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KISS Your Way to Riches

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Something peeked your interest in real estate. Maybe it was the Flip this house, or Flipping Vegas or any other the other 100 reality TV shows that have nothing to do with reality but makes for entertaining TV.  Maybe it was a radio ad from some national guru looking to build their business in your market and they want you to join their team.  Maybe it was an ad on Facebook telling you that it is so simple to make $30k a month without even getting out of bed.  Maybe it was a friend that really did flip properties or a relative that owned several rental properties.

Whatever the reason is that you decided to give real estate investing a try, you soon realized that there is a lot to know and the real estate business can seem overwhelming when you are first starting out.  I know because I felt that way in the beginning and now I mentor students through the minutia all the time.

In one of my early mentoring sessions with my mentor, he said something to me that I just laughed at, at the time but later realized how profound that statement was that he repeated to me over and over until I finally got it.

He said; if you want to get to where I am, you need to KISS your way to Riches.  Keep It Simple Stupid. Read More...


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What is Wholesaling?

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There is a lot of confusion out there with newbies and some seasoned investors as to what exactly Wholesaling means.  The easiest way to describe this is to look at the Minnesota State Statue: 82 REAL ESTATE SALES REGULATIONS Sub 55 Definitions. Condensed Version: You cannot sell a property for another for a fee without a real estate license.  So the question is, as a wholesaler, what are you selling?  If you have a property under contract, you can sell your rights to the contract, not the property.  This is done via an assignment agreement which allows the assignee to step into your place as the buyer.  That is the basics of wholesaling. 

Some states actively go after real estate investors for incorrectly wholesaling.  These investors get themselves into trouble because they can’t explain legally what they are doing and therefore say the wrong things, like I am trying to find a buyer for the seller.  That shows intent, and as the previous FBI Director James Comey famously explained, it comes down to intent.

The problem is that your true intentions may not reflect your stated intentions because you don’t understand the legality of what you are doing.  If you just change what you are saying, to reflect your true intentions, then you will avoid a lot of aggravation and harassment from the state. Read More...


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Get Off Your Butt and go Buy a House.

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Laxy Butt“Get Off Your Butt and go Buy a House.”  This is a statement I had heard years ago from an old friend when I was complaining about being a broke struggling want to be investor, so I listened to her and did it. That was back in the late 90’s and it was a good ride for many years.  But the last few years have been tough on a lot of real estate investors, me included.  Many of us had to hunker down, retrench and then recover from our battle wounds.  The length of recover was/is directly proportional to the magnitude of your original symptoms.  Some people unfortunately didn’t have the financial or emotional strength to weather the storm which I completely understand as I was almost one of them.  But now it is time to look forward and plan for the future rather than having to deal with repercussions from the past. 

I understand that there will still be a few things we all need to deal with from the past few years as we move forward, but move forward we must, and this is the year to do it.  Even though last year was a relatively good year for real estate investing, it was still a tough year for many investors because of all the competition and the lack of inventory on the market.  I personally struggled finding rehabs as well.  Between my partner and me, we looked at over 400 properties, make close to 200 offers and only got one MLS offer accepted.  Looking back, off all the properties that we made offers on that sold, they were all in multiple offer situations.  Even though we had plenty of cash to buy and always offered quick closings without contingencies, we were always out bid with very similar offers.  Many of those other properties that didn’t sell are still on the market and still overpriced.  Read More...


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How To Get More Offers Accepted

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Have you been making offers on REO’s only to get frustrated that none of your offers are getting accepted? I feel your pain and frustration. This is something that I have also been struggling with.

So why are our all of our offers getting rejected at such a high rate? There are a few reasons that I can think of. First of all, the banks have received so much federal bailout money that they are not hurting as much as one would think; therefore they are not pressured to liquidate their inventory fast. In fact a lot of their inventory never even makes it to the market, but rather quietly slides into the “Shadow Inventory” category.

Secondly, we have been competing with first time home buyers who are looking for a deal and beginning investors who are looking for rentals and plan on doing a light rehab rather than a full blown rehab, which enables them to offer less than most of us do. But don’t feel bad, the dirty truth about a lot of these investors is that their inexperience causes them to get hurt financially in the long run. I get calls from these types of investors all the time asking me how to get out of trouble with these properties. Unfortunately the only thing I can tell them is that they have no choice now but to hold on to the property for the long run and hope that the market value increases to recover their losses. I have even had two recently that came to me for help after they out bid me on the same property. Opps...  Read More...


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Repair Estimate Worksheet

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It has been a couple of months since I have been able to post anything on the blog. I have been rather busy lately as we have made a lot of changes around the office, and I was working on a new project that I finished just before the holidays. Hopefully I will be able to post more frequently now that things are starting to settle down a little bit again.

In December at out Monthly MnREIA Meeting, we had a great panel of REO agents. And we had one of our largest attendances in a long time, we usually have between 125-160 people at all our meetings, but December brought in 181 for the REO Panel. If you missed the meeting, the audio archive is available for MnREIA Members at www.MnREIA.com/Events.aspx?ID=REO-Agents-Panel-10-12-7-2010.

The biggest project I have been working on though is a rehab Estimate Worksheet. The worksheet is designed to allow anyone, regardless of your level of experience to easily and quickly determine the estimated cost of a rehab for a property. First you have to setup some default costs/factors, which will be easy enough to determine the defaults, because it shows you the state/local and national averages, and with one click of a button, you can set your defaults to either the local or national average defaults. You can then come back and adjust each individual item as time goes on and you get a better feel for your own individual costs/factors.  Read More...


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Is there such a thing as a rehab that is Too Big?

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Many Real Estate Investors start out rehabbing properties to resell for a profit. Many of these investors eventually migrate to wholesaling or become landlords, but some become experts and just keep on rehabbing. Most rehabbers build a system and once they have it fine tuned, don’t deviate from that system. If they build a system rehabbing rental properties for landlords or for first time home buyers, then that is what they always do, because it works for them.

However, a few rehabbers make the leap from rehabbing properties in low to middle income neighborhoods to rehabbing properties in upper middle class to affluent neighborhoods. But very few move beyond that and take the step to rehabbing extremely expensive houses. And even fewer are true visionaries.

A close friend of mine, which many of you already know, Robyn Thompson, the Queen of rehabs started out rehabbing multi-families in firs time home buyer neighborhoods in Connecticut. She then took a huge leap in faith in herself and her abilities and now rehabs multi-million dollar mansions in Florida. That is something that I hear a lot of people say is too big of a rehab, and to those people I say, you are just not thinking big enough.  Read More...


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Is Real Estate Changing?

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Obviously it is, but how is it changing and what direction are we headed is the question most people are asking themselves these days. Some of the old school investors/realtors will relate to this article, but for most of you, this will seem like a radical new approach to real estate. You see, the changes I am going to be talking about or nothing more that real estate cycles coming back around full swing.

Over the last ten years or so, all you needed was a pulse and a few months to build appreciation in order to make money in real estate. That has changed drastically, today not only do you need a pulse, you also need a creative thinking brain. However, just having a pulse will not get you a mortgage anymore. In fact, I think the only way to get a mortgage today is to prove that you absolutely don’t need it, and then you have at least a fighting chance to get past underwriting.

Over the past two years, the real estate market has been going through a market correction, because of the over inflation of housing prices. Most of these properties have been either short sales or foreclosed upon by the banks and put back on the market at reduced prices. In many areas, prices have begun to stabilize and the new market values have been established. The first time home buyers tax credit helped boast these sales and stabilize prices. However, access to financing is getting harder and interest rates are expected to increase over the next few years. This will help to bring down prices of the surrounding properties over the next few years.  Read More...


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What’s Working for You?

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I do a live weekly webinar training for real estate investors from all over the country. The weekly training is designed to help you either get started or get back on track. We have a vast verity of investors on the weekly training call from beginners to seasoned investors and one thing that I have been trying to emphasis on the training calls is that there is no one magical technique for success.

There are common traits and behaviors of successful investors, but they all have their own (sometimes unique) business models and they stick to it. However, in today’s rapidly changing market and economy, even those seasoned investors have been forced to change their strategies recently, myself included. That is why we have been seeing so many seasoned investors looking for answers.

I have been working with everyone to help them understand that one key fundamental to long term success in real estate, or any other business for that matter is the ability to change with the market. The market has changed and so must we.

So I am reaching out to all my fellow investors, new and old to find out what is working for you in your market? In the comments section below, tell us what is working for you, or what you have been doing lately. Then join us on the weekly training calls to continue this discussion on a weekly basis. Read More...


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Flipping is Legal Again...

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Blastoff

Ok, ok, I know, flipping has never been illegal, but with recent changes in the mortgage industry, the lenders are coming back around and asking for our help again. Wells Fargo was actually the first major lender to change its stance on seasoning, but because FHA is a government program, this is huge. First, let me give you a little back ground so you understand what the hoopla is all about over FHA temporarily suspending its 90 day title seasoning rule.

Several years ago, when all was right with the world, some investors were taking advantage of a unique situation in the mortgage industry. The federal government wanted everyone to be able to take advantage of the America dream. So they lowered interest rates and loosened up the required mortgage qualification guidelines for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backed mortgages, including down payments. This actually made it cheaper and easier for people who normally would never have been able to qualify for a mortgage, get one with little or no money down.

These changes actually made it cheaper for a tenant to get a mortgage than it was to rent a property, because they could finance the entire purchase price, including their closing costs. If they were to rent a property, they would at least need the first month’s rent and a security deposit. But if they bought a house, they didn’t need any of their own money up front and their first payment wasn’t due until after they had lived in the property for one month. Plus, with a mortgage, the lender only pulled their credit report, and since most of these tenants never established credit, they didn’t have bad credit. Note that a credit report doesn’t show eviction notices or criminal history, which is where many of these tenants had records. Read More...


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FHA Suspends its 90 Day Seasoning Requirement for Flipping!

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May 1, 2003 HUD imposed a 90 Day Title Seasoning requirement for all new FHA loans. This was their big idea to help protect the consumers from the Big Bad Flippers. It only took 6 years and a housing market crash to show the elitists the errors of their ways. Now they need our help to fix their mess.

They finally came to their senses and temporarily suspended title 24 CFR §203.37a(b)(2), which is the 90 Day Title Seasoning Requirement. This is only a temporary suspension. Starting February 1, 2010 and expiring on 1/31/2011, First time Home Buyers who apply for an FHA loan will not have the 90 Day Title Seasoning Requirement. However, we as investors will still need to follow a few guidelines in order to Resell (Flip) our Short Sales / REO’s and Flips to First Time Home Buyers who are applying for an FHA loan. Read More...


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