We are so excited to have Jason Grote with us today. He has been involved in real estate investing for over 12 years now and runs his business along with his family. They are buying houses all over Austin, Texas to wholesale, fix and flip, and buy and hold. They are also involved in new construction.
Insight of the Week:
Slow down and reflect:
- Is this what I want to be doing?
- Is this what God has called me to?
- Is this all worth it?
- Is this a JOB NOW?
Write down everything that you are doing and figure out what to say yes to and what to say no to.
“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched and one who waters will himself be watered.”
In this show, you’ll learn:
- Jason’s background and how he got into real estate
- How his first 2 flips went
- What happened after they got their first deal
- What it’s like having the same work with his family
- Strategies he can share to those who are interested in fix and flipping
- What he does to find properties
- Why his website is so crucial in finding leads
- Other things he’s doing to stay ahead of the game in his area
- Tips/advice to fix and flippers in terms of managing contractors
- How he’s selling in the open market
- What his dad is doing now
- More advice to people who are interested in fixing and flipping
“You don’t get everything at once.”
“There’s no such thing as get rich quick.”
“Real estate is not about houses, it’s about people.”
“Serve others and God will provide for you.”
Profile: Jason Grote
Thanks for Listening!
Brett: Jesus, Lord of my soul. Jesus never let you. You have taken me from the amount of clay. You set my feet upon the rock and now I know.
Brian: You got a rock there?
Brett: You can see.
Brian: No, it is really singing.
Brett: This is the Simple Wholesaling podcast episode 107.
Welcome to Simple Wholesaling. A Christian podcast that supplies simple, yet effective content for real estate investors and business entrepreneurs. Get advice, tips, and tricks so that you can stay true to your values and achieve your dreams with real estate investing you can trust. Now, introducing your host, Brett Snodgrass.
Brett: Welcome to another episode of the Simple Wholesaling podcast. I am your host, Brett Snodgrass, and I am with my wonderful singing co-host, Brian Snider.
Brian: Thanks, thank for that. Making me sing on the air.
Brett: You were really good, Brian. I mean if I could…
Brian: I have no musical ability at all.
Brett: I see you have another career besides the dispositions manager at Simple Wholesaling. You could be a solo artist.
Brian: I do sound really good when I am in my car driving, you know?
Brian: Like by myself. Yes, I sound amazing then.
Brett: Have you seen that YouTube, there is a YouTube video out there, where a guy is listening to a very popular pop song and he is singing and then they turn the music off and then you just hear him singing and he sounds like terrible.
Brian: Have you ever seen that?
Brett: You should try that. If you guys are in your car right now, after this podcast obviously, turn up the music and start singing and then turn down the music and then just keep singing and see how you sound. I do not know, what do you think? Because whenever you listen to the radio, you always sound amazing, don’t you? It is like you sound so in tune.
Brian: Oh, yes.
Brett: I do not know.
Brian: I can mimic singers as I hear them but I cannot, yes, I cannot sing like off the cuff.
Brett: Who is your favorite singer that you think that you sound like?
Brian: Maybe like Eric Church, the country boy.
Brett: Really? You want to try it?
Brian: No. Not even a little bit.
Brett: Oh. I always think I sound like Bon Jovi.
Brian: Bon Jovi?
Brett: Yes. ‘Wanted, dead or alive.’
Brian: That is pretty good.
Brett: I know. See.
Brett: That was really me, that was not a clip of the real Bon Jovi. That was Brett Snodgrass. I am going to be at the Vogue in Indianapolis on May 27th. Just kidding. Anyways, we got a great show for you guys. Anyways, this is the real estate podcast by the way if you did not know. We are interviewing and today’s guest, Jason Groat from Austin, Texas. He owns the website ibuyaustinhouses.com. He has been in the family business which I think is really cool. He actually invests with his dad. He calls his dad the money man. His wife is a real estate agent and he drags his mom into the business and they run a successful Texas family real estate investing business. Very cool story that he has.
Before we get into that, I really want to just send a shout out to all you people out there that are leaving us iTunes reviews. We appreciate you, this helps us get noticed on iTunes or Stitcher. Please, if you have not done so yet, please please please go to iTunes, leave us a five star review. We would appreciate it so much. This is how Brian gets his self-esteem in the morning.
Brian: It is all based off these iTunes reviews.
Brett: Yes. If he looks and he sees a five star review, he starts pumping his chest and he flies out the window with the Superman cape on and if he does not, he just kind of digs himself and stays in bed all day.
Brian: Sadly we have had no reviews lately so am just been kind of moping around.
Brett: I know.
Brian: It is sad.
Brett: He has and he has been wearing all black to work and paints his face like a clown and I do not know why but he says it is because of his reviews and I do not know.
Brian: Sad clown.
Brett’s Insight of the Week
Now, simple tips and tricks that make real estate investing easier, faster, and better. Brett’s Insight of the Week.
Brett: For today’s Brett’s Insight of the Week, we are going to talk about just some things that I have been really thinking about in my business and that is really just slowing down and reflecting. I feel like as entrepreneurs we get into the trenches all the time and we try to work on our business but sometimes we just forget to slow down and reflect. I believe if you had just an hour a day focusing on really what you want to be, what you want to do in your life, what is important in your life, and start writing those things down, you start to create the vision and the design of your life and what you want it to look like. I think that we just forget to do that sometimes and it is so easy to do yet it is so easy not to do. These are just some questions I am asking myself and I think that our last show Vickie talked about as entrepreneurs we have to reinvent ourselves about every five years.
I feel like I am kind of that point. I started off wholesaling about ten years ago and then I got into fixing and flipping and now we are back into wholesaling at Simple Wholesaling we came up with a few years ago and probably next year I am at that five year mark where I have to asking myself these tough questions, do I want to continue doing this for the rest of my life? Yes, I want to wholesale, I want to build a business, but should I let somebody else take it over and maybe do something else? I am asking myself is this what I really want to be doing for the next three to five years? Is this what God has called me to do? Do I feel that God is calling me to do something else? Maybe it is a ministry opportunity, maybe is writing a book, maybe it is something else completely?
Is this all worth it? Sometimes I have to ask myself is what I am doing each day and the sacrifices that I am making, is it worth it? Am I sacrificing too much? Am I sacrificing the most important things in my life for what is urgent at the moment so then I always have to ask myself is this a job now? I asked myself because as entrepreneur, the reason why we got into this business is to get out of a job, right? I call the job just over broke. Something that we do, we go to every day, we clock in, we clock out, but it is something that we do not really enjoy doing and we want to get into this entrepreneurial lifestyle because when we really truly love and enjoy what we are doing, guess what, we do not have a job anymore, we have just a lifestyle. When this starts to become a job then we have to ask our self again is this worth it? Was this a job to you now? Then write down everything that you are doing in your business and in your life and figure out what are the things you need to say yes to and what are the things that you need to say no to.
I feel like in my life I am saying yes to a lot and then it reaches to a certain point where I do not know what I am doing anymore. Why did I say yes? I have too much things that I have said yes to and how do I get out of it? I need to say no to certain things. I need to go home and write down everything that I am doing and figure that out. Okay, this is worth it, this is what I need to be doing, but this here is not moving the needle that much, it is really not doing anything for me or my family and the life I want so I need to cross that off. This is just a quick routine that you guys, whether you are super successful and you have hundred rentals or you are doing a hundred deals a year or you have not done anything yet, this is just as a lifestyle exercise. I really recommend you guys to start out now and figure out the vision for your life. The biggest thing is slow down, reflect, ask yourself these questions, write down everything, cross off what you need to say no to and keep when you say yes and keep when you say yes to and I feel like this is just going to get you to where you need to be.
Do you dream of a life that is purpose-driven and makes a difference? Spiritual Foundation.Spiritual Foundation.
Brian: For today’s Spiritual Foundation, we are going to get to the Book of Proverbs. We got Chapter 11, verse 25, ‘Whoever brings blessing will be enriched and one who waters will himself be watered.’ I will just kind of reflect in on this verse as I write this down here and what I thought of is this past week was like my first opportunity that I had to serve at my church. I have been going to this church for almost four years now. We first started off, my wife and I, we started going there together and we kind of picked this church together which is really good. When we first started, we were volunteering and serving and we used to work in the bookstore that they had there. We used to love that and we did that and everything and then we switched to a different campus.
The new campus basically it did not have a bookstore or anything, we just kind of stopped serving. Really we have not served within the church for about two years now. I think for the most part we were just kind of that couple, we would just go in, serve and sneak out like not really talk to anybody and everything like that. What really happened is we started to be disconnected. We started to feel disconnected with the church. Appreciate the message and the worse and everything. We are connected when we were there but we just really did not know anybody. It kind of really affected us a little bit and we kind of just said hey we need to fix this what do we do and really that is serving within the church.
This past weekend I had my first chance to serve and it was just amazing how just like within the last two weeks I went to the training and then like this first weekend and like how many people I just know within this short two or three weeks. Actually, I just feel engaged and I feel like I am contributing a little bit but also just getting to know people and just I feel a bit more active and involved in the church. I think it has really helped me out and helped us out feeling we are a part of something and that is really what it is about. The church is about feeling that you are a part of something, like you are on a mission with other people with that common goal, with a common interest of bringing anybody and everybody to Christ. Just helping them to understand who he is no matter where they are in their walk of life no matter where they are in their walk with Christ. Even if they are believers, if they are nonbelievers, maybe their first time setting foot in a church, maybe they have had a bad experience with the church.
That is what we are as a church, that is what whether it is our personal church or just our church to me as a whole of Christians. That is what we need to focus on and not passing judgment and judging people based of what we know about them or what we think we know about them but we kind of talk to us in podcast a little bit ago that everybody has a story. When you think of opportunity of kind of just get to know everybody and to listen to their story and serve them in any way that we can. When we serve, it just helps our heart. It helps us become one with Christ, helps us be more like his son and just more we continue to grow in that just the better off we are going to be just as people, better off to the Kingdom.
There is nothing that we can do here on earth that is going to set us up better in what we see in through Christ’s eyes but it helps us be more like his son and just really knew having that sort of heart and being able to serve like I said in the church, it just something that if you are not doing yet I would definitely consider. Definitely feel like you getting involved even if you are not a member of the church. Just becoming, just volunteering and seeing where you can fit in and you never know what is going to happen. Maybe that whisk, that little spark that you need and that is definitely I feel like I would need.
Brett: Love that man. Yes, yes, yes. Serve, serve, serve. That is what life is about. Serving God, serving others. You need to be connected. Definitely felt that different times in my life. We are going to get into the interview with a man who is a family man. He has a servant’s heart and I love talking in the Going Deep section about how he is serving. Has an amazing story. Let us get to the interview with Jason Groat.
Brett: Alright, guys. We are so excited to introduce you to today’s guest. We have Jason Groat from Austin, Texas. If you have ever heard of Jason before, he has been investing in real estate for over 12 years now. He has an amazing business, he owns the website ibuyaustinhouses.com. He focuses on wholesaling, a lot of fix and flipping. Some buy and hold and new construction. Thank you for joining us today, Jason. What is up man?
Jason: I do not have much. How are you all?
Brian: Very, very good. We are happy to have you. Thanks for joining us today. Let us go and just jump in here. Can you just give us a little bit about your background? How did you get into real estate? I know you are also investing, your company is family owned. Like did your family get you into it or did you get them into or how did that work out?
Jason: Sure. Yes, my wife and I were both business owners before we came into real estate. My dad was the one who kind of introduced me to real estate. Also his sister, my aunt, was doing real estates in Houston. He used to do the short sales when you actually negotiated directly with the bank. That got us, me and my dad, kind of interested. Then in 2005, Christmas time, where sitting around in the couch, watching Flip That House. I looked at my dad and I said, ‘Dad, we can do this.’ He said okay we will go find a couple of houses and I will find the money and we will do it. That is what I did. I went and found two houses in January of ’06 and it started from there. Then we sucked in my mom and my wife after that to help us with the business.
Brett: Nice, love that. Just kind of start off, you guys are sitting around and watching TV. You got your Friday night movie night, I guess Flip That House show night, and also now you are into real estate. I love what your dad said. That is a good plan, you go find the house, I will find the money.
Brian: That is pretty nice.
Brian: How did those first two flips go for you?
Jason: Absolutely terrible.
Brian: It was not like the show in depth like beautiful and making $100K each house?
Jason: No, nothing like that. It took 15 months to remodel both of them. I had no construction experience at all. My dad did but I mostly did it. I made mistake after mistake, we were trying to do everything on the cheap. Hired the cheapest of cheap subs people that did not even know what they are doing so they have to re-do things a hundred times and it was a mess but it was a great learning experience. In the first one that we finished, we actually made absolutely no money on selling that one but it came with a lot, it had two lots, it had an extra lot and we sold that lot for $22000 and that was our profit.
Brett: Wow. Nothing on the construction remodel but all your money made on the lot?
Brett: That is a good plan. That is a good plan. That is awesome man. I love to hear stories like that because sometimes people are getting into real estate, they think everything is all roses and it always goes smooth and you are here to tell us that that is not the case.
Jason: No. I mean you have got to just have got to have a desire, you got to be determined and you just got to stay in the course and learn. I mean that is what it is about. You got to learn. You are not going to learn everything from any type of course. You are even listening to this podcast, you just got to do it, right? Just do it.
Brett: Yes, definitely. Take us in what happened after that. You got those first couple of flips, you made a little bit of money it sounds like, ended up okay. You guys are still in the business 12 years later so something must have a flipped the switch. You guys has some success, what happened after that? Did you guys continue doing fix and flips? Wholesaling?
Jason: Yes. We started pretty slow. Of course my wife and I was still running our other businesses and so this was part time, that was 2006 before we did the we did the re-model in 2007. We sold those two houses that we were working on. We did one more in ’07 and then in ’08 we did about five. We just slowly started ramping up on the fix and flips and so we got to now. We average probably about 10 to 15 fix and flips a year.
Brett: Awesome. Sounds good. Well, I know juggling fix and flips, that is no easy task. I really want to dive into that into the show. It sounds like you guys are an expert in fix and flips. Is that what you would say out of your entire business? At what percentage you guys are fix and flips, what percentage is wholesale?
Jason: Yes. We put them in three buckets. We have the fix and flip, we have which is where we go in obviously re-model the house, bring it to a fully remodeled, fully updated where we can push the top of the comparable sales on the open market and then we have another thing we call the wholetaling which is a mix of retail and wholesale. We put it on the market but we just clean it up in hopes of enticing another investor or a maybe some homeowners that want to remodel the house and sell. We call that wholetaling and we do quite a bit of that because it is a lot easier on our constructioning and then wholesaling. We do a little bit of that. We worked with a local company that has a huge buyer’s list and we just put it in their hands and then they take a cut and we take a cut and do a lot and just move a lot that way and I will have to do a lot of work with those.
Brian: Cool. Very nice, very nice. I know you mentioned that you and your father kind of got a start and you brought your mother in and then you brought your wife in as well and stuff. How does that work out with you guys operating and kind of as a family and a business? Kind of hard to cut off that business talk when you are sitting around the dinner table or how does that work out for you?
Jason: My parents live about 45 to 50 minutes away. We see them once or twice a month at the most but with me and my wife, we have learned there is times where we just do not talk about real estate. If anything is pressing, we will talk about it but my wife does not seem to mind, I do not mind, just part of our life. It is hard when you are self-employed as you all would know. It is hard to just compartmentalize every aspect of your life but yes there is a time and place for everything. We sit around the dinner table, if there is something pressing, we will talk about it but we have four kids so we usually talk in the day about stuff and none of our kids like real estate yet.
Brian: You do not have them out there swinging hammers and cleaning stuff off or anything yet?
Jason: Not yet, not yet. But when we go to look at houses they complain and they are like we hate real estate.
Brett: ‘It stinks, I want to go play on the playground.’
Jason: Yes, exactly.
Brett: That is cool. How old are your kids again?
Jason: Twelve, ten, seven and three.
Brett: Got you. Yes, so that will be hard. They are more interested and I guess 12 year old they are interested and maybe their iPad and three year olds are interested in trucks.
Jason: Right. That is exactly it.
Brett: Well, I want to really focus on number one, you talk about your family business and the other thing is I want to talk about the fix and flip. Those first couple of flips that you did, it did not turn out that rosy for you but you still made money, you still kept it going. Let us talk about what did you learn? What are some of the strategies and things that you really would advise someone this interested in fix in flipping a house that you have learned through the years? What are a couple of key just hard knock learning things that you have come up with?
Jason: Yes. I think talk to a lot of newbies all the time. They will reach out to me and talk to them and I think the way I am able to help them best is explain like this. What resources do you have, what strengths do you have and what do you need to add to that? Obviously with the fix and flip, there is several things you need. You need your lead, you need the house, you need to find a property that you can make money on, you need the financing the purchase, three you need to be able to repair it, you need the knowledge and know how, the design, the materials, you need that aspect. Four, you need to be able to sell it, sell in the open market, obviously our realtor handles that. Do you have one of those four pieces of that puzzle and if so, then you work on getting the other three in line. There is more pieces of that puzzle than that. As the title company and all that stuff is important too but those are the main ones.
Obviously, the two huge ones are find the property and then the financing for it. I think most people who get that done they will figure out how they get it fixed and then they will figure out how to get sold, the realtor, but that is where I say to start is those. It is real simple and there is so much information out there on how to find property and find money, you just need to start working towards that, just start networking talking to people, making connections but my philosophy is if you can find a property, you can find someone to fund it, a property that is a good deal that is. You can find someone to fund it and then everything else will fall into place.
Brian: Yes. Definitely, definitely. What are some of the things that you are doing to find these properties in?
Jason: Well, our main way is our website. That is our main lead generation and then networking. Also going into Facebook marketing as well.
Brett: Sounds like your website. Talk about that a little bit because that is a great way. Do you think it is the brand? Are you paying for advertising with your website to get people to your website? Talk about why is your website so crucial in finding leads?
Jason: Well, we started in 2011. It is kind of a funny story. My air conditioning contractor build little websites and he was always telling me, ‘Jason, you need a website. A website for your business.’ I am thinking why in the world do I need a website for my business? It just did not makes sense to me. He pressed me for like a year and a half, two years, and finally I said okay. He told me he would build me a website so I let him. He built my first website and I immediately hired a SEO company, a Search Engine Optimization company, to take and begin to build it. What I found out was I was a little ahead of the game than for most people that were thinking that they could get leads off the internet. By doing that, I just got a head start. Ranking, I got my website to rank, and people do look online for everything. They look online for someone to buy their house quickly so we have been able to build that and tweak it and get to a place where it generates leads for us a regular basis.
Brett: Yes. What do you think the most important thing is because I used to have a website for years but that is only one thing. If you just have a website, it is just kind of a glorified business card is what I say. The main thing is getting people to your website. Whether you have a pretty website or an ugly website, it does not really matter if nobody comes. When talk about website, you talk about the SEO company you mentioned, why is that important and kind of go into that because anybody can hire somebody build a website but I think it is a little bit more beyond that, right, to get people to it?
Jason: Definitely. Yes, I mean there is a million websites for our industry out there but yes you want them to rank, you want someone to find it, right? That is where Search Engine Optimization is key is getting your website to rank. You can do Pay Per Click and stuff like that and they get people there click there. Be under the Google maps listing which is key also. There is not just Google, there is Bing, there is Yahoo and then all the social media but people have to find, you have got to be able find you. Obviously you have a service to provide. They need to be able to find you in search engine optimization and search engine marketing helps bring them to you and then once they finds you, what do they see? Do they… Other store that is out there, most of websites in our industry they got pictures of dollar bills flying around and they talk about…
Brett: Out of the house.
Jason: Cash, cash, cash. Get your cash fast, get some cash, I am just like stuffed with all…
Brett: You got the house with the dollar bills flying out the chimney and out the door, the old couple that is super happy. They are like oh, you know, yes.
Jason: I am just telling you people do not relate to that. They are not thinking about cash. Anyway, do not get me started but as real estate investor I think we think everybody it is all about cash because that is what we are thinking about. But they are not thinking about cash, they are thinking about their problem being solved. This weightless burden of real estate coming off of them. That is what I try to portray in my website is we can help you with your real estate, we have got experience, we have got solutions, they are ethical.
We are going to take care of you, we are like be in confidence with you, we are not going to splatter you out on the internet, we are not going to show up in your house with a truck that says ‘we buy ugly houses’ all over my truck and your neighbors are looking at you and like what is going on? It is discretion, it is confidence and trust and you are serving the people. That is what we are trying to emulate through our website and we have had some success with that.
Brett: Cool. Would you recommend hiring out some of the SEO and trying to get your website ranked or would you recommend someone just studying that and trying to do it themselves to save money? I personally did not have that attention units to learn it so I have always hired it out but I have learned as much as I can to check my company. But I think it is so niche, I think you really need to hire someone if you want. Truly ranking depends on where you are at, how much competition you have, that is key obviously. I am in Austin, Texas and there is tons of competition so I need someone that knows what they are doing.
Brian: Yes, let us talk about that a little bit. I know it sounds like as far as your website, your S ranking and everything that sounds like you are kind of ahead of the game and like you SEO ranking and everything like that, sounds like you are kind of ahead of the game. I know you said Austin is such a hot market right now just like where we are in Indianapolis. Like it is such a hot market. What are some other things that you are doing to stay ahead of the game down there?
Jason: Well, I mean I think networking is key. Just always trying to improve your business grow. I believe that you do not get everything at once. Just things just come as you just continue, as you keep walking, and I think if you stop walking in your business you start trying to grow in your business. Even if it is slow, then you become stagnate and then that is how companies get overtaken but I think it is so different with real estate. The real estate business, you just need to stay in the no, stay connected and just keep moving forward and in your niche and becoming a professional in your niche. If you do that, I think the business will always be there no matter what the competition is.
Brett: Yes, definitely. I mean I think networking is huge and branding yourself. That is why we came up with a few years ago, Simple Wholesaling, and we are just trying to brand ourselves in that niche in Indianapolis to be the best wholesaling company here. The deals start to come when it is becoming more difficult with direct mail and somebody’s lead generation resources were finding deals coming across our desk just in the networking opportunities and the branding opportunities and all that. I think that is a way you can really stay ahead of the game and I think what Jason is talking about is focusing on your niche and sounds like that is exactly what you guys are doing, Jason.
Let us get into so you talked about finding the deal and that is a huge part of the pie, right? But there is some other things that you talked about is fixing and flipping. There is the money part which you told your dad, ‘Hey,’ he said, ‘I will go out and find the money.’ Let us talk about that a little bit. You said if you can find a great deal, you can also find the money. How are you guys finding the money right now?
Jason: Well, we have been doing this for years and it has been a real blessing. I mean it has been great. We do not spend a lot of money on our money. We use local banks that do… They have flipper loans. A lot of these banks have loans for investors. They come out of their commercial department, not their residential department. Yes, you have to put 15% or usually 20% down but you are talking 4.5% or 5.5% interest rates. If you have them well trained, they move pretty quickly.
In Texas, they do require an appraisal. That is the only really delay but we use a bank financing and there is talking half a percent origination, maybe 1% origination on some which compared to hard money is so much better. We have been using that for years. We just three banks that we work with. If someone needs to close in seven days, we cannot do it that way but my discovery is most people are fine with three or four weeks closing. Yes, that is how we do it. It allows us to leverage our cash. We are not using cash in all of our deals, we are using bank financing and it is fairly cheap.
Brett: That is cool. When you talk about local banks, does that mean Chase Bank, Bank of America, or are they called something different?
Jason: No, definitely not. Those banks, as far as I know, have no such product. There are banks like R Bank which is the letter R Bank which was actually started by Nolan Ryan.
Brett: I love that, R Bank.
Jason: Yes, R Bank. The Ryan family based out of Round Rock which is just north Austin basically. They have a program, Prosperity Bank, which is actually large in Texas. They are all over Texas. They have a program. Then a very small little bank called Ozona Bank that has like four branches or something like that. They went to the board and developed this product for us and it is amazing.
Jason: It is basically a commercial line of credit, a guidance line of credit is what they call it. Anybody can start one of those if they have good credit and yet have a little trust but I mean they are real blessing, they work really well.
Brett: Now, that is cool. If you guys are listening, you are not hearing the big name banks. You need to go to your local branches like Farmers Bank of Cicero could be one and these are branches that or banks may have one branch or five branches or whatever, they are not the big ones. Jason just said that his bank actually made a program just for him. They are more creative, they do not have to go jump through all the hoops like large banks do and this big bureaucracy or anything like that. It is very cool and that is a great tip to find the money to talk to your local banks. Let us talk about the other piece. This is the piece that I really got hung up on in the fix and flip. I used to be a fix and flipper for three straight years.
I wholesale for the first five or six years and then that was not working with my model that much anymore so I got into fixing and flipping and this headache was the reason why I got out of it and that is the repair and contractor management. You seem like you have done a great job with that. What are some tips and advice you can give on a fix and flip or how do you manage the contractors and what are you looking for?
Jason: Yes. A, you can either hire a general contractor to just handle a project and of course that is always going to cut into your bottom line but depending on your path and your lifestyle and you may have a full time job and hint general contract a job and you need to hire one and that is okay. You just got to find a good one, right? But for me, we have always general contracted everything. I learned how to do construction, I learned the process, I learned what good drywall looks like and I learned all those things. Then I hired a designer which I think is key.
There is interior designers that are keen on with construction and I will walk them through the house when we first close on it and we will come up with a plan together and she puts together a whole spec with colors and light fixtures and we talk about what should we do. Should we remove this wall, should we remove this floor down and all this kind of stuff. We walk to the whole house, come up with the plan. Then as a general contractor, I just begin to execute it.
I hired basically a construction foreman to be my… I did everything the first three or four years and then I was just overwhelmed, I was wearing too many hats, so I brought in a construction foreman and hired him to basically be my hands and feet, my eyes and ears on the job, working with the subs, and I oversaw him and being with mildly involved at each project, it now allowed me to do more fix and flips. But ultimately, I think I would love to just have a general contractor just handle those things all together but there is a lot of trust that needs to be involved there.
Brett: Yes. Guys if you are listening right now, I want you to picture this team because Jason has an amazing job at creating a team that does better at the things that what he does. He talks about the designer. That is the first time I have really heard about probably bringing in a designer which I think is huge because I would go in and I do not really know much about design but I would say I think we should do this, I think we should do that, but I do not really know what paint we should choose or what cabinets we should put in or what wall we should take out and that is just a great thing because designers they know they think that way. If you can pick people in your construction team to think and do better than what you are going to do at it is going to move the needle that much faster.
Brian: I really like what Jason brought in there too. He said that while he was doing it on his own and stuff then he realized he was wearing too many hats and then knowing what to delegate at the right time and knowing what you want to give off your plate I think is a huge part of you growing your business. I am glad you threw that in there. Let us talk a little bit about kind of that last piece, when you are selling on the open market? Are you guys actually selling yourself? Are you hiring a realtor to do that or how does that work for you?
Jason: Oh. Insert the wife. She became the realtor, early on, very early on. It has been 11 years now. Yes, she list the house, she is awesome at it. She is pro in this. She knows how to work with other agents. I think if you do hire an agent and you are going to pay them that 3% plus the 3% on the other side, you need someone that is going to fight for you, know how to put together a good listing, that know how to market your property well and then know how to deal with difficult agents because I do not know about in Indiana, where you are all at, but over here there is a lot of agents that are really difficult to deal with it. They play a lot of games and of course they are trying to chip away from your profit. My wife is really good at it. Having her on the team has saved us $100000 at this point.
Brett: Yes. Especially I think agents that if you are an investor and they know what you are going to make then they do not like that. You already have their opinion against you. Like they want a trip away as much as possible. That is awesome man. Sounds like you guys have a great team. What does your dad do now? What is his role?
Jason: Well, he is the money man, we call him the money man. He is still the money man and what is cool is we get to talk almost every day where I think without this business we probably would talk maybe once a week. But yes, he handles all the finances, all the books and we discuss strategies on certain properties and he is my sounding board. It is mostly him and I doing most of the work.
Brett: Definitely. It is just awesome. I love… Yes, you talked about your family business. I started this business with my dad and yes we talked literally every day. Now, we do not really do our business together and he kind of does his own thing and kind of retired and I miss that. I miss that times with him because I do not talk to him near as much and it is just something special.
Brett: Just about doing life that way.
Jason: It is awesome.
Brett: Yes. Definitely.
Brian: Now, you have to put up with me.
Jason: I guess you will do.
Brett: Before we go to the next section of the show, Jason, what is some other advice that you can give to our listener out there that is interested in fixing and flipping? We have talked about a lot of the different things that you have to look at about finding the deal, financing the deal, managing the contractors and how to build that team and then you brought your wife in to sell the properties, anything else that you want to talk about maybe scaling a business or building a team or any of that stuff that you want to talk to some of the listeners out there?
Jason: Sure. I think there is two classes of people, if you will, that come in to real estate. One, they are wanting to do flipping. They are already in real estate as an agent or some other appraiser or something like that. They already have a knowledge of real estate and that is great but for those of us that did not, which is me and my family, we did not have any real estate experience coming in. How do you get started? Well, a lot of people think wholesaling is the path and I say no. You need to know what you are doing if you go into wholesaling because it is a very serious responsibility you are taking upon yourself. Selling someone’s contract on their home is a big deal on the sellers and what you are doing and you need to know what you are doing.
I recommend learning how to find deals and bird-dogging, just someone who has experience that will teach you and walk you through the project, and I have offered that to several people. I will be honest, not many people have taken me up on it but they will go find a deal. Of course I will reward them for bringing the deal and I will teach them about real estate, the ins and outs, they need that under their belt. I would say that is a great entry point if anybody is looking for an entry point.
Brett: Yes, I love that. I always recommend that too and anybody in Indianapolis that wants to help us find deals, there is always not enough deals out there so if you can bring us deals we will walk you through the whole process just like Jason and a great way. But you are right, I think when people get into that they realize this is not the easiest business and they just kind of throw their hands up after a little bit and they give up. But I think if you stick with it and you are consistent and persistent, it is a very rewarding business and you can get so much further in life in your career than maybe a normal job.
Brett: Brian and I are going to enter into the part of the show that we like to call Going Deep.
Brian: Going Deep.
Brett: In this section the show, Jason, we are going to talk a little bit more about how your business and you kind of mentioned about you have an honest business, an ethical business, and a family business and you have a great foundation. We see a lot of characters that come into real estate investing that do not have that foundation. What would you tell those folks right now that are trying to do shortcuts and just take the lesser of the roads and not maybe run an ethical business?
Jason: Yes. I think, by nature, a lot of the Guru courses I call them, they appeal to the get rich quick mentality which in my estimation is a character flaw. I used to think that way. I mean it is the erroneous there is no such thing as get rich quick. Yes you can go play the lottery and win the lottery but that is fine, never going to happen for you or anybody you even know. Just be real and go into it with a mindset of okay this is a business. I am going to handle like I would handle any business, to be ethical and honest. Now, obviously, can we teach that? Is something that you choose to be every day? Choose to be honest and ethical.
You can say whatever you want, you can promote yourself and portray yourself as honest and ethical investor but people know. People are really good at reading others. You can talk to people, talk to sellers, and they will know. People will know. I will just recommend, obviously, make up in your heart this is a service based business. Real estate is not about houses, it is about people. If you learn how to serve people, which is really loving people, and really putting them first, your business will grow. God will make sure you get what you need. Not trying to provide for yourself but serve others and God will provide for you through this business that you have begun. That is my kind of general philosophy on it.
Brett: Yes, I love that.
Brian: Yes. That is true. I mean it really is a service business and it is about problem. I used to say before, it is about bringing people opportunity and that is what it is all about. On that service bit, I know that you are involved with your local church on a project called Feed the Homeless. Can you maybe talk about that? How did you get involved in that and then I would really like to see had you been able to use kind of real estate as a platform to kind of help out and more of those service projects in any way?
Jason: Sure. Yes, the homeless outreach at our church was started by me. Me and my wife just had a burden for that God gave us for homeless people about three years ago. We just really do not know what to do. We hand them food, blanket or whatever. Then on Christmas of 2015, it is two and a half years ago, on Christmas morning we get an outreach and we of course invited the church. There is about 15 people from the church that we went out. I had gone out and handed out flyers, met a few people, gathered in one spot, we fed them. It just burst this outreach. Then kind of what I learned was that philanthropy is good but the church is called to do evangelism.
We go in and of course we administer to their physical needs, food, blankets, backpacks, toiletries, all that kind of stuff. But then we really administer to the person, the deepest part of that person, and that is evangelism. We go with the love of God and we administer the gospel to them and we try to help them and anyone that will grab ahold of it would take them as far as they go. We have had around 20 since then, since that Christmas morning, 20 had come to the church and baptized. As a matter of fact, my construction foreman now was homeless and we met him two years ago and God did a great work and now he is my construction foreman and has a place to live in and there is the church and it is awesome.
Brian: Wow, that is incredible. I really appreciate you sharing that and you are sharing your heart with us and that mission you guys have, that is fantastic. Thank you for that.
Touch of Randomness
It is time for a touch of randomness.
Brian: We are going to end this show here with the way we like to do it, with a little touch of randomness. Just two random questions we have for you here, Jason, and you just kind of answer the first thing that comes to your mind here. My first question, my wife and I have always wanted to come to Austin. It is one of the places we always said we want to go. If you will go to Austin or we will come to Austin, what is the one thing that the visitor has to do?
Jason: Oh, no. The visitor has to go to the Capitol building. That is super lame, that is the first thing it came to my mind.
Brian: No, that is good. Because I always think about the food and the music and stuff like that I know you will now sort of check-up the Capitol Building. Yes, I would have to look at that.
Brett: That first, you got to go see Brian when are on the go.
Brian: Sounds good.
Jason: You are going to be like what did I listen to that guy? That was cool. There is tons of good food but I still have not done but it is like world renowned, there is like a two hour wait you, stand in line for two hours for this. This world renowned barbeque is called Franklin’s Barbecue…
Brett: Sounds good. Number two, if you get pulled up on stage during karaoke night, what song do you sing?
Jason: Well, sadly, it is probably going to be Jesus, Lover of My Soul because that is all I ever sing to my kids.
Brett: That is a good one. That is a good one. I wonder if the karaoke DJ is going to have that one. Probably not. I probably have to go acapela now.
Jason: Everybody is going to go star at me like what the pill no. Business to be like what is wrong with this guy.
Brett: Sounds good. I used to do karaoke all the time. Me and my brother, we would go out and we visit different cities. Now we are going to San Diego and we did Karaoke in San Diego one night and I think I singed Total Eclipse of the Heart, that was mine.
Jason: Wow, that is pretty brave.
Brett: Yes, I know, I know. Sounds good, Jason. Well, hey, thank you so much for joining on the show today. Love everything that you shared about your fix and flip and wholesale business. What you are doing for your church and feeding the homeless, and that is just an amazing story when you brought your foreman in and now he was homeless and now he works for you. Such a cool story and you are really making a difference man. Appreciate that. But if someone wants to find out more information about you or your company, where is the best place for them to go?
Jason: To our website which is mostly lead generating website but we also have a blog on there and that is www.ibuyaustinhouses.com.
Brett: Cool. Guys, check that out. That is going to be in our show notes at simplewholesaling.com/episode107. This is with Jason Groat from Austin, Texas and that is the wrap.
Jason: Thank you guys.
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