Author Archive

“My system for staying young is to work a lot, to always have a project on the go.” ~ Carlos Fuentes

Before insurance companies started offering plug in cameras designed to improve your driving and lower your rates there was already an industry standard port. The ODB-II port is existing technology standard in most every car produced after 1996. Automatic uses this existing port, at first it would connect to a bluetooth device and was only good for reducing your gas waste habits. Hard stops and other things would be flagged and brought to your attention. The second iteration of Automatic Pro adds GPS to track your route if your smartphone is out of battery life. You will still need a smartphone and bluetooth to sync the data later.

The latest version is the third generation of Automatic Pro, which has been the one that made me interested in the app. It’s about $130 and it’s added the 3G network of cell service. A lot of the earlier features have been made obsolete with everyone carrying their smartphone with them. The new app works untethered to other devices. It doesn’t make a ping noise when you hard break, which can understandably become annoying. There is a completely separate app you can find in the Apple Store called Automatic Pro, for iOS 9 and later. It also runs on most Android devices too. The previous adapter is no longer for sale, but the app is free and there is a new adapter available if you want to go that route. Read More→

Stop Wasting Time: Timyo App Review

Posted on February 6, 2017 by

“If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

I didn’t think Timyo was going to be a game changer for me. I already felt like I had great management tools using Gmail in the first place. A friend recommended that I check out this new app so I tinkered with it for a while. It is an email inbox management system that works best with Gmail, Office 365, Outlook.com and Hotmail. I have tried other inbox zero apps but I’ve felt like it’s a waste of time for me to go through all my emails weeding out the junk. I have used Gmail options before but it still seemed like I was getting a lot of emails that were not a priority first. My time is valuable since I’m running multiple projects, what I focus on needs to be what moves me along to the next step in line.  Read More→

“I live a highly scheduled life. There’s absolutely no time wasted. I’m very focused. And I have a great assistant.” ~ Madonna

Amazon Echo has been a game changer at my house. I find it a great selling point for new homes I’m working on as well. I use “Alexa” to turn on my lights, my television, set the thermostat and basically anything that’s connected to the system. It’s been really helpful around the holidays too, baking with the family has been a breeze while “Alexa” sets up the timer and converts measurements for us.

I’ve talked about other systems, like the Ring for the doorbell answering service, but Amazon comes to a new level with Echo. Technology won’t solve all our problems but it does make things a bit easier. While baking holiday cookies with the kids, I do have a bit of trouble in the kitchen. It’s just that Echo made small tasks easier like setting the timer and changing the measurements from weight to cups. Small hiccups were easier to get through when the tech was literally a voice command away.  Read More→

“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” ~ Walt Disney

When I first started, I felt like I had no business designing spaces. I’m good at the big picture but putting textures and colors together that will sell the house I was not so confident. I’ve been using Pinterest and Houzz to piece together ‘dream boards’ that you would put together using ripped out magazine pages and taping them together to compose some sort of theme or color scheme.

Pinterest is known as a predominantly female geared platform. People use it to plan events, like weddings, or recipes for special occasions or holidays. It is a great tool to use to plan your decorating scheme for an interior and the exterior. You can easily gather ideas for landscaping, curb appeal, how to style your front door and entry way, from kitchen materials to flooring and bathroom tile. What I like best is that other ‘pinners’ have done most of the work for you already. Most pins that you research are already part of a larger board, and if you visit that board you can see what else that user put together already. It has been easy to use, either hit pin, send or like on the image. Once you click an image it usually leads to the website that sells the item or a blog post about how to do the project. Sometimes it’s just a source image from google, so it is still a good starting point to show a contractor to get the gist of the idea.  Read More→

This month is renovation month at Atlanta REIA and I for one am super excited.  For the past 19 years I have managed to perform just about every type of real estate transaction there is.  Everything from notes, wholesale deals, lease options to subject to deals.  I’ve used every buying strategy known to man and every creative technique to sell my properties. But, no technique has made me more money than the good old fashioned “rehab” fix and flip.  People often ask me how they can make lots of money in real estate.  You would think that answer would be wholesaling because you don’t need a lot of money and it is quick and sometimes painless. Well the truth is, the fastest way to wealth in my opinion is to “Find ‘Em, Fix ‘Em and Flip ‘Em.”

When doing a rehab or renovation successfully it requires tools just like any job well done.  If you have the proper tools in any job, the job goes much easier, faster and most efficiently.  Rehabbing is no different.  There are six steps to successfully performing any renovation of any size or shape.

The first step is PLANNING.  Making sure you have the proper tools is essential to your success.  Things that you should have with you at all times will make your job easier.  These items include, Inspection forms, Camera, Flash Light, tape measure, graph paper, lock box and “”We Buy Houses” sign.  These tools allow you to initiate the first step in any rehab.  In my opinion you also want to invest in a design program so you can “Mock Up” what you want your rehab to look like.  If you have an iPad my recommendation is an app called Tap Glace.  It allows you to measure and create that vision on paper before you ever touch anything inside the house.  Read More→

“My grandmother had this high-tech security system – a rusty nail she used to lock the door.” ~ Quincy Jones

Once fall comes, we’re thinking about getting the kids back to school and falling into a familiar routine. You’re not the only one thinking about that, other people may be looking forward to quiet days in the neighborhood too. Break-ins usually happen during the day when no one is at home. If your neighbors are on the same grind as you are, you may not discover a robbery until you get home and see your door open.

These thoughts are frightening, but there are things you can do to prevent it. Wired home alarm systems are great, but if you don’t have the budget to pay a monthly service to monitor your property a one-time investment is perfect. There are wifi cameras and apps that you can use from different manufacturers, motion sensor lighting and timers for your interior lamps. But having the peace of mind that there are eyes on your house at all times and having great customer service is a winning combination.  Read More→

Subject-To Real Estate Contracts

Posted on September 7, 2016 by

Existing Loan Stays In Place – No Liability To You!

“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” ~ Dalai Lama

A Subject-To deal simply means that you get the deed/title to a property and take control over the property. The existing loans stay in place in the original homeowner’s name, negating the liability to the purchaser. The mortgage is not being paid off through a Subject-To contract transaction, just taken over by the purchaser. As long as the purchaser of a Subject-To deal makes the mortgage payment to the existing mortgage lender, there are no consequences to either party. However, if the purchaser stops making the payments on the mortgage, the seller’s credit will be damaged.

Most sellers are in a situation where they may have to relocate quickly, have no equity in the home and just “want out,” or are about to go into foreclosure and want to save their credit. These folks are motivated to sell on a Subject-To deal to get the payments caught up (or maintained) and stay on time to help their credit.

One reason you would purchase on Subject-To is to utilize a seller’s lower interest rate than that is on the market at the time. For instance, if the market rate is 7% and a seller has a 5% fixed rate, the 2% difference can make big difference in your monthly payment. You are able to purchase the home in a 7% market at 5% interest! For instance:  Read More→

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ~ William Arthur Ward

It is best to teach by example. Now that everything is on a digital platform it can be difficult to find the right words to explain an action step-by-step to someone. Whether it is a menial task like sorting through spam email or getting a website listing to appear on a mobile platform, it is confusing to explain something in an email or text message. I find myself to be a visual learner and the best way to show me something is a short video tutorial.

Thank goodness for app developers: Pro Recorder (Free): Record Web Screen/Video – for Dropbox and Google Driver is By the company CONG DUC TRAN is the solution to my problem. As I often do, I was browsing the app store looking for something that could capture my screen actions in a video. I am familiar with other programs but they only cover my desktop or laptop, not my iPhone or iPad. Using this is a breeze, especially since you can easily save to a Dropbox or Google Drive account. It makes sharing the video easy and since it saves on a cloud storage platform no need to eat up all your memory.  Read More→

“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→

Shop Around: Homewyse Review

Posted on June 6, 2016 by

“Plans are nothing; Planning is everything.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Only by finishing things is the way to learn. Despite this fact of life, I do find myself a bit overwhelmed at times with the various projects I’m planning at any given time. Making two or three phone calls to get a quote about one single project isn’t too much work. When you have three properties that need at least two large or small scale projects to be addressed that consumes at least two days of shopping around, getting in contact with the local businesses.

Homewyse is a site that was pretty much made for a person like me, but anyone who wants a jumping off point to get ballpark figures on home repairs will find this very useful. You don’t have to give up any personal information like a credit card to gain access to quotes in your area, or a property outside of your primary residence. Unlike Angie’s List, you don’t have to become a member to browse. Homewyse is an immediate source where you can get an idea of what things will cost. You don’t have to be specific about your project, I do find it great to look at comparable costs and then call or email local tradespeople to get a better picture.  Read More→

“The building art is man’s spatial dialogue with his environment and demonstrates how he asserts himself therein and how he masters it.” ~ Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Many apps I use are in lieu of something else, whether that be a tape measure or an architect’s blueprints. The RoomScan Pro seems to have replaced a lot of the physical tools needed to plan furniture placement, estimate how many gallons of paint or just to showcase a very simple to follow floor plan. It’s been helpful for prospective buyers to look at before they arrive at the open house. The app has its uses. For my own purposes, it saves me a lot of time trying to locate the original floor plan or determine whether a piece of furniture I want to use in the staging will fit in the room.

RoomScan Pro uses the iPhone’s accelerometer and additional sensors to map out the room. The app also has an option to create a whole floor plan. For me, in general, mapping out a single room works best. It charts the distance between walls in the room and then the end result is a clean illustration of what the app thinks the room dimensions are.

To get the best use out of the app you’ll need to buy the premium version. There is a free version but it is limited. I have my location settings activated so there’s no need for me to enter my location when I come to a new property. Tap on a named location like the street address and it will send you to the next step to create a “new room” with the app. You can name the room. If you’re doing the whole floor plan you don’t want to leave this blank. You can also name the floor you are on as well. By the end you will have a well-labeled illustration at the end, and it’s easier to navigate too. Read More→

“Real estate sales was perfect training for the experience to go into public life because you learn to accept rejection, learn to meet new people, learn to work with people and find common ground.” ~ Johnny Isakson

When I invest in a property I do my research. Long ago that meant doing the fancy footwork or being active. Going to open houses, going to model homes and condos, making phone calls, and looking at advertisements in the area where I was planning to buy. Comparison shopping was a far greater task before we had smartphones and apps to help us organize all the information at a glance.

Zillow Renter’s App is ideal for those of us who invest in real estate on a regular basis. Flipping and selling is a rewarding experience but you need to do your homework. I use Zillow’s App to see what other homes are selling for, what other properties are renting for, compare that information to what my budget is for a flip.

Zillow offers a number of things in the app search that will let you be specific about your property. This way you can make the best speculative estimate about what your profit could be.  Usually, in a typical real estate website search field you are limited to whatever their listings are. Zillow scans through a number of listings in your desired area. Usually the search amounts to more than 20 properties that could be a match for the property you purchased. Read More→

Page 1 of 5:12345