Archive for Bill Cook

What’s a Good First Home?

Posted on September 14, 2011 by

Dorsie BoddifordDorsie Boddiford is a smart, cheerful, inquisitive young lady who just graduated from Georgia Tech.  Instead of following most of the other 2011 graduates who think working for corporate America is the answer, she’s decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a real estate investor. 

Kim and I have been working with Dorsie this summer.  She’s learned a ton and just bought her second property at this month’s foreclosure auction!  Her goal is to own enough paid-for investment properties that she’ll be financially independent by the time she’s in her thirties. 

A couple of weeks ago, Dorsie found a target property in Marietta, Georgia that she considered buying as her primary residence.  It’s an older, bank-owned, single-family home that needs about $15,000 in repairs.  The asking price is around $100,000 and, after fix up, it will be worth about $115,000.  The house is around the corner from her folks. Read More→


Waffle House CoffeeEarlier this week, I met with a seller.  Over the past two years, we’ve probably gotten together four or five times.  He has a rental property he wants to sell.  Problem is, his asking price is too high for me. 

This time when he called, I said, “Let’s meet at Waffle House, get a cup of coffee and talk.”  He said, “Don’t you want to see the house?”  “No, I already know what it looks like.  I drive by it all the time,” I answered.

Here’s an interesting question for the real estate investors out there: When a seller or realtor calls you about a property for sale, what’s the MOST important thing you need to see? Read More→


How to Appeal Your Property Taxes

Posted on July 25, 2011 by

Tax Bill - Property TaxesIf you own real estate in Georgia, then you probably just received an Annual Notice of Assessment from your county’s Tax Assessors Office.

If you are like most property owners, you have four basic questions:  1) What is the Tax Assessors Office?  2) What is an Annual Notice of Assessment?  3) How are property taxes determined?  4) Can I get my property taxes lowered?

The Tax Assessors Office is misnamed!  It should be called the Property Appraisers Office – ‘cause that’s what they do.  They determine a property’s fair market value (FMV).  They don’t set tax rates.  Who sets your tax rates?  YOU DO!  Elected officials – the folks YOU elect – set YOUR tax rates.  Think your taxes are too high?  Blame your elected officials, not the Assessors Office! Read More→


Once in a Generation Opportunity Recently, while having lunch, I bumped into a realtor friend.  She asked how things were going.  Then, leaning forward, asked, “Are you and Kim going to survive this terrible real estate market?”  It’s funny how many times we’ve been asked this question.

Folks, Jack Miller– one of my primary real estate investing teachers (God rest his wise soul) – said it best: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity!”  By this, he means that there has never been a better time to buy investment real estate.

Think about it.  When was the last time you saw (1) So many homes sitting unsold on the market; (2) So few buyers looking for homes; (3) Home prices this low; (4) Interest rates this low; (5) Sellers this motivated; (6) Banks with so many properties in inventory; (7) This many foreclosures each month, and (8) Lenders so eager to agree to a Short Sale?  The simple answer is – NEVER!!! Read More→


How Do I Fix This Mess?

Posted on May 3, 2011 by

Upside Down HouseSince 2005, we’ve warned investors about the dangers of going to banks to get short-term financing on their real estate investing deals.  (By “short-term financing,” I mean any financing with an adjustable interest rate and/or a term of less than 30 years.)

For the past six years, Kim and I have financed our deals through owner financing or using private money lenders – except for two idiotic, short-term bank loans we foolishly did in 2008.

I’m a real estate professional who is supposed to know what he’s talking about.  So in 2008, when I claimed real estate values had bottomed out and that it was time to buy, I believed me. Read More→


Blah Blah BlahA common mistake real estate investors make when meeting with a seller is not listening – really listening – to what the seller says and how he/she says it (e.g. voice inflection and body language).

Frank, an investor in Marietta, Georgia, asked to spend the day with me. He wanted to watch me make offers to folks who had homes for sale. When I asked why, Frank said he was meeting with a lot of sellers but wasn’t getting a lot of deals. He wanted to find out what he was doing wrong.

I explained that to accomplish his goal, I needed to watch him make offers, not vice versa. Frank assured me he was doing everything right, but agreed to my terms. Read More→


What to do at the Seller’s Door?

Posted on April 10, 2011 by

What to do at the Seller’s Door?My last two real estate investing columns (“The Key is Finding MOTIVATED Sellers” & “Where to Find Motivated Sellers”) were about why and how to find motivated sellers.  Last week, I said that the most effective thing I do is to simply knock on sellers’ doors.  This week, let’s talk about what to do when you knock on a seller’s door.

When I’m working my area and see a “For Sale” or “For Rent” sign in the yard (NOTE: We’ve bought a lot of properties from don’t-want-to-be landlords), I stop.  It doesn’t matter whether the sign is a FSBO (For Sale by Owner) or a realtor’s sign.

One thing: We don’t cut the legs out from under realtors.  If we find a deal because of the realtor’s sign, the realtor deserves to get paid!

At the door, I ring and/or knock and then back out into the yard about 20 feet.  I back away because I don’t want to crowd the door. Read More→


Bill & Kim CookLeslie Mathis, myself and the rest of the attendees wanted to thank Bill and Kim Cook for speaking last night (3/28/11) at the Atlanta REIA West Meeting at the Cherokee Cattle Company on the fascinating topic of how to buy houses at the courthouse foreclosure auction. Bill did an excellent presentation for both new and seasoned investors. This meeting was very well attended and Bill and Kim were asked many excellent questions by the audience. Any time you see Bill and/or Kim speaking, we highly recommend you attend. They have years of experience buying and selling real estate and both specialize buying and the courthouse steps and doing short sales. Thanks again Bill and Kim!

Click here to read Bill’s articles on


Where to Find Motivated Sellers

Posted on March 28, 2011 by

Where to Find Motivated SellersLast week’s column, entitled “The Key is Finding MOTIVATED Sellers”, brought in a lot of calls and emails.  The main thing I heard was, “Bill, you ignorant boob, of course the key is to find motivated sellers.  But the hundred-dollar question is: HOW do you find motivated sellers?”

Easy answer: Work your tail off!  But I’m pretty sure this answer will get me labeled as a smart alec, so let’s dig into this question a bit.

Here’s the big picture: You must let everyone know who you are and what you do.  The goal is to have all the folks in your area call you if they are considering selling their property.  Your next task is to separate the folks who WANT to sell from the folks who NEED to sell.  And finally, when you find a motivated seller, you must be able to creatively structure a win-win deal, as well as be willing to pull the trigger quickly – ‘cause great deals don’t hang around long! Read More→


We Buy Ugly TrailersAt our March real estate investors’ meeting, I described a mobile home in a park that we had for sale. Mouths dropped open as I showed nasty pictures of the disgusting property.

How bad was it? The home was full of dog poop. The toilet bowl was so bad that a commercial-grade sandblaster couldn’t clean it. There were gaping holes where the furnace and water heater used to be. The smell made you gag and caused your eyes to water. It was plain awful!

I asked the room full of experienced real estate investors whether anyone wanted to make an offer on this cesspool of an investment property. Heads turned away and eyes were diverted.

In the back of the room, Alex Kramb, a fifteen-year-old student at Blessed Trinity High School, stood up and said, “Mr. Cook, I’ll pay you $100 for that mobile home.” I was dumbfounded. As I pointed to the screen, I asked, “Alex, you’ll pay me $100 for THAT hunk-of-junk?” He quickly answered, “Yes, sir!”

Alex proudly walked up front. We wrote up a bill of sale, I collected $100 cash money and then handed Alex the keys. With that, Alex Kramb, at 15, bought his first investment property. Investors looked on in amazement…then cheers broke out in the room! Read More→


The Key is Finding MOTIVATED Sellers

Posted on March 21, 2011 by

The Key is Finding MOTIVATED SellersAs folks pass from their thirties into their forties, they suddenly realize that sixty-five and retirement isn’t that far away. They also realize that Social Security is a great retirement plan…if the thought of living under a bridge and eating cold beans out of a can is appealing.

These realizations are why Kim and I are asked to speak to groups around the country about real estate investing. Most folks know that more people achieve financial freedom through real estate than from any other type of investment.

There are lots of reasons why real estate is a great investment/retirement vehicle. Here are just three: 1) Rental income has a very low tax rate. Remember, how much you keep is more important than how much you make. 2) Everybody needs a place to live and about 37% of Americans rent, not own, a home. 3) In the end, the tenant pays off the property for you!

We’re often asked, “To be a successful real estate investor, what is the MOST important thing that I need to do?” Easy answer: Read More→


Are Your Property Taxes Too High?

Posted on March 18, 2011 by

Are Your Property Taxes Too High?Do you think your property taxes are too high?  If you do, how do you get them lowered?  And who’s responsible for determining the amount you pay in property taxes, anyway?

Let’s begin with the last question first.  I greatly respect and much admire the folks who work in the Tax Assessor’s office.  They have a daunting, thankless job!

When Kim and I first began disputing our property taxes in 2006, I viewed the Tax Assessor’s office as my adversary.  Over the years, after spending a lot of time getting to know these folks and learning how the process works, I now realize how WRONG I was. Read More→