The Brad Weisman Show

Near Death Experience Provides Clarity for Success - Tom Zeeb

October 19, 2023 Brad Weisman, Realtor
The Brad Weisman Show
Near Death Experience Provides Clarity for Success - Tom Zeeb
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Grit, determination and a little bit of luck – that's what it took for our guest, Tom Zeeb, to break free from a 9 to 5 grind and dive headfirst into the world of real estate investing.  Tom, will take you on the roller-coaster ride of his life, from a terrifying, near-death experience white water rafting, to being neck-deep in debt, and finally, to now, where he's a successful real estate investor.  It's a journey that was inspired by a book (Rich Dad, Poor Dad), a six-unit investment gone wrong, and a whole lot of courage.

Buckle up because this isn't just a story of overcoming adversity.  It's also a masterclass on the art of negotiation.  Tom shares with us his top three real estate negotiation techniques that have been instrumental in his journey.  He'll reveal the secret behind the "flinch" technique, the art of "bracketing” and the importance of "engineering the middle" to achieve the best possible outcomes.  

Tom shares with Brad a  treasure trove of insights that can help you master marketing, negotiation, and contract understanding – the three pillars of real estate investing.  And if you want more of Tom's wisdom, don’t forget to check out his website or tune in to his podcast.  www.tomzeeb.com

#tomzeeb #bradweisman #thebradweismanshow #realestate #realestatenegotiation

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Brad Weisman has been a Realtor since 1992 and proudly sponsors this podcast!

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Welcome to The Brad Weisman Show (formerly known as Real Estate and YOU), where we dive into the world of real estate, real life, and everything in between with your host, Brad Weisman! 🎙️ Join us for candid conversations, laughter, and a fresh take on the real world. Get ready to explore the ups and downs of life with a side of humor. From property to personality, we've got it all covered. Tune in, laugh along, and let's get real! 🏡🌟 #TheBradWeismanShow #RealEstateRealLife #realestateandyou

Credits - The music for my podcast was written and performed by Jeff Miller.

Speaker 1:

Hello, this is Brad Wiseman. You're listening to Real Estate and you We've got a guest here for you, like we always do. A good real estate guest here, coming straight from Sarasota, florida. He was in Washington, he was in Buffalo God, he came from snow and went to Florida. What a smart guy he is. His name is Tom Zeib. We're gonna bring him on right now and he's gonna talk to us a little bit about getting your investment game together. And, tom, how are you doing today?

Speaker 2:

I'm doing great, Brad.

Speaker 1:

Good to see you Good to see you too, man. So you the thing that's funny when you were telling me before we started recording, you went from Buffalo to Florida, or was it DC to Florida?

Speaker 2:

Buffalo, DC, Florida. I've been working my way south.

Speaker 1:

Working my way south. That's pretty funny. That's pretty funny because you know the difference between Buffalo and Florida is a world of difference. I mean, you're talking two to three feet of snow at a time, probably even more than that, whereas in Florida you know you got hurricanes and stuff, but you're never seeing the white stuff down there.

Speaker 2:

No no, I'll tell you, though, sarasota feels like, feels like Buffalo. I can say Buffalo on the beach, buffalo is on the water, but it feels like Buffalo in warm weather. There's a lot of buffaloonians down here. I feel like I'm home.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's awesome, Very cool. So you came to my attention here. I get a lot of requests to be on the show now, which is great. I feel very blessed to have that. But the thing that stood out was the first sentence of the first line of your bio, and it said that a near-death experience while whitewater rafting pushed you to find a new way to break free of your nine to five job. What a wake-up call. But you had to get like what, hit by a rock underneath the water to get this wake-up call. Tell me what happened there.

Speaker 2:

Well, I've got a really hard head, so it takes a lot to finally, you know, get through to me. It was an awakening. All right, maybe a rude awakening, but here's what happened in a nutshell. I had. I was a few years out of college. This is 2001. I had a day job that I was starting to get sick and tired of. You know, the commute was bad. You get tired of taking orders from the boss and the colleagues are all over the map. And no matter how hard you work, or how literally you work, you're making the same amount of money. So the whole thing starts to feel kind of pointless after a while and I wanted something different, but I didn't know how. Then I was a exceptionally fiscally irresponsible and I had worked myself into a massive financial hole of about 113 grand in debt. Wow, you know college debt and revolving credit debt and, just you know, spending far more than I had, which is, I guess, that's the American dream, at least that's what they tell you, right?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 2:

You should actually be able to fund it. So I did the only logical thing I ignored it all and pure escapism. I went on a giant adventure trip with my buddies to India Wow, and as one does. And we went way water rafting and it was great fun because I was away from all my problems, away from all my debt, felt like I didn't have a care in the world. I mean, all that stuff was kind of waiting for me in the background. But then we went through a very difficult class five rapid and I couldn't quite stay on the boat, couldn't stay on the raft, and I got so excited, and isn't that the idea? And I found myself. Oh, man so you actually went off the side. I would have gone, I would have side down and Wow.

Speaker 1:

So what was your first thought when you hit the water? Oh crap.

Speaker 2:

That wasn't good. I remembered every last second of it and I, slowly, I was trying not to lose the ore I had. I was trying not to lose the shoe I had on that was my buddy's shoe and then I was starting to go hey, I really need to breathe. Breathing would be a really nice thing. That's very important, yeah, those small details. And instead of getting kind of nervous and scared, I started getting angry, because suddenly I realized what I had done. All I was doing was escaping from the daily hell that I didn't like, but it wasn't making anythings any better, it was just getting worse, and so I swore to myself. Then I said I get out of this. Things are going to be different, I'm going to come to the surface, I'm going to change my life and I'm going to make things better and I'm going to pay off all this debt. But the crazy thing was I couldn't figure out how. I mean, what was I going to do?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I got out of the water, I got back home. I had no more vacation time left. I was now $113,000 in debt, still plus the cost of the trip, so even deeper, and I had no clue what to do.

Speaker 1:

Yeah Now. Were you doing real estate at all or any investments at all when you were in debt?

Speaker 2:

Nope, didn't even own my own house. I was an apartment dweller.

Speaker 1:

Wow, amazing. So tell me this so you get done with that. And then it says here you had mentioned here that the first deal that you did almost took you under, so you had this sinking effect in the first part of your career here.

Speaker 2:

All I ever did was drown at the beginning. You know, financially, realistically, metaphorically, it didn't matter. I was always drowning. Yeah, I bought a six unit building because I had read a. I didn't own anything, didn't own my own apartment. But when I, a friend of mine had hand me a copy of Rich Dad, poor Dad, I love that book, great book, yep, awesome, it's awesome. Except it doesn't give you any how to, it just tells you what. Right. So I understood. I had the same frustrations I had when I was drowning, but now they were answered just by real estate. All right, fantastic. So, having nothing but that book, I went out and bought a six unit building in New York City, landlord friendly, new York City. Oh my gosh, we could possibly go wrong.

Speaker 1:

Oh, yeah, so a six unit. New York City is a. Definitely if you're. You talk about jumping right in, that's jumping right in because there's a lot that goes on in New York City.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I would call that kind of jumping in class Lee stupid and I was definitely class Lee stupid back then and what wound up happening was I had six very professional tenants at professional, meaning they knew how to game the system, play the system and live in my place without paying a penny. Cause I guess my due diligence wasn't very good. Maybe it wasn't really, I was just so desperate to have a deal and now I was drowning again, this time having to pay a mortgage on a property that I really couldn't afford. But you know, back then they were giving anybody mortgages and I was one of those anybody's. I can't, you know, I can't imagine why things melted down in 2000.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, oh, that's a whole different show, whole different show. Yeah, yeah, amazing. So you go from that. So what? What made you learn? What did, did? Did you have an epiphany, did? All of a sudden you read another book and that made it happen. I mean, how did you get from the failing six unit New York City to the next step of being now successful or starting to feel successful?

Speaker 2:

Well, when I was falling behind on it, I had, I had, I bought the, bought the deal with my sister, and so my sister and I were partners on it, and one of the tenants took my sister's head and smacked it into the wall which was trying to collect some rent. At which point I said yeah, you know what, tracy, we're done? Let's just, let's just walk away and leave this. We must have screwed something up. So I'm like, well, what did we mess up so bad? Oh, meanwhile, during all that time when we're falling, we were going in the pre foreclosure on this, where we're not paying yet. Everything's a mess. I found my local real estate investors association and I walked into a room full of people actually rehabbing properties, actually land loading properties successfully, and then these weird people called wholesalers that I had no idea what they did, but I realized I needed to focus closer to home. I was, I was. I said there's got to be a way. I just did something wrong. I need to figure this out. And so I I started marketing and got another property on the contract that I thought I was no-transcript Because somebody offered to buy the contract off of me. Yeah, have me wholesale, even though I didn't know what that word meant. Yep, and at that point I walked away with a pretty large check and I went, oh, wow, if I could just do this again and again. I mean they paid me almost $23,000.

Speaker 1:

So what year was that? 2001., OK, yeah, ok got it. So because that times were a little different then and that's when things started to build up. I mean, 2001 up until 2008 was pretty awesome. I mean, the values kept going up. So therefore the wholesale thing made sense, because people, you were buying a property, it was appreciating after you bought it, and then you were basically assigning it over to somebody else and then you're pulling the cash in between, which is it's a great way to make some money.

Speaker 2:

It got me out of debt.

Speaker 1:

There you go, it worked, it works. So now, what is your main source of investing today? Are you still doing the wholesaling or are you doing something different? What are you training on?

Speaker 2:

I'm still basically 80% 85% wholesaler. It fits my personality type. I love marketing, defined deals. I love negotiating and make deals. I really love negotiating. And then I don't particularly love managing tenants. I don't particularly love rehabbing. I do some, but I don't love it as much. So that's just beautiful.

Speaker 1:

Explain for the audience. What does the wholesaling mean? How does that work?

Speaker 2:

So everyone knows what rehabbing is right. You find a property and negotiate, you put it in the contract, you fix it up, you rehab it, you resell it. Well, wholesaling I go, I mark it for the property. So I find it, I start negotiating it, I put it under contract. But now, instead of me going to settlement and then doing the rehab myself and eventually reselling before settlement, I sell it to someone who wants to do all of that and I assign my position in the contract. So I'm not actually selling a property, I'm selling my contract, my position in the contract. I sell that for a fee to somebody else who wants to take over. They're the ones that settle on it. Then they go and do the rehab or they go and do the land lowering.

Speaker 1:

And it's called assignment. Here too, again, I get another term for it. They call it assignment in Pennsylvania. It's actually legal in Pennsylvania to do it. The wholesaling has become a whole new term that people are using. The thing that I guess most people say then at that point is well, what does the seller say? You're sitting there and grabbing money that they could have made if they would have sold it for more. I mean, do you have that kind of pushback?

Speaker 2:

You know what the seller says to me every single time. Thank you, tom. Thank you for solving my problem. Thank you for making this easy. Thank you for getting me out of this issue, because I'm marketing for people who have problems, so maybe listing it isn't their best option. Maybe they don't want to list it, maybe it's so messed up. They're not buying a rundown, dilapidated house and it needs work. There's an issue either with the property or with them. They are thankful for me. They know, I've made money on the process. They expect that, just like you expect a licensed agent to make 6%. Why would you begrudge me for making any money? Absolutely, if I'm solving your problem.

Speaker 1:

No, it makes sense, and you know what's funny about that too. Somebody was going to flip it. It's just not going to be you, and the person obviously that buys it from you during their wholesale actually feels that there's enough equity or enough money still left in there that after you got your cut, they can actually fix it up and still sell it for money and make some money or rent it out.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and that's because I work my numbers backwards. I figure out what they want to buy it for first. I know how rehabbers think I know what they want to buy it. So if they were marketing for it directly, I know what number they would go for. So I know that if I want a wholesale to them, I got to sell it to them at their number, which means I need to negotiate better than that to create a spread for me. I don't try to take, I don't try to take meat off of their side of the bone, right, or I don't take food off of their side of the plate. I make sure they're getting exactly what they want and then I work it with the seller so that I'm getting it for less.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, it makes sense and I'll tell you it's a big thing out there. So that's what you're. So, when you talk about your traction real estate mentor, what are you doing in that? What, what, what happens with that program that you're running?

Speaker 2:

Yeah so program I use to teach investors of all levels Some are beginners, some are intermediate, some are advanced to realize they've messed up their lifestyle somewhere along the way. They're not happy with their business. I hope I'm retool it, but by focus. But all three levels of people get, intermediate or advanced. I focus on three things. We've got to focus on marketing. You got to learn how to find deals. Find the right kind of motivated sellers who need to sell the property even more than they want to sell it, because that actually sets us up for a better negotiation. Which is part two, which is making it into a deal, taking a lukewarm lead and turning it into a red hot deal by pinpointing the problem, packaging up a solution that would fix their problem and then persuading them to say yes. And then the third thing you gotta know how to get paid. You know how do you put it on the contract, navigate it through till settlement and wholesale it during that process. If that's what you choose as an exit strategy but I have students that do anything as an exit strategy the exit strategy doesn't matter. I teach the inbound side of it. So if you want a wholesale or you want to buy and hold. You want to rehab, you want to do commercial, it doesn't matter. Those are exit strategies. You still need the market to find them, negotiate to make them and understand how to navigate it through the settlement.

Speaker 1:

And you know what's funny about that. We always say that the money's made during the purchase, not during the sale, and that is so true. In investing, you know it really is. It's very true. And like, if you buy it at the wrong price, you can do anything you want, you're not gonna be able to make any money. You know it's just, it's the way it works, but so that's what you're doing. So the thing that I thought was really cool and we talked about this a little bit before we went on the recording here was that you are actually marketing yourself to the intermediate investor and the expert investor, because there's times where you get involved, just like you did. You bought a six unit, didn't work out so well, you thought you were an investor at that moment, but there's people that do it and then it goes bad. So you're there, you have a company and a system that you use to get them to be profitable, to market them correctly, and all those things. That's what I think is different about what you're offering.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I find a lot of people feel trapped by the business they created so great. They've done a few deals, or they do a bunch of deals, or they've been in business for a number of years but they're not actually happy with their lifestyle Because they've made a wrong turn somewhere and, instead of having their business create the freedom for them that they really want, they wind up encapsulated and trapped by their business. So, yeah, they're off on their own great, but they own their own jail cell, but it's still jail. So I work with a lot of people to kind of retool their business, to put themselves at the center, wrap the business around their personal goals rather than their personal goals around their business.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, amazing. Let's talk about your podcast. You have a podcast called the Art and Science of Real Estate Negotiation. So you're big on negotiation. That's the big part of purchasing it right At the right price. Love it, yeah, love it, so tell me some of your negotiation tips.

Speaker 2:

Sure, here I'll give you a few. I'll give you my top three.

Speaker 1:

No, here we go. All right, write this down if you go, if I already have it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly, here we go. So.

Speaker 1:

Brad say a number 100,000.

Speaker 2:

Woo 100,000. That's a lot yeah you're laughing, so how do you feel about your number right now? Not good not good, Not good, not good. Why not?

Speaker 1:

Because you made a face and an expression that makes me think I have the wrong number.

Speaker 2:

Exactly yeah no. How could you possibly have the wrong number? I just said say a number. I didn't say a price or a car or a house or a boat or anything, Just say a number. And you feel uncomfortable about your own number. So that technique I made, that reaction which you can both see the reaction and you're able to hear it. So it doesn't matter if we're on a video phone or regular phone or face to face. That's called a flinch. So every time you hear a number, any number whatsoever, flinch because you put the exact thoughts that you had into someone else's head. They start questioning their own number.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I love that. That's good. I like that one. I'm going to have to start practicing the flinch.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, each and every time. Second thing I would say to do is I call it bracketing. So where do we tend to meet? Where's the most fairer place for you and me to meet my office? Ok, fine, in the office it's fair for me that would be given all the way to you. What's more?

Speaker 1:

fair At your house or at your property.

Speaker 2:

No, that's, that's. That's too much on my side. What's the fair spot coffee shop? Ok, a coffee shop in the middle, yeah, yeah, people tend to meet in the middle. In the middle just feels fair to people. So what bracketing does is engineer the middle to be exactly where I need it to be. So let's say I don't know. Let's say I got to get a property for $150,000 at all. $150,000 all make money, great. Well, if I asked them how much they want for the property, they say 200. I say I flinch right, 200. That's a lot, right, but they're $50,000 above where I need in the B. So to create a bracket, so that that's the middle, I've got to go $50,000 below. Interesting Got it so that way we're going to meet in the middle. Most prices move towards the middle. It just seems fair and honest that way. So we I want to engineer where it is You're creating the middle, you're creating the middle. Got it when I need it to be? Yeah, but I'm going to go one step further by my technique. Number three I would never offer $100,000 on that property. I would, though, offer you 103,579. A weird number. Because it is a weird number. What do you think about that number?

Speaker 1:

103,579.

Speaker 2:

That's more than what. Yeah, that's more. It's a little bit more. Yeah, it's a little bit more than the middle.

Speaker 1:

But now you got me intrigued. Now you have Hugo involved. Yeah, now I'm intrigued.

Speaker 2:

Hugo's intrigued. You're intrigued by it. You're thinking well, he really thought that through, must be. You know, this guy knows what he's doing on it. Because why? Because it was a specific, unique number. That is intriguing. So don't just make a flat offer. I wouldn't make a hundred thousand, but I say 103,579. I'm still effectively 50 below, but now you're going wow, this guy's really thinking through his thoughts. He must really know something. Yeah, he's serious about that. So always use a specific number. Those three negotiation techniques I use and I've got 52 different techniques I use that's awesome. Those three I use absolutely every single negotiation because they're powerful and all your listeners can be using those right now and watch what happens.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, I love it. That's good information, man, Really good. So before we wrap this thing up and you have to let me know if there's anything that you want to cover besides that but before we wrap this up, I also want to talk. You have books out there too. Tell us about the books that you have.

Speaker 2:

I do. I have a book called how to Correctly Flip Houses for a Profit. So this walks you through my entire model of what does it take on the marketing end and the negotiation end and the getting paid side right that contracts, control and getting paid. I bring you through the whole process. It's a very accessible read. I didn't write War and Peace. It's designed so that you can kind of read it quickly and understand what's happening.

Speaker 1:

Awesome, Awesome. Well, that's really good. Is there anything else you wanted to cover on the podcast here that you want to get out to to the bubble? I know you said Tom Zeeb, that's. Zeebcom is the is the website to send people to. What else do you want to say?

Speaker 2:

Tom Zeebcom is for the entire podcast Podcasts that focuses specifically on negotiations. So if you enjoy those tips, I think you'll find a lot more that you enjoy, and you can go to tractionrealestatementorscom as well and find out more about the program, and there's a lot of training videos there as well about a lot of the different mindset, things and techniques that really the state investors need to be using.

Speaker 1:

That is awesome, and talk about just a tease of information that you have available. I think people definitely need to go to Tom Zeebcom. Listen to more, find out more, read his books. There's some good information in there. There was a lot, a lot there to do in 20 minutes, so I appreciate it very much. Thanks a lot, tom. Thanks for coming on. All right. All right, there we go. Wow, lots of information. That was a lot. I got a lot of tips out of that. A lot of stuff going on. You have to go to Tom Zeebcom and check out his website. You can check out. He's got wet the. Also the podcast, the art and science of real estate negotiation. He's got traction, real estate mentors all kinds of really good information. If you're not getting the returns you want on your investments, you want to look him up because he's going to help you out. All right, that's about it. We'll see you next Thursday at 7 pm.

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