Flipping Land For Easy Profits with Daniel Apke – EP 336

The Fastest Way To Build A Six Or Even… Seven Figure Real Estate EMPIRE! 

If you want to automate and explode your real estate business, check out my coaching program!

If you’ve been on the fence about getting into real estate investing or expanding your portfolio without dealing with tenants and toilets, I have a fantastic episode for you.

Today’s guest is Daniel Apke. Daniel is the Founder of Land Investing Online and the owner at Apke Land. After doing a number of traditional rehabs, wholesaling, and rentals, he decided that it was easier to shift his focus on buying and flipping land.

It’s a relatively new business model, and he’s even developing a CRM to empower other land investors. If you’re looking for ways to make some quick money, there are opportunities with flipping rural or infill land.

In this conversation, you’ll hear all about what land investing is and the unique strategies Daniel employs to turn a profit in this fascinating space. You’ll find out why our inflationary economy has actually put him at an advantage, how to use land for cash flow, and how you can use these tools to get your feet wet in the world of land investing.

The Forever Passive Income Live Virtual Event

The FPI Live Virtual Event is coming up on January 24-26, 2023 where I’ll be sharing the step-by-step blueprint on how we raised tens of millions in capital and acquired over 4,300 units. Buy your FPI tickets today by visiting ForeverPassiveIncome.com

Key Takeaways with Daniel Apke

  • Why it’s so much easier to find land deals than homes or apartments.
  • How Daniel works with builders to find land that’s already in demand, then works with sellers directly to buy it below market value.
  • How to use owner financing in land deals.
  • What can make land a more attractive investment than traditional real estate.
  • Why land works so well for first time investors–and how to connect with Daniel if you’d like to get started with him.

Daniel Apke Tweetables

“I always, always, always put an offer in their hand for them to go on. That's my number one advice for you because you never know when they're going to need that money.”

“Land investing is very simple. There's no toilets, no tenants, none of that stuff on it. And you don't need much upfront capital to start.”


Rate & Review

If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Accelerated Real Estate Investor Podcast, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

You can also help by providing an honest rating & review on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

Connect with Josh Cantwell

Sign Up For The Forever Passive Income Partnering, Mastermind and Coaching Program with Josh Cantwell

To unlock your potential and start earning real passive income, visit joshcantwellcoaching.com

Josh Cantwell: So, hey, welcome back to Accelerated Investor. I’m your host, Josh Cantwell. Today, I have something a little bit different for you. Today, we’re going to talk about one of the easiest paths to get into real estate, and that’s land investing. My guest today is a gentleman named Daniel Apke. Daniel has a full land investing firm in Cincinnati, Ohio and he not only buys land, flips land, develops land, but Daniel’s a former residential investor who did a lot of what I would call traditional investments, rehabs, wholesaling, and rentals, and ultimately decided that buying the physical land, the dirt, and flipping it or owner financing it or developing it was a much easier path for him to get started. And so, today we’re going to talk specifically to all of you who maybe haven’t done your first deal yet or maybe you’re looking for an easy way to make some quick money off flipping land, land that you can buy for $5,000 or for $10,000 or land that you could buy for $100,000, for $200,000, land that you can buy that’s infill or land out in rural areas with no tenants, no toilets, none of the stuff that I deal with from my portfolio, and also things that people are not mentally or emotionally tied to, which is their extra free land.


So, today we’ll talk with Daniel Apke actually about the strategies that he uses to profit from land investing. Here we go.




Josh Cantwell: So, hey, Dan, listen, thanks so much for joining me today on Accelerated Investor, man. I’m excited to have you on the show. What’s going on?


Daniel Apke: Hey, Josh. Yeah, I appreciate you having me.


Josh Cantwell: Sure. Absolutely. So, Dan, as our audience gets to know you and a little bit more about your investing strategies, I would love to hear what you’re up to right now, what kind of projects you’re working on that you’re passionate for, that kind of gets you up in the morning, that gets you excited. So, what are some things that you’re going to be working on like tomorrow, like next week’s, projects that you’re working on to make money, and also just passion projects that you’re working on?


Daniel Apke: The biggest project right now, Josh, is because land investing specifically, which is my niche, is a relatively new business model on the real estate, especially the way we’re doing it. So, right now we’re actually developing a CRM for other land investors specifically for this. And we’ve been asked over and over and over again for multiple years now, “Can we come up with something?” because people just get stuck with it. You know how the systems and processes are like people, if you don’t have that kind of mindset, get kind of wrapped around that and stuck with it. They want to grow their business but they’re stuck with the processes. So, for me, it’s just coming up with that another ability to help create freedom for people through building them a CRM specifically for the land investing that we’re working on.


Josh Cantwell: Got it. Love it. And what do you make of today’s market relative to not just your investing strategy with land, but just how is it impacting your clients, people that are looking up to you for advice? What do you kind of make of what’s going on with interest rates and does that even affect land investing at all?


Daniel Apke: It affects it on the sell side for land investing but it’s cool because on the acquisition side, we are seeing much, much more hits per mailer. So, we actually send out mail to acquire most of our properties and other forms of reaching them directly. And we’re seeing more hits per mail sent out. And I think that’s just because when you talk about land investing specifically, this isn’t someone’s necessity. This isn’t shelter for them. It’s not food. It’s not water. This isn’t something where they live. This is something that they a lot of times inherited. They’d never been to the land, whatever their situation is. So, they have that piece of equity under them that if they do need money with things getting tighter and potentially a big recession coming, this is something they can liquidate to pay whatever their mortgage, their car off, their kid’s tuition when things do get tight because money is getting tighter. We all know that. So, this is just another way. So, we see on the acquisition side, it’s getting a lot easier to acquire. On the sell side, we see things just really slowing down, not a crazy amount yet to get overly concerned about but we’re being much more cautious on acquisition side just because there’s less buyers in the market, money is getting more expensive.


So, that’s in the land investing side of things. But overall, I’m pretty optimistic. I think when things go down like this, it creates a lot of different opportunities. Within the next 6 to 8 months or so, I’m going to really, really, I’m starting to stockpile cash, just getting ready for acquisitions when the interest rates do affect the prices on the sell side, which is kind of trickling down. But I’m excited, I’m optimistic as an investor. I think there’s a ton of opportunities coming.


Josh Cantwell: Yeah, I agree. I definitely think that people who are investing right now are going to get in trouble because of the way they structured their deals and they’re going to need to sell. And also, every time there’s a recession and people do have that underlying asset, whether it’s an apartment building in my case or land in somebody’s own, whether it’s 5 acres or 500 acres and they think like, “You know, I could really use the money now for this. How do I get out of this to liquidate it and get liquid a little bit to get me through the tough times?”


Daniel Apke: Exactly.


Josh Cantwell: So, I own a piece of land, right? So, I own, it’s not huge. It’s about 2 acres. It’s infill, it’s in the city, and I’m going to develop 100 acres or 100 units of apartments on it. So, I know what I’m going to do with that land. But a lot of other people that have land are not sure what they’re going to do with it. So, for our audience that’s interested in buying land or maybe developing land into apartments or maybe just flipping land for income, why don’t you just explain real high level what does land investing mean and what are some different ways to profit from it?


Daniel Apke: So, for us, we really focus on the acquisition side. That drives the business where you got to find good, desirable pieces of land with no structures or anything on it, obviously, under market value. It’s all about the buy price just like a lot of real estate is. But they’re specifically the model that we’re doing, you’re not cash-flowing from it, right? We’re looking to sell it for a profit. You can cash flow with owner financing, leasing to farmers depending on where your land is. There’s other ways to do it that we have done but the primary of our business is buying it under market value. And what you’ll run into a lot of times is in rural America. So, I know you’re up in Cleveland, you go to Ashtabula County, for instance. You go to Ashtabula County. There’s a lot of land out there. It’s pretty rural. Try to get a real estate agent to go less than your property. Say it’s 5, 10 acres for 100,000 or 80,000. They have to drive from say they live in Cleveland. They have to drive from Cleveland all the way over to Ashtabula. That’s an hour-and-a-half or whatever it is and then drive back for a few thousand dollars commission. So, it’s not easy to sell the properties and that’s kind of what we teach.


So, we teach two major things, which is acquiring under-market value and then how to market your property. So, if you’re stuck with that piece of land, there is a buyer out there for any piece of land just about. So, if you’re in rural America, you have to cater to rural America. If you have an infill lot in Cleveland that you’re developing, that’s what you have to cater towards. So, on the infill lot side of things, we would focus that business model around finding an end buyer. So, finding builders in that area who want 0.2 to 0.5 acres or so in a specific county zip code, whatever that is. So, going to the builders first, finding what they want, and then going back and trying to acquire that piece. Because as the market does get tighter like we just talked about too, having that list of buyers and that demand already in front of you so you have a buyer before you even acquire the property becomes more and more critical.


Josh Cantwell: Got it. Love it. So, really buying it below market value, flipping the land to whether it’s a rural buyer, a farmer, or whether it’s an infill builder or developer, that’s the business model. How do you, Dan, help me understand like if I was looking at this infill piece of land that I have in Lakewood, how do you even comp out land? Like, how do you get a feeling for what land’s worth? Because I would imagine land, really, the value is in the eye of the developer, the builder, what they’re going to do with it. Somebody might be willing to pay a lot more if they’re building a high-rise apartment complex versus if somebody is going to do a retail strip center that might be just be one floor. So, help me understand how do we evaluate and determine how to buy something below market value.


Daniel Apke: For your situation where you have a very desirable, where you’re building an infill lot, multifamily in a desirable area, that gets a little bit trickier because the estimated cost it’s going on your buyer who has that vision for that piece of land. So, that is much, much harder to comp. But that’s why this business model is so sustainable. Land is very hard to comp out because you go to Ashtabula County, look for anything from 2 to 50 acres or 2 to 100 acres, see how many in there might be some, but see how many comps there are in the last 12 months that sold. It’s not like houses where you can type in 405 212 and have ten three-bed two-baths, 1,500 square foot places within a quarter of a mile. Land is tough. Your closest comp might be 20 miles away. A lot of it just becomes you have to be able to sort good comps. I always tell people I’d rather take two to three very, very good comps rather than 15, 20 bad comps because what happens in rural America and with land prices, some people owner finance. So, the comp report pulls up wrong and it’s incorrect or you have neighbors just acquiring it from them for cheap. So, there’s a ton of bad comps with land just like there is with houses too, really, but it’s about finding those good comps that match what your average land is going to look at.


Because at the end of the day, if we send 10,000 mailers, there’s going to be some with a lake on it, maybe lakefront in Ashtabula County, there’s going to be. But we got to look for the average piece of land, and that’s what we need to price based off of. And then when they call to negotiate and things like that, we have to dive in a little bit deeper. But to answer your question, it is pretty difficult. We pull comps and we dive specifically into individual comps and really, really analyze how long they were on the market, when they went for sale, when they sold, what was the marketing like, is it on the lake, is it not on a lake, what areas then, and different things like that.


Josh Cantwell: Got it. I love it. Now, what about owning land for cash flow? What about acquiring land? Maybe using a private investor, acquire the land using private money, wrapping it, selling it to someone, an owner financing, cash flowing it, that type of thing. And if the guy defaults, then you get to take the land back and do it all over again.


Daniel Apke: Yeah. That opens up the door, especially as markets and banks get tighter on these things. Land in general, historically, has been pretty hard to find a bank to finance for the last few years. But as you go, as we get more and more into this, I think owner financing is going to get bigger as banks get tighter and tighter with financing land because historically it’s not that easy to finance land as in general. So, that’s another way to sell that. It becomes more important to find ways to sell in tighter markets. So, owner financing is something we definitely believe in. The last two years, we haven’t needed to as much just because people are paying such a premium and we’re selling things so fast. But no, I’m definitely for owner financing. As things get tighter, we’re doing that more and more now because like you said, say we buy land for $10,000 and we can list it for 25 and sell it right now. We can get a down payment maybe for $6,000, $7,000, then do a five, six-year owner financing deal with them, and then if they default on it, we get that down payment plus anything and then just do the same thing over again. So, I’m definitely for that. That’s a big thing in this industry to do.


Josh Cantwell: Yeah. And I would think as the less that banks will fund and the less favorable terms, then you get more the owner financing involved. You know, right now even with our apartment buildings, somebody that might want to sell a building for 10 million, maybe a year-and-a-half ago they were to get 12 million or 11 million for. People who were overpaying is competitive. Now, it’s like, well, the cost of debt is almost prohibitive. It’s 6%, 7%, 8% interest now and it’s going to even go higher next year. Then the seller is like, “Well, I can’t get my price.” Well, you can get your price if you carry back some or all of the financing that’s more favorable than what the bank can give me, right? I would think that that would work well in a downturn of the market.


Daniel Apke: Exactly. And you might as well like if banks are getting tighter, why don’t you just become the bank and offer that interest and capitalize on both ends and make it easier and more people are able to buy the land? Now, you just opened that net so much wider.


Josh Cantwell: Yeah. Now, I have to ask you, Dan, so I live in a pretty I would say regular suburban neighborhood, a bunch of big houses. Everyone’s got half-acre, acre, or whatever. But right behind me, right through this window is 40 acres of land that I want.


Daniel Apke: Wow.


Josh Cantwell: This lady, she’s fantastic. I’ve talked to her many times. You know, husband passed away five, seven years ago, left her the land. Just her and her adult son lives with her. And I’m trying to get her to sell me some or all of that land because now you’d be like in an amazing very nice suburb where nobody has land except I want 1 acre, 5 acres, 10 acres, all 40 acres that’s right behind me right outside this window. And she seems to want to, not sure what she’s going to do with it. She maybe will give it to her adult son, who might do something with it. Now, I mean, he’s living in his mom’s basement, right? So, I hope he doesn’t hear this but if he’s living in his mom’s basement, I don’t think he’s going to develop it. And she was kind of told from friends or family that the land was worth gobs and gobs and gobs of money. So, I’m trying to talk her off the price, and I’m just trying to get her a little bit more motivated to do something when I don’t know if she’s all that motivated to sell it, maybe ever.


So, you probably run into the situation a lot, right, where you talk to a seller, they have land. You’re like, “Wow, that’s a great piece of land. I would love to own that whether I keep it, whether I develop it, whether I flip it.” What are some techniques and strategies maybe to talk to her and maybe create some more urgency, maybe talk her out of her friend ten years ago that told her, “Oh, my God, this is worth millions,” when it’s really not. To give you an idea, my buddy that lives right on the other side of this main road owns a huge apple farm, 100 acres. My old business partner. We’re still close friends. He just acquired another 14 acres for $190,000. So, what is that? 12,000. 13,000 an acre. And that’s my comp, right? That’s my comp. So, 14 acres, $490,000 right over there. And then I got this land that’s 40 acres behind my house that I really would like to get at least a slice of it. So, to give you some idea or some context, where would you start? Well, you know, what advice would you give me? Any ideas from your experience of how to approach her or comp it out? Some just different ways to approach that type of deal?


Daniel Apke: Yeah. I mean, that’s a good comp if you have one, right, in that area of 14 acres. Obviously, theoretically, and it’s not always the case, 14 acres price per acre should be more than 40 acres just because it’s a bulk buy at that point. You’re buying 4X the amount, but that’s a tough situation. We run into that every single day.


Josh Cantwell: I know you do.


Daniel Apke: Yeah. And she has connection with that land, too, because you said her husband bought it, correct? So, she has like her heart’s in it, too, and they a lot of times will get, they don’t want to disappoint their husband or they don’t want to do him injustice by selling it too cheap or whatever that is. They’re tied to that land emotionally and that’s an extremely difficult thing to come after. My number one advice for that, and it’s not for your situation, when you run into situations like that, there’s so many motivated people out there that do want to sell their land. For you, it’s your neighboring property so you want that specific one. So, we’re going to talk about that differently. But if you run into this and it’s not your neighbor’s property, send more mail, get more text out there, get more potential acquisitions out there. There’s plenty of motivated people. You don’t necessarily need to fight too, too hard to find good deals out there. But for that situation, really, it’s a negotiation thing. You got to find out. I mean, the way I would approach that is not to buy all 40. I’ll attack it trying to, like you said, trying to buy. I would start with like 5 acres or something. She’d still have 35 acres more. I’d start there.


She’d still have 35 acres of her husband’s old land, her son’s. There was plenty of land to develop on. You just want to help her out, give her a little bit of money for it, and then you get a little bit more freedom from that land as well and get some. But that’s how I would probably approach that situation but, obviously, there’s so much that goes into negotiation, especially when people are emotionally tied.


Josh Cantwell: Yeah. And if I can use the other land that my buddy bought with the apple orchard, the 14 acres, at least it gives me a starting point of a price per acre number within a half a mile. It’s literally on the other side of this other main road because I don’t think she knows what it’s worth. I think she just thinks, well, I was told a long time ago I’d probably have a developer come in and offer me a fortune for it, and the developer would put a bunch of houses on it and I’d make a windfall. At least now I can say, “Well, here’s a starting price. Let me just make you an offer for 5 acres. Maybe it’s 12,000 an acre, $60,000. What do you think? All cash. Here you go.” See what she says. And then, you know, maybe it takes her a while to come off that number. Who knows? Maybe a recession?


Daniel Apke: Yeah, maybe.


Josh Cantwell: She’s like, “Hey, I could use the money.” You never know when somebody’s motivation comes in.


Daniel Apke: Exactly. And that’s what I tell our salespeople. We have salespeople that are answering those calls. I just tell them this, “Give them your best offer and then walk. Follow up with them and walk. Don’t get too emotionally tied to it.” You never know when someone’s going to get money. We had a deal just come last week. The guy called us five months ago. He wanted to sell his property. We gave him our best offer. He said he had other better offers out there. We said, “All right. Well, we really can’t go up any more than this.” He called us last week. We got it under contract just because whatever happened, who knows if he made those other offers up or if he had them or if their money might have tightened up so they couldn’t buy it anymore. So, he came back to us and we’re acquiring that property. So, I always, always, always put an offer in their hand for them to go on. That’s my number one advice for you because you never know when they’re going to need that money. Her life situations change. A lot of things change in six months. Think of your life six months ago like a lot has changed and especially coming up six months from now with things getting tighter. Get an offer in her hand so she has that in the back of her head.


Josh Cantwell: Got it. And, Daniel, let me ask you why for you was land so attractive versus maybe a more traditional route of real estate, like buying rehabs or wholesaling or building a portfolio? What was it about land that was attractive to you and why do you think that other people should really look at land as an investment strategy?


Daniel Apke: Yeah. That’s a really good question. Actually, to be transparent, I started in rental real estate. I graduated college when I was in my low 20s and I invested in a rental salon. So, I owned a salon in Cincinnati and it was a rental investment. There was apartment above it. So, that was my first ever investment that I made on a real estate side, and I love that. And then I bought a single-family home and then I house hack, and I did all that and I fell in love with real estate. But it was harder for me to make and I didn’t want to give up my assets and sell them and flip them necessarily. I wanted to keep them for a long-term hold and it was harder to make a full-time living and quit my job from that. So, from there, I actually started an e-commerce electric bike company and that was able to get me out of my 9 to 5. So, I was looking for ways to get me out of my 9 to 5. And I started an electric bike company that isn’t related to real estate at all just because I saw that as an easier path than actually traditional real estate methods. And I end up selling that to an investor out in California and liquidating that company. And I got into land investing because I saw the potential it created for people that were in my situation.


So, teaching my past self, what would my past self at 22, 23-year-olds want to see? Land investing is, like you said, very simple. There’s no toilets, no tenants, none of that stuff on it. It’s very simple. You don’t need much upfront capital to start. We have such a big group of investors. So, these people that are joining our program and getting into land investing aren’t actually investing in their own properties, right? They’re investing in their marketing, which is their mail if they’re doing text messaging campaigns, things like that in the software behind and stuff. But then they go and they source all the funding elsewhere. And it’s like I said, it’s not anything. It’s not a necessity for people. So, there are so many landowners out there. It is fairly easy to acquire under-market land. So, in terms of just making relatively quick and full-time income to get out of your 9 to 5 job, this is what I personally would want when I was 22, 23. Whatever your age is, if you want to get out of your job or you want more freedom, that’s what I would have wanted to see and that’s kind of what led me to that path is to stay on that.


Now, I have a full land investing firm up in Cincinnati, Ohio with salesmen, transaction coordinators, all that stuff. And I’m passionate about it and I think it provides so much value to the landowners who want to sell and the buyers who were looking for that 5 acres to put their house, cabin, hunting land, whatever that is. So, I love the value it provides. And I also think it’s a great investment path for newer investors that are wanting to make a full-time living off of it.


Josh Cantwell: I love it. I love it. Dan, that’s great advice and great stuff today. Listen, if our audience wanted to reach out to you, learn more about whether it’s active investing or passive investing in land or joining your team, where can they do that?


Daniel Apke: So, the best way to reach me is my Instagram. It’s Instagram.com/DanielApke or if you just type in Daniel Apke, A-P-K-E, or just go to LandInvestingOnline.com. That’s where you can learn about land investing. We have so many free resources. I’m not here to sell you guys anything. We provide for YouTube, free resources, podcast, all that stuff. There’s so much value you can get. See if it’s right for you. But at the end of the day, if the traditional real estate methods are a little much for you, guys, I think this is a great alternative for you guys to look at just because there’s so much less upfront cost and capital and work needed.


Josh Cantwell: Yeah. Less upfront costs, less upfront capital, no tenants, no toilets, and disposable land that the seller is not married to, right? They’re not married, living there. They don’t live in the house. You know, they didn’t raise their kids there, husband passed away or get divorced. All the emotions that get tied to houses very rarely does that happen with land. So, Daniel, listen, thanks a lot for carving out some time for us today on Accelerated Investor.


Daniel Apke: Thanks for having me, Josh.




Josh Cantwell: Well, there you have it. I certainly enjoyed talking to Dan about my specific case studies. My buddy with the apple orchard, the 40 acres behind my house that I want and the infill lands that I own are definitely all land, land, land in different ways to make money with land, especially for those of you that are looking to get in with little or none of your own money. Also, encourage all of you to check out Dan’s website, Land Investing Online. If you’re interested in being an investor in land, a private lender, or actively investing in land, check that out. Also, if you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review. Open up your phone right now and go ahead into Spotify or Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and hit the like button. Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button so you’d never miss another episode of Accelerated Investor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *