Brains, Guts and Talent

Let’s Use All of the above as a cash substitute

Bill Fell

Who do you pay out money to without a qualm?  It’s to those who provide services or products that you need and cannot provide for yourself.  Among them you find doctors, dentists, lenders, managers, salespeople, title agents, attorneys, etc. You also pay finder fees, repair bills, lawn service, pest and termite control services, mechanics, stock, real estate, and loan brokerage fees.  In short, you pay for needed talent, skills, and services that you can’t provide for yourself.  Doesn’t it make sense that you can also earn fees by providing services in today’s economy that are urgently needed by others who have no choice but to pay you for them?

You may not be qualified to provide professional services but if you can find a really good real estate opportunity, you can tie it up with a Recorded Option Contract and sell your contract for a profit to those who can’t find these opportunities, I remember earning fees both as a house salesman and a “Buyer’s Broker” until I discovered that I could make a lot more money with less liability selling options that I’d obtained for just a $100 bill.  How?  I figured that people who could not sell their house by themselves were happy to list with a broker and pay him/ her a fee for selling it.  The broker didn’t always get them as much money as they wanted and the money they did get was reduced by unforeseen settlement costs and fees.  When I offered to buy or sell their house for a guaranteed fixed dollar amount net to them, many of them were willing to accept my non-refundable $100 in return for a six month Option Contract.

Of course, I had to know how much I could pay them and still make a profit after all expenses; so I had to be able to figure out their loan balance and be able to subtract it from the amount I could sell their house for before I had even found a buyer.  By setting my option price at 80% of the fair market appraised value, I had a 20% cushion before I had to abandon all my efforts plus my $100 and walk away.  You would think that competition for these deals would have been intense, but competing brokers and investors wouldn’t bet on their own market savvy and pricing.  I made about six times as much profit as a broker’s fee because I was willing to risk a measly $100.  Today I don’t even risk that.  I put up much more, perhaps $2,000 to secure the option, but it is all done with a Right Of First Refusal Option.  Today in the markets that I do business, the prices have changed by tens of thousands of dollars; but the amount needed to give you the time you need to sell on a Recorded Option Contract might be less than $1,000.  Why?  Because I have found that today’s sellers are less sensitive to earnest money deposits.

Try to remember that currently our American value system is heavily skewed toward “image over substance.”  In many cases, people value their cars more than the equity in their home.  The evidence of this is all around us.  Drive by an upscale apartment complex and look at all the expensive cars, suvs, and trucks.  It’s clear to me that these residents must value their cars ahead of home ownership on their personal priority scale.  Many times debtors keep car payments current by missing home payments.  I once optioned a house by agreeing to make payment on a truck that the owner didn’t want to lose.  I made the payments for him, but the deal was every payment counted 100% toward the equity of the house. As his truck declined in value, my option equity increased in value.  I made those F-150 payments for two years and three months then closed on my option, as I just mentioned, my equity went up along with the appreciation on the house.  He couldn’t stop thanking me for saving his truck. I said, “Your welcome, and perhaps we can do it again in the future.”

In conclusion, focus on foreclosed owners.  Every house that is foreclosed generates potential buyers and tenants. Whether or not the sale is postponed, the occupant of the house being foreclosed is soon going to need another home. To the extent it can be obtained at an affordable price in the same neighborhood, there is a high probability that any vacancies you have can be filled with foreclosed owners who have learned the hard way that government promises won’ help and that payments must be made on time.  Perhaps you could offer to pay moving costs to relocate them from their foreclosed house to your rental.  You might make the same deal with a buyer to get him to buy your house with creative seller financing.  If he can afford the payments, there should be very little sales resistance.  Best of all, nobody that I am aware of in this market is willing, able, and ready to offer this deal; especially the foreclosing lender or a broker/agent who is only focused on miniscule fees.

By using your brains, gut, talent, and being creative, you can create a selling monopoly as I did in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

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