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Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I’ve been super busy with the Holidays, work, a blizzard and tons of family obligations.  Also, I have been terribly sick the past few days…so I haven’t even been on the computer at all lately!   😉    Due to all the holiday craziness, I took a break from REI the past couple weeks (with the exception of checking MLS listings and looking at one rental property).  However, I am planning to get on the horse starting on Monday.

Oh, and right before Christmas, a friend called me saying her daughter had lice (one of my daughter’s good friends.).  Apparently, a ton of kids in another class had it. Yuck!   Ugh..I had to spend tons of time washing everything as a precaution and checking my daughter’s head constantly (thankfully, she’s all clear!!).  So, because of this, I did a ton of research on lice prevention and some good tips for doing so safely.  For example, I sprayed a mixture of tea tree oil and water on her head as one means of prevention (here’s a tip: tea tree oil should be used with caution on pre-pubescent boys!) .  Maybe I should write an ebook about it to create some passive income!

I did get some cool Christmas gifts, such as some workout stuff and some REI books.  My husband also bought me the book The Go-Giver, so I’m excited to read that one.  (Thanks for the tip on that book, Shae and Steph.)

In between resting and watching TV today to feel better, I did take a moment to write down some 2011 goals on an index card.  I wrote down things such as – monetizing my blog and further monetizing my other websites (such as http://www.buying-your-first-home.com), eating better and getting back to working out, creating more passive income streams, obtaining rental properties with positive cash flow, etc.   Did you write down any goals?  If so, what were they?

On an unrelated note, just read this article about how it’s great having a December birthday (the comments are very interesting, too).  For someone who is born right after Christmas, trust me, it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’ve always wanted a June or August birthday.  When you’re born near Christmas, people often forget your birthday and the insulting scribble of  “Happy Birthday” as an afterthought sent on a Christmas card gets me riled every time.  I’d much rather take a (free) phone call to wish me Happy Birthday.  Although since there are 2 other family members with birthdays right around mine (my dad’s was on Christmas Day), my husband, friends and family are really great about making my birthday special.  And my husband knows to NEVER wrap my birthday presents in Christmas paper.  That’s the biggest insult of all! LOL!

2011 is going to be an awesome year!  I still plan to be out of my job this year, baby!

Happy New Year and Happy Investing! 

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As many of you are doing, I’m thinking about my 2011 goals.  I am trying to think of additional ways to make passive income, in addition to real estate, so I can leave my job next year.   So, I’m still working on the Financial Freedom GPS program, as well as watching the videos for the new divamoneyclub.com website.  This passive income site (for Divas and Divos!) is yet another timely thing that has come into my life as I’m searching for my way out of Corporate America. Check it out, if you have the chance.

And interestingly, or coincidentally, over the past couple of months I’ve thinking of moving this free blog to a one where I can advertise, something mentioned on the divamoneyclub.com site.   I already have a “webuyhouses” site and also one for which has tons of grants and free info regarding buying your first home. The former I don’t advertise on (the Adsense ads that populated were other “we buy houses” sites), the latter generates some decent Adsense money, enough to pay for the site and some extra, but I really need to monetize more.

Any advice for monetizing this blog?  Should I move it to WordPress.org or Blogger?  I know pretty much everyone prefers WordPress, but I’d love any and all opinions here!  And whatever is the “simplest” way to transition it, that’d be great!

On the REI front, we didn’t get the 3 family we bid on… the seller wanted too much.  Although it still was a deal, but we always want a bargain!  And we’ve had a couple of appointments to view rentals over the past couple weeks but they’ve been cancelled/rescheduled a few times due to tenant notice and my ridiculous work schedule.  I swear, this job gets in the way of all my side ventures! LOL!

Happy Holidays and Investing!

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The past couple weeks have been very busy.  Even so, we still looked at a few properties over the past week.  A couple were good bites for rentals and one or two were good rehabs.  We want to look at a couple more tomorrow to see if we will be making any offers.

I’ve still been fielding calls from our inherited property mailing.  Still working on those leads.  I’ve also been posting to and responding to ads on Craigslist.  No real promising leads yet, but I’m working on it.  I search and scour ads looking for ones where sellers may want to sell via owner financing (I also set up Google Alerts so they’re emailed to me).  I responded to one such ad I found and we played email and phone tag.  I haven’t heard from him in a couple days, and saw that he deleted his ad, so I’m assuming he’s found a buyer.   I’ll keep trying him to see if that’s a case.  I also am checking for rent ads to see if anyone is willing to sell on owner financing.  I also placed a Craigslist ad under the rental category to see if I could get any bites from any frustrated landlords.

At work, we’ve been working on our year end reviews and goals for next year.  I’m so not into it.  Can I write for my goals for next year that I wanna be outta there?   😉  I guess I cannot do that, but it’s really how I feel.   Every year they expect us to do more with less people and it’s just getting ridiculous.  I know in this economy things are hard and I truly am grateful to have a job, especially since my husband got laid off, but still.  It doesn’t mean I have to be miserable.  And I just cannot stand how much time my job sucks up.  I work well more than 40 hours and I often skip lunch and have late meetings, which really makes it hard to talk to sellers or see properties during the week, but I do my best.   Although I have to say, even with all those negatives, the main reason I want to be done with my job really is to have the freedom…financial freedom and freedom of my time.  Too many people I know have wasted years at jobs because they were “stuck” and were not happy for fulfilled.  I’ve done my time in Corporate America.  It’s time for my sentence to end.  

So, as I was feeling tired and stressed after work yesterday, I came home from work to find an email from Shae Bynes with the info regarding my prize of winning a copy of her new product Financial Freedom GPS!  I’m so excited.  I cannot tell you how timely this email was.  I put the audios on my iPod and I cannot wait to dig in and learn.  I really need more assistance regarding getting my financial house in order before I leave my job by next summer.  So far, her course looks AWESOME and I barely have scratched the surface. 

And on a related note, one of the themes of Vena Jones-Cox’s radio show/podcast this week (available on iTunes) was how to use real estate investing so you’re no longer living paycheck to paycheck.  It’s like every sign in the universe is guiding me to working on my own and being financial free.

If you’ve seen my “Countdown to Freedom” clock on my blog, it’s counting down to me being out of my job by next July 17th.  I really need to make this happen.  Sooner rather than later!

Happy Investing!   Happy Halloween.

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Remember the house that we were waiting forever for the Title V (septic) inspection (the same house that the bank’s listing Agent was “insulted” by our low-ball offer)?  Well, we told our Agent that even though they lowered the price to $159k, we were not going to increase our offer by an amount that the bank would accept, so this won’t be a deal.  Interestingly, I noticed today that the listing is now inactive, so I’m curious what the offer turned out to be.

We also looked at a couple more REOs this week.  One was pretty lousy and we’re not intersted.  Another house was a 3 family where 2 of the units were in good shape but the top floor needed a full rehab.  The first 2 floors were basically move-in and the rents there would more than cover the property.  Rehabbing and renting the top floor would be pure gravy, as cash flow goes.  The listing of this house had special stipulations that they were taking offers from owner occupants or municipalities (for Section 8, I suppose?), then after a couple weeks, they would consider investor offers.  The house is listed for $90k, which is a great deal for a 3 family. We’re hoping that we can make an offer on this one.

With the news of Bank of America suspending foreclosures, I think we may need to alter our plans for getting leads bit, since we look at a ton of REOs.  We are going to mail out the rest of our inherited list mailers and will be buying a new list soon.  I decided to buy a new list with more focus of certain zip codes instead of the entire county.  The “whole county” approach didn’t work well since some parts of the county are 45 minutes or more away and the areas are really out of our target farm areas.  I also have realized, though, that I don’t like talking to sellers all that much.  I think I’m good at it, and I should be since I have tons of years of customer service experience, but I just don’t like it. I much prefer vacant/REOs, but there’s a lot of competition for those.  Plus, fielding motivated seller calls during calls during business hours is not possible and my calls go to voicemail.  Maybe I can outsource the call backs or something.  We also don’t do bandit signs.  I know they’re effective but we really don’t have the time or energy to so it…and we also don’t have the time or energy to get slapped with fees, either.  The signs get pulled down pretty fast around here. 

I’ve noticed that the hours/days/weeks slip away and I don’t have enough time to do all that I need to do for REI.  Even with my husband helping out, there are some things I cannot outsource to him, and some things that are more more my specialty (like number crunching the deals).  Thank goodness he’s been a contractor and is still a licensed plumber, so those are the skills I really need from him! 🙂   So, anyway, I think I gotta start using a virtual assitant or two to help us out.  For those of you that are outsourcing things or using virtual assistants, which companies do you recommend (elance.com, odesk.com or others)?  Because I deal with outsourcing at my 9-to-5, I have some very hands-on experience here (and I have some very strong opinions on the topic!), but I’d like some guidance here for REI businesses. 

Oh, and since none of our offers got accepted, I didn’t meet Steph’s 30 day challenge to get a house under contract in September.  Can I get a do-over on the do-over? 🙂

Unfortunately, I have to work Columbus Day (boo!), but to those of you that are not, happy rest of the long weekend! 🙂

Happy Investing!  Happy 10/10/10!

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Georgian Colonial home of the Rev. Benjamin Wa...

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Still no word on our previous REO offer we made at the beginning of September.  The listing Agent did alert us yesterday that the list price would be reduced soon, which is was today ($175k to $159k).  However, there’s still no word on the Title V (septic) inspection, so that’s still in limbo. 

We saw a short sale house last Tuesday. It was listed at a super cheap price of $79k, so that drew in a lot of interest, especially since the ARV is conservatively around $180k.  In fact, when we viewed the house, there were 2 other couples there. It is a cute, older colonial home, 3 beds/1 bath.  The house was in a bit of disarray (think: Hoarders), but not in too bad of shape. It needs windows and such, but mostly cosmetics.  We put in an offer of $84k the night we saw the property.  Then, our Agent emailed us saying they wanted our “highest and best” by Saturday at 4pm.  We put in an offer of $103k and removed the part about the bank paying the closings costs.  We got word last night that we were outbid.  I wonder by how much?? 

We’re still getting bites on our inherited property mailing.  Seems some people held the letter over the summer and waited until now to call.  Hopefully a deal will come out of one of those leads. 

Another exciting bit of news is that I won Shae’s contest.  She posted a survey last week and she picked me to receive a free copy of the new product she’s releasing soon.  I’m so excited.  I cannot wait to get it because I really gotta move forward if I want to be out of my company by next July. 

We just gotta get a deal going soon. I know many people say is that it can take 20 or more offers to get a house under contract…but we’re getting pretty impatient. I am trying so hard not to get discouraged and I don’t want to throw in the towel, I want to and need to keep moving.  I know my husband was really disappointed we didn’t get the short sale house! 

I had such a busy week, especially at work, so I didn’t have as much time to review my PMBP course as I would have liked. I’m hoping to do that later this week, since I’m taking a couple days off from work. 

Happy Investing! 

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I’m so glad September is here.  Even though it’s back to school time, August wasn’t nearly as productive as I’d hoped.  Since we pulled the plug on our REO offer, we had to start all over looking for more deals.  And we also got a little off track due to another family funeral. 😦  The fun never ends around here!

We did put in another offer on an REO yesterday.  It’s a cute little 2 bed/1.5 bath house that needs (from what we can tell) mostly cosmetic rehab.  The septic system inspection has to be done, though, to see if that needs replacing.  Anyway, the house has been on the market over a year, I think partly because the MLS listing photo (only one) is just awful.  The picture doesn’t do the house justice at all.  We offered about $80k below asking price (it’s listed at full market value, which is ridiculous).  The bank I’m sure will reject the offer, but let’s hope they counter with something reasonable.  I hope to hear by mid-week on the status of that offer.

I’m still getting calls from our mailing (we still have one more batch to send).  The one guy keeps calling and calling.  It’s an inherited house and he owns it with his siblings.  The house was listed since  June at over market value (listed at $249k, it’s worth about $200k, maybe).  I told him that we’d be willing to come see the house, but we couldn’t pay close to asking.  Well, the listing expired 8/31 so he keeps calling before they list the house with another agent.  From the MLS photos, the house looks in nice condition, just outdated.  I did also ask him if they’d be interested in owner financing, and they don’t want that, they want the cash.  What would you do?  I think he’s motivated, but if they still want close to asking, it’s not a deal, ya know?

Oh, and Steph over at flipthiswholesaler.net instituted a do-over for her 30 day challenge.  Thank goodness cuz August was a sucky month for REI.

Happy Investing!

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Well, we had another busy week.  We looked at a few new REOs this week.  And we made an offer on one, on Friday the 13th.  That’s a good omen, right?  I guess for abbreviations sake, I’ll call it the F13 house!

The house is a 3 bed/2 bath raised ranch,  built in 1974.  It’s in a desirable area  for families with good schools.  It needs mostly cosmetic work, so we can do a lot of the work ourselves.  We made the offer contingent to an inspection and a Title V (that’s a septic inspection in MA) inspection.  If the septic doesn’t pass, we’ll lower our offer by the amount of repair (which around here can cost $20-$30k for this size house).  The price was just lowered, but it’s been listed since June.  We were told that there were no offers yet, but a lot of interest since the price was lowered.  We offered quite a bit lower than asking, but when I looked at the public records, our offer is right about where the mortgage balance was at the time of foreclosure. Although I realize this in no way means the bank will accept our offer.

When we submitted the offer through our Realtor on Friday, she called and us soon after to let us know the bank’s asset manager didn’t like our hard money pre-approval letter, which didn’t state how much we’d need to put down with the lender.  I tried to get an updated letter sent to me on Friday, but it was too late in the day to get it.  I hope I can get that all situated on Monday.  I think it’s ridiculous they wouldn’t take my offer without it, since we provided the earnest money deposit, and you know they’re going to counter anyway.  The lender is not BoA, which is know can be quite difficult to deal with.  Oh well, keep you posted.

BTW, I really need to get some private money lined up, since I think this would make our offer submissions go a lot easier.

I’m still getting calls from our mailings, even though we haven’t sent all the letters. I have to follow-up with a couple of people today.  We decided to send the final batch of letters  just before our daughter goes back to school, since it’s been a little bit of a hassle bringing her to viewings.  It’s fine for REOs but I would  not want to bring her to showing at a private seller’s home.  Although she’s very cute, she likes to hold the flashlight and even writes notes in her notebook as we’re looking at the houses! 🙂

Happy Investing!

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