Many investors start out extremely excited about all the opportunity in real estate, imagining the life they can live once they profit off of their new business.
But more often than not, success doesn’t happen as quickly as they thought it would.
They come to believe investing is a year-long slog before the deal-closing and money-earning begins.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, you can sign multiple deals in your first couple of months. Today’s guest Devin Williams has done just that.
In this episode, you’ll find out what made him successful quickly and what you can do to sign multiple deals quickly.
Listen to this episode if you’re an action-taker who wants to close deals ASAP.
Show highlights include:
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Find out more about Devin at: https://vahousebuyers.net
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 AdWords 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, and welcome to this week's REI Marketing Nerds podcast. As always, this is Daniel Barrett, here from AdWordsNerds.com. How are you? I hope you are having an awesome week. This week, we are getting into an interview with Devin Williams. Now, if you haven’t heard of Devin, that's because he is a brand new investor. [0:01:05.4]
I did not know this when I first started talking with him, but he got started with investing in 2019, and the amazing thing about Devin is that he has focused on execution and really getting out there, putting the pedal to the metal, and has closed four deals in his first four months as an investor. He's one of those people that really impresses me with his ability to focus and get things done. He's a really interesting dude. He's been using online marketing to the hilt to really make a change in his business. So, without any further ado, please enjoy this interview with Devin Williams.
Alright. This is Daniel Barrett, and I'm here with Devin Williams. He's a real estate investor in the Roanoke, Virginia market, and you can find him over at VAHouseBuyers.net. Devin, welcome to the REIMarketingNerds podcast.
Devin: Thanks for having me, Dan. I appreciate it. [0:02:00.7]
Dan: Yeah, it is my pleasure, and we will definitely be talking about how we know each other and got into the all this in a little bit, but I always like to kind of take a step back and get a little bit of context for you. So why don’t we start with the old chestnut. How did you get involved in real estate investing, like what was your introduction to this weird world we are both a part of?
Devin: I initially, I mean, my mother owned duplexes when I was growing up and my first actual experience on my own was taking my primary residence when I moved away from Roanoke and wringing that out, but I started reading and seeing online about the wholesaling, and I needed to do something that I could make money without a lot of money to start, and about the beginning of 2019, I took an online course and that kind of got me started.
Dan: Well, so, I didn't realize this was so recent. You got started this year, in 2019?
Devin: 2019, January - I just made up in my mind that I was going to get on it. I took, actually where I learned about you from Matt Terrio. I took one of his courses, the free online course, and so that's what got me started. [0:03:14.4]
Dan: That's awesome. And I do, I love Matt. I think he is an excellent teacher, very, very good at what he does. What was your experience, kind of jumping in via the kind of online course world? Because I think there are a lot of online courses for investing. I think a lot of people take them, but I think most people either don’t finish or don’t actually implement what they learn. Right? I think the success rate on any online course tends to be pretty low because of that. So what was your experience, kind of going into this in that kind of online space?
Devin: Yeah, man. I agree. Initially, I think how many options you have to choose from on which course to take is the first thing that probably will take you by, you know, overwhelm you, listening to this person and that person and finally trying to figure out which one to take was my biggest struggle starting out. [0:04:07.2]
But I think, I think it just depends on what you want to do. I mean, I didn't expect it to you know, some people, may expect for it happen overnight and I knew it wouldn’t, or I figured that it wouldn’t, and I'm just very dedicated on making changes in my life. I'm tired of working. I mean, I work - I have a great job, but I wanted to sort of take control of my own finances and you know, I was very determined to do so.
Dan: So why don’t you tell people a little bit about, like what is your model right now? Are you wholesaling? You flipping? Lease options? Like what is your investing business look like today?
Devin: Okay. I mean, again, I started with just my, the money coming in from my job, so I didn't have a lot of money to purchase homes. So, initially, it's all wholesale, building capital. In doing that, I have gotten several good money partners on board within the past couple of months because of the deals I have been putting out. [0:05:00.1]
So it is growing and I had my first one, which I found through Google Ads, as an under 12,000 bucks, I found it. It's probably worth about 50, needs about probably 15 to bring it, but I'm going to keep that, and I'm going to rent it. So I'm actually moving over, you know, I've built enough capital now where I can sort of buy some things and hold on to them, but for the most part, I've been wholesaling.
Dan: Alright. Well, I know you mentioned Google Ads. So the way that we met each other was you came into, I think it was the Search, Click, Convert boot camp that we ran. Is that right?
Dan: Okay. So when did you decide that you wanted to do online marketing as one of your marketing channels? Because that's pretty early for you. Like, was that your first marketing for deals, or were you doing direct mail or how did you start looking for deals?
Devin: Yeah, at first, I mean I started off with, you know, cold calling and bandit signs and you know, again, I work a full-time job and during this time, we had lost some people to retirement, and I'm working 12, 16 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. And you know, I started back at Matt. [0:06:06.3]
It's like either you're going to pay for your leads either with sweat equity, getting out hustling, hitting the streets, calling people, doing those types of things or you're going to pay cash, you're going to pay money for it. I wasn’t finding any success in and I didn't have the time, really, is what I was finding. I was exhausted and trying to squeeze in an hour or two here and there, and it just wasn’t working. So, I guess, in April maybe, I decided. March or April, I decided that I was going to have to just money. I was just going to have to, you know, put the money up and try to get leads that way. And I mean, it's the best decision I've made, you know, because I just didn't have the time. So that was a pretty choice for me - either I was not going to be successful or I was going to, you know, go ahead and invest in the future of what I wanted to do. So.
Dan: What made you jump to online versus any other kind of marketing channel? Is that something like you have background in or was it just something that you saw some opportunity in? [0:07:01.5]
Devin: No. I had no background at all, man. I'm telling you, I was listening to Matt Terrio's podcast. You were on there, and you know, I looked at it and I said, well, let me give this a shot. I was looking, I tell you, I was trigger shy. I didn't pull the trigger for a while. You know, I think I didn't even get in, I don’t think I got in on the live version of that boot camp. I think you had actually already did the live version and I came in afterward, but I mean, it was just, you know, of course I'm nervous. It was a financial, you know, I was putting up some money and I was a little nervous and unsure if it would work, but eventually, it's kind of like, you know, I'm either going to do this and see if it works and if it doesn’t - okay - but if it does, then what do I have got to lose really besides a little bit of money?
Dan: Yeah. So what was the experience like? Because you know, and you can be honest. It's just us here; no one can hear us talking.
Devin: Right. Right. You lie! I enjoyed it really, man, and I learned so much. I actually think that I learned enough where I can take this and then do it for a friend. I'm actually, you know, like man, let me help you do this. We can set it up. I mean, of course, in different arenas. [0:08:01.6]
I wouldn’t bring anybody in doing real estate. But like I have friends that do construction and things like that and clean up for homes. Just learning, I mean, you take the time. You make sure that we get it. You provide the information afterwards that I can go back to and look over again. And even though it was only, what, three days, you know, some of the things you go over, like I'm just going back over the, what's it called, the long term, after 90 days when we go back in and look at it and try to optimize more?
Devin: So.. so, I mean, you set it up for success if you just do it. You know, and I noticed that, I mean, like you mentioned as far as online courses, there were some where you were offering a prize for this or that and they still hadn’t set up, set up, you know, hadn’t set their campaigns up yet. So, I mean, I jumped in. And I set it up. Like you went over day one stuff; I set it up. We went over day two stuff, and you know, and I did, went through those steps and set up the Facebook campaign as well. So, I mean, I just did what you told me to do, and you know, I'm finding that it works very well, and I'm averaging about two to three leads a week in a small market. I'm only spending 50… I think I'm at $56 a day. Rarely need that. Sometimes, like today, yesterday for some reason, I went to 112, but it was… I should ask about that, but, you know, things like that, but and I'm getting two to three a week, very strong leads and right now, of those leads that are filling out their information, right around 20% of them, I'm getting under contract. [0:09:23.6]
Dan: Wow, that's awesome. So, let's talk about the results. I know you've put some deals under contract. What were the results that you've gotten from that so far, in terms of like actually impacting ROI and revenue for your business?
Devin: Oh, awesome. I'm closing on three this month. July is an awesome month for me. Now, it's just trying to build that consistency and you know, moving back here, sort of moving back to Roanoke, because, I was, like I said, I was in Richmond and I'm moving back. So I think I've been a little timid and not really attacking like I was when I knew I had that job behind me, sort of a, you know, a safety net.
Dan: Yeah. [0:09:59.1]
Devin: So, but I've gotten back on it. My girlfriend, actually, is the one that pointed that out to me, like just do it. And I've been doing it and I'm back on the ball. I'm actually sitting, waiting to go into a meeting with an investor as soon as I finish this. So things have been looking up. I mean, my company went from, I had one deal, one deal in my first six months that I actually closed on; that was in April, and like I said, I'm closing three in July.
Dan: That's super awesome, dude. I'm very happy for you.
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Dan: Look - you said it - I think the key there is just executing. [0:11:03.5]
I mean, I think that a lot of the people that come through the boot camp, you know, we have a lot of people come through and get deals, but I think you really focused on. You did everything right away, and that's a huge piece of it. Right? Because you know, there are a million and one places to get information. Very few people actually put it in practice, and I think you see that, with you even taking free Matt Terrio course and like, just doing it. You know what I mean? Like, just …
Dan: … getting out there and putting the pedal to the metal. So I think you deserve a ton of credit for that.
Devin: I appreciate it, man.
Dan: Yeah. It's really, really cool. So what would you say to somebody, you know, not necessarily, I mean, we don’t have to make this about working with me. There's a lot of ways for investors to get involved in online marketing. What would you say to an investor who's like kind of where you were, on the fence, you know, maybe they're not sure they want to spend on leads or they're not sure they're like super technically savvy. Like, what advice would you give to people in that situation? [0:12:05.0]
Devin: I mean, I think anybody can do it. I mean, the way you set it up, it's very easy. And like you said, not just about you, but if you are taking a course where, you know, somebody who has some experience and knows what they're talking about and can explain it well, the set up part isn't, I mean, I've just, I wouldn’t stay I'm great on computers. I mean, I'm functional. I'd say I'm a moderate, you know, as far as computer skills - no type of programming or anything like that, and I didn't need that.
Devin: But if you're on the fence, I mean, I think … I mean, my first thing would be - you do have to be able to afford it because it does cost, I mean, I think you recommend being able to spend $50 a day. So you figure that to be $1500 a month. So if.. you have to be in a position where you can afford to do that and not eating peanut butter crackers and if you don’t get a deal, then you've, you know, crushed your company. You have to be able to put that money out and be okay putting it out and if it doesn’t, you don’t get that deal right away, you're still fine and able to continue. But other than that, I mean, it's just, what do you want to do? I mean, I got tired of the phone, I mean the phone calls to cold calling. It will wear you down. [0:13:05.8]
And you have to be tough on that one, and I guess that's something that I probably would have gotten more tougher at, but it really, it can be, it can be not heartbreaking, I guess I'd call it, but you just get frustrated dealing with people that really don’t want to talk to you to begin with. The thing that I love about this digital marketing is - these people want to talk to you. They're reaching out to me, and I think that's why it's such a strong lead because they've actually taken the time to fill out the questionnaire and click you on Goggle and they're searching. They need you. So it's made it a lot easier and I'm dealing with people who actually want to be, you know, want to be dealt with. They're reaching out and they need a hand, for whatever reason. So, the lead I found is so much stronger than, you know, my direct mail, where you're just sort of throwing them all out there and hoping to hit somebody, and I've also had some success with that. I just started that about three weeks ago, so I'm finding some success with it - don’t get me wrong - but I just think that, you know, the quality of lead is so much better. [0:14:01.4]
Dan: That's awesome. Yeah, I think, you know, I think a lot of people expect me to be like anti-direct mail or something like that, but I'm not, man. I think direct mail has worked for investors for decades for a reason. Right? I think, you know, I'm a huge proponent of and have talked on this podcast about this kind of Parthenon idea where you have multiple marketing channels going all at once, and I think that that's ultimately the most powerful thing you can do. So, I mean, I think that's awesome. You know, something that kind of jumped out at me when you were talking is that your close rate is actually very, very good. You said you're closing about 20% of your leads. That's great. Even for online leads, I think the average nationally is closer to 10%, something like that. So, give me a sense of how do you follow up with leads, and do you think there's anything special or maybe impactful about the way that you approach your leads or talk to them that helps you close them into deals? [0:15:03.8]
Devin: Well, I mean - #1 is I don’t care if.. if I'm awake and it goes off at 2 o'clock in the morning, I'm calling them back, or I'm reaching out with a text or I'm doing something at 2 in the morning because what I have found is if I get a conversion and it, you know, I get the little message once they, you know, they enter the information and then I wait until morning, or I wait until whenever, these people are online looking. So if you don’t reach out to them and they're, you know, this is a right now culture. I mean, we do everything online. We want it instantaneously. So I've found that even waiting a couple of hours during the daytime can cost you. You'll never hear from them. They won't answer calls. They won't answer texts back. So that's the first thing is I'm immediate. I mean, if I get it, I'm calling, I'm texting, I'm trying to figure out what's going on immediately. And then after that, I think just, you know, I have some, I do well on the phone with people. Like, I am not really an ongoing person, but when I'm on the phone, I've had some public speaking stuff and I've done things like that, so I think that I'm, I feel confident that I'm going to close the deal once I get them on the phone. [0:16:05.2]
That's just the way I feel, personally. I don’t have any question about it. It's like if you wanted to sell your house, I'm going to be the one to buy it. And I think maybe that comes out.
Devin: I don't know. I just, I don’t have any.. I mean, yeah, and I think it's because of the strength of, I mean, again, it's because they're reaching out to me. So they want my help. So that's the way I go into the call, is thinking that these people need my help. They're reaching out to me, so there's no reason for me to go in and hem and haw, and also again, taking other courses. Matt Terio's course has a million different things and it shows, you know, how to approach sellers and things that I need to ask. I follow scripts that I've gotten from those sites, but I'm not trying to just plug Matt, but that's the only thing I have to go by because that's who I used, so.
Dan: Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And to anybody listening to this, like we, there's no like affiliate thing with Matt or whatever. We're talking about Matt because he helped you. You know, I have experience with him and he was, is just very well regarded, super smart dude. So, yeah, it's, we're not plugging or that kind of site. We're just … [0:17:03.7]
Devin: Yeah. It's my reality. That's my truth. That's the only thing that I can tell you is what I… I mean, I can just say I got them online, but that's what I did - I got, you know, scripts that I, certain questions that I ask, you know. Being upfront with them right away, I found that that helps. Giving them the option to say no. It's like, listen, if at any time, you feel this isn't going to work, you let me know, and I'll give you the same respect. And that way, that sort of gives them where they don’t have to say yeah, yeah, yeah and they're not, you know, because they feel obligation.
Dan: That's a big thing. I think there's a lot of anxiety that people have about getting on the phone with an investor because they feel like you're going to be in that situation like when you, you know, you sign up for the free vacation and you've got to sit in the time share presentation or something, and they feel like they're not going to be able to get out of that situation. So you giving them, hey, here's the easy way to get out of here - that gives them that sense of control back, and ironically, makes them more open to what you have to say. I think that's great. [0:18:01.0]
Devin: Absolutely. I agree.
Dan: You know what? Something you said kind of struck me. You said you, you're not a very outgoing person. I was actually thinking, while we were doing this podcast, that you have a really good speaking voice. You've got kind of like a powerful tone to you. You know, you speak in kind of like a very measured kind of way. So did you not use to be that way? You mentioned doing like public speaking or something. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Devin: Well, I was actually, in my area, I went through a program at the local Goodwill to sort of get me, you know.. I had some rough times coming up and I went through one of their programs, received some training through them, and sort of got back on the right path that I needed to be on. And in doing that, you know, won an award. They flew me and my then wife out to Austin, Texas, and I spoke in front of a large group of people and…
Devin: … and I would have occasional speaking, you know, things for breakfasts and you know, dinners or whatever, but I sort of had to get over that whole nervousness. [0:19:01.5]
And it got easier the more that I did it. I would just get up and speak. I mean, I guess that's, that's, I don't know but I've never taken a, I mean, I never - what did I take instead of public speaking in college? I never even actually took it. I never took it. I figured some way to take another class that wasn’t public speaking. So even with my degree, I never, I never took the public speaking class. So.
Dan: Well, yeah, I mean, I never did either, but I wish I had. I think it's such a valuable skill, and it's so undertaught. You know what I mean? It's really very powerful. You know, it's funny - you know, you mentioned kind of like speaking in front of people and kind of like you know some anxiety about that, and it just made me think like, wow, that must have made the cold calling like even more painful than normal. Because cold calling is pretty painful by default.
Devin: Absolutely. It is. It's just, I mean, you make 10 phone calls and you may actually get to speak, I mean, half of the people aren't going to call because they're checking caller id, they don’t know the number. [0:20:00.3]
The other, you're going to just be like, you're going to get cussed out on one of those 10 for sure, and then, you know, you may have, you know, a small conversation with, you know, one or two of them. But I tried it again. I went a lot of routes, but you know, especially if you're doing the preforeclosures, I guess they're probably receiving calls from everybody because everybody has the same lists. So I mean, I just found that, yeah, cold calling just really wasn’t for me. And when I do get to the point where we're doing that, I mean, I think that we'll grow and we'll have somebody, but it'll be paid. I will definitely pay somebody to do that. That's not something that I enjoy doing nor do I care to do it.
Dan: : No.
Devin: But I think it, it has its place, I guess.
Dan: Well, for sure. And I actually, you know, not to misconstrue it - I think it can be very effective as a marketing channel, but you couldn’t pay me enough money to make me cold call. You know what I mean? Like, you'd have to pay me a million dollars an hour.
Dan: To make me do it. But there are some people that love it. There are some people that love it. So, you know, it's like anything else - you got to know your strengths. Well, hey - so what are your goals for the business? [0:21:03.6]
I mean, I think it's, it's amazing to me because you're so new to this. You've made so much progress. You clearly have a knack for it. So what's your kind of end goal? Like where do you want to take this? Where do you see yourself in a year or five years? What do you want to do with this investing business?
Devin: Well, I've set goals. I mean, initial goal is to buy $1,000,000 worth of property, and that's not, I mean that's, you know, ten $100,000 properties buying it, and then of course, the next is to actually own that property, own the million. But, I mean, now once I close, it's going to give me, like I said, I only had the one deal. So I'm still working off pretty much my money. So when I close these three in July, then the company will actually have some profit and then one thing I will do is come back to you guys, not to plug you or anything else, but I need to tighten up my SEO. I want my organic traffic to increase. So that's my next goal is to - and I did look through some of the - and that actually is not going to be for me. [0:22:01.9]
Like I would rather pay to have that done than to actually go through and do it myself. So that's going to be something that I'm willing to pay to have done, and just expand markets. You know, I'm right here in Roanoke and I already have everything set up for Richmond. I've actually been talking to a guy who wants to get in. I've been trying to figure out how to bring him in after I put in all the work and initial money and sort of make it fair for everybody involved, but he's there and he's interested in getting those leads. So, you know, that's it. I've got Charlottesville here where UVA is and you know, so those are probably my, you know, within the next year or so, when I, you know, close on more deals and I am able to expand and do more of the digital marketing in those markets.
Dan: Awesome. Yeah, man. Well, I think SEO is huge. That's such a big kind of force multiplier for anybody that's already doing deals, so we could definitely help you with that. But you know, the other cool thing is that because you've gone through the Search, Click, Convert boot camp, you could take that skill set and apply it to any market that you want, and you don’t have to come back to us. [0:23:05.9]
You don’t have to pay someone to do that unless you want to. So I think that's really, really powerful. Well, hey man - this has been fascinating and I think you are going to be a real inspiration to everybody that's kind of like, they want to get started investing, they're kind of like timidly tapping their foot on the gas pedal, you know, like not really sure they want to commit to it. So I think you're a big inspiration to those folks. If people want to find out more about you or they want to see what your investing business is doing, where can they find you online?
Devin: I'm on Facebook; My name is Devin Williams; that's my personal. But I do have one for VAHouseBuyers.net, and I have a page for that - VAHouseBuyers.net is my website where they can also find me. And I usually will put a couple of posts out and report the properties that I have under contract for sale for all those investors out there that may be looking for something in Virginia.
Devin: But, yeah - that's where to find me, and there's a way to contact; all my contact information is there. So if you reach out, I'll definitely - I'm very responsive and I get back with you quickly. So. [0:24:05.7]
Dan: Alright. Awesome. So yeah. So, if you're looking for Devin on Facebook, that's Devin Williams, and Devin, correct me if I'm wrong, it's spelled D-e-v-i-n - Right?
Dan: And then, definitely look at Devin's website at VAHouseBuyers.net. Devin Williams - thank you so much for coming on the show, man. This was great, and I really, really appreciate it, and I wish you all the luck in the world.
Devin: Thanks a lot, Dan. I really appreciate you having me, bud.
Dan: Yeah. Cheers, man.
That's it for my interview with Devin Williams. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Man - what an interesting dude, and I am just so happy to have been a part of his journey. It's always really gratifying when I hear people coming through one of our coaching programs and having success. And if you are at all curious about what we have got, we have got done for you services and coaching services going full speed ahead. You can find out more about us at AdWordsNerds.com. And you can find show notes for this episode, if you click on the podcast link there. You can find this episode and find the links to Devin's website and more. I hope you're having an awesome rest of your week, and I will be talking to you soon. This is Dan Barrett, signing off.
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