In this episode, Quentin talks with Don Lewis and Rick Lewis, two brothers who started in the renovation field and made their way into real estate investing. They take us through some of their investing experience, and share some of their wins, losses, and some useful tips for new investors.
The Lewis Brothers have been in the real estate business for four years. They have a construction background, with15 years of experience in custom renovations. They fumbled into real estate investing by buying their first house privately and realized that buying and flipping houses was a lot easier. While they buy houses in different areas, they are primarily based in the Durham region.
Talking about marketing, they say that their marketing is always growing. They started with flyers and bandit signs. As for the philosophy behind their marketing, they say that usually they are looking for somebody who is in a situation where it’s a little different than getting your house ready to sell on the market. Such as when there’s a financial issue, distressed property, or something that just won’t close with the bank. At the same time, they also tried to figure out how they can help the owners in the process as well, going as far as putting money up front to help them.
Doing so has helped them develop relationships with the sellers, adding “a lot of it really is just the relationship you’ve built with the seller in order to know what, how you can help them, and we’ve got a lot of people come back and give us very good reviews.” They want to build long term relationships and figure out how they can help sellers get out of scenario that they’re in at that time. Talking about what has helped them succeed in finding off market deals, there that a lot of it has to do with the marketing, and just being in front of people with their flyers and bandit signs.
Quentin notes that being quick, being able to close with cash if needed, not caring about the condition of the property because of their construction background, has helped them succeed in finding such great deals. Talking about a property that got away, the Lewis brothers share that they noticed a lot of red flags from the financial perspective and the additional costs added at the end, so they decided to not go ahead with the deal. They add that “we have set up ourselves, our financing because we guarantee a close on every deal no matter what, whether we wholesale it, JV, if our partner, whoever purchased from us can’t do it, we close on it, no matter what. So, we’re set up to be able to close… within 24 hours if we need to.”
Talking about the mindset you need to succeed in this business, they add that you have to rifle through a lot in order to actually get that one deal. It’s probably 20 to 25 phone calls or leads, before you get down to three people that are interested in talking to you, and then of those three, you might get two offers out and then one accepted. So you have to build a tough skin and not get too emotionally involved in each project. As for their advice for new investors who are looking to get started in finding off market properties, they add that you should know your market and don’t go too broad. Specify what you’re looking for and where you’re looking for it, because the second you get that call, the jump on it, as the action has to be fast. Study and learn your market as much as you can and specialize in a certain area when you start, instead going too broad. You should also have a good realtor too, one that understands the market, and that is up to date with, then work with other investors as well.
In conclusion, they say that you have to let sellers know they have options, there’s not only one option that they have to sell with a realtor. Let them discover what options they have in order to sell their home. A lot of times the houses that you are offering off market, are going to come back on market and you’re going to get the opportunity to view and work with that house down the road anyway. You should not try to compete but work with everyone.
Quentin D’Souza is the Chief Education Officer of the Durham Real Estate Investor Club. Author of The Action Taker's Real Estate Investing Planner, The Property Management Toolbox: A How-To Guide for Ontario Real Estate Investors and Landlords, The Filling Vacancies Toolbox: A Step-By-Step Guide for Ontario Real Estate Investors and Landlords for Renting Out Residential Real Estate, and The Ultimate Wealth Strategy: Your Complete Guide to Buying, Fixing, Refinancing, and Renting Real Estate.