Thursday, August 12, 2010

Investing 101: The Importance of Persistence and Follow Up

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress."

- Frederick Douglass

In my last "Investing 101" post, I talked about the importance of being patient and why I decided to wait for the right opportunity rather than trying to force one that is not so right - one that would have took me into the unknown. Looking back on it now, I'm glad I decided to wait.

Sometimes I can get caught up in the moment and forget one important thing - there are opportunities everywhere. And, if I'm patient enough these opportunities will find me. The key is being patient and waiting for just the right moment.

This week, my patience paid off and that moment found me. I was able to land a deal that I've been working on for 2 years. Yes, that's right - talk about having a lot of patience, eh?

When I first started working this one, I remember many a conversations and meetings with the seller. The seller had been thinking about selling but was still not sure. You see, this was a case where the seller didn't have to sell but thought it would be nice to sell. The problem was motivation - it was just something the seller was just thinking about but didn't really plan for.

So, we did a lot of back and forth - not even about the price, more about if the seller was still thinking about selling or not. We talked about the future, goals and plans. And, it usually ended with the seller saying, "Oh, we'll see. But, thanks for keeping in touch. Let's chat again in a few weeks."

And, this went on for 2 years. Every so often, I'd give this seller a call to see what was going on. And, many a times it was "I'm still thinking about it." I"d say, "Cool, just checking up on it. You need to do what's best for you." So, we had this ongoing relationship for all this time.

And, finally about 6 months ago - the seller finally called me up to let me know they had decided to sell. So, now the issue was not about whether or not the seller was going to sell - the issue now was price.

The price started at 25k. Even though the price was pretty much retail and was high, I still met with the seller to inspect the home again.

(Note: Even if I've inspected the home already, I will make another inspection if a lot of time has passed from my last meeting with the seller. In my experience, I've found that you never know what has changed with the home - some items in the home may or may not be working).

After that meeting, the seller had told me they were now pretty serious about selling the home. But, wanted to try to get the best offer out there.

At this point, I knew it wasn't a question of motivation - this seller didn't have to sell, they just wanted to sell. And, there is a big difference between a "need" and a "want."

So, what I did was tell the seller since they just got serious about selling the home to try and see what kind of offers they get on it. I already knew there was no way the seller would get 25k cash, they would have to finance if they wanted that price.

(Note: This is the power of learning your market. Going into a deal, I already know the value of a home (i.e. wholesale, retail, etc).

The seller agreed and told me they'd keep in touch and let me know how it works out. I said, "Ok," and didn't think of it again.

Well, a few weeks pass by and the seller calls me up. Now, the seller tells me most of the folks who are interested in the home want the seller to finance it. (No surprise there!) And, the seller tells me they really don't want to do that - they want to sell for cash and not be tied to the property anymore. (As do most sellers!)

So, the seller tells me they've decided to go ahead and sell to an investor - the seller asked if I was still interested. I said, "Yes, but I can't buy it at 25k." The seller told me they understood and asked me to come over again. So, I did.

Now, this time when I met with the seller they told me they had been talking to another investor too - one I knew already. I said, "That's cool. Do you want to work with her instead?" But, the seller said they're not sure about this other investor as they don't really have a good feeling about this investor - they weren't sure if this investor knew what they were doing and was serious or not.

(Note: This investor had bought a few properties in the park at retail value refinancing their home with a home equity loan (I don't really recommend this). And, I knew for a fact they didn't have the funds - this investor asked me for a loan and even told me that I should be using other people's money (OPM) to fund deals and not my own because it will give me leverage).

The seller then proceeded to tell me they felt more comfortable working with me since I have a track record and also because I have a close relationship with the park manager. The park manager actually told this seller to just sell to me if they want it done right. So, now it was a question of price.

To make a long story short, we did a lot of back and forth over the next couple of months. And, finally a month before I wrote my last "Investing 101" post the seller called me up and decided to sell to me. And, we agreed on a price that worked for both of us.

So, now I finally landed this deal after 2 years of persistence and follow up. We had a couple issues with clearing up the title, but now that's all taken care of. And, the seller is making arrangements to clear out the home and we plan to close at the end of the month.

For those of you out there who get a bit frustrated, I'm here to tell you - it's so important to be persistent and follow up. I know, it's probably said time and time again but I can truly say it's worth it if you stick to it.

After 2 years of working this deal, my persistence and follow up paid off. And, it paid off big time.

I got a great home in one of my favorite parks. It's a mid 1990s, 3 bedroom, 2 bath home, 16x80 (my favorite!) with no work needed - it's in pristine condition. Plus, the seller was kind enough to leave all the appliances in there. We agreed on 11k as the sales price and I know it'll sell owner finance in the mid 20k range - it'll be another $500+/month cash flow payday for the next 10 years.

(Note: For those who are interested, I'll be writing up a case study with pics once this deal is said and done. Thanks for reading!)

Though this deal took a long time and was a lot of hard work and persistence on my part, it was worth it in the end. The lesson here is to be patient - be persistent and always remember to follow up. Things will come if you're patient enough.

As the saying goes, "Good things come to those who wait."

(Note: For those who are interested, here is a really good article written by my pal, Shae Bynes. Thanks for reading!)

I'm going to leave you here with a video here from Gary Vaynerchuk that inspired this post.

Happy investing!

p.s. Feel free to leave comments on any post either here and/or my Facebook Page. Comments are always welcome, thanks for reading!

Video Link


Carey_PA said...

Wow. Rachel that is awesome and that is an excellent post that I think should be REQUIRED reading for anyone involved in investing, whether it be mh's or sfh's or apartments or what have you.

Great, great job with your follow up. My hats off to you.

Now, you said you bought the house for 11k. I'm curious as to how you fund your deals? Do you use your own cash? Ira's? LOC? Cash you've saved, etc.?

Btw, if that's too personal, just ignore me :-) But I'm curious (or you can email me if you feel better that way.)

Again great job!

Mobile Home Gurl said...

Glad you enjoyed it Carey, thanks! This business (like any other) does take a lot of persistence. I think the key is sticking with it. It's been a long road, but it definitely is worth it. Nowadays, it's like I have blinders on - I just stick to the mobile home biz. Everything else I pass on.

Regarding funding, it's cash - a combination of the $ being recycled every month, saved cash, and also I have a running list of a few investors I work with who reward me when I find homes and pass on them. Most of these folks are either park owners with smaller parks or have their own land. They are specifically looking for cheaper homes they can fix up and move to their park or land. Most times, they don't mind the older stuff (70s/80s).

Since I usually pass on "junkers," it works out. I find most folks out there don't want to or have the time to go out and look at all these homes. Some would rather work with someone who does (like me) and just reward them for their efforts. ;)

Usually, the "junkers" I find no one really wants them so it's a win/win situation for the buyer and the seller.

Hope that helps, thanks for stopping by! :)