alive and feel good that anyone that we come in contact with, we have multiple ways to help them. I’m sure that’s what you realize in your business having, being an agent and also an investor.
[0:32:23.3] MF: Yup, exactly, I was actually going to ask you that question but you got to it before I could if you listed the one you can use. It’s a big source of income and if you’re not a licensed agent, you can’t take referral fees legally form an agent. So it really, it gives you a huge advantage being an agent if you have those leads.
There’s a lot of them that they want retail, they don’t want to sell it for the prices that we can buy them for. It does give them a really nice option too. You’re like, “Hey, if that doesn’t work, here’s what we can list it to, list it for but you’ll have to do such and such and such, pay these fees.” Nope, we do the exact same thing.
[0:33:01.9] BC: Very cool.
[0:33:04.8] MF: All right. So, I know you’ve got to get out of here in a little bit but I’ve got a few more questions. One thing I really want to talk about is how are you financing your properties or how has that worked out from out of state?
[0:33:17.9] BC: That’s a great question there. Multiple ways, so we have developed some good relationships with some local banks, they are portfolio lenders in that Greater Springfield area and we use them for, like a good case and point we had a house, a fairly large house that we bought in November. So there was going to be that by the month or two of rehab and we knew we were going to have to carry that house out until March because of the winter.
So we went with bank financing because we knew we were going to have to carry that house for a bit. We’ve used our own cash for some purchases in the past. We also used Fund That Flip, we’ve got a great relationship with Fund That Flip, that’s a crowd funding source and over the last 30 days I think we put two houses through them on their platform and it’s been great.
What I really like about the Fund That Flip. When you hear crowd funding, you hear it’s normally — you think you put the opportunity out there and you got to wait for all these increments to come in and to fully fund it.
The way that they do it is the company, Fund That Flip will fund the projects so you can go and close and then they put the opportunity out onto their website to get back filled funding from the outside investors from credit investors, multiple and credit investors coming in and funding whatever they want to.
Works out great. We get the money when we need it to be able to close and then keep the momentum going and then they go and get their — present the opportunity out to other investors and back fill it.
[0:35:01.8] MF: Okay, great, I have wondered how that worked, I did not know. Yeah, you got to wait two weeks for them to fill up the investment, that doesn’t work for most investors who are looking to get quick deals and get things closed. That makes sense. And I’ve talked to Fund That Flip a couple of times and it is an interesting new concept for funding. So I haven’t talked to anybody who has used it but that’s great to know that it does work. Very cool.
[0:35:26.0] BC: It’s been great. And there’s another benefit to it on our side. It’s great to have private lenders but at the end of the year you’ve got to make sure you’re accounting for that and doing the proper tax documentation for those lenders, using that Fund That Flip platform, all that administration, all that back end stuff is handled for you.
It’s great and when I come across friends and family that do want to invest but they can’t put up the hundred or $150,000 that might be needed for some of our projects but here they can go in as little as $5,000 or they can, as long as they’re credit investor, they can go in and lend on a smaller scale and get a great return.
So I like that as well, that the administration is handled for you and an easy platform and it works out great. Another way that we fund projects that are through some private lenders, got about three right now and various projects. So kind of used, I think you got to use all kinds of different ones and depending on what the project is and what it might call for.
[0:36:40.6] MF: Great, that’s awesome. And I do, yes, I do very similar. I have a mix of portfolio lending with local banks and then private money in my own cash and lines of credit and yeah, all types of — when you have a lot of flips going on, there’s a lot of money you need that’s for sure. And yeah, I’ve been kind of been reaching out to lenders in Florida right now to try and find some portfolio lenders down there and see if I can get some financing for rentals, but very cool.
What do you think your goals are for the next year or couple of years? Are you trying to build up your flipping business or you’re trying to buy more rentals too, what do you think your plans are?
[0:37:17.8] BC: Yeah, we set our plans for 2016 will be 16 acquisitions. We’re looking to do at least eight flips out of that, four rentals and four whole sales is the plan.
[0:37:31.4] MF: All right, when you do the rentals, are you partnering on those too or just yours? How do those work?
[0:37:40.0] BC: We are looking to put those into the company, in the partnership. All the rentals that currently exist are in our individual, our previous companies, our own respective companies. Now we’re going to put some in to the company as well.
[0:37:56.7] MF: Okay, very cool. Well I think those are all the questions I had for you, a lot of great information. Do you have any tips or advise for somebody who is looking to invest out of state and kind of like what the first steps are for starting that process as far as finding a place to invest?
[0:38:18.4] BC: If there’s a place that you know and you’re comfortable with, I think that is one. I would take a page out of your book where you’re going to the destination that you’re thinking about. So you’re going to have an opportunity to walk that ground, get a good sense of the neighborhood and I’m sure you’re already trying to talk to banks, the portfolio lenders over there, I’m sure you’re going to have a number of coffees and network with people in that area to kind of pick their brain.
My advice is if you’re looking for an area, who do you know over there that you can trust? And I really recommend that you’ll walk back around, you really need to, in my view, get a sense of where you’re going to invest and talk to as many people as possible and get the referrals as possible. I didn’t do that on — I had a project with, I did a Cape Cod and I got a contractor that really hosed us. And it was — I should have spent more time vetting that contractor and getting a better referral.
Like I had mentioned earlier in your podcast, there’s all kinds of things that can happen. Don’t put your mind to what you can’t do, figure out how you’re going to do it, but think of all the bad things that can happen and how you’re going to mitigate that risk. Get great referrals, try to walk that ground if you can. There’s almost no reason not to. If you’re planning it ahead of time, you can write that stuff off and get familiar with the area that you want to go invest in.
[0:40:03.5] MF: Right, that’s great. Yeah, I was going to say, “Hope for the best but plan for the worst.” It will happen but yeah, you can’t be so negative that you never do anything either. Very cool.
[0:40:15.3] BC: Well said, well said.
[0:40:18.1] MF: Well, great. I really appreciate it. Now if people want to get a hold of you, what’s the best way to contact you to go into your website? Or I know you’re active on Bigger Pockets as well. What’s the best way for people to shoot an email or talk to you if you want to?
[0:40:51.1] MF: Very cool, if anybody wants to sell a house in Springfield I’m sure you’d help them out…
[0:40:56.1] BC: Yeah.
[0:40:57.4] MF: …to get rid of something. Very cool. Al right, Bob I know you got to run, you got some kids that will need your attention here soon. So I’ll let you go here, thank you so much for being on the podcast, it was really great. I learned a lot myself and I think you’ve really set up a very great business model in a pretty short period of time from 3,000 miles away. So congratulations on that.
[0:41:22.5] BC: Thank you Mark, I really enjoy being here and thanks for having me on. I wish you tons of success in your new market. Please keep us posted on how things go.
[0:41:34.6] MF: I will, for sure. We’ll see what happens in the next year, it should be exciting. Hopefully a good exciting, we’ll see.
[0:41:42.6] BC: Yup, for sure.
[0:41:43.8] MF: All right. Great, well thank you so much Bob, have a great rest of the week.
[0:41:47.8] BC: You too, thank you Mark, take care.