02 Aug Interview with Alex Saenz
Alex Saenz with Home Equity Pros shares how he’s earned $1MM in Wholesale Fees by the age of 21
Video Replay of Interview with Alex Saenz
Podcast Replay of Interview with Alex Saenz
Steve: Hey everybody, thank you for joining us for today’s episode of Real Estate Disruptors. Today we have Alex Saenz with Home Equity Pros, and he’s here to share. He’s earned already a million dollars in wholesale fees by the age of 21, I’m a little bit jealous. So if this is your first time tuning in I’m Steve Trang, broker, owner of Stunning Homes Realty, co-founder of the OfferFast wholesale app, the one app you need for wholesaling, and I help people become real estate entrepreneurs. If you’re excited for today’s show give me some waves, give me some hearts, and before we get started, I did start the show because we want to give back to our community.
Steve: I’ve struggled before. I know Alex has struggled before and we want to shortcut that struggle for as many young leaders as possible. I don’t charge a dime for this show. I don’t make any money doing this, so here’s all I ask, this is your only cost for listening to this show, if you get value please tell a friend, either share this episode right now, tag your friend below or tell them your best takeaway from the show later on that way we can all grow together. Don’t forget this is a live show, so please post your questions and Alex would be happy to answer them for you. Ready to go?
Alex: Absolutely, let me just finish sharing this and get it going.
Alex: Good to go.
Steve: We’ll start with a softball. What got you into wholesaling?
Alex: Well, first and foremost thank you for having me on here. I mean I watched majority of these and they’re awesome so I mean the value that you’re providing out there for free on your own time is amazing, so thank you for that.
Steve: It’s my pleasure.
Alex: Yeah, so what got me into real estate? I think that the best answer I would say would be God, because I never planned it. So a little background, I grew up with … My dad was a contractor. Since I could remember age of five I would go on small projects that he was doing, and growing up I wanted to be a construction manager. I wanted to go to college then get paid like 70 to 80 K a year, so that was my intentions throughout high school, but I never thought about being an investor. So after I graduated high school I went through some hardships in life, parents divorce, we lived in a trailer park, just a very humble upbringing. And what got me into real estate was my buddy Jalen White, sure you know him, right?
Steve: Oh, he’s a little bit of a legend so yeah.
Alex: Yeah, he’s a legend. So one day, it’s like two weeks before graduation and he says, “Hey Alex, can you go down with me to see a property that I just bought?” I’m like-
Steve: Before you graduated high school?
Alex: Before I graduated high school. Two weeks before graduation I learned about wholesaling, right? So he’s like, “Hey Alex, do you want to go down with me to see a property that I just bought?” I’m like, “You just bought a property?” I mean I have like negative 20 in my bank account, he’s 18 as well so I was just mind-blowing, and we go to this property. And I think the reason why he wanted me to go is because it was a very rough area.
Steve: A little sketchy.
Alex: Yeah, very sketchy, boarded up crackheads around the corner. Turns out he ended up telling me about real estate and he was still very new at it but he gave me enough information to intrigue me, and then two weeks after that like a date before graduation he shows me his bank account and he closed a $13,000 deal and that was all the proof that I needed to start real estate. So he introduced me to wholesaling mid-2015 and he closed his deal, left for vacation for like three months. Yeah, he introduced me and I was very eager to learn so throughout those three months just looked at every YouTube video that you can think of on real estate, I mean even the legends like Ron LeGrand, just old, old videos. I mean very bad quality videos but very good contact.
Alex: So I started then and it was by accident I mean it just happened. Didn’t go to college. I was going to enlist in the Navy, didn’t do that. Kept banging out real estate, and it took me eight months to get my first deal.
Alex: And those eight months, they were not pleasant I’ll tell you that.
Steve: You learn a lot of lesson. So that’s the next question, what were some of your early struggles?
Alex: No guidance really. I’m a very confident guy, and it can get the best. I grew up thinking that I can do everything by myself, and during those eight months … I mean I got the first day by myself, help here and there but for the most part it was just, “Oh I’m going to do this for myself, I don’t need anyone.” So early on if I would have … Now I’m taking all the help I can get. I learn from everybody. So early on that was one of my biggest struggle was just putting my ego down and really learning from people that were crushing it that I can duplicate in my own life.
Steve: And before you came in I was doing some research and I came across your journey story on YouTube, and there was a quote that jumped out on me and I’m probably butchering it but, “God doesn’t put you through a road that you cannot come out of,” something along those lines. So you’re dealing with something where he lost five grand, what was-
Alex: Oh, that deal.
Alex: Okay, so like I said eight long months of just constant struggle to get my first deal. I mean during those eight months I gained 45 pounds, just depression. Every bad emotion you can think of was going through my mind. I mean it was not easy, but during that time, about December which was six months after I learned about the concept of wholesaling I got a 5K deal under contract. Got it under contract and it was set to close January 2nd or the 3rd if I remember correctly, and I quit my job. Christmas day I had $1,500 to my name from my saved checks. I actually saved the checks, I didn’t cash them because I knew I would waste them. So I was living off credit cards but I wanted to stay cash heavy which I still do.
Alex: So I quit the job and I flew out to Dallas for New Year’s, and I mean I’m very giving when it comes to family so I was buying small gifts here and there. I went to Cowboys game, sat like second row. So I spent it thinking that when I came back-
Steve: You had cash and checks you didn’t have yet.
Alex: That’s right. So I was spending … That’s one thing I learned now, do not count your money too early, especially in real estate because anything could just turn real quick. So fast forward, after I came back from Dallas I had $300 left, and on that Monday I get a call from the seller’s son, “Hey, my dad has cancer we’re not going to sign the closing docs.” And at this time I didn’t know about memorandum, and plus it hadn’t come across my mind just because it was such a tragic situation in their family that I just moved on, so I lost that $5,000 deal. So now I have rent coming, I’m living at a studio by myself and I had to borrow money for rent, and I mean here we go again, no job, had to borrow money so I’m in debt even more. I have like 3K in credit card bills, and it just crushed me at that moment.
Steve: And then you said that you gained a lot of weight and all this other stuff that was going … What was the lead up? Because right now I know there a lot of people that are wholesaling houses full-time, watching YouTube videos and they’re dreaming the dream and they think they’re just going to, “Oh, I’m just going to go wholesale, I’m going to make a crapload of money,” and I’m sure you had that aspiration, I know I’ve had some crazy ideas, so what were some of the struggles and how can we help some of those people going through that struggle?
Alex: Well, before I go there let me just finish off this story because I think it’s actually very interesting. So I went 10 days of pure … just like every negative emotion you can think of, right? So those 10 days, I just want to quit. I’m quitting at life, total victim mentality. 10 days later I’d drive four dollars, on the second house that I find I look up the owner’s name, county assessor. I look up his number on Intelius which is a very low quality data company and-
Steve: They advertise the most.
Alex: Yeah, they have a good marketing budget, right?
Alex: Ended up contacting the seller and just to fast-forward that, got two deals from that second house that I drove four dollars in, and to this day I have not got a deal that’s exact same way. I call it God’s wink, when God just reassures something in your life. I mean I got the dealer contract, and three to four days later … The next day I found a buyer I called all the individuals that had houses for rent in the area and then he was a cash bar, he closed in three days. So I mean from January 2nd to the 13th was just horrible, just wanted to quit. I was looking for jobs and then got a blessing, like 13th, 14th and then three, four days later I got a check for $13,000, and that was my first deal story, so it’s crazy.
Steve: Well I want to add to it too for the guys that didn’t watch this story was that you were just listening to a Christian station, and you were just wallowing in depression and that was the message that came through.
Alex: I mean I was heartbroken. I was just done. I mean I really had gave in, and my girlfriend invited me to go eat because she was still working so she invited me to go eat, and I remember it. She invited me to go to Buffalo Wild Wings, I remember every detail, and we stop by her grandmas and she’s like, “Hey, I’m going to get ready do you want to come in?” I’m like, “No, I’ll stay here.” So I mean I had gave in but I’m still like, “Man I was this close,” just thinking. So switching through stations and there’s Christian music. I’ve been a Christian my whole life. I’ve been part of the church since I can remember so I’ve always had an immense amount of faith, and during that time I just felt this warm feeling and I heard the radio host mentioned, “God doesn’t put you through a road that he knows that you won’t overcome.” Something along those lines, and at that moment that’s when I just decided to drive for dollars.
Alex: So it was a moment in my life where I just felt extremely guided, and it’s really hard to explain. Honestly I think every one of us has those little moments, and I call them God’s winks when you just know okay, this didn’t happen for a reason or it didn’t happen for no reason, it happened for a specific purpose, and now looking back it’s like that was just a huge blessing.
Steve: Yeah. So going back to some of the struggles that you did face that led up to that point, what were some of the struggles and how did you overcome those struggles for the new guys that haven’t done a deal yet?
Alex: So when I first started?
Alex: Well first of all I would say I didn’t have a mentor or guidance. I didn’t have money for a mentor but now looking back there’s different ways I could have added value to someone’s business in return for mentorship. So I think just following someone that you resonate with and someone that you kind of vibe with, just finding someone that can guide you. I mean listening to constant podcasts, this show. Early on that’s something. And then just staying in tune with the business and those in the business, so that’s something that really helped looking back now.
Steve: Okay, and then so I saw that you were also flipping Jordans. I mean you were hustling so before you were flipping houses you were flipping Jordans, so let’s talk about that. I mean you were already a hustler.
Alex: Yeah, I mean I sold candy in school and for football we would do cookie dough fundraisers, I would be like the top guy because I was hustling. That money never came to me but paid our uniforms, right?
Alex: Yeah, for the Jordans story, so I got a pair of Jordans in 2008, I think I was like 12 at the time and my mom gave me a pair for my birthday or a Christmas, one of those, I can’t remember off the top of my head. I ended up selling the pair like a month later which is not something you do. I mean if you get a gift don’t sell it but I ended up selling it or selling a pair, it was a pair of 13s for the Jordan fans out there. I got like 200 bucks. I went on Craigslist and I started low-balling people that had Jordans for sale. So kind of just started and before you knew it two turned into four and then four into five and then you’re trading. I would trade a really good pair of Jordans like retros for Jordans and a jersey. So then I would get the Jordans, I would sell the Jersey, get cash and it was just an ongoing thing, sneaker head.
Alex: I mean about a year and a half later I had like 24 pairs and then I ended up selling most of them. I think I still like eight. They don’t fit me anymore, I’m a size bigger now. I bought my first car as a freshman in high school, so I was the only freshman … I didn’t have a license. I mean I have a license now but at the time I didn’t, but it was pretty cool being the only freshman driving a Mitsubishi Eclipse.
Steve: Yeah, very cool. And then I saw that you were at the … So there’s two things that stuck out for me in the last couple of months was that you were able to go to the Cavaliers game.
Alex: That’s right.
Steve: So that was pretty cool, and I that was just from working your butt off, how was that?
Alex: Yeah, so I mean that was a huge fulfilling moment in my life, and something so simple that we can all do but it was just amazing. So backstory, so I’ve been a Lebron James fan since he hit a game-winning shot against the Magic in 2009.
Steve: Is that like the bank shot?
Alex: Yeah, on the Dwight Howard team, and that was the first NBA game I watched. It was at Red Robin. It’s crazy, I have great memory, and so I followed him all along like when he went to Miami and I remember when I was like 12, 13 we moved into the trailer park and while my dad’s fixing the trailer home up, the mobile home, we have a small TV and we’re helping him clean up and build the kitchen and stuff and just watching the finals. And he’s gone to the finals for like the past eight years so it was just … As a 13 year-old I dreamt of doing that, so I had the chance and we had great seats. I mean we sat next to Donovan Mitchell, me and my buddy Austin, so it was pretty cool, bunch of celebs everywhere, it was pretty sweet.
Steve: So I think the other thing too, and it’s for inspiring everybody else, I mean it’s not just about the car and everything else but you’re also able to help your brother, right?
Steve: So he’s 19 and he’s doing wholesale deals now.
Alex: Yeah, he moved in with me when he was fresh 18, and he’s been under my wing and he got his first self-generated deal. He gets steals for our company, but his own deal, I didn’t help him. I mean I taught him the ropes but he did everything, I can’t take credit for that. He made $16,000.
Steve: Yeah that’s-
Alex: He’s 19, so it’s awesome.
Steve: That’s very cool. Okay, so what are the first five steps? I mean we talked about the mentoring and educating yourself and everything else, but if you are working on starting brand new today what were the first, maybe not five but first three or four steps you would take today?
Alex: Don’t overcomplicate it, that would be the first thing. What I always think of real estate as is it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. So any progress that you make day-by-day is going to add up, so one step at a time, and I’m sure you can agree with this. One step, one step, one step, and before you know it you’re at a very high level.
Steve: Yeah, it’s compound effect.
Alex: Yeah, compound effect. So yeah don’t overcomplicate it, know it’s the long run. I mean I started at 18. I wish I would’ve started like at 12, but then I have people telling me like, “I wish I started 21.” But we can always wish that we could have started earlier but I haven’t burnt myself out, I’ve been very-
Alex: Yeah, progress, progress, progress, so that’d be the first thing. Number two is like I said earlier, follow someone that you can resonate, vibe with, someone that you trust, even if it’s not on a personal level but you like what they’re putting out there like this show. And number three, patience, I would say patience. It’s not going to come when you want it. It’s not going to come how you want it, but it will come. Just like that first deal, I mean I didn’t think it was going to come like that. God’s like, “I’m going to take this $5,000 deal away from you but here’s 13,000,” so I didn’t expect it to come like that but looking back it’s something that, just be patient in the process.
Steve: Yeah, that’s great advice. I think Andrew LeBaron if you’re listening, patience, he says that’s what he wants to work on the most.
Alex: Yeah, and I mean don’t get me wrong as an entrepreneur you’re like, “Go, go, go, go,” but marathon so calm down.
Steve: Right, you got to remind yourself. So what are you most passionate about?
Steve: So talk about that.
Alex: So I ask myself how much can I squeeze out of myself until the day that I die, right? So how much am I capable of and how much is in me. I think I heard Grant Cardone say … Someone said, “You’re squeezing out all the juice,” he’s like, “I don’t want any juice left. When I’m in my deathbed I don’t want any juice. I don’t want no energy left.” So it’s something.
Steve: Yeah, well that guy is a machine. I mean he’s tweeting-
Alex: Yeah, I think he liked the picture you posted.
Steve: The picture of you, so yeah that’s sweet. Yeah, but that was awesome. It felt like a touch definitely from a celebrity, that was pretty cool.
Alex: Yeah, it’s awesome.
Steve: Okay, so you’re talking about growth. I saw that you were at a Mark Evans event.
Steve: Right, so let’s talk about how do you invest in your growth because that’s obviously very important characteristic.
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, like I said there’s always something you can learn from anybody, so this year I probably go to like eight to 10 Mastermind events throughout the country. Last year was a great growth year. I’m not afraid to invest in myself, and it always comes back.
Steve: Of course.
Alex: It always does. I went to Mark Evans. I’m in other select groups, and constantly just networking and building relationships and just taking in information from people that have been in the business for 20 plus years, because for me mentors shorten the learning curve, so for me if I can get 20 years of experience and shrink it down to a year, for me that’s game changer.
Steve: Okay. Do you know how much? And this might be a too personal of a question, do you know how much you invest in your personal growth?
Alex: I mean I’m done with my books now so I can tell you that. Including travel, well over 40 grand last year. This year I have some big goals. I want to join this Mastermind called GeniusX, it’s Dean Graziosi group.
Steve: I want to join that same group.
Alex: Yeah, so it’s 100K a year and-
Alex: Shh, yeah it’s … I don’t know.
Steve: That’s on my checklist, right?
Alex: So by the end of your own I want to join that, so just constantly growing and just getting to these high level groups, just building myself up that way.
Steve: Yeah, okay, and I think they say the rule of thumb should be about 10%. 10% for tithing, 10% in your personal development, so that’s awesome.
Alex: I saw that you’ve got Wholesaling Real Estate 101, what’s that about?
Steve: On the YouTube?
Alex: Yeah, so I was getting the same questions over and over again and I was posting progress but I had this message from this guy and he said it’s … and if he’s watching this thank you so much. He said, “It’s cool that you share content and stuff or your progress but you’re not showing us how to do it. We’re struggling here, help us.” So that really touched me because I’ve been in that position where I’ve reached out to bigger guys and they just gave me their block hand.
Steve: They blew you off.
Alex: Yeah, and-
Steve: No, I’ve been dealing with that too.
Alex: Yeah, and I understand they’re busy. Now in that position I understand. So I was getting the same questions over and over again so I decided to make a YouTube channel, just my name Alex Saenz, and just giving out free content. But I haven’t posted like in three, maybe four weeks, I just had to prioritize some things in my business and life and then been traveling to these events but I definitely want to get that going and just start giving hope and solid content out there.
Steve: Okay, and then we were talking about beforehand that after this is done we’re actually going to put this whole thing yeah on there too.
Alex: Yeah, I’ll be posting it on YouTube channel.
Steve: So if you guys started late you guys can still little catch it later on on YouTube. Okay, and then I checked out your space, you, Carlos, Sal and you guys got that pool table which is pretty cool.
Alex: Yeah, did you win?
Steve: That’s not really important. Everyone tried really hard and that’s what matters.
Alex: Yeah, it’s the effort that counts, progress.
Steve: Progress. So what does your organization look like today?
Alex: Okay so I’m CEO, so I handle marketing and dispositions. I have a COO/main acquisitions manager, his name is Andy Garcia. I’ve known him since I was six. We have very similar stories. I love him to death. So he’s my main acquisitions and then I have two acquisitions under him, so total of three, and the rest are agents, 15 agents.
Alex: 15, yeah.
Steve: Wow, and you’re in the same school of philosophy like Raphael, Carlos and Sal where you guys are making offers over phone?
Alex: Yeah, same thing. Yeah, we don’t go on appointments.
Steve: It drives me just crazy.
Alex: Yeah, I mean after comping thousands and thousands of properties we know, we have our thing down to a science.
Steve: Yeah, okay so you got three acquisition guys and 15 cold callers?
Alex: Cold callers, yeah that’s right.
Steve: Okay, how about dispositions?
Alex: I still handle that.
Steve: So you still handle-
Alex: But it’s very systematized, all through Podio, so get a property it gets pushed out to our disposition app and I mean it’s just blasted and then offers come in. And we have 14 active deals right now and I think all are sold in like the last 10 days.
Steve: Cool, very cool. And what states are you in?
Alex: I would say 70% Phoenix, 10% Tucson, 10% Vegas and 10% San Francisco. So I have two agents in San Francisco, two agents Vegas, two agents in Tucson, the rest in Phoenix, but I do majority of my business in Phoenix.
Steve: Why are they in San Francisco if you guys aren’t going to the houses?
Alex: So I have someone on the ground there, but honestly we still lock up deals over the phone there. We got one in Oakland and that was just all over the phone. We had the seller send us pictures.
Steve: And so are the spreads … I think you were saying in one of our meetings, “Hey, you guys are ridiculous for being in Phoenix. The numbers are way better in San Francisco or California.”
Alex: Yeah, I mean it’s the same … I mean there’s no desperate sellers there, I’ll tell you that, but there are reasonable sellers in every market and for the same, maybe a little bit more cost per lead, cost per deal. I mean the spreads out there are insane. We got one in Oakland for 240 worth 450, and we’re going to rehab that because I mean the days on market in that specific area are quick.
Steve: 24 hours?
Alex: Yeah, so there it’s insane. Yeah, you have 10 plus offers in the first day.
Steve: Yeah, as soon as the sign in the ground.
Alex: Yeah, it makes sense for me and plus none of my capital is held there because I have partnerships that fund everything, so-
Steve: Very cool.
Alex: … just leverage the right way.
Steve: And then what are your top lead sources?
Alex: Cold calling, that’s all I do, that’s all I’ve been doing for the last two years.
Steve: Cold calling?
Alex: Cold calling.
Steve: Okay, so then it’s got to be a specific list or type of people that you call.
Alex: Every list that you can think of. I mean when you have a handful of agents and you’re targeting-
Alex: … your absentees, which was actually probably one of my least favorite but tax default is a huge one in any market, empty-nesters is good. I like owner-occupant, 20-plus years because no one … So here’s a nugget, so last year we did 52 deals and half of them were owner-occupant which is odd to hear that because most wholesalers are doing absentee, tired landlords, things like that, but we did a bunch of owner-occupant deals and what we did there we … So our huge pitch was 30 days rent free after we close and that hooked sellers, because they get their money and then they have time to look for a place. And then you could do a hold back, $5,000 hold back but for most of the deals we didn’t do a hold back, but since they are owners not tenants they actually take care of their property so they respect that.
Steve: Well I was never worried about them damaging, I was worried about making sure they left.
Alex: Yeah, well eviction laws here aren’t that bad, in San Francisco they are tough.
Steve: Oh yeah, it’s nuts. Okay, so now that we talked about the list now I want to skip trace that list, what do I do?
Alex: I use Need To Skip. It’s the best bang for the buck. I mean I’ve tried TLO, anything that you can think of but when I first started batching skip-tracing I was paying 65 cents a record and then Need To Skip I mean they crush that so I use that.
Steve: How are they getting better data? Do you know?
Alex: No clue. I mean my guess is credit bureau data, so just very updated information and I mean we get all our deals from there, just quality data, and then plus we contact … I mean I understand you can go the cheaper out, so like Datafinder which is like four cents a lead with one number, but I never go cheap. I mean you’re spending all this money on marketing, your phone systems, your acquisitions, you are paying commissions, why go cheap with data? You want to increase your chances of reaching that prospect, so I just don’t go cheap with data, I go for quality.
Steve: Okay. That’s a very good point. So you got any interesting war stories?
Alex: War stories?
Steve: Yeah, anything that’s like, “Man, this-” Any crazy stories? Stuff that you’ve wholesale or flipped.
Alex: Yeah, so we went on this appointment in Buckeye for a piece of land, so it was a piece of land here in Phoenix and the seller lived in Buckeye, and my acquisitions manager went on the appointment and it’s funny. So he showed up and the contract price was for like 3,000 and there was 6,000 in back taxes, so he got to the house and the seller is getting mad and yelling at my acquisitions guy, Andy, because apparently we said that we’re going to pay the taxes. So it turns crazy, right? So the guy is yelling at him, and he’s feeling uncomfortable, and he’s a big dude, he’s 6’5″, 300 pounds and he said in the back, and he recorded a video which I know is crazy.
Alex: So he recorded a video in the back, the wife is going crazy looking for something in the drawers, like scavenging for I don’t know if it was a knife or a gun or something, so that was crazy. So that’s probably the craziest story that’s happened in ours, but we don’t get a lot of crazy stories because remember we do a lot of things over the phone so we kind of push those crazy stories to the side. I mean for me I showed up to a house in South Phoenix and there was 15 druggies in the house when I walked in, and I really felt like my life was in danger. I mean imagine you open the door and then you walk in and they’re just sleeping, I don’t know what they were doing I never seen stuff like that. But for the most part I mean nothing too crazy.
Steve: Okay, what would you say are some of the critical components to your success?
Alex: Simple, effective systems. Keeping it very simple, very lean and just focusing on … Well, business success or personal?
Steve: Well, I would say-
Steve: I would say what’s leading to your business success, yeah.
Alex: Okay, yeah just simple and effective. We can get in this loophole of constantly finding the next thing, “Okay, what better marketing is there? What better list?” This, this and this and that. But for me it’s really just keeping my head down and just focusing on what’s working and just making sure that I maximize on that specific thing.
Steve: So staying focused.
Alex: Staying focused.
Steve: And almost making money.
Alex: Staying focused, yeah cold calling.
Steve: Right, that’s a good-
Alex: Because if you’re not cold calling right now in this market, I don’t know what to tell you, you’re missing out.
Steve: Yeah. So then what’s your biggest struggle right now?
Alex: That’s a good question. Not letting go, and I’ll tell you why. So I haven’t let go of dispositions and marketing, and I mean that’s one hire away from me stepping out of the whole business, but I’m so young that I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ve been back and forth on that. I still want to stay involved in the business, but I know there’s another path for me which is developments so just focusing my energy on that, so just kind of delegating.
Steve: What’s developments?
Alex: So I want to get into small-scale developments.
Steve: By building communities or?
Alex: Eventually yeah. I mean start on the lower end entitlements, condo conversions, things like that.
Steve: Okay, and what would you say is your superpower?
Alex: I was talking to you about this earlier and … All right I’m going to mix two, and it’s going to be a-
Steve: That’s fair.
Alex: … I don’t know how to say it, a very good visionary leader, if that makes sense.
Steve: It does make sense.
Alex: So I have a great amount of faith. Everything that I do I just know I can accomplish it. There’s never second-guessing my mind at all, and that’s just over the years of small wins, small wins, small wins and you start building that muscle in your mind of just reassuring your mind that you’re winning, so just constant wins and-
Steve: Well, supreme confidence, right? You’re just going to figure it out.
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. Sometimes I don’t know how I’m going to get to a specific goal that I have but I know I’m going to get there. And I give this example all the time, it’s like if you’re driving from LA to New York, I don’t know the exact way there. I don’t know, “Okay, 100 miles from now I’m going to take a left or 300 miles I’m going to take a right,” I don’t know that, but there is Google Maps and God is my Google Maps so I know I’m going to get to that destination so when I set a goal I just know that, I just know I’ll get there. And then the visionary part I just have a huge eager to learn and just grow and just build something just amazing in this life.
Steve: Awesome, Gabrielle wants to know, what would you guys do if the market takes a turn?
Alex: So I wholesale 99%. I have two rehabs and that’s just … My dad’s a contractor so-
Steve: That helps.
Alex: Yeah, helping that, get him up and going and have him crush it. But for me, I mean we buy wholesale, so plus very little risk. So I mean if the house is worth 200 we get a 30% market correction, house is worth 140 but it’s not worth 100 or it’s not 30% on wholesale price, it’s 30% of retail, right?
Alex: So as a wholesaler you’re pretty safe.
Steve: All right, what would you do if the market shifted though?
Alex: Start seller finance like-
Steve: Seller finance?
Alex: Yeah, creative structuring. I’ve asked around and wholesaling does work you just obviously base your numbers on different group.
Steve: So this actually came up in a different panel I was speaking on last week, and what they don’t realize is all you just do is you adjust what you buy at. People weren’t paying 7% during the recession, they were paying like 50, right?
Alex: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Steve: So you just changed your margins so that you can take to account the risk of the market continuing to go down and holding cost. At the end of the day you need to make a certain amount, you make that amount.
Alex: Yeah, I agree. 100% agree.
Steve: But it’s a good question. All right, let’s see what else is there. What lesson would you want to teach today’s young real estate entrepreneurs?
Alex: What lesson? Start now. I mean start now. Like I said, marathon not sprint. So I mean even if you make a little bit of progress each and every single day by the time you’re 40 and you’re young you’re going to be way far ahead, so just start now. If you’re searching for that first deal, it’s not going to come how you want it or when you want it but if you stay consistent in your marketing, your efforts, it’s going to come.
Steve: All right, and what’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
Alex: The greatest lesson I’ve learned is positive influence, just hanging around with the winners. And I have to give him a shout out, Sal and Carlos, I mean we share an office. I met them going onto my second year in business, and I wouldn’t be this far ahead without them at all … Oops sorry. Just having them next door and just having amazing influence from them and from others, Raphael Vargas, shout out, and just very positive influence in my life. I hang out with winners. Eagles fly with the eagles, and that’s sort of what I do. So that’s one thing that I would say.
Steve: Yeah, and I think it’s the classic Jim Rohn saying, right? If you show me the five people you hang out with, I’ll tell you how much you make.
Alex: And it’s true, I’ll tell you-
Steve: It’s very true.
Alex: Yeah, your income, everything, growth and personal development, it all correlates with who you hang out with.
Steve: Right, what is your favorite best or most interesting failure?
Alex: Wow, most, best or interesting failure. I wouldn’t say there’s just one that just stands out but it’s just been … There is no instant wins, there was just base hits, base hits, base hits. So for me it was just the whole entire journey. I mean on the personal side it was definitely taking a different turn in life like parents divorcing and then feeling very alone, like I had no one there and then finding comfort in God and what he had planned for me. I mean I can go on for hours on my story but if certain things didn’t happen in my life I wouldn’t be on this path, so I mean literally split-second decisions like enlisting for the Navy, I was ready to go, and Jalen actually convinced me not to go.
Alex: I mean even then it took me an extra five months to get a deal but that moment … I mean I think I would still be in there right now and God bless our troops of course but I just had a different path.
Steve: Peter [inaudible 00:37:22] has a question about, what are the ways that you believe you could add value to someone’s business? So let’s say you were going back to that mentoring question earlier in our conversation.
Alex: On a consulting? On a marketing standpoint? What would you say?
Steve: I’m brand-new. I want to work with Alex. In order to work with Alex I got to add value to Alex’s life, right? Or business, how do I do that as a newbie?
Alex: Add value to me?
Alex: Just share my content. Just get more … Yeah, really because you’re not the only one in need. There’s thousands of people out there that are in need, so if I can get that extra share that might reach that person that maybe is thinking about doing something bad to themselves, that means a lot to me.
Steve: All right, okay. What book have you given more than any other book?
Alex: Secrets of a Millionaire Mind. I have copies just ready to go.
Steve: It’s an amazing book. T. Harv Ecker, that’s an awesome, awesome book.
Alex: Yeah, I mean the programming aspect in that book has really changed my life, because I started thinking, “Okay why do I make money and don’t keep it? Okay, why does this happen? Why does that happen,” and then you start realizing like, “This is what I was taught.” “Money is root of all evil.” No, it’s not. So really just switching the programming up, and just having a foundation to build on for true wealth.
Steve: Yeah, for sure. And what keeps you up at night?
Alex: Good question. Constant growth, like okay, what’s next? What’s next? What’s next? Just thinking about the next thing to do. Like I said it’s a blessing and a curse, sometimes it derails you from your focus but for the most part that’s really what keeps me up, like okay what can I do to add value to my team, to people around me and just constantly thinking about the next thing to do which could be a good and bad thing.
Steve: All right, yeah. One of the guys are asking about virtual wholesaling, so I’ll go back to my question. I think it’s a Job Martinez thing, right? Is the making offers remotely.
Steve: So why limit yourself to just these handful of states then if you’re doing virtual wholesaling more or less?
Alex: I mean there’s so many different factors when it comes to that, like you need someone reliable in case you need an appointment. You need solid buyers. You need solid title company. So for me it’s just I virtual wholesale in places where I know if I have a problem at 3:00 someone can be there by 5:00. Is the question, why haven’t I expanded throughout? Yeah, that’s the reason why. Plus I like to stay focused on areas that I know.
Steve: Okay, Brian Salmons wants to know, as a person who’s already successful, what does future success look like?
Alex: Constant growth. Okay, so this is what happened with me. I got into real estate thinking about myself only because I had-
Steve: You didn’t know any better.
Alex: I had no one. No one really supported me. It’s the constant story of no one believed in me. Everyone said I was dumb, so that really happened to me. But the first year I was like, “I’m going to do real estate,” but I didn’t get in it for the money, I got in it for freedom. My goal my first year was to make $60,000 and play video games all day. I made 120 the first year and I played video games all day, but I stayed to the purpose, but it was all about myself. I was chilling at home at my apartment really just by myself and I started realizing like, “Dang, my mom is still working. My dad is still working. My best friends from high school, they’re working.” So I started feeling very selfish and then it grew to, “Okay, I need to help those around me and my family.”
Alex: So the next year was about family and my business just skyrocketed, because it wasn’t just about me it became about family. So I mean we went from 120 in revenue to 615.
Steve: That’s a pretty good job.
Alex: I mean from 19 to 20 years old. But the reason for that is because it wasn’t about me it was about others now. It was about my family and my immediate circle, and now this year it’s not just about my family or just me, it’s about others and helping others, helping them up that next step, so that’s really it. So I mean success for me now is helping others.
Steve: It’s raising your impact.
Alex: Yeah, being a very positive and powerful influence, and just given people hope because I think we all need it. I mean I have very high standards of success for myself but I still need hope, so I look up to bigger guys and just a constant looking up.
Steve: Constantly reaching, right?
Steve: That’s incredible. Max wants to know what’s the one thing you would recommend as someone who’s currently scaling their business? So they’ve had a little bit of success, they’re trying to take it to the next level.
Alex: Invest in marketing, but the right marketing. I would suggest cold calling with quality data and then just start reinvesting 15% of deals that you get and then you grow that marketing budget. If you’re a one-man team, get 50K in deals saved up and make that first hire which I always think should be a sales guy, so acquisitions to get more offers because you can only make some offers during the day, right? So if you get that acquisitions manager to do that with you or for you that’ll really just expand your deal flow.
Steve: So let’s talk about the acquisitions guy, will you pay that guy?
Alex: So I paid my first guy, Andy, I paid him 2,000 a month, and 5% off on deals and he quit his job and he worked for 2,000 and then now it’s strictly commission but there is a draw, but we’re cranking deals out that the draw is rarely there.
Steve: So what’s the commission?
Alex: 10% gross.
Steve: 10% of the gross?
Steve: Okay, that’s awesome. Gabriel wants to know, what does your daily routine look like?
Alex: I switched up my daily routine. So the last say month and a half I’ve been waking about 4:30, and I’ve been keeping it consistent. So I wake up, I have a personal trainer at 5:00, just really trying to become elite in all areas of my life. So I wake up at 4:30, I go to the gym at 5:00, get back like 6:30, sometimes 7:00. My buddy Elijah Ruben, so he works out with me in the morning so we’ll-
Steve: Oh really, I still need to connect with him.
Alex: … mastermind after the session and then I get home and drink my shake and get ready for the office, and yeah that’s pretty much … Office day, and head home maybe 7:00, 8:00 and start it all over again.
Steve: We got to reach out to Hal Elrod and do a miracle morning for wholesalers.
Alex: Yeah, that’d be sweet.
Steve: Right? Okay, what else is there? James [Cohen 00:44:36] wants to know, what’s your offer to deal ratio?
Alex: When you’re converting one in 50 qualified leads … He said offer to deal ratio?
Steve: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Alex: Yeah, I mean one in 50 we’re converting.
Steve: And then let’s see, there were some questions earlier, let me see if I can pull them up. So do you have X number of deals or [inaudible 00:45:03] is asking your statistics, how many calls does it take to get a lead? How many leads does it take to get a deal? And I think we already talked about the leads of the deal, so how many calls to get a lead?
Alex: So it takes, I would say 200 to 300 dials to get one lead.
Alex: One qualified lead. Now that’s dials not contacts, you’re probably reaching 10% of those, so 20 to 30 qualified. And plus for me, I’m not a realtor or a broker, hats off to you, but we don’t qualify retail leads, that’s something that we don’t work with.
Steve: Yeah, okay. And Daniel Prieto wants to know, how many offers are your acquisition people making in a day?
Alex: They’re making a hundred calls a day, and that’s a mix of new leads, new untouched leads or just make offers that we’re still trying to get a hold of them and then follow up leads.
Steve: So you talk to them, do you make an offer no matter what?
Steve: So basically every conversation you have you are making an offer.
Alex: Yeah, so this is our sales process. So we have 15 agents, qualified leads, they’re constantly asking if you’re interested in a cash offer, interested in selling your home, grab the information, they submit it into a web form link with Podio, and then it gets tagged, “Need comps,” so then run our numbers, and so then the acquisitions, all they have to do is they go in there and they have say 50 make offers for today. So that initial phone call is always, “Hey, my name is Alex, and one of my agents actually reached out to you yesterday, a few days ago and is now a good time?” And then they proceed with the offer. And what we do on the cold call leads which is a huge step here because it took us a long time, initially we were making offers from offers.
Alex: So we would say we can do 105,500 cash, and then we never heard back from them, so I call that closing the door, you make the offer, you close it and you go hide. So now we make verbal offer ranges, so instead of 105 we’ll say 95 to 105 or 100 or 110 and I call that keeping the door open for negotiation. So we do offer ranges and that works extremely well with cold callees because remember they’re not calling you to sell, you’re calling them so you have to convince, not really convince but pitch on your value. Every new lead we make an offer and then they go into different tiers, contacted, follow-up, contacted, accepted offer, send contract, and it’s happened a lot. On the first call, I mean we’ll get off the phone with the contract.
Steve: Right, that’s amazing. Let’s see, Brian Salmon wants to know how many speeding tickets you got in the last month.
Alex: I got the two cars, the R8 and then the X6, the BMW. It’s funny, I got the ticket in the BMW, not the R8, but I only got one ticket and I think this is my second … I think I got one like three years ago so I think that’s knocked off, so just one.
Steve: Okay, well being the broker I tell my salespeople, “If you can’t talk yourselves out of a ticket you might not be in sales.”
Alex: Yeah but when you’re going way over the speed limit, I’m not going to say it because it’s …
Steve: Well, I got off with a warning, cutting off an unmarked cop car at 105.
Alex: Wow, I was close to that. You know what’s funny? I was going to somewhere peaceful too. I was going to Sedona. I would go out there meditate-
Steve: Try to relax.
Alex: Yeah, trying to relax and I got the ticket going there. But honestly it didn’t ruin my day. Little stuff like that just … I mean I never sweat the small things, like during high school, right? You’re nervous and you’re anticipating the test the next day, and like for me one time I was studying for a test all day and then I woke up late for that class and my day was over, like, “Oh, I missed the test. What am I going to do.” I’m freaking out, but fast forward five years later like, “Who gives a crap?” It’s in the past so just don’t sweat it.
Steve: Just move on.
Alex: Yeah, because I mean a year from now you’re not going to be thinking about that stuff.
Steve: Yeah, well you don’t worry about things you can’t control, right?
Alex: Yeah, that’s right.
Steve: So Rhett wants to know, a lot of people tell you not to make an offer first, let them bring up price first, where do you stand on that concept?
Alex: Great question, so most of our cold callers are good at getting that number out of them. So if we can pay cash what’s the bottom line price that you would sell the property for, and I mean it’s not that great. 50% of sellers will tell you but most of them are just kind of waiting for that number. I mean I understand that there’s a saying out there that 90% of sellers know what they want, I don’t think that’s true.
Alex: Yeah, I mean especially when you’re calling sellers that have owned apartments for 20-plus years and they have no idea. Most of our offers we say the number first.
Steve: Interesting, Senaya wants to know, where do you get your lists?
Alex: Okay, I get my list from ListSource, ATTOM Data and ReboGateway.
Steve: Okay. Cool, so another question I was asking you was, what pisses you off?
Alex: When someone is too comfortable. That’s a good question. I was thinking about what pisses me off, because I don’t sweat the small things. If you ask anybody around me I’m the chilest, but I’m just very effective in what I do. I’m good at maximizing my time, but yeah, when someone’s too comfortable. And I mean even in my own family, when there’s no vision, there’s no urge or need to really build themselves, not just for them but for people around them. Yeah, I think a lot of people are selfish, and I’ve been one of them. I’m telling you that first year, it was just all about myself, now it’s completely different.
Steve: So is it a matter of them living below their potential?
Alex: Not living a purposeful life.
Alex: It pisses me off. It really grinds my gears.
Steve: So, your little brother sitting there playing the Xbox you come and just slap the controller out of his hand?
Alex: No, not necessarily. There has to be a balance of course, but when you get into this funk of just you get up, go to work, go to sleep, and you just do the same thing over and over again without impacting anyone’s life-
Steve: You’re stuck in the rat race.
Alex: Yeah, you’re stuck in that, and it’s like it’s a bubble that sadly a lot of people are stuck in, and I think the easiest way to get out of that is just make it about others instead of yourself. Who should I do it for? It’s not just me. Obviously, you will benefit personally off that, but that’s been something huge for me that it’s not just about me.
Steve: All right, okay. So if someone wants to get a hold of you, what is the best way for them to do that?
Alex: So if you have a real estate question I would say YouTube because I’m going to be prioritizing most of my time on there, and then Instagram is a good one and then just Alex Saenz.
Steve: Simple enough. S-A-E-N-Z.
Alex: Yeah, I paid for that name. I wanted to make it simple.
Alex: I did, yeah.
Steve: Oh wow, okay.
Alex: It was worth it.
Steve: Awesome. So again guys, if you like this show please share this episode right now and please join me again next Wednesday at 2:00 we got Brandon Tracy, and then don’t forget we do have the event tomorrow night. Can you come tomorrow night? 4:30, Scottsdale.
Alex: Yeah, I can make it.
Steve: Yeah, so Alex would be there and then don’t forget to check out our website realestatedisruptors.com to find out more about upcoming events. So thank you guys and thank you, that was awesome.
Alex: I appreciate you man.