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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No Seller Wants Cash – EVER!

No seller wants cash - EVER!

Just got a call from a realtor. She represents a homeowner who needs a quick sale. The realtor said, “Bill, my client will only consider an all-cash offer. We’re not interested in any of your creative razzle-dazzle deal structures, understand?”

Kim and I get a lot of calls like this. I’ve learned not to say, “No seller wants cash – EVER – ya dingbat!” Saying such would ruin the relationship and destroy the possibility of meeting face-to-face with the seller.

So what do you think? Do sellers really want cash or could I possibly be right?

In this situation, what if I immediately agreed to pay the seller’s $80,000 asking price – in cash? There’s only one condition: The seller must put the $80,000 on her kitchen table, cover it with plastic wrap, and once a month the seller, realtor and I will get together and marvel at the big stack of money.

Sure, this is a silly stipulation that no seller would agree to. But why – since the seller is getting exactly what she wants – wouldn’t she…

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If It’s Stupid and Works, Then It’s Not Stupid!

Bill out door-knocking

Dan has been investing in real estate for six years. He’s frustrated because he’s not able to find deals the way he could a few years back when there was plenty of low-hanging fruit on the market. Dan said his marketing no longer works. He’s one frustrated investor!

Desperate, Dan called and asked to go door-knocking with me. He’d heard that Kim and I had built our real estate investing business square on the back of knocking on homeowners’ doors. Problem was, the thought of knocking on a stranger’s door nearly makes Dan vomit. Isn’t it funny what folks will try when their sinking ship is about to go under?

A few days later, as Dan and I headed to the first subdivision, he nervously mumbled, “Knocking on someone’s door is plain stupid!” I smiled. Dan had himself convinced that he knew exactly what would happen at the first door – we’d get yelled at and the door would be slammed in our faces.

We soon saw a house with a For Sale sign in the yard. We pulled to the curb. I honestly thought Dan would pass out before we made it to the seller’s door. After knocking, I backed up twenty feet into the yard. When the seller answered I said…

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Double Decker Pontoon Boat

WHEN: Saturday, August 15, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. NOTE: We will pull out promptly at 10, so you need to be on the boat no later than 9:30 a.m.!!!

WHERE: We’ll board at Paradise Boat Rentals on Park Marina Road, in Red Top Mountain State Park, in Cartersville, Georgia. Their phone number is 770-974-2628

TO SIGN UP: Call Kim Cook at 770-815-8728. Bill’s number is 770-815-8727.


The 5th Annual REIA on the Water Double-decker Pontoon Boat Cruise!

It’s time to celebrate the end of summer by getting together with other likeminded real estate investors while cruising on – and swimming in – Lake Allatoona!

Continuing the five-year tradition, twenty-six real estate investors will get together on a huge double-decker pontoon boat (it has a bathroom) and spend four hours cruising the lake, going for a swim and talking creative deal structuring and funding. It’s a blast – tons of great, what’s-working-now information gets shared!

The cruise is $45/person. We provide lunch, snacks and drinks. It’s always a sellout – we can only take 22 investors – so if you want to join us, call Kim now and reserve your spot! Her number is 770-815-8728.

You can go to North Georgia REIA’s Facebook page to see pictures of REIA on the Water cruises from previous years.

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The Power of a Refusal Option

Captain Nimrod!

I hate being an idiot, but when you screw up like I just did, it qualifies me to be the biggest nimrod in the land!

The most powerful document in real estate investing is the option agreement. Sadly, the least used and most misunderstood document in real estate also happens to be the option agreement. Why don’t more folks know how to effectively use options to control property? Probably because there are so few investors who have experience using options.

Most folks have heard of Lease Options, but what about Purchase Options, Performance Options and First Right of Refusal Options to name but a few?

An option is a right, but it’s not an obligation. Let me explain: If you’re selling your house and we sign a Purchase and Sale contract, I’m contractually obligated to buy your property and you’re contractually obligated to sell me your property. If either one of us refuses to perform, there’s a good chance attorneys will get hired – cha-ching!

On the other hand, if I buy a Purchase Option from you, then I have the right to buy your property for the agreed to price and terms…but you can’t force me to perform! However, you ARE obligated to sell me your…

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June’s North Georgia REIA Meeting


As many of you know, after 13 years, Kim and I are putting North Georgia REIA to bed at the close of our December 2015 meeting. Between now and then, we will do the meetings we’ve always wanted to do – but never dared to do before!

It was hard naming June’s meeting. At first it was called No Damn Way Deals. Then it was Holy Crap Deals. Finally, after much begging, Kim let me call the meeting: The Ballsiest Deals Ever!

As a real estate investor, your job is to make the impossible deals not only possible, but also probable. To accomplish this goal, you need a lot of tools in your deal structuring toolbox.

At June’s meeting, you’ll see creative deal structuring and funding at its absolute finest! You’ll see deal structures that you never knew existed. You’ll see the trigger pulled on properties that 99% of the investing world wouldn’t have done because they didn’t know how to structure or fund them.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! It will be presented by some of the most creative real estate investing minds in the country. I promise that you’ve never seen anything like this before. Be ready to have your mind bent – and then blown!

On the panel will be my good friends and fellow cohorts Houston Long, Joe English, Mike Tarpey and Kerry Milligan. We’re gonna talk about the deals we’ve NEVER publically talked about before – EVER!

In fact, let’s go ahead and set the meeting’s ground rules: (Rules? In a knife fight? There’re no rules in a knife fight! – Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.)

These “alleged” deals probably never happened!

Any pictures you see of us on the screen were likely photoshopped!

Any documents you see were possibly forged by persons unknown!

All names have been changed to protect the…ummm…innocent!

The paranoia meter at this meeting will be pegged in the red – and so will the color of Houston’s face!

If you are someone who is easily offended, or is wrapped up in political correctness, DO NOT attend this meeting!

Absolutely no one is allowed to record this meeting!

North Georgia REIA is passionate about your…

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Never Take Orders From Paint

Jack Miller

Jack Miller was one of my primary real estate investing teachers. He was a wonderful man and an incredible educator and mentor. It’s hard to believe that he went to heaven almost six years ago. Not a day goes by that he and I don’t have a conversation in my head.

Jack was the type of guy who very much marched to his own drummer. One of his best quotes was: Never take orders from paint.

Let me explain: Have you ever turned onto a street, saw the One Way sign and realized that you were going the wrong way? What did you do – an immediate U-turn, right? That’s what most of us would do. But not Jack! Jack would keep going the way he was going and say, “Never take orders from paint!”

Spend a minute thinking about this. Was Jack right or wrong? Now add this to the equation: Jack spent his whole life not taking orders from paint – both figuratively and literally – and he was a very successful businessman!

On the other hand, I spent most of my life doing exactly what was…

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