968: Earn 6 Figure Commissions as a Land Specialist – Cody Bjugan

April 19, 2021
Instead of earning six figures per year, imagine earning six figures per deal. Today’s guest, Cody Bjugan of VestRight, recently cut one agent a $300,000 commission check just for bringing him a buyer. And this isn’t uncommon for real estate land specialists, a niche that few agents truly understand. Listen in and learn what it takes to close land deals, when to buy land if you’re looking for maximum returns, and more! After listening, don’t forget to claim your free 7-Figure Raw Land Paydays eBook right here.
Listen to today’s show and learn:
  • About Cody Bjugan [1:53]
  • Why land is a great asset to own [4:59]
  • The best time to buy land for maximum returns [8:19]
  • Why agents often get in the way with land deals [10:03]
  • Raw land explained [17:41]
  • How to do your due diligence on a land deal [19:57]
  • Cody’s land-use application: an important part of the process [23:01]
  • The final step before building can start [24:50]
  • Some of Aaron’s land deals [27:48]
  • A quick summary of Cody’s process for land deals [30:30]
  • The paydays agents can expect for closing big land deals [32:21]
  • Why agents need a niche [34:18]
  • Branding to compete in a unique space [38:18]
  • What you’ll learn in Cody’s course [39:13]
  • The best way to bring value to land deals as an agent [41:48]
  • Where to get 7-Figure Raw Land Paydays for free [44:57]
  • What 2020 taught Cody [46:37]
  • How real wealth is built [50:43]
  • Where to learn more about Cody and VestRight [53:24]
Cody Bjugan Cody Bjugan is a Real Estate Developer, Builder and Coach/Mentor. His mission is to transform lives through real estate. Over the years, Cody and his team have consistently put together high-return real estate deals. Through all those years, and all those land deals, they have become true experts in this field. Cody and David Hill formed VestRight which was born out of their passion for two things: real estate and sharing. Over the years, they have become experts in real estate land deals. VestRight was created as a vessel to share that expertise with others.
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Thank You Rockstars! It might go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: We really value listeners like you. We’re constantly working to improve the show, so why not leave us a review? If you love the content and can’t stand the thought of missing the nuggets our Rockstar guests share every week, please subscribe; it’ll get you instant access to our latest episodes and is the best way to support your favorite real estate podcast. Have questions? Suggestions? Want to say hi? Shoot me a message via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Email. -Aaron Amuchastegui

Aaron Amuchastegui  00:32

Real Estate Rockstars you guys are in for a treat. today. I get to interview Cody Bjugan. Cody and I got to have a conversation for the first time in person last week in Squaw Valley at the governance event in Tahoe. He’s got a couple different companies, ally development and vest right. As you guys know, my name is Aaron Amuchastegui. And I am your host for our real estate rockstars podcast today. Cody, thanks for joining me on the call.


Cody Bjugan  00:54

Oh, it’s absolutely My pleasure. Thanks for having me.


Aaron Amuchastegui  00:56

Yeah, we got to we got to chat for real for quite a while and taho. And the biggest thing we were thinking at the end of it is man, I want to have some of this conversation recorded so that all of our listeners can hear it because there’s so many things changing in the real estate market today. So many opportunities changing and things that agents just don’t know about. So I figured today would be a great time to do that. So tell us about Cody, how did you how did you get into real estate? what’s the what’s the Cody story and some of the stuff we’re gonna be sharing people today?


Cody Bjugan  01:25

Yeah, so honestly, I first of all, I grew up around it. Okay, I didn’t, I didn’t end up taking over any type of family business and the sort. But, you know, my grandfather was a large land developer and home builder, actually the president of the Home Builders Association. And, unfortunately, he passed when I was in my teenage years, but and then my dad, my dad was also a small time home builder. I love my dad, but he taught me more of what not to do than what to do. He was he was a guy he couldn’t, he couldn’t delegate, right? He had to swing every he had, he had to drive every nail himself. So it’s hard to scale that way. But anyway, so I just grew up around it. I was in the I was a subcontractor. I was in the flooring industry right out of high school, and got just rub elbows with a lot of these phenomenal individuals. Our company, we were servicing a lot of the publicly traded businesses. And, you know, one thing led to another and I had I had kind of maxed out to, to some degree and where I could go with that particular trade. So an individual approached me and asked me while I was out looking to try to start my own business, and one thing led to another and him and I started a land development home building business back in 2002, actually, so I was I’ve been,


Aaron Amuchastegui  02:48

I’ve been added a while. So where were you when you started your land development? 2002. I was up in the Portland metro area up in Oregon. Yeah. And those public so was that polti up there at the time? Was it Shay, who


Cody Bjugan  02:59

was in Portland? It was like, well, clear back then. It was. So as Dr. Horton lonar syntax. Yeah, those guys.


Aaron Amuchastegui  03:10

Yeah, yeah. 2002 for for some of our younger listeners that you guys have heard me talk a lot about the especially recently, like the peak of 2005 2006. And the crash of like 2008 2009. And 2003 was when I graduated from college in construction management, and I started at new building new homes. So we were building new homes in Southern California and interviewed with all the syntaxes and the Pilates. And, man, it was a super fun business, but land development was the most intriguing part for me, right? Because you got to kind of go to what what is the I guess it’s it’s, it’s not as repetitive as building a house, like building a house is awesome. But land development was so cool, because you can look at these hillsides and go, Hey, we’re going to take that and what do we need to do to figure out on paper you’d look at and go, Oh, that thing that land is a couple $100,000. And zoning says I can get 10 houses per acre. Alright, I’m gonna build 30 acres, and it’s gonna cost me whatever. And it’s a lot more more complicated in that 2002. It was a really, really busy industry and a busy time to be getting into land development. Were those big public builders, your first kind of customers?


Cody Bjugan  04:25

Yeah, I mean, I had a lot of local and regional relationships as well. You said something a moment ago that I hear all the time, and that people are so intrigued by land and land development. And they’re and everybody knows there’s money in it. Right? They know that the Lord is not making any more of life, right? The supply is limited. So it’s a great asset to be a part of, but there’s very little, very little education out there. That space, like, how do you take a piece of raw land? Take it through the political approval process. And you know, all the bureaucracy and red tape and hoops you got to jump through. And the unknown is scary, right? For a lot of people. There’s fear of it. And so everybody just avoids it. So I lucked out in that I, I just went into it. Right, I was kind of blind, didn’t know any better. And, and I man, a lot of failures, I learned the hard way. But I’m so thankful today I did because you’re like, we talked about invest, right? Or if you see my ads on Facebook, or whatever it may be, we talk about it being the last blue ocean in real estate. Be and the reason it’s a blue ocean is because if I go talk to 100 people, maybe one of them know anything about how to go and find off market raw land that has development potential, and knowing all the things you need to take into consideration to know if there’s even an opportunity. Yeah, so I’m just I count my blessings, that it’s an industry I’ve been in for almost 20 years now. And you were somewhat in control of our own destiny. I’m not, you know, I’m not battling. I mean, you look at you know, you’re talking about the world of being an agent. I mean, you’re working with a buyer right now. I mean, how many people are standing in line to view that home and make an offer? So just in the land game, it doesn’t work that way.


Aaron Amuchastegui  06:36

Yeah, your agents. So you guys, listeners right now, you guys don’t understand why I’m bringing Cody on the show today. I mean, we’ve had so many problems lately with, there isn’t enough inventory. Everybody out there has buyers, but there’s 100 offers on every house, and they can’t get it. If you guys listen to the end, Cody does have a class, he’s going to give some special discounts for you guys to be able to sign up and learn more about it. But there’s so much it is a thing that most agents don’t know about. So guys, be ready. Take some notes, you’re going to continue to learn about that in this process. But remember to like to stay to the end, because every agent should know more about land, especially right now, as prices are going through the roof. And there could be a correction that brings prices down. But if not, you know land is that next blue ocean, I actually got an email sent to me yesterday that was like, Hey, here’s 160 acres in Ventura 600,000 bucks, and my eyes first go to the Oh my God, that’s an amazing deal. I should buy this thing because they’re not making more land. Right? It’s not that simple. Because you have to figure out like, will there ever be houses here? Can you ever get water, there’s, there’s so many different pieces to that. But you’re right when when it’s so hard to get houses in different areas, people see land and go like, wow, like that is that’s the next spot to be able to people talk about creating inventory. That’s the way that more inventory gets created.


Cody Bjugan  07:51

And the reality is if you as an agent, or as an investor, you know, as a business owner, if if you get in, at the raw land stage, understand, you’re in control of that deal. You’re in at the very beginning of the process. And you can decide dictate what you want to do. Maybe you want to stay all the way through to approvals and sell it approval to an actual developer, maybe you want to develop it, maybe you want to, you want to be a part of building the houses. But you’re getting in at the very beginning stage of the process, which then talks about vert being vertically integrated you what the type of returns or paydays or what you can do for your business your legacy is is substantially multiplied the earlier you get in in the stage. Right. Yeah. So as I, as I’m about to say something, I don’t want anybody that’s listening to this, that’s an agent to take this personal. Okay. First, let me say we majority of our deals almost 9% of our deals we do off market, okay. So we have a very strategic systematic way where we utilize technology and other resources, where we know how to find off market deals, we know how to identify them, we know how to analyze them, we know how to price them, structure and all that. Okay. I’ve actually taught a few go buttons guys the basics of what we do. Yeah. The take a list of deal. Okay, because listed deals come to me all the time. And on occasion, we’ll buy a list of property agents, here’s where I don’t want you to take anything personal. Every time that I can think of lately I asked that listing agent to step aside. I asked them to go to the sidelines and be a part To all the meetings be a part of the process, but just stay out of my way. Okay, observe and learn. Okay? If you think I’m out of line anywhere, correct me, I’m here. It’ll be humble and grow. But the problem is because agents don’t know how land deals work and how land development works, all they do is make the deal more complicated.


Aaron Amuchastegui  10:32

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Cody Bjugan  12:23

You know, sometimes you hear where attorney attorneys are accused, some attorneys are accused of being deal killers. Yeah. Okay. And an educated agent trying to sell a raw piece of land that has development potential. They oftentimes are deal killers, because they have no clue how the process works. Okay, if you think I’m going to go buy a piece of development land where I’m going to pay development prices, and I’m only going to have a 10 day inspection period like you do with a home or I’m going to close within 30 days, you have completely destroyed any opportunity you have of getting that deal sold. Because if I’m gonna pay development values, I got to make sure it’s developable and it’s not developable until I get it through the political process. So when you create expectations with your seller, that there’s no education behind. You have no so they can’t they tell you they want to list it for 5 million or 10 million, whatever the prices, okay? Because you don’t have the education needed. You don’t know how to truly value that property. Oh, why pull comps? land isn’t like, like cookie cutter homes, k land, every piece of land costs a different price to develop. Okay. Different land is worth different prices based upon how zoned are utilities there? Or am I going to do have to run off site utilities? Is there any overlays, there’s like a zillion boxes you need to check. That’s an exaggeration. But there’s a whole lot of boxes, you need to check in order to truly know what that land is worth. So when Joe Blow calls and says, Hey, I want to list my land and you say, Okay, great. More than likely, you are going to create an artificial expectation with that client. Because you don’t know how to value that land. You’re also going to create an artificial expectation as far as the terms of the deal, how it should go down, because it doesn’t go down like a home sale. It’s far different. However, let’s just use an example. Let’s take a piece of land. Once I get it through the political approval process. It’s called the land use process. Once I get it approved, it’s when I close, okay, I don’t close until after I get my approvals in place, and no developer. I gotta be careful what I say here. Any developer that has been around the block isn’t going to either. So let’s just say a piece of land is worth 300 grand an acre, okay, add approvals, I understand I’m not paying the 300 until the approvals in place. And that could take me six months, a year, year and a half, from the time that I complete my due diligence. And I never need less than a 90 day due diligence for me to cross all my T’s and dot all my eyes. With that said, You’ve created an expectation with this seller because of your lack of knowledge. And here again, it’s not your fault. I don’t expect you to know this stuff, because it’s not being taught. Well, until now the best right of course, but


Cody Bjugan  15:45

but my point is


Cody Bjugan  15:47

all close now. But guess what I might be paying 30 grand an acre for it. Because I’m going to pay as is value, what is it worth is farmland, and it might be worth 30 grand an acre versus 300 an acre. So my point is blue ocean for agents, if you want to go and and carve out a marketplace for you, where you’re you’re the you’re the go to agent. There’s very, very, very few agents out there that truly can brand themselves as understanding raw land in the development space. Very few.


Aaron Amuchastegui  16:23

Yeah, being able to find that. And the being able to learn as an agent now, like what Cody saying, to be able to know what something is worth, and why at those different stages, you know, an agent that we recently had on the podcast, you know, he’s been developing some land for years. And now he just told me, he’s got 300 finished lots coming on board in three months, right? And what an amazing time, but he started this project three years ago, and there’s different levels of investment. So let’s back up a second do a couple little individual educational pieces for people. So there is all sorts of types of land. So there’s you said Raleigh, and a bunch of times, don’t you tell people that is? What does it mean? If it’s, you know, tentative approved, final map approved finished lots? What’s the difference in that process? Because people are gonna see a land listing? Yes. And you know, for like, really? Early Education for agents. There’s four or five different types of land. What do they mean?


Cody Bjugan  17:11

Yes, yes. Good question. And, you know, when you when doing something so long, you just, you know how it is,


Aaron Amuchastegui  17:18

right? Not everything in raw land and tentative and final, let’s, let’s go to the look. Okay.


Cody Bjugan  17:24

Sounds good. So, raw land is basically a piece of land and it could we still call raw land even it’s got a house honor structure, okay. Okay. Raw land, is a piece of land that basically has no entitlements in place. Okay, no approvals in place. It’s now you could have a raw piece of land that is just rule land, right. You know, farmland, the land that’s zoned for commercial, you got a piece of land zoned for industrial zone for, you know, residential 5000 square foot loss, residential, 20,000 square foot, lots half acre, zoned for multifamily apartment complexes. But Intel, it’s gone through the political land use process to get any type of plan approved. Intel it’s gotten, and I’ll take you through those steps. And tell that process we just look at it’s called raw land. Okay,


Aaron Amuchastegui  18:27

yeah. So that could be a it could be a field that could be a house on it. That could be a commercial building. But most of the time, there’s, there’s no roads. And it’s kind of like in theory, you can put this on there. But there’s no guarantees that they’re all on stage. There’s no guarantees. In theory, you could put five or six houses, or you could put a hospital or you could put this but raw land is it’s all in theory at that point, right?


Cody Bjugan  18:45

That’s right, right. And so it’s all theory. Now there’s been plans, and there’s been lots of planning, that’s gone into zoning that property the way it got zoned. But understand Intel, you go through the political approval process, you have nothing but a field. Okay, that’s all you’ve got. So if you want me to close now, I’ll pay for that field. Yep. All right. But if you give me the time to go through the process, that’s where the paydays are for property owners. So we go, let’s say we go we tie up a piece of raw land, okay. First thing we do is we’ll go through what we call our 90 day due diligence period. And during that due diligence period, we’re going to get in, we’re going to we’re going to get into the fine tune details of the property and what we can and can’t do with it. They were going to be looking at you know, really looking at the topography of the land, the boundaries of the land we’re going to be looking at is there utilities already to the property say, let’s just the the public road that’s out that leads to the piece of land Are utilities already in that road? Or are they not? And if not, where are they? And then how much money do we get to spend to get them to the property, we got to look at utility depths, all this stuff can go on and on and on. But so what we do is we figure all that out, and we’ll lay out, we’ll do a layout of the type of project we want to do on that land. Okay. But that layout together, and then we’ll submit that to the jurisdiction to the city to the county, well, whoever is the overseeing political body of that land, right, will submit what’s called a pre application packet. Okay. And we’ll submit that pre application packet, and a part of that is requesting a pre application conference. So this the jurisdiction, the planning department takes this simple, very simple application you put together. And they’ll schedule what’s called a pre AP or a pre application, okay, to your actual land use application. We’ll go on we do that meeting a part of our due diligence, and they tell us Oh, you guys, your plans horrible or your plans, great, but make these changes? Oh, hey, you didn’t realize that there’s a assessment against this, whatever, okay. Oh, no, we you guys thought the sewer depths for this, they’re only this, they tell us everything we need to know. We take that back to our camp. we finalized what we think we want to do. And then at that point, we do our cost estimating where we detail out our costs. And at the end of that process, we know the numbers, I say all the time, what we do is simply just math. Okay, we do the math backwards. Okay, we take what a finished home is worth. We do the math backwards, what does the builder gotta make? What are the costs, right? Where the permits? And then and that leads us to, you know, what is builders? Yeah, the profit that leads us to what a finished lot is worth, then for a finished lot, we figure Okay, what does the developer need to make? What are the costs to develop it, right? And then that leads us to what the raw land is worth. So at the end of that process, that due diligence process, we know what that raw land is worth. And if it matches up to the contract price, we go forward. If there were some surprises along the way, or some assumptions we made that weren’t accurate, that’s where we present that information to the property owner. And we explain why the price needs to be different than what the agreed upon current price is. So let’s just say all that works out, we were past due diligence. Now we put together what’s called our land use application. It’s our full blown packet with surveys and studies and, you know, some very clever very engineering, we submit that in that’s called, and we start submitting our land use application, okay, then, and then that goes in it that this the jurisdiction reviews it, a lot of jurisdictions have what they call deem your application complete mean, that packet you complete, you submit it is complete, some jurisdictions will do it right over the counter, when you submit it. A lot of other jurisdictions, they’ll they’ll take up to 30 days to tell you it’s complete. From there. Depending on where you are in the country, you’re going to get to a point where you can just receive a staff approval where they approve your plan. Or you might have to go to planning commission for a hearing, you might have to go to City Council for a hearing it there’s lots of variables to know how many hearings you’re going to have to be or at what level the approval can happen. And that process from there, can take anywhere from I mean, in some real simple jurisdictions that like to make our eye our lives, you know, somewhat easier that we can get that done in 60 days. But a lot of jurisdictions, I’ve had that process take year to year and a half. Yeah, Was that good? And that’s called Yeah, so once I’d say I get that stage of approval, you’ll hear people call that land use approval, you’ll hear him call it plenary plat approval, you’ll hear him call it preliminary engineering approval, you might even hear him call that stage entitlements. I mean, people call different things. Okay? Once that plenary plan is approved. Now we go and we design we put together our next application our next it’s not really an application, it’s a packet, we put together our construction drawing packet. So this is where we get into our detailed engineering. And you know if if it’s multifamily or or industrial or commercial, not only you’re going to dial in your your Civil Engineering at that point, you’re also going to be doing your vertical engineering because the vertical and the civil so the dirt in the vertical the structure are all one packet in in relation to homes, okay, or single family residential. The land is a separate process than the vertical. Okay, so our bread and butter is single Family residential, we do some multifamily, some other asset classes, but residential is where we’re comfortable calling ourselves an authority or an expert. So we’ll put together our civil engineering, construction drawings, we’ll submit that we’re going to go back and forth with the jurisdiction wants to three times with red lines, then we’ll receive what’s called civil engineering approval or construction, drawing, approval, and building that’s when we can pull permits and start building the project.


Aaron Amuchastegui  25:26

Yeah, and that’s, that’s what’s really that finished lot. So people out there that are listening, if you’ve ever walked through new home community, right, you see the model home, you see stuff on your construction, then you see the vacant lot that has, you know, the street, the curb and gutter on it. That’s what we call a finished lot. That’s when we’re, you might see it on MLS like hey, this is a finished lot. That usually means there’s utilities on everything else, all you have to do is get your drawings done and approved for your building permit and those are actually your vertical it’s kind of saying like the lots done there might be some requirements of sewer types and things like that. But that’s a finished lot that’s you could put a house on it you put an apartment on it, you know, based if it isn’t apartments, more approvals and a house houses usually are fairly simple setback stuff, you know. And so right now, as we’re running out of stuff at a product, people are starting to see that when you think of some of those stages in land, if I try to summarize, you know, Cody’s Cody’s description there, it’s like, so we start with raw land. And then we get to say, Hey, we think it’s approved for this based on that zoning and all of your rules, we’re going to have the lots look like this, and they’re going to be shaped like this, and the road is gonna work through it like this. And then the city’s gonna say, Oh, well, you actually need a fire department turnaround here. Or you need this or you misjudged that you also need a park where you can’t cut down that tree. And they come back and say, now it needs to look like this. They go through some other you know, there’s there’s costs with that there’s engineers with that there’s architects, there’s things like that. Then they finally after some, some going back and forth on some requirements, they say okay, now you you can put that in. So now you’re Yes, you’re approved to put these 16 lots here. And then Cody goes back to the team and says, alright, now we actually show them how we’re going to do it. Because it because now in theory, we’re approved for the 16 loss. But we may need some super big drainage systems, or what’s our elevation we’re doing like soils reports, things like that. The a couple different examples of deals we did Cody, and then maybe give a couple examples of like a simple one and a complicated one. Back in 2005. Right when I first started as an intern with, you know, in the land department, right, we found that this farmer had a bunch of acreage, and we went to him and said, Hey, we think we could put a bunch of houses on your lots. And it was the same thing. We said, Hey, we can give you like 4 million bucks for it. But only if we can actually put those lots on there. So here’s how we’re going to do the deal. First, we’re going to give you after our 90 day due diligence. First it was like we’re gonna go into escrow, we get 90 days to figure out if we can do it, we go meet with the city, they say yep, in theory, it’s going to work. So then we give the guy 100,000 or 200,000 non refundable at that point. That was like an option. They do options in Texas all the time. For houses most other places they don’t except for land. So we gave the guy $200,000 for the right to buy his property for like $3 million anytime in the next two years. And for the right to try to get it developed. Then we started paying engineers and surveyors going through the process, getting it subdivided. Once this once the city finally approved it, then we paid in the rest of it, I’ve seen people actually get it approved, and not pay the sellers until final map, or until it’s finished lots are done. In those cases, it’s kind of like, if you’re gonna buy it from the guy on day one, you’re gonna pay 500,000 for it, if you’re gonna buy it from him at tentative map, you’re gonna pay him one and a half million for it, or you’re gonna pay it pay him for it at final map or finished lat process, you’re gonna pay him 3 million for it. So you’re talking about those different phases. I remember doing a deal in the city of Santa Barbara, a different sort of finished law, there’s two houses on this lot. We’re like, Oh, we could put six condos there, made a similar deal with the people that owned it and said, Hey, we’re gonna put six condos on it. We’re gonna pay a 200,000 non refundable right now. And then, you know, in a year when we have approval took us like 18 months to get approval in the city, Santa Barbara. And when we’re approved for six lots, we’re gonna pay you this. Well, when all said and done, we only got approved for five lots because they needed like eight extra parking spots for us. The all of our original stuff didn’t get approved. And so then we had to go back to them and say, Hey, we only got approved for five lots instead of six. You know, so because of that, we need a discount on it. And they could have said no, or yesterday you hadn’t closed up right if we would have closed at the beginning based on like and we were in and I was new, right? I could have just as easily said hey, it’s really clear here. I’m going to get six slots. I did have a deal in San Diego where everybody told us we’re gonna get three lots on this the architect told us Hey, I got entitlements on it. Everybody did it. At the end of the day. We could only get two lots on it. It was a it was two blocks from the beach but two lots versus three lots man a $300,000 loss instead of a 300,000 wins. A big big swing. So what are some my summaries of like land development unfinished lot is that in line with how it is today cuz I haven’t done this for a long time. It’s been 15 You’re doing it.


Cody Bjugan  30:01

So this stuff is is my world, right? So I mean, I can, I can go down the rabbit hole, but let me make it very simple raw land is when a lot most of the time the execution of a contract will happen, right? as least for us and what we teach and what we do. Then we go through due diligence, we submit our land use application, and we receive what’s called land use approval, or preliminary plat approval. Okay, from there we were, we have a preliminary approval, they allow us to do what we want to do. Then we put together our construction drawings, and we go through and we get construction drawing approval. Once we have construction drawing approval, we now can pull permits, and go and put in the infrastructure for the neighborhood. So that’s the streets the underground utility, streetlights, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, whatever it is, right? Once we put all that in, okay, the city will come in, they’re going to want us to fix some stuff. But then they’ll sign off that we built the project per the construction drawings, they’ll sign off. And now we can record that final plat, we can record the plat that now takes that piece of land and turns it into all these individual legal lots of record or tax lots. And then at that point, you can sell those individual loss to Home Builders or whoever that then can go build the structure and have a home to sell. That’s the real basic outline of how the process works. So how much how much money can an agent make in the land business?


Aaron Amuchastegui  31:44

If they come back? If they become the hard worker, they become the expert. They go, this is my niche, because it’s impossible to get houses right now. what’s what’s the reason they’d be doing this?


Cody Bjugan  31:53

I will say that I had an agent not too long ago, that wanted that agent doing that deal. Oh, that agent actually helped me. I don’t really when I go and do my deals, I don’t really put them on the open market for sale, we do stuff by word of mouth, and through our networks, because we don’t like our deals to become over shopped. A lot of times, I feel like when a project hits the open market, it tarnishes the project, because most good deals get done off market. Okay. And the reason for that is, is because there’s no agents that feel comfortable in this space. So there’s not a lot of these deals happening on the open market. But the I wrote that I wrote that agent a check for 300 grand for bringing me a buyer for one of my deals.



I mean,


Cody Bjugan  32:49

I mean, I got a deal that yo let’s say, Well, I go buy a piece of land for 10 million bucks, right? Well, if there was an agent in that marketplace that really was branded a new land, there’s a very good chance that seller probably would have listed it before me getting to them or report me getting them comfortable selling to me, they would have wanted to see what what that land could potentially bring on the open market. So on a $10 million deal. I mean, I mean that what that agents making four or 500 grand if they double sided, right, they’re making, you know, you know, 202 50 if they if they don’t, but the I mean, the paydays are beautiful. But I mean, I can’t encourage us enough. It’s no one’s fault. If you like the land space, if you see the potential in it, if you see where it’s a blue ocean, if you see where you could go get educated, and carve it out as a niche that sets you aside from the rest. You’ve got to find, you’ve got to find a niche. You’ve got to find something as an agent that you bring to the table that other agents don’t, or that technology can’t. Yeah, if you don’t Mark my words, we’re in an artificial market right now. Demand is making people money. Not necessarily the value they bring to the deal, or the experience and knowledge. I’m not saying lands the only place it just happens to be where I like to play. But if you as an agent, go get educated on how this space works. Now all of a sudden, if the market demand does take a turn, you have a lot higher shot of survival. Because there’s not so many people in your there’s not so many fish in your pond, right? There’s not there’s not so many fishermen at your pond, I should say right? Yeah. So get educated something carve out your niche, carve out your brand, also with aerating the land and how it works and all the elements to figuring out how the Land space works and how to evaluate deals and technology. Anybody can challenge me on this is wonderful. I don’t believe the technology platforms that are coming out there are going to be able to compete with a true professional expert in the land space. Because they’re models, they can’t get into that type of analysis. Okay,





Cody Bjugan  35:26

I didn’t I just can’t challenge enough and I’m on I’m gonna do I’ve been working so hard last couple years on personal growth and personal education. I’m just investing huge into growing, right, because if I’m not growing, I’m either going forward or backwards. There’s no such thing as not, you know, neutral. So yeah, just man find find your niche, get educated become an expert bring value the deal. Yeah,


Aaron Amuchastegui  35:52

you know, so much lately, listeners, we’ve been trying to provide extra stuff to add a skill to your tool belt. I love what Cody said there when it comes to like, so Zillow, like, like the rents estimates aren’t perfect, right? Like all the automated avms aren’t perfect, but they are getting better every day. Right. And when people are talking about technology that’s lowering, that’s making it to where, you know, agents have to have other ways to create inventory, other ways to create value, trying to find a niche where you could outperform a computer outperform the technology that could be in Super luxury stuff that could be an extra service could be in how you make people look for you. Another option for that is into a market where it is really hard to automate. So when you’re talking about land, it’s really hard for somebody to say, just like me, I’ve bought and sold a lot of land, I see 160 acres come over to me, and I have no idea if it is three times the price, or a third of the price that it should be and it’s gonna take me a month or two to figure it out when it comes over. It is not as simple as Yes, I can pay that, right now, as we get to look at now, Cody usually teach investors how to do all this. And the and then this whole thing is sound like a commercial. But really, it’s like being able to learn so much about something that’s super unique, what you’re doing is super unique. And that’s what gets me so excited to tell people about it. But you’re really teaching investors how to find land. But in theory, so many of our listeners are cold calling for sale by owners, or they’re cold calling cancellations, or they’re finding off market people, we have software that we’re giving them a Hey, this is how you get off market people to reach out to you. We’re teaching about foreclosures. This is another way where they can be reaching out to raw land people just like your investors do. But then somebody says,



Yes, I want to sell


Aaron Amuchastegui  37:31

and then becoming that expert to marry them up with who’s gonna buy it or now to go find that developer. So the developer has had to do it. Like there’s a big opportunity for agents, you know, to go use your technology to go find the deal, right?


Cody Bjugan  37:42

Yeah. And let me let me say this. The, with the right education, it’s about branding. Don’t try to compete with the technology, because you’re going to lose, yeah, figure out, how can I pivot? What kind of brand can I create, where I don’t have to try to go head to head with technology. So just getting that education alone. And you start networking and spreading, you know, sharing your story and your brand, you will become the agent to go to for land. If you have if a seller has a property or has a piece of land they want to sell, they’re going to, it’s in their best interest to go to the end of the agent that that’s their specialty right? Now, this is where it gets really fun. Agents. It’s wonderful. You want to represent sellers or buyers and do the listings. And that’s all wonderful. But imagine if you were the buyer, right? So our course we teach you how to find the deals instead of waiting for your phone to ring or calling cancels or expires or, you know, all the different opportunities that are easy to find, right? Lots of competition, lots of competition. Our process we teach you how to, to through technology and remote, I can go I don’t care where you live, my team could go implement our process anywhere in the country. No problem, okay, just through how we go about teaching it and doing it. So imagine is, instead of you go on and call on these deals and saying hey, I want to I want to list it. I’m gonna teach you how to go find the off market ones, they’re not expired, they’re not canceled or nothing of the sort. You’re gonna identify that property instead of going in and saying, Hey, I would like to help you sell your land. What if it was you were the buyer? Well, and I’m not teach what I’m about to go to is I’m not teaching you Okay, what is on every street corner on every other Facebook ad house, wholesaling, right? Yeah. Okay. So my job as a house wholesaler is to buy stuff below market. And if your house wholesaler I’m sorry, I’m not trying to offend you, it’s just the reality of the market. I know lots of great people that are in the house wholesaling business, okay. But the goal is to buy a below market, flip it and make a quick spread, okay. So more than likely, you got to find a desperate or really more motivated or an educated seller. All right. What we teach is when when I want you to go in and offer that property or market value, what is that land worth, that is what I want you to offer them, you don’t need to try to pull a quick one, or try to get away below market. That’s not what we teach. What I want you to do is now learn how to go find these deals, know how to structure them correctly, price them correctly, based upon because you have the right education to know how to do it. And then you bring that deal to a developer like myself, or or one of the Publix or whoever it may be, you bring that deal in to whoever I am, this isn’t a pitch for you to go bring deals to me, okay? Bring it to whoever you want. But my point is, if you go package that deal correctly, you put it together, you found that off market, your which value you bring, I wouldn’t have that deal if it wasn’t for you. Okay, cuz it’s off market. And you bring so much value because you actually know what you’re doing. And so it’s priced correctly, it’s structured correctly. So guess what, you now can just bring me into that deal. You can assign it to me if you want. By the way, the contract we offer is a beautiful contract. And I probably have over six figures in the building that contract over the last 20 years. But the the you sign up to me, I’ll take it over, you’re now my development partner, I’m going to not as an assignment, you’re not my developer, I’m going to figure out what’s a fair assignment fee for all that value, I’m going to do that deal for a lower margin. Because you are you the value you bring just by finding it and packaging it correctly, is a beautiful thing. I now don’t have to go do it myself. And I don’t have to if it’s if it’s an on market deal, I don’t have the bloody mice, my forehead up competing with everybody else. So you’re going to get cut in on my margin, I’m going to give up part of my margin for you assignment deal. Or you might do what we might do you don’t have assignment rights in your contract, fine, we’ll do a simultaneous calls a double close. Okay, you will, we’ll get through the approval process, you’ll close with the seller, I’ll close with you. And I’m going to pay you more than what you have tied up for. And you’re going to make a beautiful payday. And there’s I’ve done this like a zillion times, many deals I don’t develop and here’s why. Because somebody I won’t say any specific names, there’s many of them. They make me an offer at approvals that I can’t refuse. Okay, therefore, I have a basic 101 way of thinking. If someone makes me an offer for something that’s more than what I paid myself, I sell it. Otherwise, I bought it for that. And so what happens is these guys, we do simultaneous closes. And I can show you Payday after payday, where I’ve made seven figures doing double closings or simultaneous closes. I’ve done it over and over and over again. So, but it’s not possible. If I don’t know the process if I don’t know how it works.


Aaron Amuchastegui  43:47

Yeah, what I like so this isn’t your it’s not a $10,000 wholesale, it’s not $20,000, wholesale. These are it’s the same concept of find a wholesaler. But you’re talking hundreds of 1000s of dollars on deals out there. So the Cody, we’ve got a few minutes left. And I’m going to I’m going to switch gears from land to some other cool stuff you talked about spent the last couple years really getting into mindset masterminds. Before we do that. So listeners stay on, we got another six or seven minutes, we’re going to add a bunch more value here. But what’s the so you’ve got a special code or a login or something for our listeners, if they actually want to take your class and get it they can get a discount, then go find it wherever we’re Where are we gonna send them What do you have a special link or what should we do?


Cody Bjugan  44:28

Yeah, so my team actually sent me the link today that they put together specifically for this podcast. And so if you go to vest right.com, so that’s v s t Ri ght.com, slash land, la nd 101. They put together you go to that URL, and they’re going to give you a free book. And the title of that book is that it’s pulled from some of our content. The title of that book is called seven figure land paydays. Okay. It’s actually that’s a horrible title


Aaron Amuchastegui  45:07

to say, if you can’t remember your title right away, you got to think about the land land rockstars. The, so we get to go.


Cody Bjugan  45:16

Yeah, that’s horrible. Because the team I know, I find all transparency that the team does a lot of that That’s horrible. But yeah, so it’s, it’s an E book about how we basically make the seven figure paydays on land deals. Yeah. So go to that URL. So slash land 101. And they have a free free book there faster.


Aaron Amuchastegui  45:36

That’s right.com forward slash land. 101. So now let’s switch gears a little bit. Because the you’ve been in developer for 19 years, you’ve more, there’s so many fun things about your in my story, they get to line up with grandparents and land development, dads that were Custom Home Builders that that worked until the you know, the years they died, instead of being able to, you know, scale businesses up. And then now in just the last few years, figuring out there’s more to life, and there’s so many different things. So let’s talk mindset or whatever else. What was the number one thing you learned in 2020? about anything about real estate about your personal life about the world? What did you learn in 2020?


Cody Bjugan  46:15

Hands down, no questions asked for me was to get out of the way. Alright. So in my business, ally development, and in my business vests, right? I have a CEO in both companies. And both those CEOs were hired within the last six months, the best thing I could do for my companies, I think people sometimes get an unhealthy relationship happening with their businesses. And your business is a tool, okay? Your business is, is potentially an asset, right? And don’t get me wrong, our businesses are a lot of times part of our legacy. But don’t get an unhealthy relationship with your business. So what I and I don’t, so the best thing I did in 2020, is I knew I had to get out of the way. I’m not a CEO, I’m not an executive, I’m a visionary, creative. And I need to spend my time as an owner and founder on the Y of the company are just cause our foundation, our core values, right? How as a company, do we have impact and purpose and make a difference? And give back? How do we do legacy type movements. So that’s where I’m now spending a lot of my time and I’m just having so much fun. I spent a time just actually I just got a call today with a gentleman by the name of Lee. He’s, he’s, um, he’s kind of partners with Simon Sinek. Right. So the book of find your why or start with why and where it is pounded into just me just dialing in. Why, right? Why am I here? Why are these businesses in existence? What is the impact the purpose? I don’t really believe I’ve never said this. I don’t think publicly I don’t really believe in the word happy.


Cody Bjugan  48:13



Cody Bjugan  48:15

I believe in the word fulfillment. Okay. When people say, Oh, I just want to be happy or or no, you want to be fulfilled. Okay. And so many people that have everything, at least from the worldly eye, they have everything Yeah, but they’re miserable. Okay? It’s because they’re missing something that brings purpose to their life. Okay, slash impact others. That will satisfy a certain level of fulfillment. The end of the day, if you aren’t living in fulfillment, we’ll go use the world the word there’ll be less you lose. Without fulfillment, you will never be happy. Okay, fulfillment is the key. So what elements are missing in your life for you to truly be fulfilled? And I guarantee you this if you aren’t making a difference, if you aren’t somehow giving back and I don’t mean financial, but if you somehow aren’t making a difference and those around you or your community, I guarantee I guarantee challenge me as much as you want. I guarantee you don’t have fulfillment. I guarantee you don’t have quote quote true happiness. It’s not possible.


Aaron Amuchastegui  49:41

The I like that I might get it I’ll bet I got a couple of Instagram messages and go well no, here’s that. Here’s that way but the but I love those I love when we get to challenge people. Does your business change with COVID back Look, it was like a year ago March April, like I was scared to death about what was going to happen in the world. I went from having a mindset of there’s plenty out there an abundance mindset to oh my gosh, I need to hold on I need to not lose what I have, forget trying to grow anything I need to not lose what I have my whole like I was terrified for a couple months. Were you was there a range


Cody Bjugan  50:15

was down here. I went through the last downturn. And I learned a lot through it. And I’m committed to doing everything I can to not make those same mistakes. I want. You build wealth through timing, period. Okay, real wealth is built through timing. I should have built so much wealth in the last downturn, but I was too on educated to know how to do it. That’s the moves I needed to make. I should have just killed it. Last downturn. I did. I was just doing everything I could to not spill. I mean, I was spilling blood all over the streets. But thank the Lord, I didn’t go bankrupt. But I lost 9% of my net worth in the last downturn. So yeah, when COVID hits I’m like, Oh, boy. Right. So what did I do? I actually, I started a new division of my company in February. I shut it down in March. Okay, because it didn’t have enough momentum or enough going, that I just boom, got it. Right. This is it. I don’t think there’s anything worse than making decisions too late. Right? Be early to make decision. Be safe than sorry. Let me say that again. Be safe than sorry. Because if you’re safe, you always lit you gotta know, there’s gonna be another day to play. Right. So yeah, I mean, I my business overall has not been affected by COVID actually, just the opposite. Because of all the helicopter money happening right now from the feds, and all the pent up demand and in real estate, I mean, my business has more opportunity right now than ever. But in the beginning stages there, we weren’t sure quite what was gonna happen.


Aaron Amuchastegui  51:55

Yeah, I mean, I remembered the downturn too. I remembered as home builders, we were getting out you know, we’re dropping prices every week back in 2007 2008. We had people offering a 7080 cents on the dollar and we would laugh at them and then a year later we sold them for 40 to 50 cents on the dollar and so when this one hit, same thing I was like it’s gonna crash like last time, I’m gonna drop my prices of everything I want to sell to like 10% below market right now. So it sells today. Right and the and the idea was at that time I was thinking I might be wrong. But if I do if I’m wrong, and this turns around then I’m going to lose 1010 cents on the dollar on you know a few of my assets but if I’m wrong I’m gonna earn it back pretty quick. But if I’m right but that’s that is one thing that I learned in the last downturn now I kind of got it wrong because the market turned around but I tell you what, when I sold the those things in April in May, yeah, it made me feel so much safer. I’ve minimized my downturn, I’ve minimized the how far down it can go so yes, I should have held those projects for six I should have not sold them actually ever. I should still own those properties that I find it but how do you put a price on peace of mind? Yeah, it was if stuff starts to go bad I would rather be first I would rather cut the cost because I just there the biggest thing I learned in that downturn before was when the market starts going down. The it’s better to be early than late Yes, yes, we want to we wanted so many of those 70 or 80 cents on the dollar offers back you know six or nine months later when we just couldn’t do it but great stuff Cody so people are going to be able to work totally out of time we’ve had we’ve had a long conversation and along said people are totally gonna want to reach out to you so we already gave him best right comm forward slash land 101 so maybe I want to message you on social or email or something like that somebody has a random question for you or they want to tell you that you don’t know about happiness after all. How do you want them to find you? And well, I don’t I don’t claim to be a person. But


Cody Bjugan  53:53

But I welcome the challenges, but go on Facebook and type in my name Cody Cod, why? Last Name view gun which is B as in boy. J UGA n so Cody vegan, the J is silent. When Sam given Cody vegan vest, right, v s t ri ght, we have tons of content on there, get on there follow us like as if if you if you would, that’d be wonderful. But I have We have wonderful content on there. You can see what we’re all about. And you can message us engage with us. And we have also a separate group we can put you into that. And anyways yeah, I’d love for you to be a part of our journey. And we truly the reason we started vest right the tagline of that company is transforming lives through real estate is is that no one else is out there teaching this stuff because they’re making so much money doing it. But here again, what I talked about fulfillment, you can’t have fulfillment unless you’re making a difference given back making a make an impact. Well, that’s what best right is for me, is taken what I’ve learned over 20 years through hard knocks and the hard way putting it out there for the world. And hopefully Wow, already, we’re transforming people’s lives. Yeah, part of transforming their lives.


Aaron Amuchastegui  55:08

You know, Real Estate Rockstars you guys listening today, hopefully you were inspired with wanting to learn a little bit more about land. Hopefully you actually learned a little bit about land today. And the and if it’s sat and if something hits today, they got super, super exciting. I think you should go learn more, whether that’s over with best right or there’s other other places out there for you to go learn. I mean, I think land is if it lights you up. And I remember I graduate and construction management, I learned how to be a home builder. But what really lit me up was land development was doing that, you know, working with the people in downtown Santa Barbara trying to put you know, condos where houses were and stuff like that. It is a neat niche. There’s There’s nothing quite like it. So guys, go check out Cody, hopefully we’ve inspired you a little bit with all sorts of different things. So Real Estate Rockstars Thanks for listening. Cody. Thanks for joining me.

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