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Ethics Over Earnings: Jonathan Greene’s Approach to Conscious Real Estate

Ethics Over Earnings: Jonathan Greene’s Approach to Conscious Real Estate

Ethics Over Earnings: Jonathan Greene’s Approach to Conscious Real Estate

In this insightful episode of the REsimpli Podcast, host Sharad Mehta sits down with Jonathan Greene, a seasoned real estate investor with a rich history in the industry, tracing back to his childhood experiences with his father. Jonathan’s diverse background, spanning roles from a trial attorney to an art industry professional, has endowed him with a unique perspective on real estate investing. His approach, deeply influenced by his personal journey and self-reflection, emphasizes a mindful strategy that leverages his inherent strengths and capabilities. This episode delves into the importance of self-awareness in real estate, highlighting Jonathan’s belief in the power of personal growth and the mindful application of one’s skills in the pursuit of investing success.

Jonathan’s investment philosophy is characterized by its focus on building genuine, trust-based relationships with sellers and leveraging his expertise to create mutually beneficial deals. He critically examines the conventional tactics employed by many investors, advocating instead for a more honest, transparent approach. Jonathan’s strategies, from the Concerned Citizen letter to the unique way he handles pre-foreclosure situations, reflect his commitment to ethical practices and his belief in the value of collaboration over competition. This episode sheds light on the potential of mindful investing to not only achieve financial success but also foster a more humane and connected real estate community.

Throughout the conversation, Jonathan shares actionable insights and innovative techniques that challenge the status quo of real estate investing. His stories and experiences serve as a testament to the effectiveness of a compassionate, thoughtful approach to real estate transactions. Whether discussing negotiation tactics or the power of admitting one’s newbie status in the industry, Jonathan’s advice resonates with both seasoned investors and newcomers alike. His emphasis on the long-term benefits of building relationships and his rejection of quick, transactional thinking provide listeners with a refreshing perspective on achieving success in real estate.

The episode concludes with a personal glimpse into Jonathan’s life, revealing his passions outside of real estate, such as meditation and enjoying nature. His recommended reading, “The Wealthy Gardener” by John Soforic, mirrors his own investment philosophy, offering listeners further resources to explore the mindful approach to real estate investing. Jonathan’s story is not just about financial success; it’s a narrative of personal growth, ethical investing, and the profound impact of approaching real estate with a mindful, empathetic mindset.

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Sharad Mehta  0:06 

Hey guys, this is Sharad goes off the REsimpli podcast. I have a very, very special guest today on the show, Jonathan green. We just did a mastermind call about an hour ago, which was absolutely fire. There was like so much amazing content there. So I cannot wait to get into the podcast with Jonathan. welcome Jonathan to the REsimpli podcast. How are you, sir?

Jonathan Greene 0:28 

Nice seeing you again! Spending all afternoon together. But yeah, I love that mastermind. And yeah, I’m excited to be on the show here.

Sharad Mehta  0:37 

Absolutely. It was, it was absolutely an amazing call one of my favourite calls. You had so much information to share. But before we get into that, why don’t you just share a little bit background about yourself who you are, where you live What kind of investing do you do?

Jonathan Greene 0:49 

Yeah, thanks. My name is Jonathan green. I’ve been investing my whole life. Some people think that sounds like a story, but it’s not my dad was an investor. And I’ve been going walking foreclosed homes for 47 years since I was five years old. Because that’s the first time I can remember being in a foreclosure. So he used to, you know, before the internet, we got less from the courthouse, he would push me through the window. If they were vacant, I would open the door because they were locked. This is how you did it. In the old days, like modern people are like, that’s trespassing. I’m like, this is just how you got the job done before. So my dad was an off market investor, but he was an attorney as am I. So I kind of grew up always doing real estate investing on the side of my other businesses. I worked for 10 years as a, as a trial attorney as a prosecutor and then a criminal defence attorney, I ended up going into the art world for six years, then into teaching and then I got my real estate licence. I’ve been licenced and run a big team in multiple states. I’ve done that for 10 years, but it’s always been a cross pollination with investing. And I’ve done every type of investment really, that there is. So I have a kind of wide asset class knowledge. And I have a podcast as well called Zen in the art of real estate investing, where we talked about the mindful approach to real estate investing, which is really my thing and part of my journey, which is working on myself understanding what I’m good at what I’m not good at, and then putting it up play in investing. And I think that’s what a lot of people are missing, they’re forgetting that they have a special set of skills even if they’re not sure what they are yet and you have to figure out what those are to use your abilities to be the best at investing and that doesn’t mean it’s what you know mirroring somebody on social media because they may not share the same skill set as you do.

Sharad Mehta  2:37 

And then you’ve done all kinds of investing you’ve done wholesaling flipping rental?

Jonathan Greene 2:42 

I never Yeah, I never really did wholesaling I did off market acquisition I just didn’t wholesale I we do are the wholesale, which is buying myself and then reselling or just direct while I was doing marketing for myself I never wholesaling I think can be done extremely well. But I think I could help everyone wholesale better by doing a little more mindfully and not doing everything the same way. But yeah, I my biggest asset over my whole life has been single family houses, some that I lived in and did really well on which is an unfound asset class actually getting enjoyment out of the property. I was doing short term rentals with my sister more than 20 years ago, before Airbnb, in the Hamptons and in California and in Florida. I’ve done a lot of flips in my life, I really like flipping the numbers just haven’t been super for New Jersey where I am the last couple years, I’ve owned commercial properties, industrial parks, and I’ve attempted to buy things like self storage but haven’t been successful. But I’ve researched all the classes. And now I’m investing in some syndications here and there and looking for things that are truly a little more passive. So I can spend time, you know, working on the podcast, growing my regular business and just kind of enjoying enjoying my life, which is what most people listening are after.

Sharad Mehta  3:57 

Absolutely, yeah. And then you’ve mentioned this couple of times, mindful approach to investing. Tell us a little bit more about what that is mindful approach different from what you see investors doing.

Jonathan Greene 4:07 

Well, I grew up as like I was kind of had a rigid personality didn’t realise where it came from until later. But I was, I think I was just like hard on everything that there was a black and white to everything that was going to be easy. And then when I was in my 40s and running one of my I think my second real estate team. I just found myself being kind of a pawn to the game. I was allowing way too much access. My phone was ringing all the time. And I wasn’t like just being the best parent I could be. I was like too busy at work. So I basically after one phone call stopped, shut it all down for a year dropped my licence stopped investing, you know, focused on the investments that I had, an all I did for a year was read books, work on myself and kind of learn more about what my skill set was. And I think that transformed the way that I looked at investing going forward. Like, to me, the mindful approach is knowing that the biggest power you have as an investor is in cash. It’s your ability to walk away, or your ability to say no, because everybody in a hot market thinks their property is the best. But the second you tell them, I don’t need it. They’re like, wait, what do you mean Because there’s so many new investors who kind of have a desperate FOMO mentality and to buy everything. And because of my background, as a lawyer, I’m a very good negotiator. And negotiating real estate is almost like, silly to me, because I was negotiating life and death, you know, long prison sentences. So to me, I use the skills that I had to try to figure out a way where both parties can win. And that’s really part of the mindful approach in everything I do. Can everybody be okay, walking away from the table Because I feel like real estate should be collaborative and not competitive, especially between investors, there’s properties everywhere, they just maybe aren’t on the market.

Sharad Mehta  5:54 

Yeah, absolutely. And then you know, there is, there’s a certain power to walking away from a property, we’re negotiating a property where we had to sell on a drip campaign, like for about nine months, a year, something like that. And he came back, he’s saying, hey, I’m interested in selling. But it turns out, you know, we talked about this in our in our mastermind call, yeah, this seller was trying to get multiple offers, I have multiple people. And we just said, Hey, you know what, we don’t want to get into this game, when you’re serious about selling the property, let us know. And then, you know, we can talk about our offer, we had actually sent him a written purchase agreement through esign, we pulled it back, we said we’re gonna retract our offer, ever just so empowering, rather than saying, Hey, what did you decide what it is I know, when you’re gonna play these games, you know, if that’s what you want to do Go ahead, do that. But when you’re serious about selling, let us know, do you notice that happening with sellers?

Jonathan Greene 6:48 

I go even a step further. So I say if you use my offer, and shop it to get other offers, I’m going to pull it and then when you want it again, it’s going to be 10,000 less, and I’ll never change my mind. And that because I don’t need it, I want it. It’s a nice property, I like it. But if you’re going to play around, then I’m not going to play around like you’re saying. So I will never go back to the number. There’s a 0% chance and I’ve won deals on that I’ve definitely lost deals, and then watch them sit there for another three, four or five months. I’ve had multiple negotiations recently on off market buildings, or actually they were on the market that I was buying, where the sellers, we’d get close to closing and they just started to be unreasonable. And that one seller just wanted to cancel and I’m like, okay, you know, they found a reason we were trying to still negotiate repairs very close to closing on a chimney repair. And anyone who gives me an option to get out, I’ll get out because they’re not the right match. And then that took them another year and a half to sell. You know, so the people just are not trying to work together. They’re trying to hide the ball or be dishonest or to squeeze the most out of the juice, but I know better than them what they have in their house. So when I’m telling them, this is why I’m making the offer I have you have a structural problem. That structural problem is going to make every inspection with the first time homebuyer fail. They’re never going to buy your house. It’s a major structural problem. I’ll do the structural work and I have cash PS. So you’re going to either you’re going to agree to first time homebuyers, which is popular in my market. A lot of unsavoury first time homebuyers are buying what we used to consider more renovation properties, because they’re desperate. And there’s nothing on the market. And they don’t know how much things cost. And they have bad agents. But I’ll explain to them this is exactly what’s going to happen. And in 14 days, you’re going to be back after the home inspection, you’re going to be back on the market, and no one’s going to be there. But when you come for my offer, it’s going to be less and don’t ask for any more. And I did I did win one and flipped it and made a good amount of money on it. But they were they were almost mad coming back to me. They said how could you How can you not give us the money I’m like, I told you I wasn’t gonna give you the money. Like why are we in dispute I’m acting straight up, you’re not acting straight up. You went in took the risk to see if it was going to happen and exactly what I told you is going to happen happen. So now here we are.

Sharad Mehta  9:03 

Yeah, I love your approach and marketing also that you’re very, very honest. So let’s talk a little bit about you know, the mindful approach that you have, like you’re very, it’s not what do you call like, spray and pray You know, don’t do that. It’s very targeted marketing. Let’s talk about that and how that’s made a lot of money.

Jonathan Greene 9:23 

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s just like a differentiation principle. If everybody’s doing one thing, I’m always going to do the other thing but I also want to figure out like what they’re doing wrong. So if I just look at general this is obviously a complete generalization but it will hold true. The overall marketing for off market property is has traditionally been if you just go back to bandit signs, they all say the same thing. Buy your house quick for cash. 99% of those people don’t have the cash to buy the home. They’re using hard money or another source so the the sign is a lie. Some people do if you have the cash, right, but not everyone’s going to use the cash So if you go like the majority of wholesalers, the reason I have a problem is that they’re lying. Not all of them. But when you have someone who’s working for a wholesaler who’s on site, writing a contract that they know is going to be assigned, and they’re not really going through how they’re going to make money on the spread in the middle, the seller is eventually going to get mad at the end when they see that there’s a spread. So if you explain everything upfront, you’re gonna have a much smoother process, you’re also going to be able to, it’s like, why are wholesalers always not telling me how much they’re making when they’re sending me a wholesale deal It’s not going to change anything. If you’re making 40 grand, and it’s a good deal for me like, okay, that’s fine, good deal by you. You did a good job. But if you won’t tell me I’m going to find out at the closing. Unless we’re doing a double blind closer, you’re going to close first than not us close again. So like, to me, transparency is a mindful thing, because what does everybody want, they’d actually like to feel that they can trust you. And off market real estate is littered with untrustworthy activities, not necessarily people, they’re kind of doing what they can to get a deal. But I don’t feel like they’re doing it the right way. And I think if they would just focus and be more honest about how the process is going to work, or what their funding is, if you have hard money. Awesome. Explain how hard money works, because that has a limited appraisal, it’s not cash. Those are not the same things. Anything that has an appraisal is not cash, cash has no appraisals.

Sharad Mehta  11:24 

And I think another thing you mentioned earlier was a the other call that it was doing that if you’re doing hard money, and you have 30% interest rate, talk to the seller, you know that, hey, I’m willing to buy this house with a 13% interest. That’s how much I love that I use that to your advantage. That was I think that was like absolutely brilliant advice.

Jonathan Greene 11:43 

Yeah, I appreciate it. Because think about it. Most people are embarrassed to say that they don’t have the cash, but you don’t have the cash. You’re using somebody else’s money and you have to pay a premium to get it. So why can’t you use that to your advantage Like you said, what we were talking about was disclosing like, Listen, I want this house so much. I’m willing to pay 13% and two points, you know, and then you explain to them what points are. And then the people are like, Wow, no one’s ever told that. To me. It’s like, yeah, it looks like cash. It’s not cash, the appraisal is not hard, because it’s an ARV appraisal, like this is how it works. Those people will trust you. It’s just that general coaching for wholesaling is to be quicker and turn more deals. But that’s not money efficient for a lot of new holes, that isn’t going to grow you a good long term reputation and a bunch of relationships.

Sharad Mehta  12:31 

Yeah, absolutely. And I think I think it becomes even more important in the day and age that we live in where it’s so easy to pull a less skip trace, call them and text them. It’s just it’s become even more important to provide personalized service to the homeowner add value to them. Don’t think of it as like a number on your whiteboard that you’re trying to reach. But think how you can add value to the seller. And then you have a very interesting letter that you do, or very interesting way you reach out to the homeowners in your local area. Just walk us through a little bit about that, you know, what do you do What do you say to the seller?

Jonathan Greene 13:08 

Yeah, I mean, I have a few different letters that we’ve given different names over the years. But the one if you’re someone who likes absentee homeowners as a target, then you would use the Concerned Citizen letter. It’s a true approach to get people to call you back. But you have to be honest to the process. The my letters don’t work for people who aren’t going to do it the right way. That’s why I can freely tell everyone one I know 99% of people aren’t going to do it. If they did it, it would work. But it takes more work to get it done. It’s not easy. And it’s just you know, you have to live up to the expectation. So the letter would go something like Dear Mr. Smith, Mr. Mrs. Smith, I walked by your property at 123 Main Street today on my normal walk that I do every day with my dog going through, I actually noticed that the house might not be in as good shape as you think. Because I do my due diligence, I looked up the address on public records, I see that you live in California, and you only have this property in New Jersey. I walked by it every day, I’m happy to send you an update every month. But here’s a couple of photos of what it looks like now your gutters are hanging off, there’s a leak in the roof. I don’t know if you have a tenant there or what’s happening. But you know, again, I’m local, I’m happy to help you. PS if you are ever interested in selling, I am looking to invest in this area because I live here and I love the neighbourhood. You know, give me a call anytime the chances of getting a call back on that are like at least 100 times higher than I will buyer house. Because they’re an absentee owner who’s on the 10 years they’re getting 100 letters a day, right because people run those the same lists.

Sharad Mehta  14:43 

Yeah, and then this is this is truly truly personalised to that homeowner. It’s not the same letter, same postcard, going out to 1000s of people.

Jonathan Greene 14:52 

How can you get any more personalised than sending them a picture of the house that you’re in front of if you want to double it up You take a selfie with yourself in front of The house which I do all the time, and then they’re like, Oh, I named me one person who’s going to take a photo of themselves in front of their house pointing to where the gutters leaking. If you do that you’re going to win might sound might one in 10, people think it’s creepy, maybe, but you live in the neighbourhood. And if they ever questioned that, I would send them my property tax record. You know, if you’re telling the truth, you have nothing to hide from. That’s what’s important. You don’t need, you can have a business as an LLC, but nobody wants to sell to an LLC, you’re not helping yourself buy properties by hiding behind it, you have to be front and centre. If you’re the person doing the appointment, if they’re going to meet me, I want them to know that it’s me, and I care about them. I don’t want to be best friends. But I want to find a scenario where we both feel like, hey, this deal went well for both of us.

Sharad Mehta  15:49 

Yeah, absolutely. And I think what I think absolutely brilliant about your approach is, you know, you see a lot of investors saying, Hey, these are I understand you’re going through these issues, divorce whatnot. And they’re using that, to negotiate on a lower price, you’re not doing that you’re just literally coming, as, hey, I’m concerned about your property, maybe you don’t know what your property looks like. But here’s, you know, you may need to fix the gutters, you may need to fix the roof, the windows may need some work done to them. And you just said, PS, if you’re looking to sell, I may be interested, but you’re not saying oh, by the way, these are the everything that’s wrong. You know, now, can we talk about the price, which puts the seller in a very defensive situation You’re not doing that And then the approach you’re taking, you’re getting people Yes, you know, if you don’t mind, can you please send me an update Like once a month Like who would say no to that!

Jonathan Greene 16:39 

Exactly. But that’s it. That’s that’s a Hormoz a thing, if you can make an offer that is impossible to say no to it’s not gonna cost them anything. And I walked right by the house, you don’t want to picture if anyone disputes that I say, Are you sure, because I’m just going to click a picture on my phone. And I’ll text it to you once a month on the same day, like clockwork, at the same time, and I’m regimented, I will always send it at the same time. Because that builds trust, it’s going to be the first of the month at noon, I’m going to be there, I’m going to shoot the photo, if for some reason something comes up, I’ll tell them, it’s going to be 3pm this month, if you do that, they will trust you. But also what you said is important. I’m trying to build this level of trust, where I’m not really hiding anything from them. Like they know that it’s me, and I’m trying to come in and make a fair deal with them that will make sense to both parties. It’s just there’s a lot of coaching around the business that is more, I guess, focused on scaling. But most people aren’t ready to scale. You know, you can’t scale. If you’ve done one deal or two deals and you made like $4,000, that’s not a good time to scale. You have to understand your skills, you know, your skills, what you’re good at, and what’s going to make the business grow. And the one to one touch of making people respond to you and then getting in a conversation, and then not making it all about real estate is always the way to win.

Sharad Mehta  17:57 

Yeah, you see too many people trying to build a skyscraper without even burning the foundation right now. So that’s a house of cards. Exactly. And then, you know, you and I talked about it earlier, that people are so focused on vanity numbers, I want to do 50 deals a year, I want to do seven figures in revenue. That’s all they’re focused on, but they don’t look at how much money they want to make. You and I both agree, I would much rather have like six $700,000 business and make three $400,000 net profit on that. Then have a seven figure business and only making 50 200,000. What’s the point of having that business you have so much overhead, so much headache that you have to deal with versus owning Absolutely lean and efficient business.

Jonathan Greene 18:42 

Yeah. And lean and efficient means you have you’re getting time freedom in advance before you have financial freedom. It’s the same reason why people lease a Ferrari. I mean, you can afford the Ferrari. So you’re getting it because it looks good. You’re trying to portray something else. If you’re trying to make your business look like it’s going to do more, that doesn’t matter to an off market seller. They actually want to make a connection. Most of them, not all of them. Most of them want to make a connection. Oh, the one thing I forgot that you were saying before is if you just take what people are doing with mailers, because you mentioned divorce probate, let’s just talk about foreclosures for a second are pre foreclosures. The way that people write letters to pre foreclosures is embarrassing. 99% of the letters that go out on pre foreclosures are pre written to acknowledge that they are pre pre foreclosing like the what’s the one thing that someone who’s in pre foreclosure does not want to talk about. It’s the fact that they were late on their payments, and they can’t support their family. So when you make a call on a pre foreclosure, or when you go in the complete other direction, you always say this in this way. Listen, I’m a local investor. I was doing some research. These things are wrong all the time. But I got information from this site that said you might be behind on your payments. This is probably wrong, but I wanted to check with you because a lot of times we help people By buying properties, if they’re looking to looking in the face of a short sale or something, you’ve taken the bonus off, you have to acknowledge that you’re calling because you’ve, you’ve seen it as a foreclosure. But you’re telling them hey, it’s probably not true. That’s the way that you build it. They might still curse you out. But yeah, imagine, though, imagine, yeah, pre foreclosure. And you know, your spouse or partner doesn’t know. And you pick up the phone, and you’re in the room with them. And the first thing, the guy says, hey, I’ll buy your house for cash, because I know you’re about to get foreclosed on, you’re basically telling them you can’t do anything, you screwed up, you lost your job, you’re not being a good person to help them to never gonna sell the house to you can’t force them to sell the house to even if they are in distress. And if so, it’s not a win win, they’re not going to feel good about it, they’re not going to, you know, tell their friends, hey, if you’re ever in a bind, like this person will buy your house. It’s just a different way of thinking. And that’s the mindful approach to investing is thinking more of like, Are we all in this together, I’ll pay more for a house, I don’t care if $5,000 difference. If I pay 5000 More, that’s not going to make or break me. So like pre foreclosure, just as since we’re on that topic, it’s a very tight number. So if I know what if I know they owe 200. And that’s their payout, you gotta give them 205, they have to move. So it doesn’t matter that you can make 300 Or more like, the point is, you have to give them something. But you have the people who are running the numbers, and they’re like, 170, and they’re like, Well, I owe 200. Like, don’t you know how this works, the bank does isn’t going to get involved unless we’re clearing it. And if you can clear it, we’re not even gonna get to a short sale, we’re gonna pay it off and be done. So that little just a little bit of money, which is not saying that 5000 is a little bit to everybody in the context of a deal. If I’m hoping to make 60 grand or 100 grand on a flip. I’m not worried about the 5000 that’s going to help them move. Because you have to get them out if you want to buy the house.

Sharad Mehta  21:58 

Yeah, if the $5,000 is the make or break for your deal, then you shouldn’t be buying that house if it comes down to the $5,000. Yeah, exactly. I think so. Yeah. Yeah. Jonathan, like the way you like approach the pre foreclosure. I think it’s absolutely brilliant. I don’t think anybody’s doing this. I think you’d get the same message. Hey, I know you’re in pain. I’m gonna take advantage of that pain. You gotta sell me the house.

Jonathan Greene 22:22 

Yeah, they’re actually turning the knife harder on them.

Sharad Mehta  22:25 

Yeah, it hurt. You know, similar defensive situation.

Jonathan Greene 22:30 

To me. Yeah. Look, same with probate and divorce are also very testing, you really want to send a letter, hey, I want to buy your house quick for cash to the heirs who just lost their parent. That’s idiotic. I mean, it’s absolutely idiotic. When you’re sending letters to an heirs, you come with a very caring sentiment, you still want to buy the house, you have to acknowledge that you are taking advantage of information that you know that somebody just passed away. But you always give your condolences. I know, this is a really hard time. I hate to ask this at a time. But this is part of what we do as a business. We try to catch people before they get involved in the probate process. And they have the attorneys, like if you’re ever interested in any help, you know, with the process or want to talk about all the options of selling because I’m licenced sometimes it’s much better to list the property. Those are the things and that’s just a compassion that honestly I had to learn because I was a rigid kid with the low, low emotional intelligence, you know, growing up just because I was like, just kind of like a regular boy or man, like I thought, like, oh, I shouldn’t have emotions. But the way that you connect with people is making sure that you’re compassionate to their plight. If you’re getting a divorce, and you’re just approaching one party, are you serious It’s like approaching only one. Err, Oh, you think you just negotiated a deal Because you talk to one partner Well, it’s 5051 person probably doesn’t leave, you know, you have to know how divorce works.

Sharad Mehta  23:50 

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s so important that that’s the approach that you take throughout the conversation. You know, we tell investors that are using REsimpli It’s so important to listen to the call recording of your salespeople. Oh, it’s like such a like, sometimes you’re gonna cringe, and you’re gonna go by, I cannot believe my salesperson said that. Like, for example, you know, if a seller saying oh, you know, my dog died, and he just like completely doesn’t say, yeah, go to the next question. Like, oh, my God, how did you not catch that How did you not make a notice?

Jonathan Greene 24:24 

Generally, though, that happens because people don’t do role plays. If you hire a VA to do acquisitions calling, you want them in a roleplay group with other VAs and you want them to say like, Listen, this is my general script. But you have to listen. When I was a trial attorney. I used to walk I never had notes, and always ever I had bullet points. And people ask me, Well, how come you don’t write out your questions and said, watch what happens and we would go watch a trial where someone write out the questions and you would, the person would ask them a question, and they would think they would have it down that the person was going to answer this when they answer the other way. And then we’ll ask the follow up question didn’t make any sense. And because they just changed their answer, and they wouldn’t even know. Yeah, and it’s the same thing with with, you know, investors and their plight, like you’re saying, if someone says, you know, oh, I’m the heir, you know, my uncle just died and you go, how much are you looking for Like, just punch them in the face. But But look 80 to 99% of calls will go that way.

Sharad Mehta  25:20 

Well, yeah, we’ll do. And that’s where that’s where you have the advantage of building and truly meaningful relationships with a seller. You know, it’s such a simple thing to do that, but people just overlook it so much.

Jonathan Greene 25:35 

Yeah, because it’s a long term thing. No one wants to work for the long term game, they want everything to be short, quick, quick returns quick for cash quick for this. That’s not how you make the most money, you can stack those on top of each other, but it always ends. Because it doesn’t keep going with that attitude, you will not have any return people, or recommendations or easier deals that, hey, if I nurture people, and I call them over a year, 12 times once a month, and I only talk about real estate four times, who’s gonna get the call me or the person who’s hounding them every single month. It’s a it’s a no brainer. It’s a joke that I have with them, where they’ll say, Hey, you didn’t even ask me about the property. And I’ll always say the same thing. Bob, I thought we were friends. Now, I knew that when you’re ready to sell, you’re gonna tell me I was just checking up to see how you and Sally were doing. But I really mean that. And even if you don’t really mean it, learn to have some compassion for what other people are going through. And they will keep calling you back. Maybe it takes two years. But that’s what’s called a pipeline. Exactly, everyone.

Sharad Mehta  26:37 

Yeah, imagine going up against an investor like you who’s building that kind of relationship. And all I’m doing is sending letters, postcards, saying the same thing, hey, I’ll buy it for cash, I’ll give you the like, it just I have no, like I there’s no way I can compete against you that you have such a huge advantage because you build that relationship, then when you’re negotiating with the seller, I’m sure you’ve noticed, it’s not even a price conversation at that point.

Jonathan Greene 27:00 

Now, most of the time, I can just tell them in the end, like, just tell me what you want. And I’ll tell you, I have already have sent them for years what it’s worth, you know, so they know the data, they know where I’m at. They know I always tell people listen, I just want to tell you upfront, I’m an investor. I’m also licenced. So if you want market price, I can list your house at any time, we’ll do better, you will make more money on the market. But you’ll also pay a commission. If you don’t want people coming into your home and me showing it to other people. I will buy direct from you. And I’ll show you the cash of proof of funds on my phone right now. Just so you know, I’m not faking it. And when you’re ready, we can have that discussion. But I’m an investor, I need to be making money on this afterwards. So that comes at a lower price. And that’s another honest, mindful approach where they say, who are who can argue with that, wait, you just explained that if I want list price, if I want market value, you have an option for that. But I don’t want people in the house. I’m a hoarder. So you have another option for that. And it can be on my timeline, the best thing that you have as an investor is time. So if someone says, Hey, uh, well, in six months, I’m going to move to Florida, your VA is and callers are going to just say put a note to call them back and five, five months and 15 days, the deals already gone by then, because some smart investor came in and said, No problem. Let’s lock up the contract now will close them, or let’s lock it up. Now at this price. I’ll give it augmented take it for this price. But as a benefit, I’ll let you run to back for me for nothing for the next six months, we’ll count that and discount it from the price. And that’s how you get it for nothing. I mean, these are these are like just negotiation techniques that VAs can’t handle. And that’s where sometimes you lose out if you don’t train them the right way. Absolutely.

Sharad Mehta  28:42 

No, I think that’s why like making thinking of it as a relational business, it’s going to give you so much more profit than just thinking of it as a transactional business where you send like 10s of 1000s of dollars in marketing, direct mail and whatnot. And then you get maybe five people to call you back and half of the people that are calling digas Hey, take me off the list. You know, they’re not they don’t exactly it just basically because they’re all getting the same letter and postcard.

Jonathan Greene 29:09 

Yeah, like even when you’re selling a house on the market, like I of course, I would like to get the most money. But I actually want to know, you know little bit about the buyers. I want to be compliant with fair housing. But I’d like little information about how much they love the house. I don’t want to sell it to someone who thinks my house is disgusting. That’s silly. You know, like you people want to trade houses, the older that they are, they want to trade someone who also has an emotional connection. And that’s why this doesn’t work for people who can’t really match up to it. Again, that’s why I can freely give all these things because not everyone can do it. A very few percentage are willing to put up the time to do it. But instead they’re going to use systems and things that kind of automate everything and have no heart and will never do well enough at scale to make any real money. If they do they create a system where someone in there is having better one to one relationships And that’s how companies can scale when you have the people who understand that, hey, we’re going to move the furniture out, or we’re going to junk all your your stuff, or we’re going to help you move. Or we’ll help you find a rental so we can get your renters out. Like, these are what you need to do. You can’t just buy every house with cash. It’s obviously silly.

Sharad Mehta  30:16 

It’s fun. And it’s and these are such small value add for you as an investor. But it may mean the whole world to the person that you bind the property for profit from I mean, we’ve done with sellers, we say, hey, we’ll pay for the movers, don’t worry about it, just tell us more. So you want to take with you, and we’ll take care of everything else. And they’re like, Oh, you would do that Like, yeah, we will hire the movers will move into you know, we give them a radius, I will move it within this radius. And like, Oh, this is absolutely amazing.

Jonathan Greene 30:43 

It’s also the easiest way to balance against who else is in the room. I’m like, I’m at 350. He’s like, Well, I have an offer for 370. I’m like, Well, what are they doing for you And he’s like, What do you mean He’s like, Well, you can leave all your stuff in the house all junk, call it And like, where did Where are you going there Like I need like three months to find a place Cool. We’ll close today, I’ll lease it back to you for three months for nothing. But for that, I’m going to count up the rent the rent, usually here 2000 month, so I’m gonna take 6000 off, does that sound fair You get to stay three months, I’m gonna get the discount, you’re good for three months, you know, and if I’ll help you find a place if you want. These are just tiny little things. And like you said, they’re not any real skin off your back. You know, you’re not moving a 16 bedroom house, you’re moving small houses. It’s easier.

Sharad Mehta  31:24 

Absolutely. And I think what I love about your approach is always being honest, then you don’t have these games that you’re playing in a wait a minute, what did I tell the seller What was you just always being honest about every single situation I think that’s that’s brilliant. I mean, not just saying, but isn’t that crazy?

Jonathan Greene 31:43 

That’s what’s funny, people always say like, oh, I can’t believe you’re always so honest. And I’m like, Yeah, I mean, I have personality traits that make it so I literally can’t, I like cannot lie. But it’s just the way that I grew up was like, I don’t have to be embarrassed about the truth meaning like, if I’m a new investor, I’m gonna tell people I’m brand spankin new, like, this is how I’m trying to get started, you know, I want to learn and I like this neighbourhood, you know, maybe we can have a talk, that’s a real conversation. I know, I have friends who I coach to write letters like that. And we’ll get like a like, much like a 25 30% at least call back rate. But again, those are long nurtures, you have to be willing to go over and help them you know, you know, take, you know, take the dog out once in a while or do something. But that’s called being a good person to you actually get visceral benefits from helping someone else. And later, maybe you will buy the home, maybe you won’t, you know, what’s the what’s the biggest deal of that if you’ve helped someone a few times, and then their heirs come in and say actually, we’re going to dispose the house this way. Okay, they will come back to you because the people who aren’t always standing there with the handout are the ones who get the direct calls, which means you’re you’re doing less outbound begging, which is what I call it, because I don’t do outbound like that. I send stuff and direct them to call me back. And I only respond to people who are going to call who have reached out even if it’s a screw you, we were talking about this the other time, I guarantee you that if you get those fu calls, if you can keep them on the phone, they’re much better than you think. Because no one’s going to waste the time to call you back just to tell you to screw off because you sent them a marketing piece unless there was a little bit of them. That was a little bit interested in your offer. And if you can break through to say, Whoa, are you okay?

Sharad Mehta  33:24 

You know, is there something I absolutely have to say I absolutely love that. Are you okay You know, yeah, it’s just nice. Yeah.

Jonathan Greene 33:28 

Are you okay Is a change in dynamic It’s a Chris Voss technique that takes them from their mental state into like, Wait, teach, somebody cares about me, because they’re, they probably are not okay. Because who’s okay If they see some stupid paper, and instead of just throwing it out, they actually take the time, I’m going to call this person, and I’m gonna yell at them for just mailing me something about finding my house on a public records. And I found that that’s a big dynamic change. Like, are you okay, is there something going on You know, I’m sorry, I actually I run these in the public records. Like I’m not, I’m not like stalking you. I can You can find my information everywhere. This is how the world is now.

Sharad Mehta  34:04 

Absolutely. Hey, you also had a brilliant technique for newbie investors to use their inexperience to their advantage. Just speak a little bit about that. I think that was absolutely I thought that was absolutely brilliant.

Jonathan Greene 34:18 

Yeah, I love that new investors who can own being a new investor. And also you can use this if you’re trying to buy your own house if you want to renovate it into your own first house, which I think is actually a better technique, but it works more in the caretaker role, you want to focus on people who’ve lived in their homes much longer, because they’re more likely to have an emotional attachment to you. So you would be saying your letter would be more in the say, Hey, Mr. And Mrs. Smith. I see you’ve lived at 52 Main Street for 50 years. That’s amazing. I live in this neighbourhood too. And I want to stay here. I’m actually just trying to get started as a real estate investor. And your house is the type of house that I would be interested in buying. If you’re ever looking to relocate. And then it’s like also PS I always walk by with my Dog if there’s anything you ever need help with, you know, just let me know. And if you’re sending that to someone who’s, you know, over 65, again, is there anything bad in that email, you might get a couple weird, you know, messages back, but I find that to be a very realistic and honest message where you’re likely to have a contact. And if you have a contact and you’re open to future contacts, once they call me and then I have their phone number they put themselves into my thing. I’m not I don’t do you know, cold calling or cold texting because I don’t want to violate DNC, which I get a million day. They’re all in violation, because I’m on the do not call us. But like, these are just honest approaches. If you’re a new investor, you don’t have to be not a new investor. Why can’t you just be a new investor, because who wants to sell to new investor, someone who wants to help them. And that same new investor can also do it with what we call the I want to be just like you, which is you find somebody in the area who owns 10 or more properties, you write them on one of the properties, hey, I went by your multifamily at 50 Main Street. It’s so cool. I looked you up in the records, because I’m good at due diligence, I saw you on 10 buildings in this area, I live in the same town, I just wondered, how did you get to the stage one day when I get older, I get to be more experienced, I’d like to be just like you, if you ever have 15 minutes to chat, I’ll meet you at, you know, we can meet at this local place. Just let me know, no strings attached. I’m trying to get my investing career off the map. And I’m trying to learn from people like you, who’s not responding to this. Like, it’s, you have to really want to if you have that conversation, you might end up with a mentor, because someone was asking us on the call, how do I find a mentor That letter may find you a mentor.

Sharad Mehta  36:37 

Absolutely, and I think what’s so great about this is compared to you know, some of the other gurus out there telling newbie investors Hey, just you don’t have to tell them you’re a newbie investor just come across, or you know, Doc, like you’ve done this, why, but you haven’t. You haven’t, you haven’t. And it’s gonna I mean, any, any reasonable person is gonna sense that, you know, but if you approach the situation where you’re absolutely honest, and say, Hey, this is my first deal. I’ve not done this, but I would absolutely love to, you know, be an investor in this area, and then just use that to your advantage. You there’s nothing to hide. There’s nothing you’re not saying anything that you’re not comfortable owning. I think that’s a great way to approach and using that newbie investor, you know, inexperience to your advantage. I think that that’s an amazing approach.

Jonathan Greene 37:27 

Yeah, I mean, it’s just, it seems crazy that we were laughing before because it’s like, we’re just saying, if you just actually honest about where you’re at, you’ll probably do better. But that’s actually the truth. Because it looked that experienced investor is much more likely to want to help you. And then if you’re pretending you’re someone you’re not. Look, investors are smart, and they will vet you. And they’ll use terms to see if you know him. And if you don’t know him, the first thing you should say is I actually don’t know what that is, can you teach me what that is Then you’re developing a relationship instead of just saying yes, and then you can’t answer what they’re really asking you to do. Because then they know that you’re faking it.

Sharad Mehta  38:01 

Yeah. 100%. And the thing is, if you lie about very, very small, insignificant thing, it creates a doubt in other person’s mind, hey, what else is he not being honest about Then they’re gonna start imagining things that absolutely are unfair to you. But then you don’t know you’ve actually build that relationship that way by being dishonest about something. And then if I’m on the other side, like, Hey, what is this person not telling me what else do I not know Yeah, of course.

Jonathan Greene 38:27 

And you can’t clear that. I mean, if you look at every rom com movie that’s ever made, it’s always the same premise. Two people get together, one person doesn’t tell them something, and then the other person finds out like too late. Why didn’t you tell me that it was so insignificant. Now, I can’t trust you about anything. That’s it. If you didn’t tell someone that you were a new investor and kind of pretended like, oh, yeah, I have a couple properties. And then they find out later that you don’t, they’re not selling you the property. You lied. Yeah. And if you go into everything, just saying, like, I’m going to be wide open about where I’m at. I own two properties. I crapped the bed on one I tried to do a flip and I didn’t know what I’m doing. But I learned a lot. So now I want to take that and put it into this. Who doesn’t want to work with that person who’s willing to be vulnerable and saying like, same as we’re talking about, you know, people like over aggrandizing all their doors like you got to be open about the stuff that you did wrong. No flippers hitting a home run every time and if they are you have a problem. They’re not you know, that’s not correct. We all crapped the bed at some point that’s investing you can’t be 100%. Absolutely.

Sharad Mehta  39:29 

Jonathan, this has been absolutely amazing. I want to ask some questions on our next segment of the show where we get to learn a little bit more about you. What do you do for fun

Jonathan Greene 39:39 

That’s a tough one. I’m a very mindful person in general. So my fun is long, aimless walks and meditation. I like sports but I’m a little older and I got injured like five years ago. So now I watch sports but I love walking and honestly this is gonna sound crazy to everyone but it will fit this show. I like watching the clouds move and the grass grow because I I can just sit there. And that’s just the kind of like peaceful remedy to just watch nature move. And I’ll forget about all the deals that I’m not getting.

Sharad Mehta  40:09 

Oh, absolutely. I think that’s that’s actually like better. Did you guided meditation or just like silent, guided meditation?

Jonathan Greene 40:15 

Yeah, I do three different sets of guided meditation every morning and then one at night asleep meditation before bed. And I’m like seven years straight, haven’t missed a day.

Sharad Mehta  40:25 

Oh, wow. That’s amazing. What’s the one book that had the biggest impact in your life, it could be a business book or a personal book. It could be one of each.

Jonathan Greene 40:34 

Um, I’m gonna give one that I read recently that I absolutely obsessed with. It’s called the wealthy gardener by John Sephora. It’s not a highly well known investing book. It it actually does talk about gardening, but it’s about investing. It’s one of the best crossovers for the mindful approach to real estate investing. My preferred real estate attorney Ashley Molson, and my good friend recommended it to me gave it to me as a gift we booked swapped. And I was like, blown away. I suggest anyone who’s looking to if they like what I’m talking about, read the wealthy gardener. It’s a real estate investing book that is built on kind of building a garden. It’s pretty interesting. And it’s a it’s a great one. It’s an it’s off the beaten path. It’s not Rich Dad, Poor Dad, you know, are some of these other books

Sharad Mehta  41:18 

Yeah, no, I definitely check it out. Yeah, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It’s so fun. Number one. And it’s great. But

Jonathan Greene  41:22 

I mean, it’s a mind shift.

Sharad Mehta  41:24 


Jonathan Greene 41:26 

It’s usually the one that gets you going. But then once you’re going and you get to know me, I’ve been doing this more than 30 years. So I need things that help me balance the practice and look at you know what I want in the long term

Sharad Mehta  41:38 

Yep. Cool. All right. If you could spend a day with anyone dead or alive, who would you want to spend the day with And why

Jonathan Greene 41:48 

Well, both my parents passed away when I was young, 20 and 33. So that was an easy one for me. If not them, I would probably just want to go on the Rich Roll podcast, or Tim Ferriss, one of those guys, I’d like to be a guest on their podcast. I feel like I’m reaching the level where I would fit in with their audience. So I’d like to have a conversation with both or Ryan Holiday. I like all of them. Yeah.

Sharad Mehta  42:13 

I’ve been reading a lot of Marcus Aurelius meditation book. Yeah. And Ryan Holiday got me started on that.

Jonathan Greene 42:20 

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Well, the day off three share exactly what I’m talking about. They’ve been on a journey. They’re very mindful approach. And I feel like as interviewers, like, you know, you’re interviewing me and I interview a lot of people on my podcast, I want to try to bring out stuff that other people don’t have what you’re doing with me, like this is not a replication of other shows I’ve been on it’s completely unique. And that’s what, you know, a good interviewer does.

Sharad Mehta  42:43 

Absolutely. Thank you so much for that. Jonathan. This has been absolutely my pleasure. If someone wants to connect with you learn more about your journey. What’s the best way for them to do that

Jonathan Greene 42:53 

Probably Instagram because I don’t answer my phone. Everybody knows that I’m trust screen at an on Instagram. And that’s trust and then green with an E at the end. And the podcast is Zen in the art of real estate investing. It’s easy to find my hub site is trust Green as any at the end. And my team is streamlined properties. We run in multiple states and building big four on market real estate working with investors, investor advice, and meetups and that’s at streamlined with a D dot properties.

Sharad Mehta  43:22 

We’ll put all of that in the show notes. Thank you so much, Jonathan. This has been absolutely amazing. Thanks, Jon!

Jonathan Greene 43:27 

Really appreciate it. We got to we got two meetups today. So yeah, spend the time with you. Thank you!