27 Commandments to Your First Successful Real Estate Wholesale Deal
Real Estate Wholesaling is the process of placing a property owner under contract for a specified price and either assigning or doubling closing on that property to a cash investor for a predetermined fee.
Sounds simple, doesn't it?
Well, it can be, but just like with most businesses, there is a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it.
Real estate wholesaling has several small intricacies that make a seemingly smooth deal go astray and no deal is exactly the same. As you begin to do more deals and gain more experience, you will have to put together systems and processes to help streamline the wholesaling process to help mitigate certain pitfalls that may happen during a transaction. The more deals you do, the more comfortable you will become in the whole process.
To get you started and to help you understand how the process plays out, we will discuss 27 steps to help get you through to the finish line on your first deal.
1) Understand Your Market
When entering any type of real estate medium, you need to understand the market you will be working in. By understanding your market, you will have a better understanding as to where you should be spending the majority of your efforts. Some details that you should understand before diving in are:
What retail properties are selling for in your market?
What price point are investors are buying in your market?
What price point are foreclosures being sold at in your market?
How much do repairs cost for certain tasks (on average) in your market?
What areas in your market are investors buying in?
Is there alot of investor activity in your market?
Where are the high crime zone areas that you may want to avoid?
A good way to find out a little bit more about your market , is to begin building a relationship with an investor friendly real estate agent who has been working in your market for a while. They should be able to answer a lot of the questions you may have in regards to what areas of your market you should begin sourcing properties.
2) Begin Building Your Buyer's List
One of the most important aspects of your real estate wholesaling business will be the size and quality of your buyers list. These buyers will be the direct link between a successful transaction and one that fails. It is never to early to begin networking and building your buyers list and may just be the most important piece of the puzzle. Your buyer's list will naturally begin to build over time if you do find success but here are some ways to get some initial quality buyers on your list to begin:
Networking (REIA's, local meetups, real estate agents, brokers, contractors, attorney's) - Begin networking and attending local events designated for real estate investors in your market. Explain to them what you do and begin gathering some information from them (name, phone numbers, emails, # of deals they have done in last 12 months, investment locations & primary exit strategy)
Social Media Marketing - As you develop your wholesaling business, you will want to create a website and a designated page on your website to gather cash buyers information. If you aren't to this point to direct them to your landing page then you can just direct them to your email. Begin placing ad's in local real estate investment group pages on Facebook. If you have a Linkedin or Instagram page, you can also begin marketing on these mediums to gain exposure
Craigslist - There are a couple ways that wholesalers look to gather cash buyers through Craigslist. The first way is to begin placing ads, marketing for Cash Buyers to sign up for your cash buyers list. The other way (which I do not recommend, but works) is to advertise a fake discounted property in your local market under contract and that you are looking to sell the contract.
Bandit Signs - This marketing medium is great for attracting both Cash Buyers as well as sellers.
Direct Mail - This is another medium that is great for attracting both Cash Buyers as well as sellers. There are lists that you can buy online, they will send you over all of the cash transactions that have happened in the past 12 months. You can then send each of these investors a postcard or a letter, explaining what you do and to have them contact you.
3) Begin Building Your Team
As with any business endeavor that you take on, you will need a great team supporting your efforts in order to streamline and simplify the process. Your team that you put in place will be a direct correlation with the success that you have moving forward. Here are some of the members that you will need to ad to your team:
Attorney's - We recommend that you have atleast 2 high quality real estate attorney's on your team. Even though when you are wholesaling properties, your attorney's will not directly be representing you, they are an integral part of a successful transaction. Also, any time that you can recommend the buyer (investor) or seller to use one of your attorney's for the transaction, your deal will run much smoother.
Real Estate Agents/ Brokers - As an entrepreneur, you are always looking to ad value to your team members to build a sustainable relationship. Your real estate agent/broker will be an integral member of your team. They will have great insight on your current market, be able to supply you with accurate After Repair Values and even have local investors that they have been working with. Since you will not actually be "flipping" properties for them to list, you will have to ad value another way. A great way to ad value to your agent is to refer all the retail leads that you get from your marketing to them.
Contractors - As stated previously, since you will not be fixing and flipping homes, it may be difficult to build an outside relationship with a contractor since you will not be able to directly give them business if you get a property under contract. For this reason, if you are purely wholesaling, we recommend starting off with family and friends. If you know any family or friends that would be willing to give you insight on estimated costs for certain construction scopes, you will be in good shape.
Mentor - This member of your team will come with time but it is important to be actively networking within your real estate community with like minded individuals who have more experience than you. At some point in your business, you will meet someone who is willing to help you get to the next level. REMEMBER, it is very important to always try and ad value to people first and not expect anything in return!
4) Begin Marketing To Property Sellers
This is where your operating journey begins. Being able to source quality discounted deals below what distressed properties are selling for on market will be the differentiating factor in obtaining success in this business. This all begins with your ability to be creative, stay consistent and commit to your marketing plan. To be a successful wholesaler, you must be a successful marketer. There a tremendous amount of marketing mediums that you can use to begin getting your phone to ring. The marketing mediums that you initially choose will depend on your budget. Here are some marketing mediums that you can use to develop your plan.
Driving For Dollars
Before you begin, determine the budget that you have to work with. From your budget, we recommend choosing 3-5 marketing mediums to develop and designate marketing dollars towards. For each medium that you choose, be sure to put together a detailed plan as to how you will execute. Stay committed and consistent with this plan.
5) Legitimize All Documents & Contracts
When it comes to any real estate endeavor, you need to make sure that you have strong contracts. Make sure that all of the documents and contracts that you need for your business correlate with the laws in your governing state. Have your attorney create or give you a purchase contract to use for your sellers and also create an assignment contract for you to use if you decide to exit with an assignment.
6) Set Up Your CRM or Lead Tracking System
The most important aspect in getting sellers under contract will be your ability to follow up with the leads that you have in your funnel. The only way to successfully manage this aspect of your business is with a CRM or a lead tracking system. Early on in your business, you may be able to get away with using excel documents but with the more leads you produce, the manual data input will become overwhelming. At some point, you will have to move towards a more automated system to track, monitor and follow up with your leads. There are several of these types of CRM's out there that are real estate investor friendly, however we recommend Podio, due to the how customizable it is to fit your specific needs.
PRO TIP: Create a Callrail Account. Set different phone numbers for all of your marketing mediums. Use Globiflow to create workflows to automatically track which marketing medium each phone call came from. This can get somewhat complex and you will improve and iterate your system as your business develops.
7) Sign Up For Email Marketing Platform
An email marketing platform will allow you to store and add to your cash buyers list while also allowing you to send out email blasts to your current list. This platform will be an integral in getting property information to your buyers when you place properties under contract. One of the ways that you will connect and distribute the properties you have under contract will be through email. We use Mailchimp to manage our Cash Buyers List and distribute the properties that we are looking to wholesale. Within Mailchimp, you will customize templates and campaigns to send out the necessary property information to your buyers to gauge interest and connect with buyers. This platform can also be used for drip email campaigns to your sellers and for on-boarding education to your buyers.
8) Qualify Seller Responses
At this point, you have put together a marketing plan and begun executing it. You should now begin receiving phone calls from property sellers. The qualifying process that you put in place is very important and is most likely the first contact that you have made with a potential deal. The main objective of this phone call is to determine the motivation level of the seller, build a relationship, and quickly determine if this is a discount situation or the lead is asking retail. Initially you should develop a script to work off of to ensure that you get all of the information that you need from the call in order to make a decision.
If you would like an example of the script we use, please email us at email@example.com and we will get you that template.
As you take more calls and qualify more sellers, you will become more comfortable and have a better understanding if you have a potential lead on the phone or not. We do recommend that when you are starting out, you should schedule more appointments with sellers just to gain the experience of going on appointments and analyzing deals. On this phone call be sure to get all of the information that you need to make a business decision. This is a task that can be delegated to an Acquisition Manager or Administrative Assistant as you begin to scale your business.
9) Set Appointments With Sellers
If from your qualifying process, you determine that you may have a lead on your hands, it is very important to set an appointment with the seller. The appointment is the next step in the process and it get's you one step closer to getting a closed deal. Set a time and date that is convenient for both you and the seller and be sure to follow up a day in advance to remind them of your appointment. Be sure to track all of your appointments in your calendar in your CRM to ensure that you do not miss any of the appointments you have scheduled.
10) Take Photos/ Video & Build Relationship
While you are on your appointment, it is very important to take high quality photos and get a video walk through of the property. This information will be used to market to your sellers and also allow you to revert back to when running your analysis. While you are on your appointment this is the next level of building a relationship with the buyer. They are now meeting you in person for the first time. It is very important to relay a positive first impression and begin building trust with the seller. Even if you do not do a deal with this particular seller, they may recommend you to a friend or family member in the future.
11) Be Honest With The Seller
This area of the business is often brutalized. Many wholesalers market that they actually purchase properties when in fact they do not. There is no issue in initially marketing in this manor to fill up your pipeline but it is your responsibility to be upfront and honest as to how you will execute the sale of their property. We tell you from experience, it is a much easier transaction when everyone is on the same page and understands your intentions. If you lie to the owner and tell them you are purchasing their property when you are actually wholesaling the property, only issues can arise. We advise you to be upfront and honest and explain to the sellers exactly what you do and what your intentions are with the deal!
12) Determine The ARV (After Repair Value)
The most important number for the analysis of your property is the After Repair Value. This is essentially the value in which a retail buyer would pay for the property if you put the property in a specific condition. An ARV is typically determined by producing a CMA or a Comparable Market Analysis. Now, this is something that you can produce by yourself or you can partner with a real estate agent/broker to produce your ARV's for you. We recommend the latter. The reason for this is, a typical investor does not have access to the data that a real estate agent/broker has to produce an accurate ARV. If this number is wrong by 10% it can drastically impact the result of the deal. In order to create a sustainable wholesaling business, you need to have accurate data.
13) Analyze the Property / Numbers
In order to produce deals that you will be able to wholesale, you must be able to accurately analyze a property. There are 2 different analysis that can be run to see if you have a property that you will be able to produce a fee off of, they are 1) Fix and Flip and 2) Buy & Hold. As you gain experience, you will have a better understanding of the exit that would be used for the specific property that you have under contract. As an example, here are some of the costs that you will have to accurately produce to put a good priced product out to your cash buyer clients:
ARV (After Repair Value)
Rehab Costs (Create a scope of work and designate costs to all tasks associated with the project)
Holding Costs (Taxes, Insurance, Utilities, Lender Interest)
Purchase Closing Costs (Taxes, Abstract, Survey, Attorney Fees, Recording Fees, Inspection Costs, Transfer Tax, Origination Fees)
Sale Closing Costs
Standard Expected Profit
If you would like an example of the analysis template we use, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get you that template.
14) Determine Offer Price to Property Owner
There will be 2 different offer price's that you will create. The first one is the offer to the property owner and the second is the purchase price to your cash buyers. From your property analysis you will be able to determine a purchase price that you are willing to offer the seller. Remember that this offer is at a price that does not include your wholesale fee. Once you get the property under contract, you will begin marketing that contract at a price above the price negotiated with the seller.
15) Create Contract / Send Out Offer / Get Signed
Once you determine the offer price for the seller, you will have to put together a purchase contract, get the offer into the seller's hands and get the document signed. You can do this a number of ways, just make sure you communicate to the seller how they will receive the offer or the medium that works best for them.
16) Send Signed Contract to Attorney
Once you receive the signed contract back from the seller, you will now forward this contract to your attorney. It is important to relay the message to your attorney that this will be a pure wholesale deal and to have him re-communicate that to the seller's attorney. If you are very confident that you will be able to wholesale this property (or you will be purchasing no matter what) then you can communicate to your attorney to tell the seller's attorney to begin updating title documents. This is a very fine line though because you do not want to get caught with sunk cost. What we mean by this, is that once you give the go ahead and title begins to get updated, if the deal falls through, you will be the one getting billed for the attorney fees.
17) If Vacant - Place Lockbox on Property
If the property that you placed under contract is vacant, it will be helpful to place a lockbox on the property with a key inside. This will help streamline the disposition process, as you will need access to the property for showings and estimates.
18) Work Through Property Marketing Checklist
Now is the time to advertise that you have a contract for sale at a deep discount to all of your cash buyer's or soon to be cash buyer's. We have created a checklist that we work through to ensure that we have exhausted all of the marketing mediums to maximize the exposure that we get for the property. If you are marketing to a broad audience (via social media, craigslist, etc) it is best to advertise that you are selling a contract. If you marketing in a closed cash buyer group, you can market the property for sale (but be careful)
If you would like the marketing checklist that we use, please email us at email@example.com and we will get you that template.
19) Coordinate Open House Date
In order to get potential cash buyer's through the property, you will have to coordinate an Open House. The Open House is much easier to schedule if the property is vacant but if the property is occupied you will have to coordinate with the seller, a convenient date and time that works for them. We recommend that you push all potential interest to this specific open house date. The reason for this is it can become a hassle going back and forth showing the property to potential buyers and at the open house, you can build a sense of competition which will increase the final purchase price for the property.
20) Execute Open House
While you are holding the open house, it is very important to document and get information from all of the investors that showed up. By doing this, you will be able to add people to your buyers list if they came from a different medium besides your list and you will also be able to follow up with everyone that was interested in the property. Create a template and get basic information from each investor. (Name, phone number, email address). While holding the open house, you should educate the cash buyer about the assignment process and how it works (if they have never executed one before). It is important to get buy in and an understanding from all parties involved in the transaction. Also, this is a great place to hand out your business card and explain to them that if they are interested in submitting an offer to email the offer to your email.
21) Field Offers / Letter's Of Intent
If executed properly, you should begin getting interest from potential cash buyers and they should be submitting offers to purchase the property. Gather the offers and store them in a specific folder so you can analyze when all the offers are received. If you are fortunate enough to receive multiple offers on the property, you need to make contact with all buyers and communicate with them that you have received multiple offers on the property and ask them to submit their highest and best offer within 24 hours.
22) Send Out Assignment Contract To Be Signed
After the buyer's have submitted their highest and best offers, it is now time to choose one. It is now time to send the assignment contract out along with the original contract documents to the buyer (since this is the contract that he will be assuming in the transaction)
23) Get Signed Assignment Contract & Send To Your Attorney
Once you receive the signed contract, forward the document over to your attorney for their records
24) Have Buyer's Send Deposit Check To Your Attorney
Within your assignment contract, you should have a row stating the amount of deposit needed to bind the contract. This deposit check needs to be sent to your attorney's office from the buyer. Only will the contract be locked in once you receive both the signed assignment contract and the deposit check.
25) Follow Up Communication
Once the assignment contract has been signed and deposit check submitted, you are no longer represented by an attorney in the deal. It is important to follow up with the buyers and sellers throughout the transaction to ensure everything is moving along as planned. We also recommend that you communicate with your attorney to have them follow up with the buyer/seller's attorney to check in on status and when closing has been scheduled. Since your attorney is no longer in the deal, you have to ensure that the buyer/seller's attorney's are aware that a check needs to be cut to you at closing and sent to your attorney upon completion. Stay in the loop!
26) Closing Scheduled
As previously stated, make sure that you stay in the loop with both the buyer's and seller's as to when the closing date is scheduled. Although you are not actually part of the purchase, you still can assist in getting the deal to the closing table.
27) Collect Assignment Fee
At closing, your assignment fee will be cut out of the proceeds of the purchase. You need to make sure that your check is then mailed out to your attorney's office for you to pick up!
We hope that this brief guide will enable you to complete your first wholesale deal. Wholesaling can be very lucrative if executed properly and systems and processes are in place to mitigate some of the issues that may arise in the transaction. As you begin to develop your business, determine where you are having issues and implement a system to prevent that issue in the future. Once you have a solid foundation, you can begin creating playbooks for certain tasks in order to delegate some of the day to day operations.
Best of luck and if you have any questions, you know where to reach us!
HS Property Funds, LLC
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