Category Archive: Articles

It’s So Easy to Quit!

When we got home from last night’s North Georgia Real Estate Investors Association meeting, I said to Kim, “That was our last meeting. Only 63 people cared enough to show up. To heck with the REIA; I have better things to do with my time than to teach folks how to become successful real estate investors!”

Kim, to her credit, just let me rant and rave for a few minutes to blow off steam. As we went to bed she said, “Of the people who did attend tonight, how many do you think you helped to become better, smarter, wiser real estate investors?”

Next she asked: “Do you think your teachers – Jack Miller, Pete Fortunato and Dyches Boddiford – have always taught to a packed house?”

Finally: “Bill, by teaching folks how to achieve financial freedom by investing in real estate, if you make a difference in just one person’s life, is it worth it?”

After a good night’s sleep, I awoke this morning thinking about how easy it is to quit something when you get discouraged or the going gets tough. A few years back, I made 297 written purchase offers in a row without getting a…

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The Creative Power of Notes

Most folks have signed a note at some point in their lives. Maybe it was to borrow money to buy a car, or to pay for college, or to buy a home. Of the notes you’ve signed, how many have you read – word for word – before putting your signature on the dotted line? Did you understand 100% of what the note said before giving it your blue-ink OK?

I’m very embarrassed to say this: I was almost 40 years old before I began reading – and attempting to understand – the notes lenders placed in front of me. Sadly, up until then, my John Hancock went wherever they pointed.

When I was 39, I met Pete Fortunato ( When it comes to using notes as a conduit for creatively constructing deals – for making the impossible deals not only possible, but also profitable – there’s no one better, or more experienced than Pete!

Let’s begin with note basics. A note is a written…

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Pete Fortunato’s Paper Course

Next weekend I’ll be attending Pete Fortunato’s Paper Course in Tampa, Florida. I’ve taken Pete’s two-day class more than ten times. I always come away with pages and pages of handwritten notes. To see examples of some of the best and most creative paperwork in real estate investing, Pete’s is THE place to be!

What kind of paperwork does Pete cover? Purchase agreements, sale agreements, leases, master leases, notes, mortgages, assignments, options, etc. Best of all, you learn by watching Pete go through the paperwork he has used over the past 50 years to creatively construct deals.

When getting started as a real estate investor, I didn’t think I needed any help with paperwork. After all, I knew how to fill out a GAR (Georgia Association of Realtors) Purchase and Sale Agreement. No need to know more than that – or so I thought!

The point of today’s column is to show you that if you know how to creatively construct an offer, then you have the ability to make the impossible deals possible.

You find a nice three-bedroom, two-bath house in a good neighborhood. It’s worth $100,000. It needs $8,000 in fix-up work. It will rent for $1,000 per month with monthly expenses (taxes, insurance, repairs, vacancies and management) running 40% ($400 per month) of gross rents. You can buy the property for $45,000. One thing more:…

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Starters, Estate Builders and Enders

There are three types of real estate investors: Starters, Estate Builders and Enders. Do you know which stage you’re in? Many flippers and wholesalers think they’re Estate Builders when, in fact, they’re actually running a highly taxed retail business – they’re not real estate investors! (Saying this is sure to ruffle some feathers, but read on before you call me a liar!)

As the name implies, a Starter is someone who’s just getting started in real estate. He usually knows little about contracts, rehabbing, landlording or how to creatively structure and fund a deal. He’s been to the closing table less than six times. We’re talking about someone who’s wet behind the ears!

An Estate Builder may still be new to real estate, but his focus is different from a Starter’s. Many of the Estate Builder’s deals are structured to increase the investor’s monthly mailbox money! Mailbox money is money made when your capital assets are working for you instead of you working for your capital assets. Examples of capital assets are rental property and notes.

An Ender has been investing in real estate for more than a decade. He’s very experienced at creatively constructing deals. Many Enders cut back on the number of rentals they own in exchange for…

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Speed, Greed + Ignorance = A Real Estate Investing Train Wreck

The new real estate investor asked, “Bill, can you help me put together a deal?”

“Sure,” I answered. “What kind of creative deal do you need help putting together?”

“It needs to be one of those subject-to deal thingamajigs, combined with a land-trust doohickey,” she replied.

I paused to consider what she had just said. I asked, “A doohickey? Have you ever done a subject-to deal or worked with a land trust before?”

“Not yet. This will be my first time to use either technique,” she explained.

It reminded me of something Jack Miller (God rest his wise soul) once said: Speed, greed and ignorance equals a real estate investing train wreck. So true – especially in this case!

Why is it that new investors think they can take one or two classes and then know all there is to know about real estate investing? Sure, we’re morphing into an impatient society that wants instant gratification, but most things still take a lot of time to master – about 10,000 hours! There’s no single class to take or computer app to get that will allow you to know all there is to know about…

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How to Make $25,000 in Twenty-five days

Lexington Ave Wholesale Deal

There are many reasons why you should become a real estate investor; one is to gain financial freedom by owning paid-for rental homes that provide you with monthly mailbox money. Another is the opportunity to make big chunks of cash by bird-dogging, wholesaling and flipping properties.

Whether you’re a seasoned real estate investor or one who is just getting started, bird-dogging and wholesaling homes to other investors should be part of your business plan.

For example, (and I don’t write this to say “Boy, look at us; aren’t we something!”) a couple of months ago, Kim and I bought a house for $91,000, and then wholesaled it twenty-five days later (without doing any repairs) for $123,000. Our net profit on this wholesale deal was more than $25,000.

Want to know how we did it? Read on, my friend, read on!

What is bird-dogging? A bird dog is someone who…

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Accomplish Tasks!

What does it take to be a successful real estate investor – or a successful anything for that matter? Simple answer: Accomplish the tasks that need accomplishing, and do them whether you want to do them or not.

Right now, I’m beating myself up. My key goal for this year was to get my real estate investing training manuals re-written and published. Guess how many I’ve gotten done? Zippo!

Bottom line: I didn’t do what needed to be done. When this happens to you, how does it make you feel? In my case, I lie awake nights calling myself every name in the book. That doesn’t really help to build one’s self-confidence, does it?

How do you fix this problem? Another simple answer: Block out distractions, focus, and start accomplishing tasks!

When Kim and I first became real estate investors, there was one main goal that needed to get done: I had to get face-to-face with twenty-five sellers each and every week. It was incredibly easy to find hundreds of other far-less-important things to do…like…

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The Tax Benefits of Rental Property

Like many people, Anthony is disgusted with the skimpy 0.1% interest his bank is paying on savings. He knew that Kim and I, like many real estate investors, borrow our purchase and fix-up money from individuals rather than from banks. He called to say that he would fund our next deal if we’d pay him 5% compounding interest.

The phone conversation led to a face-to-face talk over coffee at Waffle House. Anthony and his wife have good jobs and they’re paid W-2 income. In other words, their tax bracket was killing them.

Being the curious sort, I asked why they wanted to be lenders instead of owning rental property themselves…after all, their tax situation screamed: Own rental property! Anthony explained that they’d heard too many tenant horror stories – there was no way they’d ever consider becoming landlords.

I shared that Kim and I had found our next investment deal. It was a three-bedroom, two-bath ranch in a great neighborhood. The purchase price was…

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Would-be Tenants From Hades

Landlords, what’s the best way to deal with tenants who are a pain in the tail and make you want to vomit? Easy answer: Never let them in your rental property in the first place. And how do you accomplish this feat? Read on, my friend – it’s actually pretty simple! But first, a story…

Several weeks back, we had a property go vacant in Cartersville, Georgia. It’s a nice three-bedroom, two-bath home with a two-car garage. Though a good number of applications came in, one stood out above the rest.

The application was neat and complete. The prospects were from Cartersville, so they have a lot of ties to the community. The husband was an experienced contractor who knew how to fix things. The wife was disabled and received a guaranteed monthly government check. They didn’t have any kids or pets and didn’t smoke. They were looking for a place they could live in for the rest of their lives. Looking at the application, there was nothing not to like about…

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Seven Truths of Real Estate Investing

Recently, Kim and I spoke to a group of new real estate investors. The topic was: The Seven Truths of Real Estate Investing. This information is beneficial to anyone who’s thinking about dipping his or her toe into the real estate investing water.

First truth: To be a successful real estate investor, you gotta get face-to-face with sellers on a regular basis and ask Pete Fortunato’s famous question: Why are you selling such a nice house like this? This is the alpha and omega of real estate investing!

Would-be investors mistakenly think they can succeed using nothing more than a computer. Real estate investing is a people business, not a computer business! Nothing takes the place of sitting at the seller’s kitchen table and asking lots of questions so you can discover the seller’s uncomfortable circumstances. After all, how can you structure an offer that is likely to be accepted by the seller if you don’t first fully understand the seller’s problem?

Second truth: Success comes slowly…very slowly! Kim and I were active investors for five years before we started feeling comfortable about what we were doing. It was another five years before we began feeling confident with our deals. And let me tell you, there’s a huge difference between…

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