Monday, July 14, 2008

Estates & Foreclosures

Just recently, I was very close to buying a mobile home in an estate. So, what was the problem? Too many people involved. I remember an old saying, "The more people involved in a transaction, the longer it takes." This phrase rings so true.

In this situation, there were 3 sisters involved each of them living in a different state. The sister I was dealing with in my area had showed me the home. We walked through it together. It had been vacant. But, I noticed she was more concerned about telling me about her personal life - her divorce, financial situation, etc. This raised a red flag and reminded me of people that I've worked with who have financial problems and most likely are in foreclosure.

Personally, I have not had much success working with people who are in foreclosure. It's very difficult to work with people who are so emotional and most times can be financially irresponsible. It has never worked out for me.

So, I had to negotiate a deal with all 3 sisters for the home. Mainly, I was talking to the sister in my area and another sister in another state. Turns out, the sister in the other state was very financially responsible since she was covering the majority of the costs for the home. Let's not forget - a vacant home is a problem home.

In any case, I was about to buy the home and get the deal closed. The sister in the other state was ready to get this done since she had put so much money into it. Low and behold, the sister in my area calls me up and tells me she has just moved into the home because she had been asked to leave her current rental place. She tells me she's going through some hard times and this will be easier for her financially.

Most times, the only reason someone is asked to leave where they are currently renting is because they cannot pay the rent. This could be the case in this situation. So, I call the sister in the other state and leave her a message regarding the change in the situation. (I did not think the sister out of state was aware). Then, I call the park manager of the park to let her know of the sister who had already moved into the park. She will need to go through an application approval process just like everyone else in the park. It will be up to management whether or not to approve the application. If the application is not approved, she cannot live in the park.

What is the outcome of the situation? Only time will tell. I suspect this may land back onto my plate in a couple months. With lot rent, taxes, insurance, energy and other costs associated with the home, this may be more than what the sister in the area can handle with her current financial situation.

It's turned out to be quite a messy situation. It may get even worse. This may be a good thing in disguise.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Just Do It

"Just do it."

Ever heard this slogan made famous by Nike? It rings so true.

When it comes down to it, what differentiates successful people from everyone else is taking action. Yes, mistakes will be made. But, we should not be so afraid to make mistakes that it will stop us. Taking action and doing something is better than doing nothing at all.

One of my fellow investors always brings this question to people who are thinking about getting into investing,

"If you continued to do the same thing you did this year, where would you be next year? Would you be where you want to be?"

If you continue to do nothing, you can never change your situation. If you want to change your situation, you must take action. Now, I'm not advocating going full force into investing and quitting your job. Quite honestly, that is not the best thing to do.

Get educated first. Figure out where you want to be financially and how you will get there. This will depend on your experience level and financial situation. Do you need to build up some cash first? Or, are you ready to invest into income producing assets and have the necessary cash reserves?

If you are just starting out, the best and safest way to go is to find a local investor in your area who is doing what you want to do. You may have to go through a few people to find the "right fit." What you want to do is find someone you can learn from locally who also wants you to grow as a person. It needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship for both of you. Remember, nothing is free and it is ALWAYS a two way street.

Take a couple people out to lunch and find one person you can connect with and feel you can learn from. So, what does the other person get in return? Well, I would say that you would need to figure out a way so that both parties can help each other. I highly recommend finding deals for other investors to start out. You can highly leverage yourself learning from a local investor who can also tell you what to look for and their investment criteria.

Most times investors are open to this and will gladly pay a finders fee to you if a deal is done as a result of your work. Be sure to check the local laws of your state to see how this can be done legally. Some investors decide to contract this work out as independent contractors, or some even may offer to put you on payroll. It all depends on who you are working with.

When you're first starting out, always remember the goal is to learn. Do not, I repeat, do not get greedy and think you know everything. No one knows everything. Most times, you learn on the job - learn by doing. Yes, you can read about the experiences of others. But, you will learn through your own experience. Personally, I didn't understand this concept when I first started out. Now, I do.

All in all, have fun with it. If you can take action by at least finding deals either for someone else or for yourself, the battle is halfway done. Once you get good at finding deals and putting deals together, then you are well on your way.