MY EXPERIENCES AS A
LESSONS I LEARNED
by Jack Miller
According to the various migratory gurus who make their nightly midnight trips across my television screen, investing in real estate is a piece of cake. After the expenditure of $500 or so on seminars, books, tapes, etc. and with only minimal money and/or experience, virtually anyone can make a fortune within a short time. From what I've seen, there's hardly any way a person can lose - IF he or she has the right advice from the right person at the right time. I think that's been my main problem. I always seem to get the advice AFTER I've done the wrong thing. I figured out one day that the money I've LOST on real estate transactions would fund a fairly comfortable retirement even at 5% yield.
So what's the answer? I'm not sure. Probably there's no way one person can spare another very much pain just by handing out advice. Most of us, particularly those of us who fancy ourselves to be entrepreneurs or professionals, refuse to believe that what happens to one person could ever happen to us. But to be completely honest, it does. I might add, with a certain amount of regularity.
There's a tendency for outsiders to view success as if those who achieve it are somehow endowed with mystical talents and insights. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Most of the successful people whom I know personally or of whom I have read overcame many obstacles on their way down the yellow brick road. As a matter of fact, for the supposedly lucky ones -- those for whom everything has seemed to come up roses -- life exacts a toll too. Anxiety!
Imagine how it must feel to have succeeded without effort. One would never know how to deal with problems or how to get the train back on the track if it ever should come off. Those poor unfortunates, born with a silver spoon in their mouths are even worse off. They have no concept of achievement; no spirit of adventure; no challenges against which to test their mettle. They're the true paranoids of this world, ever on the defensive against demons that exist only in their untested imaginations.
No, the true path to success is strewn with boulders of adversity. And the pilgrim who would wend his way to the top must expect to slip back here and there - sometimes to try another route or to gain the momentum required to hurdle the crevices and cracks that block the highway. Ultimately, one discovers that success isn't the final achievement which takes one to the pinnacle. Rather it is the fumbling, groping, blundering small triumphs painstakingly gained inch by inch over daily skirmishes. It is the step by step conquering of the unknown even at great cost which adds value to each step toward a chosen goal.
There's a secret that converts a real estate investment from being a loser into being a winner - and vice versa. It's called TIME. As someone once said, in the course of human events, "there's a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune." What wasn't said is that there's also an ebb tide which has the opposite effect.
Those who own real estate over long periods, will see both of these tides come and go several times. For the patient few who are willing to ride out the bad times, good times will surely come. But for those who expect only the up-side, life could prove to be arduous and anxious; for who can say exactly when to buy or to sell, or to run or to stay? Or when abandonment of a property or a plan might cost more than persistence and patience? It may not make much difference. I've made most of the mistakes one person can and still made a lot of money. Hopefully, by reading this, you'll avoid making them too!
This book will give you a chance to not only peek at my feet of clay, but to realize that everyone has them. To comprehend that perfection isn't the alchemist's secret; perseverance is. And optimism. And faith in oneself. Hopefully some of the lessons I've learned along the way will be useful to you so that you can avoid experiencing them first hand. Not withstanding this, it still seems that many successful people insist on learning the hard way. Call it ego. Or arrogance. But if you're like a lot of people, in your own individual quest for success you'll probably insist on making your own mistakes to validate for yourself the lessons I hope to teach you in this booklet; just like I did.
Table of Contents
1. I AM REAL ESTATE
7. Unscheduled Maintenance
10. Tenant Improvements
14. Swapping Rents for Upgrades
17. The Case of the Itinerant Stone Mason
18. The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men Aft Gang Aglie
19. Let's Talk Roofing
20. The Case of The Cut-Rate Shingles
21. The Family That Works Together
22. Using Tenant Labor Parties
23. You Win Some and You Lose Some
25. Using Envy To Motivate Tenants
26. Renting the Impossible Property
28. Beware of Remote Properties
31. Let's Talk Leases and Options
35. Kooks-R-Us: A Tenant Hall of Fame
36. Beware of Insurance Men Bearing Gifts
37. My Name is Jose' Jimmenez
38. Dealing With Ringers
46. Troublesome Tenant Sidelines
48. The House By The Bay - A Saga
52. Deland = De Land of Opportunity
53. Boomerang Sales and Indexed Loans
57. Exchanging - Life In The Fast Lane
60. Horse Traders Have All The Fun
63. Buying Lots for Fun and Profit
67. The Case of the Untrustworthy Trustee
68. Syndicating Time Shares
72. Making It Little On Big Deals
74. Mason Mortgage Company
75. Bankruptcy Conquers All
79. Pros and Cons of Guarantees
83. Banking on Bankers
86. Losing Sight of Objectives Can Be Costly
88. All Is Not Gold That Glitters
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