As a real estate investor, you might feel like you follow a predefined path: Generate leads, close your first deals. As soon as leads flow consistently, you hire a team. Your business mushrooms and your team handles enough work for you to retreat from the day-to-day to watch the money pour in with minimal work.
But what if you don’t want that? Maybe you like the day-to-day of investing. Maybe you want to personally see every house you buy. Or maybe you don’t want to deal with a bloated corporation.
Fortunately, you don’t have to follow this beaten path. In this episode, you’ll hear how you can build your own path to investing success without mimicking others.
Show highlights include:
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You're listening to the REI Marketing Nerds podcast, the leading resource for real estate investors who want to dominate their market online. Dan Barrett is the founder of Ad Words Nerds, a high tech digital agency focusing exclusively on helping real estate investors like you get more leads and deals online, outsmart your competition and live a freer, more awesome life. And now, your host, Dan Barrett.
Dan: Alright everybody, welcome to this week's REI Marketing Nerds podcast. As always this is Daniel Barrett here from AdwordsNerds.com. How are you, wonderful people? I feel like I just went into my radio voice. It is a delightfully warm here in Connecticut which means it's 50 degrees. [0:01:02.2] Thinking about going to the beach later, who knows. This week I'm very happy to have you with me. This week I'm talking to Todd Stelnick. This is a really, really fascinating conversation. First of all, Todd is out in LA, one of the most competitive markets in the United States, a market that is very, very difficult to make headway in and not only is he doing a lot of deals, he closed about 54 deals this year, just had his best month ever in January so he's doing very, very well. He came out of nowhere. He jumped into real estate investing from a completely different industry and just knocked it out of the park from the very beginning. He has a very specific kind of way that he approaches investing that I think anybody can take apply to their investing business right away. He is a fascinating guy and you could really learn a lot from this conversation. [0:02:02.8] So without further ado, I'm going to kick it over and talk to Todd Stelnick from WeBuyHousesLosAngeles.com How is that for a URL? WeBuyHousesLosAngeles.com I'm going to kick over right now to my conversation with Todd Stelnick.
Dan: I'm here with Todd Stelnick. Todd, how are you, man?
Todd: Good, how are you doing, Dan?
Dan: I'm doing pretty good, man. It's a pretty chill Friday here. I got to go to the gym with my wife which was pretty fun. My wife is a pretty avid gym goer so I'm feeling a little sore but otherwise pretty awesome. What about yourself?
Todd: Not too bad, just another day with all my teeth and all my hair.
Dan: That's nice. It's nice to have hair, Todd. I notice that you just shoved that right in my face right away. [0:03:01.8]
Todd: I just realized I said that. It just rolled right off my tongue right there. That was funny. Yeah, it's just been a great day. I had a couple good buy calls this morning and dropped my kids off at school before that... so things are rocking and rolling for today.
Dan: That's awesome, man. For people who don't know, you are investing. You are out in Los Angeles, in fact, we were just talking about this, your domain name is WeBuyHousesLosAngeles.com which is pretty awesome. I know people are going to want to know this because I know a lot of investors – they go out and they're first starting up their website or whatever and they want a certain domain name and they can't get it, right? Everybody wants JackBuysHouses or WeBuyHouse whatever their city name so can you tell me a little bit about how you ended up with the domain name WeBuyHousesLosAngeles.com because that's pretty awesome. I'm assuming you weren't the original owner, right? [0:04:00.4]
Todd: Right, so I bought it off of somebody off of GoDaddy.com actually that basically buys a lot of different types of WeBuyHouses investing domain name websites and so that is how I came across WeBuyHousesLosAngeles.com website. And how I got to this point is you know how you always see those yellow signs and white signs on every lamppost and flag pole on the streets that says "We Buy Houses".
Dan: Mhh hhm.
Todd: One of my colleagues one day has a WeBuyHouse in their city website so he says to me when I was talking to him about what is a good name. He says get WeBuyHouseLosAngeles website because all of those signs that are on those flagpoles are doing free advertising for myself because somebody goes by that lamppost or flagpole sees the WeBuyHouse sign doesn't get the phone number but types WeBuyHouses in the website on Google and then my site pops up. [0:05:04.5]
Todd: So that's how I got the conclusion of coming up with that name.
Dan: That is awesome.
Todd: Which is pretty neat. That's the whole story the WeBuyHouses. I got people doing free advertising for me without even thinking about it, you know?
Dan: No, I think that's absolutely huge because I think that there is not a lot of organic search a lot of the time for investor kind of searches. WeBuyHouse is one of the biggest ones for that reason specifically. So that's pretty awesome. When you were looking on GoDaddy or whatever did it just pop up as a suggestion? Did you know that it was taken and try to hunt down the person that bought it? Like how did you get in touch with them?
Todd: It says on GoDaddy that it was owned by some guy and he was willing to sell it at premium price. So I ended up buying that domain name at a big premium price but it's well worth it. [0:06:04.8] That's kind of what happened.
Dan: Yeah, I mean I think that kind of thing is more and more common now. I think for most of the domain registrars that you use out there; they kind of have a premium section which just means somebody bought for $7 and wants to sell it to you for $10,000 or whatever it is. I did a similar thing. Last year, I bought MotivatedSellerLeads.com and it was kind of the same thing where I just went to look to see if it was taken, it was. There was a premium version and the company did that; they were like, "Hey we'll even put you on a payment plan." So it was like 50 bucks a month for however long it was. For me at the moment, it was worth it. I think for people out there that are wanting to buy that sweet, sweet domain name with your city name in it or whatever it is, don't give up if you think it's really worth it to you there are some options out there. [0:07:01.6] So you're out there in Los Angeles, you are an investor. Tell me a little bit about how did you first find out about real estate investing? Was this something that you have been doing forever or is this something that is relatively new for you? Like how did you break into the world of real estate investing?
Todd: So my wife is Steffanie Stelnick, law office of Steffanie Stelnick, she is a real estate attorney here in Los Angeles. So it actually started off with her, she owns her own business, her own company. She started acquire and get clients that are in this space. So as she was getting clients and after cases would be settled and done then she would talk with me like this case was awesome, they evicted this guy, bought this house cheap, they flipped it, they sold it, made a 100 grand so I started getting intrigued by all these stories that she was sharing with me after she closed their case and I had to jump right into it. [0:08:09.2] I told my wife, I got to try this out. I got to do it. So I literally without any hesitation got my site, got things going, started doing direct mail like everybody else did, and then also moved to the internet space. I started getting leads just like everybody else. As soon as I started getting leads then I started to buy houses. She set me up with my own LLC. She set me up with my purchase contracts, my assignment contracts, I could start wholesaling houses before I could troop up some money so I can start put in some money to actually flip houses and so I was wholesaling houses for maybe a good 10 months maybe a year before I started to flip houses, and buying house to rent and the whole nine yards. So I just blew up instantly. [0:09:02.0] Last year I did 54 deals which is pretty big I think in the Los Angeles area because my competition is really high up there. The prices for these houses are outrageous. We're not talking about $15,000, $20,000 purchases; we're talking about an average purchase around 300-350, okay? I can't flip everything so that's why I still wholesale houses to other investors that can buy homes. That's kind of how it started in a nutshell, it was through her, just hearing some stories and I just fell in love with it. I used to be an insurance broker. I just totally stopped and I couldn't do anything less than real estate. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I love buying homes. I love selling this piece of paper for 25 grand. It was just amazing this ride that I've continued on. Now I'm linked up with Adwords Nerds trying to really to do SEO on my site because I got a great domain name and I believe in it. [0:10:09.1] SEO is a long strategy but eventually it's going to catch fire and I'm going to start getting leads and driving down my marketing costs.
Todd: My marketing cost is $30,000 a month whereas somebody on the East coast may be paying three to five grand a month or something.
Dan: Yeah. Well, yeah, there's a lot to unpack there that I'm really curious about. Like kind of coming back to that beginning, you making the decision and just saying, "I got to jump in and do this." Right? How did you even know how to get started? Do you have any kind of background in real estate? Was purely like your wife was giving you the background? Did you go with a coach? Like how did you even figure out how this stuff works?
Todd: So basically one of her investors took me under their wing and kind of helped me out in coaching. [0:11:03.9] It was a guy that I could just go to and say, "Hey I have this deal, what do you think?", just reassuring myself. So I had a little bit of a mentor and he also helped me out in learning how to get other investors so I could wholesale houses too.
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