Category Archive: Articles

Do You Have Big But Disease?

Not This Kind of Big But Disease!

The thing that kills most real estate investors – heck, the thing that prevents 95% of folks from reaching anywhere close to their full potential as human beings – is the dreaded Big But Disease!

It goes something like this: I want to start my own business, but…. I want to do more for my church, but…. I want to own 20 free-and-clear rental properties, but… I want to get in shape, but…. I want to improve my marriage, but… I want to spend more quality time with my kids, but…

That stinky Big But Disease will squash your dreams, murder your goals, and destroy the person you were born to be!

Starting today, what if you replaced saying “but…” with saying “I’ll do whatever it takes to get this thing done!”

So instead of saying, “I want to run a marathon, but…” you’d say, “I want to run a marathon, and I’ll do whatever it takes to get this thing done!” With this attitude how much more would you accomplish in your lifetime?

My dad wanted his son to be a fleet-footed star running back for Bear Bryant’s Alabama Crimson Tide. Unfortunately, when I was young, I was forced to wear…

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Getting Mailbox Money Without Tenants

mailbox money

Two decades ago, Kim and I set a goal to replace our earned income with investment income.

There are a couple of advantages to achieving this goal. First, you don’t have to labor for a living. In other words, your capital is working for you instead of you working for your capital. Second, the tax rate on earned income is much higher than it is on investment income. Said another way: With investment income, the government lets you keep more of what you make, and when it comes to money, more is better than less, right?

To accomplish this goal, we figured we’d need fifteen single-family rental properties. Each month, the tenants would send in their rent checks. Part of these checks go toward paying the mortgages, insurance, property taxes, vacancies, repairs and management. We get to keep whatever is left over to spend or invest how we see fit.

There is a downside to owning rental property. Though for tax purposes the government considers what you make to be passive income, there’s still hands-on work that needs to be done to maintain the property and the tenants.

Because of the many landlord-tenant horror stories, some investors despise the idea of working with tenants. They’d rather stick a hot needle in their eye than to have any interaction with rent payers.

Here are three techniques Kim and I use to get mailbox money that doesn’t require us to have any…

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What’s Better Than Mailbox Money?

Kim at her latest deal on Rail Drive!

For more than twenty years, I’ve said many times that there’s nothing better than mailbox money. After all, instead of having to go out and labor for eight to ten hours a day just to earn a highly-taxed paycheck, who wouldn’t rather have checks magically appear in their mailbox each and every month?

Rent checks are one example of mailbox money. For instance, if you own ten single-family rental homes, and each one rents for $900 per month, this equals $9,000 being slid into your post office box each month. Sweet!

Another example is selling a home and offering your buyers owner financing. The buyers get the house and in return, they give you a secured note that obligates them to send you a monthly mortgage payment.

I never thought anything surpassed a mailbox full of money. Turns out I was wrong! I just made an incredible discovery. The thing that tops mailbox money is kept-man money!

What, exactly, is kept-man money? It’s when your wife goes out and hustles up a big, fat…

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There Are No Tears in Real Estate

50 Akin Drive being rehabbed

With less than a week left before completing a major rehab on our latest real estate investing deal, all Kim wanted to do was to drop to the floor and cry when she saw what had happened to every interior wall in the home.

The day before, the walls had been perfect. But on this day, the walls looked like something you’d see in one of those circus houses with funny mirrors that make your head look huge while making your body look the size of a walnut.

In this home, we’d replaced all the paneling with new paneling. Then came two days of constant rain. Because the HVAC system wasn’t yet working, there was a significant increase in the home’s humidity level. The new paneling quickly absorbed the excess humidity and became wavy.

A multitude of things made Kim want to cry. All the time and money spent demolishing the old walls and installing the new ones was for naught. The rehab was scheduled to be completed in five more days, but now would be extended by at least two weeks. The extra work would cause this rehab to go over…

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Own Nothing, Control Everything

Dyches finally admitting that Bill was right!

A real estate investor offered to buy me lunch in exchange for information. He wanted to know how we held title to our properties. In other words, whose name was on the deed?

When we met, he explained that he’d gone to the deeds room in the courthouse to lookup which properties Kim and I owned. After much research, he concluded that we didn’t own any houses – and he was right!

But how can I be a real estate investor and not own any real estate. Easy answer. We don’t own any properties personally! Having assets in our names can be reckless. Plus, it can wreak havoc on our estate plan when we die.

NOTE: I’m not an attorney or a CPA, so what I say is just my opinion. Seek competent council before you make any big, life-changing decisions.

We use trusts to hold all of our property – both real and personal. In other words, everything we own is held in a series of trusts that are controlled by our trustees. We do this for two main reasons: estate planning and anonymity.

Let’s talk about trusts and estate planning. Most folks have a will. Upon death, their will gets probated. This means a judge determines the validity of the person’s will. And here’s the frustrating part: if anyone disagrees with anything in your will, that person(s) can sue your estate.

Oh, it gets even better. Did you know that once your will is probated that it becomes a…

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Run, Move, Sweat!

Bill doing a triathlon in his shorty shorts

What the hey? In the past four months, six people close to me have gone to the hospital with heart problems. One died. Four others had stents implanted, plus they were put on expensive, life-long heart medications. Just last week my brother-in-law went in for a stent – he’s in his early forties. Yesterday, it was my sister-in-law’s turn – she’s in her mid-fifties. Like I said: What the hey?

As it is with most real estate investors, Kim and I have spent years working diligently investing in real estate. Why all the effort and sacrifice? To achieve financial freedom so we can do what we want, when we want, where we want, why we want, and with whom we want.

But what if we achieve financial freedom only to discover that our good health has gotten up and gone? If health issues make us invalids, what good is financial freedom?

What can we do to prevent this? One hour a day – Run! Move! Sweat!

Most every morning, Kim and I spend…

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Wish I Had a Do Over

Jack Miller

I’m writing this on Friday, October 9, 2015. It’s a heavy day for me. Today is the sixth anniversary of Jack Miller’s passing, and for the past few days my thoughts have frequently been about Jack.

Many of you have never heard of Jack Miller. Fewer still ever took the opportunity to learn from this great man. Jack, hands down, is the best all-around real estate investor I’ve ever met. He was the definition of original. There was no boundary he wouldn’t push.

Put simply: Many of the creative deal structuring and funding techniques investors use today were born in Jack’s wonderful imagination. There has never been, or will ever be, another Jack Miller.

I wish I had a do over. While I attended most of Jack’s seminars, there was more than a handful that I missed. If I could get that do over, I’d be front and center at each one of those missed seminars – taking notes like crazy!

Kim just asked what I’d pay to attend just one more of Jack’s seminars. One hundred thousand dollars wouldn’t be too much. God, to hear Jack ring his big bell that let folks know that class was back in session…yep, one hundred thousand dollars would be well-spent money!

When Jack passed, he was nearly eighty years old and at the top of his game. Here are a couple of Jack’s quotes I wrote down at his February 2009 Money Matters seminar…this was the last seminar he taught!

“When you are the only one in the desert with water, you can command a handsome price for that water.”

“Don’t look for big chunks of money. Instead, look for lots of small deals that pay you constantly”

“As real estate investors, we must constantly be adapting to the current market. Dinosaurs failed to do this and they’re now extinct.”

“There are two horses in this business – houses and paper. When real estate values drop, move to paper. When paper drops, move to real estate.”

“To succeed as a real estate investor, fish with a big net. You won’t make it if you’re fishing with a line that only has one hook at the end. In other words, you gotta make a lot of offers!”

“It’s one thing to pass a law. It’s another to enforce it.” (He said this with a twinkle in his eye!)

“When house values drop, it’s like the Titanic is sinking and you’re in the life boat saying, ‘Seats for sale!’”

“Keep thinking about how to pick up the penny off the pavement.”

“Raindrops turn into a river. You want a lot of people owing you money.”

“As an investor, always do more than you…

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Sage Advice From an Old Investor

Only three meetings left! With the close of December’s real estate investors meeting, Kim and I will be shutting the doors on North Georgia REIA forever. With the end near, Kim and I have been reminiscing about the best lessons we’ve shared with our group.

With this in mind, here’s some sage advice from an old investor.

How do I know whether the deal is good or not? How do I know what I’m looking at? And if I decided to take the deal down, how do I get it funded fast without going to a bank?

When Kim and I began our investing careers in 1995, we thought all houses were pretty much the same. Over time and with experience, we learned what types of houses worked best for us.

If we are going to keep it as a rental, our favorite house is a…

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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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