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10 Things Personal Finance Nerds

At one point in high school, I was the captain of both the Math Club and the AV Club.

I did school plays, enjoyed a game of Magic the Gathering from time to time, spent many days building computers and many nights at “LAN parties” playing Starcraft with my friends.

It’s safe to say I was am a “Nerd.”

And proud of it.

Today, however, I’m a different kind of Nerd. I’m a personal finance nerd.

In other words, I enjoy talking about money and what it can do. I find the entire concept of money fascinating and love to find ways to make it, spend it, invest it, hide it (legally!), multiply it and share it.

A couple weeks ago I went to the Financial Bloggers Conference (FinCon14) in New Orleans and had an amazing time hanging out with hundreds of other “personal finance nerds” just like me. Sure, most of them were not real estate nerds (we are a “special” kind of personal finance nerd), but they loved talking about money and business all the same.

During the conference, one specific thing stood out to me: personal finance nerds are different.  We think a little differently than the rest of the population — for good and for bad. So today I thought I would outline some of the ways we stand out.

(Click to read on BiggerPockets…)

How to Accurately Estimate Expenses on a Rental Property in 3 Easy Steps

I have a proposition for you…

You give me $20,000 and I’ll give you… nothing. In fact, you’ll give me another $50-$200 per month until you go crazy or broke.

Sound like a good trade?


Then why are so many landlords making this trade with every investment property purchase?

Yes, I’m talking about negative cash flow. I’m talking about losing money on a rental property. It happens all the time, and it leads to financial ruin. I should know — 90% of the deals I have purchased have been from “failed landlords.” So why do so many landlords fail?

Simple. As I talked about in my recent article, “Why Are So Many Landlords Going Bankrupt?,” landlords simply don’t know how to do the math correctly. They buy properties based on emotion, gut, or bad math and then wonder why they keep losing money.

And where are they losing the most money?

(click to continue reading on BiggerPockets)

Fannie Mae Freddie mac 3 percent news

On Monday December 8th 2014, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the nations leading mortgage buyers, issued statements that announced they will allow loans for primary residences as low as 3% down. This move was done in an effort to loosen credit and get more people into homes, though certain criteria and rules are in place to prevent another 2007.

But will it be enough?

Related: Should We Act on What We Hear in The News About Real Estate?

Fannie and Freddie 3% Details

The new 97% LTV loans will allow homeowners to purchase properties for just 3% down, a reduction from their previous requirements of 5%. Although this is only a small drop, it is the hope of these government-sponsored enterprises that by decreasing the loan amount required, more individuals will be able to purchase a home.

(click to continue reading on BiggerPockets)

Landlords Should Do Every Year

I’m perhaps the world’s biggest procrastinator.

I mean… seriously, why do today what you can put off ’til next week?

However, this procrastination habit hurts my business, and I’m intent upon fixing it before something bad happens! Therefore, I wrote this post today for myself, to help me remember that I need to stay on top of these things and hopefully help some of you in the process.

Without further ado, I give you:

11 Things Landlords Should Be Doing Every Year… But Probably Aren’t






(click to continue reading on BiggerPockets)

How to Achieve Consistent (and Legal) 12%+ Returns Through Passive Real Estate Investing

Dave Ramsey gets a lot of flack from the investment community.

For those who don’t know Dave, he is a personal finance writer and radio personality who weekly encourages folks to clean up their life, save money, get out of debt, and build wealth slowly. He’s adored by millions of people and I’ve yet to meet someone who didn’t appreciate his encouragement for people to get out of bad debt and transform their lives (If you haven’t yet read “The Total Money Makeover”  by Dave Ramsey, do yourself a favor and get it today.)

However, while people may love his debt advice… he lives in a world of controversy over his adamant stance that anyone can achieve 12% returns through mutual funds.  Whether on Twitter, on his radio show, or on numerous personal finance blogs- Dave is consistently challenged over his claims of this magical “12%.”

I’m not here to debate whether or not anyone can get that 12% through mutual funds. I’ll leave that for others. However, I am here to show you how you can, easily, achieve 12% and higher returns on your money by investing in rental real estate.

And yes – I’m going to show you how to do it passively.

(Click to read on BiggerPockets…)

Tenant Turnover DIY

It smelled like Bigfoot’s cave.

Okay, that’s being generous… it smelled like Bigfoot’s tomb.

Not only was the smell so bad that every dog within a 16 block radius was cowering in fear, but the appearance wasn’t much better. Holes in the wall and doors, destroyed carpet, broken light fixtures, disgusting appliances.

If you’ve been a landlord for any period of time, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. If not… don’t worry, you will. No matter how well we screen for the perfect tenant (seeTenant Screening: The Ultimate Guide) you may still have a problem. Recently, for me, it was a tenant we “inherited” when we bought the property and were forced to evict.

Perhaps you have a lot of money and can simply hire a contractor to come in and total remodel the place. Maybe you have a property manager who will take care of the problem.


However, that’s not me (yet) and I often find myself with a hammer and bleach after a nasty tenant turnover. It’s not that I like doing it, but when contractor bids are coming in around $10,000 to get the property turned over, I can’t help but get in there and do what I can to save some money. (I know, I know… a lot of you are cringing at that, saying my time is better spent finding deals. Perhaps that’s a debate for another day…)

Therefore, this article is for the DIY landlords out there, those just starting out, and those who just want to save money and fix problems themselves. The following are 8 tips that I use to get my rental properties fixed up and rented back out quickly. Keep in mind – I’m not saying this is exactly how you should do it, I’m just letting you know how I do it. Perhaps there is a tip or two in here you can use to save a few bucks on your next tenant turnover.

1.) Consider Hiring Out The Worst

(Click to read on BiggerPockets…)