Financial freedom is attainable if you put your mind to it. Even if you experience hardships and unfortunate circumstances, you can still rise above those. Brent Bowers started early in entrepreneurship. He bought a course at eighteen years old to buy and sell notes. At twenty-four years old, he had a business real estate license while living with his in-laws and paying with credit cards trying to make ends meet. Due to this circumstance, he joined the army for a few years but still had the itch for real estate. He eventually bought a house next to a college, rented out the rooms, and kept rolling with rentals, where he finally stumbled into land investing. Listen and be inspired by how Brent shifted his life and became the best he could be!
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From Broke To Divorced To Land Investing Success With Military Veteran Brent Bowers
Welcome to another episode of the show. Chris, how are you doing?
I’m good, Jamie. How are you?
We have a special guest with us, Brent Bowers. He has done a lot in the real estate industry like wholesaling, land flipping and all kinds of things we’re going to get into. Brent, how are you doing?
I’m good. Thanks for having me. Chris and Jamie, it’s been a blast.
For the readers out there, why don’t you dive into your background for us?
I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I’ve always had that itch and drive to start businesses. I started a lawn and landscape company when I was in middle school. I bought a course when I was eighteen years old to buy and sell notes, being a discount note broker to work the deal and get a little bit of a commission. I realized how expensive mail was and quit that. I was a serial entrepreneur for a while.
Something always drove me back to being in real estate. I finally got involved in 2007 after taking 16 or 17 seminars and maxing out my credit cards. I was in education mode and finally pulled the trigger in 2007. I got my real estate license because I thought I needed one to be a good investor and then bought a house a month later. That’s when I started taking massive imperfect action and failing my way forward.
Your middle-school landscape business was probably more successful than the early starts of your real estate business from 2007, would be my guess.
That business is still going, no more landscape.
Do you still own it?
I don’t. My dad came out to work with me and invested in the company after I had graduated. One year after I graduated high school, I was needing to hire somebody very badly because I was working seven days a week. My dad’s like, “I’m ready to leave my job.” He was building towers for a living and doing well with it but wanted a change. He’s still out there but I’ve gotten him into land.
I had a lawn and landscaping company. There were three owners back in the day. I no longer own it but it’s blown up into this big landscaping company that we use. It’s cool to see it over the years still experiencing growth. Tell us a little more about your background.
Chris cringed when he heard 2007. I thought things were going to blow up and do well. I had also gotten married in 2007. Knowing what I know, I was in the perfect opportunity. If we could trade some things and know what we know, I quit too soon and should have stayed the course. We moved to the coast and moved to West Palm Beach. It was super expensive. I’m going to be a real estate rock star. I left my company completely.
While 2008 was happening, I’m beating the streets and ended up driving people around to rent houses. I was lucky if I made $300 in a week. I burnt more in gas. I had to move in with my in-laws. Here I am, a grown man, had a business, a real estate license and a rental property, married and living with my in-laws. It was quite a humbling experience. I’m paying credit cards with credit cards trying to keep up.
I remember talking to my wife’s grandpa. He was a super successful guy in my mind. He introduced me to Jim Rohn, not personally but his actual cassette tapes that I had to transfer to CD so I could listen to them. I took the advice that he gave me. He’s like, “Join the military, go back to school, reset and retire in the military with twenty years and you’ll be set.” I’m an action taker. There are two types of Army officers. There are the guys that plan and the guys that execute. I’m no planner. I execute. I went to the Air Force recruiter. They said, “We don’t want you now.” Luckily that recruiter said, “The Army will take anybody. Go next door.”
I’m in basic training a couple of months later, get through basic in AIT and I’m off to Afghanistan. That went on for a little while with a couple of deployments. I finally got back to the United States in 2013. I was gone from about 2010 to 2013. I still had that real estate itch. By this time, my first wife and I had separated. I was gone so much. She was like, “I’m out of here. I’m done with this.” The Army selected me for active duty green to gold, where they select about almost 200 soldiers a year to stay active duty but go to school.
I bought the house next to the college, rented out all the rooms and started house hacking. I didn’t know what that was called at the time. I’m making a fortune doing it. I refinanced that house, bought a third rental by this time and then kept rolling it. I started doing the houses and then eventually stumbled into land.
First, thank you for your service from that perspective. Going overseas and bringing your life at risk for us. What got you into land? You were house hacking. One of those things people find is, “I’ve got this house I’m living in and I’ve got people paying me left and right. Why wouldn’t I keep doing this or get more rentals?” What made you flip the switch to land?
It’s 2015, the Army’s moving my new wife and me. I had gotten married again to the woman of my dreams. We’re moving out to Colorado Springs to be stationed out at Fort Carson. I purchased another property. This was my fourth rental and this one was a triplex. With all three units, there were squatters in it. I spent almost $85,000 renovating, repairing and cleaning it. I maxed out a Home Depot card, an Amex card and a SunTrust.
We paid that off but I was like, “I am massively broke.” I have a new baby and we bought a house in Colorado Springs as well. I’m like, “There’s something wrong with this real estate business. People talk about how much money you make in it. I am eating ramen noodles but my tenants all have nice houses.” My wife started to get aggravated like, “This is stupid. What are you doing? You are in debt and you’re spending all your second lieutenant pay.” I was like, “There’s got to be a better way.” I started wholesaling houses.
As Army officers, we’re working 12, 13, 14 hour days. We’re always in the field where I was training. You had to go and meet these sellers. I was searching for more answers. I was like, “There’s got to be another way.” I was listening to podcasts, reading every book I possibly can, hiring coaches and mentors. I heard about a guy that was buying land at crazy discounts, turning around and doubling his money overnight and/or seller financing them. I was like, “I’m only focused on houses. What if I’ve mailed land too?”
I thought I was mailing the tax delinquent list for land. It was a pain in the butt. I had to scrub it. It was the list from the county that they were trying to sell the liens but no one was buying them because it was inefficient raw, vacant land that was not buildable and accessible. There were issues with it. I mailed 687 postcards to these landowners and my phone almost melted.
It was blowing up. These people were like, “Take the land. I don’t care.” The first one I purchased, went well. The second one, I built a note. I seller-financed it and I had a note of $400 a month coming in. My paradigm shifted. All my investment was out in the first month, not like my houses that are going to take me 30 years to pay off. That’s how land came in.
Maybe you can quickly walk us through that second one. What does a deal look like? How’s it structured?
I made tons of mistakes. I didn’t know what I was doing. I went and met the seller. I ran quick owners and encumbrance, quick title search. I didn’t purchase a title insurance policy but then I do on a lot of these. The land cost me $500. It was 4 acres south of NORAD in Colorado Springs. It was not accessible. It was surrounded by state land.
I disclosed all that to my buyer but I went and paid this one with $500. It’s a no-brainer. It’s land for $500. I gave her the money but as soon as I got home with this quick claim deed for this land, she deeded it to me right on her front porch. She already had a notary sign it but her front porch was bigger than my entire house.
Long story short, I had a buyer off of Craigslist because I said, “I’m going to do $500 down. That way, I’ll get my money back out of the deal and $400 a month.” Someone’s going to take on the risk of this property, getting ingress and egress and legal access to it. I got to make it appealing to them. I had a buyer that night. He brought me the $500 cash. We did a contract for the deed on this one.
He brought me cash every single month. We got better and better at these. We started getting bigger down payments, so we had fewer defaults but he paid it off. This $400 a month changed my life because it’s covering my truck payment. I figured, “I can do another one and cover my electric payment, gas and then eventually, maybe my mortgage.”
You had no money left in the deal.
None at all.
What states are you doing this in?
We are in Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Arkansas all by accident because people find out about it and they send us deals.
If you ever get tired of chasing the money and collecting the payments, Jamie and I know somebody who can handle that for you in most of those states. Jamie and I started a servicing company because we deal a lot on the nonperforming debt side. We’re frustrated with a lot of the servicing companies and trying to do the workouts, so we ended up investing in a company that does that. Jamie and I are trying some shameless plugs once in a while for our stuff because we don’t do much of them.
Chris and I are bad at selling our stuff honestly on the show. BIFI Loan Servicing, check it out.You will always make mistakes but what's important is knowing how to bounce back. Click To Tweet
Are you still typically getting your stuff from the tax lists? Are you pulling from ListSource or some of these other places to get lists of the vacant land? How do you find your sellers? Is it Craigslist or Facebook? Over the last years, the way you buy and sell, maybe not as much buy but what you sell continues to change based on the algorithms of the internet. I’m curious how that works.
Let’s talk about how we get the list. I don’t only focus on the tax delinquent list anymore. That’s such a small list and it’s hard to scale it because you run out very quickly. There are places like ListSource. It’s an amazing place to pull lists. I pull the entire county list. Once I figured out, “It works on this,” I expanded and pulled the entire county list and kept mailing those.
I don’t only do deals with people that are behind on taxes and out of state. Some people live in the county that inherited the land. They don’t know what to do with it. They’re like, “Take it.” Sometimes they’ll seller finance it to me as well and I can wrap it. We’re getting a piece of land with 0% interest. I’m going to turn around and charge 12% percent interest to my buyer.
We had Russ and Joey from Wealth Without Wall Street on. They do some land flipping as well from The Land Geek, maybe you went through that program as well. They’re not active in the land flipping business. It’s more of a passive thing for them. What they were saying is first place are neighbors as far as finding a buyer. Not that the neighbors next to that land necessarily want to use the land or build on it but they at least want to control it oftentimes. What more can you add to that as far as finding buyers?
I found my first ten buyers on Craigslist but that’s wrong. That was in my mind. You reminded me about the neighbors. I was talking about buying those nonbillable inefficient lots. In Colorado Springs, you need 5,000 square feet to build on. I kept pulling these lots at 4,500 square feet in my neighborhood. I’m like, “How in the world do I sell these things?”
In the military, we had to move so much. I had all these boxes in my garage and I didn’t know what to do with them. I would go and buy those survey stakes, where you can get 12 of them for $375 at Home Depot. I would take this huge box that the Army would provide us to move and write on the back with a big Magnum Sharpie marker saying, “Land. Must sell. We’ll finance. My phone number.” I would sell it to the neighbors or someone driving down the street and then Craigslist.
Craigslist brought me so many buyers, then I started putting stuff on buy and sell groups on Facebook. You have to get through a lot of, “Is this still available,” garbage on there. If you have an autoresponder or a virtual assistant in Argentina that you’re paying $5 an hour to help you with your land business, she responds to. Most of the time, people have frequently asked questions, and you respond to them. That’s how I found most of my buyers in the very beginning.
Once you find a buyer, how do you determine which deal you’re going to create a note on versus sell outright?
It was easy for me, Jamie. It depended. Do I have the money in my bank account to buy this land? Do I need to get it under contract and assign this contract to a builder, developer or someone that has the cash? I would assign 1 or 2 and then try and seller finance 3 or 4. You know how people talk about their why? I never understood that but I had a massive why and I didn’t even realize it. I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to get out of the military. My hands were cuffed. I was tired of it. I missed being enlisted. I hated being an officer. I hated always being gone and missing my son’s life. I didn’t want history repeating itself on me.
My first wife took off when I was in Afghanistan the second time because I was gone all the time. I had this negative thing in my mind that was going to happen to me again if I didn’t change some things. 8.5 years of military service, I might’ve been home 4 of those years. I had a huge why to make $6,000 a month coming in every single month, so I could put it in my pocket to get the heck out. That’s how it went. I tried to seller finance every single one of them until I would run out of money, then I had to flip one or wholesale.
With the ones that you seller finance, I’m curious if there are ever delinquencies or what your delinquency currency rate would be? How have you handled that in the past?
In the beginning, I tried so many things. I was like, “$1 down gets you the deal. Pay $1.99 a month.” I learned that you have to collect a bigger down payment and a dock fee, in the beginning, to make sure they can afford that monthly payment. In the beginning, I probably took back 1 out of every 8 or 9. It got a little better and then it got about an 8% default rate. It even lowered more from there because the bigger the down payment we get at the beginning and a dock fee. I’ve found that if I can get them to put at least $1,000 down in the beginning, I’m probably not going to have a default.
I’ve only been doing this since 2016, so I don’t have a lot of time to track these numbers. Things could change in a couple of years. There’s no debt on any of this land, so I’d have to take it all back. I’ll resell it. A lot of it, I’m already profitable when I do take it back and that’s nothing to brag about. Bad things happen to great people but we’ll restructure the loan. I took one that was $399 a month down to $80 a month. That guy was over the moon.
He wouldn’t even communicate with me at first because he’s like, “Take the land.” He was embarrassed. I remember him saying, “I can’t believe you guys did this.” I’m like, “We’re people. I’m not a bank. Just communicate.” Most of the time, they communicate, we’ve gotten good at our systems. I would say it’s probably 1 out of 13 or 14 that we do that we have to take back.
Some people have invested in land like that or bought the delinquent notes. Most people think, “There’s not much you can do with it because it’s vacant land and nobody’s going to want it.” On the flip side, typically the people that had owned it, don’t live on vacant land. They have property elsewhere. If they default on a piece of vacant land, you could get a judgment against them that would attach to their property if it was a type of strategic default in many states. Some people have also done things like that in the past as well because it did not sell. They secure it from that perspective.
When you do the seller finance notes, is it always a land contract that you do?
Not necessarily. Now that I know how to sell a note and thanks to you, Jamie, for helping me out with that, I found that note investors prefer to have a deed of trust and a promissory note. I don’t only do land contracts. A lot of times, realtors will bring us a buyer or I’ll sell it on the MLS. That needs to go through a closing table. The title company will write me a deed of trust and a promissory note. We generally try and get at least a minimum of $5,000 down. The more, the better. I transfer the land and deed to them. If they don’t pay, I foreclose. I have never had to foreclose on any of those.
Chris and I do buy land contracts. I’ve tried to get away from them but I can’t quit it compared to the note and mortgage but that’s good. I’ve worked with some other seller-financed note sellers, who I’ve tried to help add value to the note itself. If, in the future, you want to sell it, some things can add value. A down-high down payment is huge. With land, you don’t necessarily have to follow the same CFPB regulations or use a licensed servicer but that can add a lot of value as a buyer. If you do have to foreclose and there’s not a real detailed pay history, that can be a problem.
Jamie, did you help him write a note?
I didn’t help him write a note. I just looked at a few that he has.
With notes, you can also roll into that agreement that the borrower pays that servicing fee. Brent could put in the contract, “You’re going to pay an extra X amount of dollars per month to the company.” He doesn’t even have to chase money down ever again from that perspective. He’ll just watch it hit his bank account.
That’s what I’m looking for as a passive investor because there’s this argent like, “Is this passive? Is this mailbox money?” It’s not mailbox money. I want it in my bank account money. I don’t ever want to talk to the buyer of the land. That’s why I love it. The last time one of our 116 note payers called me about a leaking toilet or leaking roof, they don’t call because there are no toilets or roofs on. We tried to do better with the last. The BIFI Loan Servicing sounds cool.
Some other things also like having an independent BPO. You see some shady BPO’s in the seller finance world.
What you typically will find on seller financing is the property will be taken back by the lender and the property’s worth is $50,000. They’ll turn around and put it on a seller finance deal in $3,000, $4,000 down but the sales price is $90,000. What they usually do is they use the reverse and a rental, almost like a commercial cap rate and say, “This could get this much in rent,” which makes zero sense. Sometimes you do have to be careful if you do a lot of that for predatory lending. That’s what you typically see. Land is not a resident, so it goes by different laws or rules.
When people do that, I’ll look at the note and be like, “This property was for sale for 8 months at $50,000 and didn’t sell and you’re saying it’s worth $90,000? You didn’t do anything to it.” From a note perspective, I’ll probably give you $25,000 or $30,000 even if it is performing because of what the value is. The risk of the default is significant on these. Jamie and I know some sellers who that’s their business model is. They buy a lot of these REOs and sell them on owner finance. All of a sudden, we’ll see on a website, 6 months later, it’s being sold as a nonperforming note because of borrower made 3 payments. All of a sudden, it’s like, “Oops.”
You look at the history and it’s the same thing. They couldn’t sell it for $50,000. The owner finances it for $80,000 or $90,000 and then the person defaults but then they’re still trying to get $50,000 for it. I’m sitting there thinking, “It doesn’t make sense” A vacant or somebody in a property that’s not paying, even though real estate is appreciating over time, these are probably depreciating because you’ve got taxes. You’re going to get stuck with utility bills or liens. Borrowers typically don’t leave the place spit-shined on their way out the door.
Brent, what does your portfolio or your business look like? What are things looking like? What does 2022 have in store for you?
We’re looking at bigger deals. We broke our teeth in 2021. We bought a $1.2 million piece that we are building 38 townhomes on. We pretty much raised the capital with that and people that were in my local meetup group. We raised the funds and found the developer. I love the passive income. We have a little over 116 notes and that’s still moving for us. It’s so easy to scale that. The machine is already built. We’ve already got the team building it. Those continue to increase.
We’re looking at another 36-acre development in Florida to put our RV Park and site pads on for more of a commercial and raising the funds to do that as well. That first lot I did was $285. If you’d asked me if I would be spending $4 million to buy land a few short years later, I would have never even dreamed this.
You mentioned virtual assistants. What’s your business look like from an organizational standpoint?
You show me a business owner that’s doing everything on their own. The guy has bought themselves a job and they’re going to go crazy. I couldn’t do any of this without my amazing team. I’ve got two virtual assistants in the Philippines. It starts with one person. It was 2016 when I hired that first person, whose name is Jen. It was because I was talking about how I went to the field, sent out a lot of mail and they took my cellphone. I’m like, “It’s battlefield operations. You don’t have cell phones in the mountains of Afghanistan.”
I sent out about $5,000 a day to answer the phone call. I hired someone off of Nextdoor, your neighborhood app. She was down the street. I hired her to help me make phone calls. She already had a real estate license. We haven’t separated a sense and grown into another acquisition manager, Chrissy. She helps run our office and then we have two virtual assistants in the Philippines.
Three people are also in Colorado Springs with us interning. A lot of people want to get on a speeding train that’s already built. I wish I’d have been smart enough, in the beginning, to go and work for someone. I was a seminar junkie taking all these courses. I don’t even know if those guys were doing real estate honestly.
You’re also an action taker. I don’t know how much patience you would have had working for somebody else. The growth you’ve experienced and the different types of investing that you’ve done and the different strategies you’ve applied are fantastic. You’re creative. You figure it out as you go but you’ve built something pretty incredible.You can’t do things without an amazing team. Click To Tweet
What I like about it too is you continue to expand and adjust your business but stay with that core of, “I got the land but I’m going to go build townhouses or do motor home park pads.” Along those lines, it sounds like your acquisition strategy is like, “I got this down. I know what I’m doing but I can take that.” Not only do you turn around and sell it owner financing but you’re finding other avenues or paths to increase scale and grow your business, whether you’re teaming up on 30th townhome development.
That’s awesome from that perspective. I used to work for a company that would do that a lot where they get the land and if they weren’t suitable for what they build, they would partner with them. They may sell it to that developer but they’ll sell it by the lot. They’ll strike a deal with the developer. Not only will it sell by a lot but if you sell it for more than X or Y, I get a kicker.
It’s little tidbits of if people are a little worried about the deal, it’s like, “I’ll give you a base amount for the lot but I get a kicker if these sell for this above a certain thing.” You typically end up doing better or than you would have from that perspective. It doesn’t look like you’re going to be slowing down anytime soon. We can tell you still got that fire and drive. That’s awesome.
I pray that the Lord lets me continue to have that drive for a very long time. That’s so amazing that you said that because that’s what we worked out, Chris. We’re selling the lots on a billing basis with the developer. This was the first one we ever did. Our investors are doing well. We put the whole thing together. My syndication attorney’s like, “You could have collected a fee. You should have taken more of a percentage for the management. I’ll spoil these guys. Don’t ever do this again.” It’s all good because I have partners rather than them looking at me like, “You guys are getting more because you’re the manager.”
I have a friend named Eli. He used to come to my meetup in Colorado Springs and do deals with friends. That’s what we’re doing. In real estate, it’s easy. You either buy low and sell for a little higher or buy it and then sell it for a profit or value add. There are only two things. The one way I value add is by providing these seller financing and notes. You see all these Americans driving these brand new cars. We’ve got GM, credit and lending institutions giving people the ability to make payments because we think how much it will cost each month. That’s ultimately what drives it.
My wife is from a foreign country where you can’t get credit. It keeps everything much lower in value. It’s more haves and has nots because that GM still costs $20,000 and the average salary is only $15,000. I’m speaking at a conference coming up. I was talking about how long it takes to scale your business. Rome wasn’t built overnight and a lot of people get into real estate and they get frustrated after 3, 6 or 9 months. You started in 2016 and took off. How long did it take you before you turned profitable?
I started back up again in 2013. I was probably profitable about 2016.
That’s a little teaser for Chris’s presentation. People are so impatient and I get it. I want to make money too but it takes a long time.
Society is instant gratification. You look at over those years and that first year, you make a little bit, then all of a sudden, a little bit more and the balloon pops. All that hard work finally pays off but you get to a point where you continue to grow, expand your business and then finally, it pops. You moved up a complete another notch. It’s like, “I want to move up another notch,” but you’re already at a place that’s like, “This is awesome.”
It’s easy for the reader to think, “Brent has done land flipping, wholesaling, house hacking and rental properties. He’s developing and building.” It ties to your point, Chris. That didn’t happen in 2021. This took a long time. What I’m getting at is it’s not that for a month, you tried land flipping, and the next month you tried this. You built a specific strategy. You got good at that then you’ve moved on onto that and another. You stuck with it. You didn’t leave that behind but you’ve added another tool to your tool belt. This didn’t happen in 2021. This happened over a long period but you do a lot. It sounds like you’ve got multiple streams of income. You have coaching as well.
We picked up coaching years ago. Thanks to Tom Krol with Wholesaling Inc. He was like, “You got to start teaching people what you’re doing with land.” I was like, “I don’t know. I don’t think I’m ready. I’m still new at it.” I had all these limiting beliefs. I was like, “People aren’t going to take these seriously.” Maybe only I can do it like imposter syndrome. He’s like, “You’re already teaching people for free.” I was like, “Let’s do it.”
I want to go back to your point. How long does it take a doctor to be a doctor or a surgeon to be a surgeon or an attorney to be an attorney? My neighbor went to school for ten years to be a surgeon. What I like is I make a lot more money than she and I didn’t have to go to school for that long but if you look from 2007 to 2017, that was my school process.
I’ve been broke and been behind on payments. I almost got foreclosed on a lot of crap that happened during that time. The road to success is through the gutter and it built me into who I am. It showed me. I got humbled in the military and basic training at 24 years old, as an adult that had a business and a real estate license, a rental and basic training as an E-1.
Can you think of a good deed that you’ve done through your investing?
I didn’t have an idea until now. We talked about people defaulting. I’ve been able to show people how to sell their land and make a profit before they let it go back to us. We’ve already been profitable. Why not teach them how to sell it and put some money in their pocket? Number two, my acquisition manager, Jen, paid off her house. She had two properties. One was at her cabin in the woods where she lives in Colorado. She had a duplex and was able to renovate and flip that duplex. She found all this on that little post on the Nextdoor app. She’s completely debt-free. She went on vacation for the first time in about five years. I feel like I had a part in that.
Taking care of your employees is always very important, especially in this society with everything that’s been going on. It’s very difficult to find good people and if you find them, you want to make sure to stick with them and hold on to them. Jamie had some challenges with some VA’s. A VA that is overseas is much more affordable than here in the States but the time and effort of your own time to work through all that can be challenging.
Jamie and I go back and forth sometimes. We talk about our horror stories where at times, we do have to foreclose. At the end of the day, our goal is always to try and keep that person in the home or come up with a win-win situation. I’ve got one. You try and work with them. If somebody’s having a little trouble with the land, you might restructure the deal from $300 down to $80 or say, “Let me help you try and sell this,” whatever it is, so they’re not getting hammered from that perspective.
How about a Note and Bolt? Do you have a nugget of wisdom that you can drop for our readers?
Take it from my experience for that reader trying to figure out how to get started. This might sound easier. You might hear all these income streams but it took a lot of work. I talked about being on base thirteen hours a day. I had to be there at 6:00. When did I have time to build my business to get out of the military to be home with my family so I can have financial freedom, time freedom and geography freedom and do what I want, rather than be told what to wear and where to be every day? I had to time block. You have to time block and get the crap done. I got up at 4:00 AM. I still do what I did back in 2015 when I was in the military. I had to write twenty videos for my YouTube channel. That sucked. I only got six done.
That’s because Jen’s on vacation. That was your mistake. You let her go.
Thank God, Jen buys all the houses because I’m not a good closer. If someone yells at me, I’m like, “Okay, I’ll leave.” You got to take the punches. I only find and attract good people. Have I found bad people? Yes, but I wasn’t who I am. One of those bad people that was ripping me off was one of my cold callers. I look at the positive side because she got me a nineteen-unit apartment complex. That’s my Note and Bolt. You got to time block, shut everything off, your phone and email and do the task at hand.
It’s funny because when people say, “When do you have time to do this?” I say, “When people were playing Wordle.” I don’t know what that is but I see it on Facebook all day long when I go online or, “When they’re watching Grey’s Anatomy.” I don’t even know if the show is still on but it’s been on for many years. The last time I watched TV with that on it, it was McSteamy from years ago. That’s what you have to do. Don’t sit in front of the TV or front of all these other distractions. Educate yourself.
I have Audible on my phone. I listen to books and take notes. In the evening, if my wife’s sleeping, I’ll spend some time sitting down. I’m a zero inbox guy for my email. I make sure every night that my emails are down to zero. I’ll put things into to-do tasks. Time-blocking is powerful from that perspective.
In the military, they teach you backward planning. It ties into what you’re talking about, Brent. It helps you to look forward. You weren’t the best planner necessarily but I’m sure you do this in your business. Where do you want to be at 6:00 AM? What do you have to accomplish to get there? Backward plan. Don’t start doing it without thinking of where you’re trying to go and without planning how much time that’s going to take. It gets to the time-blocking and appreciating the time we have. Each hour in the day is precious. Backward planning is my Note and Bolt. What’s yours, Chris?
We call it in construction, pull planning. You start with the date and pull it back. We have one called SIPS. You sit in a room and everything in construction has to go one by the other. You go to the framer, “How many guys and days do you need?” He’s like, “I got five days.” You posted, it’s five days. “Mr. Electrician, you’re going to go run all your wiring through the walls. Can you start two days afterwards?” “Yes. I have five days.” You put that and map everything out with that end in mind that if it doesn’t hit it, how can we shift or move? It’s very similar to the military, where things are regimented. If you run a construction schedule like that, it’s very similar.
My Note and Bolt is going back to working with borrowers. I have a borrower who has not paid in probably 15, 16 months. We had to start the legal process. It’s the best way to get somebody to come back to the table because they avoid communication because of embarrassment, whatever the case may be. You have to force their issue. They came back to the table and we’re offering some type of modification to the loan. We’re trying to look at and come up with a plan that fits their needs and budgets.
When you’re looking at a modification, the borrower gives you all their income information. We all underestimate how much we spend. When they fill out these forms, a lot of these people are on social security or they’re not making $250,000 a year. A cell phone bill for somebody worth $1 million or somebody making $25,000 a year is the same. Gasoline and groceries are the same. Don’t take what they say and run with it because they’ll give you your bank statements and look at them. Try and help them and say, “You say you can afford this. You can’t.”
I’m not saying this to force any type of foreclosure. I want to create a plan that works for everybody because if you come back and say, “Yes, I can afford $500 per month,” but your bank statement only has $1.72 in it, which is amazing sometimes how borrowers can balance a checkbook above zero. It blows my mind. They’re much better than what I do. You want to try and work with them and come up with some type of solution. At the end of the day, that’s in everybody’s best interest, not just your best interest.
Brent, as we wrap up here, any final words? As you go down that route, let us know how people can reach out to you.
It’s time for me to go through my credit card bills and our bank statement for our business because there’s something called phantom charges that come up. I hope that a business owner here says, “You’ve got to look at those things at least once a quarter.” That’s probably not enough, honestly. We’ve gone through and found that we were getting charged almost $6,000 a month for random things that were not even working in our business.
One was Google Ads which hadn’t given us any revenue in almost a year. Another one was another service. These KPIs weren’t showing a positive. They were in the negative. You got to get rid of that stuff or those phone lines you don’t use anymore. Business owners, we could be paying tons of money on these charges. You made me think about that with your borrower.
It’s software because I do the same thing. Every quarter, I’ll go through and be like, “I don’t use this anymore.” It’s on the auto every year. I’ll cancel it and get rid of anything.
For entrepreneurs and business owners, I’ll speak for myself. It’s boring to look at expenses and budgets. I’d rather focus on income. That’s a great way to be profitable. It’s critical.
How can people reach out to you?The road to success is through the gutter. The obstacles built the person you are today. Click To Tweet
What type of people are you looking to connect with? In other words, passive investors, land flippers, wholesalers, who would you like to connect with?
I’ve been shouting from the rooftops about what I’ve built with this land company, how it’s given me financial, time and geography freedom by buying American land. What more freedom can you have than buying American land? I teach people how to do this. If anybody’s interested in that, head on over to www.TheLandSharks.com. Schedule a call and we’ll see what your goals are.
We’re also raising capital for that RV Park. There’s so much opportunity. I’m still a land investor and a practitioner. I coach as well. I love doing it because I’ve created several millionaires and business owners. If you would ask me when I was struggling in 2008 if I was going to be somebody that taught people how to be a business owner and be a millionaire through real estate, I would’ve never even dreamed this is possible.
Chris, any final words?
I’m good. It’s an awesome episode. I’ve taken a bunch of notes. I’ve got stuff going through that came up that I’ll tell Jamie like, “What do you come up with this crazy stuff?” I always have to run it by my attorney though. The first thing I would joke about is, “I run it by my attorney.” Some of us are like, “I had this one idea of why couldn’t I, on a note, keep the lot and just lease the land from that perspective on a house?” He was like, “They got rid of that many years ago.”
If it’s for mobile home parks and stuff, we can do that but I’m like, “I own this house. I foreclosed on it. Why can’t I keep the land and then lease the house to somebody on a $99 a year lease and stuff?” He’s like, “No. That pretty much got rid of in most communities. They would a lot of times consider predatory in a lot of states that they don’t allow it, especially if the property is fixed with a basement from that perspective.” I’m thinking, “Pennsylvania has oil rights and stuff.”
One of the challenges is working with Chris. I’m like, “We’re full steam ahead over here.” He’s like, “I’m not doing that anymore.” Brent, this was awesome. Thank you so much for joining us. To our readers out there, please give us a high rating, review and good feedback if you like what you read. That does help us quite a bit.
On one of the websites I’m part of, it’s the Racket app that came out. It’s more of an audio ping-ponging back and forth. They’re trying to help podcasters out. They posted to everyone who’s on the site, “If you have a podcast, we want to give out $5,000 increments to help influencers or people in the space to give them some money to continue to grow their podcast or network.” We applied for that. If you are interested, join our Facebook group, the Notes And Bolts From The Good Deeds Note Investing Podcast.
For our readers, don’t forget to go out and do some good deeds. Take care, everyone.
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About Brent Bowers
As an Army Officer with over 8 years of service, Brent Bowers was spending a great deal of time away from his family, and he knew he needed to make some changes in order to be more present with his wife and children. His interest in real estate began in 2007 when he purchased his first home, so Brent began exploring real estate investing as a way to support his family while being able to enjoy more time with them as well.
In a short amount of time, Brent was able to expand his business, hire a team, and (most importantly) spend quality time with his family while still working hard and helping others. While Brent invests in many different types of real estate, his favorite investment strategy deals with buying and selling vacant land, and he enjoys sharing his expertise in this area with his coaching clients. Brent chooses to live his life based on Bob Burg’s quote, “Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.” He is passionate about helping other people find success in real estate investing, particularly in land investments.
Brent Bowers is currently the CEO of ZechBuysHouses LLC. Vacant Land of the Free, Discounted Houses Colorado Springs, Rent2Own Colorado and Co-Working & Shared Space are all under the ZechBuysHouses Brand.