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“I like to talk to people. I've got one assistant, one Blackberry. That's my overhead. I don't text that much or email. I like to sit down face-to-face and have a conversation with you. I'm old-fashioned.” ~ Mark Wahlberg
As the owner and operator of my own business, I’ve become very self-reliant. I know that if I don’t take care of important tasks myself I will stress over them. It is hard to delegate work to others that you haven’t really had the time or know how to run background checks on. Even when you have carefully planned projects, sometimes it is difficult to find people with the qualifications you would prefer.
For the past few years now I have been discovering amazing talent online. I know it seems like a big risk, putting jobs online and hoping someone responsible answers your ad. Avoid the anxiety over in person interviews and researching qualifications, it’s time-consuming and I would rather focus my efforts elsewhere. It doesn’t mean I take hiring practices lightly, but I know where my strengths are.
There are many online freelance worker/client websites, but none other than Upwork. Upwork.com has been a great tool for my growing business. As I said, for many years I’ve been a one-man show. We all need a little help from time to time, and Upwork makes it simple and stress-free. Whether you need someone short term or long term, if there are short tasks you need to get done that you have no time for or if you want to build a working relationship with an independent contractor for the long haul, Upwork has this covered. For at least five years, the website has had some changes. It was once called oDesk, but the changes have been great improvements. Things have been simplified and there are safeguards in place for both contractors and clients. Plus you don’t need to be a large company to use this service. Businesses like Unilever, Pinterest, and NBC are just a few that use Upwork for hiring out virtual assistance specialists. Read More >>
I have made a ton of mistakes over the last 10 years of doing master lease options (MLO) deals. Would you like to avoid those mistakes? Well then read on!
A MLO Deal Is Not About You- One of the first and biggest mistakes I have made using MLOs is to think about what I want and not to give enough consideration to what the seller wants and what the property needs. Your first step in making a MLO offer is to decide if it is a fit for the seller and property. You need to find out if the seller even knows what a master lease options is. If not then you will need to spend a little time explaining it and how it will solve their immediate problems. If your offer does not solve a problem for the seller then it is likely just an offer that solves your problems. This is not likely to get accepted. Can you fix up the property using a MLO? Sometimes the answer is NO. Decide on the condition and area before you make a MLO offer. Some areas and some repairs cannot be dealt with no matter what type of offer the seller is willing to accept. You want to get good deals and solve problems not inherit someone else’s headache that can’t be fixed. Here is an acronym I use to remind myself of this process- S.P.Y. This stands for Seller, Property, You. This is the order in which you need to solve problems. Most people start a MLO offer with the reverse idea (Y.P.S.) and this doesn’t typically work. Read More >>
There are several ways to use a Realtor to help you find good quality leads for your real estate investing business. If you have not already added a good Realtor or Realtors as a part of your real estate investing dream team, now would be a good time to do so. There are many types of leads your Realtor can generate for you so let’s discuss them one at a time.
The first service your Realtor should provide for you as a real estate investor is to e-mail you the expired listings on a regular basis. You will need to set up a way for your Realtor to be paid for providing these leads. One of the ways I provide payment to the Realtor I work with is to re-list some of these properties with the Realtor once I am ready to sell them. You see the Realtors I work with sees the “bigger picture” and you need to find someone willing to work with you on a long-term basis.
You need to take the time to find a Realtor who is very creative in the way they provide leads and sell properties for real estate investors, just as I have done in my own business. And you should be working with multiple Realtors in your business in order to find a variety of leads. Read More >>
I’ve been writing this column for several years now, and I’ve covered a lot of in-depth information about the securitization swindle pulled by the major banks that led to the mortgage crisis and the Great Recession. What I’m going to do this month is to take a step back and give a quick recap of what the securitized loans scam is and how the banks got away with it for so long.
First a little background. The way a bond is supposed to work is that an investor purchases a bond from a trust. The trust then uses this money to purchase mortgages or originate their own. The trust then uses the money made off of these mortgages to pay off the bonds to their investors.
In the case of Mortgage Backed Securities (bonds issued by trusts that consist solely of mortgages), the money the investor paid to purchase the bond was never given to the trust. Since the money wasn’t paid into the trust, it never had any money to purchase or originate ANY loans. Instead the bank essentially put the investor’s money into its checking account. A note was made that said the investor purchased a bond, but the trust never received the money and a bond was never issued. Read More >>
When you think about the acronym “IRA,” what do you think about? For most people, it’s a very common recipe: an IRA is something in which you put your mutual funds, your bonds, your stocks…and very little else. It’s the beaten path to retirement, and it works for a lot of people. But others wonder if there aren’t ways to supplement this type of investment and ensure a consistent level of income for your retirement years. These are the kinds of people who start to research Real Estate IRAs.
If that sounds too complicated for you, just remember: the IRS allows for lots of different types of investments through retirement accounts. A Real Estate IRA is simply a Self-Directed IRA in which you place a real estate investment. And considering just how common of an investment real estate is—especially for America’s seniors who want to ensure that they have consistent income for the future—then maybe it’s time that you consider real estate IRAs too.
Not convinced yet? Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons people consider these IRAs: Read More >>
Last month, we started by talking about a couple of basics that are an easy way to start setting yourself up for success with Buyers. Step 1 was Confidence and Step 2 was having an Online Presence. Both of these steps are key because people make first impressions as fast as you blink your eye these days. How you present yourself as an individual first is paramount. People do business with people they know, like and trust. The first two steps address this directly. Let’s continue with the next steps:
Step 3: Have a Real Deal
It may sound counterintuitive but if you have been in this business for a while, you know there are people that literally sit at home or work, get an e-mail from another investor, do zero due diligence if they even read the e-mail and then just click the forward button to their Buyers.
This is a fantastic way to kill your credibility in one shot using the miracle of technology. What makes it worse is there are times where the deal is not even under contract with the person sending the wholesaler the email. Then as a ‘trust everyone is doing the right thing’ investor, you forward that to your Buyers. I lost track long ago of Buyers that ‘do not like or see value in wholesalers’ because of this very thing. Read More >>
When I was going through a divorce I had no idea what to do. I was negotiating blind. I did not know what would be an equitable split. I had nowhere to look to find the answers either. The divorce attorney was not much help because they were more interested in keeping the chaos going rather than moving toward clarity. There were many variables including alimony, child support, the marital house, insurance coverage for the children, Custody rights, retirement benefits, the value on her business and mine, saving account, Christmas ornaments and the photos/ videos tapes of the family.
The way I was able to get a handle on the divorce was to set my priorities. What was most important to me? This has been covered before at the beginning of the year in the blog of setting goals. So I won’t go into it here. The next biggest thing was the evaluation of the assets. One thing that I could not put a value on was the relationship I have with my daughters.
Sounds like the same thing in real estate where there are many variables and there are a few things you cannot put a price on. So let’s make it simple to understand. Follow the money! That’s the difference between divorce and real estate. Divorce is more than the money. Real estate is about money and returns and providing service with value. If you disagree, then call me. I need to talk to you! Read More >>
Real estate investing is easy once you have an idea of what you are doing but there are many moving parts. The one gear that can make or break a real estate investment project is the execution of the renovation. You could have bought the property for the right price, this is where you make your money, but not properly executing a renovation can kill all the hard work done upfront.
Before I learned how to contract properties, wholesale and/or invest, I knew the cost of construction and materials. I was into DIY before it was mainstream. At first it was by force because my father had me helping him with projects around the house. Later in life it grew on me. It pains me still today to pay for items I know I can do myself but it no longer makes business sense for me to do those items. I remember a contractor trying to charge me above retail prices because I was young, well dressed and an investor. After I explained the process of the work he was being hired to do, the cost of the material and the time it will take, I asked for a realistic price. Not to my surprise I received an amazing price. I still do this today when contractors try to overcharge and it usually works. In fact, they respect me more for it. While you are not doing the work you want to know what goes into doing the renovation. How can you hire a contractor if you do not know what he is being hired to do? Also, do not judge a contractor only by a finished product but from start to finish. I have walked projects that looked great but once I “looked under the hood” I notice the craftsmanship was lacking. Read More >>
Your business is unique. Make sure that QuickBooks knows how you operate.
QuickBooks was designed to be used by millions of businesses. In fact, it’s possible to install it, answer a few questions about your company, and start working right away.
However, we strongly suggest you take the time to specify your Preferences. QuickBooks devotes a whole screen to this customization process. You can find it by opening the Edit menu and selecting Preferences.
Figure 1: The My Preferences window in QuickBooks’ Preferences
This is the screen you’ll see when you go to Edit Read More >>
Land and lots just sat on the market for years during the last economic down turn and now are a hot commodity on this hot market. What most people do not realize is that land is a much more complex transaction.
How large is the property? Typically a lot is sold with an individual price for the entire parcel. Larger tracts are often sold at a price per acre times the number of acres. Properties in downtown areas with high density zoning are sold by the square foot, so a couple of inches will change the price.
First, what is the highest and best use? Determine first whether the property in the city or in the county. If it is in city limits, go to the city’s zoning ordinances. If not, go to county zoning. Is it residential, commercial, or agricultural? What is the zoning on the property? Zoning is usually stated on tax records. Unfortunately, all the counties and cities in Georgia have their own zoning codes and what holds true about a zoning code in one area, is totally different in another. Generally speaking, in order of density: Read More >>
If you take $1.00 and double it tax-free for 20 days it’s worth $1,048,576 (over a million dollars). Take that that same $1.00, taxed at 30%, it will be worth only about $40,640 -- A LOSS of a MILLION DOLLARS! Why is this so? Because with tax-free compounding, earnings accumulate not only on the principal amount of money but also accumulate on the tax-free earnings as well. ("Earnings on Earnings"). Thus compounding combines earning power on principal and earning power on interest. Compounding has been called the ”8th wonder of the world”, a “miracle”. Compounding money at high rates of tax-free return is a definite advantage of real estate, especially with a great tax plan.
The wealthy know that taxes are a primary factor in determining whether you get rich or stay poor. Let’s say, for example, you’re able to save just $2,000 annually on your tax bill. (With a good tax plan it will be much higher). You invest the $2,000 annually in an IRA which earns a tax-free annual return of 10%. After 20 years, you’ll have over $114,000! If you can save $10,000 annually on your tax bill and invest it in a Simple IRA for 20 years, you’ll end up with almost $573,000!
$5,000 in tax savings (which is found money) as a 10% down payment can allow you to buy an additional $50,000 in real estate! Assuming a 20% yearly return you would earn $10,000 which in 5 years would accumulate to $50,000! Read More >>
Perhaps you're a new real estate investor who has thought about using real estate comps to dive into real estate investing but have been hesitant due to a feeling that the market will collapse once you get in and you will lose all your money. Well rest assured; you are not alone.
Fear touches every new investor; and no one successfully investing in real estate today would tell you otherwise. So let's address some of the most common fears and see whether we can help calm you and urge you to take the plunge into real estate investing.
Having to feed a property won't cut it; no investor wants to feed a rental property. Believe it or not, this fear might be the easiest to manage because it's straightforward: simply run the numbers before you buy, using real estate comps makes this a breeze. Obtain the property's last twelve months income and operating expenses, calculate a mortgage payment, and plug the results into a spreadsheet or real estate investment software program to determine cash flow. If the cash flow is negative, weigh the deal and decide. If the numbers work then, move forward. Read More >>
One of the most common questions I get asked is “how do you find master lease option deals?” In this article I will show you how I have found most of my master lease option (MLO) properties.
The short answer to this question is REALTORS!
I will acknowledge that in the single family investment market, most hot deals probably come from your own advertising or from wholesalers that find you the best deals. In the commercial world the game changes significantly. Most sellers of a commercial property, such as an apartment complex, are not going to go out to the road and put up a FSBO sign hoping a buyer rides by and sees the sign. Most of the best deals are not on Loopnet.com either. While advertising such as direct mail and other forms of marketing can work in the commercial world, I have found that the response rate is usually too low to be worth the effort. The response is significantly lower than when advertising for houses. Read More >>
Right now, in my office, I am receiving short sales from sellers who decided to do a loan modification which was only valid for 3-5 years. In my opinion, this is the second wave of short sales that you will be coming across. Many Investors stay away from short sales because they say it takes “too long” or they do not want to negotiate the short sale itself. After speaking with them, I find out that they really don’t understand the short sale process. So they miss out on BIG profits that are available by making offers on short sales that are listed and/or controlling the whole deal by finding the seller that needs to do a short sale, list it and have a title company process the short sale. When you close and make your $thousands$, that would get you real excited about short sales! The key to a successful short sale is making sure that the Short Sale Lender has the correct value on the property and this is where so many Investors and Realtors fail!
Many title companies will agree to negotiate the short sale on the property for the cost of title work so all they need is the financial package from the Seller and a Purchase Agreement from YOU! In fact, title companies are contacting the Seller directly, so you do not even have to obtain the information from the Seller when it is needed. Why, then, are Investors not making offers??? I believe it is due to a lack of knowledge. You have to know what to tell the title company’s negotiator to say to the short sale lender’s negotiator if you want to create a great discount. My Home Study Course teaches you what to say and ask, in order to create your great discount. Read More >>
Using the people around you to locate motivated sellers for you is a great way to find even more deals absolutely free. Think about it, the more people you have locating deals for you, the more deals you are going to make. And personally, I always advocate “free” techniques for finding motivated sellers, especially those of you with a very limited budget for marketing.
So how are we going to find these people to find deals for us? Well first of all, look around you. Friends, relatives and co-workers are good sources of leads for you. They usually live, drive and work in different areas of town than you do and they come in contact with a lot of people that you simply won’t. So they are likely to bring you deals you would never know about otherwise.
You can also ask anyone who does deliveries to be a bird dog for you. For example, mail delivery, Fed-X or UPS delivery people are delivering packages all over your area and can tell you about vacant houses they may see. In fact, you could even give them some of your business cards to stick in the doors of vacant houses they find. Just have them write their first name on the back of the card so you can pay them if you get a deal from it. Read More >>
In my early twenties, I’d decided that to be successful, I needed to buy a Mercedes Benz and a gold Rolex watch. Dean Kates, who was my mentor back then, told me the following story to help me understand that greatness comes from within, not from what you own – that bling is pretty much meaningless!
After many years away, a world-famous violinist returned to his small hometown in Georgia. He came to play a benefit concert to raise much-needed funds for his high school’s music program. Because the violinist was one of the very best musicians in the world, the town spared no expense rolling out the red carpet for him.
At a reception held two hours before the concert, many of the performer’s high school chums showed up to pat him on the back and wish him well. As a group, they asked to see his one-of-a-kind Stradivarius that had been built in the 17th century. It was said that the music that flowed from his Stradivarius was the sweetest, purest, most heart-touching melody the world has ever known. Read More >>
Can any bank foreclose on your house? You would think the answer would be a resounding “no!” A reasonable person would assume that only the bank that lent you the money to buy your house or bought your loan through a legitimate sale would be able to foreclose on your home. Well, until a recent decision in the California Appellate Court, that wasn’t necessarily the case.
In a May ruling from the California Court of Appeal, it was finally and clearly declared that “only the person or institution entitled to payment may enforce the debt by foreclosing on the security.” That is to say that a bank must prove a clear chain of title on any loan on which it intends to foreclose. In this specific case, there was a void assignment of a Monica Sciarratta’s note to US Bank. US Bank then claimed the right to foreclose. Sciaratta then sued for wrongful foreclosure and won in this decisive ruling from the Court of Appeals.
The court also included in the Sciarratta ruling a clear indictment of the attitude many judges take that says that a borrower who defaults deserves to have their home foreclosed upon, no matter who does the foreclosing. The Court stated that “The borrower owes money not to the world at large but to a particular person or institution” and that person or institution is the only one allowed to foreclose in the case of a default on that debt. Read More >>
Many people expect to learn how to invest in real estate from seminars, books, videos, etc. but until you actually pull the trigger and go all in you will not know how to invest in real estate. Yes, you will learn the procedure and steps involved but those usually do not go as planned either. As Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Well, real estate is no different.
I know you heard this a million times but if this was easy there would be more people doing it, successfully. The amount of people that attempt to invest in real estate has increased drastically in the last few years. Suddenly, overnight, everyone was able to “BUY HOUSES CASH.” It might be due to all the new television shows, new investment clubs, one year old gurus, a volatile stock market, etc. but whatever the reason more people are giving real estate investing a shot. The best thing you can do when investing in real estate is to pay attention to the details. This can be the difference between getting punched in the mouth and moving forward or giving up because it was too much. Read More >>
Here is a great tip for you to think about when rehabbing your houses. I have written about this subject before and I thought I would share some different ideas that will help you sell your houses faster and many times get a higher price than other houses in that same price range.
So, What Is The Secret To Getting A Higher Price For Your Houses Than Your Competition Can Get For Their Houses?
The simple answer to this question is doing what other investors won’t do!
Years ago I learned a simple but very powerful lesson that has since made a huge difference for me and those who have followed these suggestions.
Here is what I mean. When doing your rehabs always put things in your houses that would normally be found in houses located in a higher price range. It is a good idea to take some time and go to a few open house showings and take notes about what things these higher priced houses have that aren’t usually found in houses in the price range of the house you are about to rehab. Read More >>
Ok so you want to learn everything you can about a certain subject. Become an expert. It takes around 10,000 hours to become an expert. If you worked at it 40 hours per week you would get there in 5 years. If you do it part time, while you are working to put a few pennies together, then it will take 30 years. The choice is yours.
Becoming a realtor, mortgage broker, contractor, attorney, appraiser, and loan servicing company all require a learning curve. How long do you have before you are at a loss of income? The person who goes to College postpones their earning power for a period of time. They will command more money than a High School educated person. The interesting fact is the person who works straight out of High School will earn more gross money until the 20th year out of High School. After that the College educated person will earn 2 times more over their life time. One interesting idea to ponder is what do the people without the College education do with that money and if they invested it they would have more net worth at the age of 65 through compounding. Because the High school graduate only has life experience and does not think about investment, nor have the educational background on economics, they tend to fail financially. Understand that if that is you, then you are under more pressure to succeed than someone who went to College. Read More >>