6 Ways Journaling Will Make You a Better Real Estate Investor

By Sharon Vornholt

Today’s article is on the “6 ways journaling will make you a better real estate investor”. I am the first one to admit that the topic is a little bit different than what you’re used to. However paying attention to your mind-body wellness is really one of the keys to your success.

We get so caught up in the “day to day” of our businesses, that sometimes when we are stuck or feeling burned out we cannot figure out why.  Sure; we know we’re bone tired from chasing deals, but it’s more than that.

Journaling is a process that has many unexpected benefits for all entrepreneurs including real estate investors.  Better focus is just one of them.  If you’ve real Hal Elrod’s book “The Miracle Morning”, you know that journaling is one of the things he suggests you do every morning.

It’s Easier than You Think

I know a lot of people say, “I have no idea where to start”.  For all the women reading this, just think back to when you were a young girl. I’ll bet you had a diary. You just sat down and wrote.  We dumped all of our feelings into that little book.

I can tell you that it works pretty much the same when you’re a grownup, but here’s the difference: Instead of unloading all that teenage drama onto the page, what you will be doing is freeing up some brain space to work on your business.

Are you ready to at least give it the benefit of the doubt?

Here we go.

6 Reasons You Should Start Journaling Now

  1. Journaling clears your mind which leads to better focus.

Over time, our brains get clogged up with details.  There are things we need to do, things we should have done (and didn’t), projects, plans, emotions and more. Remember that tenant that is driving you crazy or the house you should have gotten under contract but you botched the offer?

Carrying all this stuff around weighs us down, and it takes our attention off our business.

David Allen wrote the book “Getting Things Done”. In his book he suggest that we periodically do a brain dump.  I personally think you need to do this on a regular basis.  How often you need to do it will be an individual decision. In general when you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s probably time.

Doing a brain dump is also a way to begin your journaling experience.

In another one of my favorite books “Double Your Income doing What You Love”, Raymond Aaron talks about cleaning up your “messes”.   He is referring not only to physical messes, but to all the things AKA “messes” in your mind that take your concentration away from your business.

Action Step: It’s time to do a brain dump. Write down every unfinished or half-finished task, project or idea you haven’t gotten around to. Get them out of your head and onto paper. Once you do that, you will have the framework for a plan of action. 

  1. Journaling helps you be more creative.

Regular journaling can help you brainstorm new ideas. You probably think your ideas are pretty dull and ordinary. However once you put all those ideas on paper, you will begin to see a bigger picture emerge for growing your investing business.  Thoughts, ideas, and opportunities begin to come together once you begin writing.

Action Step:  Once you’ve done your brain dump, look at what you have written. Where is there an opportunity for creativity in your business?  What ordinary thing can you do differently; in a more creative way? You might just surprise yourself.

  1. Journaling helps you think big.

Write “no limits” at the top of one of your pages.  (Remember that no one has to see this).  If there were no limits, what would your dream business look like?  You can put all those big ideas on the page without your inner voice telling you, “That won’t work”. This is a judgement free zone.

Action Step:  Write down 3 big ideas you have for your REI business you haven’t said out loud. Nothing is off limits.

  1. Journaling helps you build better habits.

Once you begin journaling, you will automatically become more aware of your actions and your habits.  Whether it is things you need to do more of (like exercising or eating better) or things you are doing too much of (like wasting time surfing the internet), they will become apparent as you write about your days. As an entrepreneur, over time your habits will likely be largely responsible for the success of your real estate business.

Action Step: Decide to write even a paragraph in your journal each day that describes your previous day. Be sure to include the good, the bad and the ugly whatever that might be.

  1. Journaling provides a healthy way to process emotions and relieve those stresses in your life.

Remember the deal you blew and the tenant that’s driving you crazy?  The simple act of writing down these types of things (before having a physical meltdown) can literally save your business and your reputation. It’s a much healthier outlet for those emotions.

Carrying around all that stress weighs you down, and it can do actual physical damage to your body.  It definitely prevents you from being the best you can be.

Action Step:  Write down something that is causing you stress.  How do you feel? What emotions are holding you back? Once you get those down on paper, write out a solution or a way to at least deal with the situation that will take the weight of it off your shoulders.

  1. Journaling helps you feel a sense of achievement.

We all have those thoughts. You know; the ones about how we are falling short when it comes to our real estate business.

When you commit to a regular journaling process (even if it’s only 5 or 10 minutes a day), your progress and achievements will be right there on the page.  Journaling allows you to celebrate all your wins no matter how big or small they are.

Action Step: Write down at least 5 “wins” you can claim for your business. They can be simple things or big achievements. Then pat yourself on the back.

Journaling Tools

You may be the type of person that uses the computer for everything you write. If you are that person, there are plenty of online journals you can use.  A lot of people prefer online tools simply because they are more private.


I’m more of a pen and paper person when it comes to a journal. In fact, I love writing in a beautiful quality journal.  The actual book is as important to me as what goes in the book.  You just need to find what works best for you.  The important thing is to just get started.

Here are some resources that you might want to take a look at when it comes to online journals.


This is a free app that can be accessed from anywhere.  JRNL is rated one of the top online journals and it’s private. You can customize the pages in your journal, you can share entries in your journal (although I’m not sure why you would do that since they are meant to be private), and you can “write on the fly”.

You can check it out here at JRNL.com


Penzu has both free and paid versions of its online journal.  They say they have over 2 million users around the world.  This journal is password protected, fully customizable and they will send you an email reminding you to write in your journal each day.


It you cannot wrap your brain around how to get started journaling, ONEWORD might just be the tool to help you to get started. The premise is simple.  Create your free account and you will be directed to the next page.  Once you’re on that page, you’ll see one word at the top of the following screen. You have sixty seconds to write about it.  This is actually a great way to start if you’re not used to writing.

Ready to Dive In?

If you’re still on the fence about keeping a journal, I would say just give it a try.  I’m pretty sure you’re going to like it.

Sharon Vornholt

Sharon Vornholt is the owner of Innovative Property Solutions, LLC in Louisville, KY.

Sharon owned and operated a successful home inspection company for 17 years. She began investing in real estate in 1998 and became a full time real estate investor in January of 2008.

Sharon specializes in wholesaling, and is also an experienced landlord and rehabber.

In addition, Sharon is an internet marketer and also writes articles for several national real estate sites. Sharon is the author of a popular real estate blog called the “Louisville Gals Real Estate Blog”. For your FREE REPORT “Probates and Absentee Owners: Your Fast Track to Real Estate Riches”, stop by her blog at: http://LouisvilleGalsRealEstateBlog.com.


The Solution to the Investment Guru Gap

By Russ Keith

How did you get started in real estate investing?

Maybe someone else…a friend, family member…or even your spouse, was bitten by the property investing bug and you caught it.

Or maybe you were invited to a weekend property investing seminar and found yourself thrilled with all of the prospects for financial freedom that property investing holds.

There’s no doubt about it…investing in real estate can be a real life changer, but what happens when all of the energy and excitement you felt after the seminar begins to fade?

After all, investing in property is no cakewalk…if it were, everyone in the world would be doing it.

And as fun and educational as a property seminar can be, what happens when everyone packs up and goes home, and you’re left with the feeling of “what now?”

Maybe you start by watching the videos on the guru’s website. But what happens if confusion begins to set in after watching them? Or maybe you understand what you need to do, but you can’t get answers to specific questions about your market.

What do you do then?

More than just an education in investing

Through their investment meetup group called Crush It, REI Systems Academy founders Russ Keith and his wife Kim noticed a trend.

Some investors would come to the meetings for about 8 months or so, but then would simply disappear. When Russ called them up to find out how they were doing, he discovered these investors had run out of money or just got frustrated, disheartened and then quit.

When he drilled down further into what was going on, Russ discovered that once the “new” had worn off from the investment seminars these people had attended, they were left without a compass.

The videos, website and other material left by the property investing guru couldn’t really help the investors with the mental shift they needed to move from an “employee”  to a “business owner” mindset.

Nor could it address the particulars of the investors’ marketplace.

Filling the guru gap

REI Systems was created with the goal of filling in the gap between the education investors receive at property seminars and the day to day investment decisions every investor needs to make.

What makes REI Systems different?

Investors receive a real education in property investing, from real educators who have been teaching high school and university level students for more than two decades!

Russ and Kim have also flipped properties for nearly 30 years, earning between $14,000 and $80,000 profit on each homestead flip.

How does it work?

You’ll meet with Russ and up to 9 other investors in a classroom setting once a week for three hours over a 16 week period. At the end of each class you’ll be given homework and told what to do, step by step.

If you have any questions between sessions, Russ is always available to help. He’ll answer your question(s) and if he thinks it can help the rest of the class he’ll share the information with them at the next class.

When you begin putting your knowledge to the test, Russ will be there every step of the way. He’ll even walk with you as you inspect a potential investment property.

In fact, if Russ hasn’t heard from you in a while you can expect to receive a phone call to find out what’s going on.

Your success is that important!

Bottom line, you can pay tens of thousand of dollars for one 30 minute call a week and a bunch of videos with a travelling investment guru, or spend much, much less and be mentored by local investors – and educators – who know the market and know what it takes to succeed in that market.

It’s your call.



Justin French on Business Strategy, Leadership, and SDIRA Wealth

Justin French is the kind of CEO who understands collaboration is the core of innovation. With a growing team that is now nationwide, French’s focus is on the strength of its people.

“I have always believed one of the best investments you can make, as a leader, is in the people you surround yourself with,” French said. “Great leaders never try to do everything on their own. They know a great company is built by everyone performing at their peak level. I spend most of my day working directly with my team and our affiliate partners so I can better equip them to be successful. In return, all of us at SDIRA Wealth are collectively raising the bar and achieving our goals.”

French uses his business-oriented insights to empower his team. He takes inspiration from one of the greats.

“Steve Jobs is a true innovator of our time,” French said. “He wanted to change the world. He did. He made an impact on everyone. He was successful not because he suddenly realized personal computers were his passion. That was not it at all. He knew computers could change the world. He wanted to be part of something bigger than himself.”

French said he admired Jobs’ dedication for making things simple to use, and this simplicity mindset is something French helps cultivate at SDIRA Wealth.

“What we do as a company is remove the barriers of having to deal with headaches of real estate, leaving our clients to enjoy all the benefits of it inside of their retirement accounts,” French said. “Making something simple requires harder work on the front side. You have to have the right talent and put enough time in to define the process. It’s worth it in the end because you have a product that is innovative and easy to use.”

His big-picture thinking combined with detailed actions has helped French make SDIRA Wealth a game-changer for retirement planning.

“The traditional way of retirement investing has been broken for a long time. Many people don’t know the 401(k) plan was never meant to be the main source of retirement funds that it is today, and sadly, pension plans have almost disappeared entirely. The problem is the money people are setting aside for retirement isn’t producing enough of a return for them to actually live on and maintain their standards of living in the future.”

To solve the problem, French said they had to answer three questions. What do people want? What do people need? Can we bring value? SDIRA Wealth’s solution answered all three.

“All great companies solve a problem and create value,” French said. “We don’t look at ourselves as a real estate investment company. We are an education company that provides a great product and solves America’s retirement epidemic. Real estate just happens to be part of that solution. We made the process simple and easy for everyone.”

French and his team are passionate about educating people about the benefits of real estate and Self-Directed IRAs.

“Our team is obsessed with educating others about all the benefits that Self-Directed IRAs bring with the power of real estate,” French said. “Most of the wealthy are already doing it. Look at Mitt Romney. He educated himself and took action for him and his family.”

Many people who invest in real estate are doing it the hard way, according to French.

“People expend a lot of their time finding properties, dealing with the headaches of being a landlord, trying to find ways to finance and leverage, and connecting all the players it takes to make a real estate transaction work,” French said. “That’s ok if you want to be an active investor. But what if you wanted the investment to be passive and to use your retirement dollars while still following all the rules and regulations?”

Complexity mixed with French’s drive for designing simplicity created perfect storm for a solution.

“Where there is complexity there is opportunity,” French said. “When companies focus on making things simple and easy for the end client, that’s when you start to innovate.  We made real estate as easy as a stock.”

French said part of making it easy has been about solving challenges.

“People want protection from market volatility, they want a higher rate of return, they don’t like hidden fees, and they want to have control of how their retirement plan is designed,” French said. “We have been able to solve all four. We do this with our solution by utilizing an asset that has been creating millionaires for decades. That’s residential real estate.”

From those four problems, SDIRA Wealth created the acronym PACT, which stands for People Achieving Change Together.

“PACT started out small but now has become a movement across the country with our affiliate partners,” French said. “It also represents the four main benefits our clients love about SDIRA Wealth’s investment solution, which are protection, acceleration, control, and transparency.”

After building and honing the solution, French started focusing on telling people about it by launching a nationwide affiliate campaign.

“We are blessed to work with some amazing affiliate partners who are wealth advisors, investment firms, and big-name influencers. They have same values and beliefs we do of disrupting status quo when it comes to retirement investing. They have been waiting for something like this.”

SDIRA Wealth helps affiliate partners best serve their clients in their market.

“By offering an additional product to accelerate their clients’ portfolios and reach their goals faster, our affiliate partners stand out in their market and attract more cliental,” French said. “Many say it’s the ace in their back pocket that has allowed them to satisfy their clients needs in ways they were not able to before. Their clients see they truly care to represent all the investment choices allowing their clients to win in the end.”

French said affiliate partners are passionate about solving America’s retirement challenges.

“Our affiliate partners understand the benefits of real estate,” French said. “They are excited about what we are doing and see the benefits of what our solution solves. Every week we interview new potential partners. Most of them come through our website or meet us at events.”

French’s success stems from his skills of finding and developing talent.

“The people you surround yourself will always determine your success,” French said. “One of my mentors always reminded me, ‘Show me your team and I’ll show you your success.’ This has always stuck with me and has always been true. With every successful team I have built over the past 20 years, the one thing I have always been very involved with is the interview process. It is vital we are always selecting natural market leaders and influencers who fit our culture and have the ability to make our company better.”

French has three tips for entrepreneurs who are striving for success.

One, “take time everyday to reflect and be thankful.”

“Always remember to have gratitude for the things you already do have,” French said. “Practicing thankfulness has changed my mindset and my life. It’s easy to think about what you don’t have as we are always working toward building our future. When you develop an attitude of gratitude you become thankful for everything that happens to you in life. Don’t be so focused on the finish line that you forget to enjoy the journey.”

Two, “stay true to your vision.”

“Find something you are good at,” French said. “Create something that will bring value to others. Focus on it. It’s easy to get sidetracked into creating new features, getting involved in wrong projects, listening to too many people’s ideas. In the end if you believe in what you do and your product can solve a problem, you are going to bring value to a lot people. If you can do that, success is just the byproduct of adding value and serving others.”

Three, “write down your goals to create accountability.”

“It’s proven people who have their goals written down attract more success,” French said. “As soon as you start working toward a goal you will encounter resistance and hurdles. By writing things down you will overcome these obstacles by focusing on your goal, making the challenges feel like small road bumps. Even more effective is sharing these written goals with someone who can help follow up with you. If you focus on your goals and take action the results will soon follow.”

Cogo Capital: Still Dishing Out the Dollars to Fund Property Deals

By Tim Houghten

Cogo Capital’s founder, Lee Arnold, reveals his unique approach to funding real estate entrepreneurs, and how millions of dollars are being poured into nationwide deals through Cogo Capital.

This is Your Moment & Cogo Capital Wants to Fund it

Lee Arnold says Cogo is attracting a windfall of new loan requests from real estate investors. Many requests are coming from other lenders who are starting to throttle their funding, revise their appraisals downwards, and turn away all but the most experienced investors.

Meanwhile, Cogo Capital says it is funding 99% of all the incoming applications that meet its parameters. It certainly helps that Lee’s firm is willing to loan up to 90% LTV and 100% of rehab costs, and still beat any competitor’s offer. As a direct lending solution, they also have the ability to fund fast and make common sense underwriting decisions.

Cogo makes loans on:

  • Non-owner occupied residential properties
  • Commercial real estate
  • Land development deals
  • Fix and flips
  • Wholesale and ‘wholetail’ deals
  • Rental properties

While Cogo helps others grow their real estate portfolios, it is also making strides and growing too. Cogo just added ID and AZ to its markets, leaving very little territory unserved — they even offer loans in Alaska and Hawaii.

In our exclusive interview with Lee, he mentioned that while there is no question the US real estate market is going through a correction, he does not see a crash coming like we experienced in 2008. He says “there is too little inventory, and too much demand.”

And he should know a thing or two about market cycles. Because he started investing in 1996, he’s been through 3 major dips already. Through strategic and purposeful action, and a whole lot of grit, he is still in business. As a result of these experiences, Lee looks at correcting and declining markets with optimism. He points out that even a modest correction is great news for serious real estate investors. It weeds out the looky-loos, allowing the actual, hard-working real estate investors more room to buy and sell and/or buy and hold.

He commented that for years the serious investors have “been tolerating the HGTV wannabes,” who have driven up prices by overbidding on properties. He believes many of these “fly-by-night” investors will become stuck in the months and years to come because they don’t know how to operate in a normal or declining market. Serious investors do.

If you’ve been waiting for better value deals, this is your moment, and this lender wants to fund your deals.

Enter The Circle of Wealth

Cogo Capital is just one of the group of companies in Lee Arnold’s portfolio.

His other companies include:

The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing, which trains real estate investors on how to find and purchase profitable deals

  1. Secured Investment Corp, which provides a platform for lenders looking to earn double digit returns in one-off loans or through one of its long running funds
  2. Lake City Servicing, which gives lenders peace of mind and true passive income by servicing their private loans for them

While Cogo Capital is open to any investor, Lee says those who have gone through the Lee Arnold System often enjoy an 1,800% increase in their chance of getting funding. Because they have gone through the comprehensive educational arm of the company, these clients know what to look for, how to make the right offers, and how to structure their transactions.

Through this methodically designed system, Lee has been involved in more than $1B worth of real estate transactions. That includes flips, fund transactions, and making private mortgage loans. From this viewpoint, this industry veteran noticeably sees things very differently than the average newcomer, bank loan officer, or infomercial guru.

He believes in only making loans to investors who can be successful. He’s more interested in the client’s success than the possible equity grab should the loan go into default. Therefore he’s not afraid to tell you when you are taking on a lot of risk for less-than ideal reward, even if your loan request checks all the boxes.

And even if you come to Cogo, and you don’t quite make the cut, or you are taking on a new project you really don’t have experience in, Lee says he can introduce you to other experienced investors in your area who you can partner up with. That way you can secure the funding and get the deal done.

Lee Has Lofty Goals for His Clients

Lee encourages all his clients to begin building their wealth and real estate portfolio with wholesales and fix-and-flip projects before they venture into the realm of rentals. Why? Because when buying rentals too early, they won’t have the bankroll to weather any of the potential challenges common to rentals. One AC unit blown, one roof lost in a storm, one non-performing tenant or drawn out eviction, and you can end up in foreclosure yourself.

Instead, Lee teaches his clients to take a very different and intentional approach to real estate investing. He has two stated goals for them:

  1. Get up to $250k liquid cash in the bank as fast as possible with flips or wholesaling
  2. Then get to $1M in net worth to become accredited investors. At this point they can qualify to participate in more exclusive investments like one of the Secured Investment High Yield Funds, which historically pays out 12% returns over the last five years straight.

You Can Keep Your Skin at Cogo Capital

One of the big things that separates Cogo Capital from the rest of the pack is its favorable terms on funding.

Historically, most private money lenders demand more ‘skin in the game’ from borrowers. Lee says Cogo would rather you keep more money in your pocket so that you can go out and do more deals.

Cogo loans up to 90% LTV and 100% financing for rehab and repair costs. So, as a flipper, you just need 10% of the purchase price down, your closing costs, and enough cash to get you through the first renovation milestone.

For a quick way to estimate how much you should really be paying for a property, how much you should be budgeting in rehab, and what you can expect to borrow or pay out of pocket, CogoCapital.com offers a simple, easy-to-use tool. It will take your ARV and the level of rehab needed (light, medium or heavy) and base it on the living square footage of the home. This tool will then give you your MAO (Maximum Allowable Offer) and a clear insight on how to plan your investment.

There are three other factors impacting rate and terms:

  1. Credit
  2. Experience
  3. Cash in bank

Although Cogo does look at credit, they love helping new investors and accept borrowers with bad credit and inexperience. That being said, if you come to the table with good credit and experience, you do get a bump up in terms. Average funding time is just 72 hours, depending on the project and how quickly you provide the needed details on the deal.

Need Some Education?

Take Him Up on His Offer to Pay for Your Funding Tour Tickets

For those that want to meet the team in person and learn more about how to profitably do real estate deals in this market, Lee highly recommends getting out to one of the upcoming live Funding Tours.

These 3-day events show you how to find deals and discounted properties, put you on a bus to tour opportunities so you know what to watch out for in the field, teach you how to write offers, and even get you funded live.

Find out the event dates near you at www.FundingTour.com.

This year the $497 tuition fee is even being paid for by Lee’s fund company, so you can attend absolutely free!

It All Starts with the First Deal…

…And Cogo is ready to fund it for you!

Get started at CogoCapital.com, run your deal scenarios, get your proof of funds letter so you can make stronger offers, and discover a new partner for fueling your investment goals with Lee Arnold and Cogo Capital.




Should New Real Estate Investors Attend Local REIA Meetings?

By Lex Levinrad

Find the local Real Estate Investment Club in your area and go to the meetings. Attend each meeting religiously. Get involved, become a member and make new friends with other investors who want to learn about real estate as much as you do. Network with rehabbers, wholesalers, investors, mortgage brokers, title companies and realtors at these meetings. If you have very little money to get started investing then know that there are partners, private lenders and hard money lenders at these meetings that will help you. Don’t bring a friend who is not interested in real estate. They will want to leave or they will bring their own opinions which will influence yours. Do bring a friend who is as passionate as you are about learning about investing in real estate. If you are a realtor keep in mind that there are many new concepts that you will learn about that you may have not been aware of previously. Be open to that and also be open to new ideas.

Network effectively. Make sure you have a business card with a photo. Your card should describe exactly what you do and who you are. Your website on your card should match what you do and who you are. If it doesn’t you will not be taken seriously. If you are a wholesaler then have a card that says that. Make sure that you get a good quality business card and don’t go for the cheapest option. Get a professional logo and picture taken and use a thicker card stock and pay someone to design your business card (you can do this on www.upwork.com). Do not act like a know it all at meetings or make like you know more than you do. You are there to learn, and you learn best by listening to others. Find out the smart people who are having meaningful conversations and introduce yourself and listen.  If you don’t understand something ask. Most investors are more than willing to help new investors.

Do not rush to shove your business card into everyone’s face at every opportunity. Instead make the conversation about the other person (amazing concept). Ask them questions about what they do and be interested. Have one or two meaningful conversations at every meeting with someone new. After a few meetings you will begin to recognize the familiar faces. You will also notice the newbies that show up at every meeting. Those are your potential bird dogs. Don’t skip meetings. That is what newbies do. They show up once or twice and then they don’t come back. If you want to wholesale or fix and flip houses you will need to put in a lot of effort. Start by attending meetings religiously and look at it as a work obligation like an important appointment you can’t miss. Some meetings will not be great and you will question why you bothered going (especially if is raining or the weather is bad). Other meetings will be amazing and you will learn new things and make new connections with other investors.

Remember, you need to know people and they need to know you. The way you do that is by showing up every month at the meeting regardless of how small it is or how many people attend. Attend more than one REIA meeting if you can and there are multiple meetings in an area. Yes, there will be speakers presenting at these meetings and they will often end their presentation with a sales pitch. Look past that. Learn from the one-hour presentation.

Remember you don’t have to sign up for every item that is presented to you (beginners pay attention). Avoid the shiny new object syndrome where every week or month you are on to a new strategy or technique that you heard about. There are no shortcuts. Learn and focus on one thing. Become good at that. Then move on to the next thing. Be wary of charlatans. Every REIA has them. If you are the beginner in the room then as Warren Buffett says, “if you don’t know who the sucker is then it’s you”. So be cautious of the scam artists out there (especially the guys promising you low interest hard money loans with upfront fees).

As a beginner your job is to listen and to learn and network and to educate yourself. Only work with people that have referrals and that other members say good things about. The good people will be easy to spot. They will always show up, will have lots of people who have done business with them, and will have many people who say good things about them. Use your bullshit detector radar. Scam artists are quite easy to spot. Go with your gut feeling about a person. 9 out of 10 times you will be spot on.  


Following Up with Motivated Sellers Can Make You Millions

By Kathy Kennebrook (The Marketing Magic Lady)

Let me ask you a question; are you properly managing your prospects? Are you taking the time to follow up with the sellers who didn’t initially accept your offers, or the sellers you still need to make offers to? Did you know that you are leaving thousands of dollars in potential income behind if you aren’t following up with sellers? One of the easiest ways to make a fortune in the real estate business and gain the advantage over your competition is to take the time to follow up with motivated and semi-motivated sellers. You’ve already got the seller in your pipeline, you’ve already done the marketing and spent the money to find this person, now all you need to do is to follow up with them until they either sell you their property or tell you to go away. How much simpler could it be?

There are two types of sellers we are going to follow up with, those we’ve already made offers to who haven’t accepted our offer and those who have not made any decision after our initial contact with them. Quite often, you will need to make multiple contacts with sellers before their situation changes and dictates that they sell their property to you. If you stay in touch with these sellers, you build credibility with them and when it comes time to sell they will contact you first, even if they have been contacted by someone else in the meantime.

There are a lot of investors in the market these days, and most of them have a very limited knowledge of how the whole follow-up process works, not to mention the inability to create successful deals. What they don’t realize is that many of the sellers you will be dealing with have a variety of problems they aren’t sure how to solve until they are contacted by you.

Some of those may include divorce situations, estates or health issues where there may be emotions tied to the property. With these sellers it may take a little longer before they make that final decision to sell. Most of your competitors will simply throw these potential deals in the trash when they don’t get the property under contract after the initial contact or offer is made. I have made deals many months after the initial contact with the seller was made simply because I took the time to follow up. Not only did I build credibility with the seller, but now they like me better and trust me more than the next investor who may come along.

These are the types of sellers I will place in my follow-up system and follow up with at least every thirty to sixty days if not more often. I have made thousands of dollars on deals other investors would simply have thrown in the trash because I took the time to follow up with a semi-motivated seller. Probably half of the deals I do in a typical year come from following up with these sellers.

In addition, with the help of a fellow investor who is also a software developer, I now have an incredible software system that does all the work for me. It reminds me when I need to do my direct mail campaigns, it reminds me when to follow up with sellers, it has a section to track potential buyers and build a buyer’s list, and it keeps all the information on the properties stored including a photo.

In fact, once I have followed up and purchased the property, my system will match the property with one of the buyers on my buyer’s list, so now; even that part of my business is automated. And once again, isn’t that the whole point to this business, to automate as many things as you can so you can work with the sellers and make the deals happen. You don’t need software to get started with this type of a system. You can simply use an auto-responder and a folder system to begin following up with motivated sellers.

Here is a recent example from my files- I contacted a seller who had inherited a property in Florida where I live and he lived in Michigan. The home belonged to his aunt who had pretty much raised him his whole life. When she passed away the home was left to him and he just couldn’t bring himself to sell it right away. I actually met with the seller and made an offer on the property. He had initially accepted my offer, and then he decided to hold onto the property for awhile and use it as a vacation home. After a year and a half, he got tired of having to deal with all the maintenance issues on the property and ended up selling the property to me for the initial offer I made because I took the time to follow up with him every thirty days or so.

I actually ended up making even more money on this deal than I would have in the first place because the house had appreciated in value during the period of time that he kept it and he had made improvements to the home. Most investors would have thrown this deal in the trash as soon as the seller said no to their initial offer, but because I took the time to follow up, I purchased the property and made a significant amount of money on this deal. I still get holiday cards from that seller.

I’m sure you’re already aware of how important it is to follow up with sellers. It only takes a few minutes each week to follow up with these sellers if you have a good follow-up system in place. I use my follow-up system to follow up with sellers I have made offers to but who haven’t said yes or no to my offer, and with sellers who own homes in areas where I want to buy. I do this by using both direct mail and e-mail to follow up with these sellers. Sometimes if the situation warrants it, I will call them. My system even reminds me to do the follow up. How much simpler can it be? AND…since the seller has already been getting contact from me for a few weeks, if their situation has changed they are ready to sell to me. This is a pretty typical scenario.

With sellers who specifically have properties in areas where I want to buy, I do repeat mailings to a specific list with specific parameters in mind such as out of state owners, quit claim deeds or old sale dates. Each time I do the mailings I continue to clean the list I am using by taking out bad addresses, deals I have purchased or folks who tell me not to mail to them again. The more I mail to these folks, the more credibility I build with them. If you are using a follow up system in your business it is very easy to track these mailings. This is an absolute marketing machine because not only are you doing deals day after day, you are constantly planting seeds for future deals.

If you take the time to follow up with motivated and semi-motivated sellers, you will make more deals and buy more properties with absolutely no competition for these properties whatsoever. It’s a win-win situation for you and the sellers.

For more information on following up with sellers, check out my website at www.marketingmagiclady.com. While you are there be sure and sign up for our free newsletter and get $149.00 in bonuses absolutely FREE.


Why Hiring a Coach Can Help You Build a Rock Solid Brand Fast

By Sharon Vornholt

Does this sound like you?

You’re always looking for something or someone to help you get over the next hurdle; to help you get to the next level. You know you need a coach, but you might be confused about choosing the right coach for you and how they can actually help you grow your business. You’re wondering if you will you be wasting your hard earned money.

Or maybe you are heading off in a new direction in your business, and you’re not sure how to put all the pieces together when it comes to branding and marketing. You know there is someone out there that can help you streamline the whole process.

If this sounds like you, I can tell you that you are not alone.

Each and every one of us wants to be better at what we do. We are all searching for the next thing we need to do or learn to grow our business. It has been my experience that choosing the right coach to help us master that next “thing” is almost always a game changer for us both personally and professionally.

I can tell you this for sure: you will almost always make more money faster when you hire a coach that can shave years off your learning curve.

Why is that?

The reason is, when we have the right coach to help us take those next steps, suddenly everything becomes easier. The path automatically becomes clearer. The obstacles begin to disappear. And during that process, we generally take a big leap forward in growing our business.

It seems to happen almost magically. That’s because choosing the right coach really can shave years off your learning curve.

What Is the Biggest Thing Holding Most Entrepreneurs Back?

The lack of a rock solid brand, and this is one area where a coach can really help you. Most people either have a weak brand, or they have no brand. What this means is that in most cases you are simply invisible. Who wants to be invisible?

If you look around your field or industry, you probably know someone that is great at what they do, but they are the best kept secret in their industry. No one knows about them.

Or, maybe this sounds like you:

You’ve built a business, and it might even be a great business. However the problem is that people don’t know about it. They don’t know that you are the expert in your field, and that my friend is poor branding.

Let’s Talk about your Brand

People think of colors and logos when they think about branding, and those are the visual components of your brand. What your brand really is though is how people feel about you. It’s also what they say about you when you leave the room. Yikes! What do you suppose they say? Chances are they say “Ben is a nice guy” or “Katie is a great gal”.

But let me ask you this; is this all you want people to say about you? What about your expertise? Where does that shine through? If you haven’t consciously built your brand, it’s probably non-existent. No brand = no shine.

You Need to Change the Conversation

What they should be saying is “Ben is the go to person in ___ (you fill in your field). If you want someone to do that for you, Ben is the expert. He is the person to call.

Or… “Katie is the most knowledgeable real estate person I know. No matter what your needs are, she can make it happen. There is really nothing she doesn’t know about real estate”.

That is what would happen if you had a brand built around your expertise. You have a wide circle of brand awareness and recognition.

Make no mistake about it; building a rock solid brand that shows the world who you are, what you stand for and exactly how you can help your ideal client shows up directly in your checking account.

It’s money in the bank.

Your brand and how it shows up to the world is much more of a determining factor in how much money you make than your actual skills and expertise. Now I want you to think about that for a minute.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t need to good at what you do, because you do. I am merely telling you that in your ideal customer’s mind, it’s all about perception. How you are perceived in the market place directly impacts how much money you make.

Marrying Marketing and Branding – Dollars in Your Bank Account

When you are able to successfully marry your marketing and your branding that’s where the real magic happens.

Remember that marketing is what you do to get leads in the door, and branding is what makes you stand out from the pack so that your ideal client chooses you (rather than your competition). When your marketing is on track and you’ve build a rock solid brand, you will be the obvious choice.