Be Hard on the Problem and Soft on the Person

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An investor who owned four rental properties for the past three years called for help. He was at his wits end. Because he hated tenants so much, he was seriously considering dumping all of his rentals! By the way, this is not an uncommon feeling for new and inexperienced landlords to have.

When we met to discuss his situation, he let me hear a recording of a conversation he had had with a tenant a few days prior…and I use the word “conversation” with reluctance.

The tenant consistently paid rent six to ten days late. This sent the landlord into orbit. Over the phone, the landlord screamed at the tenant, “You are a liar, an idiot and you’re totally worthless! Pack your crap and get out of my house right dang now!” And from there, the landlord’s words really turned foul. I felt sorry for the tenant and angry with the landlord.

The landlord knew he had lost his cool and crossed a very serious…

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Stay the Course

How do you succeed as a real estate investor? How do you succeed as a person? Simple: Stay the course!

But what course? Whose course? Heck, how do you know if you’re even on the right course?

Your course begins with an idea – YOUR idea! What feels right to you? Answer this question: What were you put on earth to do? Ever thought about this? I mean, after all, you’re here for a reason, right? What’s that reason?

For eighteen years, I sold Electrolux vacuums door-to-door. It paid me a lot of money. Only one problem: I wasn’t put on earth to sell vacuums door-to-door. So why didn’t I quit much sooner? Because everyone around me told me that I’d be a fool to walk away from the huge money-earning potential Electrolux offered.

Think about that. I kept doing a job that I hated because of someone else’s dream. It wasn’t my dream. How sad!

Fortunately, at twenty-four, I discovered something incredible. I realized that I loved everything about real estate investing. Sure, it took me eleven more years to build up the courage to leave the safety of Electrolux and become an investor, but at least I eventually…

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August REIA Meeting Info

WHAT IS AUGUST’S MEETING ABOUT?

We’re doing something special this month. Our monthly meeting will be on Thursday, August 13, 2015. We’re following is up with a final pontoon boat cruise on Lake Allatoona on Saturday, August 15, 2015. (NOTE: We can only fit 22 investors on the boat. With this being our last REIA cruise, it will sell out fast. It’s $45/person. We provide lunch. Call Kim at 770-815-8728 to sign up!)

Kim and I have managed rental property and tenants for almost twenty years. During this time, we’ve made every landlording mistake possible. In other words, experience has taught us what works and doesn’t work.

During August’s meeting, I’ll discuss the top 10 landlording lessons I’ve learned over the years. In addition, a number of experienced landlords at the meeting will be sharing their #1 landlording lesson as well.

Three-quarters of the investors who attend our meetings own rental property. This meeting will be pure landlording gold. Be sure to bring paper and pen!

Here are a couple of topics from my Top 10 List:

Why own rental property?

When should you begin an eviction?

What’s the best way to solve a tenant problem?

What’s the best type of rental property to own and not own?

What’s the #1 way to find a great tenant?

As you probably know, after thirteen years, Kim and I are closing North Georgia REIA at the conclusion of December’s meeting. August will be the last time we discuss landlording.

What’s on the schedule for the rest of the year? In September, Pete Fortunato will be our guest speaker. In October, we’ll talk about wholesaling properties. For November, Dyches Boddiford and I will talk about creative deal structuring and funding. And finally, in December, Kim and I will show you how to succeed as a real estate investor.

North Georgia REIA is passionate about your…

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My Top 10 Landlording Lessons

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Kim and I have been managing rental property and tenants since 1997. We still own the very first single-family investment property we bought way back then.

Between then and now, we’ve made every landlording mistake in the book. We’ve bought bad rental properties, rented to awful tenants, and we let tenants get three or four months behind in rent.

Here’s the important thing to remember: With every mistake we made, we learned what not to do. And with everything we did right, we learned what to do. That said, here are the top 10 landlording lessons I’ve learned over the years. I’ll be going over these in great detail at our August 13 real estate investors meeting in Cartersville, Georgia.

Number 10: Take the magic nickel. Why own rental property? If you flip a house, you make a dollar. The only way to get another dollar is to…

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Are Your Property Taxes Too High?

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Are your property taxes too high? If they are, and if you live in Bartow County, where were you last night? Where was your voice? Where was your outrage?

My mother taught me early on that silence is a form of acceptance. Folks, at last night’s Bartow County School Board meeting, the silence was deafening!

If your property taxes are too high and if you don’t speak out at the public government hearings, then you lose your right to complain. Instead, just step up to the window and pay the nice lady what you owe without one complaint!

Since 2006, Kim and I have fought our property taxes 132 times. We’ve won 112 times. That’s an 85% winning percentage. I don’t say this to brag; I say this to let you know that you can fight your property taxes and win! Just know that it’s a learned thing, not a born-knowing-how-to-do-it thing. And it begins with standing up and speaking out!

Yesterday was an interesting property tax day. It began with a drive to Gordon County to turn in a property tax appeal. I met with…

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Two Pay Checks Away From Being Broke

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Sure, there are reasons – good reasons – to not own rental property: tenants, vacancies and repairs to name three. But have you ever spent time thinking why owning investment real estate might be a good idea?

This week, my father-in-law was rushed to the hospital with what doctors thought was a massive stroke. When the ambulance arrived, he was taken directly to ICU where a ventilator was inserted, and to prevent further injury, medicine was used to induce a coma.

That was last week. Kim and I have lived at the hospital ever since. Gotta tell you, an ICU’s waiting room is full of interesting life lessons.

Also in the waiting room is a young man’s family. The twenty-year old was in a motorcycle accident. One of the family members told me that the accident victim will recover physically, but financially he’s in a lot of trouble. She said that he’ll probably lose his job, home and car. On top of that, a couple of the family members, because they don’t have any savings, find themselves between a financial rock and a…

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Be 100% There!

How important is it, when meeting with a seller, buyer, renter, realtor or contractor, to be totally focused on that person? If you’re not paying complete attention to what that person says and how he or she says it (tone of voice, hand gestures, body position, eye movement), isn’t there a good chance you’ll miss critical information that’s being shared with you?

The number of people who are not 100% there during a meeting has become epidemic – and is a major pet peeve of mine! If you’re over fifty years old, you already know what I’m talking about. Baby Boomers grew up without cell phones, emails, and text messages. Heck, we didn’t even have phone answering machines!

Here’s an example of this epidemic at work. A real estate investor needed help structuring a deal and asked for an hour of my time. He drove up from Atlanta and met me at the Adairsville Waffle House.

As we discussed his deal, every two or three minutes he looked down at his lap and typed something on his cell phone. He wasn’t typing meeting notes; his writing pad was on the table. I finally asked him what he was doing. He was answering emails and text messages as they came in. What?!?

I said, “Hang on, I need to take care of a problem.” I got up from the table, walked out the door, got in my car and drove back to the ranch. A few minutes later, this guy called and asked…

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How to Work Pre-Foreclosures

This is what the Bartow County foreclosure auction looked like in 2013

Going to the foreclosure auction was the best place to find real estate investing deals from 2009 through 2012. Talk about lots of low-hanging fruit. It was common to buy a nice three-bedroom, two-bath home in a solid neighborhood for $35 a square foot. Then in 2013, the cheese moved. Buying on the steps was no longer the best place to get deals.

Let me explain: In April 2012, there were close to two hundred properties advertised for foreclosure. At the auction, there were only five investors bidding on those two hundred properties. Talk about shooting fish in a barrel. One year later – April 2013 – there were less than eighty properties advertised with more than fifty – that’s 50 – investors and hedge funds bidding on that handful of properties. Suddenly, because of the increased competition, winning bidders found themselves paying $80 to $110 a square foot for a house. This was a huge year-over-year price increase!

Did this mean that all the great deals had disappeared? No, it simply meant that to find great deals, investors had to look somewhere else – like buying properties pre-foreclosure.

What is buying pre-foreclosure? In Georgia, the foreclosure auction is held on…

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What’s July’s Meeting About?

At July’s meeting, we’ll discuss two topics 1) How to buy houses PRE-foreclosure, 2) Lee Perkins, our long-time real estate attorney, will talk about the new – and much more complicated – closing documents we’ll soon be forced to use.

Buying Pre-foreclosure:

– How to buy a property that’s advertised for foreclosure BEFORE it’s auctioned on the courthouse steps

– Why buying pre-foreclosure is often better than buying on the courthouse steps.

– How to make sense out of the legal ads

– How to transfer the legal ad info onto our Foreclosure Sheet (NOTE: Everyone attending will get a free copy of our Foreclosure Sheet.)

– How to put together your foreclosure book

– How to map out foreclosure properties

– Where to stand after knocking on the homeowner’s door

– What to say at the homeowner’s door

– What to ask at the homeowner’s kitchen table

– How to close a deal in less than 10 days

Lee Perkins:

– Why the HUD-1 is going away?

– What closing documents are taking the place of the HUD-1?

– Will closings get easier or harder?

– Will closings take longer or shorter to close?

This will be an information packed meeting! And remember, North Georgia REIA is coming to a close with the end of December’s meeting. Between now and then, show up and get your real estate investing questions answered!

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Avoid the Certainty of Poverty

Had a good conversation with an investor friend about the financial collapse of Greece. The country is so broke that not only can it not repay its loans, it can’t make its note payments either. What’s Greece’s solution to this financial meltdown? They want to borrow even MORE money!

It’s crazy for anyone – including a country – to believe that the way to get yourself out of a financial hole is to dig it even deeper! Yet that’s exactly what Greece – and way too many American families…and America herself – is doing.

Jack Miller, my long-time teacher until he joined the other angels in heaven, taught us how to avoid the certainty of poverty. He also shared what he had learned from Warren Hardin: It’s inconvenient to be physically alive but financially dead.

Pete Fortunato, another of my long-time teachers, said that to avoid poverty, an investor/businessman must play both offense and defense. You play offense by building income, creating a surplus between what you bring in and what you spend, and by acquiring and controlling assets. You play defense by avoiding, limiting and eliminating expenses.

I know, it’s hard to save and even harder to…

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