Posts Tagged ‘real estate investing’

“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







in the 10th ANNUAL USA BEST


LOS ANGELES –, 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

Animals/Pets: General

Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals by Con Slobodchikoff, PhD
St. Martin’s Press


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

Business: Real Estate

Turn Your Home into a Rental House Instead of Selling It by Terry Sprouse and Angy Sprouse
Planeta Books LLC.

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

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.” 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 at



Claiming a Tax Exemption When Selling a Home That is Now a Rental

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

I’d like to share with you a recent question that I received from a reader of my blog. The question was:

“I lived in my primary home for two years and now it’s a rental, can I sell it without paying capital gains?”

My “short” answer is:

That depends on how long the house has been a rental.

No need to push when  selling your primary residence

By Way of Background Information

The 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act was a great boost for average people who wanted to sell their home and buy a new one. It was also a great boost for investors. Couples are allowed to exclude up to $500,000 of the capital gain on the sale of their primary residence. Single individuals can exclude up to $250,000.

In other words, the sale of the house is never reported on your federal IRS forms if the capital gain is less than the $500,000 and $250,000 limits.

This exclusion is based on compliance with two requirements:

1.)  The home must have been the primary residence for both spouses during two of the last five years. The two years do not have to be consecutive but if you rent out the primary residence for more than three years you would be required to occupy it again for two years.

 2.)  The exclusion is available only once every two years.

What if you sell you house and your capital gains exceed the established limit?

Capital gains above $250,000 for singles and $500,000 for couples are taxed at the applicable rate.

What if you sell your house before meeting the two year requirement?

If you qualify under one of the “unforeseen events” listed in  Internal Revenue Service Publication 523 Selling Your Home, such as a job change, illness or an unusual hardship, you can still qualify for a prorated exclusion.

The Ideal Strategy for the Pathologically Conservative Investor

Typical conservative investor.

Utilization of this tax exemption is the safest investment strategy for the conservative investor who wants to take few risks. This is the type of investor who wears both suspenders and a belt to hold up his pants. They like to play it really safe.

Under this strategy, the investors can qualify for the least expensive type of  loan, the owner-occupied loan. There is no need to worry about tenants destroying your rental property or not paying the rent. You completely control the investment by living in the property yourself. When you sell, you have the opportunity to make up to $500,000 tax-free profit every two years.

So, following that long-winded, yet surprisingly informative, background spiel, my “final” answer to the question is:

If you have lived in your house 2 of the last 5 years, you are entitled to take the exemption.


Coming Soon!

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

Get in on the Greatest Real Estate Fire Sale in History

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

“The greatest  real estate fire sale in the history of the United States rages on.”


Foreclosed properties are selling like hotcakes. Now is a great time to get some great deals on investment properties  Besides the price, below are four reasons why you can count on real estate to provide you with security today and in the future.

Cash flow

With a good rental property, after all the expenses have been covered, including mortgage, vacancy rate, repairs, and property management, you can still receive a good cash flow. This provides a reliable monthly income for as long as you want to keep the property. As the amount of rent that you charge goes up, your profits go up. See Table 1 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012) for historic monthly rents in the U.S., from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Demand for Housing

There will be always be people in need of a place to live. With our growing population, a gain of one American born every 14 seconds, we will have a population of 400 million by 2050. Based on our current immigration patterns and population growth, there will continue to be a demand for housing well into the foreseeable future.


In the short term, housing appreciation seems to unpredictably rise and fall. However, in the long term, over a 60-year period, house values show a steady and consistent upward trend. According the U.S. Census Bureau, from 1940 to 2010, the average increase in the value of a house was about 5% per year, adjusted for inflation. Table 2 (U.S Census Bureau, 2012) shows historic home values.

While appreciation of 5% may seem low to some people, when we consider that we only put a small percentage down, between 5-20%, and we receive monthly rent checks that more than cover mortgage payments, it begins to make sense. If we don’t allow periodic dramatic rises and falls in home values to shake our confidence, we can count on steady, long-term, profits from our investment properties.

Tax savings

Our kindly Uncle Sam wisely gives tax incentives to real estate investors. The federal government allows you to depreciate your investment (or reduce your taxes to account for physical deterioration of the house) on Schedule E of your annual tax form. In addition, you deduct expenses related to your investment from your gross income on IRS Form 1040, and reduce the amount of income that you pay taxes on.

How to Force Yourself to Write

Critical Tax & Investment Tips for Real Estate Investors

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

My interview with the inimitable Tax Accountant Sean McCoy. Sean has 31 years experience doing taxes and shares his wisdom with us in this video. He is also a Business Appraiser and a Licensed Fiduciary.

Sean responds to the following questions. Some of his responses may surprise you.

1. What are some common mistakes that real estate investors make on their tax returns?

2. How will real estate investors be affected by new tax laws?

3. What types of investments do you see as the wisest to make right now?

4. What other tips or suggestions might you have for real estate investors?

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

Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps and REI

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

What does Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps have to teach us about real estate investing?

Find out in my new article entitled Use Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps’ Training Habits to Supercharge Your Real Estate Investing.

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Weekly Roundup of Outstanding Real Estate and Investment Blogs

Friday, February 8th, 2008

Once again I present my picks of the week for best blog articles in the Real Estate Investing and Investment categories.

Piggyback Credit Histories to Increase Your Credit Score at
Record Keeping: Current Tentants at
Real Homes of Genius Flashback at
Predicting the Market at
FSBO – Here We Go at
Flipping LLCs Having Hard Times at
Ask the Expert with Larry Swedroe at
Tips for Preventing Identity Theft at
My Grocery Shopping Strategy at
Closing Costs: The Breakdown at
9 Ways Star Wars Can Inspire You to Save Money at
8 Reasons to do All Your Shopping Online at

So You’d Like to Create Multiple Stream os Perpetual Income

Info on Terry’s Book

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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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