Category Archive: Articles

What Does Creative Deal Structuring Look Like?


Since 1999, Kim and I have continually learned from Pete Fortunato how to creatively structure and fund our deals – without going to banks!

The BEST real estate investing meeting we attend is the weekly Real Estate Exchangers meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida. It’s creative deal structuring and funding at its most pure.

Here’s an example of a deal that was put together at yesterday’s meeting.

Rich has a SUV that he’ll sell for $3,000 cash. Pretty straight up deal, right?

Pete offers to trade his Nissan truck for Rich’s SUV. But Rich doesn’t want a truck; he wants $3,000 cash! Does Pete have a hearing problem or what?

Here is a classic example of Use What You Have, To Get What You Need, To Get What You Want.

Upon seeing that Pete’s truck is on the block, Kevin offers to give Pete a…

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And Kim Came Running Outside Naked

Broker Booger-pickin' Finger

Kim knows she’s not supposed to answer her iPhone when she’s in the shower. If the phone gets wet we’ll be saying goodbye to $700. Her wise and handsome husband has repeatedly warned her about this. No matter, that morning, as she bathed, when her phone rang, she answered it.

Seconds later, Kim came running out of the house naked!!!

You see, when Kim answered the phone, I was the one calling, and I was screaming, “Get back to the barn NOW!!!”

While trying to load our six-foot Bushhog onto a flatbed trailer with my tractor’s frontend loader, the 1,400 pound Bushhog slammed down on the four fingers of my right hand like a…

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If You’re Not Saying Wow, Then…


Boy was Mike ever excited! He found his first real estate investing deal; a property he planned to keep as a rental. Knowing that Kim and I loaned money to purchase investment homes, he gave me a call.

Mike’s contract was a gem of an opportunity – at least according to him. The seller told Mike that six other buyers were lined up with cash money. If Mike wasn’t able to close within a week, the seller would let another lucky stiff…errrr…I mean investor…have the home.

Mike explained that the house was built in 1955, had three bedrooms and one bath, needed a good bit of work, the neighborhood was okay but not great, and like-kind houses in the area rented for $800 per month. The seller told him the home’s fair market value was…

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How Can One Deal Lead to More Deals?


Most folks think real estate investing is finding a deal, taking it down, getting it rehabbed and sold, and then going out to find the next deal. But what if you structured the deal in such a way that one deal leads to more deals? Let’s look at two real-world examples of this.

A few years ago, our good friends Joe and Ashley English, found an investment property they wanted to buy. Only one problem, they didn’t have the money to buy the home. Joe sent an email to several investors explaining that he was seeking funding.

Within minutes, Joe’s phone rang. It was Pete Fortunato – the best creative deal structurer we’ve ever met. Pete was on Joe’s email list.

After a short conversation, Pete agreed to…

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One Step Beyond

Pete with Waffle House coffee mug

In September, Kim and I are bringing Pete Fortunato to town. Pete is the BEST creative deal structurer and funder we’ve ever met. He has been one of our primary real estate investing teachers since the late nineties. If you are a regular reader of our column, you’ve heard me quote him hundreds of times. There’s simply nobody else like Pete!

Here are just a few of the quotes that I jotted down the last time I took Pete’s One Step Beyond seminar.

“Every deal you do is a seed for another deal.”

“If you do a good deal with someone, they’ll want to do more deals with you because you’ve proved yourself to be honest and competent.”

“How do you know whether it’s a good deal? Each party is happier after the deal has closed.”

“Most of the time a yellow pad is the best thing on which to draw up an agreement. Then take what’s on the pad and type it up in the form of a contract.”

“Opportunities are found. Deals are constructed. So don’t go out looking for deals. Instead, look for opportunities!”

“Opportunities are born out of someone’s uncomfortable circumstance. You find out what this is by asking, ‘Why are you selling such a nice house like this?’”

“When you present an offer and the other party begins to cry, either your offer is really good or really bad.”

When dealing with an attorney or realtor: “Your traditions are not laws of nature. Why should I let your traditions affect my transactions?”

“It’s inconvenient to be physically alive but financially dead.”

“Real estate is a thinking man’s game, not a running man’s game.”

On Thursday, September 10, Pete will be teaching at our North Georgia REIA real estate investors meeting at the beautiful Hilton Garden Inn in Cartersville, Georgia. Because we are closing our group at the end of December, this will be the last time…

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Be Hard on the Problem and Soft on the Person


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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My Top 10 Landlording Lessons

Rental House

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?


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

Moped - Beer

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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