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One of the biggest mistakes real estate investors make is with their branding and positioning.

Most investors want to appear like a professional corporation because they think it’ll impress clients. But this usually backfires and repulses your ideal customers.

What’s the secret for building a compelling REI brand then?

Today’s guest, founder of Black Girls Buy Houses and branding expert, Sunday McIlwain, has the answer.

In this episode, you’ll discover how to build a compelling REI brand by using your personality. And Sunday reveals how to use your social media to find new audiences and magnetize them to your brand.

Want to play the real estate investing game on “easy mode?” Listen now!

Show highlights include: 

  • 2 sneaky strategies that make people drool over the idea of selling you their house (and why most investors are terrified to do it) (1:22)
  • The weird way coming across as too professional repels your best clients (2:04)
  • The “Scum Lord” secret for making your wallet fatter while improving your community (8:09)
  • How to get started in real estate investing or add to yoru portfolio (even if you don’t have enough cash flow right now) (13:40)
  • Wy parroting trending news topics on your social media spellbinds your ideal customers (18:44)

Want to discover more branding secrets from Sunday or join her investors group? Check out her website here: https://blackgirlsbuyhouses.com/. Or follow her on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/blackgirlsbuyhouses2/ or LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/therealsunday/

To get the latest updates directly from Dan and discuss business with other real estate investors, join the REI marketing nerds Facebook group here: http://adwordsnerds.com/group

Need help with your online marketing? Jump on a FREE strategy session with our team. We'll dive deep into your market and help you build a custom strategy for finding motivated seller leads online. Schedule for free here: http://adwordsnerds.com/strategy

Read Full Transcript

You're listening to the REI marketing nerds podcast, the leading resource for real estate investors who want to dominate their market online. Dan Barrett is the founder of AdWords nerds, a high tech digital agency focusing exclusively on helping real estate investors. Like you get more leads and deals online, outsmart your competition and live a freer, more awesome life. And now your host, Dan Barrett.

(00:42): Hey guys. Welcome back. You're listening to the second part of last week's episode. Let's jump back in. I mean, I think what, what I find really cool about you and I also think is something that everyone listening to this can take away from the way that you do business, right? Because you clearly are a savvy investor, right? You can't really be a successful real estate investor and not be good at the real estate part of that. Right. That's basically table stakes. That's what you gotta pay to get in. It's like, if you're just like, oh, I'll buy anything and I'll buy high and I sell low. It just doesn't last very long. Right? So, so you, you, you have the technical skill set, but what you also aren't afraid to do is bring your own personality to the workplace, right? Like your website reflects your personality. Right. And I think you're right. Like the, cuz I saw the older one, the new one really reflects your personality, even just talking to you, right?

(01:41): Like you reflect your personality and in how you talk about what you do. And then like you said, like, you're like if you have a certain kind of personal code of ethics, you bring that to the business model in a place where maybe you don't need to in order to maximize profit, but you're willing to do that. Those are all things that people really respond to. But I think a lot of investors are afraid to do, right. Like a lot of investors, like they just don't like they wanna project a certain image of, I don't know, being really, really professional. Like, you know, it's like we are real estate global Megacorp and uh, you know, and it's really just one person on the phone, but it's like they wanna project this like image of being almost like a hedge fund. And I think a lot of sellers don't respond to that at all. Right. They respond to people that are being real. Yes. Um, absolutely. So you kind of hit on this, let's talk about the business model behind black growth buy houses, because like you said, you're doing the development stuff. So you have the real estate side you also have. So it's like coaching consulting side. So can you kind of break down for people like the different sort of parts of the business? Like how is it structured right now?

(02:50): Yes. So we have our, we have, like I said, three, three sides. So we have our primary side is helping homeowners that are going through foreclosure tax lie, probate death in the family, just distress property, short sale. We pretty much handle it all. Um, where we come in, we can do this virtually or in person. Well, if you're outside the DC area, um, it will be virtually. Um, but you Do a lot, like, do you do like national investing? Is it, is it like primarily the DC area and then surrounding areas like what's your target market?
Oh yeah. So primarily yes, DC and I say Southern Maryland, and right now I've been going down to Charlotte. Okay.

(03:37): We've been going down to Charlotte, excuse me. We've been going down to Charlotte and uh, central Virginia where, uh, Petersburg and, um, Richmond are so kinda short along the east coast right now. The sense it's more virtual and, um, I'm kinda reaching out nationally, nationally now through my marketing, um, and advertising, I'm not afraid to, you know, take other properties outside of that. Our, you know, my surrounding area. And especially that goes out to, um, investors who are out in that area too, that are looking, we do help them, but outside of black earth by houses, we do save those and foreclosure. I really love foreclosures so that people don't necessarily get the best bang out of their property for us lost. And I know that a lot of people have been affected during the COVID pandemic. Um, so that's, that's definitely like dear to my heart to help people as many people in foreclosure. Um, especially this upcoming year and as me moving into the election and as the economy is getting back to where it needs to be, that's like near and dear to my heart. So I'm really looking forward to helping foreclosures.

(04:42): I was saying that, um, you know, fingers crossed that the economy ends up back where it used to be. I feel like investors, when I talk to they're kind of like split down the middle where some people are like, yeah. You know, I think it's, it's kind of getting back to a healthier spot. Um, you know, we're gonna be okay. And then other people are like, yeah, you know, I like, um, invested in a suit of medieval armor so that like, if anybody attacks me with a spear, I'll be fine. And I'm like, OK, it's very split down the middle. So, yeah. Um, but, okay. So yeah, so like foreclosures, you know, big part of like again kind of bringing your personal ethics to it. Right? Its like those little people I like to help. Um, okay. So sorry I interrupted could please

(05:22): Continue. No problem. And then, um, those investors, so, um, I'll also disclaimer, we do not buy the properties, um, ourselves. So we have a group of investors that buy properties, cash that we work with primarily. So if you wanna be a part of our real estate group, um, please contact me at black girls by houses.com or you can go to black girls by.com/ let's connect and make an appointment with me. And we can, you know, talk about your specific, um, investment, excuse me, investment criteria that you like. And once, so that's another side that, you know, we primarily work with investors and what their specific needs are. And then the third side is syndication. So on that side this year with, and they're located in San Antonio, Texas, or um, yeah, San Antonio, Texas. Um, so we do apartment syndication with them. They do the management and the renovation of the apartments syndication.

(06:27): But if those who don't know what apartments syndication is that we help, um, low income families. So we buy distress apartments and turn them into section eight housing. So that's, um, some, a way for investors to get, if you, even if you're not necessarily an investor that you're, um, you know, experienced, if you can still invest with us through apartments indication where we do, uh, give returns back on your investment, similar to the stock market or traditional investing. But, um, our returns are way greater and higher. Um, and on top of just getting return back on your investment, you're helping underprivileged community be housed, um, and, and close that gap. Um, so that's something that we're doing privately that's, you know, yes, the government is involved because they're placing the section eight tenants at the end, but as we all can see that there's a lack of low income housing.

(07:23): So that's our way to contributing. And, um, closing that gap is to, um, create low income housing. So these people are housed and have a place to stay. So, um, we still have an opportunity right now available if, um, people still want to invest, please go to our, um, go to my website, our website, and definitely will, um, you know, direct you and I'll talk to you more about it. And, um, it's just a great opportunity. And um, I, I definitely couldn't leave, leave that partnership with wild mounting capital on the table because who doesn't wanna create, like right now with my project management, um, we deal with condos. We do, you know, resale. So we are affected primarily with the economy, but you know, this, this apartment syndication, like I said, we, we, those who have slum Lords that have 150 unit who live in an hundred 50 unit apartment and your landlord is not the greatest or you guys are lacking resources in that community.

(08:25): Um, those are the type of apartments we like to buy and then create those into low income housing so people can enjoy the community and have, um, you know, resources like, you know, you'll be surprised what apartments are lacking, such as, you know, washer and dryer, a clean pool roof. Yeah. Um, you know, vacant, there's vacant units within the apartment building. So, um, you know, we're building sick communities and building better communities, because everyone needs a place to stay. Um, and that's in, in the, and that's a part of social work that I learned. Um, and that's why I got my degree in social work too, because there's a, um, you have your, your basic needs and if, um, it's called Maslow's hierarchy of needs. And so you, you have, you have to meet those needs, like, you know, basic food shelter, um, you know, love and compassion order just to be a healthy or better use. So, um, I recommend if you haven't please Google, uh, Maslow's hierarchy of needs and that may help you, you know, be a better person and, you know, just look your best life, you know, just meeting those needs for yourself and those around you to make sure that, um, you know, you're compassionate,

(09:33): Right? It's hard to self actualize. If you don't have a roof over your head, right. It's like, you gotta deal with one. And it, this was a big part of the reason I wanted to have you on the show, right? Because I think many investors, right? When, when you talk to actual real estate investors, it's very common. And in fact it is one of the things that I find the most surprising about the industry when I started working with them is like almost every single one you talk to is like, I do this because I get to help people, right? Yes. It's a way of making money. I, everybody, wants to make money. Like they're, you know? Yes. You know, but, but they're doing it because they get some fulfillment out of helping people. Right. But I think the common argument against real estate investors, and a lot of time, when you, when you see real estate investors depicted negatively in the media, the, the argument is often, well, you are buying a home from a person you're buying it low.

(10:30): You Areha, you're rehabbing it. And then you're selling it at a higher price. So what you're doing is pricing people out of the neighborhood, right? You're sort of this sort of a version of gentrification or whatever, where it's like the, the average income level you need to live here is now going up, housing is really expensive. You know, there's a housing crisis and all this stuff kind of wrapped up. Uh, and so the idea of using the investing business model to create low income housing, which is this thing that is so desperately needed pretty much everywhere across the country. Like there's not an area in the country. That's like, no, we're good. Like we solve that. It's like pretty much a problem. Everywhere you go. Yes. I found that like really inspiring. So like, if someone, if you're talking to an investor, I'm trying to think of like, what someone might ask about this. If you're talking to an investor thinking about investing, like with you, or perhaps with, you know, whoever, someone that's doing a similar model right. Where they're sort of creating low income housing is the pitch to that investor. Like, look, the return is similar to what you're getting in any other investment, but you are helping a community. Is, is it primarily an ethical one? Is there an element of it that is, makes it a better investment because of the government involvement? Like just for people who are like brass tax numbers, people, what would you say is like, probably like the best argument for looking into this kind of investment investing in, in, in, you know, turning these things into low income housing.

(11:58): Well, I'll, I'll say its more of the investment rather than doing something that's more unpredictable, um, getting into the stock market or your 401k. I mean the last time I like went to a presentation, they were saying that you get less than a Porter for a year, you know, on a 401k. And just like just based on the economy that your, your savings may fluctuate, you know, you know, whether the economy's going great, obviously yes is going up. Um, but now that we're session a, a shaking in our recession, they, you know, not necessarily called it, but those who are like, you know, economists are saying, I guess we're, we've hit our recession since we've been down two quarters. You know, we're still in, in a secure, real estate is, is still in a secure bubble as far as, especially when we buy in a distress like in, and that's the way for investors to get in similar to, I guess, the, the stereotypes that they see that they, yes, you're gonna get in low with us to provide, you know, a service and not even a service to provide housing for low income housing.

(13:09): And then you're gonna also benefit with us as we, um, as they live, as, you know, the, the property also appreciates the time, uh, not only appreciates, um, and it gains equity over time, but that, that, um, that steady income that's coming in from the government is also gonna help profit you, um, later on down the road as we're, you know, doing, you know, doing payouts and all that. So it depends on necessarily the investor and what their interests are. Um, I miss, I like to gear it towards that, you know, these, these PE these people need housing. You know, we, we, we know we're in a distressed bubble right now where we need, um, a large number of low income housing, and this is the way to get, to get in with it, especially when so many people request for their, their mayors, their go government.

(13:55): I mean, not government governors, senators to all do something and they don't do anything. So this is a privately equity, um, you know, project to, uh, to provide housing too low income needs. And then also you are a owner in the property, so it's not like you're, you know, you're just putting in money. You do own share other property. So you say, Hey, yes, I own a part of this, uh, 150 plus unit apartments indication. And then, you know, well, we continue, you know, going as, as time goes on and you can, you know, reinvest your money, um, similar to when you're doing trades and get in and, and get out. Um, well, depends on our, on our agreement, but, you know, we do have a time period on, on how long we would like you to stay. And then if you wanna stay in great, if you wanna, you know, collect, collect your money and, and, and go on into a different investment, uh, a different investment that that's fine too.

(14:47): But, um, we definitely want to keep as not, not, yeah, we're gonna keep as many investors in, in our, you know, pool as much as possible. So we continue making, um, you know, housing throughout the country, um, and just continue to grow and, and doing better, you know, as, you know, as we're moving out of this pandemic and pandemic and how we want our livelihood to look, you know, being Americans and, um, you know, citizens having one, you know, are, I don't have children yet. I dunno what you damn, but I don't, I, I want my, you know, my world to look a little different for my children, grandchildren. So this is a part of, you know, my contributions into doing that too.

(15:26): Yeah. I mean, it's, it's fascinating, right? Because it seems like such an exciting thing. It's like something I really like about your business model. It makes me think about like, I'm in Connecticut, right. I live in Connecticut and I live in like, pretty, like my town is like fairly posh. We actually moved here because my kids are mixed race and we wanted them in a more diverse school environment. It's kind of hard to find in Connecticut. So we, you know, work sort of closer to the Hartford school system, which is in our school system is pretty diverse. That's why we live here, but it's like recently, uh, they they're, you know, they're sort of putting up apartments and they're kind of like, oh, you commute to Hartford, you work in insurance, like their apartments for like, you know, pretty well off single people typically.

(16:12): And, but they were going to designate like 25% of the apartments as like low income. Right. So that was part of the thing. And people freaked out and they like protested and like, it didn't happen. And I was like, what is wrong with you? What is wrong with us? Like, so it just, there's such a need for this. And it is such an important thing. All right. So I have to ask about your marketing because obviously the podcast is called REI marketing nerds. I'm legally required to ask about marketing every single episode. Um, but I specifically wanna talk about your social media, because I think you actually do a really good job of social media if PE first of all, if people wanna find you on social media, um, what's your, like, what are the channels do you usually direct people to and how can they find you there? Just for, Um, my primarily social media is my Instagram. Um, and that's at black girls by houses too. We, I love LinkedIn. I am on LinkedIn. Um, is it Like, or the number two? Oh, The, the number two. Okay. All right. Cool.

(17:13): Yes. And, um, LinkedIn myself Sunday and black girls by houses is on, uh, LinkedIn Facebook. Um, we are on Facebook, but I won't. I'm on there, um, a lot, but you can message. Um, I do check my website frequently. Yeah. Um, what else? What have, so what have you found to be, it seems like Instagram is your primary one. And then as LinkedIn kind of what you would say is your, your sort of secondary channel. Yes. Okay. Yes. Um, LinkedIn has helped, has helped tremendously and in my business too. So I think that investors often have a very hard time doing social media. And I, I think it's often because they try to do social media the way they do postcards, which is like their social media is like some of your house. Like, it's just that with like a different picture every time. Yes. Um, I think you've done a really good job of differentiating yourself. So like, can you talk a little bit about what you do on Instagram, what you do on LinkedIn, just kind of how you think about it. Like, how do you decide what to post? Um, I think that's kind of what people wanna know. It's kind of like, well, what do I say other than we buy houses over and over?

(18:27): Oh, so, okay. So for my Instagram, it was more, it came from a place of looking at other people's Instagram and also seeing that similar to similar, uh, to dinosaurs people posting just like a distress house or distress house they went to and saying, we buy houses. So I wanted to gravitate to an audience. So during the pandemic, I would say all this kind of transpired during the pandemic things that are popular. So say like, I don't know, a Chris brown concert, Chris brown just came here to DC and he was in Charlotte when I was down there. So something or something similar to that, or a accident or anything, I would just kind of use that as a hashtag for the day, like say, okay, um, who else is kind of popular in the news? Like, I dunno, Wendy Williams. So I would like put a hashtag Wendy Williams. Um, but as far as my graphic would go, um, I would just honestly made a big contribution in my, in using Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. We use that too. Yeah.

(19:31): So I would go in there and kinda type in ugly houses or kinda like a, a keyword and kinda just kind whatever template they gave me and kinda start just playing around with it. And then they would give like, um, you know, little icons like of money, and that is cool. The one I'm gonna use this one as the background instead of this one. So the pandemic definitely helps as far as getting me, uh, creative on, on making graphics. And then since my time has been not necessarily taken, but it issues primarily is to talk to people and, um, meet with homeowners. And, um, I'm talk, I'm talking a lot more during the day than I can actually sit down on the computer. So I actually have hired a social media team. So now we have a weekly meetings where, um, I'm pretty much telling them this is what, um, I would like you all to put out.

(20:23): This is what's upcoming. Um, this, and then they also tell me like, oh, I think earlier Sunday was national or Monday was national day. So, you know, they're, they're putting up posts to, you know, also gravitate people, people in their attention. Um, and then my hashtags are more gravitate, more, uh, toward what's popular that day. And not necessarily we buy houses, we buy houses cash. But, um, I also thought that when people are on social media and they're in a distress situation, they're not gonna be looking at, we buy houses, they're gonna be looking at trash social media. So how can I put myself where they're gonna be looking at trash and be like, you know what, I need to get all my responsibility and go back over here. So kind of redirecting them from, you know, pop culture into, um, okay. You know what? This girl can help me because she is in, um, you know, Beyonce's new, you know, hashtag or something like that. Yeah. Yeah. So it just, it just, it flows like that in order to get followers. No. Yeah. Followers are just people to start to look at, to look at you. So that's been, uh, I guess my little secret that I've

(21:35): Been , that's a good one. So like you're, I think, I think that's a really good idea, right. Because I think a lot of what times so happens too, is people pose for like a couple weeks and then like nobody sees it and they're like, well, I'm out, you know what I mean? Like they, they don't say the payoff you are sort of getting in front of people who maybe don't know you yet sort of pulling out just the people that are your kind of people, right? Like the people that respond, your message, the people are interested in what you're doing. And, um, you know, you, you can kind of slide them over into your little bubble where they can start to get the rest of your stuff. What about when you're on LinkedIn? Are you primarily looking for other investors? Is that where you're kind of looking for buyers and stuff? Like, are you posting the same stuff on LinkedIn that you do on IG or is it different?

(22:18): Yeah. So on LinkedIn, it, it, I would say, um, my marketing over there, it helps investors. I would say it helps me get more things to make my life easier, such as, um, assistance, just, I guess, things that make my virtual business better. It happens over at LinkedIn. So those, yes, they're investors and people who buy houses. Um, but it's just people who are also marketing their business, um, that are virtual assistance. Those that have lists, um, those who wanna do cold calling and, and I kind of just keep them in my, I kind of, once they send me a message, I, I keep them in a database and I'm looking for that particular thing. Then I go ahead and do like an process and, and talk to them and see, you know, if, if they respond back after, you know, X amount of time. Yeah. If they, then I said, okay, well, they were just on LinkedIn for a short period of time. Right. So, um, maybe not a good sign if they don't respond they don't respond to my message. Uh that's cool. So you kind of use it almost as like a talent pipeline, right? Just for, for stuff. That's gonna help you actually run black girls by houses. Yes. Mm-hmm, absolutely

(23:26): Sunday. I could, I could literally talk to you for like another hour and I am not allowed because I have other stuff I'm supposed to do, but okay. I am. So your story is amazing. Your business model is super cool. I just think for it, for people that are listening to this right real estate investors, they're doing their own thing, their marketing. I really, really encourage you to go check out Sunday stuff. So again, the website is black girls buy houses. Yes. Right? Dot com. That's the website, black girls buy houses. The number two on Instagram, I'm gonna have links to all the social media and stuff on, uh, AdWords news.com. We go find it, Google it, Google this episode. You find it. I promise. But no matter what you do, if you're listening this you're running, you're driving, or I don't know, you're usually like me, I'm listening a podcast, I'm doing the dishes. Right. Put everything down, just dry your hands, go open up a tab and check out Sunday stuff, cuz it's really good. And I think Sunday, I think you are just such a great example of somebody doing something a little different in real estate investing. I think that is the way moving forward. So I'm just so happy. You're able to come on the show. Thank you so much for sharing your stuff with my audience. I really appreciate it.

(24:39): Oh, thank you so much, Dan, for having me and those who are listening, uh, don't be afraid to get into real estate investing even though I've been in real estate investing for seven years. Um, it's still not too late. There's still potentially economic downturn where you can do the same thing I'm doing. Um, and there's much more people that need our assistance out here. So, um, you know, just be a, you know, be a, a servant and, and service, you know, our community, you know, our nations and get into real estate investing. Um, and oh, and the most part and part about this, that, you know, none of your own money. And I guess didn't really hit on that of your money is really necessary in order to start investing and do what that I do like of money goes into marketing. But when I'm talking to a homeowner and, and everything is, it's no money included, you can start free, just knock on a neighbor's door almost if, especially you have a, a distress house in your neighborhood, you know, you can start right there in that, in that's free, you Know? Yeah. And if you, if you are an established real estate investor too, invest with Sunday, she just got a buyer's list, right. That was at the let's connect. So black girls buy houses.com/ let's connect. Absolutely. Thank You. Oh my God. You're billing your buyer's list. I got that. Everybody wants a buyer's list. Now look, just get on hers. Just kinda help you out. Uh, Sunday. Thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it.

(26:04): Uh, thank you, Dan. And thank you having me to see you later Of the REI marketing nerds podcast. I hope you had a blast listening to my conversation with Sunday. I know I had a blast of doing it as always. Look, if you need help with your online marketing for real estate and investing AdWords nerds.com is the place to go. That's the website. You can jump on a free call with my team. We will talk strategy. We'll talk about what we are seeing in markets. Just like yours, all around the country. There is a reason folks at Edwards nerds is still in business after 10 years of serving real estate investors and only real estate investors. So if you are interested in SEO, Google ads, Bing ads, anything come over to Edwards, nerds.com. We will help you out. All right, folks, that's it for this week's episode. Let me know if you have any questions, comments you can leave or review on this podcast. I read every single one and I will see you next week. Thanks. Always for listening. And I'll talk to you soon. Cheers.

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