Wholesaling 101

Okay!  So, you’ve heard us mention it on the podcast and you’ve seen case studies where it was used to create some amazing ROI.  But now I’m going to lay out exactly what wholesaling is and how it can be used to help you and your business.

What is wholesaling?

Just about anytime you purchase anything at a retail store, there was a “wholesaler” involved.  A wholesaler is basically someone who purchases, produces, or “locks” up something at a certain price and then sells them for a higher price (some people call them a “middle man”).  If you’ve ever purchased a used car at a car lot chances are they bought it from someone else at a lower price, and then sold it to you for a profit. The same thing can be done in real estate.

Eddie Wright's, Scunthorpe - geograph.org.uk - 1208217

 

An example of wholesaling

Just like anything else there are many different ways you can go about wholesaling, but at it’s core it is really quite simple.

Basically, you use one of the acquisition strategies we have taught you on the site or podcast (or any other you may know of) to “tie up” a property or put it under contract.  Then, you “sell the rights” to that contract through an “assignment”.

Yes you heard that right! You can “sell the rights to the contract”! You’re not even really selling the house but the rights to take over the terms of your contract! Unless a contract specifically says it is “not assignable” you can assign it.

Who is wholesaling for?

Wholesaling can be incredible for someone who doesn’t have a lot of capital, doesn’t know much about rehabbing, or doesn’t want to take the risk on purchasing and rehabbing a house themselves.

I speak to people on a regular basis who want to get involved in real estate but hesitate because they feel like they need to either be an expert, or raise all the capital first.  Or they might be nervous they might make a mistake during the rehab process which could derail all their efforts!  My advice is always the same: just start wholesaling!  Then the only thing you have to worry about is getting a house under contract.

Wholesaling is a great way to get into this business when first starting out, and it can even be a great business model in it’s own right.  I know many investors who just focus on wholesaling.  It is a great way to eliminate many of the steps or pillars we have already covered.

Imagine how nice it would be if you had a “wholesaling machine” where all you worried about was your acquisitions funnel and having some good, solid buyers.  No need to worry about financing, rehabbing, retail selling, or any of the other things that make up the entire “house flipping machine”.

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What are the skills of a wholesaler?

To be a great wholesaler the most important skill you need to develop is analyzing property value.  Being able to at least “guestimate” repairs, understand the costs involved in a transaction and knowing what the property value will be once repairs are completed (ARV) will allow you to know what to offer so that the rehabber (or retailer) can make a profit on the property, thereby making sure there is enough to get you your assignment fee.

Other skills you need to have are a great mind for marketing and deal prospecting (finding deals).  You should also have some good systems to follow up with potential sellers and be sure to brush up your negotiation skills so you can get a price that everyone will agree on.  (A lot of negotiating is just listening to what the other people is having challenges with and figuring out a solution that allows both of you to come out on top.)

A lot of people worry so much about selling a property that they never get going with marketing or prospecting for deals. They get so stressed out about the last step of the process that they never even get started!

2012 Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix - Womens Race - Starting Line

 

It’s hard to finish the race if you don’t even get started!

A personal challenge!

In fact, just last week I got a question from someone who was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to find someone to take over their contract if they secured a deal.  I assured him that finding someone to buy a contract is rarely the problem and that there were plenty of investors in their area they could work with.

In fact, I even gave him challenge!  I told him that if he could get a property under contract, and the deal was good (meaning, the rehabber will be able to profit from it) I would, personally, get his house sold for him.  And if I can’t, I’ll give them $1,000!  (Click here to see the actual conversation)  Keep in mind that I don’t know anyone who rehabs in their area so I’m essentially starting from scratch with no previous connections!

Why did I do this?

Because whether or not you can sell a deal should NEVER be the reason to stop trying to find them in the first place!  (Click here to tweet this!)

Focus on finding great deals and the rest will fall in to place.  There are so many potential rehab investors to purchase properties that, if you can get a good house under contract you should never need to worry about selling it.

In fact, if you can’t find someone to buy your great deal, just let me know and I’ll see if I can’t help you out!  The key to being a wholesaler isn’t selling your deal — it is in effectively marketing to sellers so that you can find the properties, and then being able to evaluate those properties to make the right offer.

How many buyers do you need?

Some “guru’s” teach you to go out there and develop a huge “buyers list” before you even get a property under contract.  Many “wannabe” wholesalers think they need to have hundreds of people on their “list” before they ever start looking for a deal.  This just isn’t the case!

You are much better off having 3 – 5 people you know who are legitimate rehabbers.  They will be able to handle more deals than you could ever get to them.  And I say “3 – 5 people”, but the reality is that just one good rehabber could potentially buy all of your deals.

In fact, we have a couple wholesalers with whom we purchase just about everything that can give us.  They know we buy all throughout Southern California and if their numbers make sense we will buy just about anything they bring to us.  And since they are good wholesalers, the numbers almost always make sense. 🙂

Southern California

 

Have a deal somewhere on this map? Let me know! 🙂

Some new wholesalers are concerned that an experienced buyer may not take them seriously or want to buy their property.  But I’ll tell you what … if you actually come to them with a property under contract and the numbers are good, they will definitely take you seriously!

Where can I find buyers of properties?

There are many places you can find these retail buyers. At just about any real estate investment club you should be able to find a handful of serious retail buyers at any given time. If you are at a club meeting just ask around who the serious rehabbers are. Often times these meetings will have a “haves and wants” section where you can go up front and let the group know you have a property under contract. Guaranteed you will be approached by a number of investors regarding your property.

Another great place to find buyers would be on forums and or websites such as this one. If you had a solid deal under contract and you mentioned it on the comments section, I’m pretty sure you would get someone who was interested. If it is anywhere in Southern California, you can just e-mail me directly and I’ll be more than happy to take it off of your hands 🙂

Believe it or not, you can even find a lot of buyers at a trustee or sheriff’s sale! These foreclosure auctions are crawling with rehabbers who have cash, and know how to make a quick decision! This method alone would give you more buyers than you could ever want!

If you don’t have any investment club meetings in your area (really?  none?) and you don’t like going to trustee sales (and I can’t think of why you’d feel that way) you can also do a title search for cash buyers in your farm area.  Search the title listings and if you see a cash buyer who has purchased multiple properties in your area, chances are they would be more than happy to purchase yours as well.  You can either contact them through mail or phone (if you have their number).

As you are driving through your farm area you also may see properties which are being “rehabbed”.  If so, pull over!  Find out if the person who purchased the property is an investor looking to purchase more properties and find out how to get in touch with them.

House repairs, Whitefield Rd and Beltring Rd - geograph.org.uk - 1518178

 

Pull over and ask them about the rehab!

Non assignable properties

Usually properties which are either bank owned or short sales will say in the contract that they are “non assignable”.  In this situation there are several things you can do.

1. If you have the capital, purchase the property with cash and then turn around and sell it to the rehabber.  If you have a really good relationship they may even let you use their own capital to fund the transaction.

2. If you don’t have the capital you can find a company that specializes in “transactional funding“.  This means they will lend you the needed capital for a few days jutil you are able to close the deal with your buyer.

3. If you have a “deed restriction” on the property, which doesn’t allow you to sell the property for 30 – 90 days after you purchase it, then you really need to have a good relationship with your seller, since you will be the one on the title during this period of time.

4. Or, you could work with someone who might let you make offers in their name.  They might even pay you a fee every time you get a deal or perhaps a percentage of the profit that comes from the deal.

How to get paid?

Wholesalers can get paid in a number of different ways.  Typically their fee is paid when you close on the purchase of their property.  However you might be able to work something out where you get a percentage of the overall profit from the eventual sale.

We recently closed on a deal where the fee would have made the numbers too tight to go forward.  So, instead we offered to pay the wholesalers a percentage of our overall profit, which they accepted.  During the time of the rehab the market actually went up and we made more than originally anticipated so our wholesaler also ended up making much more than they would have if we had paid them their fee up front!  We were happy and they were definitely happy!

Worn ATM

 

How do you get your money out of a deal?

If you can prove that you really know your numbers, you might even be able to find a rehabber who will help pay for some or all of your marketing.  They will just need to know that they are your “built-in buyer” and all your deals will head their direction.  I have done this for people in the past who really knew their stuff.  Talk about being able to make money with literally no money of your own! 🙂

Just two days ago I met with one of my favorite wholesalers (he even thinks I should name my company after him) to see how we can take our business relationship to another level.   Currently we share marketing costs and he puts deals under contract with us as the buyer.  We get the financing, do the rehab and sell the property.  He ends up with a percentage of the net profit on the deal.

To take things to the next level we discussed the possibility of having my company pay for almost all of the marketing costs, him hiring an assistant to help with all of the “mundane tasks” and giving him an up front fee along with a (smaller) percentage on the back end.

Why would I do something like this?

Well, first, he is really good at marketing and locking up properties (much better than I am, actually) and we have a proven track record of doing business together.  Since I know he is great to work with, if I can take away any concerns he might have about up-front marketing expenses or letting him get his fee earlier in the deal’s life cycle, then we might be able to double, triple, quadruple (or more!) the amount of houses we can purchase from him.  This helps my business grow and means that, since his up-front costs and initial investment are basically zero, he never has to worry about his return on investment.  Talk about a huge win-win!

Okay, so I got a little excited and carried away there.  The point is, I’m trying to show that there are a lot of different ways you can do this business, and if you can become good at buying houses, then a whole world of opportunities will open up for you!

Wholesaling as a backup plan for rehabbers

Even if you want to rehab properties but don’t know where to get the capital you need, this shouldn’t stop you from at least marketing to get the deals in the first place!  It is much easier to raise capital for your rehab deal when you actually have a specific, profitable deal to show people.  And, if for some reason, you can’t fund the rehab, you can always wholesale the property as a last resort.

I know a lot of investors who have been doing this business for a long time.  While their first goal might be to rehab the house, if it turns out they have too many deals going on to make it realistic, then they will just wholesale anything that comes their way.

The great thing about this is that the “marketing and deal prospecting machine” can always be running (because once you turn it off, it takes a bit of time to get it back up and running).

This is why I always talk about keeping the 4 pillars as separate areas of your house flipping business. When you are focusing on acquisitions don’t worry so much about the financing.  Once you have the property under contract you can then focus on the financing.  If you are short on capital or can’t line up financing you can always wholesale the property to another investor.  (One of my favorite wholesalers does just that — whenever he gets additional properties he just calls us up and we buy his “leftovers”.  You can bet we are more than happy to do so! 🙂

Being creative with wholesaling

Sometimes you may choose to wholesale a deal that seems like it could have potential but just doesn’t make sense for you. Earlier this year we had a lot of properties we were purchasing. Then one of my agents had a seller who wanted to sell us 4 houses. The margins were just a little tight, and with all the houses we were buying we were a little low on capital.

At first I told my agent we would just pass.  But after giving it some thought I took another look and realized that these properties were basically turn-key with three of them rented out with decent cash flow.  So I found someone I knew who was interested in acquiring rental properties, and we were able to sell him all four properties for which we were paid a $22,000 fee!

Jar burano 4 houses

 

$22,000 for 4 houses is much more than $0 for no houses.

Now for selling 4 houses that might not seem like a huge amount of money, but we had already done most of the leg work on these properties, had already paid for marketing, and we didn’t have to come up with the capital to finance them or worry about the tenants, rehab etc.  Basically there was zero risk for us and no need to invest our own capital, so we were more than happy to collect $22,000 on a group of houses we would otherwise have never purchased.

In this instance we spoke to the seller and he agreed to an amendment to change the vesting to this other company, and we were paid our fee through escrow.  Some investors will do this same thing when they come across a property that just isn’t in their “farm area” and they prefer not to actually take on the rehab.  They offload it to another investor and just keep moving forward!

In short, wholesaling is a great strategy to add to your tool kit.  In fact, if you’re just starting out it is one of the best ways to get your feet wet with buying and selling properties.  Focus some serious energy on becoming a pro at marketing to sellers, evaluating properties and negotiating win-win deals, and you will find yourself running an amazing business with great potential!

Do you have anything to add to the post?  Think I missed a piece of the puzzle?  Have you ever wholesaled a house and want to share your experiences?  Post your thoughts in the comments below and I will personally respond to every comment!

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