Search results for 'auto responder marketing guide for real estate investing' (18 articles found)

The Equifax Hack

by  Scott Vance  on  Tuesday, October 10, 2017

In the last week and a half, we have had news of another North Korean missile launch, protests in St. Louis, President Trump tweeting about anything and a terrorist attack in Britain.  The news item that probably affects more Americans directly than any of those is the news of the security breach at Equifax.

I have been contacted by several clients asking Are they effected? What is the threat? and What to do?  This hopefully answers some of your questions and gives you a path for the way forward.

Where we are.

Last week Equifax announced that personal data of approximately 143 million Americans as of this writing had been stolen.  Equifax has begun some paltry attempts to begin recovering.  They early on put up a website to discover if your information had been compromised.  The website was not well supported and crashed multiple times.  They also offered an 800 number to call in to.  Numerous people report calling in and receiving incorrect advice from untrained call center workers, if they were able to get an answer at all.  Early on Equifax offered a free year of credit monitoring but part of signing up for it was waiving your right to sue for damages.  The stipulation has since been removed but the credit monitoring service is largely a symbolic gesture.  Government investigations have been promised, some of Equifax’s corporate leadership has “retired”.  Recent reports suggest that some Equifax executives had sold stock in the interim between discovering the leak and announcing that leak to the public.  Equifax reports that none of these stock sales were in response to the leak.

The impact.

The information hacked from Equifax opens your whole life to identity theft.  Equifax reports that Social Security numbers, account numbers, names, addresses, birth dates and driver’s license information for some states.  The bulk of this information is considered “Evergreen” in that this basic information is something that is a part of you and not really something you can just change.  Most of the recent hacks, such as the recent Home Depot hack or Target hack involves information which has a very defined life time.  Generally, these hacks involved account numbers of credit cards.  The crooks had to use this information in a certain amount of time before the account numbers changed. The information hacked can be placed in an electronic vault somewhere and 5, 10 or 15 years down the road pulled out to be used to steal your identity.  It can also be used for multiple attacks of your identity since it includes information that is the base of your financial identity.

The Threat.

This hack threatens your financial life far more than any hack before.  The loss of your basic data which is evergreen opens you up to identity theft for the rest of your life.  The information hacked will allow crooks to open accounts in your name, get different forms of credit in your name and take over your credit making it very hard for you to access your credit and legitimately repair it if needed so that you can access your credit for your own legitimate purposes.  Some of the lesser recognized methods this information could be used is to file a false tax return in your name getting your tax refund or filing for Social Security and Medicare benefits in your name.  Probably the only light in this whole situation is that children who have no credit file are not affected at this point.

Your roadmap to protect yourself.

Protecting yourself at this point is less about preventing your information from being stolen and more about limiting the usefulness of that information.  Equifax has offered a free year of credit monitoring after which you would have to pay to continue that service.  That’s nice of them to provide a free year only considering the information leaked leaves you vulnerable to identity theft for the remainder of your life.  I personally have skipped the free offer from Equifax.  Credit monitoring is an ineffective service provided by the credit bureaus.  It would be like having an alarm on your home, which goes off 24hrs after the criminals have left your home with your possessions.  At this point I would take 3 steps to prevent the use of your personal information to steal your identity.

Pull your credit report.

At annualcreditreport.com you are legally allowed to receive your credit report for free from the 3 big credit agencies annually.  I would pull 1 of your reports now, ignoring all the paid offers by the credit agencies.  Review the report and keep it, then set a reminder for 4 months for now.  I would pull a report from the 2nd credit agency at that point.  Compare the two for changes and any changes that you don’t recognize research and confirm if they are fraudulent or not.  Then 4 months later I would pull a credit report from the 3rd agency.  In this way every 4 months or so you are pulling 1 credit report to look for potential trouble spots.

Register for free monitoring.

Next, I would register for free credit monitoring at creditkarma.com.  This website will allow you free access to your credit score and will monitor your credit report for changes and send you alerts for free.  There are other paid services that offer this but credit karma is a free, well reviewed product that meets the need.

Take the most critical step to protect yourself. 

After completing the first two steps the third action is the most critical to protect your identity and make it virtually useless for identity thieves.  It is called a “Credit Freeze”.  You must contact each individual credit agency.  Each credit agency will charge a fee to freeze your credit which is different for each state.  This credit freeze will prevent the opening of new credit.  That is the downside of this protection.  When you are legitimately trying to apply for credit you will have to “Unfreeze” your credit.  Each credit agency does it a little bit differently but essentially when you freeze your credit you have some sort of PIN number set up that is personal to you.  The PIN allows you to quickly unfreeze your credit for your use.  Should you lose the pin each credit agency has a process to get access to your credit report. 

The aftermath.

Because of incompetence Equifax has left about 1 of every 2 Americans and foreigners with American credit reports vulnerable to identity theft for the remainder of their life.  Congressional hearings have been promised.  Legal action is likely. 

Scott Vance is a fee-only planner and Enrolled Agent at Taxvanta serving the Raleigh, N.C. area. He recently retired from the Army. His background allows him to uniquely understand issues faced by military personnel, but he works with all clients. He is currently a candidate for CFP® certification and seeks to provide objective, commission free advice to clients. Vance was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He is married to Amy. They have a son, Brandon. They enjoy skiing and kayaking. He can be reached by email at scott@taxvanta.com

Article Disclaimer: This article was written by a valued blog contributor but Triangle Real Estate Investors Association does not give legal, tax, economic, or investment advice. TREIA disclaims all liability for the action or inaction taken or not taken as a result of communications from or to its members, officers, directors, employees and contractors. Each person should consult their own counsel, accountant and other advisors as to legal, tax, economic, investment, and related matters concerning Real Estate and other investments.

   Be the First to give this Blog Post a 5 Star Rating

Our friends at the Utah Apartment Association has notified us of a need to alert our Senators of the desire to make Section 8 an Optional Government Program. Details are below:

The rental housing industry had a big week at the legislature and we need your help to make sure our gains are not released.

What we need from you:

Housing Authorities and their advocates are engaged in a grass roots efforts to contact Senators to urge them to vote against a bill that is GREAT for our industry and affordable housing. We need your help contacting your Senator as a constituent and letting them know how good this bill will be for affordable housing. SB 175 Fair Housing Option Amendments, Margaret Dayton (R), Orem, has passed out of Senate committee and will go to the floor of the Senate this week for a vote. The housing authorities and advocates will be sending emails this week to Senators claiming the sky will fall if this bill is passed. Nothing could be further from the truth and emails from actual constituents of each Senator will counter this hysteria. We need your help to let your Senator know what this bill does and why they should support it.

What this bill does:

It allows Utah landlords to opt out of working with housing authorities, by allowing us to refuse to work with the Section 8 voucher program without being discriminatory. Here is the actual language of the bill:

(a) Government assistance payments paid to a landlord under the housing choice voucher program administered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development are not part of a tenant's income for the purposes of this chapter [i.e. for Fair Housing]

(b) A landlord's refusal to participate in the housing choice voucher program does not constitute a discriminatory housing practice under this chapter.

In other words currently Section 8 is a protected class and refusing to work with Section 8 could get a landlord a $10,000 fine. This bill will allow landlords to opt out and not be liable for discrimination.

What the bill does not do:

Housing Authorities and advocates say this bill will hurt affordable housing and low income tenants. We believe that is not true. Section 8, like Medicare, was designed as an optional government program. Doctors can opt out of Medicare if they don't want to deal with the restrictions or bureaucracy of the program, and landlords should be able to opt out of Section 8. 41 states allow landlords to opt out of Section 8 and the program works just fine there. Texas and Indiana passed similar bills last year to what is proposed in Utah, and nothing bad happened to low income tenants. This is an issue of business freedom.

There are 11,000 section 8 vouchers in Utah, out of almost 300,000 rental units. That's only 4%. Housing authorities Section 8 tenants, Property Managers, Landlords and attorneys testified last week at a hearing that if this bill passed only about 10-20% of landlords would actually stop taking Section 8 vouchers. But even if 50% of the 300,000 rental units became unavailable to Section 8 participants, there would still be almost 15 times as many units available as are needed. In addition, there are almost 20,000 government subsidized affordable housing units under various programs that would love to take section 8 tenants - and that's even before the private market.

What we need from you:

1 - Go to this website http://le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp to find your State Senator (just put in your street address and Zip Code, i.e. "448 East Winchester 84107"). Make sure to only find your Senator (the House hasn't taken up the matter yet). Then using the contact info it pulls up, send a short email with the subject line: "Constituent who supports SB 175" that says something, in your own words, like:

Dear Senator,

*I am a constituent and voter in your district who is in the rental housing business

*I support and ask you to vote in favor of SB 175 Fair Housing Option Amendments

*When mandatory section 8 was passed in 1989 the government guaranteed the condition of the rental after the tenant moved - something they no longer do

*We love low income tenants and this bill is not focused on them, it is focused on the government bureaucracies that run the section 8 program

*Unfortunately, because landlords have to accept section 8, many housing authorities who administer the program treat landlords poorly and don't follow their own policies

*This bill would restore market forces to housing authorities, who would have to treat landlords better or lose them as customers

*41 other states have this same law and two states last year, Texas and Indiana, passed similar laws and the section 8 program actually works better in states where there is choice

Thanks for your support.

Feel free to share any bad experiences you have had with housing authorities or money you have lost by being forced to take Section 8 (PLEASE don't bash the tenants. We are only focusing on how the Program itself and the Housing Authorities have caused problems).

By Rebecca Dearing on Feb 29, 2016

   Be the First to give this Blog Post a 5 Star Rating

What About the Sellers?

by  Randy King  on  Saturday, October 07, 2017

There’s so much to write about in the world of real estate investing, I could go on forever.  But the one aspect that we don’t talk about too much is the impact we have on the seller of a property.  Many people assume that the seller is a faceless bank and that this is just a financial transaction.

In fact, most of the property sellers that we work with nowadays are just normal folk, and their need to sell ranges from “I am desperate and need to sell NOW” through “I’m looking for a more easeful way of getting this done” and everything in between.

For example, last year we purchased from someone in Baraboo that had listed her property twice over the prior 18 months, got plenty of offers, and even got two of them accepted.  The first one fell through at the bank, then the second one did the same thing.

The problem was viability/insurability.  While it was of little or no immediate impact to her, the furnace and water heater were on their last legs, and the electric panel was all fuses.  These are things that, when the bank does its due diligence, can cause the deal to fall through during underwriting.

Clearly, she was frustrated and a little worried.  There was no way that she could afford, or even want to afford, replacing those things.  And to make matters worse, the house used to be a duplex and had two (2) electric meters.  She got two electric bills each month, one for upstairs and one for downstairs.

We did our numbers, made her an offer in March and, while she would have liked more money, she was OK with it.  However, her kids got emotional about the property and convinced her to keep it.  I told her that I understood, and that we would be here to talk again should she ever want to.

Well, come September, she wanted to talk again.  Regrettably, I had to lower the offer because of the time of year, and she would have needed to bring $2,000 to the table to close.  Again, I apologized and told her that I completely understood, but it was the best we could do, given all the circumstances.

She called back in a day and said that she could make it work if my offer was still on the table.  When you have someone over the barrel like this, you can either take advantage or be straight.  We teach all our coaching students to be 100% on the up-and-up and to NEVER take advantage of anyone, no matter how “plausible” or how easy it would be.  Of course, I chose the high road and honored my offer.

We closed about 10 days later and, even though she had to bring 2-large to the closing table, she was so extremely grateful to just be done with that property.  She had purchased something better outside of town and couldn’t be happier.  She sent a thank-you card and everything.

My partner and I spent some time and dollars on the place, replacing the furnace, water heater, and the electrical panel, painted every wall, replaced every window, sanded the maple floors, carpeted the stairs and bedrooms, replaced woodwork, and sprayed out the basement.  With a lot of sweat equity, to boot.

We felt pretty good about the whole project; it became a great house for a family within walking distance of downtown Baraboo, and it sold quickly because of the attention that we had given it.  Most of all, we felt great about the former owner that we helped get out of a situation that would have cost her twice as much to fix as it did us.

In our experience, for most sellers that need help, how much money they make is lower on the list of priorities than just getting out of the situation.  Ultimately, it can be about the money; about how much is being lost daily just holding on to a property that they don’t want anymore.  But mostly, we alleviate emotional distress for people; providing a service that few others are able to do.

   Currentely rated 4.5 by 6 People

Push the Reset Button

by  Randy King  on  Friday, October 06, 2017
This week, I’m waxing philosophical on perhaps the most important “pillar” of our little association here in Madison – it’s the “Life Pillar”. The Madison REIA is built on the three pillars of Networking, Education, and Life and we always have some great things to say about the first two, so it’s time to focus on that third pillar of living life – a life that you love.

When your PC or phone or other device starts acting wacky or not doing what you expect it to be doing, most experts will advise you to simply reboot and that will clear everything out and start fresh. We would all be well-advised to do the same thing for ourselves from time to time. And there’s nothing like a good slap across the back of the head by the Universe to get related to this, as I did this past January.

Imagine, here is a former racing cyclist, training 3 days a week at super-intense cardio levels having “bad heartburn” that wouldn’t go away during training. What’s that about? At first, the good folks in the E.R. couldn’t figure it out either. Heart strong as a horse, EKG perfect (later, I found out that they call this “non-ST”or “NSTEMI”), but blood work-up showed a marker called Troponin, an indicator of heart muscle damage. Turns out, I had hereditary heart disease that blocked enough coronary arteries that I needed to be cracked open and fixed up. Filleted like a walleye.

I was remarkably calm all that week in the hospital from Tuesday through Friday, the day of the surgery. I just continued working (have laptop will travel) and all was good. The first real eye opener was meeting all the good folks in the O.R. at St. Mary’s Madison when one guy said that he operated the heart and lung machine to keep me alive while they removed my heart to work on it. Wait, what? It’s like dropping the engine of a ’57 Chevy to pull the head and change the rings. My humanity and mortality became quite present in that moment. And in the next moment, I was out like a
light for what seemed like 3-5 seconds when it had been about 7 hours.

Today, back at it full steam, I still work hard, mainly because I love everything that I do, from coaching people on real estate investing through writing, to developing business processes and programs for our
REIA. Oh, and the occasional construction project or two, just to keep my fingers in the mix. But I have learned that I need time off the grid, off the projects, walking, riding my bike, vacationing, doing whatever I darn well want to – if it is enjoyable and completely different from what I normally do.

This is my reset button and I love pushing it. Not only does it keep me recharged, it makes everything else that I do so much more powerful and effective. It’s a hard thing to wrap your head around – that if you stop working, when you come back you’ll be working better and more effectively. Of course, this only works if you really take the time to really do a reset, and not just some other kind of work. Kick back, relax, enjoy, live life with your loved ones. And the key is to do this reset frequently; a small version once a week, a bigger version once a month.

I am blessed with the ability to do just this because of my career in real estate investing and the freedom that this brings in my life. I am grateful that what I do allows me to stop and relax pretty much whenever
I want to. And it helps to love the stuff that I do when I’m not relaxing. Still, doing that with a passion means that I put a lot of energy and responsibility into it. Relaxing is relaxing. Brainless. No thinking. Whatever YOU do in life, look for ways that you can hit the reset button. It can be tough with a 9-5 job, but there are things that you can do that, if you look hard enough, will give you the reboot you need.
   Currentely rated 5.0 by 1 People

Be Careful Out There

by  Randy King  on  Friday, September 15, 2017

I’m on a safety and protection kick this month, so going to roll with it.  This time, let’s talk more about liability protection for your awesome rehab.  This is especially poignant right now because it’s a little difficult to find general contractors (they’re all booked solid), so the natural instinct is to find anyone that can fog a mirror while operating a worm-drive Skilsaw.

I know, I’ve been there.  It’s frustrating, the clock is ticking on your rehab and you can hear the money flowing out of your pocket into your private lender’s.  Not that you don’t just love your private lender to death, it’s just that you want to get on with the next one and keep things moving, right?

Here’s the potential problem with hiring Ted & Ed’s Most Excellent Carpenters, Inc. for your project.  You may have scored a good new find for your projects, but each and every time that you get a new contractor on your projects, acting as a general or a specific trade, you have to check a couple of things.

First, make sure that YOU write the contract between you and your contractor(s), otherwise the terms will all be in favor of the contractor.  If S/he refuses, hard as it may be, you should walk.  You have not experienced pain as difficult as having your contractor not showing up on your job site because s/he has taken on other jobs along with yours and there’s no contract language.  Tick-tock on that private money.

That’s a whole world of discussion and exploration to talk about contractor agreements; we spend an entire class session discussing it in our REI Blueprint Course.  But the one thing that you must have and must follow-through on is your contractor’s liability insurance or bonding, along with that of the subs.

The best first step to get this assurance is that your agreement makes it clear that your relationship is an arms-length 1099 sub-contractor arrangement, and that no one is your employee.  Then you must act in this manner – you can’t go buy materials and drive them to the job site.  This is a no-no and can constitute an employer-employee relationship if things go bad and lawyers get involved.

Secondly, you need to require (a) proof of Wisconsin licensure as a Dwelling Contractor, and you can check this yourself at the DSPS website at https://app.wi.gov/licensesearch.  You should also require that your contractor provide a copy of his or her liability insurance for your project files.  Make sure that you check the expiration date.

Wisconsin requires that Dwelling Contractors show proof of insurance or file a $25,000 surety bond with the state as proof of financial security.  Your best bet is to require that liability insurance certificate, because a surety bond will not do much good if someone falls off the roof and breaks a leg.  When that happens, people tend to sue everyone in sight, and you need to be protected from that.

This also calls into play how your company is organized and the protections that you have set up, including your own liability insurance.  If you’re in an LLC (typically recommended), be sure that the operating LLC for your rehabs is not the same company that’s holding any rental properties, or they are potentially exposed to reach-through liability if something happens in the rehab company.

As always, I’m not a lawyer or an accountant and, even though I’ve seen them on T.V., I wouldn’t dare advise you on what to do except to tell you to go get a good attorney and accountant to set all this stuff up for your company or companies.

If you’d like to find out more about all this stuff, drop in on our Real Estate Investor Blueprint informational dinner meeting on September 20th where we talk about the topics that we cover.  Go here for information:  REI Blueprint Intro

 

   Currentely rated 5.0 by 1 People

How to Find Hidden Real Estate Bargains Online

by  Nicolas Zepeda  on  Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The internet is full of hidden bargains!  As many as 24% of the real estate market is composed of self-sellers, and you have a 10-23%  chance of finding a property well below market value depending on the seller’s intentions.

Kinds of Properties

There are so many different types of property, its almost like a smorgasbord. It can be a fixer-upper,  foreclosure or just motivated sellers. With a few online strategies and tools, you can tap into the hidden bargains available online. Investors who use the internet wisely can find 100s of real estate deals monthly.

Use the Internet

Why shy away from internet marketing, when there is massive potential and you can get more deals faster than your competitors. Many experienced real estate investors have turned to the internet to find as many real estate deals they can without leaving the office.

Virtual Investing  can become an alternative to building a local real estate investment business in your area. If the market  is not performing in your area, its very easy to use the internet to your advantage  and win over any competition. Imagine what you could do with software that can handle the real estate deal making the process for you?

Make Deals Faster

Imagine that you are finally taking control of your marketing and finding hidden bargains in record time Imagine that you can have systems and software constantly monitoring the internet alerting you for great deals.  Imagine then  that there is software that can help you generate offers via email and fax and follow up agents by SMS text.   Imagine having a full-time income while working only 2 hours per week!

There are many  people already out there using the innovative strategies and technologies that area available to make your more successful faster.  In fact, real estate bargains are all over the internet and you can’t find them all on your own. The right tools can turn any investor’s business into a full-fledged spin to generate massive income. Finding the properties is only one step to making deals faster.

The world of real estate investing will continue to rise for experienced investors. Some of the best are taking over the market with new developments available through consistent marketing. In fact, they’re learning the ropes by paying attention to pros. Hidden real estate bargains will not make it to the list if you can get to the sellers first. Do you want to wait with the others or do you want to steer ahead focused on achieving your goals? You know what you need to do; all you have to do is make that decision today. Change the direction of your business and come to our presentation and Saturday training here is how you can take advantage

Written By: Duncan Wierman

   Be the First to give this Blog Post a 5 Star Rating

Shifting Gears a Little

by  Randy King  on  Tuesday, September 12, 2017

We’ve been talking about safety over the last couple of these little chats, which is under the risk umbrella of “liability”, so I’ll hang here under that cover for a little bit.  First of all, if you’ve got an established entity, probably an LLC, you’ve already started the basic requirements of liability protection.

If you’re touring a vacant OR an occupied property and “something happens”, your first level of defense is going to be your LLC which, by the way, assumes that you are visiting that property as someone doing business in that LLC.  So what kinds of things could possibly happen during a property visit?

Wow, well – any number of things, many of which you may not have caused, or inadvertently so.  Like turning on a light, but the fixture is shorted out and wires heat up and a slow-burning fire begins to smolder,  only to burst out long after you’re gone.  Did you do that?  Well, yeah – but did you cause it?

Or you test a kitchen sink and it’s difficult to turn on the faucet.  Finally, you get it to turn, but no water comes out, so you shut if off again.  However, something broke inside that faucet and long after you’re gone, water starts leaking and eventually turns into a massive flood.  Did you do that?  Cause it?

As you can see, there’s an unlimited number of wacky things that can happen that someone can attribute to your carelessness or neglect, and property owners may be looking for someone to blame.  Now, in these simple examples, homeowner’s insurance should cover it all, but what if there is no insurance, or the property is bank-owned or corporate-owned without that kind of insurance?

Another area of concern with occupied properties or properties that may be in a probate situation is that there may be valuable possessions in the property.  If you are someone that has gone through the property then something turns up missing, you could be called out, questioned, or charged with theft.

So having that LLC protection is a good start, but it may not be enough.  Talk to other investors and ask them about their Business Liability Insurance – who do they use and what kind of policy they have.  It may be something you’ll want to look into.

Over and above these “instruments” of protection, nothing does it better than common sense.  For example, while it may be fun to take friends and family members through properties that you are looking at, if they are not part of your LLC, it may not be a good idea.

And it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways – you absolutely need to be above reproach when it comes to integrity and honesty.  It doesn’t matter if the property has been vacant 4 years and all of the owners are long gone, do NOT ever remove a single thing from a property until you own it.  Yes, we often see cool stuff just lying there, but until you own it, it’s still someone else’s stuff.  Period.

If you maintain the highest level of integrity and ethics in your dealings with everyone, whether they are watching or not, your business will be far better off.  And you’ll sleep better knowing that’s how you do things, whether it’s YOU or someone that works for you.  Be safe, be honest.

   Currentely rated 5.0 by 1 People

Danger, Will Robinson!

by  Randy King  on  Friday, September 01, 2017

A select few of you will immediately know that unobscured reference to a favorite television show of the mid-to-late 1960’s called Lost In Space.  The show’s helpful robot was programmed to protect the young man of the family, Will Robinson, from the dangers around in their space travel.

But what if the only space you get lost in is that trashed-out vacant property?  Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s plenty of things to watch out for – plenty of danger – to you and anyone named Will in your party.  Continuing with the thread we started last week, let’s talk about a few more ways you need to be alert and careful when looking at these kinds of properties.

This warning does not generally apply to properties that are inhabited, as any dangers there would likely already be identified and, if not fixed, at least marked somehow.  So, we’ll focus on vacant properties that you may come across in your travels through space.

One of the most prevalent dangers of a vacant property is mold and toxins.  It’s remarkable how fast a property degrades when people leave, and many times this is because when humans move out, critters move in.  Most critters don’t abide by proper bathroom etiquette, so their biological output goes just about anywhere, and frequently everywhere.

When these bad boys and girls move it, they generally don’t knock either – they love chewing through soffit, fascia, or even roofing to get in.  Of course, that kind of damage also lets something else come in quite freely – the rain.  And soaking wet drywall, studs, carpeting, and other building materials are ideal breeding grounds for black mold.

Mold is everywhere, but when it’s allowed to proliferate and grow, it’s starts showing up as dark spots on surfaces.  I once toured a property where one wall by a leaking roof looked like it was wallpapered with black fur.  Yes, that is quite frightening.

You can protect yourself to a large degree from these things by wearing a respirator.  If you get into a property where basic respirator technology is insufficient – get out.  In particular, and this is really important, if you find yourself in a Meth lab property, run – don’t walk – to the nearest exit.  The only remediation for a Meth property is complete demolition and soil-incineration.

In many cases, a particulate nuisance mask like a 3M 8200, cat N95 is sufficient for dusts and light mold if you’re going to be in a property for under 30 minutes.  If the airborne toxins are strong or really offensive, you may want to step up to a cartridge-style unit like the 3M 6191 cat P100 that has two screw-on discs on either side of your face.

Any of these half-face style masks only protect you against inhaled irritants; they will not stop gasses or vapors, and if you encounter a property that would require something serious, you should reconsider even looking at that property.  There are plenty more in better condition, and the costs of repair of such properties may be prohibitive.

The bottom line is simply this: use common sense when walking through vacant properties, and be vigilant for lurking dangers like mold, animal feces, structural problems or that cunning Dr. Smith.

   Currentely rated 5.0 by 1 People

Solid Kitchen Floor Danger

by  Randy King  on  Monday, August 28, 2017

I was looking for something in my old properties folders when I came across a couple of gems that made me smile and, at the same time, made me thankful that no one was killed in the process.  Now, before you think I’m being all dramatic, let me explain what one of these two properties was all about.

This was “back in the day” when most of the properties that we acquired came off the MLS.  Life was so much simpler then.  Banks would foreclose on properties in default, many of which had been long since abandoned, then they would take them back into REO inventory and have a REALTOR list them.

We miss those days of so-called easy pickin’s when banks had no intention of touching the properties, they just wanted them GONE to eliminate the “non-performing asset burden” on their books.  Now there are “programs” and “PMI” and other things that can make holding these assets lucrative.

We all thought it was weird when a bank would come in, strip out carpet, spray everything in sight with a bad flat white paint, carpet the floors, and then list the property at a price as though it was newly remodeled.  It was truly lipstick on a pig in the strongest sense of the word.

So, let’s talk about property 1 – it was pretty trashed and had that special brand of homeowner uniqueness to it – one step up into the living room, one step down into the kitchen, two steps into the main floor bathroom, etc.  You get the idea; an ADA nightmare.

But we noticed something interesting about the kitchen – the floor was rock-solid, but all the surrounding floors (one and two steps up and down) were regular-sounding wooden subfloors.  The kitchen sounded like it was “flat on grade”.

When I got to the basement, I was looking up at the floor joists and noticed a severe sag across all of them in one area, and there were some makeshift timbers stuck in random places to hold up that sag.  Then I realized that this was under the kitchen floor that we thought was so solid.  Really confusing.

After more investigation, I determined that a previous homeowner had poured about a 3” slab of concrete directly on the wooden sub-floor of the kitchen.  He must have been pretty pleased with how solid that floor was, and I wonder at what point the joists started sagging.

It would not take much for that entire sub-structure to collapse under all that weight.  As the joists sag, they pull away from their connection points, either nails or joist hangers, until there’s nothing there to keep them up, then – boom.  Because part of the kitchen was on an outside wall, this could have caused failure of that wall, collapsing all the way to the roof.  If there were people inside, they could have died.

Once I realized this, we carefully got out fast and I reported all of this to the listing agent.  Who knows if anyone ever did anything about it.  And I have no doubt that many other investors toured that property before and maybe after me.  Everyone was at serious risk of death for just walking around.  Just imagine someone thinking the kitchen floor was really cool, then jumping up and down on it to feel the firmness.

So, the take-away is this:  If you’re touring vacant properties, especially those in REO, learn what possible hazards could exist and look for signs of those hazards as you carefully move through the building.  You should have a good familiarity about generally-accepted building practices so you can identify things that are potential life-threatening hazards.

We’ll take some time in later installments to talk about the most common hazards for you to be aware of as you’re touring properties, and as you’re preparing to rehab a property back to usable condition.

   Currentely rated 5.0 by 1 People

Real Estate Investing and Brain Surgery

by  Randy King  on  Friday, August 11, 2017

 

I hate flying.  Not only do my arms get tired, the whole process has become encumbered with ridiculous charges and even more ridiculous assertions – like the fact that 3.5 ounces of shampoo has the potential to bring a Boeing 777-300ER widebody out of the sky and smash 396 passengers into the dirt.  Really.

Sorry for that “arms tired” pun – too much CaddyShack, I guess.  I used to fly so much that I had one of those super frequent flyer special god-like cards that often whisked me into first class.  Trust me, it’s not all that glamorous, flying is just annoying and stressful; even more so now.

So, we drove to North Dakota last week, and the nice thing about a couple of real estate investors driving in the car is that we will often detour through interesting neighborhoods – because we CAN – with a fair amount of ooo’ing and ahhh’ing and the frequent exclamation of “send ‘em a letter”.

It made me think – how much different is real estate investing in Bemidji, Minnesota than in Madison, Wisconsin?  Well not much, but the devil’s in the details.  True, there are distressed properties and, more importantly, distressed owners, and the real estate law is similar, so what’s different?

For one, real estate investing is a contact sport, and what you need to play are lotsa contacts.  From contractors to REALTORs to title company to attorneys to suppliers – all relationships that need to be built and nurtured.  You can come into an area and start from scratch, but it takes time.

It’s one of the reasons in our coaching program that we introduce students to the people they will need to work with.  So, no matter where you are, find someone that can introduce you to the people that you will need.  A reference is 100 times better than cold-calling – on both sides of the equation.

The other thing about real estate being “local” are all the small nuances that you learn when you live and work in an area – the state of the real estate market, local customs, character of neighborhoods, building inspection processes and, of course, where to get the best coffee and tacos.

Where people looking at real estate investing have a disconnect is in knowing what this profession is all about.  True, there’s lots of moving parts and technical aspects related to, say, rehabbing a house.  But we can (and do) teach that over a period of 8 weeks, 3 hours a week.  It’s all the other stuff that matters.

One of my favorite analogies is to liken real estate investors to surgeons.  Not that this stuff is brain surgery by any stretch, but both the surgeon and the real estate investor are practitioners.  The best way to see what I mean is to get on Netflix and watch Grey’s Anatomy from the beginning.

Grey’s interns come out of 4+ years of intensive book-learning in pre-med and full med programs at a university, and they still don’t cut anyone open until they’ve had a LOT of time in the O.R. with an attending surgeon that shows them the nuances to put their book knowledge into practice.

So, don’t focus entirely on the book knowledge – for sure, get some good schoolin’ – but focus more on finding your “attending investor” and let his or her knowledge and experience guide you and help navigate you around the mistakes and pitfalls; some of which can be costly (or cratering).

These things all contribute to the notion that real estate investing is local.  It’s not the houses, it’s not the state of those houses, it’s not the distressed state of owners.  It’s about resources, understanding, developed skills, and the support around you.  If you don’t have that support yet, go find
   Currentely rated 5.0 by 1 People
© Copyright 2017 Mike Jacka | Powered by: www.RealEstatePromo.com | Contact Us | Admin: Sign In