Friday, January 29, 2010

Amazon Prime 3 Month Trial

Some of you may not know, but I have a hobby of couponing and being on the lookout for frugal ideas. Sometimes my passion for both REI and frugal living cross paths and light bulbs will come on above my head. LOL

Scott over at The Struggling Investor posted an entry about how his book that he ordered from Amazon for Steph's Book of the Month Club had not arrived yet, and it was going on 2 weeks. This got me thinking of a post I read about getting a 3 month trial for Amazon Prime for as little as $1. With Amazon Prime, 2-day shipping is free, and overnight shipping is $3.99. I think this might come in handy for Steph's Book Club so you might want to look into it. :)

Rather than me try to explain it, let me direct you to the post with all the details HERE at Common Sense with Money.

Hope this helps someone!

Back online

Well, the computer is officially de-toasted (untoasted? lol)! I'm back online and my carbonite subscription is happily restoring my files as we speak!

Here's an update on everything that is percolating:

Mill's Mill House - still waiting on my seller to get my option contract back in the mail to me. I am hesistant to do anything further until I get that back in the mail, and I haven't followed up with him as I wanted to as my time has mostly been spent speaking to Dell Warranty Support, so I am going to call him tomorrow and see what is up.

Spartan Mill Village House - I did not get the option contract in the mail to the seller as I had hoped, since the laptop went down and I had no where to print anything. So I'm going to call him tomorrow, too, and see how the meeting went.

Probate Lead #3 (The Carmax analogy) - I was supposed to have a meeting with him last Friday but he had to reschedule to this past week. I went out to meet him, and it will need work, but he is starting to work on it, so the motivation is not there as much as I thought. We kind of beat around the bush about numbers, and he said he didn't think he could take less than $40k for it....a preliminary ARV comes in at about $60k, so given Steve Cook's formula of ARV *.70 - repairs, we are already looking at $42k before repairs........and it definitely needs more than $2k in repairs, so there's no way I could meet his $40k number. I told him I would get back to him after the weekend, as I didn't think my computer would be up and running before that.

Now that I am back online I will keep researching the probate leads from the legal paper and send out some more letters. I also need to get the follow up postcards out for the previous leads, and also call some title companies to find out their status on simultaneous closings with non-cash buyers (thank you to Steph Davis for that heads up!) I also need to follow up with the lender referrals for the USDA loans. Oh, I almost forgot! I am a member of The Private Money Blueprint. To be blunt honest, I had signed up for the 30 day trial, in hopes that I could glean as much as I could before my trial was up.....I did not think could swing the monthly subscription yet (budget still very tight), but apparently I miscalculated my 30 day period (whoops!) and I ddn't think it was fair to ask for a refund, so after a bit of scrambling and reworking the budget numbers, I was good to go. I was going to watch a lot of the content during the day but then the laptop crashed so I wasn't able now I'm going to get back on track over the weekend and start reviewing the awesome content. :)

Anyway, that's where I am at this point. A special thanks to Scott over at The Struggling Investor for having me in his Top Blogs: 5 Up and Coming Investors post. Wow! I was nearly in tears reading his thoughtful comments about my blog. I am honored, and truly blessed by my online REI friends!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Experiencing technical difficulties - please stand by

Hello folks,

I'm coming to you from the local public library because my laptop is toast. Fortunately the good folks from Dell are going to send a tech out and I hope to be operational again by Friday or Monday.

In the meantime, since I don't really have internet access, nothing has been going on.....I would update more, but my session is almost done and I need to go pick up the kids from school.

Talk to you when I am back online! :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another lead in the pipeline

Got a call from the gentleman that called last week (the one I used the Carmax analogy with) and I'll be meeting him on Friday to look over the property. I sense some motivation, as I found out that there is a mortgage on the property, and he is the one who is paying on it, plus he indicated that the house needs work.

Also as an aside, the other gentleman (the one I thought was essentially a dead deal) called to say that they received a letter inviting them to a meeting regarding a potential medical building that is going to be built at the old mill site. I'm wondering if this is going to be some type of eminent domain type of situation..remember that one out of CT, and it was upheld by the Supreme Court? The town in CT (I think it was CT) exercised eminent domain and sold the land to a developer. Anyway, I told him I would put the option contract in the mail today and if it was something they would want to consider to let me know.

Things are rolling along!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

No jinxing now

Well, my first deal is almost official, as I noted in my response to Shae's comment on my previous post. It is for the Mill's Mill House, the one where it's the gentleman's childhood home. He gave me the key when I went out to see him on Thursday, and I put the option contract in the mail to him yesterday. There's not a lot of spread in this deal (he wants $35k, and I'm going to try and retail for $42k), but even so, the educational value is priceless.

My plan of action is to sell to an owner occupant. My town qualifies for USDA Rural Housing Loans which offer 100% financing and no seasoning requirements, so I put out a request on my REIA's Yahoo Group for recommendations for lenders who are familiar with this program and received a lot of I'm going to be emailing to ask about further requirements (credit score, etc.) I also am going to be contacting the title agency referrals that I received from the group, to line up an agency that can do a simultaneous closing. Marketing will be setting up a printed flyer to leave at various businesses around town, advertising in the local paper, and using postlets as well. I don't plan on doing anything with the MLS at this point. I'm hoping that I can this deal under contract with an end buyer before the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit runs out, and if I do, I'll give them a gift certificate to the local tax preparer in town to get their taxes done and file for the credit.

I'm also going to approach a local landlord who also does property management in town and see how much rent would be on this house and ask if he has any interested parties that would want to pick up another rental in the area. There is no work that needs to be done to this place, with the exception of putting in a shower head in the tub, but that wouldn't require much work.

So, we'll see how it goes!

I didn't get to meet with the other seller from Spartanburg, but I'm going to put an option contract in the mail to him to see if they might take it....that will be a tougher sell, for sure.

Still nothing from the one realtor (I bet I'm off his mailing list now, too, Haha!), so I'm definitely pursuing the agent route. Will have to wait until the tax refund in order to register and pay for a class. I was hoping that I could get it done before the First Time Homebuyer Credit runs out, but that doesn't seem likely, given the class schedules I'm seeing.

Anyway, no jinxing the deal now that I've written about it! LOL

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Shortest blog update so far....


Can you guess why I'm smiling?

I'll have to keep you in suspense for a couple of days.....sorry! :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Keeping me on my toes

This probate stuff works!

Another call, kind of a tire-kicker really, just trying to get an idea of what my services are. After croaking a "hello" when the call came in (having a cold and allergies), I really was on the spot - what are my services? Who in the heck am I?

I explained that I am a real estate investor (-1 point for using the term "investor", I guess) and that I work with other investors (-1 again) to buy real estate. We can close quickly, etc. The guy was really nice and was interested and said he would keep my letter and that if he felt that we would be the best option, he would give me a call.

Also, when he asked what price we buy at, I gave him my Carmax analogy - if you have a car you want to sell, you can take it to Carmax and they'll give you an offer on the spot, but it will be lower than if you go and get it detailed and repaired and try to sell it on the retail market, because Carmax will make all the repairs and detailing to get it in marketable shape and buy it from you right then, i.e., Carmax buys from you on the wholesale level, but they can close quickly and you don't have to make repairs.

Now, I don't like comparing myself to a used car dealer, but in this case, it worked. The Personal Representative (PR) completely understood where I was coming from.

So anyway, there you have it, folks! Another call from my probate marketing, and that's after only about 30 letters mailed. This is good stuff!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Itty Bitty Update

Still haven't heard from the agent that I I've decided that I'm going to look into getting my license for sure. The local community college has an agent's licensing course, so I'm going to see what the next date is and the cost, and hopefully I can use some funds from our tax refund to take the course.

I think the lead for the Spartan Mill Village is a dead lead for now. With the amount of work that needs to be done, it's just not going to work. I'm going to call the seller on Monday just to let him know that as of now, I'm not able to present an offer, but to keep in touch.

I also need to follow up on my lead with the two houses here in Woodruff. I've really been preoccupied lately, as my mother's friend passed away this week. This is the one who my mother was taking care of as a kind of live in companion, so now my mom needs to get her own place, and she wants to move up here. There is a senior apt complex in town so I got my mom the application and mailed it down to her. I'm hoping I can find something for her ASAP....her friend's family said for her to take all the time she needs to get herself settled, but I know my mom wants to get settled quickly, and I do, too. I miss my mom!

Anyway, before I forget, I'll be doing some more networking with the one guy from the local REIA....he works with some wholesalers and I can farm out my leads on a bird dog basis, and we'll split the fees.

Have to go run to the store to get some things for dinner. 2010 is definitely starting off on a good note!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Quick update

A quick update before I head to bed --

I did manage to call the seller and leave a message on his voicemail -- at least, I THINK I left a message. I heard background noise, then a beep, so I took that to mean to leave a message. LOL Anyway, I posted a note on my REIA Yahoo group, kind of like a bird dog two responses; one wanted the lead and said he would pay me $500 or 10% of the deal, which ever was more if he could get it done. Sounded good to me, so I sent him the info, and will let the seller know that this gentleman will be contacting him.

I emailed the agent I spoke about in my last post, and he emailed me back and said he would get back to me by the end of this week. I'm hoping that this will work out - so far I'm batting .000 as far as getting an agent lined up. If this strikes out, I will focus on the probate leads and work on getting my license ASAP.

Tomorrow is going to be an "in" day, so I will check the probate notices from before Christmas and get some letters out. I also need to work on the private money aspect of things as well.

Should be a busy day!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Ok, time to get started on 2010!

I am still in the process of working on the goals and the action plan. I'm having a really tough time putting things down on paper, but I did get a rough outline going. The way I started was what I wanted things to look like at the end of 2010 (organized home, Molly reading, etc) and now am working backwards at how to achieve them.

Anyway, one of the first things I want to tackle for 2010 is MLS access. The agent that I met with back in September/October never got back to me after I emailed her. Her website is no longer active, either and I no longer receive updates from the searches that I saved on her site. So, then I remembered that the agent that we worked with when we bought our house, still keeps in touch with us, through cards and newsletters. I'm going to email him and see if he can set me up with some searches, or if there is someone that he can recommend that would be interested in helping me out.

I'm still considering getting my license, but need to figure out the monthly costs of this, as our budget is going to be a bit tighter this year because we are participating in my husband's employers Flexible Spending Account plan in order to cover the out of pocket costs for Ruth's cardiac cath procedure this summer.

I still haven't called back that seller. I feel bad about it, but my house has been so chaotic with the kids being home and with my mom visiting, I haven't really found a quiet time to call. I am going to make a concerted effort to call him tomorrow morning, regardless of the background noise volume. LOL

Once I get the REI action plan finished, I will be sure to update. :)