How and Why Steven Butala Jill DeWit Started House Academy (HA 001)


Steve Butala:                      Steve and Jill here.

Jill DeWit:                            Hello.

Steve Butala:                      Welcome to the House Academy Show, real estate investment talk. I’m Steven Jack Butala.

Jill DeWit:                            And I’m Jill DeWit, broadcasting from sunny southern California.

Steve Butala:                      Today, Jill and I talk about how she and I got started with House Academy, or how and why we actually started House Academy.

Jill DeWit:                            Why did we do this?

Steve Butala:                      I ask myself that question often.

Jill DeWit:                            I was not bored, by the way. I have a lot to say here.

Steve Butala:                      Why would two people withe perfectly fantastic real estate investment careers-

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly, doing just fine.

Steve Butala:                      Start a show and then do one show a day at that?

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steve Butala:                      Harrison Tech people do all the whole… Becoming licensed providers-

Jill DeWit:                            You think it’s a good idea to do this twice? What the heck? Wait a minute, no-

Steve Butala:                      Oh, and this isn’t our first time.

Jill DeWit:                            No, wait a minute. That’s my whole thing. We still have a land business over here that’s running just fine, by the way, and it does have five shows a week the last time I checked.

Steve Butala:                      I can see how this is going to go today.

Jill DeWit:                            Yes, and we thought we’d do this again. Although, this is fun.

Steve Butala:                      This might be the last episode.

Jill DeWit:                            Might be. We did episode zero and episode one, and then we called it. That would be funny.

Steve Butala:                      I bet the vast majority of podcasts start like that, and just stop.

Jill DeWit:                            I bet they do that. That is true. That’s funny.

Steve Butala:                      Hey, if you’re interested in buying and selling land, because we’re not allowed to talk about that on this show, we just recorded episode 1000 of that show.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steve Butala:                      This is brand new, so-

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steve Butala:                      Go check it out if you’re interested. But before you get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the online community. It’s free.

Jill DeWit:                            Jason asks, “How much money does it take to get started in houses?”

Steve Butala:                      Exactly.

Jill DeWit:                            [inaudible 00:01:44].

Steve Butala:                      That’s such an interesting question. Here’s the components of what you need to actually start buying and selling houses. You need a little bit of seed capital to get offers in the mail.

Jill DeWit:                            And data.

Steve Butala:                      And you need to purchase data. You’re going to need to get educated, which is relatively inexpensive, all of that stuff.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steve Butala:                      But I think really what you’re asking is do I have to buy a house?

Jill DeWit:                            That’s what I think holds people back.

Steve Butala:                      Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            I really do. I think so many people come in thinking, “Oh, this is great. I don’t have half a million of dollars. All the homes in my area are $400,000.00-$600,000.00, and I don’t have $400,000.00-$600,000.00 so I obviously cannot do this.” That’s not true.

Steve Butala:                      So what do you think it… I mean, I know how we get it.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, you just covered it. Well, you just covered it, which is first let’s get the deal. That’s really what you need. What you need up front is the funds to get educated and get the deal, because once you have the deal there’s always a buyer, and there’s a way to make that happen, including us.

Steve Butala:                      I mean, Jill and I have this thing-

Jill DeWit:                            Like, including use us.

Steve Butala:                      Yeah. Jill and I have this thing, no good acquisition should ever go to waste.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steve Butala:                      So, if you’re buying a $250,000.00-$300,000.00 house- And I throw these numbers out because it’s actually the national average, $250,000.00/$270,000.00 I think is around the national average for a house.

Jill DeWit:                            Let’s say. Okay.

Steve Butala:                      If you’re going to buy a house today worth $200,000.00, and you’re going to buy it for $200,000.00, you have a signed contract, and it’s worth $250,000.00-$270,000.00 or some number like that, Jill and I are not going to let that acquisition go to waste.

Jill DeWit:                            Nope.

Steve Butala:                      We have members, hundreds and hundreds of members in House Academy that are just here to lend money.

Jill DeWit:                            Standing by.

Steve Butala:                      Private lenders.

Jill DeWit:                            Yep.

Steve Butala:                      So, why did we start this? This kind of rolls into this thing. We didn’t start it to have a membership group, and to teach how to buy and sell real estate. We don’t need to do that at all. In fact, this is not a profit center for by any stretch. Why the hell did we do it? To create partners for ourselves.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steve Butala:                      To create people that go out and find deals so that we can involved and finance the deals with you, or we can provide money partners in our group, and to find out-

Jill DeWit:                            Everybody wins.

Steve Butala:                      Ever since we started this company, and the Land Academy division of it, we’ve been doing more deals and better deals.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, exactly.

Steve Butala:                      And instead of two of three money partners, we have hundreds and hundreds of people that are waiting for the next deal. So, that’s why we started House Academy. It turned out, I was very skeptical in the beginning, as everything. I’m constantly questioning what the heck we’re doing. She’s the one who says, “This is going to be great. It’s going to be awesome,” and then we turn it all on, and it turns out she’s right.

Jill DeWit:                            Did everybody get that? I’m so glad this is being recorded. Thank you, I’m glad that… Thank you for sharing that. That’s great. Yeah, and that’s the same for me. It’s like how we landed in this whole education arena anyway, it’s kind of the same story with houses. We had enough people coming to us saying, “All right, what the heck are you guys doing over here? I’m buying them from. I’m doing the renovation. I’m making money on it. How did you buy it so cheap?” And enough people started asking us, and it’s hard to one-off help and share, and show somebody. We said, “Okay, fine. We’ll make a program. We’ll see, maybe they like, maybe they won’t.”

Steve Butala:                      Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            And here we are again. And they love it. And now they’re getting it, so now we’re doing to a podcast to provide support and answer questions, and be here through the whole process. Then as things change, we can update you with new information and new ways to do things, and we all get better and do better deals together. One little thing I want to throw in there too as far as money, sit tight because at some point you will see House Tank coming along.

Steve Butala:            

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative), and that will be a place that you could actually post deals and get funded.

Steve Butala:                      Exactly. You know, so that leads me to the next logical question, why did we start it? Who’s a logical member? Who’s a logical House Academy member? Every time you start anything, if you go on the Internet and say, “Who’s going to be the customer of this thing?” Well, it’s our existing members that are buying houses from us and renovating them. Or, buying land from us and reselling it. So, the vast majority of the people that we sell property to in the case of houses, renovate it, and resell it to the end user.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steve Butala:                      Or, in a lot of cases they buy houses for themselves, and then they renovate themselves, and move in. We sell a lot of as-is property to existing area, ZIP code landlords. So, it’s very infrequent that Jill and I will renovate a house ourselves beyond carpet and paint, and it’s very-

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative), anymore.

Steve Butala:                      Yeah, and it’s very infrequent that we’ll not sell it to somebody who’s going to do something to it, and sell it to the end user.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steve Butala:                      Does that make us a wholesaler?

Jill DeWit:                            Possibly.

Steve Butala:                      I just learned recently that there’s this negative connotation about wholesaling.

Jill DeWit:                            I know.

Steve Butala:                      We buy the property.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steve Butala:                      We buy it.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s a good point, and we pay cash… When he says buy it, we buy it. It’s like in our names, and it might be-

Steve Butala:                      We close on it.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s closed, it’s recorded. We’re on the Deed. That’s it. So, when I’m going and selling the property, then it really is mine. I have control of it, by the way, and that’s the main reason that we do it this way too.

Steve Butala:                      Yeah, I mean some have been in business since the mid-90s, and the word wholesale has meant different things throughout that timeframe, and right now it seems to mean find a deal, assign a contract to a landlord, and have him close it and pay you ten grand.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steve Butala:                      That’s what we call an assignment, and that is one way to approach this. But, it’s getting a lot of bad press right now because it’s just being abused. I don’t think there’s anything wrong personally with the signing contracts between five and ten grand on a $200,000.00 house, but when you start to assign contracts above the $10,000.00 dollar dollar number, even if it’s an $800,000.00 house like in California, you’re getting a little bit greedy and your kind of making not a good name for yourself.

Jill DeWit:                            Let’s all be careful, too. We all want to make sure that one of the reasons we did it the way we are too, is we’re not representing anyone. You never want to be misconstrued that you’re representing anyone, to when we buy it we own it, we resell it, we are really the seller. I’m not representing anyone in these transactions.

Steve Butala:                      Exactly.

Steve Butala:                      Join us next time for the episode called Why We Don’t Renovate Houses. Perfect.

Jill DeWit:                            And we answer your questions posted on our new online community at It’s free.

Steve Butala:                      You are not alone in your real estate ambition.

Steve Butala:                      This new script is kind of throwing me.

Jill DeWit:                            It is, I can tell.

Steve Butala:                      You know, we recorded over 1000 shows-

Jill DeWit:                            I know.

Steve Butala:                      On the Land Academy Show.

Jill DeWit:                            The other one’s kind of ingrained.

Steve Butala:                      This is show number one, literally and the script’s different.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s okay, you’re doing just fine.

Jill DeWit:                            Wherever you’re watching, or wherever you’re listening, please subscribe and rate us there.

Steve & Jill:                         We are Steve and Jill.

Steve Butala:                      Information.

Jill DeWit:                            And inspiration.

Steve Butala:                      To buy undervalued property. That part’s the same.


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