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“Turn Your Home Into a Rental House” is 2013 National Best Book Award Winner

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

I’m pleased to announce that the book that Angy and I recently authored:

“Turn Your Home Into a Rental House, Instead of Selling It!” is the winner of the 2013 USA Best Book Award: Real Estate Category. Here is a link to the contest web page.

       


 

 

 

 

 

The USA Book News Press Release:

For Immediate Release
November 2013
Contact: USA Book News
E-mail USA Book News

 USA BOOK NEWS

ANNOUNCES

WINNERS AND FINALISTS

OF

BEST BOOK AWARDS

MAINSTREAM & INDEPENDENT TITLES SCORE TOP HONORS

in the 10th ANNUAL USA BEST

BOOKS AWARDS

LOS ANGELES –USABookNews.com, the premier online magazine featuring mainstream and independent publishing houses, announced the winners and finalists ofTHE 2013 USA BEST BOOKS AWARDS on November 14, 2013. Over 400 winners and finalists were announced in over 100 categories. Awards were presented for titles published in 2012 and 2013. Jeffrey Keen, President and CEO of USA Book News, said this year’s contest yielded over 1500 entries from mainstream and independent publishers, which were then narrowed down to over 400 winners and finalists. 

Highlights include the following Award-Winning Titles: (Fll results listing available on USABookNews.com)

Animals/Pets: General

Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals by Con Slobodchikoff, PhD
St. Martin’s Press
978-0-312-61179-8

Autobiography/Memoirs

IMPOSSIBLE ODDS: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six by Anthony Flacco with Jessica Buchanan & Erik Landemalm
Atria Books/Simon & Schuster
978-1-4767-2516-1

Business: Real Estate

Turn Your Home into a Rental House Instead of Selling It by Terry Sprouse and Angy Sprouse
Planeta Books LLC.
0978-1-979-85665-5

Children’s Picture Book: Hardcover Fiction

In the Beginning: Moral Tails in an Immoral World (Maurice’s Valises) by J.S. Friedman, illustrations by Chris Beatrice
Mouse Prints Press
978-9491613036

Keen says of the awards, now in their eleventh year, “The 2013 results represent a phenomenal mix of books from a wide array of publishers throughout the United States. With a full publicity and marketing campaign promoting the results of the USA Best Book Awards, this year’s winners and finalists will gain additional media coverage for the upcoming holiday retail season.”

Winners and finalists traversed the publishing landscape: St. Martin’s Press, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, John Wiley & Sons, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hay House, Llewellyn Worldwide, Thomas Dunne Books, Oxford University Press, American Cancer Society and hundreds of independent houses contributed to this year’s outstanding competition.

Keen adds, “Our success begins with the enthusiastic participation of authors and publishers and continues with our distinguished panel of industry judges who bring to the table their extensive editorial, PR, marketing, and design expertise.”

USABookNews.com is an online publication providing coverage for books from mainstream and independent publishers to the world online community.

A complete list of the winners and finalists of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards are available online athttp://www.USABookNews.com.

 

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7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

 

Bob Schmidt, Radio Host “Extraordinaire”

I was interviewed last Tuesday about my book, Turn Your Home into a Rental House, by Bob Schmidt of WLFN 1490 AM, Onalaska, WI.

Bob is one of my favorite radio show hosts. He asks good questions, he laughs at my little jokes, and he keeps the whole interview light hearted and fun. Here is a link to that interview (my interview begins at the 16:50 minute mark.)

I was also on his show in 2009 to promote, Fix em Up, Rent em Out. That was one of my very first radio interviews. After the show I called Bob to ask him if he had any advice for me on how to promote my book.

In my “radio interview notebook” I still have the written notes of what he told me. Here they are, verbatim.

Bob Schmidt Book Promo Advice

1.) To book guest appearances call the radio show after hosts are off the air, and talk to the producer or the host. They  don’t respond to email. They want to hear your voice.

2.) Tell them you are the author of a book and succinctly describe “the hook,” or how his/her listeners will benefit from you being on the show.

3.) Make sure you get the host/producer name correct. They are very egotistical and will be insulted if you get it wrong.

4.) During the interview be entertaining and provide helpful information.

5.) Call local TV producers, say I am a local author, and I am fixing up houses. They can film the process.

6.) Contact newspaper home sections.

7.) Fix your website. Put a chapter from the book on it, or provide a prominent link to Amazon where they can get more information about your book.

Why I Like Radio

Radio has been an important component of my book promotion plan.

I use three different ways to reach people, like a three legged stool. One way is the internet, but believe it or not, not every is on the internet. A second way is by giving speeches to groups and organizations. The third way is by radio. It takes all three legs to hold up the stool.

Radio is great because radio shows have time they need to fill, and they guests are one way to do that. It’s fun to be interviewed and you can reach huge audiences from the comfort of your living room. In addition, when a host likes you they invite you back to their show.

Since I started doing radio shows in 2009, I have appeared on 50 shows (and 2 television shows). So far, I have sold 3,300 copies of my books.

To put things in perspective, my friend Joe Sabah has been on over 700 radio shows, and has sold 23,750 copies of his books.

As I like to say, Joe and I together have sold over 27,000 books.

 

Upcoming “Turn Your Home Into a Rental House ” Radio Interviews (most shows can be heard  on the internet)

Wednesday, August 14th, at 9:15 am (eastern), I’ll be on Dave Kelber’s show, WRNJ Radio, Hackettstown, NJ. http://wrnjradio.com (to listen live).

Watch this space for information on additional interviews.

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Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Dreams, Investment Houses and Creating Books

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Freud

Sigmund Freud said, “Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy. ”

But what really are dreams? Fearless Men shares a tantalizing glimpse in What Dreams Mean: How To Know What Your Dreams Are Saying To You.

As a fervent believer  in investing in fixer upper houses, I also like Fearless Men’s article Investment Properties Offer a Long-Term Source of Income.

Book writing and self-publishing is another passion of mine and I read with great interest Should I Create An eBook?  at untemplater.

Here are some other favorite posts from the precious week:

Wholesaling Do’s and Don’ts at Louisville Gals.

Are Large Companies Immune to the Fiscal Cliff? at Frugal Rules.

First Cruise Ship? 5 Big Ticket Items To Watch Out For at iheartbudgets.

5 Simple and Odd Things I do to Save Money at Frugal Habits.

PerkStreet Financial Review – The Best Online Checking Account at WorkSaveLive

Our $50K Duplex Is Worth $97K – Why? Part 2 ar Planting Our Pennies.

Old Buildings That Go Untouched at BlueCollarWorkman.

Being Thankful, Not Just For Thanksgiving – Giveaway at ModestMoney.

My Best Financial Tip at Canadian Budget Binder.

Choosing organizations to donate to: What do you factor in? at Young Adult Money

The Amazing Power of Debt at Club Thrifty

Being Thankful and a $100 Giveaway! at Eyes on the Dollar.

No Picnic for Young People, Either at AnyShinyThing.

Waking Up Early Black Friday? No Thanks at Pelican on Money.

 

 

 

_____________________

Coming VERY Soon!

How to Turn Your Home into a Rental House, Instead of Selling It

Required Roof Maintenance for Fixer Upper Houses

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

One of the jobs associated with operating a fixer upper and rental house business is to keep your rental properties in ship shape!

With the annual approach of summer rains, now is almost the last chance to make rental house roofs water proof before the watery onslaught. As someone who has a sworn aversion for arriving too early to parties, I subscribe to the time-tested philosophy of “better late than never.”

This morning I applied some black roofing cement on some areas on one of my townhouse roofs. I had located some cracks upon my inspection of it about 2 weeks ago.

The first photo shows the area in question, where I had previously applied a small amount of plastic roofing cement, but today I was going to put on some more and cover a broader area.

Before picture

The second photo shows the application of the plastic roofing cement. We apply one layer of cement, then put a white membrane on top of that, followed by a second layer of cement. The membrane allows for more cement to be applied.

Application of roofing cement

Below is the “after” photo. You can see that in addition to the corner, we hit a few other cracks with our roofing cement on the sides of theroof. Later, we’ll come back with white roofing paint to cover the black cement.

Completed repair

A good rental house

My wife and I purchased this 2 bed 2 bath townhouse in 1993 and lived in it for 10 years before moving on to a bigger house (to accomodate our growing family), and turning this property into a rental house in 2003.

Its been one of our best rental houses because it is in a “transition” zone (aka “opportunity zones”) where there is heavy demand for housing, and it is easy to care for because it is compact (1100 sq ft with small front and back yards). The townhouse perfect for single people or small families.

We originally purchased it for $53,000 and we charge $750/month (more if the tenants have pets).

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Learn to Repair Your Fixer Upper Houses

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Learn to Make Repairs

Never miss an opportunity to do your own repair work. To become an expert in the fix em up rent em out business, you must learn this. Think of it as part of your educational process. You lose two ways when you hire someone to do your work. First, you lose the chance of a free education, and second you lose the money that you would have saved by doing it yourself.

It may take you four hours to change an electrical receptacle or fix a toilet that won’t flush, something a professional could do in minutes. Don’t be concerned, in the long run you have learned a skill to be used for the rest of your life.

Trust Your Karma

After going through my explanation about how everyone can learn to repair a house, a friend of mine insisted that it was impossible for him to do fix-up work; it just wasn’t in his genes. I replied that his way of thinking was his dogma. My karma told me that he could do it. In time, little by little, he did learn to make repairs and he came to enjoy it, even relish it.
My karma ran over his dogma.

Work with a Handyman

Having said the above, I also think that you should have a good handyman to back you up. Although there are many things that you can learn to do, you also have to know your limitations. There will be times when you can’t make a complicated repair. Someone with experience must be called in. For many things you can be the expert, but for some things you can’t. Ideally you should establish a good working relationship with a true handyman that you trust and is available to help you out as needed, particularly in the first few years of your business. To keep costs reasonable, always pay contractors or handymen by the job and not by the hour.

Your attitude should be that you want to learn how to do everything yourself. You don’t learn to ride a bike by watching someone else do it. The only way to learn is by doing it yourself, and the more you do it, the better you will be at it like my first grout repair project, and when learning to lay tile. Practice doing all the steps in the process until it becomes second nature for you.

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Funniest Tenant Screening Stories

Monday, June 4th, 2012

This guest post is from Endre Rex-Kiss, an online marketing, social media and human resource enthusiast. He currently represents FidelisAM, a US based agency providing employment and resident screening services. Follow his occasional guest blogging activities on Twitter.

Tenant screenings is the way to go if you want quality tenants and most landlords come across potential tenants who are either not what they claim to be or have serious behavioral problems. This article takes a look at the funniest screening stories landlords have had and their aftermaths. So sit down, relax or better still grab a cold bottle of beer to nurse while you go through the experiences below.

The Estranged Wife

A couple with no kids moved into a 4 bedroom duplex in the suburbs, the house and environment provided the perfect scenery for the couple but there was only one problem and it was that of meeting up with their mortgage payments. So they decided to put a room up for rent. The necessary adverts were created and finally a prospective client came knocking, he was the perfect tenant for he claimed to be single, had no pets, did not smoke, drink, do drugs and had a well-paying job. This obviously was too good to be true so the couple decided to hire an agent to conduct a little screening on him. After two days, the agent returned to tell the couple that they had been invited to have dinner with the previous landlord of their prospective tenant. On getting there, they were told that the tenant usually preys on sympathetic landlords and if you fall into his trap by renting a room to him, he would move in, behave for some days but a week later a woman who would claim to be his estranged wife would come visiting for some time and then finally move in with a cat. They would then proceed to co-habit like pigs, steal your property and when rent is due, disappear like thieves in the middle of the night.

Ghost Tenants

A couple responded to a landlord’s accommodation advert, they came to see the Landlord and professed that they loved the apartment and would be willing to rent it for the long term. The landlord was convinced that they were the perfect tenants so when the wife came calling the next day without her husband (due to the supposed fact that he works late) to ask for the keys to the apartment so she could look through it, the landlord duly obliged. A day passed, the lady did not return, two passed and she was still missing. The landlord quickly called his agent who conducted a quick search only to find out that the woman and her husband had already moved into the apartment. The police was called and the couple quickly evicted.

Dead beat Prospective Tenant

An agent once recommended a tenant who had the best recommendations ever; he had a good job, perfect credit and good relationships with his previous landlords. A meeting day was fixed and the prospective client shows up with a dead beat car and the attitude of someone who was one step ahead of the law. The landlord who needed to rent his facility out as soon as possible, overlooked this tell-tale signs and had agreed to lease the apartment to the tenant. The recommended signatures had already been traded and an upfront deposit had been made but as luck would have it, a police officer who was driving randomly through the neighborhood spotted the prospective tenant, felt his face was familiar and got down to trade some questions. Suddenly, the tenant bolted and a foot race began. The tenant was finally apprehended and the landlord discovered that the name, details and personal information given by his perfect tenant had nothing in common with the tenant.

The Thief

A couple came with an agent to view a landlords property, after going through it, they decided it was perfect and would be signing the necessary papers the following day but there was just one issue, they needed the house repainted. The landlord obliged, carried the necessary equipment to the house and started painting. He painted into the night and decided to spend the night there instead of returning home late. In the middle of the night, he began to hear strange noises at the side of the house, quickly he got up to investigate and on getting there, he found his prospective tenant trying to detach an A/C unit.

These stories show that conducting an in-depth screening which should include: former landlord credit checks, recommendations and past criminal activities are highly recommended.

Upcoming Speaking Engagement – Terry Sprouse (author of Fix em Up Rent em Out)

I will be making a presentation to the Arizona Network of Real Estate Investors. Mark your calendars.

Where:
Fidelity National Title, 6760 N. Oracle Road, Suite 100, Tucson, AZ

When:
June 7th, 2012

Time:
Meeting begins at 5:30 pm, presentation at 6:00 pm

Title: The 5 Rules on How to Lose Money & Get Your Rental Property Trashed by Tenants

How to learn to operate a fixer upper house business

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Learn the Ropes

My wife and I didn’t know much about repairing houses before we started our fixer-upper business, but like fine wine, we got better as time went on. One important rule in the fix-up profession is that you must constantly strive to become self-sufficient and learn all aspects of the profession. You must become an expert in your new business, even if you only do it part-time.

You can learn from others, but you have to rely on yourself to get ahead. Like the novice swimmer who is tossed in the pool, sometimes it’s sink or swim. You must learn by doing.

Trust Your Own Judgment

There are times when destiny forces you down a certain path in life. Other times, you make you own destiny by choosing to walk down a difficult path.

My plan when I bought my first fix-up house was that I could learn as I went along. I thought if others had learned to do it, so could I.

When I bought my fist fix-up house, it was like being stranded on a desert island. I was forced to learn new skills to survive, like Robinson Crusoe. The best way to learn new skills is by putting yourself in a situation where you are forced to change and adapt.

Before embarking on his life-transforming mission, the hero in the book Dune was advised, “Unless you change, something inside you sleeps.”

Foreclosure Update

The bank accepted someone else’s bid over mine for the foreclosed property that I bid on. My new target property is a 3 bed, 3 bath townhouse that is being offered for $69,900.

In this market, persistance is the name of the game. You just have to keep looking and keep bidding until you land a property at the price you desire.

 

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Tax tips, forclosure houses, and self directed IRAs for real estate investors (video)

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

It’s an honor, once again, to have tax accountant, Sean McCoy, E.A., Chartered (PC), discuss tax tips for real estate investors, particularly in light of the looming deadline to submit income taxes.

Today Sean will discuss:

1. Changes to the tax code that affect real estate investors;
2. Issues related to purchasing forclosed properties;
3. Pros and cons of self-directed IRA accounts to purchase real estate; and,
4. Tax considerations when owning out of state properties.

Here is the complete YouTube interview.

An amazing time to buy a foreclosure

Monday, February 27th, 2012

The past several months I have been searching for another investment/rental property to purchase, and have so far come up empty. Several times I found one, only to have it sold before I got my bid in. Today, I got my bid in on the above pictured foreclosure house. There are four bids on it and the bank will select one of us sometime this week.

The house is 3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1,400 sq ft, property in a nice neighborhood. The price is $53,000. It needs somewhere between $5,000 – $10,000 work to bring it up to rental condition, e.g., replacing sheet rock, electrical work, roof work, and flooring. It sold for $149,000 in 2006. I should be able to rent it for around $800/month. I’ll purchase with cash, if I get the house.

I would have preferred 2 bathrooms, but the house is in a good location and is otherwise a pretty good deal. I know several people with children who only have one bathroom and it works for them, even though I’m used to two.

Now is the time to take action

If you are just sitting on the fence, now is an opportune time to get into a investment house.

Of course, you must conduct a good inspection of the property either before you make the offer, or during the 7 to 10 day inspection period after your bid is accepted. Usually there are is no history of the property for you to examine, on foreclosures. It’s sold as is.

My main motivation is to that I can fairly inexpensively purchase a rental house, and it will provide me with an unusually large stream of income. I have other rental houses, but this new one will produce much more revenue because most of my income on the other properties goes to pay the mortgage company. Since I’m able to pay cash, this time all the revenue goes to me.

Rentals better than pensions

The great advantage of owning real estate property over having a pension is that your pension is fixed and what you get when you start it, is all you will ever get. For rental houses, the amount you receive from tenants goes up over time, with inflation, and you can never use it up.

The double win

It’s like being able to bet your money in Las Vegas, but then you get all the money that you lost back again when you leave. You get the monthly payments, like a pension. But, if you ever want to sell your investment house, you get the entire amount that you spent back again, and usually a lot more than that.


OTHER BLOG ARTICLES:

I encourage you to check out the insightful article How do you handle the whining tenants? over at landlordinvestor.com.

Security in Retirement with Fixer-Uppers

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Are you like me and never socked much money away for retirement? We are not alone. The Employee Benefit Research Institute’s Annual Retirement Confidence Survey found that pre-retirees (Americans between the ages of 55 and 65) greatly underestimate how long they are likely to live and how much money they will need in retirement.

Experts say that we need to change our mindset from “assets” to “income” in retirement planning. It’s not enough to know how much money we have in savings; we need to know how much income our savings can generate over time.

There is no better way to change our mindset and our portfolio from “assets” to “income” than by investing in real estate. If we invest wisely before we retire, and can have a stable of reliable rental properties that generate steady monthly income. We can look forward to a retirement that provides security instead of uncertainty.


Don’t rely on politicians to provide you with retirement security. If you want it done right, you must do it yourself.

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