Writing a book can help you attract private money lenders and motivated sellers so you could win the marketing game in real estate. Today’s guest, Max Keller, proves that. Max Keller is a real estate investor, best-selling author, and business coach. In this episode, he joins Keith Baker to discuss utilizing books as a lead generation technique and how to get prospective sellers to trust you so you could stand out among competitors. He also shares the two ways to get deals through hunting and trapping. He explains how he gets deals through the use of different methods giving them a network of people. Tune into this episode so you could have the opportunity to build great relationships and make your business grow too!
I want to thank you for sharing your time with me. If you're looking for practical tips and advice on how to put the power of the banking system into your investment accounts, then you are in the right place but if you want to learn from my mistakes so that you can one, avoid them and two, profit from them, pull up a chair and pour yourself a drink because this show is for you. This show is dedicated to giving people like you and me the knowledge and the confidence for successful and profitable private lending, the most passive form of real estate investment known to man.
[caption id="attachment_3186" align="alignleft" width="200"] Home To Home: The Step By Step Senior Housing Guide[/caption]
In this episode, I sit down and talk with Max Keller, who’s up in the North Texas area, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Max is using a very unusual strategy for finding his deals and that is to use books to get his sellers to know, like and trust him. Before we dive into the heart of this episode, I got to do a little housekeeping and need to ask you, have you joined the show’s Facebook group? Why the hell not? Simply go to Facebook Groups and search for Private Lender Podcast.
Answer a few quick questions so that I know you’re serious and can follow instructions and you will be let in. You’ll get to hobnob and mingle with private lenders from all over this great country of ours. We may be divided but it’s still a great country. If you want to get your private lending off the ground for possibly some opportunities to bounce a few ideas off of me or perhaps we could even go down the coaching road if you like, please go to PrivateLenderAcademy.com and click on Apply Now. It's time to get down to the brass tacks of this episode.
Max Keller was recommended to me by someone I held dear in the podcast industry. Julie Houston, thank you. She has helped me out in ways, mindset, technical, process, things that I wouldn’t think of. She hasn’t charged me a dime for it. All of her advice has been for free, maybe a lunch or two here or there. Considering the value that I’ve received from Julie, I’m in the deficits. Julie, thank you. A big shout out to you. Thank you for introducing me to Max.
This has been a game changer in many ways for me. Thinking about this helps expand the mindset into what’s out there. I’m babbling already. It’s best to get to the interview, let Max discuss and describe how he uses books and how he’s helping his students to get some solid leads, generating some nice leads for some nice property acquisition. Let’s go ahead and jump into the interview with Max Keller.
Lender Nation, I am pleased to have Max Keller on the show, who was formerly a teacher and now is a full-time real estate investor but more importantly, he can teach you how to write a book. Max, welcome to the show.
It’s good to be here. Let’s go.
You come highly recommended from a friend of mine. That gets to the door but the fact that you were a teacher, that's something I've always wanted to do. Hence with the Private Lender Academy, I'm finally coming to get to that point. My path is a little bit reversed from yours. Tell me what brought you to this moment here on the show. How'd you get to the world of real estate and books?
[bctt tweet=" If you don't know what’s working, you can't duplicate it. " via="no"]
I hear that phrase, “Overnight success, lifetime in the making.” That's the way it feels. Everything that I did build on itself. Before I was in real estate full-time, I was an Algebra teacher at a Title 1 school. I coached football, basketball and track. I taught algebra and I loved it. The only thing is I wanted to make more income. My goal was to take a more passive approach and get maybe 1 or 2 rentals a year. If I stayed on that pattern, then at the end of finishing up teaching and retiring, I'd have a nice little nest egg. Going in real estate, I started realizing that it's a great way to increase your active income and start doing more deals.
I left my job years ago. The day after Memorial Day, I told my principal, “I wasn't coming back.” It was a tough decision but it's been great. I've flipped about 130 houses lately because of where the prices have been. We'd done mostly wholesaling but deals in Texas still cashflow, especially mobile homes and things like that. I've been doing investing. On the borrowing side, I did the normal progression. My first deal was a self-funded whole tale. I took it down with a line of credit. The houses were a lot cheaper than in 2015. I cleaned it up a little. I sold it. I made $15,000 and that was cool. I wanted to do it again.
The next deal, I took it down with that same line of credit but then once I had another deal, I couldn't keep doing that. My credit was good. That helped. It's funny. My credit was so good because I never used it. It's like, “What a weird system?” It was fine. I went to a community credit bank like credit union kind of thing, local bank and that worked good. I did a couple of deals like that. I was running out and they wanted me to jump through a lot of hoops. I went hard money. I did hard money for my flip deals for a while. I got involved and started meeting some local private money lenders. I love working with them. It was fun. I got to show them my deals. Some of them had a lot of experience. Some of them didn't have very much at all.
Being a teacher, which has the teacher mindset, I'd say, “Come and check out. Let's not rush. Come and see one of my properties over here in Hearst. I'm doing this one. Check it out. I've got one over here in Irving.” I explained to him how it worked. It was hard because I'm a people pleaser. I liked my hard money lender. It was expensive. It wasn't as much flexibility and I wanted to have more long-term stuff too. I knew private lenders were looking to find good people, good deals and make good rates of return.
I started using books and things like that. That was a total unknown but I started using books as an education piece to attract more private money lenders and motivated sellers. The overall model of how I got here is I taught before I got in here and I still do. That's the best way to build relationships, help people and make the business grow. I'm glad that I still get to do that. It's fun.
I'm glad to know that, one, you taught algebra. God bless you. What grades? I'm curious.
It was the eighth if they were ahead and then ninth on grade. I had one group of kids that were two years behind. They should have been juniors. It depends on how you are as a student. Let's say it like this. When you go to teach and you go to the job fair, there's elementary, middle school and high school. The elementary line, there are 400 people in it. All these people who've been waiting their whole lives to be kindergarten teachers.
You go to high school line. Those are people with a lot of experience. They love their subjects. In middle school, junior high, there's nobody. If you have middle school kids of your own or cousins, you'll know but I liked it. What I liked about working with kids is the same thing I like with the people that I work within real estate. I like working with people that tell the truth. Kids, believe it or not, they almost always tell the truth. I remember one time I went to class. My hair spiked up. I thought I was looking cool and on trend. The kids shut that down in three seconds like, “Mr. Keller, we can see all the way through to your scalp.” That's the way kids are.
Adults aren't always like that. From my own experience, it's important that I get to know the people I'm working with. On the other side, your readers, it's super important that they understand what's a good deal and what's not a good deal before they invest in it. Are they getting in with the right person? There's a lot of sleek talking people. Adults aren't always truthful. We got to find who's telling the truth. Who's doing what they say they're doing before we invest in the deals. That's a piece of teaching that I bring we’ll never forget.
To your point, I would say real estate investors are very persuasive and passionate people. I tell students do not fall in love with the investor's passion or enthusiasm for the project and be the one to tell them, no. Have your brands. This is where you lend. Don't be afraid to say no. I bought Tim Grover's new book. He coached Kobe and Jordan. I heard him on a podcast. There was a guy who was trying out for the NBA and Tim Grover told him, “You're not NBA material. You can play for a long time. You can make a lot of money but the NBA is not your game.” The guy was upset, offended by Tim's honesty.
[caption id="attachment_3187" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Lead Generation Through Books: The traditional marketing methods are going to be obsolete because of Wall Street. They have a big appetite for single-family homes. They have a lot of data, technology, and resources. With that, they can pay more than most people are willing to pay.[/caption]
Years later, he sees him at an all-star game. The guy's not playing in the NBA. He goes, “You're the only one who told me the truth.” Everyone else bolstered him up, “You can do it.” Tim was like, “You're not there.” I don't remember if it was a talent or a mindset thing but he could see. He’s like, “You're a great athlete but NBA is not for you. Go to Europe, you'll kill it.” He wasted his time. That honesty of youth with the children telling exactly how it is, I believe into following that. I have to ask this because we're coming out of the COVID situation. This is the middle of 2021. You spoke that you're wholesaling. You're up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. How crazy is the market up there? Bidding wars, above ask, what are the metrics that are going on?
For most people, that's the way it is. For us and for the deals that we do, it's not like that but it's because the way that we market is totally different. We started marketing very different back in 2017. For most people, it's tough. I got a call from a lady, Diana. It's another exclusive deal. We're getting a lot of exclusive deals but it's because the way that we're reaching out to people is so different. We're leading with value and education. Not that other people don't have that too. Most folks are marketing for deals.
In my opinion, it’s totally wrong. The way that they're marketing for deals within a few more years is going to be totally obsolete. The traditional marketing methods are going to be obsolete. The reason is because Wall Street, big hedge funds, have a big appetite for single-family homes and in our neck of the woods. They're still cashflowing. They have a lot of data, technology, resources and can pay more than most people are willing to pay.
It was by accident and it worked out good. A little context, back in 2017, I was on track to do about 30 deals for the year but I felt like every house I was going into is like what you're saying. I was interviewing for the deals and taking number. I remember going to this one house in Grand Prairie. There were literally twenty investors in the house. When you're doing deals like that, I call them a win lose.
The homeowner wins because they get a price that they wouldn't have gotten 2 or 3 years ago but you lose because you're taking on the same amount of risk but you're not covering that risk. If you have a private lender on that deal and you're doing these skinny deals, their money has more risk. It's a real situation that's going on. How we've circumvented, it is two ways. One, I found a niche that I like to work with. I made a list of all the deals that I had done. I was up to about Deal Number 50 in 2017. I made a list of the deals. I put the criteria of the people I wanted to work with. For me, it was pretty simple. I want to make a good profit on a deal because it takes me about the same amount of time to flip a house and make 40 than it does to make 20. I was like, “I need to stick with the better deals.”
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The other one is, I didn't want to work with people when I make an offer. They couldn’t resist. It was like a tug of war like, “No, my house isn't worth that much. What are you talking about?” I’m like, “I'm the expert. I do this all day.” This is what I'm talking about. I want to work with people who saw me more as their consultant and trusted advisor. I want to have fun. I didn't want to work with people that I had to go bail out of jail and they were yelling at me on the phone. All the things that went with my traditional motivated seller marketing.
What happened for me were two things. One is when I looked through my deals, most of them didn't meet all three criteria but the ones that did were all seniors. I was like, “Seniors?” I started to peel back. I was like, “I want to work with more senior homeowners. What marketing is helping find those folks?” I found out that my traditional marketing wasn't where they were coming from. I was getting people by accident. They see us in the neighborhood. Their family members would call us.
They would close a lot higher rate. I found they were like slow to trust. When they did trust you, they were very loyal. They wouldn't go behind your back for $100 or Redfin's going to give $2,000 more dollars. I was getting these deals and making an offer. Somebody else was $10,000 more and they were still taking my offer. I didn't know why. There are times in our business where things are working but we don't know why they're working. You don't know why you can't duplicate it.
I was like, “I need to know why. I don't want to lock into stuff.” I called up one of the sellers and I asked him, “Remember me, Max Savior Home Buyers?” That's our home buying business. He's like, “Yeah.” I said, “You had a higher offer. Why don't you take that?” He said, “The reason is because we trusted you. You seem like you genuinely cared about our family and making the right decision. You were telling us about stuff that didn't even relate to you but it was good for us. Ultimately, that was more important than just the money.”
That was the big a-ha moment number one. I started learning more about senior housing. My big a-ha number two, how we market is totally different and what makes it a lot easier to keep doing business in DFW. I was at an appointment with the adult child of a senior home owner. We bought their house. They said, “You've helped our family out a ton. You should write a book about this stuff.” I was like, “No. I'm a math teacher. I'm not an English teacher.” It's a big difference. Let's face it.
I thought about it and I was like, “It's a good idea.” At the time, I was known in my area, my suburbs that I bought houses in as the guy who knew a lot about senior housing but I could be the guy who wrote the book on senior housing. I had a real unscientific approach. If anybody on here who’s trying to write content, do an eBook, write a book or write a blog, I've got a gift that I'm going to give you at the end that can help you do that and save a lot of time but I didn't have that at the time.
I wrote down all the questions that the seniors were asking me, all the questions they should ask me, pros and cons of all the different options. I took care of my grandma growing up. If you look at my pictures of my birthday and stuff, it's my grandma, all of her friends and my friends too. I've always been around seniors. I liked working with them. I like kids and seniors. You got to have a lot of patients to be around both. I like kids because they tell the truth and they're hilarious. I love seniors because they're so wise. It's amazing, the greatest people.
I wanted to do that more in my business. When I finished this book, it was done. I thought it was pretty good. I started giving it out to my prospects and friends. I printed out 100 copies. Every time somebody call our office, instead of saying, “We're going to come over to the house.” I say, “Have you gotten a copy of our book?” They're like, “Your book?” The other people buying houses don't have books.
I said, “Yeah, I'll send you a copy of it. Chapter Three is all the ways to sell your house, pros and cons of each. It's a big decision. I don't want you to make a big mistake. Can you read Chapter Three before I come over?” They're like, “Yeah.” It did a couple of things. One is when we went over there, they read Chapter Three, but they read the other chapters too. They got to know us. They felt like we were credible and trusted because we put the time into it to write a book.
What else was cool is most of the time, there was nobody else. Why would they call other people when they already have the person that wrote the book on the subject? That's how we get deals. We use a lot of different methods. We have a network of people all over, investors, agents and brokers that license our content. I'm buying right here in DFW. I'm not buying in Florida or Houston. We have people who use the books.
We did the same thing on the private lending side. There's an education piece behind that. You're doing an amazing job coaching people up on that. We give people our book. It's been cool. I call it share and attract. We share what we're doing with people. We attract the people to us that want to work with us. It’s like hunting and trapping. Some people love hunting people down. They love the thrill or the chase. I never liked that. I never liked hard closing techniques. It felt unnatural. Trapping is where you set out the date. This is what the opportunity looks like. If they come to...