Table of Contents - When More Isn’t Necessarily Better with Cortney Jones
Dave Debeau [00:00:09] Well, hey, everyone, this is Dave Debeau with another episode of the Property Profits Real Estate podcast. And today, all the way from Sunny Phenix, Arizona, we have Miss Courtney Jones, who is going to be joining us. And Courtney has been investing in real estate since she was about three years old, it would appear nineteen ninety two. So she's definitely been doing this business for a long time. And she was just telling you that at the beginning of her real estate investing career, she kind of created it more as a hobby than a full time thing. She did that for the first ten years, doing four or five transactions a year. And then she found out about treating real estate as a business. And that's when things really, really took off. And she started doing a heck of a lot more deals in that, including focusing a lot on creative deals. So rehabbing properties where she started and then she got into wholesaling and buying old. So really looking forward to find out a little bit about what you've been up to with real estate, Courtney, as well as some of your your hard earned lessons along the way. So welcome to the show.
Courtney Jones [00:01:21] Thank you. Glad to be here. I appreciate it very much.
Dave Debeau [00:01:23] All right. So let's rewind all the way back to nineteen ninety one and a half before you got into real estate investing. What was it that kind of got you started in the whole path?
Courtney Jones [00:01:36] You know, it's funny, I had never heard anything about it, and a friend drove me to a no money down seminar and I went to that I was going to college, but I was working full time in property management and I was going to college at night. And this friend took me to a seminar and I kind of got exposed to the no money down type techniques and just was kind of just processing it all, I guess, and thinking I didn't know such a thing existed. I'd been raised in the environment where you had to have 20 percent down and you saved forever to be able to buy your first house and all that kind of thing. So going to that sort of exposed me to the idea that it was possible. And then I happened to see some late night infomercials. I think the things we were all kind of exposed to. And I thought, you know what, I want to learn more about this, even if I don't do anything with it. And I ended up ordering one of those courses. And the rest is history, as they say.
Dave Debeau [00:02:27] Yeah, that sounds very similar to me. The first course I ordered was good old Ron Legrand's, you know, money down course was Kolten sheets are on the ground or who was who was it that you got to follow
Courtney Jones [00:02:39] of mine was Carleton Sheets. That's who I started with. And then I found there on the ground. So, yeah, similar.
Dave Debeau [00:02:44] That's very, very interesting. All right. So tell us about those first ten years. What were you up to at the beginning of your real estate investing career? And and why were you just kind of I would say you're dabbling if you're doing four or five deals a year does that's significant. But you say you weren't really treating it as a business at that time.
Courtney Jones [00:03:04] Yeah, it was really more about a hobby at that point. My husband and he had his own company and we traveled a lot with that. So I really kind of just did it around what worked well for my lifestyle. And I would pick up a unit here, are there and rehabbed. And if it took me four to six months, I never looked at the hour away from that. And I never really analyzed it as a business. I just didn't have that mindset at the time. For whatever reason, I don't know. It was it was interesting to see what was a big mistake for me was it took me forever to get started like I learned for two years, which is something I see in people every day now in my business. And I am constantly kicking him in the butt for, you know, it's like don't don't do what I did, you know? But I was still afraid. And back then we ran newspaper ads, which was several hundred dollars a month. And I would go out on all these appointments and I would meet with people. And then I come home and I look in my Karlton sheets manuals to figure out like, what can I offer them and how would I do it? How can I structure it? And then I just get this overwhelming fear and I would move forward. So I did that for like two years. And that's one thing I kind of work with people on now is not doing that and getting enough knowledge and then moving forward even with that fear makes sense.
Dave Debeau [00:04:15] All right. So what was it that kind of sparked you and got you thinking, hey, you know what? This could be a full time gig.
Courtney Jones [00:04:22] I went to a seminar where someone was kind of talking about how they ran their business and they were talking about measuring numbers and looking at metrics and looking at the ROIC and what were we putting into this marketing campaign and getting back. And all of a sudden on day one, the light bulb kind of went off and I thought, oh, my gosh, why have I never thought of running this like a business? I'm a business minded person, but for me going into it, it was always just sort of a hobby. So I just kind of had that light bulb moment at that point and was like, OK, I can do this. And that's when we started, took things to the next level.
Dave Debeau [00:04:57] So what did that next level look like? So compare before and after. So the first ten years you're going to fool around with a few deals a year. Then what did you do?
Courtney Jones [00:05:07] So then we started marketing campaigns consistently, instead of just placing ads, we were doing everything from ads to television to radio to postcard mailings consistent on every two week basis. We were mailing a lot. We were getting at that point a lot of referrals from realtors because for 10 years I was basically just buying through realtors and that was bringing me a lot of referrals. So when I started notching it up a little bit, I already had a good reputation in the area and people knew me and so they would still refer me when they had deals that they couldn't sell. So all of that kind of started notching up. And we ended up at one point we were buying between 10 and 15, sometimes even 20 houses a month, depending on what what kind of marketing we were doing the time of the year and all that kind of stuff. So it changed drastically at that point. We had acquisitions, managers we had set up. We couldn't get good property managers in our small area at the time. So we set up our own property management company. I was licensed, so I went and got my brokerage license and we brought agents on board. So we had a full blown gamut thing going on and it was stressful. But at the same time, we definitely took it up a notch, too, from the business perspective.
Dave Debeau [00:06:16] Yeah, definitely. So what will you say? You're buying sometimes 10 to 20 properties a month. What was your strategy at that time? Was a buy and hold? Was it flips or was it wholesaling? What were you doing?
Courtney Jones [00:06:27] All of the above. So basically, I would say we were transaction engineers. We were spending five to ten thousand dollars a month on marketing. So in order to capitalize on that and make the most that we could, we were trying to make deals out of anything so we would do everything from selling leads that we couldn't do anything with to realtors. That happened a lot when we were running TV ads and radio because we were getting leads all over the place. So we would sell leads to realtors. We did, subject to a lot of subject to what we would buy at home using subject to purchasing methods, owner financing. We were wholesaling wholesaling for cash to keep the lights on. We keep the people paid, all that kind of stuff and then holding for all the tax benefits and the principle buy down. So a little bit of everything. Yeah.
Dave Debeau [00:07:13] All right. OK, so how long did you rock and roll with the business at that level was because that's not
Courtney Jones [00:07:20] going to be about six years. Yeah. Yeah.
Dave Debeau [00:07:24] That sounds really exhausting.
Courtney Jones [00:07:26] It is and is. It's probably why I have gray hair today and why I'm tired and which is why my business looks totally different now.
Dave Debeau [00:07:34] So what does your business look like now. But what's it look like now.
Courtney Jones [00:07:37] So more like the beginning years actually. And it's interesting because one of the things in my day to day, I talk to people a lot who are trying to get into the business. And one of the things I hear over and over again is I want to do ten dollars a month and I think they have no idea. And so I definitely am more in the four to six deals a year kind of range. Now, I want every couple
Dave Debeau [00:08:00] of months kind of thing.
Courtney Jones [00:08:01] Yeah. And honestly, if I did three, it's not like I would care too much, you know. So whatever I could do, I still get a lot of referrals. I've been in the business a long time. I do a lot of jobs with new people trying to get in that kind of need a little handholding to get moving into to that next level. So that's always really fun for me. I enjoy helping them through that process. I don't do a whole lot of marketing, outbound marketing. I do some Facebook ads every now and then, but primarily through referral and, you know, people that I tend to deal with in different communities and stuff. And I might do a two wholesales and one buy and hold or might do three whole sales and one buy and hold. I'm getting ready to do a rehab, which I haven't done in a few years. But as I said to you earlier, if somebody takes it off my hands before then, I'll probably just wholesale.
Dave Debeau [00:08:51] So do you focus primarily on single family homes? Is that kind of your sweet spot?
Courtney Jones [00:08:56] Yeah. As far as Buy and hold is concerned, I like the multiple units, like four plex type things, but yeah, in general I would say single family homes.
Dave Debeau [00:09:05] So it sounds like over the years you've probably built up quite a significant buy and hold portfolio as well, is that correct?
Courtney Jones [00:09:11] Yeah, yeah.
Dave Debeau [00:09:13] So that's why it's no big panic to do that kind of volume of deals that you're doing before because you've got a significant buy an old portfolio. That's probably true. Now, it's a pretty good cash flow about this time.
Courtney Jones [00:09:25] Right. And it's been long enough now that some of that principals buy, but down to next to nothing. So that helps a lot. You know, and I also just I mean, I find that people sometimes just overestimate how much money they need to have a really amazing lifestyle. For me now, it's more about freedom than it is about anything else. And when you're trying to buy ten houses a month, you have no freedom. You just have another job. In fact, you have an extremely stressful job because you've got people relying on you to pay the bills and all that kind of stuff. So there's no freedom about it. And if you think you have stress that your regular job, where are you going to regular two week paycheck, you'll find nothing like when you are trying to make those paychecks for people. So for me now, it's about a lot less stress and a lot of.
Dave Debeau [00:10:08] Very nice, so so I know you're working with people, you're coaching people about real estate investing in and coming at it from the experience that you've got, which is phenomenal. What is kind of the advice that you have for most newbies about know everybody's got this initial fantasy about wanting to become a millionaire through real estate or whatever the hell it is. Right. So do you sit people down and kind of really get them clear on what the heck they really need and then coming up with a plan on how to do that? What does that look like?
Courtney Jones [00:10:40] Yeah, absolutely. In fact, you know, it's like I said earlier, one of the things I think is a huge thing for people is they don't realize exactly what they do need to be to have a different lifestyle than what they have now. And so I kind of dig out with them what what is it you're trying to accomplish? And a lot of times I find people who want the freedom, but they're saying they want to buy 10 houses a month. And so I kind of have those conversations with them to say those two things don't go hand in hand, you know? And then really one of the things I think that new people don't do well is they don't understand the business model to understand what's clearly needed for that business model. And what I mean by that is like wholesaling, for instance, wholesaling has nothing to do with real estate. The real estate is just the commodity that we use for that. Wholesaling, at its core is about building rapport with people and sales and marketing. So if you don't like those things as a day to day, you're going to be miserable as a wholesaler and you're not going to do it, you know, and so you're not going to do the day to day actions that it takes to be successful because you don't like talking to people or whatever or rehabbing at its core is about managing people. So you suck at managing or you have no experience in that and you don't like confrontation, then you're not going to be a great rehabber because you have to constantly be managing people to a timeline and do a budget and all those things. So I really work with new people to kind of get to the core of what is their skill set and what are they willing to actually learn and take on that would then translate into the business and how what business model would fit with that.
Dave Debeau [00:12:08] So you've been doing this for a long time, do you? I'm guessing here, but I'm guessing that most people, at least in my experience over the years, you know, if they could be creating like one hundred thousand dollar a year income through real estate, that would be an awesome number for them. That would allow them to quit the job, that would allow them to be financially free. Does that kind of the number that you typically see would probably float most people about
Courtney Jones [00:12:36] eighty five percent. That's the number they come up with off the top of their head. You know, or the thing we hear a lot is ten thousand a month know.
Dave Debeau [00:12:43] So yeah, it all comes up with is that which if you actually look at what they're make, another job usually isn't anywhere close to that. Exactly. The place, whatever the heck they're making at the job and not have to punch the clock, they'd be financially pretty. Right. It's just like Kiyosaki said, exactly right.
Courtney Jones [00:13:00] And when you really start talking to them about what does it take to achieve that, then they're like, oh, well, because all they see is these people that are on their own from their Lamborghinis and all of this kind of and it's like, OK, for the most part, like I drive. I drove a minivan till like three years ago. I mean, I you know, I don't live like that. That's not my thing. I'm not you know, I'm not about that kind of thing. So it's like, is that going to be the person that you're going to be? If that's what you want, that's cool. Let's go for it. And I could definitely help you get there. But for most of them, it's just a matter of they want to spend more time with their family. They want to watch their kids grow up and they want to be able to go to that soccer game or whatever. And so that takes a lot less than what most of them think.
Dave Debeau [00:13:39] Yeah, exactly. Very good. Now, just out of curiosity, if you were starting over again from scratch and you didn't have a heck of a lot of money, what would you be doing to find the kind of good deals that you need for doing these strategies?
Courtney Jones [00:13:56] Yeah, I would say that the number one thing in today's market I would recommend is driving four dollars, especially knowing that most people that come in don't have a lot of money. You know, almost every market across the country right now is super hot. And so with that, that means everybody's buying the same lists and everybody's working the same lists, whether they're calling them or going and knocking on doors or mailing to them or whatever, where when you drive four dollars, you can find a lot of things that aren't on a list yet. And you can do any of those marketing technique. You can knock on the door, you can stop in and talk to some neighbors. You can do a lot of different things. It's a great way to get started. I also think that thinking outside the box and looking at ways to find those people like, say, pawn shops as an example or through car mechanics and things like that, to just network with those types of people to say, hey, if you run into somebody that's in a financial situation, just so you know, we can help them out and give them your card. So doing those sort of extraordinary extra different things rather than the same old same old that everybody else is doing is going to help. What I do find out is that people tend to underestimate how much work it takes. I can't tell you how many times a day I hear somebody say. I've done everything and I'm not getting any calls and I get drilled down on it and they've called like nine people and got nine nose and I'm like, dude, you got to get like one hundred of those. I mean, nine no's is nothing. I get that before breakfast. So I think that they just think it's going to be a matter of picking up a couple of phone calls and they're going to get a deal. And that's not it. I mean, you've got to grind.
Dave Debeau [00:15:32] And most people aren't willing to grind.
Courtney Jones [00:15:34] Exactly, which is why everybody's not doing it,
Dave Debeau [00:15:38] because any time flies when you're having fun. And people want to find out more about Courtney Jones and what you're up to, what should they do?
Courtney Jones [00:15:45] I would encourage them to go to my website, which is best r.i tips dot com forward slash, take action. And if they go there I got some great free gifts to get them started and a list of 20 things they can do that take little to no money to find motivated sellers.
Dave Debeau [00:16:00] Awesome. That sounds like a fantastic resource. Courtney, very nice meeting you. Thank you so much for sharing some of your wisdom today.
Courtney Jones [00:16:06] I appreciate it very much. Thank you for having me on.
Dave Debeau [00:16:09] My pleasure. All right, everybody, take care and we'll talk to you on the next episode, Bubba. Well, thanks very much for checking out the property profits podcast and you like what we're doing here. Please head on over to iTunes, subscribe read us and leave us to review it. Very, very much appreciated. And if you're looking to create a regular flow of inbound investor inquiries about your real estate deals, then I invite you to attend one of my upcoming live online demonstrations. And you can check that out at Investor Attraction Demo Dotcom. Take care.