Monday, June 10, 2013

LEARN, LEARN, LEARN

LEARN, LEARN, LEARN

It is like the old adage for real estate: What matters most when looking for or buying real estate? LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. The field of real estate is large and complex. Every state has its own rules (and California has some of the most restrictive and complex when it comes to doing business here) and to function in all states as a real estate investor is challenging to say the least. With flipping you have to add: Can I get the property for less than market value? Can I find the motivated seller?

California law is focused on the homeowner and renter, against the banks and landlords. We were facing a possible lawsuit from the current tenant of our rental property (acquired before THE FLIPPING FORMULA). When I contacted an attorney, he basically told me to give them whatever they wanted because the laws and court system were set up against the landlord. He did advise me to take pictures of everything, keep every email and document ad nausea. I could not quit stomach the idea of just capitulating since we had responded immediately to the tenant’s concerns and had resolved the problem within a few days, so I started researching California laws on landlord/tenant, mold, evictions, etc. After much research, I felt confident that we had a good case against the tenant for refusing to pay their rent for a month and sent a 3-day pay or move notice for April and again for May. They finally moved out in May. We have yet to see if they will try to sue us for ridiculous demands they made to us since they have gotten a month and more of free rent.

I retired in January with 32 years in the United States Postal Service, nearly half my career in the same department—Customer Service—which was basically listening to complaints all day and trying to help customers resolve problems with the Postal Service. Usually I knew the solution before I heard the question. That is a good feeling to know what you are doing and how to help.

To keep myself from going into depression and into the doldrums I signed up in January for two classes at the local junior college—Computers 101, and Real Estate 190. Both are listed as prerequisites for the respective disciplines of computer science and the California real estate license. Both classes just finished last week so now I can devote fulltime to THE FLIPPING FORMULA. I haven’t decided whether I will return to college next semester as yet. I already have a full plate with THE FLIPPING FORMULA.

I want to back track and let you know what I have discovered on my journey through the real estate investing mine field. There is a lot to know if you want to stay out of trouble, but you can also become paralyzed with fear. Fear of failing, fear of succeeding (and yes that is a real fear), fear of letting your family down, fear of going into debt, fear of talking to people, fear of letting people see who you are, fear that they will expect more and more from you, fear of acting too fast, fear of not acting fast enough, fear of rejection, fear of acceptance (this goes with fear of succeeding because people will continue to expect more than perhaps I can deliver), fear of becoming financially insolvent, fear of bankruptcy, fear of lawsuits, fear of accusations of fraud.

I just want to get one good deal where everyone comes out with WIN WIN that helps me get my investment back and lets me write off the educational expenses that I have incurred and, yes, you can write off the expenses if you have an income from real estate to balance it again. After I get one good deal maybe I won’t be as afraid.

The webinars and training afforded by THE FLIPPING FORMULA though expensive are also extensive. I cannot fault the system for lack of information.  I received tons of information, strategies, worksheets, website sources, secrets to success. Next weekend I will finally go to the 3 day weekend training convention in Las Vegas (it was my choice to delay). I still don’t have a deal under my belt, but that prospect is getting closer.

I have learned that there is lots of money out there with investors who are dying to get more than the pathetic 1-2 percent interest return from bank savings and CDs. They are looking for the right people to partner with and make money. So you really don’t have to use your own money for the actual deal just for the business set up.

Early on I decided that I needed my own direct telephone number so that I could list it on my business cards and calls would come directly to me. Sometimes people would call my home telephone number and my husband would tell people that I wasn’t home and they would have to call back. If they were willing, he took their phone number. Needless to say they usually did not call back unless they were calling about my rental in South San Diego. (Now if you were/are already in business for yourself, have your own LLC--Limited Liability Corporation, business phone number etc., you probably did not have to go through this, but I didn’t have that luxury and had to start from scratch.)

One day between classes, I spent the whole day researching cell phone services. My daughter had had tremendous disappointments with her cell phone services (ATT&T, SPRINT, T-MOBILE). They would each promise various features for $80 or more per month and just not deliver for various reasons. I could not see myself committing to another 2 year contract and not getting what was needed. The only cell phone service that I had used was a prepayment plan with Cingular and a pay-per-minute plan with Sprint (35 cents per minute); neither of these would be very practical if I started to get a lot of calls.

To get business cards I went to Vista Print and they had a link on their site to RING CENTRAL. I selected a telephone number, ordered business cards with the number and expected to see the RING CENTRAL charge or information as part of the check-out process. They had a trial period where you could try the service and then after a certain length of time, you would be charged a monthly amount if you did not cancel. When I finished the check-out process I realized that there was no mention of RING CENTRAL information on the receipt and I did not get an email confirmation of the telephone number. I waited until the next day to see if something would come through. Nothing did. I tried to call the RING CENTRAL service telephone number and received a message: The mailbox you are trying to reach is full, please call back later. I tried the number a couple of times to be sure that I was dialing it correctly and got the same message.

Needless to say this was not a good sign for a company that supposedly was going to provide me with business quality service. I contacted Vista Print and explained what happened. They told me that I had to sign up with RING CENTRAL separate from their website; I explained that I was lead to RING CENTRAL from their website and it was not made clear that there was no affiliation. Vista Print had already ordered, printed, and shipped my business cards with a telephone number that wasn’t any good. They graciously redid my order with my regular home phone number on it. I had to have something to give to people while I continued to try to figure out what I was going to do about a business phone. When the original business cards came I had to shred them since they were useless.

While all this was going on, I was fighting with the new computer that I had purchased in December that had Windows 8. I hate Windows 8. It didn’t work anything like what I was used to. Nor was it compatible with various programs required by the college website and classes.  

Ultimately, April 19, 2013 I bought a professional edition of Windows 7, took the computer to Best Buy and had Geek Squad back up everything on my computer, reformat the drive and put Windows 7 on.  I struggled. I spent numerous days finding master disks, downloading program and reinstalling the various programs that I needed for both school and THE FLIPPING FORMULA. I ended up with two different versions of MICROSOFT OFFICE on the same computer because I had purchased the MICROSOFT OFFICE 365 (online 2013 version), but it was not compatible or at least worked differently than the MICROSOFT OFFICE 2010 version that came with my EXCEL computer textbook for class. On top of that the disk that came with the college text book was damaged and some of the files were corrupted. I was finally able to use yet another computer to read off the files and copy them to another disk so I could use them on the Windows 7 computer.

I felt literally that I was going crazy. For a period before I took my Windows 8 computer to Geek Squad and while they had it in their possession I had to use my husband’s computer so I had files on his computer, my flash drive, in the “cloud” where Windows 8 had led me, and somewhere in the back up files with Geek Squad. I was panicked that I was going to lose everything so my backups were extremely redundant, but then I couldn’t find the files. On top of everything else, my husband’s hard-drive was too full and started working sporadically.

I am kind of getting off the subject here, but I wanted to emphasis that while trying to LEARN, LEARN, LEARN real estate, I was dealing with computers that did not work, programs that were not compatible, lost data, websites that were misleading and/or confusing. I was still waiting to get my first check from retirement and wondering when that would come. While I know that this is just “dealing with life” as they say, it was still very nerve racking and I was down to 2 to 3 hours of sleep a night because of the anxiety. This did not help my mental state or ability to concentrate.

While, speaking of mental tiredness, I have prattled on and on for a while. So I think that I will wrap this up for now. I will try to be more diligent about writing on a regular basis.

Some people have asked if THE FLIPPING FORMULA is a scam. I would say no, but it is expensive and I have found some other gurus that offer as much for much less cost. Perhaps next time I will talk about one of those.

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