I’m writing this on Friday, October 9, 2015. It’s a heavy day for me. Today is the sixth anniversary of Jack Miller’s passing, and for the past few days he has been frequently on my mind.
Many of you have never heard of Jack Miller; even fewer took the opportunity to learn from this great man. Jack, hands down, was the best all-around real estate investor I’ve ever met. He was the definition of original. There was no boundary he wouldn’t push.
Put simply: Many of the creative deal-structuring and funding techniques investors use today were born in Jack’s wonderful imagination. There has never been, or will ever be, another Jack Miller.
I wish I had a do over. Although I attended most of Jack’s seminars, there were more than a handful that I missed. If I could get that do-over, I’d be front and center at each one of the meetings – taking notes like crazy!
Kim asked what I’d pay to attend just one more of Jack’s seminars. I said one hundred thousand dollars wouldn’t be too much. God, to hear Jack ring his big bell that let folks know that class was back in session...yep, one hundred thousand dollars would be well-spent money!
When Jack passed, he was nearly eighty years old and at the top of his game. Here are some of Jack’s quotes I wrote down at his February 2009 Money Matters seminar…which turned out to be the last seminar he taught!
“When you are the only one in the desert with water, you can command a handsome price for that water.”
“Don’t look for big chunks of money. Instead, look for lots of small deals that pay you constantly.”
“As real estate investors, we must constantly be adapting to the current market. Dinosaurs failed to do this and they’re now extinct.”
“There are two horses in this business – houses and paper. When real estate values drop, move to paper. When paper drops, move to real estate.”
“To succeed as a real estate investor, fish with a big net. You won’t make it if you’re fishing with a line that only has one hook at the end. In other words, you gotta make a lot of offers!”
“It’s one thing to pass a law. It’s another to enforce it.” (He said this with a twinkle in his eye!)
“When house values drop, it’s like the Titanic is sinking and you’re in the life boat saying, ‘Seats for sale!’”
“Keep thinking about how to pick up the penny off the pavement.”
“Raindrops turn into a river. You want a lot of people owing you money.”
“As an investor, always do more than you promise.”
“Realtors don’t learn creative deal structuring in real estate school – instead, they’re taught all the things a realtor can’t do by law.”
“Keep your contracts simple and concise: ‘You give me house. I give you whampum.’”
“If you will learn to say yes before you say no, you’ll make a lot more money.”
“You’ll have to ride the bus for the rest of your life if you don’t do this deal with me.”
“Get paid for what you know, not for what you do.”
“Don’t focus on what you’re not getting; stay focused on what you are getting”
“Just because I’m courteous, it doesn’t mean I’m not ruthless!”
Jack said this in 2009 as the real estate market was collapsing. He was asked how we’d know when the market hit bottom: “You will know we’re at the bottom of the market when you sell a property and can’t then buy a better house at a lower price.”
“Realtors get in the way of most deals because they don’t understand and haven’t been educated in the art of deal making.”
“What brokers like to do is offer – counteroffer – counteroffer – counteroffer… This is too slow! It’s better to meet face-to-face with sellers and work to agree to a deal.”
“You’re goal should be to increase your net worth by $1,000 every single day!!!”
“Learn how to control things that you don’t own.”
When talking to a seller: “You get to name the price, but I get to name the terms…unless you want to name the terms, then I get to name the price. To be fair, I’ll let you go first and decide which is more important to you – price or terms!”
“Buying stock is not essential. But having a roof over your head is!”
“Amortization is a BIG part of success. If you own a rental that 1) just breaks even, and 2) has no appreciation, you will still make money because of amortization. First, the tenants pay you money and you pay the mortgage. Second, over time the mortgage will drop to zero. Third, in the end, you own a free-and-clear house and your tenants paid for it.”
“When sellers say they need cash, challenge them. How soon do they need it? Why do they need it? What if they don’t get the money by when they need it, will they kill themselves?”
Rest easy, Mr. Miller. And thank you for all you taught us!