First Line Manager – Know Thyself

In the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi are the words, “Know Thyself.” This is an admonition to people to remember they are not God; and, to enter the Temple with humility. Ben Franklin said, “There are three things extremely hard; steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.” Most first line managers struggle to define themselves.”Knowing myself,” as a manager is a challenge for me. This challenge started when I was twenty-four, and is still a challenge for me today. I have made progress. I know first line managers are all different; we come to the job with different expectations and experiences. I bet most of us know we have to define ourselves to the people we manage. To do this, we must first know ourselves. I am a first line manager and have been since 1971, except for two years. I can give you my perspective on some of my learning moments. I hope you can gain some insight in my progression to “knowing myself.”Being a General Manager of three motels taught me; the more managers you have between you and employees, the further you are away from the actions of the employees in the departments. I know I must transfer my energy through managers to have an impact on their department employee actions. This is hard to do. My expectations are high. I hired a college fraternity buddy of mine to manage the restaurant in my first motel. He was not effective. We discussed his lack of performance in my office. He started to cry. I learned I did not want to manage my friends. Also, I learned, I did not like being removed from the employees on the front line. This is my first realization; I missed being a front line manager. I was the restaurant manager and the General Manager of the last motel I managed. This is the best of worlds, a general manager and a first line manager.From 1976 to 1978, I work as a Territory Sales Manager for a chemical company. I am just responsible for my actions. There are no employee problems. The only employee I must motivate is me. This is easy. Each morning I get in the seat of the car at seven o’clock. I work my daily sales plan. The first year I have a forty percent sales increase in my territory. This is a lonesome job. I am alone each day; just me, a sales bag, and a car. My second realization, I miss the manager’s role; that is, working with employees to accomplish company goals. Even thought I am successful selling, I prefer managing people.Years later, the Vice President of my division said we need to get you to the corporate headquarters for more experience, my prompt answer, “I do not want to go.” I know I will not survive at the corporate headquarters, might as well admit it. I am sure this ended my journey up the corporate ladder. I am where I want to be; a first line manager, close to employees and customers.Thus, I know, I want to manage employees that are close to the customer. Even with all the issues involved with the job. Some first line managers do not come to this point and dislike handling all the issues with being a manager. Maybe they are in the wrong job.This is the point. Being true to myself makes me happy and passionate about my job.”Know Thyself.” then, “To thyself be true.”

The Real Estate Investor’s Creative Financing Ideas

Finding Financing – Creative Ideas

For many years, the way to finance real estate was to make a 20% down payment, and get a loan for the remaining 80%. Of course you could make a higher down payment, but 20% was typically the minimum. Luckily, this standard has changed.

There are now several finance options available to the real estate investor. One popular way to finance your purchase is to have a second mortgage. The buyer makes a 5% down payment, and borrows the remaining 15%, usually at a higher interest rate, on a different loan.

Even though it’s nice to invest less on a property, the higher interest rate isn’t the only drawback. Usually, if the buyer does not meet the 20% minimum, they are required to get costly private mortgage insurance (PMI).

You are able to remove PMI when the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio reaches 80%. This is achieved by paying down the second mortgage and appreciation of the property value. This does not happen often because the property is usually sold or the buyer refinances before PMI can be removed.

For creative investors, other financing sources exist. Manufacturers of homes in planned developments are often willing to provide financing to early buyers.

Another risky and rather complicated way of financing a property is called ‘sub2′ which stands for ‘subject-to’. This type of deal is when the seller gives you the deed to the property, the loan stays in place, but the buyer never legally takes over the loan, just the payments. There are many different versions of this kind of transaction. Because of the complexity and risk, this method of funding an investment is not recommended for beginners.

You can also consider forming a limited partnership to finance your real estate investment. There are many different arrangements on this method. Some types involve each person in the partnership contributing in a portion of the cost, usually 50% each. However, sometimes the profit is distributed relative to the original amount invested. Another arrangement is that one half of the partnership contributes the capital, and the other half provides the needed services, such as repairs on a home that needs to be fixed. There are many different variations of this method.

How about the Lease Option? The lease-option allows a potential investor to lease the property and have some, or all, of the lease money applied to the purchase price if the potential buyer exercised the option to purchase. The investor then sub-leases the property with the option to buy or just rent it out.

In a conventional lease with option to buy, the seller charges the buyer a nonrefundable fee for the option to purchase the property at some agreed-upon point in time. The amount can vary depending on how eager the seller is to sell and the size and quality of the house. Typically, the higher the fee, the better the buyer maintains the property.

Because the lessee has made no down payment, the monthly rental fee is typically higher than prevailing market rates. The two parties agree on what portion of the rent will be applied to the down payment. Any amount can be credited.

Government loans are available to low income investors, or buyers who have served in the military. These programs are usually only available for primary residences.

Did you ever think about buying a home on a credit card? This is another method of financing your real estate purchase, although it’s usually not recommended. Obviously, the interest rates on most credit cards are substantially higher than loan rates. Another drawback is that lenders determine your creditworthiness based on your outstanding debt, and if you use credit card cash advances to cover the 5-20% down payment that you need, you’ll probably get turned down for a loan. This is also true for money borrowed from friends or family, unless you can show that the money is truly a gift.

How to Find a Great Realtor to Run Your Property “Comparables” (Comps)

Establishing value on your property is critical. Skill number one above all other skills to master.

The most important aspects of being a real estate investor is the ability to establish value on houses or properties you are considering buying, wholesaling, or flipping. Irregardless of location, be it California, New York, Houston, or Dallas its a must know skill to learn in time.

But how do you master comping property if you do not have Multiple Listing Service (MLS) access? How can you practice and practice running comps (like I have until you breeze through it), looking at land, comparing variables like year built, location, lot square feet, bed and baths, subdivision and lastly what is the property next too? Is it next to a commercial center, stinky ranch or pig farm or a nice area with a creek or lake? These factors are important to know in learning to master running comps on property.

Before you can become proficient with running comps you need MLS access from a realtor if you are not one already. And this is how you do it. You want to find a realtor you know on a personal level, maybe a friend, friend of the family, or relative. If you don’t have a realtor on hand you need to make friends with one.

This is how you go about making friends and getting MLS access. Drive for dollars and find a vacant, boarded up house ones you want to consider buying or wholesaling. Find two or three, then call a few Realtors up tell them you are real estate buyer or investor and need a good realtor to buy through and run comps.

Start off only giving them a few addresses to comp then a week later give them a few more, meanwhile take them out to coffee get to know them, their likes dislikes, hobbies, etc. Form a relationship with them. A week later give them a few more comps to run, be sure the houses are in your actual buying areas of interest. In other words make sure its real comps of real houses. Its one way to get to know your platinum areas.

Phone your realtor talk to him or her about the houses he or she comped. Make the chat a casual conversation. Ask them if they would like you to refer them (realtor) to the sellers who want to list. Of course the realtor will say yes! Let them know not all sellers you meet are desperate or motivated sellers and some simply need a good realtor to list with.

Then when a seller does not want to sell ask them if they would like to talk to your realtor to see if listing is right for them. Call the Realtor and give them the seller’s name, phone, address, and the condition of the house. This will show the realtor you are serious. No one works for free. Keep track of those referrals maybe the realtor will give you a small finders fee once listed and sold, just don’t ask for one at this point. Your sole goal is MLS access! The gold standard of running comps.

Somewhere in the discussions you are giving them the comps to run, they start to get a bit overwhelmed at the extra work load of running the comps for you. This is what you want. They need to realize in the back of their minds without you mentioning it, they should just give you MLS access.

However, when you feel its a good time tell them you can “save them time buy getting MLS access as an “real estate assistant” or such, just whatever is easier for them” which they can ethically do. This is why, they have real estate assistants who run comps for them, look up properties on the MLS and help out in the office for them.

If you are giving them leads they are going to be more than happy to give you the access you need once you establish trust with them. It is wise to be working about 2-3 Realtors at once to see who is actually a big picture or forward thinker. Do this until they get you the MLS access. Do this until you can speak their language. Do this until you get your MLS access. But stay in touch with the other Realtors, because you never know when you will need them too.

Let this soak in a bit and see if it helps you to get the MLS access you need. Zillow or no other comp service is worth a darn, hey its hard enough to establish value with the MLS as it is. Some Realtors will say they can run the comps but a realtor see’s comps through a different light than the investor. Here is one major difference, WE write the $200,000 check to BUY the house, Realtors only list the house. We better be right-on with our comps! Get it!?! So they see running comps through a different pair of glasses, and this is one of many reasons why you need the actual MLS access yourself.