Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Whole Real Estate Idea

Are you interested in investing in real estate? I have a great idea for you to take a "shortcut" to locating a good area that may be out of town or out of state. Whether you are looking for a condo, a townhome, a SFR, or an apartment building everyone knows that it is always about location, location, location. So if you are living in San Francisco and desire to purchase a property in the Midwest, how do you know a good area of Springfield USA, from an ok area of Springfield USA? In other words, where do the upscale people live juxtaposed to the poser thugs?

I submit this idea to you:

Buy your property in areas where a Whole Foods Market is within close proximity. Maybe even walking distance. Why? You have to understand a little bit about their customer base, but lets just say it takes a certain type of person that will pay $4.99 a pound for grapes whereas similar grapes could be purchased from the grocery store for $1.20 a pound. If Whole Foods is in the area, the area is good, period. Just look at what Whole Foods requires before they will even consider opening in your area. I live in Los Angeles and I will tell you this, within any 1 mile radius of any Whole Foods Market, finding a 1 bd 1 ba condo for less than $315K is nothing short of a miracle.

Of course you want to find locations that have great schools, low crime, good neighbors and a good job market. But Whole Foods understands this and if you want to start your out of town search, checking for an existing Whole Foods is a great place to start. In Whole Foods last quarterly earnings annoucement the CEO, John Mackey let us in on new developments so here are a couple of places worth looking at, enjoy:

"Our new store pipeline continues to increase with today's announcement of nine new store leases totaling 549,000 square feet. The stores range in size from 50,000 to 80,000 square feet with an average size of 61,000 square feet and are as follows: a 60,000 square foot store in Chandler, Arizona; a 50,000 square foot store Orlando, Florida; a 52,000 square foot store in Eugene, Oregon; a 56,000 square foot store in Tarzana, California (a Los Angeles suburb); a 65,000 square foot store in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania (a Philadelphia suburb); an 80,000 square foot store in Dallas, Texas; a 61,000 square foot store in Reading, MA (a Boston suburb); a 50,000 square foot store in Connecticut and a 75,000-square-foot store in London."

Monday, November 21, 2005

You know what really grinds my gears II

I really enjoyed expressing myself in my first gear grinding post, so i asked myself why not go for another one.

I. If you are in the business of making money for yourself outside of your job, there will always be somebody that feels they need to compete. So when you tell them you invest in stocks or have a small internet business, then they feel the need to tell you "they have been there and done that" but it did not work for them. Or the subject of how their best friend's uncle is Warren Buffet's maid. This is where we get the phrase," silence is golden."

II. Kids in high school that are feed the lie, if i go to college and get a degree i wont have to work at McDonalds "flipping burgers". First of all, the only thing a degree will guarantee is that you will have 4 year years of tuition to pay for. Trust me plenty of college grads may not flip burgers, but they sure as hell carry them to me as i sit down to eat at the $6 burger joint. A degree is a great assest, but in life unless you have incredible skills, its about who you know, not how many degrees you have. Besides, America's richest man was a one time college drop-out.

III. People that get cell phones that they cant use or dont even need. What is the point of buying a Treo 650 if all you are going to use is the speaker phone function. "You aint that business", so go get a smaller phone.

IV. People that swear up and down that leasing a car is bad and that buying is the only way to go. Their argument, at the end of 5 now even 6 or 7 years, I will own a car, and you wont own anything. I wont argue which is better in this post, but I will say what you own is a depreciating asset, thats worth about 30% of what you paid for it, and about 20% of what you paid in total finance charges. And whats your reward for buying your car? Your warranty expired 3 years ago!

V. Lastly, People still caught up in race, when doing business. Its freakin 2005/2006! I think times were better when the Klan and Nazi's were easily recognizable. At least then ignorance was vocal and it would tell you why they would prefer that you or your kind would not patronize their businesses. Today, it is very subtle and covert. Its too bad that many people lose out on great opportunities because they have prejudged someone else based on their ethnic make-up. And whats real bad its not just minorities that are victims, but nowadays a lot of discrimination is given by minorities. Do you think Bill Gates or Donald Trump care about any color but green when it comes to buying their product?

And thats all i have to say about that.

GM cuts jobs: Real estate vulture time, thanks!

After the many hurricanes hit the south, there were a few echoes here and there, from people I know, about going into the affected areas and buying up property. Wasn't there a scripture in the Bible about building one's house on sand? Anyways, that a risk i dont fully understand, but an opportunity nonetheless.

"However General Motors Corp. will eliminate 30,000 jobs and close nine North American assembly, stamping and powertrain plants by 2008 as part of an effort to get production in line with demand and position the world's biggest automaker to start making money again after absorbing nearly $4 billion in losses so far this year."

Cities where one may want to consider researching the real estate investment market include: plants will close in Oklahoma City, Lansing, Mich., Doraville, Ga., and Ontario, Canada. GM also listed Spring Hill, Tenn., as a plant closing even though one production line will remain open there. A shift also will be removed at a plant in Moraine, Ohio.

Research and due diligence, for items such as job growth, education levels and coming or developing industries could prove these areas to be great opportunities in the mist of sorrowful times for some. Its not personal, just business.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Am I a prostitute or barber college student

I must beg the question, am I really selling myself for less than I am really worth? I dont mind blogging, but sometimes it feels like a chore. I am sure you have read the "superstars" of blogging. You even look at their feedback and ask yourself, how come I dont get 30 comments, for a crappy post? You know who I am talking about, and no knock on those guys but lets deal with the real, most personal finance blogs are the equivalent of getting a haircut from the barber college. If your money goals were acheived would you really have time to write about how you plan to increase your wealth? Sometimes you may even say to yourself forget about 30 posts, what about 30 page views?

Some bloggers get all the love, the house, the 7 figure mate, the Mercedes, the tennis courts and the front row tickets at the show. Then there are bloggers like me, I feel like I should have better results but I dont. Thus i whore my thoughts for a measly few visits per day. Dont get me wrong I am thankful to have anyone read my thoughts, but there came a time in Brad Pitt's (bio)life when he said, I cant keep dressing in an El Pollo Loco chicken outfit, and will get paid what I am worth. I am working hard to give up my chicken suit, because I know i have a great voice, a great mind and I can do better than the backpage of the paper.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Real Estate and so called professionals

As a real estate investor, it amazes me how many "haters" there are out there. For instance when I call an out of state lender and tell them I need a loan, they are more than glad to direct me to their "best loan" package. But then when I tell them that I make a substantial portion of my income from my investments and side businesses, I often get called a "day trader" or "house flipper" or even a risky prospect. If I can make more money investing in the stock market in one month, then the professional Agnet, broker or lender does in 4 months, that means that I am a risk?

I dont understand why is that at 25, I get so many people that will on one hand say, you are doing well for your age, but in the same sentence tell me that I am trying to take on too many risks. Aren't you supposed to take risks when you are young and have the tolerance.

Please understand this, in Robert Allen's book, the One Minute Millionaire, we are exposed to the three rejection rule. This means that until you have heard the third rejection, you have not really been exposed to a persons true intentions. I wish to advise anyone reading this post, that no matter your age, race or investment strategy don't ever get down from someone that choose to take the easy route.

At the SuperBowl there are thousands of reporters, hundreds of announcers, fans in the stands...... but at any given time, only a chosen 22 can occupy the field at one time. Those guys on the field are the ones playing the game, the others are just commenting on second hand information.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Everyday Idea: Save Holiday Money

Here is an idea:

If your house is the designated family meeting spot for the holiday's, here is an idea. Go out to eat. Unless you are a gourmet chef by trade, the labor of cooking all day to please a family and friends that have the craziest taste buds, is a daunting task. Why not take a trip down to the local quasi upscale diner for holiday dinner. Such as Cheesecake Factory or Red Lobster.

I would venture to say on a cost vs cost comparison analysis, you would come out better in the long run eating out, but if you add the value of time savings, you would almost have to come out on top. For a family of 10 adults a grocery bill could easily top $250, after stopping at Costco or BJ's, then a stop at Whole Foods or Wild Oats for your vegan cousin not to mention the trip to the local Kroger or Safeway for the last minutes fixings.

If your time is worth $20 an hour, or you make about $36K at the job then here is what your holiday is going to look like.

Eating at Home:
Total cost to cook at home for 10 adults:
Food: $250
Cooking Labor: $20/hr X 8 hours: $160
Pre and Post Clean Up: $20/hr X 3 hours: $60

Total: $470.

Eating Out
Take the same family to the local restaurant, where a T-Bone dinner is $18 per, with tax and tip, no more than $25.

$25 X 10 = $250. A great savings. No dish washing and everyone eats what they want.

And you still have time to make it home to let the ladies watch TiVo's Desperate Housewives and the fellas catch the big football game.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Determining a good investment property

If you should decide to get into real estate investing or are making plans to and you want a good way to measure if a property is overpriced, look at the price per square foot ratio. Simply stated:

Asking Price/Square Foot = Price per square foot.
$480,000/1200 sq ft = $400 per square foot.

Dont just make offers on real estate based on asking prices or what an agent tells you. Analyze competing and recently sold real estate and get an average of the price per square foot. Knowing this simple formula will often times help you tremendously in knowing if something is overpriced or not. In Los Angeles it is amazing how regular people and agents price their properties and the prices people are paying for real estate. I will not predict a bull or bear market in real estate, I will just say, ask yourself, is the ability to live in Los Angeles versus another area of the country really worth paying more than twice as much for half the home? Only you can answer that question

making money while you sleep

For years I have tried to figure out ways to make money while i was asleep. Things I have considered.

1. Vending machines- not as easy as it sounds. startup money is not great, but volume is required in order to compete with competiton, labor, theft, vandalism and the like. The greatest barrier to entry is the real estate. you know location, location, location. what is in it for the owner of the land can make or break your profitability.

2. Apartment ownership- greatest barrier to entry, down payment money. a great investment for the right person.

3. Giving to charity/church- this has been the most rewarding as in life you must believe that what you give is what you get. so when you give good, dont think money, but good that is what you get. Giving $100 to Red Cross may not bring you back $200 in cash, but when you get that 1st class upgrade on your cross country flight, that is your return, good for good.

With this in mind, I have been spending so much time learning the ends and outs of commission junction and search engine optimization. My buddy at NYCMoney has inspired me so much. Read this post for more information. But in short, this will not get you rich quick, however any goal you can set, AND FOLLOW THROUGH with, you can make good money.