Friday, August 20, 2004

Two Must-Have Items for RE Investing

Nothing much happening on the escrow front. Just cruising along - only 10 days until escrow closes.

If you want to get involved in real estate investing, there are two items you must have in order to make your life easier: a cell phone and a lockbox.

Cell phone: When I started, I did not have a cell phone, but I did have a pager. I thought that would be good enough. Well, not really. With all the people that have to visit the house during the repair process, you will be getting a lot of phone calls. And most of them will have cell phones and if they have to wait for you to return their page, they might take off. To make matters worse, I work at my "real job" from 6 AM to 3 PM, so if someone wanted to call me, I would have to give one number for before 3 PM and one for after. Once my property was rented, I got rid of the pager and used the cashflow to pay the cell phone bill. My life is much easier now.

Lockbox: These are lockable devices you hang on a door that contain a key to the property. They come in two flavors - combination dial models and push button models (which have buttons for the digits 0 through 9). Both types are available at Home Depot for about $25 and with each kind, you can set the combination to whatever you want. On the dial model, you can select three letters. On the pushbutton model, you can select as few or as many of the numbers as you want. You need these because you don't want to have to run out to the property everytime someone needs to get in for some reason. It makes things much easier for you and for them, since they can schedule their visit whenever it is convenient for them.

Here's a little tip: don't get the combination style lockbox. This was the type I originally purchased and probably 75% of the people who tried could not open it. After talking several people through the process, I discovered the problem - people do not know which direction is clockwise and which is counter-clockwise! I reached this breakthrough while on the phone with a carpet guy trying to get in. I talked him through the process twice - "turn the dial clockwise until you reach letter R, now turn counter-clockwise past the R to G, then clockwise to S." I asked if he was starting by turning clockwise first and he swore he was. Just for the hell of it, I told him to try starting in the opposite direction this time. What do you know! It opened! He made some comment about how I made a mistake in remembering how the combination worked and I let it pass. The truth was he didn't know clockwise from counter-clockwise.

This left me with a dilema. I didn't want to insult people's intelligence, but the only way I could think of to make sure people were turning the knob the right way was to say something like "grab the knob between the thumb and index finger of your right hand. Spin the dial by moving your thumb up and your index finger down. That is clockwise..." In the end, I decided to buy another lockbox, this time with the push buttons for the combination. I haven't had a single problem with that one yet.


~ said...

Gday - just reading your Blog. Congrats on getting into the RE market!! Just a tip, check out:

It's a forum run by MatthewC (he does L/Os exlusivley and owns from memory about 42 of them), and it's run for John Burley who has done 1,000 of deals (L/Os, etc). In fact he has from memory about 5-6 full time employes to run his RE Biz, which ain't too bad ;->

For L/Os, check out:

It's a book about L/Os exclusively, and after meeting MatthewC thats the RE strategy I'm focusing on! Very powerful stuff!

Hope to see you on the forums perhaps!


Shaun said...

Thanks for the links! I'll check them out.

Brian said...

The Matthew Chan books this guy recommends have some pretty bad reviews. People call them fluff etc...

Shaun said...

That's the same criticism people make about the Kiyosaki books. Everyone wants a step-by-step guide on how to do stuff, but the reality is real estate investing is a highly variable activity. Laws vary greatly by state. Each sale is different, based on what the seller needs, what the buyer is willing to give, and how each side negotiates. The more detailed the author gets, the more likely they are to give advice that doesn't apply to a reader who might not live in the same area the author does. I find the successful people read books and take what they have read and apply it to their own situation, rather than trying to blindly copy what the author did or says.

And the Amazon rating on that book is 4.5 out of 5 stars, so it can't be that bad. (I haven't read it.)

© 2006 Shaun | Site Feed | Back to top