Archive for October, 2014

The Profit October 2014 Edition

Posted on October 7, 2014 by
The Profit Newsletter for Tampa REIA October 2014
Download the October 2014 Edition of The Profit Newsletter Now!

The Profit - October 2014 - High Quality PDFThe October 2014 edition of The Profit Newsletter is now available for download as a High Quality PDF (Recommended) or Low Res PDF for slower devices. The Profit Newsletter is the official newsletter of the Tampa Real Estate Investors Alliance and is a digital, interactive newsletter for new and seasoned real estate investors delivered as an Adobe PDF file to read on your PC, Mac, Smart Phone, iPad or other mobile ready devices with a PDF reader. Many of the articles and ads in The Profit contain hyperlinks you can click or tap to visit websites, watch videos, listen to audios, download content, send emails, comment on articles, share socially and much more! The high res version of The Profit is “print ready” for those who want to print the newsletter on their home or business printer. Also, be sure to Subscribe to The Profit so you don’t miss a single monthly issue.

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Gary JohnstonLast summer, we hired a college-bound student to help with things on our farm. She is a great young lady who wants to be a veterinarian. It will be a financial challenge for her to find a way to pay for the first four years, let alone the graduate program. But she is doing everything she can to figure out a way to obtain her dream. She even joined the National Guard to help pay for college.

She didn’t have a car, so she went car shopping shortly after she started working for us. I expected she would find a small, fuel-efficient car for her long trips to college. I was shocked when she showed up with a shiny crew cab four wheel drive pickup. I wished she would have asked for some advice on good vehicles that would have met her needs and provided cheap, reliable transportation. She just didn’t know. That is true for all of us. There are usually things that we don’t know that can hurt us financially. We just don’t know what we don’t know.

If we want to achieve the financial future we desire, we should pay attention to the habits of the folks that have achieved financial success. They leave clues we can learn from.   We can learn a lot from them if we are willing to watch and learn. Growing up, I was greatly influenced by a man named Norbert Volny.   I started working for Volny at about age thirteen and while we worked on the various projects, he would pour words of wisdom into my life. One of his favorite sayings was, “You will never get rich on a W-2.” Read More→

Places Count: Your Healthy Office

Posted on October 7, 2014 by

“If it weren’t for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn’t get any exercise at all.” ~ Joey Adams

As autumn arrives and the summer heat evaporates, it’s a great time to “reset” your fitness routine. Last month, I talked about the importance of taking care of yourself, and why you should do it now. I also told you about one of my favorite apps,, which is a great tool for building and executing your good-health plan.

But there’s a lot more to getting healthy than just downloading an app onto your smartphone. There’s eating right, and exercising, and yearly physicals, and – well, all the stuff your mother told you to do. And she was right!

But I’m not your mother, so let’s just stick to the workplace. You probably spend more waking hours in your office than anywhere else. Hopefully, you’ve done your best to create an office that’s efficient and comfortable. You’ve got a desk and a comfortable modern chair. Maybe you have a couch. And while you might move around a little bit while you’re working, you probably spend most of the day sitting. For hours and hours at a time.

But hey, you go to the gym after work, so it’s okay, right? Read More→

As many of you know I have taught hundreds of students over the years and I am constantly asked what the most important things a new real estate investor needs to know. First of all I believe every new investor needs to realize that if they plan to be successful and make money from the real estate they buy, they will find that every situation will require a different strategy and structure that they will need to learn if they wish to achieve their goals and dreams.

The key to make almost every deal work is not to “Buy High and Sell Low”, it’s how you structure the deal. Actually this has happened to me a few times over my 35 years as an investor, this IS NOT a good strategy to adopt but it shouldn’t mean you need to lose money. Over the years I have done two deals where I bought a property and because of circumstances beyond my control I was forced to sell those properties for less than what I paid for them. Even though I paid too much for those properties “over time” I made a nice profit on both of those deals.

Each of those properties I bought with seller financing terms and then sold each with seller financing terms. Even though I sold each property for less than what I paid for them I received a higher interest rate when selling than the interest rate I was paying to buy each property. I was able to make a nice profit on each. Read More→

Okay, we’re almost at the end of our series of articles on how to get through the entire process of buying and selling on a lease purchase, ACTS or owner financing deal. The last two steps in our process are to follow up with your buyer to get them to the closing table, and set up the closing so you can actually get it down and collect the final check.

Alright, so let’s assume that to this point you have been out into the market place and attracted prospects to call you and have found one or more that have enough money to get your attention. Now, you’re ready to move forward. In our case, we try to find 2-3 prospects, and, of course, the ones with the most money rise to the top quickly. Unless they get screened out from something we discover about them, they usually win the battle.

Once they are located and they have seen the house, now it’s time to get an oral commitment from them that they want it. Then, it’s time to do your due diligence prior to setting a meeting. When we put a lease option tenant buyer in a house or sell it with owner financing, there are a few things we want to see in the form of a report. That list is a credit report, a Megan’s law report for sex offenders, a background check, a criminal check, a debt-ratio report, and proof of income. Read More→

So there you are – a proud real estate investor or business owner! You’re doing some marketing, talking to sellers, driving out to meet them, making offers, following up, raising private money, selling your houses, and a million other things.

Meanwhile, you’re (maybe) still working a job, being a husband, a father, a friend, a family member, a neighbor, and a member of your community! You don’t even know the meaning of the word “sleep!”

You’ve got a lot of balls… In the air, and everything is going great with your juggling act.UNTIL… IT happens. What is it? “It” could be anything, like… you could get sick. Or someone in your family gets sick & needs you to take care of them. Or a deal goes sideways & winds up taking way more time than you had budgeted (inconceivable!). Or a vehicle breaks down. Or some technology doesn’t work the way it should (what? that never happens!). Or… shoot, just fill in the blank. IT doesn’t really matter what “it” is.

Suddenly, your whole world gets turned upside down, and all your balls fall to the floor. The next few weeks find you frantically trying to put the pieces of the puzzle back in place again, only to find that the picture will never quite look the same no matter how hard you try to shove the pieces back together to where you had them. Read More→

Many people present wholesaling as a great way to gain capital for investing in real estate. One of the toughest things about getting started investing in real estate is saving enough money to invest. There are ways to invest with little money down, but you are still going to need some money to buy properties. Wholesaling may be a way to get started investing in real estate without much money. Wholesaling may not make you super rich, but it will teach you a lot about real estate investing and I think is a great place to start. For one, because that’s how I started, and two, I’m still doing it.

What is wholesaling real estate?

Wholesaling real estate involves an investor (“wholesaler”) buying a property or getting a property under contract and then selling the house or assigning the contract as quickly as possible. The investor may wholesale the property to another investor who will then fix up the property and rent it or flip it. The key to a successful wholesale deal is finding properties cheap enough where there is still room for a profit for the end buyer.

How can you find properties to wholesale?

I think a wholesaler’s biggest opportunity is to find off market properties. I call it the “Direct to Seller” method (no banks, no Realtors). Off market properties are houses that are not listed for sale, but are still for sale. The owners may be too far away, too busy, or too beat down to list the homes. The owners still want to sell the home, they just need the right person to find them and make an offer. Read More→

The Truth Can Run Around Naked!

Posted on October 7, 2014 by

David is a real estate investor from the Northeast. Many folks don’t know this, but “Northeast” is a Latin word that means: Where’d you get that Yankee accent? Honestly, even though I went to college up north, I only understood half of what came out of David’s mouth. Don’t know about you, but Yankee talk hurts my ears!

He came down to beautiful Dixie because he wanted me to watch him negotiate with sellers. The thing was, even though David has been reading our column, he wasn’t having much success working out win-win deals at sellers’ kitchen tables.

During our time together, we met with six sellers and made six written offers. By any measure, it was a successful day. One other important thing happened: By the time David finished making his second offer, I had discovered his problem…actually his two problems – and boy were they doozies! No wonder he was having trouble getting deals.

At the first seller’s house, when we got to the kitchen table, David talked about himself for twenty-five minutes. On and on he went – bragging about his greatness and business conquests. This first problem could easily be fixed with a roll of duct tape – also known as Alabama chrome! Read More→

I recently had a transaction wherein the Homeowner was attempting to use a Stated Income Loan Program which requires 1) that the property be purchased in a Limited Liability Company and 2) a 35% to 40% down payment. I was very concerned, yet excited about the Loan, due to the fact that these lenders are very picky and it was a new loan product for Investors. The mortgage broker that I was working with had “NO doubt” that this Buyer would be entitled to this loan, considering that he was giving such a large down payment.

Well … that is when it all started. After the appraisal was done, survey completed and the loan was being submitted to this Lender in St. Petersburg, Florida, all we were waiting for was the hazard insurance policy. However, the lender decided to use a program called CoreLogic which tracks if the Buyers currently have or previously had any outstanding mortgages and guess what? Yep, they did, and I was furious! This mortgage should have shown up on his credit report and when title work was pulled for a name search for the Buyer, we should have been notified that he owns another home. However, there was a HUGE lack of communication with the mortgage broker and the Buyer. The mortgage broker did not speak the native language of the Buyer. So … when the mortgage broker asked the Buyer “do you have any outstanding mortgages on any homes,” the Buyer replied “no.” However, they did say that the old mortgage they had on their personal house was “short-saled” and since the Bank wasn’t reporting it on their credit, the mortgage broker never mentioned it to anyone! This was a big mistake and costing the Sellers, the students and I, lots of time, money and effort to get this deal to happen. Read More→

A Few Horror Stories

Posted on October 7, 2014 by

To maintain the spirit of the season (Halloween) I thought I would tell you about a few of the mistakes that I have made in the real estate business and share the lessons with you.

Know the value of something before you buy it!

My first mistake was to pay way too much for my first deal. It was a duplex. The numbers worked as far as cash flow was concerned but I never researched my comparable sales in the area. I paid twice what everyone else had bought duplexes for. It cash flowed so I was able to operate but that killed any exit strategy of selling or refinancing. Cash flow is great but you must always have an exit strategy before you buy. Make that a part of your deal analysis.

If something is cheap… there is probably a reason.

I have bought some tough properties in some tough areas. I have been successful with them but I also managed them myself. Learning the art of management has been great but it has also been a tough road and has kept me from buying more deals sometimes. What I have learned is that if you want to a reposition a deal you need to make sure it is in a good area. Most of the repositions I have done were in areas of town that were not so great. When you see an apartment complex that is selling for a good price you need to analyze the deal with your eyes wide open. Sometimes properties are selling at a discount because they need physical repair and sometimes they are selling cheap because they need repair and are in bad area. When looking at reposition deals pay close attention to the demographics of the area the deal is in. Look at the median income of the area. Is there job growth? What is the vacancy of the other properties in the area that are like yours? Look at the rent roll in the delinquency column. Are they actually collecting rent? You don’t want to do reposition deals in marginal areas even if you can buy them cheap. Your property is only as strong as the tenants you can rent to. No matter how much work you do to the property…if you can’t collect the rent it’s not a good deal. Read More→

How Land Trusts Can Benefit You

Posted on October 7, 2014 by

The land trust is an agreement that allows real property to be held privately for a beneficiary. That way, the beneficiary, whether it be you or your entity, does not show up on the title in the public records.

Follow me here. Say you have $1 million insurance coverage for liability. You hit an attorney in the cross-walk with your car. Will he settle for the insurance limits or will he sue for more? Or what if your insurance company denies your claim for some reason? How much will the suit be? Well, that usually depends on how deep he thinks your pockets are. If you own property in your own name, the lawyer suing you will easily find your house and any other properties you own in the public records. This could easily become a $3 million suit.

Before you even know you will be sued, the opposing attorney could have the sheriff park in front of your house, knock on your door while you are eating dinner and hand you your lawsuit in front of all your family and the neighbors!

But, if you have your property in a land trust, beneficial ownership is hidden. Your land trust is not filed in the public records. Your ownership stays private. No one knows who the beneficiary is but you. Read More→

A high percentage of real estate investors and sellers begin their research on some of the popular websites like, Zillow, Trulia and Also, thousands of websites with aggregated data that provide bits and pieces of information might seem helpful.

For those of you already connected to REIAComps, the control and feeling of confidence you have over your deals is priceless. Using REIAComps to investigate the value of houses as they come to market, against other less reliable sources continues to be a no brainer.

Today almost 90 percent of investors go to the web for information at some point during research, and, quite a few will possibly connect with a real estate agent during the buying or selling process. Only investing agents can actually offer and help to interpret the abundance of data and guide an investor or seller. Unfortunately, there are very few actual investing agents.

Anyone looking to buy or sell a home these days has more than likely surfed and discovered one of the many online home valuation tools. Every investor must ask themselves, are these tools really useful? Well, are they? Read More→

Rent is Getting Too Damn High?

Posted on October 7, 2014 by

An article ran earlier this year, “Rent is Getting Too Damn High?” that has given me pause. In it, the author complains that the rent in Tampa is becoming too high. To this, I’d like to say: Quit whining. I want to challenge people to begin looking at what is happening in the city that is positive, what has happened because a few investors had the courage to step up and put their money where their mouth is by taking a chance. Did they do so in the hopes of making money? Yes—that’s what we all do when we invest. That is what we all do at our jobs.

For years, people have wanted to see this city cleaned up, and now they’re whining that the rent is too high? Here is what I want to know: Where was the author in 2004 when the City Police couldn’t control the deadbeats, the crime, and the prostitution? When there were undesirable tenants in the City Market Building?

Let’s look at what things were like a few years ago. The area in question was a drug haven and a veritable department store of prostitution. Yes, rents were low—they always are when there is a high risk of personal and property safety. This isn’t rocket science. Read More→

The Fast Track to Failure

Posted on October 7, 2014 by

The quickest route I have seen many investors take to failure in the real estate investing business is by quitting before they ever have the chance to see their business succeed. Some obstacle comes along that just feels overwhelming and instead of forging on, they just say “I Quit”. Think about it, it’s easier to just quit than it is to forge ahead and solve the problem even when it’s not the easiest solution at the moment. It’s also easier to blame the market, blame your lack of education, or just adopt the “it doesn’t work where I live” kind of attitude than to take responsibility for the success or failure of your real estate business. I have heard “want to be” investors come up with every excuse imaginable not to get started in this very profitable business, and I have heard every excuse as to why it “just didn’t work for me”.

Believe me when I tell you, I have heard it all, and I feel sorry for the folks who adopt these attitudes. They are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to change their lives forever. If I had listened to that kind of negativity or thought so little of my personal abilities when I got started in this business, I wouldn’t be the wealthy entrepreneur I am today.

There are two critical moments when you must have faith in yourself and in your business; when you first begin your business and when your business is in some kind of trouble. It’s easier to be much more optimistic at the onset, it’s not so easy when you are overwhelmed, feeling like you are being pushed in several directions, or having trouble with cash flow. Sometimes quitting may look really attractive and your friends and family may suggest to you that you quit the real estate business and get a job if things aren’t going along just the way they should. Read More→

If it’s a combination of high contribution limits and downright simplicity and ease of administration you’re looking for, and you have significant cash flow coming from your own business, practice as an independent contractor or other earned income from self-employment, then the SEP IRA, including the Self-Directed SEP IRA may be the way to go.

How it Works

The SEP IRA, or Simplified Employee Pension plan, is an employer-funded, defined contribution pension plan available to businesses of any size, including single-employee corporations, independent contractors and self-employed individuals.

Entrepreneurs in each of these categories initiate a SEP IRA plan to cover all qualified employees. The plan sponsor then funds the plan on an equal basis for each covered employee. You cannot set up a plan to cover yourself alone, if you have other employees. You must contribute to the plan for all qualified employees, equally, across the board. However, this is obviously not much of a concern for independent contractors and for businesses owned and operated by a single employee or a husband and wife team. Read More→

In the last four months alone we have negotiated 28 1st mortgages and have successfully negotiated at least a 35% discount in the mortgage balance on all 28! In addition, we have eliminated all of the 2nd and 3rd mortgages. We have been saying for years that the lenders have perpetrated significant fraud in virtually every mortgage written in the last 20 years. The media has led us to believe that the foreclosure disaster is coming to an end. They have even blamed the homeowners for causing the mortgage implosion.

It was almost eight years ago that the foreclosure crisis began. More than 5 million homes were lost to foreclosure during those eight years, many of them belonging to real estate investors who are no longer in business. But things are looking up, right? According to CoreLogic the national foreclosure rate is at 1.7%, down from 2.5% last year. The rate of foreclosure starts is at 2006 levels, and the number of foreclosed homes being sold is back to 2008 levels. So why are many analysts now preparing for those numbers to shoot back up in the next year?

The answer is simple. The government created a bunch of temporary relief programs to try to stop the onslaught of foreclosures without actually fixing the problem. Instead of focusing on principal reduction, they focused on temporarily reducing payments. Over 300,000 homeowners’ HAMP payments will increase next year alone, with 2 million set to increase over the next few years. 40% of those 2 million homes are still underwater. Read More→

Thurs, Oct 9th at 6:00 PM @ Doubletree Suites Tampa Bay
Tampa REIA – October 9th
at the Doubletree Suites Tampa Bay
The 5 Keys to Financial Freedom
with Gary Johnston

Tampa REIA Members Can Attend at No Charge & Guests for $10.
RSVP Online Now to Attend the Meeting.

Gary JohnstonOn October 9th, 2014, at the Tampa REIA Main Meeting, Gary Johnston will present “The 5 Keys to Financial Freedom”. Learn the critical keys that will help you obtain financial freedom that you seek.

Gary has been an active investor in real estate and notes for over 25 years. He was with Hewlett-Packard for 16 years as director of research and development in the LaserJet business unit before leaving the rat race at age 38. One of Gary’s early mentors, Norbert Volny, taught him that no one gets rich on a W-2; you have to make your money work harder than you do.

You won’t want to miss Gary’s presentation. Quit making excuses and take responsibility for your financial life. Attend the upcoming meeting and take steps toward being financial free!

Here’s what a few real estate investors have to say about Gary Johnston…

“You opened my eyes to a lot more possibilities and made Financial Freedom seem like a real thing that I can attain. You gave me hope when I was beginning to feel a little hopeless. Thank you so much!!!” – Cindy L.

“You are awesome teacher. I hope you know you really are making a difference in people’s lives.” – Joey E.

“The information you taught & shared was great and I’m already putting it to use.” – Zaid R.

“Gary’s message is straightforward, honest, and if you follow it you will experience positive difference in your life!” – Tom B.

“Gary was very interesting and knowledgeable! I enjoyed listening to him and he had good knowledge to share with the group.” – Holly M.

Come join Gary and the rest of us at the Tampa REIA Meeting on Thursday, October 9th at 6PM at the Doubletree Suites Tampa Bay located at 3050 North Rocky Point Dr West in Tampa, FL and learn how to become truly financially free.


*Meeting Agenda
6:00 pm: Tampa REIA Meeting in Tampa
6:15 pm: Announcements, Introductions, Haves & Wants
7:30 pm: The 5 Keys to Financial Freedom with Gary Johnston
9:30 pm: Late Night Networking at Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill

*Please Note: Meeting agenda is subject to change.

5 Days & 4 Nights in CancunWIN A 4 NIGHT STAY IN CANCUN: All participants who attend the Tampa REIA Meeting will entered into a drawing for a chance to win a *Complimentary 5 Day, 4 Night Stay in Cancun! *You must be present at the meeting to win. Giveaway does not include dining, transportation, transfers, taxes, upgrades, etc.

Late Night Networking at Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill

Whiskey Joe's Bar & Grill Tampa FloridaAfter the conclusion of the Tampa REIA Main Meeting (around 9:30PM), we will be reconvening at Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill located at 7720 West Courtney Campbell Causeway in Tampa for the “Meeting after the Meeting”. Come eat, drink, network and have fun with us as hang out late into the night on Tampa Bay!

See Tampa REIA Events Calendar for More Events!