Monthly Archives: June 2012

Lifestyle!

A very good friend Regina posted this the other day. It inspired me and even though you could look at it a couple of different ways, I believe it strikes me the best in the context of lifestyle. The quote is: “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” Seth Godin.

To me, one of my pursuits is to create enough financial freedom for our family that we are able to enjoy life and have a positive impact on the lives of others around us. This is what caused us to start and continue to grow our investing business. It’s the reason we are so intent on encouraging others to pursue their dreams. It’s why we are willing to teach and train others in the skills and knowledge needed to achieve freedom for themselves. In a way, we view helping others to understand the nuances of personal and business finance is one of our gifts to our friends and family.

 

The quote implies that you define a life you don’t need to escape from, then go to the trouble of setting it up. To some that might mean to shrink your dreams and aspirations to fit your budget then be happy there. To others it means grow your budget to fit your dreams and aspirations. (If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m in the group that intends to grow the finances to fit the dream.) I’m glad there are others that feel the same way. I’m still perplexed at those who would rather set aside their dreams and opt for the occasional big fling only to return to a life that is largely consumed by earning a living.

We broke free of that life some time ago. Probably prematurely. But to me, the freedom to pursue life was of far more value than spending 40-60 hours every week just surviving. Someone recently said we were like “trail blazers” and they told us that trail blazers break new ground and clear the way to make it easier for others to follow. To me, that’s okay because in blazing a trail for others to follow, we’ve found the life that there’s no need to escape from. The best part is that vacations are a natural part of our life now where they were just a brief “escape” in the past.

I know the quote also implies that you can find a life of emotional peace, contentment and tranquility and that is a life that needs no escape. But……that doesn’t bring us to the fulfilment of our dreams. One of them being the creation of  a family retreat, and living there is almost like a perpetual vacation. talk about setting up a life you don’t need to escape from! (look it up at www.crosstimberscabins.com if you don’t believe me) I vote for the position that “the more options, the better”. Life is too short to spend it just  moving from one paycheck to the next and from one vacation to the next.

Pursue your dream and you may never need to escape to your dream.

 

The Role of LUCK!

In business (or life in general I guess) there is often a suggestion that “Luck” played a role in a good thing that happened. I suppose that every now and again there are those rare occurrences when enough unrelated circumstances converge at once that result in something good and it could be said it was a “lucky moment”. Really all that is, is probability and statistics. It’s the probability that a certain thing will happen out of the great number of things that could happen. Its random but can still be predicted somewhat and can be predicted quite precisely when dealing with numbers such as Lottery Power Ball or Publishers Clearinghouse or McDonalds Monopoly or Black Jack or rolling dice. People who understand probability and statistics can win consistently when the odds are small enough to guarantee repetitive success. You will not find professional gamblers betting on 5.8 million to one odds on anything. Yet that is where you find lottery and sweepstakes players trying to get lucky. The risks are low and the odds are long but the possibility of winning one out of 5.8 million is a chance worth repeating over and over……..I guess.

Years ago I heard an acronym for Luck that I was reminded of recently. And by its definition, I view luck differently. L.U.C.K.  Laboring Under Correct Knowledge. L.U.C.K. Whenever I have landed a really good deal and someone refers to it as “luck” I think of all of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours I’ve spent studying my chosen business/profession. I think of the thousands of dollars invested in training seminars, books, and mentoring. I think of applying all of the resources I understand (and some I don’t quite understand) to bring all of the parts of the deal together and I think…Luck?

Luck is not being in the right place at the right time. L.U.C.K. is making sure you’ve prepared yourself to recognize opportunities that cross your path every day. L.U.C.K. is maintaining an awareness about your surroundings and constantly keeping your radar tuned in to what you see and hear happening around you. L.U.C.K. is knowing that your knowledge base is correct so you can discern between a cream puff deal and a lemon immediately.  L.U.C.K. is having enough courage and grit to make the right decision and move on it before someone else does.

When you do all of those things, you get lucky a lot.

If you want to start “Laboring Under Correct Knowledge” in real estate investing, send a message to: conquest18@hotmail.com

The Lazy Realtor

As promised, I’m going to share the story of how a lazy realtor added 50% to the value of our most recent house purchase. In fact, not only did they add to the value of it, they probably forced most other potential buyers away from the sale. Before I get into the details I should preface it with why it worked out. I posted on facebook the other day that “you will never lose if you’re not in the game, the trouble is, you will never win if you’re not in the game either.” The point being that if you are actively engaged in an investing lifestyle, you don’t have to even look for these deals because you will encounter them almost accidentally along the way. I did NOT find this deal because I was carefully watching for someones mistakes. I found it simply because I was “In the game”.

I’ve shared this with a few people so far and have already heard several “well, this was meant for you” and “You got lucky there” and “you were in the right place at the right time”. NO, anybody could have received the benefit of this deal. In the geographic area we are buying in, we look at every property available. When you look at every one, you find the ones with potential. When we can’t look at every one, we at least screen them online to narrow the list down to something manageable. If you can’t look at them all, you can certainly look at a few that have been pre-screened ahead of time for value. If that’s too much work, then you are simply “Not in the Game!” Heres the story……

We looked at every property that was available in our area that fit our buying criteria. One of them stood out far and above all the rest for price and size and features. Our realtor called the listing agent to get some details and we were told that no one had really even looked at it. The value was obviously there so we made and offer and got it under contract.  That simple. Two days before closing we received the packet of information from the selling agency (it was a foreclosure) and they had prepared an appraisal which matched their listing price. It listed the square footage as 700 sq. ft. Our appraiser went in and said after measuring, it was over 1,500 sq. ft. Hmmmmmmmm.. We looked into it a little bit and discovered what had happened.

The realtor being too lazy to go out and measure the property, or use county tax records, turned in stats that he/she got off of a website that is a good tool but notoriously inaccurate. They used it because its quick, easy to navigate and is right about 70% of the time. After generating the listing, a “drive by” appraisal (and maybe they didn’t even drive by, they may have just used the info that the realtor supplied) was generated that determined the “value” which determined the “sales price”. At 700 sq. ft., nobody is interested in even looking at it because who wants to live in a 700 sq. ft. house? We looked because… well …..hey, we look at everything. We’re playing the game at full speed.

So, when we see what had happened we just shook our heads. The seller on this property was a government agency. (and we wonder why our government is so screwed up) They cross every “T”  and dot every “I” and can still bungle the most basic things like getting the sq footage right. Anyway, our appraisal came in easily over 50% higher than the one provided, almost exclusively due to the doubling of the actual sq. ft.

Here’s what it means. Anyone who is actively engaged in the business can find this kind of thing more often than you think, if, you are actively looking for it. When we started, we looked for every glitch and advantage we could find while searching for our deals. The only difference now is instead of panning for the one nugget, we use the big “end loader” approach and sift all of the deals down through our property “processing machine” which is a more efficient method now for us.

“You will never lose if you’re not in the game, the trouble is, you will never win if you’re not in the game either”. Which will you choose.