Real Estate Investing with No Cash and No Credit

Lots of folks think it can't be done.

How in the world can you buy a piece of real estate property without cash or credit? How is it possible to buy a $50,000 house or a $1 million dollar house if I don't have an abundance of cash or an excellent credit rating?

Nothing stops a would-be investor cold in his tracks like "no cash or credit." The prevailing perception is that "I can't start real estate investing" because (1) I sure don't have any money and (2) my credit is horrible!

The typical way real estate investing is accomplished is with an earnest money deposit to accompany the Purchase Contract and a down payment at closing. Many real estate investing tycoons, in wanting an offer accepted, make large earnest money deposits so the property seller will recognize the buyer as a serious investor. And because many real estate investing tycoons use real estate agents as their purchasing liaison, they provide sizable down payments out of which the sales commission will be paid.

Well, when I started my real estate investing career, I had neither cash nor credit. I had a serious business failure prior to my start in real estate investing, so I had to conjure up a way to succeed outside the traditional norm.

While I was well aware of the accepted procedures of earnest money deposits and down payments in real estate investing, I was forced by my situation to find alternatives. I did not realize at the time that commercial property is often purchased without any cash outlay at closing or even a credit check of the buyer.

So without any pocket change or a savings account, I began offering a $10 bill as my earnest money deposit! And I began offering no down payment at closing. My Purchase Contract offered simply the assumption of an existing loan! (In the 1980s when I started my real estate investing career, wrap mortgages were common, whereas today other legal instruments accomplish the same purpose.)

I don't have to tell you that real estate agents were not exactly fond of me. In fact, in my highest week of tendering offers, I submitted 235 offers on MLS houses, and got 235 rejections. I mean, the realtors and brokers were infuriated at my non-traditional offers! Most went to great pains in writing "REJECTED" across the entire length (even both sides) of the legal-size Purchase Agreement I had laboriously filled out for submission. The young man "running" my offers (and his broker) were verbally blasted out of the saddle! I got NO acceptances from my 235 offers. Yet, I still managed to buy two properties from the 100% (humiliating) rejection. Two property owners approached me later and said, "I can't accept your offer on that property I had listed with my real estate agent, but I have another house you can have on the same terms!"

That break-through began my trek into the Nothing-Down Wilderness that made me a multi-millionaire in three years. Once I realized it was persistence with a thimble-full of know-how, I forged on to discover motivated sellers who accepted my offers. I bought $1 million in properties that first year, another $1 million the second year, and $10 million by the 4th year.

It's a shame that even some real estate investing tycoons don't know how to buy with no cash and no credit. But the bottom line is that know-how still makes possible the impossible.

Buying property of any price is still achievable with no cash and no credit. It's done every day in residential and commercial property. And because it is achievable, anyone can enter the real estate investing arena, regardless of the size of his or her wallet.

What You Need to Know About Real Estate Investing

Are you interested in making a living as a real estate investor? If you are, your career and your financial future will rely heavily on your real estate investing skills, knowledge, and actions. If you have yet to quit your current job, to enter into real estate investing, you will want to continue reading on before doing so.

When it comes to real estate investing, there are many hopeful investors who think that it is easy to make money as a real estate investor. Yes, it can be easy, but it isn't always. Real estate investing is a risky business. Real estate markets, all across the country regularly change; therefore, you aren't given any guarantees. That is why it may be a good idea to start out small, by only purchasing one or two real estate properties first. This will give you the opportunity to determine if you can be successful with real estate investing and without having to go broke finding out that you can't.

Although real estate investing is considered a risky business, there are steps that you can take to improve your chances of making money with it. Perhaps, the most important thing that you can do is educate yourself about real estate investing. Be sure to focus on more than just real estate investing in general. Be sure to learn about foreclosure properties, fixer upper properties, becoming a landlord, and such. Unfortunately, too many hopeful investors mistakenly believe that real estate investing simply involves buying real estate, but it is more than that. To be a successful real estate investor, this is a fact that you must not forget.

When it comes to familiarizing yourself with the many components of real estate investing, you will see that you have a number of different options. For instance, there are a number of online websites that aim to provide internet users to free information on real estate investing. There are also printed resource guides or real estate investing books that can be purchased. For more detailed information with a professional spin, you can take a real estate investment training course or class, many of which are held by successful real estate investors.

As it was previously mentioned, to make a successful career out of real estate investing, you need to be able to do more than just buy and sell properties. When it comes to real estate investment properties many properties are repaired or updated and then rented out. Most commonly the landlord in charge of making all decisions is the property owner or the investor, which could be you. For you to make money in that aspect, you would need to make sure that all of your houses or apartments were filled with tenants. Do you know how you would go about doing so? Better yet, do you think that you could do so? If not, real estate investing may not be right for you.

The above mentioned points are points that you will want to take into consideration before quitting your current job and banking on the real estate market. Yes, real estate investing is a great way to make money, but it isn't for everyone. Your first step should involve determining whether or not it is right for you.

Real Estate Investing For Beginners - Part 2, Types Of Properties For New Real Estate Investors

Not all real estate property types may be appropriate for new real estate investors. There are many factors to consider when making the decision to add real estate to an investment portfolio.

When deciding on a residential real estate investment strategy, some options for new investors to consider include:

Rental units

Rental units can be considered both long term and short term investments. Types of properties that may be considered for this category would include:

  • Detached single family homes

  • Attached single family homes

  • Multi-Unit properties

  • Condos/Townhomes

Being a LandlordNot everyone has either the desire or inclination to be a landlord. Dealing with tenant and property issues can be very stressful and time consuming. One way to minimize the impact of being a landlord is to hire a professional property management company.

Hiring a professional property management company has several advantages:

  • Allows owners of rental properties to be 'shielded' from dealing with tenant and property issues directly.

  • Provides a buffer allowing the owners to maintain a hands off approach to managing their properties.

  • May provide a less stressful experience

  • Offers the ability to purchase real estate investments not immediately local to the investor.

  • Provides a single contact point for all issues regarding the investment property.

Professional property managers are well versed and prepared to manage tenant and property issues as they arise. They will typically take care of all issues relating to the property.Many offer their services at reasonable prices and rates while others can be quite expensive depending on additional services being offered. You may expect property managers to provide the following services:

  • Advertise properties available

  • Recieve applications for tenancy

  • Perform Credit and Background checks for applicants

  • Recommend rental pricing

  • Pay maintenance and/or repair bills for the owner

  • Send monthly statements and rental income (Less any outstanding bills. Typically these are deducted and itemized from the rental income and will appear on monthly statements)

Flipping or The Bane of New InvestorsOften times, new investors in real estate are overly anxious to 'flip' properties and make a significant profit. Rumors of how friends or acquaintances have made allot of money is often the incentive for 'flipping'.

The real estate market fluctuates greatly. Yesterdays great 'flipping' market may be (recent market trends as an example) tomorrows 'Hold on to it' market. While this is certainly a desirable quality of an investment property, it is and should not be the primary consideration for new real estate investors. The competition for this type of real estate investment is fierce and occupied by seasoned, experienced professional builders and investors

Property Types

Let's discuss the various property type which may be considered by new real estate investors.

The selectionof the type of real estate property for investment purposes may be based on several factors.

These factors include:

  • Financial considerations - How much can you afford?

  • Availability of properties - What types of properties are available?

  • Location - You've heard this one a thousand times - Location...Location...Location...

  • Income potential - Does the property in question match your real estate investment strategy?

Detached and attached single family homes
Single family homes whether attached or detached are oftenthe first real estate property type new investors seek. In many areas, they offer the most availability of any property type.Prices obviously vary greatly with these property types as well.

Multifamily Properties

Apartment units such as duplexes and triplexes should be considered as a viable option for new real estate investors.

Many investors and real estate professionals use apartment buildings as a point of entry to a portfolio of commercial real estate holdings and to build their equity before moving on to larger commercial real estate investments.

Duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes are two, three and four-unit buildings that may or may not be owner occupied.


Selecting an appropriate type of real estate property in which to invest is a primary consideration for all serious real estate investors.

Real estate investment strategies include the decision of whether or not to become actively involved in the management of the property. Professional property managers offer alternatives to assist in a "hands off" approach to owning residential income property.

Knowing there are options on the various types of properties to purchase as investment may provide new real estate investors the information needed to make that final decision to become a real estate investor.

End of Part 2

The continuing purpose of this article series is to assist new investors in making sound real estate investment decisions. Making sound real estate investment decisions initially may lead to the more lucrative opportunities of Commercial real estate investing

As a Keller Williams Success Realty real estate agent and REALTOR® working in Panama City Florida, my mission is to provide the public with quality Panama City Florida Real Estate services!

I believe the future of Real Estate sales will be maintained and driven by the online power of the consumer. I provide quality service for Panama City Real Estate investors, from Commericial income properties to 1031 Tax Exchanges.

Real Estate Investing - An Alternative To Traditional Stock Market Investment

From a historical perspective, investing in real estate is almost as old as the construction of property itself. Indeed many business owners who created their wealth through companies then went on to diversify into real estate investments. In fact, over the years real estate investments have produced similar returns to those found in the stock market. Let's take a look at some of the reasons:

First of all, and most obviously, the supply of building land around the world is limited, even when taking into account landfill opportunities. Since the world's population is growing and the demand for housing ever increasing, then there would seem to be a never-ending and increasing requirement for real estate of all types.

Now let's take a look at the mechanics of buying property. Here it can be seen that investing in real estate is quite different from most other traditional investments such as stocks. With real estate you can often borrow up to around 80 percent of the value of a property, sometimes even the full value and beyond under special circumstances. Thus a more modest investment of say 20 percent of the value can be used to buy and control the full value of the larger investment. Naturally, if the value of your investment increases, I.e. property prices rise, then the value of your real estate investment also increases. If so, then you are into profit, including that on the money you originally borrowed.

Naturally, there will be costs associated with real estate investing (such as legal fees and property maintenance, taxes, etc), but these are usually small in comparison with the potential gains.

Borrowing in order to invest in real estate makes real estate a type of leveraged investment. But if you know anything about leverage, you will realize that leveraged investments can also go against you. What, for example, if the property you purchased for $300,000 decreased in value to $240,000? Even though the value only dropped by 20 percent, you actually lose 100 percent of the original $60,000 investment. And if you have a mortgage on this property making up its full purchase price, you will actually need to pay money to the mortgage provider in order to cover the costs of selling the property. That's in addition to the loss of the whole of your initial investment.

So, as you see, investing in real estate is something to be taken very seriously and should not be done with money which you might need for other things in the near future. Investment in property is more secure as a long-term investment. In the above example, if you could have held onto the property and not sold it, the loss would purely have been 'on paper'. In all likelihood, over time the value of the property, unless grossly overpriced when you originally bought it, will rise and you will likely not only recover the full value of the initial investment, but also possibly make a nice profit when you do come to sell.

Another reason that real estate is a popular investment is that there are profits to be made from it whilst you are the owner. In addition to the tax-saving benefits (in that any tax due on the property's increase in value doesn't become due until it is eventually sold), you can also make additional money from renting out the property. This can often cover all your running costs of the property, plus providing a profit on top.

Unless you make a large down payment, early on during your ownership the monthly operating profit from your property business is likely to be small or non-existent. But over time this profit will increase as the amount of rent you can charge increases at a higher rate than the running costs. Naturally these profits will be subject to normal income tax rules.

A further benefit of investing in property is that you might be able to purchase cheaply a run-down or 'distressed' property and fix it up or develop it further. Properties like this can still be found if you look around carefully. Naturally, investing in this type of real estate can still produce large gains. This is something you certainly can't do with traditional stock market investments.

However, returning to the initial question about whether real estate investing is still a viable option when current prices seem to be nearing their peak: yes, it can still be so, but you might need to be more creative and prepare to be in for the long haul. Property 'flipping' methods that worked extremely successfully yesterday, might not work at all well tomorrow.

You might also consider diversifying into overseas real estate markets. Whilst this will require greater study and analysis, and there are many more legal issues to consider, seeking out what appear to be undervalued international real estate opportunities has the potential to be highly profitable if handled correctly.

Naturally, you should always seek the advice of professionals, both financial and legal, before investing in properties of any description, particularly when considering investing overseas. There might be major implications to your overall taxation. Risks can also be substantially higher when you are not there to oversee your investment in person.

Five Key Principles to Real Estate Investment Riches

Real Estate Investing is the craze today with people involved in the Carlton Sheets program spending money on courses to find out how they can make money in no money down real estate investing. This article hopes to help you create some sort of mental picture of five key principles that can help you make more money with real estate today.

Principle #1- The money is made in the purchase

Real estate investing is like value investing in stocks and you want to purchase the real estate during a period of a real estate slump. The reason for this is so that you can get a huge capital appreciation when the real estate market heats up again.

Spending time doing real estate valuation is critical since if you cannot satisfy yourself on the maths that is a viable proposition, there is no way that your real estate investment would be a good one.

Principle #2- Monitor Cash flow

Real Estate investment typically have a monthly rental income which then is used to pay for mortgage instalments and other problems with the building like a roof leak. You would thus have to keep a close watch on interest rate hikes since they can potentially erode any calculated return on investment quite quickly. Once you have enough cash coming in, it is suggested that you then keep some of it in a rainy day fund in case some of the rental tenants do not renew their property and then take the rest and consider investing in another real estate investment property.

Principle #3- Leverage on other people's time

Remember that no one can do everything, so the key is to focus on what you do best. If your strength is in negotiating deals, spend time looking for property and then get professionals and contractors to handle all the rest of the deal for you. Similarly, if you are good at decorating property, then find deals and focus on the interior design of the property. By focusing on what you do best and getting other people to do the rest of the work, you are leveraging on their time and you can then make more money from each new real estate investment that you undertake. Spend your time to build your team of advisors and employees who work for you and you will see your profits start going up. Remember that by rewarding them financially, you will get a group of dedicated people helping you make more money from your real estate investment.

Principle #4- Learn how to use leverage with a good rainy day cash balance

Did you know that many real estate investors started off with very little money to invest? Even large real estate developers like Donald Trump have learnt the power of leverage when investing in property deals. You want to leverage as much as you can so that you can control property worth many times more than what you own. Remember however to keep a rainy day fund containing a portion of the rental payments so that you can hedge yourself against a possible period where unit occupancy of your real estate investment is low. Leverage when used well can make you lots of money but if managed badly, will bankrupt you. Thus planning your cash flow and learning how to use debt is critical before you start serious real estate investment.

Principle #5- Spend time networking with real estate professionals

Do you want the latest real estate investment deals? The best way to learn of them is to break into the local real estate professional group and make friends with them. Learn some real estate investment lingo and spend time making friends with them because they are your eyes and ears on the ground and they can tell you about recent developments and changes in rental, property and infrastructure of their geographical location. Having the first player advantage is what many large real estate investors have and by spending time to network with real estate brokers, you will substantially close the gap.

In conclusion, spend time looking at these five principles and determine how they can be applied to your real estate investment and you might start seeing an increase in your real estate income.

How-To Guide - Is Real Estate Investing Right For You?

If I knew then what I know now, I never would have voted for the war.
Ken Lucas

For me the greatest source of income is still movies. Nothing - stocks, financial speculation, real estate speculation or businesses - makes more money for me than making movies.
Jackie Chan

I have 1900 units, why do I need a 401K?
Robert Kiyosaki, recent interview Time Magazine

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
William Shakespeare

From Robert Kiyosaki to Donald Trump, from Robert Allen Carleton Sheets, from Dolf de Roos to Diane Kennedy, investing in real estate is touted as a way for average people with time, money and patience to build wealth.

But is investing in real estate right wealth vehicle for everyone? If this were a one-size fits-all-world the answer would be yes. But, then, stocks would be the perfect investment vehicle for everyone and the discussion would end there. I have had investment real estate since 1994. I have had tenants attempt to squat in my properties, I have been sued, I have had a unit vandalized, someone drove into one of my buildings and I gave gone through my fair share of property managers.

If I knew then, what I know now, would I have bought my first property? The answer is yes. Real estate has done more for me than the stock market has with less overall financial risk despite the headaches and they have been many.

Five Ways to Know if Real Estate Investing is Right for You.

1. Are you a good manager of your personal resources or do you have significant amounts of short term debt? If the answers are no and yes, in that order, do not invest in real estate until you address these issues. Real estate is illiquid. Once purchased, the hold time on your new property may be significantly longer than you anticipate. This means that your potential exposure to unplanned expenses on your property may be longer than anticipated. Significant amounts of short term debt or the inability to plan your finances in anticipation of expenses may turn your real estate investment into a financial nightmare.

2. Are you a team player and can you captain that team? Investing in real estate means partnering with others to ensure your success and recognizing that your partners may know more than you. You will encounter brokers, property managers, attorneys, handy men, plumbers, electricians, contractors, roofers, inspectors, mortgage brokers and appraisers. If you are a control freak, prefer to work alone or cannot be direct in your communication when working with people, real estate investing may not be right for you.

3. Do you understand the kind of investing you will be doing? Will you be investing for cashflow or speculating for appreciation? Do you have the analytical tools necessary to help you work up a pro-forma for the property you will be buying?

4. Do you truly understand that wealth-building in real estate occurs over many years and that you have to "survive" your first couple of properties to build wealth? Over 20 years ago I started baking bread. The guide book I bought featured a "loaf for learning", a basic loaf that I could practice kneading, mixing and still turn out an edible product. Your first properties will be "buildings for learning". As you move beyond the initial learning curve, you will move on to create wealth. In certain markets, real-estate can produce appreciation returns beyond expectations and create the illusion that real estate produces instant cash. In my life I have seen two such markets. Frankly I would not want my future financial well-being to rest on my ability to time markets. Sophisticated investors have as their core investments, cashflow properties, properties that perform during hot or cold markets.

5. How do you react to unpleasant business news? Is your overall reaction anger that dissipates into a sense of helplessness or do you become a problem solver? Being able to solve problems is the key to having a successful business and investing in real-estate is a business. Real-estate is also a people business, by this I mean your tenants are people and the service personnel who will work on and market your properties are people. If the failings of others afflicts you with moral indignation and heartache, real estate investing is not for you. Tenants will fail to pay the rent and you will have to evict them, your property manager will charge you market or above market for repairs and will fail to market your properties properly in order to keep them full.

While real estate investing is a great way to build wealth, investing in real estate isn't for everyone. It is easy to "catch the fever" and jump without looking, the first step is to make sure that you know yourself; these five points of consideration will assist you to that end.

The next step is to educate yourself about your local market, financing options, price and rents. You can start by finding a local Cashflow or real estate investing club. If you join a local real estate investing club make sure some of the members actually own investment property. That way the club won't just be a club of "wannabes".

Next assemble your team of property managers, accountants, brokers and agents. You will do this by interviewing prospects. Once you decide on a team, you will still have to trade the members out from time to time.

The Importance Of Adding To Your Real Estate Investment Group

But teacher, the computer gremlins ate my homework!!!!! Unfortunately, that is what happened to my well crafted article for last week, right before I left to teach classes at the Learning Annex in New York.

The good news is that after being in NYC, I can now give a really strong example about today's topic which covers what to do once you have found ( or created) a great real estate investment group. What MOST people do from human is exactly opposite of what it takes to be a part of a real estate investment group that yields outstanding investments time after time.

It is human nature to believe that if you have something good, you don't share it with others for fear of not having enough to go around. Psychologists call this a "SCARCITY" model were people believe that there is only a finite supply of anything worthwhile. Coming from a very conservative background, where I grew up the son of a college professor, I was cursed with this scarcity belief.

As I started to gain more and more success, the more I realized that many successful people believed exactly the opposite of me: that is, they believed that by working together and sharing, you could produce an INFINITE supply of whatever was wanted. This is what experts refer to as an ABUNDANCE model.

So how does that apply to us? Let me give you the example from the Learning Annex. During our last night, we had a person in attendance that has been with our group for some time and has participated in multiple projects. This person is a full time real estate investor, is very savvy in her choices, and it's a big believer in the power of real estate investment groups.

Afterwards, we got talking about how she might be interested in purchasing multiple units in our N. Tampa project and probably would also know others that were interested. To her credit, she did not want to "hog" too many units for either herself or others outside of the real estate investment group.

In my opinion, this person could SUBSTANTIALLY INCREASE the ability of others in our real estate investment group by telling others now. Yes, we may run out on "this project" but now let's look complete the chain of events:

1. Some people cannot get into the project because it is sold out;

2. Because it is sold out, several developers take notice and want to offer special incentives to the real estate investment group;

3. Another good project is offered and because of more people are around, a substantial number of properties are consumed, some of them by people who could not get in last time.

4. In turn, this continued activity attracts even better opportunities by developers

5. Because the opportunities are continuing to flow, more and more people are attracted to the real estate investment group;

6. The process simply continues providing an ABUNDANCE of opportunities for all.

Now, suppose you do the opposite and individuals decide that it is a bad idea to grow the real estate investment group. Now what happens?

1. First project, everybody gets to participate and is very happy;

2. Developer's notice what occurred and want to work with the real estate investment group;

3. Next project is offered but VERY FEW people participate because they are personally tapped out since many in the group only want about 1 investment per year;

4. The real estate investment group now has difficulties getting good projects in the future since developer's don't know if it will work.

Let's do a real life, current day example. Right now, we are in discussions with a mid-size developer for getting access to about 40 units of a project that we think will truly be awesome. But what this developer NEEDS our real estate investment group to do is take 40 units VERY QUICKLY to greatly assist in their financing program.

For our real estate investment group, if we can solve the developer's problem and get good investments for ourselves, they have another 160 units coming several months behind this project; i.e., increasing opportunity for EVERYONE. It is our personal stance that by feeding the below cycle, EVERYBODY in the real estate investment group wins over the long term.

For this reason, regardless of if you have your own real estate investment group or if you are a member, we hope you will keep growing your group by telling people what you do and how they can participate.

This is the last in our series about real estate investment groups and how to get the most out of them. In March, we start our next series talking about the a number of real estate investments and how we see them fare in 2006 and beyond.

Real Estate Investing - FSBOs vs. Agent Listings?

Many would-be real estate investing professionals face discouragement because of the assumption that acquisitions require deep-pockets. Some even believe the myth that nothing-down purchases are impossible.

The early 1980s era in real estate investing known as the Zero Down Real Estate Movement was initiated by Robert Allen with his best-seller, "Nothing Down." After observing how commercial properties were acquired with no money down, Allen applied 50 techniques from the commercial real estate industry to the residential property marketplace. He was reportedly paid $1 million advance royalties for his publication, and began holding real estate investing conventions across the country.

The Nothing Down era was a startling eye-opener to the public. Very few were aware of Allen's predecessors, like Nick Nickerson, Al Lowry and Mark Haroldsen who wrote books on real estate investing requiring no money. Allen popularized the notion, and it was a strong public draw for his real estate investing seminars.

However, some of Allen's convention speakers were ultimately revealed as "con men," and some bellied up. Robert Allen himself went bankrupt in 1996. The public generally concluded that Allen was probably a fraud, and that real estate investing was impossible without deep-pockets.

The Wall St.Journal got wind of the Nothing Down Real Estate Investing Movement, and interviewed many investors who were using "Zero Money Down" techniques. The business editor of the Wall St.Journal interviewed me repeatedly (and others who knew of my real estate investing), and featured me in an editorial as one of the most successful investors in the nation who had purchased millions of dollars in rental property without any money.

These previous unfolding events are pertinent to the conclusion of how to buy real estate properties with limited funds.

I proved that properties could be acquired without cash (or credit) to the tune of $10 million in real estate investments during my first 4 years. I used a $10 bill in the acquisition of many of my properties.

Purchases from FSBOs (For Sale By Owners) were possible through negotiations with motivated sellers. I bought millions of dollars in real estate properties without cash or credit by learning acquisition skills that required no money down.

On the other hand, real estate properties listed by real estate agents minimally require a down payment that covers the agent's listing fee. These listed properties were no more valuable than the FSBO properties, but the agent fees demanded cash upon acquisition. In the intervening years since the 1980s, I have purchased some agent-listed properties, but my target acquisition continues to be FSBO real estate property from a motivated seller.

Real Estate Investments - Just How Risky Are They?

Real Estate Investing Just How Risky Is It? What Can You Do About it? What's the real scoop? Why are there so many real estate investment seminars making the business look easy, while real estate investors I know are experiencing something more involved?

It does not matter whether I am listening to radio, late-night TV or Saturday morning infomercial, I can always discover a real estate program promoting fast ways to make big money, and I wonder if I am missing out on something? So what is going on? Am I overlooking important learning opportunities with these money-making training sessions? One is left with this message: If it is this easy to make money in real estate, then why isn't everyone doing it?

It appears is that we are receiving the upside of the business: good deal making techniques, and the periodic great deals. We need to realize the limitations of what we are seeing and to understand what we are missing with many of these training seminars. That is not to say that there isn't money to be made in real estate and that one cannot make a good living with real estate investments. There are great techniques for acquiring and developing good investments on a number of levels. And the business can provide you much satisfaction and freedom. However, you can trust that there is more to the real estate business than what is presented in the typical real estate seminars.

The more successful businesses are structured and have developed business models (methodologies) to work by. They provide controls over accountability, guidance, risk management, legal protections, and quality assessment (assurance) to ensure that their products and services meet their customer needs. We have all heard the comment, "Oh, you are in real estate. Isn't that kind of risky?" The answer, of course is that it can be, and for many, it often is! Does it have to be so risky? No! But, have you ever attended a real estate seminar in which the presenters discussed risk management or assessment? Why not? Doesn't it apply?

Real Estate gurus often tell their audience what they want to hear, rather than the broader picture of what they may need to know. We all need to know the positives and the value of good real estate techniques. However, isn't there a need to provide a more complete view of real estate business, including asset management, standard business practices, and checks and balance, not just investment techniques alone? For example, would you appreciate some advice on effective property management? Don't you want to know more about what to do in tough times or when you are getting in over your head; how to advert bad decisions, and how to expand your business and how to protect yourself? Every business person has good and bad times. But not all businesses go under because of hard times. Most of the businesses I know deal with risk management, either on a formal or informal basis.

My Recommendations: Here are three (3) key things you should develop for your business. While they apply to all businesses, they particularly apply to real estate:

A. Vision for your business

Martin Luther King said, I have a dream! Likewise, you need a dream and a vision of what you want from your business. Writing it down and keep your vision honed.

B. Well-defined Business Plan (cradle-to-grave)

If you don't have a plan for your vision, how are you going to have your vision come true? Your plan should include a description of your objectives and actions for the start and completion of each major program or project you are doing.

C. Risk Management Plan

It is your duty to minimize your risks, and maximize your successes. It is much easier to make changes in direction early on, before you have to pay the price in dollars later! Risk Management is about diversifying your options (not putting all your eggs into one basket), identifying best and worst case scenarios, reviewing your performance regularly, having a backup plan, when your master plan fails, and finally learning from your mistakes!!

A) Create a Vision for your business You create your vision through the following:

Values you uphold for your company

Purpose of your company

Goals which detail how you are going to accomplish what you want to do.

Taken collectively, these three provide you with your Business Vision, or Mission. After think about these three areas, you should write out your mission statement and your goals and objectives for your business. A business vision is not cut in stone. As your business grows, so will your vision.

B) Structure Your Business How do you start planning your business and identifying your activities? You can take classes, read books, and talk with professionals and mentors. To ensure that you have thought of all issues regarding your business set up, it is a good idea to write down these 6 interrogatives to help you capture the whole of it:

Who, What, Why, When, Where and How

All six can assist you with your planning. For example, in general, you will want to define Who is involved, Why you are doing the business, What you want out of your business, How you plan to get there, When you plan to start (timetable), and Where (location) you expect to operating your business. Below is an example of a structured business model. How detailed and thorough you are in its use, depends upon the maturity and size of your business. You will want to define your tasks and detail to the degree required to manage your business. However, the four Phases are generally accepted categories. For more information, you can, of course, attend classes, go online and search for business models or business methodologies, or consult our web site later:

I. Analysis Phase:

- Define your vision and mission

- Define your objectives, according to your mission

- Identify your resource requirements (people and materials)

- Identify real estate for your business development

- Define a risk management model

II. Design Phase: Define a plan or prospectus on paper (include marketing and staging approach as part of the design)

Select real estate - determining current and future value of investments for purchase or sale, according to your plan

Collect data on required resources (people and materials) and their costs

Create a total cost estimate for each effort (often called a Work Breakdown Structure-WBS).

Review the labor and cost estimates with other key members for confirmation, make modifications to your estimates, as necessary.

Consider developing your real estate in workable phases

Establish checkpoints to review performance, and test your results with the market

III. Development / Renovation Phase Perform construction / renovation / project management projects according to your plan

Regularly hold brief reviews with key members to confirm your progress

Make changes to your work activity according to review recommendations

Prior to completion, make a test walk through of the properties to ensure work is to Plan (Review development and staging activities)

Complete work (punch-out) and any final updates for final review

IV. Implementation Phase Review plan for staging property(s) and Marketing approaches

Make corrections to the plan, based on review results

Document lessons learned from our real estate developments

C) Develop a Risk Management Plan

Are you having trouble keeping your activities under control? Are you continually overrunning your budget? Did you complete a renovation project or manage a year of lease/rental income that should have provided you a good profit, but ended up giving you little to no real profit? If so, then you need to define a Risk Management Plan:

Risk Management is a tool that is not referred to enough in managing real estate businesses. It can be critical to the survival of many businesses. Most people think of "risk" when they think of real estate investing. So, why would you not develop risk protection for your real estate business?


The process of analyzing exposure to risk and determining how to best handle such exposure.

The decision to accept exposure or to reduce vulnerabilities by either mitigating the risks or applying cost effective controls.

So, what is at risk?: Your time, your money, your physical assets, and suits against your assets and integrity. For real estate, Risk Management can be viewed as performing a series of risk protective activities at periodic times during your property development efforts, starting from the day you start your business to its operations and ultimate sale. [Creating a contingency plan, having access to attorney services, and incorporating your business are part of your Risk Management Plan]

If you are doing your job correctly, you should be able to determine before your begin a real estate project:

Anticipated profit you will take for your effort

Current value of the investment

Future value of the investment upon completion

Completion Time for the investment effort

Can you say this now? If not, you are not really ready to renovate a property for sale and profit!

Here are examples of how I have used risk management techniques in my real estate development activities. I always keep in mind that good locations and good residents are my most important assets.

Example #1-building cost reductions: Year 1999, Purchase of two 4-unit buildings as one property in good area; units were section 8 in need of major TLC (deferred maintenance and a classical diamond-in-the-rough ).

Purchased low, required inspections, negotiated with Seller on $10,000 post-inspection cash return for improvements Talked with landscaper on removal of overgrown bushes. They wanted $2,500 for effort. I declined. Within 6 weeks, using a chainsaw (no massacre here), I trimmed all bushes, creating a bonsai effect, placed mulch on beds using free mulch from a community resource center, and planted flowers. Renovated each apartment on a unit-by-unit basis as tenants left; upgraded exterior with new landscaping, decorative painting, and artistic fixtures Sold both buildings to local LLC for full-market price, $100,000 profit within 6 years

Risks managed: Materials and Management costs were kept low, so that tenant income and sale profits are maximized, using sweat equity.

Example #2 Seller Creativity during a Buyers Market: Year 2006 Sale of Historic Home in a financially-stalled historic district (tough sale for a tough period).

Reviewed listings and purchased bank-owned double with extra lot, very close proximity to local university and hospital Re-converted badly-designed double to original single-family home Installed high-end kitchen and bath cabinets, using discounted display cabinets and counters from a local home improvement store. Installed discounted high-end lighting (commercial lighting company provided 50% discount for using his services for my renovations); restored ornate doors and woodwork, landscaped yard, planted flowers During sale period (Buyers Market): extended my potential client market to include both residential and commercial clients; introduced my listing to Real Estate mangers for local hospital and university. Received excellent offers from the hospital and a professional person with the Air Force.

Risks Managed: Ability to sell home in a marginal area for a very good price during a Buyers Market; Expanded client base to both commercial and residential through location of home, provided several sale options, including Seller financing to help motivate Buyers.

Example #3 Management for Protection and Income Maximization: Year 1977 - current Use preliminary telephone and interview screening and credit screening for all applicants; following this up by directly personally contacting employers, landlords, and relatives Establish rules and conduct requirements verbally and in written Leases; provide checklists, support policies, and show residents that I care Remain strict with Lease requirements, rent payments, and the rights of other residents. However, I remain flexible and supportive of residents needs; making repairs as soon as possible; providing simple courtesies such as asking about the family, their interests, needs; I always tell residents that we appreciate their presence. When residents have established a good rent-payment history and start having trouble paying rents, I am flexible and work with them. I have created notarized payment plans, have created agreements to spread payments over periods of time, and have had residents work for me on occasion. I consider the comments You are the best landlord I have ever had to be the highest compliment and a definite risk management safety comment.

Risks Managed: Maintained residents for extended periods (maximizing profits); Ensured that residents knew who I was and that I was responsive to their needs and concerned about their well-being. This provided security, as residents were less-likely to be upset with management or damage the property, or move-out! It also builds a good tenant base, as word-of-mouth provides you with good residents.

I hope that this information has been helpful.

So, just how risky is real estate investing? . . . . . .only as risky as you are willing to make!

For more information, visit my website,

I started investing in real estate some 30 years ago. As a real estate investor, there was quite a bit of groundwork required before I bcame a seasoned-enough investor to be knowledgeable about tenants, property management, purchasing, financial asset management, and property sales. Often, it has been challenging at times. However, I love the business and the freedom it provides. I enjoy working with people and creating quality investment properties over the years.

My background consists is combination of training, human factors, technical systems development, marketing, sales, and management. I am a property investor, with 30 years experience in management, investments, training and serving as Director for a large Research firm in Ohio, providing training and systems programs for the government. Visit my site at:!

My educational background includes a MA in mathematics from Northwestern, a BA from Ohio University, and many years of inservice training in management

Real Estate Investment Groups: "Get 'er Done"

Have your heard there is a new real estate investment guru in the marketplace? At night, he has a part time job as a national stand up comedian and without the audience even knowing, he gives them fantastic real estate investment advice. His name is Larry The Cable Guy, and these days he performs to packed audiences purely because of his real estate advice, I am sure. So what is his secret advice to getting good real estate investments? GET 'ER DONE!

In all seriousness, I don't think the Cable Guy is actually giving real estate investment advice but he should. If you will remember his famous "Get 'er done" phrase, it will serve you well in the real estate investment. Early in my real estate investment career, I bought single family houses and then turned around and resold with owner-financing in place. As I was beginning this activity, the HARDEST part was finding good investments on a consistent basis. Why? Because I had no track record and thus nobody would help.

When I approached realtors for help, they would be friendly but rarely brought any good projects. I didn't understand why because I KNEW I was very serious about buying. However, most realtors really doubted that I would buy the houses if they brought them to me. Having been in the real estate investment business for a while now, I certainly don't blame them. What realtors rapidly learn is that 90% of investors will back out when it actually comes time to close. So they do all this work and don't get paid.

But like many things, after you struggle through your first couple of real estate investment deals, then you start to gather a reputation of actually getting deals done. Before long, there was a couple of realtors who figured out I could "Get 'er done" and started to bring me more opportunities than I could handle. This was a HUGE turning point because now people call me, tell me about a real estate investment deal, and ask if interested. All of this required ZERO work from me! Today, I still occasionally pick up houses and primarily use one realtor who knows that if I give her the go ahead to look, then she will get an immediate pay day if she brings something that meets my criterion.

As I got more and more into preconstruction real estate investments, I got another rude awakening. Even though I was serious about finding investments and had decent connections, as a single individual, I was pretty much irrelevant to developers and major brokers with large preconstruction projects. Why? I was buying 1 unit and they might have 400 to sell. While they were happy to get my purchase, they would not go out of their way to find me other good projects and deals.... It was like I had to beg to get in.

Over time, there was a small group of us that formed that had more power but still, had almost no ability to interact with developers and get better real estate investments. As time moved forward, was formed with the idea that by surrounding ourselves with a group of investors, we could now enjoy some of the perks of being able to "Get 'er done" on a larger scale. Today, with that ability, we get to look at a lot of projects and opportunities that most outside investors never even know about.

This month, we will run a series of articles on take full advantage of investing "with the power of thousands". With a strong group of "Get 'er done" investors, it really becomes amazing at the real estate investment opportunities that arise; and this is true if the real estate market is booming, flat, or declining.

We will also use this article series to introduce a major new feature to an real estate investment open forum and "town hall meetings" to help investors group into smaller, more common interest areas. At our web site, we obviously introduce a wide range of projects from preconstruction condos, town homes, mountain and coastal property, condo conversions, international and domestic, etc.

We will be taking steps to help gather "Get 'er done" investors into smaller, real estate investment interest groups with a tight focus on the types of projects they desire. The real advantage for you is that if you are looking for a specific investment type (or even location) and there are others that share your interest, we can then really help these groups find the types of projects meeting their needs. We believe this will be a tremendous benefit to not only investors but developers as well.

So we hope you will join us this month as we really outline the steps for you to achieve your real estate investing goals, regardless of market conditions.

Real Estate Investing Financing Truths - Part 2

No Money Down and other 'Creative' Real Estate
Investment Methods

For many years, investors have seen the traditional
real estate investment methods described in Part 1
of this article as a lot less than desirable!

They began looking at the prices of houses and
finding methods of bringing the price more in line
with making more money in a faster way.

These savvy investors developed ways to get loans
on properties that allowed them to pull money out
whenever they buy a real estate investment (cash
back at closing) and lower their payments to build up
their cash flow ('creative' investing).

They even developed methods of determining a
Sellers motivation for selling - and bought the
property at a discount price.

These creative investors also saw that some Sellers
were not able (for whatever reason) to sell the
property at a discount price, however, they still
needed to get rid of the property, as they didnt
know how to manage it as a landlord, or make
money from it - not that it couldnt be done, they
simply lacked the knowledge of how to do it.

The Seller just never learned how to profit from a
real estate investment.

These investors understood how to make money
from such properties, and did.

They bought the property on discount terms, and
made money from the spread by selling it at retail
price and/or terms (certainly one of my favorite
methods of real estate investing).

Buy Every Real Estate Investment via Discount Price
or Discount Terms.

Several years ago (actually, it really took off in the
1980s), Real Estate Investment Experts began
seeing the potential for making money in bringing
this treasured knowledge to the public in the form of
home-study courses, seminars and Boot Camps.

They found that it wouldn't create competition for
themselves, as many people, even though they
purchase real estate courses and attend seminars
and Boot Camps, will not actually take the
information and utilize it to make the hundreds and
even thousands of dollars possible for anyone
serious about Real Estate Investing.

These Real Estate Investment Experts (being
dubbed 'guru') found that this side of the business
was lucrative often making more income from
teaching about real estate investing than the actual
real estate investments themselves.

It is important to understand that these real estate
investment gurus learned early that they can only
teach others what to do, not be responsible for the
other persons success.

Providing the information to those that choose not
to use it is very similar to the old adage "You can
lead a horse to water, but you cant make it drink".

Yes, these real estate investment gurus got wealthy
from selling this information, but their theories,
principles and techniques taught thousands of
others (those that take action on what they learn)
how to realize their dreams utilizing their tried and
true methods of real estate investing.

From home-study courses and seminars, to boot
camps and one-on-one training, these methods
have been proven to be not only interesting to
millions of people, but capable of bringing massive
wealth to those that take action on what is taught -
those that go on and actually make real estate
investments themselves.

Knowledge changes things...

This knowledge of no money down real estate
investing techniques being known by thousands of
Sellers has made changes in the industry.

By bringing the Seller into the knowledgeable realm
of Real Estate investing, Sellers now know many of
the methods that the gurus teach.

This is both a blessing and a curse.

To the talented investor, these knowledgeable
people are more likely to work to create a WIN-WIN

Investors that avoid the tricks and stick to the basic
real estate investment techniques and terms that
have been proven to work over and over again,
have proven these powerful real estate investment
strategies work even with these informed Sellers.

Oh, yes, many of these real estate investment
techniques work today, as they have for many
years. So much so that it is almost possible to say
they have become principles; things that work, over
and over, the same way no matter what happens -
like gravity.

However, sadly, they are not really principles, as
several of the real estate investment methods and
techniques that worked in the 1980s and even
through the 1990s are today not as powerful, nor do
they work as often as they did before (although
some 'gurus' are still teaching the same methods -
even after 20 years...).

Some of this decline is due to a more educated
society (due to the flood of real estate investment
information available via books, tapes, home-study
courses and the Internet), while some of it is due to
simple changes in policies and laws.

It seems like a wave started late in 2003, the FHA
announced that flips (transactions where investors
buy houses cheaply and sell them at or near market
rates) are "illegal". (Note that illegal in this context is
not a legal term, but one that has been adopted
from "you are not allowed to do that and do
business with us".)

The FHAs announcement started a wave of concern
(if not panic) throughout the Real Estate investing

Title and Mortgage companies began to tighten up
their reigns. Many of these companies, in lieu of
direct information, began simply not completing any
transactions that did not follow the traditional real
estate investment system. This made it hard for
investors to complete transactions that involved
simple buy-then-resell agreements (as they are not
really real estate investments, but a rather nice way
to make some fast CA$H!).

In rapid appreciation areas (California and Nevada,
for example), the ability to flip a property all but
stopped (became 'illegal'). All the 'traditional'
creative real estate investing methods were virtually
put on hold.

Ingenuity to the rescue, other methods of real
estate investing always seem to pop up. After all,
"Necessity is the Mother of Invention", and "Where
there is a Will, there is a Way" are absolute

Investors have to make a way to get things done - a
way to keep their real estate investments profitable,
and even more creative real estate investing
methods were developed - to keep real estate
investors, and the love of real estate investment,
alive forever.

A Real Estate Investing Idea For Total Newbies

All right, you've seen the infomercials for people like Carleton Sheets, or you read an ebook by somebody like T. C. and Vickie Bradley, and you're hot to trot out your wallet and get rich with real estate investing...just like everybody else.

Whoa, Trigger.

Not everybody IS getting rich with real estate investing, no matter what the hype leads you to believe.

First, let's understand a couple of things. There ARE people getting rich with real estate investing. Many of these people have followed the lead of Carleton Sheets or T. C. Bradley or other real estate investing gurus. Those are facts.

Here is one additional fact. If you don't know what you are doing, you can lose your shirt in real estate a lot of other people.

That's not to say you can't learn, and it's not to say that people like Carleton Sheets or T. C. and Vickie Bradley can't teach you. What it does mean is that you can't listen to one tape, or read one book and run out the door asking for somebody to please take the contents of your wallet! You have got to take the time and make the effort to learn the facts, steps, and inside information necessary to become successful in real estate investing.

However, I realize that those dollar bills are burning a hole in your pocket and you want to get started NOW, so here's a simple way to begin your trek to the top.

Let me tell you how Lois got her real estate investing empire started in Austin, TX. She looked around until she found a small, but well-maintained 4-unit apartment complex in a nice Austin neighborhood. The price was right, so, not having the credit herself to swing the deal, she got her dad to cosign with her. Once the place was hers, she moved into one unit (no more rent to pay), the rent from another unit covered the monthly mortgage, and the rent from the other two units was hers to keep.

Not exactly a get rich quick plan, but it was a start. Since she still had a full time job, she used the extra money from the apartments to pay off bills and loans, including the mortgage, at an accelerated rate. This gave her leverage to buy another unit, and the rest is history. She now is an Austin slumlord...! Seriously, she has done well in this simple way and has grown her initial real estate investment considerably.

In his article, "Buy High Yielding Turnkey Real Estate Investments With Your Signature Alone!", Bill Young, a former bank mortgage officer and real estate investor since 1980 gives valuable pointers in getting started in this sort of deal, sometimes with no down payment required. You can find a copy of this article at

While wheeling-and-dealing in real estate investments can make fortunes, there is a learning curve required to make the kind of money professionals like Carleton Sheets and T. C. Bradley do. If you are a total newbie and just HAVE to get into real estate investing, you might be well advised to follow the example of my friend, Lois, and start with small, occupied apartment units, perhaps using some of the space as a residence, as she did, and using income from the units for investment growth.