Category Archive: Articles

How to Work Foreclosures

Kim and I have been buying foreclosures since 1995. Over time, we’ve built a unique system that’s very effective. It has allowed us to buy tons of properties pre-foreclosure, at the auction and from banks after the auction. Today, I’ll explain how we work the pre-foreclosure market. Next week, we’ll discuss how to buy at the foreclosure auction.

When it comes to foreclosures, our best deals come from buying pre-foreclosure! At the foreclosure auction, there are always investors willing to work on much thinner margins than which we’re comfortable.

On the other hand, when buying pre-foreclosure – that is, before the auction – there’s very little competition. Why? If a homeowner is facing foreclosure, because of unfounded fear, few investors will knock on a homeowner’s door.

There’s another BIG benefit to buying pre-foreclosure. Since you’re buying from the owner, there are many more creative deal-structuring tools you can use to construct a win-win deal. If you buy at the foreclosure auction, there’s only one tool – a big dang hammer…CASH! There’s no creativity, beauty or…

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Sue Stanley’s Barbershop: How to Run a Successful Business

What can you learn about running a successful business from Sue Stanley and her Ye Old Barbershop in Adairsville, Georgia? In a word: Everything!

There are two ways to learn how to run a business: You can go to college and major in business, or you can spend time with someone who’s been running a successful business for decades. I believe the latter is a better, faster, more effective way to learn.

For a business to succeed, the owner must keep his/her net profit as close as possible to his/her gross profit. In other words, don’t let your expenses eat up all your profit. There are thousands of failed business owners who were bringing in money hand over fist, but their bills were flooding in even faster! The result? Because there wasn’t enough profit left after the bills were paid, these businesses went Tango Uniform (a.k.a. toes up)!

Sue is an example of a person who knows how to run a business right. She operates the oldest, continuously-run-by-the-same-person business in Adairsville. This means she has longevity and is a very smart businesswoman to boot!

Want to know some of Sue’s secrets?

When Sue took over the…

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Learn From The Best Real Estate Investing Teachers

Pete Fortunato (on left) & Dyches Boddiford

After last night’s real estate investors meeting, a guy new to investing said, “I’ll never be as good at creative deal structuring as you, Bill.’’

I get this a lot. Here’s the thing: Because I’m VERY dyslexic, in school, my report cards were loaded with C’s, D’s and F’s. In other words, I’m not the brightest bulb in the pack. Most everyone reading this – except for Larry Brunner – is a good bit smarter than me. I’m proof that you don’t have to be smart to succeed at real estate investing. The key is – and always will be – getting face-to-face with sellers on a regular basis!

This new investor is seeing me decades into my real estate investing career. He’d have a whole different opinion if he’d met me twenty years ago!

In 1995, when we first got into real estate investing, Kim had three jobs: She cleaned houses, hung wallpaper and worked at her dad’s pawnshop. I had two jobs: I sold Electrolux vacuums door-to-door and worked at Home Depot. What we knew about real estate would fit in a thimble.

At the beginning of 1998, I became a full-time real estate investor. In the three prior years, Kim and I had done a whopping four deals – not exactly world-beaters, were we? We knew NOTHING about creative deal structuring or funding!

The first big-league real estate investing course I took was Dyches Boddiford’s Advanced Strategies Conference. That January weekend, I understood Dyches when he said, “Let’s get started.” Then, “It’s time for lunch.” And finally, “Thanks for coming.” Everything in between those three statements was a complete…

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How to Make the Impossible Deals Possible

Hamilton Crossing

Every month, within 5 miles of your home, there’s a $15,000 net-profit deal to be had. The hard part is finding it, and then knowing how to creatively structure it into a big-profit deal. There won’t be a large sign in the yard that reads: Stop Here – $15,000 Deal Inside!

A common mistake made by many would-be real estate investors is to run a We Buy Houses ad, and then sit back and wait for the phone to ring. A truth: The phone rarely rings! Because of this, most new investors go out of business long before they find their first deal!

To succeed at real estate investing, you must get face-to-face with sellers on a regular basis. The fastest, cheapest and most effective way to accomplish this all-important task is to simply knock on sellers’ doors and ask why they’re selling.

In addition to door-knocking, you must continually learn creative deal structuring techniques from experienced real estate investors. The best creative deal structurer I know is Pete Fortunato. With nearly 50 years of deal-making experience under his belt, he’s the best there is!

To show you how to make the impossible deals not only possible, but also very profitable, let’s look at one that Kim and I just completed.

In early October 2010, I was knocking on sellers’ doors in a nice subdivision off…

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“Impossible” is a Human Invention

Robert Schuller came up with a great quote in 1973: What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

As 2015 begins, after finding yourself a quiet place to write down your goals, place Mr. Schuller’s quote in front of you. Next, with each goal you put to paper ask yourself: If failure is impossible, is this still a worthy goal for me to pursue?

At the beginning of each January, many of us make goals – they’re called New Year’s resolutions. This flood of goal setting is evident by the huge increase in the number of folks in the gym, and also by the number of people reading self-help books.

Sadly, by February, we’re back to seeing just the regulars working out – with the exception of two or three new people who’ve gutted out the pain and…

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Let a Rental Property Pay For It

As you probably know, December 15th was the last day to sign up for a 2015 medical insurance plan – a plan that must now comply will all the requirements of Obamacare.

For the past ten years, Kim and I have used an HSA (Health Savings Account). This is a savings account used in conjunction with a high-deductible health insurance policy.

Our 2014 policy cost $544 per month ($6,528 per year). Several weeks ago, I got a bill for our 2015 policy. The new price for our same policy skyrocketed by 113% to a whopping $1,160 per month ($13,920 per year)! WHAT?!?

Thank you President Obama – and all the members of Congress – who made Obamacare the law of the land…and then put the IRS in charge of enforcing it! What can possibly go wrong?

This column is NOT about politicians. It’s about how Kim and I will pay for our health insurance – insurance that we can no longer afford.

First, starting in 2015, we’re dropping down from the plan we have (and like) to a cheaper, lesser…

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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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