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Creative Acquisitions with John Crutchfield

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In this episode, Jeff interviews John Crutchfield, a full-time, successful real estate investor and entrepreneur who encourages people to “grab the map” and take charge of living the life they want. John shares his story of getting started as a real estate investor, transitioning from his previous full-time career and ultimately becoming one of the biggest real estate investing players in his market through doing great, creative and entrepreneurial real estate acquisitions.

Episode Transcript

I have found that a lot of the sellers have problems that can be solved without initial capital or without large sums of initial capital. And so that’s when asking them what they’re going to do with the money. That’s my favorite question. Right? And asking them like, if they if I could solve their problem without money, what would I do? gets you crazy answers like crazy answers. They help you cater offers. So a lot of times I’ll figure out find out their problems have more to do with management than money. A lot of times their issues will have more to do with human. You’ve mentioned in other conversations like trying to solve a tax problem. Maybe they’re trying to have something to leave to their kids, but they don’t want to leave the the property management to them. Or maybe they’re just trying to go on a trip, right or do something that requires a little bit of cash. And they don’t need a big lump sum payment. You know, maybe they want income.

Welcome to racking up rentals, a show about how regular people, those of us without huge war chest of capital or insider connections, can build lasting wealth acquiring a portfolio of buy and hold real estate. But we don’t just go mainstream looking at what’s on the market and asking banks for loans, nor are we posting We Buy Houses signs are just looking for quote, motivated sellers to make lowball offers to. You see, we are people-oriented dealmakers, we sit down directly with sellers to work out Win-Win deals without agents or any other obstacles and buy properties nobody else even knows are for sale. I’m Jeff from a thoughtful real estate entrepreneur. If you’re the kind of real estate investor who wants long term wealth, not get rich quick gimmicks or pictures of yourself holding fat checks on social media. This show is for you. Join me and quietly become the wealthiest person on your block. Now let’s go rack up a rental portfolio.

Thanks for joining me for another episode of racking up rentals. The Show Notes for this episode can be found at thoughtfulre.com/e106. Please do us a big favor by hitting that subscribe button in your podcast app. And it really does help fellow thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs to find us and helps make sure that you don’t miss any of our awesome upcoming episodes. So onward with today’s episode. And I’m really pleased to share with you a super fun interview that I had a chance to do recently with my new friend, John Crutchfield. John and I really met kind of through the social media channels of the real estate investing world. As you’ll hear, it’s really quite funny, he reached out to me and I actually kind of resisted a little bit and I started to realize, like, wow, this guy and I were really on the same page about a lot of things sort of philosophically. It really seemed like, gosh, we need to sit down and have a conversation and what if we just recorded that conversation as we get to know each other, we’ll share this with everybody else, as well on and it turned out to be such a fun conversation full of tons of great ideas and unique stories and insights about creative deals coming together and understanding sellers and really finding that a lot of those are not as obvious as it would seem and are actually more unique and that there could be very fun and creative ways to give them exactly what they are needing most, but in nontraditional ways. So, I think you’re just going to enjoy this conversation first because John is just a super awesome and fun guy to talk to. But secondly, I think you’re gonna get some really neat and interesting ideas about ways you might be able to get deals done that you might not have thought of before. So, without further ado, let me get us right into my conversation with John Crutchfield. All right, john, thanks so much for joining me today.

John Crutchfield:

Man. This is gonna be awesome. Jeff, how are you doing?

Jeff Stephens:

I’m doing good. How are you?

John Crutchfield:

I’m doing pretty good. It’s a sunny day outside. I’m sitting in a Blue Room. So, I got a great view. And I’m talking to you so it’s gonna get better.

Jeff Stephens:

That’s fantastic. Where are you located physically?

John Crutchfield:

Today I am in Tupelo, Mississippi. Tupelo, Mississippi is a little city about 80 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee.

Jeff Stephens:

Nice. Well, very cool. I know you and I have been we’ve been kind of circling each other for a while and kind of flirted with the idea of of chatting a couple times.

John Crutchfield:

I mean, maybe you were flirting, and I was resisting at first, but you are you’re very resistant. You’re the girl who says no over and over again. Hey, not girl, but you know what I mean.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah. Well, you were persistent and here we are. So, I’m really grateful for the chat with you. Because it seems to me like every little interaction, we have is just sort of shown this tremendous amount of alignment, I guess between, like philosophical alignment and even though, you know, we’ll talk about this now in a few minutes, maybe we’re not tactically doing everything exactly the same. It feels like energetically you maybe you’d say it’s very touchy feely. But energetically, maybe we’ve we think about things in the same way is that kind of how you’ve perceived it too?

John Crutchfield:

Absolutely, like, following your content online, you’ve got a great podcast racking up rentals. And you also have a Facebook group, you have to remind me of the name of the Facebook group. But I’m in there too. And I see you responding to all of the folks in your group, providing lots of value answering questions. And when I see your answers to the questions, or even the questions you ask, I’m like, that’s, I got to get like that right there. That’s the way I need to be doing things. So yeah, a lot of synergy, for sure.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah. That’s cool. That’s cool. So okay, when I see you and see the names and labels associated with what you do, I see these words, grab the map. And I think it’s, I wasn’t sure exactly what to make of it at first, but I thought I liked the way that strikes me, even though I don’t know literally what it means. So, can you tell us a little bit more about what does that mean? Where did you come up with that? And, and what’s the sort of origin story of that?

John Crutchfield:

Man, if I went through the rabbit hole, it would take up too much time. But in essence, a few years ago, people used to say, you know, YOLO, you only live once, right? They used to say, you know, you only live once. So do everything you know that you want to do make your life enjoyable, live your life. And I had a real issue with it. Because a lot of the people that were walking around saying YOLO, like didn’t have any money, didn’t have good credit, didn’t have any assets. And I was like, Well, how can you really YOLO? Right? How can you live this once in a lifetime kind of experience, you need to have some assets, paying for those experiences. And thus, you know, grab the map, the idea that we we do live our best lives, we do shoot for our accomplishments and our dreams. But in order to do so we need to be acquiring and maintaining assets in the form of rental real estate. So that’s where it comes from.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, I really love that people have asked me many times, like what is thought for me. And I always say that means kind of two things. The first one is it’s very people oriented. And that maybe that part’s more obvious. But the other part is, it’s just more like a higher level of intentionality, and being really purposeful in what what one’s doing. And so as you were just describing that idea of what it means to grab the map, to me is that second definition of thoughtful, which is like, let’s just be very deliberate, I guess about what we’re trying to accomplish, and go out there and make it happen.

John Crutchfield:

Absolutely. And that’s something that I continue to try to define more and more on a daily basis. As I build a portfolio.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah. So okay, let’s, let’s talk about that, then. So I know, like me, you are advocating for an approach as well as doing it yourself. Right? So talk to me about like, how are you grabbing your map?

John Crutchfield:

Alright, so, you know, first of all, like the the concept of grabbing the map, living your best life really boils down for me of like, being able to be available for my family, being able to be available for my kids, was a former teacher, former school principal. And I did the principal thing for about five years, and it was great, I served the community. But nobody really talks about how if you’re the principal of a school, like you don’t get to put your own kids on the school bus, right, or you don’t get to pick up your own kids from school, you don’t really get to just run off and go see your kids that they’re played or in school, stuff like that. And so for the first two or three years that I had kids, like I missed all of that stuff. And it was something that kind of appeared to me like it’s got it, it’s got to give my wife, my wife kind of help with that. But it had to give where I had to give more time, to my kids to my wife and to my family, and real estate as an asset class. When I learned about what cash flow was, when I learned about generating more monthly income, somewhat passively, where I didn’t have to be physically in a place, I kind of got addicted to it. So this concept of grabbing the mat really, truly became like, let me see how much cash well I can get my hands on still still is that how much how much income Can I continue to build for my family’s sake, so that I can be there for those experiences and be there for my kids. So that’s that’s really how I’m grabbing the map these days.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, I love that. It’s a great answer. And I think the two things you mentioned there that I think a lot of people can probably really relate to is one is like, oh this this life that I was taught I thought I was pursuing is not actually necessarily giving me some of the kind of flexibility or or benefits that I thought maybe it would. And then secondly, is that that little sense of addiction that one can experience when they start to get a little bit of a taste of, of real estate. So what was that? What was the? What was the gateway drug, so to speak, that kind of gave you the taste of real estate? And that made you kind of go down that that rabbit hole?

John Crutchfield:

Yes. So it was really like the first time I made bank payments. And I know, I know, you don’t like bank payments, but the first time I made bank payments with somebody else’s money, see, I had been like spending, like, you know, I have bank payments, and you have bills, and people call you and you gotta run your card and all this stuff. It was always with money from my job, and I remember like yesterday, like having three bank payments, and three tenant’s payments, and being able to pay those bank payments and still having some money left over. I was like, wait a minute, like, you mean, and tell me like I could actually be using other people’s money to build up assets for my family and that was it was game on? It was game on then.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah. So, did you? How was your transition? Was it abrupt? Was it like, hey, I’m going all in on this? Bye-bye principal job, or was there a kind of a gradual transition, or?

John Crutchfield:

Well, I took a job as a professor at a university, which was a lot slower, and big pay cut. So that, you know, I would have the time, I didn’t really realize that I would have the time then. But university life is a lot slower than the day-to-day life when you’ve got 1200, like, you know, 12 years in school. So, I had some extra time. That time, had me start thinking like, let’s, let’s see what I can do with it. Let’s see what I can grow with it, a very gradual transition, nothing abrupt, nothing crazy. Definitely building up the cash flow to a point where I feel like I can jump off and, you know, Dave Ramsey likes to say, you know, keeping the boat close enough to the dock, where I didn’t just jump in the water, like the boat is pretty close. By the time I said, I can do this full time I can get off. And it’s funny, because when I did finally get off, I realized, like, man, if I would have got off sooner, I probably would have been, I probably would have blown off some of the goals that I even accomplished. So very gradual approach, building up cash flow, slowly building up a team, so that even once I stopped working full time, I still had a team that manages my rentals. That’s actually where we are right now sitting in the office here this afternoon.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, that’s, that’s awesome. So, if we fast forward to today, to what happens in that office you’re sitting in right now? What does your business I mean, real estate life in general? What does it look like today?

John Crutchfield:

Yeah, so on my end today, like I spend a lot of time talking to sellers, right, I try to talk to people that are interested in selling their property or solving a problem with their real estate as a collateral. I also spend a lot of time dealing with folks like this, hey, Daniel. Alright, but deal dealing with contractors, people that are maintaining the properties, keeping the properties in good condition. And then I also spend time, like creating relationships with investors, and with banks. So trying to make sure that I can continue to have the capital to buy more properties, keep the properties that we have fixed up. Typically, I like to say my job is like finding money, right? Finding deals, and then making sure that the business is running efficiently. Those are things that I’m constantly working on.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, absolutely. And do you provide? I don’t know, are you providing property management services to other people? Or are there any services level components your business? Or is it pretty much just primarily your own portfolio that you are managing?

John Crutchfield:

Very proud that started the company totally managing our own properties. We’re actually one of the largest property management companies in Tupelo, Mississippi, and we only manage my property. So, it’s pretty cool that that’s the case. We have recently, just recently, in the last six months started a third-party service just because we have relationships with contractors, we have relationships with vendors. So, we wanted to say like how can we help the community and leverage some of those services to create an additional income stream? So now I do have someone that’s working specifically on like not managing property for other people but providing services to other people and charging a fee of course for connecting them with vendors and contractors.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, that’s very, very cool. I love that. So, if you first of all, I should say I’m super happy to hear that one of your the first thing you mentioned in terms of like how you allocate your time is talking to sellers. I think that’s fantastic. That’s definitely my focus as well. Although certainly, if you followed me around, you probably would say, Jeff, you should be following your advice a little bit better, right should be carving off some other things you’re doing and getting in front of those sellers more often. But talk to me about what you consider to be like your acquisition strategy. Like if there’s, you know, if you could kind of put a headline or a bumper sticker that says, here’s how I buy properties, since you are really kind of a full-time buyer of real estate. How would you describe that?

John Crutchfield:

Yes, so like, you know, there, there may not be a total similarity to how you do it. But lately, my idea has been to create an awareness that I buy houses and apartments, right. And so really, this idea that you promote a brand that lets people know constantly, that this is what I do. And that brand is built through, you know, bandit signs that bent band is built through cold calling, that band is built through door knocking, the brand is built through the truck with the signage on it. My office is actually on Main Street, which is like, you know, 40 to 50,000 cars pass by here every single day, they there’s a big train that stops in the middle of the town, so people have to stop and see my building. So really, the idea that I’m creating an awareness that this is what we do. And so right now, probably 80 to 85% of the business that I get is totally referrals. Totally people that say, ‘Hey, we heard you buy houses, can you come look at mine?’ Or, ‘hey, we heard that you might offer me a fair price on my property, can you come look at mine.’ So having bought a property, like from a realtor in about a year, 12 months, I have sold some stuff to realtors, but I have not bought a property from a realtor in about that period of time, just because a lot of it is referral based from investors or people that see the signs and stuff like that, or students, students that work with me that are learning from me about how to how to get into the business.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, yeah. So of the properties you are buying, I mean, what’s your kind of allocation of exit strategy, so to speak? Was very complicated way, I guess, of saying, how many of them are you keeping? What else? Do you do flip some Do you wholesale? Some? Or what? What’s the mix there for you?

John Crutchfield:

I definitely like to see like different exit options when I’m looking at a deal. But you know, I like numbers. So, I would say 95% of everything I’ve ever purchased is still in our portfolio. I literally am one of those people that when I send my balance sheet to anybody, they think that I’m addicted to houses. So it’s become an issue because I hold a lot of stuff. And I realized that holding stuff is very expensive. So nowadays, I am starting to sell a few things. I do wholesale from time to time, but very informally, not structuring anything on any paper, the things that I wholesale are really like, hey, let me call a buddy that I know Buys Houses and tell him Hey, if you buy this, give me 1000 bucks. And I just move on. And if I don’t get it, I’m I don’t care. Because most of the things that are really deals, I’m just gonna buy myself.

Jeff Stephens:

Now that’s cool. So, when you are spending your time acquiring, I should say, well, when your company is buying things, is it? Are you pretty much the sole person who’s, you know, out there doing that? Do you have other people on your team that do acquisitions with you? Or how does that work? Is it just you?

John Crutchfield:

Certainly, I’m using a virtual assistant to help make some of the cold calls, I don’t really cold call anymore. I usually am following up on warm leads. So, you know, I’m usually the one that’s talking directly to the seller. Dealing with the actual appointment I’m the one making offers. But in terms of getting the warm lead to me, I do have a variety of sources that I’m using. So, my ladies in the office will you know certainly answer the phones or make some cold calls if they have extra time. They’ll certainly drive by properties. It happens a lot actually now, like my contractors and maintenance workers all know, if you drive by a vacant house, you really need to get me the information because you may end up getting a referral fee for doing so. So yeah, I’m definitely spending most of my time as the one who does the negotiations and talks to the seller.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, yeah, that’s cool. So, I want to I want to touch on something that came up before we were recording this. I was saying like hey, fill me in with your people skills and oh, approachability and whatnot, you know that that’s definitely what you should be doing. You said, Oh, well, I’m more of an introvert. And you know, what’s funny is I feel exactly the same. I feel like yeah, I mean, I don’t do well and a huge crowd of people, but I do well in somebody’s living room. So, my question for you is, I guess, it sounds like that’s another thing that we’re kind of aligned on is maybe some of those, you know, some of those traits. But do you? Do you get up for that environment? Like, do you? Do you enjoy that part of the process overall? Or do you find yourself shying away from it?

John Crutchfield:

No, actually, you know, as the principal of the school, I had a really good mentor who taught me like, you know, there was these five things that people really gravitate to that make you look confident, right. And I’ll share those just because we got a second. But you know, the one thing is like, what, what kind of voice you use, right? Do you use a loud voice? Are these a quiet voice? So, he says, speak louder, right? He says, walk 25% faster, right? Just people who walk a little bit faster, it seems like they have somewhere they’re going. Seems like they might be they might be important, right? Smile big right is one of the things that he says is to, to smile big projects confidence. You’re definitely doing that. Now, I’m trying to try to remember all of them. Certainly, listen more than you talk. Right? Because you’re listening for ideas, and you’re willing, you’re able to kind of react to those ideas, which is the fifth one, right? And so doing all of those things, certainly projects a little bit more confidence. I’m kind of in the zone when that’s happening, right. And especially when I am helping solve a problem for a seller, that’s going to be the key, like, if I actually like turned down things all the time, where I don’t feel like I’m helping the seller, and I’ll ask the seller like the Do you not need help with this problem? Like, do would you be able to handle this, like based on the way things are going right now, if I totally exit from the picture. And you know, sometimes you have sellers that are they don’t, they don’t want the help, or they don’t feel like they really need it and it’s not until they really realize the pain they’re in that they come back and realize they do need the help. So yes, I’m in my zone, I’m in a, an awesome place when I’m working directly with sellers. I’ve learned as some of the bigger stuff that I’ve done and some of the larger projects I have in mind to maintain relationships with brokers, but I certainly am loving when I get to talk to sellers directly.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, yeah, that’s cool. I think one thing I think about sometimes it’s really interesting is a seller almost always has a problem. But whether they think of themselves as having a problem or not having a problem is a different topic. And so I don’t know, I don’t know, if you feel this way. And I don’t want to, you know, we aligned on a lot of things. But maybe you won’t agree with me on this one. I believe that a seller if they’ve called you back from your marketing, if they’re willing to engage in a conversation, in my opinion, they are a motivated seller, right. Motivated Seller is one of these incredibly common and kind of overused terms in our industry, right? I would say that they are a motivated seller, if they’re engaging you in a conversation, the question is, just how obvious is their motivation, right? Now, some of the motivations a lot of people work with or focus on are like the bluntly brutally obvious one, like, oh, the roof is falling in, I have to move or get a new roof, right, or I’m five years behind on the taxes down to the last couple of days, those are the real obvious types of problems. But the less obvious types of problems are the ones. And the less obvious motivations are the ones that require more of what you just described, which is sitting in their living room, kind of engaging that conversation, listening more than you’re talking, and all that. And I think that that’s not a talent that everybody has necessarily, I don’t know, that’s somebody I’m sure if there’s a question in there, but what do you think about them?

John Crutchfield:

I agree wholeheartedly with you. Like, if they if they are calling, they are motivated in some way, there’s a reason that they called. And it’s our responsibility, really, to try to figure out where that connection is, and I’ve been on the receiving end of it, I’ve had people that are interested in buying properties that, you know, do a very good job of trying to find that that point of commonality, where what they’re trying to accomplish, and what I’m trying to accomplish. makes sense for both of us to do something. And it’s it’s a dance of sorts, and that that negotiating period is really, really, really a good way. I think a good way for me to spend my time is it’s something that I love doing.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, absolutely. And I love I love the dance analogy, too. I totally agree. Let’s talk about financing a little bit. So we were We were joking before you said you had a lunch earlier today with a banker who you were working to persuade, you know, to have the perspective that you are, everything’s good, and you deserve to continue to be a borrower of theirs. What is your typical kind of financing strategy for how you acquire your especially long term holds?

John Crutchfield:

Yes. So, like, I like to think about every transaction as, like an opportunity to figure out how to solve a problem. So, the more tools that you have in your toolbox, like the more the more deals I can get done, right, the more holes that I can accomplish. So, I don’t really go into any particular like seller with any predefined financing terms, you know, obviously, I want to get in for as little downtime as possible and as cheapest possible. But that’s really not how I’m approaching the situation. Usually, I’m thinking as little cash as possible. If I can get in for if I can get in for as little cash as possible. Sometimes I can use my own capital, if I can get in with great terms, sometimes it helps the seller, accomplish whatever they’re trying to accomplish. Sometimes the seller wants some money up front, and that’s where the bank is going to be a partner. So my typical hold nowadays is more so what we call the bur strategy, which is buying the property and cash, whether it’s my own or whether it’s another investors money, fixing the property up all with, you know, credit or other lines of financing, and then going to the bank as a partner and saying, hey, I’ve got this asset, it’s worth so much more, can I get all of that capital back. And that’s, that’s my typical strategy these days. But because I’ve been buying larger units, larger packages lately, portfolios of homes apartments, I found that a lot of the sellers have problems that can be solved without initial capital or without large sums of initial capital. And so that’s when asking them what they’re going to do with the money. That’s my favorite question. Right? And asking them like, if they if I could solve their problem without money, what would I do? gets you crazy answers like crazy answers, they help you cater offers. A lot of times, I’ll figure it find that their problems have more to do with management than money. A lot of times their issues will have more to do with human, you’ve mentioned in other conversations, like trying to solve a tax problem. Maybe they’re trying to have something to leave to their kids, but they don’t want to leave the property management to them. Or maybe they’re just trying to go on a trip, right or do something that requires a little bit of cash. And they don’t need a big lump sum payment, you know, maybe they want income, I’ve had a lot of people that just want like a check without the worries. And so I’ve been able to like position myself as the guy who can pay you on the first of the month for real, right? Really passive income, you really don’t have to chase me down because you know, where my offices and be able to position myself as a solution that provides them a consistent source of income, but also allows me to carry that finding happen, allows them to meet up make monthly payments, without having to go to a bank. I’ve kind of use all of those tools. My last deal, I closed in cash and went to the bank, and I’m holding that one on the, you know, 15-year fix note, the deal. Before that I closed the, you know, two and a half million-dollar deal where the seller is carrying the down payment, they’re still carrying it, they’re going to carry it for the next 15 years. And the bank was the partner on the rest of it. And I just had to come out of pocket for the renovation. So just lots of different strategies that I use to try to get stuff done.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, that’s awesome. What a great, great answer. One thing, two things actually, I want to call out there. But you know how you just said, you tell the seller, like, oh, you actually want to get paid at the first of every month, you know, it started making me think about something that I’ve definitely experienced in my own business. But now I feel like I haven’t talked about it enough on this show. And I’m glad you’re bringing this up, which is the very positive snowball effect of developing that track record. Right with sellers, right. Because the first time you go out and you’re proposing seller financing, you know that you they need to feel good about you. And yes, the second time though, you could you have one reference the third time you have two references, and pretty soon, you know, you’ve got a whole bunch of references and I’ve definitely found that that’s been helpful to me too. I can say well, let me give you the names and phone numbers of 10 other people who I pay reliably every month. On the first and you call them, and you ask them what you want to know. I think that that’s really valuable. Do you ever find yourself kind of, you know, harnessing that snowballing track record?

John Crutchfield:

All the time, all the time. You know, I actually did a subject to deal with some seller financing in it about three months ago. And I proposed it to the seller, he kind of abruptly hung up on me on the phone and called somebody at the time. I didn’t know what he was doing. But he called somebody that we both mutually knew. And they talked and he called me right back. He was like, okay, yeah, I do that. He’s like, yeah, and of course, later on days later, I found out who he had called, and he just basically was saying, like, hey, is this guy gonna pay me like I, he just mentioned your name. And he didn’t tell me that he knew the person that I’m named dropped. But He’s, uh, he mentioned your name, he mentioned that he pays you every month. And so that that relationship that prior history certainly can lead to more deals for sure. I’ve actually had that happen several times where, you know, even I did a big kind of a huge deal. My biggest seller finance note is right at a million bucks. And that guy called the garbage company that I paid garbage to, to ask them, hey, should I finance this million bucks to this guy? and use that reference? That was my credit check. Right? That was my credit check was a was a question to the garbage people. Yeah. So yeah, that’s pretty cool. What can happen how sellers do reference decks? Yeah,

Jeff Stephens:

absolutely. And, you know, at that point, they’re like, 94% of the way to saying yes, anyway, because they liked you. They’ve been time with you, they’ve gotten to know you. And then now like, their heart has already decided, yeah, I’m gonna, I’m gonna loan this sky money. But now their brains like Oh, come on, do something logical here. So, they just, you know, they, they do some kind of a reference check or credit check like that, whether it’s the garbage company or somebody else you page month. And, you know, it’s funny, I just stopped, and I compare and contrast that to filling out like, 45 pages of a loan application, right? Putting all these numbers in there, like, oh my God, I have to look up these numbers again. And, you know, put these in this personal financial statement. I see the pain on your face. You’re like thinking about it right now.

John Crutchfield:

Yeah, man.

Jeff Stephens:

And then you said something else it was I just thought was super fascinating. I’ve literally never thought about this before. Talk to us more about you said, one of your favorite things to ask somebody. This is what I wrote down and see if I got it, right. If I could solve your problem without money, what would I do? Did I get that right?

John Crutchfield:

I look like yes, you got it, right. Like, I’m convinced because I’m one of these people now. Like, I don’t need any more money. I don’t need any more money. I need what the money will do for me, right? And most people are that way. Most people do not need money. Most people need what the money will do for them. Right? So, I asked people like, what if, if I couldn’t solve your problem with money? What would you What would you What would you have happen? And I’ve literally had a guy say, like, just send me to Africa on a safari. Like I literally had a guy who was wanting to go hunting for lions in in Kenya. And that’s what I did I swipe my credit card, and I bought a property because I just sent him to Kenya, and he signed the deed for no money down. Right? It’s, that’s what I mean is like, if you can get behind what their real reason is for selling the property and what they’re going to do. Sometimes we can really create wins for both sides. I had another guy, he was just getting married, it was his second marriage. And he the lady wouldn’t marry him unless he paid off her student loans. And he wanted this was a single-family house. He wanted $50,000. But she only owed like $6,000 in student loans. So, when you find out like, okay, so you mean if I just make her student loan payment for you for the next two years, you’ll sell me the property? Yes. Like that. That was the thing. And she agreed to that. He agreed to that. And it would be a creative deal. It’s kind of crazy some of the stuff I’ve done, but I did pay that off and but for a little while, her student loan payment was coming out of my account.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, you know, this, just this point cannot be overstated. I think that you would not have been able to do that. Had you not been asking good questions, listening carefully, understanding what the real thing was that was going to that was going to be required to get this deal done. And I just think that’s a beautiful, a beautiful example of of the value of like, there’s no way in a million years you could do that if you were looking at listed properties.

John Crutchfield:

Absolutely not, you know, absolutely not. There’s going to be a broker in the middle that’s going to squash that right away.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, exactly. And yeah. I think what you said there, but nobody wants, the money they want the money can do for that. And it’s just the most important thing that we can, that we can remember. And sometimes I think like, that manifests itself in lots of different ways. Sometimes it’s, I want the money because I want the trip to Kenya, sometimes it’s I want the money because I want to pay this other debt off. Sometimes it’s like, I want to get this particular price. Because that jerk Barney down the street, he sold his house for this price, and I hate that guy, and I will not lose to that guy, you know, they might have that might be what they’re really looking for is just the emotional win of knowing that they, they beat their rival, like whatever it is. I mean, I’ve literally said to people many times, like nobody wants money, money is paper and green ink, right? That’s it like you want what it’s going to do for you though. And like uncovering that second, third fourth layer of that is, I just can’t even I can’t even say how important that is. I love hearing that you do that.

John Crutchfield:

It’s very interesting. Because when I first started asking the question, people would kind of get concerned like, why are you asking me what I’m going to do with the money? Where are you, but when you when you position it as a place of rapport, like and a lot of times I’ll, because I’m younger, I’ll position it like I want advice like man, if I had that kind of money, what should I do with it? Right? Like, if I already get this, what should I do? And they might say like, well, we’re gonna have a guy say he wanted to put a roof on a different property, right? Well, I’m gonna put a roof on another property. Well, you mean, if I put the roof on the other property, you would sell it to me. And I, I literally have a 30-year assumed mortgage as soon from somebody because I just I put the roof on, and he signed the deed to me. It’s just, those are some of the funniest ones. I also like to think about them as a hedge, right? So, a lot of these bank paperwork are really I hate to say scams, but a lot of the bank paperwork just basically says if anything goes wrong, they can just call the note and you have to give them give them all the money back. And my seller finance notes, do not say that, right? As long as I meet the terms. So those nodes, they can’t take the property back. So, I consider a lot of my seller finance stuff, or creative finance stuff as a hedge. In case something does go wrong with all that bank borrowed money.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, yeah. That’s such a great perspective. Yeah, I really, really, really love that. Thank you for sharing that. So, let’s go back to kind of where we started to, we can wrap this up. Talking about Grab the Map. So, you are you have got a podcast, which you graciously invited me to be a part of recently and I appreciate that. I was just finding an episode. That’s a good one. I really enjoyed it, too. I just found myself thinking about you started in education and then you kind of pivoted to real estate. But now what you’re doing is kind of a perfect blend of both of those, right? It’s education in the context of real estate. Why do you do what you do in that way? Like, why don’t you just sit back? Do all these deals collect this money? Why are you out there, you know, trying to help other people and educate them?

John Crutchfield:

Well, you know, in a lot of ways, like real estate has changed my life, right? So, in giving me the ability to have time, freedom, right, giving me the ability to employ other people to help other people meet the needs of their families. Real estate is really, you know, changed my life. The goal of things like the podcasts, things like the wealth in real estate Facebook group, the goal is really to help other people change their life to help other people create some of those opportunities for their families. And it always, it never fails that when you’re giving back and you’re helping other people that you don’t have to worry about, you know, what’s your own livelihood, you just you just don’t there’s a lot of reciprocal reciprocation that happens where you’re not even trying to make it happen, but things kind of generally seem to flow your way.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah. Yeah. I love it. Well, I’m glad and grateful that you think of it that way because we’re all benefiting from the leadership that you’re showing and education you’re providing. If people want to learn more about you, what you do, reach out to you, get connected with all your awesome content- How would you like them to do that?

John Crutchfield:

Hey, they can reach out to me I’m easy to Google: John Crutchfield grab the map properties. You can find us in the Wealth in Real Estate Facebook group or you can reach out on Grab the Map, podcast or YouTube channel. All of those platforms are great @Grabthemap on Instagram also works awesome.

Jeff Stephens:

Well, I encourage everybody to do that. And john, this has been super fun. Thank you for stalking me. I’m sorry, I played hard to get. But I’m so glad this worked out.

John Crutchfield:

Yeah, I’m gonna keep stalking you because I find a lot of motivation. And, and I know we’re wrapping up here. But I do find a lot of motivation between entrepreneurs, real estate investors that have their own portfolios that are using creative strategies. I like to get connected with people that are like minded because I’m always gonna learn something new. Learning a lot from you as well and I’ll definitely stay connected with you.

Jeff Stephens:

That’s fantastic. All right. Thank you so much for hanging out today.

John Crutchfield:

All right, thanks, Jeff. Don’t just look at it, grab the map.

So there you have it. Super fun conversation with a great guy, so many good ideas and just a joy to be around. I love it when I get to laugh in an interview and John definitely does that. So that’s it for today’s episode of racking up rental. Again, show notes for today’s episode our thoughtfulre.com/e106. Please do us a big favor by hitting the subscribe button in the podcast app and rate and review the show. Did you know we have a Facebook group for thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs too? It’s called Rental Portfolio Wealth Builders. We’d love to have you join us over there. Just go to group.thoughtfulre.com and the magic of the internet will take you right to that page and you can hit the Join button. If you liked this episode, please take a screenshot and post that to Instagram and tag us we are @thoughtfulrealestate.

I will see you in the next episode. Until then. This is Jeff from the thoughtful real estate entrepreneur signing off.

Thanks for listening to Racking Up Rentals where we build long term wealth by being a win-win deal makers. Remember solve the person to unlock the deal and solve the financing to unlock the profits.

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