Real Estate On The Road - Posted by Tara

Posted by karp on March 31, 1999 at 20:50:53:

So I will respomnd to me instead…
A hoodoo is one of those tiny hill thingees that the wise man sits on/…

Hence the Hoodoo Guru…

I will check the spelling…


Real Estate On The Road - Posted by Tara

Posted by Tara on March 29, 1999 at 01:15:52:

I’m brand new at real estate, and although I have done my prep work (Carleton Sheets course, Ron LeGrand Quick Turn course, numerous other tapes and books), I am really struggling getting started.

I have a full-time “job” that requires me to travel, sometimes 6-8 weeks at a time without returning home. I really want to do real estate full-time, but I lack the courage to just quit without having at least one deal under my belt (not to mention the extra money). Do you have any ideas for doing real estate on the road? How can I find and negotiate deals when I’m not physically there? Etc. etc…

I would REALLY appreciate any advice or suggestions you can give me. I want to get started now so I can quit my job in June.

Thanks!!! This message board is terrific!!!


Re: Real Estate On The Road - Posted by Alex Gurevich, TX

Posted by Alex Gurevich, TX on March 31, 1999 at 11:15:23:

What a thread !
I apreciate everybody contributing your ideas.

We, ourselves, can be the greatest asset of this biz, but we can also be the worst bottleneck. When I am designing my marketing letter, or a flyer, or when I am coming up with ideas on how to efficiently gather and accumulate information in my database on thousands of prospective sellers from newpaper ads, fsbos, MLS, advertising, foreclosure postings, etc., etc. and then contact them on a monthly basis, I am on the asset side of the biz. When I present a proposal to a hard money lender, or I negotiate a transaction with a truly motivated seller who needs to close shortly, or I spent time with ready, able and willing buyer with money for downpayment and ability to make payments who is ready to move into my house quickly - I am still on the asset side.

However, when I personally do MLS searches, call ads, populate my database with phone numbers or addresses from a newspaper or internet, or other media, print and attach thousands of mailing labels, make trips to send bulk mail, or order post-cards, accept 50-70 phone calls a week from buyers looking for a pie in the sky or just “lookers”, when I am trying to persuade an unmotivated seller to change his mind about his situation, I am clearly on the liability side of the business - I own a very tough job that will keep me busy 24 hours a day year around.

For example, I never sold a home to somebody who has not seen the house already, could not move within 30 days, and could not afford to make payments of certain size. So, what business do I have to talk to anybody who does not fit this criteria ? How hard could that be to weed out the rest of them ? Yet I do speak with 50 unqualified prospective buyers a week. My “systems” should take care of that issue.

On the other, I never bought a home from somebody who “was just thinking of selling”, or “looking at all the options”, or “was not in a hurry to sell”. Aren’t they a vast majority of callers anyway ? Well I just can’t afford to talk to these folks, but they are who I am talking to constantly.

Come to think of it, I always bought from people who almost absolutely needed to close in 30 days or sooner, who “did not have time to list with realtor”, “did not want to mess with the house”, “just wanted out”, “could not afford the payments”, “could not afford to do repairs”, “could not qualify for a new home because of this one”, “don’t want to mess with tenant”, etc. I wonder if these are the only kind I should have time to talk to. I think I am going to need a “system” that will allow me to only talk to this last kind of sellers. (Just got a call from a man who started with " I need to sell my home immediately" - my kind of guy.)

For the majority of us the real money in this business is made in a volume of transactions, not on a single big one (except for Terry and Ed Garcia, of course).

Personally, even though I am only in the very early stages of automating and systematizing things, I just can not see myself winning this struggle without some help from “systems”, which would likely be a combination of processes and employees/contractors excercising them. I see it as a painful transition with some bucks, time and effort spent on making it work, but I don’t think I have a choice.

You might already have a system in hand - Posted by Mark R in KCMO

Posted by Mark R in KCMO on March 30, 1999 at 23:35:13:

Tara, and others…

You Say that you have the Sheets course, in the course that I have he has several “scripts” to evaluate properties.

I think that an answering service can read the same script as well as I could on day one. The more important step in my mind is the ability to close the deal. I can only speak from experience, in your case why not bring in a “local” partner, at this point of you investing carreer, 50% of something is better the 100% of nothing.

In my first year of investing, I was doing deals thousands of miles away. I have bought and sold properties that I have never actually seen.

However I did have the advantage that I wasn’t working a job.

I know some will say that it was the blind leading the blind, but it worked for me.

It isn’t easy, but It can be done.

Am I Still doing things remotely??

Actually, last week I re-fi’ed one of the properties out of state, with a bank that I didn’t so much as talk to on the phone. Did all the paperwork Via the US Post Office, and went to my local notary for the paper work that needed signatures.

The Local partner handled all the things that required someone on site to perform.

I can be as warm and chatty with the home owner a thousand miles away as I can be across town on the phone.

Because of the addition lead / lag time involved that I didn’t do as many deals as I could have done if I was there in person. But that isn’t your question, you are wanting to know if it can be done remotely, the answer for me was yes.

Can you do it? I don’t know why not!

Will it be rough, and will you miss some deals?? Yup I bet you will.

Is operating remotely a good way to start?? I don’t know, It’s the only way that I have done it. I was in the RE Game for about a year before I bought my first property locally.

I do plan on turning my RE investing into a RE biz.

When it gets to the point that my operations manual is complete, with scripts, profiles, and specific proceedures for the acqusition and sale of performing and non-performing assets including but not limmited to Real properties, and managent and/or ownership entities, I think I just might have the start of a system.

Ahhh the times that I dreaded writing Process Assesment documentation… Yucky

(I knew that lousy Corp Job I had for 20 years would teach me something of use)

I hope this helps

Mark R in KCMO

Re: Real Estate On The Road - Posted by JPiper

Posted by JPiper on March 30, 1999 at 14:52:53:

I’ve read with interest the two comments below?..but I have to say that while I think they’re interesting I doubt they will work for you.

I certainly don’t like to be in the role of discouragement?..and believe the concept of “never say never”. However I’m quite dubious as to an inexperienced person’s ability to automate to the extent of these suggestions. As an example, without having the benefit of the experience of talking with sellers, how would you know ALL the myriad of questions to have a low level employee at an answering service ask?

In my opinion, the real estate business is all about people?’s a people business as they say. When I think about the conversations I have with buyers and sellers, I think it would be quite difficult to impart those conversations to a minimum wage phone answerer. Further, since you have no experience at this point, I think it would be difficult to know yourself exactly what to expect out of a phone conversation, let alone train someone else to know.

Could you enlist the services of a realtor? Well perhaps. But considering the fact that most of my deals come from sources other than realtors, I would question this avenue in general.

I don’t have any good suggestions for you unfortunately. I don’t think I could successfully conduct this business myself from the road without significant help?.and I’ve been doing it for 18 years. Even with significant help (read money) I question whether I could pull it off.

My suggestion would be to take a close look at your life. Sometimes one door has to close before another door can open. Perhaps you could switch jobs to one that was not quite so demanding in terms of travel. My opinion would be that ultimately your decision is going to come down to having to make a difficult choice?..keep the traveling job or embark on a career in real estate.


Re: Real Estate On The Road - Posted by Carmen

Posted by Carmen on March 29, 1999 at 08:23:25:

Wow. That’s a toughy.

The communication part is easy, if you travel within the U.S. With AT&T’s Digital One plan, you can get a cell phone that you can use anywhere in the U.S.; there are also nationwide pager services.

The finding-and-closing-deals remotely part is a little tougher. In my opinion, flips may be the easiest way to go. You would need to be able to work with someone who is willing and able to find and look at property for you - I would try to find a really motivated realtor or broker, who works with investors. They would be able to “feed” you leads, with comps, and your job would be to set up the deals/make the offers - you can sign a contract from anywhere. You could also put your pager/phone on cards, flyers, etc. and run an “I Buy Houses” ad. With this, though, you would still need someone to at least give the house a once-over before closing. You may need to invest a bit more than if you were there, but you could set up a system where you have an inspector you trust work with you. Every time you get an offer accepted, have them go look at the home and report back to you. Then you can decide whether it’s still a deal. And, you would still need to know the comps.

You could the use this same or a different realtor to list and sell these homes as “handyman specials” - or you can fax the same info to all the investors you find (from the “I Buy Houses” ads, investors club meetings, flyers and cards you’ve handed out, etc.) and run ads in the paper (with your #). You would need to make the homes accessible to any buyers - again, someone would need to either be there to show, or you can buy “lockboxes” from the Realtor’s association, and they can show themselves (as long as someone puts them on initially).

More difficult, but by no means impossible! And if you accomplish this, you will have built yourself a “Business” and not just bought yourself another “job”!

Re: Real Estate On The Road - Posted by Carmen

Posted by Carmen on March 30, 1999 at 19:56:29:

I’m surprised by this answer! To me, the challenge (especially if you have the luxury of time and a steady paycheck for a few more months), is 100% to set up a SYSTEM! Read “The CashFlow Quadrant” by Kiyosaki - did you buy a job? I, for one, do not plan to. I plan to create a BUSINESS which will run without much of my help, even if I’m jetting around the world (or, OK, riding around the US on a Hog).

Saying “you can’t do it because you’ve never done it” is not the answer. Don’t say “you can’t”-find the answer to “how can I”, which is what Tara is doing. Also, you don’t need to know all the questions - you will need to continue to refine your system for years, if not forever - why not start now? As you get responses, you will say “Oh, my, I really don’t have enough information to make a decision. It would be great if I could also know…(e.g. whether they have an assumable mortgage, or whether they will take back a second)”- so you call your answering service and say, “Please add a question to the questionnaire I gave you”.

Is some of real estate a personal business? Definitely. Is it possible to do it without this “personal touch”? Definitely. You just have to find out HOW. Money and offers still talk. Some actual deal-making can be done over the phone, or in person when in town. It may not be a system that works for everyone, but it only needs to work for one person - the one who created it. It’s no different that doing this part-time while holding down a full-time job. If you put your ducks in a row you can teach them to conga - the time-consuming part will be finding the ducks, but it only takes once. (a good realtor, hard money/funding source, title company, etc.) As a realtor, I’ve closed deals for out-of-state buyers myself. They just gave me a description of what they wanted; then they wired the money to the title company, and gave me power of attorney to sign for them at closing, and I FedExed them the key.

Working as a realtor, I can honestly say the MLS is an inmeasurable source of deals. You just have to find a good realtor - one who is able to feed you the deals and the comps. You may not make the biggest bucks, but there are enough small deals left over after the Vulture Investors feast for a beginner to get fat on. Not only that, but we can automatically put all the info from homes in the MLS (including pictures) in a file, and e-mail it anywhere around the world. Cool stuff.

I would add one caveat to my comments below - I would pick one or two areas of the city/town in which to work (good, solid bread-and-butter neighborhoods) and concentrate on those. That way, you can define to a realtor what you are looking for - E.g. “Let me know whenever a 3-bedroom home for under $55K comes on the market in X neighborhood”. A realtor can automate this request, and every day a list will pop up with these specs - with no work on their part.

PPS - I enjoy your posts and respect and value your opinions. This is not meant as a personal commentary in any way.

Re: Real Estate On The Road - Posted by Jim Beavens

Posted by Jim Beavens on March 30, 1999 at 19:37:20:

I don’t think anybody is proposing using a call answering service to have long conversations with the seller and get to the root of their problem. LeGrand says (here we go with “LeGrand says” again :wink: that if a live voice picks up the phone and responds to the seller, then that greatly reduces the chances that the seller will call the next ad in the newspaper. So we’re basically talking about the human equivalent of an answering machine, who can take down information like asking price, current mortgage balance and payments, whether the house is listed, etc, and tell them you will call them back later that day. This isn’t even pre-screening, it’s just getting down some preliminary information prior to you calling them back.

I’ve read your excellent post in the money-making section on calling sellers, and how you like to use an answering machine to prescreen callers. While I can see your point about the fact that somebody who doesn’t leave a message must not be motivated, I can also understand how there would be people out there who would keep calling “I buy houses” ads until they talked to a live person. Maybe you don’t have much competition in your area, but in my paper there are half a dozen such ads, and if somebody chooses mine then I’ll want to try and keep them (this is assuming that you generate much business from ads; if more people call from a business card, postcard, or flyer, where it’s either you or nobody, then an answering machine is probably sufficient).

I know that I’m still working my j*b 8-10 hours a day and can’t spend time on real estate during the day (you wouldn’t know it with how much time I spend on this board ;), and I was planning on having my wife answer the phone to take down preliminary information, after which I will call them later that night (no, I haven’t started this yet, still reading stuff and getting all my contracts lined up). Plus if it’s obvious that a person is a really good prospect (say they have 50% equity and are about to walk away from the house), then I could be called right away.

It seems like somebody on the road could do this just as easily as I could, except that they wouldn’t be able to personally meet with the seller as fast as they might like (only weekends or whatever). This might be rectified by telling them an employee will be over to see the house, and have a spouse or friend go over and report on its condition, at which point negotiations could commence over the phone, and documents could be signed via FedEx.

Obviously, this is simplified and would NOT be easy, but whether you use an answering machine or a live answering service, all you really need is a little bit of time every day to call sellers back. While certainly at a disadvantage, I think it would be possible to do business this way.

Proof- Tour de karp part IV - Posted by karp

Posted by karp on March 30, 1999 at 19:01:23:

The proof of the pudding is in the taste right?


I know we have gone round and round about this but I think you should honestly address whether or not your inability to systematize what you do is because it “can’t” be done or that you haven’t taken the VERY difficult and tedious steps necessary to do so.

On or about June 1, 1999, I will be leaving for “tour de karp part 4”. I am busting my butt daily to get all the systems in place. I believe they now are and am trying to break them.

I will be leaving and going cross country, this time via motorcycle. I will be gone for at least 2 months.
I will be making tons of stops to meet all of my investor friends, etc. Most importantly, I will be making money. Where? At my office -where I am not even clocking in each day.

I have seen so many businesses thrive while others died and I have heard every explanation as to “why I can’t automate”. My perception, while skewed, is that anything can be systematized if you really see the importance and are willing to take the time.



ps: This is by no means a recommendation to do so. Just an opinion that it CAN be done.

Automate as much as you can… - Posted by raelynn mitchell

Posted by raelynn mitchell on March 30, 1999 at 10:05:45:

and that means having someone other than you ask most of the questions.

Hire an answering service, and provide them with a script or question sheet. Advertise the number that rings to THEM and let THEM screen and find you those motivated sellers. That way, by the time you call people, you already know the basic info.

An answering service will provide you with a phone number that rings to them. You can either advertise the number they give you, or call the phone company and ask for remote call forwarding. What this means is, the phone company gives you a number. You tell the phone company you want it to ring on the number the answering service gave you. This means, if you’re not satisfied with the answering service, you can fire them and hire another, call the phone company and tell them to change where the number they gave you rings to, and it will switch over in less than 4 hours, often in as little as 2 hours. Doing it this way costs a little more, but if you decide you don’t want the answering service and you use THEIR number, they will keep it and you will need to change your ad. Not a big deal, but someone may still be calling the old number who is just the motivated person to do your deal and may not have the new number. With answering service numbers, you can’t get the phone company to say “the new number is…” on a recording.

However you handle the phone number issue, once you’ve got it set up you can get the answering service to fax you the filled-out info sheets with everything you need to know. Then when you call the sellers back, you just contact them to see what kind of terms you can set up. You may want to have them sign an agreement to sell to you subject to inspection and verification of the information they have provided you. If it doesn’t check out, you renengotiate with them based on the new info. Use a weasel clause that gives you 15 days or so to check everything. You could then, after they sign it, contact a few investors in the area and flip it.

In order to verify values, you could contact a title company and request comparables or subscribe to a service like Dataquick or First American (formerly TRW Real Estate Data, Inc.) which can provide comparable sales. First American has a CDRom that is updated about once a month, or you can connect by dialing in to get the absolute latest for an additional per-minute fee.

That is one thing I like about real estate. Once you have a formula down, you can set it up to do business via Fed Ex and fax machine for a lot of it.

Re: Real Estate On The Road - Posted by JPiper

Posted by JPiper on March 30, 1999 at 21:08:25:

One thing that I definitely believe after reading your post is that you believe in what you’re saying. That’s a great quality.

However the fact that you believe it doesn’t make it so. In this particular case we’re talking about someone brand new…no experience whatsoever, a couple of courses under their belt. I would have to believe that one of the keys to establishing a system is to have the knowledge to establish it…I think that’s lacking here. As I said in my post, never say never…so maybe it’s possible for someone to do this as a brand new investor. But if I had to bet…I’d bet against it…and I’d give you odds. Call me crazy.

Further, I’ve had access to the MLS for years. For me it’s been primarily a source of comparable sales data and tax information. For the most part the real deals are gone before they ever hit the MLS. Perhaps you and I define a deal differently. The only people I know that are consistently working the MLS for deals are in Baltimore…where I hear it is a buyer’s market, not a seller’s market.

In any case, I didn’t intend to come out against systems. What I intended to come out against is the idea that a newbie can successfully create a system that she can operate while on the road for 60 days at a stretch.

My belief is that original poster would be better served to reevaluate her life…define her goals…and then act accordingly to rearrange her life if that’s the direction she wants to take. I think that’s the opportunity here…not to embark on an unrealistic plan for a newbie.

By the way, I didn’t take your post personally…I rather enjoyed your fervor. I just don’t happen to agree.


Re: Proof- Tour de karp part IV - Posted by JPiper

Posted by JPiper on March 30, 1999 at 20:38:00:

Like I said…never say never…and in your case evidently you are able to carry this off.

However, this question was from a newbie, with a full time job on the road. So really the question is whether you could have pulled this off with a full time job when you first started.

My answer to this would be no…but I’m always open to proof to the contrary.


Re: Automate as much as you can… - Posted by Carmen

Posted by Carmen on March 30, 1999 at 19:22:01:

I like this! I like this a lot! I will most likely use this, and I’m not even traveling - I just don’t have too much fun (or much patience) in answering the same questions a gazillion times.

Does it take away from the “friendly” one-on-one rapport-building conversations you’re supposed to have with sellers? Yes. But, as I was just telling someone yesterday, I am more of a brass-tacks and numbers person, so this is right up my alley - only talk to motivated sellers, and already have the offers ready and the numbers crunched.

Good thinking! :slight_smile:

Re: Real Estate On The Road - Posted by Carmen

Posted by Carmen on March 31, 1999 at 20:05:08:

I think we got away from the question which was, can this real estate thing be done if you’re not on it all the time.

I think the answer is still yes. And being a newbie at real estate does not necessarily mean you are a newbie at life. A system is a system. Business is business. Of course, if you have no idea what a cash flow is, nor how much a house sells for, nor anything else, then perhaps you should take some time and look at the “nuts and bolts” of the business first.

But what better time to do it than when you still have the security of a job, so you don’t necessarily fall flat on your face if you DO make mistakes? Why not START, in Tara’s case, while she’s traveling, and start to put together a system that works for her. It won’t be easy, but again, it’s not rocket science. Buy low, sell high. Buy, fix, sell. And, if you’re away, obviously you won’t be choosing to do the high-maintenance real estate - but doing flips - even if just one - may pay for more than a person’s monthly wages. If they do a few of these while still on the J.O.B. and put that $$ aside, this would allow them a few months to make mistakes once they do decide to go full time. I say make your mistakes on someone else’s time - until you can afford to make them on your own.

Both sides . . . - Posted by Joe Kaiser

Posted by Joe Kaiser on March 31, 1999 at 01:40:16:

I’ve been knee deep in this very dilema of late. Frankly, one of the things I enjoy least is calling on ads, but I do recognize the value in doing so.

The solution?

Train someone else to do it.


Well, that’s sort of the gist of the problem. I knew there was no way I could take someone brand new, with little or no experience, and turn them into an instant real estate investor who’d sound believable over the telephone.

But with a little poking around I did discover I could train someone to get many of the answers to my questions in a manner that actually made sense. Now, instead of asking them to pretend to be investors, I have them inform the seller up front that they’re calling for me and that I’ve got a handful of questions about their property. Then they go through the script and eventually, in a sort of flow chart manner (if “yes” go here, if “no” go there, etc.) we end up with a pretty good idea of what the possibilities might be.

It’s a little more complicated than that, and it isn’t perfect by any means, but it does eliminate 90% of the problems of wading through those darn classifieds, talking to answering machines, hearing about the fruit trees, etc.

The end result?

I get a report with a list of some excellent leads each week with very little apparent effort (although building that system certainly couldn’t be called effortless . . .). I’m not saying a monkey could work it, and I’m sure we miss a few along the way, but it’s a pretty darn good solution.


So newbie aside, what’s your excuse? - Posted by karp

Posted by karp on March 30, 1999 at 22:12:59:

If you buy into the Kiyosaki gig AT ALL you have to see value in this.

I mean, I was a convert ever since reading the E-Myth.

Tell me why YOU wouldn’t want to systematize your own processes?



Re: Automate as much as you can… - Posted by raelynn mitchell

Posted by raelynn mitchell on March 31, 1999 at 08:52:30:

The remote call forward thing is just under $20 per month from most phone companies.

The answering service idea isn’t really mine as far as screening the callers. It’s one of many many ideas I got out of Ron Legrand’s FSBO course, which is excellent.

Re: Both sides . . . - Posted by JPiper

Posted by JPiper on March 31, 1999 at 12:39:55:


I have to believe that you’re one of the best system creators around?.you do it well. I respect that.

I do want to point out that this idea in one format or another has been around a lot of years. In my earlier days as a commissioned salesman we all hated “cold-calling”. So many of us made attempts to hire people to do this job for us?.unsuccessfully I might add. Later, I saw some fairly sophisticated attempts to hire “cold-callers”??which worked better but still not as effectively as might have been desired.

Your example, if you meant it literally, gives a good clue as to it’s weaknesses AND it’s strengths. The strength is that you cover a lot of ground quickly, and you don’t have to do what you perceive as unpleasant and a waste of time. The weakness (again if you meant this literally) is that getting the seller to answer yes or no?.which then drives the flow chart and script? my mind is not an effective telephone call.

Here’s what I regard as effective: Asking open ended questions, which cause the seller to talk. Listening carefully to what the seller says for clues as to motivation and ways to do the deal. This all requires knowledge of a variety of ways to do a deal, and judgment that comes from experience. The process itself, when the seller is talking, builds rapport and gives direction on ways to proceed. My opinion would be that none of this comes from yes/no answers. The problem with open ended questions is that knowing what to do with them requires a higher level of sophistication than a minimum wage type person will typically have.

Where I am going with this is not necessarily to argue against systems. It’s simply to point out that systems have problems/disadvantages that aren’t easy to solve without significant cost?.a cost that sometimes is not justified.

Over the years I have attempted to train people to do this business, or train them to do various aspects of the business. To me that is one tough job?.of course it may be tough because I’m not good at it?.hard to say. I might also add that hiring people to do this job puts additional cost factors into your business, which means by the very nature of it that you HAVE to do more deals to stay even.

But the true test of any system is whether it does what you want it to do, and whether you enjoy the process you’ve created. In my case I’m not interested in hiring, training, or monitoring people.


YEP…Joe, man is it scary… - Posted by karp

Posted by karp on March 31, 1999 at 09:04:26:

and you know the rest…

Here’s the additional thing I found about your/my solution. There is a tendency on the part of the trainee to build YOU up (as the investor) so that when the client finally does speak to you, posture has been established. The client is hoping/praying that they will be one of the ones you help.

My clients in one system go through 4 (yes, four) different people (and processes) before they ever even get to have an appointment with me.

It may not work for everybody but it works for me.



Re: So newbie aside, what’s your excuse? - Posted by JPiper

Posted by JPiper on March 31, 1999 at 10:44:42:


Didn’t know I needed an excuse. I haven’t read “E-Myth”, so I honestly don’t have a clue what it says. I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad?.which I thought was OK, but I also felt is was less applicable to me today than it might have been let’s say 30 years ago.

It seems to me that what it comes down to is a question of whether you want to build systems, or you want to do deals. In my case I want to do deals. If I have to choose as an example between talking to a potential seller on the phone, versus training and later monitoring someone who talks to sellers on the phone?.I’ll take the former.

In reality, we all have systems for doing what we do?.even me. But I operate mine by myself, in conjunction with my wife. We hire out the things we either can’t do or don’t want to do.?like contractor work. I do the things I like doing, some of which I suspect you delegate. In all probability this enable you to cover more ground. But chances are that in the process of covering more ground, you lose effectiveness because your hired employees aren’t as good as you are. Take your pick?my desire is not to build an organization, nor to monitor it. Been there done that. That’s not where my talents lie.

Again, I’m not against systems for operating your business. If it works, and you enjoy it?.that’s the test.