Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephen Swenson & Shade Ferre.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
This is Stephen Swenson and Shade Ferre. We are the founders of TaxSaleSupport.com. The two of us are cousins, and lifelong best friends, but this is really about what we’ve done together through our website and training programs. Our story started more than 20 years ago when we were first introduced to tax sales by Stephen’s real estate broker. With 21 billion in delinquent taxes each year, we were hooked on the idea of tax sales and hungry to learn. We purchased every training program and book we could find, but it only confused us more.
Unsatisfied with the results, we decided to take two different courses of action. The first was to go directly to the state laws for information about taxation and enforcement. The second was to begin attending tax sales. Both experiences taught us how tax sales are handled nationwide, and why investors can benefit from them. Starting in 2006, we were approached by a national seminar company to create a home study program. Over the next decade, our program was offered exclusively by seminar companies. During this time, we worked with thousands of students, and even had our book featured on a TV Infomercial. The only downside was the high fees the seminar companies were charging our students. We always knew we could provide the same training directly to the general public for a fraction of the price. Starting in 2016, that’s precisely what we did.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
One of the misconceptions about Tax Lien and Tax Deed investing is that you can’t lose money. This notion simply isn’t true. Losing money is not only possible for new investors, it’s probable unless you have someone to help you avoid common mistakes. Once or twice a year, someone will contact us right after they’ve purchased a condemned, or fire riddled home. Our hearts go out to those people, but the reality is we can’t do very much to help after consequential mistakes have been made.
The fact is tax sales can be very confusing for new investors. This is something we learned firsthand more than 20 years ago when we started. The internet was relatively new at the time, and local governments were still trying to figure out how to take full advantage of it. The introduction of online property records was the real game changer. Before online records were available, the only place we could get property records was at the county or city offices. This was also around the time when counties in Florida and Arizona began offering some of the first online auctions for tax liens and tax deeds. The internet really opened the door for out of state investing. Investment opportunities that had always required travel were suddenly available from a home or office. Since that time, online auctions and property records have spread to every part of the country, making it far easier to research and bid on property.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
We specialize in Tax Lien and Tax Deed investor training and support services. Every student has different needs, resources, and objectives. Some students are only looking for tax sale dates and lists, while others would like more personalized help. Most of the training out there uses a “one size fits all” approach to training. This usually consists of coaching packages that cost tens of thousands of dollars, regardless of individual situations and needs. That’s one way we’re different from our competition. We created our membership program as an affordable training and list option. We’re real people with old fashioned values. Our yearly membership is only $1 a day, which makes it the best value for tax sale training and lists!
In addition to our Membership Program, we also offer advanced training options like personal coaching and workshops. Truth be told, we were hesitant to provide coaching at first. We didn’t know if we could help people in different locations with varying amounts of startup capital. Our eventual decision to provide coaching proved to be right. The results have been life changing for our coaching students who have bought and sold hundreds of properties so far. We care about our students, and we enjoy seeing them succeed. Walking away from the Seminar Companies was one of the best choices we ever made. We think our members would agree!
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
The two biggest factors for success are education and experience! We gain experience when educational ideas and concepts are applied in the real world. Before you can begin, it’s important to know what you’re doing. All too often, new investors will bid on property before they fully understand what they’re buying. This is like baking a cake without following a recipe for ingredients and quantities. Whatever the result is, it probably isn’t going to taste very good.
The good news is we already have the recipes for you to follow. Think of the recipes as the education necessary to invest. Follow the recipe, and your results will always be similar. Once you understand the process, it’s important that you take action! Just having the recipe is not enough, you have to bake! The baking of the cake is how you learn. You can read about baking cakes, and watch videos about it, but making the cake is what gives you the experience. Tax sale investing is the same way. Like anything in life that requires skill, practice makes perfect. Every success brings increased confidence, and a wealth of experience. Something that rarely gets mentioned is the role your confidence plays in your overall success. Every success you have will build your confidence along with your experience.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Everyone wants to be rich, but is that the same thing as success? From our perspective, success is more about the journey than the destination. How we define success is something that has changed over our lives. When you’re a young adult, success is often defined as earning a certain amount of money. As you grow older, you gain valuable experience and insight. This is also when you realize that there’s more to success than money. If you asked a terminally ill patient how they defined success, do you think their answers would be about how much money they made? Probably not.
Success is the journey that we make every day of our lives. Success is something that you must strive for daily. Success is more about the way you live than the dollar amount next to your name. After all, money is only a means to an end. Success is really about having the freedom to live the life you want. Success isn’t just about your life, it’s also about your ability to help those you care about. We have a lot of things to be excited about, but what really makes us happy is helping our students have success. Nothing makes us happier than receiving testimonials and success stories of our members and coaching students.
What’s next for you?
We have some exciting events planned for the coming year. Back in August of this year, we took a group of coaching students to the Tulsa, Oklahoma Tax Sale. The auction took place over a period of four days, and was part of an event we called our “Buying Tour”. After researching the auction list and driving past potential investments, our students acquired dozens of properties. The Buying Tour was a tremendous success, and an amazing experience for everyone who attended.
We look forward to holding more events like this in 2022. We also conduct 3 Day Training Events at different locations around the country. Meeting our students in person is something that we really enjoy. But for those who can’t travel, we also conduct 1-Day Online Workshops that investors can attend from home. During the workshop, we review how to find, research, buy, and sell tax sale properties. We have a busy schedule this year filled with both online, and onsite events. From our 1 Day Online Workshops, to our Buying Tours, 3 Day Events, or the Free Training Webinars we conduct regularly, we have something for everyone. It’s not just our events that we’re excited about either. We’ve been tracking the auctions, and 2022 looks like it will be a big year for tax sales.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more.
We have two different websites people can check out if they’re interested in Tax Liens and Tax Deeds. The first website has a free ebook that you can download. In addition to the ebook, we also hold live training webinars every 30 to 45 days that are Free to attend. If you’re looking into tax sale training, the free ebook and training webinars are a great place to begin! To download the free ebook, you can visit our website at: https://www.secretsoftaxlieninvesting.com/
The second website we operate is our membership program and tax sale list service. This is where members can locate tax sales, download the training curriculum, or attend live training webinars every week. You can check out the Membership Program by visiting: https://taxsalesupport.com/
In addition to our website, we’re also all over social media. We have profiles on FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Tiktok and YouTube. Our YouTube channel was started in 2007, and has over 100 hours of training videos ready to be watched. Even if you don’t choose us to learn about tax sale investing, we hope you’ll choose someone! Every investor should have ongoing training and support.
We attend onsite auctions every year where uneducated investors blow their life savings overpaying for property because they weren’t properly informed. It takes time and effort, but if you’re willing to put in the work, you too can have success like the thousands of students we have helped over the last 15 years.