Author: Vena Jones-Cox (20 articles found) - Clear Search


The Most Important Thing You Will Ever Read About Being a Private Lender

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Note: laws and regulations regarding the advertising, registering, and formalization of private loans vary enormously state-to-state. Generally, these rules apply to the borrower rather than the lender, but even lenders should be aware of what the laws in your state say about these transactions. Of course, this article is not intended as legal, accounting, or other professional advice. Always consult with your legal, accounting, or other professional before making any investment.  Further, nothing in this article should be construed as an offering or solicitation of security.

Private lending is a strategy in which even moderate-income investors can easily get involved.

There are plenty of real estate entrepreneurs and rehabbers who want to borrow your money; if you let it be known you have as little as $20,000 to lend in most markets, someone will be right there ready to put that cash to work.

If all goes as it’s supposed to, it’s a truly hand-off investment; you just sit back and collect checks. And the return is oh-so-much-better than other fixed-rate investments; you can expect to average around 6-8% per year total (because higher rate loans are generally also shorter term; when you loan money to a rehabber at 12% but he only uses that money 9 mon
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At What Kind of Real Estate Will You Be “Best”?

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Our business fascinates me.

Whether it’s creative deals or watching how REIA groups develop and maintain individual cultures or observing how different types of people react to the pressures and rewards of being real estate entrepreneurs, I find myself filing, categorizing, reorganizing, and contemplating where real estate investing fits in the bigger world, and how the people in it behave.

One of the things that I started to notice a few years back is that certain people seem to be drawn like a magnet to steel to certain strategies in the real estate business. And from what I can tell from working one on one with students, these tendencies appear to precede any actual exposure to real estate education and strategies.

Before I explain more (and potentially affect your answer to this question), let’s do a little thought experiment.

First, try to gain some neutrality about whatever money “things” are going on for you right now. If you have bills due that you can’t pay, or just saw your social security retirement statement and realized that you can’t possibly live on that, or just got a bonus at work and are feeling flush, try to chill about it for a moment. Close your e
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3 Tips for Building the Relationships that Build Your Business

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If you don’t think that real estate investing is a relationship business, you haven’t been paying attention. 

It’s your connections with other investors that bring you the local knowledge, the referrals to the right professionals, the money, the partnerships, and the deals that let you prosper now, and for years to come.   

But these relationships don’t ‘just happen’ for most people. You have to be intentional about building and maintaining them, just like you’re intentional (I hope) about building a rental portfolio, or a buyer’s list, or a marketing plan.   

COREE exists, in large part, to provide a platform for you to find and interact with like-minded folks who can encourage and help you be successful, but you have to do your part, too. Here are some tips for the 95% of us who aren’t just natural ‘connectors’:  

  1. Be intentional about your professional development. There’s no job you can have or business you can be in where your value isn’t enhanced by knowing more. 

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9 Habits of Highly Effective Investors

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In my 25+ years in the real estate business, I bet I've met more than 100,000 investors at all levels of knowledge and experience. Some have become amazingly successful, while others have lost steam or experienced dramatic failures.

During this time, I've noticed that there are certain characteristics that come with real estate investing success. As a matter of fact, that I have come to believe that I can predict with fair accuracy whether a particular investor will be successful. All I have to do is find out a little about their attitudes and actions, and I'll know what their chances of becoming successful are.

Before I outline the specific characteristics that I've found in successful investors, I’d like to define what I mean by "successful investor".

A successful investor is NOT the person who owns the most properties or does the most deals, or who has the most zeros in his net worth.

A successful investor is simply a person who knows what he wants - financially, personally, and in terms of what he wants to contribute to the world - and successfully uses real estate investing as a way to get those things. For a successful real estate investor, real estate is a means to an end, not an end u
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We Baked a Bigger Pie

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I don’t know if ya’ll really understand what it’s like out there in the cold, hard real estate investing world.

Apparently, it’s lonely, nasty, and a cutthroat, and more than a little sad and desperate.

From everything I read on the various social media sites and groups, there are an awful lot of so-called real estate entrepreneurs who truly believe that the “pie” is only this big, and that everyone else is protecting their piece with barbed wire and brass knuckles, and that to carve out your piece, you have to beg for crumbs, or pay a fortune, or take away someone else’s piece by snaking their sellers or stealing their private lenders or bribing their tenants to call the building department on them so that they’ll be motivated to sell.

Seriously, I’ve heard all of that complained about, or bragged about, or recommended as a strategy.

It seems as though “they” think that experienced investors don’t want to share their secrets (unless they get paid 5- or 6-figure sums of money), and that new investors are all leeches looking for success without work, or investment in their own educations, or offering anything in return for all the things&md
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YAFTAX

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Years ago, when I was just a wee little newbie, there was a guy who belonged to my local REIA group who always wore a button to the meetings that said YAFTAX.

This fellow was one of the big dogs—owned lots of rentals, had been in the group forever, was on the board, all that intimidating stuff—but after a few months, I finally got up the nerve to ask him what YAFTAX was.

He smiled at me and said, “Say it out loud”. I said, “Yaf-tax. Ya-af-tax. Ohhhhhh. Ya have to ask”.

He went on to explain that he attributed his success largely to his willingness to ask for ANYTHING from a seller. A lower price, better financing, leave the furniture, whatever it took to make the deal work for him, whether or not he thought the seller would say yes.

That’s turned out to be one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned.

It’s so easy to “think for your seller” and assume that he won’t be interested in what you can do for him—especially when that seller has already told you that what works for him is something completely different. If you ask for what you need, he may very well say “No”. But if you don’t ask,
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4 Crucial Things “They” Never Tell You

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An interesting thing happens when people become successful real estate investors: like any true convert, they start to want to proselytize. And one of the primary characteristics of any good missionary is the desire to emphasize the good and de-emphasize the downsides of one’s religion.

Have you ever noticed that most successful investors remember their early years in real estate as “not that hard”, or “scary, but doable”? Yet if you ask a new investor who’s in the midst of trying to find his first few deals, he’ll more than likely describe this time as “terrifying”, “overwhelming” or “nearly impossible”.

Remember, dear readers, that your mentors and colleagues are (for the most part) not deceiving you intentionally unless they’re trying to sell you something. It’s just that they want you to succeed as they’ve succeeded, and that, now that doing deals is second nature, they’ve honestly forgotten a lot of what it was like to struggle in the early years. You may have been guilty of this yourself: I know I’ve been. But unlike most of you, I have a forum from
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Drop Your Rock

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One of the profound things in the real estate business—so profound that it takes DECADES to learn—is that you’re always a beginner. And the way that you handle your successive begginerhoods has a huge effect on how successful you become, and how quickly. I’ve been a beginner—like a full-on, I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing—at least 6 different times since I started in real estate. I was a beginner when I started buying properties.

I was a beginner again when I started wholesaling properties, and when I decided to buy apartment buildings, and when I decided to hire a staff and create systems for my business, and when I got serious about IRA investing. I’m, right this second, a beginner at AirBnB ownership.

My biggest mistake in 4 of the 6 beginnerhoods I just mentioned was the same: I let ego and overconfidence and introversion get in the way of my learning process. 

There’s a concept in Zen Buddhism called Shoshin, or “Beginner’s Mind”. It describes a state of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconception about the right way to approach a new idea or experience.  

I didn’t have that.

Instead, I was VERY interested—embarrassingly interested, in retrospect—in letting the people around me know that I knew a LOT. That I was SMART. That I was SUCCESSFUL. 

Yes, even before I’d done any deals on my own. An
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“The Street” is Our Best Source of News

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       The differences between what I’m SEEING as I research the data for our upcoming market update series and what I’m HEARING from buyers, sellers, and colleagues is kind of stunning.

       For instance, all the data I can find says that foreclosures are only back to their 2020 levels—but I’m seeing in my own seller calls and hearing from others that there’s been a HUGE increase in the number of sellers who are WAY more behind than we’ve seen in a decade, and who aren’t qualifying for modifications, and who in fact are sort of being abused by their lenders in the sense that when they ask for payoffs or reinstatement numbers, they’re not getting them.

       The data sources say that properties are selling faster than ever, but I’m hearing from retailers that the days on market (to an accepted offer) has doubled, and that the number of accepted offers that ‘fall out of escrow’ has increased a lot, and that properties that are priced too high don’t get offers anymore, and that smart retailers are being way more conservative in how they’re buying and how they’re pricing their finished deals.


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Are You Out of Your Mind? You’d Better Be, if You Want to Get Deals

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          If you don’t understand what’s funny about this line of thought, look again, because you may have the same problem. The investor is so focused on what the INVESTOR wants that he apparently hasn’t even bothered to find out what the SELLER’S story is.

          In fact, it’s a BIG PROBLEM when we get so focused on our strategies and our goals and our desire to get a deal done that, we completely forget that unless what our strategy has to offer meets the needs of our sellers, THERE IS NO DEAL.

          Jumping ahead to “How do I write up a creative deal” before you know what the seller owes, why she’s selling, and whether taking payments would meet her goals is putting the proverbial cart before the proverbial horse. Worrying about finding a buyer for property x before you know that the seller will take a wholesale price for property x is torturing yourself for no reason.

         And it’s easy to make assumptions about seller motivation: that a seller in foreclosure will always want to sell; that a seller who inherited a house doesn’t want it; that a seller with building o
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