Go For the Gold (in Life)….

I’m not much of a sports fan. With the exception of race car driving or my children’s activities, I don’t do much spectating of any kind. The Olympics, however, sure do grab my attention. I can’t help but get pulled into the excitement of seeing the world’s premier athletes compete against each other for the glory of the Gold. Watching all of their hard work and diligent training culminate into amazing physical feats of endurance and skill is nothing short of thrilling. My belief is that the athletes don’t just do it for the opportunity to stand on the highest of the three platforms and be crowned with the Gold Medal- it really comes down to the love of something much more than the “win”….it’s a love of the chance to compete, excel and achieve.

I’ve been watching a lot of the summer Olympics with my kids and discussing the dedication and passion that the athletes give to their sport. It got me thinking about what it takes to be successful in any area of life. Why are some few people in life to “win it” and the majority of human beings seem fine with sitting back and watching others achieve their goals?

Just like Olympic athletes, successful people/happy people understand the importance of setting goals and doing what others are not willing to do. When I look around at my circle of influence (I’m fortunate to have great mentors and role models, but this is by design of course)- all the people I respect and admire have common traits. First, they don’t squander their precious time on activities that don’t contribute to the overall quality of their life. They spend their hours doing productive, enriching, educating, empowering, strengthening tasks. They prioritize their health, their interpersonal relationships and their mental well-being.

I recently saw a fantastic quote on a friend’s Facebook page. It was a quote about entrepreneurship and it simply stated, “Entrepreneurship is living your life for a few years like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” Pure brilliance! This is the same commitment shown by Olympic athletes- an undeniable dedication to do what others won’t to achieve a level of success that most people resign themselves to just dreaming about.

I don’t know about you but I value my life and the people in it too much to just let life happen to me. I know that the goals I have are lofty and I don’t fool myself into thinking that I can sit on the couch and still have the life I want. I have to work for it. I have to put in the hours. I have to push myself beyond my boundaries, step outside my comfort zone. But let’s face it, outside your comfort zones is where all of the real exciting and rewarding “stuff” happens.

We don’t need to be Olympic athletes to “Go for the Gold” in life. But we do have to follow their lead and remain committed to our goals if we ever want to achieve a high level of success. I’m making a rare exception to actually sit in front of the t.v. with my kids to watch the Olympics. And I’m doing this because it’s inspiring and a great reminder of what one person can accomplish when he or she looks at life like a constant training ground for high level performance.

Summer Sizzle- Real Estate Market Continues to Heat Up!

Temperatures aren’t the only thing heating up across the country this summer. Real estate markets from coast to coast are experiencing continued signs of strength. Due to low inventory in many areas, sellers are celebrating the good feeling that comes along with receiving multiple offers on their properties. (We have properties that are selling before they are even done being built!)

While foreclosures still threaten many Americans and distressed inventory is still making up a good amount of the properties available for sale, it looks as though we are headed for a housing shortage. (I get many “gasps” of shock when I share this news with audiences at investment clubs).

But let’s take the California market as an example. Based on statistics compiled by the California Association of Realtors the state’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes dropped to 3.5 months in May, down from 5.7 months in May of 2011. The index relays the number of months needed to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate. In California, the normal rate is 7 months. The summer finds California sitting at half its normal supply of homes on the market.

With interest rates somehow continuing to go even lower, buyers are actively entering the market. Multiple offers and limited inventory are resulting in increases in median homes prices.

Cities from San Diego, to the Bay Area, to Phoenix to the Florida Keys (to name just a few) are seeing very healthy increases in their median prices.

All of these factors bode well for investors. Specifically we are excited about what this means about the opportunities that are being created in the area of real estate development. With a housing shortage looming over us, bringing new inventory to the market is the key to generating some incredible profits in real estate.

Keep an eye out for us to share some exciting information about the great projects we have in development down in the Florida Keys.

While the country continues to experience hot temperatures, we’ve got some hot things going on in Florida…

Attitude Makes ALL The Difference…

Recently I received a very heartfelt email from my cousin Caiden.  It resulted in me looking inward for some words of wisdom and motivation that I could share with him as he embarks on the next chapter in his life following his graduation.  I wanted to share these thoughts with not just Caiden but with my fellow investors and entrepreneurs out there who are looking for the key to success….and attitude is what makes all the difference.

First is Caiden’s email to me, followed by my reply.  Enjoy!!  And make sure to keep your attitude in tip top shape!

Dear Chief,

So time is getting closer and closer to graduation, and my excitement just keeps rocketing through the roof. I recently have been looking at a couple of your websites and I envy everything about you.. Not just because you have all the money you’ve EARNED everybody wishes for. But your intelligence I admire more than anything. Your occupation has been a dream of mine since 7th grade, I’ll never forget the day and honestly you were a huge inspiration of that. I’ve tried persuading Aunt Kelly and Mike to move out there(but of course you can’t just get up and go when its hard times). I just feel and know my highest opportunities of success would be for me to get out there and I’ll do my best to pursue that. I just want to let you know I’ve never forgotten a word you’ve told me, your inspiration runs through my veins each and everyday and will never be forgotten. I know your a busy man it’s just phenomenal knowing and being related to such a brilliant man. Much love Chief.

 ~Caiden.

My reply:

Caiden,
 
Good hearing from you and I’m glad you are motivated.  The difference between those who “have” and those that do not, is attitude.  What I refer to as A-S-K – Attitude Skill and Knowledge.  If you have the right attitude but lack the knowledge and skills, then it’s nothing more than hot air.  If you are brilliant but lack the skill and attitude then you are brilliantly broke (college professors come to mind).  If you have skills, but they are in ditch digging and not dollar productive, then all the attitude and knowledge of how to dig a ditch won’t bring you much.  SO…
 
Attitude – Have the burning desire to be successful. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean to make money.  There are plenty of successful people in the world who are not wealthy.  They can be great artists, great parents, teachers, etc.  BUT… if you are want to be financially wealthy, then your burning desire to make money is a perfect ingredient.  
 
You also need to have other “attitude” traits such as FOCUS.  While your friends are out drinking at a bar, lying around watching their favorite game on TV, you are focused on your dreams.  You don’t allow life to just “happen” rather you choose to make things happen.  You elect to live life by YOUR design.
 
Tenacity.  The far majority of people give up long before they reach the finish line.  When things become difficult most quit.  When other’s don’t see your vision, poke fun of you, or try to hold you back, you just forge ahead with absolute commitment to make your dream real.  At my age Caiden, I have an army of people who have given up on their dreams, or thought mine where crazy.  They have all settled for less.  I don’t believe in settling for anything less than what I’m able to dream of.  Don’t get me wrong, not all my dreams have come true.  But the journey has been noting short of amazing.  Often times, as a result of the tenacity, life gives you other gifts your never thought of!
 
Vision.  You have to have a vision for what you want and possible paths to bring your vision to fruition.  You don’t have to “know” how, just have vision.  Be open minded to different way to accomplish your dreams.  Be willing to try different paths.  Don’t give up early, but be open minded to trying new things.  It’s kind of a funny dynamic.  Just head down the path you can take immediate action on.  The one you know you can do TODAY.  As you go down the path, other opportunities will become available.  Nothing good ever came from just dreaming about things.  EVERYTHING great came from DOING something!
 
Honesty & Integrity.  As you go through life you will always be faced with forks in the road… one path is easier yet lacks honesty and integrity.  Almost always, the more difficult path is the one of honesty and integrity.  ALWAYS choose the path of integrity and honesty.  When in comes to making money there is nothing more important than your integrity.  As you become more successful people will challenge you.  Think of Superman for a minute.  Everyone loves a superhero but silently they love to see attack the hero, they love the fallen hero.  Think of NASCAR racing.  People love an explosive crash – parts flying, cars denigrating, screeching metal and a ball of fire.
 
As you become successful, some people will want to discredit  you in an attempt to watch you crash.  If you have always come from a place of honesty and integrity, then you will never have anything to worry about. I know this sounds strange but just know it’s all part of success.
 
There are a TON of other traits.  These are just some initial knee-jerk reactions.
 
Knowledge.  Back to A-S-K.  It should actually be A-K-S because knowledge comes before Skill.  There is no shortage of knowledge out there!  You have to decide what you want to be knowledgeable in.  If you want to be financially successful, there are several ways to accomplish it.  You can be a brilliant computer genius and solve some large need in the marketplace i.e. Bill Gates or Steven Jobs.  This can be done in any business (just used computers as an example).  What of the most successful guys I know, Mark, has nothing more than a high school education.  He has focused on one thing all his life, buying ugly apartment building, fixing them up and accumulating them.  He has THOUSANDS of units and is worth several 100 million dollars!  But Mark knows EVERYTHING about apartments.  
 
I know another guy, Keith, who recently sold an assisted care business (in home nursing) for tens of millions.  Another friend, Scott, sold a packaging business for tens of millions.  
 
The point I’m making is they ALL know their shit!  They are extremely knowledgeable in their areas.  Either by choice or just part of life’s journey, they chose something and devoured everything they could to learn about their trade.
 
Passion.  This is a trait but it’s important to mention here.  If you are asking yourself, “what trade should I choose?” no worries.  Find something you are passionate about!!!  If you are crazy about cars like I am, then head in that direction.  If you are crazy about real estate like I am, then it’s a great path.  If you are crazy about something else, then run with it.  
 
I know this sounds crazy, but hear me out.  It’s all about Monday morning and after hours.  What do I mean?  Simple, what are you willing to roll out of bed for early Monday morning and attack with complete conviction?  If you have to work at some job you hate, then it’s damn difficult to have passion.  On the other hand, if you love cars, then you don’t mind waking up Monday morning and hit the ground running.  Also, much of success if found in the early morning or late at night while others are sleeping or walking through life in a comma state.  If you are doing something you love, if you have a burning passion for it, then working hard is not work at all, it’s actually play.  While other’s hate their job and bitch about it all day long, just to home and drink a beer and watch the idiot box, you will be producing results, chipping away at your dream and loving it.
 
Skill.  Skill is… applied knowledge!  This is a secret most people never grasp.  There are plenty of brilliant broke people in this world.  My biological father was a perfect example.  He was literally a genius.  He read 3-4 books per day!  Had 100% photographic memory.  You could read a sentence in a book and he would finish reciting the sentence and tell what page it was on!  I on the other hand, cannot tell you what I had for lunch yesterday – LOL.  Yet my biological father died a totally broken man in every sense of the word.  Financially broke, emotionally broke, and alcoholic, estranged from his kids, and left no legacy of any kind.  So how can a guy so damn smart be so darn stupid?  Simple, he never applied his knowledge.
 
Think of a library.  A large building with all the knowledge in the world resting on it’s shelves.  What good does it do anyone on the shelves, or worst yet in one’s head if it’s not applied?  One of the most powerful things in life is the ability to apply ones knowledge i.e. skill.  Knowing when, where and how to take your knowledge and all it’s possible applications is what master’s of skill do on a daily basis.
 
There are plenty of brilliant computer engineers in the world but only a few who have achieved what Bill Gates, Steven Jobs or Larry Page and Sergy Brin (founders of Google) have accomplished.  These are perfect examples of applied knowledge – Skill.  My buddy Mark could have read every book on apartment buildings but instead decided to take his initial small bit of knowledge and apply it.  Over time his knowledge, attitude and skill all built upon each other and now has a large portfolio of apartment buildings and lives a ridiculous lifestyle.
 
SO… that was a bit long winded but I hope it both inspires and points you in a direction, a direction called – Living Life By Design, Your Design.
 
You are young and you have to make choices NOW.  Most people will tell you you have plenty of time, BS.  NOW is the time to instill great habits and to replace sloppy habits.  The sooner you do it the sooner you will really live life they way it’s meant to be lived. No disrespect to Mike and Kelly, but you and I know their comments are absolute rhetoric and nonsense.  People all over the world leave EVERYTHING they know, come to a country, to a place they don’t speak the language, a place where they know no one, learn a trade they have never heard of and by their previous standards reach mind boggling success. 
 
You can have excuses or success, but not both!  Which do you choose?  It’s nothing more than a choice.  Mike and Kelly have chosen excuses.  Doesn’t make them bad people, just meager choices which can only produce meager results.  Have the courage to make smart bold choices and you’ll never look back.
 
I wish you all the best Caiden.  Be brave and decide today, now, to live your life by your design.  You’ll accomplish remarkable things.
 
Uncle Chief
 
Caiden,
 
Good hearing from you and I’m glad you are motivated.  The difference between those who “have” and those that do not, is attitude.  What I refer to as A-S-K – Attitude Skill and Knowledge.  If you have the right attitude but lack the knowledge and skills, then it’s nothing more than hot air.  If you are brilliant but lack the skill and attitude then you are brilliantly broke (college professors come to mind).  If you have skills, but they are in ditch digging and not dollar productive, then all the attitude and knowledge of how to dig a ditch won’t bring you much.  SO…
 
Attitude – Have the burning desire to be successful. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean to make money.  There are plenty of successful people in the world who are not wealthy.  They can be great artists, great parents, teachers, etc.  BUT… if you are want to be financially wealthy, then your burning desire to make money is a perfect ingredient.  
 
You also need to have other “attitude” traits such as FOCUS.  While your friends are out drinking at a bar, lying around watching their favorite game on TV, you are focused on your dreams.  You don’t allow life to just “happen” rather you choose to make things happen.  You elect to live life by YOUR design.
 
Tenacity.  The far majority of people give up long before they reach the finish line.  When things become difficult most quit.  When other’s don’t see your vision, poke fun of you, or try to hold you back, you just forge ahead with absolute commitment to make your dream real.  At my age Caiden, I have an army of people who have given up on their dreams, or thought mine where crazy.  They have all settled for less.  I don’t believe in settling for anything less than what I’m able to dream of.  Don’t get me wrong, not all my dreams have come true.  But the journey has been noting short of amazing.  Often times, as a result of the tenacity, life gives you other gifts your never thought of!
 
Vision.  You have to have a vision for what you want and possible paths to bring your vision to fruition.  You don’t have to “know” how, just have vision.  Be open minded to different way to accomplish your dreams.  Be willing to try different paths.  Don’t give up early, but be open minded to trying new things.  It’s kind of a funny dynamic.  Just head down the path you can take immediate action on.  The one you know you can do TODAY.  As you go down the path, other opportunities will become available.  Nothing good ever came from just dreaming about things.  EVERYTHING great came from DOING something!
 
Honesty & Integrity.  As you go through life you will always be faced with forks in the road… one path is easier yet lacks honesty and integrity.  Almost always, the more difficult path is the one of honesty and integrity.  ALWAYS choose the path of integrity and honesty.  When in comes to making money there is nothing more important than your integrity.  As you become more successful people will challenge you.  Think of Superman for a minute.  Everyone loves a superhero but silently they love to see attack the hero, they love the fallen hero.  Think of NASCAR racing.  People love an explosive crash – parts flying, cars denigrating, screeching metal and a ball of fire.
 
As you become successful, some people will want to discredit  you in an attempt to watch you crash.  If you have always come from a place of honesty and integrity, then you will never have anything to worry about. I know this sounds strange but just know it’s all part of success.
 
There are a TON of other traits.  These are just some initial knee-jerk reactions.
 
Knowledge.  Back to A-S-K.  It should actually be A-K-S because knowledge comes before Skill.  There is no shortage of knowledge out there!  You have to decide what you want to be knowledgeable in.  If you want to be financially successful, there are several ways to accomplish it.  You can be a brilliant computer genius and solve some large need in the marketplace i.e. Bill Gates or Steven Jobs.  This can be done in any business (just used computers as an example).  What of the most successful guys I know, Mark, has nothing more than a high school education.  He has focused on one thing all his life, buying ugly apartment building, fixing them up and accumulating them.  He has THOUSANDS of units and is worth several 100 million dollars!  But Mark knows EVERYTHING about apartments.  
 
I know another guy, Keith, who recently sold an assisted care business (in home nursing) for tens of millions.  Another friend, Scott, sold a packaging business for tens of millions.  
 
The point I’m making is they ALL know their shit!  They are extremely knowledgeable in their areas.  Either by choice or just part of life’s journey, they chose something and devoured everything they could to learn about their trade.
 
Passion.  This is a trait but it’s important to mention here.  If you are asking yourself, “what trade should I choose?” no worries.  Find something you are passionate about!!!  If you are crazy about cars like I am, then head in that direction.  If you are crazy about real estate like I am, then it’s a great path.  If you are crazy about something else, then run with it.  
 
I know this sounds crazy, but hear me out.  It’s all about Monday morning and after hours.  What do I mean?  Simple, what are you willing to roll out of bed for early Monday morning and attack with complete conviction?  If you have to work at some job you hate, then it’s damn difficult to have passion.  On the other hand, if you love cars, then you don’t mind waking up Monday morning and hit the ground running.  Also, much of success if found in the early morning or late at night while others are sleeping or walking through life in a comma state.  If you are doing something you love, if you have a burning passion for it, then working hard is not work at all, it’s actually play.  While other’s hate their job and bitch about it all day long, just to home and drink a beer and watch the idiot box, you will be producing results, chipping away at your dream and loving it.
 
Skill.  Skill is… applied knowledge!  This is a secret most people never grasp.  There are plenty of brilliant broke people in this world.  My biological father was a perfect example.  He was literally a genius.  He read 3-4 books per day!  Had 100% photographic memory.  You could read a sentence in a book and he would finish reciting the sentence and tell what page it was on!  I on the other hand, cannot tell you what I had for lunch yesterday – LOL.  Yet my biological father died a totally broken man in every sense of the word.  Financially broke, emotionally broke, and alcoholic, estranged from his kids, and left no legacy of any kind.  So how can a guy so damn smart be so darn stupid?  Simple, he never applied his knowledge.
 
Think of a library.  A large building with all the knowledge in the world resting on it’s shelves.  What good does it do anyone on the shelves, or worst yet in one’s head if it’s not applied?  One of the most powerful things in life is the ability to apply ones knowledge i.e. skill.  Knowing when, where and how to take your knowledge and all it’s possible applications is what master’s of skill do on a daily basis.
 
There are plenty of brilliant computer engineers in the world but only a few who have achieved what Bill Gates, Steven Jobs or Larry Page and Sergy Brin (founders of Google) have accomplished.  These are perfect examples of applied knowledge – Skill.  My buddy Mark could have read every book on apartment buildings but instead decided to take his initial small bit of knowledge and apply it.  Over time his knowledge, attitude and skill all built upon each other and now has a large portfolio of apartment buildings and lives a ridiculous lifestyle.
 
SO… that was a bit long winded but I hope it both inspires and points you in a direction, a direction called – Living Life By Design, Your Design.
 
You are young and you have to make choices NOW.  Most people will tell you you have plenty of time, BS.  NOW is the time to instill great habits and to replace sloppy habits.  The sooner you do it the sooner you will really live life they way it’s meant to be lived. No disrespect to Mike and Kelly, but you and I know their comments are absolute rhetoric and nonsense.  People all over the world leave EVERYTHING they know, come to a country, to a place they don’t speak the language, a place where they know no one, learn a trade they have never heard of and by their previous standards reach mind boggling success. 
 
You can have excuses or success, but not both!  Which do you choose?  It’s nothing more than a choice.  Mike and Kelly have chosen excuses.  Doesn’t make them bad people, just meager choices which can only produce meager results.  Have the courage to make smart bold choices and you’ll never look back.
 
I wish you all the best Caiden.  Be brave and decide today, now, to live your life by your design.  You’ll accomplish remarkable things.
 
All the best,

Chief

 

Real Estate Warriors

Recently I was asked to speak at an investment club on the topic of foreclosures and purchasing properties at trustee auctions.  As always, the topic sparked great interest especially considering the abundance of opportunity in that particular niche.

Typically I will be approached by a number of people in the audience once my formal presentation is over.  I will field questions that sometimes people aren’t comfortable asking in front of the group, usually pertaining to a personal set of circumstances.  Perhaps a sign of the times, members of this group seemed to pepper me with  more questions about whether or not this was a smart time to invest and how to stay on track when outside influences often derail you.

It started me thinking that it’s really important to be a warrior when it comes to investing. In it’s purest sense being a warrior means engaging  aggressively or energetically in an activity or cause.  Success comes to those who approach their financial future in a similar fashion.

First let me say YES, now is a good time to be in real estate.  Any and all times are optimal for real estate investing with the right strategies and the proper research behind you.

As far as doing battle against negative influences and staying the course, here are a few pointers:

• Be Positive- Enjoy the challenges that the real estate market presents us with right now.  Opportunities abound if we look past the dismal headlines and bleak financial forecasting.  Keep a positive frame of mind by surrounding yourself with people of similar passion and purpose.  Find the hopeful signs to focus on such as the fact that in today’s economy small business owners are making a comeback.  Remember that there are plenty of markets in the U.S. that have seen healthy increases in value.  The markets that have seen drastic price drops are now offering investors an opportunity to enter with bargain-basement pricing.

• Success Is A Journey- Real estate is made up of a variety of steps all of which are important in their own right.  From the research to the acquisition to the rehab and so on, each step in the journey needs to be given attention.  Getting off track is part of human nature, but staying off track during any one of the steps in the process can equate to never attaining your profits.  You have to follow through with each step in order to reach your payday.  Think of it like driving to a favorite destination.  As you’re driving, you may come across a speed bump.  When you do, you slow down, go over the bump and continue on your way.  The same can be said of real estate investing.  You can’t let the speed bumps stop you from reaching your destination.

•Keep Your Eye On The Prize- Focus your energy on your personal motivating factors.  What are the things, places or people that drive you to succeed?  Keep reminders all around you of the dreams you have for yourself and your loved ones.  Whether it be a picture of the sports car you’ve always wanted or a photo of your favorite vacation spot, keep these visions fresh and in the forefront of your mind.

Now go suit up in your best battle armor and stake your claim.  There is no time like the present to become a real estate warrior and build your real estate empire.

Are You A Flea?

Some time ago I was told about a study done to test the limits of fleas.  As the story goes, a box was filled with fleas in an attempt to watch what they would do when placed in a large box.  They immediately started to leap about within the box.  Within a short period of time, they begin leaping to higher levels until they discovered they could leap out of the box seeking their goal, someone’s legs.  This was repeatedly done time-after-time.  The fleas quickly learned they could easily leap out of the box.

Then a clear sheet of glass was placed on top of the box. As the fleas attempted to leap out of the box you could hear them hit their heads against the bottom of the glass.  Jump, tick… jump, tick.  Within a short period of time the ticking stopped.  The fleas, tired of beating their heads against the glass ceiling stopped leaping as high.

After awhile the glass sheet was removed from the top of the box and when placed back into the box, all the fleas jumped about but never leaped out of the box!

The other day I was asked by a friend, “Chief, when is enough, enough?” My immediate knee-jerk answer was, and has always been, never!  But I knew that the simple single word “NEVER” was not a sufficient enough answer.

I have always found it strange that when it comes to money, people always seems to feel that there must be some limit, some glass sheet if you will. But I’ve always asked myself, do those same people ask others when enough is enough?  Does the marathon runner get asked when enough is enough?  How about the famous author excited about penning another great novel?  The artist about to paint another exquisite work of art?  The composer with yet another musical score in her head?  Or the doctor willing to save another life?

“Dr. Jones, when is enough, enough?  Just let this one die.”

Yet when it comes to money, somehow there seems to be “enough”.  No way!  I call B.S.!

If you have kids you never forget their first steps.  Can you imagine your child attempting to take their first few steps and then saying, “okay, that’s enough”?

Then they learn to run.  It’s the funniest darn thing to watch their first gawky attempts to run.  I call it flinging limbs!  But no, hold on, enough is enough.  No need to run.  You’ve tried it a few times and that should be adequate.  Here’s your sheet of glass.

Heaven forbid should your child even think about entering into the 50 yard dash… run a mile… join the cross country team… that’s clearly enough.  What?  You want to enter a marathon… are you crazy?  A triathlon is clearly out of the question.  And an Iron Man… well… you need to be institutionalized for such nonsense!

You need a much thicker sheet of glass.

Okay, Okay, you get my point.  Doesn’t this all sound ludicrous?  But wait, let’s look back at money for a moment.

For some reason society has placed an enormous glass sheet above those who strive to make more money. Well, here is a little insight…

It’s not about the money!

The people who ask the age-ol’ question, “when is enough, enough?”, don’t understand that the “money” is nothing more than the score card!

Let me ask you, how fun would the Olympics be without the time clock?  “Well ladies and gentlemen; we have another exciting winter Olympics to share with you.  The mens’ downhill.  We have several men going to sky at ridiculous speeds down a hill until they stop.  And, well, that’s it.  Medals will once again be handed out randomly to anyone that reaches the bottom.”

WHAT?!?!  Are you crazy?!  No clock?  No time element to determine who was fastest?  Without the clock, I don’t even know how fast they are going!

Ah, but when is enough, enough?  Never… IF, (and here comes the “if” ) , if the rest of your life has meaning.  To put it another way:  if your pursuit in any endeavor leaves a wake of destruction, then your pursuit of the gold, or gold metal, needs to be reassessed.

Everything in life has a score card. How well you are doing at work, how well last night’s dinner tasted, how this morning’s workout in the gym went, the conversation you shared with your child after school, to how much money you made this week.

For me as an investor, it’s really about the deals.  I get excited about seeking opportunity where others do not. To wake up and “get to” playing my game to its highest potential.  Like the Olympics, as a real estate fund manager the hurdles are different, the competition is intense and my clock is how fast my investment fund can turn properties for a profit. Ah, there is that clock element again.

My gold-silver-bronze are the profits we make for ourselves and our clients. Money, the simple score card, the reward for years of dedication, courage, focus and the relentless pursuit of success.  The best part you may ask?  As an investor, there are more than just three winners in the world!  Our investors win, homeowners win, the community wins, 100+ people who work for us win, their families win, and my family wins.  So why on earth should a limit be placed on success when so many people’s life’s are touched in a positive way?

Much like in school, life’s report card has more than one score, one grade.  We are being scored/graded in all areas of our lives.  Several “A”s and a few “B”s can all be overshadowed by that one fat ugly “F”.

One of life’s greatest challenges is the constant diligent strive to create for ourselves, and our families, an outstanding report card.  To insure all the areas of our life are being attended to.  The constant juggle of trying to keep a well-balanced report card.

Life’s greatest gifts and experiences exists beyond the box.  Remove the glass sheet of limitation, have the courage to leap beyond yesterday’s limits because there is never enough life to live.

Are Short Sales A Smart Play For Investors?

I read an article recently by a fairly experienced real estate agent who was touting Short Sales as the best way for investors to participate in the current market.  The basis for this belief was that short sales provide investors with a low risk way to insure against major changes in the condition (of the property) or in the market, while still retaining the choice to buy.  Hmmm…

I’m not going to knock short sales in general.  I won’t do that simply because I have been around real estate investing long enough to know that you can’t use generalities or broad strokes to determine if any one strategy is good or not good.  Theory doesn’t work in real estate investing; facts and numbers and research are what work to determine the best “play” in any given market and specifically within subsets of the market.

I actually do know quite a few people who have been successful with short sales in today’s market.  But here’s the caveat, most of the people I know who make a ton of money off short sales are the real estate agents who know how to work the system and get their short sales SOLD (and in turn earn their commissions).

As an investor, I have a few issues with pursuing short sales.  And a few problems with the proposition that short sales provide low risk and the ability to be in control.

First, the only way to be successful in real estate investing is if you buy at the right price and/or sell at the right price to make a profit.  If your money is not actively earning you a profit because you’re waiting around the 6 (on the extremely optimistic side) to 18 months (on the very realistic side) it takes to get a short sale done, then you are not aggressively participating in the real estate market. Your money is sitting idle somewhere.

In essence, you’re waiting around to see IF your offer will be accepted.  I do agree that this allows you to exercise control by electing not to go through with an offer if the condition of the property changes or the market continues to decline.  But, in the meantime, you could have been pursuing other deals that were purchased and sold for a profit or rented for cash flow.

What good does it do to minimize risk and be in control if you’re not earning money?

Second, there seems to be a perception that buying a property in a short sale means that you’re getting a wholesale price. This is the same perception that gets inexperienced investors in trouble when they get all giddy about buying properties at an auction house.  They get caught up in the frenzy and excitement of the bidding process and fail to realize they’ve just purchased a home at over 90% of its current market value.  I don’t know the exact number but I have heard that the properties sold at auction houses (not to be confused with properties sold at courthouse auctions) typically do go for well above 90 cents on the dollar.

Realistically, with a short sale you are paying less than what the current owner paid (thus the term short sale) but you are, more often than not, paying the full market price.  Now that may be okay based on your exit strategy, but if you’re flipping for profit and paying full retail then this would be a disaster in the making.

The other thing with short sales is that they can and do affect the overall market value of properties in the neighborhood.   So, if you are successful in getting a wholesale price accepted on the property you are purchasing,  you can bring down the value of the immediately surrounding properties.  If your objective is to flip, you may have just shot yourself in the foot.  You pay less now, but your neighborhood will have felt the negative effect of the price that you secured in your offer.  This is not necessarily a problem if you are using a hold strategy.  If you’re selling for a profit however,  you may have to wait longer for your value to bounce back.

I like any strategy that allows an investor to buy low and sell high. I’ve been fortunate enough to apply this strategy for over twenty years, through up and down markets and always come out making healthy profits.  The past year and a half we’ve been doing that through properties purchased at the courthouse steps.  We do a lot of research to ensure that we only walk away with properties that are secured at a low enough price point that we can turn a profit for our investors and ourselves.   And in comparison to short sales, we can be in and out with our money in less than 120 days, with a nice profit check in hand!  If we were doing short sales, we’d still be sitting around waiting to see if our offer was accepted and the deal was closed.  Heck, we can buy two properties and generate profits twice in the time it takes to do one short sale.

Short sales just don’t seem like a smart play to me if your objective is to make money as quick as you can in today’s market.    And I don’t know about you but I like my money just as fast as I like my cars!