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Welcome Back to the Discount Property Investor Podcast Episode 23! Today we are lucky enough to be joined by Tucker Merrihew of the Real Dealz podcast and the creator of the Driving for Dollars APP. This APP is a gamechanger for making your own Driving for Dollars direct mail campaign work for you.
Tucker: I’m here guys.
Mike: Alright. Well thank you so much for joining us man, we appreciate you coming out today.
Tucker: Yeah, I appreciate you guys having me on the show. I know you guys are working fast and furious to — get the show on the map and have it take off, which I am sure it will, but I am happy that you have me here as a guest.
Mike: Yeah, thanks man.
David: Tucker, what market are you in man?
Tucker: I am in the Portland Oregon market. So kind of — the west coast of course, we are probably the cheapest big city on the west coast but, if you ask anybody here you would say it is insanely expensive compared to what it used to be. But yeah, Portland is our main market.
David: Sweet man, and like Mike said, you have two podcasts, a local podcast in Portland I believe, and then you have the Real Deals podcast, tell us a little bit about those if you don’t mind.
Tucker: Sure, obviously the smaller show is our local one like I mentioned in our preroll. It is my labour of love show; I have a co-host who is one of the biggest agents in town. We just talk to anybody and everybody who is in the real estate business here that is worth talking to and we dissect the business on a monthly basis as well which I enjoy doing. The national show is our much bigger show and it’s all about real estate investing of course, that is how we came across each other. It’s called Real Deals podcast and we have been doing that three years now this month, which is — it’s been a hell of a ride.
David: Man, that’s great, three years I love it, I love it. And the Real Deals podcast is a nationwide show. What do you guys focus on with that?
Tucker: So it has kind of been a — a journey of following my own business but at the same time we integrate in some main topics on each show, different aspects of the business, wholesaling, rehabbing, construction — everything in between and everything that goes a long with it, so we are 148 episodes in, so anything that has anything to do with real estate we have probably talked about it on that show more specifically real estate investing.
David: Sweet, well guys that’s awesome, check out Tucker Merrihew on the Real Deals podcast and Tucker, thanks again for coming on the show man, we appreciate your time and hopefully we can all learn something from your here today.
Tucker: Let’s get into it.
David: So Tucker, give us a quick understanding of how you got started in real estate.
Tucker: Sure, so cliff notes version is — I started in the mortgage business and — there was a day at the end of 2007, I think it was August 2007 when the record — the merry go round stopped right? The record stopped and it changed the real estate financing business and the real estate business as a whole forever. I was the owner of a mortgage company at that point — we didn’t go down in flames or anything like that, but I definitely saw the writing on the wall, I saw that the industry was going to change forever and — for the better in a lot of ways, but not for the better in terms of prosperity for those that are in it and — just a lot of regulation and red tape and limitations on what you can make. So I said screw it lets change the heading of the ship and go full time in the real estate investment side of the business. That was about 2008. I had been doing a house for two at a time from about 2003 on , but most of it was stuff that I bought, lived in, fixed up, turned around and sold and took some tax free money off the table. But then in 2008 is when I really went [00:04:20.23 – inaudible] into continuing to do that strategy but also adding to it a fair bit of — a lot of volume on the investment side, fix and flips mainly.
David: Ok, cool. Why did you get into real estate? Was it because the mortgage industry was taking a turn?
Tucker: Yeah I mean I always loved real estate. It was what I always wanted to do, but when I got into the mortgage game out of college I was making so much money it was hard to — it was like golden handcuffs except my own business. It is hard to abandon ship when you are making that much money as a mid-20 year old. You just don’t — you don’t want to say, screw it I will do something else — you kind of slowly work your way towards doing that other thing and — that day came in 2007 which is the point it could make sense for me to say, you know what? Now is the time to pivot a little bit.
David: Sweet, so wherever you pivoted — and you went from doing the mortgage industry and started doing real estate investing — full time, what were you doing mostly? Were you wholesaling, were you flipping, rentals, what was your model at that point in time?
Tucker: Up until that point, I had done a lot of rentals and live in rehabs. Looking back I probably wouldn’t have done as many rentals.
David: Those are fun, to live in rehabs.
Tucker: Well rehabs — improve them over time, live in them — it’s a great way — living in and especially if you got a wife or kids, forget about it, give me a gun I will put it in my mouth but — if you — buy a house, renovate it, live in it for a couple of years, turn it and sell it is a great way to make tax free money. But I had done some rentals and then at that point in 2008 I moved forward into mainly fix and flip. We couldn’t do a whole lot of wholesaling because it was still that point in the market where everybody was afraid of real estate — and so if you were wholesaling you were really giving away a lot more than you give away today because everyone wants a deal today. Back in 2008/2009 everybody was scared of even a great deal. So it basically forced us to take down most of our deals, renovate them — fix them up ourselves and put them back on the retail market and — end of the day I am glad that we did, we were making great spreads for doing — really not that much work in hindsight. But that is where we were at in the market at the time.
Mike: That’s pretty awesome, so I think you can take away from that — so the market is pretty hot right now, especially over where you’re at in Portland. So — wholesalers are able to make I think — probably a better spread. You think that is true or false with the current market?
Tucker: True and false, it’s true in the sense that if you are good and you get a great discount — it is easy to sell that deal. People are paying almost too much a lot of the times for that deal to rehab it. You are basically selling the dream and everybody wants to buy the dream in an upmarket. A down market if you are selling the dream, there aren’t very many buyers for the dream, that’s just kind of the way it works. So right now, if you get a great deal, you can make a great spread as a wholesaler. But you can make even more as a retailer. And that’s why now we do very little wholesaling or we have over the past year because we have enough capital of our own to put to work so if we get a great buy, at the minimum we will wholetail it, which means we close on it, clean it out — maybe we just do a few little things and we put it on the MLS and we let it get — we sell it for the most money possible, as opposed to just taking a quick or smaller profit and selling it to a buyer that we know personally. So that is at a minimum we do that, then most of the time we will buy it, we will fix it, we will sell it. Or we will buy it, tear it down, build new and sell it.
Mike: Awesome, so that is actually something I really want to just re-touch on here. Wholesaling is a great way to get started, and especially for those that don’t have a lot of money or don’t have any money. There are lots of ways to go out and source deals, via Craigslist, via Zillo — so on and so forth, bandit signs that you don’t need a lot of money. But once you start to build your business, like Tucker said, you can turn those 5 or 10k deals into 15, 20 thousand plus deals by taking those deals and actually closing on them, then putting them on the market, simple clean outs, maybe even going into rehabs, but often times you can simply clean them out, maybe new paint, carpet, put them on the market, sell them to retail buyer, then your profits double, quadruple — so on and so forth. Speaking of ways to get leads, you have an app — we just did a podcast on this a couple of weeks ago called Driving for Dollars, you are the founder, creator and owner of Driving for Dollars app, is that right?
Tucker: It is, slick name right?
David: Awesome. So tell us a little bit about the app if you don’t mind.
Tucker: Sure, so — one of the big things that we do in my business is driving for dollars, we built a list, tons of lists, thousands and thousands of potential leads on our driving for dollars list and we build them for specific parts of town we really want to consider our primaries with our marketing, and so — as you can imagine you build massive driving for dollars lists like that, it becomes a huge pain in the ass without any kind of technology to help you along the way, you are driving around, you are trying to write the addresses down. Once you get through all that, you bring it back to the office, you either have to hire somebody to look all that stuff up, whether it be a V.A or local person or do it yourself. Most of the time any number of those barriers prevent people from doing it consistently or on any sort of a large scale. The irony is that the list you build is a great asset to your business because you have seen all these properties and you know that they need to sell to an investor at some point, right? So those are your best quality leads, but they are the biggest pain in the ass to take those leads and put them in a list and be able to then extract the data that you need in order to market to them. So what we did is we said that, that is a major inefficiency in our business, how can we fix this and — as we talked about in the pre roll, it’s been a three year tour to try and fix it, but we have now fixed it and created an app that essentially does all of the heavy lifting for you, so you still have to drive around and put your eyes on property, which is important because you need to know your areas and you need to get good at identifying what it is as investors should be buying. But, whatever that is, you have an overhead view on your phone, like a GOOGLE earth type view — and you can basically just touch each house that you see — it follows you around wherever you are driving. You just touch the house, it adds it to the list, and you run the list and it pulls all the owner information and mailing address for you, puts it in a mail merge ready CSV file and you can hit go as soon as you get back to the office, get the marketing cranked out the door so — it eliminates a major inefficiency in the business and speeds up your ability to market driving for dollars lists by an insane amount of time.
Mike: Absolutely awesome, as Tucker mention in the pre roll — spoken really highly of it when it first came out, I was super excited. Then like you said he had a three year labour of love to get it really up and cranking for us now. If you haven’t checked it out, now is the time. I am super excited to start using it again in our business.
Tucker: Yeah, it’s been great. Since we re-launched it on Friday we have used it ourselves to build out parts of town that just — we just ever got to, to do it. Now we can do it for ourselves as well, so it is a good app we built, a little self-serving on our own business, but now it’s available for everyone else to use as well.
Mike: Awesome, where can the listeners find that, the apple store?
Tucker: Yeah, the apple store, it will be in GOOGLE place store in about a week for the android version, but the iPhone version is available now, just go to iTunes and search Driving for Dollars app — we made it so simply named that it is hard not to find it.
David: Great name Tucker that is awesome. I have it on my phone and like Mike said, I used it a couple of times — now that you got all the bells and whistles all lined up — got all the kinks worked out, I’m excited to get using it again to, it’s a great resource, I am out looking at properties all day long, two to three properties a day I would say on average — I drive by tons of them that I would like to be able to market to, and with this app it will give me the ability to literally create my own list as I am driving around, export it — get exports out to [00:12:31.27 – inaudible] and then just start mailing right to those people, it is actually really awesome. Check out Driving for Dollars app and — Tucker, what would you say — I guess I am asking, what would be one piece of advice that you could give our listeners that kind of resonates with you, and has helped you grow your business?
Tucker: You know the best advice I could give you is learn the direct mail game, or the direct to seller game. There is a lot of different ways to do it, in terms of generating leads, direct seller leads — as you mentioned before — there is a lot of different ways to do. Personally I love direct mail, the reason why is because it is the most targeted way you can do it in terms of type of property and part of town. So if you get good at marketing to sellers — you write your own pay check, that’s really the way this business works. Those people that do that, they are basically the inventory providers for the world. Whether it be their own business or for other investors that feed off their inventory for their marketing efforts. They control the flow of inventory; they control their own pay check. So I think that’s the skillset that really you need to have first and foremost. There is a lot of others that you need to learn along the way as well. But if you can learn how to generate leads and — consistently purchase properties directly from sellers at good prices — you will have — it’s very easy to become financially free put it that way.
David: Awesome. Very good piece of advice guys. We definitely talked about that in the first couple of episodes of our podcast, how to start doing your direct mail — bandit signs are a great way as well and of course now we have the Driving for Dollars app. Check the app out, but I agree with Tucker 100%, learn how to market directly to the seller. You won’t have a problem making money in this business.
Tucker: Yeah, it’s just a skill set — just so much to learn right, when you guys got into real estate, me to, there is so many ways you can go — shiny ball syndrome right, it draws your attention here, it draws your attention there. But really the focal point should be learning how to make the phone ring. Once you can do that, the rest will figure itself out.
David: I agree completely.
Mike: I couldn’t have said it better, got to make your phone ring, then answer it. The name of this game I think.
Tucker: A lot of realtors don’t know that either. I often joke about wanting to be a realtor I could probably kill it beyond anybody in our town because — most of them don’t have a clue about how to make the phone ring right. We could take our skill set and run it over into that world as well. But it’s a skill set that not a lot of people have, that’s my point.
David: Absolutely, well that is one of our missions to help people learn how to start investing in real estate, how to market direct to the sellers — so — absolutely, couldn’t agree more. Tucker, we do appreciate your time today, thanks for coming on the show. We do want to encourage all of our listeners, check it out, Driving for Dollars app — check out Tuckers show the Real Deals podcast and of course check out Discount property investors if you are looking for deals in the St Louis area, subscribe to our emails and check out the deals that we have on our site currently. Of course as always guys, we put together a really awesome course to get you started doing wholesale deals today freewholesalecourse.com, check it out, absolutely free — and tons of video and content on there that we want to teach you, we want to help you, we want to provide value to help you start making money. As Tucker said, become financially free. So Tucker, anything else you want to add to the listeners?
Tucker: No, I think we covered some great ground but thanks guys for having me on the show; it was a lot of fun.
David: Absolutely, thanks for coming on the show. Mike, do you want to end us out with a quote?
Mike: Absolutely, “work until your idols become your rivals.” I dig it.
David: That’s a good one.
Mike: We’re coming for you Tucker. Thanks for listening.
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