Systems & Collections with Kosta Apostolou
Episode 298: Systems & Collections with Kosta Apostolou
There is so much learning you can find in real estate, especially in finding and closing deals. It is a tough job to be in, but it is undoubtedly rewarding at the end of every final agreement. If there’s one thing that can assist the daily tasks of real investors, it would be a search engine that would take them to euphoria. Kosta Apostolou, owner of the BirdDogBot, dives into the value of automation in finding houses and deals, deal-crunching systemization, and motivated sellers. As he goes over what BirdDogBot can do, learn the importance of doing a background check when selecting partners to invest with and the red flags to note. On the side, catch how neuro-linguistic programming can be a powerful sales tool in real estate.
Watch the episode here:
I have Kosta Apostolou and we’re going to be talking about automation, deal crunching systemization, and finding motivated sellers. We’re going to cover the gamut here. We’ve got a method to our madness. I need to pay homage to our sponsor. Please go to TaxFreeFuture.com. We’ve got over 37 videos over there on how to grow your retirement or your financials tax-deferred or tax-free. Please go to TaxFreeFuture.com because you will not believe what your financial advisers are not telling you and we’re going to tell you. Kosta, how are you doing?
I’m doing great, Mitch. How are you doing?
I’m good. Where are you located at?
I’m just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Are you doing some house buying and selling in Canada as well?
It’s a little bit crazy up here. You can buy some lovely shoebox condos for $500,000 and apparently, these are good investments where you can rent them out for $2,000. This is why I invest in the US.
Do you set up shops in any particular cities you want to mention or states at least?
When I started investing, I started down in the Fort Lauderdale area in Florida as Canadians seem to love Florida. From there, I’ve moved up to Jacksonville. I have a property there and another one just north in Georgia. It’s about 40 minutes from Jacksonville.
You went from Jacksonville, Florida and then you moved into Georgia.Jump in the deep end and learn how to swim out. Click To Tweet
We’ve got two of them right now. I work with a partner right there. We’ve got two of them for about 40 minutes apart.
I do the owner financing strategy and it’s tough in Florida because their foreclosure laws are not very pro-owner or pro-mortgage holder. On the other hand, Georgia mirrors Texas. Texas and Georgia have one of the fastest foreclosure processes on the planet. It’s about 40 something days if you’ve got everything exactly right from the beginning and your timing was perfect. Usually, it’s about 60 to 90 days the most. Anyone can file bankruptcy or take it to court, but that happens not very often. Texas and Georgia are not super litigious states. Tell us a little bit about where you’re from and how you got to where you’re at right now. Give us a little background in a nutshell and the bullet points and then we’ll get on with helping some of these investors find some motivated sellers.
As far as the real estate goes, I fell upon it a little bit of dumb luck, a little bit of accident and a little bit of Law of Attraction as well because I was always looking for some passive income type of ways to make some money. I was on vacation at the time at one of these destination weddings and I met someone there. He was also from Canada, and he told me he bought this property in Florida for $30,000 or $40,000 and I just couldn’t believe it. We’re obviously right after the crash and here we are talking about $500,000 condos in Toronto. I couldn’t believe that you could buy a property for so cheap. The next thing you know, I’m on a plane and I’m going down to Florida. I want to pick up one of these things for myself and that’s what I did. I bought the 1,000 square foot condo in Pompano Beach for $40,000 and then rented it out for $950. I thought this is great.
My family and everyone thought I was completely crazy. They’re telling me, “We do have houses here in Canada.” I’d sarcastically tell them, “Why didn’t anybody tell me my igloo has been melting for the past week?” One thing led to another and then you get the itch. I started buying a couple more properties from there to the point where they thought I lost my mind because then I started refinancing the condo that I lived in. I was buying these things up and I was figuring, “Why not have somebody else paying my rent back home with all the positive cashflow that I was getting from these properties there?” Being from Canada and investing in another country especially in Florida, it’s at least a 24-hour drive if you go straight. I needed a way to start finding these deals. I ended up at a real estate investing seminar and it was from a guy who was teaching Canadians on how to invest in the US. He gave a system on, “This is how you do it.”
The problem with that system was you had to do the same repetitive tasks over and over again. I know myself. I don’t care how easy it is. I’ll last about ten minutes before I just die of boredom doing it. It doesn’t matter how much money is at the end of the hook. Before I got into real estate investing, I was a software developer. I thought there’s no rocket science here. It’s this simple little algorithm that’s going through and figuring out all of these properties and what’s good and what’s not. I ended up building that little thing that would go out, look for these properties and analyze them for me, bring them back and eventually shared it with some of my new real estate investor friends who were doing it. They thought it was cool. One thing led to another and it keeps getting better and better as we keep working on it.
It’s funny how these inventions come out of necessity. You needed a way to do it. I do want to talk or bring up or mention something. I have six or seven students that I’m helping to buy real estate not in their state. They live in one state and they set up shop someplace else where it’s more favorable. A lot of them come from Los Angeles, one from Florida, one from New Jersey, one from San Francisco. Those are places where the prices are too high or the laws are not favorable. By going to do business in another city, you have to learn how to run a real business. You can’t work in the business because you’re not there in the physical location where the houses are. You can only work on your systems and work from the top down, which in the end is more challenging. At the end of the day, you achieve what everyone should be getting into a business, which is to have freedom, time and income. When you accept that challenge of dealing out of state or from far away, when you win that challenge, you’ve created a real business. You’ve created a business that’s more what everyone thinks they’re doing when they start businesses. A lot of people create jobs for themselves. You always have to ask yourself, “Do I have a job or do I have a portfolio?” Always be asking.
I’ve found the same thing. When I’m working on BirdDogBot, my product, I’m always in. I’m into writing code and doing things that I love to do just because I’m a geek. I enjoy it and I ended up in there. When I looked at my real estate side of things, I have my partner who’s down there and he knows that I can’t go somewhere even to change a light bulb. I’m lucky in that I’ve got someone on his side. He’s a lot more knowledgeable with the maintenance and all that of a property. I don’t even know how to hang a picture on a wall, never mind deciding if this roofing code is legit or not. On my side, I always work on the business side of our business and the systems. The beauty of it is I stay out of the way and things magically happen.
Did you go down there to find a partner or did you have someone down that you knew? How did the partnership happen?
It’s a bit of dumb luck. In the right place at the right time, I was looking at acquiring this duplex. There was a sign there for sale and I was looking at the property with a realtor. We called him and he said, “I’m at the property right now if you want to come by and take a look at it.” We thought, “We’re just around the corner. Let’s go and take a look.” I started talking with this guy and I negotiate. He was going to hold the mortgage on that property. We kept in touch after while I still had that property. One day I called him up and I said, “Do you want to do a deal together?” He was like, “What are you proposing?” I said, “I’ll bring the money. You do the work. We split the profit.” He said, “That sounds good to me.” The more we talked and got to know each other, we both had the exact same goals. We both thought the same. We brought different skill sets to the table. Honest to God, it’s a partnership. I couldn’t have handpicked a better partner the way we work together.
You ended up being the money guy and the lead generating guy.
I didn’t do much lead generation myself, but whatever properties we looked at or whatever we found, that was 50/50. I’ve always paid for the property or the down payment or whatever it is we’ve had to do and he’s always put all the work into it in terms of getting the contractors doing what he asks. Sometimes he goes in and he fixes something himself, whatever it may be. The partnership works great because I’m too far away to do that stuff. Not to mention, I don’t want to do that stuff. He’s good at it so it’s a perfect relationship.
Were you able to find private money? Do you have bank relations or you’re just independently wealthy and fund these things? Without getting too personal, you don’t have to answer this question if you don’t want to. How old are you?
I’ll be 42.
When did you find your partner?
I started investing in 2010. It was probably around 2011-ish.
How are you funding your deals?
I had some money saved up. I used to work in the corporate world. It was fairly a well-paying gig back then. By the time I was 30, I had my property paid off. I used that and took over the line of credit on that property and slowly accumulated it.
I didn’t want to get too personal, but it’s important to hear how different people started.It's always a better idea when it's your idea. Click To Tweet
If I analyze something, I’ll analyze it to death and then I’ll never do anything. I jumped in the deep end and learned how to swim out. Once I said, “I want to do this,” I started getting some coaching and that’s where I learned that you could negotiate owner financed property. Once I started getting some experience with that, that’s obviously how I met my partner. A lot of it is either my own money that I’ve saved up or a lot of times we’ll negotiate with the seller. We try to get them to finance the property. The crappy thing on my side is because I’m Canadian, even though I have an impeccable credit rating, they won’t lend me money like a traditional bank and they won’t lend me money to buy a property in the US because I’m not a US citizen. At the same time, a Canadian bank here won’t lend me money to buy a property outside of Canada. It’s a nut that we’ve been trying to crack. We’ve just managed to get some seller financing.
I did a course on Private Money Changes Everything. I have 44 people right now on the streets of San Antonio where I live. I have out deployed anywhere between $13 million and $15 million from private money and I went through and showed how I did it. I’ve talked to some other people and obviously, there are a lot of ways to skin a cat. There are 100 ways to do it. Private money is a super huge key. It’s fast. It’s usually a little more expensive, but it’s affordable. After things get smoothed out and straightened out, they’re not so hard to get a longer-term more beneficial loans once everything is settled. If you’re interested in that topic, I have done well at raising private money over the years.
I’d love to get more on that. It’s a nut we’ve been trying to crack.
It’s called Private Money Changes Everything. It’s at 1000houses.com. You can see it there. It’s not really bulky, it’s not heavy, and it’s not a thick thing. It’s very rich. Everything is seven steps. I don’t ask people to loan me money. I find a way to get myself in a situation to present my case. They end up asking me if they can play because it makes a lot of sense when I present the case. I use a lot of NLP. I get people to open the door to walk into the room of the conversation that I want to talk about. Instead of me taking them into the room, I get them using certain key questions, sentences or statements to get them to walk me into the room so that we can have the conversation I want to have, but it’d be their idea. As soon as you ask someone to have a conversation like, “Will you loan me private money?” they get in the boxing stance. They get in a defensive mode.
If I wanted to get you to ask me, let’s do a little role play and I’ll show you how I use NLP to get you of in the door. This is just one of the instances. There are several of them I’m using to get you all the way into this room to have the conversation I want to have via your idea. The first thing I want you to do is I want to tell you my elevator pitch and tell you what I do for a living, but I want you to ask me. Let’s pretend that you’re a fireman. I noticed that we’re both sitting here in this lobby waiting for this doctor or whatever. You look like you’re in shape. May I ask what you do for a living?
I’m a firefighter, Mitch.
I almost did that. I came about this close to be a firefighter, but I chose a different path.
What do you do?
That’s what I mean. I help average people achieve above-average rates to return their idle money. I give them valuable real estate as collateral. There was no way they can lose. I help people quit gambling in the stock market and quit making 1%. I give them 6% to 10% choices, but it’s always backed by real estate. The real estate is always worth a lot more.
How does that work?
I got you. I achieved my goal in the first step. I got you to open the door even to see if you’re interested in what I was talking about what I offer or what I want to sell. There are these seven little steps and eight out of ten times, I can get right in the room and eight out of ten times, I don’t have to ask, “Do you want to play?” They’ll ask me. It’s a neat lesson in psychology in achieving what you want.
It’s always a better idea when it’s my idea.
That’s what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to get them to a conclusion like, “I should do this.” I haven’t failed in 24 years. Even if I did, you’d get all my houses and you’d be a long way from broke. It couldn’t happen to you. Sorry about that little sidestep. I just want to help you solve that issue if I could. You’re not the only one with that issue. Every investor in the world got that big question like, “How am I going to fund as many as I want?” You go down there and you find this great partner. I want to ask a question though. Did you pull credit reports on each other or background checks on each other before you teamed up and went in altogether?
No, I don’t think so.
Wouldn’t it be good advice for people out there? You did well, you read people well, you had a good feel for the guy that worked out fine. I suggest that before someone forms a corporation to go in it with people or they do something on a grander scale, maybe you can settle upon the house and get out and not have to be partners for life. Maybe that’s how you learn about someone. I’m a great partner picker. Most of my partners have been with me over a decade. One of them passed away, but it was close to two decades. I’m a good partner guy. I see so many people get into partnerships with bad people. I talked to a lot of people in my life and I have a lot of students and a lot of remittances. Overall, it shouldn’t be a stretch to say, “I’m willing for you to do a background check on me. I think though that we should both do a background check so we don’t have to lay awake at night and wonder what’s in the closet somewhere. Would you mind me doing a background check and I’ll give you the information? You can run a background check on me just to get all that out of the way.”
I had the same concerns from other people as well. The first property that we bought together was a $19,000 house in Miami. I wasn’t going to get hurt too badly with this. I figured, “$19,000 plus we put about $20,000 of repairs. What’s the worst that can happen versus what’s the best that can happen?” You factor all that in. If I find in working with him during this one project, I can cut my ties and go. I had my own corporation and he had his. We create an LLC, which was a 50-50 partnership of our two companies. We’ve said, “If this works out, we’ll keep doing more. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll shake hands. We’re still friends and beyond our way.” Throughout that time, there have always been these tests. I’ll give you an example. He’s an active investor himself and he said, “I’ve got a bit of an issue. I’m closing on one house. I’ve got another house closing a few days later and I’m $5,000 short, but I need that $5,000. Is there any way that I could borrow $5,000 from our joint account? I’ll put it back in five days later.” I thought to myself, “This is a good test here.”
If you’re a con man or a bad guy, I want just to pay the $5,000 and learn. In $5,000, I need to figure out who this guy is.
It’s a great lesson for $5,000. In fact, it’s not even $5,000 because half of that money is technically his anyway. I’m getting a 50% discount on that.If tenants are going to ask for exceptions in how they're going to pay the rent, imagine what else is they are going to ask for Click To Tweet
I want to confess and it’d be all transparent. I never pulled background reports or checks on all my partners either. I see so many people that want to jump up to the money man so fast because they don’t have the money and they want to do deals. They’re not doing enough due diligence or their picker is broken. I have a good picker. My picker is great. My picker is right on the money. Some people’s picker is broken and mine is not, but it still would have been a good idea. Anyone who doesn’t want you to do a background check or give you their social and date of birth and their driver’s license number right off the bat, there’s a red flag. It’s like, “I’m going to give you mine.” It might be good though if you’re going to be given out your social. I have LifeLock or identity theft insurance for a couple of million bucks just because I can and in this world, you need it. I could be a nice target for someone if they ever found out enough about me and my positions.
It also helps when you’re raising private money. If you have LifeLock or some identity theft thing, you can give them your social to put them at ease. I one time got private money from one of the richest guys in San Antonio. I walked in and they said I had fifteen minutes to talk to him. I gave him my financials. I gave him my two years of tax returns. I gave him a copy of my driver’s license. I gave him a copy of my social and I had two $100 on top all rubber band together in a stack and I handed it to him. He talks to me for ten minutes. He says, “What’s the $150 for?” I said, “It’s so you can hire a private detective. There’s my social, there’s my driver’s license, there’s my date of birth, and we can figure out who I am in about 24 hours and who I’ve been my whole life.” He pushes the $200 back and says, “I will not need to do one now if you could loan me $1 million.” A lot to be said for that. I didn’t plan to talk about this stuff on this interview, but sometimes these conversations go the way they need to go. I haven’t ever talked about this before on any show. It’s original. You did it. You just do one tiny deal with a guy and you see how it works. If they’re not any good for you. You learn on small issue problems.
It’s just small tests along the way. If you keep pushing their limits and what you’re comfortable with and eventually, you’ll know either I can trust this guy or I can’t.
I still to this day deal with some people that I never want to be in business with or be associated with in the public or anything. I still buy deals from a lot of these people that I wouldn’t be in business if my life depends on it because I don’t trust them. I had this little saying, “You can deal with a snake, you just can’t stand in front of the head.” If you’re dealing with the snake, you’ve always got to position yourself where they can’t get to you. You position yourself such that if they do what they do, they get what you promised. If they don’t, they can’t get to you and you don’t have to deliver the funds. I always set it up like that. Are you the founder or inventor of BirdDogBot?
I am and that came out of a personal necessity of mine to find my own deals. It’s because I live out of the country, out of the city or out of the state, I needed a way to do this.
Explain what BirdDogBot does.
What it’s evolved to now is you can go in and you decided that you want to look for properties let’s say in San Antonio. You say, “I want to look in San Antonio, Texas for three-bedroom and two-bathroom homes from $50,000 to $200,000. That’s what I’m looking for.” You say what type of property you’re looking for. Maybe it’s a single-family home, a condo or a townhouse. “I’m looking at properties that are for sale, foreclosures or different types of listing status.” You say, “These are the numbers and these are how the numbers are that I want it to work.” That’s all you do. The way the system has evolved now is it will constantly be going out to various websites and pulling all the different properties that it has for sale that match San Antonio, three-bedroom and two-bathroom homes in that price range. It runs all the calculations for you. They’ll say, “I looked up 150 to 200 properties or however many there are and here are the four that match that criteria.”
From that, you can then say, “I didn’t have to look at the other 198 of them or however many there were. I can spend my time looking at these four because I know that the precursory numbers work right now.” You can then look at the property and get a proper estimate for what the property would be worth and do all the due diligence that you would need to do. The whole point is you didn’t waste your time with the other 198 of them. Hopefully, out of those four, one of them is a property that you can act on. Not only that, it does this constantly all the time. You could imagine if there were 200 properties for sale and I want to look at them all, it’s going to take me a long time. That list might be different. There might be something new or there might be something removed. What it also does is it will keep an eye on all these properties to see, “The price got reduced by $10,000.” It wasn’t a deal at $200,000 but at $190,000. It’s not worth looking at this. It tells you everything that changed about the property or the new ones that came for sale. To do this manually, it would be ridiculous. There’s no way you could do it. You could have a virtual assistant do it, but why deal with it when it’s just the simple thing that a computer can do.
You’re a geek. You had me fooled there. You’re black-rimmed glasses with the tape in the middle.
I took them off right now. It’s one of those things I love doing just from a kid. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit about me. When I was a teen, I used to buy and sell computer parts.
You’re giving away a free trial on this so people can go and experience it themselves. We’re going to let people experience that seven days of the free trial. For $7, you can get a seven-day trial with this thing. Go to 1000houses.com/BirdDog. You’re also giving away a property deal cruncher. It’s a spreadsheet where you put in the notes and it helps you analyze a property.
It’s something that I used initially before I had BirdDogBot completely written. It was just a simple spreadsheet where I type in like, “This is what the properties are for sale. This is the estimated value of the property. These are some expenses and stuff that I want to factor in.” It has a big box at the bottom that says deal or no deal. It’s simple. That’s what I used before I had BirdDogBot out there doing all the work myself. You can take your property, plug in the numbers one at a time, and go do it. The real value is the BirdDogBot, which will do it all automatically for you.
Both of the things are going to be over here. If you’re a geek, then you’ve automated all kinds of things. Is there more automation that you’ve done personally in your own life or finding houses out in Florida or Georgia? Is there other automation that you’ve done? I’m always into automation.
I try to automate anything I possibly can in my life. There are so many things even in my BirdDogBot business that nobody knows about, nobody sees, and nobody appreciates except for me because it’s just all automated. There are so many background tasks that I would have to hire a virtual assistant for. I’m the type of guy who’ll spend five hours or a day to automate a task that takes me five minutes a day to do because I know that I’m not going to do that task every single day. It’s all technical geek stuff that nobody is going to appreciate except for myself. On the business side goes, my partner and I have a mobile home park in Jacksonville and we’re both always trying to automate as much of it as we can.
One issue we had was collecting rents from the tenants, which can be a real pain in the butt. They’ll be like, “I don’t have the money now, come back tomorrow.” Our property manager used to go knock on the door and say, “Give me the rent.” We found a system where now our rule at the mobile home park is we don’t take cash. We’ve given them a card and they could go into Walmart or wherever and they pay their rent on this card. Now we don’t even have to collect the rent anymore. All we do is we log in to the system and it shows us like, “This rent came in from this person here and if not, now we have our property managers.” He hunts them down if they haven’t paid the rent. For the most part, it’s one of those things that’s just been automated.
We have that in San Antonio. We collect about 300 payments a month at least. I have a self-storage business where I have 1,600 doors and it’s about $100 a month on that business. We have a company called PayLease. The reason how we got to that and the reason why Kosta got to this is that every time these people walk in to make their payment stops the whole office. They’ve got not just to write the receipt to take the money and then you’ve got to figure out what to do with the cash. You’ve got to drive it to make a deposit someplace.
This was a super energy suck because it would be a big enough energy suck if they just brought the cash and you wrote a receipt and they left, but they don’t do that. They want to tell you about all their crap. They want to tell you what’s wrong with the house, what’s wrong with a neighbor or what’s wrong with their car or the dog they took the vet too. They shut the office down 29 times a month, at least in his storage business. It’s called PayLease. It doesn’t even cost us $30 a month. It costs people $2 or $3 per transaction. We put on our door now. We don’t take payments at this office. There are no payments at this office. There are 300 places in town you can make a payment, but this isn’t one of them.
That’s exactly been our approach. Anyone who says, “I don’t want to participate in that system.” It’s like, “Are you giving us your notice that you’re leaving because that’s how you pay your rent here?” If they want to leave, they leave. We’re okay with that. We’ll move on and do what we’ve got to do, but we’re not going to cater to one person because they insist on paying by cash or whatever it is. It’s a good way even to filter out some tenants as well. If they’re going to ask for exceptions in how they’re going to pay the rent, imagine what else they’re going to ask for.Always ask yourself a question that begins with how. Click To Tweet
They’re going to ask for exceptions on everything. My daughter started a loan servicing business that I promote. It’s called Moat Note Servicing. It mostly does Texas and Alabama, although we’re trying to maybe open up in Georgia. You have to be registered licensed in every state. We have a $16,000 software program and then pay $4,000 to get our people trained on it so that we could become very expedient. Not only people being able to collect our payments, but also collect payments for other people. They have portals they can see in real time if the payments have been made or not and all the year-end reporting for every unit or every house. The collection is a big thing. You train people how to pay or you don’t. If you don’t train them how to pay, then they’ll never learn because at least 50% of them are children. You have to teach them how they pay and make sure you charge them their late fees and cause some pain if they don’t. Don’t ever forgive those because, without the pain, they’ll just keep doing the same thing over and over.
When we first acquired that property, we found out that the old owner was an elderly guy selling the property. He’s 80 some odd years old. When we were working with him learning the business, we found that all these rents are coming in late all the time. We got people paying on the 23rd of the month and the rent is due on the first. How do you do stuff like that? We said, “We’re going to implement this late fee thing.” We did that in month one and next thing we know, we’ve got an additional $600 to a $1,000 a month in late fees that we’re collecting because people are paying late. We thought, “This is great. We just increase their cashflow by $1,000 a month.” It’s still a bit of a pain in the butt, but eventually, it gets to a point where they’re chronically late all the time. You’ll wonder why some people end up in financial problems. It’s not that hard. You know that your rent is due on the first. Save your money and pay it on that day. What difference does it make if you paid on the twelfth?
I have a software company called LiveComm that I partnered with two geeks to build for me. It’s called LiveComm.com as in Live Communication. You might want to check it out. I’ve got my days on the market and my house is down to nine days and my average down payment up to 12% when I decided to owner finance. You could also use LiveComm for a lot of different things. One is you can preschedule text message to go out and it costs $0.02 per person. If you times it 29 people, it’s not even worth adding up. You could have rent reminders going out to their text messages two to three days before. That might cut down on the amount of money you collect for late fees, but what could be better is you can take everyone that’s late and send them their late notices via text. Everyone sees their text these days more than they see emails more. You have an onsite manager so it’s not that big deal for them to walk over there, but it’s just another idea on how to touch that person to try to resolve an issue.
We’ve we went through a bit of a purge of late and stuff like that. $50 late fees are great on the income statement there, but at the end of the day, you don’t want to be constantly chasing people for rent. We cleaned that up and the last couple of months has been a bit of a refresh tenant base. We haven’t had that issue so much anymore, but we still do have the rule and we don’t make an exception for it. If someone is late, you’re late. If now is the sixth, you owe us $50 on top of what you owe.
I want you to check out the seven-day trial for $7. Check it out. That seven-day trial results in finding you a motivated seller in your area. This thing is affordable. I didn’t want to talk about price just because this show is evergreen. You could be reading this thing a year from when it was made. It’d be still relevant and I didn’t want to throw the numbers out there, but it’s very affordable and you have a couple of different choices. Even at the most expensive choice, we find one house in a year and it’s stupid money that this thing costs. It’s ridiculously low. Is there anything you’d like to say to the newbies out there?
The only thing I can think of is one thing I’ve learned whether it’s in business or real estate or whatever it is. It’s something that my real estate investing coach taught me. Stop asking yourself yes or no questions like, “Can I do this? Is this a deal?” He taught me just to reposition my mind to say, “How can I do this? This property doesn’t appear to be a deal. How could I make it a deal?” It gets the creative juices flowing in your brain to make things happen. Even if I’m talking about the BirdDogBot, when I first started, I had never would have thought that somebody could log in and put in their information and that’s it. They never have to log in again. Every day it will email you deals. I never even thought of something like that being possible, but as I build it, I would always ask myself, “How can I make this better? How can I take another step out of the equation? As far as investment in properties goes, how can I make this deal happen? Do I lower the price?” Maybe negotiate different terms if they’re doing a seller financing thing. The key is always to ask yourself a question that begins with how.
How do I make this deal work? How do I make the software work? How do I make this office run smoother? Is there a way? Is this good or bad, yes or no? If you say no, you’re done. If you say how, you could never be done.
It’s a double-edged sword if you look at it like that, but for the most part, it’s good knowing that you’ll learn to do all kinds of different things in the process.
Kosta, would you do me a favor? You’re an innovative guy and you’re in the automation and stuff. Would you please go to LiveComm.com, watch the video on the homepage and see if it could be of use to you and look at the features that it has. I don’t want to go all through them. We’re making features like call connect recordings and voice drops coming soon. It’s mass texting, but we relegated how many you could text per day per phone number so that we’re under the algorithm for getting blacklisted. It’s 250 a day. We only send out 200 per phone number. Phone numbers cost $2 a month. They’re not pretty numbers. You can choose area codes and every phone number has a text distribution list attached to it. If someone calls from a cell phone, it puts their cell phone number in this text distribution list.
To give you an idea, one of the reasons why I’m so effective selling houses is I do have a prescheduled message that goes out first. It says that if you no longer want to be on this list, this is how you get off. Despite going out the first of every month, I have almost 10,000 people in San Antonio, Texas who wants to get the URL to the short link the next time I have a new owner finance home comes available. They’re still looking and they haven’t found the home they want. There’ve been appraised that they need at least 10% down and they still want to hear. For $0.02 a person, I can hit my market right between the eyes because these are people that have already called my owner finance signs. I already know they’re interested.
I also know they’re interested doubly because they haven’t opted out. There’s a reason why I’m averaging 12% down when I’m only asking 10% and I’m nine days on the market average on the last 300 deals. This is a large part of it. We tie it to a couple of other things like Facebook marketing and a couple of other things, but LiveComm is instrumental in keeping us right in front of our target area. You only got to spend $0.02 per person to hit them right between the eyes and it’s a super value. Would you look at it for me?
I will definitely look at it.
It has its own API. We can hook anything, we can white label it, and we can do all kinds of things.
My partner and I talk once a week discussing our properties, what we’re doing, and that entire thing. I’m going to add that list for us to take a look at and see if it’s something we can integrate.
You jump started just to watch the video on the home screen because I go through how I use it and what I do. You’ll catch on fast. You might be taking it places that I haven’t even thought of because it can work for a lot of different businesses and a lot of different things. I’m interested if it will tie into BirdDogBot somehow.
We’ll have to take a look at it and let the imagination run wild on that and see what we can do with it.
This is Kosta Apostolou and we’re here with the show. We’ve been letting this conversation go where it goes, but we’ve got some good stuff in here. There is some stuff I don’t think I’ve ever talked about before. I’ve done over 300 shows so this is cool. I want you to go to 1000houses.com/BirdDog to get your property deal cruncher or to take advantage of the seven-day, $7 offer to try out BirdDogBot. I want to say thanks to my sponsor TaxFreeFuture.com. Please go there and watch the 37 videos on how to grow and magnify your savings or your retirement plans by using tax-deferred or tax-free vehicle accounts. You will not believe what your financial advisor is not telling you. Mr. Apostolou, thank you very much. I will see you soon.
Mitch, thanks for having me.
- Kosta Apostolou
About Kosta Apostolou
Kosta started his career working as a software developer for large corporations. After discovering the concept of passive income, he walked away from a well-paid career in the corporate world and shifted his focus to entrepreneurship and ultimately investing in real estate. Since then, he’s merged all his passions into creating BirdDogBot – a software technology that automates finding deals for real estate investors and wholesalers. He also loves helping and encouraging others to experience the joy of creating passive income streams through entrepreneurship and investing.