Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review of Than Merril's 2-Hour Free Seminar

About three weeks ago, my wife, Jessica, and I were driving on our way somewhere…can't even remember where.  We were listening to the radio when we heard a commercial for Than Merril's 2-hour free seminar on house flipping, among other real estate pursuits.  Jessica got quiet, listening with intent, and as soon as the commercial ended, asked me, "Should we go?"  To which I replied, "What for?"

Jessica's interest was piqued by the portion of the commercial that mentioned the availability of funds at Than's disposal to get flippers up and going.  Having attended a Carlton Sheets (remember him) 2-hour seminar in 2005, and his subsequent three day course that came at a hefty price tag of over $2K, I told Jessica that this would be more like an infomercial with a pitch at the end to enroll in Than's own version of RE investor education.  I'm a lucky man because my wife knows the game just as much as I do.  She said, "I know, but maybe we can connect with other people there and find business partners or investors with cash but no knowledge."  So she called and booked the two of us (me as her guest) for the seminar in Carlsbad, CA on Thursday, September 15th, 6 pm to 8 pm.

These type of seminars have the same profile.  Whether it be Than's or some other RE guru's satellite-surrogate show.  I call them satellite-surrogate shows because these events have no home base, (always taking place in a nice hotel or resort in your city or one nearby), and the actual guru (in our case, Than Merril) is never there.  They send a surrogate in their place, a member of the coaches team.  Sure enough, Than wasn't in Carlsbad.  In his place was Woody Wolden, a San Diego county raised real estate success turned Florida transplant.

Me, legs crossed.  Woody in the foreground.

I have to admit, while in the parking lot wolfing down our In-N-Out burgers, Jessica and I began to foretell how the end of the seminar would play out…"And for only $3,000, you too can join our highly successful students and reach your wildest dreams!"--Jessica said sarcastically.  I followed, "But because you have taken a first step at changing your life, and because Than believes in you, only today, the offer has been reduced to $1,999.99!"  We both laughed hysterically, sending pieces of french fries flying out of our mouths.  Once we finished cleaning the grease off our fingers and wiping our mouths, we walked toward the hotel.

Fast forwarding to the message of the seminar.  It was quite a surprise to hear Woody deliver such a meaningful introduction.  In addition to touching on the usual reasons for becoming a RE investor (financial independence, more money, etc.) he spoke about the retirement crisis in America, and the need for doing this business with the end goal of making enough money to purchase out of state rental properties (he was realistic).  I thought this was very refreshing.  He was promoting a game plan that I actually follow myself, owning three rentals out of state.  It's sound advice! But what resonated with me the most was when Woody talked about his kids.  He did this to bring home a very important lesson: your kids only have you to learn about money and entrepreneurship.

I just had to capture the moment.  The moment was brief as I was approached by the door greeter and told I couldn't record.  Oops!  As an educator, I felt Woody's passion.  You see, this year I had the privilege of being given an elective course to teach to a combo 7th-8th grade class.  The class is called, Encuentros (Encounters) Leadership, and it is designed specifically for an all Latino male clientele.  I was given the green light by the school's Principal to tweak the curriculum (because of my background and experience) and teach these students entrepreneurship and financial literacy.  Already these students have created a business, with a mission statement and compelling "story."  I will blog about this in the near future.  Back to this review.

Woody also delved into wholesaling, a real estate investor technique that involves putting a distressed property (with a motivated seller) under contract, and selling that contract to either another wholesaler, or a cash buyer.  This is what he recommended,

1.  If you can, get a realtor license.  Gives you access to the MLS.  Also allows you to make offers and put prospective properties under contract without the need of a realtor.

2.  Find who the cash buyers are in your city, or anywhere in the nation who have an interest in buying criteria based properties in your city.  Criteria could be, e.g., a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with tile roofs.  Create and manage your list of cash buyers.

3.  Find out who the power wholesalers are in your city.  This one is easy.  All you have to do is call all the numbers on those pirate signs you see on busy streets advertising:  "We buy houses, any condition."  These people are wholesalers.  You then call these wholesalers and ask them if they would consider selling you their contracts whenever a specific property (insert your cash buyers' criteria) comes along.  There is money to be made at every point in the funnel.  Wholesalers can unload some of their paper via an "assignment of contract."  With the rights in hand, you can either choose to flip the home or sell the contract (for a smaller piece of the pie) to a cash buyer. 

4.  Find the deals.  There are many ways to find motivated sellers.  Public records of people behind on their property taxes, divorce announcements in newspapers or information begotten by word of mouth.  Birddogs, or people who find possible deals, (abandoned homes, estate sales, fire damaged home, and so on) are very useful here.

The Closing

The closing began as expected.  Woody threw out this high number and what the package included, namely, three days of Fortune Builder (Than's brand) education, a certificate on finding cash buyers, and flipping and retirement systems education.  Cost, $1,197.  Too high for Jessica and me.  Then he shocked all of us in the room:  "If you sign-up today before you leave, you will get $1,000 off....And since Than wants to make this a family affair, you can bring a guest...that's two tickets...for only $197."  Jessica and I looked at each other with our mouths wide open.

Folks, let me tell you, $197 for two people to receive a three day workshop on advanced level wholesaling, house flipping, and retirement is unheard of!  Like a few people in the audience, Jessica and I jumped out of our chairs and went to the back of the room, where Than's people were waiting with contracts and pens.  For me, this three day workshop in October will be a refresher, since last I learned RE techniques was in 2005.  Take note, you must be a lifelong learner if you want to achieve your goals, whether that be through reading, watching videos, or attending live seminars.

So Than Merril's 2-hour free seminar turned out to be a hit.  I wholeheartedly recommend that you not only attend his seminar, if one comes up in your city, but that if the price tag stays the same, you sign up for the 3-day course!  Thanks for reading.  If you liked articles like this and want more like them in your inbox, don't forget to enter your email above.  No spam!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Review of The 10% Entrepreneur in Relation to My Story

Image result for the 10 entrepreneur

The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job by Patrick J. McGinnis delivers a slew of wisdom without losing steam.  It is one of those types of books you can read and feel a strong sense of accomplishment (for having surprisingly made it from cover to cover) afterward.  The stories included provide a solid rationale for why you should become an entrepreneur, if even at the slightest level, 10% of your possible time after your day job.

Mr. McGinnis gives us a manual to side-hustle entrepreneurship, and it has nothing to do with you picking up a freelance job on  Upwork!  That's just plain you continuing to be an employee.  Instead, he creates a new model for how we, entrepreneurs, define our activities.  These he dubs: The Five Types of 10% Entrepreneurs.  I'll leave it to you to read up on these for yourself.  What I want to do right now is share what was most salient to me.  

1.  Diversification should not just be a catch phrase for investing; it should also remind you to continually look for business and equity opportunities beyond what your career can offer.

2.  Your career should not define you.  In fact, if that is all you have going for you, you're still trapped in the 20th century.  Consider yourself lucky if you have not been met with unfortunate circumstances.

3.  If you have no expertise (intellectual capital) in anything else not involving the skills of your career, find someone who does and either partner with them, or let them train you.  Any new field (of expertise) you can absorb may be a candidate for a future role for you as an Advisor, Founder, Aficionado, and indeed, any of the five types of 10% entrepreneurs.

4.  Your resume or professional biography (such as the one you may have published on Linkedin) should not be a big blurb of everything you have ever done.  It should be crafted for the people or current opportunities you want to attract as a 10% entrepreneur.  Include your name, what you do, why you are credible in that area, and what you're looking to achieve in your 10% role.  "You are giving a very high-level overview to invite further conversation."--McGinnis, p.157.

My Story is that of a 10% Entrepreneur!

Prior to reading this book, I was (and currently still am) living the life of a 10% entrepreneur.  I feel a sense of peace knowing now what to call myself.  If you go to my homepage and click on the Browse by Topic page, you'll see that the first entries relate to situations where I jumped from one 10% entrepreneur role to another.  I was attempting at that point in time to formulate my own conclusions and protocol for others on how to do what I did.

I've been an Advisor (for and worked for equity, an Aficionado (for Golden Joe's & Homevesting and and worked for the prospect of additional opportunity (such as an equity position), a Founder with my company, Common Core Money, outside of my day job as a teacher.  I've yet to be an Angel, but have considered investing on so this may soon be something I can add to my professional biography.

What I am really passionate about is helping startups, especially those that are early in their growth cycle, get exposure and raise the funding they need to keep growing.  I want to keep being an Advisor and Aficionado, as opposed to starting a venture myself that will take me away from what I also love to do: teach.  As Mr. McGinnis stated, there will be many new ventures that fall on your lap and you have to decide which ones are worth your time and commitment.  You have to do your due diligence and decide whether or not the venture will "fit within your 10% Plan so that you can contribute meaningfully to the company, and make connections or gain experience and intellectual capital for future endeavors."--p.128

Of equal importance is weighing whether or not the company is positioned for success, if it is in an attractive industry, if your ROI compensates for any risk you may take, and if the people at the company are ethical, competent managers.  The 10% Entrepreneur is one book you want to have in your library.  I bought mine at Amazon and if you follow the enclosed links, you'll help me monitize my efforts here today.  I could sure use this on a teacher's salary!  Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 2, 2016

My Master Bath Remodel Project for Under $10K

On August 2nd, I shared with you how to do a master bath remodeling project step by step on your own.  See: How to do it for less...  Not having to hire a contractor or a bath solutions company saves you thousands of dollars.  These companies have to obviously make money to stay profitable, and this means charging the homeowner a premium to what they pay out for subs, material, and other expenses.  The knowledge, experience, and resources these companies and contractors have is not out there for everyone else to get their hands on.  Therefore, the little guy needs help anyway they can get it, and that was my motivation for the August 2nd post.

If you read part 1 of this series, you are probably waiting to see pictures and numbers.  First let me show you how to remove a bathroom sink so you can have access to demo the tile on the counter.  Remember, if you can do some of the demo, you will save lots of money!

Granite installation day was on Wednesday, August 10th.  Here are some pics of the process:

Tiling the shower pan came next, as well as the installation of the new shower, bathtub, and sink fixtures.

We were almost ready to be able to take a shower.  All that remained was buying glass.  We bought our frameless shower glass from Kyle's Glass in Oceanside.  Kyle came by our home within a day of calling him, made measurements on the spot, and gave us the lowest quote out of two other vendors.  When our first quote came in at $1690, the second at $1675, we knew the glass would cost us in the $1600s.  Kyle's quote was $1615 so we saved a few dollars.  His company's motto, "High Quality, Low Prices," was spot on.  Check out the shower glass door below.  

Now onto the project numbers.  Below is an expense summary of the project.

Frameless Shower Glass

Grand total was $1611.0


With the exception of the floor tile, all of the stone for our project was purchased at  Their prices and selection were unbeatable.  

2, Lapidus slabs (111.4 sq. ft. total) @$595 each.  $1,285 with tax.
1, Lapidus slab (53 sq. ft.) @$475.  $513 with tax.  Originally, we'd only bought two slabs.  But we added granite to additional areas (the shower step in, the window seal, soap/shampoo dish).  We'll also have enough left over to put granite on a small countertop below in our guest it is not going to waste!
14 sheets of 2'' x 2'' (1 square foot each sheet) Tumbled Gold Mesh tile for the shower floor.  Total with tax was $124.74.
2 porcelain rectangular undermount sinks.  Total with tax was $105.84.

Home Depot, 20 inch by 20 inch white-bodied (clay) Ceramic floor tile.  Color: Mojave Sand.  Large Tile Mortar 50 (3 bags), Notch Trowel, Grout bag, and Spacers.  Total with tax was $253.51.

Only $0.99 per square foot!

Stone grand total: $2,282.09

Miscellaneous Materials

Chalk reel, Makita 4-1/2 diamond blade, Makita grinder, and molding bar.  Total was $114.38 with tax.

Drywall screws, liquid nails adhesive, caulk gun, and 6 sheets of hardiebacker board.  Total was $120.24 with tax.

2, Moen brand oil rubbed bronze sink fixtures, 1 Moen brand oil rubbed bronze shower fixture with handle, and 1 Moen brand oil rubbed bronze bathtub fixture.  1 oil rubbed bronze toilet paper holder.  Plumbers putty.  Total was $668.22 with tax.

Miscellaneous materials grand total: 902.84


Plumbing: Shower, bathtub, sinks.  Framing shower pan.  Hot mopping the pan.  Floating cement on shower pan.  Tiling shower pan.  $1,480.0 

Granite installation.  $2,785.0

Labor grand total: $4,266.0 

Interior Paint Plus Painting Items

Lowes, 1-gallon and 1-quart, "Churchill Wheat Hotel" color Valspar paint, Purdy 2-inch brush, FrogTape, 9-inch rollers, caulk, and other floor tiling products. Total with tax was $153.22.

Painting grand total: $153.22

Tiling the Master Bath Floor

Wet Saw: $0, borrowed from friend.  HardieBacker boards for floor, and screws: Grand total with was $192.15.

Light Fixtures and Mirror Tile

3-Light oil-rubbed bronze fixtures, 6 sheets of Glass mosaic tile for mirror border, and grout.  Grand total was $191.84 with tax.

Master Bathroom Remodel Project Grand Total: $9,599.14 

Now onto what everyone's been waiting for.  A tour of my new master bathroom.  I don't think pictures will do this job any justice, so I have instead made a YT video.  Click on the video below to see what hard work, and smart purchases can turn into:

Bottom line is that you are all more than capable of doing what I did to save thousands on remodeling and adding more value to your home.  By becoming the contractor, and doing some of the work yourself, especially the demo and set-up, you'll be well ahead of seeing your dream room come to fruition.  Please comment and let me know what you think of my bathroom remodel project for under $10K.  ALSO, please subscribe to this blog before you leave by entering your email above.  Thank you!