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Brent Bowers - Freedom In 5 Years With Land Investing

Uncategorized Feb 03, 2022

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People often share the phrase "you can be anywhere you want in 5 years." This holds true for Brent Bowers, who really gained focus on his real estate career back in 2017. Originally an Army Officer, with over 8 years of service including 2 overseas stints, Brent decided he wanted to find a way to be more present with his family. In these past five years he's worked primarily on land investing, with his company The Land Sharks, and also now offers coaching and training to help others do what he has done. In addition to that, he has rental properties and some land development projects in the works. Because of Brent's focus over these past 5 years, he's been able to purchase a lake home, a vacation home on 58 acres of land (their original "dream home"), and just recently purchased a new property they moved to in Florida. He has an RV to be able to travel with his family whenever he wants, donates thousands of dollars to non-profits and charities, generates over 40k/month in revenues rom his investments, and is living the dream life he set out to accomplish. Join us as Brent shares his journey and advice to help others do the same!

 

In this episode, hosted by Mike Swenson, we discussed:

  • Brent started in lawn service and took 3 tests before he got his real estate license in 2007. He borrowed $1,000 and he bought a house and turns out into real estate.
  • Brent then went in the Army for eight years and finished as an Army Officer. He started out with rentals, and then it turned into wholesaling houses and then it turned into focusing on investing in land.
  • For his success, the key differentiator is the willingness to take risks and willing to take action on something. You have to lean into it and take that jump to experience the benefit of what it is.
  • For investing in land, he recommends starting by picking a certain area near you, and focusing on finding sellers in one smaller area to start and growing from there.
  • Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, networking with local agents, etc are some of his strategies in selling land.
  • Because of investing in land, Brent and his family were able to buy their dream home. With future success, that dream home actually became their 2nd home because they moved again, and what was their "2nd home" now became their "lake home." This happened because of the success Brent and his company have built over the past 5 years.

Timestamps

00:00 - Intro and overview of Brent‘s career
06:20 - How he started into real estate.
12:28 - Talking about the Land Sharks program.
18:40 - How they find buyers for the land.
20:26 - How he coaches and his team.
25:52 - Knowing more about Brent.

 

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Full transcript here:

Mike Swenson 

Welcome to The REL freedom podcast where we inspire you to pursue your passion to gain time and financial freedom through opportunities in real estate. I'm your host, Mike Swenson. Let's get some real freedom together

 

Mike Swenson 

All right, welcome everybody to another episode of REL freedom stories. And, you know, we often talk about, you know, the, the podcast, REL freedom. And we often talk about the doing side and what people are doing. And we don't often highlight as much of the freedom piece. And so I'm really excited today to share we've got our guest, Brent Bowers. And before we get into the, the, what he does, and how he does it, I just want to highlight some of the freedom pieces. So here's kind of Brent's current situation. So because of what he's done in real estate, right, we talked about building wealth, gain time and financial freedom through real estate, he was able to buy his dream house 4000 square feet on 50 acres. And then he bought the next dream house on top of his dream house.

 

Mike Swenson 

And now his dream house is his vacation home. And what previously was his vacation home, a lake house is now his third home, you know, that's the type of stuff that can happen, goes on vacation once a month with his family by bought an RV, able to travel with your family when you want donating money to nonprofits and charity, and through what he's doing generating over $40,000 a month in income. So I'll let everybody just kind of soak that in for a minute. Before we get into how it works. You really are living your dream. And you mentioned that to me, before we started is this has provided an opportunity to live our dreams. So people that listen to this podcast, you know, I want that real freedom, I want the time and financial freedom through real estate, and a little bit of your background. So before we give you a chance to talk here, you started out as an Army officer for eight years, spending time away from your family. And that's really what drew you to wanting to be able to spend time with your family. So began investing in real estate as a way to support your family while having time to spend with them. Through that you were able to expand your business, hire a team, you've got the land sharks, some development opportunities and rental opportunities, investor coach, you name it, welcome Brent, are so excited to have you on the show.

 

Brent Bowers 

Man Mike listening to that I'm like, holy cow, this and all these blessings. And it just reminds me it's like, why did we start doing all this? And you know, I forgot about some of these things, you know, like that we built and that we have and all this opportunity. And it's amazing. We call it shiny object syndromes as an entrepreneur. But really, that's what entrepreneurs do that we see something that we can improve or make money with. It's just kind of staggering, just to hear you say all that. And, man, I appreciate it. I was not an army officer for eight, eight and a half years, I did start enlisted I started from the ground. You know, he one and eight years of service became an army officer. But no, that's incredible. And I just forget and you know, one thing I did get away from we haven't been going on vacation once a month lately with the kids back to school.

 

Brent Bowers 

So I just want to let people know, like, we're not just like vacationing all the time. Like I'm still I still want to jump out of bed every morning and build things and I I mean, that's just it. I just keep the fire like Jim Rohn says, I can't wait to get up in the morning. And I don't want to go to bed type thing. Um, so that's just keep that fire and that's what real estate's been for me and it's always something new. You know, it started out with me with rentals, and then it turned into Wholesaling Houses. And then it turned into Wholesaling Houses where I would just clean the needles out of the house and put it on the MLS. And then it's like, well, let's turn this into a beautiful house for a family and then it turned into land, which that's what I'm passionate about. That's when screaming about because land is almost like the blank canvas. Yesterday I was doing a training call with some some some students in the land sharks program, I've got the honor of being a wholesaling Inc coach. But as I was doing that, that call with about 18 people we keep them small.

 

Brent Bowers 

One of the students said well I don't feel like this is passive I'm having to chase them for payments I'm having to do title search on the on the land. And I was like let me show you what's passive about this. As we're doing this call the two hours I spent with these people I was paid eight times by land notes, just in that two hour period and I was like guys, this is how you turn this into passive. So you can build this up. Let's just say you have 10 notes paying you 400 a month. That's four grand a month. You can go on vacation for a month and know you're going to come home and make at least a $4,000 check. So that's what's passive about it. So super happy. I love the name of this podcast, you know real freedom real estate leveraged because of real estate the leverage of real estate gave me the life of my dreams.

 

Brent Bowers 

And I just list thank you so much for that intro because it's like sometimes we get to be reminded that we're doing what we want to do, because this is not always glory. Like there's times when my bank account gets low, or sometimes in the negative, I'm still a real dude, we're still out there buying properties. And sometimes we, we make mistakes, like I want, like, I think I think real estate investors get on these, these podcasts all the times and talk about how cool everything is how good they are. But, like, we still struggle sometimes like, but we also have fun doing it. But yeah, that's awesome. Man. I know, I just took a long time there. But that's kind of how I was feeling. But listen to that.

 

Mike Swenson 

What I was gonna say is I think they the key differentiator though is the willing to take risks are willing to take action on something, versus, hey, I really wish that I could be like, Brent, and I'm going to just continue doing what I'm doing. You know, it's, it's, you got to lean into it and take that jump to experience the benefit of what it is.

 

Brent Bowers 

Yeah, and that's, that's so true. You've got to take action, like I have a whole library, a whole bookshelf full of books, behind my camera here. And I could read all those books. And a year from now nothing's changed. But if I just read one of those books, and implemented the steps, the action what they told me, it could just be one idea in that book, that could make you a million dollars. You got to take the action.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah. So let's let's kind of start a little bit on the on the early side for you walk me through how this got started. And kind of how it developed a little bit into where you're at today.

 

Brent Bowers 

Early side, you know, I got out of high school, I always wanted to be in real estate somehow or another I was always had the entrepreneurship bug that the I wanted to go out and sell things. I started a lawn service. And then I was like, Look, I'm gonna get my real estate license. It took me three times to take this test, finally pass it, finally pass it in 2007. And what did I do? I took action, just like you said, there, Mike, us a one of our agents in the office listed a house. And I said, I put an offer on it that day. And I didn't have the earnest money deposit. And I had to go borrow $1,000 From my great grandma, and I said, you know, look, I like to borrow this money. I'm gonna, I'm gonna buy a house, I'm gonna turn it into a rental. And she's like, Look, if you don't pay me back, this is coming out of your inheritance. I said, Don't worry, Grandma, I will pay you back. Because I'm getting, I'm actually making a commission to buy this house. I've just got my real estate license.

 

Brent Bowers 

And she kind of jarred me a little bit. She's like, Oh, it took you three times taking that test. She gave me a hard time. She's a tough German woman. But anyhow, I did pay her back. I never saw that inheritance she was talking about, but it got me into my first rental property. And then I turned it into a rental move to the coast, started trying to sell real estate in 2008. Ultimately, I was driving people around in my car, to rent them out a house. And I was lucky if I made $300 In a week after driving them around, I was probably losing money, honestly. And I kind of threw in the towel with real estate for a little while because I was like, this is just not cutting it. You know, I was getting behind on bills ended up having to move in with my in laws. And here I am, I had my own business. I have a real estate license, I have a rental property. And now I'm now living with my in laws like, like I was I was being humbled. And so I joined the military at 24 years old with the basic training was was continuously being humbled, I think everyone but start over like that. But it was all on a plan to go back to school and do something a little bit different because the real estate business wasn't working out. And then I had to evict that tenant.

 

Brent Bowers 

They trashed the house, it was just like, This is nuts. Like, this is such a hard business and I did a I did a deployment for a year in Afghanistan, saved up a little money, and that eviction. All all that money I saved up had to go to repair the walls that they kicked in and you know the stuff they threw down my toilet. So I'm like, Man, this is who the heck would ever get into this business. So long story short, did another deployment. And the Army pulls me out of Afghanistan in 2013 said we're sending you to college, you're going to be an officer because I've been putting in a packet and that that real estate bug came back. I was like I'm gonna buy this house next to the college, rent out the rooms I started making a fortune doing that I was paid to live there. And I was able to refi that house within like two months pull out 55,000 Cash bought a second rental actually, this is my third one by this point. Mix it up myself with a with a friend that was a handyman, and basically just kept rinsing and repeating. And I was like, Look, there's got to be a better way to do this. And by that time, I was like ready to get out of the military because I was always gone.

 

Brent Bowers 

Always away, always training, always deploying. I was like, I've got to make like, you know, at least 6000 a month to get out of the military. So it's trying to do with Wholesaling Houses. And here's the thing, you got to meet sellers, you got to spend time with them. You got to create rapport with them. And I didn't have the time to do that. I was like on base 13 hours and a day 13 hours a day. So I think Started mailing vacant lands. And just to kind of like, just add to the repertoire, I guess, of what I was doing. And that absolutely exploded, I was I didn't have to meet these sellers, I can go and look at the land on the weekend. And I did a couple deals within a couple of weeks. And by the second deal, I had a passive income of 400 a month, that was the first one. And then I did a third one, it gave me like, 300 a month, and I was just, I just kept doing it. Before I knew it. I had nine grand a month coming in on land payments. And I was like, Honey, I told my wife because we'd have baby. And I was like, I was like, I want to start seeing this baby more often. I want to see you more often. I was like, I'm getting out of the military. I'm done. Like, we've got this, we're gonna be fine. And that gave me the, like, the freedom, the financial freedom to understand like, we're gonna be fine. So that's that's the whole story.

 

Mike Swenson 

In a nutshell. Yeah. And it's certainly not easy. And certainly you made a lot of sacrifices. You weren't home, obviously doing doing military doing school, away from your family. And so I think, you know, people also have to realize it takes sacrifice, you know, you didn't get to, to where you're at today without having to make those choices and put in the long hours and, and do the work of cleaning out needles in a house, that stuff happens. And it's the ability to be able to move forward past those things and keep going and not let it derail you.

 

Brent Bowers 

Well, I'll tell you what, sometimes the bad things create the good things in life. One thing I left out was, you know, that second deployment, my wife was over, it's like, she was my first wife. She was tired of me being gone all the time, tired of us always being broke, because this rental property sucks so bad, like she was like, I'm out of here. And I don't blame her. It like made me the person who I am today. But I did not want history repeating itself again, right, especially when that first baby came out with my my new wife, the woman of my dreams, like she like I wanted to be there more often. So I made some distell I had a huge "why" like they people talk about the "why" and I was like, I don't know what my "why"  is. I never understood it. Until I got on this podcast and started talking about it. My "why" was to be home more often, and have time, freedom, geography, freedom, like we could travel, and even financial freedom because it starts with the financial freedom. And then all the other freedoms come from it. And I call it land freedom. Like it's American land, we're buying, like everyone wants American land, like I sell to people in China and Europe. And like it's all about freedom, leverage through real estate, just what you're doing here, Mike.

 

Mike Swenson 

So let's talk about the land sharks piece a little bit finding properties, finding buyers structuring deals just give us a little bit of kind of how that works, a little overview.

 

Brent Bowers 

Well, the land sharks is a program that I put together to teach people how to how to do this, how to build a business around, you know, buying and selling land that will change their lives that you can build financial freedom and time freedom and geography freedom with it. But how, how does my company operate? How does my specific land buying company operate? What we do is we pick an area, we call it our playground, and I recommend for someone to kind of pick an area within about a two and a half hour radius of where you currently live. That's where I started out. So I actually picked the county that I was in, I started mailing this list of landowners that were behind on their taxes, so they weren't paying their back taxes. So I got a list from the county went straight to the county treasurer, and I said, Hey, I'd like your tax delinquent list. Well, there was a little miscommunication there.

 

Brent Bowers 

They gave me the county held tax lien list. This was these were tax liens that are available for sale. And basically they were such inefficient properties. Some are not buildable, some were not accessible, you name it. They gave me this list. Well, they wanted me to buy the tax liens. I wanted to see that who was behind on their taxes, because I wanted to mail them a letter saying, Hey, I'd like to buy your land. Because I was really kind of building this from the ground up. I'd heard about it from someone on the podcast. They're buying this land crazy cheap and selling it for double the money overnight. And I was like, I That sounds way better than what I'm doing with these houses. It would take me like months of mailing letters on spend like five or $10,000 mailings letters, I have to talk to like 10 sellers to maybe get a deal. And I didn't have time for that.

 

Brent Bowers 

That was like, literally like I felt like I was climbing a mountain with no shoes, and no shirt on. It was just it was just rough. So I got the list. I have my virtual assistant in India, describe it for me for $5 an hour. What she did was she would put the APN the assessors parcel number for each property, because they sent us like literally like I scan, fax, and we can barely read it. She would punch in the APN on the assessor's website, and then pull out the owner's name, the owners mailing address and there was usually no address for the land. But we would mail I mailed them a postcard. So we mailed 687 of these postcards saying, Hey, my name is Brent Bowers, I'd like to buy your land if you're interested in an all cash offer. Fair price Call me or text me. I can even give your listeners that exact postcard I use I can give you a link to it if you'd like and so we sent the letter and My phone starts ringing. I gave him my cell phone number like I'm in the office, my army job and my phone was like blowing up. I probably received about, I don't know, 30 phone calls, I probably only had time to return about 20 of them. So the first first one I got to get on the phone.

 

Brent Bowers 

It was a retired CPA like I dealt with the land. By it, I'll sell to you for 285 Like he gave me the number. I was like, Wait a minute. $285 is a gap. It's like it's not buildable. So it's garbage land. I was like okay, let me go check this out. So me my wife and like my three month old went down the road. We it was almost like an hour and a half away from us and Palmer lake in Colorado. And I was so confused. I heard Lake Avenue as is right down the road. There's no way I can buy land on Lake avenue for $285. So when lifted this land, and I had no clue was worth that. I called the realtor office, the real estate office right down the street like a mile away. I was like, surely they will know. I told a realtor. I was like, Look, she answered the phone on Saturdays like Thanks for taking my call. I have a piece of land it's actually to lots of Lake Avenue. What do you think the 30 day blowout prices of it? Like what can we blast the thing I want to get it done now price? Because I can't like $285 was a lot of money for me in 2016. I couldn't like just leave it locked up in land that wasn't buildable.

 

Brent Bowers 

She said I don't know about 30 Day block price, but maybe 10,000 You could sell it for. And I was like, like bells are going off in my head. Yeah. Got kidding me. So I thanked her for time. I said I call you and I buy it. I've got it under contract right now. I'm going to get the deed and all that. Well, she calls me back five minutes later and says Hey, Brian 158 offer and I said what are you offering? She said $5,000. I said, Okay, when can you close? What do you want to buy it? She said Wednesday I was like, well, Saturday, like four days from now? She said yes. I say they'll send me the contract. Let's do it. So I got the contract signed it called the seller. I said, I'll give you the 285 on Tuesday. I love the land, I'll take it while paid the guy on Tuesday, he gave me a quitclaim deed, and I drove it down to the title company and pick my $5,000 Check up on that Wednesday. And then I did a second one. And this time, I did seller financing for it. And I got my money back out right away. And that's the one that really sold me that's like there's no way I can keep doing this. And we have ever since 380 land deals later. It's been a blast.

 

Mike Swenson 

You had mentioned about people that you know, picking a spot close to you. Laws are different in every state. You know what, what states is this maybe better for and what states maybe isn't not not as opportunistic for depending on how the the laws are written around tax liens and all that.

 

Brent Bowers 

Yeah, it has nothing to do with tax liens. I don't only buy properties right now that are behind on taxes, like we'll buy properties got that they're caught up on taxes, and they still live in that city because everyone's like, well, they gotta be out of state. They got to be behind on taxes. Not true. So I'll tell you some states that are working well for me. I'm doing really well in Colorado with it. Arizona with it, Utah with it Idaho, Florida. We just picked up some land in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. So I mean, that's quite a few states. Now. I know people are absolutely doing very well in Texas. I'm not in Texas. But yeah, this I would say if there's land, you can do this now. am I buying stuff in Detroit, Michigan, that like the lands going for nothing? And they're not building any new houses on it? No. Like, I'm not like, there's land that we can get for free that we won't even take. And that's sad to say where I'm seeing American land. But it's got to be somewhat desirable for somebody. No.

 

Mike Swenson 

So what? Okay, so you you you get the land you gave the this example here with your realtor where it was worthwhile. She bought it right away. Typically, how do you find buyers for the land then once you acquire a property? I mean, you're you have to assess the value of it and sell this. So how do you find those buyers for those folks that are wondering?

 

Brent Bowers 

After that realtor, I sold the next one on Craigslist. That next parcel I bought was for $500 And again, not buildable not accessible, it was actually surrounded by state land. So you pretty much had the trespass to get to it. Um, did I trespass to go take photos of this land? I did. But I disclosed it all on my Craigslist ad like look, no access, you're gonna have to get an access attorney. I even recommended the title company to get get them that access. But basically, I put an ad on Craigslist $500 Down 400 a month and I had a buyer the next day that I started doing some some signs like I was in the military. Guess what I had a lot of boxes in my garage. So cut these boxes, these massively large boxes and right on this land must sell. We'll finance my phone number and I would like put a stake out and guess what the neighbors would buy the land. So signs work extremely well still today.

 

Brent Bowers 

For me, Facebook, buy sell groups. I love Facebook, buy sell groups, especially right now where you're at. It's snowing. It's like negative 40 degree Windchill? Guess what? I could sell you some land probably right now either in Florida or Arizona, like you're stuck inside, you're on Facebook, buy sell groups. Wait a minute, this lands for selling Florida it looks pretty sunny and warm there. I can I can afford $399 a month. So that's what that's how we do it.

 

Mike Swenson 

But yeah, now you're doing it yourself. And then now you have a class where you're teaching others to do that as well. And leveraging all the knowledge and experience that you've gained to kind of pay it forward and help others to.

 

Brent Bowers 

Yeah, I actually am having a blast with it. A friend of mine, Tom Kroll talked me into becoming a coach, basically coaching people how to do what I was doing. And I was like, Well, Tom sounds like a great, great idea. Because I'm already doing it. I had we started a meetup in Colorado Springs, it's phenomenal. It's doing really well, they actually meet still once a month, that third space coffee in Colorado Springs, but I was already teaching people for free how to do this. And I was like, wait a minute, you're telling me I can get paid to coach people how to do this. So I became a wholesaling elite coach and have been having a blast with it. My team now my team is not liking me not being around all the time. But they've got this like, I couldn't do this, any of this without having smart people having surrounded myself with smart people.

 

Mike Swenson 

Well, and that's the the key piece too, for folks, when you talk about leverages. One, it's it's kind of finding your niche and building it. And then to it's having great people that are able to run that with you. Because otherwise, if you didn't have a team of great people, you're running around all over the place, always on call always answering questions, always putting out fires. And so building people behind you as to you have to have the individual skills to build the business, but then have the people skills to be able to have people that you can work with that can can build to help build those systems and help give you that time leverage to

 

Brent Bowers 

So true. And you might like your listener might be thinking, well, well, I've got great people skills with no business skills will hire that person that has the great business or I'm sorry, partner with that person that has the great business skills or I'm a great business person, but I do I just get so nervous talking to people I won't talk to people will partner with that person that loves people and and has the people skills.

 

Mike Swenson 

So why don't you just share a little bit too about some of the other stuff that you've got going on just for folks to know you. I mean, obviously, we talked about the land piece. You've got some developments, rental properties. RV park, you talked about maybe developing what are some of the other side stuff that you're doing in addition to land sharks.

 

Brent Bowers 

Yeah, we have some amazing stuff going you might think, well, I there's no $285 land deals in my market. There's no $500 land deals in my market. Let me just tell you, that was like the gateway drug. Those little small parcels of land. We are now we just purchased a $1.2 million piece in Colorado Springs. We're building 38 townhomes. I'm looking at another property in Sebring, Florida, that we're going to develop an RV park that we could put maybe up to 576 RV spots in Scott commercial lots to do that we can do 99 year leases to Wendy's and Taco Bell. So we're looking at that kind of stuff. So I'm actually bringing in partners that have money, or maybe they're a doctor, an attorney that have have money, and they're looking for something like this opportunity. That's what we're doing now. And it's just phenomenal is fascinating, you know, talking with the city that wants these things, and you know, just aligning yourself with their goal, the the goal of the city, and it's amazing how these opportunities unfold.

 

Brent Bowers 

So it's funny this, this RV, this potential RV park, come to find out, I had already purchased land from this gentleman five years ago in another state. It's just phenomenal how these things work and how how these things unfold. So we have the amazing passive income from the land coming in. But that doesn't mean I'm just sitting on a beach somewhere that stuff gets boring. I want to be out there growing and building and partnering with people and you mentioned people. It's amazing. Like, they see the opportunity. And it's amazing how people will jump on board, especially good people and you always find what you're what you're looking for or lacking. You know, I love jumping on this podcast, but there's things that I'm not good at like accounting and bookkeeping. Well, I find the amazing people to help me with the accounting, the bookkeeping,

 

Mike Swenson 

Awesome to see and, and to see all of this grown in basically the last 10 years, right?

 

Brent Bowers 

Yeah, I mean, I I started my real estate business back up in 2013. But I would say I really got serious about it. In 2016 When my son was born, the end of 2000, actually early 2017 and I hit the ground and I didn't let it stop. I read this book called the Miracle Morning in 2007 17 by Hal Elrod, I would get my butt out of bed at 4am every morning. Now I've pretty much been doing that ever since. Except for on Sundays I try and take the day off from my Sabbath. And I would read the Bible and I would get my education done. And I would get the things done that I need to get my real estate business because it's all about time blocking. And I really, I really did this, I was able to do this, really on a couple hours a day, everyone thinks all it's gonna take me eight or nine hours a day, I think, the less time you have, the better because you really optimize things you get efficient. Like you turn your cell phone off you time block, you turn, you turn the notification off on your text messaging, and on your email, and delete Tiktok and Facebook and all that garbage. And just focus on what you're trying to build. There's reasons why laser torches cut through, like steel, it's called plasma torches, because it's very focused.

 

Mike Swenson 

So if folks want to get a hold of you or learn more about what you're doing, how can they do that?

 

Brent Bowers 

Yeah, I'm all over the internet. I just created the YouTube channel. If you go to YouTube and look up Brent Bowers, you know, I appreciate it. Subscribe to that. We're trying to build that and Instagram. Brent L. Bowers, I'm on Instagram.

 

Mike Swenson 

Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on. Appreciate you sharing your story, the freedom that you've been able to build in just about five years here, and then too, you know, more more to go from here. So congratulations on all your success and excited for your future.

 

Brent Bowers 

Thanks so much for having me night.

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