Since 1999, professional real estate investors, Steven Jack Butala & Jill DeWit, built a $24m land resale empire completing close to 16,000 transactions without incurring any debt or leverage. In 2015, they co-founded Land Academy to share their experience and provide access to professional level tools for like-minded investors at all stages of their careers.
To date, they have produced more than 1,000 podcast episodes and provided over 500 hours of live webinars all in the name of education through sharing their transaction experience.
- Who is Jill DeWit and Steven Butala?
If Steven had to choose a superhero to be like it would have to be Batman, being an entrepreneur is a lot like the way that Bruce Wayne took his circumstances and resources and found a way to use them for good. For Jill, she identifies with Wonder Woman and the way that she operates. Wonder Woman is forthright and truthful, and that’s how they run the Land Academy.
Steven graduated in 1989 and became a commercial real estate broker in one of the worst real estate environments possible. It took him several years to make it work but he learned a lot about real estate by working on some of the most complicated and difficult types of deals you can do. That lead him to look for a simpler way of doing a deal and towards a different kind of transaction.
Jill’s father raised her to believe that she could do anything that she wanted and to act like she knew what she was doing. She followed in his footsteps in many ways but was never very far from real estate. She worked with some developers in her early 20’s and when she eventually met Steven it all clicked together.
Steven’s Unique Abilities include the ability to analyze data and make connections that other people can’t see as well committing to a project and following up until it’s complete. For Jill, she can connect with people from all backgrounds and situations. This makes her very good at talking to sellers and developers and making everyone feel good about a deal. She’s never had trouble seeing anyone as another human that has similar hopes and dreams to herself.
- Formal Education
Steven believes that some form of formal education is important but that doesn’t necessarily mean the traditional four year degree. Getting the experience in a professional environment is important to be able to make a go of it when you do decide to go out on your own.
Jill was raised to think about what she was going to do with her life and was encouraged to go for the big stuff.
Formal education does not prepare you in any way for the politics of an office. They prepare you academically for what’s possible but they don’t show you how to do anything. Formal education also doesn’t teach the skills of scrappiness, talking to people, and dreaming big. In many ways formal education places limits on people’s abilities to think about and achieve big goals.
In many ways a vocational education has more value in today’s marketplace than an education from a more well known and traditional institution.
- Land Academy and Buying and Selling Land
Landing is one of the easiest product types in the real estate business. The majority of the time there is just a seller and a buyer, there is no appraiser, agent, lender, or inspector. With just those two people you can close a transaction very quickly.
There is always somebody out there that is interested in a piece of land that you wouldn’t be interested in at all. Jill and Steven’s business model is predicated on not improving property, they buy property and then immediately resell it to people who then go and sell it on terms. The secret is in the offer campaign that reliably generates consistent results.
The real key to successful direct mail campaigns is sending offers with a direct custom dollar amount instead of just a letter of interest.
Technically you can buy land anywhere. It’s all about pricing and predictable results so in many ways data is the most important aspect of the business. There are many ways to cash flow from land, you just have to be creative and look for the right opportunity.
Most people think about land backwards. They look at a piece of property and try to figure out how to make it fit instead of filtering their search for the land that fits the project.
- What is the unique exit strategy that we’ve never heard of?
Jill and Steven have essentially built a list of consistent buyers that they can bring deals to. The typical deal for them involves buying the land, immediately reselling it at a very low wholesale amount, and then that customer resells it on terms and lets the note season then selling the note after six months or so. Building your own buyers list is crucial to success which is why it’s an integral part of the Land Academy educational platform.
- Jill and Steven’s Takeaway
Trust the process, do the steps that Steven and Jill say, and watch what happens. You will see that it works and then want to do more. Steven wants you to go to landinvestors.com and ask the hard questions, then you’ll hear from people who will tell you how they did it themselves.