No this is not one of those late night infomercial scams!
If you are a law enforcement officer, firefighter, EMT, or teacher listen up! You can get a guaranteed 50% off a home if you live in it as a primary residence for 36 months! Guaranteed by the US government! 50 freaking percent! You can’t own any other property, though, so we are unable to do it.
The ONLY drawbacks I see are limited selection of homes and being locked in living there for 36 months. For the right person, this is the chance to get a HUGE discount on a home though.
Go here for more details: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/reo/goodn/gnndabot
Read time: 2 minutes
For the last month and a half or so, I have been putting my blood, sweat, and tears into fixing up this house. Here are the results of my efforts:
Photos: Before and After
Here’s a spreadsheet of every cost I have incurred.
All this info will be in the left sidebar for future reference. Since this was my first “major” rehab, I learned a lot during the process of fixing this house up as compared to the first two, which were relatively easier. Besides new skills such as laying laminate flooring and tile work (and dealing with mold!), I learned a lot about the management side of this business. I know I can’t do all the work myself, and shouldn’t. Ideally, I would do very little of the work, and hire most of it out and still be in the green. Eventually I am going to want my properties to be managed to make this whole thing even more passive.
Besides stuff related to construction and business, I learned a lot about relationships as well. A friend who has been helping me had to suddenly cut back on his hours due to his significant other and personal situation. It helped me realize that I am in an amazing relationship with an amazing woman and have it way better than most married guys. Heck I’m even going back to Vegas in December without her. Whether you’re married or not, enjoy the personal freedoms you’ve been given and appreciate the time you have with your loved ones. Being away from my wife for nearly 2 months has helped me learn to appreciate the time we have together even more.
Kind of went off on a tangent there, but I have learned a lot about many different aspects of business and life through this house. I am hoping it goes well with renting it out and I’m ready to move on to the next adventure. Every house has been a unique experience and I look forward to what the future holds! 🙂
Read time: 90 seconds
The Haunted House had a decent amount of mold in the sheet rock, as you can see. We cut out two foot tall sections of the entire infested walls. I have read a lot of conflicting information out there, but would like to document my process and will see if it ends up working in the end.
First some basic facts on mold. Almost every house has mold in it. It’s just when the humidity gets above 60% for extending periods of time or there is some source of constant water, does the mold proliferate profusely. The key to controlling mold is controlling the humidity/water. This may be obvious, but I wanted to throw it out there. This is also why it is very important to let your tenants know the importance of telling you if there is a water leak, whether from a pipe, drain, or the roof, immediately so your little problem doesn’t become a big one!
Also, not all black mold is the really bad kind. In fact, the chances are in your favor that you don’t have the bad kind. I have read conflicting information on whether bleach kills mold. After reading about it, I am still unsure of its effectiveness, although I did use it to deal with the mold this time.
Basically what we did first was remove all the mold-covered sheet rock. Before that I sprayed down the sheet rock with 100% bleach I put in a spray bottle (didn’t dilute it as recommended!). We found out the mold was on the studs as well, so I did my best to clean it up. I basically went to town on spraying everything and wiping up all the visible mold with paper towels. I also got a “mold control” spray from Lowe’s and drenched all suspected areas with that solution as well. After multiple rounds of spraying both solutions on all the suspected areas, we used a paint sprayer and sprayed oil-based kilz to seal in the mold in the studs.
I’m sure this is not the “correct” or recommended method by far. I just wanted to document my findings and actions, and will update this post, perhaps years later, if the mold returns or doesn’t. As I said before, the key is moisture control. I am actually going to get a dehumidifier as well to make sure everything is nice and dry. We need to do some landscaping outside, also, to prevent water from coming into the house from runoff from a nearby hill.
If any of you have experience with mold and have either removed it successfully or unsuccessfully, feel free to share your experience for everyone’s benefit!
Read time: 2 minutes
I wanted to take the time to write a little about my experiences with real estate. As you can see on the sidebar to the left, I own a few houses and have another in the works. I actually closed on my third house today. If you have read The Millionaire Fastlane, one of the paths to wealth is through intentional iteration, and more specifically, through real estate. Basically you build yourself a stream of income through the rents you will collect. You can refinance and pull out the equity you build in the houses in order to get more houses. Wash, rinse, repeat. You can also “flip” houses, but I am following the buy, hold, rent strategy for now.
While I eventually plan on getting into a business of some sort, I plan to buy enough houses to sustain myself without having to get a “job” per se. My goal is 10 houses by 2016, and I am well on my way thus far.
If you are thinking about getting into real estate, I highly recommend the book, The Weekend Millionaire’s Secrets to Investing in Real Estate by Mike Summey and Roger Dawson. The title sounds cheesy, but it has very good advice, and even an action plan so you get out there and do something. The NOI spreadsheet I use is basically identical to the one in the book.
Also, I had literally ZERO construction experience before purchasing my first house. You learn things pretty quickly and if you can even work alongside the people you hire, you will learn so much and become quite handy.
I hope to write many more articles on RE with tips, tricks, and advice in a simple format and get you to take action if you are serious about getting into it. One of the tips in The Weekend Millionaire that I haven’t been following is to hire a property manager. It emphasizes the fact that you should not be doing the little things like unclog a toilet because your time can be better spent elsewhere. I am using somewhat of a hybrid approach; I get the properties rented myself, but have a maintenance guy I can call to take care of all the little things. I like this approach so far as it still saves me a significant sum of money (10% of the gross rents!) while freeing me up so I don’t have to do every single little thing. Once I get many more houses, I may have to hire a property manager, but for now this system is working out since I am on a budget.