Saturday, January 30, 2016

Perils of Rehabbing?

So, I bought an old house (1885) in Hiram, Maine, to rehab - it had not been updated since WWII. The previous owner had passed away.

I hired two guys to help out - by Day 2 they refused to go to the basement, claiming it was "haunted". I had to restrain myself from laughing. I'm not what you would call a believer.

But a couple days later I was working alone, and a hammer sitting on the bench across the room suddenly hit the floor. I though that to be strange, but chalked it up to "natural causes not identified."

A few days later, I kept hearing loud bangs in another room - while I was alone in the house. I was starting to think the guys were not totally whacked out about the place being haunted. But I was not yet ready to capitulate to a belief in ghosts.

This morning changed everything. When I left the house yesterday, all was quiet as I locked up. When I arrived this morning I heard a loud buzzing noise as I approached the house. Thinking the new furnace might be ready to blow up or something, I hurriedly unlocked the door and rushed in. There on the kitchen floor was my pad sander - running!

It takes a bit of pressure to push in the switch to turn it on. And judging by how little sanding damage had been done to the OSB subfloor, it appeared the sander had only been running about an hour.

But how did it turn on?

OK, so maybe there are "ghosts", and maybe not. I don't know, and as long as they don't hamper the work, I don't really care. But now I find myself jerking up at every sound.

Keeping an open mind. And I will be glad when this place is done!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

ScamsGalore - Reviews of the Major Real Estate Gurus

A new website,, has taken on the formidable task of researching the major real estate "gurus" and providing accurate reviews of their offerings. Unlike many review sites, these reviews were put together from information gleaned from reliable sources like the FTC and BBB, as well as a thorough study of the various offers being promoted.

Some of the reviews are eye-opening, and produced some unexpected results. For example, the Carlton Sheets real estate course ranked in the top 5, while the current "king ", Armando Montelongo seminars, ranked near the bottom. Another surprise is the rank that the Ron LeGrand Gold Club managed to eke out.

By and large, most of the better known gurus did not fare well at all. The very fact that they are "infomercial gurus" and host seminars and boot camps helps explain why - such tactics are designed not to teach, but to sell. And when the focus of anyone offering to teach anything becomes the selling of their own products and services rather than teaching, then you end up with garbage.

There are good courses that teach real estate investing, such as "The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate."  This is a program that, offered on a non-profit basis, has but one focus - teaching people how to invest in real estate. And it is the only real estate course that provides free coaching - they have solicited the help of actual, successful investors to volunteer their services to help others learn the secrets of investing.

And there is another difference - "The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate" is low cost, and has maintained an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau for nearly 20 years, even though they are not ":accredited" (dues paying members). They chose not to be dues paying members in order to avoid any possibility that the BBB would give them a top rating just to keep the dues coming in each year. In other words, their A+ rating is not bought and paid for.

All in all, it is up to each individual looking to learn real estate investing to do their due diligence. Sites like help folks to do just that.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Armando Montelongo Scam Review

There is a new website in town that is dedicated to exposing the real estate gurus who are scammers, and revealing those that are not. The Armando Montelongo Scam Review, and the Carlton Sheets Scam Review are just two examples (do you know which one rates 3.5 stars and which rates only one star? And why?) For anyone wanting to do their due diligence before investing bucks into any real estate investing course, ScamsGalore is the place to drop by.

I have been exposing the scammers for a long time - over 15 years. And of the  gurus I exposed as scammers, the following have all since been busted by the Feds or state Attorneys General for being scam artists:
  • Dave DelDotto
  • Tom Vu
  • Wade Cook
  • Russ Dalbey
  • John Alexander
  • John Beck
Russ Whitney and Armando Montelongo have both been targeted by the authorities and forced  to agree to certain stipulations and standards. At you can find out who I think just might be next on the Feds' "watch list".

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Google's New Algorithym Renders Google Useless

Google has once again changed their algorithym used to produce search results. The previous changes made Google Search almost useless, but this one renders it completely useless. In many instances a search turns up completely irrelevant sites, leaving the sites you are looking for out on page 3 or 4, where no one will find them.

I believe there is an insidious, greedy purpose to this - Google is trying to force businesses to use Adwords, their pay-per-click service.By moving legitimate businesses out of the search, those businesses must now pay Google to get listed, or they just do not show up where folks can find them.

Google is arrogant enough to think they can get away with this - and maybe they can, since so many people use Google automatically, without THINKING. But it will cost them users. More and more people who bother to THINK, and try something else, are finding much better, and more relevant search results from services like BING.

I use Bing now, exclusively. That's because I like to find what I am looking for. Perhaps you should give it a shot - run a search for something you are seeking on both Google and Bing, and see which one delivers the best results.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Investing In Foreclosures - A Primer

There is far too much to investing in foreclosures to include it in a simple post, but the basics can be outlined.

First - a foreclosure may not be what it seems. In many cases, the owner has either let maintenance slide (due to inability to afford repairs), or he may have even purposely sabotaged the home out of anger. In any case, before investing in a foreclosure, do your due diligence and check it out thoroughly. Estimate repair cost - then add 25% to cover the unforeseen problems.

Second - upon buying a foreclosure the very first thing you should do is secure the property. Never leave it untended, even for a day. Vandals - or even the previous owner - may damage it further. Board it up and keep it boarded up until the renovations are completed. There are malicious people everywhere. Trust me.

There are three phases to any foreclosure proceeding, and as an investor you can purchase the property in any of those phases. Please note that many people - even the so-called "infomercial experts" get these phases mixed up. So here they are, in plain English:

When a property owner defaults, usually three or more payments, the lender will send the owner a notice of intent to take legal action if the arrears are not paid immediately. This phase is PREFORECLOSURE. The property is not yet in foreclosure.

The second phase is when the lender has obtained the legal right to proceed and property actually goes up for auction. This is FORECLOSURE. At the auction, the lender will start the bidding with a bid equal to the amount owed plus late fees and legal costs. Whoever is the highest bidder gets the property.

The final phase occurs only if the lender is the only bidder (or the highest bidder) and the lender takes ownership of the property. At this point it is no longer a foreclosure - it is an REO - Real Estate Owned. The bank and its Realtor may still call it a foreclosure, but technically it is no longer such.

In Phase 1 the investor can approach the owner with a plan to salvage the seller's credit and provide him with some walking money, so he can rent another place. But before making any offer, do your homework - there may be tax liens, IRS liens, mechanics liens. Check for liens, and do a title search. Bear in mind - if you purchase in this phase, you will be required to pay the arrears, late fees and legal costs of the lender, so do not offer to pay too much for the property or you could end up with an "alligator".

In Phase 2 you may purchase by being the highest bidder at the auction. The same rule holds - do your homework on liens etc., and know what repairs will be needed.

In Phase 3, the lender is trying to dump the property and may entertain offers that provide opportunity for an investor. Banks are limited as to how much property they can legally hold. When they approach their limit, they MUST sell. Bear in mind, too, that lenders are not in the business of maintaining properties. They know if it does not sell quickly, it will either cost them money to maintain, or it will begin to fall apart and be subject to vandalism. So the lender may very well welcome yout offer, even if it is "creative" (but not too creative)!

Again, these are just a few of the basics. For more complete information, and strategies for investing in foreclosures (including "no cash" methods) refer to "The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate" in the Bonus Books section.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

New Real Estate Blog

There are a few new real estate investing blogs I would like to make you aware of. They are as follows:

Become A Real Estate Investor

Real Estate Investing 101

Real Estate Investing for Beginners

These blogs promise to make it easier for newbies to get started in real estate, while watching out for the pitfalls

Friday, July 26, 2013

Exclusive Real Estate Coaching Offer from Bill Vaughn

Hello, loyal readers! I would like to take a few moments to fill you in on a new offering for beginning wealth builders.

I am currently offering DEDICATED and exclusive real estate coaching by both telephone and email to a select few (50) individuals. Only serious players need apply for this special service - with only 50 openings available, it would be a waste to put time into folks who are not all that serious. I am a serious coach, and I am looking for serious students. And I am the best in the business!

The service is very affordable, and very exclusive. Not only do players get to consult with me by both phone and email, but they get my personal and private cellphone number, and can call me at their convenience. No other real estate mentor - none - offers such personal and dedicated service.

I will be blunt - IntelliBiz has good mentors available, and they are free to all students. But they are not me, and I am simply the best in the business! I have personally coached over 18,000 people throughout North America - more than any other five coaches, combined. Investing since before many of today's coaches were even born, my credentials as an investor and a mentor are without equal.

If you or someone you know has a real hankering to really make good in real estate investing, and you want the security of having only the best on your team, check out my real estate coaching offer. But don't tarry - it won't take long to fill 50 openings.

Now that I have that shameless self-promotion out of the way, I would like to thank all of our students for making IntelliBiz and "The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate" the huge success that it has become. We recently broke the "250,000 students" ceiling, and we finally have students in 20 countries. And we have celebrated our 24th Anniversary.

We have come a long way - thanks to all of you.

God Bless (can I still say that in America?)