The Secret to Massive Wealth

The Secret to Massive Wealth

What is the Holy Grail of Real Estate?

water-1149131_960_720When I work with new investors I find that most of them are looking to me to provide them the Holy Grail, the single source key for the mother lode.

They ask, “What is the absolute best way to generate leads, or the best script to use. How can I go from broke to filthy rich in 30 days or less?

What is the one secret that if I learn and apply it untold wealth will be mine?”

They say, “I know it must be there because I see these guys on late night TV, I know because I’ve been to a seminar, I know because I bought these CDs….”

Living in Florida makes this even more entertaining because long before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, a Spaniard named, Ponce de Leon, was roaming through the Florida swamps looking for the fountain of Youth. I actually visited it last year and even had a sip of this rather vile water, I honestly didn’t feel any younger and now a year later, my grey hair remains. Anyway, back to the story.

Like Ponce de Leon, investors looking for the one and only secret to success are fooling themselves.

There are many excellent techniques for buying, selling and holding properties; for dealing with lenders, contractors and tenants, but the fact is this, each technique is merely a tool. In many cases an extremely valuable tool that if used correctly or in conjunction with other tools/techniques will yield very profitable results. By using these tools over time you can indeed build massive wealth. Wealth creation should be systematic, planned, intentional and progressive. If it comes by accident, it could just as easily go the same way.

We have all seen the TV commercials. We have all wondered, can anyone really do that?

The techniques that I will share with you are actually techniques that are great for real estate but many can be applied elsewhere in your wealth creation and investment plan. Some techniques are no money down techniques, some are not. The techniques that I am  going to share with you can be used individually or in a combination of two or three techniques together because no two real estate transactions are exactly the same.

You may need two or three techniques to get the transaction completed and maximize your profits. By reading this blog you will learn ideas and techniques that when integrated into different combinations create hundreds of different techniques that you can use to transact good and profitable deals no matter where you live in this country.

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Start a Intellectual Toolbox of Techniques

So, I just want to share with you right now that the first thing you need to be aware of is that many of these techniques are just simply that. They are just techniques; tools for your intellectual toolbox. As I said a moment ago, no two real estate deals are quite the same.

And so, because there are no two deals that are the same, you can’t universally apply one single technique across the spectrum of opportunity that will cross your path. You can’t rely on applying two techniques or even 10 techniques to every single deal and have maximum results.

I have watched newbies try to apply one technique to every deal that comes along. They get frustrated and want to give up. They feel as if they are doomed to failure. Occasionally they do find an opportunity – a property – where they can employ the one technique that they have and they do a deal.

I encourage you as you read these posts to think about how many techniques and tools you can add to your tool box that are going to help you recognize and profit from every single opportunity. Tools and techniques that will allow you to deal with virtually every property that comes along.


Starting Now You Will Have the Tools

When other investors don’t know what to do, you will be able to pull a different tool out of your toolbox, a different technique, a different combination of techniques, and you will be able to be successful where they weren’t.

And as you employ these techniques and combinations of techniques, employ intellectual capital with creativity!

To your success,


5 Key Steps To A Becoming a Successful Real Estate Investor

5 Key Steps To A Becoming a Successful Real Estate Investor

5 Key Steps To Becoming A Successful Real Estate Investor

Success in Real Estate is not based on luck, family connections, or natural talent. There are no genetic or biological factors that will guarantee success in this business. BUT! You CAN be successful. Here’s the good news:


What Are You Already Good At And How Did You Get That Way?

We all grow and profit as investors in much the same way we would become successful in any other industry. When leading skill development workshops on Negotiating Skills, Deal Structuring, Creative Financing or any of our Investor Quick Start programs I often ask the attendees to think about something they have been good at or had success with in the past, be it a talent like playing the guitar, a sport or a hobby.

What made you good? What separated you from others?

The responses are always similar. They understand the specifics of what they were good at, they were focused, had a good plan, executed it, surrounded themselves with like-minded individuals who shared a similar passion, and were coached by a successful, experienced person.

As a youngster, I learned to play the trumpet. I took lessons in school with all the other kids. What helped me to excel and eventually play professionally were the hour and a half weekly private lessons with a professional musician. He helped me see the music differently; develop practice drills and a plan for effective practice.

Enjoying a successful business in Real Estate is no different. Virtually every successful, wealthy agent, broker and investor I know became wealthy because they took the time to educate themselves on different options and opportunities, have laser sharp focus, execute a well thought out marketing plan, surround themselves with a strong, experienced team, and have a coach or mentor.

Feel free to use this image, just link to www.SeniorLiving.Org This microstock required lots of post processing to get the blue tint. I also needed a bounce card to get more detail in the glasses.

1. Understanding Requires Core Knowledge

What is going on with the market now? What will the market be like a year from now?

In order to have a long, profitable career, you will need to be familiar with multiple ways to purchase properties and multiple ways to sell.

The strategy you utilize in a sellers’ market will most likely be different than the strategy you utilize in a buyer’s market. If you aren’t flexible and prepared to adapt to the changing market conditions, then you will be left behind. When the market changed from red-hot to ice-cold a few years ago, many agents and investors stubbornly kept the same marketing plan. They simply failed to respond to new conditions. After all, it had worked well in the past, so why change? Many of those folks are no longer in the business.

Rehabbers who failed to adapt have since lost their jobs had to find new careers. Recognizing when to focus on short sales, lease options, subject to, selling with owner financing, or buy and hold strategies is important.  Mastering the different strategies required to adapt to a changing market will allow you to maximize your profits.

2. Possessing Laser Sharp Focus Is The Secret


Mastery of anything has a number of requirements but none is more important than one’s ability to focus. When are you at your professional best? It’s when you know exactly what you want and exactly what you are required to do in order to achieve your goal.

When do most mistakes occur? When uncertainty exists. Uncertainty is the opposite of focus. When you are focused, you complete tasks. People who lack focus tend to procrastinate and/or make unnecessary and sometimes costly mistakes.

There is no doubt that knowledge, or lack thereof, plays an important role in focus, as does our next step; having a detailed plan.


3. Your Marketing Plan

You can have all the knowledge necessary to close any real estate transaction, but if no one knows what you do, then how will you close any deals? If you are not generating leads and connecting with people, you will not have any opportunities for transactions.

So how do you attract motivate sellers? A good marketing plan will identify a number of different strategies. I recommend a minimum of 3.

Note – if 3 is good more are better!

When planning out your marketing strategies remember to budget your time as well as the financial requirements. It does you no good to have a goal mailing 500 letters a week or distributing 1000 flyers if you don’t budget time for this activity as well.

So what works best for attracting motivated sellers? When done properly, a targeted direct mail campaign is the most successful form of advertising. Incorrectly implemented is can also be a great waste of money. It is important that you work with an experienced company that has a solid track record and the right mailing list.

If you have no marketing dollars then you have to make marketing time to spread the word. Whether it is door knocking, gum-flapping or handing out business cards or flyers in front of a supermarket (I don’t recommend this) you must get the word out! Sometimes other people can help with this.


4. Build Your Dream Team

We’ve all heard the expression, “No man is an island.” It is true and you cannot do this business alone! Even if you are an extremely capable person that doesn’t require assistance from anyone else to buy, fix and a house, you will still require the services of another contractor, a lender, a title agent and attorney, CPA or other professional.

Why do you need all this help? What would you do if while you’re working on a project and another great deal falls in your lap? Leveraging others allows you to focus on your business and build your wealth faster. The assistance of others will lead to more transactions and more profits.


5. Leverage a Coach or Mentor

Think of one well known, highly successful person who is at the top of their field. It doesn’t matter if they are an athlete, actor, business tycoon or famous personality, they have one thing in common: a coach.

Coaches have experience in areas that you do not, can guide you, help you avoid major blunders, and drive you to do more than you ever thought possible.

It doesn’t matter how many books you’ve read or cds you’ve listened to; your first few deals will throw something at you that you’ve not seen before or even anticipated. When this unexpected and sometimes frightening situation occurs, it’s good to have someone who’s been through these situations before guiding you through the transaction.

To summarize, while virtually anyone can have success in the real estate business, not everyone will have success. If you seriously wish to be wealthy, then do what other wealthy real estate professionals do. They commit themselves to being life-long learners and never stop expanding their knowledge base.Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 2.26.32 PM

Successful investors are extremely focused; they plan and execute diligently. They surround themselves with other successful professionals, and are coached by someone who will help them continually achieve more and do it in less time.

We are now accepting applications for our new and improved 12 month Personal Action Coaching and Transformation Program (PACT). This session starts in January! Learn more from our information and videos at To your success…..

Why Real Estate is the IDEAL Investment

Why Real Estate is the IDEAL Investment

So… Why is Real Estate is the I.D.E.A.L. Investment?

The first thing I’d like to discuss with you before we even get into the techniques of real estate investing is why should you even bother with real estate. What is it that makes this such a great way to become wealthy? Real estate has been called the IDEAL investment because what it produces spells the word…IDEAL.

Investment real estate gives you: Income, Depreciation, Equity, Appreciation and Leverage.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-12-21-17-pm“I” is for INCOME

Real estate entrepreneurs enjoy income in the form of cash flow created by rents, lease payments, option fees, pet rent (yes, rent for Rover), extra-resident rent (Uncle Joe), and even mortgage payments when we provide seller financing. In addition to recurring income streams we also enjoy income in lump sums; some large, some small. These include sale proceeds, option fees, down payments, and balloon payments.

Real estate generates two types of income and each is taxed differently. Ordinary income is income generated from flips, quick turn rehabs, and any property not held for investment longer than 12 months. Rental properties generate passive income which is exempt from self employment tax (currently 15.3%).

The key to passive income is the intent to rent the property and the holding period exceeding 12 months. Talk with your CPA to understand the tax implications of your transactions…it can make a massive difference to your financial future.

When selling properties, I like to use the lease option or lease purchase technique because I’m blending the sale of some rights. One is the right to purchase the property at an agreed price at a future date using an option.  The other is a rental agreement which generates passive rental income.


This benefit is unique to anything in the finance world because depreciation is a deductible expense created by investment property. Depreciation allows you to deduct an amount equal to 1/27.5th per year against the income produced by the property. However, if the deduction exceeds the income, the depreciation may be taken against other income or carried forward.

To fully understand this benefit I strongly encourage you to consult your tax adviser. I assure you it will be worth the conversation!

There are many strategies and techniques involving entity structuring that will help you to maximize the tax benefits afforded entrepreneurs who own a business and do not act as a sole proprietor.

“E” is for EQUITY

Equity is that amount of a property that is not pledged as collateral for a debt. The simple way to look at it is if you have a property valued at $150,000 and it has a $100,000 mortgage on it, then you have $50,000 in equity that could potentially be used as collateral for additional financing.

One important thing to note is that many sellers confuse equity with the amount of money they’ll walk away with after a sale. (They seldom consider things like closings costs, commissions, and other seller concessions.) We’ll discuss this in another post.


I just love appreciation; where else can you make money while you sleep? When things go up in value without any effort on my part that is a good deal! Real estate is cyclical. So, remember friends; it will not go up in a straight line, but over time it always does go up.

Even though the current market is flat in some areas and receding in others we know that over time our real estate will increase in value .However this is not why we buy real estate.

To good investors, appreciation is just a bonus because we make our money when we buy either with great terms or because we buy at below market process. We cannot always predict when or by how much a property will appreciate, so if we buy right, but timing doesn’t allow for appreciation… we still make a profit.

If, however, we do benefit from appreciation, we still make our profit and we get a bonus too! People who buy looking for appreciation are not really investors, they are speculators…they are the bubble people of real estate.

“L”  is for LEVERAGE

If I’m a new investor just starting out and I go to my stock broker and tell him I want 1000 shares of a $100 stock he’s going to ask me for $100,000. If I don’t have the $100,000, I’m done and there’s no deal.

But let’s say I have a big account of say $500,000.  He may let me margin the securities, which means he’ll lend me some of my own money (about 50 cents on the dollar) to buy the stock.

In this example, I can buy the stock with only $50,000. So looking at the stock market I can get no leverage if I buy 1000 shares for $100,000, BUT, I can get 2 to 1 leverage using a margin account. I could use $100,000 to buy $200,000 worth of stock.

In real estate many lenders will allow me to purchase a property valued at $100,000 with only 10% down. This means that I’d put only $10,000 down and the bank would finance the remaining $90,000.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-12-20-36-pmThis would suggest that with $100,000 cash I could control 10 PROPERTIES valued at $1,000,000!


If each of these investments appreciated 5% in one year who would have the best return on their investment?

Stock Purchase without leverage $ 100,000 x 5% = $5,000

Stock purchase with leverage 2 to 1 $ 200,000 x 5% = $10,000

Real Estate with leverage of 10 to 1 $1,000,000 x 5% = $50,000

The power of leverage with real estate is unmistakable.

Let’s say you played this out for 10 years. The numbers would be staggering. While there are interest expenses and carrying costs, these will be paid by your tenant. Additionally, your equity would increase as they pay down your mortgage.

It gets even better when you learn techniques like buying with “Seller Financing” or by using existing debt and buying the property “Subject To” both techniques which are near and dear to my heart which will be covered in a future post!

So, are you ready to start making I.D.E.A.L. investments?

To Your Success,


Ten No Money Down Techniques to Buy Real Estate

Ten No Money Down Techniques to Buy Real Estate

Transaction engineering for the real estate investor is akin to a carpenter having a well-equipped toolbox or a surgeon having all the necessary operating instruments to get the job done correctly, safely, and in a way that everyone involved benefits. In our business it includes acquisition, property management, asset protection, negotiating, and tax planning to name a few. Today I want to introduce 10 no-money-down techniques (note: no-money-down means none of your money) that you can use alone or in a combination because no two real estate deals are alike.

I encourage you as you read this to think to yourself “how many techniques, how many tools, can I add to my tool belt that will allow me to effectively deal with and profit from every opportunity that comes along?”

Many investors use the same technique to do every transaction they find – they are doomed. Only occasionally can they find an opportunity where they can employ the single technique they’ve learned.

You’ll learn to recognize opportunities others don’t even see!

When other investors don’t know what to do, you’ll be able to pull a different tool out of your tool belt, a different technique or a combination of techniques, and be successful when they weren’t. And when you master these techniques, you’ll recognize opportunities and complete transactions others don’t even see!

To begin building your buying machine you must learn how to generate leads, identify motivated sellers and then buy below market with deep discounts using cash, private money, or hard money.
Another favorite is to use existing financing by acquiring the property “Subject to.” With this technique, you take over the payments on existing debt without originating a new mortgage. Options and Lease Options are another pair of great techniques to control properties without ownership and still generate great profits.

An opportunity for creating the deal after the deal…

Seller financing is my all time favorite. Sometimes it even presents an opportunity for creating a Deal After the Deal for increased profits. All of these transaction techniques can be structured as no money down. Consider split funding (some money now and some later); with or without payments; with or without a balloon payment, or virtually any combination you can negotiate.

When it comes to selling properties creativity is again your best strategy. How do you sell in a tough market? What do you do when the banks won’t lend? You become the bank! It is the most powerful way to build a fortune, while helping other people resolve their problems or achieve their dreams. And you won’t do it with adjustable rate mortgages or other exotic forms of financing that got this whole economic mess started.

Market your properties to a broader buyer base

We can sell or lease properties to create either cash or cash flow. Lease Options and Rent to Own programs can help more people qualify for home ownership while reducing vacancies. Selling homes with Owner Financing, Wrap Around Mortgages, and Agreements for Deed can help you market properties to a broader buyer base than the traditional buyer who will get a traditional bank mortgage. These creative techniques also help you overcome seasoning issues and maximize cash flow.

Well there you have it, at least 10 creative ways to buy and another 5 ways to sell without using banks. All the traditional avenues remain available but doesn’t it make good sense to have alternatives that work in any market? Using these creative techniques in an ever-changing array of combinations can give you hundreds of possibilities.

If some of the terms above are unfamiliar to you, don’t worry, you’ll have an opportunity to learn about them and put them to good use during our Quick Start Workshop Series. You can visit to learn more or better yet come to our next workshop!

Creating Your Real Estate Money Machine Workshop

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Dale Carnegie

So You Want To Invest In A Condo?

So You Want To Invest In A Condo?

While I love investing in many types of real estate, for me, different asset classes have different exit strategies. As a general rule, I am not a holder of condos as long term investments but will, from time to time, buy them for resale. My concern with holding condos or town homes as long term investments is the potential for an HOA or condo association to hold too much control over my investment. I am sure there are many very successful condo investors out there so this is not an attack. The asset class just isn’t my first investment choice.

If you want to invest in condos and town homes the key is to recognize some of the potential risks and consider your options in advance. This way you can mitigate surprises before purchasing the unit.

Many people believe owning a condo or town home is easier than owning a single family home because you don’t have to worry about yard maintenance, roof repairs, etc. Compared to buying a single family house there are definite differences with condos. When purchasing a condo you are not only buying your unit. You are also buying an ownership interest in the common areas of the condominium project such as the lobby, grounds, building exterior, etc. With common ownership comes risk and respponsibility.

The following information doesn’t cover everything you need to know, but it is a good start.


It is usually a good idea to get a copy of the certificate of insurance, which is a summary of the condo association’s policy. First see if the replacement costs covered by the policy are an accurate reflection of the cost of rebuilding. You’ll want to make sure that the policy has a building-ordinance clause, which means that the insurance will cover the cost of bringing the building up to code if there is any rebuilding to be done.

This is usually more costly in terms of premium but is is much better than not being financially prepared for major repairs (especially when code related upgrades are required). On older buildings, there may have been many building code upgrades since the time of construction. As an example, over the years Florida’s hurricanes have wreaked havoc and many condo investors have suffered significant losses due to extended vacancies while waiting until their association and insurance carriers arranged for and completed repairs.

Finally, make sure that you understand exactly what the association policy covers and what you are responsible for. Typically property and liability insurance does not cover the interior of your unit, but rather the exterior of the building and common areas. You may need to buy your own insurance to protect your interior space and your tenant will need a renter’s policy to insure their belongings.


Take a look at the minutes of the condo association board meetings to see what the owners have been griping about. If everyone was complaining about the faulty electrical, plumbing or the landscaper’s absence, you know that the complex is having management difficulties. Even if there aren’t any complaints, reading the minutes will reveal the sorts of projects that are under way at the complex; projects the seller may have neglected to mention. HOA fees pay for expenses such as maintenance of the common areas, insurance (property and liability), non sub-metered utilities, if any (such as water for irrigation and pools or electricity for exterior lighting and gates), repair reserves and more.


I’m cautious of a condo complex whose owners manage the place themselves. Although many are operated efficiently, self-management can lead to more hassles for owners; especially non-occupant owners. If the condo development is professionally managed, check out the management company as thoroughly as you check out the association. Ask other owners. Ask people in nearby buildings. And be sure to interview the day-to-day manager directly. If you get saddled with a bad property manager, you can be sure of this: Your dream condo investment just might keep you up at night.


Be sure to ask what is included in the HOA fees and find out the delinquency rates of present owners. A portion of your HOA fees should be designated toward reserves and you should find out how much is allocated to reserves. You should also review the balance to confirm it is sufficient to cover things like roof repair and replacement, mechanical systems, façades, and other large capital improvements?

If people aren’t paying their association fees on time, it could be a sign of owner discontent or an indication that the association might be underfunded. Either way…it’s a red flag. If reserves are insufficient to pay for large expenses or capital improvements (or if reserves have already been designated for another planned expense) the HOA will assess an additional fee on the condo owners. This is called a “special assessment.” The seller should be able to tell you if any special assessments are planned, but do not rely solely on this information.

Ask to see all board minutes within the previous 12 months and ask to talk with the HOA treasurer. Find out if there is any pending litigation either by the HOA or against the HOA as these can often result in a special assessment for legal fees or damages. It is also a good practice to compare the association fees to those of similar nearby complexes. Are they too high or suspiciously low? Keep in mind that complexes with pools, gyms and other amenities may have higher maintenance and liability insurance costs.

High-rise comdominium towers typically have more complex mechanical systems such as elevators and HVAC systems that usually require extra reserves and maintenance fees. On the other hand, low-rise and single story developments may have extensive grounds that require landscaping and repaving. You might also ask to see two to three years of HOA fee history so that you can see how they are trending. Have they gone up significantly? Will they continue to go up? These are all good questions to ask of the seller or of the HOA treasurer. If the seller is a bank, you won’t learn much so talkig with the HOA Treasurer is a must!


If the fees are low in comparison to nearby complexes, ask why? In newer condo and townhouse projects, builders sometimes charge lower fees to entice buyers. Yet, once the units are sold and the property is turned over to the HOA, the fees increase significantly in order to cover the costs of maintenance and reserves. Ask if the community has done a reserve-fund review in the past five years.

According to Lester Giese, the author of The 99 Best Residential & Recreational Communities in America, he recommends the following formula: If the complex is one to 10 years old, the reserve fund should have 10% of the cost of replaceable items (roofs, roads, tennis courts, etc.). Between 10 and 20 years old, the repair fund should be at 25% to 30%. At 20 years, that amount should be 50% or above. Residents who brag that they don’t pay much in maintenance may be in a complex that either is not being kept up well or is living


One thing to be careful of is that the HOA may place liens on units for non-payment of fees and seek a deficiency judgment against any of the unit owners for non-payment. You could be on the hook for the seller’s delinquency. A title report should disclose any liens placed on the unit you are buying. Don’t assume, however, that the condo association will put a lien on all outstanding fees, and that it will therefore appear in the title report. You must get a guarantee from the seller that all fees are paid as agreed as well as an estoppel letter from the HOA. A good title company or closing attorney can help you with this but be sure to make the request.

Condo docs

State governments require condo developers to file a declaration with the local county, which describes the condominium project, establishes a homeowners association and either refers to or includes the bylaws. The bylaws govern how the association should be run, such as the number of meetings per year, required votes, and the election of directors and officers. The declaration may contain covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&R’s) which are rules specifying how condo owners may use their property and the common areas. These rules are binding on all purchasers. Once the developer hands the project over to the HOA, additional rules can be added through voting (according to the bylaws established).

CC&R’s and condo regulations limit the rights of property owners, but with the intention of retaining and improving the value of the property in the subdivision or project. Possible restrictions could be pets, holiday decorations and home businesses.

You should be sure to get a copy of the declaration, the bylaws (if not included) and all rules and regulations established by the condo association to make sure you are aware of any restrictions that will conflict with your intended use of the unit.

A good friend failed to do this before his purchase and then learned that the association had to approve all new tenants, his investment unit sat vacant for over a year and a half because their requirements were so strict. He eventually lost the place because he could no longer afford to make payments on a vacant condo.

Renting, Resale & Financing

Not only should you make sure you are aware of and willing to accept the restrictions imposed by an HOA, you need to ensure that the rules are sufficient to maintain your investment objective and resale value of the unit. If the tenant population is over 10%, there should be clear rental policies, either listed in the bylaws or appended as an amendment. Will the management company find tenants for you? Are you allowed to find your own? If the management company does it, do they get enough good tenants? You might want to ask other tenants or owners about their experience. In addition, ask to see the association’s lease, and have a real estate attorney review it to protect you.

An important thing to consider is that an association can change its bylaws to prohibit or restrict renting at any time. The more owners who rent, the less chance that will happen. More importantly on resale, a lender may consider all units in a condominium project that allows too many rental units to be investment property. For example, if the complexes rules allow 30% or more units to be rented (even if they aren’t actually rented) lenders could deny potential buyers a home loan for an owner occupant and will instead offer an investment property loan that may require a lower loan-to-value ratio and a higher interest rate. If a rental restriction is not in place, or if there is room for the HOA to adjust the level of rentals, your ability to sell the unit later could also be impaired.

Caveat Emptor

Buying a condo or town home may seem easy compared to buying a single family house. But in many ways, it carries a higher level of risk and requires more due diligence on the part of the purchaser. Just as you might when purchasing a single family house, a home inspection by a reputable and knowledgeable in inspector is recommended. For owner occupants and tenants condominiums and town homes offer many benefits such as on-site amenities, low maintenance and convenience. Condominium and town home living often provides a desirable lifestyle for many given their tendency to be located in pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods or other urban environments. These benefits however, don’t always translate to an ideal investment. It is always up to the investor to perform their due diligence, examine the paperwork thoroughly, ask lots of questions in order make an informed decision before you buy.

After the fact is a tough time to learn and you don’t want to ever find yourself at the mercy of the Greater Fool Theory.

Happy investing,