Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Motivated seller - EXTREMELY motivated

I hope everyone's holiday is going well! Mom is really enjoying her visit, despite the noise and chaos that is part of my daily life. LOL

I'll be resuming my probate marketing on Jan 5th, when the kids are back in school, but it seems as if Potential Seller #2 is EXTREMELY motivated. I had not gotten back in touch with him, due to getting wrapped up with my Mom's visit, but he called yesterday and left a message, and called TODAY but didn't leave a message. Oy.

I will try and call him tonight after dinner. I really can't make an offer because I'm just not able to come up with a value, because of lack of sales in the area. The ultimate would be for someone who had a lot of $$ and wanted to rebuild this area of the city to go in and do a mass negotiation with all the owners of the condemned properties, buy them all up, rehab them, and rent them out....but unfortunately, I'm not that person at the moment.

Anyway, if I don't update beforehand, have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pics and recap of Meeting #2

I uploaded the pics to photobucket albums - click HERE for pics of the Mill House and click HERE for pics of the brother's house.

The meeting with my second probate lead went as well as could be expected. The man was very nice, but I don't think there is much I can do to help them. The house has a roof leak in two places in the house, and at the one leak in the kitchen there seem to be evidence of mold. The sub-flooring is very wavy and bumpy, and the bathroom needs to be redone. The neighborhood has gone down the tubes. House after house has been condemned by the city in this mill house section known as Spartan Mill Village. To be honest, I was afraid of making an offer, because I don't want to be stuck with trying to find a buyer for this area. He did say that they were looking to let it go for $10k, but I'm not even sure that would even be possible. I left it with him that I would call him back when I was able to come up with some numbers on repairs. He thanked me for coming out to meet him - apparently another potential investor never showed up to the last two appointments he made, so he was appreciative that I came like I said I would. This made me feel pretty good. :)

I think what I will do is to call him back and ask him what their rock bottom number is that they would take for the property, and explain that I could not make an offer at this point because the repair figure would be too large for me to work with, but that I would keep in touch with them and also keep an eye out on the buying activity in the area to see if there might be other potential buyers that might be interested.

I still need to call a couple of contractors to come out to give me estimates for the estate house, and I hope to do that Monday. I've been gearing up for my Mom's visit over Christmas, so that has gotten me sidetracked a bit. Plus, I'm going to see about calling some of the landlords in the area to see if there is any interest in the Mill House and what they would be looking to pay for homes in these areas...if it works out, this could be a good wholesale flip.

I got my local newspapers today, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I can pick up the Spartan Weekly for free in front of the Dollar General in town. I thought it was a fluke, because they had them out last week, but they had them out this week as well. So that will save me the $20 per year for a subscription. I'm going to sit down and get the research done this week, but won't mail out the letters until after Christmas.

I also need to update that I read Steph's Ebook and it is definitely a must read! Get it, get it, GET IT! You will not regret it! (Hey that rhymes! LOL)

If I don't update beforehand, have a Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Results of my first seller meeting

Well, I am finally able to update! The kids have been using the computer most of the afternoon so I had to wait until they were in bed so I could type up a detailed post.

I met the seller in town and we drove over to the house. He had some guys working there, clearing out the place, and doing some work on the inside. My first thought was "Hmm...ok, he's doing some work on the property, maybe he's not so motivated after all." Turns out he's doing the work because he just didn't like the condition the house was in, and just wanted to do something. He's very much a do-er, but yet he has no interest in holding onto the property. He basically said he could get rid of it tomorrow.

The house is solid, but needs updating. The carpets need to be ripped out, and there is great hardwood flooring underneath that could be refinished. The kitchen needs new cabinetry, appliances and flooring. The same goes for the bathrooms (it's actually a 1 1/2 bath, not a 1 bath). There is a deck out back that would need to be rebuilt.The windows are original to the house, and are the ones with storm windows and wood framing. I'm not sure if they would need to be replaced. The lot is a nice size, with a creek running out way in the back of the property.

My very rough guesstimate for rehab is $20k, but I wanted to get a couple of contractors out to the house to give me a more accurate estimate.

Figuring the ARV is giving me problems. The last homes in the subdivision that sold were back in March for an average square foot of $59 1/2. If I take that price an multiply it by the SQ FT on this house (1,414) it gives me an ARV $84,133. If I go out of the subdivision but stay in the general area (same house style, built around the same time) I get $56 sq ft., or $79,184. It seems low to me, but the problem is that the square footage is so much smaller than the other homes in the area, so I guess maybe it really isn't that low. The seller said he had ordered an appraisal, but hadn't gotten it back yet, so it will be interesting to see what the appraisal comes in at.

Next, we went to the other property that the seller owned himself. I was rather perplexed, as the seller indicated that he would not rent to anyone, as he didn't want to put up with the hassle, so I was curious to find out why he had rental property. Turns out this was the house where he was born and grew up in! It had apparently stayed in the family, and his sister had been living there until she had to go into a nursing home a couple of years ago. I guess when she passed, he inherited it. He had completely redone the inside and outside, and just held onto the house. He told me that he figured he'd use it if he wanted to stay in town and was too tired to drive back to his house (he lives about 45 min away).

This house is a small 2/1. It's called a "mill house" because it was built during the 1920's when the textile industry was in it's prime, and the mills would build homes nearby for their employees. Many of these neighborhoods deteriorated once the mills began closing down and are considered the poorer sections of town now. Most of these homes don't retail for more than $30-45k, and as such, are nearly impossible to finance as rental property through conventional financing.

He told me he would let it go for $35k tomorrow. I thought that was fair, but I know he was basing this on the homes in the mill area being marketed for $60k. When I took a look at comps, the one house that sold on the same street as a contract for deed for $45k. Again, like his brother's home, it would be interesting to see what the appraisal comes out to be.

So, where do I go from here? Well, I am going to call a couple of local contractors to see if they will come out to the brother's house and give me a couple of estimates. From there, I'll call the seller to see if he got the appraisal back yet. Once I determine the ARV and the contractor's estimate, I'll prepare an offer and meet with the seller again. As for the mill house, I'll see if I can come up with more comps and get a better handle on an ARV. I'll have to see if there are any cash buyers for this area that I could wholesale to. I'm also going to email the woman at the property management company that I spoke to back in September, to see if she can give me an idea for how much both of these properties could rent for. If anyone has any ideas of how else I should proceed, please let me know - I want to make sure I'm on the right track!

I will have to post pics tomorrow, as my camera is dead and I don't have any batteries at the moment.

All in all, I was very happy with my meeting. The seller was very nice to talk with - he reminded me a lot of my dad and my grandfather. He might be a good candidate, too, to approach for being a private lender, as he does have money, and would probably find the idea of lending it out at a decent rate very interesting.

I almost forgot - I received call number 2 today, just after I got in the door from my meeting. I'm going to meet them tomorrow. I'm not sure what to make of this one - it's also a mill house, in Spartanburg in a school district that the property manager said to stay away from because she has a hard time finding good tenants for that area. But I did see that there was selling activity in that area recently, so I think it's still worth checking out.

And I had to laugh, because just after I got the call, I logged onto Scott's blog, Struggling to Get Started, and he, too, just got his second phone call from his mailings. This probate lead marketing really works!

Until tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holey crow, I got a call!

I just got in the house and had to update - I got a call from one of my probate letters!

I literally just got the letters in the mail yesterday - this was my second batch. Whoo hoo!

The gentleman was very nice. We are meeting tomorrow at 11am and he'll show me the house. There are no other heirs - it's just him - he is the brother. He also said that he himself had some rental property in town and he could show me that as well, if I was interested. Sure thing!

I'm going do a quick search on Zillow to get comps, and also I'm going to head over to Patrick Riddle's blog at Must Know Investing to learn some tips and tricks for negotiating and talking with sellers. Right now, though, I have to head back out to pick up the kids from school.

Wish me luck!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Misc. Updates

Just a quick update before I head out to do some shopping....

First, I don't have to go to the courthouse anymore. Yipee! I figured out that if I get the weekly local paper, and the Spartan Weekly, I will have all of my Notice to Creditors all in one place...and since the Assessor's information is online, I can just do my research at home. I've already picked up the local paper in town, and since I have to go into Spartanburg to do some shopping, I'll pick up the Spartan Weekly there, and will get some letters out tomorrow....

Today I picked up an early Christmas present for myself. I bought Steph's Ebook. I had wanted to buy it when she first put it out, but couldn't fit it in the budget until now. Don't get me wrong, it's a great price, but we are on a really, REALLY tight budget....so we had some rare extra funds this payday, so I treated myself. :) I can't wait to read it - in fact, I'm going to print out the first few pages to have in the van with me so I can read it while I have lunch on the road today.

Still working on the 2010 goals and will post them when I am finished.

And toy season was not as great as I hoped it would be. But I'm not going to dwell on it....just going to really focus on REI for 2010 so I can kick it in high gear and hit some homers out of the park!

Well, that's it for now! Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Letters: DONE!

My first batch of probate marketing letters are going out in the mail tomorrow! I had planned on mailing them earlier this week, but Ron Mead suggests using good quality paper, which I didn't have. So today I went and bought some, along with some coordinating envelopes. They really do make a difference, so I'm glad I waited to mail the letters.

I've got a lot of other things going on with my goal setting for 2010, and I'll be sure to share that as soon as I have things down on paper.

Other than that, not much else going on. Toy season has not turned out as planned, but I'm not deterred. I have bigger fish to fry! :)

Before I forget, Steve Cook at Flipping Homes has given us an early Christmas present! He has put links to his Flipping Homes Profit Machine Bootcamp videos at his Lifeonaire site. Check it out HERE. Lots of great content - I'm going to be watching and taking notes!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Courthouse, part 2

Before I talk about REI stuff, I just wanted to update a bit. My Mom got out of the hospital on Sunday and is feeling great! She's definitely taking things at a slower pace, to make sure she doesn't over do it. The Dr. said she could still make the visit up here for Christmas, so for that we are very thankful!

I went to the courthouse again yesterday, after taking a break for the week of Thanksgiving. This time I only picked up three leads. I skipped over the ones that had the spouse listed as the PR, as Ron suggests in his book. I also skipped the ones where the spouse was listed as an heir, but not the PR. The rest of the probate files that I looked at had no assets to probate.

When I got home, I looked at the assessors website and also the Register of Deeds records online. One of the leads was a dead end, as although there was real estate as part of the estate, it was transferred to one of the heirs outright after the will was probated. My guess is that this particular heir was the caregiver to the deceased and as such the deceased bequeathed the house to the heir in the will, and that they will now use it as their primary residence.

Based on the number of viable leads that I'm coming up with, I'm going to go to the courthouse less frequently, probably about once every other week. I'm also going to have to branch out a bit, and consider mailing to pre-foreclosures in order to increase my marketing efforts. The lis pendens for the pre-foreclosures are posted online, so I don't have to drive to the courthouse to get them. I would just need to get a marketing plan set up.

So anyway, that's it for now. I'm going to get my probate letters in the mail today.

'Til next time!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Extremely Thankful this Holiday

I received the worst phone call this morning. In fact, it was the worst phone call I've had since they called saying that my father had passed away, back in December of 1996.

My mother called to say she was in the hospital, after suffering a heart attack late last evening as she was getting ready for bed. She was in great spirits when she called (she had to leave a message, as my phone was out in the living room and I couldn't get to it in time to pick it up). In fact, she seemed rather annoyed that this threw a monkey wrench into her schedule, and she was concerned that she wouldn't be able to travel to visit us for Christmas like she planned. It was good to hear that Mom sounded like Mom.

For those who don't know, my mother lives in Florida - I live in South Carolina. We have no vehicle that can make the trip down to visit her, as both my husband's car and my van have some maintenance issues that need to be addressed ASAP. There's no $$ in savings to get the cars fixed or to rent a car - so here I sit, monitoring things from afar, hoping and praying that they don't get worse.

When I look back at this year, I realized just how much time I have squandered. IF I had gotten out and went looking for a deal, IF I had gone to the courthouse to look for probate leads earlier in the year, I might have earned enough to make up an emergency fund for a situation just like this. Even if it was only $1k, it still would have been enough just to travel back and forth.

What a wake up call.

I am so DONE with this paycheck-to-paycheck, hand to mouth, BS life. IT WILL change in 2010, so I can serve my family and my mother better than I can now.

God Bless everyone and enjoy your Thanksgiving! And please pray for my Mom!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not so fast!! :)

Ok, I know in my last post I said it would probably be my last update for the year, but today I did something (GASP!) REI related, so I just had to share. :)


and I didn't get lost. Hee Hee.

Toy sales are pretty slow right now, and really won't pick up until mid December. So I figured I would make hay while the sun shines and head to the courthouse to pick up some probate leads.

The probate recording system in my county is incredibly straight forward. There is a questionnaire that the potential personal representative has to fill out, and I basically got all my info from that. My county has them in PDF format, but it's not available online, so I do have to make a trip to do my research. I was able to take down 4 leads in total. I would have taken more, but I got a late start and had to make it back in time to pick up the girls from school.

When I got home, I checked on the assessors website in an attempt to cross reference and determine what real estate might be available. Two names didn't show up on the records, so when I go back on Tuesday I'll double check to see what other info I can glean to determine if there are any real estate holdings.

I've decided that my research days will be Tuesdays and Thursdays. When I go back on Tuesday I'm going to see what the lag time is between when the info is recorded and when it's scanned as a PDF file, so I can see where I can get info that is most up to date. I also found out from the files I looked at that the paper where most of the Notice to Creditors notices are published is the Spartan Weekly, which I can get for $20 a year. I'll probably get a subscription to that, but I want to go to the courthouse so I can practice my research.

I may not make as much as I wanted to with toy sales this year - I realized my window of opportunity is closing fast, due to cash flow issues, so I'm shifting gears a bit and will work the probate leads, get my private money website up and functional, and work on the business plan.

If I do more REI related stuff before the end of the year, I'll be sure to update! :)

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Last update for the year, maybe

Lots going on, again, none of it REI related, but I figured I'd update anyway.

First and foremost, this will probably be the last blog entry of the year. I will be selling toys on Amazon for the holiday season this year, with the goal of having enough saved up for EMD money, things that need to get done around the house, etc. This is very time consuming, so my REI activity will be put on hold until the new year. While I'm disappointed that I didn't get my REI work in gear for 2009, the bright side is that selling on Amazon should (and WILL - have to have more confidence) net me roughly what I could have gotten from a wholesale deal.

And shhh....don't tell my family this, but I have decided that with the proceeds I get from my toy selling season I am going to hire a professional organizer to help me get this house in order. I am tired of spinning my wheels constantly in trying to get some sort of organization going, so I think it will help to outsource this to a professional. LOL I am confident that it will be money well spent.

So there you have it. I'm thankful for those who have followed my journey so far - let's make 2010 an absolutely rockin', kickin' year!!!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009


It's been about 2 weeks since I updated the blog. Been a pretty busy time....again, not REI busy, though....bummer......

Was finally going to go to the courthouse on Wednesday of this week. I had been putting it off, because of the guilt factor that my house is a complete and utter mess, and I kept telling myself I needed to get that under control first. But then it hit me - the house has been a complete and utter mess going on FIVE FREAKIN' YEARS! A day at the courthouse, to try to unearth a lucrative REI deal was not going to make one tinker's damn bit of difference in the appearance of the house. So I was all set. I got in the car and headed out.

And got lost. Sigh.

Now, I've been by the courthouse before, so I do have a fair idea of where it is at. But somehow I took a wrong turn, and in the process of trying to get myself back on the right street, I wound up so far afield that the only thing to do was to head home so I could get back in time to pick up the kids at school.

Being ever the optimist (ahem!) I said to myself "Ok, no worries, I'll go on Thursday".

Well, Thursday came, and my poor youngest was sick. :( So I kept her out of school for the day. Friday (today) was out because the kids had a day off for parent/teacher conferences. I may be able to make it Monday, but my youngest is now running a bit of a fever, so if it doesn't break by tomorrow night, I'll be keeping her out of school on Monday, too.

So there you have it. I'll make it to the courthouse. And I'll be sure to bring a Mapquest printout so I don't get lost again. :)

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Quick update

A lot has been going on with us since the last update.

My daughter Ruth had her echo cardiogram on the 28th of September, and the Dr. said she should have her cardiac catheterization either before the end of the year, or before the end of the summer of 2010. This is needed to repair the hole in the lower chamber of her heart. I have a call in to the Dr. so he can go over the details with DH and I, since I did not take her to her appt, as DH did that. This will require a trip to Charleston and an overnight stay in the hospital. I think we will opt for doing it over the summer, as I can plan for the out of pocket expenses with the Flexible Spending Account through DH's work for next year.

The kitties are doing well, despite a bout of diarrhea, which I hope will clear up soon for them. I took the other 3 kitties to my mother-in-law's on Wednesday, and they are doing well, too.

On the REI front, I had some extra $$ as I had sold some things on Amazon, so I decided to get Ron Mead's Probate course. It was a good read and worth the money! I will be going to the courthouse on Monday to do some research.

My next course I'm going to pick up is Steph's new Ebook, hopefully with the last paycheck of the month.

That's about all for now!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

The title of this blog post says it all. :)

The problem is, I'm not even busy with REI related events, and that is frustrating.

The crowning event that has contributed to the atmosphere of busy is that I've taken in the other 3 kitties from the litter that was born three weeks ago. (I blogged about it here.) The mother cat had taken the remaining 3 kitties to the neighbor's shed, but today the neighbor took down the shed and so I rescued the kitties. My mother in law works with someone who does animal rescue, so she will be taking over finding them homes and getting them weaned and adopted. They need to be bottle fed for another week or so, so I will continue with that job, since I'm already bottle feeding the other 3 kitties. The 3 kitties that we took originally are going to remain with us.

I'm not going out tomorrow except to take the kids to school, so my goal is to get the goals set forth so I can hopefully get something going by the end of the year.

Anyway, that's all for now!

Friday, September 25, 2009

I have an agent!

Well, I finally bit the bullet yesterday and walked into the local Keller Williams agency to find an agent that could help me out. After the last two attempts at finding an agent ( I blogged about it here and here) I was hoping the third time would be the charm.

I met with the agent on duty, but unfortunately couldn't sit down with her at length, as she had someone already with her in her office, but I did get to explain briefly what my plan was, and she took down my name, phone number and email addy. Within less than an hour, she had emailed me back and directed me to her KW website, which has the MLS Finder, where I could register and conduct my own searches. This is not really direct MLS access, and the format leaves out some things I am looking for (days on market, original listing price, etc), but it's a start. I am going to email her about getting a search for sold listings, so I can plot them out (thanks to Tar Heel Ed and JerryNJ at Flipping Homes for that insight!) so hopefully that won't be a problem.

Anyway, I hope that I can build a good rapport with this agent and get some deals done!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Good news, bad news....

First the good news:

I met today with a property manager who was very kind to take time out of her busy schedule to talk with me about the rental market in Spartanburg county. She advised me as to what school districts were good rental areas, what the price ranges were that rented well, and what areas to stay away from. She also talked to me about the eviction process in the county, their management fees, tenant screening, etc. She also said I could email her with potential property addresses and she would give me her opinion as to what the property could rent for, and how quickly it could get rented. This information is key for cash flow analysis.

I learned a great deal from her! I will definitely be using her company for property management for any properties I pick up, and recommend her for any properties that I wholesale. She was honest and forthright and was appreciative that I wanted to learn more about the market.

The bad news:

DH get's paid tomorrow, and he missed his period bonus. :( Just another reason to kick it in gear and get some wholesale deals going, so we can have our own period bonuses. :)

Also, as an aside, the guy I spoke about before in the previous post did call back yesterday and left a message, basically saying, 'Ok, thanks for letting me know that it wasn't a spam email, sorry about that." and that was that. LOL

Anyway, I drove past the Keller Williams office and saw the "agent on duty" sign and was tempted to stop, but I had to get home to feed the kitties, so I will try and go on Monday, as tomorrow is a shopping day. :)

I guess that's all for now.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Just sent the email to the broker from my local REIA, re MLS searches and such. Fear is such an overwhelming force with me sometimes, I need to beat the living tar out of it with a stick. LOL

Will keep you updated when I hear back from him......




I just received an email back from this guy -saying that I've been reported to The Internet Crime Center, the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Assistance! This is ridiculous! I just called and left a message on his voice mail saying that my email to him was legitimate. What in the world???? I'm speechless. When/if he calls back, I am NOT going to work with this guy. You don't send out emails to people like this.

I guess I'll be walking into a Keller Williams office this week....have to arrange it around feeding the kitties first....

Good grief!!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

New addition to the family

As if I don't have enough to do already, I can add one more thing to my list - I am now a foster mama to 3 newborn kittens.

We have a stray cat who was pregnant and gave birth to six kittens on Wednesday. She wound up keeping three and left three in the yard (it's a long story), so I took them in. It's almost like having another newborn baby in the house.

Here is a pic from yesterday. They are doing well, and I'm just taking things day by day, as newborn kittens don't have a high survival rate without their mothers, from what others have told me.

On the REI front, the agent who called from Craigslist never called me back, which is fine. I've decided I'm going to email a broker who is active with the local CREIA to see if he will help me. If he doesn't, I'll do what Kelly suggests and talk to an agent on the floor with the local Keller Williams office.

Anyway, I hear someone mewing, so I guess I'll see what's up before I go pick up the kids.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A bit of an update

This is going to be a semi-short post, as I need to get off the computer and get some things done around the house.

Only one phone call from my Craigslist ad for investor friendly agent. I called him back, but not right away (that fear thing again). I don't think it's going to work out. First, he doesn't have MLS access for my area, but for the county next to mine, but said that he knew someone who does. I made the ad explicity clear for what area I worked with, so I don't get it. Why call? Second, he wants to meet with me first so we can talk more about what I need and whether we would be a good fit for each other...and he wants to meet in the next county over. Now, I don't mean to complain, but why should I go to the next county over to meet with an agent to talk about working in my county? He is supposed to call me back today to set up a time to meet later this week, but I think I'll just tell him I found someone to work with locally and thank him for his time.

I am meeting with a property management company this week, so that's good. I just want to get a handle on what the rental market is like out there, so I can evaluate properties more accurately for cash flow.

I went to my women's investor focus group meeting today, and I'm just not sure I'm going to go anymore. Most of the ladies invest in Greenville, and I'm focusing on Spartanburg. But I also just don't feel like I fit in. So I don't know anymore. They only meet once a month, so it's not a big thing....just not sure what to do.

Anyway, not much else going on.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Drum roll, please!

I just emailed Kelly about this, and thought I would share it on the blog, so everyone can get their laugh this morning.

I finally sat down to call the local board of Realtors about having unlicensed MLS access as an assistant. I dreaded this call all morning. It's kind of ironic - I spent 3 years talking to strangers for 8 hours a day (I used to work for ADT as a customer service rep), but now I have a panic attack calling strangers.

So I bite the bullet, make the call and............

Drum roll, please!!!!

The local board of realtors does not have a provision for unlicensed assistants to have their own access to the MLS. She said I would need to access it through the agents login.


I guess in Spartanburg, we do things a little differently. After all, we were the only library system in the COUNTRY that didn't allow for books to be renewed. I'm not kidding. Thankfully they revised that policy a couple of years ago, though.

So anyway, I guess it's back to the drawing board for me, and I'll figure out this MLS access stuff when I get set up with an agent.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

On the road to MLS access...hopefully!

Well, I am very close to getting MLS access, thanks to Kelly and her awesome article that she posted on her blog here. Kelly has been tremendously helpful, especially when it comes to helping me determine how to approach the real estate agent. She even did some of my "homework" for me, which was a big boost to me for my confidence level. Many, many thanks, Kelly!

I have my ad up on Craigslist and am basically waiting for the phone to ring. If for some reason it doesn't ring, I'm going to see if anyone at my CREIA Women's focus group would be interested in helping me.

I will keep y'all posted!

A shout out to all of my internet friends!

I just wanted to say that I absolutely love my internet friends! The list is long, but it includes Kelly, Scott, Shae, Jodi, Eileen, Steph.....I'm probably forgetting someone, and if I am I have to say that I'm so sorry!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Adult ADHD

OMGosh, I must have this!

I have not been able to sit down and focus on anything lately. And it's not just now, but it's all the time. No wonder the house is a wreck all the time and nothing is getting done with REI.

I have to tell you, I'm not trying to use ADHD as an excuse, but WOW, is it hard to manage.

Ok, so now that I have that out of the way, I'm taking a deep breath and reorganizing my thoughts.

I managed to get a couple of things done today. I called the probate office and they said that I could come in anytime, there's no really busy time for them, so that's good. I also put a note on my REIA Yahoo group looking for property management recommendations, and I have about 6 to go through. It's funny, but not one of them referred the one property management company that I was originally going to call.....not sure what to make of that.

Anyway, the goal for tomorrow is to get the business plan done so I can upload it and the get private money website up and running as well. I'm also going to work on getting MLS access using Kelly's method that she described here.

So that's it for now. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

So much time now, so little direction

For the first time since becoming a Mom, I find myself with a lot of "free" time during the day. The kids are in school from 8am to 2:30pm now, and since I'm not currently employed outside the house, that leaves a big block of time for me to get things done. This is a good thing, right? Well, it would be if I would actually DO SOMETHING! ROFL!

If I don't have a schedule, then I am dead in the water. So the first priority for me now is to get some sort of routine going so I can get things done during the day without feeling overwhelmed.

As for REI, I've been trying to figure out what direction I want to go. Wholesaling will be the main gig, but I would also like to do rehabs and build a rental portfolio. This will mean I will need to find private money for rehabs and rentals, since my credit is shot.

I'm going to focus on finding leads with probates and also monitoring the wholesale deals that get posted to my local REIA Yahoo group. In order to get an idea of what the rental market looks like in my area, I'm going to see if I can sit down with a local property management office and talk with them. Since I would like to use a property management company, I'm hoping that someone will be receptive to sitting down with me.

Anyway, here is my to do list for the next couple of weeks:

1. Call the County Probate office to find out their least busy times, so I can plan my research accordingly.

2. Work on my foreclosure report for owners facing foreclosure (marketing materials).

3. Update business plan and print to PDF file for uploading to my private money website (which I won from Trevor over at The REI Brain. I'll post a link when I have it ready.)

4. Update my private money website.

5. Work on foreclosure marketing plan

We are very low on cash until next Friday, so I won't be able to get out and drive around much, so I will work at home for now. LOL

As far as the job hunt, I am on the list for the district for being a substitute teacher and I've put in an application with CVS. The Pizza Hut driver position was still open, but something in my gut was telling me not to pursue it. I also took a lot of my kids clothes that they have outgrown to a consignment sale for this weekend, so hopefully mostly everything will sell. I should get a check within 2 weeks.

I guess that's it for now.....will post later when I have more to update. :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to blogging tomorrow


We have had a whirlwind past two weeks here at the house. Back to school for my two oldest kids last week, and now my youngest started full day 4K today. Plus major grocery stock up shopping! LOL

Anyway, now that I have more time during the day, I'll be back to posting tomorrow. I have a lot of ideas as to what I will be doing, so stay tuned! :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back online and hitting rock bottom

Well, I got the computer back on Monday, about a week earlier than expected, which was great! Although I missed having the computer, I did try and keep myself busy, and have decided that I need to map out my computer usage so I can get more non-computer relating things done during the day. LOL

I went back and forth about posting about what I'm going to talk about now - I don't want to come across as whining, because I am very, very thankful for what we have. We have a nice house in a nice town, no more car payments, my husband has the best paying job since we've been married, and in this economy I am SO THANKFUL that he still has this job. So, please do not take the following as whining or complaining.

As I write this, we have a total of $18 in the checking account, and my husband JUST got paid on Friday. WTH? I can do a lot with coupons, but stretching $18 until the next payday will be extremely difficult. My mother just helped me with some money that she was going to send to DH for his birthday, and instead of going to getting something for his birthday, it went to paying a partial payment on the cell phone so we wouldn't be completely out of communication with everyone. (I would love to get rid of the cell phones altogether, but we do have a contract, so we don't want to get zapped with cancellation fees.)

I have to resort to selling a gold ring to get some cash so we can get some groceries and pet food and the remaining school supplies for my son. Part of this cash flow crisis is due in part to a bit of bad budgeting, but the big problem is just too little income. And though I have felt that we hit "rock bottom" on previous occasions, this time we really have HIT IT.

Hitting rock bottom has really energized me to finally get started on REI. This is really the only way our family is going to get the income we need to get out of debt, meet our needs and most importantly, become a family that can give to help others.

So, in the next couple of days, I'll be outlining my plan and getting my goals set up, and I will get started on this ONCE AND FOR ALL.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Offline for 2 weeks

My laptop has been acting very strange lately and appears to have a memory problem, so I'm sending it to Dell to have them look at it. It will gone about two weeks. I guess it's a good thing I didn't post anything about doing work to my REIA Yahoo group, now that I'll be out of internet access for a while.

So, we'll see you in about 2 weeks.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Job Hunt Update

Well, I've filled out applications for Pizza Hut, Rite Aid, Walgreens....basically everything in town, and no one is hiring.

So I'm back to my original idea for posting to my REIA Yahoo Group that I'm available for bookkeeping, admin work (typing, filing mailouts, etc), running errands. I'm going to work on this tomorrow so it can post over the weekend.

I'm also planning on applying for being a substitute teacher with the school district. They have an info meeting on August 19th, so I'm going to go to that and see what's up.

I'm also going to work on probate marketing when the kids are back in school, which is less than a month away.

In the meantime, I'm slashing the grocery budget so I can use some of those funds for marketing.

Anyway, that's the status for now.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Non REI related Blog

I'm still going to try and keep up with this blog....but I noticed that I was starting to post more non-REI related posts, and I wanted to keep the focus on REI related things.

So I decided to start a different blog titled Building a Grocery Stockpile from Scratch . It's going to detail how I'm building a stash of groceries, health and beauty items, household items, etc, for little to no cost over the course of a year. Slashing the grocery budget and frugal living is like a hobby for me. :)

Anyway, if you'd like to follow, I'd love to have you!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A sad reality that is what it is....

After a number of financial setbacks recently, I've come to the sad realization that I need to go out and get a job so that we have an additional steady income. This is going to be tricky as I have to work around my DH's schedule, and his schedule varies from week to week. But the stress that this financial rut has put on me and my family is too much right now. I can't count on REI to help me right at this moment, but this doesn't mean I'm giving up on it. But right now the immediate need is a steady income stream.

So....ever forward.....

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Not much going on in my REI world, but I figured I'd blog anyway. LOL

I have a total of 5 signups so far for my wholesale buyers list, all from my one posting to my local REIA Yahoo group. That made me pretty happy. I need to post on Craigslist, too, so hopefully that will draw some more signups.

Most of the REOs I've been watching have gone to contract with other people at higher prices than I would have been willing to pay. I've decided I'm going to go the probate route for looking for motivated sellers, with preforeclosures being a kind of secondary source. This is a little tougher to deal with logistically, as the preforeclosures are online, and the probate items I would need to find at the local courthouse. Since this kids are still on summer break, I would need to have someone watch them for a couple of hours. I used to ask my mother-in-law (MIL) to watch them, but she was never really that keen on it, and to top it all off I had a bit of a falling out with her this past week, so having her watch the kids is totally off the table now. So I'll have to talk with my DH so I can go when he has a day off during the week, until the kids are back in school.

So, that's all the updating for now. Have a great holiday!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Finally some action on my part

Haven't blogged in a while, basically because nothing new was going on with the REI front until today.

I just set up my wholesale buyers list contact form. I totally drove myself crazy trying to set it up. I tried WordPress, but just couldn't get the hang of it, so I found a free form creator (has an ad landing page after you submit the contact form), and set it up on Weebly. I then bought a domain ($1.99 through GoDaddy with a coupon code) and forwarded the domain to Weebly. I also signed up with Constant Contact to administer the list. It's not that streamlined (I have to manually add the email address to Constant Contact), but it works. Just got my first sign up after posting about it to my REIA Yahoo Group. Here is the finished product:

Will blog more on Monday, as the kids and are taking a road trip to visit my former college roommate and her family, and we are ready to head out the door.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Struggling with direction

Haven't posted in a while, as I have been out of sorts lately. Two of my kids are out of school and my oldest has his last day tomorrow, so they will all be home for summer vacation until August. I am going to be working with my son (my oldest of the 3) over the summer to develop better study skills and I hope to teach the 4 year old (my youngest) to read, and also work with the 6 year old (my middle child) on her reading skills, too. The 6 year old is actually pretty advanced with her reading, but needs help with comprehension.

So where does REI play into all of this? I really don't know. I'm going to be taking a break from my Women's Focus Group of my local REIA for the summer, since I have no real child care options.  I think I'm going to just focus on getting the business plan finalized and start looking at the REOs. A couple of REOs have had some price cuts, so I think the banks are getting desperate.

Anyway, not much going on. I think the biggest goal right now is to get a summer daily schedule planned out so I'm not overwhelmed with what I need to do on the domestic homefront. 

Also, I am DONE with Ebay. OMG, I cannot believe the difference between what I THOUGHT I made, and what I REALLY made.  Somehow I never really realized how much Ebay and paypal take out, but after I ran my numbers through an online Ebay fee calculator I was STUNNED!

REI will be a much more profitable gig. :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Got off track there for a bit

This whole week was blown to smithereens in terms of goal setting, as I killed my back Monday morning as I was getting my youngest daughter out of the tub. The last time this happened, I just bit my lip and worked through the pain and soreness as best I could, but this time I went to the Dr., because Friday was shopping day and I didn't want anything to interfere with that. LOL!

****WARNING ---- TMI ALERT****

The Dr. also confirmed that I have a hernia. I had a hernia that was repaired back in 2006, but I guess another one has formed. I never had strong abdominal muscles to begin with, and having 3 pregnancies didn't help either. I'm scheduled to see a surgeon on June 3rd, so we'll see how quickly this needs to be taken care of. 


Still working on some goals for next week, but we do plan on visiting some REOs next week. I'm still amazed that these are sitting on the market - either there are no investors who are willing to to take on the rehab, or the banks are being very stubborn on their price.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Please Pray for The Freeman Family

I've been following their journey for about a month now, and it was with great sadness that I learned that their little Kayleigh passed away last night. :( I cannot imagine the heartbreak of losing a child. Please pray for them - they need prayers now more than ever.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope all you Moms out there had a Happy Mother's Day! We went fishing today, and let me tell you, I was surprised at myself for even making the suggestion! LOL! I don't like fishing, normally, but the kids were excited to go, and DH had the day off, so I said, "Let's go!" Everyone caught a fish except for me lol. I even put the worms on the hooks. And it was worth every moment just to hear Ruth and Molly say that they "caught a WHOPPER!!!!" ROFL!

We managed to see the REO on Friday, and it was pretty much as I expected - it needs a lot of work. Which of course is good when you want to rehab! :) There is another REO down the road from it, with a different agent, so I might call them and check that one out, too.

In other news, I've been mulling over the idea of refinancing our house to get cash out and get a lower rate. I'm not sure if we would qualify, or if we could get a better rate, but I think it would be worth looking into. I would like to pull about 10-15K out, which I think is doable. My reasoning for this is that if DH for some reason lost his job, we would at least have some $$ in the bank to cover expenses and the mortgage, rather than have that equity at risk if he couldn't find another job quick enough, and we fell behind on mortgage payments.  What I would do is take a portion of what we pulled out, and put that into a CD so we wouldn't touch it unless there was an emergency. The other portion could be used to catch up on some outstanding bills, REI earnest money deposit, that type of thing. I need to run this by DH, because I don't want him to think that that is an opportunity to go "hog wild" and buy up some "toys" (PS3, new stuff for his Jeep, etc.)

Anyway, just some of the things going on.....will post tomorrow with new goals and follow up to last week's goals.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A couple of irons in the fire, so to speak

I heard back from the REO agent today, and she said to call her when I am near the house and she will give me the lockbox code, which is cool.  They lowered the price on this one again today, so I sense some motivation. I did a quick work up of the numbers using Steve Cook's formula, and my MAO is not too off base from the listing price....and I gave myself what I consider to be a huge rehab budget for this property ($30k), which I'm going to tweak based on what I see at the property tomorrow.. I'm going to take the digital camera with me so I can get some good pics to work with.

I was also approached by an investor from my local REIA who has a rental property in my town, and asked if I would be able to handle some work with the tenant, as they are behind one month's rent. (The investor lives in another part of the state.) I ran this by DH, and he was fine with it, so he will be the "door knocker" and I will handle any paperwork for eviction. He also is looking for another tenant, and my MIL is looking to move, so that might be a deal I can put together.

So, things are looking up!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I just did a major step....

I emailed an REO listing agent about a property they have and requested a showing. This is HUGE for me.

I don't have financing set up if I want to make an offer, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to look at it, for crying out loud. LOL

It's time to get the ball rolling!

Dave Ramsey is on SALE!

Well his stuff is! LOL!

$10 for The Total Money Makeover. Plus a lot more! 

Monday, May 4, 2009


UPDATE: The REO is under contract. Less than 2 days on the market. Wow. DH is disappointed, but at least now I can hopefully convince him that we need to get the debt taken care of.

Life has been extremely frustrating for me lately. DH is driving me crazy.

For example:

DH got a lead for an REO that he was interesting in checking out. I thought, great! Well, turns out, DH is not interested in this for investing, he wants this for us. Then I thought.....great.....sigh.

See, the problem is, we are BROKE!!!!! Hello??? Do other people in my household not realize this reality??? I DO NOT WANT TO BE BROKE. I WANT TO GET OUT OF DEBT. I WANT SOME $$$ IN THE FLIPPING BANK SO I DON'T HAVE TO PANIC IF I NEED TO GO TO THE DOCTOR, or GASP!!!! GET THE KIDS CLOTHING AND NEW SHOES. (Sorry to YELL, but I had to get this out.)

As much as I would like to have this house, and trust me, if there was a legitimate way for me to get it, I would be all over it, because it would be great for us as a family. More room, great storage.....but it would put our payments over where we are now, and I am not comfortable with that.

So now I am the bad guy, and the downer in all of this. Whatever. There is a REALITY here and at some point certain individuals will have to get their head out of a certain area and get their act together.


Accountability Monday and Follow Up Friday (postponed)

Well, I didn't get back to the computer for any great length of time, so I didn't get to update like I wanted to. A lot of the goals have to be put back on the to do list:

Finish back sales tax return - MUST DO
Budget for Flea Market booth
Finish REI business plan
clean out all clothing in girls room

I closed the Ebay store, but left all the fixed price listings up. My plan is to use my Ebay listings as advertising and redirect people to a new store that I'm setting up on BuyItSellIt.com . I'll set up a mailing list through my Ebay About Me page for people to sign up to receive discount codes, etc., and that mailing list will be for the new store.

I still need to do more REI goals.....just trying to get my sense of direction.....

Friday, May 1, 2009

Done with Ebay

Well, I am done with Ebay for now. I got home from shopping to find that the removed one of my listings for a "policy violation" which I feel is in error, although upon review, I did screw up in where I placed a word (after the brand name instead of before - it's a long story). So now my status for policy compliance is "very low". Great. Just great. One error and you're in the toilet.....sigh....

I also figured out that I wasn't really making much of a profit on anything, after Ebay and Paypal fees. This was especially true for my Olive Kids listings, since the margin on that is low already. So I decided that I'm just going to keep my listings up and then probably close my store just before the next billing cycle starts.

I have other avenues for these retailers that I'd like to pursue, so I'm not giving up altogether, just taking a break from Ebay for now.

I'll have to update the goals after I get the kids from school.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Accountability Monday

So here's the goals for this week:

Finish back sales tax returns
Bring number of Fixed Price auctions up to 100 on Ebay (currently 71)
Budget for flea market booth
Finish REI business plan
Clear out all clothing in the girls room

I did manage to get my one goal from last week done (100 total listings on Ebay). The goal for that is to have 500 listings total - 100 Fixed Price, and 400 Store. So now I will concentrate on getting the Fixed Price listings to 100.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

13 year wedding anniversary today!

I cannot believe it's been 13 years already. Where has the time gone?

Anyway, no celebrating until next payday. LOL Plus Harry has to work today, open til close, which is really a bummer. 

Hopefully sometime soon REI will be our main income.....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Follow up Friday (1 day early)

Actually, if you want to get technical about it, it's about 4 min. early, because I'm writing this at 11:56pm on Thursday. LOL

So I can honestly report that I have not done ANYTHING I set out to do this week. (sigh) So these items go back onto the Accountability Monday list:

Finish back sales tax returns
Have 100 items listed in Ebay store
Budget for flea market booth
Finish writing RE business plan

There is a bright side to all of this, though. One thing that I left off the list, which should have been on the list, was getting the porch cleaned off. This DID happen today (with help from the DH).

Also, as per my previous post, here are the main goals based on the DR (Dave Ramsey) tenets:

1. Take action - see above

2. Don't listen to loser talk - hang around at Flippinghomes.com and keep reading my blogs that I'm following which are tremendously uplifting.

3. Give - call local ministry and see if they can use the abundance of toothpaste I have collected. Give to my church. Pack up box for my friend Jenn and send it to her Ebay trading assistant for her to sell.

Three Things from the Dave Ramsey Town Hall for Hope

These are going to be the base goals for myself each day and each week. All of the other goals will be derived from these basic tenets:

1. Take action

2. Don't participate in loser talk

3. Give

I heart Dave Ramsey. :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Please pray for Stellan today

Click on the picture on the right side of the page to see who I am talking about. He is in surgery as I type.

Accountability Mondays (posted 1 day late)

My friend Steph over at Flip This Wholesaler  had a post yesterday in regards to accountability. I need some serious accountability (LOL) so I'm taking her up on her offer and will be posting my goals on Monday and post my progress on Friday. So here is my list:

Finish my back sales tax returns (oops)
Have a total of 100 items listed on Ebay
Budget for my flea market booth (new income stream)
Finish my real estate business plan

Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nothing new going on

I'm kind of in a stuck mode. With our credit shot, no money in the bank, I should be looking at wholesaling.....but for some reason I'm not......I have a lot of fear right now, mostly fear of not being able to close a deal. My heart is really into rehab and rental real estate, and I know I don't have the resources to close on those deals right now if I can't find a buyer.

Anyway, Ebay is a bit slow right now.....spring and summer is normally a slow time for Ebay, so I shouldn't be surprised. But I'll keep listing....

Another thing I'm into right now is opera music. My mother is a HUGE opera fan, and she always listened to the opera on Saturday afternoons  when I was a kid. I never liked listening to it (neither did Dad) but for some reason now I have taken a liking to it. 

Who would have thought that I would enjoy opera music....

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Have a Happy and Blessed Easter!

We are going to church this morning (see our church here ) then going over to my mother-in-law's for Easter dinner. My MIL is a great cook, so I know we will be eating well! :)

I'll sign off this short blog post with a neat couple of YouTube videos of my favorite hymn - Jesus Christ is Risen Today!

Friday, April 10, 2009

No Ebay for me today!

I have been listing a little bit here, a little bit there, but today I'm devoting completely to REI today. My husband is working open to close (7am-9:30ish pm) so I might do some listings this evening. But today I'm going to devote to working on my REI business plan and setting up my website for private investors. 

Wish me luck! :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Running out of titles

Good blog titles, that is. Because nothing much is really happening....

Anyway, we did venture to an REO property that I found that I was curious about. It was listed for $54k, and the ARV looks to be about $93k, so I was curious to find out why this had not been taken yet. So we took a drive to see the area, as my county is very large, so I've only seen a small bit of it overall.

Well, we found out why it hadn't sold yet -- HUGE foundation problem. The house is kind of built into the slope of the property, kind of like a bi-level (it had a full basement), and a carport. Well, the carport area slab was sunken in, and the wall of the carport had seriously shifted. The front of the house also shifted. It would need a serious amount of repair, I imagine, to get it into livable condition again. It was in an ok area - kind of a mix of owner-occupant/rentals, and it was near the interstate (although I really didn't notice the traffic noise). Definitely good as a first time buyer house, or a RTO (rent-to-own), or even a rental. But I can see where a retail buyer is not going to go for this property, because I'm sure they couldn't get financing for it. And I guess the bank is being a bit stubborn on this and is just going to let it sit and adjust the price every few weeks.

As we were leaving, a woman drove by and told us that the house had had flooding issues and that "everyone had to get out". I felt bad for the previous buyers, because this probably happened while they were the owners and either they couldn't afford the repairs (maybe insurance didn't cover it) or perhaps they took the insurance money and walked away from the house (which I didn't think could happen if you have the mortgage company listed as additonal insured). I'm going to be keeping an eye on this, just to keep track to see if it gets sold and at what price.

I also called a broker who had been looking for agents to hang their licenses with her. She worked from home, and was basically a one person office. She was looking for at least one agent to work with her so she would have some cover when she went on vacation, but other than that, the agent was able to do their own thing. I explained that I hadn't gotten my license yet, but I was considering getting it, and basically wanted to do my own deals and have my own MLS access. She had no problem with that. The only thing that was a problem is that she was not a member of my county's MLS (she is the next county over). So I would have to call my county to see if I could subscribe to the MLS under her brokerage, even if she was in the next county and wasn't a member my county's Board of Realtors. This might prove to be a bit expensive, and might just mean I look for another investor friendly broker in my county.

Also, I was looking at real estate agent classes for my area. South Carolina requires a 60 hour course, and it cannot be held/taken online. The classes meet 8-5 on weekdays for 2 weeks. So that's something I would have to do while the kids are in school full time next year, and make arrangements for my mother-in-law or my husband to pick up the kids at school and look after them until I get out of class. I dont' think that will be a problem, but I would have to do it for the 2009-2010 school year, which starts in August.  No big deal - in the interim, if I find deals that I want to pursue, I can work with a local broker to make my offers with, and when I get my license I can hang it with them.

So that's about it for now. Ebay is slow for me, so my motivation for listing has gone down...but I need to list. It's the only way I can get better sales is to have more things to offer.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Goals for Sunday 4/5/09

Go to church
Take pictures of the kids (I don't take enough)
clean up the puddle of papers on the kitchen floor
work on REI business plan 

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I don't have any problems - another REI detour

I know this blog should be about REI, and I've already taken a detour once, but I must take another one, so please don't be hard on me.

I was introduced today to a blog titled "The Macs". It is mostly about a family's journey with their 11 month old daughter, who was diagnosed with cancer. I have been crying for the last 15 minutes, reading the entries. I cannot even fathom the pain that this poor Mom and Dad are going through and have gone through in such a short period of time.

When I read stories of tragedy, courage, faith, love, I begin to realize that I don't have any problems. None. Yes, I have a daughter with a heart defect, and we were under the shadow of open heart surgery for a while, but we have gotten past that point. She may need to have cardiac catheterization to repair her heart, but gosh.....

I'm not going to whine anymore. I'm not going to waste another day having this house look like a trash dump. I'm not going to sit around the computer all day feeling overwhelmed and just not do anything. I'm going to work on my Ebay and REI. I'm going to spend more time with the kids. Life is just too damn short (sorry for swearing) to just wander around aimlessly. I'm thankful and grateful for what I have.

Anyway, again, I'm sorry for the detour, but I just had to post this.

Here is a link to their blog. It has given me a lot of tears, but it has also given me a lot of thought:

Nothing really new to report

Still just kind of plugging along....the DH (dear husband) got a bonus in this last check, but alas, taxes took most of it....and then the stupid cell phone bill (because SOMEONE WHO SHALL REMAIN NAMELESS went over HIS allocated text message allowance to the tune of $86) will take some of it...and then I went to the Dr. and the prescriptions took nearly the rest of it.

And the listing on Ebay only sold 4 items....I think I may have made a small profit or broke even, I haven't gotten my final invoices for shipping yet....

But, I keep listing....

I've decided to forego the bookkeeping business for now. I would honestly rather put the money I would need for Quickbooks and John Hyre's stuff towards getting my RE License. Plus, I'm not sure I could have really worked from home on this....my house is not conducive to visitors (translation: it's a mess), so I would need to meet with clients at either their office or a public spot, which would mean having someone look after the kids during that time.

So, it's back to just doing Ebay for now. Which is not bad really. The big thing is listing consisently, because having more listings will mean more sales.

I've also started to peruse the REO listings in the area. Some of them appear to be great deals, so I'm using them as kind of a study guide to get an idea of property values, repair costs. I would actually like to make offers, but I don't feel that I've done my homework yet. Plus, since I have credit and cash issues, I need to find either A) a hard money lender that I can qualify with (so far I have not found one) or B) a private investor who will work with me, so that I may submit a pre-qual letter with my offers. 

Anyway, that's it for now. Hopefully more Ebay stuff will sell at a profit so I can put some money aside. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I am an American, and I am not participating in this recession.

For those of you who don't know, I am a huge, HUGE Dave Ramsey fan. He is a strong Christian man with strong Christian principles. He is hosting an event called Town Hall for Hope, which will be a nationwide live event, and best of all it's FREE! I urge you to find a local host and attend - it's guaranteed to be a great time!

Here's the website:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mapping out my plan of action

As usual, I have been coming up with ideas for moving forward, but no real sense of direction. I mean, yeah, move forward, but doing what? Wholesaling? Bookkeeping? Ebay? Getting my RE license? All of the above?

So I began to really think of our situation to get to the real bottom line of what I am trying to accomplish. And here it is:

Consisent Income and Debt Elimination

Now, my husband does well in his job, and we are able to keep up with basic expenses, of what Dave Ramsey calls "the four walls" - Food, shelter, clothing, transportation. But we are thrown a loop when we have Dr. visits, car repair, etc. We need to be able to put money aside for this so that these expenses don't damage the budget.

We also have about $19k in debt that needs to be killed, so we need to have extra income to slay this and get rid of it once and for all.

The good news is that my husband is eligible for larger bonuses than last year, so that will help, but I need to be able to add to the family income.

So, armed with this bottom line, I then decided to do a bit of cost/benefit analysis for each avenue of revenue (hey, that kinda rhymes! LOL)

Wholesaling - very little cost - postage, envelopes, paper, cell phone - maybe $60 a month. The downside is that the odds of revenue coming from this is slim. Would work well for the consisent part if I am able to really generate a lot of marketing, but then the cost factor goes up.

Ebay - very little cost - about $60 month for listing fees for 500 items. The downside is that it's time consuming, but once the original listings are up, then can be relisted and basically run on auto pilot. Not consisent - but the cost factor is low and more than likely I can at least break even on bad months, and make a good income on good months.

Bookkeeping - medium cost to start - need to get Quickbooks, John Hryre's KISS Guide to Bookkeeping which total cost would be about $600. No real downside - I think that there is a need for this for local investors. Would only have the initial start up cost - ongoing marketing would basically be free - posting to my local REIA Yahoo Group monthly to showcase my business. Consisentency odds would be high, as I could have monthly clients and bill monthly. 

Getting my RE License - I am really leaning towards this, as I would like my own MLS access, and the ability to write my own offers for REOs. Start up costs are a bit high - classes, license fee, E&O ins, MLS Fees, Realtor board Fees - about $1k  to start. Would not add to consistency right now, but could in the future.

So, in looking at all of these I have come up with a plan - first, Ebay offers the quickest and cheapest route to a consisent income for right now, so I am going to make listing a priority. Second, although it won't offer consistency, I am going to allocate some money to marketing to pre-foreclosures for wholesaling. I already have some stamps, so I'm going to use them to target a group of pre-foreclosures. Next in the process will be taking on bookkeeping clients, but I'm going to go small on this - maybe 2-3 for now. And finally, if I decide to go this route, I will put aside money to get my RE license and also the $1k for earnest money for REO properties.

I think I now have a sense of direction. :)

A little off topic - My take on Ebay

I wanted to talk a little about Ebay, as I had a couple of people post in the comment section asking about what I do. So, I thought I would make a blog post about it.

I started back on Ebay back in 2000, when I bought some things for my kids. I then started out selling my late father's model train collection (with Mom's permission). They sold like hotcakes, some traincars going as high as $250. It was nice to make a little extra money, so I ventured to try and make Ebay a consisent income. It has been off and on and I've tried selling different items - children's clothing, vintage postcards, US drugstore goods to the UK and Europe. I acted as a kind of trading assistant for an online friend who wasn't able to have an Ebay account. I also started selling hot toys at Christmas time, although this last season I kind of fizzled out on that venue. I even made a killing selling Today contraceptive sponges last summer. They were discontinued and my local Rite Aid stores still had stock - I bought out all of the Rite Aid stores within a 35 mi. radius of my town. That was a fun and profitable time. 

Through a lot of research, I was able to land two dropshipping accounts with a major toy manufacturer (Kidkraft) and a high end children's retailer (Olive Kids).  Although the competition is tough, I am still able to get some good sales. Both companies have great dropshipping programs. They ship quickly, keep excellent stock records, and my order process is very easy. So I'm pretty happy with where I am with my Ebay store, I just need to get it stocked. The beauty of having a dropship account is that I can list quite a bit, but since I don't keep an inventory, my costs are very low. For me to have about 500 items listed would probably cost about $60 a month for listing fees, which would easily pay for itself with 4-5 sales per month.

If you are considering selling on Ebay I highly recommend reading a newsletter put out by Skip McGrath . He is an Ebay Powerseller, too, and has great information, both in his free newsletter and his information for sale. I bought his Ebook about selling books on Amazon and it was well worth the price. (I sold on Amazon, too.)

Anyway, I hope you didn't mind the detour from REI. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Still rolling along

Some interesting things have happened since I last posted.  First, my Ebay listing goal fell flat on it's face when I had to deal with sickness in the family and some yearly doctor visits. So that didn't help. I lost all my momentum, and didn't really get it back. So I think I'm going to break up my Ebay listing goal into smaller bites. Instead of doing a 2 hour listing marathon, I'm going to aim at 8 15-minute increments sprinkled throughout the day. I also took a big leap of faith and listed a Kidkraft item that just today went back in stock. I upgraded the listing, so I spent about $32 to list it, but I am listing over 50 of them, I have highlighted it, put it in bold, and used the Featured First option, which combined with my raised search standing, should get me to the top of the page if someone searches "Kidkraft train". This was a popular item that sold well for others over Christmas. I'm hoping I got a head start on getting the traffic for folks shopping for this, since it's been out of stock for so long. Before I forget, here is a link to my listing:


On the REI front, I attended the Women's Focus Group for my local REIA club.  It was a good meeting. The ladies seemed receptive to my idea for bookkeeping for investors. I do think that I won't be starting to take on clients until after tax season, as I just don't want to deal with the last minute people who haven't filed yet. Plus, I need to get a copy of Quickbooks, and get my pricing set up.

Also on the REI front, I got my first real lead from my Craigslist ad. I don't think it will pan out, as it looks like my offer will be less that the mortgage balance, but at least it gets me some practice in making offers.

Before I forget, I know I haven't answered the questions that were posted in the last few blog entry comment sections, so I'm going to answer them tomorrow. Just didn't want anyone to think I was ignoring them. :)

Till later!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rolling, rolling, rolling....

After having some mental stagnation for a few days, I finally got my brain in gear on the REI front and the other income front.

First, I decided that my Ebay goal is going to be 500 store listings. I currently have 41, which includes the 8 listings I put up this evening. I want to have the 500 listings within 30 days, so that's about 16 listings a day. That should probably take only 2 hours to get 16 listings done, so I've decided that I'm going to get the listings done in the AM after I take the kids to school, as I have about a 2 hour window between taking the kids to school and picking up my youngest from preschool (she has a half day). Any listings I don't get done during this time period, I can get done after I pick up everyone else from school. On the weekends, I'll probably get the listings done in the AM as well, as we usually just bum around in the mornings on Saturday. Sunday is a bit more hectic, as that is church day, so I'll probably get the listings done in the afternoon or evening.

I really enjoy working my Ebay store. I made Powerseller last year, and need to keep my sales up in order not to lose it this coming month. Having 500 listings should help.

On the REI front, the goal is to get my $1k in earnest money set up for working REOs.  We had some auto issues to deal with, so the money I had set aside from our tax refund for REI went to the auto repairs (sigh). The good news is that DH (dear husband) looks to be getting some decent bonuses in the coming months, so I am hoping to set aside some of that money in the savings for the EM (earnest money). Plus, whatever I make from Ebay will be going to that, as well as debt reduction. I am also going to email the real estate agent who sold us our house and discuss with him my ideas for working with an agent to submit my REO offers.

I'm also contemplating setting up to do what I would call "REI Support Services". I have an accounting degree, but really never did anything with it, except for bookkeeping and tax preparation. I am a dork - I absolutely love bookkeeping! I am acutally having Quickbooks withdrawal. ROFL So my goal is to get a copy of John Hyre's KISS Bookkeeping System and Quickbooks and work with them to get some REI bookkeeping clients. I'm going to work very part time on this, maybe 2-3 clients for starters, as I still want to do my own REI. 

The other part of my support services angle is possibly working on helping people get their properties listed on Vflyer and Postlets. I'm thinking about investing in a small camcorder to take videos of people's properties. I'm not sure how tech savvy the members of my REIA are, so this may or may not be a viable source of income. But I figure that I want to get into doing this myself for my own use, so if I get good at it, I would enjoy helping others, and it would be worth the initial investment in the equipment.

So that's the update for now. Lots to do!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Small step is done

Well, the tax assessor's website was back up and running so I was able to get the address I needed. The owner lives in town, so they should get the letter pretty quickly. From what I can tell by looking online at the Register of Deeds records online, this property may have been an inheritance, so the owner might be interesting in selling. I guess we shall see.

I got a response to my Craigslist ad, but it looks like it was spam, so....oh, well! LOL!

I think I'm going to work on foreclosure mailings this upcoming week.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A small step

Well, I'm feeling almost back to normal, so I decided to get moving again on the REI front. It's a very small step, but at least it's a step. I placed a We Buy Houses ad on Craigslist using a template that I found. It's nothing special, but at least it's there, so if I get a call, that's at least one more call than I would have otherwise received. Actually, it won't be a call, but a website feedback form reply. 

I'm also going to compose a letter to an owner of a distressed property in town. It's been boarded up for quite some time, and would probably make a good rental property. Of course, as luck would have it, the county tax assessor's website is down, so I can't get the address to send the letter. Hopefully it will be back up by the end of the day.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Exhausted and wiped out

Well,  it has been the weekend from hell. Thursday, I had to have my mother in law help me pick up the kids, as my husband had to take my van to a meeting. I'm glad she was there because I became deathly ill with the flu that morning. It was all down hill from there. I stayed in bed from Thursday night through most of Saturday. I probably lost 10 pounds because I didn't eat anything. Then my 4 year old got sick with a stomach virus on Sunday. We also got 6 inches of snow Sunday night, so school was closed for yesterday and today. I am just now getting a bit better on my feet. I really haven't slept well since Thursday, even though I was in bed most of those days. Thankfully my husband was able to help out quite a bit, but now he has a sore throat, so I hope it's not strep. And to top it all off, he has a 15 in. crack in his windshield. Lovely.

Needless to say, nothing has happened on the REI front, and nothing probably will until I can get some rest and get to feeling better....sigh....

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Time Management

Well, I've been hit with having my poor 5 and 4 year old daughters sick with possibly the flu and croup, so I've been a bit sidetracked again. Plus, having the new puppy and trying to potty train him has taken up a lot of time (it's a good thing we have hardwood floors).

But regardless, I have made some decisions. I had thought about putting the REI on hold while I clean and organize the house, but I just don't want to keep putting it off anymore. So what I am going to do is to spend at least one hour each day on REI, my Ebay store, and house organizing, for a total of three hours.  I will probably bump this up to two hours for each project, but the minimum will be 1 hour per day.

I am also going to try and post my daily goals on my blog in the morning, and update them the following morning so I can keep myself accountable.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Even more motivation....

And it comes in the form of a small puppy that was dumped (along with his sister) at the dumpster at the auto store where my husband is the manager. So he has a new family now - Us! :) (His sister went with my husband's assistant manager).  He is soooo cute. My husband named him Gus II, after our original Gus, a rotweiller who we had to put to sleep last year.

So now I really have to get the house organized so he won't get into things. Here is a pic of him, about 2  hours after my husband found him. I think he appreciates his new home. :)


Yep, life is good. LOL

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Can you spell "MOTIVATION"? I can and it's spelled....


That's right, folks, you read it right. CAT URINE.

Some background: An outdoor cat adopted us last summer, and has been living on our front porch.  I love this cat (we named him Russell). He is a very loving cat, but it was clear to me that he would not want to be an indoor cat. He also was not neutered, so I had thought it would be the right thing to do to get him fixed, so we would not have him contributing to the feral cat population. Turns out that the Humane Society in the county next to ours was having their annual  "Neuterthon", so for $10 ($22, if you had to include the rabies and distemper vaccines) you could have your male cat neutered. I figured, well, if Russell runs away after the trauma of having his male parts removed, I'd at least feel better knowing I only spent $22 instead of spending $70 at the vet. So I decided to take him in.

I decided to bring him in the house and keep him in the bathroom overnight, so that I wouldn't try and hunt him down in the morning to put him in his carrier. All was well and good, as he didn't howl like I thought he would. So I get up the next morning and go to the bathroom to check on him and the bathroom door is OPEN. NO RUSSELL! I then walk around the house and as I make it to the living room, a whiff of CAT URINE hits me square in the nose!!! UGH!!! Poor Russell, who is not litter trained, had managed to get out somehow and used the living room as a litter box. I really could not be mad at the poor guy. I mean, after all, he just wasn't used to all of this. I had put a temporary litter box in the bathroom, but apparently he just didn't get the idea to try and use it.

Anyway, my whole house is such a mess, that when I got back from taking him to the vet, I proceeded to tear down the living room and thouroughly clean everything so I could locate the source of the cat urine smell. Apparently he had peed on a trash bag, which I proceeded to clean up and get out the door, and also on the Christmas tree (yes, I had not taken down our run down, pathetic Christmas tree), so that went in the trash, too. I don't think I have worked so hard on cleaning something in months. So although I really wasn't wanting to deal with cat urine, at least it got me to FINALLY make some headway in getting this house organized.

And on a final note, when I picked up Russell from the vet, I fully expected him to give me the middle toe of his front paw and run away. But it didn't happen. He was a bit disoriented, but soon was back sitting on his porch railing. He let me pet him again, and came running up to the kids when I picked them up from school. He still loves us, and in a silly way, that makes me very happy. :)

Thanks for letting me share a non REI story!

P.S. Still working on the action items. The cat urine kind of got me sidetracked this week. 

Friday, February 6, 2009

Some Action Items for the Weekend

I feel like I've been wandering around with no sense of direction these past few days. Actually, I feel like that most of the time. LOL No wonder nothing gets done around here.

Anyway, I've decided to make myself more accountable for getting things done. So here are my action items for the weekend (both Real Estate Investing (REI) and non-REI, in no particular order):

Financial analysis for my Ebay business for listing goals, break even analysis so I know what I need to sell in order to cover my monthly store fee. I want to keep my Ebay business, as I can basically run it on auto-pilot, since I dropship, so it's an addtional stream of income without doing very much. For those interested, especially if you have kids, here is my link. http://stores.ebay.com/The-What-Not-Shoppe?refid=store

Business plan for the REI targeted towards private money lenders. I really, really want to make sure that I can close a deal, whether I find it on the MLS, or if I find it through direct response marketing. Because my credit is toast, and I don't have a lot of $$ in the bank, I will need to tap private money lending. I would feel more comfortable in finding sources of private money first, before I go out and find the deals - but I know I don't need to go nuts over this, so I won't dwell on it for weeks on end. 

I'm also going to develop a home organization plan. I may make a separate blog of this, in order to inspire others who are trapped in clutter and have homes that are in disarray. I love the book by Julie Morgenstern, Organizing from the Inside Out (check out my Amazon widget if you want to browse), but I have never really put her plan into action. So this weekend I am going to write up a whole house organization plan for each room. I'm going to identify my clutter hot spots, plan where things are going to go, etc. And it's going to be in WRITING, too, so I can keep on track, and create a workable schedule for cleaning and maintaing, so everything doesn't fall apart, like it keeps doing....sigh....

Anyway, I'll report back on Monday so you can see how well I did! :)