Size Does Matter! (oh yeah!)

It’s an age-old debate.

We’ve all heard the rumblings in conversations we’ve taken part in or perhaps we’ve eavesdropped as others battled it out- “does size matter?”.    I’m here to tell you, first hand, that it does.

Now, before I offend anyone (and I have on occasion offended some who are faint of heart)- I’m talking about the size of our dreams and ambitions.  I think it’s pretty likely that many of us may be suffering from a temporary shrinking of our dreams because we’re feeling the squeeze of the economy.  We’re tightening our belts, scaling back our expenditures and doing away with a lot of the excesses we came to enjoy during the years of the abundance mentality.  But are we doing all of that to the detriment of the size of our dreams?

One of my favorite quotes is by James Allen who wrote the inspirational, self-help classic, As A Man Thinketh.  He very eloquently said:

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.

As someone who tends to be pretty frugal about spending my money, I’m certainly not encouraging anyone to go out and jump back in to the frivolous habits that helped create our credit crisis and the mortgage collapse.  I think a little frugality is what we Americans need in order to re-evaluate our belief systems about money.  In comparison to most societies, we tend to be over-indulgent and gluttonous.  We need balance when it comes to our spending power and our saving skills.  That’s an entirely different conversation.

What I am talking about now is reconnecting with our ability to dream and dream BIG!  If we scale down our dreams, we risk the chance of minimizing our potential and short-changing our accomplishments.  Dreaming big doesn’t hurt our savings accounts.  It doesn’t negatively affect our credit.  Dreaming big allows us to set new goals, soar to new heights and feel the sense of joy that comes when our dreams come true.

Here’s a few things that happened to me the other day that got me thinking about the size of my dreams.  It was one of those days when the convergence of several non-related conversations started me reflecting on the goals I was setting for myself and my family.  It was a little touch of serendipity because I ended the day with new, loftier aspirations for 2010.

·         Conversation #1 – My buddy Mark just finished building an amazing dream home in Hawaii.   But before moving in he was approached by “Hollywood” to see if he’d be interested in renting it out to the who’s who.  As it turns out, he is currently renting his place to Jennifer Aniston for a few weeks at an ungodly amount and has a movie producer wanting to lease it for 12 months for $800,000!

·         Conversation #2 – I’m in the gym with another buddy, David, who as a local jeweler has a real passion for creating amazing one-of-a-kind pieces for his clientele.  He tells me he is in escrow on several goldmines for $25,000,000.  Did I mention he already owns a few?  Oh, and he currently has $23,000,000 in inventory at his jewelry store!

·         Conversation #3 – Another friend, Sandy, comes over to have her son play with my son Rocket.  She’s just closed on a deal and is looking to purchase a CASTLE or CHATEAU in France or Italy.  Did I mention that is a 2nd home?!?!  On top of that, she’s made an offer on a home in my neighborhood which is listed for $7,5000,000 (down from $9,500,000).

The common denominator for me in these three conversations was not the amount of money each person was making, but that none of them had set their sights low just to avoid disappointment.  Each of these three people is successful in their own right, but they are also ordinary people as well.  They  are, however, extra-ordinary in the size of their dreams.

Like I said, I walked away from each conversation one step closer to realizing that size does matter.  I will always keep a tight reign on the money I work hard to earn, but I will never allow myself to let headlines and meltdowns dwindle the size of my dreams.  I encourage everyone out there to GO BIG!

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Live the life you’ve imagined.

~Henry David Thoreau

What’s Lady Gaga Have to Do With Real Estate?

Lady Gaga

What's Lady Gaga Have To Do With Real Estate?

Lately, my 8 year old daughter has me listening to Lady Gaga’s latest CD while we’re driving in the car.  I gotta admit that her music is kind of catchy!  Not exactly my style, I’m more of a guitar-driven rock-n-roller, but I find myself bopping my head along to Lady Gaga’s tunes.  “p-p-p poker face.”  And it started me thinking about the kind of people we admire in our lives.

We all have people that we hold in high esteem, some we know on a personal level while others we admire from afar.  I have people I respect for a whole myriad of reasons, from displays of personal kindness, incredible business acumen, or for being totally unique and committed to a set of goals and passions.  In the entertainment industry, I have always been a big fan of Madonna.  Not so much because of her music, but because of her incredible business sense and her ability to redefine herself on her own terms.  She is a chameleon who doesn’t appear to take NO for an answer.  It seems to me that Lady Gaga is much like Madonna in this regard.  She is incredibly unique, knows her key market and with her track record of recent hits- she is driven to succeed!  I don’t see her being likely to put her passions aside simply because someone else thinks her dreams are too lofty  or unattainable.

So exactly how does this road of thought lead me to real estate?  Well, I’ve been hearing lately from quite a few people who want to tell me (or should I say educate me!) on why real estate investing is a bad idea in today’s economic climate.  I’ve heard a whole host of reasons- from claims that we haven’t hit bottom yet when it comes to values declining or that it’s impossible to get a good deal at the foreclosure auctions because of competition driving up prices.

For me there are three important things that I  stay true to when it comes to investing in real estate- which for me has always been a strong passion (just like I am certain that music is for Madonna and Lady Gaga).

The first rule I stick to is that I never take NO for an answer.  If I am committed to a financial goal, I find a way to make it happen.  I might have to tweak things here or there, re-adjust my approach, but the point is that I make my dreams come true.  I don’t listen to nay-sayers and I don’t let others get in my way with their baseless “wisdom”.  Real estate is my way of making things happen for my family and no one is going to get in the way of me having the life I want for them.

Second, real estate investing is all about doing your homework and paying attention to the numbers. You can’t wait until after you buy a piece of property to determine your exit strategy.  You also shouldn’t go blindly into a market or a particular deal without doing your research or working with a team that can do it for you.

Third, I always make sure to be surrounded by like-minded people. A strong team of smart, driven, approachable people can make anything happen.  (I’d bet that Lady Gaga has a whole team of amazing people helping her catapult her career into the stratosphere).

We’ve been having such incredible success in the Las Vegas foreclosure market over the past year.  Our investors are singing a sweet tune with the returns we’ve been able to rack up through purchasing wholesale real estate at the courthouse auctions. Our principle approach is simple:  buy low, sell high!  History has shown this approach works and it’s working right now in markets like Las Vegas (and San Diego).  We do our research and then when we’re done, we go back and do even more research.  We know exactly what is going on in all aspects of the market.   Our investors trust their money to us because we provide results and we can illustrate this with our solid numbers.   Our team is made up of bright and highly-driven individuals, each with their own area of expertise.

So while we are closing one great deal after another, most people are missing out on the opportunities because they can’t stay connected to their passion to succeed.  Perhaps they lack the passion altogether.  Why are so many investors and/or potential investors so easily derailed by negativity and doomsday headlines?  While some people are looking for the hole in the boat (and subsequently drowning themselves), there’s another set of people who are out there achieving financial success (and waving from the shore).

So what does Lady Gaga have to do with real estate?  She offers us a good lesson in perseverance and passion and the importance of setting your sights on your dreams.

Incorporate these three basic rules and you can have your real estate profits soon sounding like music to your ears:

  1. Don’t take NO for an answer.
  2. Know your market (do your research)
  3. Surround yourself with great people

If I ever meet up with Lady Gaga, it might just be as we laugh all the way to the bank and stroll by all the dream crushers who tried to educate us on why we wouldn’t succeed.  The nay-sayers won’t know what hit ’em as we pass by them singing “can’t read my p-p-p poker face!”

We’re Not Bad Guys After All…

Investors often take a serious beating in terms of reputation- not unlike attorneys and car salesmen.  People like to point the finger at us and accuse us of being greedy and opportunistic.  (I say a small amount of hunger and a dose of opportunity can go a very long way so I’m not sure I consider those labels a bad thing).

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money.  Hell, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a ton of money.  But there are lessons to be learned by the meltdown we’ve been witnessing on the financial front and within the real estate market.  It reminds me of a warning that a fellow investor would share with the audiences he addressed, he would say “pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.”.  Just take a look at the level of destruction resulting from the insatiable level of greed displayed by Bernie Madoff.

So what is the lesson we should learn by the real estate collapse we’ve been witness to the past few years?  Perhaps what we should take note of is that in order to be successful we don’t need to constantly strive for that home-run real estate investment.  If we focus on sound research and decent returns, we can make a great living, one small deal at a time.

And the truth of the matter is that investors just might be the real bailout mechanism that the real market desperately needs to regain REAL momentum and solid footing.  None of the “band-aid” solutions the government has put together will truly help to turn this market around, in fact, they may simply prolong or worsen the problems.  Investors can and will rejuvenate the real estate market by, in part, moving inventory again.  Ask anyone homeowner who lives next to a vacant foreclosure property if they’d rather wait for the government (or the banks) to solve the escalating foreclosure epidemic or if they’d be happy for an investor to come along and either place a renter in the property OR flip the property to a prospective homeowner.   I don’t think the government or the banks are going to get the vote of confidence on that one.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, it appears that good ‘ole fashion flipping of properties “is back in fashion”.  (Wall Street Journal- December 09, 2009 | House Flipping Makes a Comeback ).  My point here is that it’s the investors who are out there helping to solve the foreclosure crisis by picking up homes at foreclosure auctions and generating some buzz back into the market.  We may have to do it one deal at a time, but we’re out there sparking a fire in the market again.  More times than not, investors are able to move the inventory much quicker than when the properties are left in the hands of the banks.  Idle inventory is helpful to no one!

While foreclosures continue to set records with all-time high filings, month after month, the opportunities abound.  So the next time you see someone moving into a previously vacant foreclosure property, you can stop and wonder if an investor was behind the sale (or rental).  Conditions will continue to favor the investor in a market like this one.  And it’s nice to know, from that perspective, we’re not bad guys after all.

Time is the currency of your life. How will you invest it?


As promised, I’m going to take a moment to place my twist on Stephen R. Covey – Stop Wasting Time! It’s worth a read again.

Imagine a large building that looks like a bank but is not. A brass marker on the front door reads: “Time for Sale.” All day long, people rush in and out of the building to purchase time. A man says, “Now I will buy the five years I need to prepare for a big promotion.” A woman says, “I wasted the last three years I had with my daughter; I will buy them back and make them more productive.” Each person leaves the building with what they desperately wanted: time to do the many things they had failed to do, or that they wanted to do. You stop one man, a business executive, and ask him, “What will you now do differently with your time than you have done before? How will you be more effective?” The man only returns a blank stare. He has no idea what he will do differently or how he will be more effective.

Time is the currency of your life. How will you invest it?

Take a moment to ask yourself, “What will you now do differently with your time than you have done before?” Investing today is FAR different from what it was just 2 years ago. Using the same strategies and investing with the same mindset is a sure formula for financial destruction. You have to think and invest differently in today’s economic storm to insure you preserve your assets, continue to grow your net worth and residual income.

Currently I haven’t seen a better opportunity than in the distressed real estate arena. Be it foreclosures, short sales, Trustee’s auction, REO or bulk REO. Right now, today, this moment, there are more deals than you and I can ever financial take advantage of. Distressed real estate which can be purchased and immediately resold for large and immediate profits.

Recently I was at the Trustee’s auction in Las Vegas and there were 923 foreclosed homes on the auctioneer’s chopping block… that day! 923 in ONE DAY. Routinely I see 300+ in San Diego, daily. While many are not worth purchasing, there are many worth purchasing. Simple single family homes with a true net profit of $40,000-$120,000 profit. Profits that can be realized in 120 days or less. So… “What will you now do differently with your time than you have done before?”
If you are not actively including distressed real estate into your investment portfolio… shame on you. If you have read this far, congratulations. Congratulations because by deciding to engage in distressed assets you will help insure your financial goals, aspirations and dreams. “How will you be more effective?”

As with most investments, there are two paths you can go down: One, you do it yourself; two, you associate with those in the know. While the concept of purchasing distressed assets such as homes at the court house steps sounds simple, the reality is it takes skill, resources, research and a gut feel which comes from years of real world experience. Either way, you have to decide to walk the journey of one of the two paths. Both paths lead to the same destination the questions is, “which is right for you?” Time is not your friend and the sooner you start the sooner you are going to realize your profits.

In my experience, right now, Trustee’s Auction is the fastest, surest way to quick profits. Here is a real example of a cheap little home we purchased at the Trustee’s Auction in Las Vegas and immediately sold: The home originally sold back in 2005 for $252,000 We purchased it in May for $71,100 (at the auction) Rehab expenses of $4,171 Sold for last week for $120,000 Net profit after expenses $22,329 While $22,329 isn’t going to retire you, it’s nothing to sneeze at. $20k return on a little more than a $70k investment is a hell of a rate of return in approximately 3 months! Best of all, it’s sale-able. If $20k per month isn’t suitable, then pick up 2 per month, 5 per month… or more. Unfortunately, there is no brass marker on the front door reading: “Time for Sale.”

The opportunity is NOW. The time is NOW. Your have to decide whether you are going to be like the mother in Mr. Covey’s story, “I wasted the last three years I had with my daughter; I will buy them back and make them more productive.” Life is not a practice session. You cannot buy back time. And you cannot achieve wealth just thinking about it. Time is the currency of your life.  Start NOW!

Invest wisely today,

Chief Denney

Stop Wasting Time!

Taking a month off and living in Paris has given me plenty of time to do those things that I may have been putting off for a rainy day.  And I don’t see many rainy days living in San Diego.

Today I was getting caught up on some of the reading material I’ve been meaning to get to for the past 6 months.  I came across this wonderfully insightful and powerful bit from Stephen R. Covey – “Stop Wasting Time!”

Imagine a large building that looks like a bank but is not.  A brass marker on the front door reads:  “Time for Sale.”  All day long, people rush in and out of the building to purchase time.  A man says, “Now I will buy the five years I need to prepare for a big promotion.”  A woman says, “I wasted the last three years I had with my daughter; I will buy them back and make them more productive.”  Each person leaves the building with what they desperately wanted:  time to do the many things they had failed to do, or that they wanted to do.

You stop one man, a business executive, and ask him, “What will you now do differently with your time than you have done before?  How will you be more effective?”  The man only returns a blank stare.  He has no idea what he will do differently or how he will be more effective.

Time is the currency of your life.
How will you invest it?

In financial terms I cannot think of a more appropriate, serendipitous, parable.  I’m constantly asked by investors my opinion on “what should they do?”.  “Should I invest now or later?”  “Should I take advantage of all the distressed opportunities I’m hearing about?” Or my favorite, “I’m going to wait for the bottom of the market!”

Let me ask you, “What will you now do differently with your time than you have done before?  How will you be more effective?”  What I can tell you is this…

Do Something!

The last time we as investors had this kind of opportunity was in 1989-1995.  If you didn’t take advantage of the down cycle then, it’s going to be a long time before you’re going to see it again!

NOW, is the time to invest.  NOW is the time to make a decision.  NOW is the time to build, rebuild or build upon your financial future.  NOW is the time to insure you have a retirement which greets you with a life of abundance and not scarcity.  Life does not afford you many “practice” sessions so you need to get it right.  Timing and taking decisive forward action are critical.

Tune in tomorrow as I take this wonderful piece of wisdom from Mr. Covey and place a financial twist on it.

Wishing you the best,

Chief Denney

Is the Economic Storm Almost Over?

One of the most common questions I get in the office is, “when is the market going to turn around?” It is without a doubt the most controversial topic these days. I’ve talked to people who I consider brilliant in terms of real estate and general economic common sense. And I have to tell you, the divide is as large as the Grand Canyon. Half stand firmly in their belief the market is going to turn around in 2009 and rebound and make great economic strides. While the other side continues to preach a more sobering reality. Each making strong points backed by economic this and economic that.

Because of the relationships I have, many of you call me at the office looking for my take on the market based on the discussions I’ve been privileged to have. Because with this one vital bit of information, you can confidently choose a direction to invest in. If the market is looking rosy, then out of your bag of tricks comes a set of buy and hold strategies. If the market is looking bleak, then another set of investment strategies can be deployed to insure your survival through these challenging times.

So what is the answer?

Who cares!

A buddy and business associate, Dave Stech, and I were having lunch the other day and he shared an epiphany he had regarding the market place. So while I have my own take on the market place and general economic outlook over the next 36 months, I have to give credit to Dave. Because Dave ever so eloquently summarized all this political rhetoric into a simple comment.

“It has nothing to do with


economy, it has everything to do with



Simply put… Brilliant. Who gives a damn about where the market is going because nobody knows! What I do know is that currently it’s crappy. So rather than engage in endless dialog and banter about what may be, what can be, what should be, focus on one thing…
How to make money NOW.

The only economy that matters to you is YOUR economy. Take a serious, and more importantly, honest look at YOUR current financial picture. If it looks like a train wreck, then get off your ass-ets and do something about it. Stop meditating and start motivating. Stop wasting time with wishful thinking, or exchanging wits with the witless. Take immediate action to change your financial picture. If that means, addressing some serious budget adjustments, do it. If it means jetousing debts and assets, do it. If it means restructuring, get cracking.

On the other hand, if your financial picture looks great, do something! You weren’t expecting that were you? If it looks great today, it might look crappy tomorrow. Or, it could look stellar in the near future. Sitting around enjoying your victories is NOT what your should be doing in this market. YOUR economy can be multiplied many times over by capitalizing on opportunity while others run fearful for the sidelines.

To quote Warren Buffet…

“While others are greedy, be fearful. While others are fearful, be greedy.”

While your competition is treading water searching for any piece of floatsome to clench onto for survival, opportunity abounds. Focus on YOUR economy and take immediate steps to make quantum leaps financially to secure your future.

From Investor to Blogger…

Welcome to my blog, I’m Chief Denney.  (And YES that’s my real name!).

I’ve always been sentimental about rocking the business world without the benefit of technology, perhaps a little old-school in that regard.  With that said, I’ve also prided myself on thinking and acting outside the box.  So here I am in cyberspace ready to embrace the phenomenon known as blogging and share some little tidbits, stories, tips, strategies, nuggets of wisdom with my fellow real estate investors, entrepreneurs and anyone interested in “retiring sooner vs. later, richer vs. poorer”.

I’m looking forward to reaching out and coming in contact with those who refuse to let the current state of affairs dictate or limit their success.

So keep your engines revving- I’ll be back with more in the days to come.