Real Estate Podcast

Episode 73: Whitney Nicely - Lease Options to Freedom

brrrr method david dodge discount property investor michael slane podcast real estate 101 real estate coaching real estate investing real estate investor real estate tips wholesaling wholesaling real estate Sep 21, 2022

Show Notes

In this episode, Whitney Nicely - Lease Options to Freedom Dave speaks with Whitney Nicely an expert property investor, speaker, and real estate coach.  She’s called the queen of real estate investing in East Tennessee.  But that’s not how she started. Before quitting her 9 to 5, Whitney scraped by on $24,000 a year working a desk job and living on her parent's couch. That was in 2013. Now, she owns more than $2.5 million in real estate assets. And she’s only 33 years old.

Whitney teaches hundreds of women how they can use no money down, no credit and no banks to finance real estate deals. In less than three years, she’s negotiated nearly 60 real estate deals and generated more than $25,000 in passive income each month.  In less than three years, she’s negotiated nearly 60 real estate deals and generated more than $25,000 in passive income each month.    Check her out here;  or here

Episode Transcripts

David: Alright welcome back Discount Property Investors. Thanks for joining us today. I am actually joined by a woman that is doing big things in her market and actually nationwide. She is teaching women how to get into the real estate market. So I am joined by Whitney, Whitney how are you today?

Whitney: I'm fantastic, David. Thanks for having me, this is going to be fun.

David: Yes, I like to do these podcasts sometimes mobile. Right now I am actually in Columbia Missouri, I live in St Louis, it's about 100 miles from here. Me and my business partner, we own about 130 bedrooms in this market and turn them all over. So we have a bunch of duplexes, single families. I am here mobile actually at a Home Depot today. Always fun and doing it on the job. It makes for a good fun podcast.

Whitney: I know I love it!

David: Well thank you for joining me. Tell me a little bit about how you got started in real estate, and how long ago.

Whitney: My mom was a real estate investor and she did things kind of old, slow boring way, where she would save up a bunch of money and go buy something and rent it out. Just hope she got her money back eventually. She was a landlord.

David: That was your mother?

Whitney: My mom, and she didn't really have any plans or strategies, or structure or anything. She would just happen upon a deal every once and a while and buy it. That's how she would build her portfolio. So when I started I was like, well crap. I'm going to need a bunch of money to get in. So I bought some land. I bought half an acre of industrial land for 1500 bucks. Then I rented it for 750 a month, so after two months I had all my money back and really had cash flowing. I was like, hot dog I could do this more often. But then I got a little ahead of myself and said, well I bet I could buy houses too. So I took my life savings and bought a house like my mom did; no plan, no strategy no nothing. Then I--

David: Life savings.

Whitney: I took my entire life savings.

David: Wow and bought one or two?

Whitney: Bought a house, one.

David: Was it just a cash house?

Whitney: It was at auction.

David: Oh it was an auction, okay cool.

Whitney: I had to pay cash. But while I was looking at that house I found another house that was for sale by owner, and it was about the same price, so I spend my brother's life savings buying that one.

David: Okay interesting.

Whitney: We were siblings and partners, and I spent our entire life savings in about 30 days, both of our life savings. We really went broke trying to get rich.

David: Yep.

Whitney: That's how our mom did it, that's all we knew.

David: Okay.

Whitney: Then by the grace of God I met the real estate investors association people in Knoxville.

David: This was a REIA group then? How many REIA's are there in Knoxville?

Whitney: One.

David: Just one, so you met the people who hosted the REIA, went to some meetings? I assuming you still go, right? Are you pretty active with the group?

Whitney: Oh yeah I love it, I love it. The president Victor Jernigan changed my life.

David: Cool.

Whitney: So at that very first meeting I went to, he was like, hey we are going to have a special class on lease options, I think you should come. I was like, look old man I'm a real estate agent, I'm a real estate investor; I know everything I need to know about real estate. I was in my twenties, I was 27, 28 at this point, so I clearly know everything there is to know about life, right?

David: Okay.

Whitney: He was like, I want you go I really think you're going to like it. I said, naw. We went back and forth and he said, if you go to this, if you don't learn anything I will give you your $75 back. I was like, alright old man, I can take that. I went, and within 15 minutes the guy teaching on lease options had shown us how to make $100,000 in four week, with none of our own money invested which spoke to my heart, because I didn't have any money anymore. He showed us how to do these deals with no credit, no banks, no licence. I was in, hook, line and sinker. That was the beginning of the end.

David: Was that a weekend class? Or just like a one day thing?

Whitney: It was a one night three hour thing where he was just talking about lease options in general. At that meeting he mentioned he was going to this guru the next month in Florida who knew all about lease options, and I was convinced I needed to know. Even though I was broke, I put $3000 on my credit card that I didn't have, didn't know how I would pay back, and booked myself a trip to Florida so I could go figure this stuff out for real.

David: Who did you go see in Florida?

Whitney: Ron [00:05:38.02 - inaudible]

David: He's the man when it comes to the lease options, creative financing. Really one word wraps up his opinion, terms.

Whitney: Terms for sure. So for the next year I went and spent a week with Ron to learn more and more and more, everything I could. Then I would come back to Tennessee and try and translate it. I don't know about you, but my second language that I speak is redneck, very fluent in it. But Ron doesn't teach that way. So I had to translate it. I spent a lot of time really going through and making sure I was doing real estate investing like a lady, which is also different from the way Ron teaches it. And so that I could relay it to these rednecks that I was buying these houses from.

David: Okay that makes sense.

Whitney: I say that very endearingly.

David Right. Well it's all about building rapport and building a relationship with the sellers, absolutely.

Whitney: So that's what I did and I made $15,000 in 8 weeks doing a lease option. I made almost $140,000 in my first 9 months learning how to do this. When I was getting started when I bought those first two houses I worked for my mom, she has four dump truck companies; I was making two grand a month, I was making $25,000 a year.

David: Well that's a pretty substantial increase in pay, got six X on your trading time for money, so that's pretty awesome. Yeah that's pretty cool. Go ahead, I didn't mean to interrupt you.

Whitney: I was working all four jobs, and investing. Like you said, I made a lot more money. So the next year I started investing in apartments. By the end of the next year I wasn't trucking anymore. It didn't take me long to figure out how to make more money in real estate than trucking, and I could have a lot more free time.

David: That's right. So walk me through one of these lease options deals. Give me the knuts and bolts if you don't mind of how you go about finding them, how you position yourself, then how you structure it, because that could be two different things as we both know. Then how you exit, when and how often do you get paid?

Whitney: So I get paid three different ways. I find sellers, most of my sellers are tried landlords. They have a house that they have had for five or ten years, so they have paid down a little bit on it, so there is a little bit of equity. I buy it for what they owe on it, I control it for what they owe on it. I take over their payments which is usually less than what I can rent it for. Then I sell it, I lease option it back out, I do the sandwich lease options. I sell it for what the house is worth. So I make money because I don't give them any money to do these deals, but people pay me to move in. I have a low monthly payment and I can rent it for more, so I make money every month, so that's the second way. Then I make money because I buy through what they have paid down on it, but I sell it for what it's worth. So I make money three different ways there. Does that make sense?

David: It does. I do some lease options in my market as well, I am just curious because-- I lost you there. So I get the business, I understand it completely. The question that I have is whenever-- well first and foremost, because a lot of my listeners are not familiar with how these deals work. So let's try and take a break for a second and explain it to them.

Whitney: Okay cool.

David: Whenever you're going into [00:09:24.21 - inaudible] landlords, and you basically tell them that you can take this problem off their hands, so you can in and you can essentially-- be the person that is leasing the property. Do you have to start making them payments right away?

Whitney: No I get 90 days to make my first payment. So let's talk about what a lease option is.

David: Sure

Whitney: A lease option in very simple terms is just a really fancy rental agreement with the opportunity to buy the house in the future for a price we agreed on today. Like that's just it--

David: Within your 90 day period that you have to get-- no no it's that simple I get it. I do these myself. So whenever you have 90 days, does that mean you have 90 days to find a tenant buyer? Basically someone who wants to rent and or buy the home from you. If you don't find that person, are you still required to make your payment?

Whitney: Yes.

David: So you are signing a pretty solid lease with the landlord then? How many months are you typically signing for?

Whitney: Five to ten years, so 60-120 months. But I also you know, when i go in and I am helping these landlords, I have three criteria that I know these landlords or sellers, I am going to be helping them. My word is still my bond. I usually don't have a problem finding somebody in three months to take this over from me. But I have had some where I have had to payment on [00:11:02.19 - inaudible] for one or two months. It is most because of the time of year, you know? If I get a house in December, and nothing is going to open up and get going until April or May, I might have to make two payments, but I am going to know that going in. So I let my sellers make those payments, I also tell them that there is a chance I could come back and want to re-negotiate, or instead of asking for three months I would ask for six months and let them know it is because we are in the dead of winter, and nothing is going.

David: Got it, that makes complete sense. I love that you are transparent--

Whitney: The truth.

David: That is how I approach not only my wholesale business by my rental business, and my lease option business. [00:11:53.00 - audio cuts out] -- sorry about that, I make sure everybody is aware of what's going on, because if you have transparency in your transaction, it lets everybody know that it's easy and you know-- no one is going to get screwed:

Whitney: Exactly, and sellers love that.

[00:12:12.22 - audio distorts]

David: I'm here.

Whitney: The three things I'm looking for, I want empty houses, so I don't want anybody living in it, I don't want the seller in it, I don't want their tenants in it, I don't want their kids in it.

David: Okay.

Whitney: I want it off market so no agents. I am the broker for Whitney Buys Houses in Tennessee and Georgia, but most agents just don't get it. They were taught it in school and continued education, but they don't practice it so they don't get it. So non-listed, no agents, and I don't do with [00:12:45.18 - audio distortion]-- behind on their payments. Either paid off or current on payments, no foreclosures.

David: Yeah because you have to make sure you have ability to then turn around and sell that house, it can't be going into--

Whitney: And I want control immediately.

David: Right, right.

Whitney: If I get 90 days, but I can make it happen in ten, then I will make it happen in ten, I will start making the next months payment, that's cool. It's worse case scenario it takes me 90 days.

David: Right.

Whitney: Best case scenario I get a really good deal, someone who is pre-approved and just wants to cash me out will do it, then we don't even have to do the lease option. Sellers love that.

David: Yeah, they do love that. So your-- no I get that. So how many of these lease options do you think you have done so far since you started?

Whitney: I did 57 last time I counted, but I have got eight of my houses back this summer so I am up in the 60's somewhere.

David: That's cool, that's awesome, very cool. That's a ton of them. So whenever you go into the landlord though, whenever you tell them you're going a five or ten year lease with them, have you had people who have done lease options with you that have moved out two or three times, basically had to redo the scenario two or three different times? Not everybody can fulfill that agreement?

Whitney: That's what's beautiful about this, I have only had one guy get his mortgage.

David: You have only had one guy get his mortgage?

Whitney: Yep, you see that's the thing that gets on my nerves about the gurus. When they see these people and they are making $80,000 or whatever, a lot of that is in a back end payday. I am telling you right now, I have only had one back end payday, so I don't count that. My numbers, my student success numbers are smaller than everybody else because my numbers are real, not made up maybe one day.

David: Right. So are you making a majority of your money on the option deposit that basically gets forfeited? Because I know that rent-- and the ones I've done, and the ones I have friends and whatnot across the country that do it, sometimes they are only making $150-200 a month in cash flow. Other times they are making $450-700 if it is a multi family building that has the ability for three or four people to be paying the rent, so the cash flow part of the game really isn't that great in my opinion. But if you get the option deposit then you can get paid on the end. So you said of the roughly 60 only one person, and that's kind of crazy, because I feel like that is pretty standard national numbers. As you stated earlier, gurus are always saying, yeah I made 80 grand, that's find if you do a thousand of these type of deals. You may have 25 of them that actually go all the way to the finish line. Those are when you can get those big pay days. But you can also make five or ten grand on option deposit, and you can do that every 12 months--

Whitney: Exactly. My goal because I work mostly with women because we are just busy, alright? I know dudes are busy too, but women are really busy. I am trying to convince these ladies they don't need to do ten deals a month, just need to do one deal a month and make $5-10,000, get you a steady 12, and then like you said, once a year one bounces back and forth, now you don't have to talk to sellers anymore, you have your set package and you just ping pong $5-10,000 out of each one of these houses once a month.

David: Right.

Whitney: It's just one deal a month.

David: So whenever you are going into buy, is it always a 5 or 10 on your side?

Whitney: Unless they are going to give me 15 or 20.

David: Are you well into doing 20 year lease for somebody?

Whitney: I'm in yes. I will give you more money the longer you give me. And I will tell you one thing I do that does make my numbers better, I use this option deposits and I don't go to Vegas, I actually pay off houses, I know that's shocking. But out of my 15 houses, seven of them are free and clear now.

David: That's pretty awesome.

Whitney: Most of the people that are doing this, the reason their cash flow is crap is because they are only getting 150 or 200, where I'm getting seven houses with full payments every month.

David: Right, and that adds up.

Whitney: That helps a lot, yeah.

David: Right, that's very cool.

Whitney: Pay off houses, and as I make some, you make 20 or 30 here or there. You save that until you make another 20 or 30, then you pay one off. In my market houses are 100-150, so now that I have had them for three or five years, there is a lot of them that I've bought that I only owe 50,70 or 100 on that I can as I sell one, I have one that's supposed to close, was supposed to close at the end of this month, obviously that's not happening, but should close at the end of next month and I will make 80 grand on it. I will pay-- let's take that back. I am going to make $169,000, but I have already got one house that I owe like $85,000 on, so I am going to pay that one off with the 160, so I am going to actually profit $85,000 so I can look at another house that I can pay off next time I get $30 or 40,000.

David: That's awesome, very cool. So how can you teach women around the country to do what you do?

Whitney: A lot of times--

David: And you're only working with women?

Whitney: Well I can't stop men from joining, but I just really, really encourage women. All my stuff is pink, but I do have several dudes and they actually like learning from me because there is less ego I guess you could say.

David: Sure, I get that, makes perfect sense.

Whitney: As women make a lot of big purchases. So learning this from a woman's perspective helps men do more deals. But it also really helps women because they are a lot of times going up against the good old boys club, and I can show them how to work with what their mama gave them to make these deals happen, and keep everybody happy. A lot of my sellers were women, so we help women, we speak woman talk.

David: So how can women and I guess men too who would like to work with you, how can they reach you? Do you have a place online? A website? A group on Facebook? Anything along those lines?

Whitney: Yes, I have a pretty big group on Facebook.

David: Cool, tell us about it.

Whitney: It's 'Become a real estate investor with Whitney Nicely', and really a lot of my people are already real estate investors, they just want to get creative. They want to do instead of two deals a year, they want to do 14 deals. They don't want to go to the bank anymore, or maybe they have friends with money and they want to help their friends invest their money in real estate, or maybe they are getting into apartments, whatever it is. But you can always become a bigger, better, badder version of your real estate investing.

David: That's right.

Whitney:, that will direct you right over to my Facebook.

David: WhitneyNicely, N.I.C.E.L.Y, did I get that right?

Whitney: Nicely like nicely done. N.I.C.E.L.Y.

David: N.I.C.E.L.Y. Or, what's the name of the group if you're in a Facebook search?

Whitney: 'Become a real estate investor'.

David: 'Become a real estate investor with Whitney Nicely'. Is that right?

Whitney: Yes.

David: Well that's awesome. I'm going to check that out, I'm going to be in the group.

Whitney: Come on in.

David: I promote all my listeners, all my viewers, all my students to also join, and check out Whitney Nicely. Whitney you do a mentoring program?

Whitney: I do, I have kind of a self starting program, 'First deal done fast'. Then I have got FDDF Plus which is group coaching.

David: Okay, that's really awesome. Then you host events too live? A couple of times a year.

Whitney: I do.

David: Tell us about that.

Whitney: I have four events every year. The first one is mostly on apartment investing, multi family. The second one 'Private money Profits', how to borrow money from your friends who are getting no return in their 41k and IRA to make bank. The third one is on short term rentals, vacation rentals, AirBnB's, VRBO's, those things.

David: Okay.

Whitney: The last one is FDDF live. It's coming up in November in Knoxville. I am super excited about it.

David: You do four events a year, basically quarterly I'm assuming. Each has a different topic and a theme?

Whitney: Yes.

David: That's really awesome. So how can somebody learn more about that? Go to, is there information on there?

Whitney: There is an events tab at, absolutely.

David: Okay, cool. Well Whitney thank you so much for joining me today. I have learned a lot. I love talking to people that have lease options, that are doing lease options, and those who are also sharing, I assume you have a passion for teaching people how to do these type of things, real estate investing in general. How many years have you been in real estate investing thus far?

Whitney: Five years.

David: Five years, that's awesome. So you quit your job in the last five years, you are making four to six times what you use to make, I imagine you are working four to six times less?

Whitney: Oh yeah for sure, a lot more vacations.

David: A lot more vacations, that's so cool. I encourage everyone to go check out Also her website is going to have a ton of information about her coaching programs, as well as the quarterly events that she has. That's awesome, Whitney. You are kicking butt, I love it, keep it up. Is there anything else you would like to add in this episode of our podcast?

Whitney: Just remember to keep going, whether you are up or down keep going because it's fun.

David: It is fun and there is lots of money to be made. People need to jump in, that's what I tell my students, and most of the time when I am working with students it is not that they don't have the knowledge or the ability to do these things, it is that they don't take action. So if you're listening to these podcasts, watching our Youtube channel, you have seen us before in the past, you know, you know what we're doing; we share it all in these episodes guys. We give it all away. Becoming an expert in this field is not rocket science. All of the information is out there. Whitney you know that, I know that. I have tons of information on our course, You know we are pushing all this information out there. Really when the coaching comes in it's really all about taking action. I know you have been getting people to do that because I love doing it.

Whitney: I will say too that in my area of the country every woman what's to be a Proverb 31 woman. A Proverb 31 woman takes action. Verse 16 says she goes to inspect a field and she buys it. Get out there and follow that verse. The second part says she plants a vineyard so she drinks wine, but we will get to that later, we got to take action first and buy these houses.

David: That's right, take some action. Well I am getting ready to head back to some of our units now to finish getting them turned. How many units are we turning right now? 130 bedrooms? So we are taking action at our end, Whitney. Whitney it was great having you on the show. Until next time, everybody check out Whitney's Facebook and we will see you next time. Thanks for joining, bye-bye now.

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