You make your money when you buy, you get paid when you sell. In today’s episode, David brings RJ Bates III from Titanium Investments. Get to know RJ and learn about his marketing method, the system he used, and how he managed his company. Real estate is incredibly simple but it’s not entirely easy.
Welcome back to the Discount Property Investor podcast. Our mission is to share what we have learned from our experience and the experience of others to help you make more money investing like a pro. We want to teach you how to create wealth by investing in real estate, the discount property investor way. To jumpstart your real estate investing career, visit freewholesalecourse.com, the most complete free course on wholesaling real estate ever. Thanks for tuning in.
David: Alright guys, welcome back to the discount property investor podcast. I am your host David Dodge. You make your money when you buy, you get paid when you sell. Today I'm bringing on RJ Bates III, I feel like I know RJ, I've been following this cat for the shoot, probably going on two, maybe even three years on socials, been seeing him on different podcasts, so I'm honored and privileged to get to know RJ today and bring him on the show and share some value with all of the listeners and viewers. RJ Bates, how the hell are you doing man?
RJ: I'm doing fantastic brother. Thank you for having me here.
David: I appreciate your time, I'm grateful for you and I'm looking forward to getting to know more about you and also all the amazing things that you are doing in the real estate space. So first and foremost, I noticed- I've been following of course, that you were doing at one point, couple months back probably at this point, but you were doing all 50 states wholesale and you were basically like picking a new market every day, it was like 50 days of 50 deals in 50 states. Bro, tell me more about that. That is so fascinating.
RJ: Yeah so it was kind of funny because it all started with my buddy, Earon Bevans down in San Antonio. We were working on a software that we were creating, it's a CRM for investors and Earon's a mindset guy and he kept talking about this book Relentless which is actually-
David: Dude, that's my favorite book.
RJ: There you go.
David: Literally my number one favorite book. I'm not really a reader but I do audio and I have listened to that book 10 times I swear to you. Unbelievable.
RJ: Yup, so it was a life-changing book for me. It's sitting right behind me and I do audio as well which I think at times-
David: Tim Grover, great great author.
RJ: Yes, I mean on a highly impactful book, audio to me just hits home so much better.
David: Me too. I listened for 2 hours this morning while I was out jogging.
RJ: Yeah, so I'm listening to this and Tim Grover is speaking to my heart, right? Like, he's talking about what a cleaner is and I am like, this is- this is me, like the issues that cleaners go through, I'm like these are feelings that I've had and I've never understood why I feel this way and he talked about how sometimes you feel negative about yourself because of your lack of connection with people and you always want to take control of situations and things like that, and at the period in time, we had had some turn over at Titanium Investments. I wasn't really pleased with where we were as a company. We were just coming off of our most difficult year that we had ever had because RJ decided to go cookie monster and buy every house that he can possibly buy instead of wholesale and it got us in a lot of trouble and I just- I wasn't happy with where my company was. And so I'm listening to this book and I'm like I'm Michael Jordan, give me the damn ball, I'm going to go win the game. And so my idea was I need the world to be my accountability partner and so I'm going to go do 50 deals in 50 states in 50 days. I'm going to do it live on YouTube and Facebook, and the world's going to be my accountability partner. So I was extremely nervous when I went to my business partners to ask them if they were okay with me doing this but their only feedback was RJ, we've never done a deal in North Dakota, we've never done a deal in Montana, how are we going to do this? And my answer was I will figure it out, just give me the damn ball and I promise you, if I put my name on this and I go out and do this, I will make it happen, I promise you. The next step was I had to go to Batch because I was going to use nothing but BatchLeads doing this, and I had to ask them are you okay with me going live on YouTube and Facebook using nothing but your product saying I'm going to do 50 deals.
David: Oh, and I'm sure the answer was an overwhelming hell yeah.
RJ: What- they were, but we did have to have the conversation about like hey this could be negative for their product if I only do like 18 deals in 15 states in 50 days, you know?
David: Oh, I can't believe that they said that. That's hilarious.
RJ: Well it was a conversa- I actually brought it up.
David: Yeah, it's a conversation, I get it.
RJ: Yeah, I mean it's like hey I mean, this could be negative. I mean I could fall flat on my face and they were like well, we're going to trust you on this, right?
RJ: And there was a promise by me that it was like, hey if this is not going well then I'll pull the plug on this, right?
David: Speaking of Batch, Evo, Annie and Jesse are- they're my people man. I love these guys and here's like some pictures from the Christmas party.
RJ: I love it.
David: I went out to the Christmas party this year and got to hang out with all the guys out there, but-
RJ: Yeah no they're the best in the business. I absolutely love those people.
David: They're the best in the business. I love it, but yeah go on man, I didn't mean to interrupt you.
RJ: Yeah, so we got it all set up literally live on my YouTube channel, you can go back, they're all still there, RJ Bates III and you know it was interesting to say the least looking back at it, I mean I was live every single day for 53 days straight doing nothing but texting and answering the phones for 8 to 12 hours a day.
David: Damn, that's a long- I didn't realize that you were doing it that many hours. I figured, you know it was at least 2or 3, maybe 4.
RJ: No bro, it was-
David: But 8 to 10, that's a lot of time.
RJ: Oh bro, this was- this was intense. I mean, because there was days like very difficult markets, like a Colorado where I would shoot out 5 to 8 thousand texts and we were getting nowhere, you know? I mean it was like all right we've got to get creative on how we're going to get the deal in Colorado. Now there was opposite days like Mississippi where first 30 minutes I was already under contract and now for the rest of the day in Mississippi, I'm going back to the markets that I had issues in and showing people the reality of this business, right? Sometimes it's really easy to sit here and show the victories, right? We have- we talked about it prior to this podcast, we have all this production equipment and we could show all these victories. What I was showing was is victories and the struggles, and I think that's where people actually got more out of the challenge than anything were the struggles. What people don't realize is that this challenge where it helped a lot of people and they got a lot of value by watching me do things, this was more for my company and for myself than it was anybody else.
RJ: We needed the change within Titanium, I needed a change within my company and this allowed us to develop new processes within the systems that we're using that now I am so utterly confident in our marketing flow and what we do as a company that we literally are now running campaigns in all 50 states at any given time. I mean yesterday alone, I know we were marketing in New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Texas and it's just a constant rotation of new markets every single day and it all started from Earon's suggestion of reading Relentless and it changed my life.
David: Wow. All right, so I got a bunch of questions from that. So you're in Fort Worth Texas, right?
David: Prior to you talking to Earon and by the way, I've never met Earon but I've been following him for a super long time too so I'm looking forward to getting him on the show.
David: But prior talking to Aaron and reading Tim Grover's book Relentless which I'm telling you bro, it's my number one favorite book. I love that you brought that up. Were you virtually wholesaling?
RJ: Not nationwide, it was specific markets.
David: Not nationwide.
David: So that's really where I'm leading to. So how many different markets were you in prior to that book and doing this campaign? Cuz now you're- it sounds like you're just nationwide, you're everywhere.
RJ: Right, right. So prior to that, we had done deals I believe in like 23, 24 different states so quite a few, right? But I mean there-
David: Okay, that's a lot yeah. That's a shit ton.
RJ: But some of those were like one off scenarios, you know? Like hey we got a random bill in Michigan and we wholesaled it and we moved on. Like Michigan wasn't a market, but we could- we had the notch on our bedpost, right? We can say we did Michigan.
RJ: So once we started actually marketing in Michigan and started getting multiple deals, now it's like okay that's an actual market for us. I say actual markets that we had prior to the 50 day challenge was somewhere in the 6 to 7 range.
David: Okay, yeah and that's a reasonable amount of markets.
David: Nothing to crazy by any means. Okay, next question. Again, prior to the 50 day challenge, what was your main lead source? Was it outbound marketing or was it pay-per-click inbound type of marketing?
RJ: So SMS at the time was our main source of marketing.
RJ: Internally, we had a team of people that were doing SMS and that's where it became like hey, I'm going to take the ball of what we're doing as a team and I'm going to show everybody within our team how to you use this system, and then that's what I mean by we developed processes around the system that we were using based off of my experience through the 50 day challenge.
David: Got it, so outbound marketing mostly via SMS. I love it. And then after the 50 day challenge, is it the same scenario except for now you guys are just on a you know, not in 6 or 7 markets, you're in essentially all the markets?
RJ: Well yeah, I mean you have to understand I mean where the best deals come from, right? From follow up.
RJ: And here I am, I created a ton of chaos. I mean, I ran campaigns, I mean, I can't remember the exact number but I mean it was like close to 200 thousand records that we skip traced, had touched, we had follow up campaigns, we had leads rolling in. I mean, we are still closing deals from those campaigns that I ran back in August, September, October, November of last year so it caused a lot of chaos for us and yeah, we just got to have to continue the process of like SMS, we've added on BatchDialer and then now we've also added on RVM and direct mail as part of our marketing flow.
David: Nice. Okay, that brings a couple questions up man, this is great. So one, I really want to learn more about your team, not so much what every person does but just you know, how many people you have on the team and what they each do.
David: And then also, is that still your main source of marketing is the outbound SMS? Are you doing any- you had mentioned that you're doing some direct mail and some RVM on the follow-up side, are you doing cold direct mail? Are you doing any sort of online advertising, pay-per-click, Facebook, Google, YouTube, anything like that?
RJ: Yeah so we do nationwide pay-per-click. Okay, so that's definitely- inbound leads are always the best.
David: Yeah those are the best leads, right. That's why I was curious.
RJ: I mean, anybody that argues that just doesn't know what they're talking about.
David: Right, I agree completely.
RJ: But that's also cost prohibitive to a certain degree once you try to scale that and we have a team of people here that their talents and what we want them to be doing is generating leads for ourselves. Like I'm a control freak so I don't want to sit here and just wait on inbound leads, I want to be taking massive action on generating leads in the markets that we want to be generating leads on. So from the perspective of what does the team look like, there's three main partners, there's myself, Cassie, and then Elijah, okay?
RJ: So those are the three main people in the company, we're the owners of Titanium and then outside that, our team has really leaned down and so it's going to be shocking for me to tell you how few people we have now because previously back in the 2018, 2019 era, we had 74 employees.
RJ: That was part of the misery and the losing that we had in 2019, right? Now-
David: All in-house?
David: Or was there a lot of virtual people in there too or-
RJ: No, that was- there were no VA's, that was all payroll.
David: It was 73 people showed up to your office everyday?
RJ: So we had-
David: Wow, that's crazy.
RJ: We had people in Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, Arizona, because we were flipping houses in all of those locations. So the people that we had on staff, we had contractors that were on payroll, not 1099 subcontractors, no these were people on payroll that we are paying salaries to do our flips.
RJ: So we're talking about you know, six-figure pay days on every Friday. I mean it was a miserable existence to say the least. Now at this point, it's me, Cassie, Elijah. We have Tanya that does bookkeeping, we have Kristen that does cold calling for us and then we have Keaton and Patrick that are acquisitions, that's our team.
David: I love it man.
RJ: And now, we are so much more profitable and lean like we- I remember there was a period of time where I called our company the Titanic because if I ever needed to tell somebody hey we're changing an SOP within our company, it would take me two days just to let everybody know.
RJ: Now, if I wanna change something, like hey we're gonna change the script that we're using, I open the door and say here's the change.
David: Everyone's right there.
RJ: And it's over.
RJ: We're a speedboat now, we can do whatever we want and so I love the fact that we're lean and mean now.
David: I love it. Do you guys have any virtual assistants?
RJ: We are adding virtual assistants because we just made the connection with Andrea Stakes out of Virginia and so we're going to be adding virtual assistants on for cold calling and also inbound calls for my RVM and direct mail, so that's going to be a new part of our process.
David: I love it. Very cool, man. Damn RJ, I am blown away man. Like I said, I've been following you for a hot minute, I had no idea that you had built that kind of business but I love how humble you are man, because you're not just like you're gloating about you know, we had 74 employees, you know, the way that you described it was like we did it but we were freaking miserable.
David: And we scaled back and now we're profitable, and now we're having fun, and now we enjoy- it sounds to me like you enjoy and genuinely love the business just like I do.
RJ: Oh dude, I- look, 2019 RJ, we get a $50,000 assignment fee and say cool, we covered half of our payroll for this week. 2021 RJ gets a $50,000 assignment fee and we celebrate and it's like dude, we just made our month, like we're good.
RJ: Like, what else can we do? You know what I'm saying?
David: Love it.
RJ: Like what else are we going to add on to this and it's a lot about just feeling the vibe in the office is better, the morale is better. I feel so much better about everything within my life and isn't that what we do this for?
David: Yeah man.
RJ: Right? Isn't that the point of being an entrepreneur?
David: Everybody gets into real estate for freedom, right?
David: Financial freedom and time freedom, and RJ it's so crazy man because I don't know the real statistic, I'm going to go from the hip here but 97% of people that get into real estate seeking financial freedom and time freedom end up having neither of them.
David: Right? They go from a 40-hour week to a 70-hour week or an 80-hour week or maybe even a freaking 90-hour week, and they most likely are making less money than they were at the job that they're at. So that's why I'm such a big- I'm actually reading right now: The Less I Do, The More I Make by Ron Legrand.
RJ: Love it.
David: And I just met Ron Legrand 2 weeks ago down in Key West at an event and I personally have 8 VA's and I'm bringing two more on next week and literally I'm trying to outsource everything that I can. I'm a control freak like you as well but you know, if I'm doing a task over and over and over again and I realize man this is just so stupid and I can systematize this, get somebody else to do it so I can do more stuff like this.
David: Like the networking and the podcasting and you know, helping other people out there, providing value, it's just a no-brainer to me.
RJ: Absolutely man.
David: Man, we share a lot of the same traits. Again, it's great to get the opportunity to chat with you today and you know, learn more about RJ and Titanium Investments.
RJ: Yeah, man. And you know what's funny about it is I talk a lot about what happened in 2019, we were actually generating quite a bit of revenue.
David: Oh, I'm sure.
RJ: But because of the overhead, the overhead that we had-
David: You have to feed 74 families essentially.
RJ: Right, exactly. But guess who- guess what? Out of those 74 people, guess who were the three that weren't getting paid. The owners.
David: So I'm reading The Pumpkin Plan right now, I'm listening, we talked about this earlier, and he talks a ton about that, about how you know, often times in business, the owners of the company are making the least amount of money. So this all just kind of rings full circle for me RJ, I appreciate you.
RJ: Absolutely man. I mean it was miserable.
David: But now, now that you've leaned it down, you have a profit first type of a mindset. I'm sure you guys follow the EOS strategy or I'd assume, you seem like a pretty smart cat.
RJ: Where's it at.
David: Yeah, one of those up there, right?
RJ: Here it is.
David: I loved it man, I love it. So yeah man, isn't it crazy how sometimes just the smallest little tweaks can make the world of differences. I love it. All right, so I got questions. Nationwide wholesaling. I am- you probably don't know a whole lot about me, I'll give you the 90 second spiel on who I am. I'm out of St. Louis, Missouri and I don't do anything virtual yet. I've always had the mind- so I've written three books: The Ultimate Guide to Wholesaling Real Estate, The BRRRR Method which is really my passion, and then The 3 Pillars of Wholesaling Real Estate. Over the last, let's see, I've been- I've been investing for about 15 years, maybe 16 years give or take. The first 10 was very passively, I was buying full retail via an agent on the MLS and wasn't getting the deal by any means, I was putting down 20% using 80% bank leverage, and I was buying to rent. And over the first 10 years RJ, I only got to maybe about 12 houses, I was buying like one or two a year, right?
David: And then about 6 years, some stuff happened in my life which we're not really going to get into but I was kind of facing some jail time and you know, I had- I kind of started hanging out with the wrong crowd and I just was like, you know what? This is- I don't want to be doing this anymore, I don't want to be working these BS jobs that I had and I had a couple little web development businesses and small businesses and lawn care and all this stuff, and none of it was really that passionate- I was not that passionate about it. Long story short, I learned about wholesaling and these motivated seller people, and in the last six years, my team and I, we've wholesaled over 700 houses. I just did the math the other day and we literally just hit 700 wholesale deals. In that same you know, time frame really closer to the last 3 years versus 6,but we've done- we've used the BRRRR method to acquire over 150 rental properties and right now we're sitting somewhere around 50. We've sold a bunch of these off turnkey, you know how it goes.
David: Sometimes your business needs capital or you know, we actually racked up about a million dollars in bad debt on just various credit cards and lines of credit and then just like you, I had two partners including myself, so there's a team of three at the top and one of our partners was a little older, still one of my best friends, and he just decided you know, I got some money, I don't really need to be hustling all day and we wanted- and he wanted us to kind of buy him out. So now it's just me and one guy, but the guy that we bought out now is like our main private money lender, like it wasn't an exit that was negative. It was like hey, you have different goals, let's get you to where you want to be, let's get me to where I want to be, so on so forth. I said 90 seconds, it was probably triple that. I apologize, but with that being said you know, my passion is really acquiring rental properties because of the passive income that you get, the taxes, I mean literally that's also like tied for number one. Most people don't realize that you know, that the effective tax rate on your money is somewhere around 55 to 60%, and your- I would think that you know this but most people are like you're crazy Dave, like you know I only pay 35 to 40% in taxes. Well that's fine, you pay that when you earn it but then everything that you buy has the sales tax.
David: Any cool thing that you own like boats and planes which I've had, you got to pay property tax on and then of course the home you live in or all the other assets, you have to pay annual real estate taxes on. Then you go fill up your car at the gas pump and not only are you paying sales tax, but you're paying fuel tax. You get taxed left and right all freaking day. The biggest expense and you can't argue this, the biggest expense in your life is taxes like it or not. And real estate has allowed me to bring my effective tax rate down to a below 20%.
David: What I pay the government annually is really closer to 10 or 12%, but then you got about 8 or 9% additional of just owning stuff and buying stuff and you know, but essentially it's gone from 55, maybe even 60% down closer to 20%. So you know, owning rentals is just such an awesome thing, right? And the passive income is cool too, right? Let's be honest.
David: But what ends up happening is we do a lot of marketing and we cherry pick the best deals, right? I'm sure you do too.
David: Cherry pick the best ones for yourself, but then you just have all these other leads that are coming in and it's like, you know we have a little saying in house: keep the best, wholesale the rest. It's so simple, right? And we've basically wholesaled about 700 deals because they were leads that came in but they didn't meet our criteria to own. So I'm done with my spiel, I promise you. Your up now. So the question is though, how does somebody go from their local market like me that- and I'm still going to continue to market here in the Midwest, in St. Louis specifically for my own rental properties and my own fix and flips, and I'm going to wholesale everything else, right?
David: But how does one go to expand into that second and that third and that 10th market?
RJ: So there's a- there's a couple different ways and this is how I always explain to newer people. I got asked this question the other day: at what point time should I become virtual? Okay, I think everybody listening this right now should pick a virtual market and here's the main reason why.
David: So I already have one picked.
RJ: Okay, well I'm going to tell- I'm going to give you which ones I think you should hit and then hopefully we'll hit the same ones, okay?
David: Okay., cool.
RJ: But here's the reason why I think everybody should be virtual, especially when you're getting started. You'll go get a deal under contract, you'll make a $25,000 assignment fee and then you're going to feel like King Kong of the world, right? And I'm going to ask you hey mr. new wholesaler, how'd you get that deal? And you're going to tell me: my second cousin third removed from my mom's dad died and they knew I was a wholesaler so they sold me the house because it was highly distressed and I made $25,000 and I'm going to say awesome, how are you going to replicate that 20 times a month?
David: Yeah, you're not.
RJ: You're not. But if you go to somewhere random where you don't know anyone in the world, it forces you to become a good marketer, a good closer, good at dispositions and good at analyzing properties.
RJ: It makes you better at everything that you do. Now, for someone in your circumstance where you've done 700 wholesale deals as well as acquired hundreds of rental properties, you're in a much-
David: Yup, and I've done the BRRRR method over 150 times, that's really the passion, right?
RJ: Right. So you are already good at marketing, you're already good at analyzing, you're already good at all of that, right? So for me, if you came to me and said RJ, where should I go? How do I pick that market? I would say: what is a replicable market to St. Louis, I would say let's look at Indianapolis, let's look at Kansas City, let's look at maybe at Cleveland Ohio. These are markets that are in my opinion based off of my experience, sister markets to St. Louis, whereas what you are used to analyzing as a deal, there would be no learning curve there because you already analyzed those deals exactly that same way so I'm curious to know-
David: So those three markets are on my lists. KC was number one.
RJ: There you go.
David: But Indi and Cleveland are definitely up there as well.
RJ: Right, and it's close to you as well in just geographic location, it's not like-
David: Yeah, I wanna stay in the Midwest, I really do. I'm not really trying to go try to do wholesaling in San Diego or San Francisco or New Jersey or anything like that, you know? I just- also if we come across a 20 or 50 unit apartment building in KC or Indi or Cleveland, hey that's something I'd be interested in actually owning too, right?
RJ: Nah, I will say-
David: I'm not really trying to do the coasts by any means.
RJ: I will say the only thing that drives me crazy about KC, it is one of my least favorite markets in the United States. I'm just going to be forthright about that.
RJ: It's been extremely difficult for us to get any traction there and I've tried. St. Louis on the other hand, I do love. We've done hundreds of deals in St. Louis.
RJ: So Kansas City, the thing that drives me crazy is you'll get a deal under contract, you'll reach out to the cash buyer and he'll be like I only buy the Kansas, Kansas City deals.
David: Oh geez.
RJ: And then the other guys are like I only buy the Missouri deals, and it's like your buyers list is like segregated with the state line and it just drives me crazy.
David: Yeah, okay I can see how that would be super frustrating.
RJ: Yeah, but St. Louis I mean it is one of my favorite markets. We actually owned a portfolio back in the doomsday- doomsday era. We owned 70 something properties in like 63137, 63136 area.
David: Yeah, those are not my favorite areas by any means but they make for really good investments cuz you can get 2% returns in those zip codes.
RJ: Exactly, exactly.
David: Yup, and I own a couple in 63-63136 now. Typically I don't like long-term holding in those areas, but what I mean by not long-term hold like you know, anywhere from two months to two years, something like that.
RJ: Well yeah, I mean as far as deciding your virtual markets, I think you know, for you- it depends on your experience and I would just say hey you're- you're so talented at what you're doing, let's just try to replicate it 4, 5 times over with the same types of markets.
David: I love it, I love it. Okay, cool. So next question, I do the texting and the calling just like you, that'll be easy to add. When you're doing AdWords, so I did AdWords for about two and a half years and then I turned it off for an entire year and I just turned it back on last week. Now, I turned it back on to my local market but I'd like to start doing AdWords in these ancillary markets, these virtual markets, and the question that I have for you is you know, let's say Indianapolis right? That's in Indiana. Are you doing AdWords for the whole state of Indiana or are you specifically trying to market within you know, a 20 or 30 mile radius of a city center?
RJ: I'm doing AdWords for the entire United States.
David: So you don't even- you're not zooming in on any particular thing, it's USA.
David: Wow, okay. So what do you do with leads that you get that are 300 miles from anything?
RJ: So sometimes, I mean it's unfortunate. We just are not a good solution, right? For the seller.
RJ: I will say that happens a lot less than my initial fear of that happening.
RJ: More often than not it is within a certain radius of a major city. For example, we just contracted to deal in Fayetteville Tennessee, that's about 45 minutes from Huntsville Alabama so I just called Keith Everett and said hey let's JV this deal.
David: Love it.
RJ: I mean that's our process on deals like that where I'm like hey that deal cost me $400 to get and let's go do a $15,000 assignment fee, so I make $7,500 my net on that $7,100 and all we had to do was the closing process on it.
David: I love it. Have you heard of InvestorLift?
RJ: I have. I have not looked into it enough but I've heard some people that I highly respect, Nick Perry, Corey Geary-
David: I just met both those two cats down in Key West and signed up for it, yeah.
RJ: Funny story, I was supposed to be in Key West, I totally just flaked on Tim and John, two good friends of mine, but I just- I- we were too busy with our own event and things like that and the timing didn't work.
David: Hey you got shit to do man, no big deal. Yeah.
RJ: But yeah, I respect those guys, it looks like a cool tool to use but a lot of what we also do on our disposition side is just like what we do in acquisitions, we just replicate it. We pull the list with them BatchLeads, we text and we cold call those buyers as if they want to buy a property and that works a lot for us in some of the markets that we don't have quote-unquote the cash buyers list for.
David: Man, some of my students are doing amazing right now by pulling leads out of either Propstream or BatchLeads for the buyer side and texting out their deals just like we're doing on the acquisitions side. So, leads me- and I appreciate you being an open book RJ, this has already been an amazing episode and we're not- we're not done yet, hopefully you have another 10 or 15 minutes here. Question, what software's and systems are you using? You had mentioned BatchLeads. I think me and you probably like that. That's my number one software.
David: I love it, and I use Propstream as well cuz it has the mobile app and there's a couple different reasons but I can see BatchLeads eliminating my use of Propstream over the next I don't know, they're not quite there yet, right?
David: They're getting better every day but over the next couple months, I'll probably get rid of Propstream or you know, who knows? It's only a hundred bucks a month, not a big deal.
David: But I'm curious to see what software's and services you use or your team is using daily if you don't mind sharing.
RJ: Yes. So we use BatchLeads to pull all of our list, skip trace and then SMS.
David: Yep, and is the match savings also your favorite thing about BatchLeads?
RJ: Yeah absolutely. I mean well, I wouldn't say favorite thing, I mean-
David: It's my number one favorite thing.
RJ: I mean there's just, there's so many different aspects of what I love about the app man. It's just-
David: There's so many cool things there that they got, yup.
RJ: And the time that I spent inside the program during the 50 day challenge, it's like I just- I can't go a day without just spending time inside it and just looking at our data and what's happening with the responses and how the flows working and all of that so BatchLeads is number one, that's where everything starts. We'll then export out of that, we import into BatchDialer and then we'll export out of BatchDialer into our CRM, it's called The REI CRM. It's brand new, it's not even released to the public yet.
David: The REI CRM?
RJ: The REI CRM, yes.
David: I love it. I'm gonna check it out.
RJ: So we're going to be launching here in the next 30 to 60 days, we drop-
David: Do you guys use Propstream at all?
RJ: We do, we use Propstream and we use Propelio as well.
David: Oh, you use Propelio too man, holy cow.
RJ: We mainly use those for comps, okay?
David: Okay, yup.
RJ: That's wh- all of our list pulling is done within Batch because we are nationwide. Dude, there's times where we just need to have like multiple options for comp pulling, right?
RJ: Just to see like- sometimes Batch isn't quite there with the comps yet. We had a lead the other day where Propelio had no comps, Propstream had no comps, Batch had 12 comps. That's the reason why because for $98 a month for both Propelio and Propstream, why not have them? And then I'll say that man, DocuSign's the only other thing that we have.
David: One of the cool things that I've heard about Propelio, I don't use it but that you can- so like you know how on Deal Machine or BatchDriven, you can highlight you know, like your absentee or your vacant or you can actually set a preset for any driver, are you using any driving for dollars software?
David: Driven, I love BatchDriven, it's great. Deal Machine's also good guys.
David: But one of the things I've heard with Propelio, again I don't use it, my buddy Roger Salem or Salam was telling me just this the other day. He likes that because you can multi- you can, you can, you can use the same type of feature where you can you know, overlay on the map but you can stack them. So you can say I- you know and you can't do this on these others quite yet.
David: I'm sure it's coming but he's like I want to see all the absentee owned houses that have 30% equity that you know, the owners have owned them for 12 plus years and are vacant. That's like woah, you can do that? And then he was like yeah, and then my team will just drive to those houses and knock on the damn door. Wow, that's pretty amazing.
RJ: I've never done that before. We haven't gotten that in-depth so- and that's just kind of a personality thing. For me, I want to own all the data. I got asked on Wholesale Hotline the other night, Pace says-
David: Yeah, I saw you were on there. I'm great friends with all three of those guys, Pace, Jamil and Brent.
RJ: Yeah, Pace asks me what's your favorite niched list? Or Jamil did and I was like, I really don't believe in niched lists.
David: So you're basically going after vacants and absentees mostly then, right?
RJ: I do. We- I do single family, duplex, triplex, quadplex, individually owned, 50% free and clear, the valuation is gonna be in that sweet spot depending on the market that we're in, right? We want the average median houses in the city. I search by city not by ZIP code and then we're going to take all of the vacant, tax defaults, liens, expired listings, unknown equity, all of that and we're gonna hit it all.
David: I love it man.
RJ: I want all the data.
David: So you actually go up to the 50% equity, I usually default mine to 30% at a minimum but you taking it one step above it. So vacants, unknowns, absentees, tax defaults, are you guys hitting pre-foreclosures?
RJ: So we stopped for a while. I mean obviously I've started to roll them back in. I'll just be real, we're not getting deals from that right now. I mean, just those- for lack of a better way to put it people in pre-foreclosure right now are relatively arrogant unless they're on a conventional loan.
David: Not only that but they're getting hit by agents a lot too.
RJ: Yeah, I mean it's just-
David: Which just, it adds a little bit more competition, you know?
RJ: Yeah, I mean it's just- it's not working.
David: I personally don't market to pre-foreclosures, I did on and off for years but I bet you I haven't done a pre-foreclosure specific marketing in over two years.
RJ: Yup, and-
David: Vacants and absentee's are my bread-and-butter because-
RJ: Oh for sure. Vacant is my favorite.
David: So I don't know- how many houses are you guys typically buying a year? Not wholesaling, not keeping just buying.
RJ: On a monthly basis?
RJ: Right now-
David: No, no, no, yearly yearly.
RJ: Yearly? Oh geez, I mean probably somewhere in the-
David: Just from the hip.
RJ: Well flips, we're going to be trying to do right now like one to two flips a month. In the past, right? So this has changed.
David: So I'm counting everything, you're buying for- even if your wholesaling it, in my opinion you're still buying that house and then selling it, even if you assign it.
RJ: Right. So I-
David: So what I'm asking is yeah, purchases. No matter if it's local or nationwide.
RJ: Yeah, I mean we're gonna be in the 20 to 30 a month range.
David: 30 a month, holy cow.
David: So you're doing 3 times what I'm doing. I'm typically buying 100 houses a year. This year I've already done 150 because I bought 110 of them in one transaction.
David: But on average, I'm doing about a hundred a year, but that's also just within a 30 mile radius of where I live.
David: Right? And the reason that I had brought this up is because 80% of the houses that I buy RJ, 80% are vacant. So if you are listening to this and you are new and you want to do you know, something like I do or something like RJ does, your vacant houses are the bread-and-butter for investors, period. Sometimes I'll have students that have pulled 10 lists already but not the vacant list and I'm like what is wrong with you?
RJ: So let me- let me say-
David: You should be pulling the vacant list every other week.
RJ: So let me tell you what's funny about that.
David: Hopefully you agree.
RJ: Oh dude no, wholeheartedly. When I pull in BatchLeads, okay? I pull my list, I would go to a random city, okay? This is how well I understand what I'm doing, this just happened at my boot camp here on Thursday, last Thursday, okay? I said pick a random city and they said Milwaukee Wisconsin. So the first thing I do is I go to BatchLeads, I type in Milwaukee Wisconsin, what- the number I'm looking for, there's no other filter just the city, the number I'm looking for is how many vacant properties there are. That number needs to be several thousand for me to be interested in the city. It was 5 thousand, I said now I'm going to hit it with all of my filters and the number I'm going to pay attention to, not the tax defaults, not the liens, nothing else, those are the cherries on top, right? I need my vacants. I said when I filter this down from 5 thousand and I had all my filters, I predicted correctly, the amount of vacants there are. I said there will be 900 vacant properties once I add the filters in and there was 983.
David: I love it. You've done this a time or two. I love it.
RJ: Those are the ones that I- those- that's the first thing that gets added to my list every single time. Those are the ones I want and they do-
David: So what's your typical, if you don't mind me asking, what's your typical criteria for that? So you had mentioned 50% equity, singles and small multis, average medium sized houses or not size so much but price, I would assume, vacants and then what else? Is there anything I'm missing? Off-market, I'd assume.
RJ: Yeah, off market and that's it. I mean, so in Milwaukee-
David: Yep, that's about what I do too man.
RJ: In Milwaukee, it was 60 thousand to 200 thousand was the valuation.
David: Got it.
RJ: So I'm eliminating- people ask me well what about bad zip codes? I eliminate the bad zip codes with the valuation. So I don't want any 30, 40, 50 thousand dollar properties.
David: Yeah, yeah, exactly. You're bad zip codes, the houses are going to be 20, 30 grand if you put your minimum at 16, your max 200, you're eliminating- you're focusing on the median just there. I love that, love that.
RJ: And that's how- that's how you go into a new market that you don't know shit about because you just- you go to Zillow. I mean, it's as simple as going to Zillow, you just look around and say okay here we go, they're all selling for 100, 200 thousand. Oh, here's a bad zip code, they're selling for 60 to 70 thousand. All right, I just set my minimum valuation on Batch at 100 thousand, I eliminated the bad zip code.
David: Boom, I love it. So again, you're not necessarily searching ZIP codes, you're doing it by the city.
RJ: The whole city, yup.
David: Man, I love it. Okay, so let's see here, what else do I got for you? Okay so we were talking about the software’s, you had mentioned BatchLeads, you're using that for all your lists, skip-tracing, SMS and list stacking which is only just a couple of the things that they do.
David: I love it. You're using the dialer, so I'd assumed once you do any skip-tracing at all cuz you know, for me, the majority of my cost is the skip tracing.
David: The leads are you know, basically a penny a piece at this point or cheaper.
David: The SMS is I don't even look at that number like it's so irrelevant.
RJ: Nah, it's not even relevant.
David: Yeah, so the skip tracing is typically the bulk of my cost but once I have the skip tracing, I push it over to my team to use BatchLeads to SMS and then I stick it over to my other team that does BatchDialer to cold call simultaneously. I'm assuming you're doing that too, right? Because-
RJ: Oh dude, we use and abuse our data like it never dies.
David: It never dies, right. I love it.
RJ: I just use it over and over and over again. We literally just picked up a contract yesterday on a deal that we've already marketed twice through BatchLeads 5 times. So we've touched them 10 times, we've cold called them multiple times and now we're putting it back in and we're picking up multiple deals off of this list. We just use it over and over and over and over again and every time I decide I'm going to go back to San Antonio, I will pull a new list and then add whatever new properties came on and then just add it to the old list and then just start hitting it again, over and over and over again.
David: Love it. All right so to recap though, man this thing isn't working. Propstream and Propelio typically for comps and then BatchLeads as well because they're still building that out, its getting- its getting better and better. BatchLeads for the lists, the skip tracing, the SMS, the stacking. BatchDialer for the cold calling, your main CRM is The REI CRM, is it not?
David: So you're not using Podio, Touch, REI blackbook, REsimpli, any of these other ones, right?
RJ: No sir.
David: Did you in the past?
RJ: We're able to create websites, we're able to drop RVM's, we're able to do direct mail from our CRM as well as work- automated workflows and sequences on follow-ups for our hot leads and then the only other thing systems-wise that we use is BatchDriven for driving for dollars.
David: Damn, so guys I've really- there's so much takeaways from this. Number one, when pulling your leads and your lists, you don't have to like get crazy on these niched lists. That's like a huge take away. I have never been that guy but it just seems like every student I get, they come to me and they want to pull these crazy niched lists and I'm like why? Go for the vacants and the absentees with high equity that are off market. If you want to stack on a couple other things, fine but that's it. So I think that that's such a huge takeaway for the listeners and the audience. Second, you don't need 62 pieces of software, all right? RJ's doing this nationwide, I'm sure you've probably done a deal in every state and if not, you're on your way.
RJ: Utah was the only one.
RJ: Utah. I need a deal in Utah, someone bring me a deal, I'll dispo it, please.
David: Okay, well hey I'll see what I can do to help you with that. I love it. But you know, Propstream and Propelio for comping, BatchLeads for texting, BatchDialer for dialing and then are you guys doing- you had mentioned BatchDriven, I love BatchDriven. Are you guys using that locally or are you doing it virtually?
RJ: No, we do it locally.
David: Same here.
RJ: We don't really do the virtual driving for dollars, but-
David: I do have a guy that does it virtually, a VA I pay 3 bucks an hour to.
David: And he does it for like five or six hours a day virtually and it's a great thing, two birds one stone, I'm getting leads but we're also promoting the service and building the affiliate income.
RJ: Love it.
David: 3 bucks a day, you're talking like $100 a week, it's nothing, 3 dollars an hour, right? So I love it man. I love how transparent you are, I love how humble you are and again, I really just want to say thanks for coming on the show. I'm super grateful to get the opportunity to network with you and get to know you, and like it or not, you have really just coached the hell out of me on a couple markets that I'm thinking about doing and some of the approaches, right?
RJ: I love it.
David: Love it man, very cool. Guys, go check out RJ Bates online, all the different social media platforms, Titanium Investments is the name of his company and he has a really cool weekly 2-day bootcamp that I want to learn more about, it's called Titanium Crucible. RJ, what is this? What- What are you guys doing?
RJ: Yeah so real quick, I'll give a brief summary of this. So Jesse Burrell calls me from Batch.
David: Love Jesse.
RJ: Jesse's my bud, right?
David: He's one of my homies.
RJ: Jesse's the guy that always gives me the kick in the ass that I need and he's like-
David: Love it.
RJ: He's like, what's wrong with you?
David: He's your Tim Grover.
RJ: Right. I'm like, what are you talking about, Jesse? And he's like, why are you not doing education? He's like, you know how to do things that other people don't know how to do.
David: That's right.
RJ: I'm like, nah nah nah nah, I'm focused, I'm laser focused on what I'm doing and he's like, look there's someone out there today that wants to write a check for $10,000 to learn to do what you know how to do.
David: That's right.
RJ: That money is either going to come to you, your family and your team or it's going to go to someone else and there's a good possibility they're not going to get the kind of value that you can provide to them, you're almost obligated to do this RJ. So he talked me into it, sat down with the team and I said, okay what could we do? I don't want to run the typical program, so we decided that it's a 2-day boot camp, come to our office, we're right here on Eagle Mountain Lake. I'm staring at the lake right now, it's a really cool vibe here at our office and we basically go over all of the systems that we use, the processes that we built around those systems. We break down our marketing flow, how we're efficient within our data management and then we break down how we analyze deals from exit strategy first moving on to how we decide what acquisition strategy we're going to use and after the 2-day event, you have a debrief session with us where we break down your specific business. We develop a business plan for you, we unleash you on that business plan and then moving forward, we have monthly accountability calls with you where we make sure that you're not screwing up and you're staying true to the program and you're achieving your goals within those next 12 months. So that's our program, you can learn more about it at titaniumcrucible.com. We just wrapped it up, April 22nd and 23rd was our April event and dude I am telling you, I had chills the entire time. We had Aaron Bevins up here, we had Nicole Espinoza, Andrea Stakes came and guest spoke at it. It was a hell of a good time. I don't- I don't know if you can see this or not, that is my axe throwing trophy, there's three of them.
RJ: We take everybody axe throwing and no one will ever beat me at axe throwing.
David: Do they cut that out at the end and give you the piece like that?
RJ: Well, it's somebody else's but they write Titanium Investment's kick axe on it.
David: Oh nice.
RJ: They're having to write new things cuz I win it every time, I have three trophies.
David: I love it.
RJ: So if you wanna learn how to do real estate and then also get your ass kicked at axe throwing-
David: I love it.
RJ: -go to titaniumcrucible.com.
David: Guys, I love it. Check out titaniumcrucible.com, RJ has an amazing 2-day boot camp that he does once a month but it's followed by an entire year of additional stuff like accountability which let's be honest, we all need. RJ had said that he needed it himself and he turned the entire internet into his accountability partner. How awesome is that? I think the biggest takeaway today guys is this business is incredibly simple, it's not necessarily easy though, those are two different things.
David: So you don't neces- you don't have to get crazy and have all this analysis paralysis on what software's to use, on what markets to pick or what type of criteria to use on picking the list. Just do what everybody else that's having success is doing and we just mentioned all that stuff in this episode. RJ, thank you so much for coming on. It has truly been an honor to get to spend an hour with you and talk with you and learn from you and of course network with you and I know that my audience and my listeners and viewers are going to be wanting to get you back on the show. So maybe in about two or three months, we'll see if we can't get you back on the show but again, I am honored and privileged to get the opportunity to talk with you and I'm just super grateful for your time today, so thank you so much for coming on. What parting words would you give the audience?
RJ: Take massive action, don't have unnecessary fears of failure. Failure is just an opportunity for you to learn how to become a lot better.
David: Failure's a mindset.
RJ: And just don't worry about- there's so many people out there in this industry that if you are struggling or you need help with a deal or deal analysis of whatever-it-is, reach out, there's people out there that will help you. The boys over at Wholesale Hotline say it the best: squad up.
David: Squad up.
RJ: And just take massive action and don't have a fear of failure.
David: Man, I absolutely love it. RJ, thanks for coming on the show. Guys, don't forget, go check out titaniumcrucible.com if you're looking to take to attend one of RJ's events, there are the 2-day bootcamps, he does them once a month but beyond that 2-day event, there's an entire year of additional stuff that you get from that program. RJ, thank you so much for coming on and like I said, we're going to have to schedule you again here in the next couple of months to get you back on. In the meantime, I'm going to work on expanding into two or three virtual markets and I'm going to- you don't even realize it bro but I'm going to bring you back on in two or three months and we're going to talk about what I'm doing and I'm going to hopefully have you help me tweak what I'm doing and get even better at it.
RJ: Love it bro.
David: Guys, until next time. Signing off.
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