Category Archives: Planning

About That Radio Silence

I closed on a property last fall and let you all down! I didn’t read you in, and it was a good one: an out of town wholesale transaction with a repeat seller.  It went smoothly for every single party involved and really hit home for me two things:

1) Networking works. Who hasn’t said that? But I have dug my heels in on this point.  I don’t like networking or schmoozing or talking to people when I don’t want to.  I can be very outgoing, but tend to be introverted in that I don’t want to chit chat with you – I want to get right down to things: either business or deep thoughts.

But networking is worth it.  And by networking I don’t think I mean what I’ve always had in mind.  In this case, networking involved my repeat seller. We bought a house from her through seller financing in 2012.  We’ve had a great relationship along the way, refinanced out of the note just like we promised, offered to help in any way we could now or in the future – and then she called.  So I would say that part of networking is maintaining healthy relationships with people you already know by being someone they can count on, who is pleasant and has integrity.

The buyer also came from networking.  I have dear friends in the property city who are also investors.  I called and reached out to them and they just happened to know someone looking for their first investment property.  It happened just like that – and of course I sent them a thank you gift for connecting us!

It was THE smoothest wholesale transaction I’ve ever had, and I believe that’s mostly because I have a history (a good one!) with the seller, and the buyer came from people I already know (which meant they were quality).

2) I came into wholesaling to make money (check!) but have realized I need to do real estate in a way that leaves me more fulfilled.  Offering a cash, as-is offer to motivated sellers, or sellers with run-down houses, is a GREAT solution for that sellers’ problem.  The issue, for me, is that wholesaling and creative financing are only good solutions for a very small niche of sellers.

And because for me it’s all about giving them the perfect solution to their real estate situation, I find myself frustrated that I can’t offer sellers a full gamut of resources to do that.  Only 1 in 20 of qualified leads need to sell at a wholesale price or for great terms.  The rest might want a quick sale but only at a retail discount (wholetail), or are only looking for advice on how to list a house that is not retail-ready.

My Myers-Briggs test says that making a difference and job satisfaction are HIGHLY important to me, and it’s true, so I’ve opted to get my real estate license.  For the record, I actually think there’s more money to be made by focusing on certain investment strategies (wholesaling, rehabs, etc.), but I’m hoping this is a great fit for me.

And that’s what I’ve been doing in this time of blog silence.  I should be finished up soon and (if my background check will go through quick enough!) take my test by the end of the month.

Everyone needs to do what is most important to them; what is most consistent with their goals and values.  This is my version – I hope you are doing well at creating yours!

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Filed under Ethics & Etiquette, Motivation, Planning

Outsourcing: Scrubbing Leads

Outsourcing is a big topic.  It’s sort of a fad now, but it’s also just the way business is run. Us small-business owners have to leverage technology and time in a smarter way to make sales, build our business and still have time for being human: relationships, rest, eating, helping.

I actually don’t like outsourcing because it involves managing people, something I’m sort of terrible at.  Lock me in a closet with a book, pen and paper and some good music and I’ll emerge days later happy and well.  But I need to involve people in my business to honor the other obligations in my life and take good care of myself.  And in order to do that I must outsource, AND prioritize what I outsource.

I start with WHAT I HATE MOST or WHAT IS MOST EXPENSIVE (measured in time or money or both).

It just so happens that scrubbing leads hits every one of those criteria.  To buy a new absentee owners list to replace the one I have would be well into the hundreds and hundreds of dollars, and to do it myself would take hours and hours that could be better spent talking with sellers or doing marketing.  

I also HATE, HATE, HATE scrubbing lists.  Any repetitive task makes me feel dead inside; it drains the life right out of me.  And there’s no pressing need for me to do this one (unlike other repetitive tasks, like feeding my children!).

So I’ve made it a priority to outsource this consistently.  Here’s a look at the instructions I came up with for my VA.  It’s simple, and really all that’s needed since I have a good VA and will also do a quick chat with her to answer a few specific questions.

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 11.51.24 AM

I believe next up will be data mining for my probate leads!

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Filed under Absentee Owners, Planning

How to Scrub a List of Leads

What is “scrubbing”, other than cleaning tubs and toilets?

When you “scrub” a mailing list, you’re cleaning it up.  You’re getting rid of dead leads that are no longer viable, and updating leads with new information – making sure you have current contact information.

What are you looking for when scrubbing a list?

  • Properties that sold to someone else  – either an investor or a homeowner – should be removed.
  • Properties that don’t match your criteria.  For example, even though I only market to residential single- and multi-family properties, sometimes a condominium or apartment ends up on my list.  If I discover it when I’m scrubbing, I can choose to remove it.
  • Leads who have changed their mailing address.  A real estate investor’s leads move often, and having the correct mailing address is essential with direct mail.

How do you scrub a list?

If you’re doing this on your own, like I just did, then you do it painstakingly.  I went lead by lead, researching the property on the assessor’s page to confirm it hadn’t sold in the last 6 months (many had), and then cross-referenced the owner name and mailing address, updating as needed. It was not my kind of work.  But it did the job – about 40% of my old leads were no longer good.  What a waste it would have been to include them in my new mailings!

An Alternative: The Revolving Door

But, depending on your marketing strategy, you may never need to scrub your lists.

If you stick to purchasing general leads and researching targeted leads, then your leads can work like a revolving door: they go into a campaign (where you hopefully contact them at least 6 times), and then you forget about them.

For targeted leads based on an event (probate, eviction, vacants, divorce, etc.), you can research or buy leads every month and send to whomever is on the list. Be sure you schedule at least 6 follow-ups of some kind, but then you can forget that list and move on to the next list the following month.

For absentee owners, whose status remains the same for a longer amount of time, you can set up a campaign, then when your campaign ends (say, in 6 months),  you buy a new list and start all over.  The new list will leave off any leads who sold, and update the address of the ones who have moved.

Everyone does it differently, and the revolving door is just one idea.  There are a lot of factors to take into account, including how you deal with leads once they come in, what kind of database options you have available to you (less if you have a Mac), whether you want several people or just yourself to be able to access and edit it, and how much information you really think you need to track.

But my mantra for this year is something I read from Tracy Caywood: that the most effective marketing is implementation and consistency. You can’t perfect something you haven’t started yet – so let’s get to work.

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Filed under Absentee Owners, Evictions, Marketing, Planning, Probate

New Year, New Marketing Plan

Last year was a wash for me.  I switched to postcards and they performed miserably.  I struggled with a lot of personal elements in my life, and felt myself sort of go limp, like my toddler does in protest when she doesn’t want to do something.  I am a master at looking busy while doing absolutely nothing, and that sort of self-sabotage happened a lot last year (in the form of research and planning).

I don’t have a lot of regrets about last year.  Thankfully, I can have slow months or years because we don’t depend on this for our full-time income.  But we might one day.  And we also have financial obligations my business is responsible for, and my lack of diligence last year put us in a tight spot.

But we all have ups and downs, and those help with growth.  At least,they do for me.  It’s scary for me to do real estate – for all sorts of reasons – but building resolve and courage is what I’m shooting for (not for eliminating the fear).

So here’s how 2014 is looking:

My Resources

  • I still have my accountability partner.  She means more than I can probably understand, and I know of at least two times when I was actually resolved to quit but she talked me into hanging in there.  So I’m glad to have her help as I move forward this year.
  • My husband will be helping.  He’s already a big part of the business: he helps stuff envelopes when I’m behind, knows about every deal I negotiate and works out strategy with me.  But this year he’s officially coming on board to help.  He’s going to be in charge of tracking and mailing our marketing campaigns, maintaining our leads database, skiptracing, and basically anything related to data.
  • Last year I blew through the marketing reserves that had built up from previous deals. So we’re back to leaning on our Freedom Fund for all marketing costs.  A Freedom Fund is something I learned about from my friend Shae Bynes.  It’s an amount of money that comes out of our personal budget to go toward the business.  Right now we have it at $300.  Once we close on a deal, at least $1000 or more of the profit will jump start a larger marketing plan.

My Marketing Plan

  • For January, I scrubbed an existing list of Tulsa Absentee owners (by myself!) and I ended up with 101 leads.  We also scrubbed all of the probate leads I had and it whittled down to 77. They all got a yellow postcard sent through Click2Mail.
  • We created a follow up campaign so that all of these leads will automatically be sent another postcard each month for 4 months, and we created reminders to schedule 2 more rounds after the 4 months are over (Click2Mail only allows you to schedule 120 days in advance).
  • For February, we’ll research probates and create a campaign of up to 125 leads.  We send out a professional letter and create a follow up campaign of 6 yellow postcards.  (This totals about $300 – my max budget for the month.)
  • For March, we’ll see.  There’s a good chance we’ll have a deal by then.  If  so, we’ll consider implementing our $1000 marketing plan (still to be finished).  If not, we’ll probably repeat February’s plan.

It’s nice to have a plan.  Everyone tells me how important it is.  And I’m usually on board – I LOVE planning.  But implementing is more important than a good plan, so I’m excited that I’ve already touched 178 leads, and without doing any additional work they will receive 4 more postcards.

I hope you’ve had a hopeful, productive start to the year as well!

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Filed under Absentee Owners, Fear, Marketing, Planning, Probate

Breakdown of Closed Deals in the Past Year

I’m one of those dorky people obsessed with detective novels.  I love a great mystery and all that.  (My absolute favorite is the Lord Peter Wimsey series, by Dorothy Sayers.  If you like mystery, read this!)

I look at my marketing as a mystery to be solved.  I’m constantly trying to figure out the perfect marketing strategy, and I’ve learned that you never know when a piece of information that initially seems irrelevant turns out to be critical in discovering the truth.  So I try to collect as much data about my campaigns as possible.

In that spirit, I’ve come up with a breakdown of the 5 deals I’ve closed in the last year.  You can take a closer look below.

My Impressions:

  • Follow Ups Matter: 4 deals out of 5  received 2+ letters from me before they called.
  • Are spring and fall busier times than winter and summer?
  • Are older sellers (50+) more motivated than younger ones?
  • Free and clears might be a better criteria for my absentee owners, rather than out of state with equity.
  • Are Absentees better than Probates? 4/5 deals closed were absentee owners
  • Vacant houses are gold.
  • I wish there was a way to know about problem tenants before the eviction process.

What do you think?  Am I missing any key pieces of information that could be important?  Which information do you pay attention to?  What have you noticed when you’ve looked at trends in deals that you close?

#1 Barclay House
3/1/1 in solid middle class neighborhood
ARV 100k
Repair level: moderate cosmetic
Seller demographic: single, female, age 50+
Seller motivation: desperate
Seller circumstances: moved out of state for job 5 years ago
Seller financial situation: not in default, but close to it, mortgage of 60k
House situation: occupied by “squatting” tenant buyer
Exit Strategy: Executed L/O then executed option and sold to investor
Mailing List: out-of-state absentee owners with equity
# of Mailings before calling: 2
Date called: 3/23
Date of closing: 4/25

#2 Elmview House
3/1.5/2 in lower middle class neighborhood
ARV: 75k
Repair level: full cosmetic
Seller demographic: son of owner, a widow
Seller motivation: motivated (difficult to tell)
Seller circumstances: father passed, mother moved out of state to live with son
Seller financial situation: owned free and clear, some city code violations
House situation: vacant and vandalized
Exit Strategy: Wholesale (double closing)
Mailing List: probate
# of Mailings before calling: 2
Date called: 8/1
Date of closing: 9/24

#3 Beech House
3/2/2 in middle class/upper middle class neighborhood
ARV: 115k
Repair level: none, completely remodeled
Seller demographic: married, mother of previous owner
Seller motivation: Very motivated
Seller circumstances: Bought house for son, who was injured and unable to make payments
Seller financial situation: owned free and clear
House situation: Currently occupied with long term tenants
Exit Strategy: Cash offer rejected, owner finance offer accepted
Mailing List: Out-of-state absentee owners with equity
# of Mailings before emailing: 1
Date emailed: 6/4 then 7/25
Date of closing: 9/25

#4 Toledo House
2/1/1 in middle class neighborhood
ARV: 110k
Repair level: moderate cosmetic
Seller demographic: widowed, age 80+
Seller motivation: Very motivated
Seller circumstances: Long term absentee owner, unable to take care of house, with bad property manager
Seller financial situation: owned free and clear
House situation: occupied by non-paying tenants (grandsons of “property manager”)
Exit Strategy: Cash offer rejected, owner finance offer accepted
Mailing List: Out-of-state absentee owners with equity
# of Mailings before calling: 5
Date called: 10/1
Date of closing: 11/4

#5 NW 17th House
3/1/1 in middle class neighborhood in transition
ARV: 100k
Repair level: full gut rehab
Seller demographic: married, age 60+
Seller motivation: Motivated (difficult to tell)
Seller circumstances: co-owner of childhood home with sister, who had a stroke
Seller financial situation: owned free and clear
House situation: vacant, a hoarder house that needed bio-hazard clean up crew
Exit Strategy: Wholesale (double closing)
Mailing List: Out-of-state absentee owners with equity
# of Mailings before calling: 5
Date called: 10/24
Date of closing: 1/7

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Filed under Deals, Education, Marketing, Planning

End of Year Questions to Ask Myself

While I’m waiting for my New Year’s Eve dinner to arrive (Vietnamese pho!), I’ve been thinking about the year.  Tomorrow I’ll have a bit of a retreat (at Starbuck’s, the only place open apparently) to reflect more fully. I’ll spend at least half the day (if not the whole day), asking questions, trying to answer honestly, and then loosely planning out the year based on my conclusions.

Tomorrow I’ll try to answer these questions:

What have I liked about the year? 
What has worked? 
What success have I seen? 
Which goals did I fail? 
Did I surprise myself? 
Did a technique surprise me?
Did plans change? 
Was I happier this year?  Why or why not?
What was most stressful?
What did I enjoy doing the most?
Which activities made me the most money?
Which activities lost me money? Time? 

What can I do to create more time? More peace?
Which aspects of my business do I want to keep?
Which aspects do I want to do less of?
Do I need to introduce new methods?
What is my main goal for the year?
What do I want my business and life to look like end of 2013?
Which circumstances am I in control of?
What can I do to simplify?
What do I value most?

How many houses do I need to sell this year to achieve my goals?
How many more house do I want to sell this year than last year?
Do we want to buy more rentals?
Do we want to do more rehabs?
Should I expand my market? Change my market?
How often and what kind of marketing will I use in 2013?
What is my operating budget for the business?
Which money spent in 2012 was most useful (in generating money or saving me time)?
Which new tasks can I outsource this year?
Which tasks do I WANT to outsource this year?
What main things need to change in my business to get it to work for me?
What can I realistically do and still be happy?

I hope to walk away caffeinated, clear-headed, budget and goals in hand, ready to start the year with as much force as I did the last.  Happy 2013 friends!

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Filed under Motivation, Planning

Picking a Database for Your Mac (Part 1)

How do you organize your leads and marketing campaigns, and keep track of response rates and other business stats?  I’m glad that I’m at least doing those things, but I have to admit that I’m doing them very poorly.

From the beginning this is how I’ve done it:

Every person who called or emailed me got a Property Information Sheet.  It’s actually a pretty great form.  I fill out all of their personal and contact info, along with information about the property, their motivation and mortgage.  I have a space to note all conversations with them.  I write down comps and calculate the ARV on the back.  My sheet is a tweaked hybrid of Vena Jones-Cox and Sharon Vornholt’s info sheet.  If you’d like a copy of mine, just email me.  I’d be happy to share!

Then I go enter their response on my Marketing Stats worksheet in Excel.  The first tab is my summary page, where I can see in one glance the total number of mailings I’ve done, total pieces mailed per campaign, number of responses, offers and deals and I have a formula that calculates the response rates.

I used to also keep close tabs on the cost for each campaign (broken down into category), along with time spent to prepare it (also broken down by category).  I haven’t done this in a while, though.

I have a tab for every single mailing I do.  I copy and paste my leads each time I mail them, and they get a new tab.  I delete the ones who have been removed.  When it’s time to do a mailing, I copy and paste the list onto a new excel sheet and manually remove the ones who need to remain on my list but who are follow-ups (and get a different letter or no letter from me).

It’s just not working for me.

You can see how quickly this can get complicated and waste time.  I have 20 tabs on my marketing worksheet (including my Summary tab), meaning that I have done 20 mailings this year.  It’s really hard to keep track of, and a near disaster each time I want to update my list, access information or do a mailing.

I’ve been looking for a change.  I mentioned in my interview with Sharon that I’ve been inspired lately by Tim Ferriss to set up my business and my life to reflect my values and goals: to make my life simpler in order to have more TIME for me and my family.

If I want to go to Starbucks or Barnes & Noble to get some work done in the evenings, when my husband is watching the kids (and this happens 2 nights a week, usually), here’s what I need with me:
-my Macbook laptop
-my Actives binder (with property info sheets)
-my Follow-Ups binder (property info sheets organized by which months I’m scheduled to follow up with them)

Seriously!  It’s so heavy.  It’s at least as heavy as when I was in high school toting around 5 textbooks!  It’s pretty ridiculous to be doing the same thing in 2012, especially considering that my little brother’s high school has phased out textbooks in favor of laptops. o_O

So, even though there might be tons of investors out there with a great paper or Excel system, mine just isn’t working.  And I want to get rid of paper anyway.  Just keeping my papers organized wastes a lot of time.  Add to that how often I’m hunting for papers and well, going digital will help me a lot.

Also, since I’m trying to simplify the workflow process, I’ve been hiring other people to help complete tasks, and I’d like to have a database that other VA’s (Virtual Assistants) can access as well, since that will hold basically all of my business info.

So not knowing anything about databases (what is a given, what is doable, etc.), this became my wishlist for a database:
-Can be in the cloud or have mobile access
-Multiple people can access it
-Leads are separate from their group, and can be in several groups at once
-I can attach files and documents to a lead
-It can sync with Mail Merge (or a similar program)
-It can sync with Gmail
-Works just as well on Macs & PCs
-It’s not expensive

In the next post, I’ll explain what my options are and the advantages/disadvantages of each.

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Filed under Marketing, Planning

Why I Stopped Using Yellow Letters

I know dozens of NR [New Rich] who don’t accept Western Union or checks as payment.  Some would respond to this with, ‘You’re giving up 10-15% of your sales!’ The NR, in turn, would say, ‘I am, but I’m also avoiding the 10-15% of the customers who create 40% of the expenses and eat 40% of my time.’ It’s classic 80/20.
– Tim Ferris, The Four Hour Workweek

When I started marketing in 2010, I heard a lot of buzz about the yellow letter.  You know – The Yellow Letter.  That keyword alone gets 4400 hits a month in the US on Google.  Lots of investors use them and have great success, and when I started marketing again at the beginning of this year, I started with yellow letters too.

The yellow letter is a great way to grab the attention of a homeowner.  You usually send it to owners of vacant properties, or at least absentee owners.  It’s got a vague, bare bones message with a bold call to action.

They tend to get great response rates.  With the one and only yellow letter campaign I’ve sent this year, I got 15.2% of homeowners to call me back.  That’s Uh-Mazing.  Typical response rates for direct mail are in the 1-3% range.

The Yellow Letter is short, mysterious and bold.

But guess what?  All were tire-kickers.  They just wanted to know what they could get for the house; they didn’t need to sell.  And that makes sense, doesn’t it?  They were calling to figure out who I was, what I do, and why I wanted to buy their house.  Because I didn’t tell them.  They were NOT calling because they necessarily wanted to sell their house.  They were calling because they were curious.

On the one hand, having a compelling call to action is great for marketing.  You want that clincher, right?  You want something that pushes them over the edge to give you that call or to go to your website.

But if they’re not calling because they want your product, then you’re wasting your time (at least, that’s been my experience).  And how can they want your product if they don’t KNOW what your product is?

After talking to hundreds of homeowners this year so far, I’ve decided that weeding out those who are not motivated and/or only want full market value is essential to me running a successful business that makes money and serves others.

Using a professional or white letter helps me do that.  I use the professional letter (or postcard) to explain exactly who I am (an investor), what I do (buy houses as-is), and why they should sell me their house (close quickly, no repairs to make, can offer cash).

With the professional letter, most people who call me know who they’re dealing with and are serious about their intention to sell.  My response rate is much lower (5-10%), but still very good.  Giving up a higher response rate is worth less time answering phone calls and filtering out bad leads.

For me, using professional letters/postcards is the equivalent to putting out a sign in front of your store front. It needs to be easy-to-read and clearly convey what kind of business you have.  You want to spend your time serving customers, not explaining your business to passers-by who are simply curious about your shop.

Right now I’m in the process of converting many of my letters to postcards, which seems like a GREAT idea since I can almost completely outsource the entire process.  (Tim Ferriss would be so proud!)  Down the road, I’ll get back to you on how the postcards compare with the professional letters.

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Filed under Absentee Owners, Marketing, Planning

Rental Deja-Vu

Last September I mentioned that we bought our first rental, which ended being here in the Tulsa area, and not in OKC, where we consider home.  It was unique because, not only is it an amazing already-remodeled-with-long-term-tenants-and-property-manager-in-place-with-owner-financing turn-key rental, but also because I got that property with my OKC marketing.

Two weeks after closing on that house, I got a phone call from an elderly lady about a letter I sent her. She has a house in OKC  she wants to sell, but – and here’s the deja-vu! – she was more interested in selling a house she owned in Tulsa first and would sell it with owner financing.

We negotiated back and forth, and finally struck a deal.  It took two weeks for her to get the contract back to me, but we finally closed last Friday! WHOOP!

To add to the bizarre deja-vuness of this deal, we also plan to keep this property as a rental, since we acquired it with owner financing – too good to pass up.

Here are the details of the deal, for those who are interested in seeing  what kind of owner financed deals are possible right now:
A 2/1/1 with 1365 sqft, and huge extra den with fireplace.
-The ARV of the house is $100-110k.
-It was in rough but still decent shape (the disgusting, pet-stained carpet was the worst), but the kitchen has new cabinets and the bathroom was recently updated.
-Quick research told me I could rent it for anywhere from $775-925/month
-I made three different offers: all cash (very low), short-term owner finance (3 years), long-term owner finance (7 years)
-We finally settled on a purchase price of $70,000 with $2k down, principal-only payments of $350 for 3 years and I pay closing costs.
-Did you catch that I got this deal with an interest rate of ZERO PERCENT?  The monthly income was more important to her than interest, and when I explained that to maintain my minimum cashflow requirements, I could offer either lower payments and higher interest or higher payment and no interest, she went with the latter.
-That means in 3 years, when the full balance is due, I will only owe around $56,000 on a house worth $100,000.

The reason this deal was worth keeping (instead of wholesaling) is the terms.  Since we want rentals as part of our long-term plan, we couldn’t pass this up.  We don’t have $50-60k sitting around to invest, and didn’t want to have to qualify for a loan or put a huge down payment down.  This was a great way for me to acquire a property that could cashflow, without a lot of money up front, and with plenty of equity from the get go.

The cashflow won’t be amazing at first.  Here’s how it breaks down:
$850     Rent (confirmed by property manager as the conservative rental rate expected – possibly more)
-$350    Debt Service (to previous owner)
-$120    Property Taxes
-$90     Property Insurance
-$127    Maintenance/Vacancies (15%)
-$62     Private Investor (who is funding the rehab; 1 year note)
=$101 Profit

This isn’t smokin’ hot cashflow, but I know that I will not lose money in the next three years while I’m building that equity and payment history.

The payment history is important because in 3 years, I’ll refinance the loan balance.  This is fantastic for me, since I won’t need to get a new loan; I can refinance since I already have a loan on the property with the previous owner.  Since I’ll have already established payment history, have proof of consistent cashflow, and have 50% equity in the house, I won’t have to put down a large amount or jump through (as many) financial hoops,

Other people have pointed out that in 3 years this would also make a great flip, which we may do.

I’m quickly falling in love with owner financing.  It’s so much simpler and cheaper than getting a loan, and can be easily structured  to make both you and the seller happy. Give me a few more deals, and I’ll probably be able to tell you about any disadvantages of owner financing as well.  😉

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Filed under Absentee Owners, Motivation, Planning

2011 Wrap Up

The best thing that happened to us this year happens to be named Madelyn Ruth Payne, born on February 12.  It was a complicated, intense and scary birth but that was the worst of it.  She cooed, she slept she smiled and we all adjusted much better than my fears and plans allowed.  Praise God!

She is 10 months old now and I have decided I was right, after all, in giving myself an entire year for an adjustment period.  Not the standard 6 weeks or even 6 months.  I gave myself 12 months before I would think of losing weight, of making plans, pursuing adventures, or have the house running smoothly.  This is surely not necessary for everyone, but for me? with my third child?  Yes, it was, and the grace has been life-giving.

Without even realizing what was happening, in the last eight weeks or so I found myself wanting to organize the laundry and meals and what-nots in the house, and talking to Aaron more often about our debt and goals and dreams and brainstorming ways to move forward.  Just like that, my period of adjustment has ended all by itself, gradually and organically, without judgmental pressure or condemning “should haves”.

At the beginning of November, I was chatting with a friend of my husband’s family and discovered he and his partner were in over their heads with their real estate ventures.  They had leads coming in but not enough time or a good enough plan or system to follow-up.  I asked him if he’d ever considered having someone come in to help him coordinate his deals, to take over the tedious process of follow-ups, negotiations, comps, contracts and closings.  They had and in fact were looking for someone!

I emailed my friend, Shae, a veteran investor, asking if she thought there was an opportunity to partner up with or offer a sort of transaction coordination service to busy investors.  She did!

Then, around Thanksgiving, I paid an outrageously cheap price to try my friend Shae’s Financial Freedom GPS.  Aaron and I have read books and articles like it before, and are familiar with many of the principles in it.  But we needed a new starting point, and boy did we find it.  Although we were familiar with most of the budgeting concepts, Shae’s approach to getting out of debt and pursuing financial freedom were the first of their kind, as far as I know.  The entire e-book has been intriguing, innovating and inspiring.  Just the ticket!

We have a very exact plan, with aggressive and smart ways to earn quick cash to pay off debt and start focusing on the next stage of our plan: having Aaron quit his j-o-b!

I’m hoping it works out to partner with these two investors, but if not, I already have a marketing plan to find other investors to work with in the area.  We’ll see how quickly this can work, and where all the cards fall in the next few weeks.

Here’s to 2012!

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