Thankful Investor – John Martinez

 

Hey, welcome back for another segment! This is the 3rd and final segment that I wanted to share with you from my recent live event called the Thankful Real Estate Investor. We hosted this live right before Thanksgiving and it was an interactive event. Our 3rd speaker is Mr. John Martinez, the top real estate investor sales trainer! Let’s get started!

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Resources and Links from this show:

  • Investor Fuel Real Estate Mastermind
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  • Investor Machine Real Estate Lead Generation

Listen to the Audio Version of this Episode

FlipNerd Show Transcript:

[00:00:00] Mike: [00:00:00] Professional real estate investors are a different breed. We’re not afraid to go all in and take educated risks to build stronger businesses and help our families live better lives.

This is the FlipNerd professional real estate investor show. And I’m your host Mike Hambright each week. I host a new episode live and bring you America’s top real estate investors as guests.

Let’s start today’s show. Hey everybody. Welcome back for another segment. This is the. The third segment of three that I wanted to share with you from my recent live events called the thankful real estate investor. We hosted this live right before Thanksgiving. It was an interactive segment. So, uh, hopefully if you weren’t there, you’ll join us on an upcoming events.

Uh, our third speaker is mr. John Martinez, by the way, I’d love for you to join us at our future live events. We’re going to be doing these several times a month, going forward events like this that are live and interactive, answering your questions in our private. FlipNerd Facebook group. The way you [00:01:00] get access to that group is you go to flipnerd.com/pro event has a hyphen there pro dash event flipnerd.com/pro-event.

Make sure you go there and register. We’ll get you in the group and you can join us if you didn’t this time on our next live and interactive, uh, event. Let’s go ahead and jump in with mr. John Martinez.

I’m going to bring my buddy John Martinez and. John, how are you? You’re a little bit cut off. I think.

John: [00:01:27] Let me adjust the camera here.

Mike: [00:01:30] We want to see your good side.

John: [00:01:34] So you have to just deal with it.

Mike: [00:01:37] Yeah. So how are you? My friend.

John: [00:01:38] I’m good. I’m good. How are you  doing? How are you doing Mike?

Mike: [00:01:41] Good. Good. So as we’re kind of getting started here, I’ll ask a really a couple of things. First is if you guys have questions for John, if you don’t know John.

That’d be kind of unusual. So if you know, John is, and you want to ask some questions about what’s working now from a sales technique standpoint, or an approach of how you handle your leads, start to chat those in I’d love to get to your [00:02:00] questions. In the meantime, John, while we’re waiting on some questions, maybe you can share a little bit about what you’re most thankful about.

We’ve got so much to be thankful for. What would you share that, uh, I know you probably have, might have a long list if we had time to talk about it, but what are one of the things that come to mind that you’re most thankful for?

Uh, my health, uh, man, I turned 40 this year. So it’s funny how I that’s like more and more of a top of mine topic.

Like, uh, every year you get older. So, uh, turning 40 every day. I’m thankful for my health. Uh, thankful for parts of me that don’t hurt when I was picked up. And then, I mean the same with my family. Yeah, me too. My kids and my wife are all healthy. And I think, um, as long as you have that, you can basically basically get through anything else.

So that’s gotta be what I’m most grateful for.

Awesome. Awesome. Well, that’s great. So, so John, while we’re kind of waiting on some more questions, or maybe you could kind of share a little bit about what’s what’s working now, like we’ve been through, I wish we were through the COVID, so I don’t know if we’re through it earlier.

Trevor said we’re kind of. In the middle of this [00:03:00] code. And I’m like, hopefully we’re at the tail end. I don’t know where we’re at, but it’s, it’s changed. The dynamic has a lot of people that are doing stuff virtually now, or certainly vetting more out on the phone than they used to. What are, what are some of the things that are, that are kind of working now that people have had to adapt to over the last six or eight months?

Yeah. So it’s, you know, in sales, what’s worked for forever was having a plan or we call sales process. But I think it’s more important now than ever because we’re not doing as much kind of face to face or belly to belly selling. Um, so a lot of people who could kind of get away with just their wit and their good looks inside of a house and really building rapport that way and going buddy, buddy, and, um, having really good conversations because of, of that ability.

It’s it’s a lot harder to do that on the phone. So you have to start to rely on your plan or your sales process. I think even more now than ever before. Right? Your plan about what I want to accomplish during this call, how do I want it to begin? What do I want to, uh, [00:04:00] what’s the agenda for the middle? How do I want this thing to end?

What will, what will the acceptable outcomes be? Um, you know, if I run up against hidden decision makers, influencers, Pushback resistance. How am I going to deal with that? So I think it’s always, you know, the cornerstone of any good sales organization or sales person is, is process or having a plan. But I just think it’s more important right now than it’s ever been since we’re so disconnected.

Yep. Yep. So we’ve got a question from Matt here. That’s talking about kind of, how are you negotiate remotely? And I think, you know, a lot, like we just talked about a lot of people who have transitioned to doing this over the phone. And you lose some things on the phone, right? You don’t get to see the facial expressions or exactly how they’re living.

You don’t really get any indication of what the house is like by just walking in the front door. Um, maybe, can you maybe share some tips on how to make that transition for those that have had to make that transition that we’re buying at the kitchen table, if you will, to doing more over the phone?

John: [00:04:57] Yeah, I, I can’t so great point.

So usually in [00:05:00] a negotiation, you know, by the time you get there, A negotiation. You’ve got to walk a pretty tight line because you want to negotiate aggressively to get yourself the best deal. But at the same time, you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you, you upset someone or offend them in such a way that you kill your own deal.

Now, when you’re face to face, you can basically just read it. Right. Do you know the body language, the tonality? Um, no one can really hang up on you when they’re face-to-face either. Quit and say, get out of my house now they can, but it’s harder. Right? So in order to do that over the phone, one best practice I found what’s working right now is always assume the worst during the negotiation.

And then I’ll tell you what I mean by that. Um, you’re always safe if you assume the worst, um, uh, in a, in a sales negotiation and when it comes to keeping the conversation going and not offending someone or, or losing rapport. So here’s what I mean by that. Um, if you’re, if you’re making offers, you know, always assume that they’re not going to take it.

So here’s, here’s some examples, [00:06:00] uh, listen, I’d love to offer you a 75,000 for the property, but you know, based on this phone call, I’m guessing that if I offered that and I’m way out of the ballpark. Um, so, so you tell me, am I, am I, am I right? Am I in my way out of there? So just always assuming the worst there, you won’t put your prospect or the seller back on their heels and, and start that kind of confrontational negotiation.

So even as you go through the negotiation and you’re going back and forth, you know, Hey, I think I could offer you more money, but that would require you to, um, help it to clean out a little bit, or certainly shorten the timeframe or commit, uh, you know, within the next 48 hours. And, you know, we haven’t had a chance to think about that.

So I’m not sure if that, you know, the more, the extra money would even be worth, you know, you. Cleaning out a little bit more or painting the living room or getting their old car out of the garage. So I think, um, in order to be safe with negotiations, just err, on the side of caution and what it’ll actually do is it’ll build a, and it’s more amount of rapport.

It’ll [00:07:00] keep the conversation going. It’ll keep you out of that kind of enemy, confrontational battling type of negotiation and extend the conversation. So you can actually get through the negotiation and not end it prematurely.

Mike: [00:07:11] Yep. Good, good. That’s good stuff. So we’ve got another question here. I’m going to, I can’t tell with who the user is, but they’re saying what’s the best way to start a renegotiation or price with sellers.

So I don’t know the context of that, but let’s just say when people are buying virtually more frequently, now that they are, you’re making assumptions on repairs and stuff. And sometimes, you know, you find out that, you know, you told me the kitchen was remodeled, but it turns out is remodeled 20 years ago.

Right. And, uh, that it’s going to cost more. And so I think we all. You know, some people have an approach and I know John believes the same way that I do. You really want to use renegotiate as, as a. As a last defense, like you just really miss something and not this approach of like, well, I’m gonna try to lock it up and then go back and renegotiate.

I think we’re in agreement with how we, how we believe that. Um, but let’s just say we made [00:08:00] our best effort. We put an offer forward, an offer that we thought was good and later we found out we totally missed something or were misled on something. Cause we did it over the phone and we have to renegotiate.

So maybe talk about how to best start to renegotiate a deal with it. Somebody after they’ve agreed to something else.

John: [00:08:17] Yeah. So good question. So it pops up all the time. Um, it just happens. It’s the nature of the business is real estate and buying houses that are in disrepair or, or distressed sellers. Um, it’s going to happen.

So when you do it, you just need to really put yourself in the seller’s shoes when you go into that conversation. So here’s what I mean. We already know. And if you got one with a renegotiation and you’ve agreed to applies, and it might’ve been a tight negotiation to get to the price you originally agreed on.

When you go in and say the deal’s off, or I need even less, you have to understand how they’re going to feel. They’re going to be a little bit shocked. Um, they’re going to probably be a little upset and disappointed. And so as you go into the negotiation, first and foremost, you have to [00:09:00] realize what that will do.

If it’s with a seller it’s going to, they’re going to react the same way as is Mike, or I would react if we got upset or maybe even, you know, in that situation, you might even feel like you’re taking advantage of, or someone trying to pull one over on ya. Um, so you’ve got to realize that that’s going to be met with some type of resistance.

And now resistance in sales really shows itself in two ways. It’s either it’s kind of a fight or flight, right? If you get upset or you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, you’re either going to just shut it down and say fine, it’s off whatever. And I’m sure people have experienced that, right. They go in with the renegotiation and they just say, well, deal’s off.

No. Uh, or if there’s going to be a tremendous amount of pushback aggression, right. Um, get into a, uh, you know, a yelling confrontation or something like that. And that neither of those is going to lead to a smooth negotiation. I think we can agree on that. Right. If they’re shutting it down or, or getting pretty aggressive.

That’s not where you want to start off. So first and foremost, you got to know where your prospect’s mind is going to [00:10:00] be an address mindset first, before you get into the nego renegotiation. So knowing they’re upset, I’m just going to be open and honest and say, listen, I’ve got some bad news. I’m really reluctant to even bring it to you.

I feel like a schmuck because I know I’m going to rain on your parade today. Um, but I’ve, I’ve exhausted every option looking into this, and then we’ve got to have a really tough conversation and I want to let you know, I apologize up front because, um, it’s not going to be a fun one. Right. Uh, so if you see what I saw there, I just, I called the situation what it was.

Um, I took the temperature down using what we call tactical empathy in our sales training. Bye I’m going not okay. Just kind of, you know, going down and, and feeling bad cause you’re about to give bad news and that’s what a normal human being would do. Right. Um, and there’s some science behind it, but anyways, that’s it.

You want to go into it smoothly. And then, uh, I’m going to borrow from the last tip I gave, um, about negotiating over the phone. We want to, we want to come at it from a position where we’re [00:11:00] assuming the worst. So when I renegotiate, I started out just like I said, on the call, and then I’d say, listen, I, there’s no way I can pay 110 grand for the house.

It’s just based on what we found and everything going on. I, I can’t do it and I feel horrible about it, but I assume that if I had to pay even a dollar less, you don’t want to do it. And then just be quiet. Now, the reason why I didn’t say the number that I actually need is we feel tested this quite a bit.

And we found that we just say, you probably don’t want to sell at this point, or I’m not even sure I could buy at this point. Oftentimes sellers renegotiate down lower than, than what you need. Uh, I, I have countless emails and messages from people who said, I need a 10 K off. I went in with that exact read negotiating strategy.

And they said, well, would you take it if I took 20 K off? Right. And then, okay. Uh, so, so that’s it just know their mindsets slide into it, knowing you’re going to upset them and addressing and being real about it. And, and if it doesn’t [00:12:00] feel good to give bad news and don’t hide it, um, and then kind of go negative and assume that.

They’re not going to consider it or not like it, or you might not be able to get the deal done and then just go silent

Mike: [00:12:11] and see what happens. Yep. Yep. And I think some of it too is if you’re, if you shifted your model to bind more virtually, is there some things you can do to pre-frame that upfront? Like here’s our offer.

If part of your processes, we’re going to have an inspector come out and look what I want to try to give you a price. Now you can kind of pre-frame frame that is, uh, like we’re based on what you’ve told me. You know, here’s what we’ve come up with for repairs. And we’re going to have somebody come out and double check this.

And so you can kind of slip in there that in the event that any of that, that I missed anything here, we’ll find out and I’ll let you know, or right. You can kind of pre-frame them.

John: [00:12:44] Absolutely. Um, you know, that, that was kind of the assumption I was running with. No one likes surprises, prizes, especially bad news surprises.

So covering that upfront is definitely a best practice.

Mike: [00:12:56] Yeah. Good. We got a question here from our buddy John Harker, who [00:13:00] says hello?

John: [00:13:00] Hey John,

Mike: [00:13:01] uh, what do you do when a seller just won’t give you a price and just keeps. Saying look online. I don’t know what he means by that. Like,

John: [00:13:10] yeah. Maybe he’s, he’s referring to Zilla or do your research.

Mike: [00:13:13] They’re kind of celebrates online. They just won’t give you a price. And uh, so talk a little bit about what do you do when they just won’t show you their cards and they’re just waiting for you to give an offer.

John: [00:13:23] Yeah. So there’s a lot of strategies to get the number, but I want to come at this question two different ways.

Um, the first way is, okay, how do we get the number again? You’re probably seeing a pattern here. We’re going to pull back a little bit. Um, there there’s two ways to get it. One is I usually just suggest they don’t know the number cause people like to argue and push back. So one way to ask is. Listen, I’m guessing you don’t even know what you’d even what you’d want for the house we contacted.

You probably haven’t had time to do research, to think about it. That’s one way, another way to do it is to ask about a similar property. Oftentimes people don’t want to talk about themselves, but they’ll talk about their neighbors or a member of house in the [00:14:00] neighborhood. So another way you can ask is, Hey, listen, um, Houses in this neighborhood.

Do you know any that have sold recently? What are they going for? Right. And when you have a hundred K 200, 300 and you can kind of whittle it down from there real simply like really were you expecting to get more or less for yours? And now we’re starting to bracket them in and kind of drilling down on.

I was actually expecting a bit more. Well, why is that? Well, it’s a bigger house. It’s a nicer condition we rehab. So you can start to get to it in that round about way now, now that I gave the two ways that you’ll have more success doing it than just asking straight out, um, kind of some caution I want to throw out there.

Um, Oftentimes, unless you’re qualifying, let’s say this makes sense. If you’re qualifying, let’s say you have a bunch of leads and you want to find that, who am I going to work with? Who am I going to send my acquisitions out to? Who am I going to talk to? Where am I going to spend my time? Then you might be asking that price.

You, it’s a, it’s a level of your qualification. Now, if it’s not a level of your qualification, I’ll want to [00:15:00] caution you on asking what their expectations are, because it actually does more harm than it does. Good. Number one, it could get into your head. Um, I’ve worked with plenty of sales reps. Who’ve gone into sales calls gone.

We’re at two 50 for this house. They want 500 why even go, right? And they’re talking themselves out about, out of even showing up. But then when we show up and we run through the sales process and uncover some things, and sometimes those people actually sell for what they need to, right? No, one’s going to.

Call you up and you say, Hey, what would you like to sell for? And they’d say, Oh, 50% of what I think I could sell it for. That’s insane. Right? So sometimes that can kind of get in your head and stop you from even taking the appointment or really going full force at the appointment. The other negative.

About getting their offer is they’re setting expectations. And whenever you come in under it, cause you will come in under whatever they expect, 99 or 999 out of a thousand times. They’re going to be disappointed. [00:16:00] So, because I don’t want to disappoint them. I want to set expectations. I want to come in instead of saying, what would you like?

I’d like a hundred and me saying, I could give you 50 that’s bad. I’d rather go in and say, I’d love to give you 40, but with this, I think if we did it quickly, I could do 50. So then I’m setting, setting expectations. And then, uh, my comparison, it actually sounds a little sweeter. Um, so, so that’s my take on it.

So be careful asking, asking for asking price only do it. If you need it. Because of mindset and the expectations that sets, and then kind of the psychology that goes along with what’s called price anchoring. It could actually have a negative effect. So if you don’t need that information, you might not want to get it.

Mike: [00:16:36] Yep. Good stuff. Good stuff. So, John, we’ve got a really long question. I don’t want to put up on the screen cause I think it’ll block the whole screen, but effectively says, uh, you know, what kind of techniques are working well with speaking to homeowners or landlords? There’s a lot of trouble landlords out there these days because of all the rents, deferments and all this stuff, um, about.

COVID w on the value of their property versus kind of the future. So I think that there’s a couple of ways [00:17:00] I could translate that. I think, um, you know, there’s a, there’s probably a lot more landlords that are hurting now than there were before. COVID. And then on the other side yeah, for home owners and even, I guess for landlords is property values have gone up pretty substantially during, since COVID started because there’s just very little inventory, so prices have shot up.

So we’re, we’re kind of dealing with this whole COVID mess, but at the same time, knowing that prices just feel kind of artificially high right now because of what’s been going on. And so, uh, that’s like a huge loaded question ultimately, but kind of how do you integrate those things into. Talking about value when you’re talking to a seller.

John: [00:17:39] Yeah. So, uh, interesting questions. Um, we can break those

Mike: [00:17:44] down into a couple of smaller questions if

John: [00:17:45] you don’t know. It’s okay. It’s okay. I’m just thinking through it. So, uh, really I think having that conversation unless it needs to happen is kind of a trap. So I’m going into that question with the premise of, we’re [00:18:00] trying to convince someone that their house is worth a, when they’re trying to convince us that it’s worth B.

Yeah. And if you are in the real estate investment business, that’s, that’s not the conversation you want to be having. That’s a retail conversation, right? Um, that conversation is, is not going to do a lot for you as far as increasing your conversion rates. What you want to do is pivot that value conversation, not the price isn’t worth more because of COVID or is it worth less?

Two, what’s it worth to you right now? Uh, here is what I can offer. Let’s have a conversation about, is it worth even considering that offer? So shifting the conversation is where I’d want to take the answer to that question. If you’re having that conversation of, I think it’s worth 50. Well, I think it’s worth 60.

I think if we’re  that’s not a winning strategy and sales, you have to pivot the conversation. To listen, I’m going to give you an offer and I’m not sure it’s going to be more or less than, than what you were expecting, but let’s chat a little bit about what you want to accomplish. [00:19:00] And, um, so I know how to structure it and make sure I can maximize my offer.

And then you can just figure out at the end of this, Hey, with what I want to accomplish does accepting this offer makes sense or not make sense. And that’d be a pretty easy, easy answer for you. And then I’m shifting the conversation to, you know, what even got you started thinking about selling. Is there a, you know, is it, is it kind of a situation you want to get away from, or is there, do you want to use the money for something else?

Do you want to move across the country? What’s going on? And I want to redefine it and read it and just pivot that conversation to what’s your problem? What do you want to accomplish? And, and I’m going to ultimately give you an offer and then your only decision is in order to accomplish that. Is it going, is it worth it?

Is it worth taking the offer? And doing that you can, you can really stroke a tremendous amount of motivation. You can bring a lot of motivations to surface that your prospect may not have been thinking of. You can understand their situation a lot better. You’re going to build a lot more rapport, their urgency to take action.

The more they talk about their situation is going to increase. So I don’t know if I’m giving the right answer, but, but my answer [00:20:00] is that’s probably the wrong conversation to have, and we need to pivot.

Mike: [00:20:03] Yeah. Don’t look at the underlying issue of COVID it’s just the situation of what you think the value is versus what you can pay.

Right, right. Yeah. Yeah. I think there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of landlords that are hurting. Right. And I mean, there’s, let’s be honest. There’s a lot of landlords that didn’t buy, like. For me, all my rentals were bought at wholesale prices. And in fact, most of them were from many, many years ago. So like prices that are inconceivable now, uh, cause I’m actually older than John.

Uh, I was talking about age earlier, but, um, uh, but I think there’s a lot of landlords that, you know, they bought it off the MLS and they, in their mind, you know, or, or they bought a turnkey property at close to retail value and they never. Thought about like, well, what could go wrong? The house is newly renovated and like things go wrong, you know?

And of course, with, with COVID it’s even, uh, kind of unprecedented in terms of. You know, some States saying you don’t have to pay the rent and all that stuff. It’s just crazy. So I think what you really focus on there is that pain of like, you’re not even getting paid right now. When do you think you’re going to get paid again?

Right.

[00:21:00] John: [00:21:00] The reality of the situation is we all overpay for stuff happily because it’s worth it. Right. And we all take massive losses on things that we have when we sell them, because again, it’s worth it. So just think about any time in your life, where you said, you know what? I probably could have gotten more.

But I’m just thankful it’s over. I’m thankful I got rid of it. Yeah. I know. I overpaid for that, but here’s the opportunity it opens up. I’m glad I did. Right. And you’re excited about overpaying for something. So if you start thinking those terms, that’s how your seller’s thinking, right? It’s not always about getting, you know, fair market value to them.

Is what it actually accomplishes to them, not, not what Zillow says or what your, your, your maximum allowable offer is, or whatever you calculate the ARV to be. It’s, it’s going to be what’s it worth to them. So again, just another way to rephrase my answer is you’ve got to figure out what, moving that property is worth to them and get away from the ARV conversation.

Mike: [00:21:54] Yep. Yep. Well, guys, we’ve got time for a couple more questions, so please chat them in here. Uh, John saw this, [00:22:00] I got a question for you. How do you use, or how can you utilize the end of the year? Beginning of the year kind of phenomenon. Uh, and I’ve always kind of explained it as it’s like a health club.

Like people want to, you know, January 1st, there’s this line in the sand, that’s really just in their mind. And now I want to start the year and lose 40 pounds or whatever. There’s also people that have had. Problem rental property or a house they inherited, or a fixer upper of some sort that they’re like, I don’t want to deal with that next year.

I just want to get rid of it. How do you kind of utilize that in the year? Phenomenon of people wanting to start fresh?

John: [00:22:33] Yeah. I mean, you can use it just like you said. I, I typically don’t care. What time of year. It’s a great time to use scarcity. I can use really use scarcity no matter what time of year it is, but it works really well at this time.

Um, I’ll tell you when I was out, uh, training salespeople and kind of men buying houses coast to coast. Whenever we didn’t get one at the kitchen table, we would drive two blocks away and I would call and say, listen, We could give you a little bit more money if we can walk this up in the [00:23:00] next 60 minutes and we would often lock them up then because that’s scarcity.

So having, having a cutoff, and I think it speaks really to the broader, uh, sales strategy of having an offer expiration or having, uh, making a, no one, no right Treme salespeople out there, 20 acquisition agents and real estate investors, I think because there’s a fear of losing a potential deal. They never make their prospects actually make a decision.

Right? Think about it. Think about it. I’ll continue to follow up with you. And there’s never any cutoff where a decision has to be made. So the prospect never feels a fear of loss, a fear of actually losing the deal. So, um, cause the investors

Mike: [00:23:40] is afraid to say, I’m never going to call you again, right?

John: [00:23:43] Yeah, absolutely.

Uh, so sorry, my Alexa just went on and off. I don’t know what happened to you guys

Mike: [00:23:52] are winding it down. Guys, ask the questions. Cause the lights are going

out

John: [00:23:56] probably in the other room it’s like in it, but yeah, no. [00:24:00] And anyways, I want to just, just go back to that and say, Hey, every time you make an offer, you just word of advice.

You need an exploration, whether it’s by the time I, you know, if it’s not a yes. You know, by the time we wrap up our conversation. Totally cool. It’s no, uh, you know, don’t be a jerk about it. Uh, or Hey, you know, offers you a stand for a week. Obviously I can’t make an offer on a property and let it hang out there for a year.

If things change, my situation will change. Number of houses. I need changes the real estate market’s going to change. So I can, I can let this offer stand for three days, seven days, whatever it is. So you’ll do yourself a favor. If you just start giving a cutoff to when your

Mike: [00:24:34] offer expires. Yeah. Yeah. I remember when I first started this a long time ago now.

Um, and I used to sit there like, how good, how good is the offer for? And I was like, Oh, you know, 30 days. But even then I’d still be interested in buying it. And I was like, well, would I in hindsight, you know, so stupid, what would you do? You’d like, you’d go shop at everywhere in town. And like, I’m like plan B if they need it, which they would never need it.

So then we, then we got better. [00:25:00] Yeah. Awesome. Well, John, what do you think differentiates, let me ask you a question. What differentiates you? You, you’re a member of investor fuel as well. You know, you surround yourself with a lot of amazing people, just like I do for Schwartz, I’ve run in some of the same circles.

What do you think differentiates those that are doing really well at crushing it from those that are good, doing some deals, but kind of just getting by and kind of stuck in the grind. What do you think differentiates those two people from a sales perspective,

John: [00:25:26] from a sales perspective, It’s gonna sound funny, but it’s, uh, getting out of the sales role.

Um, I think the, the more successful people in invest a fuel, um, and, uh, you know, just, just investors in general. Um, even if they’re really good at it, uh, sometimes even if they like it pulling themselves out so they can grow, right. If they can have three acquisition agents that are half as good. Uh, the numbers typically work where you can turn up lead flow and, you know, still, uh, grow them at, uh, in the business.

So I think it’s [00:26:00] getting out of the seal rule so you can focus more on actually growing the business. And I, I train sales people, so I love to train an investor. So I don’t want to talk anyone out of, uh, investors buying houses, but at the same time, getting out of the sales role, hiring others to do it.

Even if they can only do it a fraction as well as you will allow you to focus on the actual and pull the levers that will grow your business and then turn everything off because now you’ve got the bandwidth to handle, increase everything else. So that’s when you can do sales. If you’re an investor business owner, entrepreneur is get out of the sales role and get yourself a couple of people who can do it

Mike: [00:26:36] for you.

Yeah, you can even say that about your whole business. Like we’re we’re in our way, right? I, I just, uh, before today’s event here, I did, uh, I recorded an investor fuel show with clay Rockwood. They’re doing a hundred wholesale deals a year and adding a hundred rental doors a year to their business. They’ve been in business for three years.

These guys are crushing it. And that’s what he said. That’s what he said is like, we just. I’m not the best at [00:27:00] anything that our company has to do. And I just had to get out of the way. And so I can focus on, you know, being the visionary or God forbid living your life. Right.

John: [00:27:09] You know, I’ve, I’ve, I, um, we’ve got one client in York, Pennsylvania.

This guy is probably one of the best natural salespeople I’ve met in my life. Like just, just he’s got it right. He was born with it. Um, that being said he doesn’t train the sales team. Um, he outsources that to, to me. Um, and the reason is, is not because he can’t do it. Um, but he knows his, his focus is spent elsewhere.

Now he’s doing 70 deals a month consistently and half for the last year or so last year. So we’re talking about how do you hit that volume? Um, and he’s not involved in the business that much anymore. So I just wanted to kind of throw that out there. He’s probably one of the best sales people I’ve met in my life.

He’s not selling his, he’s not even training his team, let alone selling the deals or buying the houses that are just positioning him because he knows he needs to [00:28:00] keep stepping up and taking kind of a higher level view of what’s going to grow the business instead of just taking that micro view.

Mike: [00:28:08] Yeah.

Awesome. Well, John, appreciate you spending time with us today. Great. To great to see you. My friend.

John: [00:28:12] Yeah. Good to see you, Mike,

Mike: [00:28:13] have a great Thanksgiving and a, well I’m sure we’ll be talking again soon. Okay. Thanks for joining me. On today’s episode, there are three ways I help successful real estate investors take their businesses and their lives to the next level.

First, if you’re in search of a community of successful real estate investors that help one another, take their businesses to the next level and a life changing community of lifelong friends. Please learn more about my investor fuel real estate mastermind. By visiting investor, fuel.com. If you’d like a cutting edge solution for the very best done for you lead generation on the planet where we’re handling the lead-generation for many of America.

Top real estate [00:29:00] investors. Please learn more@theinvestormachine.com. And lastly, if you’re interested in a free online community of professional real estate investors that isn’t full of spam solicitations and newbie questions, please join my free professional real estate investor Facebook group by visiting flipnerd.com/professional.

 

Source: flipnerd.com

Top Pet Products Not to Skimp On

Check out this list of top pet products you should not skimp out on.I first adopted my dog Molly, I was so excited. She was the first dog in the first kennel at the SPCA, and the only dog in the group not barking. My fiance and I were instantly drawn to her.

We continued down the row of kennels, looking into the cages and seeing dogs of all different shapes, sizes and energy levels, but none of them got our attention like the little black and white dog in the first kennel.

After walking her around outside of her kennel for a few minutes, it became even more clear that this was the pup for us. She wasn’t spayed, and the shelter wouldn’t release her until she was, so we shut her back into her cage, and put our name down for her with the office staff. She’d be ready to pick up in a few days, but in the mean time, we were off to get her supplies.

That was six months ago, and since then, I’ve learned a lot about the huge industry that is pet products. For every genuinely useful or essential product, there are ten poorly constructed or downright pointless products sitting right next to it on your shelf or screen. So, today I’m going to go through some of the pet products I think are completely worth spending money on, and, just for fun, some that aren’t a good investment.

A Strong Collar

Our first stop when picking up Molly’s supplies was to Walmart, where I picked up a typical collar with a plastic buckle. Within one week, the flimsy buckle was snapping loose. So back we went, to replace the cheap-o collar with one with a strong metal clasp.

Tartar Busting Bones

Poor dental hygiene can lead to costly teeth cleanings and other nasty diseases if left untreated. To combat this, invest in some tartar busting bones. The rough surfaces naturally clean a dog’s teeth when chewed on, and keeping tartar at bay early on means cheaper long term dental care (better breath too).

High Quality Dog Food

Now, I’m not saying you need to go out and buy the $30 bag of organic, free range, human grade dog food. But in the arena of nutrition, dogs aren’t that different from people. Poor quality food contributes to poor quality health, and an unhealthy dog is an expensive dog. High quality food also contributes to better breath, a shinier and softer coat, and less…erm…waste.

A Dremel Nail Grinder

Unless you want your floors, couches and skin all scratched to hell, you need to clip your dog’s nails. With some care and positive training, nail clipping can easily be done at home, without any need for a trip to the groomer. I bought a pair of cheap nail clippers, and their dull edges means I have proceed with nail clipping very carefully in order not to hurt Molly’s little paws. To make the project easier yet still save hundreds at the groomer, consider investing in a Dremel Nail Grinder instead.

The Furminator

Pets shed. A ton. I have a long haired cat and a short haired dog in four hundred square feet of living space. To cut down on the crazy amount of hair that can accumulate ridiculously quickly, good quality brushes are a must. The furminator is great for that.

Things That Aren’t a Good Investment

This, this, this, oh and this (although that one is kinda cute).

Not everything that is put out by the pet industry is a worthwhile investment, or even remotely useful. In fact, most of it is probably crap just released because pet crazy people love to spoil their animals. To make your dollar go further, make sure to invest in high quality items that will keep your pet healthy, and help you save money over the long term.

What’s your number one indispensable pet item? I want to know!

The post Top Pet Products Not to Skimp On appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

Source: makingsenseofcents.com

My spending goal for 2020: Spend less on food

I’m pleased to report that 2020 is off to a fine start. As I mentioned in my year-end review, 2019 sucked for me. I have high hopes that this year will be a vast improvement. So far, it has been.

The biggest change is that I’m not drinking alcohol. While this is meant as a January-only test, it’s possible that I’ll extend the experiment. It’s saving me money and making me more productive. Plus, it may be helping with my anxiety and depression. I like that. (Thanks to the GRS readers who sent me private notes about their own struggles with alcohol. I appreciate it.)

I’ve made other small changes this year too. While I didn’t make any resolutions — I rarely do — I’m using the new year as a prompt to alter some of my habits, to do things differently.

One area that both Kim and I want to focus on in 2020 is our food spending. In 2018, I spent an average of $1038.03 per month on food. While I don’t have complete numbers for 2019 (my expense tracking was messy in the latter half of the year), I know that while my food spending declined, it didn’t decline by much. I want to change that.

To that end, Kim and I are making a couple of changes. For one, I’m canceling HelloFresh…at least for now. Plus, there’s the whole “cut out alcohol” thing. While alcohol isn’t included in my food spending, it contributes to my food spending. It leads us to eat out more. We want to reduce our restaurant spending in 2020.

Let’s take a closer look at how I hope to spend less on food this year.

Good-bye, HelloFresh

Last year was the year I experimented with HelloFresh, the meal delivery service. Mostly, I like it. Mostly. I like the HelloFresh recipes. I like the convenience. I like the company itself.

That said, there are enough downsides to HelloFresh that starting next week, I’m dropping the service. Part of this is because of me. Part of this is because of HelloFresh itself.

On the me side, I need to walk more. I need to get more exercise, and I need to experience my neighborhood. As part of that, I want to make regular trips to the grocery store — by foot.

Also on the me side, I like greater variety than HelloFresh offers. It’s not that HelloFresh doesn’t offer different meals and cuisines — because it does. But the recipes themselves have a relentless sameness about them. Yes, you can choose Italian or Korean or American dishes, but the preparation is always always always the same. It’s boring.

Those are the problems with me. There are also problems with HelloFresh itself.

For instance, I’m sick of the never-ending push to get me to promote the service to my friends. Get lost. Every week, the HelloFresh package contains a plea to share sign-up codes with friends. Every week when I choose my meals online, there’s an additional plea to share sign-up codes with friends. Every week in the follow up e-mails, there’s a plea to share sign-up codes with friends. I’m over it.

But the biggest strike against the service is its inability to get produce right.

Most weeks, there’s at least one meal with a shitty piece of produce. It’s usually (but not always) a tomato. One meal I prepped last week had a rotten lemon. (I’ve never even seen a rotten lemon before!) It’s as if there’s no quality control.

And at least once per month, a vegetable is simply missing. Absent. Not in the bag. During Thanksgiving week, for instance, I was prepping a meal with asparagus almandine, which sounded awesome. But the package I received contained no asparagus. I scrambled to find a substitute — Brussels sprouts — but it was a poor replacement.

The Cost of Convenience

Plus, there’s the cost. When we first tried HelloFresh in June 2018, I crunched the numbers. Meals from HelloFresh cost about $10 per person. If I were to purchase the ingredients myself, the cost was just over $3 per person. At three meals per person per week, I’ve been paying an extra $175 per month for groceries that I don’t need to pay.

When I signed up for HelloFresh, I did so because I hoped it would save me money. I hoped that it would keep me out of the grocery store (which it does, actually) and that in turn would reduce my grocery spending. I tend to make a lot of impulse purchases at the supermarket, so this seemed like sound reasoning.

The results of this experiment were inconclusive. For the first half of 2019, my home food spending (HelloFresh and groceries combined) dropped from $620.92 per month to $553.45 per month. But during the last two months of the year, I spent $729.38 per month. Was that year-end spike because of the holidays? The huge Costco trip I made in early November? I don’t know. Maybe I should dive deeper.

In any event, if I did save money, it isn’t nearly as much as I’d hoped I would save.

That said, Kim and I have really enjoyed many of the meals we’ve ordered from HelloFresh. And we’re especially keen on the recipe cards. They’re a lot of fun. They make cooking simple — even if they are relentlessly the same.

Because I’m a nerd, I’ve saved every recipe card from every HelloFresh meal we’ve ordered. And to get nerdier yet, I’ve both graded each recipe and taken notes on it. In other words, we have a customized illustrated “cookbook” containing over 100 different recipes. (Plus, all 2500+ of the HelloFresh recipes are available for free from their website.)

Going forward, I intend to use these recipe cards to plan and prep our meals. Instead of ordering from HelloFresh itself, though, I’m going to walk to the grocery store (carrying my backpack) to buy the ingredients. This should prevent me from buying crap we don’t need while allowing me to obtain better produce than HelloFresh tends to send.

We’ll see how it works.

Here’s another way Kim and I have come up with to cut costs on food: batch cooking. It’s nothing new, I know, but it’s new to us. We won’t do once-a-month cooking, but we’ll each pick one recipe per week and make a larger version of it.

I’ll pick one HelloFresh cards and make three nights of the meal, for example. Last Sunday, Kim prepped a big batch of pork tacos that we’ve eaten for dinner the past three nights. And so on. We think this’ll keep life simple and keep me out of the grocery store.

Rascally Restaurants

Kim and I will also try to cut back on food spending this year by reducing how much we dine out. Left to our own devices, we choose restaurants much of the time. That gets expensive.

  • In 2017, I spent an average of $567.97 per month on restaurants. Kim spent some unknown amount too (but much less).
  • In 2018, I spent an average of $389.63 per month on restaurants. Plus, Kim spent some. So, we made big gains in 2018, but our spending was still high.
  • As I mentioned, my records are incomplete for last year, but I know I spent $288.04 for restaurants during the last two months of 2019.

From 2017 to 2019, we cut our restaurant spending in half. That’s great progress! Still, there’s room for improvement.

I spent an average of $66.47 per week on restaurants last year. My gut feeling is that this is basically dining out once per week. I know from experience that our typical check is about $55, which includes our two meals plus two beers each. After tip, that’s $66. That’s our standard meal. (And it’s usually on a Thursday night.)

So far in 2020, we’ve had one restaurant meal and it cost us exactly $34 (including tip). If we’d both had our typical two beers, that check would have been about $58. By not drinking, we saved ourselves more than twenty bucks!

Kim and I do enjoy eating out together, so it’s not something we want to eliminate. Instead, we want to be more mindful about how and where we dine out when we do dine out.

We’ve already shifted our focus from fancier places (which is where we were eating in 2017) to cheap and tasty spots. But now we’re interested in finding places that are even less expensive. And, at least for now, we want to be careful to avoid spots that might tempt us to drink. (Our favorite pub has great food and a cozy environment, but we both know it’s madness for us to eat there. It’ll make us want to drink beer.)

It’s far to early to predict how this whole restaurant thing is going to go in 2020. But we’ve thought of a couple of ways to cut costs (in addition to the “not drinking” thing.) As I said, we can turn our attention to less expensive eateries. Why go to the fancy Mexican place with “gourmet” tacos that cost $8 or $9 when we can go to the cheap place down the hill with $4 tacos? Let’s try that new ramen spot.

Plus, we might try take-out this year. Neither one of us has ever been a big proponent of ordering food to go, but I think it makes some sense right now. On my way home from the new office, I can pick up something tasty for dinner from the Thai place or the Italian place, maybe. We can have the restaurant food without restaurant temptation.

The Last Big Win

Food seems to be the last major place that I can trim my budget. My austerity measures in 2019 yielded excellent results, and I’ll continue to pursue those in the future. But I’ve cut most of my discretionary spending as far as I want to cut it at present. Food is the exception.

  • I averaged spending $1176.06 per month on food in 2017.
  • That dropped to $1038.03 in 2018.
  • During the last two months of 2019, I spent an average of $1053.28 per month on food.

As I say, we’re making progress, but I feel there’s more to be had here. This is the last big win left in my budget. It’d be great if I could trim my food spending to, say, $800 per month (or lower!) in 2020. That’d be a fantastic drop from $1200 each month in 2017, right? I’d call that a victory.

On a food-related note, I should point out that eliminating (or reducing) alcohol could also save me plenty of money. During the past three years, I’ve reliably spent about $250 per month on alcohol — and that doesn’t include alcohol in restaurants. Going dry could help my health and wealth.

Source: getrichslowly.org

5 Key Property Features When House Hunting

5 Key Property Features When House Hunting

When shopping for a home, many of us know our basic focal points, such as identifying the right neighborhood or finding a house with the ideal number of bedrooms and bathrooms. These factors are important, but there are other home features (some very large and some very small) that can greatly contribute to the enjoyment of your new home. Let’s make sure you don’t miss any of them.

Here are five opportunities to maximize the benefits of your purchase that go beyond just the house and why each one deserves your consideration.

click to enlarge

Home Buying Consideration #1: The Garage

Garages are a very important feature for many homebuyers, and can even end up being a dealbreaker for some buyers. More than a parking spot, garages provide valuable storage and project space, as well as a way to protect your vehicles from all types of damage. When you are first shopping for a home, you may know that you want a garage, but you may not have considered all of the variables that go into the garage design, and which choice is right for you.

Garage Design: Why it Matters

When evaluating garage design, it’s important to start by considering what you may want to use the space for, and what external factors (such as weather) might impact your use. Here are several major garage design aspects to keep in mind as you house hunt.

Rental space: Depending on the size and layout of your garage, is there space that could be rented out full time, or used as a short-term rental to generate additional income? That extra income could be directed towards your mortgage payment.

Storage opportunities: Does the garage have room to store what you need to reduce in-home clutter? Is there space for shelves, or even room in the rafters?

Potential property value increase: According to the sales comparison approach (SCA), one of the most recognizable forms of valuing residential real estate, a “finished” garage that feels like an extension of the home’s indoor living space is one of several features that can increase overall home value. You may also want to consider the possibilities of eventually remodeling a bland garage in an otherwise perfect home.

Attached vs. Detached Garages: Pros vs. Cons

One of the biggest distinctions in garage design is whether a garage is attached or detached. Often influenced by lot shape (narrow lots on an alley often have detached garages, wider lots with a driveway often have attached garages) or the age of a home, having a detached or attached garage has both advantages and disadvantages.  

Attached Garages: Pros

  • Convenient access to your cars, storage, and other items, particularly if you live in an area with an extreme climate 
  • Attached garages are often less expensive to build, and can be climate controlled by accessing the electrical and HVAC systems that are part of the home
  • As attached garages are the most popular type of garage, having one typically increases the value of your home

Attached Garages: Cons

  • If you’re thinking of adding one, it may not be possible to fit on a narrow, urban lot
  • Since they offer direct access to the home, they can be a security and fire risk  
  • They can be hard to add onto or expand, and any additions or changes might require more expensive permits and extensive inspections
  • Adding an attached garage, particularly to a vintage home, may look strange or otherwise detract from the exterior look of the home
  • Noisy garage activities may be heard more inside the home

Detached Garages: Pros

  • More flexibility in size, layout and location, lot size and shape permitting
  • It’s easier to add room for cars, storage, and projects, and to add onto if needed
  • Less fire and security risk to your home 
  • Less of an impact to the look or curb appeal of your home
  • Can increase the resale value of your home

Detached Garages: Cons 

  • Particularly in bad weather, less convenient in terms of access 
  • Will require separate utilities, HVAC, and more
  • May not be allowed by your HOA or city permitting office

Now that we’ve examined the garage, let’s take a look at another key feature — what’s going on with the front and backyard?

Home Buying Consideration #2: The Yard

No longer limited to just a lawn, yards have now become an extension of the home. A convenient, well-designed outdoor living space is something that many homeowners desire. Yards can be great spaces for entertaining and are often much less expensive to create than comparable indoor entertaining spaces. Here are some important yard elements to consider. 

Trees and landscaping: Important for both aesthetic and practical reasons, trees and landscaping can increase your yard’s appeal. A mature, well-designed landscape is valuable, as it represents an investment of both time and money. 

Outdoor kitchen: Whether you are grilling for two or entertaining 200, an outdoor kitchen makes cooking fun and convenient. 

Fireplace or fire pit: This stylish focal point makes it easy to keep enjoying your yard, even after dark or in cooler weather. 

Automatic sprinklers, drip system, and misting system: Automatic sprinklers and drip systems can keep your yard looking lush for a low cost, and are particularly valuable in dry climates. Misting systems can also keep you cool on hot days. 

Deck or Patio: A stylish outdoor surface makes it easy to enjoy your yard, and many new construction materials require little to no maintenance. 

Shed: Well-designed sheds can go beyond storage, offering everything from a private workspace to extra space for guests to sleep. 

So, you’re considering the finer points of a yard. But what about adding a body of water to that yard for cooling off on hot days? Here’s the pros and cons of investing in a water element for your next home.

Just starting your home search? Here’s the best time to begin.

Home Buying Consideration #3: The Pool

Pools and hot tubs are perhaps the most controversial of all outdoor home features. Some homebuyers totally avoid them, and some won’t look at a house without them. Which side are you on? Here are some factors to consider. 

Backyard Pool and Hot Tub: Pros 

  • Pools and hot tubs can be aesthetically pleasing
  • Both are also useful for entertaining
  • In warmer climates, pools can provide a way to enjoy the outdoors comfortably
  • If you like to swim, engage in other aquatic exercises regularly for fitness, or use a hot tub for muscle and joint pain, having your own can be convenient
  • In hot climates where pools are common (i.e., Arizona, California, Florida), having a pool can significantly increase the resale value of your home 

Backyard Pool and Hot Tub: Cons

  • Both pools and hot tubs require regular maintenance that includes chemicals, cleaning, and repair
  • Many families with small children do not want a pool at home due to safety concerns
  • Your insurance cost may be higher, and your utility bills may go up as well, particularly for heating a pool 
  • When it is time to sell your home, there are many buyers who will not want a house with a pool

A pool is a big decision that comes with both maintenance and benefits alike. You can always opt for a different kind of water feature, like a backyard stream. But if you’re looking to streamline your life, investing in home tech devices is almost a no-brainer.

Home Buying Consideration #4: The Appliances and Tech Gadgets

As technology improves and designs continually evolve, having up-to-date appliances and other devices in your home has become increasingly important. For example, while attractive kitchens are near the top of many house-hunters’ wish lists, there are items within those kitchens that can help — and items that can hurt — when it comes to increasing a home’s value.

Appliances That Can Help Property Value

Commercial-grade appliances: Particularly in high-end properties, many buyers expect to see appliances from luxury or professional brands. 

Smart devices: Thermostats, fire detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, security cameras, door locks, and doorbells are just a few of the relatively new smart home devices that homebuyers are now beginning to appreciate and even expect.

Appliances That Can Hurt Property Value

Old and energy inefficient: These power-sucking products will cost you in both your utility bill, and the resale value of your home. 

Homes totally lacking certain appliances: Is your property missing a dishwasher, indoor laundry, or other key features? This can be a major turn-off for buyers who don’t want to have to complete a complicated remodeling and installation project. 

Mismatched appliances: Appliances from different eras or in different colors can make your kitchen look unfinished and low-quality, even if your other finishes are fantastic.

Looking to stock up on home amenities? We’ve targeted the seasonal best deals for doing so.

Now that you’ve considered the key interior and exterior components of your dream home, there’s one last important element to contemplate: the driveway.

Home Buying Consideration #5: The Driveway

Walkways and driveways connect your home to the outside world and play a crucial role in the curb appeal of your residence. Although often overlooked, they are important home features that can be messy and expensive to replace or update. 

If you are evaluating the driveway at a potential home, or considering an update at your current home, the first choice you will need to make is whether you want asphalt or concrete. Both have benefits and drawbacks that may vary depending on your climate, landscape, and usage needs.

Today, many homeowners and buyers are also looking for something beyond the basics, with driveway design trends including elaborate paving materials, irregular shapes, and additional features like extra parking for guests.

Know the Tricks, Now Land the House

Although these five features may not be your first considerations in the house-hunting process, they are important elements that you will use or interact with nearly every day. Add them to your consideration list, and you will be sure to end up in a customized home that you enjoy and treasure. If you’ve found your ideal home with all the right features, reach out to a PennyMac Loan Officer today or apply online to get pre-approved for the loan that’s right for you.

Source: pennymacusa.com

Benton County, Oregon VA Loan Information

Table of Contents

  • What is the VA Loan Limit?
  • How to Apply for a VA Home Loan?
  • What is the Median Home Price?
  • What are the VA Appraisal Fees?
  • Do I need Flood Insurance?
  • How do I learn about Property Taxes?
  • What is the Population?
  • What are the major cities?
  • About Benton County
  • Veteran Information
  • Apply for a VA Home Loan
  • VA Approved Condos

FAQ

What is the VA Loan Limit?

2021 VA Home Loan Limit: $0 down payment up to $5,000,000* (subject to lender limits) /2 open VA loans at one time $548,250 (Call 877-432-5626 for details).

How to Apply for a VA Home Loan?

This is a quick look at how to apply for a VA home loan in Benton county. For a more detailed overview of the VA home loan process, check out our complete guide on how to apply for a VA home loan. Here, we’ll go over the general steps to getting a VA home loan and point out some things to pay attention to in Benton County. If you have any questions, you can call us at VA HLC and we’ll help you get started.

  1. Get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
    • Give us a call at (877) 432-5626 and we’ll get your COE for you.
  2. Are you applying for a refinance loan? Check out our complete guide to VA Refinancing.
  3. Get pre-approved, to get pre-approved for a loan, you’ll need:
    • Previous two years of W2s
    • Most recent 30 days paystubs or LES (active duty)
    • Most recent 60 days bank statements
    • Landlord and HR/Payroll Department contact info
  4. Find a home
    • We can help you check whether the home is in one of the Benton County flood zones
  5. Get the necessary inspections
    • Termite inspection: required
    • Well or septic inspections needed, if applicable
  6. Get the home appraised
    • We can help you find a VA-Certified appraiser in Benton County and schedule the process
    • Construction loan note: Construction permit/appraisal info
      1. Building permit
      2. Elevation certificate
  7. Lock-in your interest rates
    • Pro tip: Wait until the appraisal to lock-in your loan rates. If it turns out you need to make repairs, it can push your closing back. Then you can get stuck paying rate extension fees.
  8. Close the deal and get packing!
    • You’re ready to go.

What is the Median Home Price?

As of August 31st, 2020, the median home value for Benton County is $385,002. In addition, the median household income for residents of the county is $58,655.

How much are the VA Appraisal Fees?

  • Single-Family: $775.
  • Individual Condo: $825.
  • Manufactured Homes: $825.
  • 2-4 Unit Multi-Family: $950.
  • Appraisal Turnaround Times: 10 days.

Do I need Flood Insurance?

  • The VA requires properties are required to have flood insurance if they are in a Special Flood Hazard Area.
  • In Benton County, most flood hazard areas are located along the Willamette River which borders the county to the east. Several other creeks within the county are also prone to flooding. However, one of the most significant flood hazard areas is Marys River which floods areas within the city of Corvallis.

How do I learn about Property Taxes?

  • The Benton county tax assessor’s office is located at 4077 S.W. Research Way Corvallis, Oregon, 97333. In addition, the office can also be reached by calling (541) 766-6855
  • Oregon offers businesses that invest and hire within enterprise zones the option to be exempt from property taxes for at least three years. In addition, the Oregon Investment Advantage encourages new businesses to start and relocating to the state. For example, the program offers income tax subtraction, and it can also eliminate state income liability for new businesses for many years.

What is the Population?

  • The county’s population of 93,053 is 79% White, 7% Hispanic, and 7% Asian.
  • Most county residents are between 18 and 65 years old, with 16% under 18 years old and 17% older than 65.
  • In total, the county has about 35,056 households, at an average of two people per household.

What are the major cities?

The county has five cities, including the city of Corvallis, which serves as the county seat. In addition, there are four other cities Adair Village, Albany, Monroe, and Philomath.

About Benton County

Benton County is located in western Oregon and is home to a friendly local community and excellent dining options. Fun in the Oregon wilderness is waiting at any of the beautiful outdoor spots in the county. Many fun and interesting attractions can be found all over the area, including museums, art galleries, golf courses, and much more. Don’t miss out on any of the exciting festivals held in the county, where you can truly celebrate like a local! Benton County was officially founded on December 23, 1847, and was named after Thomas Hart Benton, who served as a U.S. Senator. The current population of the county is 90,951.

Enjoy all the beauty of the Oregon landscape at any of the scenic outdoor spots in Benton County. The E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area is the perfect place to get away from it all, featuring beautiful hiking trails and scenic campsites. For some of the best hiking and rock-climbing opportunities, be sure to check out Mary’s Peak, which offers majestic lookout points. Bring your friends and family to Riverfront Commemorative Park, which features walking paths, picnic areas, and much more. Other scenic outdoor spots in the county include the Alsea Falls Recreation Site and the Beazell Memorial Forest.

A great time is waiting at any of the amazing attractions in Benton County. The Arts Center is a can’t-miss for art-lovers, featuring a huge variety of paintings and sculptures made by talented artists. The Arts Center also hosts workshops, rotating exhibits, and special events. If you are interested in local history, then be sure to visit all the amazing exhibits and artifacts housed within the County Historical Museum. Check out the beautiful Darkside Cinema, which is independently owned and showcases both independent and art films. Other great attractions in the county include the Majestic Theater, Art in the Valley, and the LaSells Stewart Center.

A fun time for the whole family is waiting at all the exciting events held in Benton County. The County Fair and Rodeo bring out most of the local community to enjoy carnival rides, fun games, and delicious local food. Try a multitude of delicious drinks at Corvallis Beer Week. Other great events held in the county include the Corvallis Fall Festival and the Red Blue and Riverfront Festival.

Veteran Information

There are about 5,249 veterans currently living within Benton County, which offers assistance to veterans through:

Benton County is home to one VFW post:

  • Post 3957 Monroe Post – 605 Main Street, Monroe, Oregon 97456.

VA Medical Centers in the county:

  • Benton County VSO – 777 NW 9th Street, Suite 202, Corvallis, Oregon 97330.
  •  

VA Home Loan Information

  • For more information about VA Home Loans and how to apply, click here.
  • If you meet the VA’s eligibility requirements, you will be able to enjoy some of the best government guaranteed home loans available.  
  • VA loans can finance the construction of a property. However, the property must be owned and prepared for construction as the VA cannot ensure vacant land loans.

VA Approved Condos

There are currently no VA approved condos in Benton County, Oregon. However, if you’re interested in getting a condo through the approval process give us a call at (877) 432-5626. We can help you through the condo approval process.   

Oregon VA Loan Information: https://www.vahomeloancenters.org/oregon-va-home-loan-limits/

VA Loan Information by State: https://www.vahomeloancenters.org/va-loan-limit-maximum-va-loan-amount/

The post Benton County, Oregon VA Loan Information appeared first on VA Home Loan Centers.

Source: vahomeloancenters.org

A Parent’s Guide to Setting a Successful Budget for a College Student

The post A Parent’s Guide to Setting a Successful Budget for a College Student appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

 You are getting ready to send your child off to college. Before you start helping them pack their belongings, there is one thing you need to do.

You need to help them create a budget. You need to teach them how to manage their money so they can learn the tools they’ll use long after they graduate.

WHY DO COLLEGE STUDENTS NEED A BUDGET?

The truth is everyone needs a budget. It does not matter your age. If you are dealing with money, a budget is necessary.

  1. Allows you to control your money. Rather than your money telling you what it wants to do, you get to tell your money where it needs to go. You are always in control when you have a budget.
  2. It teaches financial skills. A budget helps ensure that expenses such as rent, tuition, food, insurance, transportation, and housing are paid – before spending money on the fun stuff. (It also helps to make sure you don’t spend more than you make.)
  3. Makes you aware of where your money goes. When you use a budget, you see how you spend. It is very simple to see if too much is going toward dining out when you should be building your savings.
  4. Helps you track your goals. You need to cover expenses but you should also work on building savings at the same time. Your budget allows you to not only see those goals but track them in real time.

DOESN’T A BUDGET MEAN YOU CAN’T HAVE FUN?

Not at all! If anything, your budget will allow you to have guilt-free fun.

For example, the budget may allow you to spend $50 a week dining out. That means you can go to dinner with friends once (possibly twice) a week and enjoy yourself. You won’t be left wondering how you are now going to make rent.

WHAT TYPE OF BUDGET SHOULD YOUR STUDENT USE?

There are various methods of budgeting such as the 50/30/20 and the zero-based budget. For most college students, the zero-based is the simplest and easiest to follow.

The reason is that you track everything. You give every penny a job. That means if you earn $1,500 for the month that you “spend” the entire $1,500.

You will first cover the needs (food, shelter, transportation) and then your wants. If there is money “leftover” after this is done, it can be added to your savings.

You can use other types but if you have never budgeted before, using this method is the simplest.

WHAT SHOULD A COLLEGE STUDENT INCLUDE IN A BUDGET?

The budget will vary for each person, as the income and expense will be different. However, these are the most common categories that need to be included in a budget:

  • Rent
  • Renter’s insurance
  • Car payment
  • Car insurance (also saving for annual renewal fees)
  • Food
  • Clothes
  • Utilities (phone, electricity, gas, water, etc.)
  • Tuition
  • Fees
  • Entertainment (movies, games, concerts)
  • Dining out
  • Emergency fund savings

Again, you may have items that are not included above or see some that you do not need.

However, the most important thing of all is that every penny is given a job. Account for everything you will spend each month so you never have too much month and not enough money.

HOW DO YOU KEEP TRACK OF YOUR BUDGET?

For most college students, apps or digital trackers are the best options.  But, before you rush and sign up, keep the following in mind.

  1. Cost. Many apps are free and they will work perfectly fine. Other apps have a monthly fee attached to them. If you plan to use one of them, make sure you include that as one of your regular expenses. However, do not let the cost alone be a single factor when it comes to clicking the sign-up button.
  2. Security. Your security trumps all else. You need to make sure the app uses encryption as well as two-factor authorization.

Some of the best apps include:

  • Mint
  • You Need a Budget (YNAB)
  • PocketGuard
  • Mvelopes

However, your student may also like the traditional paper and pencil method – and that is OK as well.

Find the right one that works best for your student. That is all that matters.

TEACHING THEM TO BUDGET

Knowing you need a budget and where to track it is just the beginning. You need to teach your child how to budget.

Start by looking at each category that they need on their budget. You may already know the cost for each category but if not, you may need to make phone calls or do research to know.

For example, you know the rent for the apartment is $850 a month but how much are the average utilities? Ask the manager for these costs so you can include them in the budget.

Next, decide how much they want to allow themselves to spend on food. Show them how much a meal costs for a single person at each restaurant you eat at so they can create an average.

You will then have them decide how much “fun money” they want to include as well. You can base this on them wanting to go to the movies two times a month, one concert a month, or attending three events.

Now you can see the expenses for your student. Add their income to the budget and deduct the expenses. They will see if they are operating in the black (money left over) or in the red (spending more than they make).

Show them how to adjust the numbers by increasing their savings or lowering the amount they can spend on clothes – until the budget equals zero. Zero meaning they are spending every penny they earn.

And making them keep track now will help ensure they stay on track well into the future.

 

 

 

The post A Parent’s Guide to Setting a Successful Budget for a College Student appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

Source: pennypinchinmom.com

7 Ways to Make Frugality a Joyful Choice, Not a Burden

Frugality is quite popular these days, but it’s hardly a novel concept. Frugality kept many families going during wartime and the Great Depression, and it has the power to improve our homes and lives today.

While circumstances can force us into frugality, and that’s not much fun, you can also enjoy life while being frugal. Here are some great ways to make a thrifty lifestyle a joyful choice and not a burden.

First, clarify your why

Why do you want to be a frugal person? What benefits will a frugal lifestyle bring that you can’t find any other way? To make your frugality a joyful choice, you need to have a solid reason for it.

Most of us don’t live frugally for the sheer fun of it—at least not at first. You probably have a reason to be frugal. Perhaps you’re saving for a downpayment on a home, paying off student loan debt, or reducing your budget to enjoy greater career freedom.

You must have a reason for being frugal that is greater than your desire to spend money.

Clarify why you're planning to be more frugal. (You might have several reasons). Every time you struggle with forgoing a purchase to save money, remind yourself of the purpose behind it. You must have a reason for being frugal that is greater than your desire to spend money.

Your reasons are likely things that will add to your happiness one day. Buying a home, becoming debt-free, or cutting back on work hours may significantly improve your life, so those goals are worth the effort to be frugal.

7 strategies to make frugal living more enjoyable

1. Try a frugality challenge

Join a no-spend challenge where you only spend money on essentials for a month to see how much money you might save. This kind of thing isn’t meant to be a long-term change in habits, although some people might continue after the challenge is over.

The point of a frugality challenge or no-spend month (or year) is to reset your baseline. Change the default of how much money you spend each month. You may struggle at first, but it gets easier the longer you avoid spending.

When the month of extreme frugality is over, don’t automatically resume spending at your former levels.

When the month of extreme frugality is over, don’t automatically resume spending at your former levels. Take some time to evaluate how you felt, what triggers tempted you, and what things you discovered you don’t really need or want anymore.

It’s OK if you start spending a bit more again, but be mindful about what you purchase. It’s like the Konmari method of decluttering your house, except with your finances: Let go of what is no longer serving you, and joyfully spend on the things that matter.

2. Focus on gratitude

Gratitude can make you a happier person. When you think about what you’re grateful for, it’s pretty hard to dwell on what you don’t have. Research has shown people who regularly express gratitude often feel more positive emotions, savor good experiences, and improve their health.

It’s much easier to save your money when you focus on your blessings. Writing a list of things you’re grateful for daily can help you feel more content and less likely to crave the temporary high of buying something new.

You can still have so much without spending a lot.

Frugality doesn’t take away things you enjoy. Yes, it often means shopping around to get a lower price or doing without something you didn’t need. But you can still have so much without spending a lot.

Examples of things that might be on your gratitude list:

  • Running water
  • Internet service
  • Virtual connectivity to friends and family across the globe
  • Food and drink
  • Modern conveniences (electricity, dishwashers, lawnmowers, etc.)
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Nature

3. Notice the benefits of frugality

The longer you follow a frugal lifestyle, the more benefits you’ll observe. As you forgo spending on things that perhaps were luxuries, pay attention to the benefits you experience, whether expected or unexpected. Some of the common benefits you might see include:

  • Feelings of joy for the small things
  • Preferring homemade meals to dining out
  • Appreciation for what you have
  • No more temptation to buy to impress people
  • Learning a new skill
  • Adopting other, healthier habits

The more you appreciate the benefits of your frugality, the easier it will become to keep following frugal principles.

4. Make bargain-hunting a game

When you need or want something, look for low- or no-cost ways to get it. Buy Nothing groups, Facebook Marketplace, local garage sales, or thrift stores may have the item you’re seeking for much less (or even free).

Frugality often means spending a little more time researching the item you need before rushing out and buying it. But you usually don’t need something instantly and can afford to wait a few days, weeks, or months. That time can save you a great deal of money. Plus, you get to enjoy the satisfaction of snagging a great deal.

5. Enjoy learning to DIY

If you’re just starting with frugal living, you may find yourself trying to fix something you usually would have replaced. Do-it-yourself tasks are an opportunity to learn.

Look at frugality as a part of your identity rather than a difficult phase.

When you choose to repair or reuse something rather than replacing it with a new one, think about how cool it is to learn something new. My husband loves YouTube for teaching him a ton of valuable skills, such as how to replace car brakes. Yes, this takes more of his time in a hands-on way, but he enjoys the challenge, saves money, and guess what? Now he knows how to do the same job in the future, saving us money for years to come.6. Make frugality your identity, not a phase

Look at frugality as a part of your identity rather than a difficult phase. Habits expert James Clear writes about this in his bestselling book Atomic Habits: “To change your behavior for good, you need to start believing new things about yourself. You need to build identity-based habits.”

For instance, rather than stating your goal as “I want to save $200 this month,” try identifying yourself as someone who is joyfully frugal. Reframing your identity by saying, “I’m a frugal person” can be more effective than thinking, “I can’t wait until I can start spending money again.” All those little spending decisions are more manageable when you view everything as a means of honoring your values rather than temporarily denying yourself something.

7. Cultivate an abundance mindset

Consider how you talk about money in your day-to-day life. Try to pay attention to what you think and say about money throughout a typical week.

You’re making an intentional choice to prioritize what matters.

If you often say things like “I can’t afford that,” you’re negatively framing your frugality. But if you say something like “I choose not to spend money on that,” you put the power in your hands. You’re making an intentional choice to prioritize what matters.

There’s a subtle yet essential difference in these perspectives. If you have a scarcity mindset where you don’t have enough and you always want more, it won’t get you anywhere. But if you cultivate an abundance mindset, you’ll see opportunities for the future and believe in your ability to realize those opportunities.

Frugality is fun … for real!

Honestly, frugality is a fantastic lifestyle that brings me endless joy every day. It’s exciting to look for ways to save money without sacrificing any of the things you love to do. I hope you’ll start finding the joy in frugality too.

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

Let the Roaring 2020s Begin

First some great news: because of your support in reading and sharing this blog, it has been able to earn quite a lot of income and give away over $300,000 so far.

The latest $100k of that happens at the end of this article. Please check it out if you want to feel good, learn more, and even join me in helping out the world a bit.

As I type this, there are only a few days left in the 2010s, and holy shit what a decade it has been.

Ten years ago, a 35 year old MMM and the former Mrs. MM were four years into retirement, but not feeling very retired yet. We stumbled out of 2009 with a precious but very high strung three-year-old, a house building business that was way more stressful than it should have been, and a much more rudimentary set of life skills. It was a time of great promise, but a lot of this promise was yet to be claimed.

Ten years later, despite the fact that I have one less marriage, one less surviving parent, and ten years less remaining youth, I am in an even better place in life right now, and would never want to trade places with the 2009 version of me. And on that measure alone, I can tell it has been a successful decade.

This is a great sign and it bodes well for early retirees everywhere. Compared to the start of the decade, I am healthier and stronger physically, wealthier financially, and (hopefully) at least a bit wiser emotionally. I’ve been through so much, learned so much in so many new interesting fields, and packed so much living into these 3653 days. A big part of that just flowed from the act of retiring from my career in 2005, which freed me up to do so many other things, including starting this blog.

It has not always been easy, in fact the hard times of this decade have been some of the hardest of my life. But by coming through it all I have learned that super difficult experiences only serve to enrich your life even more, by widening your range of feelings and allowing you to savor the normal moments and the great ones even more.

Ten Years of Learning in Three Points

I think the real meaning of “Wisdom” is just “I’ve seen a lot of shit go down in my lifetime and over time you start to notice everything just boils down to a few principles.

The books all say it, and the wise older people in real life all say it too. And for me, it’s probably the following few things that stand out the most:

1) This Too Shall Pass: nothing is as big a deal as you think it is at the time. Angry or sad emotions from life traumas will fade remarkably quickly, but so will the positive surprises from one-time life upgrades through the sometimes-bummer magic of Hedonic Adaptation. What’s left is just you – no matter where you go, there you are.

2) But You Are Really Just a Bundle of Habits: most of your day (and therefore your life) is comprised of repeating the same set of behaviors over and over. The way you get up, the things you focus your mind on. Your job. The way you interact with other people. The way you eat and exercise. Unless you give all of this a lot of mindful attention and work to tweak it, it stays the same, which means your life barely changes, which means your level of happiness barely changes.

3) Change Your Habits, Change your Life: Because of all this, the easiest and best way to have a happier and more satisfying life is to figure out what ingredients go into a good day, and start adding those things while subtracting the things that create bad days. For me (and quite possibly you, whether you realize it or not), the good things include positive social interactions, helping people, outdoor physical activity, creative expression and problem solving, and just good old-fashioned hard work. The bad things mostly revolve around stress due to over-scheduling one’s life, emotional negativity and interpersonal conflict – all things I am especially sensitive to.

So while I can’t control everything, I have found that the more I work to design those happiness creators into my life and step away from things that consistently cause bad days, the happier and richer life can become.

Speaking of Richer:

I recently read two very different books, which still ended up pointing me in the same direction:

This Could Be Our Future, by former Kickstarter cofounder and CEO Yancey Strickler, is a concise manifesto that makes a great case for running our lives, businesses, and even giant corporations, according to a much more generous and person-centric set of rules.

Instead of the narrow minded perspective of “Profit Maximization” that drives so many of the world’s shittier companies and gives capitalism a bad reputation, he points out that even small changes in the attitude of company (and world) leaders, can lead to huge changes in the way our economy runs.

The end result is more total wealth and happier lives for all of us – like Mustachianism itself, it really is a win/win proposition rather than any form of compromise or tradeoff. In fact, Strickler specifically mentions you and me in this book, using the FIRE movement as an example of a group of people who have adopted different values in order to lead better lives.

Die with Zero*, by former hedge fund manager and thrill seeking poker champion Bill Perkins sounds like a completely different book on the surface: Perkins’ point is that many people work too long and defer too much gratification for far too long in their lives.

Instead, he encourages you to map out your life decade by decade and make sure that you maximize your experiences in each stage, while you are still young enough to enjoy each phase. For example, do your time in the skate park and the black diamond ski slopes in your 20s and 30s, rather than saving every dollar in the hopes that you can do more snowboarding after you retire in your 60s.

Obviously, as Mr. Money Mustache I disagree on a few of the finer points: Life is not an experiences contest, you can get just as much joy from simpler local experiences as from exotic ones in foreign lands, and spending more money on yourself does not create more happiness, so if you die with millions in the bank you have not necessarily left anything on the table. But it does take skill to put these truths into practice, and for an untrained consumer with no imagination, buying experiences can still be an upgrade over sitting at home watching TV.

However, he does make one great point: one thing you can spend money on is helping other people – whether they are your own children, family, friends, or people with much more serious needs like famine and preventable disease.

And if you are going to give away this money, it’s better to do it now, while you are alive, rather than just leaving it behind in your estate, when your beneficiaries may be too old to benefit from your gift anyway.

So with this in mind, I made a point of making another round of donations to effective causes this year – a further $100,000 which was made possible by some unexpected successes with this blog this year, combined with finding that my own lifestyle continues to cost less than $20k to sustain, even in “luxury bachelor” mode.

And here’s where it all went!

$80,000 to GiveWell, who will automatically deliver it to their top recommended charities. This is always my top donation, because it is the most serious and research-backed choice. This means you are very likely doing the most good with each dollar, if your goal is the wellbeing of fellow human beings. GiveWell does constant research on effective charities and keeps an updated list on their results – which makes it a great shortcut for me. Further info in my The Life You Can Save post.

Strategic Note: I made this donation from my Betterment account where I keep a pretty big portion of my investments. This is because of tax advantages which multiply my giving/saving power – details here at Betterment and in my own article about the first time I used this trick.

$5000 to the Choose FI Foundation – this was an unexpected donation for me, based on my respect for the major work the ChooseFI gang are doing with their blog and podcast and meetups, and their hard-charging ally Edmund Tee who I met on a recent trip. They are creating a curriculum and teaching kids and young adults how to manage their money with valuable but free courses.

$2000 to the True Potential Scholarship Fund, set up by my inspiring and badass Omaha lawyer friend Ross Pesek. Ross first inspired me years ago by going through law school using an extremely frugal combination of community and state colleges, then rising to the top of the pack and starting his own firm anyway. Then he immediately turned around and started using some of the profits to help often-exploited immigrant workers in his own community with both legal needs and education.

$1000 to plant one thousand trees, via the #teamtrees effort via the National Arbor Day Foundation. I credit some prominent YouTubers and Elon Musk for promoting this effort – so far it has resulted in over 20 million trees being funded, which is a lot (roughly equal to creating a dense forest as big as New York City)

$5000 to Bicycle Colorado – a force for change (and sometimes leading the entire United States) in encouraging Colorado leaders and lawmakers to shift our spending and our laws just slightly away from “all cars all the time” and towards the vastly more effective direction of accommodating bikes and feet as transportation options. Partly because of their work, I have seen incredible changes in Denver, which is rapidly becoming a bike utopia. Boulder is not far behind, and while Longmont is still partially stuck in the 1980s as we widen car roads and build even more empty parking lots, these changes slowly trickle down from leaders to followers, so I want to fund the leaders.

$5000 (tripled to $15,000 due to a matching program that runs until Dec. 31) to Planned Parenthood. Although US-centric, this is an incredibly useful medical resource for our people in the greatest need. Due to emotional manipulation by politicians who use religion as a wedge to divide public opinion, this general healthcare organization is under constant attack because they also support women’s reproductive rights. But if you have a loved one or family member who has ever been helped during a difficult time by Planned Parenthood, you know exactly why they are such an incredible force for good – affecting millions of lives for the better.

And finally, just for reasons of personal and local appreciation, $1000 to the orchestra program of little MM’s public middle school. I have been amazed at the transformation in my own son and the hundreds of other kids who have benefited from this program. They operate a world-class program on a shoestring (violin-string?) budget which they try to boost by painstakingly fundraising with poinsettia plants and chocolate bars. So I could see that even a little boost like this could make a difference. (He plays the upright bass.)

You could definitely argue that there are places that need money more than a successful school in a wealthy and peaceful area like Colorado, and I would agree with you. Because of this, I always encourage people not to do the bulk of their giving to local organizations. Sure, it may feel more gratifying and you may see the results personally, but you can make a much bigger difference by sending your dollars to where they are needed the most. So as a compromise, I try to split things up and send the lion’s share of my donations to GiveWell where they will make the biggest difference, and do a few smaller local things here as a reward mostly for myself.

So those are the donations that are complete – $99,000 of my own cash plus an additional $10,000 in matching funds for Planned Parenthood. But because environment and energy are such big things to me, I wanted to do one more fun thing:

$5000 to build or expand a local solar farm.

This one is more of an investment than a donation, but it still does a lot of good. Because if you recall, last year I built a solar array for the MMM Headquarters coworking space, which has been pumping out free energy ever since. My initial setup only cost me $3800 and it has already delivered about $1000 in free energy, more than the total amount used to run the HQ and charge a bunch of electric cars on the side.

So, I plan to invest another $5000, to expand the array at HQ if possible, or to build a similar one on the roof of my own house, possibly with the help of Tesla Energy, which is surprisingly one of the most cost-effective ways to get solar panels installed these days. These will generate decades of clean energy, displacing fossil fuels in my local area while paying me dividends the whole time, which I can reinvest into even more philanthropy in the future.

What a great way to begin the decade. Let’s get on it!

* Die With Zero is not yet released, but I read a pre-release copy that his publisher sent me. The real book comes out on May 5th

** Also, if you find the scientific pursuit of helping the world as fascinating as I do, you should definitely watch the new Bill Gates documentary called Inside Bill’s Brain, which is available on Netflix.

Source: mrmoneymustache.com