Air Date: 05.018.2021
Investing in real estate does not always require cash and, in this episode, you will learn how to invest in real estate without tenants, termites, or even toilets! Today’s guest is Mark Podolsky, AKA The Land Geek, author of Dirt Rich: The Ultimate Guide to Helping You Build A Passive Income and Founder of Frontier Properties, a reputable investment company that specializes in the acquisition of raw and developed land throughout the United States. He has been buying and selling land full-time since 2001 and, by working smart, not hard, he has completed over 5,500 land deals with an average ROI of over 300 percent on cash flips and over 1,000 percent on the deals where he sells with financing terms. He wants to help you do the same, so tune in to hear his insight and practical advice for taking advantage of bigger margins and earning 300 percent ROI in what Mark calls the “gateway drug” to bigger deals, cash reserves, and opportunities!
Key Points From This Episode:
- Hear Mark’s story and how he discovered 300 percent returns in land investing.
- Find out how buying raw land to flip and sell actually works.
- The systems Mark created to automate the process of identifying land deals, from offer and acceptance to due diligence and closing.
- Taking advantage of big margins in an inefficient niche for hedge funds and private equity.
- Why Mark says land is a great “gateway drug” to bigger deals, greater cash reserves, and for gaining real estate experience.
- Some of the programs Mark has developed to help others through the process.
- Red flags to look out for, like superfund sites and what Mark calls “got-to-have-land ITIS.”
- Mark emphasizes that, while this is a simple process, “it ain’t easy.”
- What to ask your deal sponsor: how do you have skin in the game?
- Why Mark is most proud of remaining profitable between 2010 and 2012.
- His recommended books, which include The ONE Thing and The 12 Week Year.
- Learn about Mark’s number one key to success; meditation.
“The game we play is can we create enough of these land nodes where our passive income now exceeds our fixed expenses and we’re working because we want to, not because we have to?” — @TheLandGeek [0:09:46]
“There’s no hedge funds or private equity groups because, to deploy a billion dollars in this niche, you’d have to go after farmland. The dollars are too small for those people. We’re in this really inefficient niche where we can take advantage of these big margins.” — @TheLandGeek [0:14:13]
“[Land investing] is a great gateway drug to doing these bigger deals, building up your cash reserves, and getting experience in real estate.” — @TheLandGeek [0:16:50]
“It’s simple, but it ain’t easy. Nothing worth doing is. Even though it’s a simpler model in real estate, just like anything else, it ain’t easy.” — @TheLandGeek [0:24:05]
“The best way to learn is by doing it, so start making some offers!” — @TheLandGeek [0:31:45]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
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—Full Transcript Below—
“MP: Yeah, I mean, there’s a lust for land in this country that you’re probably not aware of. There’s billions of acres for sale and there’s no big money in our niche, so you’re not going to go on HGTV or the DIY network and see Flip This Land. The before picture is raw land. The after picture is raw land. It’s just boring, and then there’s no big money. There’s no hedge funds or private equity groups because, to deploy a billion dollars in this niche, you have to go after farmland. The dollars are too small for those people, so we’re in this really inefficient niche where we can really take advantage of these big margins.”
[00:00:40] KR: Welcome to Ritter on Real Estate, the show about how to passively invest like a pro. On each episode, I interview real estate experts who give their top investing advice, strategies, and tools that break down their insights into practical steps to avoid the pitfalls and make better investments. I want to help you passively invest like a pro. This is Ritter on Real Estate, and I’m your host, Kent Ritter.
[00:01:02] KR: Hello, fellow investors. Welcome to Ritter on Real Estate, where we teach you how to passively invest like a pro. Today, my guest is Mark Podolsky. Mark is the author of Dirt Rich: The Ultimate Guide to Helping You Build A Passive Income and he’s the owner of Frontier Properties, a very reputable and successful investing company. He’s been buying and selling land full time since 2001. So, 20 years. Wow. By focusing on working smart, not hard, he’s completed over 5,500 land deals with an average ROI of over 300 percent on cash flips and over 1,000 percent on the deals where he sells with financing terms. Mark, welcome to the show today.
[00:01:49] MP: Kent Ritter, thank you so much for having me.
[00:01:52] KR: Yeah. This is a little bit of a different path from the normal topic of the show, which is, for the most part, multifamily investing, but I love to bring new ideas to the listeners. I mean, this isn’t necessarily a new idea, but it’s a new idea for me. I was really intrigued by those ROI numbers, so I want to learn more about it myself and want to expose our listeners to maybe another great investment opportunity.
[00:02:20] MP: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s get into it.
[00:02:20] KR: Let’s do it. Why don’t you, before we dig into the nitty gritty, tell us your story. How did you how did you get into land investing?
[00:02:32] MP: Yeah, so we’re rewinding the tape now, 21 years, and I’m a micromanaged, miserable investment banker specializing in mergers and acquisitions with private equity groups. I had a 45-minute commute to work and back. I was micromanaged. It was terrible. So, Kent, it wouldn’t be like I got the Sunday blues, anticipating Monday coming around. I’d get the Friday blues, anticipating the weekend going by really fast, and had to be back at work on Monday.
My firm hires this guy and he’s telling me that, as a side hustle, he’s buying up raw land, pennies on the dollar, he’s flipping them online, and he’s making a 300 percent return on his investment. I’m looking at companies all day long, and a great company, great company has 15 percent EBITDA margins or free cashflow. Average company is 10 percent and I’m looking at companies all day long, less than 10 percent. So, of course, I don’t believe him. We go to New Mexico together. I have got three grand saved up for car repairs. I do exactly what he tells me to do. I buy 10 half acre parcels at an average price of $300 each. I flipped them online, they all sell for an average price of $1,200 each, 300 percent, it worked. So, I took all that money and went to another auction where I live in Arizona, and again, it’s $2,000 there’s no one in the room and I’m buying up lots and acreage for nothing. I sold all that property and I made over $90,000 cash.
I go to my wife, like, “Honey, I’m going to quit my job. I’m a full-time land investor.” And she’s pregnant. She’s like, “Absolutely not.” I said, “Okay. Okay.” So, it took about 18 months for the land investing income to exceed the investment banking income, then I quit. I’ve been doing it full time ever since and I absolutely love it.
[00:04:23] KR: That’s awesome. I love that story. I mean, it resonates with me on a lot of different levels. Understanding being that hard-working W2 employee, not not feeling fulfilled, feeling burnt out. I would imagine as an investment banker, you got those Friday blues, because you’re probably working Saturday and Sunday too.
[00:04:45] MP: Yeah, I mean, I was always working. It was nuts.
[00:04:49] KR: Exactly. Well, yes, I love the story. I love how you’ve turned this into something you’re doing yourself. Now you’ve turned it into a business where you’re helping others and you’re teaching, you’re coaching, you’re doing all these things. I think that’s an awesome story. Why don’t you, for me, who – I am a newbie land investor. I have never had never bought land or I’ve bought land, but I never bought land, just to speculate, and to try to flip and sell it. So, tell us a little bit about how does this work?
[00:05:23] MP: Sure, sure. So, Kent, where do you live?
[00:05:24] KR: Indianapolis, Indiana.
[00:05:26] MP: Indianapolis, Indiana, go Hoosiers! I graduated at IU.
[00:05:29] KR: No way. Me too.
[00:05:31] MP: All right. Fantastic. I’m older than you. I was there during the Bobby Knight years.
[00:05:36] KR: Man, the golden years.
[00:05:39] MP: The golden years. I love it. Anyways, we could talk about Bloomington all day long. So, you’re in Indianapolis, and I’m going to assume that you own 10 acres of raw land in Texas, and you owe $200 in back taxes. So, essentially, you’re advertising two important things to me. Number one, you have no emotional attachment to that raw land. You’re in Indiana, the property is in Texas. Number two, you’re financially distressed in some weird way because we don’t pay for things, we don’t value them in the same way. You haven’t paid your property taxes.
As a result, the county treasurer keeps sending notices saying, “Kent, if you don’t eventually pay off your property taxes, we’re going to auction this property off to a tax lien, or tax deed investor.” So, what I’ll do is I’ll look at the comparable sales on your 10-acre parcel and I’m going to take the lowest comparable sale, I’m going to divide it by four. That’s going to give me what Warren Buffett would call a 300 percent margin of safety. I’m going to send you an actual offer on your raw land.
Let’s say the lowest comp is 10 grand. I’m sending you an offer for $2,500. Now for you, you accept it, because $2,500 is better than nothing. Now, in reality, 3 to 5 percent of people accept my “top dollar” deal. Now once you accept it, I have to go through due diligence or this in-depth research. I have to confirm you still own the property. I have to confirm that there have been no breaks in the chain of title. I have to make sure there’s no liens or encumbrances. I want to make sure that there’s something compelling about the property. Why would someone else want to buy it? I have this whole property checklist.
Now, because it’s $5,000 or less, I actually outsource it to my team in the Philippines, we pay about $11 for due diligence. They’re connected to an American title company. I get the plat maps, I get the JS maps, I get Aero maps, I might have somebody locally for 50 bucks go out there, shoot video, take pictures for me, stomp on the property. I’ll have them download an app called what3words, which is a GPS coordinate app. So, instead of the weird coordinates, it’ll just be kent.ritter.awesome would be the location.
That way, I know if they’re near the property or not, how far from the nearest Walmart, how far from services, what are the roads like, this whole thing. Once everything checks out, then I’ll buy the property. So now, I own your parcel for $2,500. Now, I’m going to sell it 30 days or less, and make it cashflow like a rental home. The way I’m going to do this is, number one, I have a built-in best buyer. Do you know who it is? It’s the neighbors. The neighbors. So, I’ll send out neighbor letters saying, “Hey, here’s your opportunity, protect your privacy, protect your views. Know your neighbor.” Oftentimes neighbors will buy it.
Now, if they pass, I’ll go to my buyers list. If my buyers list passes, I’ll go to a little website you may have never heard of called Craigslist is the 10th most trafficked website United States. I go to a smaller one, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of this one. It’s called Facebook. I go to the the Marketplace and buy sell groups. And then I just go to the lands. I go to landmodo.com., landsofamerica.com, landandfarm.com, landflip.com, landhub.com. There are all these platforms where people buy and sell raw land. Zillow is a great place right now to market raw land.
But what I want to do is I’ll make it irresistible. So, I’m going to say, “Look for $2,500 down, you can own these 10 acres,” and then we’re just going to make a car payment, let’s say $249 a month at nine percent interest for the next 84 months. So, when I get my money out on the down, I might go six to 10 months out, make it a car payment, 249 a month, nine percent interest, next 84 months. So, it’s this one-time sale. It gets some recurring income every single month for the next 84 months. No renters, no rehabs, no renovations, no rodents. Because I’m not dealing with the tenant, I’m exempt from Dodd-Frank, RESPA, and the Safe Act. All this onerous real estate legislation.
The game we play is can we create enough of these land nodes where our passive income now exceeds our fixed expenses and we’re working because we want to, not because we have to?
[00:09:58] KR: Absolutely. That sounds like a powerful tool. You gave us kind of the overview, you’re going through this, how are you – when you think about identifying that land. So, in the example that you gave, I had the 10 acres in Texas, but when you’re actually going out to say, “Okay, I want to buy some land.” How are you identifying that land in the first place?
[00:10:21] MP: Right, so Kent, let’s just be honest, no offense, but nobody wakes up and thinks themselves, “Boy, I’d like some raw land in Indiana today.” Unless you live in Indiana. So, we’re going to focus on the sunshine states. We want Texas, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, California, Florida. That being said, I’ve done deals in Tennessee, I’ve done deals in Arkansas, and Missouri, and really gorgeous rural areas that are treed and near lakes. But for the most part, I want to stick to the southwest, little bit northwest, California, and Florida, and then I’m going to go to counties where there is just an abundance of inexpensive raw land.
These are going to be the counties that are maybe two to three hours away from the nearest big city. Then I’m going to get those lists from the county, I’m going to have my team scrub those lists, maybe by use code, let’s say, VL for vacant land. We would do one more scrub by APN number or acreage. APN number is Assessor’s Parcel Number, like let’s say like a neighborhood because, if a guy sends me an offer for 40 acres that is the same as 5 acres, well, that 40-acre person is going to send me back glitter in the mail. So, I want to price it right and then I’ll send out my offers.
Now, all this is automated with software that we use, called lgpass.com and we’ve got an unbelievable deal of 65 cents for first class mail, and no monthly fee for our mailings. Then we have our VA team that can go in, it’s like it’s this customer relationship management system. So, it follows the deal, from offer to acceptance to due diligence to closing. What used to take me 20 minutes of paperwork now takes one second, because it’ll auto fill out the land sale contract, the purchase sale agreement, and the promissory note. That makes it much easier too and then, on the backend, we’re going to automate it again with a set and forget payment system to collect our monthly payments via ACH or checking account, routing number, account number with a tool called geekpay.io.
We’re using leverage. Essentially, we want to use other people’s time, software, then we can talk about other people’s money as well.
[00:12:34] KR: And these products are products you’ve created?
[00:12:36] MP: Correct. So, I had to scratch my own itch. GeekPay started out as a Spite Store, if you ever watched Curb Your Enthusiasm, as I was using something else and then, suddenly, “That’s it. I can do it better.”
[00:12:51] KR: So, you’ve created these systems, essentially. You’re leveraging VA’s, leveraging software, these tools that you’ve created. Now, you’ve got this into a process where you could just turn these deals. How many land deals are you doing in whatever timeframe you define?
[00:13:07] MP: Our goals would do a deal a day. So, we want to buy every day, we will sell every day. Now, if we can’t do that, then that’s okay. But typically, we want to do over 200 deals a year. But the goal is over 300.
[00:13:21] KR: Wow, that’s impressive. That’s impressive. So, we’ve talked through this, the land you’re looking for, how you’re identifying it, and then this process of selling. Now, how often is it that you’re getting folks – you mentioned the neighbors, or others. I mean, it’s how often is it that you’re getting folks signed up on these programs and this financing? Is that really kind of the crux of the process is getting these financing contracts in place?
[00:13:51] MP: Yeah, I mean, there’s a lust for land in this country that you’re probably not aware of. There’s billions of acres for sale and there’s no big money in our niche, so you’re not going to go on HGTV or the DIY Network and see Flip This Land. The before picture is raw land. The after picture is raw land. It’s boring, and then there’s no big money. There’s no hedge funds or private equity groups because, to deploy a billion dollars in this niche, you’d have to go after farmland. The dollars are too small for those people. We’re in this really inefficient niche where we can take advantage of these big margins and everyone is happy down the value chain. When we buy the property, our seller is happy, it’s like a garage sale out of them. They weren’t using it, then they’re resenting the property taxes. We help them and they can get that capital deployed somewhere more productive for them.
Then, because they weren’t paying the property taxes, the counties happy. Now they’re getting better schools, better roads, better services, because we got somebody else in there paying the property taxes and then, of course, the new buyer has an asset that last forever. They don’t have to maintain, they don’t have to protect, nothing physical, and they can use it recreationally, it’s a great legacy investment. Lots of times, people that don’t like people like to go out there, camp, hunt, fish, whatever. So, it’s just an interesting niche.
[00:15:20] KR: Yeah, it’s interesting. Yeah, I guess what I assumed, as we start this discussion is a lot of this land would be kind of primed for development, but it sounds like a lot of the land is really not. It’s really more recreational or it’s the neighbor protecting, like you said, their views or something else. Is that the case?
[00:15:38] MP: That is. So, if you entitle a piece of land, and you will get shovel ready for developer, that’s a very risky process. Oftentimes, it doesn’t get approved and you’ll have to put hundreds of thousands of dollars in for infrastructure, whatever it is. So, it’s a very high risk, high reward proposition to do that. I’d rather just do what I’m doing, buy an asset 25, 30 cents of a dollar, and sell it at at 80, 90 cents of the dollar.
[00:16:09] KR: What’s the average size of a deal that you’re doing? Dollar wise, what do you –
[00:16:14] MP: Dollar wise, I’d say our average deal is probably, for me, it’s probably a lot larger, because I have to deploy more capital. So, me personally, it’s probably at $10,000. But our average client is around 2,500.
[00:16:28] KR: Got you.
[00:16:29] MP: So, not big money. For people in multifamily, I do these boot camps. I had a guy who ran a billion-dollar hedge fund in multifamily in New York. I was telling him, we pay $11 for due diligence. He’s like, “I pay a million dollars in due diligence on my buildings.” He’s like, “This is just crazy to me.” But it is a great gateway drug to doing these bigger deals, building up your cash reserves, and getting experience in real estate.
[00:17:01] KR: Yeah, I mean, it sounds like a fantastic – it’s a low entry point, relatively low entry point. Sounds like a great way for folks to do just like you did, build up income to be able to leave their W2 if they’re unsatisfied.
[00:17:15] MP: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
[00:17:18] KR: Really cool. Tell me a little bit about the programs that you’ve developed, because you’re actually helping people through this process now, right?
[00:17:27] MP: Yeah, I mean, let’s face it. After I’ve been doing something for 10, 12 years, nobody ever called me and said, “Mark, that land investment changed my life.” They liked the land, but it didn’t really change the trajectory of someone’s life. I have people almost on a weekly basis, say, “Hey, Mark, this has literally changed my life. My spouse was able to quit her job. We were able to replace our income. I was able to quit my job. Monday and Saturday are the same day for me.”
Really, to be able to help people solve their two problems in life, their money problem and their time problem, is really the most gratifying thing I’ve ever done because, at the end of our lives, what is the most important thing? It’s our relationships. If you’re just constantly hustling and trying to make money, you don’t have the time or energy to even deepen those relationships. To have that time to do that is a great gift. So, I love helping people do that.
[00:18:33] KR: Yeah. So, how do you help people do that? So, tell me a little bit more about the program that you’re on.
[00:18:38] MP: Right. So, we have everything from free courses all the way to one-on-one coaching. We always say, start with free, and see if this even resonates with you. I’ve got a course that’s thelandgeek.com/quickdeals. It’s usually 97 bucks, but your listeners can get it for free. It teaches them how to just wholestail a deal. So, it really simplifies the buying and selling and allows them to double their money in 30 days or less. Then, once they get a taste of it, then maybe they’ll go on into a do it yourself course, which we have, a group training course called Flight School, and which would that would lead to one-on-one coaching.
It’s very simple, but we’re really cocky about our teaching. So, we say, “Look, if you invest in this, we’ve got skin in the game too. We guarantee you’re going to make back your investment 180 days or less, just show us your work.” So, if you’re actually doing it, and it doesn’t work for you, then we’ve got skin in the game too. I’m really proud of that, because no one does that.
[00:19:45] KR: Gotcha. I mean, that’s a really interesting motto and, clearly, you stand behind it. That’s interesting. That’s really cool to hear. We talked about the process a little bit. It sounds like great upside, right? But there’s got to be things that folks need to look out for. What are some of those red flags that you can give our listeners a heads up to?
[00:20:11] MP: So, in due diligence, there’s a little thing called a superfund site. Now, I don’t buy a New Jersey or Pennsylvania but if you’re were buying in those areas, or if you’re just starting, you don’t want to buy somebody else’s environmental problem, because then it’s your problem. So, you have to go to epa.gov to see where those superfund sites are located. But I’d say that the biggest newbie mistake that we see people make is got-to-have-land ITIS, and they end up overpaying. That’s really where the issue is.
I can tell you a story when I first started, and it kind of illustrates how weird this niche is. So, I’m in Las Vegas, New Mexico. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there. I’m looking at this land with my buddy and I’m telling you, this stuff looked like Chernobyl. It was some of the ugliest raw land I’ve ever seen. We could buy like five acres for 50 bucks over the counter. It had already gone to auction and the county couldn’t even sell it. My buddy is like, “Well, for 50 bucks, we can sell it for 100 bucks and double our money.” I’m like, “Dude, I’ll tell you what’s going to happen. You buy this property, someone goes out there and looks at it, you’re going to get a refund. And not only that, you’re going to get a lawsuit. It’s the worst land I’ve ever seen.” He’s like, “Well, you sure you don’t want to split this?” I’m like, “No, I don’t want to split. You buy all of it. Good luck with that.”
He buys it. Next week, sends me an email showing me the sale. Of course, I reply, “Refund.” Again, another sale. And I reply, “Refund/ lawsuit.” He sold out of all of it, he made 100 grand, guess how many refunds he had?
[00:21:54] KR: I’m going to say zero.
[00:21:54] MP: He had zero.
[00:21:56] KR: So, what did people want the land for?
[00:21:59] MP: Man, I learned a very, very relatively inexpensive lesson, a $50,000 lesson. I am not the buyer. There’s a pig for every barn. I have no idea what they were going to do with that land. So, today, I’m not the buyer. Yeah, so people want raw land for their own reasons and, if they can afford it, they like the asset. What I like to do is I have a 90-day additional due diligence guarantee. So, if someone does buy it from me sight unseen, I tell them go out, make sure you love it. Then we have a 365-day exchange guarantee if they can’t make it out in 90 days. But I’d say the last 20 years, I bet I’ve done 20 refunds.
[00:22:44] KR: Gotcha. So, you will actually refund if people out there and they’ll say, “Oh, this is a is a piece of junk. I don’t want this land.”
[00:22:51] MP: Yeah, I mean, in real estate, especially, in bigger deals, it’s not a matter of if you’ll be sued, it’s a matter of when. It’s just part of real estate. In my niche, knock on wood, somebody’s not happy, we just refund them. This is real money.
[00:23:08] KR: It’s interesting man. Just such a different approach from kind of what I’m used to but, I mean, it sounds like there’s some serious money to be made in this niche. So, it’s definitely intriguing.
[00:23:21] MP: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, once you get to say 10, 15, 20,000 a month passive, you know –
[00:23:28] KR: Yeah, enough said.
[00:23:31] MP: It moves the needle. It starts off as gas money and then moves on to maybe vacation money, and then car money, and then mortgage money. The next thing you know, you’re like, do we want to keep working or not? So, it’s slowly built.
[00:23:45] KR: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a very active process. It sounds like. In some ways, you’ve got to have that passion for it. You’ve got to have an interest, you got to be willing to dig in and really learn. It sounds like you’ve got great courses available, you still got to be digging in more, and so it’s definitely not a passive approach.
[00:24:04] MP: I mean, it’s simple, but it ain’t easy. Nothing worth doing is. This, even though it’s a simpler model in real estate, just like anything else, it ain’t easy.
[00:24:14] KR: But it does sound like you can do these financing contracts create passive income on the other side?
[00:24:20] MP: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, 100 percent. And then if you wanted to sell finance, let’s say you create $100,000 note portfolio. Well, you could sell it to me, as an investor, for 50,000 for 12 months, right? So, you get your capital out, plus some, you redeploy it into other deals. Then in 12 months, you get another bite of the apple, you get that passive income back. A lot of people will leverage their own note portfolio to do that or even to get into bigger deals, you say you find a multifamily deal, you sell off a portion of your note portfolio, you use that for a down on a multifamily deal or, maybe you’re co investing with your your investors, and there you go. So, again, it’s a really great gateway drug.
[00:25:05] KR: Yeah, that’s really interesting. So, you take this, you’re able to bundle these together in a portfolio, these notes, sell them to a note investor, all of a sudden, you’ve got the down payment for for something that maybe could be truly passive, could be if you want to buy rentals, multifamily, whatever that can be.
I could see how this is a great entry point and something that – the typical entry points I hear are, you know, start wholesaling or some something like that. It’s probably the most common one. But I think this is a really interesting niche, kind of alternative approach to get into the game.
[00:25:40] MP: Absolutely. I won’t name names, but some of the biggest wholesalers that have had the other podcast started getting in land investing. They go through Flight School. They just have their team. They love it.
[00:25:53] KR: Yeah. Well, I think there’s probably a lot of complimentary processes and things.
[00:25:59] MP: Yeah.
[00:26:01] KR: Very cool. So, what else do we need to know about land investing?
[00:26:06] MP: It’s one of those niches that, again, it’s not passive, it is a business, and we look at it like a business. But once you’ve built the infrastructure, you use the software, you use expensive virtual assistance, use other people’s money. I work about 30 minutes a week in Frontier Properties. So, I’m just looking at numbers, how many offers have you made? How many deals are pending? And how many deals did we close? And as long as those numbers are trending up, I’m happy. The worst thing that you can have is being a team member of mine, is getting a ox after I’ve had maybe a cup of coffee. Then I’m breaking something, like, “Hey, have you thought of this? Have you thought of that?” And they’ve got this perfectly working system and then I’m breaking it. So, really, as the CEO, I’m really thinking about systems and other ancillary ways to increase revenue.
[00:26:56] KR: Yeah, really interesting. So, before I let you go, Mark, I want to get into our keys to success. You got some questions I’d love to ask you. First one is, what is the one question that every investor should be asking their deal sponsor? I mean, I know that you’ve got a program where you’re allowing other people to invest with you. So, people wanted to do this in a more passive way. I mean, what should they be asking you?
[00:27:21] MP: How do you have skin in the game? That’s really, I think, you really want to know. Well, your track record is really important. How do you have skin in the game? What’s the worst-case scenario? I’d want to know those things, for sure.
[00:27:37] KR: Yeah, absolutely. What are you most proud of in your career?
[00:27:42] MP: How I was profitable in 2010, 2011, 2012. I really didn’t get hurt until 2010, and I write about in Dirt Rich, what happened. So, the company was still profitable, but I lost half my income, just like, the note portfolio, 50 percent of the notes went away. If you were calling me like, “Mark, it’s between paying off my land or food,” and food wins. But I’m really proud of the fact that I wasn’t over leveraged. As, you know, my friends had bigger houses and bigger cars than me, had to go get day jobs, or do something else, I survived during that time and learned invaluable lessons. We could even argue that today, asset prices are high and we might be in another kind of bubble, but maybe not. I don’t know. It’s weird. I just feel like we’re due, in a 10-year real estate cycle, when our asset price is going to adjust?
[00:28:37] KR: Yeah, so you’ve seen the same price inflation in land that we’ve seen in other assets like multifamily other things?
[00:28:45] MP: Absolutely. So, what I used to be paying, $3,200 for for a lot, now I’m paying $4,500 for and, selling it for 12,000, I’m selling it for 16,000.
[00:28:59] KR: Interesting. Which books should everybody be reading?
[00:29:02] MP: I’m a huge reader. I love books. So, to say what books should everybody reading is a tough one. I would say that the two books combined, that I think can really move the needle in someone’s life is The ONE Thing by Gary Keller, combined with The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran. If you get those two concepts down, you’ll be pretty unstoppable.
[00:29:23] KR: Awesome. Yeah. appreciate those books. What is your number one key to success?
[00:29:29] MP: I’m a long-term meditator. I think the fact that being aware of my thoughts, my feelings, and not being so attached to them allows me to go through my day, whether it’s a good day or a bad day, I don’t have to judge it. I can go through it joyfully. It takes a long time to get there, where you have just enough mindfulness to even recognize it. But once you do, it’s the greatest thing ever because your day is never ruined by something external.
[00:30:05] KR: Yeah. I’m a meditator as well. It’s part of my morning practice. I think it has added tremendous value to my life. It’s almost like a superpower, I think, when you think about, like you said that, that ability just to be present and not be impacted by external things, whatever they are, and be able to stay level and stay in the moment. I think you make better decisions, you maintain better relationships, because you don’t act rashly. You’re able to think through those things.
[00:30:40] MP: Right. Yeah. You’re not reactive.
[00:30:43] KR: Not reactive.
[00:30:45] MP: You realize like, there is no you, essentially. Not to get too woo-woo, but it’s just the story of this identity you’re telling yourself, but there’s really no you in that sense, right? In the same way of like, if I said, “You’re a hippopotamus,” you wouldn’t get mad at me, because it’s just crazy. So, you just don’t take anything personally anymore.
[00:31:17] KR: Right. I think the the ability to not be reactive, I think that’s huge. Absolutely. Awesome, Mark. So, if folks want to learn more about The Land Geek and what you’re doing and how to make a 300 percent ROI, then how can they reach out to you?
[00:31:34] MP: I’d say the best place to start is thelandgeek.com. Again, they can get the course thelandgeek.com/quickdeals for free. I think that’s a great place to start. But I think the best way to learn is by doing it, so start making some offers.
[00:31:50] KR: Awesome, Mark. Well, that is fantastic advice. Just get out and start doing it. That’s how you’ll get in and learn. So, thank you so much for being on the show. I appreciate you giving us kind of a high-level course in land investing. It’s a niche that I didn’t really know about and definitely want to check more into. I’m going to check out that course that you offered and see if we can start start flipping some land deals.
[00:32:17] MP: Yeah, you’ll love it. It’s addicting.
[00:32:19] KR: Yeah. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on and have a great rest of the day.
[00:32:24] MP: Thanks, Kent. You too.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[00:32:25] KR: Thanks for listening to another great episode of Ritter on Real Estate. Hit the subscribe button and make sure you don’t miss out on the content that will make you a better investor. Also, visit kentritter.com for articles, videos, and tools curated just for passive investors. Until next time, this is Kent Ritter with Ritter on Real Estate. Now, go out and invest like a pro.