Archive for the ‘fixer upper house books’ Category

Staying motivated to make investment house repairs and finding Serenity

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Setting up a reward system has worked for me to help me stay on-track for making house repairs. I promise myself that I’ll do something I really enjoy, if I first complete a task. When my wife and I were working furiously on our last fixer-upper house project, we told ourselves that we would go out to dinner at a nice restaurant when we sold the house. That gave us little more of a boost to stay motivated. A few weeks later, someone made a firm offer on the house, and we went out to dinner and celebrated, as planned.

As it turned out we were a little premature in our celebration, as the deal fell through, and eventually we wound up renting the house out. But, the reward system still worked.

This technique also worked for me when I was writing my book on investing in fixer-uppers. One of my favorite movies is Serenity. I was still writing the book when Serenity came out on DVD. I rented it and really liked it (as did my boys). So, to stay motivated, I promised myself that I would not watch Serenity again until after my book was published.

Now that my book, “Fix em Up Rent em Out,” is finished, I am making intricate plans for that much anticipated viewing of Serenity. I don’t have all the details worked out, but I know it will involve fresh popcorn, iced tea, and my boys and I shouting out our favorite lines along with the characters (e.g., “Boy, it sure would be nice if we had some grenades, don’t you think?” or “We’ve got to see Mr. Universe!”). It doesn’t get much better than that.

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How to Publish a Book on Real Estate Investing, Part 2

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

As I mentioned in part I of this topic, it was Aaron Shepard’s book, “Aiming at Amazon,” thatpushed me over the top. At that point, I decided I was going to finish my book, Fix em Up Rent em Out, and publish it, no matter what it took. Everything else was going to be on hold until I finished the book. I worked almost every night for about 4 weeks, on about 2-3 hours of sleep. I started to resemble a zombie from “The Night of the Living Dead,” but I finished the book.

Formatting the book, and making it look like a professional work, required learning another area of expertise. Books like “Perfect Pages” by Shepard and Microsoft Word Manuals were my Bibles. Then, I had to find an copy editor, and give him 6-8 weeks to do his job. And, I located someone to do a cover.

Finally, submitting the files for printing at Lightning Source proved to be another hurtle for me. It took me several tries to submit it the way they needed it for printing. Like anything, the first time you do it irs hard. The second time will be a piece of cake.

Starting a publishing company was another aspect of the process that took time. Not difficult, but you must follow exact procedures and do a lot of running around. I plowed ahead by getting the legal documents to file with the state, setting up bank accounts and purchasing ISBN numbers.

I say this just to show you what you can expect. I think writing a book about your experiences in real estate is a natural next step for someone who has paid their dues and learned the ropes. Who better to describe the hard lessons you have learned than you?

I found that just the exercise of putting your thoughts and experiences on paper, even if you never sell a book, is a worthwhile experience. Its empowering. It broadens your horizons. It makes you draw on sources of power and inspiration that you may not have known that you had.

Remember, an expert is just a regular person who has written a book!


For more information on self publishing, check out my book Carve Out Your     Niche.

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Should you attend a real estate boot camp to learn about investing?

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Should you invest in fixer upper rental houses the old fashioned way, or try to learn it all in 2 days?

Yesterday, I received an email announcement inviting me to a real estate boot camp. It read,

The Ultimate Investor’s Bootcamp!

“You’ll Be Spoon-Fed Cutting Edge Tactics & Insider Secrets. And You’ll Walk Away Knowing Exactly How To Create Stunning Business Success & Vast Amounts of Positive Cash Flow.”

New investors must wonder, “Do I need to attend workshops like this to learn to invest in real estate?” It sounds tempting to be able to learn everything you need to know about investing in 2 days. Who wouldn’t want to take a shortcut like that?

My response is that you might learn some good techniques on investing at a bootcamp, but is it worth the money? I’ve been to free introductory presentations that say you will learn money making techniques about real estate investing, but it turns out to be a sales pitch to get you to sign up for an expensive “mentoring” program. Since the email with the above ad did not mention any price for the bootcamp, I imagine its not cheap. The important thing about bootcamps and mentoring programs is that you can spend a lot of money and only learn a little information. Worst of all, you can get roped into buying a program that sounds good, but may not be as good as it sounds.

My philosophy is more of a “do-it-yourself” approach. I like to cut corners, save money, and not take too many chances with my money. I’m the kind of guy who wears both a belt and suspenders to hold my pants up. I really like play it safe.

To get started in real estate investment, I would recommend to start by reading some of the excellent books that are available, such as “Investing in Real Estate” by Andrew McClean and Gary Eldred. I think you can learn more from reading a book like this than you can from going to expensive seminars. It provides information on many aspects of real estate that investors should know, without having a hidden agenda to get you to buy something more. I have mentioned other useful books in earlier blog postings, such as those by Jay DeCima, Bryan Wittenmyer and John Schuab.

You can also learn very useful information by taking real estate investing courses taught at local community colleges. I took one when I was just starting to invest, and it was outstanding. It was taught by a real estate agent who was an investor. The students learned all of the basics from someone who was actually investing in the same community where we would invest. I learned basic techniques that I am still using.

You learn by visiting a lot of houses and talking to owners and real estate agents. Practice calculating how much monthly payments would be for houses that you visit. Talk to other real estate investors. After you have a idea of how the process works, and when you can recognize a good deal from a bad deal, buy a low-priced fix-up house and learn to repair it as you go along. That’s what I did, and 7 years and 6 houses later I am still going strong.

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Update on “Fix ’em Up, Rent ’em Out” Book -the wheels turn slowly, but still they turn

Friday, September 21st, 2007

My book, “Fix em Up Rent em Out,” is slowly approaching the finish line. It can be a slow process to get a book published, slower than I initially imagined. I finished the actual writing in June. The editing was finished at the end of August. It took until just this week for the cover to be completed. I shipped it to the printer yesterday. What’s left for me to do is to review the review copy, when it is send to me. Shortly after that the book should appear on and Barnes&

Way back in June, I thought it was a safe bet to set a September publication date on the book. That turned out to be wishful thinking. I calculated that would give me plenty of time to finish up all of the publishing-related details and even have it at before the deadline. Now it looks like it will be available in early October.

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My List of House Repair Books – The Best of the Bunch

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

**Book Update** My forthcoming book entitled “Fix ’em Up, Rent ’em Out: How to Start Your Own House Fix-up and Rental Business in Your Spare Time” is in the final stages of production and will be available at in September 2007.

In operating a house fix-up and rental business in my spare time, I have found the following books to be very useful. If I encounter a repair that I have never done before, the books on the link below are my guides.

In 400 B.C. Archimedes said, “Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum upon which to place it, and I shall move the world.” Your tools and books are your lever and fulcrum. Once you have them there will be no stopping you.

House Repair Books – The Best of the Bunch

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My List of Top Books on Fix Up House and Real Estate Investing

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Learning about real estate investing, just like life itself, is a never ending process. You should be gathering information about house repairs and investing everywhere you go. Never let an opportunity pass to learn. I encourage you to buy books and videos on house repair and real estate investing.

Your books are invaluable guides when you are starting a project you haven’t done before, or in the middle of making a repair, and need reliable input on how to do it. I like to scour the fix-up book and real estate book areas at used book stores for good buys. I buy a book as soon as I see it, if I know that it has valuable information. In the past, I have waited to purchase the book only to return later and find that the book I had wanted was gone. The price you pay will literally be a drop in the bucket compared to the money you will save in the long run.

Click to view my Top Books About Fix Up Houses and Real Estate Investing located at
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