Whitney teaches women how to build a cash flowing real estate portfolio in 12 weeks or less.
Click to tweet: Fire Nation, Whitney shares her incredible journey on EOFire today!
Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [00:54] – A real estate portfolio doesn’t mean you need a license
- [01:10] – You don’t need any money to start real estate investing
- [01:30] – Whitney was raised in Tennessee
- [02:08] – Whitney’s area of expertise is in creative financing and weird real estate
- [02:47] – She shares how her first deal went down
- [04:04] – Owner financing only works on free and clear houses
- [04:40] – People sometimes forget they own houses!
- [04:46] – The best way to know people who don’t want their houses anymore is by asking around
- [05:54] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: Free and clear houses are great but they are a needle in a haystack. In the same contract or in two different contracts, you can lease a house with the option to purchase it for an agreed upon price.
- [07:04] – Whitney hasn’t been able to do a 10-31 exchange yet
- [07:13] – There are expenses on the houses you keep and sometimes it will show a loss on your taxes that you can carry for years
- [08:27] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Whitney thought the only way to buy houses was through bank or cash. She found a house in an auction and she sent her brother to check out the house. Whitney bid $15K despite her brother’s refusal and the auction ended with her winning.
- [09:55] – Whitney called the cops to escort her to go there because of the neighborhood
- [10:12] – They had the house auctioned and it was bought for just $10K
- [10:34] – Sometimes you take the loss and move on
- [10:53] – Know what you’re getting into
- [11:29] – You have to figure out what is really going on in your industry
- [12:18] – Find mentors
- [13:23] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Whitney bought a half acre of industrial land. She didn’t know what to do with it but it was cheap at $1500. When Whitney bought the land, she found out the neighbor’s driveway was actually hers and after a month she went up to her neighbor and told them they needed to rent out her driveway.
- [16:31] – Talk to the right people at the right time
- [17:07] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “Really helping these other women”
- 18:46 – Check out Whitney’s website to get started in real estate! Whitney has a quick-start program for fire nation for FREE!
- [19:40] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “I was working on a family company and I felt a lot of pressure that I needed to stay”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Keep going”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I love to-do lists”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – IFTTT
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Shoemaker of Dreams: the Autobiography of Salvatore Ferragamo
- 22:27 – Connect with Whitney on Facebook and Instagram
- [22:51] – Become a Proverbs 31 woman
3 Key Points:
- Don’t be hesitant to ask around if people want to sell when it comes to real estate.
- Expenses aren’t always a negative on your accounting.
- Know what situation you’re getting into BEFORE you act.
- IFTTT – Whitney’s small business resource
- Shoemaker of Dreams: the Autobiography of Salvatore Ferragamo – Whitney’s Top Business Book
- Audible – Get a 30–day free trial of fantastic audiobooks!
- Whitney’s website
- Connect with Whitney on Facebook and Instagram
- FunnelOnFire – An 8-day course on how to create a funnel that converts!
- The Freedom Journal – Set & Accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days!
Whitney Nicely: Yes, sir.
John Lee Dumas: Woo! Whitney teaches women how to build a cash flowing real estate portfolio in 12 weeks or less. Now, Whitney besides yours being my favorite intro because of just the very few words that you had in here, I love that, expound. Fill in some gaps. Let us know what Fire Nation needs to know about you.
Whitney Nicely: Well, the first you need to know is when you start talking about a real estate portfolio, you do not need a real estate license to be an investor and you don’t need to go to real estate school because they’re not gonna teach you how to make money invested in real estate. They’re gonna teach you how to stay out of jail and fill out the forms. The second thing I’ll let everybody know is that you don’t need any money to get started in real estate investing and you certainly don’t need to save up $100,000.00 or pay off your primary mortgage. You need to just get started investing and then pay off everything later with the money that you’re making.
John Lee Dumas: Well, I like how this is sounding and I also like the sound of your accent, Whitney, so give us a little glimpse of your personal life too. Where are you coming from?
Whitney Nicely: I am in Knoxville, Tennessee. I was born and raised here. I went to UT. Go Vols. And I started after college working at my family’s dump truck company. We’ve been in business since 1939. The fourth generation entrepreneurs so all of this is very natural and very scary to me at the same time. I think it’s scarier for my mom because I really stepped out of trucking and full time into real estate whereas everybody else just kinda dabbles in real estate.
John Lee Dumas: Let’s kinda talk about that for a second. Your area of expertise is real estate so kind of expound upon what that means. What is your specific area of expertise?
Whitney Nicely: Owner financing and lease options, which is weird real estate. It’s creative financing. I’m never gonna ask any of the ladies or the men, because I have a few men that work with me, but I’m never gonna ask them to go to the bank, put 20 percent down, or do all that old and slow boring kind of investing that we’re all kinda used to. It’s just not how you’re gonna make any money and you’re certainly not gonna make as much as you need to retire by the time you turn 35. It’s just not gonna happen.
John Lee Dumas: Give me an example of one of your favorite deals to date. Share as many numbers as possible. How transparent are you willing to be with us numbers wise, deals wise? Break down one of your favorite real estate deals.
Whitney Nicely: I’m gonna tell you about my first deal. Well, this is my first deal once I figured out owner financing and lease options because I tried putting all money into real estate and trying to get it back and that didn’t work so I had to figure out really fast how I could put it on a fast track and buy more houses, buy apartments, buy land without any money.
So the first deal I did when I put the system into place, I bought a house in Dandridge, Tennessee, which is close to the lake and I put it under contract for $122,000.00, which was par for the neighborhood and I put it up for sale. $145,000.00, I had somebody out of Chicago, a couple came down and offered me $135,000.00 for my house cash and they wanted to close in two months when their house in Chicago sold.
Well, I told them that would be fine except they had to rent the house from me in the meantime. So sure enough, everything lined up perfectly. I made $13,000.00 just on the sale and I had no money involved in it and this took eight weeks and really all I did was make a bunch of phone calls. But they also rented the house from me for two months at $100,000.00 a month so I made another $2,000.00. All in all done, my first deal, eight weeks, maybe five hours on the phone, I made over $15,000.00.
John Lee Dumas: So let’s kinda break down what owner financing is. You’ve thrown that around a few times. Kinda break it down in layman’s terms.
Whitney Nicely: Owner financing only works on free and clear houses and believe it or not, there’s people out there that don’t have a mortgage on their house. They own it outright. So what I do is I get the owner to finance me the property. So I don’t have to go to the bank. I usually don’t put any money down. I get 0 percent interest and I just started making them payments on a house that they don’t want and lots of people have houses that they don’t want. They either outgrew it or they need to downsize. They got transferred. All sorts of things can make people just not want a house. Or they inherited it and they never planned on moving back to mom and dad’s house and they just kinda forgot about it. People forget they own houses.
John Lee Dumas: How do you find people that own their houses free and clear?
Whitney Nicely: I’ve got six different ways but the best way is to ask everybody. “Hey, you know anybody with a house they got paid off they don’t want anymore? Cool. I wanna buy it.” And you would be surprised at how often that works because I am real and I am frank and I just ask for what I want.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah. We’re proud of being debt free, Fire Nation. That’s what an American is. When we can just kind of say, “Hey, I own this house. No mortgage,” we’re gonna say it and your friends, your family, they’re gonna hear it. And so when someone’s kinda going around saying, “Hey, does anybody own their house free and clear?” they can be like, “Oh, John owns his house free and clear down in Puerto Rico when he’s like, ‘I wanna go take a trip down to Puerto Rico.’” She comes down, talks to me.
Next thing we know, deal set match. But Whitney, what I kinda want you to do for us right now, you’ve broken down your area of expertise. Rob is gonna talk a little bit more about it in a minute but before that, what is something that we don’t know about your area of expertise? Give us one valuable, like a tip, a tool, or a tactic just kinda like you did with, “Just ask.” That’s a tactic. That’s a tool. But what’s something that we don’t know that we should know about your area of expertise?
Whitney Nicely: If we’re gonna talk about houses, free and clear houses are great but they are kind of a needle in a haystack so if you’re going out and you’re talking to people and you say, “I wanna buy houses,” a lot of people are gonna have a mortgage and it’s very easy and regular for people to say, “Hey, I don’t wanna live in this house anymore. I’m just gonna rent it or I’m gonna lease it.” Okay? That’s normal. Right?
Or people are gonna say, “Okay, I’m just gonna sell this house.” Okay, fine. So, on a lease option, that’s the other thing that you can do with a house with a mortgage on it. You can literally, in the same contract or in two different contracts signed at the same time; you can lease a house with the option to purchase it at some point down the road for agreed upon price.
John Lee Dumas: So one thing that you talked about earlier was your favorite deal where in just like eight weeks you cleared something around $15,000.00. Me just being a businessman, I kinda first go to, “Wow. That’s great,” but at the same time, there’s some real taxes on that profit. So what are your strategies with that tax? Did you just pay the tax? What is the tax approximate in Tennessee? And do you have other creative ways to maybe roll that with a 1031 kinda exchange into that next property?
Whitney Nicely: I have not been able to do a 1031 exchange but one thing about real estate is if you’re out and you’re buying a lot and you’re selling a lot but you’re keeping a lot, there’s gonna be a lot of expenses on houses that you keep and sometimes, you will show a loss on your taxes when actually, maybe you didn’t make money or maybe you really did have a loss but you can carry that for years and you get appreciation, you get depreciation. There’s lot of different things that if you’re just a – I don't wanna say just but if you are a small business owner, then yeah. You get taxed off the top but if you are a real estate investor, there’s all sorts of different things that will figure in to how much you were actually taxed.
John Lee Dumas: So worst case scenario, what are we seeing or thinking tax wise on the $15,000.00. If you had just gone in, done that one deal, never did another deal again in your life, had no expenses, what are you paying percentage wise on that $15,000.00.
Whitney Nicely: I think the top capital gains tax bracket is 35 percent.
John Lee Dumas: Okay. So you’d be looking at 35 percent. So even, Fire Nation, a cool $10,000.00 is sticking in your pocket from that eight days of work free and clear from taxes. So there’s opportunities here and Whitney, you’ve given us one of your favorite deals, which I asked for so thank you for that but now, give us your worst entrepreneurial moment story. There’s been the ups. There’s been the downs. Take us to the day that that worst moment happened and tell us that story.
Whitney Nicely: I though the only way to buy houses was either with cash or going to the banks and this is before I knew even what the definition of owner financing or lease options was. So I found an auction and I love buying properties at auction. I’m also an auctioneer. But you can get a really good deal on a house at auction. It doesn’t have to be a foreclosure either.
So anyway, I was on my way out of town. I saw this house was gonna be up for auction. I sent my brother over to look at it and he was like, “Please, dear God, Whitney, don’t buy this house. We don’t need to get started this way. This is not gonna be our first house. This is a disaster,” and I was like, “Okay, Ty. But really, if you were gonna bid on it, how much would you bid?” and he was like, “No more than $8,000.00 or $10,000.00,” and I was like, “Okay, so like $15,000.00? I could probably go up to $15,000.00?” and he was like, “No. Please don’t.” And I was like, “Okay. So $15,000.00 it is.”
So I put my bid in and the auction ended at midnight. It was online only auction and that morning, I got a email that said, “Congratulations. You’re now the owner of this crack house in a bad neighborhood that your brother didn’t want at all.” And I’ll tell you that over the next six weeks, we closed. We paid right at $15,000.00 all in, all done including the auctioneer fee and everything. We were right at $15,000.00.
And I went over there, we went to clean it and the floors were soggy like a sponge. They weren’t hard like they were supposed to be. The neighbors on the left side, there was a smell coming from that house that I have never smelled before in my life. Had the cops called on us while we were over there. I called the cops to escort me over there one time. It got really, really bad to where I didn’t wanna be there by myself and if you’re uncomfortable buying an investment house and you don’t wanna be there at night or it’s just bad, get out. Sell it. So that’s what we did.
We put it back up for auction. We ended up selling it absolutely auction, online again with the same company and I had bidders against me at $13,000.00, $14,000.00, $15,000.00. I thought somebody would bid that again. It bottomed out at $10,000.00. So we lost money but I did not get kidnapped or mugged or raped or anything bad happen. We just lost $4,000.00 grand and like I already said, we just take that on our taxes and move on.
John Lee Dumas: Take it on the taxes. Take it on the chin and move on. And Fire Nation, the only winner in that scenario by the way was the auctioneers because even the person it sounds like that bought that for $10,000.00, they’re probably regretting that purchase as well. So Whitney, my biggest takeaway here is you gotta know what you’re getting into. You really gotta do the research. There’s something for just holding your breath and taking that leap which we talk about a lot as entrepreneurs because that next step won’t reveal itself till you take that first step.
But when it comes to stuff like real estate and just the physical propertiness of that and you can do that background research, you need to do it, Fire Nation, and you gotta go with you gut. And I know Whitey’s gut was probably telling her, “I should listen to my brother here.” Obviously her brother’s gut was telling her, “Let’s pass on this one.” But Whitney, what do you wanna make sure Fire Nation gets from your story?
Whitney Nicely: After that, I really had to figure out what was going on in real estate and that’s when I figured out how to create an exit strategy. I figured out how to evaluate the comps. I could get a contractor to give me a quote and I knew the steps you needed to take before you actually put that offer in and that’s what I try to tell the people that I work with now is you don’t have to wing it like I did. I only knew old and slow real estate, put money down, eventually, it will come back. There’s strategies. There’s formulas.
I got a mentor and all of that coming together really helped me so that I could actually transition this into a full time thing instead of just dabbling and playing and risking my whole life’s savings. I don’t want anybody to do that. Let me help you.
John Lee Dumas: I wanna glob onto that word, “mentors,” because it’s so important. Fire Nation, you need to find somebody who’s been or is currently where you want to be. So, somebody who’s been on that journey, somebody’s who’s currently where you wanna be. If Whitney had found a successful real estate investor and had a conversation with that person before she went down that initial road, that person would have given her a lot of red flags and a lot more to think about before taking that step. So it’s so important to find that mentor.
Now, Whitney is that mentor to so many others allowing them to avoid those rabbit holes and to really push the fast forward button around some obvious mistakes or some short cuts that are there if you just know them because there are some good shortcuts out there if you know the right path to take.
So Whitney, I kinda wanna move into another story. Obviously owner financing, lease options, things that we’ve talked about, these are all great ideas that you’ve had and that you’ve really just unveiled as we’ve had this interview, this chat today. But what’s one of your greatest ideas to date that you can really tell back to us in a story? Take us there.
Whitney Nicely: At that same auction that I bought my little crack house, I bought a half acre piece of industrial land and when we talk about land, there’s four different levels like a pyramid of land and industrial is the top. And I bought half acre of industrial land. Really didn’t know what I was gonna do with it but I figured it was pretty cheap. It was $1,500.00 bucks. I could gamble $1,500.00 bucks.
What happened when I bought it, I also found out that the neighbor who had been using this driveway, that wasn’t their driveway. It was my driveway and about a month after I bought it, I went and talked to my neighbor who was a Fortune 500 company, like a really big deal, and told them that they needed to rent that driveway from me. They couldn’t just drive on my land anymore. So they actually rent that driveway, rent raw land, grass, trees, nothing, for $250.00 a month. So six months later, I had all my money back and now, for the rest of my life, I’ve got $250.00 just free flowing into my account, which isn’t a whole lot.
And even when I talk to real estate investors, I’ve got 17 houses, 19 apartment units, and six or seven chunks of land all bringing me money every month and that’s not a whole lot in real estate terms but for a lot of the people listening, one or two houses is a big deal and one or two chunks of land, bringing in a couple extra maybe thousand dollars a month can really change somebody’s life and you really don’t have to start where you’re uncomfortable. You can start with land.
John Lee Dumas: I love that. Just the land. You’re not gonna have those soggy floors that Whitney was talking about. You just have a piece of property and Whitney, fine, she did her research and there was this company that’s using her land as a driveway and they obviously probably did not have a preexisting right of way or something along those lines so she said, “Hey guys. You can’t just keep driving over my land. Let’s talk about something.”
Now, of course they could have probably gone to great expense and spent potentially tens of thousands of dollars and found a way around that and maybe created a new driveway. Who knows what the set up was like? Or they could have just been like, “Let’s just do this. Let’s pay her $250.00 a month. It’s totally worth it for us.” And guess what, Fire Nation? Whitney said a couple times. That might not be a lot of money and to some people, it is. To some people, it might not be.
But guess what? The land is also appreciating and the land is going to be worth more as the years go by and the area builds up et cetera so there’s kind of two angles to that as well. So Whitney, that’s my big takeaway, is once you’ve dived into something and you’ve really decided to make that decision, do you background research about it because you don’t know what you’re going to uncover. Be that detective. But what do you wanna make sure our listeners get from your story?
Whitney Nicely: Sell once. This $1,500.00 bucks, I could probably sell it, that land, to the neighbor for maybe $20,000.00 or $30,000.00. They’ve got a bunch of money but I can only sell it once and I can rent it for the rest of my life. And on their taxes, it looks better for them to rent than it does to buy. If you’re renting a place, maybe you’ve got a commercial unit and you’ve got a yoga studio or something and you kinda know the landlord, you might wanna say, “Hey, man. I’m paying all this money and I’d really like to pay this money and actually be buying the property from you. What do you think about that?”
And if you talk to the right people at the right time, there’s a great chance they may say, “Wow, that’s a great idea. I was just thinking I needed to sell this.”
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, have the conversations. The worst case scenario is they can be like, “Nope, not interested,” but the best case is what Whitney just described. Why not just have that conversation because again, at the very worst, they say no, but guess what? You’ve just improved yourself by having a conversation with a real business opportunity that’s gonna make you better for the next time. Now, Whitney, you have a lot of things going on. You mentioned over 17 properties, et cetera, but what’s the one thing that has you most fired up today?
Whitney Nicely: Really helping these other women because when I was working for my mom, I would get mad at the drivers if they did something silly or didn’t pass a drug test or something and I would get mad at them and mom would say, “You can’t drive them all.” Well, now that I’m buying houses, I physically cannot buy all the houses that are empty and vacant and needing to be purchased across the country.
So that’s why I’m working with men and women, mostly women right now, but I’m teaching them how to set up their own retirement. Set up their own residual income and I work with a lot of real estate agents who only know 20 percent down, appraisals, inspections, going to the bank, all this red tape and they don’t realize how easy it is and they’ve been passing up on thousands of dollars and hundreds of houses for ten or 20 years that they could have ben building their own portfolio at the same time.
So that’s what gets me excited now is really helping the other people because it’s fun to help sellers get rid of a house they don’t want and it’s fun to help buyers but it’s also helpful to do that all across the country. I even had a lady yesterday from France send me a message and she wanted to get started internationally. That was cool.
John Lee Dumas: Wow. And how about just beautifying the neighborhood, Fire Nation? You’re improving one house. That might inspire your next door neighbor who just left their house vacant or run down, now be like, “Oh, well maybe this is turning around. That might be worth me putting some money into this,” and then you have this chain reaction, this domino effect and you’re just improving your neighborhood, your town, the country, and as Whitney just said, the world, France. There it is. So Whitney, where can we, Fire Nation, find out more about working with you? Where could our listeners go to to kind of learn more about your strategies?
Whitney Nicely: You can go to WhitneyNicely.com and hit the start tab but if you really want to get started with me, I’ve got a present for everybody listening. And if you go to WhitneyNicely.com/eofire, I do a quick start program, which is four videos to get you started; help you kind of wrap your brain around real estate because a lot of people are just confused. They feel like it’s too big. They can’t get a grasp on it and it’s not. It’s really fun. It’s pretty easy and anybody can do this. You don’t need a license. You don’t need any experience and so I’m gonna give you the first video in my four part series for free.
John Lee Dumas: Whitney Nicely. That’s N I C E, because she is nice, L Y.com/eofire. Check it out, Fire Nation, and don’t go anywhere because we’re about to crush the lightning rounds after we thank our sponsors. Whitney, are you prepared for the lightning rounds?
Whitney Nicely: I think so.
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Whitney Nicely: I was working in the family company and I really felt a lot of pressure that I needed to stay in the family company even though I was 27 and I was ready to spread my wings and I was ready to fly and I was full of guts and glory and not a whole lot else and I just wanted to go. So I finally just stood up and left.
John Lee Dumas: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Whitney Nicely: Keep going. Good deal, bad deal, it’s falling apart in your hands, whatever is happening, just keep going. There’s gonna be something down the line and you’re gonna either realize why it fell apart and you didn’t get it. Like, I was trying to buy a house one time and it just kept crumbling. I could not keep this deal together and I eventually had the place surveyed and it turns out the property line cut straight through the kitchen. So that was a bad deal. I didn’t need that house anyway and that’s why it kept falling apart. Once I figured that out I was like, “Cool, I’m out. Peace.”
John Lee Dumas: Peace. See ya. What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Whitney Nicely: I love a to do list and a lot of people will say, “Don’t have more than three or four things on a to do list.” No. I put everything I need to. I brain dump every night. I put it all out there and it feels really good to check off, “Okay, I went to the gym. I went to the grocery store. I remembered this. I’ve done that.” It’s 10:00p.m. and now, I’ve done everything on my to do list, what do y’all wanna do now? I guess I’ll go buy a house.
John Lee Dumas: I love that. The feeling is great of just crossing things off to do lists. I just love my work flowy because I can just erase things or mark them as complete. It’s great feeling, Fire Nation. So I totally agree. Write stuff down and then accomplish it. And speaking of resources like work flowy, what’s an internet resource that you’d recommend?
Whitney Nicely: If This Then That. IFTT, especially if you’re looking for houses, you can get lost in Craigslist and Zillow and all those other websites but you can go to If This Then That and I think they’ve changed the name to Applets now and you just set up, “I’m looking for this kinda house in this price range, in this zip code. Send it to me when something pops up on the internet.” And then, all you gotta do is follow up with the sellers instead of spending all your time hunting sellers.
John Lee Dumas: If you could recommend just one book what would it be and why?
Whitney Nicely: Salvatore Ferragamo’s autobiography “The Shoemaker of Dreams,” and I know Grant Cardone just came out with, “Obsessed,” or whatever but I think he got the idea from Ferragamo’s book because that man was absolutely crazy about shoes and he made a fortune out of it. I still love my Ferragamo’s now.
John Lee Dumas: Whitney, I wanna end it today on fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you and then we’ll say goodbye.
Whitney Nicely: You can find me on Facebook or Instagram, whitneybuyshouses, because that’s what I do and you can too.
John Lee Dumas: And what’s that parting piece of guidance?
Whitney Nicely: In my realm in Tennessee, everybody wants to be a Proverbs 31 woman or the women wanna be a Proverbs 31 woman and any bible study or group that I’ve ever gone to, they always skip over the 16th verse which says that she goes to inspect the field and she buys it and then she creates a vineyard. She creates generational wealth. So a Proverbs 31 woman is a real estate investor and if you wanna be a real Proverbs 31 woman, you need to start buying some land and creating that generational wealth for your family.
John Lee Dumas: Fire nation, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you’ve been hanging out with Whitney and JLD today so keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type Whitney in the search bar. Her show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today, best show notes in the biz, timestamps, links galore.
Don’t forget about your gift from Whitney. WhitneyNicely.com/eofire. Get on over there. Check it out and of course, reach out to Whitney because she just knows her stuff and if this is exciting you, get on over there. Find that right mentor. And Whitney, I wanna thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
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