Projected vs. Real Profits when Flipping Houses

If you read my posts for BiggerPockets.com then you already know my distaste for reality shows about fixing and flipping houses (see Property Wars Distorted View of Reality). A big reason for this scorn is the producers of these programs gloss over the details and guesstimate at profit earned. Why do they do that? Because it can take anywhere for 2 to 6 months for a rehabber to acquire, fix up and sell a property. Most reality shows don't have that kind of time to wait around to see what the end result will be. It's easier to throw out some numbers and move on to the next shoot. Who care...
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Why I Love Do-It-Yourself Homeowners

Everyone has a weakness. For Superman, it was kryptonite. My business partner, Manny Romero, can’t handle the smell of cat urine (I know this because we walked through an REO house once that reeked of it and he had to make a fast exit after just two minutes). As for me, I get turned inside out for the new, shiny, techy stuff like iPhones and flat screen TVs (the new iPad with retina display is on my Christmas list). Occasionally, I’ll stumble across a property with a do-it-yourself owner that had a weakness for awful decorating. This guy transforms his house into a shrine of tackiness. I’ve...
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The Anatomy of a “Subject To” Deal

There’s a lot about the 80’s I don’t miss. Take parachute pants, for example. They were expensive, uncomfortable and difficult to clean. And who in their right mind ever thought the mullet haircut looked good, or that 25 years later some people would still have them? As for the 90s, I’m certainly glad the whole purple and teal color scheme didn’t last. It seemed like everything from family room carpet to ski boat hulls contained those awful shades of grossness. When I look back at the 2000s I can’t really think of anything that I’m glad is gone. However, there is something I’d like to co...
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Fixing & Flipping Real Estate: Strategies for the Post-Boom Era

“Have you ever considered writing a book?” Jeff Olson, Executive Editor for Apress Publishing called me back in April after reading this blog. He wanted to know if I ever considered writing a book about fixing and flipping houses. I told him that the thought had crossed my mind. Naturally, I was a little skeptical. Was this some sort of scam? Was this Jeff Olson guy full of it? It’s not every day a publisher calls out of the blue and offers me money to write a book. So I checked out Apress online and found Jeff on LinkedIn. Both were legit. By the end of May I had signed a contract with ...
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America – The Land of Subjectivity

As I sit here this morning and sift through my Facebook timeline and Twitter feed I can’t help but wonder – where did America’s sense of objectivity go? Or is it possible the citizens of this country were always this hopelessly subjective and the big mouths like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill Maher and Rachel Maddow just poured fuel on the fire by building a broadcasting business of out polarization? Did our sensibilities become corrupted by the endless spin cycle of MSNBC and Fox News? Or has everyone really leaned that far left, or that far right, since the beginning of time? What ever...
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Lightning and Thunderhill Short Sale

You’ve probably heard the phrase “catching lightning in a bottle”. It’s used to explain an extraordinary event – when an elusive energy is captured and subsequently harnessed to achieve the unachievable. Sports coaches and managers often use “catching lightning in a bottle” to describe an unexpected victory. It has become part of their vernacular, a cliché utilized almost as frequently as “we have to take it one game at a time”. I often wonder why no one ever talks about “catching thunder in a bottle?” For my money, thunder is way cooler than lightning. A big, powerful, ground-shaking explo...
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Celebrating 10 Years of Being My Own Boss

It was a proud moment. Not quite like getting married, or seeing my baby girls born, but a proud moment nonetheless. As Chief Photographer for KPHO Television in Phoenix, I was responsible for hiring photojournalists to videotape and edit daily stories for the morning, afternoon and evening newscasts. Over the course of three years, from 1997-2000, I had assembled one of the most talented staffs in the country. On a warm summer night in June of 2000, I stood on stage at the Hyatt Gainey Ranch Resort in Scottsdale with five of these photojournalists to accept an Emmy award for our collaborat...
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The Pros and Cons for Hiring Licensed Contractors

I like to fix and flip houses. I also like to save money, which is why I’m always conflicted when it comes to deciding whether or not to use licensed or unlicensed trades for my rehab projects. There are pros and cons to both. Licensed tradespeople are required to carry insurance, which protects me, the property owner. If a licensed plumber burns my house down with a blowtorch then his insurance covers the damages. If a licensed painter falls off his ladder and gets hurt then his insurance will cover the medical bills. Those are the pros for using a licensed trade. The biggest con is the...
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