Posts Tagged ‘investing in real estate’

Why You Must Own Certain Real Estate Books

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

The fixer-upper house business is a great business to be in these days. But, if you are just starting out, and are as green as a gourd, as I was, you need some help.

To speed up the learning processes, you need to have a collection of reference books on home repair, buying and selling houses, rental properties, tax law and all other aspects of real estate.

If a home without books is like a body without a soul, then a fixer-upper business without reference books is like a cook without a cookbook.

You may not know everything at the start of your new business and you may need help in some areas, especially in the initial stages. However, each time you pay to have someone do work for you, or go through some new process, you should observe everything, ask questions and learn the process.

That way, the next time you will be able to do it yourself, or at least perform a larger part of the project. The key is to keep doing things over and over until you master how it works. You will eventually reach a point where you make decisions of where to make repairs and which houses to buy based on your instinct.

Books will help you to reach that point sooner.

Here are some books that I have found particularly useful to have on hand:

1. Fix em Up, Rent em Out, by yours truly. Yes, believe it or not, I read my own book! Anyone who says otherwise, is just itching for a fight.

2. Investing in Fixer Uppers, by Jay DeCima. His first, and still my favorite, of his books.

3. Investing in Real Estate, by Gary Eldred.

4. Arizona Landlord’s Deskbook (or the equivalent for your state.) by Carlton Casler.

5. Real Estate Debt Can Make You Rich, by Steve Dexter.

6. Wiring 1-2-3, by Home Depot

7. Plumbing 1-2-3, by Home Depot

8. Tiling 1-2-3, by Home Depot. Are you getting the impression that I like the Home Depot books? In addition to mastering the art of tile installation, I made my first grout repair after reading this book.

9. Fix it Yourself Manual, by Reader’s Digest.

10. Upside Up Real Estate Investing, by Bob Zachmeier (teacher of the first real estate class that I took).

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

Joe Sabah, Get the Job You Really Want, and fixer upper houses

Monday, July 26th, 2010

In the book How to Get the Job you Really Want and Get Employers to Call You, author Joe Sabah says,

Are you willing to pay the price to have your life be the way you really want it? We all know there is a price to be paid for everything in life. If we stay in the same circumstances we are now it may cost us our life. Serious illness can be caused because of stress, the stress of being in a job we hate. Take the time to consider what price you are paying now for what you have in your life.

For me, the perfect job was buying fixer-upper houses and renting them out. It provided me the independence and financial security that I desired, and I could do it while still working my 8:00 to 5:00 job.

If you don’t like your job, if you are having your hours reduced, or if you lose your job altogether, it may be time to consider establishing a business that will provide you with some additional economic security.

How would you answer Joe Sabah’s question, “What price would you be willing to pay to have the life you really want?”

The Door of Opportunity is Open

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

It’s easy to get started investing in real estate, but there are few basics you will need to get going on the right foot.

For further guidance read my latest ezine article entitled “The Door of Opportunity For REI is Always Open, But Bring Along Good Credit and a Desire to Learn”.

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Monday, August 4th, 2008

Learn even more about starting a fixer upper house business!

If you are a member of Facebook, I invite you to visit my page at

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Start by Meandering in the Direction of Fixer Upper Houses

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

If your circumstances are such that it is impossible for you to start investing in real estate today, you can start by just meandering in that direction, like a lazy mountain stream.

You can program your mind to pay attention to anything related to real estate. Cut articles out of the newspaper, buy books at book sales, ask friends and co-workers how they purchased their house, watch for free classes or seminars. You can be constantly learning and preparing for the day you will purchase your first fixer-upper property. As Paul and Sarah Edwards point out in Making it on Your Own, “virtually anything you need to know is available to you through books, tapes, workshops, seminars, public education programs, consultants and training programs.”

I meandered for approximately 11 years before purchasing my first investment property. Now I wish I had started sooner, but you can’t begin until you have the desire and the knowledge. Sometimes, desire and knowledge can be acquired simply by observing someone else operating a successful business.

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