Kevin Link - Doing 1000 Flips


Kevin Link started out as an attorney for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). He wanted to be able to take control of his career and stop working for other people, so he launched into real estate in 2017 by co-founding 4 Brothers Buy Houses, based out of the Washington DC area. This investment firm brings in over $5 Million in revenue per year with a team of 25. In addition to that, Kevin founded 1000Flips, a game-changing investment company designed to help other do what they did. He's also the host of the 1000 Flips Podcast. Kevin will talk about his journey from legal eagle to a real estate guy, the ups and downs he's faced flipping thousands of homes, and the secret sauce behind his sales coaching techniques.

In this episode hosted by Mike Swenson, we discussed:

  • How Kevin left a secure job as an attorney to pursue financial freedom in real estate, despite feeling uncertain and facing a steep learning curve
  • Focusing on wholesaling and monetizing properties to scale their real estate business
  • Building a buyer's list slowly through networking and building relationships
  • Looking for properties that are in reasonable condition and the owner wants to sell within one to four months
  • How Kevin differentiates themselves by providing a wholesale piece in their business model, knowing the local market, and using humor to build relationships with potential sellers
  • How to develop a presentation process that works for your personality to help sellers feel comfortable and trustworthy


0:00 - Intro to Kevin's Career
1:42 - Kevin's Background in Law
5:51 - Learning To Build Up Momentum in Flipping
9:26 - Building a Buyer's List
14:12 - Identifying Properties to Flip
16:49 - Financing Strategies
19:05 - Developing a Presentation for Sellers
22:02 - Learning Curves to Look Out For
26:12 - How to Find Kevin










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Read the full transcript here:

Mike Swenson
Welcome to The Real freedom show 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
Hello, everybody, welcome to another episode of Real freedom where we're talking about building time and financial freedom through different opportunities in real estate. I am your host, Mike Swenson. And today we are going to be talking with Kevin link some amazing things about Kevin. So we talked about this a lot people come from other industries into real estate because they see something. There's something that they're not getting in their past job. There's something that they want in real estate to enhance what they're doing. But people are always searching for something. And so I love interviewing people that come from other industries. And so Kevin's background actually was a FINRA attorney. So Financial Industry Regulatory Authority attorney, FINRA, if anybody has heard of FINRA before came from a law background got into real estate and 2017. Co founded for brothers buy houses. And so you are based out of the Washington DC area doing flipping and wholesaling. And then also co founded 1000 flips game changing real estate investment company. And you've got a team of people working behind you, obviously a big part of your growth with that and turning real estate rookies into real estate pro. So Kevin, welcome to the show. We're so excited to have you.

Kevin Link
Thank you, Mike, I appreciate it.

Mike Swenson
Happy to be up, why don't you just start with a little bit of background of your previous career in law? What excited you about real estate or what were you looking for, and we'll go from there.

Kevin Link
So it's, you know, as, as you mentioned, so I was practising law practice for seven years, and I was doing was working for FINRA, which is a regulatory body that looks at broker dealers like Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and regulates them. It's part it's supervised by the Securities and Exchange Commission. So I was doing litigation for them, like insider trading, and these types of things, securities fraud, anything to do with the market. So entirely unrelated to real estate, really, no overlap whatsoever. That's what I went to law school for was just study 30, and blah. That's what I doing. And I never really had a passion for real estate, and I'm not sure that I still have. I have like a passion for real estate people say that when it comes to real estate, but there are a lot of things I like working in real estate, and being self employed and financial freedom, some of the things that you mentioned at the beginning of the show, but I was practising law, I have no intention of leaving the law. Pretty happy in my career. But I was working for other people and my partner in the 2000s started kind of flipping houses on the side. And he did one other talk over the years about both leaving our respective jobs and coming together and making it a full time thing, or the benefits of kind of having a greater ability, you know, more, you know that you're not limited to sort of making as much money as somebody else tells you that you can make number one. And working for yourself and having sort of the freedom and stresses that come along with being self employed that having the not you don't have to answer to anybody else. So I was practising law, and we were just over the years kind of talked about it on and off. I got to a point where I felt like, I wanted to do it, he wanted to do it, we had a lot of work to do, because it was just the two of us. I mean, the company is now 25 people, but back then it was just the two of us. And I was also leaving a pretty safe secure job that I had gone to school for and you know, paid to go to school for and spent three years getting a lot of grease. So it was kind of a big, big move and but my boss's jokes, I will tell you this, Mike, we're not getting any funnier, I noticed. And so I kind of just felt like if I don't do this now, I'm not going to do, I'll just, you know, in 20 years, I'll still be an attorney and just isn't going to happen. So for me, it wasn't this thing where I had this like long lost love for real estate it was more. This seemed like a path where I could gain more financial freedom and kind of dictate my growth financially have my more freedom. And so I kind of took the plunge I think a lot of my calls A time, Federer sort of scratching their head just sort of came out of nowhere. It's like I told him I was aiming to the cloud. And they were just sort of like, baffled. But that's, that's why I did it. And I'm glad that I did say, you know, the first year 1218 months were tough. I mean, it was just the two of us. And I didn't have a background in real estate and kind of figure it off. So wasn't an easy choice. But, you know, in retrospect, I'm very, very glad.

Mike Swenson
So talk about that learning curve in real estate, what did you do previous to that going into it? Or maybe when you got started in terms of identifying a path? So you guys started in? In flipping? Correct. So what did you do to educate yourself to build up momentum leading into starting with flipping?

Kevin Link
Yeah, so I didn't really have any background, my partner had done some flips at that point. So he had some knowledge on crime, and had some, you know, some experience with marketing and finding deals, but but, you know, we wanted to figure out a way to make it a full time thing and then scale it. So I, you know, we really focused at the beginning, sort of ramping up on the marketing and be a variety of new channels that and direct mail, pay per click, search engine optimization, cold calling, defiantly. The real sort of getting scaled up was figuring out our sort of processes where we could get consistent inbound leads, we had a process to talk to these leads figure out, which leads that promise which didn't go out, see the properties and get them, you know, get a contract signed, that that was the big sort of bottleneck is learning how to generate leads, but more than that, go out and get a signed contract to buy the house. And so, you know, my partner knew enough about construction that when we found properties, and were able to flip them, but the way that we ended up really growing is by figuring out wholesaling. So we were all for the first year, nine months, maybe we only were doing flips, but there's just a limitation to what kind of volume do there are in terms of how many houses can you really work on at one time, purchase that, how much capital Do you have? So we wanted to be able to sign, you know, 1015 20 contracts a month, and flip some of them in wholesale to do more volume, and generate additional income through sailing. So that was a big part of the learning curve, too, is figuring out how to set up a wholesaling apparatus where we hire, so the buyer properties out, you know, where we could have the infrastructure to handle the volume, and figure out a way to sign 20 contracts in a month, too. So the first year was pretty tough. And just in terms of kind of every component of the business, we had to figure out, you know, in terms of scaling, and we did, we'd never wholesale a house before. And it never, he had never done one out in a month. So we were trying to go from one to 20 There's a lot of pieces to figure out who's certainly made a lot of mistakes to tell you that for sure.

Mike Swenson
Going back to having studied a lot of people that have done a lot of different strategies in real estate, you're right in terms of the flipping piece, your bottleneck is really the money and the crews to be able to do stuff. With wholesaling, you can do as much as you want, because it's just connecting sellers and buyers. And the nice thing is, is you're still having the same conversations as you are with people on the flipping side. It's just Is this a property that I want to flip? Or is this a property that I think somebody else might want to do something with? And so you can kind of run as fast as you want down that lane? cherry pick the flips that are the best for you, and wholesale the other? So how did you go out and find I know you talked about being able in finding deals. So in terms of then those wholesale contracts, that people that are, you know, purchasing these properties from you or that you're assigning them to how are you finding those folks?

Kevin Link
And I think you're exactly right, because you can also you know, there's also lots of properties that you've come across that you even if you had the capital, maybe you don't want to flip it because of where it's located or whatever, but somebody else by so you can kind of monetize properties that you otherwise would just take a pass on. But in terms of developing like a buyer's list of all the things that we've had to figure out that wholesaling and flipping and building a company Everything. Building a buyer's list is the one thing that I don't think there's a shortcut to, I don't think there's like a magic bullet, like there's not as sort of a way to sort of pivot turn around. And all of a sudden, you have all these buyers. You know, there are programmes and software out there designed to sort of match people up with buyers. And they're, you know, that's a sort of, could be a segue. And as you build a buyer's list, but what we ended up doing was just partnering up with somebody who had an established buyer's list at that time that we're getting busted, and that he would disposition sell all of our wholesale deals for us, he would advertise somebody go out, handle the show, and he would do all of that for us and pay him a piece of the deal. And during that time, we just sort of slowly built up our kind of buyers list by meeting people depending on the showings by just meeting more people who are flippers by virtue of wholesaling. But it's, it's a, it's slow, I mean, you've got to take time and get people and then those people have to feel comfortable working with you, and get to know you. So it wasn't until really like 2019, maybe middle of 2018, it took a good chunk of time, more than a year for us to sort of get to a point where we could kind of wean off of working with somebody else. And we had enough depth to our buyers less than we can, you know, kind of get out there and sell our own deals. But that that, you know, it was still be it was still another couple of years before we really fully broke away from wholesaling with the other individual that I mentioned, because some properties would come up, and we just didn't have anybody on our buyers list. interested, but he might be at a deeper buyers list. So it took several years for us to get to the point where we were sort of totally self sufficient. And I don't, to me, that's kind of the only real way to do it. Right. I don't know that there's a shortcut. I mean, they're like, there's other like I said, there's no software ways that you could advertise your community advertise on Facebook and stuff like that. Find Buyers here and there. But to develop like a really deep buyer's list that will sort of always deliver properties. That's, that takes time.

Mike Swenson
Right? And would you would you rather have 100% of zero, you know, if you can't, if you can't make something better to leverage somebody who can move a property and you take a piece of it, at least you're getting something versus nothing.

Kevin Link
Exactly, absolutely. Like, I think I think I may have that same phrase out loud, like 15 times to my partner, right? Because he was he was more frustrated than I was that we were doing those like carrying out, like, I know a way that we can get none of the revenue. So yeah, that's absolutely true. And I encourage people like who are getting started too, because there's a lot of stubbornness, I think, in real estate. So a lot of investors that I meet are like, just hell bent on selling their own deals at whatever cost, like, even if it's at a worse price or whatever, or even not selling it having to let the deal go. They just are so driven to do it 100% them selves, for whatever reason, and I think, is sort of cutting your nose off to spite your face to some degree. And also, there's a trust thing, a lot of people in real estate and century. So you got to be comfortable with it, you get bandwidth. But uh, yeah, I think that's good advice for people who have limited number of bodies, to really find somebody in their market that they can truly trust, I think they will find themselves better off working with them until they've built up a better place

Mike Swenson
Now in terms of finding properties, certain neighbourhoods, maybe certain types of properties. What was kind of your sweet spot? Or what were the things that you looked for in identifying the properties that you wanted to flip?

Kevin Link
I always tell my sales staff, I mean, we are looking for properties that where the person wants to sell the house, and that it might work for cash, and whatever I say that people might just roll their eyes at this point, but like, I'm not sure that's gonna pass for insight, Kevin, but it's, it is, you know, I would say like, we we want somebody who's going to sell in the next like one to three or four months, like who's actually selling because we deal with tonnes of tire kickers in this industry. Right when you send out marketing you get people who call and they're curious about it, or am I tell him I care to get dollars tomorrow, you know, whatever it is. So figuring out Okay, this person actually selling their house number one, and number two is to have a house slash situation, something that would be appropriate where they might want to take a cash offer. And I think a lot of people kind of get bogged down, like is the house of complete and total like dumb, and it doesn't have to be there's tonnes of people that want to sell their house, that is the 1000s that are perfectly livable reasonable condition, they just don't want to deal with a real estate agent for whatever reason, you know, they just don't want to deal. So what I say, isn't something that could work for cat, you know, there's a variety of factors that go into that condition, that's often a good indicator speed at which they want to have to help solve. Another thing is whether, you know, sort of keen are they to spend the time to fix anything up or deal with real estate agents, and people just don't want to work with an agent. So it is, you know, we try and stuff that out over the phone, before we go out and meet somebody that might be is this person inclined to take an offer that be less than they could get if they hold on the MLS, but they understand that and they appreciate that there's some conveniences and those conveniences are whatever that delta, maybe we did a bicep on properties that are in like, pretty reasonable condition as a result of that.

Mike Swenson
Now, in terms of financing, I know a lot of times, you know, people say, say cash offer and the the people that are out there looking for the cash offers picture, there's just this person out there with this never ending supply of cash that they can just drop down. How are you financing those properties? And then kind of the follow up question is, in terms of competition, how many other people have they talked to? Is it? Yeah, you're the first person that's given me a cash offer? I've already talked to five other people, and I'm just looking for the best offer.

Kevin Link
Yeah, so in terms of, I guess, the the cash piece, I mean, we have, you know, we have sort of gotten the company to a size where we can sort of buy most of the houses that we come across that we would want to buy, but that's hasn't always been the case, that's for sure. And so we you know, I think that sort of also goes to the to be able to do with these properties when you're not gonna be able to block. So I think as anybody who wants to get into flipping, investing, whatever you want to call it, it's got to have some kind of, like, wholesale piece in place, because otherwise you just can't take advantage of everything come across. But the second part of the question, I mean, is, I mean, I've noticed that significantly in the years that I've been doing this, I mean, it's super competitive, especially, I mean, I only operate it, DC, Virginia, DC, area up to Baltimore. But you know, I don't do lots of different markets, like a lot of people do. Have that, like, subscribe to that idea. I feel like you need to know the market you're working in in order to not miss on the offers. But that said, it's super competitive here. So almost anybody that I would somebody at my company with mica is meeting with or has met with other investors already, in many cases, they're meeting on a more real estate. The deals are always competitive. I mean, maybe once a year, somebody will just be like, will we just be like, okay, like, you know, but it's almost always competitive. It's usually like three or five investors. And obviously, the offer amount is a big consideration for them. So, yeah, you have to be able to win competitive business in order to make this make this business model work. Up, that's a whole nother ball. It's super competitive.

Mike Swenson
What do you feel like you're doing to help differentiate people that choose you versus choosing some of the other folks out there?

Kevin Link
It's my jokes, primarily. My, you know, that comes? Yeah, I have a lot of dad jokes, but I tell him in his meeting over very well, so I'm not really a sales person by nature. So I mean, I'm an attorney. I think once you go to law school, Mike, your personality gets like 20% worse as well. So like I have, but I've never been like I'm just not like a natural salesperson, or kind of like, I don't know, structure, Attorney type personality. So I had to, for me, I had to kind of figure out how to do a presentation that worked by personnel for a long time and a lot of trial and error. I sort of have a process that I go through with every seller when it comes to the down with the walk them through and sort of a way who said what it is that we could do and that is has been sort of fine tuned and honed over the years, I teach it through one kg flips, you know, for people who are trying to get better or close more business on appointments. But it is, you know, processes like credibility maintenance reporter and you get people to feel comfortable with you. Because at the end of the day, sort of my view of it, I mean, invest, like sort of the investing world is like the Wild West, right? Like, you don't have a real estate agent, who's representing here, it's just a seller who's out there, fielding offers kind of have to manage the terrain themselves. There are a lot of like, bizarre investors out there, right. So they may meet with five people and kind of be like, like, kind of a wild group of people, but so I think a lot of sellers, more so than maybe like, if you're interviewing a real estate agent to the seller, so there's like, really value, okay, I feel like I can, like trust this person. And he or she knows what they're talking about. They explained it, and I understood, when they explained it, I trust that they're gonna deliver blah, blah, I think that counts for a lot for a lot of for many sellers as much as price. Because I think a lot of sellers are sceptical, like I sort of on my own crazy decision with my house and all these different people that don't know. So for me, that's been a big part of like, developing the presentation, helping to get sellers feel comfortable, just with me and company.

Mike Swenson
So that when inevitably comes down to like, all the prices are pretty close that we went more than you talked about wanting to be able to help other people. And, you know, you've got your kind of coaching and training that you're helping others with. So talk about that for a little bit, what you're focusing on, and how you're helping people based on all the stuff that you learned. And they don't have to go through those same learning curves that you did,

Kevin Link
Yeah, so I started sort of like a coaching component. It's called 1000. plugs, the website is 1k, flip stock calm. And I teach. You know, it's designed for people who are just like you said, want to get involved in investing and are either new or still work, you know, they're still operating as have a full time job, but they're trying to get into it, or if they have, for the very, you know, the huge segment of investors out there who are doing maybe one to three deals a month that want to get to 10 or 15, you know, really want to expand on their business. So I do training, that is that sort of different levels of training, but I do like something I called deal Club, which is $97 and bought an expensive for calls every month, once a week. And I basically go through one or more components of sort of just running this business each week. Sometimes I'll talk to people that different members of their businesses, what their challenges are talking about marketing, you know, sales, inside sales, different things like that. And so that's that is a good option for people who really anybody to, you can get a lot of info out. And it's inexpensive. And then I do something called Business in a Box for people who really want to really ramp up their business are kind of all in there like I want to, I want to learn flipping wholesaling. While they kind of I run this business, how do I started having my client deals federal market sort of agency. And that's a more comprehensive 10 week course.

Mike Swenson
Well, yeah, I mean, there's there's so much to learn. And you guys figured it out pretty quick compared to a lot of people. But there's the ability and this is what I always encourage folks is instead of trying to figure it out on your own, partner up with somebody who knows what they're doing partner up with somebody who's been there before, because you don't have to make the same mistakes. They can get you much further much faster. And I know there's a lot of people out there that say, well, the internet's got all the information I need, possibly, and yet at the same time, you kind of need to know for your situation, what's the most relevant piece of information for where you need to go next. Because, you know, there might be the next lesson is is a few degrees ahead of where you're at. And you're not ready to hear that. Yeah, you need to hear the lesson. That's your next step, not three or four steps ahead, and you need to be able to apply that next step. And so that's really where partnering with people who have done it before really makes a big difference.

Kevin Link
Yeah, I mean, it's certainly does that sort of along this path that I've been on two works, work with and partnered with different people over the years. It's made a difference. For for sure, and hence Set up the process. I mean, there's just some things that a lot to figure out, you can't really go to school per se to learn how to be a wholesaler. So you've got a sort of there is just a lot of figuring it out sort of aspect of this business. And, you know, if you can find somebody that you trust in your market, you can probably figure it out.

Mike Swenson
Have you ever heard the phrase, you're the average of the top five people that you hang around? Well, real estate agents, I'm excited to increase your five with you. We're launching the real freedom investor, Agent tribe, to help you get educated and connect with others to build your real estate investing journey, and also to help you along the way as you're working with real estate investors, so come check it out on our website, real Go to the store, we have a membership. We have a mastermind group and private coaching to help you stay accountable to your real estate investing goals, and to make sure that you connect with like minded people to Accelerate Your Progress and to cheer you on along the way. Check it out real Click on the store. Awesome. Well, I know you mentioned you know, 1k So yeah, if people want to go there and check things out.

Kevin Link
Anything more than that you want to close with your Kevincan go as you said for 1k and check everything out there. You can also schedule yourself or like a free 15 minute zone meeting if you want to. Coaching products too.

Mike Swenson
Awesome. Well, thank you, Kevin, so much for coming on and sharing your story. And it's so fun to see people kind of jump into the real estate industry have success and so you've built a team of 25 people so amazing job with that and best of luck to you in the future.

Kevin Link
Thank you Mike and thanks for having me


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