From Rehabbing Single Family Homes to Renovating a Hotel

Featuring Stacee Nelson

 Interview by Linda Pliagas

Throughout the years, I have met many people at our live events throughout the country. After a while, you begin to know some on a personal level and begin to follow their progress as an investor. When I met Stacee Nelson years ago, she was busy rehabbing a single family residence in Santa Barbara. The project was a major rehab and the property was stripped down to the bare bones. Nelson is not one to shy away from complicated deals. She takes on projects with certainty and confidence. It’s been interesting to follow Nelson through her progression from rehabbing single-family homes to her risk-taking efforts in purchasing water-front properties and an REO tape, and now even a hotel. We recently caught up with Nelson to discuss her entry into the hospitality market with her recent hotel acquisition in Texas.

How long have you been investing in real estate, in general?

I purchased my first condo when I was 22 and then didn’t invest in anything for a long time. When I was living in Germany I started going to real estate auctions at the courthouse. My friend was buying properties to renovate and hold. I tagged along. In 2011, living in Santa Barbara, I began my formal education in real estate investing and purchased my first flip house in May of 2012.

I know you started flipping properties and I even saw one of your projects in Santa Barbara a couple of years ago. What attracted you to the hotel niche?

The idea of renovating an empty building into a small boutique hotel was initially the idea of my business partner. At the time we were looking for alternative passive income opportunities as well as ways to create a positive impact on communities. An opportunity presented itself in the form of an empty 15,000 square foot building directly on the town square in Gonzales, Texas. The town was keen to redevelop their downtown which made for a win-win opportunity.

Was it easier to take on the challenge and expense of a hotel rehab after doing many single-family home deals?

Initially we thought it would be a comparable project, just larger in scope. What we learned was that renovating an empty building into a hotel with individual plumbing, HVAC, cable, etc. was far more complicated and costly than anticipated. Certainly having a background in single-family home renovations was crucial in the planning and budgeting, but we were surprised by the sheer volume of issues that arose during the construction phase. The next one will go much more smoothly as a result of the number of…lessons we learned!

Tell us about the hotel. Where and how did you find it?

My business partner has a long-time family friend living and investing in the town. He made the initial introductions to the town’s economic development council who were very interested in supporting business growth in the area. Their support was a critical factor in the decision to purchase in Gonzales, Texas. We toured numerous vacant buildings in the area until we found one large enough and with a perfect location directly on the town square.

How long did the rehab take? Did the entire property have to be worked on or only a section?

The rehab took over a year to complete. There was a number of delays in the project when our initial contractor was removed from the project. Critical in the process, and one of our important lessons from this project, was to have a project manager on site during the construction phase. The volume of issues was simply magnified by 100 versus a single family renovation. Our hands-on project manager made the difference in our ultimate success and project completion.

To provide an idea of the complexity of a project like this: the smoke and fire alarm systems had to be coordinated with the installation of electricity and plumbing (water sprinklers), the HVAC system required coordination in timing with the electrician, drywall installer (ceiling vents) and the roofer (where the systems are housed), the water coming into the building had to be separated between the hotel and the restaurant located on the ground floor, and the elevator turned into a complicated project all by itself.

What was the biggest lesson you’ve learned from this transaction?

Rather than give one, I’m going to provide a few lessons we learned from this project:

  • For large projects, invest in a project manager who is on-site and regularly reporting on progress
  • Have the contractor regularly send pictures and review before progress payments are made
  • Necessity of a detailed project plan and budget agreed, in writing, by the contractor. We thought we had sufficient detail in our initial project summary based on our housing rehab experience. What we learned is you can’t be too detailed oriented in the budget and planning phase. The more detailed the budget and contractor commitments are, the better. Include a split between labor and materials so it is very clear for both sides, especially when you choose materials. Have the contractor sign the agreements
  • Budget sufficiently for contingencies. The larger and more complex the project is, the greater the likelihood for additional unplanned expenses
  • Have an agreed process for change orders that includes approving changes and costs before the work is completed

How is the hotel performing now? What are your goals with the property?

The hotel looks fantastic. The reviews of the guests who have stayed there are overwhelmingly positive. While we positioned the boutique hotel to provide executive style accommodations for the local oil industry, the majority of our guests thus far are visiting Gonzales, Texas for the regional rodeo events, the hot here the first shot of the Texas Revolution was fired.

In addition to hotels and single-family homes, your company also invests in Marina and resort properties around the world. That sounds very exciting!

Yes! We looked at a variety of different passive income and commercial real estate opportunities and decided that marina and resort properties were an ideal opportunity: It is a relatively untapped market segment with a few big players and the rest mostly individual marina owners which means opportunity to add value to struggling owners; it combines real estate with business; it provides regular passive income; and marinas and resorts tend to be a happy place for people, thus our motto: Invest in something fun!

Stacee, I’ve personally seen your growth as an investor the past five years that we’ve known each other, and let me just say how proud I am of you! I know you left the corporate world years ago to become a full-time real estate investor. You made it happen! Can you share some inside tips for others who want to leave their corporate job and be their own boss through real estate?

The process of becoming an entrepreneur has been wonderful as well as challenging, and even scary at times. There are a number of factors which have been critical in getting me this far:

  • Have a clear vision of what you want to do and achieve and then give it your all. Be tenacious in your pursuit, have faith in yourself and your vision, and do not give up! It will be difficult at times, and it will all be worth it in the end.

  • Have a source of income and / or savings to get you through at least a year of living before you leave your job. In my experience, everything takes longer than expected in real estate. Plan for that.

  • Surround yourself with the people you want to be like. For me that was successful entrepreneurs, business leaders and real estate investors from whom I could learn and to whom I could add value.

  • Partner with other investors who have a similar outlook on how you want to do business. I rarely do a deal alone. Sharing the project profits is well worth it to have partners with whom to share ideas, issues, opportunities and to raise capital.

  • Get educated before jumping in. I went to countless seminars and trainings to understand not only various real estate investing strategies but also marketing, asset protection, running a business and personal development.

  • Have a mindset of helping others achieve their goals, and understand that helping others first invariably leads to you getting what it is you desire.

  • Consider that 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing. I work with a lot of private investors. Sometimes the cost of capital is very high for a particular project. If it’s the difference between doing a deal and not, I take the higher cost of capital with graciousness and gratitude and get the deal done. The next one will be easier.

  • Work with honor, fairness and gratitude. BE the person people want to do business with.

  • And perhaps my biggest lesson so far is to simply ask each day ‘what do I desire to have or be or contribute today?’ or ‘What do I want to create today?’, and then be ready and open to receiving it. Once I understood the critical part in the process was asking without answering the question and being open to receiving what I asked for, my business expanded in incredible ways.

  • Have fun!

What’s next for Stacee Nelson and her numerous realty companies?

Going forward I’m focused on three areas in real estate: acquiring marina and resort properties, purchasing REOs in bulk nationwide to fix and flip, and contributing to the development and expansion of the Cashflow Divas, an organization dedicated to helping women achieve their financial freedom goals through passive (and active) income investing and financial literacy.

Stacee Nelson

Stacee Nelson is a Fund Manager for Purple Rooster Holdings, LLC, a private equity fund that purchases distressed residential properties and notes. As a real estate investor, she has purchased and turned around multiple single family residences, residential and commercial notes, and hotels. She owns investment properties in several states and has successfully raised millions of dollars in private capital over the last few years.

In her current activities in real estate, Stacee advises and collaborates with other entrepreneurs and investors in optimizing cash flow, deal structuring, raising capital, and having multiple streams of income to support financial independence.



By Kathy Kennebrook (The Marketing Magic Lady)

“If you were arrested for being a real estate investor would there be enough evidence to convict you?” I was once asked! I wholeheartedly responded with a resounding, “YES!” You must be able to do that which makes you stand out from your competition. As you begin your campaigns as part of your overall marketing strategy and goal, continue to diligently test and track results as you go. You MUST be able to determine what marketing tools work best for you in your market place in order to draw the highest number of motivated sellers to your real estate investing business.

People often ask me, “What is the best way to find motivated sellers and buyers?” My response is to do that which your competition will not and do a lot of it. Dare to be different in your approach to locating motivated sellers. Analyze, discover and continue to rediscover the best combination of marketing methods that will generate the highest number of motivated sellers for your business. Develop three to five marketing techniques that give the very best lead-generating leverage possible and devote your resources to those marketing techniques which net the very best results. As simple as it may sound—don’t spend time on something that is not productive.

Constantly test and track new marketing techniques since your market and your business will continue to change over time. In most cases, change IS good, especially if YOU plan that change. Spend time listening or reading about those who have come before you and developed marketing strategies that draw high numbers of motivated sellers to you. Spend your time and energy constantly seeking new knowledge about new combinations of marketing methods to create even more leads. Pursue innovative marketing methods in your business to bring you the highest number of motivated sellers. Be innovative. You’ll get “status quo” results if you stick to the status quo!

Don’t be afraid to use unusual types of marketing products such as florescent orange or pink business cards, post cards or signage to attract sellers. Use t-shirts in your business and wear them all the time. We even had a t-shirt made for our German Shepard dog. When we would take him for a walk people knew what we do for a living. “Wrap” your vehicle in signage and be sure to include a web site address. Implement several different ways to attract sellers since you will need to reach your market in a variety of ways.

Direct mail is another essential tool to use to attract lots of motivated sellers. This is a method most of your competition is not using in their business. Implement mailings on a residual basis so you are in constant contact with these sellers. When their circumstances dictate that they do so, they will want to sell to you first, even if they have been contacted by someone else in the meantime, since you have taken the time to build credibility with these sellers. Use lumpy mail pieces in your envelopes to entice your reader to open the envelope and read your message. Design your direct mail piece so different that it demands people’s attention, so it gets opened and read.

Don’t be worried about people who make negative comments about you or your marketing methods. You will be the one who will get “the last laugh” all the way to the bank with the profits from your real estate deals. Throw your business cards out into the bleachers when your children’s team scores a point. Give business cards to everyone you deal with on a daily basis. Write an article on real estate and submit it to your local newspaper. Offer to do a free talk on real estate for your local radio station or your local library.

Become a local expert in the real estate field and sellers will seek you out first when they need to sell.

A marketing genius once said, “Perception is more important than reality.” People are more comfortable dealing with someone they perceive to be an expert in their field.

Most importantly, absolutely KNOW what your competition is doing. Literally track their every technique. Research and find out all that your competition is doing. Knowing about your competition gives you the ultimate edge over them. The more you know about your competition, the better idea you will have about your market. One of the best ways to find out what your competition is doing is to join local associations or clubs where you are likely interact with them.

There are lots of great ways for you to stand out in your business. Don’t be afraid to be different. Although you will still use some tried and proven marketing techniques, those who are willing to take a little risk are the ones who are the most successful.

Believe me when I tell you, some of these lessons come from difficulties, pain, and even a couple of failures along the way. But once you make a mistake, never make that same mistake again! Different gets attention and that’s what you want, to get the attention of sellers who need your services.

Very simply, if you don’t let people know that you buy and sell houses, you won’t! Dare to be different in your approach to finding motivated sellers and buyers.

So when someone asks you, “If you were arrested for being a real estate investor, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

Your VERDICT must be: GUILTY!

Kathy Kennebrook

Contact Info:

Kathy Kennebrook
Dagger LLC
P.O. Box 14343
Bradenton Fl 34280

941-795-6887 (fax)

Kathy Kennebrook is the ultimate success story. She spent several years in the banking industry before discovering the world of real estate. After attending some real estate seminars this 4 foot 11 mother of two got really excited and before you know it she’d bought and sold hundreds of properties using none of her own money or credit.

Kathy holds a degree in accounting and has co-authored the books- The Venus Approach to Real Estate Investing, Walking With the Wise Real Estate Investor, and Walking With the Wise Entrepreneur which also includes real estate experts Donald Trump, Suze Orman, Robert Kiyosaki, and Dr. Wayne Dyer. She is the nation’s leading expert at finding highly qualified, motivated sellers, buyers and lenders using many types of direct mail marketing. She is known throughout the United States and Canada as the Marketing Magic Lady. She has put together a simple step-by-step system that anyone can follow to duplicate her success.

Kathy has been speaking throughout the country and across Canada for over 14 years and has shared the stage with Ron LeGrand, Donald Trump, Dr. Phil., Dan Kennedy, Mark Victor Hansen, Ted Thomas and Suze Orman to name a few.

Kathy is going to share with you how she generates a seven figure income by mailing a handful of letters throughout the year to highly selected targets by knowing exactly what to send them, who to send them to and exactly how to deliver her message. She will teach you the secrets of pre-screening and automating your marketing and follow up systems to put your entire Real Estate business on auto-pilot.


CRUNCH THE NUMBERS – Strategies With Sensei

Interview by Tim Houghten

The Metrics That Really Make a Champion Real Estate Investment Portfolio

Winning in real estate is all about the numbers. Far too many real estate investors are sabotaging their results by focusing on the wrong metrics.

Some of the most obvious blunders today may be blindly focusing on:

  • Number of hours worked

  • Number of Facebook followers

  • Re-Tweet counts

  • Deal volume

  • Number of employees

So as long as investors focus on gross revenue and great-looking properties, which an agent promises will go up in value the most they’ll be fine, right? No.

Remember the number one rule of investing in real estate—it’s all about “location, location, location.”


There can be properties on which the numbers appear to work all over the United States. Journalists regularly publish various ‘top 10’ lists claiming to predict which markets may be the trendiest or see the most price appreciation over the coming months. Unfortunately, while many investors are diligently working the numbers on potential deals, are completing due diligence and inspections, and are obtaining insurances – they are missing the most important factors that can really dictate their success.

Just as the stock and retirement savings market is horrifically skewed based on tracking the wrong figures, or what the price to get in is today, many real estate promoters are advertising the wrong figures too. In fairness, this market appears to be 90% or more made up of individuals who have only gotten in since 2008. They may not know any better. Others are only focusing on filing their pockets today, with no concern for tomorrow. They are encouraging the public to follow that plan too. Some are clearly heading off a cliff within the next 10 years, or less.


I have a little different view. Making money today is great. Real estate can deliver on that. What’s most important to me is building a sustainable business, which will provide my family a sure stream of passive income, and assets which can stand the test of time to ensure they’ll always be taken care of in my lifetime, and well beyond.

That means focusing on a slightly different data set than most. Specifically it means focusing on the numbers in the local market, not just crystal ball predictions on a particular property.


Orlando, FL topping 177% on the affordability index, meaning it costs almost double the average wage to secure housing there

Yesterday’s hot cities, like Miami, now full with over 24 months of home inventory

The number of investors taking out 10-year balloon loans on portfolios of rentals

What I want to know is:

How strong is the local economy?

What direction is the local economy headed in?

How long will it last?

Can properties in this location continue to produce positive cash flow?

Will I be able to sell this property for a profit in the future?

What are my viable exit strategies?

While it is always important to pay attention to what you are buying, and to make sure the individual investment makes sense, and is profitable, the location can be far more important. There are plenty of fabulous looking properties, which have fallen into ruins because the area burned out.

There are luxury estates and condos in ‘hotspots’, which have lost millions in equity. Then there are average, bread-and-butter properties, which have delivered incredible cash flow over the long run, and have pretty consistently tip toed up in value. This last group is the one I love the most.


Numbers to use in evaluating a destination should include:

  • Job growth

  • Employment figures

  • Population growth

  • Taxes

  • Affordability

It’s also worth evaluating the innovative DNA of a given destination. Is this a city that has proven to be able to reinvent itself and fuel growth in spite of other macro-economic changes?

Let’s take the example of the state of Ohio. For those that have been listening to the debates, Republican John Kasich states that Ohio’s economy was ranking nearly dead last, and has now been built up with over 400,000 jobs. That ranks Ohio number eight in the nation for job creation, and number one in the Midwest, according to Kasich and It’s also worth noting that Cleveland in particular is home to almost 30 colleges and universities, and more than 60 hospitals.

So where can real estate investors find the data they need to make smarter investments?

Data sources may include:

  • FRED—St. Louis Fed

  • FMA Data

  • Property Shark

  • Rent Cafe


  • U.S. Census Bureau

  • Department of Labor

  • Black Belt Investors

  • CoreLogic


To invest for success in both the short and long term, real estate investors must know their numbers. More important they must know and focus on the right numbers. That includes intimately knowing the local market and its fundamental trends. For myself and Black Belt Investors in 2016 that points to cities like Cleveland, Ohio for remote rehab investing. What does that data say to you? Where will you invest?


Founder of Black Belt Investors, Sensei Gilliland has been featured on the cover of Real Estate Wealth magazine, hosts ‘The West’s Top Ranked Real Estate Investors’ Club’ – 12 ROUNDS, and has engineered several highly popular trademarked real estate investment systems. Sensei is the go-to source for serious investors and entrepreneurs seeking extremely effective, no-holds barred training, investment properties, and funding.

Sensei Gilliland, CEO of Black Belt Investors, is a regular editorial contributor and expo speaker. Learn about Sensei’s events and tours:


Black Belt Investors

951.280.1900 or


Meet Your Creative Financing Experts Rebecca Rice & Jim Beam

By Sandy Fox

Our 5th Annual Los Angeles Real Estate Investors’ Expo will feature some remarkable experts. On that day, we will spotlight Rebecca Rice and Jim Beam, industry leaders in a little-known financial area. They’ve perfected a way to turn a unique and specific kind of life insurance policy into a reservoir of money you can use to simplify your real estate investing. More than that, the strategy actually compounds and increases the ROI on your investments.

A Financial Vehicle That Compounds Your Investments

When you hear from Rice and Beam you’ll find a financial vehicle beyond what most investors use. Typically investors turn to cash, mortgages, private lending or a combination of the above. Each has its own costs and limitations.

Beam, who started as a real estate investor in Florida said, “We worked awfully hard to make our money. And it seemed like someone was always standing there at the end of the day with their hand out to take our money. Closing costs, fees, taxes, interest rates.” He felt there had to be a better way.

His search led him to Rice and her specially constructed policies. He learned a way that he could:

Keep his money safe and private

Borrow money at low cost or net-zero cost

Avoid credit checks and bank approval for loans

Gain tax-free retirement income

Loan his business money and save on taxes

Pay off debt faster

Create an emergency fund that earned interest four times higher than most banks pay

He now helps other real estate investors learn how to take advantage of this system. This type of insurance policy is not new. It’s has been around for centuries and is tried and tested. Currently banks, businesses, and high net worth individuals use it to preserve and grow their money. But Rice and Beam offer a unique structure that makes it a powerful tool for even the small real estate investor.


Rice discovered Nelson Nash’s book, “Becoming Your Own Banker,” over 25 years ago. She recognized the revolutionary technique and became a protégé of Nash, building on his philosophy with concrete action plans.

It became her passion to help as many people as possible. “I help people see how money really works in the economy. It’s often not the way you think it does,” Rice says. “I love to show my clients how to reduce their debt in an extremely short period of time — faster than they ever thought possible.”

Through the years she’s structured Living Benefit policies for people from 21 to 93 years old. “Each is unique,” Rice says. “I’ve helped people profit who could only start with $100 a month. And I’ve worked with people who wanted to contribute a million dollars a year. Whatever your income or investment goals, you can use this to take control of your money and grow it faster and safer.”

Rice’s passion and dedication to her clients made her extremely successful. She became the first woman to be the top-performing agent at Mutual Trust. Then she went on to break the glass ceiling at Massachusetts Mutual as the first woman in its 170-year history to become the top life producer. She is also one of only three policy agents endorsed by the Palm Beach Letter, a financial newsletter.

Because she has written thousands of policies—and uses many of them herself — she knows every nuance of how to structure it to benefit you.


On the owner’s side, a policy looks deceptively simple and is easy to use. But the creative side takes an act of genius to give you all the benefits and advantages necessary to use it effectively in your business and investing.

Rice always learns what her client’s goals are. Then she tailors a Living Benefits policy specifically to meet those goals. Some want a pool of money to run their business. Others need free access to money for real estate investing or hard money lending. And some have their top goal to safeguard their wealth and transfer it to the next generation.

It’s possible to accomplish all those goals without invading lifestyle money,” Rice says. Lifestyle money is what you live on after paying your bills and Uncle Sam. Rice’s brilliance is that she frees up money for you to invest from other sources. Often it’s from the debt payments you are already making.


“The simplest way to use your Living Benefits policy is with hard money lending,” Beam says. “There are hundreds and hundreds of folks out there who are in need of hard money lending.” Beam works through organizations that send out leads for people who want to borrow the amount of money you have to invest —whether that’s $10,000 or $150,000 or more.

And the Living Benefits policy creates a vehicle to amplify the investment. “You borrow against your policy at 5% and you put it out on the street to go to work at 10% or 12% plus points,” Beam says. “But you’re still earning 5% on those same dollars within in your policy! Wow, what a platform to work from!”

Beam’s strength is that he can guide real estate investors in the best ways to take advantage of this platform for their specific goals.

There are a number of ways to take advantage of the policy. One of their clients buys HUD houses to rehab and rent.

Although her Living Benefits policy is only a few years old, she’s been able to use money from her policy to cut costs and increase returns.

Used for a down payment for a conventional loan and saved the cost of mortgage insurance

Used for repair costs on the house and avoided the expense and effort of a construction loan

Kept an “emergency fund” that earns 5% or so on that money instead of a bank’s pitiful near zero rate

Used a regional bank for a 5 year balloon loan with much lower loan origination costs and interest rates. She can do that because this system pays off the bank loan in just a few years—well before the balloon kicks in and interest rates rise

The client says, “The best part is that I end up with a house AND all the money that would have gone to mortgage payments!”

Can This Work For You?

You can learn more about investing in real estate using a Living Benefits policy when you attend national Realty411 events where Rice and Beam will be featured speakers. Plus, look for future issues with articles explaining in more depth how to increase your real estate returns using a Living Benefit policy.

Learn more with Rebecca Rice’s book, “Multiply Your Wealth: Essential Secrets for Financial Freedom.” Contact her directly (501) 868-3434 or online at – You can connect with Jim Beam at (239) 591-3781 or email:


Two of the Best Tactical Minds in Investment Property Financing Team Up

By Time Houghten

The new Bighaus-Chapman mortgage alliance offers a new capital partner for real estate investors navigating financial purgatory.

Merging two SNMC branches together, these mortgage masters offer a stark contrast that stands out on the investment property financing landscape. This strategic alliance unites two of the best tactical minds currently available in the mortgage business, with the backing of one of the largest and fastest-growing mortgage lenders in the U.S. And, intelligent investors are finding an interesting match in leveraging a business partnership that packs a ton of value.


Steve Bighaus, Security National Mortgage Company Branch Manager, says that the new underwriting inquisition is here to stay. And it could get worse!

Whether it is new appraisal systems that have been created to generate additional revenues for other providers, or demanding a written, verified, and quality controlled ‘confession’ of your life’s deeds, there is a new status quo in underwriting. While in some ways it has become easier to qualify for a loan on the surface, getting from loan application to closing may take an army of 300 Spartans guiding you home with sharp spears and over-sized shields. So while CoreLogic reports there are still some almost 15 million underwater and “under-equitied” homes in America, in addition to a fresh batch of foreclosures in 2015, real estate investors still need a fearless and wise guide to unlock the potential out there, and optimize financial leverage.


Merging two SNMC branches together these mort-gage masters offer a stark contrast, one that stands out on the investment property financing landscape. They are instantly recognizable, have a very unique style, and yet perhaps most notable is the fact that they have been in the mortgage business for longer than anyone else you’ll probably ever meet. They have both been in the financial industry since well before 2000, which gives them a veritably unrivaled edge in experience in an industry where it is hard to meet anyone that started before 2008. But it is often their mental agility, and refreshing commitment as long-term business partners to their investor clients that make them highly-prized assets.


To not just survive this long in the mortgage industry, but thrive and grow, and have investor clients coming back for dozens of transactions as they grow their income property portfolios, requires a mind that plays on a whole other level than the thousands that have fallen into the abyss.

In fact, there is no question that more real estate investors would have survived and thrived in the last couple of decades if they had paid more attention to how those they chose to do business with kept themselves sharp. Steve Bighaus, who runs operations in Washington state, says he is religious about hitting the gym, as well expanding his love of music from the drums to learning the vibraphone, and experimenting with jazz improvisation. Aaron Chapman who heads up the Mesa, Ariz., office survived a crushing motorcycle accident in 2008, yet continues to volunteer with the local Sheriff’s Office Volunteer rescue unit. His specialties include technical-high angle, off-road rescue & extrication, as well as being a member of their elite six-man helicopter rappel team.

These are battle-hardened warrior financiers and tacticians that know how to help investors strategize to stay ahead of the game, assess and successfully navigate calculated risks, and win the long race.


The Bighaus-Chapman mortgage team offers intelligent property investors a specialized team to aid in optimizing and growing their portfolios, to hit their individual goals, no matter whether that is having un-limited money to make it rain, or fulfilling philanthropic aspirations.

Aaron explains: “The business is evolving to need specialists. If one hits their head and has complications as a result, they don’t have the family general practitioner perform brain surgery in his office. Their situation requires a specialist. Not just any specialist, but they want the best. Investment lending is no different. Why go to a general lender who offers any kind of program available when there are specialists in what they need?”

Steve Bighaus describes the mortgage company coalition as a holistic service that aids investors in getting from where they are, to where they want to go, and incorporating all of their real estate financing from residences to second homes, to rental properties, and even commercial properties.

Specifically this financial duo act almost as business partners or your CFO, only without having to take on the burden of a giant salary or having to give up a share of your investment portfolio. They provide assistance in financial tactics, the heavy lifting and manpower to get it done, and the capital. Investors just pay the interest and borrowing costs.

Discover more about this dynamic team and the investment property loans offered, visit online at


The Self-Directed IRA Card that Changes DYNAMICS in Investing

Interview by Tim Houghten

Ever wished self-direct-ed IRA investing was simpler for you and those you work with?

Wished that all the net return and tax advantages of investing through an IRA where as easy to wield, and as comfortable as having cash in your pocket, swiping a card, or making online and mobile payments from your smart-phone?

The Entrust Group myDirection Visa® Card delivers all of that.


Self-directed IRAs are undeniably one of the best power tools available to investors today. Self-directed IRAs just makes investing better, and more profitable. Not having one means paying more in taxes, and suffering subpar investment returns.

Yet, until now many have passed on the power perks of this vehicle due to perceiving it as complicated, sluggish, and time consuming. This isn’t just a problem for individual investors, but for real estate educators and professionals, and their clients that stand to win so much.

The Entrust Group myDirection Card promises to tear down these old barriers, to deliver more of what investors want, need and deserve. It’s the ability and flexibility to direct your future with the swipe of a card or a smartphone app. The new pre-paid Visa card powered by citi enables individual investors to maintain control of their funds, on-demand.


1. Make instant transactions

2. Save on transaction fees and paperwork

3. Invest online


In an exclusive interview with Certified IRA Services Professional and President of The Entrust Group, Jason Craig highlights some of the critical investor needs that the myDirection card solves. When put in perspective it’s pretty clear that a card like this is essential for enabling investors to operate effectively in today’s modern landscape, while maximizing opportunities.

Being able to invest online is a huge step for IRA account holders. This means being able to take advantage of crowdfunding opportunities and auctions. Even in person investors can now potentially snap up tax-liens, mortgage notes, and auction properties with their cards.

Entrust’s Jason Craig also highlights card benefits that go beyond acquisition to asset and property management. For example, if you own real estate in your IRA the antiquated tradition required contacting your administrator, submitting contractor estimates, and having checks mailed, all before being able to get contractors to work on repairs. That’s not highly efficient on a weekend evening when a major leak shows up. So the card not only “reduces time to payment and action, but eliminates the hassle of receipts, wasted time, and reduces expenses.” That means more freedom, and net profit.


Craig explains that one of the reasons a card like this has taken so long to launch is the meticulous attention and re-ver-ifying in every step to ensure compliance, user experience, functionality, and “getting it just right.” It’s kind of like Elon Musk designing the new Tesla SUV, and ensuring the artistic middle row seats fit just right between the wing doors as it carries executives want to go. You can’t rush perfection.

The card itself is an asset held within the investor’s IRA. Account holders can have their cards reloaded with more cash as needed in amounts from $100 to $25,000. To ensure compliance and avoid triggering “prohibited transactions” or taxable events, investors have 30 days after a transaction to certify what it was for.


Craig joined The Entrust Group in 2007. Along with pioneer of the first “truly self-directed IRA” founder Hubert Bromma. One of the longest established self-direct-ed IRA companies (since 1981), The Entrust Group now offers arobust, tech-savvy, stronger partner for investors. Craig describes some of the changes as including the consolidation of franchises to bring everything back into one streamlined powerhouse for superior service and compliance. This along with bringing over the human touch and one-on-one service approach from Craig’s private banking background has resulted in a consistent “90% plus client satisfaction rate.”

Another tech tool this has produced for investors is the Saved-Plus mobile app. While most advocates for IRA investing in the real estate world focus on those with existing large balance accounts, this app enables those just starting out to “open an account, save, and monitor their accounts right from their mobile phones.”

Automated transfers can even be created to build up a retirement account based upon preset criteria, including a percentage of expenses on other cards. For example, you might want to ensure you are diligently and religiously setting aside at least 25% of what you spend on entertainment and eating out each month. This app puts that on autopilot, and helps you stay on track to investing.


The Entrust Group’s motto is: “We don’t compete. We complement.” Jason Craig states that “we work with a lot of REALTORS ® , are a Keller Williams preferred vendor, and attend NAR shows.” In the past, the firm has also collaborated on educational events and seminars with real estate investment groups and real estate related trade shows. Support and opportunities include training, free professional marketing materials, participating in live workshops, and discounted fees for opening self-directed IRA accounts.

To propel action and add real value Craig says that accounts “can now be set up the same day.” This means real estate pros and businesses can not only attract more prospects and raise their awareness of these tools and tactics for releasing more capital, but can actively and instantly help more clients in a bigger way, while unleashing their own business volume potential. And the myDirection Card is going to make conversions and action a lot easier than ever before.

Go online to for more tools, details of the B2B accelerator program, to download the SavedPlus app, and request a myDirection card. No one should be caught without one.


Safety FIRST When Showing REAL ESTATE

Safety at real estate showings and open houses has become a top priority in 2016. So just how critical has it become, and what are some of the most effective tactics for smart self-defense on the real estate field?


The threat to the personal safety of real estate agents, brokers and investors has become of paramount concern in the industry. Data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in September revealed that the vast majority of on-the-job fatalities can be tied to real estate-related work or activities real estate professionals engage in every day. This includes auto accidents, construction incidents, animal attacks and homicides while showing properties or on property management rounds.

It’s not just the number of attacks and real estate workplace deaths and injuries, but the statements of malicious attackers out to do “rich brokers” harm. In 2014 NAR reported that over 25% of REALTORS ® said they had encountered a threatening or harassing situation at work.

So with such high odds of REALTORS ® , investors, and property managers encountering physical attacks when showing houses and sitting at open houses what strategies and tactics can be put into play to stay safe?

10 Tips to Ensure Personal Safety


Dan Zito, of the Zito Realty Group – Keller Williams of Central PA, says, “I think it is important to, as often as possible, set an appointment to meet clients at the office prior to going through any homes with them. Not only does it allow me to meet them in a safe, ‘public’ environment, but it also allows for better customer service to the client. By meeting them at the office first, we are able to sit down and discuss their wants, needs, review homes that are currently on the market and answer financing questions, prior to visiting any homes.”


It’s far less likely that an agent or investor is going to be attacked if the prospect knows that their identification is on file. Requesting a copy of driver’s licenses and keeping records of them is a great first step. The Birmingham Association of REALTORS ® , who released its own ‘10 Commandments of Agent Safety’ all the way back in 1988, reportedly takes this even further by documenting the vehicle information of prospects, requesting references, and verifying them before showing property. Today, simply Googling prospects or hitting the most popular social media networks can reveal a lot about prospects too.


It’s too easy for industry professionals to become complacent about this issue or to fail because systems are fragmented. offers downloadable PDF Agent ID, Prospect ID, and Agent Safety Itinerary forms to beat these challenges.


Those lacking the bandwidth to ensure their personal safety when showing property or sitting open houses can opt for reducing risk by limiting time alone with prospects. This could mean installing keyless locks and allowing prospective renters and buyers to show themselves around. Or perhaps limiting viewings to a one-time event, invite-only events or broker-only opens. Or, there is now always the possibility of virtual open houses via Skype or Google Hangouts.


Veterans United Home Loans advises not to ride with strangers in your car. Let them meet you there. Don’t show the way and have possible assailants behind you; let them go first instead. Keep showings during day light hours. Make sure you pull into the drive last so you aren’t blocked in.


Let someone know where you’ll be. Let a partner know who you are showing to, and where, and have them call you to check in with you. Certainly there has to be someone that would appreciate you doing the same for them. You may even want to tag team showings together.


Getting to know a listing in advance of showing can be a big help. Recognize if windows or exterior lighting has been tampered with. Know your exit routes. Ensure there is reliable mobile service so that you can reach out in an emergency. Don’t have the SWAT team raiding your open house just because your signal was weak and your buddy couldn’t get in touch.


Conducting yourself with confidence can help prevent becoming the victim of an opportunist crime, just because you looked like an easy target. Personal security and identity theft expert Robert Siciliano suggests via his blog that wearing expensive jewelry can just make it too tempting for criminal not to attack, even when it is risky for them. This also certainly carries over to personal social media use and conduct when off the clock. Being a little too open and flamboyant may make you a mark. Pulling up to showings in an armored vehicle might go a long way to scare off any would-be muggers or assassins too.


Today’s smartphones and tablets can also double as great security tools. The Field Guide to REALTOR ® Safety recommends using distress codes to communicate with other team members. Just don’t make it too obvious. Apps like Guardly can reportedly launch GPS tracking, and connect to law enforcement or colleagues with a tap of a screen. Then there are apps like Salient Eye, which can turn your Android or iPhone into a security camera and even set off motion-triggered alarms. Via Facebook Ray Perry, a REALTOR ® at CPS Country Air in Santa Rosa has suggested, “Why not the real thing? An app called Glock works well, of course with a concealed carry permit.”


While packing a firearm or being known for carrying a new Galil or ‘Mutant AK47’ in your trunk might be a deterrent, it isn’t always the answer. It could also make you a target or just ensure that attackers show up even better armed than they would otherwise. Plus, there is always the issue of actually having to use it, and the fact that no permit is going to automatically get you off the hook for taking a life.

Non-lethal options, such as pepper spray or stun guns, might be effective enough in most scenarios and give real estate pros time to flee to safety and get help, says Sensei Gilliland, Southern California real estate expert and founder of Black Belt Investors. Sensei doesn’t just train in martial arts as a method of self-defense, he operates a chain of 360 Martial Art Academy locations. Self defense methods including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Haganah and KravMaga provide some of the most effective types of self-defense and hand-to-hand combat training, even against armed assailants.

We encourage you to think of what other things you can do to stay safe and keep your team secure on the front lines of the real estate landscape.


Memphis Invest and Three Other Clothier Companies Honored On INC.’s 5000 List

By Tim Houghten

Steady, Sizzling, Superior Real Estate Strategy

What’s the secret to winning in the real estate race? The tale of the tortoise and the hare used to be a staple in everyone’s education. That appears to be a part of the lesson plan that’s been torn from the pages for many today. Do you remember who won the race? What we all need to remember is the horde of hares that rushed themselves right out of the running just a few years ago. So how can real estate investors achieve steady cash flow, sizzling returns, and superior long term results, without risk of burning out?


Soccer games don’t have all the breaks of American football. In order to win it not only takes great team work, but superior stamina. It also requires that players know when to sprint into action and push, and when to act tactically. True wisdom is the meeting point of knowledge and knowing the right time to act. In real estate it takes stamina to maintain gains for the long run. It requires intelligent execution of action, knowing when to hold, and what to focus on.

Yet, in the current environment where anything but rushing in like a bull seems strange, who on earth would have the courage to moderate their growth and pace on purpose?

An exclusive interview with Partner and VP of Sales & Marketing at Memphis Invest, Chris Clothier reveals a firm that has been willing to do just that. The net effect of the approach certainly seems to be wowing a sufficient number of savvy investors. And given the number one turnkey real estate company’s status as one of the best known, and most respected brands, a blossoming WOW Club, and being crowned with Inc. 500 recognition, it seems to be working.

The 3 S’s of Memphis, Tennessee’s Most Successful Turnkey Real Estate Company


Chris Clothier says “The high-level training and licensing I received as a professional soccer coach have paid off tremendously in business by helping me to stay focused on long-term development both of myself, our clients and our team.”


While others are increasingly concerned about sharing their secrets and playbooks, Chris has become very active on the online real estate forum BiggerPockets. Asked about this participation in the new sharing economy he says: “When I was 18 years old I was lucky enough to attend a Zig Ziglar event. He said something on stage that really had a profound effect on many of us attending that night. He stated that you could have anything you wanted in life, if you help enough other people get what they want in life.” That’s a philosophy the Clothiers continue to practice on a daily basis.


On ensuring sustainable growth when others find it impossible to throttle their ambition Chris said, “Going into 2016, as leaders of our company, we began planning for moderating our growth rate, and spending the next 15 months improving upon our processes, hiring additional team members, and implementing a new, interactive training program to create even greater congruency. It is easy to grow too quickly and in a haphazard way. We feel that this is a perfect time to re-calibrate everything we do, and how we deliver our services to our clients and tenants as we prepare to begin growing more rapidly again in 2017.”


What are the results of this approach to building a real estate machine? As of today, Memphis Invest’s founder says, “We now have over 1,125 clients, offices in Memphis, Dallas and Houston, with a team that is 63 members strong, and are on-pace to close 600+ transactions for our clients this year alone.” There’s nothing sluggish about those digits.


Whether just starting out in real estate, or seeking to expand an already formidable real estate empire there is no question that it’s worth checking out what’s going on in Memphis. Investors can scoop their Free Passive Income Jumpstart Package, and detailed analysis of three solid rental property markets, Houston, Memphis, and Dallas, at


The KEYS to Unlocking ELITE Success in Real Estate

Exclusive Interview by Tim Houghten

The Founder of Rodeo Realty, the largest single-owner firm in the nation with 12 branch offices, 1,200 REALTORS ® , and annual sales and listings exceeding $5 billion, shares how he went from operating out of his garage to listing homes for $150 million.

What does it take to achieve elite success, at the top of the ultra-luxury real estate market, in the most exclusive community in the world?

Rodeo Realty is a name not just associated with celebrity real estate, but with dominating the ultra-elite markets of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California. The Rodeo Realty brand has been ranked the largest single-owner firm in California, with 12 branch offices, 1,300 REALTORS ® , and annual closed sales exceeding $5 billion. What does it take to obtain, and own this level of success?

Syd Leibovitch is the president and leader of the Rodeo Realty empire, and has been championing the crème of the crop of top-end international real estate, year after year, for 30 years. No matter what you aspire to achieve in real estate, it’s clear that Syd just might have a tip or two on how to get it.

In an exclusive interview, Syd Leibovitch gives us a peak behind the glass to see what it takes to get to the top of the real estate world, and stay there. Want elite success? Where do you start?


Rodeo Realty’s founder has been breaking through barriers since he got into real estate sales during college. Starting at 23 years old Syd says, “I sold three houses in my first month. I only went into real estate as a job for winter break. I fully intended to go to law school. But when my first sale closed, and the buyer hugged me and told me how excited she was to own a home, I was hooked!”

Syd says his family, who thought becoming a doctor or lawyer was a far better career choice, were disappointed when he began pursuing real estate. Yet, by the time he was 25 years old, he was a top-selling agent in Los Angeles. In just three years he opened his own firm. Today the world’s leading doctors, lawyers, and hottest celebrities come to Leibovitch’s firm for help in selling and securing the globe’s finest estates.


During his time studying economics and banking at California State University and UCLA, Syd ran for the relay team, track and cross country; he set new school records. His take away from the experience, and how it has influenced the success of Rodeo Realty – “Learning the value of hard work.”

People can’t ask for more than your best. Shame on you if you don’t give it to them.” – Syd Leibovitch


Last year Rodeo Realty sold at least one unit for $70M, and listed another at $150M. Yet, the surprisingly modest founder says that the majority of the firm’s transactions are in the $1M to $6M range, and that consistency is key. If you’ve ever run cross country you know you have to be able to keep up the pace, for the long haul, and often over unknown and challenging terrain. This could just as well describe navigating the real estate world. Yet, Syd says: “I did at least one deal a week for my first 15 to 17 years in the business.”

How do you create that type of consistency in results? He says, “I found something I like doing, and I do it a lot,” explaining that “if you do your best to take care of everyone you meet, the results will take care of themselves.”


Although he is a very hands-on business owner and accessible to his staff, today Syd has certainly handed on the baton to Rodeo Realty’s army of luxury real estate agents, and expert management team. Syd is very clear that he does not compete with his REALTORS ® for sales and credits them for the incredible sales figures posted. Asked how he manages to stay organized, and maintains efficient operations at such scale, Syd simply credits his “good people,” whom he says have become “friends,” more than employees.

Rodeo Realty surprisingly invites even new agents to come and train with the organization. So why work with Rodeo Realty, besides the prestige of joining one of the world’s most respected and envied real estate companies?

Syd’s Theory – “You’ve got to be the best, you’ve got to give the best.”

At Rodeo Realty this isn’t just evidenced by selling the best real estate on the planet, it is “being the best in ALL areas.”


Best Luxury Real Estate Website – ranked by Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate

Best Marketing – with an in-house print shop with 30 team members

Best Internet Marketing – with an in-house team of 17 graphic artists

Best International Marketing – reaching 200M+ buyers, in 190 countries, monthly

Best Technology – with Cirrus Super Search for deep data, on the go

Best Personal Service – local expertise, global presence

Syd says quite frankly and firmly that “real estate agents that want to serve their clients the best find that ability at Rodeo Realty,” and that “if you’re not on the Rodeo Realty team that’s because you’ve got other priorities, and are putting something else first, rather than serving your clients in the best possible way.”

It’s hard to argue with that.


To reach your full potential in real estate; blaze your own trail, work hard, be consistent, give your best, leverage good people and the best tools.

Want to see what a great real estate website looks like and view some of the most exclusive real estate eye candy in the world? Check out Syd’s site at, and download the free Rodeo mobile app.


Will “Power” Duquette – Finding Your Path & Achieving Significance

by Tim Houghten

Choose where you want to go and figure out how to get there. Sounds easy, right?

International trainer, consultant, real estate investor and speaker Will Duquette empowers people to make as much as six figures an hour. So how did he land this prestigious gig? How does he help you unlock your income potential?


Sometimes it can be hard to differentiate the hype from the real deal out there today. There’s a lot of noise and fluff. But you won’t find that when you attend one of Will “Power” Duquette’s high-powered events or one-on-one consulting sessions. The proof is in the results.

Duquette has…

Helped Shark Tank investor, co-founder and CEO of HSN Direct International, and author of

Act Now: How I Turn Ideas Into Million-Dollar Products”, Kevin Harrington, to catapult his on-stage sales – with five PowerPoint slides.

• “Never lost a penny in 17 years of investing in real estate.”

Just “bought” a property with $110,000 in instant equity last week, with no money down.

Had real estate investing students make $70,000 in less than 30 days after training events.

Helped the Jax REIA President crush it with a 25% closing ratio.

Had 12 year real estate veterans raving about the value of his experience.

Has shared the speaking stage with Donald Trump and Richard Branson.

Is launching a YouTube challenge to 2016 Presidential candidate Donald Trump.


Will is dogmatic in his belief and service in helping others to not only achieve their financial goals, but personal dreams and more. In fact, he says, “Anyone can receive great wealth and significance, without needing anyone else’s permission. If they’ll invest in learning, and take action.”

Duquette insists it is this combination of effective training and action that has not only unlocked the massive success potential of his clients, but his own as well. He says there are irrefutable laws like gravity, and our subconscious that run us, and differentiate our results. Through recognizing them and harnessing their power, Duquette empowers leaders to “experience life transformations that stay with you and serve you.”


Will Duquette says Donald Trump offers the classic example of how wealthy people think differently. When Trump was $900 million in debt, he didn’t hide like most would. So what did he do? Operating from that millionaire mindset, he attended a cocktail party with those creditors that he owed $900 million to. Gutsy, right. Yet, in a side room at that event, Trump surrounded himself with this mastermind group, and not only seriously discounted this sum, but leveraged their wisdom to craft a massive success plan. Trump is now worth almost $9 BILLION, and is running for U.S. president.

So if you want different results, you’ve got to take different actions.

But beyond just curating the success habits of others; Duquette has lived it himself. When he was young, he was always told that his family couldn’t afford things.

When he found out that he was going to have his own child – that’s when it changed everything, and created a new sense of urgency. He didn’t want that to be the story he had to tell his daughter. Still, he admits that it took several shifts and years for him to make his own ultimate leap. Because most of what he teaches today just wasn’t shared or known back then.


1. Got fired from the rat race after calling in sick for having pneumonia

2. Opened his own business

3. Began investing in real estate to make bigger chunks of money

4. Discovered the power of blind faith belief

5. Accepted his ‘license to make mistakes’

6. Learned how to manage and change his own perspective on happiness

7. Decided his apex was in significance through helping others, not just making money


When Duquette started on his adventure the close-knit group that was banking huge in speaking and sales weren’t sharing their secrets. They kept those closely guarded. Yet, he found a way. And he credits his own success to four main factors.

Vowing to never give up

Modeling success wherever he could find it

Investing big in education

Just taking action

Duquette says the really significant quantum leaps came when he forced himself to step out of his comfort zone and chose to “pay more than comfortable with” for better training. In one case that meant putting $10K on a credit card to really learn how to take his game to the next level. And today, Will might not notice if ten thousand dollars dropped out of his billfold on the way to the podium.


Duquette trains real estate speakers and investors, and still invests in real estate himself. While you may find him gracing the stage at events in London, Prague, and Germany, Duquette’s home base is in Jacksonville, FL. While often overlooked by others; ‘Jax’ is the largest city in the contiguous United States, and the most populous city in Florida. It has also been praised by RealtyTrac as offering the biggest profit margins for house flippers. But you don’t have to tell Duquette that. He once bought a half a million dollar home with just $10 out of pocket, and has mastered a transaction engineering skill set that allows him to invest in many properties with nothing down. Duquette says it is all about “looking for problems and finding solutions.”

While he says that world travel and international training has revealed that all people essentially have the same fears, challenges, and belief issues, he himself certainly has a unique perspective, and style, that is proving itself with dollars and changed lives. He claims to be perhaps one of the only people to not have lost a penny in 17 years of real estate investing. His high energy, experiential real estate events that include live deal making have produced profits for attendees before they are done with their homework.

And the ‘Profits in Pretty Houses’ course is reportedly one of the first and only to include a flow chart so that investors are never stuck, or wondering what comes next.

Looking forward Duquette says the market is just like it was seventeen years ago, only better. “Because all the fundamentals are right, but others are scared to take advantage of the opportunities on sale.” As well as noting that rather than hurting his business, “massive buying sprees by hedge funds have actually helped” his business, as “they have depleted inventory levels”, and make his properties more in demand.


Will “Power” Duquette offers sales, confidence, and personal development training, real estate speaker training, speaker services, real estate investment courses, and one-on-one consulting. Find out how to get more of what you want at