Saturday, March 26, 2016

Is "Wholesaling" Being Outlawed?

Many of the "infomercial gurus" promote a strategy they call "wholesaling". Let's first begin by calling it what it really is - assigning. The gurus use the term "wholesaling" to trap the unwary, when in reality, all real estate investing is wholesaling - buy low, sell high. So, we'll stick with the real name.

Now there arises a problem with the strategy they teach. Most states have a law that states, in one way or another, that anyone who acts on behalf of another at the time the contract is signed is essentially acting as an agent or broker. And that requires a license.

What the other gurus generally teach is that you get a distressed property under contract, then sell (assign) that contract to one of the "cash rich" investors in some pool provided by the guru, or those you have found for yourself. Sounds OK. But it technically violates most state laws, as you are acting on behalf of those cash-rich investors. So far, only two states have begun prosecuting for this, but there is promise of more to follow as "wholesaling" becomes so prevalent.

But there is still a way to assign without getting into trouble with the law. You would start by understanding you cannot use a "pool" of buyers that are already on the sidelines, waiting for properties you will contract for. And you probably would not be looking for distressed properties, simply because you won't have that "pool", and you will need to make a quick sale of the contract to a buyer you do not yet have. To accomplish that, you first determine what the buyers in your area are looking for - determine the target. For example, if you live in Winter Haven Florida, where the majority of buyers are retirees, you would target 2 bedroom, one level homes on small lots - elders do not like stairs, or maintaining large parcels.

Once you know your target property, use the online MLS to find the ones available, and make 75-80% offers on all. Most will be rejected, but that does not matter - you are only farming for motivated sellers - those most likely to offer a bargain. Those sellers will respond, either by accepting your offer or by making a counter offer.

Once you have a seller willing to give a bargain, get the property under contract, making certain the contract includes some version of the "or assigns" clause. The contracts in "The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate" already have all the necessary clauses.

Now you advertise that you have the place for sale. You should avoid advertising through a Realtor as their commission can eat up your profit. Instead, advertise everywhere you can - Craigslist, super market bulletin boards, Shoppers Guides, classified ads.

Let's say you have a nice place in a decent neighborhood (a must) that is worth $200,000 and you have it under contract for $165,000. Your ad might say, "Nice 3 bed, 2 bath home in such-n-such neighborhood, appraised $200,000 - yours for just $165,000 if you act fast!"

Any homebuyer looking for a $200,000 home in that area will call. You then offer to sell him the contract, making him the buyer instead of you. You negotiate an assignment fee for having put the deal together. The assignment fee can be whatever the two of you negotiate, but I typically shoot for a MINIMUM of 10% of the equity I am passing on. In the example given, I am passing on $35,000 equity ($200,000-$165,000) so the least I would want is $3500. Of course, if I can only get $2000, I would take it rather than lose the deal altogether.

The point is, this method is legal in every state, because you are not acting on behalf of another when you contract for the property.

There are a couple of other details you need to be aware of, such as knowing what, exactly, local buyers are looking for (price range, for example), and making sure your contract gives you a) time to find a buyer and b) an escape if you cannot find one in time. Again, the contracts included with "The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate" cover those bases for you, and also includes the necessary Assignment forms.

So there you go - you can quickly make money by assigning, and the method we teach is legal everywhere.

Good Luck!


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!

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

ScamsGalore - Reviews of the Major Real Estate Gurus

A new website, www.scamsgalore.com, 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 www.scamsgalore.com help folks to do just that.

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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 ScamsGalore.com 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
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