Today’s guest is a wise and down-to-earth guy who is passionate about learning and giving back to others. Howard Zonder is also the brains behind the awesome new app many in the land selling business have been raving about—LandSpeed.
While he’s had 3 impressive careers prior to discovering land selling, he fell in love with the ease and convenience of the land selling process. After having done everything all by himself as an entrepreneur, he eventually realized the importance of automating and that’s how his LandSpeed app came about. Tune in as he shared how LandSpeed helps him stay organized and gives him the freedom to control the pace and growth of his land selling business easily and conveniently.
Insight of the Week:
The differences between buying and selling houses versus buying and selling lands
- Land is cheaper than houses
- Land doesn’t follow traditional documentation
- Land is harder to sell
- You don’t have to worry about what is in the land
“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
In this show, you’ll learn:
- Howard’s background
- The process of buying and selling land
- The four career requirements he takes into account
- What LandSpeed is
- Automating his direct mail process
- Seven requirements he considers when doing mails
- The significance of due diligence
- Tips he can give for people who wants to get into the land selling business
- The things he still needs to learn for the future of his business
- His advice to when it comes to having a team and scaling the business
“As an entrepreneur, our most valuable asset is our time.”
“Don’t wait to start until you understand everything end to end.”
“Learning never stops.”
Profile: Howard Zonder
Thanks for Listening!
Brett: Can I get all these Direct Mail out there? Cannot take them anymore.
Brian: This is taking forever to get out all these mailers.
Brett: Just cannot do it.
Brian: You know what we need?
Brett: The need?
Brian: The need for LandSpeed.
Brett: The need for LandSpeed. This is the Simple Wholesaling podcast episode 112.
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: What is up all you Simple Wholesalers out there. Thank you for joining us again on another episode of the Simple Wholesaling podcast. I am your host of today’s show, Brett Snodgrass, and I am with my lovely co-host, Brian Snider.
Brian: What is going on, Brett?
Brett: Not much man. I am super. I just got so pumped up by the intro from Top Gun about ready just go fly a plane.
Brian: I feel like any time that there is an option or there is a way that you can fit Top Gun and I think you should just do it.
Brett: That is true. I love… Probably one of the greatest movies of the ’80s or ’90s. Do you know when that movie came out?
Brian: I believe ’84 I want to say.
Brett: Nice. You would know that. You are like the trivia.
Brian: I could be wrong but I will act like I know it and I will just say ’84.
Brett: Yes. You are the trivia wizard.
Brian: Full of useless knowledge.
Brett: Yes, there you go. Well, we have a great show for you guys today. That came from the interview that we have with Howard Zonder from LandSpeed. Howard dives into basically the land investing business and he goes into the program that he has developed throughout the last couple years called LandSpeed where he has helped automate basically your land DirectMail and how you can… He sends his team out to help you do title searches for land and he has really helped us so many land investors out there. Even if you are not a land investor, this show is really going to help you because he really just dives into some of the different pain points that real estate entrepreneurs looks at.
One, for example is, if you are working with a mail house and you are doing DirectMail, he wanted to mail every single day because when you do a mass drop, Let us say you mail out 2000 letters at one time, all of a sudden you get flooded with calls one day or one week and then you are hearing crickets the rest of the month. He has developed a program where it is at the exact same cost but you can mail out each day which is huge. Right man?
Brian: Yes. I mean I like to point that it brought to the same thing where you are receiving all these phone calls at one time and stuff, same thing, you are going to dive into your capital all at once as well which I never actually thought about until he brought that up today and it is a completely valid point.
Brian: But I think with this show too, you just want to listen to the show because he has so many nuggets about life and business and just everything. I think I just want to like hangout with Howard just to like listen to him and just like kind of feed off of his just positivity in his energy.
Brett: Yes. I kept thinking of Howard the Duck, the movie. I guess I like a movie buff but probably came out ’84 too. Have you ever seen the movie Howard the Duck?
Brian: I feel like I did but I feel like I did not like it when I was younger. I do not remember much about it. I remember thinking it was a little creepy. It was probably, out of a one to ten, rate it a two. Rotten tomatoes probably gave it a 28%.
Brian: I think we are better off going Top Gun instead of Howard the Duck on this one.
Brett: That is true, that is true. Stay tuned for that guys. A great great interview with Howard. Before we get into that, we have a new iTunes review for today. We are super excited to read this review. If you are interested in leaving an iTunes review, please please please this really helps us get noticed on iTunes and the internet. Go to iTunes right now, the simple wholesaling podcast and leave us a review. We would super appreciate that.
Today’s review is from David Flores. He says, ‘Love this Christian based Simple Wholesaling podcast. When your life has God in the center of it, all things will be added in to you because you are seeking the Kingdom of God first. God bless you all and let us be the change we want to see in the world in the name of Jesus.’ Thank you so much, David. We appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to leave us a review that we can read today and Brian, what do you think of that?
Brian: It is always awesome to get a five star review and it is even more awesome I guess when you get to see somebody glorify God along with it. That is great, that is why we do this. We are Christian podcast and we do talk about real estate.
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 Insight of the Week. I am going to talk to you about what the difference between wholesaling or buying and selling houses versus buying and selling land. In the real estate space, there is so much opportunity. We have all of these different things that we can do. We interviewed people from all over the nation and the world even about investing in single family houses, commercial apartment buildings. Today we are interviewing Howard Zonder about buying and selling land.
We buy and sell houses here in Indianapolis, Indiana and so there is so many different ways that you can invest in real estate. I want to talk about what is the difference between buying land versus houses and why is this something that you might be interested in when you are looking at what space of real estate that you want to invest in.
I think that these are very similar processes when you are looking for houses or land, you market, you do DirectMail, you are looking for motivated sellers, and it is a lot of the same process. You do not have to really go a different direction. If you are wholesaling houses right now, I think that wholesaling land can be just a great another revenue resource for you and you do not have to switch up things that much. Some of the difference though are that land can be a lot cheaper.
When we interview Howard, he is talking about buying lots in rural areas for a couple of hundred dollars per lot. Maybe $500, a $1000, it is very difficult to buy a house for that much money. Typically even in Indianapolis, we are paying $20000 or $30000 if you are out west and when in the sand states, you are obviously paying a lot more. It can be cheaper if you are just getting into real estate for you to get started. That is one difference. One difference that Howard talks about is that maybe you do not have to go through the traditional documentation and through a title company like you do in when you are buying and selling a house.
For example, a lot of times when you are buying a $400 lot, in order to get a title insurance and to go to a title company, it might actually cost you more in closing costs than you are actually paying for the lot. It does not make sense sometimes when you are buying that cheap of a piece of real estate. He actually has some different resources that he talks in this show about how to do the title search and the title work himself or he even has a team that he really dives into to help you with this process. That could be a difference.
One difference is that I have heard other people, if you have heard Jaren who was on the first hundred or so episodes of the Simple Wholesaling podcast that he went out to buy and sell land, is that sometimes it is harder when you are buying and selling a house to find the deals, to talk to the motivated sellers and to negotiate the price down and that can be the most difficult process of buying a house. But with land, sometimes actually the more difficult process is selling it because maybe you do not have a big buyer’s list of land buyers out there and you are looking for more of a local investor, someone who is a neighbor or someone who lives in the area wanting to build a house.
Sometimes it takes a little bit longer to sell a piece of land rather then an investment house so that could be a little bit of a difference. But one difference, main difference that actually makes land more attractive is that do not have to worry as much about what is on the land. For example, if you have a house, I have to get insurance on the house. If I buy it, I have to protect it. The pipes might freeze, I have to mow the lawn, I have to worry if someone might break in and steal everything or whatever.
But with land, you do not have to worry about any of that because the worst thing that could happen is someone comes and digs a hole in it, I guess, and they move some dirt around. Those are some big differences why land and houses are similar but they are also different and land might be for you. It is a very similar process and you can get a lot of information from this podcast and our website on simplewholesaling.com about the whole process or listen to this interview with Howard Zonder. I think land can be the very attractive.
Do you dream of a life that is purpose-driven and makes a difference? Spiritual Foundation.Spiritual Foundation.
Brian: For today’s Spiritual Fondations, we are going to the book of Acts 4:31. ‘After they prayed, the place they were meeting was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.’ I love this verse because I am thinking of the times of my life where just when you have a good group community and whether you are listening to a sermon, always have people together praying and you just feel the energy from everybody in that place or you just feel the energy from everybody in that group.
Sometimes there has been times where I just been brought to tears or I am just ready to go out and conquer the world, it is on fire or whatever that you know that is but at those times in your life when you whether you are just reading, maybe you are praying together, you are worshiping together, you are listening to music, whatever that is, where it just stirs something up inside you. Your ground is shaking, you are shaking, you are just ready to go out and just take on whatever God has in store for you. Whatever that plan is that God has placed in front of you, that you are ready to go out and just like I said, just take it on, were those times when you are just emotionally stirred to just hope somebody else or take on whatever.
Whatever he has in store for you, you are ready to just accept it and go out and just do whatever you can to make the best of it. I know this past weekend, my church is… There is an amazing sermon series right now and I think I listened to the most convicting sermon I have ever listened to in my life. There are just multiple times where I just sat there listening, just kind of dumbfounded, just taking then to be like man why have I not understood this or why I cannot like allow myself to just accept this? Man, I just came out and I was just like I was just ready for everything in that one moment. It is those times in your life that can change your world just in amazing ways when you allow that to happen.
Brett: Well, I want to kind of open that up a little bit and let us talk about why it was so convicting? Can you give a couple of highlights on what was said that was still connected?
Brian: One of the things that they are talking about is like the sermon or the parable about the all-day workers and the one hour workers. If you do not know this parable, basically it is about an owner that is hiring people to go out into his vineyard to pick grapes and he is looking for just a bunch of different kind of worker and he goes there. He goes to the market early in the morning to find workers, he hires them, tells them they will pay them the day’s wage. They go out into the field and they work all day. Three hours later he goes and finds more workers, sends them to the field, just tells them he will pay them a wage. Later on the day, this can just continue to happen. All up until the last hour of the day and he said…
Anyway, he hires these workers so there is still an hour left to the day, go ahead and go out to the field and I will pay you whatever is fair. Basically, at the end of the day, when it is time for the owner to pay all the workers, he pays them all the exact same amount. Of course the hour or the all-day workers get upset about that. They are saying I have been here all day, I have been working, but in reality they were very happy with the wages they were getting at the beginning of the day, But when he saw what he paid the one hour workers, it was not acceptable to them.
Brian: It was kind of crazy. What really got me was thinking about that is if you were, I believe if you were a true Christian, you allowed God to lead you in every way of your life. Really what those all day workers could do is look at those one hour workers and be like man, that is so great for you. That it is just so awesome that you were able to receive the same amount of money and that just comes down to no matter what we are doing in our lives. We are in the Bible all day long, we are going to church all the time, we are doing all this and all this, I am no more special to God than somebody that maybe lost their way.
Brian: God is right there for us. One of the coolest analogy I have always ever heard is, ‘No matter how far you run away from God, you do not have to run that same distance back. All you have to do is turn around and he is right there.
Brett: Wow, that is awesome. Yes, I mean just to kind of jump into that a little bit, when you really look at the Christianity in the way God has designed his story and life, it is not fair in world standards. It is not fair. A lot of people will look at the all-day worker versus the one hour worker and say hey that is not fair, this is America or capitalism and people should get paid what they put into it, what they worked. I lived many years of my life really running away from God many many years and my wife, Karen, she actually gave her life to Christ at forty years old and spent her entire life really serving the Lord.
We are both able to have that same salvation because I basically turned around and God was right there with his arms wide open, ready to accept me even though I had gone really far away from him and that is what this is at, that is what this is. I just want you guys to really think about we really just kind of paint this picture for you. I know this is a real estate podcast but we also talk about life and even in this interview with Howard. In each section of our interviews, we go a little bit deeper really.
It is not just about making money or developing a process and building wealth and developing freedom, it is really about having it all and if you really really want it all, it is not even all the freedom that this world offers, what the money offers, it is really what Jesus offers. That is why we talked about this. This is who we are and we would not be true to ourselves if we were not sharing the gospel with all of you. I hope you guys enjoyed what Brian talked about and hope you guys really tune in to this section of the show because this is really what life is all about. Maybe you have gone a little bit too far one way and God is right there. He is right there, he is calling you back and he is ready to walk with you in this journey. Talk you guys for listening out today
Brett: Now, we are going to get into our interview with Howard Zonder. If you guys have not heard of Howard, he is an amazing investor. This is his third career. He was a marine and then he basically got to corporate America for many years of his life. Then in 2016 got into entrepreneurship and started listening to podcasts. One of the podcasts that really woke him up was called Follow The Money and he realized he wanted to get into investing and he found land. This is in 2016.
Just in the past couple of years, he has built an amazing business and he has also built this program because he had a lot of pain points in his business about how can he outsource more, how can he automate his DirectMail system, how can he analyze deals better and he wanted true freedom which is basically he could wake up each morning and just be super excited about life. He could basically work from anywhere that he wanted to work from. He can make any amount of money that he wanted to make and he can never be fired and this is what his business has given him. He developed a program called LandSpeed and he is going to dive into what that consists of. It is helping so many investors out there and let us get right into our interview with Howard Zonder. Hey, what is going on Howard? How you doing?
Howard: I am fantastic, Brett. How are you?
Brett: I am doing fantastic as well. Brian and I have been looking so forward to this show and all that you are going to talk about land investing which we actually have a huge audience that are so interested in this topic. Super excited.
Howard: That is great. I had been doing it for a while now and a great affinity for this community, really love it.
Brian: Very nice. Well, thank you for joining us and let us go ahead and just jump in. Why don’t you go ahead and tell us just a little bit about your background, how you got started in investing and got started investing in land in particular?
Howard: Sure, you got it. Well, I am actually in my third career. First I was an officer in the Marine Corps and did that for quite a while and then I got out on graduate school and then started my second career in the corporate world which I did for about, I do not know, close to 20 years but much of which was in the technology fields. Then my last job I was running global marketing for a media company based out of London. That was fun, it was about five years but it was coming to an end around the end of 2015.
I decided in my next move, I wanted to try to avoid the soul sucking life of the corporate executive and maybe go out and try something on my own. I went out, I was doing some research on various entrepreneurial ideas and I think like many of your audience, I was listening to a lot of podcast and I stumbled upon why not? It is few different podcast to hit me over the head before I really started to say I think there is something to this that makes sense to me. I got started in it right around January of 2016 and just have not looked back since. The rest is history.
Brett: That is so cool. I really want to dive into somebody else’s podcasts because Simple Wholesaling is not the only real estate podcast out there. What are a couple of the podcasts that really hit you when you were interested in land, listening to some, and then is there one in particular that really hit home with you and the light bulb went off and you are like wow this is exactly what I want to do?
Howard: Yes. The first one that I was listening to when I first heard about land was Follow The Money podcast. I think it is Follow the Money daily or weekly, I cannot remember which one it is called right now but it is a terrific podcast and a variety of subjects, a lot of economics as well. But in there, there were a couple different interviews that I heard that really stimulated my thinking and then I just started digging a little bit deeper and I found all the major schools for land investing which obviously are Land Academy, Land Geek, Jack Bosch, Seth Williams, and I just started devouring everything. Like I could get my hands or my ears on until I felt like I had enough either knowledge or inspiration to make a decision and say you know what? I am just going to give it a try.
Brett: Yes, definitely. When you start looking for land investing out there, there is not a lot of resources. We have actually had a couple of those guys on our show, Seth Williams and Jack Bosch, we will link those shows in our show notes guys and also the podcast Follow The Money on the simplewholesaling.com/episode112. Thank you for sharing that, Howard. I want to dive in, you got into land investing in 2016 so you are fairly new I would say. You have been doing this for years on end. What are some of the things that you have seen, why land? Bring us up to today, what are you guys doing now?
Howard: Well, land, once I started learning about it, I just got very excited because the process of buying and selling land, as I thought at the time as I have come to learn, it is really a lot more like selling a car that it is like selling real estate. When I go sell a car, if I own it, I turn the title over. I sign it over to the other person and now they own the car.
In land, it is quite a bit like that. I recorded deed in the other person’s name and they own it or they record the deed in my name and I own it. It does not have to go through the same kind of closing procedures or legal procedures that single family homes have to go through. I mean in some cases, in some cases it might, in many cases it does not. There is an ease to it and what is really fascinating to me about it is, and I laugh when I think about this, I am buying property that I have never seen in a county that I have never been to from a person that I have never met and then turning around and sell it to another person that I have never met. I do it all from my desk at my house. I mean that is pretty remarkable.
If I was flipping a house, obviously that is a much more hands on kind of experience. Even if I was maybe wholesaling, you can do it as well in this manner. I do not be candid with your audience, I have never done any house wholesaling, I am just on land, but I really like the fact that I can do that. I tell people all the time, as at this stage of my life in this third career as an entrepreneur, I have got four requirements in my career. Requirement number one is I have to look forward to getting up every day. If I do not enjoy it, I am simply not going to do it.
The second thing is I want to have complete geographic independence. I want to be able to, if I want to take my family on a permanent vacation, why should I have to stop working? I mean we live in the internet age for God’s sake. Third thing is I want there to be no cap on how much money I can make. If I am willing to work twice as hard, I want to make twice as much money. Then the last thing is I can never be fired downsized. That says right off the bat, I can eliminate any corporate job in my future which is great news for me but the second thing is that land actually ticks every one of those boxes. The fact that I am again buying land that I have never seen in counties I have never been to and I am doing this all from my desk means I can do it anywhere in the world as long as I have got a computer and a cellphone. It is terrific.
Brett: Yes, definitely. I mean that is true freedom right there. I was actually taking notes on there. Looking forward to waking up each day and how many people actually do that when they talk about what they do for a living. Looking forward to that geographic independence. You know how many positions out there are able to do that. No cap on how much money can make and then never fired, that is absolute freedom. That is so amazing.
Brian: Yes, definitely. Then you kind of develop this the website, just the whole LandSpeed thing to go along with as you got started doing your deals and doing more with selling land and wholesaling land. Why don’t you get into a little more of a what LandSpeed is and what anybody can do with that?
Howard: Sure. Well, I do not remember the exact timing but after about, I do not know, say nine months in the land business I was starting to develop a decent deal flow. When it kind of got to the point where I could not see my screen anymore because there were too many post it notes all over the place and I could not really manage all the data on various spreadsheets, I realized that I needed to get a little bit more organized than that and because I had so many years in marketing and product development and technology industry, I just decided to do it.
The first thing I decided was I was going to outsource my DirectMail. Or not outsource, I was going to automate my DirectMail process. Up until that time, I was mailing out of my house and I did everything myself, I mean everything. I do not even have VAs, I want doing everything myself and it was really insane. But from mailing…
Brett: I want to get back to that. You are mailing out at your house, describe what that looks like?
Howard: I would get my own list, I would scrub my own list, I would price out my offers and then I would create mail merges in Word and Excel and then I would print all the letters out and I would fold them and I would stuff them and I would stamp the envelopes and I actually I even printed my own envelopes because being a marketer, I liked these stuff on the envelope. I am doing a double duty on my printer. I put all this together and then I would take it to the post office every day and I would send out my mail and it was taking a good 46 hours a week.
I was fooling myself thinking I am marketer, I am so smart, I am putting this stuff on the envelope. It is all nonsense. At the end of the day, this is a numbers game. You get the mail out, you get enough mail out with the right letter in it, you are going to get the results. What I have learned is that as an entrepreneur, our most valuable asset is our time. Money can be had. I can find investors, I can borrow it from my family or whatever, I can always find a way to get money but I will get so much time and how I use that time will determine how much success I have and how fast I get there. If I am spending four to six hours a week on this really low value add activity like mailing, that is about the dumbest thing I could possibly had done. I had nine months to figure that out. Sometimes I am not the fastest learner.
Brett: I do not blame me you. A lot of people start out that way and that is exactly. I remember we were hand writing our letters and our envelopes and mailing them out because I guess I just didn’t know if it worked and then once we started knowing and realizing wow there is something to this and it is working. Now, instead of a thousand letters in a month, we want to do three thousand. We had to look for some sort of outsourcing. I think that is where a lot of people start. But anyways, continue on with LandSpeed. You start working out at your home, you realize 46 hours in DirectMail marketing on your own, out of your own house, is not working. Take us from there.
Howard: I started to say alright, I am going to automate my mailing. Going back to my product development days, I think in terms of what are my requirements? I came up with seven requirements. The first one was I want to mail every single day and this is philosophical. A lot of people send out large bulk mailings and the primary reason they are doing that is because the mail houses give you a discount if you mail in volume so they can lower their costs. But the problem with that is if I send out two thousand letters all at one time, then I am going to sit around twiddle my thumbs for a little while until it starts hitting people’s mailboxes. Then when the call, the flood, is going to come in but it is going to come in on a bell curve.
The early calls are usually the angry people saying, ‘What the hell is the matter with you? $500 for my property, are you out of your mind?’ Then the bulk of the opportunity is going to come in at the top of the bell curve which is in a relatively compressed time frame. Now, that means all of a sudden I am going to have this huge spike of activity around due diligence because I have to do diligence on the thing I want to buy. Then I am going to have this spike of activity around closing which means all of the demand for my capital is coming in one big spike and I really did not like that. I like a smooth running business that is kind of firing on all cylinders all the time. Let us just use an easy number like six hundred. If I want to mail six hundred letters per month, I can do it all in one mailing or I can mail thirty letters per day, five days a week.
Either way, it is six hundred per month. But if I mail every single day, then I am always mailing, I am always getting calls, I am always doing due diligence, I am always closing, there is always a demand for my capital but that is okay because I am always marketing and I am always selling and replenishing my capital. Now, I have got this very smooth running business. The beautiful thing about is that once that happens after a while, you start collecting the data, you are seeing how it is working, you can actually forecasts that based on this level of mailing, I am going to buy about this many properties per month and I am going to sell this many properties for months.
Then when you want to grow, all you have to do is tweak one metric which is how much mail do I send out every day and they dial it up a little bit and all of a sudden more calls and more of everything. You can control the pace of growth so you never grow faster than your ability to absorb it terms of time and capital and then you can manage your business. That was the first requirements, I want them mail every single day. The second one is to me mailing is monkey work and I know that intimately because I did it for nine months and I do not do monkey work anymore so it could not take me any time. I had to cut my… Everyday I was going to mail but it could not take me any time.
The next three kind of go hand in hand. I wanted to have as many mailing templates as I wanted to. I always wanted that be able to choose the letter of my choice and have as many letters as I wanted to. I wanted to be able to edit those letters at will. I wanted to be able to select the letter I was using at every individual mail. Those are next three. Then the last two I think are probably the most important is I wanted all of my data in one place, online, accessible and searchable from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. If I did that, then when somebody calls me I do not start digging through spreadsheets and say, ‘Can you just remind me what the offer was or that letter because I cannot find it?’ Does not sound very professional.
Now, I just say what is your name, I type it into my little search box, boom there is the record and say, ‘Oh, yes. That 5.3 acres in Teller County. How can I help you? I take my notes in their records and everything is very organized. That is what I built and it worked like a charm and I limited 46 hours a week out of my schedule. I was able to increase my mailings which actually increased my deal flow. Once I did that, I kind of got the book and I said, ‘You know what? I am going to keep going.’ Because the land business is a very linear process, it is very simple, right? I select a county, I get a list, I scrub and price the list and mail the list.
I do due diligence on properties I want to buy, I close on them, I market properties, I sell properties and in some cases I default on it. Understanding that basic high level process, I was and having almost a year under my belt, I was able to process map the entire business and then just start knocking them off one at a time. I did that until the whole business was automated. Then I did not do this to sell it, I just did it for my own business. Then I started sharing it with some of my other friends in the land business and their reaction was what like we want it too. At that point I got to realize maybe I had something here so I could share with a larger community.
Brett: Definitely. I think those seven requirements obviously when you talk about DirectMail are pain points of every real estate investor especially that mailing every day, even in our business, our mail house, it is very difficult to do that. We mail three times a week because of just the bulk rates and they do not want to go to the mailbox every day and all that so that is what we do. No time personally and all the templates and especially all the data that has been a pain point of ours. Trying to get the data all at one place whether it is in our CRM system and all that. Let us dive in deeper on LandSpeed. Basically, it does all of this with DirectMail and people can get into this and you sell this obviously Howard. Does LandSpeed do anything else besides that as you have got more into land business? Has there been any other pain points that you have seen that LandSpeed helps with or you are going to develop with this program?
Howard: Yes, absolutely. I laid out sort of the high level steps of land business and to me the most important step in the whole process is due diligence. If you get due diligence wrong, it will just ruin your whole day. Imagine, I am going to buy a property for $500 and after I buy it I find out there is a $5000 lien on it. That would really be lousy. I feel like land investors are caught between two really bad options. One option is going I am going to use a title company. Well, a title company might charge anywhere from $400 to $1900, whatever it is it is a lot of money.
If you are going after cheaper rural land in particular, it destroys the economics of the deal. Then what people do is they default to the other option which is even worse which is I am going to do it myself. That is a terrible terrible idea. You can come up with a whole checklist of information that you might want to get from your county, just can I put a house on it, can I put a mobile home on it, how far is it to the nearest utility pole, what is the zoning? On and on and on and that is all important and nice to know information but the four most important questions in the due diligence process are going to be does the property have a clean chain of title, are there any open liens on the property, what are the real back taxes and is the person who is trying to sell you the property, the person who actually owns the property, or does it need to go through a probi, those four things you just do not want to mess up on. That takes some skills.
What I did is I assembled a team of title abstractors and people who do this research for a living, they have done it for title companies. They were not working for the title company anymore so they did not have access to the data. I went out and I bought access to the data now that I have got a community that is large enough to support that and so now we can do essentially a full title search, almost as good as new, probably as good as you get from a title company. We actually add on a number of marketing pieces on top of that. The only thing you are not getting is the title insurance.
You are basically getting the security to know that if you are going to buy a property that it is going to meet those four requirements, plus we will do all the rest of the checklist as well, and you are getting it for less than a quarter of the price of a cheap title search. It is actually a whole purpose of it was to give you the confidence but make it affordable for a land investor and so that is what we have done. That business is growing tremendously. People find a lot of value in that.
Brett: This is also included in LandSpeed? This is part another asset that the program has?
Howard: Yes, it is another product that we have so you can order it right from within LandSpeed. To be honest, even on LandSpeed have access to it. Yes, it is a different product so it is priced. You basically pay for it when you need it, when you use it, there is no subscription required for it.
Brian: That is awesome. I mean that just holds a ton of value right there for anybody using that, that is great. I want to go back to kind of when you originally kind of made this up just for yourself and your business, now you have people that are interested in it, you showed it to some of your buddies and stuff and they became interested, now you are marketing it, how has that kind of solution changed for you over time?
Howard: Well, I am a tweaker and an optimizer and I am never satisfied so I am always playing with it, mostly on my own account, and then if I really think that it is going to add a lot of value I push it to everybody else. Over time, we have added calculators, we have added new documents so now you can create option agreements and sales and escrow agreements, all kinds of interesting things right through the platform.
One of the benefits of having a large and growing community is they come up with all kinds of great ideas that I would never think of. I have added some new features based upon that feedback as well. But the thing that I am most excited about right now is because the community has sort of reached an inflection point and size, I was able to negotiate with our mailing house to drop mailing rates by about 36%. Before, it would cost about 82.4 cents to send a one page black and white letter. Now, it is less than 53 cents.
Howard: There is no volume requirement because what I am doing is I am aggregating the volume of the community. It does not matter whether you send one letter a month or a thousand letters a month, you still get the pricing.
Brett: These are mailed out every day and you can put that as a requirement and you are still paying that rate?
Howard: That is correct.
Brett: Wow. That is awesome, When you talk about DirectMail, it might not sound like a lot but we are in the business of sending out 20,000 pieces a month, somewhere around that range, yes, 20 cents, that is a lot of money that you can definitely save. One quick question, do you only work with people that are in land investing or could another like a wholesaler benefit from LandSpeed?
Howard: The current solution is optimized for land but there is enough commonality that I think either it can be used as it is or I am more than happy to work with somebody to make a version of it that would be more appropriate for the wholesaling community. I think probably 80% of it just as it is would be perfectly applicable to the wholesaling community.
Brett: Probably do.
Howard: I love the opportunity to work on the rest of the 20%.
Brett: Yes. Probably just the templates and just stuff like that. Most of it is pretty much the exact same of DirectMail and probably just the templates and what letters you send and what you say in them and all that.
Brett: That is awesome.
Brian: I got one here. Just real quick. I know you just got into this, into doing land two years ago, what are some maybe that number one tip or maybe the top two tips you have for somebody that is just interested in getting started in land?
Howard: Sure. I think there is a couple. The first one I would say to people coming, and I see this in LandSpeed, because we have different kinds of people that join LandSpeed. Some people are seasoned entrepreneurs and they know what they are getting themselves into. Some people are probably a little bit like I was. They are coming out of their careers and they are going into this entrepreneurial approach which may be new to them. What I would say is that the entrepreneurial past is not a straight upward slope to success. There is a learning curve, you are going to experience setbacks, you are going to question yourself, and you are going to have to deal with all the naysayers in your life who may be very very close to you, maybe your spouse or your family who will tell you are absolutely crazy, and the only way to get through all that and reach that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is you have to believe in yourself. You have to know in your heart that what you are doing, it makes sense, it is pass the logic filter and you can succeed because you are determined.
The fact of the matter is, and I used to say this to myself all the time before I hit success, if somebody else is successful and there are plenty of people who are successful, if anybody else can be successful, so can I. The only difference is I just have not broken the code and I am not going to stop until I break that code. I think that is what it takes to get to the pot of gold because it is not going to be a straight upward curve so be ready for that.
Howard: The second thing I would say is that a lot of people come in to this business and they want to understand it from end to end before they get started and that is a sure fire way to never get started. There is a lot to learn, right?
Howard: I strongly, I strongly urge people who want to get into this business, start at the beginning. Do not worry about the rest, focus on the first step. First step is picking a county, master it. Pick a county. Once you have done that then focus all your energy on the next thing, getting a list and getting it formatted nicely. Then figure out how to price it, then figure out how to mail it. Until you have mailed it, you are not really in the business. You are kind of talking about being at the business. But once you have mailed and your name or your brand is out there dropping in people’s mailboxes, then you are in the business.
Then people are going to start calling you and that will drive you, that is going to be what is going to motivate you to the next step or the next step. You will never, let us just say you get there and you just do not feel confident like you really know everything, it is okay. You are going to make mistakes, even when you are experienced you are going to make mistakes. The truth of the matter is nobody knows you have made a mistake except you. Your customer sure do not know it was a mistake. Just keep doing it and if you make a mistake and you lose a deal, learn from it and do not make that mistake again. Do not wait to start until you understand everything end to end.
Brett: I think people get paralyzed and I have been in this business for ten years and I do not know everything. When you talk about some of these different resources for land, I do not know any of that and I am still learning. That kind of bounces me into the next question. Howard, you are still fairly new. You have learned a lot, you have done a lot of deals, you have created this LandSpeed program which is definitely benefiting your business and so many other businesses out there but what are some different things that you are continuously learning? What are some things that you think that you still need to get better at each day or to learn? What is kind of in the future of your business?
Howard: Yes. Well, it may sound cliché but I think the old adage is true. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. It just opens my eyes, it just opens my eyes and I am okay with that because learning never stops. I mean that is the joy of life to me and I think one of the fundamental things I learned, this is perhaps not so much business as it is personal, but I have always been a workaholic. I just love to work. I love seeing things through and building things. I guess I am a little bit, at least a little bit, ADD as well too. When I start getting into something, I will go right down the rabbit hole and the whole world literally disappears.
That is actually not a great way to be. It is important that I have balance, it is important that I am making investments in mind and spirit, and if I do not do that I am really not doing justice to myself nor to myself. Getting to do that is always a process for me, I am never as good at that as I would like to be and especially now that it is even different when you are an entrepreneur, because when you are an entrepreneur, because when you are an entrepreneur, the work is as work. It is work for your ego, for your benefit and for the benefit of your family. Figuring out how to turn that off sometimes is a real challenge.
Brett: Yes. Because there is always more deals to do, there is always more mail the send and you can drive yourself crazy just by never turning it off as an entrepreneur.
Brian: Yes. Guess what, we were just having that conversation yesterday with one of our team members, Gary. Gary is like I wish I had four more hours in the day. I was like I do not because I am probably just going to work four more hours.
Brian: Like you need to be able to turn that off at some point and actually live your life. I think that is great. You went from kind of doing this for yourself and then now you have that team that is working for you or working with yo. Do you have any advice for these people that are kind of going from that one man show to having a team of how you scale that business?
Howard: Absolutely. I will speak to land investors as opposed to solution developers. That the trick is again to recognize that your most precious asset is your time and we all want to manage costs. That is an important part of any business but if you are basically saying I am willing to invest a number of hours just to save a little bit of money here and there, you are not going to get the most return on your time which is even more important than the return on your money.
Tools helps, automation helps, outsourcing helps and having, sorry for the shameless pitch, but to have a tool like Landspeed that not only automates but it actually automates the tasking of all your external resources as well and organizes all the data so you never drop the ball on anything will allow you to preserve hours and hours and hours in your week. What you want to do is make sure you are re-allocating time to those activities that are of highest values to grow your business. But if your focus continues to be I will just do this myself because I can save an extra $100 a week, in the long run that is actually going to hurt you more than it is going to help you.
Brett: Yes. I think people do not look at time as even an asset and that has just been a learning curve that I have had throughout my years. My parents never really taught me. Their philosophy was if you can do it yourself, you need to do it yourself. Why would you ever hire someone else to do it? That has just been something that I have learned in this business and I have tried to apply it to other areas of my life whether it is my personal life or just really getting back my time to really focus on the things that I am gifted at and that I am the best at and the things that I just truly love, right? I think that is what Howard’s talking about.
If you are listening out there, think of time as an asset and how can you get more of it just like we are all trying to get money but sometimes you forget about the time. How can you get more time back? We all have the same amount of time but how can you get more time to do things you truly enjoy. I think that is what Howard has helped built here. With that, let us get into this section of the show that Brian and I like to call Going Deep.
Brian: Going Deep.
Brett: In this section the show, Howard, we just like to really just be real, be transparent. That is who we are here as Simple Wholesaling and I think that is who you are as well. You have talked about your work life balance has been maybe a little bit of a struggle for you. You have done a lot of different careers, this is your third career that you have talked about and now you have been in this business for a couple of years. You have delegated and automated some great systems in LandSpeed but really what is the true vision of your life and let us talk about your purpose in your life and kind of what really drives you each and every day? You said you love to get out of at a bed loving life, what kind of drives you now?
Howard: Well, I have just a passion for learning. I am kind voracious reader and I like doing things and experiencing different things. I think where I have come to in my life is I like to grow personally and use that growth with regards to business in particular to generate as much wealth as I can because then that gives me the opportunity to be generous and give back and help my family, my community and others in a way that is meaningful to me. It gives me more opportunity to do that than I might otherwise have. We always have our time, it is nice to be able to throw some additional resources on that as well.
But one thing I have discovered particularly with LandSpeed, not so much as my land business, but with LandSpeed I now have a vehicle to help other people to fill their wise and even to understand their wise but certainly to fulfill it and that to me has been extraordinarily rewarding. Something I did not necessarily anticipate but I was very happy to find it. Working with fellow LandSpeeders and fellow people in the land community and helping them achieve their visions of success has been and it has just been remarkable so I am really happy about. That risk of bringing it down a notch on the energy level.
Somebody, I will leave the details out, but somebody very very close to me has recently been diagnosed with a very horrible disease and one of the great things about being an entrepreneur and having complete geographic independence is that I now have the ability to be fully supportive of that person to help them go where they have to go to get treatments or whatever it is. There is plenty of time in between to continue to run my business so my business does not necessarily have to suffer but it allows me to be supportive in a way that I would not have been able to be had I still been working in corporate jobs and a lot of wise. Yes, I am really really thankful for how things has turned out.
Brett: It just goes back to that freedom kind of the four characteristics that you talked at the beginning of the show. Just really looking forward to each day, having that geographic independence, no cap on your money and you never being able to be fired. Sometimes freedom is not always sitting on a beach or going on vacation all the time. Sometimes it is just being there for a friend like you just mentioned and that can mean more than all those other freedoms, right? I just think that is so cool. Awesome, thanks for sharing.
Howard: Amen to that.
Brian: Yes, definitely. I just want to kind of get in a little bit more. I know you are a former military man and thank you for your service definitely 100%. You have kind of moved through the corporate world and then now you are in doing your thing with land and LandSpeed. As I have been doing some kind of research on you, have been on some pretty high profile podcasts and I have seen you done an awesome job with that. How are you kind of… You seem like a very humble person, how are you dealing with that notoriety that you are gaining from what you are doing now?
Howard: Well, if I have notoriety, then it is kind of news to me. It is interesting. I think it is sort of like that saying, ‘If you want to be an expert at something, write a book.’ You do not actually have to be an expert, you can have somebody else write the book with your name on it and you are still the expert, right?
Brian: Right. Perhaps some people see me now as the expert. I can tell you, in all honesty, that within the LandSpeed community we have some people who are blowing it out in the land business in ways that it just boggles the mind. If I was to say, if somebody was to say, who is the greatest land investor you know? It is not me. I am a process guy. I think what I have done a good job is building a solution that can help people be successful but there are land investors out there that are way more successful than I am. I think that as I engage with people either through a podcast or a one to one basis, the important thing is just understand who I am, what my purpose is, I like helping people, and enjoying those one to one relationships. It is not about me kind of being an expert. I am what I am for whatever I bring to the table and all my work as well but having the opportunity to deal with people one to one and help them out is that is where the joy comes from.
Brian: That is awesome man. So cool, thank you for sharing that with us.
Brett: Yes, definitely.
Touch of Randomness
It is time for a touch of randomness.
Brett: Thank you so much, Howard. We are going to transition into the last section of our show called the Touch of Randomness. We got a little bit deep there about your personal life and your why and now we are going to end on a lighter note called the Touch of Randomness. We are going to ask you four questions here and just kind of name the first thing that comes to your mind. Brian, why don’t you take it away.
Brian: Alright. If you were in the circus, what act or what animal would you be working with? What would your act be if you were in the circus? Perfect question to get off that. Like straight up being serious and everything.
Howard: Yes. I would like to say I was the clown but I am just not funny enough to be the clown. I do not know, I think, that is a good one. Maybe the guy that works with the elephants.
Brett: There you go.
Howard: I love all the books by Jim Collins. I do not know if you have read them but he built Built to Last, Good to Great, Great by Choice. He talks about beehives which are big hairy audacious goals. An elephant is a good metaphor for that. I guess I want to work with elephants.
Brett: There you go. I actually have when I was in elementary school. We had to fill out what we want to be when we grew up and I wanted to be an elephant washer.
Brett: I want to wash elephants. I do not know, it is crazy. Anyways, number two, Howard. If you were a salesman in the middle section of the mall, what would you like to sell? If you go to the mall, you are among those middle kiosks, what would you like to sell?
Brett: First thing that comes to your mind.
Howard: Definitely not iPhone cases. It would just have to be something inspirational, something that would maybe help people counteract the materialism that normally goes on in the mall and bring them back to earth a little bit. I do not know what the product is but I would figure it out.
Brett: There you go. I would probably sell emoji pillow, I do not know.
Howard: My son would like that.
Brett: Last question, who is your favorite cartoon character of all time?
Howard: Finally, a softball. There is no question about that, it is absolutely Bugs Bunny.
Brian: That is nice.
Brett: He was very wise and I consider you very wise. Always does a good advice there. Thanks for joining us on the show today, Howard. We appreciate you so much and everything that you had to offer our audience but we want to end on your contact information and if someone wants to reach out to you or find out more information about LandSpeed, where is the best place for them to go?
Howard: Fantastic. The website is still under development so right now I am still sending people over to our Facebook page which is just www.facebook.com/landbizautomation. That is bizautomation. On there, right at the top, there is a button. You can just click the button and set up a fifteen minute call just to kick things off and I will talk a little bit. You interact with me and we will see how we want to proceed. Or you can reach out to me directly, just email@example.com and that is tech, landspeedtech.com.
Brett: Awesome. Those are going to be on our show notes guys so if you go to simplewholesaling.com/episode112. This is our interview with Howard Zonder with LandSpeed. We thank you so much, Howard. We wish you much success in the future, God bless man.
Howard: Thanks guys. It has been a real pleasure.
Brian: Yes. Take care.
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