Published at Friday, February 15th, 2019 - 22:38:03 PM. House. By .
How to Find a Quality Halfway House in the United States : WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HALFWAY HOUSES* The first thing you need to know is that most halfway houses are NOT regulated. Many operate without a state license. Most halfway houses, regardless of whether they are licensed or not, do a great job at helping a person stay sober, and can assist a person in reconnecting with family, and also becoming a contributor to society. Many Halfway Houses operate without a license simply because the licensing agency and/or the zoning commission prevent halfway houses from operating in their neighborhoods by restricting census (total amount of residents in any single location or house). Few halfway houses can stay open when a licensure agency and/or zoning department tell them they can only have 4 residents in a large 4 bedroom house. Few places can keep their doors open with these unfair and illegal tactics due to the large overhead incurred (lights, electricity, heating, cooling, insurance, mortgage payments, staff, etc.). What is most important is how they go about helping people to stay sober and keeping residents on track- what is their main focus, making money or helping people- this is typically the main difference between a quality run halfway house and a poorly run facility. There are many questions to ask to determine the difference between the two. Are they staying on top of their residents sobriety? How do they maintain a clean and sober environment, etc.? Do they have rules? What are the rules? How do they enforce them? Always ask to see a copy of the rules!!! Are they a coed facility? Typically, a male or female only halfway house has better odds at maintaining sobriety and dealing with length of stay issues. You will want to know what happens if you come home drunk at 2 A.M. on a Friday- do they just kick you out of the halfway house into the neighborhood? Do they have protocols for dealing with this and many other possible scenarios? Find out how they deal with situations before moving in. You should definitely be given a complete tour (especially visiting exactly where you are going to be placed), along with explaining all the rules and regulations, as well as a residents responsibilities. Note: Most Halfway Houses require, at least initially, a resident to have a roommate, as this helps make sure a person is accountable by at least one other person besides the House Manager and the General Manager/Owner. You should take note of how the place looks. A few years ago I was involved in property assessments for a program helping mentally ill patients. One of the first things we would take note of is whether there was grass growing in the cracks of the concrete. Another item was the condition of the landscaping (was the grass mowed, the bushes trimmed, the trees pruned, etc.). We would then move on to how the paint looked, the roof, whether the windows were clean, etc. With this same approach, you should be looking to see how clean the house is. Are the grounds well kept? Is the roof showing signs of possible leaks? How does the entire exterior look? What shape is the room you will occupy, etc? Another issue you may find at halfway houses are the managers. Most, if not all, are in recovery themselves. There is a big difference between what is called a General Manager and a House Manager. It is very typical, and normal, for a house manager to have only a few months clean and sober. This does not mean the halfway house has poor management. It is not so much time clean, but the quality of clean time that matters most. It is typical that a House Manager will move on to getting their own place by the time they get 6 months to a year clean, so this makes sense why House Managers have little clean time. On the other hand, the General Manager typically has years of sobriety. Whats most important is how many years the General Manager has running a halfway house system as opposed to how long the House Manager has clean. A General Manager that has both years of sobriety coupled with years of experience running a halfway house is a winning combination. One of the most important factors in whether a halfway house is of good quality is how the General Manager and/or Owner deal with the overall handling of each and every resident. They should be forever vigilant, and firm. They should be able to tell you how often they are around the residents and the house, and if they run more than one house, they should be able to tell you how they stay on top of all their houses- what system is in place so that residents and houses are not left unattended for any length of time. A quality run house should require a length of stay commitment from the potential resident prior to moving in (this is usually anywhere from 3 months to 1 year- the longer the stay, the higher the success rates). All facilities should be set up so that every resident MUST report to the General Manager or House Manager, and that the House Manager reports directly to the General Manager or Owner. A quality run halfway house should have sign in/sign out sheets designating why a resident is going off grounds including where they are going and what time they will leave as well as when they will be back- make sure there is a system in place that checks and verifies this information both before a resident leaves and how they appear upon return. This includes going to work, a job search, (this should include a separate list of places they are applying at and how long they will be at any one given employment office/business), 12-Step Meeting attendance (this should state which meeting, time of meeting, and any other important information), visiting family, (who, where, etc.), visiting a friend (This should be looked at by the General Manager/Owner and not just the House Manager- keeping in mind that certain people and places are off limits), as well as any other reasons and times for leaving the house- responsibility and accountability are important components at a good halfway house- look for this. Money is another issue. If a person will be tempted to drink/drug, a quality house should have a safe place to hold a residents money. If, for instance, a resident has another person (family member, case worker, etc.) paying for their stay at a halfway house, this money should go directly to the company/Owner, and not to the resident. Employment may be required as part of a residents stay, and there are certain high-risk jobs that should not be allowed by management. These include driving a cab, working at a bar, graveyard shifts, and working too many hours that the resident does not leave time to engage in their recovery effort. More information on typical fees can be read further down on this article. Responsibility- Most halfway houses require residents to attend what is called House Meetings. House Meetings should occur on specific days at specific times, for the purpose of reviewing how a resident is doing, if they are attending 12-Step meetings, counseling sessions (if offered), and any other issues that may have come up during their stay. Most good halfway houses require residents to attend either or both inside and off grounds 12-Step Meetings (Typically 12-Step attendance is a minimum of 1 per day initially, and at least 3 meetings per week as a maintenance level- most quality houses require a resident to have a sheet signed by the meeting chairperson stating the name of the meeting, day, date, and time). It is very important how a halfway house handles a residents free time (at least for the first 30 days), as new residents should only be allowed off grounds with a stable resident to go with them, and it should be noted if they are utilizing this privilege without abusing it. Typically, a new resident may be restricted to the unit for the first few days. After between 1 week and 30 days, if a resident has shown responsibility and accountability, a resident will be allowed more freedom, but keep in mind that a quality house should always have curfews in place regardless of length of stay. Most will have specific wake-up times. It is also important to find out how they handle visitations (family, friends, case workers, etc.) Free time includes going to off grounds 12-Step Meetings, working with a 12-Step Sponsor, working the 12-Steps, etc. Free time is extremely dangerous for a newly recovered person, so a good run house should have programs and activities to keep them occupied. Most require a resident to do chores (gardening, sweeping, cleaning, cooking, etc.) and these are usually done without pay. If a resident has a vehicle, it should be either paid for or they are making payments on it- these payments should be verified as being up to date. A resident must be properly and currently licensed to drive it, and the tags should be current as well. On another note, the level of care at a halfway house can vary greatly. Some offer the bare minimum- a bed with a roof over it. Others provide counseling, 12-Step Meetings, guidance, true random drug testing of their residents, food, and transportation to/from outside meetings, job coaching, training, placement, and many other services. The key is to find a halfway house that is run well, as well as one that meets your needs. Keep in mind that many who choose, or are placed into, a halfway house do get better and can stay sober, but this requires a combination of resident dedication and good management. Also keep in mind that halfway houses are not treatment centers, not a place of luxury, and definitely not responsible for a persons sobriety. Be aware of so-called flop houses which are just places to sleep without any supervision or accountability- these usually have high rates of failure/relapse. Some houses deal with dual diagnosis issues (substance abuse and mental health problems). Most provide a safe place, depending on the quality of the program, a facility manager and/or owner to oversee it, and some basic needs for the person living there. Please dont start checking out various halfway houses with the expectation of going to a country club, or more importantly, that everybody who is there is happy, healthy, and mature individuals- remember, they too are trying to get their lives together; some for the first time after decades of abusing alcohol and/or drugs- in other words, there is no perfect fit. If you are in need of detox services, this should be done with medical supervision- withdrawal can be deadly without the proper medical care in place- you may need to go to a separate place to detox safely before moving into a halfway house. If a halfway house provides detox, they should have qualified medical staff to deal with this issue- make sure you verify credentials. It helps to keep in mind why you are going to live at a halfway house... and that reason is, to be at a place that is alcohol and drug free, to be surrounded by people trying to build a better life for themselves, and a place that will keep an eye on you until you start to get on a successful path to making your life better. Keep this on your mind the whole time you are in a halfway house!!! Besides the basics provided, at a typical halfway house, be grateful if they provide anything else for you- remember your purpose for being there (to get a good shot at sobriety) and dont expect extras. There are many resources within each state to help you obtain a list of halfway houses near you (see resources below this article). Keep in mind that the lists provided to you contain mostly licensed facilities- a licensed facility does not mean they are better- just that they do a good job at paperwork and at paying licensing fees. A CASE IN POINT I had a very, very, very dear close friend named Bob (actually he was the best friend I ever had in my 50+ years on earth) and he had been sober for 6+ years. He took a relative, (who was actively using drugs) into his house to help him get his life back in order. As time went on, this relative and his influence took my friend Bob down the dark path of relapse. I worked as best I could with Bob, being that I was in Southern California and he was in Mesa, Arizona. Bob decided he had enough, and wanted to get clean again. Bob checked into a licensed halfway house and 1 day into staying at the house he had to pick up his last paycheck, so he could pay his rent at this halfway house. The halfway house let him leave alone, to get his check- a bad move on the managements decision to allow him to go by himself to do this (all they were concerned with was getting rent money from him) and so he picked up this large check and immediately got a hotel room, drugs, and proceeded to get high. Bob died in that hotel room. A quality run halfway house, licensed or not, would never have allowed him to do this, considering the risk, as a quality run halfway house would have arranged for the employer to mail the check, or that the House Manager or General Manager would have escorted Bob to the company and made Bob accountable and would never have permitted him to cash it and be left to his own devices- alcoholics/addicts are impulsive, especially early in their road to recovery- and Bob would have returned to the halfway house and the manager would have held his money to pay rent and also, hopefully, given him money to live on, but not enough to get high on. It is, in large part, the halfway houses part to intervene and assist a newcomer in making sound decisions instead of an impulsive weak moment that eventually lead to Bobs death. I continue to place a large amount of blame on this halfway house for playing a large role in my dear friends death. Had Bob been in a quality halfway house, licensed or not, he would still be alive today. There isnt a day that goes by that I dont miss my best friend. This article is dedicated to him in the hopes it doesnt get repeated. Additional Information A special amount of attention should be paid to the weekly costs and up front monies a particular halfway house charges to their residents. Typical average charges at halfway houses from state to state in the USA run from $90.00 to $150.00 per week. Some will take anybody in without upfront monies as long as the facility is reasonably confident the resident is either employed or employable and will be able to make their weekly rent payments and be able to make up for back rents. Some houses require up front monies prior to admission, a security deposit, and rent paid in advance. This may be a barrier to getting into certain facilities. There are no insurance companies that cover halfway house rents, unless the house provides specific treatment, counseling, etc., and even at this, it is difficult to get insurance companies to commit to extended periods of coverage. Also of concern, is if the resident is able to work- A Halfway House is a business, and overhead plays a big part in whether or not they can keep their doors open. It doesnt do much of anything if all the right pieces fall into place at a quality house, if they cant pay the bills. Many facilities go under, not because they dont care or want to help, but simply because they have too many residents who are not working, not enough residents, some who cant work, or are unable to cover and/or pay back the rent payments owed and/or the initial move in costs. So what can you expect for the amount of money you pay to a halfway house? This varies greatly. For some houses it is all-inclusive, meaning they provide everything from phone service, food, counseling, job seeking assistance, etc. For others, they may offer some or none of these services. Much has to do with whether you are going, or sending someone, to a 1/2 way house, or to a 3/4 house, or a sober living environment, recovery home, etc. (see additional information concerning this factor below). Typically, a Halfway House is for those just starting to get their life in order. A 3/4 house, sober living house, recovery home, etc. does not provide the intense monitoring of their residents. The residents pretty much go and do as they please, without meetings, UA tests, or signing in and out, as opposed to a quality run halfway house that should monitor all activities and services. It is best to check out what type of house you NEED and are interested in- this includes going to the possible house, talking to current residents, and checking out the outside as well as how the internal accountability (both for residents and managers/owners) factors are carried out on a daily basis. An additional word should be mentioned about the differences between a halfway house and a ¾ house, sober living home, recovery homes, etc. There is a distinct difference in all of these compared to a typical halfway house operation. First off, a halfway house is typically the place to go to, or be referred to, when someone has been actively using drugs, drinking alcoholically, or has been discharged from a treatment center or a prison for a non-violent drug offenders. It is not a detox ward, (unless they state this service is provided), as detox should be handled only by a medical facility run by professionals, (doctors, nurses, etc.). So, how do you know you are going to a quality run halfway house? This requires research, asking many, many, many questions directed to the owner and/or halfway house manager. NOTE: If they dont answer their phone calls or emails, dont return phone calls or emails, will not give you a tour, or have an attitude of indifference towards you for asking so many questions, it is best to find another place and start the process of finding a quality run halfway house all over again- keep in mind that you are literarily placing your very life into their hands, so you dont want to get this wrong.
How To Start Your House Flipping Business Step By Step : Want to start flipping houses but just dont know where to start? Do you need to set up a business? What type? What type of house flipping should you start with? What if you dont have much money? There are a million questions that can be asked. Theres so much information out there and its hard to know which is the right way to go and who to trust. Im going to cut through all of the confusion and show you how to get started in a step-by-step way. This is based on my experience and is my recommended path to getting the ball rolling. Step 1: Know Where You Want To Go We shouldnt just jump in our car and speed away without knowing where we are going. Thats crazy and a complete waste of time and money. Weve got to figure out our destination first. In my opinion, this is the single most important step in this process. You have to know your destination. It needs to be very clear and definite in your mind. An end goal of getting rich is too general and not definite enough to allow you to envision where you want to be. We need to figure out exactly what we want and how we want our lives to be so that we have a clear vision of what it is we are trying to achieve. Would you like to be able to take your family on vacations whenever you want and for as long as you want? Do you want to be able to earn profits instead of wages so that you can do this full-time and be in control of what you are doing and when? Do you want to be able to achieve all that you feel you are meant to achieve without waiting for someone to give you the opportunity? In order to do these things, we have to lay them out as specific goals. You can take getting rich and ask the right questions to figure out what you really want and why you want to flip houses. We could ask WHY we want to be rich. What would being rich do for us? What kind of things would you do if you were rich? What would your average day be like if you were rich? Answer these questions and write down your answers. Something about writing things down helps you to fully realize and remember your answers. Better yet, start a vision board. Figure out what your true dreams are and try to make them as specific and clear as possible. Try to have concrete goals that you can work towards. Narrow your focus. Step 2: Get Educated (dont overdo it) Now that we know our destination, we still shouldnt just jump in that car and peel out into the distance. That might be funny, but it would not be funny for very long. Especially when you find yourself lost and frustrated. We need to get educated so that we know the best way to get to our destination. We need to study the roads and figure out not only the shortest path, but the path with the least amount of traffic jams. The traffic jams in house flipping are the things that slow us down and make it more difficult for us to get to where we want to be. This can be things like having a ton of over-leveraged rental properties with non-paying tenants that are trashing the place and causing you to bleed money at a staggering pace. Youve probably already started your house flipping education. Well, I know you have because you are here reading this. At least you are in the right place! Thats a great start. That shows me you already know what you are doing so far. What do you need to learn and where can you learn it? In order to figure out what you need to learn, we need to figure out which house flipping strategy to focus on. Focus Your Energy On One Strategy There are a lot of strategies out there. Ive seen some really crazy and down right dangerous ones. Most typically just sound great and look good on paper but are super risky in reality. When you add the human factor to a lot of these strategies (tenants that dont pay and completely trash your house, unscrupulous investors and sellers, unforeseen costs and repairs, lawsuits, and list goes on and on), they are just not a good way to go. You have to get back to the basics. To the tried and true things that have been working for a long time for a lot of investors. My Recommended Starting Strategies (and I still use them myself) Starting with birddogging and wholesaling is the easiest way to get into flipping houses without much risk and with little to no money. These are the strategies that I feel you should focus on. I call these the strategies with the lowest entry costs in terms of time, money and experience. Give yourself a better chance of really making it by laser focusing on these two methods. Heck, just focus on one if you want. The great thing is that both of these can be learned quickly and interchanged for each deal as you see fit. Birddogging A birddog is someone that finds leads and gives these leads to an experienced investor to work. Heres how to do it: 1. You drive around and find vacant houses and send letters to the owners of the vacant houses. One of the owners calls you and tells you they are interested in selling the house. 2. You then tell another investor that has the ability to act quickly about the lead and he/she sets an appointment to see the house and makes an offer to the owner. 3. If they come to an agreement and the investor ends up buying the house, he/she will pay you a finders fee. This fee can be as much as $2,000 or more. I typically ask for $1,000 to $2,000 depending on how much potential I feel the deal has. I think most investors probably pay closer to $500 each if the leads are screened as well as I screen mine. What I mean by screening is just that I make sure the potential for a deal is really there. That the sellers have enough equity in the home and there are signs of motivation to sell. Some investors will pay small fees just for the lead (just giving the lead, whether they buy the house or not). Dont expect very much if this is the case (probably between $25-$50). Wholesaling Wholesaling is where you actually contract to buy a house and sell it as-is to another investor. There are several ways to wholesale, but in the spirit of having you narrow your focus, Im going to be discussing the assignment of contract alone. This is the strategy that involves the least risk and very little money. This is where you never take ownership of the house. Heres how to do it: So, if you find a deal where the house should sell for $100,000 and it needs $10,000 in repairs, you would want to buy it for $60,000 LESS THE AMOUNT YOU WANT TO CHARGE FOR THE ASSIGNMENT. If you want to be paid $5,000 for the assignment, simply buy it for $55,000 and offer it to an investor buyer for $60,000. Estimating repairs can be difficult in the beginning. At first, I sure was clueless when it came to what repairs cost. The best thing you can do is find a contractor (preferably one that has worked for house flippers) that can help you with the basic costs of normal repairs. Just sit down and make a list of normal repairs and what they typically cost. Some of the items can be priced based on square foot or linear feet. Market for leads (youll find out more about this further down in this article). Start taking calls and analyzing the leads. Most investor buyers are looking to purchase investment property at 70% of market value minus the cost to repair the property.The key with estimating repairs is that you will never get it the cost correct to the dollar. You are just trying to get a good estimate. Be conservative in your estimate. When you find what seems to be a deal that could work based on your analysis, you make the offer. If the seller accepts, you will sign a purchase and sale agreement (contract) with the seller that spells out the terms of the agreement. Most people use their own state approved contract for real estate transactions. I actually prefer a single page contract of my own that is straight and to the point. Most of the state contracts are full of CYA stuff for Realtors and tend to be 9 pages or longer. Talk about taking forever to get the contract signed! I dont enjoy explaining TIDE WATERS and other gobbledy-gook to sellers for several hours. Its important to make sure that your contract has and/or Assigns after the buyer name so that you can assign the contract. For the buyer name, you will use your name unless youve set up a DBA or company (read more about that below). In the beginning, its best to have an escape clause. This is where you have a statement in the contract that allows you to back out if you are unable to find a buyer for it. The clause should be simple and could be something like, This agreement is subject to further inspection of the property by the buyer. If the contract you are using has a section for a termination option, you can use that. This is typically used by buyers to pay a certain amount to be able to terminate the deal if they are not happy with the inspection or other aspect of the deal within an agreed upon amount of time. Once you have the house contracted, you take it to a title company and have it receipted. This is where you pay the earnest money you agreed to with the seller (I typically only pay $10 or $25 for earnest money. Its not a big deal unless you make it seem like a big deal (remember that). Contact your buyers and let them know about the deal. You will end up finding out who the serious buyers are by doing this. You really only want to work with buyers that take action quickly and let you know whether they want the deal or not. Dont waste your time with people that ask a million questions, like whether the bathroom toilet needs to be replaced. You are selling at a deep discount so those matters are irrelevant. Dont waste your time with these people.After a while you will develop a short list of go-to people that you can call and tell about the property. Its best to try and give them 12-24 hours each to see if they want the deal (one at a time of course). If they know there will be a lot of competition, they may not want to waste their time. If they know they have first dibs, they will be more than willing to check it out. Once youve found your ready, willing and able buyer (must be able to close by the date you specified in your contract with the seller), you will sign an assignment of contract form with them. This is just a single page contract (you can download a copy of mine here: Flipping Houses Resources Page. This assignment contract will then be taken to the same title company where you receipted the purchase contract. You could get a non-refundable deposit from the buyer to help ensure that they are serious. Good buyers will not hesitate to do this if it is a good deal. Non-refundable deposits can be as much as you want, but are typically $1,000-$2,000. When the deal closes, the title company will cut you a check for your assignment fee. Congratulations! Youve just made several thousand dollars without even owning the house. There is an alternative way to do this. This involves finding investor buyers and figuring out what types of deals they want and marketing and directing your efforts to find those types of deals. This way you can find exactly what they want so that you already have a ready and willing buyer. These investors might also help you analyze each deal so that you are buying at a price that makes sense for them (and of course you get the house for a little cheaper so as to cover your assignment fee! You do want to make some money for your efforts, dont you?) Theres no wrong or right way to go about it. Its really up to you as to which one fits better for you. You can try one method and then switch to the other or work at doing both at the same time. Your choice. This doesnt cover every possibility, but its a great introduction and good starting point for you to know what you need to learn about the process. Stay focused my friend. What if you stand to make a HUGE assignment fee? Good for you. If your end buyer doesnt like it, find another buyer. You are the one with the deal. If its a problem for them that you stand to make a lot of money for simply assigning the deal, tell them tough cookies. Thats the way its going to be. Simple as that. Why I Dont Recommend Rentals and Rehabbing - IN THE BEGINNING Rentals Some people want to start out by picking up rentals. The reason why I dont recommend that is because you should really have a certain level of cash reserves in case your places get trashed and go vacant, or tenants just stop paying and you have to spend a lot of time and money just getting them out. Rentals dont generate the kind of quick cash that wholesaling and birddogging can. Rehabbing Rehabbing is another one that I feel is better to start after gaining experience in wholesaling. This way you get a lot of experience in determining what the right prices are to buy the properties and in determining the repair costs, holding costs, selling costs and any other costs involved when rehabbing houses. Theres a lot more risk when rehabbing. If you start by wholesaling you might even end up developing a relationship with a local rehabber that can then help you to make the transition to rehabbing. Stay Focused Dont keep buying course after course trying to find that new secret way to do this easily. It doesnt exist and you are just putting off getting out of your comfort zone. Focus on one strategy, learn as much as you can about it and start taking action to gain experience and make a real go at it. Doing this will separate you from 95-99% of other people. Where To Learn Here, of course, is the best place. Im only slightly biased. But, you should also spend some time on the incredible forums over at Bigger Pockets and REIClub. These are great places to really fill in a lot of the gaps. I wanted to talk about figuring out where to start first, because when you spend time on the forums you will tend to get pulled in a lot of directions. You have to go in with a specific question to get answered. Search for answers to your specific questions and TRY NOT TO GET SIDE-TRACKED. People tend to get side-tracked easily because its easier (MORE COMFORTABLE) to just keep learning other things than to actually TAKE ACTION. Dont fall into that trap. Stay focused. Incidentally, the NUMBER ONE place to learn is on the streets. You will learn more hands down by taking action and finding out what you need to know. You dont have to know everything about a topic to get started. You should educate yourself on the basics and GET STARTED. Taking action will put you out of your comfort zone. It will be uncomfortable, but only in the beginning. Step 3: Start Marketing Youve got to find deals and you need to find buyers to buy those deals. Im a firm believer that it is much easier to find awesome deals by targeting motivated sellers. You arent looking for the right houses as much as you are really looking for the right sellers. A lot of new people think the only way to start is to find a real estate agent and have them find listed deals for them. Theres simply too much competition and the deals tend to be too slim. Its possible to work it this way, but why when it is much easier dealing directly with motivated homeowners. Marketing For Buyers It would benefit you to start immediately looking for cash investors. These are the people that you will try to sell your leads and/or deals to. Typically, rehabbers (people that fix up the houses and sell them) and landlords are going to be the people you want to find. These are the ones that are always looking for fixer upper houses, the kind you will be finding. Other wholesalers can also be great people to network with. If you are having trouble moving one of your deals, you can see if theyve got a buyer that would be interested. You would work out a split of the profits with the wholesaler if they do find a buyer for your deal. Here are some excellent places and ways to find buyers: • Local Real Estate Investor Association (REIA) meetings • Calling we buy houses advertisers (call numbers on bandit signs, yellow pages, online, etc) • Marketing your deals - you do want to market your wholesale deals (bandit signs, newspaper ads, craigslist ads, etc) • Have a Realtor look up investment properties that were sold recently and find who bought them • Calling For Rent signs • Driving neighborhoods where you want to invest and looking for houses being rehabbed Marketing For Sellers To find deals, I recommend marketing directly to motivated sellers. This is the We Buy Houses type of advertising. You are trying to find people that have a house they need to sell. This does not just mean people facing foreclosure, which is what most people immediately think of when talking about motivated sellers. There are a lot of other reasons that people will sell their house at deep discounts. These reasons could include (and are certainly not limited to): • House needs a lot of repairs the owner cannot afford to make • Person inherits a house and would rather have cash • Landlord is sick and tired of dealing with their rental property • Owner needs to relocate and sell their house fast • Divorce situation where the single owner cannot afford the house • Owner just doesnt want the hassle of selling their house the conventional way I could list the techniques on how to do this marketing, but a much better way would be to show you what I do and how I do it. And, in case you didnt already know, Ive blogged about 34 weeks of all the marketing I did and the leads that came in. Be sure to check out the first and second weeks on my blog where I show my marketing. Step 4: Start Building Your Team As you start to find and work deals, you will find it necessary to have good people on your team. These are not employees. Rather, they are people like a great closer (title company), real estate attorney, contractor (to help determine repair costs), accountant (hopefully you will need this as it means you are making money!), and a real estate agent (some are worth their weight in gold). Step 5: Set Up Your Company Heres a question that comes up a lot. People tend to get themselves stuck on these kinds of questions (including myself, in the beginning) and I think it is because it really is just another excuse to not get started. NOTE: I am not an attorney, nor am I an accountant, and I dont play one on the internet. Im not giving legal or financial advice so take these suggestions for what theyre worth. When you are starting out, there is no problem with just using your name. As long as you are conducting business in an ethical manner, there really is nothing to worry about. DBA or LLC? My suggestion is to wait until youve done a deal or two and then set up an LLC. If you want to check into which entity would be best for tax purposes, contact a competent accountant/tax person (try to get a referral from a successful investor if you can). For asset protection, contact a good real estate attorney. In the beginning, I did business with an assumed name (DBA - Doing Business As) because we were actually closing on the houses and I didnt want my name on record. When birddogging and assigning contracts, you dont take ownership at all, so this isnt an issue. Step 6: Get A Business Bank Account If you do set up a company or DBA, you should set up a business bank account. Remember, this is a business bank account and should never be used for anything other than your business. You dont want to end up with problems because you werent running your business like a business. The protections that a business provides can be eliminated if you do not run it like a business. So dont be spending money from your business account on something that is for personal use. You should consider whether you want to start one with a large national bank or a small local bank. Theyre definitely not the same. Ill discuss some of the benefits and negatives of each. Large National Bank Large national banks can be more convenient. They tend to have more options in the way of online banking and apps. The negatives that really, really grind my gears is that everything is done by their rules. What I mean is that when you try to call to find out one simple thing, you end up in a crazy labyrinth of a menu system... only to end up being hung up on just when you think you reached the right person. Another issue is that you cant typically go in and talk directly with a decision maker when it comes to a loan. Small Local Bank Small local banks are not as convenient when it comes to having branches all over the country (obviously) and online banking and apps that do as much as the large ones (though this seems to be changing quickly). The biggest benefit to the small banks is the ability to build relationships and the ease with which customer service is handled. Those are enough for me. We still bank with a large, national bank, but that will probably be changing soon. I cant even deal with them anymore. Anytime there is a problem, Melissa (my wife) has to handle it. And I thank her very much for that. Step 7: Grow Your Business When you start making money, be sure to reinvest it back into your business. OK, you should use a small part of it to celebrate your success. But the rest needs to go back into marketing and building your company. The first years are the most difficult and you have to do your best to build a strong company. Spending money on marketing can be hard at first. It sure becomes easier after youve made a couple grand with a simple birddog deal or several grand wholesaling a house. Dont be afraid to spend money on marketing. Make sure you are always planning your strategy and keeping an eye on your goals. Please be sure to figure out why you really want to do this. Step 1 above is the most important of all of these steps. Believe me. Rehabbing Rehabbing is where you close on a property, fix it up and sell it to an end buyer that is either going to live in it or rent it out. The logical progression for most people is to go from birddogging, to wholesaling, to rehabbing. With rehabbing you will need a source of money, insurance, contractors, patience, design sense, creativity, a desire to turn a dump into a beautiful home. Did I mention patience? Good.
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