Are you dying to get your first deal but don’t know where to begin? Are you wondering how you can do it? You’re in for the treat today! In this episode, Jay and Annie Adkins, the authors of Vision Focused Life, talk about overcoming incredible odds to get your first deal. They also share the top three ways to find deals in today’s market without money. Grab this opportunity to learn how to get your 1st deal with Jay and Annie Adkins today.
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Get Your 1st Deal With Jay & Annie Adkins
In this episode, I am extremely excited about our guests. We have Jay and Annie Adkins. Welcome to the show. I’m so excited to have you back.
We are ready.
It’s been a minute. Thanks for having us.
We met a few years back and a lot has happened in your business since you started it in the last few years. Why don’t you give our readers a little bit of background?
Thanks for having us. To give a little background, I had a W-2 job many years ago as a bartender, managing a scotch and cigar bar and serving up those drinks and cigars. Annie was working on a retail family video similar to a smaller blockbuster. We bought our first house in 2000. Our family started growing and we decided that we wanted to buy a bigger house. We wanted our kids to have their bedrooms. We went to a bank and got approved. We were able to afford two homes at once. I wanted to keep our original house. We shopped for quite a while and found that after viewing 60 houses.
Our real estate agent hated us. She secretly cussed us behind our backs.
When we called her and said, “The house that Jay grew up in came up for sale,” she was like, “Hallelujah.”
“Thank God. They found one, finally.”
We bought it and did a bunch of work on it. We finished the basement. We were pretty handy at that time. We bought a second house, kept that one and rented it out. That is when we became real estate investors. We got that first rent check with over $300 in cashflow. I was hooked instantly. I’m like, “These guys are going to pay our house off.”
It’s amazing what creative investing can do for you and what you can negotiate with a seller.
I had no interest in real estate investing until I got that first rent check.
Annie was like, “I’m into this more than the home video making.”
Instantly, I was like, “Let’s do it again.” We went back to the bank.
They said, “No, I’m sorry.”
Remember back in the day when you used to be able to buy a house on a credit card?
It was very easy to get a loan from a bank as long as you were making some income. We were making income on the rental property that we had and our W-2 jobs but the bank was like, “No, you don’t qualify for any more payments.”It is easy to get a loan from a bank as long as you are making some income. Click To Tweet
They would not count the rent because we hadn’t rented it yet for a year. They’re like, “You can’t count that as income yet.” I was like, “Why not? It’s rented. You guys are ridiculous.”
Why are you shaking your head up and down, Mel?
It’s true. I thought it was two years but that may be in 2023.
How come my CPAs are charging me for the first year? I had a call with them.
The internet was new then. We had an AOL email.
I was like, “I got to find a way to make this happen.” I went to the library’s real estate section and found Robert Allen’s No Money Down for the 2000s. Thank you, Robert, for writing that book. I’m forever grateful. Robert is in our mastermind together with us. It’s pretty interesting. I read his book. Annie and I read it on the beach when we went on vacation. I then went back to the library and found a book on lease options. It was written by an attorney. I don’t remember which book or attorney it was but it had a set of disks in it with all of the forms, contracts and applications. I was like, “This is a business on a disk.”
I hope people still sell them. They’re incredible.
It’s crazy. We took the disk from the back of the book and ripped it onto our desktop computer because laptops weren’t a thing then. He was ready to start his business.
I studied the forms and started reaching out to people. Your first tip is to reach out to people that you know. Tell them, “I’m in the real estate business. I’m an investor.” Whether you own an investment property or not, it starts in your mind. You have to decide in your mind that you’re an investor and then share that with other people.
Is it safe to say that it all starts with a mindset before anything else even happens?
Yes. It’s making the decision, sticking with that decision and taking actionable steps.
That’s hard. It’s a daily practice.
We talk about our coaching students’ mindset a lot and vision and what you want for your business and what you want for your life. You’re designing your business around the life that you want to live so that it serves you and others, instead of you being in the day-to-day grind and chaos of it all. He’s getting there.
There are good days and bad days.
My husband and I invest. We do not educate or anything like that but we do invest. We’ve been investing for several years. We’ve got a local crew and he has a team that comes and works on the houses every day.
That’s how we are too. We started small with one and then we started getting more with creative financing deals. He went into rehab and jail for a brief period. We ended up losing everything right before the big crash happened anyway. He was unemployed and in rehab. I told my regional manager at the video store that I was pregnant with our fourth child. They said, “I’m sorry. You’re no longer a team player. Have a nice life.” I was like, “That’s how that’s going to work.” We found ourselves both unemployed. We had six rental properties at that point in time and they were all on ARMs, Adjustable Rate Mortgages.
The ones with the banks.
We also have lease options on some of them.
That’s where you rent the house and then you have an additional document that says you have the option to buy it at a certain price for a specific period with a specific monthly payment. We didn’t have any money and these properties came vacant and we couldn’t afford to fix them. We were honestly looking for somewhere to live for ourselves.
It was crazy. We had 4 small children all under the age of 8. We had been served with a foreclosure notice on our personal home. The rate had adjusted so drastically that there was no catching it up. We lost our home to foreclosure before foreclosure was even a big thing buzzword.
You should look up the overage and see if there are any unclaimed funds still there.
There are a few lessons in that for your readers. One is we don’t go higher than 70% of what the property’s worth on a loan. If it’s worth $100,000, we don’t mortgage over $70,000.
Number two is that we make more than $100 or $150 a month on our rental properties’ cashflow. We make sure that we have at least three months in reserves for anything that might happen, which we didn’t do then. We were happy to make any money because we had no idea what the deal was as far as a business.
A lot of people do some wholesaling to start. I’ve never wholesaled a deal in my life but a lot of people who have wholesaled and they get that first $2,000 to $3,000 check and that’s game-changing for a lot of people. They messed up when you have all those notes.
The other thing that we don’t do anymore is getting these big ARMs loans where they’re going to adjust every year. As you guys know from the media that the rates have gone up a lot. If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage on your property and it comes time to adjust, your payment’s going to go up. Your rate’s going to go up, which means your payment goes up, which means your cashflow is less. We avoid that at all costs.
That’s a nugget drop.
We learned from our mistakes. Luckily, we found a local investor that was investing in commercial real estate.
I did a job for him.
He had rehab done at his personal house’s garage. He’s like, “What else do you know how to do?” Jay’s like, “I like to work on houses. We needed to find somewhere to live.” He was like, “What do you think about you putting the money forward and us putting the work into it and then we’ll split the profits?” He’s like, “Let’s do one.” We found a house that we could move into, the six of us and Jay worked on it. While I was packing up all of our stuff because the sheriff had posted the notice, he was working on the house to get it to where it was livable for four small children.
Isn’t it an amazing thing to sit here, think about it and laugh now?
Yes, because at the time, it was not.
It felt like the end of the world. I’ve been there, I know.
We have to do this and make it happen or we’re going to have to move in with my parents who lived in Kentucky at the time or his parents that lived in Michigan. We went through the foreclosure and the crash before the crash happened. We found during that time that there was nobody to turn to. Nobody knew about a loan modification, short sale or anything like that. We had nobody to turn to to help us.
We said to ourselves, “This will never happen again. We will never get into this position. We will provide a service for anybody that is in this position to be able to get out without having a foreclosure on their record or going through the same stuff that we went through.” We wanted to focus on providing a place where somebody could call and say, “Here’s the situation. It’s bad. I need to get out of this. What can you do to help me?” That’s how our new real estate business was founded in the depths of all of the tragedy that we incurred ourselves.
What a story. As soon as you went out and met with that guy and he said, “I’ll give you the money. You do the deal,” that’s how I started too. They gave me the money and I did all the work. Were you 100% in?
I was but Annie wasn’t.
I was 50% or depending on the day, maybe 60% sometimes. We then moved into this house and I turned the water on. It came pouring through the ceiling because the pipes had burst in the ceiling and we did not know that at the time.
That’s our move-in day.
We also had our brand-new kitchen that he had finished with tile and all of this.
It sounded like you lived my life in another year.
At that point in time, I was like, “This is what we’re going to be doing?”
Side note, if you buy a house that’s been vacant for a while in the Northern part of the United States, chances are the pipes in the ceiling have been cracked.
It has been frozen and nobody probably was there to let the water drip.
You may want to check that before you rehab the kitchen.
That’s nugget number two. Check for your pipes when you buy from Northeast. I’m from the Northeast. I’m familiar with that. That’s a good tip, though. Some people wouldn’t think to do that. Same as you, I learned a lot of things the hard way.
We had no coach.
There was no real estate coach at that time.
We didn’t have a mentor. It’s what we were learning on our own, being in the trenches, doing it and what we were learning from books that we were checking out at the library.
YouTube and Google didn’t exist at that time.
Driving for dollars and everything, that’s how I started. I found every deal from driving for dollars but through relationships, as you know in your business, I’m sure the local community you’re in probably brings you more deals than they have.
Everything we get, for the most part, we do very little marketing. It’s all very much driving for dollars or somebody sees a house and calls us because they know we’re involved in real estate. We’ve gone from having 5 rentals and a personal house that got taken by foreclosure to having 53 rentals, some short-term rentals in different states and a coaching program and trying to help people get from where we were to where we are now or at least somewhere along that path.
Yes, and also make much fewer mistakes.
Learn from our mistakes and do things better.Learn from your mistakes and do things better. Click To Tweet
For our readers, just so you’re aware, for everything that we’ve discussed so far, we’re going to have information for you to view at FullerWalletMedia.com/GetYourFirstDeal. What would be your first suggestion or piece of advice you might tell a newer investor starting? What is something you would say?
You should start by writing down what it is that you want this to do for you.
Figure out your why.
I love real estate. I like the game, the chase and the hustle. It’s always different. Annie doesn’t like any of that.
I love that side of it. I’m the hustler. I’m the negotiator. I’m the deal maker and then my husband takes it over once the deal is closed.
We flipped roles in our situation. Real estate is very much a means to an end for me. It’s not something that I am super uber passionate about but I do enjoy it and I enjoy taking a house that looks like total crap and turning it into something fantastic and helping people. I’m very motivated by helping others and making other people’s lives better as we improve our own. Having others learn from our mistakes so that they don’t have to go through the thick of all of it as we did. My goal is to be able to help others. Real estate is one caveat to that.
We’ve saved dozens of people from foreclosure from the situation that we went through. It was so painful to us that it became our life mission to help other people avoid that situation if we can. Writing down your why like why you want to do this, it’s maybe to make your house payment. Our daughter is an investor. She’s flipped a couple of houses.
She has purchased a rental on land contract. That’s where you have a written agreement with the seller that you’re going to buy it for this price at this date, you have this payment and this is the purchase price. That gets recorded at the county recorder’s office and banks look at that as ownership. In 2024, she can refinance that property with the bank. That enabled her to avoid the 20% down that the banks want to have.
For an investment property, yes.
She bought that with none of her credit or money. She got in that deal because the owner had moved away out of the country.
It’s John Haer. I don’t know if you know who is. He lives in Puerto Rico. He was an attorney here in Columbus for years.
I’m very familiar with him.
He tried to sell it on the MLS and couldn’t get the price he wanted. He had some foundation issues which are not major.
We don’t have a problem with it.
We do that all the time. We’re leveling. I’m like, “Let’s get it done.”
You throw in a few steel memes and you’re good.
Pray the house doesn’t drop on you while you’re doing it.
It’s just as important for people to continually educate themselves. It’s a great idea to hire a mentor or a coach either in your area or the field of expertise you want to focus on. We do creative finance so we focus on getting deals with very little money or no money and not using your credit, tax returns, bank statements and all the things that a bank wants you to supply them.
It’s a headache. Do you cover all of this in your coaching program?
We do, yes. We talk about all of the different ways that we invest. A lot of our coaching students are like, “We want to focus on wholesaling. We want to focus on this or that.” We’re like, “That’s great and that will get you where you want to be but you also need to have other options for the seller in case that doesn’t work out for them.”
Our whole goal is always to be able to go in and help the person get out of the situation that they’re in. If they want to list it, instead of doing a creative financing deal or something with us, then Jay has his real estate license and our operations manager also has her real estate license so there are some options there for listing that property. We also have numerous people that we can work with if they don’t click with Jay or Bonnie, we can refer them. If you want to wholesale, that’s great.
I’m like, “Who would not want to interact with Jay?” He’s so easy to talk to.
Sometimes our students find deals and they need money for them.
That’s the thing. Most investors forget that it’s not about the money. It’s about the deal. If you have a good qualified deal and it makes sense, if somebody’s going to review it, they’re in.
If the deal makes sense, then the money is the easy part. We always make sure that if they want to focus on something, that’s great. We’ll get it up and running but there are other options. There are other suppliers of money. If you have a private money person or a family member that has a 401(k) or an IRA, we talk to them about how they could use that potential. We have contacts with bigger companies that are hard money lenders, which is a higher interest rate for the money that you get from a bank.
Sometimes we partner with our students as well. Our number one goal is for them to get their 1st deal where it’s like getting 10 deals. That first one is the hardest.
It’ll boost their confidence in it and everything makes sense.
Even when I signed up for my first house, my stomach was turning in knots. I was anxious.
He walked away from the signing table and he is like, “What did we do?” I’m like, “Everything will be fine.”
I’m like, “This is typical. Throw it on my desk and I’ll review it.
It’s natural to be scared, afraid, have fear and nervous about it. If you’re not, then I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Providing a high level of guidance to our students is very important to us.
If they don’t succeed, are not profitable and doing great things, then it’s not a very good reflection on us.
What is a book that you might be reading that you’re using in your business that you quote or somebody recommended that you read?
I am reading The Dip.
I’m reading The Gap and the Gain.
I am reading Unicorn Hunting for Real Estate Investment Companies: How to Easily Attract, Screen and Land a Unicorn, The Complete Hiring Funnel from Neil Timmins who’s in our mastermind group. His book is phenomenal.
I did not know that. Your book is on my list to read, Julie.
This is about you guys.
We have a book too from years ago.
Yes, Vision Focused Life.
Let’s talk about your book from years ago.
It’s an Amazon bestseller. It came out the same time that Khloé Kardashian’s book came out and we beat her for three days.
You’re going down, Khloé.
You made my day with that.
Our kids are like, “Our parents wrote a book that beat Khloé Kardashian for three days on Amazon.” I was in shock.
You need to have that in your marketing system. That is awesome.
It’s called Vision Focused Life. It’s all about having a vision. Different people have written different chapters in it and how that vision has tailored their life and made things better.
Also, the challenges they had that they overcome.
I’m going to check that one out.
It’s a quick read. It’s not very thick.
You can get it on Kindle.
We’re going to order it. I like that title too.
It sums it up and I’m a very blunt person.
Our goal is to get our students their 1st deal in 87 days or less. We’re going to focus on giving them the proper tools and action steps to take to achieve that.
What are the top three ways that you find deals in the market with no money?
We use a lot of Facebook posts and Facebook groups. We do organic posts. “Is anybody selling a house? Is anybody looking to get rid of a house? We’re looking to buy a house in the next three days,” or whatever.
I put little catchy stuff on there like, “I need you to help me find a house in the next two weeks or I have to sleep on the couch, my wife said.”
He has put that and found houses that way.
I’ve got a line and I got to stop using it because everyone knows. My son is the tallest kid in high school. He’s 6’5″. Every freaking deal I’ve ever done out here has been brought to me by relationship building because I live in the country and the population is 879 people. I have one stoplight and I get a tip regularly from relationship building.
Every deal I would look at, I was like, “It’s a dream for me to purchase a home for my son. He’s going to college. He wants to come back and reside at home and be near family.” I’ve used that probably in the last seven deals I’ve closed. In the last one, the lady is like, “I know your son. He goes to school with my daughter.” I was like, “You do?” She goes, “Do you want to buy this for him now?” I said, “We need to work on it. There’s a lot to do. Want to make sure we get it done.” I need a new line. I’m going to use the husband line.
That’s funny that you say that because I read an article that said, “The best investment for your kids is to buy a house for them no matter how old they are and have that as their house.” Put away the rent or the net profit for them to either then pull out to college with like a college fund or they could sell that house that you have locally and then buy a house in the town that the college is in.The best investment for your kids is to buy a house for them no matter how old they are and have that as their house. Click To Tweet
That’s what I’m working to do. I’m going to buy a house in the college town because a lot of kids from here are going to go to school there and I know a lot of the parents. That should be an easy rotation for them. That’s my plan for him for college.
That’s why I was like, “We need to start over.” We need to go back to where we were first buying stuff and do it a little bit differently but we’ve taught our children. Our investors have saved their money working for our construction crew and our office admin. They’ve invested their money into real estate deals with hard money and private money.
They do private money loans.
For some of our students, if they run out of money and something happened on their project and they can’t do carpeting or flooring, our kids have lent them money.
That’s a great strategy. They come in at the end. If you know someone’s over budget, they’ll loan them $2,000, $3,000, $4,000 or $5,000 to finish it up. It’s almost done and they might charge 10% interest but they’re getting that money back in 2 or 3 months.
They’ve bought into a property with us that’s a triplex so they’re making monthly income on that. We taught our oldest daughter how to do a fix and flip so that she could buy a car when she turns sixteen and then, she paid for college with another fix and flip.
That’s what we teach my son. I love that because they don’t teach this in school. They want everybody to go spend money on a college degree, all this and that and then work for someone else.
They build up somebody else’s business and retirement.
He was doing every part of the business every summer since he was fourteen. He was on the phone for one year. He was meeting sellers for one year. I made him learn them. Just in case he wants to go to school and if he wants to follow in this trade, he has something to fall back on.
That’s a great point. One is this doesn’t have to be full-time. Most of our students only work part-time in their businesses. They’re putting in maybe ten hours a week. Also, you don’t have to live in a big town. We live in a town of about 60,000 people. If we wanted to, we would never have to leave this town to do deals. There are so many deals here. You don’t have to venture out and you’re in a town of less than 1,000.
Our top three ways are social media, networking and word of mouth.
We’re just telling people, your network and everyone you know, “I’m investing in real estate. Whom do you know that has a deal that they want to get rid of?”
That’s the biggest thing. We never ask yes or no questions either when we talk to anybody. Whether it’s networking with somebody about getting deals or the seller, we very rarely ask yes and no questions because then it kills the conversation if the answer is no. It’s always like, “Whom do you know that’s looking to buy or sell? Whom do you know that has an issue with a house that we could potentially help them with?” We use those types of questions.
Those are the top three. MLS and auctions are other ones that we use. There are still deals on the MLS. If anything, sitting on the market for over 60 days in this market, that’s too long. There’s a chance that that seller might owner finance or do an option. We have one in South Carolina that we’re renting that we did an option to buy. We have it rented to someone else. We started with an Airbnb and it did okay but we could make the same amount of money doing regular rentals so we switched it. We make about $600 a month on that 1 house and we don’t own it.
We’re helping the tenant. The tenant wasn’t in a great enough position to buy so she did a lease option instead. She took her tax money and put down a down payment and then is paying us monthly rent. The seller or the owner of the record moved out of that town and his wife was seven months pregnant at the time. They live six hours away from there. He’s like, “We don’t want to mess with it. I’m working all of the time.” She is 6, 7 or 8 months pregnant. I don’t want her driving back and forth 6 hours 1 way. She said, “I need out of it.” He worked with my sister so it was a very word-of-mouth referral thing. We took over his payments. He still is the owner on the record. The bank works with us instead.
Guess how much money we gave him.
I’m going to say zero.
You’re close. We did give him something.
It was $10.
The minimum requirement, I knew it.
It’s the $10 deal.
I’ve done that before. It’s either 0 or $10.
I was like, “What’s your address? I’m going to send you some money.” He’s like, “I don’t need any money.” “I know but I want to be able to tell everyone that I bought your house for $10.” I sent him a check for $10.
Did you take a picture?
How about him holding a picture of it?
We should have.
No. I need Julie on my marketing team.
It helped the husband and wife that moved six hours away. It helped the buyer-tenant because she can buy a house potentially or at least get her set up to where she could.
Hopefully, he is not reading this but we sent Annie’s sister $500 for the referral. We like to pay people for referring us deals.
I pay $1,000. I got to cut it down.
It depends on the deal. We have paid some people $1,000 but $500 is the bottom that we would pay somebody for a referral like that.
My sister was thrilled for $500. She was not expecting anything.
She expected no money. She got a surprise of $500.
It’s almost like a domino effect of helping more people even on the surface in your business and company.
Yes, which is my why. We do this to help others.
That’s my why too, help others.
We reap the benefits as well but that’s my whole focus.
When you drive past a house and there are a bunch of trash, beds and dressers out front, I’m like, “Somebody just got evicted.”
Have you ever tried LandGlide?
It’s an app on Google Play and you can download it and drive for dollars. It pulls up all the property information, names, legal description, prior owners and all that information so it’s easier to start skip tracing on the property. It’s called LandGlide and you can only add it to your one phone. I have used this for several years. Prior to referrals, this is how I found every single deal driving for dollars because it was only $9.99 a month. I tried a bunch of platforms and this one has never done me wrong. It’s always been the most consistent.
We used to use DealMachine which did the same thing.
I used to do the same thing with DealMachine but I live in the country so if the road is called County Road or they write it out at the district, then it’s spelled out and other roads are added as CR. It was hard with those country roads.
That’s what I was going to say. There are a few glitches that it doesn’t always turn out to be exactly what you’re looking for.
I wasn’t able to utilize that and I found the LandGlide and it’s my favorite one.
I’ll have to check that out.
Great tip. Thank you, Julie.
It’s worth it. It shows me in my house.
Heads up, everybody. This is how you get better.
Give an address of one of your properties or just a random address.
Our office address is 50 Charles Street in Newark, Ohio. That’s where we’re at in the basement studio. Tell us what you see, Julie.
It’s on 0.15 calculated acres. It’s in Licking, Ohio, Newark City, Newark City School District. It’s one building. The name on the property is John and Marilyn R. Schulten. It also says not owner-occupied
Do you know why it has someone else’s name on there? Can you guess?
This is what I learned years ago. Using multiple names is to umbrella your investment deals. It’s like somebody looks up your company name and sees you own 500 or 1,000 houses, you become a target. A lot of people umbrella multiple entities under it so that they keep their names less visible.
That’s a good guess but not in this situation.
This property sat vacant for ten years so we were able to get in contact with John and Marilyn who own it and say, “What are you doing with this property? What are your goals? What is the best outcome for you, John and Marilyn with this particular property?” John and Marilyn wanted to sell it right away but we said the property needs work and time to fix it up. It was zoned as a commercial. If it sits empty for over a year, then it reverts to residential.
It is indeed a commercial residential.
We went to the city and asked them. They said we got to send a letter out to all the neighbors. We did that. No one said anything and they said, “We’ll give you six months to start. We’ll then meet again and see how it goes.” We did that. We didn’t make any of the neighbors mad to show up and dispute it so they switched it back to commercial.
We have a 3-year land contract on this property where we pay $750 a month. $300 of that comes off the principal balance every month right off the top. That’s not a deal you would get from a bank. They would probably take off $150 a month with a 30-year mortgage. We got a land contract, put our money in it and we can do a cash-out refinance next year if we want to. We got this deal with no money down, no credit pull, no bank statements, no tax returns, no blood draw or hair follicle sample. You’ll see live right there that we do what we say we do.
I appreciate having you guys on. Annie and Jay, do you have any final words before we close out?
Take action. Go out there.
Take massive imperfect action. It doesn’t have to be perfect but you have to do something.Take massive imperfect action. It doesn't have to be perfect, but you must do something. Click To Tweet
I love it. Thank you so much.
Thanks for having us.
Thanks, Julie and Mel. We appreciate you both.
Thank you all.
About Jay and Annie Adkins
Jay and Annie Adkins have been real estate investors since 2002, they have personally been through the thick of things when the market crashed and have come out the other side to rebuild and continue to flourish in real estate. Having experienced many ups and downs both professionally and personally, they decided that after doing hundreds of deals themselves, that it was time to share their wealth of knowledge with others, by doing what they really love; combining both real estate and helping others.
They are now real estate investing coaches and have their own business/life coaching group as well. They have numerous courses available on the market, for others to learn their tricks and tips and they are Amazon best sellers; with their own book Vision Focused Life, and they have co -authored the book Changing Lanes.
They have done all types of real estate deals from buy and hold, vacation rentals, to subject to and everything in between. When they are not working on their numerous businesses or implementing new ideas, they can be found helping others through their nonprofit or spending time with their 4 children doing the things they love as a family.