Episode 3 – Shawn McVicker on The Military Millionaire Podcast
00:00 - 05:00
You're listening to the military millionaire podcast, a show about real estate investing for the working class. Stay tuned as we explore ways to help you improve your finances, build wealth through real estate, and become a person that is worth knowing.
Hey, good morning, guys. It's David here with From military to millionaire and I'm here with Shawn McVicker. Shawn was brought to me via he was tagged in a post I made and the girl named Sarah who I've been on her podcast. And just a mutual friend recommended that I should talk to him and do one of my little video podcasts and pick his brains.
So Shawn, welcome. Why don't you just I guess we'll start off simple like, just tell everyone a little bit about yourself and kind of what you're, you know how you get started in real estate.
Yeah, sure thing. Thanks for having me, David.
So I got to Started in May of 2013. At that time, I was living in a small town in Oklahoma called Woodward. And I was working in the oil field. I had gone to college twice, one semester both times for computer programming and just ultimately decided this is not for me. And working, working a job was not much more for me, but I had to pay the bills. So I at least got my CDL started driving a truck and trying to make some better money.
And I had a friend on Facebook who I only knew through Facebook, and he was always doing the most interesting things, cooking things and reporting on Facebook. You know how it went in his little eBay ventures buying and selling things. I did the same thing as far as eBay goes, just flipping small things for profits and iPhones and one day, you know, I'm, I'm just hanging out after work like eight o'clock and I get a message on Facebook. And he says, hey, do you want to split an ebook, basically the cost of an ebook. And, you know, I'm kind of bored. And I'm like, sure. What's it all about? He said, it's about flipping houses. It's 50 bucks. And All right, so I sent them 25 bucks. He buys it and he emails me a copy of this book. And it was, if I can do it, you can do it by Ryan Taylor. He was out of Connecticut. He just started flipping houses out there. It's a really simple ebook. It was about 50 pages or so.
And I started it that evening, and I didn't put it down until I finished it that evening. It was a really cool structured, you know, intro about themselves and first deal, second deal, third deal, and it was in the format of, you know, a wholesale, a short sale, a subject too and then a rehab. So it was good, strange that, you know, his first four deals just happen to work out like that. But uh, it was cool to see the guts of each of those transactions, you know, in such a short little write up. And whenever I saw, you know, this was possible he was just throwing out these signs around town that said, you know, we buy houses and people were calling him and he was able to basically solve their problem and make these huge checks like 10 and 20k. Like, you've got to be kidding me.
Yeah, like I could do that. Yeah.
So I ended up moving to Oklahoma City, I quit my job and sold everything within about a month and I moved in with that guy and started wholesaling. And it's been a little over five years now still going, the best decision I ever made.
That's awesome. So you've been a wholesaler for five years. And that's super cool.
So wholesaling is something that I have very minimally dabbled in, it's more or less like, oh, man, I can't afford this property right now. Rather than not using it. Let me see if someone else wants to look at it as opposed to my full time thing, although I do drive for dollars out here in Hawaii, but alright, so it's pretty cool. I hadn't heard about that book. Yes, I wrote it down, so I'm going to definitely check that book out a little bit. Oklahoma City's a nice place. CDL you know, I can relate because I'm a truck driver in the Marine Corps world. It's actually not a bad gig either people you know, I don't know why people like to think negatively or you can make tons of money as a truck driver. But I digress.
So you got into wholesaling? What would I mean, aside from the book, you know, you moved in with your buddy, which is cool. That's like a total leap of faith. You know, I guess walk us through, like, how did you get started with some of your first deals and anything that you learned in there that you would suggest to somebody who's starting with wholesaling or investing in general?
05:00 - 10:00
Okay, yeah. So at the very beginning, I made sure to go to all the real estate investor meetings. And, you know, at the time, you know, coming from a small town, I'd never been to any kind of networking event in my life. Closest thing was a sporting event. But, uh, so walking into a room with 100 people, or so, you know, you know, it was pretty intimidating at first, because my thought was, well, everybody in here must be a millionaire.
And it was, it was, it was a good start, though. One, the one time there was a speaker, and he was a landlord, and he had begun creating. He wrote a couple books and some audio products, and he gave away a free CD. At one of the events. I took it home and I listened to it. And next time I saw him, I told him, I listened to it and he's just kind of, you know, quiz me a little bit about what I'm doing. And I told him, you know, I'm doing a little bit of advertising to do some wholesaling, he actually gave me his contact information, which I thought was awesome. And so, you know, the first time I got a couple of properties, I messaged him about them and ended up taking him out to the properties. He helped me evaluate them, he quickly became a mentor.
First advertising campaigns were yellow letters. I remember going to Dollar Tree and getting these little dollar notepads and handwriting the message. Hi, my name is Shawn, I'm interested in buying your property at address, please give me a call and just blow it up and take up the whole page with it, stuffing them into little yellow envelopes. And we did about 870 of those first runs, ended up paying my sister's a dime per Letter to handwrite a bunch of them. Because that was quite a bit of work.
At the first campaign, you know, five years ago was a different time in the market. And I ended up getting three deals off of that first mailing, which was pretty awesome. First one was for about $3700, and that completely turned the lights on for me. I'm like, you know, it's on from here. Like, there's no turning back...
Especially the letters probably cost you like $5- $10 you know, if you went Dollar General, and then maybe stamps but that's awesome.
Yeah. Next, you know, the next one, it was more of a learning experience. I was set to make about 1200 dollars on it. And the title, I used a different title company who was not familiar with my process on the first house that I did, and so ended up costing me $1,000 in closing costs. So I made $100.
I did not let that happen again, that's for sure.
Sometimes you gotta learn the hard way.
Yeah. Then I'm quickly yeah, I, I found a guy at one of the meetings, we just kind of hit it off right away. He was getting started as well. And it's like, well, why don't we just do this together? You know, looking back, you know, not the best plan in the world. But that worked. So we decided we were going to be the best wholesalers in Oklahoma City. And so we're like, how do we do that? We started by realizing the first thing was consistency and persistence. Like that was our chant to ourselves consistency and persistence.
So we decided to do bandit signs. And we get these blank corrugated plastic signs from local plastic manufacturers. You can buy them online a lot easier. Think we were trying to save a few bucks.
We get these signs with vertical flutes so we can stick a stake in them and write on there, Shawn Buys Houses and then 432-1901. And we put out 100 of those every week, for months, and then it became 200 of those every week. And after five or six months, it just became notorious around town. Everybody was wondering who Shawn was, it was actually I was Shawn and my partner was also Sean. So...
It was both supposed to feel the same way or was it different spellings of Shawn?
Different spellings of Shawn in real life, but we put one spelling on signs. And it was fantastic. Because whenever you walk into homes of sellers, they have this familiarity like they knew you just because they'd seen your name a dozen times. It's and with investors Yeah, my name is Shawn, are you the guy from the science? You know, it was the instant rapport just because of the familiarity.
10:00 - 15:00
That's so cool.
Yeah, so that was great.
I hired Todd Tobac out of San Diego in early 2015 to mentor me. He did that he did a program for eight weeks on blowing up your wholesaling business. And through that, I ended up making my first hire for an acquisition manager.
So this was you know, two and a half years in two wholesaling. That was really difficult at first, you know, kind of letting go of the most important part of this business. But I had a friend actually contact me during that eight week period when I'm supposed to be looking for someone to hire, you know, using a zip recruiter and putting up ads.
My friend calls me and says, I got this guy. He's really down on his luck. He's in your industry. He's looking for work, do you think you could help him out? I said, you know, I'll see what I can do. Give me his contact information. And a couple days go by and I get a text message from one of my websites said new lead and there was you know, name, phone number and property address. I had a cheap little website set up for $600 with an SEO package from some guy on wholesaling houses full time.
Everybody had told me, you know, that was a waste of money, but I've made over $100,000 on that website, since getting it is the ugliest little website.
I can’t argue with the return on investment like that, though.
Yeah, he optimized it pretty well, apparently, because it was organically at the top for a really long time. But I got a lead from the website. And I'm like, you know what, I'll just give him this. So I copy and pasted to text into a message to this guy that I got referred from my friend. So here you go see what you can do. And I said, I think it needs to be below 45k. And he said, okay, I'll take it. And a few hours later, he said, he talked to her, went on an appointment, and he's got pictures of the house. I said, well, did you get a contract? He's like, not yet, but we've got an agreement. I said, okay, where are you at? He said, Well, I couldn't do below 45. I got below 35. I'm like, alright, good enough for what we need to do to get paper. He's like, well, I need some paper. I met him down in Moore, Oklahoma with a contract and we met the seller and got it signed up. Ended up selling that house. It ended up being the biggest deal I'd done at that time. We made $30,000 on it. And I promised him 20% commission so I gave him whatever that is $5500 or something.
For those of you listening who live all the way across the nation $30,000 as a wholesale fee in Oklahoma is a huge number in comparison to those of us who live like currently in Hawaii. In the house market. The market in Oklahoma, Missouri, the Midwest is much cheaper. So you're talking percentages that that's phenomenal.
Yes, it's pretty crazy that the repaired value of that house was about $100,000. And it needed probably 15,000 and work. I mean, so I got it at a really good price and made a really good spread on it. I was pretty blown away. And I was I thought, you know, maybe there is something to this whole hiring people think so to this day, that guy works for me and my business partner. We've been working together for well since mid 2015.
Then actually, this guy who did that first deal, I sat him down at lunch. And I asked him, I said, what do you need to work for me full time. He said, I need to make $10,000 per month. And I said, well, I'll talk to you later than, you know, it's going to be a minute. And I knew he was unemployed. A couple weeks go by and I'm talking to my business partner, I said, this, this is, you know, too good to pass up, we've got to get this guy.
And so we asked him to lunch again. And I say, what do you need to get by every single month. What's your bare minimum expense for a comfortable living? And he said, $3500. And I said, if I can guarantee you $3500 per month, we come to work for me, and we're working on getting you up to that 10,000. And he said, sure, let's do it.
15:00 - 20:00
So essentially, for the first six months, we had to pay a draw of $3500. But after that six months, he hasn't needed a draw since. And he himself has made some pretty steep commissions, you know, in excess of $20,000 in a month. So it's been a fun ride.
Yeah, that's, that's phenomenal. And that I know, you mentioned the, I guess kind of the awkward hiring point and some of the stuff in there I think a lot of people get wrapped up on it. I mean, my myself I'm currently so on the like, blog side internet side as I try to create this thing, just to help teach I've I kind of realized this last week that I got over my head as far as you know, I'm still a full time military so I haven't a normal I'd say eight hour day job but that'd be a lie.
A very, too many hour job. And I mean, it's, you know, 6:15 in the morning right now because this is my free time from 4 to 6:30 in the morning. And so I've been looking into okay, which of these tasks, bookkeeping, and accounting and SEO and stuff, can I hire a virtual assistant for? Which can I do, you know, whatever, just to mitigate all the admin stuff.
And it's hard internally for me to say, oh, yeah, that's an easy one that they can do. And then not to say, who but what if, you know, I might be able to do that better. And I've read all these books about not doing that and just hiring them. And I'm still like, this week, I'm literally like, going through Google, like, do I really want to put the ad out there and I'm gonna put the ad out there. But it's like, hard for me internally to say, I did like I did my bookkeeping this weekend. The whole time I'm doing it. I'm like, somebody could do this for me. Oh, but I don't know if I want to let them do this for me. And I'm like, I'm wasting it took me an hour. I looked at it and I'm like, I just wasted an hour it could have been doing something important with.
So I think it's good that you spoke to that because everybody, I think goes through that I'm experiencing it firsthand, put the guy definitely seemed to have given you a warm and fuzzy reason to hire him when he was able to negotiate a deal like that, which is awesome.
Yeah. You know, we really got, I said, we got lucky, every hire we've made has been a referral from a friend. So we've had zero turnover. And we've had, well, I see zero turnover, we let one girl go a couple years ago who is doing our sales, our dispositions. But that was because we had a poor structure.
So when we hired this acquisitions guy, things were going smoothly, he was handling the acquisitions and my partner and I, and him, were all kind of juggling the dispositions together. Like did you talk to the buyer? No, I thought he talked to the buyer, the wife, you talk to the buyer, you know, it was a mess.
And my business partner ended up going on our first international trip. We went to China and Russia. Because our whole goal, our whole goal is to build this business. So it's independent of us. So we can be wherever we want, and it still works. And this was our first kind of little experiment, like, we're going to go and we need to find out what problems need to be fixed, what systems can be put in place. And we talked to him and he's like, go for it, guys. Like I got it.
And by the time we get back, like, he's on his knees, like beaten and bruised, he's like, don't ever leave me again. It was just, it was too much. So after that, I realized, okay, we need to hire someone for dispositions. And at that time, we were probably doing 50,000 a month in revenue on average. And so we thought, well, 10% of, you know, our net wholesale would be fair. And we're like, yeah, that's that's a good idea. You know, it's a good, good wage for someone who's going to, you know, need to, you know, maximize our sales. You know, really be on top of things.
And we did that for about seven or eight months. And freeing up the acquisition side and the disposition side gave us all the time in the world to work on systems and our marketing. And we very quickly got to where we're doing over $100,000 a month, and that 10% got to be really steep.
You know, it's basically, you know, $10,000 a month for an admin position. And we're like, we're really we really need to reevaluate this deal. And so we got someone on salary with a, you know, commission bonus, and really cut down the overhead on that one.
Yeah. Before you start making like 300,000 a year and you're like, holy crap, or 300,000 a month and dispositions, you're like, holy crap, this person's making more money than we are.
20:00 - 25:00
I was headed that direction. So now we've got the same team in place still to this day everybody's rockin and rollin and we're like just a it's we're all a really good fit. And everybody really gets along well, everybody works independent wherever they are whenever they can. As long as you meet your numbers, I mean, we're not really worried about what you're doing. It's a really awesome environment we have.
It’s super cool. And I like wholesaling because it's a, you know, people get wrapped around like sales has such a negative connotation. I was a recruiter for the marine core. It's like the most hated position in the military for anyone who's in the military or not in the military because all they ever hear about recruiters is like lying scumbags who will ruin your life. No, I can. I'm happy with my life. I like my recruiter. I still talk to him.
But sales has a negative negative negative connotation but wholesaling is like the one shining star that involves sales. Whereas every single person involved has a solution or has a problem. So it's like everybody is happy if done right, you know, the seller of the stress home who doesn't know what to do is happy because they got cash and they got rid of the problem. If done right, the wholesaler is obviously happy and then whoever buys it is going to be able to turn around and either flip it or, you know, rented or live in it or whatever the case. And so I love it because like, I'll go to wholesalers and link up with them, hoping that they find a property that I could utilize.
Right now I'm looking at a deal that, you know, came from a wholesaler and I know he's gonna make money. The seller made money on it. Like, it's just, I guess it's easy to have a warm and fuzzy on everyone because it's like, you know, yeah, everyone's getting paid in the steel. No one's getting hosed because if the seller was getting hosed, they would just say, I'm not giving you my house.
So I like it. I don't know why. Other sales positions don't feel so warm and fuzzy to the world. But..
Yeah, I feel like I guess most sales positions are selling people things that they don't realize they want at the time until the salesman convinces them they want it.
It's true. Yeah. Like, life in the military.
So okay, so you mentioned the mentor thing. So I just wanted to touch base on this. So I know you, you know, you paid for a mentorship program that apparently did dividends for you, which I think is awesome because you put some skin in the game which you know for me is 100% worth it as far as a mentorship goes.
But the one before that you mentioned where you met a guy at a meetup which by the way, I also think is huge that you just went to a meetup and started meeting people because I will tell people all day like you asked me what to do to get started. Read a book and learn something, go out network or something and someone you know some people and confirm those understandings and then take action.
Like if you can do those three things, everything else will slowly fall into place. And so I like the idea because I'm from a small town too, and I was homeschooled. So I totally understand your pain of walking in a room and being like, oh man, everyone's here and dressed really nice. And what am I doing here? And like one belief.
But so the guy you met who you first took out and kind of helped mentor you, you know what? I guess. So you mentioned that you brought him deals, in essence, which I think is also huge. And I just wanted to point that out because, you know, as you and I were talking about before this, people sometimes get wrapped around like getting a mentor, and that's their focus and getting a mentor is huge and it can be life changing. But you got to bring something to the fight.
So for me one of the mentors and guys that I work with out here in Hawaii, I, I mean, you could say the word wholesale, but I did a finder's feed right like I found a bird dog basically a deal for him. And he has a normal bird dog like finder's fee that he gives people and I only took like 20% of that. I was like, I don't need that. Just let me be around the property and learn through the entire process as you flip this house and I've partnered up with them on it. I learned so much from doing that.
And that was something that I did you know, in the last six months, eight months. And I already have a pretty decent understanding of real estate but people seem to you know, they want to mentor but bringing something to the table to say, hey, look here I have these deals with you know, I want to learn what you would do with them, would you be interested in looking at them? I think that was, you know, a brilliant play on your part to get in with people and start to get in the industry is to bring something of value and then to learn from it.
Yeah, I, I agree. Having something or having something to show or bring to the table definitely helps. Nobody, nobody wants to, you know, have some random person walk up to them and, you know, ask you to be my mentor. But you know, whenever you put something in front of them that they can work with, you know, it definitely helps. And so that guy, that guy was an incredible influence. He actually owned a DJ company. You know, as a budding wholesaler, you know, I was doing it full time.
25:00 - 30:00
You know, cash was very much non existent, you know, month by month everything went back into marketing, he would allow me to, you know, be DJ, you know, for him, so I would go DJ weddings, and that would help me, you know, with my people skills and you know, building confidence and stuff like that it was a, it was a really great experience.
And they also introduced me to many other people, one of which being a commercial banker with an investor friendly bank. That banker actually became another mentor. So he introduced me to the banker, and the banker basically looked at my financials and said, well, this is where you're at, this is where I'd like for you to be. And that was extremely helpful, you know, give me something to work for.
So, every three or four months, I'd make a little progress and then I'd go meet with that banker again and show him what I did. And he gave me a little bit more to chew on. And after one year, so, actually one year to the day that I moved to the city, he gave me my first loan on a property based on my wholesaling income, which was incredible, you know, to be able to buy a house without having a job. I was like, you know, step number one, I haven't quite made it yet, but I'm definitely getting somewhere.
Yeah, that's huge.
And, to this day, you know, he continues to, you know, groom me and show me where I need to be, what I need to do to continue going up in the ranks in his bank. It's been, it's been a lot of fun, and he's actually looking to do some investing himself. So the tables are turning a little bit. I'm getting to help guide him.
Awesome. You mentioned a local bank, right?
See, I think that's killer. So the big banks are great. Don't get me wrong. I use a lot of them but all of my best loans have come from local little community banks, and I think it is because the lenders are willing to work with you.
So I had this one where it was supposed to be, like 20, you know, 20% down 80% loan to value or whatever. And then there were some seller financing in the mix and some of this and that and like piecing stuff together and ended up being the guy paid, or the guy did, like 88% of the loan devalue, and I ended up paying like nothing, because I mean, there was, you know, it was like, four and a half percent because the seller finance the rest, it was like, so like, really hodgepodge thing, but heaven forbid, that was a 10 unit. So go ahead and try to call a big bank and say, hey, I want to do you know, seller financing plus me equals 15% of or 13% of the downpayment as a down payment on a commercial property, and they're gonna say, no seller financing 25% down or more, and you're like, well, I got all this other stuff in the deal is great, and they're like, yeah, we don't care. This is what we do, and you're like, great, thanks, and local banks will have that conversation and they will work with you and it ended up I mean, this guy's you know, the loan so great. I'm never gonna miss a payment seller getting paid, he's getting paid, I'm getting paid, everything's wonderful. And I think that's why I love community banks. But there's this app which I'm going to totally. I don't know how this works to pull up the phone here in this thing, and like awkwardly look through here for the app name, but I want to plug this for everyone.
And ICBA is the name of the app. So if you go Google icba it's a Community Bank locator. And it literally opens and it just says zip code, hit enter, and it's every local bank within x mile radius of your area, which is really cool because you can type that in and just start calling and saying, Hey, you know, blah, blah, blah. And I found that those banks are so much easier to work with and so much better overall. Not to you know, get into hard money and private money and go down the rabbit trail, but I would rather work with one of those guys for lending, then a big bank just more options.
Yeah, I've heard it described that they are relationship bankers. And so your character goes a lot further with the smaller banks than with the big banks who just want you to fit into a mold.
Which might bite you if you're an asshole. So don't be an asshole.
Yeah. Not good with people. I mean, that's not a good option for you.
Yeah, well, I mean, if you're not good with people you should probably try to be good with people if you're going to be in really any business that involves people like real estate. So I always harp on you know, working on yourself, right, personal development and becoming a person like I want people ask me about mentorship, you know, obviously bringing something to the table, but I tell them, you need to, like become a person that's worth knowing if nobody likes you, or you don't, you know, you're that person where everything's always wrong, and it's never your fault, like, nobody's gonna want to work with that person. And the bigger they get, the less negative Nancy they want in their life, and they have the ability and the capability at that level to just cut that out of their life. So don't be that guy.
30:00 - 34:17
You don't even have to be, you know, a person of any kind of means. As long as you will just have some good habits. People will want to be around you, and they'll want to talk to you. And they'll want to tell you what they know and help you.
You know, people want to be around people that will make them better. And you can do that, you know, if you have good habits, you don't have to have all the skills as long as you've got some good habits.
Yeah, so as you guys have grown, do you? Do you still do primarily bandit signs? Or do you do more direct mail? Or how do you kind of do I mean, I would imagine you're big enough that you probably get a lot on your website now. You know, what do you guys do for acquisition stuff right now?
The majority is direct mail. And we do pay per click with Google. We've got a handful of websites out these days. But primary is direct mail, secondary Google pay per click.
Hey, on that note, I'm gonna just plug. I made a video about this a little while ago, you don't have to go watch the video, you can if you want, but I'm going to throw the advice out there as an investor.
If you get that direct mail letter from a wholesaler, and you're an investor, don't throw that thing out the trash that is like gold. You call that guy and you introduce yourself and you say, hey, look, I'm not looking to sell my house right now. But I'm an investor. This is what I buy. Do you have a buyer's list? And I, I kicked myself because I've been talking about this for a while and I realized that in the town I invest primarily in, I only knew like one wholesaler, but I do all these guys out here in Hawaii. And then it dawned on me when, like, five, six months ago, I got a letter for my primary residence back home, which it's currently rented. But I was like, hmm, you know, no one's ever sent me a letter. I called them and that person's already shot three, three deals my way in the last five months. And I mean, I would have bought one of them without any question, except that I've dumped all my capital into this monstrous property thing that I just recently bought.
So I told myself, I'm not allowed to buy anything until like March, which is probably not going to work out for me. But I promised and I'm going to break that promise, but I'm gonna try. I guess that's a good promise to break as long as you can afford it.
But I say that to say that, you know, if you're in the Oklahoma area and you get a letter for a letter from Shawn or Shawn or any of his other, you know, partners. Don't just throw that thing out. Give them a call, I would be willing to bet that that's a I mean, I guess I'd like to hear from a wholesaler how that works. But as you grow your buyers list, I can't imagine that it's a bad thing, people calling and saying hey, I got your letter and I don't want to sell but I'm what ready to buy when you have wholesale deals.
Yeah, we love to receive those always trying to build our buyer base.
Yeah, so take advantage of it. Awesome.
Well, hey, Shawn, I probably need to get to work here soon. Um, so it's been really great having you on here, I guess the you know, the last thing would be if you have any closing comments, remarks or tidbits of wisdom for the masses and then where can people find you if they'd like to get more information or follow up with you or if they're in your area and want to work with you? Or..
Yeah I'd say, for any little tidbit of wisdom, I'd say whatever you're going to do do it consistently. That's the thing that made all the difference for us. I think consistency is the hardest part. You just got to see something through but if anyone wants to reach out to me, you can get me at my email, [email protected] Speedy spelled with three E's, buyers plural.
I like it, speed. Nice, nice, nice.
Awesome. Well, Shawn, thank you again very much for being on the show. I guess that's thinking that's the word beat on the TV, computer whatever the mobile device as most of you will probably watch this. It's been great and I hope you guys learned something from Shawn. Wholesaling is a whole different beast and it is an awesome, awesome endeavor that can do very well for you. So I'm a huge fan of it.
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Shawn McVicker is a Wholesaler
got his start wholesaling real estate. He has turned this into a successful business in Oklahoma City, and this is his story from start to present!
Looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for him!
Here is his Facebook page too!
This is one of my earlier podcasts, in case you couldn’t tell by the (lack of) show notes. Don’t worry, we got better with time, make sure you check out some of our most recent episodes too!