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The spices and seasonings of the gourmet real estate investor

Emeril can’t figure out where he made his mistake.  He thought he was getting a great deal when he bought a house and got a 10% discount.  However, he barely turned a profit on his investment.

Julia also is completely stumped.  She bought a house with a 25% discount.  However, after selling the property, Julia lost money.

Any cook can try to cover up a bad chicken with salt, pepper, oregano, lemon, paprika and more, but what do you have?  Still a BAD CHICKEN DINNER.

In the same light, a real estate investor who starts off with too small a discount on their purchase, can try to make up for it after the purchase with hard work, fancy improvements, and eye-catching advertising.  However, what will they still have?  Usually, they will still have a BAD INVESTMENT.

So what are the right spices and seasonings (discounts) every gourmet real estate investor should know about?  How should they be applied like gourmet chefs Emeril Lagasse and Julia Child? Read More→

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Being Rich is About More Than Money

Posted on March 21, 2011 by

Many people think that being rich is about having enough money to do whatever you want.  However, these same people miss an IMPORTANT POINT.  Having millions of dollars may make you “financially rich”.  However you will have lived a “poor life”, if you were a “slave to money” and did not have adequate time for family, friends, and the many other enjoyable things life has to offer.  The following stories illustrate this point.

Jack’s Story

Shortly after Jack turned thirty, he married his college sweetheart.  Jack was a sharp and thoughtful guy, as well as a meticulous planner.  Jack saw all the layoffs happening in the corporate world, and wanted to establish a safety net for his upcoming family beyond the fragile sanctuary of his day job.  He was determined to give his two kids a better quality of life than he had growing up.

Jack invested in rental homes.  He also bought a sandwich shop franchise.

Over the years, Jack did make money on his real estate investments.  However, he also found some very unpleasant surprises.  Tenant turnover was a big problem.  Repairs and re-renting the properties were eating up much of Jack’s time with his family.  Especially upsetting to Jack was the weekend and evening time these properties ate up.  This was time he would rather have spent coaching his son’s sports team and watching his daughter’s theatrical productions.

The sandwich shop also made money.  However, Jack was surprised at how hard it was  to find dependable employees.  Whenever an employee did not show up, Jack or his wife often had to fill in.  Several times Jack had to cancel or postpone the family vacations due to employee issues.

Yes, in the end, Jack’s investments made “good money”.  However, his investments had made a significant negative impact on his family life, as well as his ability to spend time with friends and on other things he loved to do.  There was many a time when he wondered whether all the extra money was worth the sacrifices he made.    Read More→

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We see them all over the roads today.  Growing in popularity, Hybrid vehicles are beginning to offer an enticing option to dependence on foreign oil supplies.  Similarly, the Buy Low, Rent Smart, Sell High lease/purchase model offers investors a Hybrid of the “buy and flip” and “buy and hold” investment models.

Most residential investment models resemble and can be grouped into one of two general categories.  Each has a major flaw that concerns many investors who consider or invest in each model.

The “buy and flip” model by definition is for the investor who seeks to purchase property at a discount, oftentimes improve the property, then sell the property quickly for immediate gain.  This model is ideal for investors who have no interest in landlording, as the “buy and flip” investor does not intend to seek a tenant for the property in advance of sale.

The main problem with the “buy and flip” model is that if a buyer does not come by quickly, then the investor is faced with discounting the property and/or involving a real estate agent in the marketing of the property.  Due to this possibility, most “buy and flip” investors need a discount of 25% or more even after adjusting for the necessary repairs and improvement.  With such high investor discounts, the pool of properties available with such significant discounts is often small.  Simply put, the higher the discount the investor needs to make his or her model work, generally the fewer properties available at such a steep discount. Read More→

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The Three Faces of Foreclosures

Posted on March 8, 2011 by

So you want to invest in residential foreclosures?  Not sure quite where to start?  It is helpful to understand first that there are three faces to “foreclosures”, each with very different characteristics.

The first face of foreclosure investing is the “pre-foreclosure”.  The pre-foreclosure period begins when a homeowner gets behind on his or her loan, and ends with the foreclosure sale.  The pre-foreclosure phase itself is divided into two stages.

The first stage covers the period of time beginning when the homeowner misses their first mortgage payment, and ends in the final month preceding the impending foreclosure sale.  During this time if a homeowner is not already marketing their home, it will be up to the investor to reach out to and find these distressed homeowners through ads (“We buy homes fast” and “We have CASH for homes”) and networking.

The second stage occurs during the final month leading up to foreclosure.  The precise laws differ from state to state, but most states require some form of public notification of a pending foreclosure.  Investors can seek out these notifications, and many have ample contact information for the investors to approach the distressed homeowner. Many larger communities have a number of online and subscription services which compile the pending foreclosures in a specific geographic range.  You can also network within your local real estate investors association and/or do an internet search (e.g. “foreclosure listings in order to find these publications and services). Read More→

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Should an investor swim or reach for a life preserver?

Just a few years ago, the number of real estate investors was growing by leaps and bounds; however, today many investors that were attracted to real estate in the early part of this decade due to skyrocketing property values have retreated to the sidelines.  The market has been cooling nationwide, and so it seems has the appetite of many investors.  The million dollar question is, are they right?  Should other investors follow their lead?

To help answer this question, let’s look at a similar occurrence that happened in the late 1990s in the stock market.  Stocks began to appreciate rapidly in the mid 1990s. In response, stock investment clubs popped up all over the country. The increased interest in the stock market drew more attention to stocks from previously inactive and novice investors. This brought more money into the stock market, which in turn drove prices even higher. The bubble burst on the stock market in the early 2000s. Stock investment clubs closed and interest in the stock market waned in response to the declining values.

The end of the bull market and start of a bear market in the early 2000s sent many of these new stock investors to the sidelines, just as real estate investors attracted to skyrocketing property values earlier this decade have also just recently retreated to the sidelines. As we asked above, are the retreating investors right? The answer is a resounding NO. Read More→

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