12056 Abercorn Street Savannah Georgia

12056 Abercorn, 30,000 square feet building.
Pime location.
Great landscaping.
Between Savannah's only 2 malls.
Next to AASU and 7500 students.
Across from Hospital.
55,000 cars pass by every day.
It has class "A" space.
Big meeting areas.
It can be divided into offices as small as 500 feet and open areas as large as 14K ft
It has over 300 parking spaces. (+ 130 next door)

It has
~Beautiful offices with marble floors
~Lots of glass and windows
~T lines for high speed Internet and phones
~Steel frame
~Security cameras viewable on the Internet
~Automated car wash
~13 car lifts, 2 truck lifts, RV lift
~Front end alignment machine
~Turn key for all automotive repairs


12056 Abercorn Street, Savannah, GA 31419

Property Description

This 30,000 SF Class A building, built in 2001 as a car dealership, is in turn-key condition for same or similar service-oriented user.

The main interior has a large reception area, numerous offices, conference rooms, restrooms, warehouse and storage.

The auto service area includes a complete parts department, a 15-bay shop with fuel/lube/light drops, lifts for cars, trucks or RVs, a complete 3-bay car wash area, a front-end alignment/diagnostic machine, tire balancing equipment, separate waiting areas, break room and offices.

Energy efficient construction provides 2-hour rated fire walls, a fire sprinkler system, handicap access, a high-tech security alarm and digital-to-web security system.

The current price and lease rate reflect its turn-key condition, but it can be easily altered for many types of businesses.

The property can also be subdivided with a 1-acre outparcel fronting Abercorn purchased separately. Visit http://lease.svn.com/12056abercorn & http://sale.svn.com/12056abercorn-land for details.

Location DescriptionSituated on 6 acres, the exterior provides
299 parking spaces with security lights, curbing and storm drainage and professional landscaping. The property has dual access via a direct curbcut and deceleration lane on Abercorn and via a service road to the Mercy Boulevard signalized intersection.

The property is located in the heart of Southside Savannah on Abercorn Street, where traffic counts exceed 55,000 vehicles per day.

It is directly across from St. Joseph/Candler Hospital and adjacent to the Armstrong Atlantic State University campus. Between 2 malls, the site is surrounded by restaurants, grocery stores, retail stores, established residential communities and schools.
The site is very convenient to all areas of Savannah. Downtown, the Airport, I-16, GA Ports Authority, and the beaches are easily accessible via Veterans Parkway or Truman Parkway.

Please call Howard Spiva

10 Summer Home Mistakes

Ian and Barbara White-Thomson are selling their dream summer house, an oceanfront five-bedroom on Peaks Island, near Portland, Maine.

They bought it only three years ago. But it's become a 4,208-square-foot burden.

Maine Dilemma

Bob Delaney
Ian and Barbara White-Thomson's second home on Maine's Peaks Island.
The couple, who make their home in Pasadena, Calif., sunk nearly $1 million into renovations–on top of the $1.8 million they paid for the home in 2006. They gutted the kitchen and redid the living room. They opened up views to the Atlantic Ocean by removing a fireplace that separated the living and dining areas, putting a glass screen in its place.
They say they're still smitten with the place. Nevertheless, last June they listed it for $2.5 million and have since cut the price to $2.3 million.
"The house is really too big for us," says the 73-year-old Mr. White-Thomson, who retired as CEO of Borax, a borate technology company, 10 years ago. "The house is terrific for the one week a year when we can get all of our family and grandchildren there," he adds. He and his wife have three adult children and five grandchildren. "The rest of the time, it's too big, and when we are not there at all it has to be heated and it has to be gardened."
The White-Thomsons aren't the first couple to get stuck with a too-big house in a far-off locale. But now their problems are compounded by the downturn in the luxury home market.
Prices for high-end houses are the lowest they've been in some time. A good time to buy certainly, but also a good time to get swept away in a less-than-ideal transaction.
Here are some mistakes to avoid when you're looking to buy a summer house:
1. Buying on impulse: "There are residential brokerages with beautiful places on their windows hoping you make that mistake. Don't," says Glenn Kelman, the president and CEO of real-estate site Redfin.
2. Befriending the Realtor: Since many second-home buyers are new to town, often their only 'friend' is their real-estate agent, "who is going to make a boatload of money when they buy," Mr. Kelman says. "Work your connections to find somebody who knows somebody who already lives there." Those people can provide insight into the realities of living in the area and even about a particular property. "There are so many times where the only guy who would buy that house is the only one who has no idea what its history is," he adds.
3. Forgetting maintenance costs: "Often, [second homes] are in extreme places," says Mr. Kelman. "It's expensive to heat the pool in Whistler, British Columbia, and it's expensive to keep the locusts off in Costa Rica." Regardless of location, the costs of landscaping, mowing and pool maintenance must be considered. As the White-Thomsons learned, you'll have to pay those costs even when you're not there.
4. Not thinking about the weather: In some areas, such as Florida, extra insurance for events like hurricanes is an added factor. Storm damages can add to upkeep costs, as well.
5. Buying in a popular spot: A weekend home can pose a problem if it's in a very popular place, like New York's tony Hamptons. Traffic out to Long Island's east end can be a bear on a Friday–and not everyone has their own helicopter. "All of a sudden Friday at 6:00 comes along and they are piling everyone into a car," says Kathy Braddock, a co-founder of Charles Rutenberg Realty. "You spend the entire time talking about what time you should leave on Sunday to avoid the traffic," she adds.
6. Buying in the boonies: If air travel is required to get to the second home, it should be reasonably close to the airport, Mr. Kelman says. "You don't want to fly there and then rent a car and drive there for God knows how long," he says. "If it's in the boonies near where you live, you don't want it to be so far away that you can't get there without ducking out of work at 4:00." For the White-Thomsons having a second home closer to their primary residence in California may have allowed them to use it more, but they made a commitment to use the home at least two months a year. "If you don't use it, it's a tremendously expensive hotel," Mr. White-Thomson says.
7. Forgetting that you might have grandchildren: Empty nesters who buy a second home may outgrow it quickly when grandchildren start to arrive. "I hear lots of stories of people buying, say, a condo in Florida that they plan to retire in," says Amy Bohutinsky, a vice president of communications at real-estate site Zillow.com. A condo sounds great when the kids are in college, but soon enough you have grandchildren. "What used to be a family of four is now a family of eight and kids running around and all of a sudden you can't fit."
8. Forgetting that you might not want to see your grandchildren: On the other hand some empty nesters don't want to accommodate the entire family. "It's kind of a chance to cleanse" after years of needing ample storage space and extra rooms to accommodate a family, says Ms. Braddock. Rather than maintaining a larger home, it might make more sense to rent hotel rooms for extra guests, she says.
9. Not checking out the rental rates: Those people who use a home only for a few weeks a year and want to rent it the rest of the time should look into the property's rental history before buying, says Jim Oxnam, a broker with Brown Harris Stevens in the Hamptons. "If someone needs the money to pay the mortgage or to improve the house, it might be nice to rent the house for a season," he says.
10. Thinking you want a summer home: "A lot of people get very caught up with the idea that a weekend home would be a lovely thing to have, but I don't think they put a lot of thought into if they really want to go there every weekend," says Ms. Braddock, who lives in New York City.
When her children were young, Ms. Braddock and her ex-husband had owned a second home where the activities revolved around the kids. More recently she rented a cottage in Staatsburg, in New York's Hudson Valley, paying about $2,700 a month on a year-long lease. This time around her oldest was in college and the other in high school, and she and her partner were pretty bored. Looking at antiques, reading the paper and walking around nearby Rhinebeck take up only so much time, she says: "It was the greatest validation that I don't want a weekend house."

Joey Fatone Home Up for Auction

Former 'NSync singer Joey Fatone will auction his Orlando home on Sept. 11. It is currently listed for $6.5 million. The minimum bid for the auction is $3.7 million.
The 1999-built gated estate is on 4.4 acres of lakefront property. The 12,400-square-foot house has six bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. The home has a movie theater with stadium seating, a 10-car garage and a dock with a boathouse. The swimming pool has a grotto area with an enclosed spa and sushi bar, reachable by a small footbridge. There's also a 3,800-square-foot master suite that has a sitting room with a butler's pantry.

Fatone's Orlando

Tour Factory
Joey Fatone property in Orlando.
Mr. Fatone rose to fame as a member of the popular boy band 'NSync. In 2007, he placed second on "Dancing With the Stars" and he was the host of an NBC game show called "The Singing Bee." Through a representative, he said he's selling his house because he wants to be more centrally located in the downtown Orlando area with his family.
The home was originally listed about a year ago for $5.5 million. A spokesperson for the listing agency says the asking price was raised to match the appraisal price. Sally Andy and David Warren of Stirling Sotheby's International Realty have the listing. The auction will be handled by Worldwide Auction Realty Services.
Larry Gagosian Buys in LA
A Los Angeles home owned by David Bohnett, the philanthropist and technology entrepreneur, has sold to art dealer Larry Gagosian, according to public records. The home, which was originally built for actor Gary Cooper, was listed for $18.9 million. It could not be confirmed what Mr. Gagosian paid for the property.
The 1955-built modernist-style home in the Holmby Hills neighborhood was designed by architect A. Quincy Jones. The 5,700-square-foot house has four bedrooms and 4½ bathrooms. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook a swimming pool, garden and wooded grounds. A representative said Mr. Gagosian couldn't be reached for comment.
Mr. Gagosian owns contemporary and modern art galleries and represents such artists as Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst.
Mr. Bohnett is the founder of GeoCities, which was later acquired in 1999 by Yahoo. Mr. Bohnett said he sold the home because he owns another place nearby, but declined to comment on the sale price or who purchased the home.
Linda May of Coldwell Banker Previews International had the listing.
Montana Ranch Asks $33 Million
A Montana ranch owned by the widow of Jay Call, the late founder and chairman of Flying J, a Utah-based fuel retailer, has hit the market for $33 million.
The property, known as Dancing Wind Ranch, is just outside of Livingston, Mont., in Paradise Valley, about a half-hour drive from Yellowstone National Park. It includes more than 1,750 acres of land and a 8,100-square-foot main house made of stacked stone and antique timbers. There are also a manager's residence and a guest house on property, as well as two barns.
Mr. Call died in a plane crash in 2003, and the ranch is now owned by his wife, Tamra Call.
Gwen Wagner, the owner of Legacy Lands in Livingston, Mont., has the listing.
—Email: privateproperties@wsj.com






It's a Mod World

Midcentury-modern-style homes priced under $2 million

$1.175 million
A 2,400-square-foot, three-bedroom, 2½-bathroom home on just under half an acre on Lake Oscawana, about an hour and 15 minutes north of Manhattan.
DETAILS: The 1958-built home sits on 100 feet of private lakefront and has a deck overlooking the water. The owner renovated fixtures with materials that are aesthetically in keeping with the era.
MIDCENTURY REMNANTS: The wood-framed house has large glass sliding panel doors and uses earthy materials like a wood-burning fireplace made of local stone.
MOD MEAL: The Tavern at Highlands Golf Club in Garrison, about a 15-minute drive, is open to the public and serves upscale comfort food.
FRIDAY'S FORECAST: Partly sunny, high 86 degrees.
SOURCE: Todd Goddard of Houlihan Lawrence, 914-406-0588, tgoddard@houlihanlawrence.com.

Mid-Century Modern Living

Erik Grammer
Pasadena, California home.
$1.65 million
A 2,760-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom home on about a quarter of an acre in the San Rafael neighborhood of Pasadena.
DETAILS: The 1951-built home is situated in a U-shape around a saltwater swimming pool. The home has several exterior walls of glass.
MIDCENTURY REMNANTS: Designed by well-known midcentury architects including Whitney R. Smith, the house is designed to integrate indoor and outdoor living.
MOD MEAL: A 5-minute drive away is La Grande Orange Café, housed in a historic 1930s rail station near Old Pasadena. The brunch menu includes prime-rib hash and huevos rancheros.
FRIDAY'S FORECAST: Cloudy then sunny, high 74 degrees.
SOURCE: Georges Rouveyrol of Sotheby's International Realty, 626-676-5368, Georges.Rouveyrol@sothebyshomes.com.
$1.45 million
A 4,200-square-foot, six-bedroom, four-bathroom home on a third of an acre in Atlanta's North Buckhead neighborhood.
DETAILS: Though originally constructed in 1966, the home was completely rebuilt two years ago in a midcentury style.
MIDCENTURY REMNANTS: The home has an art studio that has 13-foot floor-to-ceiling glass walls. A backyard was also added when the home was remodeled.
MOD MEAL: 10 Degrees South is about a half a mile from the home and specializes in South African food. The menu includes items such as rack of lamb and vegetable curry.
FRIDAY'S FORECAST: Afternoon thunderstorms, high 96 degrees.






A Glass House in Farm Country

 After 20 years of planning, a couple build their vision in Oregon
On the outskirts of a tiny agricultural town, where hay bales and tractors are the usual roadside attractions, sits a 1,440-square-foot glass box.
Three sides of the house are transparent, made from triple-paned glass, leaving the living area, kitchen and bedroom visible. The fourth wall is clad in cedar siding to protect against the wind in the winter. The glass walls, which climb to 16 feet in some places, overlook the 80 acres of farmland the house sits on, plus vistas of field, sky and mountain.

A Glass House

John Clark for The Wall Street Journal
Emerson Glass Farm House
Inside, the house is a single chamber of clean lines and cool grays. Rusted steel beams punctuate the glass, and a small oak box inside the home hides a bathroom and office. The kitchen, a Bulthaup unit, is essentially a sheet of silver metal.
The decor is modern and minimal; there are no paintings, photos or television sets. Storage units line the fourth wall. "You don't need pictures and paintings because the mountains change throughout the day with the weather," says owner Marjorie MartzEmerson, 58, who says she and her husband, Paul Emerson, wanted to create a home they felt was part of nature.
It's been more than six decades since architect Philip Johnson, inspired by Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House in Illinois, completed his iconic Glass House in Connecticut. But homeowners willing to follow that example are "quite rare," says Scott Frank, spokesman for the American Institute of Architects, adding that the population of possible owners is limited to "people that are very comfortable with themselves."
Completed in 2008, the house is testament to the determination of the couple, who spent two decades planning to build their vision. The couple, who work for Hewlett-Packard to minimize the environmental footprint of its products, drive a 25-year-old BMW and a 10-year-old Audi. Their primary home is a 900-square-foot apartment in Vancouver, Wash.
The idea for the glass house was born soon after the couple married in 1987, when Ms. MartzEmerson was captivated by a photo of Mr. Johnson's Glass House in a magazine. Though they began looking for a remote, mountain-adjacent lot over the next two decades, considering land in Colorado, Wyoming, Minnesota and New Zealand, it wasn't until 2003 that they came across the 80-acre parcel outside Joseph. They bought the property in 2004 for $250,000, investing more to make the land buildable.
The couple screened four other architects before choosing Jim Olson of Olson Kundig Architects in Seattle, whose firm had designed several of the homes they had clipped from magazines over the years. "It's not every day that someone comes in wanting something so small," says Mr. Olson, whose residential projects usually range from 4,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet. "But I think there's a certain luxury to be able to live in a minimal space surrounded by this incredible amount of nature." The design and construction of the house and a nearby barn, used for guest and garage space, cost about $1 million.
A 78.5-acre parcel of land nearby, with a three-bedroom house, barn and other buildings, is listed for $1.5 million, according to Real Estate Associates.
At work, the couple evaluate emissions for products like printers. Their home is likewise eco-friendly. In the summer, when the sun is high, a ledge running along the south-facing glass wall blocks direct sunlight. Screened windows and patio doors circulate breezes. A set-back concrete slab under the home not only elevates the home off the ground, making it look as if it's floating, but also traps heat in the winter, when freezing temperatures arrive. Argon gas pumped between the panes of glass prevents heat from escaping (radiant heating and a fireplace don't hurt).
"Everybody said, 'How can you build a glass house out where it really gets cold in the wintertime?'," says Ms. MartzEmerson. "Well, it's warm and cozy inside." Monthly utilities for the home run around $35.
Walls of glass are challenging for a meticulous couple who remove their shoes before entering the house. The couple have the glass professionally cleaned once or twice a year (the exterior takes about 10 hours), and regularly clean a few panes during their visits.
Strolling around the property last weekend, the couple pointed out wild mustard and the yellow, frilly stalks of lamb's quarters amid green alfalfa fields. As gray clouds gathered, they speculated about the direction of the storm, then scattered to close windows and put away patio furniture when the wind picked up and raindrops began falling. One benefit of the sudden storms that regularly pass through: "It can help keep the glass clean," Mr. Emerson says.

China's Property Market Starts to Cool

SHANGHAI—Average housing prices in China fell in June for the first time in 16 months, official data issued Monday show, marking a long-awaited turnaround in the nation's overheated property market.

Dissecting China's Housing Market

Explore China's booming real-estate market and the government's latest policies through graphics, analysis and video stories.
The nationwide index of urban residential property prices, which covers 70 cities, was down 0.1% in June from May, the National Bureau of Statistics said, marking the first such month-on-month decline since February 2009.
The property price index for June was still 11.4% higher than the same time a year ago, an increase that slowed from the 12.4% rise in May.
Investors are watching these figures closely for an indication of whether China's government can rein in a hot property market without stalling the country's resurgent growth.
Real-estate analysts say they expect further declines in prices and sales in coming months. That, investors worry, may intensify an economic slowdown that began as the government began phasing out the massive spending program it mounted amid the global financial crisis.

Turning Point

Click to see full graphic
Beijing's stimulus spending fueled the boom in real estate, which became one of the biggest supports for China's economic recovery in the past year. But cheer for the quick resurgence turned into fears earlier this year that the government could be inflating an asset bubble, and sparked discontent at rising housing prices among many Chinese.
In April, China's government made several moves to restrict housing-market speculation.
On Monday, China's housing ministry reaffirmed those moves, which included requiring higher down payments and mortgage rates for many home buyers, limiting purchases by nonresidents and accelerating construction of affordable housing. The ministry denied rumors that these measures might be canceled and said the policies are still being strictly implemented.
On Thursday, Beijing is due to release broader economic indicators for June and the second quarter, which are widely expected to show China's economic growth easing from the first quarter's rate of 11.9%. Market participants will be watching that data for clues of whether concerns about sagging growth in gross domestic product could lead Beijing to relax some of its real-estate-cooling measures.
"We don't see a change in official policy yet, but we're expecting banks to start making more mortgage loans by the end of the year. The GDP number will be a telling sign of whether it could happen sooner," said Michael Klibaner, head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle in China.
Real-estate agencies and private research firms generally reported significant drops in sales in May and June, with many consumers waiting to see how the government's crackdown on the market plays out before making a purchase.
According to the statistics bureau's figures, nationwide property sales in June declined for the second straight month in volume terms, with the floor area of buildings sold down 3.1% from a year earlier, following a 3.4% drop in May.
Some developers are still doing well: China Vanke Co., the nation's largest property developer by market share, posted a 28% rise in June property sales, which it attributed to lower prices on new projects.
Despite softening sales, developers still appear to be building new projects, an important consideration for the government as construction is a major employer. The volume of construction starts was up 55% from a year earlier in June. Total investment in real estate is up 38.1% this year from a year earlier, as of the end of June.
That continued strong investment leads Ren Zhiqiang, chairman of property developer Huayuan Group, to think that the government is unlikely to relax its controls anytime soon.
"The June data will make policy makers very comfortable to continue the policies," Mr. Ren said at a real-estate forum Monday. "They won't easily give up on the controls, as long as property developers keep up relatively fast investment growth and as long as demand persists for land and houses."
The government doesn't appear to expect the full effect of its tightening policies to appear for a few more months.
Bloomberg News
Traffic passes in front of a housing complex in Shanghai.
"In about a quarter's time, the property market will probably reach a full correction and prices will fall, but it's hard to predict the extent of the price falls," Minister of Land and Resources Xu Shaoshi said this month, in comments reported by the official Xinhua news agency.
Some of the tightening measures, at least those left to banks' discretion, appear to be easing. The government in April encouraged banks to suspend mortgages to buyers of third and subsequent homes, but property agents in Shanghai say people registering to buy a third home have found it easier to get a mortgage in recent weeks. Bank executives say that the requirements that third-home provide down-payments of at least 50% are still being enforced, though.

Working with Realtors For Lease Options

There are two issues that involve realtors and investors:
1) Should I become a Realtor?
2) How can I
work with Realtors?

Working with Realtors:

Many investors think that real estate agents don't have the best deals, or they have all been picked over by the time they actually hit the market. I believe that some of the sweetest deals are sitting on the market. We automatically think that Realtors or their clients will snatch up the best deals before they hit the market. It is true that some of the best deals do get snatched up before they hit the market, but ……there are many other deals left behind that no one sees. The reason that no one sees them is because they are looking for 'traditional' or what I call 'retail' homes, not 'lease option' homes. These are two very different markets. The retail market is what 90+% of the people and investors understand. The Lease Option market takes up a portion of the remaining 10% of the market.

I look to work with Realtors that understand the concept of lease options and can help their sellers understand lease options. This understanding can take time. Your job is to assist Realtors to understand lease options. I do this by using several techniques. First, I have a letter that I send to a listing agent explaining the concept, second, I have a presentation that I do for my local real estate offices, and third I network and continually tell Realtors what I do. I hear investors tell me all the time that Realtors just don't understand or want to understand what they do. I can only say that patience and persistence pays off. Realtors aren't trained in unique selling techniques, they are trained in the 'Retail Market' which is 90+% of what is out there. As investors, it is our job to continue to help those around us understand what we do so they know when to call us.

The type of home I am looking for through a Realtor is one that the seller:
1) Doesn't need their equity out
2) Doesn't have any equity in their home

When a Realtor hears a seller say, "If my home doesn't sell soon I might have to RENT it!", then the Realtor should think of you. (assuming you have continued to remind them of what you do)

All you need is 2-4 good listing Realtors. They work directly with the sellers and know which sellers are in trouble, which ones can rent, and which homes are vacant. Once a Realtor knows what you do and has a seller that can accept your terms - viola! You are the proud new owner of a lease option.

One of the most important things for anyone is that they get paid for what they do. Realtors are just like everyone else in this regard. When I am taking on an option, I am asking the seller to wait 2-3 years to get cashed out. I don't want to make the Realtor wait that long. If I do, they won't even tell the seller about what I can offer. Why should they? It might not do them any good. They are doing all the work now to get the deal done and want to get paid for it. So I give them the listing agent portion of the commission up front. This is my option fee and is applied to the purchase price when I get my mortgage or when I sell the home. The agent is therefore paid on what they do just as if they sold it conventionally to another buyer. When you sell the home you will be asking for 3-5% down from your tenant/buyer, therefore, you are still minimal or zero down/out-of-pocket. If you aren't a licensed agent/broker and entitled to ½ of the commission, then let the Realtor "Double-Dip". They can get the listing agent portion down upfront from you and the selling agent portion when the home closes in 2-3 years. They will wait for the second half if the first half is paid up front. The second half would just be a bonus that most agents wouldn't expect anyway.

Becoming a Realtor:

Investors tend to be adamant one way or the other about being a licensed Realtor. I am on the side of being licensed. Being licensed has been one of the best tools that I have as an investor. Being licensed allows you access to your database of 'comps' or comparables. This is the data you need to buy and sell real estate. If you have a great Realtor and you don't want to be licensed, fine, but I still think it is better to be licensed than not.

Some investors say it gives you more liability to be licensed. I have two answers to that:
1) What are you doing to create liability?
2) Don't you think a judge is going to know you are an 'expert' anyway when they find that you do real estate investments?

Some investors say that sellers won't sell to you if you are licensed. I find the opposite is true. Most sellers are happy that I am licensed and 'know what I am doing'.

My recommendation is to GET LICENSED!!!



Pocket Listings - Be an Insider and Profit

One of the most frustrating things early in my
real estate investing career was to see a “For Sale” sign go up on a listed piece of property, call the agent that same day, and hear that the property went under contract the day before the sign was even put out. Furthermore, these deals were often great ones that I would have snapped up given the chance.

What is really going on here is that the agent obtains a “fixer-upper” listing. The agent then “pockets” the listing, offering it to a few insider investor clients. One of these investors sweeps it up, and the deal never hits the larger market. By the time you see the sign, it’s too late. In some areas, a surprisingly high percentage of the houses sold fall into this category, with the agent selling the property before it is even on the market. Agents love to sell a house this way because they make the whole commission (no splitting with the buyer’s agent), and they keep their investor clients, who have listings to give them in the future, loyal to them.

This practice MAY be slightly unethical for the agent, as it is really in the client’s best interest to have the property out on the general market. For example, if the agent advertises the property on the computer MLS (Multiple Listing) system, and places a sign in the yard, numerous parties may want to make an offer, potentially bringing in a higher price. On the other hand, one might argue that the agent helps the client by getting a quick sale, and that the client doesn’t have to accept any offer that is not high enough.

As an investor, we don’t really care. We just want to be on the call-list for this type of deal. We want to wrap these deals up before anyone even knows they are out there. How do we do this? Here is our game plan.

Select Our Agent

When you have narrowed down the area you want to invest in, and you are familiar with the market, you need to create ties to an agent. The agent that you want to select is an agent that does a lot of business in our target area. You can find this agent by simply driving the neighborhood and seeing who has the most “for sale” signs up.

Send A Letter To That Agent With The Following

A) A statement that you are interested in buying investment property in that neighborhood. You don’t mind fixer uppers, and are looking to buy, renovate, and resell properties. The agent will realize that you are going to resell, and that you probably will need to list properties in the future. This gives the agent two chances for profit: The first when you buy, the second if you list with them when it is time to resell the property.

Include a business card with this letter. Optional: attach a magnet onto the back side of the card. Magnets to stick on business cards are available at Office Depot/Staples for a reasonable cost. Your cards can contain the information on which neighborhoods you’re looking for. (Example: “Interested in buying homes in xyz neighborhood to renovate and resell.")

B) Attach a letter from a mortgage broker showing that you are pre-qualified to buy an investment home in the approximate price range of the homes in the target area. In the alternative, get one saying that you have met with the mortgage broker, and the mortgage broker will be handling your financing needs for rental properties. Feel free to let the mortgage broker include some PR about his firm in your packet.

The mortgage broker will bend over backwards for you in the future because he will see that you are helping to build his business. This letter from the broker will make you seem like a real player, i.e. someone who can close on the deal and pay the agent. Mortgage brokers are happy to hand out letters like these to anyone with a pulse. That’s a big secret that most sellers don’t know, but now you do.

C) Optional, but recommended: Attach a newsletter that you come up with each and every month. In it, give information on helpful homeowner tips. You can get your raw information out of any number of books on the subject at your library or local bookstore. Rewrite the content in your own words so you don’t violate any copyrights. For example, you might have one on how to fix a roof leak, or how to select a contractor.

The articles should be valuable to her clients. Tell her that she can copy these and distribute them to her clients. (Leave the top blank so that there is space for her to insert her name with a word processor). Get one to her each and every month. It will keep your name front and center. Topics you can use include:
  • How to unclog plumbing leaks without a plumber
  • Replacing broken window panes
  • How to find good sub-contractors
  • How to avoid being ripped off by subcontractors
  • Why you should always keep gutters clean
  • How to select the right plants for your house
  • How to replace a cracked tile
  • How to paint a room
  • New loan programs and refinancing ideas (from your trusty mortgage broker!)
  • Basic yard maintenance
  • Question and answer format is great, i.e.:
Q: “My house recently had a new roof put on. Unfortunately there are some old water stains on the ceiling left over from the old leaky days. I tried to paint over them, but they keep coming back. What would you suggest?

A: Use a quality primer made to cover water stains, like Kilz. The oil or shellac based primer is the product that you will need to use, as opposed to a water based primer. Either of these products may be covered with oil or latex paint. (Check the packaging.) The odors on these primers are extremely strong, so be sure to open as many windows as you can and ventilate the area. You will want to make sure that any loose paint is removed before painting, and that the surface is totally dry. If the stains are especially bad, 2 coats of primer may be required. Because it can take up to 24 hours for old water stains to bleed through the primer, it is a good idea to wait before applying your finish coat.

(There is a good magazine called Family Handyman that contains some great articles you can use for inspiration and accurate content. It should be available at larger bookstores, and is available at Home Depot. Also see This Old House Magazine).

If You Buy Or Sell A Property, Let The Agent Know With A Letter

Note to her that you are still very interested in finding more properties in area x. This will demonstrate that you are a serious investor, and move you up in the pecking order.

If You List The Property, And Don’t Have A Particular Reason To List With Another Agent, List With The Agent You Are Cultivating

This will bind you to them. I’ve personally listed properties with an agent to establish a relationship even when I think I could have sold the house “by owner.” If that agent brings me 4 deals with $30,000 of profit each, the extra $7,000 I spent on a commission for one deal was well worth it!

If You Have Good Subs That You Really Like, Make A List And Give It To The Agent

Explain that you have used these folks in the past, and that their names might be helpful to her clients. Such lists are super-valuable to the agent because they help her to sell houses. For example, a house may be perfect for a buyer, but it needs repainting. The agent can tell the buyer that he knows a great painter who can handle the job, and potentially close the sale. This will also make your subs loyal to you. If your job or another client’s job must be delayed, yours won’t be if you are keeping a steady stream of referral business going to the sub. These subs will see you as so important to their business that they will also give you a great rate for your work.

I would use this technique with the top few agents in your target area. I now work with only a select handful of agents. All are totally committed to the success of my business.

How to Get Realtors to Work For You

How to get Realtors to work for you – the "scrappier" they are, the better. The secret is finding them. Here's how...

If you've gotten this far, you already know my take on
real estate investing: buy multiple housing units in low to moderate income areas that will immediately generate positive cash flow. It's a proven method that allowed a high school dropout like me to become financially independent by age 27, while lots of guys my age with Ivy League MBAs were still punching a clock.

I did this – and am still doing it 30 years later, and teaching thousands of people like you to do it, too – by buying distressed properties from distressed sellers. Maybe the properties just need a little love to spruce them up, maybe the buyer is desperate to get rid of them, and maybe it's a little bit of both. It's what I called "forced appreciation", and it's the cornerstone of my proven real estate investment method.

"Ok Russ," you say, "I get it. I’m ready to achieve financial independence, quit my chump job, and have the freedom and the control I deserve. I’m ready to roll."

But there's one thing still holding you back – you're not sure how to find those distressed properties and distressed sellers. When you're trying to get started, and you're still working for someone else, you don't have the time to search for them – and you may not yet have the experience to recognize them. So what do you do?

Find yourself a good Realtor, that's what. I don't mean the ones with their pictures in the paper, with their lipstick just so and a scarf knotted to one side around their neck, talking about a property's granite countertops and the neighborhood pool. These types are what I call the "cream of the crop" Realtors. Hey, they work hard and help people find lovely homes and they can make a lot of money at what they do. But that's not who you want when you're looking for investment properties.

You also don't want your nephew Louie who got his real estate license on the side three years ago and sells one or two houses a year for extra money. Nothing against nephew Louie, but he probably doesn't know much about the type of real estate investing you want to do. You're not in this to help Louie make money, you're in this for your own financial independence.

What you want is what I call a "scrap Realtor". What's a scrap Realtor? It's a Realtor who deals almost exclusively in low to moderate income housing, much of which is multi-family and most of which is sold to investors – which is what you want to become. Scrap Realtors know the neighborhoods, know which properties have potential – and many of them are investors themselves. You may think that the term "scrap Realtors" sounds insulting, but that’s the point – these guys don't care. They're not in real estate for the glamour or prestige; they're in it to make money. And so are you.

I've said it before and I'll say it again – nine out of 10 Realtors don't know anything about investment properties. Yes, they all have access to the same information on the MLS, but that's where the similarities end. Real estate is really about circumstances – what's the vacancy rate in the neighborhood? What is the rent now? What's going on with the seller that makes him or her motivated to sell (and possibly offer financing)? No computer system can tell you that – to get that type of information, you have to pound the pavement and build relationships.

Sure, once you're experienced and financially independent you can do that yourself – or hire others to do it for you. But when you're just getting started, a good scrap Realtor is invaluable.

You may have never noticed scrap Realtors before, but once you start looking I bet you'll see plenty of them. Their ads are smaller, and don't usually include a photograph. Their listings are usually for multi-unit properties, and are usually in the working class neighborhoods, not the hot parts of town. You won't see words like "charming", "quaint", or "cozy" in their property write-ups.

But these guys can help you make money. And if they're good, they'll be willing to spend some time educating you on opportunities in your area, because they know that once you start getting the positive cash flow that comes from a good real estate investment, you'll be coming back for more.

How to Find a Scrap Realtor
  1. Look for independent real estate agents. Most scrap Realtors don't work at Century 21 or ReMax. Independent agents are more likely to also be investors who understand the types of properties you’re looking for.

  2. Check out the classified ads in the paper. I don't mean the big splashy ads with photographs. I mean the small column ads that list properties for sale and express interest in buying properties. Many of these agents will work with investors, too.

  3. Ask questions. Making blind calls to real estate agencies can be intimidating. Here's a sample script to get you started: "Hi, my name is _________. I'm a real estate investor and I'm trying to find a real estate agent who specializes in income properties such as apartment buildings, duplexes, five-units, etc. We also look for properties that need cosmetic repairs. Is there someone in your office who fits that description?" When you get a prospective scrap Realtor on the phone, ask about his or her experience with private financing and seller financing. Ask about his or her's own experience investing in real estate, and their results over the last several years. The reactions and responses you get to these questions will give you a good idea if the Realtor knows about real estate investing – and if he's able help you learn more, too.

In my training and mentoring programs, I always include a session with a good scrap Realtor, so people get to see how these guys operate first-hand. It's just one of the invaluable things you can learn from our programs. Once you learn to identify and work with a scrap Realtor, you can find one in any town, city or state in the country – and start investing.

How to Cash In On Your Real Estate Contacts

Many investors make the costly mistake of considering real estate agents as competitors. They incorrectly see themselves out in the market competing for a limited number of deals-fighting it out with local agents and brokers to make money. This costs them time, and it costs them thousands of dollars from lost deals. The truth is that as an investor one of the most profitable
relationships you can ever develop is with a real estate agent. Think about it for a moment. As an investor your market is motivated sellers who don't need all cash at closing (and are willing to be flexible on the terms of sale) or who are willing to deeply discount the price of their properties for an immediate sale.

But the majority of sellers you talk with as you do your lead generation are NOT motivated sellers. As many as 90% of the sellers you talk with are not motivated enough to be flexible on price and terms like you need them to be. Most investors toss these sellers into the round file, and this mistake costs them dearly. Instead, pass those sellers you cannot help onto your real estate agent ally. He will be able to turn these sellers into a steady stream of commissions as he lists, then sells their homes.

Remember: most agents spend tremendous amounts of time and money to find the very people you turn up in such great numbers-homeowners looking to sell for all cash and who have the time to wait for a top dollar offer. If you can help your agent friend get just one more listing a month you are adding tens of thousands of dollars to his annual income! So what's your payoff? Actually, you don't just get one payoff, you get five!

Payday Number One: Expired Listings

A listing is an exclusive agreement a seller signs with an agent giving them the right to sell the home for the seller. This agreement is typically for 3 to 6 months and many times an agent is unable to sell the house within that time period. Have your agent ally search the MLS (Multiple Listing Service-a database of properties for sale that only real estate agents have access to) looking for properties that didn't sell and whose listing has expired. These owners are far more likely to have grown motivated and are ripe for you the investor to call and put a deal together on their house.

In many cases the expired listings will not have a phone number for you to contact the owner. That's good! If it were too easy then another investor would have beat you to the prize. Simply take the information and do your own research. You can use the street address and a reverse directory to look up the phone number. (One such directory is called the Cole's Directory and is probably available for you to use for free at your local library.) Once you find the phone number, give the owner a call and see if they are flexible enough for you to buy their property.

Payday Number Two: Listings Search

Have your agent friend do a search of the MLS for key words that indicate motivated sellers. The agent simply searches the comments field for words like: "lease-option," "flexible terms," "owc," "moving," "transferred," "estate sale," or "contract for deed." If a listing has these words in it chances are pretty good the seller is worth a phone call. Then you contact these owners and see if you can put a deal together.

Payday Number Three: Straight Referrals

Just like you are out there sorting through sellers, so too is your real estate friend. And when he finds an owner he can't help but who shows signs of being motivated, your agent can refer the seller to you. Better yet, ask your agent friend to pass along the owners name and phone number and give the owner a call yourself. This is a great source of deals that no other investors will know about! Best of all, when you get this third party referral you are getting a huge boost to your credibility. In essence the real estate agent is recommending you to the seller. This makes things much easier for you to put a deal together than if you were just coming in cold.

Payday Number Four: Fast and Free Access to Property Information

When you're out there putting together deals, wouldn't it be valuable to be able to call up your real estate contact and ask him for information like sales comparables, market rents, and rates of appreciation? If you're passing on several good leads a month to your real estate friend you will be amazed at how fast he will get back to you with this information he simply pulls up from the MLS. After all, if he isn't fast, there are many agents out there who are dying for your leads who will be much faster. The most important thing to remember when you are putting together this relationship to begin with is to always be willing to give value first. This means pass leads on to your agent friend for a short while BEFORE you ever call them up asking you for a favor. This will help you build trust into the relationship and cement your agent to working with you.

Over time this relationship will payoff handsomely for you. When you get the relationship going strongly you've just added a helper who is working with you to help you make more money. One of my students used this idea of networking with real estate agents to find a six year lease option on a $200,000 property with nothing down! If he can do it, so can you.

Dealing with Real Estate Agents

The real estate agents have a valuable source of potential deals for the real estate investor - the Multiple Listing Service. Unfortunately, real estate agents have a monopoly on this information, so they may be a necessary part of an investor’s game plan.

Dealing with real estate agents can be difficult as an investor. Agents prefer home buyers with cash to put down,
good credit and conventional buying power. Their interest is getting a commission with as little hassle as possible. Most agents have never done a creative real estate transaction with an investor, so they are not often receptive to unusual offers. Most agents equate a “nothing down” offer with a buyer who is not serious.

Offer a Reasonable Earnest Money. You cannot present an offer with a $50 earnest money and expect an agent to take you seriously. You can expect to pay at least $500 as earnest money to get their attention. If you are presenting a solid cash offer, you should put up more money. If you are concerned with losing your earnest money, consider using a promissory note.

Offer a Short Closing Date. Another way to get an agent to take you seriously is to offer a fast closing. Nothing makes an agent salivate more than the thought of a commission check in ten days. If the agent has another offer presented to him, he will usually advise his client to take the offer with a larger earnest money and faster close than an offer which is higher in price.

Insist on Presenting Creative Offers in Person. If you present a creative offer to an agent, it will not be represented to the owner in the same enthusiastic fashion. As stated above, agents do not like creative offers - they like conventional offers from solid buyers. If you want the owner to hear all of the great benefits of your offer, insist on presenting the offer in person.

Appeal to the Agent’s Greed Factor. Let’s face it . . . real estate agents are in the game to make money, just like anyone else in any other business. If you can offer the agent an incentive to make money out of the transaction, you will get his cooperation. If you present an offer which does not permit enough cash to come out of the deal to pay the agent, why would he cooperate with you? If you present a lease/option offer on a listed property, how will the agent receive a commission? You need to find a way for the agent to get paid, even if you pay him out of your own pocket.

Do Your Own Comps. Sometimes you will get the opposite of an uncooperative agent - an overzealous agent. Be suspicious of an agent who tells you what a deal you are getting on a property. If it is such a good deal, why didn’t he buy it? Don’t take his word as to the value. Ask for a printout of comparable sales (not listed properties). Be aware that information contained in the MLS computer was entered by the listing broker and may be exaggerated. If a comparable sale shows the same square footage as the house you are looking at, take a drive by and see if it is accurate. Do your own assessment of value.

Fax Preliminary Offers First. Don’t waste your time filling out a contract offer until you have preliminary approval. Most agents are not this formal and will take any offer in writing to the seller. Simply summarize your offer in writing and fax it to the listing agent. Once you have an oral approval, then take the time to fill out a contract and an earnest money check. NEVER put up earnest money until the offer is accepted!

Don't be Bullied by Uncooperative Agents. If you cannot finesse an agent, don’t be afraid to stand up to him. Some agents are unethical and will refuse to present your offer. Many times the agent will lie and tell you that your offer was rejected when, in fact, it was never presented. If this is the case, do not be afraid to go over his head to the listing broker. If the listing broker is uncooperative, deal directly with the seller (unless, of course, you are also an agent).

Selling Houses Fast (Part 2)

The first step to success in buying and selling is locating prospects. Without potential buyers it's very hard to sell houses. Frankly, an ad in the newspaper should be enough to attract plenty of prospects if you know how to write the ad and where to put it.
I can't turn this into an ad-writing course, but any ad that gets prospects to call is a good one. Any ad that doesn't is a bad one, or it's in the wrong publication. Make sure your ad gives the prospect a reason to call. Try to include a USP (Unique Selling Proposition): What can you offer that everyone else isn't?

For example:

Lease Purchase
No Qualifying Owner Financing
Bank Qualification
No Money Needed
Easy Terms
Owner Will Help
Will Accept Anything On Trade
No Down Payment
You Get A Car With The House, etc.

Some students use flyers distributed in newspapers and don't run ads. Others use a lot of signs, referrals, mail outs, the Internet and electronic voice broadcast.

We'll cover all these in the Selling Houses Fast Boot Camp, but the key is to make sure you keep a good flow of leads coming in until the house is sold. Where most people fail is how they handle these leads once they come in.

That, my friend, will receive a lot of attention at the boot camp. It's by far the weakest link in the chain. Leads must be prescreened properly and the good ones worked daily. Out of any batch of leads will usually come some qualified ones. Maybe not with a credit, but qualified if you're flexible as we discussed in the last issue. What I look for most, are people who love the house and are excited about owning it. Give me that and a little something to work with and I'll get them in it.

8. No Follow- Up System in Place

Why do some folks insist on doing the same job several times when it can be done once? If you're not building a buyer's list of some kind you must love punishment. It's simple. If you have more buyers than houses, you don't run ads, send flyers, mail letters or any of that other stuff. You pick up the phone and call the prospects you've prescreened from the last time and tell them about your new house.

Why is that so hard? It looks to me like it's easier to suffer the pain of creating a buyer's list once, rather than talking to dozens of prospects from ads every time you get ready to sell. You don't have to be an organizational wizard to enact a little follow up. Hey, a pile of prescreened buyers on the corner of your desk with no separation or filing system is better than nothing. Sounds like my system. No, that's not true. At least I put them in a file folder. Then I misplace the folder, but I always know it's close by (somewhere).

9. Functional Obsolescence

This one is a house problem, not a people problem. You usually can't fix this and shouldn't buy if it's present. That way you won't have trouble selling.

Here are some things that come to mind:
  • Extremely small rooms
  • Bathroom off the kitchen
  • Walk through bedroom to get to the only bath
  • Low ceilings (under seven feet)
  • House added-on unprofessionally
  • Strange layout that can't be fixed
  • Adjacent to odors, commercial property, school or anything else that makes it undesirable
  • Bad or no foundation
That's just a few of the things I can think of now. Note: Sometimes you can correct this and sometimes you can't. If you don't see a way, simply pass.

10. House is Very Small

I guess this is also functional obsolescence, but it's very common. Any time a house has less than 1,000 square feet I get cautious. I've learned that houses under 900 square foot are usually hard to sell and there's not much you can do but keep looking for a small family of 1 or 2 people. I'm not saying they won't sell. I'm just saying they're harder. I've probably done 200 houses below 1,000 square feet.

I think I own 3 or 4 now. I guess that verifies there is a buyer for every house. If I can buy them cheap enough, I'll still do some today. But I know going in they may take a little longer to sell.

11. Salesperson Loses Control of the Loan Process

You must remain in control from the moment you buy the house until you get a check. That includes the loan process. You decide who does the loan, who appraises the house, who gets the survey and termite report and who closes. You are also in charge of speeding up the loan.

Yep! You, not your lender. You should check in every few days, push for results and round up missing paperwork. If you don't, the close will drag on forever. Would you allow your boss to hold your paycheck for 2 to 3 weeks until he decides to pay you? That's exactly what you're doing when you let a loan processor jerk your chain. So, the next time you lose a buyer because he didn't close quick enough, go to your bathroom mirror and cuss out the person responsible.

The last time I lost a buyer two days before closing, it was because God told them not to buy. If I'd been two days earlier, maybe I wouldn't have been competing with God. Oh well. Six weeks later I sold the house for $3,000 more than the first buyer. Maybe I wasn't competing with God after all.

12. House is Located Too Far Away from the City

That's an easy one. Don't buy it. Unless you want to create a lot of driving time so you can listen to more of my tapes. Frankly, I don't buy anything I intend to retail that's more than 30 minutes from my office. Of course I know for some of you in big cities that's about three blocks away. Hey, you can always move.

13. House is in High Price Range Where Few Buyers Can Afford

Actually, sometimes that has no bearing because the upper market is hot. If it is, the high value is not an excuse for a slow sale. The problem is elsewhere on this list. But in smaller cities where a $500,000 house is the mansion, you can certainly expect it to take much longer.

All that just makes a case for you to not guarantee monthly payments on big loans. Unless you're a sadist and looking for pain you shouldn't try to outguess the market. Don't count on a high priced house selling quickly just because you like it. Remove the risk, give yourself time and you'll discover the big ones sell just like the little ones, but hopefully with a lot more profit.


You'd better make sure you have a large spread on those big babies. Buyers of $500,000 homes are more sophisticated and more apt to ask for a price reduction.

The good news is these folks can usually qualify for a loan, and the majority of the sales are all cash. Owner financing and lease purchase just doesn't have the sizzle it does on the lower end. That doesn't mean it's not used, only not as often.

14. Only One Bath

I've sold hundreds with only one bath but it's not my preference. Cheap houses, not a problem. Houses above $80,000 - $100,000, it's very difficult. For houses much above $100,000 it's almost impossible. People who can pay more, want more. If you can't add a bath you may wish to consider not buying if you feel it's important to the sale.

I have never added a room on the house to add a bath. The only time I have added a bath I've used the existing structure. That should cost you no more than $1,500 - $2,000. Trying to sell a 4-bed/1-bath house ain't easy. Selling a 3-bed/1 bath is okay as long as the house is small. Selling a 2-bed/1 bath is the norm and buyers will expect it.

Well, that's about it. I won't guarantee that every problem you'll run into is on this list, but chances are, the next time you're having trouble selling a house, if you'll take a good look at this list, I bet the problem is in it. If you do run into something out of the ordinary that I've not discussed here, drop me a line.

In the meantime, remember that there are no real problems, just solutions. And, very often, when you do run across a problem property, there's hidden profit there for someone who knows the answers and can create a solution.