Two Investors Talk Raul Bolufe
Episode 527: Two Investors Talk Raul Bolufe
There are a lot of opportunities in real estate. You just have to be committed to learning and overcome its challenges. Raul Bolufe found out about wholesaling through a podcast and started in the real estate business.
He focused on building his company little by little throughout the years. Today, it can function well without him by buying many deals and renting and flipping. In this episode, he emphasizes his passion for helping people in his organization be successful and live a carefree life without worrying about money. Listen to tips on managing his business and how he developed the enthusiasm that drives him to achieve his objectives.
Watch the episode here:
I’m here with Raul Bolufe. He’s a young man. I’ve got to ask him his age because it always aggravates the hell out of me when these guys are in their twenties and already hitting milestones. I didn’t pull my head out of my butt until I was about 34. How are you doing, Raul?
I’m doing good. Thanks for having me on here.
What are we going to be talking about?
We can take it all full circle. We can talk about houses or age, whatever you want.
You started out wholesaling or fixing and flipping?
I start out wholesaling.
Most people do. I’m one of the few people that didn’t. Most people start wholesaling and it’s a perfect place to start. It makes a lot of sense because most of us started and broke. Were you broke when you started?
I’m a broke college student and living in my mom’s house. I was selling cars and I was like, “I hated every moment of it.” The only thing the car business taught me was sales, how to be less shy and it taught me that rich people owned real estate.
It also probably taught you how to jack up deals and do sales wrong. I came off to sell cars a lot, too. I get out of there. I was like, “They are killing these poor people.” They are burying them in the back room.
I liked it so much. There’s something in my gut. Every time I would make a sale, I feel dissatisfied. That’s how I started. For years I was broken. I knew that rich people had real estate. When I would sell fancy cars and stuff, you ask questions, “How much money do you make? What do you do? A lot of people were like, “Real estate.” One day, I quit. I’m like, “Let’s figure this out.” I found wholesaling through podcasts and things. That’s how I’ve got started in the wholesale stuff.Rich people own real estate. Click To Tweet
How old are you?
How old when you started?
I was 21 when I started.
You are pretty young. Hats off to you. It took me much longer to figure out. When you jumped, did you have a net? Have you already been exploring it or have you just had enough of the car business and you jumped, and started from scratch?
I have done some research. Maybe some of your readers do look on YouTube, podcasts, and things like that. I found a guy that was doing wholesale, followed him around, and bugged him a little bit until he accepted that I wasn’t going away. He’s like, “If you give me $5,000, I will teach you.” I’m like, “I don’t have $5,000.” I borrowed some money from family or whatever. I’ve got him down to $2,500 and $2,500 later. After bugging him a little bit, I paid him. He taught me how to do my first deal and it took me three months but that’s how I’ve got started.
That first deal is the key. It doesn’t matter how much you made on your first deal. Usually, it’s a little bit. Some people get ruined if they make a lot of money on their first deal. It could be dangerous. What did you make on your first deal?
It’s $6,000 on my first deal.
It’s the typical foot. The typical wholesale is between $6,000 and $8,000.
It was a complicated one but I learned a lot. I’m like, “If I can do it once, I can do it three times.” It instilled that little bit of confidence in me. I’m like, “Let’s do it. Let’s get another one.”
Are you still wholesaling?
We have a wholesale business. We are still wholesaling. That’s our primary income. We do some fix and flips. I own some rental portfolios and do some owner financing deals because I read your book.
Do you read The Art of Owner Financing? Is that the one you read?
The Art of Owner Financing.
Are your owner finance deals in Florida?
In Florida. That’s right.
Are you doing a land trust? Florida is a little hard to foreclose in sometimes.
I’m selling on contract for deed.
The best thing in Florida is to make sure you research your people and they are not litigious or don’t have a big history of that. You don’t want to foreclose on the wrong person in Florida. It might be a little hard but there are ways to do it. I know people that are very successful there and there are things that work. It’s a little different than Texas, where I’m from. Texas and Georgia have the same exact Foreclosure Laws.
It’s pretty simple to foreclose in those states.
The problem with states like Florida is that they are judicial foreclosure. You’ve got to go in front of a judge and a lot of these judges are Liberalists. They just legislate from the bench. They are like, “She just got divorced and pregnant. She has a little baby. We are going to give it to her.” Where does it say all that in the statue? It says that your 30 days haven’t been paid. She got to get the hell out of my house. What does all this stuff have to do with it?
That’s the problem with the judicial foreclosure, plus they can keep postponing the court date, “I was sick now.” You get on the docket and you can’t get on the docket now for another 60 or 90 days. Heaven forbid, we are a big foreclosure time. There was a time in Florida, you couldn’t get on the docket for six months, the same in Texas. How many wholesale deals do you think you have done since you were 21? It’s not a big deal.
Probably around 500.
That’s a lot of deals but flips are in and out. Do you have a machine that does that or you’ve got it organized, now it’s automated or what?
I have focused on building a little bit of a machine. I did it all by myself for a few years and with 1 or 2 other guys, partners, and things.
You need that because you go out there and get to see what happens. You get to smell the air and get to know, “I read the book by the guru but that’s not exactly how it works.”
I see young guys and I don’t mean not to put them down or not inspire them but to scale out of business in 1 or 2 years might be doable. I don’t think it’s very feasible or anything. For a bunch of years, I did it by myself or with 1 or 2 other guys. Now we have a COO, sales managers, eight acquisition people, things like that, and the machine moves. I’m still very involved. My office is right out of the corner. I was in there helping out on deals and jumping on the phone. I’m not disconnected but the machine moves fairly without me.
You could figure it out to get out of it if you wanted to. You still want to be engaged or be doing it. At 29, you are still in the deal junkie phase. You just flipped on deals.
We have been buying a lot of deals, doing some renting, and flipping. I like to see it from the ground level and be from step one of negotiations, even one of our acquisitions guys. I like to be there and be like, “Let’s try to get at this number. I’m still in the deal junkie phase for sure.
You will be like, “I’m on a boat. I never want to see a house again.” I have a phone. They take a picture of the numbers and the contract in the house. I thumbs up or thumbs down, and then I go fish.
We will put it on the calendar in ten years. We will do it for fun.When you close your first deal, you develop self-confidence. If you can do it once, you can do it twice! Click To Tweet
Let’s talk about this real quick. Maybe one of the things you connected to in the book, The Art Of Owner Financing, which by the way, you can get at 1000Houses.com. You can also get it on Amazon but it’s cheaper at my site and includes shipping. Let’s say the average wholesale deal was $8,000. I’m picking up $8,000 or more in a down payment because I’m a seller financing the house for 30 years at 10%. When you do your $8,000, it’s a wholesale deal. It’s over with it. It stopped and ended. It’s one-time cash. It’s done.
When I do my $8,000 or $10,000 down, they still owe me an average of $500 a month, positive cashflow. I owner financed my houses for 30 years, which is 360 months. They owe me 360 times $500 or $180,000 more in the future. It’s what they owe me of positive cashflow after I have collected the down payment. I’m not condemning wholesaling. Almost everyone starts wholesaling. It’s a great thing. You’ve got to realize the only difference between being a wholesaler and a seller financier, which means making the $8,000 you are out or making the $8,000 and still owed $180,000 in the future is some funding, probably private money.
If all you do in 2022 if you are a wholesaler is learn how to get some private money so that you can hold onto a lot of these deals and stay in the middle, that’s a valid course or goal for 2022. There’s a reason why I’m a multi and it goes on because every deal I make, I still owe $180,000 to $220,000 in the future. It’s right there on my bottom line.
One of the things I regret is buying more and keeping more properties.
That’s typical, too. Me too when I was young. I was buying a house. I was selling it on paper and selling the paper all in the same 30 to 60 days. I was addicted to that big fat check. I didn’t even quit until the economy went into the crapper and closed. I had to hold onto them and thought, “Why in the hell did I ever sell them up? I don’t learn easily. I learn slow. It’s a natural progression. You go from wholesaling and go to fix and flips. Are you doing some of those?
We did some of those. In 2021, we did ten of them and in 2022, we will probably do twenty.
Let’s go back to the wholesaling. What’s the average price range of the house that you wholesaled to the dealer who sends you the contract?
We are doing average is about $120,000 to $150,000 average price point of a house.
Is that’s the contract price that you signed?
That’s still affordable housing. It didn’t use to be several years ago but now that’s affordable housing still. When you do the fix and flip, what’s the price range?
It’s about the same. We will buy off of our own wholesale company, but we try to buy under $220,000 purchase price, and then sell the high $200,000 to low $300,000. That’s our little niche there.
You’ve got the one-time cash events hammered. You are doing some temporary cash events like the owner finance notes. What is your forever strategy?
For a long time, it was rentals.
Is it houses, apartments, duplexes or what?
Houses to fourplexes.
I hate that business. Did you enjoy it?
No, that was where I was going next. As you start seeing the reality of it, it’s like you feel you missed something. All my goals in 2022 are I want to buy a twelve-unit or plus and I want to sell off a couple of houses and buy one of those.
Would you agree that “The buy and hold is the biggest myth ever portrayed on the real estate community?” They make it simple. You buy a house and your payment is $500. You are collecting $1,000 and keeping $500. They blow right past it like nothing is ever going to break and no one is ever going to tear anything up. Everyone is going to pay you on time and no one is going to steal your plumbing.
It’s 100% of myth. I reviewed my properties with my assistant every Monday. The only two properties I never talk about are my owner financed ones. We never had a conversation about them because we are just owner-financing.
If something breaks, it’s not your crap. It’s their crap. I love that business. I’m so passionate about that business. Let’s say it has at least three flaws. 1) You don’t get appreciation. 2) You don’t get depreciation. 3) It’s temporary. Notes run out. They expired. I’m not too worried about appreciation. I’m sure you are not either because you bought the house for $50,000 and you sold it for $100,000 in 30 minutes or 30 days if it took a long time. If it took you 30 days, that’s a 1,200% mark up. I’m not worried about that.
Depreciation, I was a concern but what happens is you get 4 or 5 notes, and you sell them or you collateralize them. You go build a $1 million mini store. All of a sudden, now you’ve got $1 million worth of depreciation. When I bought the storage, that was a forever play. That would end when I decided that storage was going to end because I’m collecting rent. Rent is forever. Payments have end dates. Are you studying someone in the apartment arena? Are you doing syndication or are you just want to own your own outright?
I have two close friends/partners. We’ve each got a couple of hundred thousand dollars were ready to put down. I’m just making offers and between us three, we are going to put a down payment. I’ve already got the financing lined up.
You are trying to find the right property, someone to say yes at the right number.
My goal is to make about fifteen offers on multifamily, and then I’m going to keep making offers until something sticks. That’s the name of the game.
Did you take some big apartment-finding classes? To me, it’s not that complicated. There are expenses and there is income. Is there a lot of deferred maintenance? Am I going to have to do some rehab or whatever? People would ask me about my storages. I chose to do both mini storages for my forever hold and people go, “Can you explain to me how you size up a storage?” I said, “You take everything it costs and your debt service up against everything you make. If you like the difference between those two numbers, you buy it.”
The best class I took or it wasn’t a class but I called up a commercial lender that was referred to me. I said, “Here’s a building I’m looking at. Can you help me with the numbers? How would you look at it?” We spent about 45 minutes on the phone with a commercial lender from a bank. She ran me through her spreadsheet and everything. I’m like, “Perfect. Now I know exactly what to do.” I didn’t need a class. I went straight to the lender. I said, “If I were to bring you a deal, how would you look at it so I know to bring you good deals?” She said, “This is the income. Here’s my spreadsheet. Plug it in there. If it fits, send it to me and I will finance it someway.” I’m like, “Perfect.”
That’s one thing about rentals. It’s pretty easy to find the money for it. Everybody has money for rentals. Everyone understands rentals. It’s a little harder to find money that you can borrow to buy a house, so you can wrap the mortgage on it.
That was my challenge of why I have not bought more.
I can help you with that. I ditch you here to sell you a course on private money, but I can help you with that for sure.All of us regret buying more and keeping more properties. Click To Tweet
I did exactly what you said in the book. I found a lender for a 5-year note for 5 years of private money, about 8% interest. I ended up getting it at 10%.
I started at 18% in $2,000.
I did that on 2 deals, 5 years. I wrapped it and it’s very simple. I bought it for $47,000 sold it for $99,000. I did that twice on two deals in Lakeland, Florida. That guy ran out of cash and to find another guy with those terms has been challenging. At the same time, I haven’t been looking too hard, to be honest.
I make payments on the first of every month. I have $26 million now that I have wrapped. My balance owed to me was $48 million. You have a giveaway for the readers. You are not selling anything, which is cool because we can just talk. What is your giveaway about?
I’m giving away the contract that we use. We now wholesale in ten states. We buy properties in about ten states. This contract works in almost every state. If you are looking to buy a house or something, we will give you the off-market contract that we use. I’m putting together also the scripts that we use when we talk to sellers and a spreadsheet to analyze deals. It’s a little starter kit if you are interested in analyzing deals, buying properties, your first or next.
I want everyone to go to 1000Houses.com/bolufe, and that will take you to the show notes. The show notes will be everything we are talking about here. We mentioned it’s over there. You also have a podcast. What’s the name of your podcast?
It’s called Flipping Miami.
What do you have to say to the 18, 19, 20 or 21-year-olds that are out there now that are trying to find themselves and figuring out what to do?
It’s probably the most beautiful time because typically, you are as very naive as I was. Sometimes naive is bliss. I would say, “Go for it.” At 18, 19, 20 or 21, even until you are probably 25, you have nothing to lose. If you go out there and try to get a wholesale contract or get an owner finance note. People tell you, “No.” You have no money. Get a job until you have money, and then go back and do it again. You have nothing to lose. I would take what you want. Go out there and make it happen.
I know what you are going to do. You are going to go out there, get a bartending job, and then you are going to have that whole thing going on. You get in the morning when you get your butt out of bed. I was always an early riser. If the sun was up, I was up. If I worked until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, I just came up with the sun.
I don’t know why but I always came up with the sun. You go out there, go to work and try to put it together. One day you don’t need a bartending job. At 20 or 21, you may want to keep it anyways. When you start making more in a couple of deals in one month than you made the whole year of bartending, it starts to lose its luster a little bit. Did you start part-time or did you just jump?
When I was in the car dealer, I was probably putting in ten hours a week. I started sending the handwritten mailers and stuff. Probably about ten hours a week I was spending while I was still working. When I’ve got fed up, and then I went full-time.
Did you make a hit before you quit or got fed up because you knew you could do it but you just weren’t able to put in the time you had to quit?
I was getting phone calls and interest, but I didn’t make a deal before I quit. I quit without a deal.
You are brave. We call you jumpers. I had to plan a little bit. I hit a few deals and had my whole year’s salary in the bank before I jumped. I said, “I make $35,000 a year in my bartender job.” I’ve got $35,000 in the bank from the last 2, 3 or 4 deals. I don’t remember. I said, “I’ve got a year to see what I would do if I’m full-time.” I ended up doing 45 deals that year. I never went back to the job. You are 29 years old in 2022. What’s your big why? Where are you headed?
In a deep perspective, I want to do what I want when I want, type of stuff but as far as a more practical thing. Honestly, I want a big house on the water and no worries. I don’t want money to be a worry. I want my family and friends to be taken care of. I also want to create a bunch of successful people in our organization. That’s where I’m going. I want to live how I want and that’s pretty much it.
People ask me, “Why do I still do this? If you have so much money, why are you doing all this stuff?” I said, “I have been retired, sat down and that’s boring as hell.” I don’t play golf but if you had to play golf every day, it’s not fun. The reason why you like it is you used to play on the weekends. It was a treat. What I figured out was a couple of things.
One was self-preservation. A guy with a lot of energy with more money than he will ever need that has nothing but time on his hands is a very dangerous place. A guy with a lot of money and all the time in the world on his hands and a lot of energy will find very aggressive demons. Not that I had any real problems but I was smart enough to see real quick that this is a dangerous place. I need to get busy. The other thing was, what do I want to do? I don’t need more money, not to say that I don’t want more money. How can we help some people? This was to your point, you want some people to come along for the ride, too, not just you. It is very admirable and I like that you think that way.
What I found is I needed the emotional reward, not as much the financial but I needed the emotional word to know that I was changing people’s lives and that change was probably going to be forever. It was going to affect a lot of people. It’s going to affect their kids, their wife, and maybe even some relatives around them or whatever. It was going to be dramatic.
The greatest feeling in 2021 was that two of our people, for the first time ever, made personally over $150,000 because of our company. I started shaking and everything. I was like, “That’s so amazing.”
What were they making before?
Between $30,000 to $50,000 a year.
A $150,000 is a lot of money. That’s life-altering and eye-opening money. Now they can step out and go to a $3,000 seminar. You have a little room to start getting enlightened at a faster pace. Let’s face it, when you are making $30,000, you are so tight. You are worried about a $1 for gas.
As far as sellers and buyers, I want to help them the best I can but maybe selfishly, I’m more passionate about my internal team because the happier they are and the better we train them, the better they are, the better they are going to serve their clients, which is buyers and sellers. I like to start from the inside out and that keeps me going. If I can make a couple of millionaires by the end of my career, I will be thrilled.
You are going to make a lot more than that. Believe me. You are just figuring it out. I like the customer aspect that you said, “If they were happy, they would be giving good customer service.” We looked at it like how to build loyalty. It was a great atmosphere that made great money. As they’ve got to certain levels, they started becoming partners or starting buying into cashflow things with us.
You are talking about so that we would stay together for decades. If you make it 4 or 5 years with someone on the team, chances are, you can make it 50 years. You work good together. The questions are, “Are they probably going to leave if you don’t let them mature into some cashflow with you?” I get them to form their LLC, we have my LLC, and then after years, they can start partnering with us on deals or they can bring the deal.
I can put up the money and we take it over to my infrastructure. We put it in a servicing company or whatever and we share it but they’ve got to bring the deal. I will bring the money. I feel good enough to bring the money and have them as a partner because I have been with them for four years. If they had a flaw, I would know all already. If they were dishonest, I would know within four years.
They probably wouldn’t be around your ecosystem.
Within four years, there are deals that don’t go right. They hit gray areas, where we’ve got to sit down and say, “How are we going to handle this? You do some money. I do some money but this is all jacked up. What’s fair?” You figure out that they are a fair team player. You think, “These are the people I can go with for life.” I have four of them.
Four of them have been with you for a few years or more.
One of my partners has been with me for several years. Never a crossways word. Never a penny out to place and we don’t split hairs. We round things off. We don’t worry about the small crap like, “A $100 here or there. I’m not worried about that. I’m looking at the big picture.” We are on the same goal. To us, you’ve got to take the one-time cash events and the temporary cash events.
We’ve got to throw all into a forever scenario and keep doing this forever scenario as aggressively as we can so that one day we never have to do anything ever if we want to but manage a management company. It’s easy to compare to what we have been doing like doing the crap. That was the idea. To have some young bucks that have the energy to do the heavy lifting as you start to mature into the sunset. I’m 60, my partner is 35 and all the other guys are in their 20s.
I didn’t think of it when I first started of how to do it but my COO, Lewis, has been with me for several years. At the end of 2021, I’m like, “Let’s start doing some deals together.” I felt that he wanted to be a part of it.
If you don’t, they will leave. That’s why attorneys have seventeen people on the door and so because if they don’t make that attorney a partner and start sharing in the bigger picture, those people are going to go become competition and steal the client. It’s a short little brief overview of the whole thing but yes.
The other thing is if you find some people you work together that have integrity that is good at what they do, why the hell? How would they want to go start their own company and have to create everything that I have created, all the office, staff, and people in the chair? Why would I want to start over and go try to find someone new to replace him?
We have thousands of hours in these guys. They have matured into exactly our culture to a way we want it, they fit great and they are happy there. If you let them go, I’ve got to go find another guy to make all these things, try to work. It’s not just, “I’m going to teach them how to buy and sell.” They have to fit the culture, personalities in the office, and a lot of stuff.You can learn entrepreneurship. You can learn if you commit and like you decide to do it for sure. Click To Tweet
It’s not just putting an ad and getting somebody in the door. It takes a little bit to get at 1 of those 4-year guys, for sure.
We went through a lot of people.
That’s a stage we are at now. We’ve got an in-house recruiter to recruit one new salesperson every week. It’s not because we want to keep everybody but it’s to get as many people through the door and see them work. The people that fit will like, “You are coming over here with me.”
Do you use personality tests?
We use a DISC profile.
That’s helpful because I used to pick people that I liked that I was familiar with. It seemed like they were cool to me. They never worked out. When the DISC file said, pick this guy. I looked over and said, “This guy has a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. There’s no way in hell.” That’s the guy that has been with me now for several years.
That guy is going to keep all your stuff.
He was just an acquisitions guy. He happens to have a personality. When you think of mechanical engineers, I don’t think they are the most outgoing guy in the world. He was pretty outgoing. It worked but I would have never guessed that a Master’s Mechanical Engineering from A&M would be one of my top acquisition guys. Whatever it was in his personality, the DISC test said, “He’s your guy.” I told my partner, “There’s no way this guy is going to make it.” My track record is so crappy. A 100% failure rate that I have to go with this one time just to see. Every time I went with a test so far, it was good.
It helped us with admin when we were hiring a TC because you can’t get high drivers in that role. From my experience, at least, you need the more stable, the high S and high C. It helped over time, for sure.
One of the things we tested for was not an entrepreneurial bone in their body. They weren’t going to start anything, but they would make great. Not to say that they couldn’t or wouldn’t. I guess they would if you can push and come to shove because they have gotten good at what they do but they don’t want to. The other thing is there is one time my daughter, Shannon, has been in the center of the office for many years. I said, “You had to get an assistant for it.”
We tested Shannon, my daughter, to find out everything she was strong at, and then we tried to find someone else who tested in everything that she was weak at. The guy or girl that we wanted or whoever was going to be high in the areas where my daughter was weak. We weren’t hiring the same person. It’s either the fill-in person the one to complete the circle. That worked out pretty good.
When I was first hiring or getting my first partners and I was like 22 or 23. I had good partners, they were part family, part friends but they were good people. They helped me a lot but we were all the same person and it didn’t end because it was my mistake. I didn’t do the homework and learn about personality tests.
You are 21. Give yourself a break. Do you know what I was doing when I was 21? I had my head way up my keys. I wasn’t thinking about that. Anything else you want to add before we wrap it up? What do you say to these guys that are out there that are trying to better themselves or maybe thinking about entrepreneurialism?
Step one is to commit. If it’s a thought in your mind and you have maybe lost sleep over it or if you have thought about it a few times. You talk to your girlfriend or boyfriend about it. At one moment in your time at a coffee shop in your house or some crap. Just commit and be like, “I’m going to do it.” It doesn’t matter how you are going to get there.
The first thing is to commit and feel it. I don’t remember the exact moment but I remember leaving the dealer and going home. I was like, “I’m going to do this. I’ve got many referrals. A single thing, I was dumb. I’ve got bad grades in school but I just committed. I’m like, “I’m going to do it. I don’t know how but I’m going to figure it out.” I followed a guy around. I bothered him one million times.
You are not in college either because if you started at 21, you didn’t go to college.
It took me seven years to get my Bachelor’s degree. I finished in 2021 for my mom. I’ve got the little paper for mama and it took a little longer than expected but I’ve got it.
Do you think that you can learn to be an entrepreneur, or you are born to be an entrepreneur?
No, you can learn. There are people that are born with a little bit more of an intense towards it, or maybe their family or whatever but 100% you can learn if you commit and decide to do it for sure.
I want everyone to go to 1000Houses.com/bolufe. It’s your free contract that he has been using to buy houses in ten states, also a spreadsheet to size up some houses and to talk to the sellers. If you enjoyed the episode, let us know. I will talk to you soon as it has been a pleasure having you, Raul. I appreciate you.
Thanks for having me.
About Raul Bolufe
Only 7 years ago, in 2012, Raul quit his job in a thriving family business, moved back in with his mom to chase a goal. He started real estate without prior knowledge, he had no established network It was the year 2012 and I was working at my father’s Car Dealership as a salesman. Was 18 years old and quite frankly almost making 6 figures per year. BUT something didn’t feel right, working Sundays and holidays was not my style.
I felt almost burnt out at that age, depleted of my life, and my potential. Really felt like I was on a hamster wheel in some kind of lab experiment and people wearing white lab coats were laughing at me. One day I came across the Flip2freedom podcast by Sean Terry. THE OG, and it clicked everything changed for me mentally.
I then scurried through town and found a local mentor and borrowed money to learn from him He taught me how to do deals right on MLS and after 3 long months, I found 1. Then that became 3, then 10, and now close to 500. (But who’s counting). Between wholesaling real estate, flipping, owning rentals this business has brought me as close to freedom as a bald eagle in America flapping its beautiful wings