Category Archives: The Journey

How we came to where we are now

New Interest and New Technologies

journey
A lot of time has passed since I dumped my mind to bytes and threw out to the digital universe. Almost 3 years since my last post.

In that time I discovered CrossFit, and have fix my broken body and then broke it again and fixed it again and discovered the capacity of human brain… But more on that some other time.

I have jumped head first into AngularJs and D3 on the front end and to Dropwizard on the back end. Then found big data to be fun and big data in real time to be even more fun. I have seen Hadoop and Hbase, Pig and Scoop, Hive and Impala, Flume and Phoenix and then I stepped into Storm and Kafka. What a journey it has been.. and still is. So from now on I will attempt to share at least one step of my journey a week with anyone who will be willing to read my random thoughts.

Flex Frameworks – PuremVC, Mate, Cairngorm and Robotlegs


Objective

I just wanted to share my thoughts about the frameworks in the Flex environment. You may have noticed that I am in love with Spring when I write Java code, but how about Flex? For a simple example application I go with KISS (keep it stupid simple) approach, but for serious data driven app I utilize a framework.

How to choose a framework that works for You

Firs of all you need to know what you are looking for, because if you do not know where you are going, any path will take you there. When I first started to p[lay with Flex about 3 years ago, I noticed that I need to add some structure to the application. Since I was already using Spring I started looking for a framework. At that point in time there where only two alternatives worth looking at: Cairngorm (heavily pushed by Adobe) and PureMVC.
Continue reading Flex Frameworks – PuremVC, Mate, Cairngorm and Robotlegs

Almost no progress over the weekend

My plan was to finish a simple flash game for attracting more visitors to own of my websites, but as sometimes happens – life intervened. I was able to sit down at the computer to code for ah hour at around 8pm last night. Caring for an infant is exhausting. All you moms out there I really know how hard you have to work!

On another note, we are filing our first eviction in 3 years or real estate investing. That is a great track record, but I rather not do it. Sometimes you just have no choice. To have even a slight chance of getting our money we have to go to court. I feel for the family that has to move out, but we can not afford to run a charity.

New Year – New Outlook – New Goals

Now that initial shock of caring for a newborn has passed, I am ready to get back to business. My daughter is almost 3 months old now.  She starts to sleep more at night, that leaves more of the night to work on my world domination plan.

I came to a realisation that the only way to freedom is internet business. Real estate is great, but you have to be there all teh time. You need to go see houses, buyers and sellers. Unless, of course, you are a multi millionaire and can just buy and sell skyscrapers and shopping mals or big apartment buildings.

To have freedom to travel and work from anywhere I need to be location independent. I have this dream of renting and RV and driving around the USA one summer. To make this work, I need a business that will run itself with minimum involvement form me. The only way I see it – take it to the internet. I allready have multiple websites up and running, but only one has potential to bring any substantial income this year. So now I have crafted a plan to launch 2 products taht I can sell online. And one of them has the lucrative “monthly subscibtion” feature.

I am working on the first one already. I will be releasing a Beta pretty soon. And the best part of it – I am planing on giving the base version out for free.

So here it is. How that I have promissed to you, that I am gonna do it, I have no other choise, but to do it.

Online marketing journey update

After spending 3 weeks on vacation and a month refocusing on new priorities (online marketing) I am happy to launch a new website. Actually a couple of new websites.

First one was for life coach. I spent couple evenings setting it up. It is running on wordpress platform. Do you realize that wordpress is not only for blogging? If you need update the content constantly, wordpress is an excellent choice. So there is that, just initial content, need to do much more search engine optimization…..

Second one was created, because I felt a vacuum in one particular market segment. It was homes for sale with owner financing or rent to own programs. In essence a site where people can find homes for sale without bank qualifying. I found couple of those, but they where localized, none had enough homes to be effective. So here it is – a national rent to own and owner financed homes for sale website.

It still is in beta and I am adding features as I go….. and waiting for google to show up. Once it is in the index what would be the best way to promote it?

Change of Direction

Change is inevitable. Change has come. I have been spending less and less time on real estate and more and more time on online marketing. I find that I enjoy it more then dealing with buyers and sellers. My online marketing is still related to real estate, but I am looking into other things as well.

I just spent good half an hour searching for online marketing blogs. Unfortunately all I was able to find is a bunch of crap. Pardon my French. Almost all the blogs I found where so overloaded with ads, had almost no information about online marketing and tried to sell me something. I realize everyone needs to make a living, but what happened to just sharing information?

Has anyone found a decent blog about online marketing?

Three key things to look for when prescreening seller leads

You did great job marketing and now have an avalanche of leads coming your way. You need an efficient way to prescreen them. How would you know which deals to pursue and which ones you should avoid.

It all boils down to 3 key indicators, at least for me:

  1. location
  2. situation
  3. deadline

Like you already know the 3 key factors determining the price of any piece of real estate are: location, location, location. So first we look at the location of the home. Is this home in the good area of town? Is it even in the area we do business in? If the main source of your leads is from direct mail, leads should be in the right area of town. Signs, on the other hand, bring leads that are in other states. So check the location first. If it falls into your business area, take it, otherwise pass and go to the next one.

BTW, you have chosen the area you will do business in, haven’t you? Do not spread yourself too thin. We chose to do business primarily in the North east quarter of Atlanta. If I would do business in the whole metro area I can have a drive of more then 2 hours between the houses in the south and north suburbs. Imagine that you have to manage the renovation for 2 houses at the same time which are 2 hour drive apart.

Anyway, back to prescreening. The second thing we will look at is the situation. We want to work with motivated sellers. Not someone who is thinking about selling the house, but with someone who NEEDS to sell. And to determine that we need to know the situation. The situation can be: divorce, job loss, illness, job transfer, can not maintain house anymore, can not afford payments anymore, etc. We need to see a situation where they really need to sell. If the sellers say “I want to….”, pass this deal. You will spend weeks spinning your wheels and in the end come up with nothing.

The third and last thing we are looking for is the timeline. When the sellers need to move? Is it next week, next month, or some time in the future? This is important. If you hear the seller saying “I really need to sell this home in 2 weeks, because I have been transferred to another state and have to start working there from next month.” you have the situation and deadline. If you hear “I wan to sell in next couple months. I would really like to move to this state to be closer to my grand children.” pass this deal. There is no situation or deadline. The key phrase here was – “want to”.

So we have checked the location, the situation and the timeline. All are good we play, one of them missing we pass, or put it on follow up if the deadline is not there yet. If we play we go to the next step – negotiate and sign the contract.

3 best ways to attract motivated sellers

The very first step in the process of flipping a house is to attract sellers. Without sellers calling you, you will not be able to buy a house, renovate it, sell it and make a profit. So, in my personal oppinion, you must do at least 3 things to attract sellers. Here they are in order of importance:

  1. Direct mail
  2. Referrals
  3. Signs

Dirtect mail : the most cost effective and predictable source of leads. 80% of our leads at the moment of writing this come from direct mail. A lot of people I meet say that direct mail does not work. It does not if you do it wrong. For direct mail to work you must have 3 things right: the list, the message and repetition.

First of all you need a list of people to market to – a targeted segment of people. What would be a good target to mail to? People who really need to sell their home? People behind on their mortgage payments? Someone who has recently been divorced? I think all of them are perfect candidates to receive a letter from someone offering to buy their house.

Second you must write to your list about their problem. They are not interested in how big your company is or how long you have been in business. All they care is how they can get rid of their problem. So write to the people who are behind on payment about their situation and how they can benefit by calling you.

Third thing you have to mail them multiple times. Sending one postcard to 1000 people will not do the trick. You must, I repeat, you must mail them at least 4 times. Would you like to convince 1000 people 25% of they way or 250 people 100% of the way? The choice is yours.

Referrals : do not be afraid to open your mouth and tell other people what you do. The longer you are in business the more people will know what you do and refer othes to you. Do not be afraid to ask the sellers to refer others who need to sell their house to you. This does not cost you a dime, but brings great results with time.

Signs : the best way to get a quick inflow of leads. Follow county and city ordinances -you do not want to pay fines for illegal signs. Signs work great for a very short time. Put out 20 “we buy houses” signs and you will get 20 to 100 calls depending on the weather and where your signs are. The only catch is that the leads are unpredictable: your sign may be on the north side of town and the lead will come in for a house on the south side, more then 1 hour away, or better in a different city or even state.

If you do these 3 things and do them right your phone will ring day and night with motivated sellers calling you with houses they are ready to get rid off.

So what are you doing now to attract sellers? Is it working? Are you ready to try something that does?

Investing Update

Long time has passed since I posted last time. In short we have bought 2 houses and lease optioned them out. Plus wholesaled 2 houses since the last post. We also went to an investor retreat in Dominican Republic to spend some time with like minded people and take a look at our business and share the knowledge and experiences. We came back with a lot of good information from this trip.

Since then we have revamped our marketing to sell and now we are working on improving our buying marketing. Just recently we have redesigned our website to sell your house fast in Atlanta. We are currently working on couple more websites some of which are real estate related and some are not.

I have made a commitment to myself to blog more often about what is happening in our business and share my knowledge on how to start investing in real estate.

I will see you in the trenches.