Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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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Why You Should Not Pay Down Your Mortgage

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Tired of making those monthly housing payments?

Are you tempted to pay a little extra on your mortgage to speed up the pay off time and own the property free and clear.

Then, think twice, because that may not be the best idea.

Check out my guest post, “Why You Should Not Pay Down Your Mortgage” over at Louisville Gals Real Estate Blog

What to do if your tenant wants a pet?

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

“In my day, we didn’t have dogs or cats. All I had was Silver Beauty, my beloved paper clip.”

– Jennifer Hart

I received a call last week from a fellow investor/friend. She had a tenant living in a house and the tenant said he would like his girlfriend and her dog to move in with him.

My friend knew that her tenant was on the verge of having some trouble making the monthly payments and it seemed like a good idea financially to have the girlfriend there too, two incomes being better than one. Of course, the girlfriend would sign the rental contract too, in case one of them moves out.

What stuck in the craw of my friend is that she recently put new carpet in the house, and did not want pets in there who might destroy the carpet. Her question to me was, should she allow the dog?

My answer was, let the dog stay too, but charge a fee of $20 per pet per month, and here’s why:

1. Not all rental properties allow pets, so the more accomodating you are in the area of pets, the more tenants that you can attract. And, many people experience a more rewarding life when they have a pet. So, the happier the tenant, the longer he stays.

2. The tenant is receiving a benefit from having their pet with them, and as mentioned, not all rentals allow pets. So, from that perspective, the tenant has not reason to be upset with a small monthly fee for the pet.

3. If the pet does a number 1 or number 2 on the carpet, the landlord still has the security deposit of one month’s rent, to repair the carpet. When the tenants move out the landlord is still covered.

Under my scenario, the tenants receive the benefit of the girlfriend moving in and the psychological benefit of having a pet. The landlord receives a slight benefit of a small additional amount coming in. Everyone is happy.

The only other consideration is to make sure the dog is not Cujo. I would’t allow a dog breed that is known to be aggressive. Otherwise the landlord is setting herself up to be bit with liability issues, if the dog gets out of the yard.

For another excellent article about pets, check out the article Allowing Pets in Your Rental Property by Sharon Vornholtt at

Read the new review of “Carve Out Your Niche” by Sharon Vornholt at Louville Gals Real Estate Blog

New Book – Carve Out Your Niche – Coming Soon

Friday, August 12th, 2011

What happens after you have been successfully operating your fixer-upper house business for several years, and you have become a master of your own minor universe?

At that point, it’s time to move on to the next phase of your career. You need to write a book about your experiences and share your hard-earned wisdom with others.

Following closely on the heels of writing your book, you will need to find ways to reach the people that will benefit from your book, and you must (gasp! choke!) promote your book.

This is where my new book, Carve Out Your Niche: How to Live Your Passion, Write Your Book, & Help Others to Change Their World, comes to your rescue.

I have already blazed a path for you to follow. Just follow the steps laid out in my book and you too will be able to:

1. Find your niche, or mission in life, if you haven’t already;

2. Lean to write and self-publish your book;

3. Promote your message through an assortment of proven techniques, including videos, radio interviews, and that ravenous monster called “the internet.”

Carve Out Your Niche will soon be available at and other internet book stores.

However, if you can’t wait and would like a preview of my book, you can fill in the form on my Carve Out Your Niche website and receive a free download of the Introductory Chapter.

Joe Sabah, author of How to Get on Radio Talk Shows all Across America, has reviewed my book and commented,

Carve Out Your Niche is a true pleasure to read. Follow Sprouse’s steps and you will succeed!

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Avoiding Pitfalls When Buying Fixer-Upper Houses

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Pitfalls to buying fixer-upper houses, such as broken plumbing systems, worn out electrical wiring, and cracked foundations can be avoided with the help of a professional inspector prior to purchasing a house. Once identified, these conditions can be laid before the seller, who must either fix the problems to the satisfaction of the buyer, or the buyer can pull out of the deal.

Of course, it takes hard work to find a house, make all of the repairs, and learn how to deal with tenants. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. You’ll learn not to take life, or tenant problems, too seriously. Shakespeare said, “A light heart lives long.”

The good news is that you learn valuable technical and people management skills that are useful in many other aspects of your life. You are also rewarded with a feeling of satisfaction in your accomplishments, a stronger sense of financial security, and the peace of mind that accompanies it.

How to Prepare a New Rental House for Tenants (video)

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Get your rental house ready for tenants by following my 5 steps.

I also recommend four of my favorite repair books for your real estate library to guide you through the process of repairing appliances, sinks, electrical outlets, and almost any other repair issue that you may encounter.


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Turn Your Home into a Rental Property (video)

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

What is the most powerful thing in the world?

An idea that has been planted in a person’s mind.

To improve your economic security you should plant in your mind the idea you should never sell a house. Converting your home to a rental house can provide long-term rental income and economic security to you and your family.


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Getting Started; Choosing a Strategy for Real Estate Investing

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

This is a guest post from Sharon Vornholt, an investor at Her blog provides very practical information for investing during these times of tight money. She speaks with eloquence and a solid base of knowledge in the area of wholesaling. It’s an honor to have her write today’s guest article. Visit her site to get a free copy of the classic book “The Richest Man in Babylon.”

I am asked from time to time about my real estate business, how I got started as a real estate investor, and how I chose my primary strategy for my business. I became interested in investing in real estate about a dozen years ago. A realtor friend of mine took me to my first REIA meeting as her guest, and I was completely hooked!

I had another business at the time; I owned and operated a home inspection company from 1991 until 2008. It was during that time that I began to “dabble” in real estate. It took me a couple of years to buy my first property which was a rental. In the next 7-8 years I bought several more rentals and did some rehabbing. Wholesaling was still pretty much a mystery to me at that time. Throughout the years, I always attended the monthly REIA meetings, attended seminars, boot camps etc. I have always been passionate about learning the business of real estate investing.

When I made the leap to full time investor in 2008, I needed to replace the income from my previous business. I already had a pretty good idea of which strategy that I wanted to pursue. Even though I had rental property, I really didn’t like being a landlord and that didn’t take care of my need for a paycheck. I loved rehabbing houses and the process of turning “ugly houses” into a home someone could be proud of, but houses were sitting on the market for long periods of time before being sold. So, I decided against the strategy of fixing up houses and then reselling them. But there were a lot of real estate investors that were still active rehabbers in my area, so I knew that what I would put my focus on was wholesaling.

Wholesaling is a strategy where you can earn large chunks of cash using very little of your own money in a relatively short period of time. In my opinion, it is one of the safest strategies you can pursue when you are starting out. Whatever strategy you ultimately decide to focus on, wholesaling should always be part of your business. If you are a landlord, wholesaling can provide you with cash to pay down the mortgages on your houses. Rehabbers can wholesale some of their unwanted houses to build up a cash reserves for the projects they are working on.

There are two questions that always come up for anyone new to real estate investing. How do I find deals and what do I do with them once I have found them? I have always been a marketer so finding deals was something that I understood. I knew that I would have to develop a marketing plan and work the plan. All of those books, tapes and seminars had prepared me for the many ways to find houses. But I was absolutely terrified that I would find a house, put it under contract and not be able to sell it. This is a huge concern for most folks getting started in real estate investing.

The best place you can start to build a buyers list is at your local REIA club. My club is one of the largest in the country with hundreds of members. Once a month we meet for dinner, and we always have a speaker. Our club is committed to educating its members, and we are very lucky that they bring in national speakers in addition to our local experts. Members also have the opportunity each month to put materials out on a table before the meeting. They can put out information about a property for sale or for services that they can provide to the members. Any member that has a property to sell can go up before the group and do a “property pitch”.

I have bought and sold a lot of properties within that group. You have a ready made “buyers list”. As an added bonus, we have a directory of all of the member’s contact information. So each time I have a property to sell, I can shoot out an email to the groups’ members. If you are just starting to build your buyers list, I have also had pretty good luck adding folks to my buyers list through Craigs List. When I put a property on Craigs List even if I don’t find a buyer for that particular property, I always end up adding at least a couple of investors to my list. Finding buyers and keeping a good buyers list is an ongoing process, but it’s not too difficult once you get the hang of it.

Ultimately, everyone has a different way of choosing their primary strategy for their real estate investing business. Some folks know from the get go that their primary focus is to buy and hold properties and that is all they do. Other people love the rehabbing process, but don’t like being a landlord. I have done just about everything since I started investing in real estate. There is no denying that buy and hold is the way to build long term wealth. Whatever your strategy, I would encourage you to add wholesaling to your investing business. Think of those “chunks of cash” you get from wholesaling properties as a way to fund your business and put extra cash in your pocket.

Sharon Vornholt has been investing in real estate since 1998 and is a member of the Kentuckiana Real Estate Investors Association. She also has a blog for real estate investors of all levels of experience that you can find at

Do you take time away from the stress of real estate investing? (video)

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Even real estate investors (especially those who fix em up and rent em out) need to get away from the stresses of life once in awhile. Maybe it’s time for you to take a walk in the country, and get back in touch with that inner place where you can be yourself.

Getting Started with Fixer Upper & Rental Houses (Video)

Friday, September 10th, 2010

I think that buying fixer upper houses and turning them into rental properties is the easiest way to make money in real estate. You can do it in your spare time and still work your 8:00 to 5:00 job. And, rental houses can create a steady new income stream, that could even allow you to retire from your regular job, as I did.

This video which provides a general overview of the process for starting up a fixer upper and rental house business.