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I’m in love with Logan.

Logan is a miniature chihuahua, weighing in at less than 2.5 lbs. Full grown, his entire body can fit in the palm of my hand. He belongs to a good friend and business partner of mine, and never ceases to cause every head in the room to turn when he jumps in the air, rolls over, “speaks”, or does any of his other special tricks. Thats the fun advantage dogs have over cats – their trainability.

Tenants, like Logan, need to also be trained.

Yeah, I said it. And honestly, it felt good to say. It may sound demeaning, but it is the difference between being successful in Real Estate and being miserable. Tenants are like wild animals but with cell phones, facebook, and lawyers. They need to be poked and prodded into submitting to will of the landlord.

How do you train a tenant? Despite the urge, not with a big stick. Tenants are trained the same way as Logan was: Show what good behavior is, reward good behavior, and apply punishment when it is not followed.

The easiest punishment for tenants are found in fees. Late fees, non-compliance fees, etc. Now, many landlords struggle with applying fee’s – especially when the tenant calls and says they can’t pay rent because “so-and-so” has this sickness or their vehicle broke down or they lost hours at work.

However, it is not the landlord’s job to be Santa.

You will find that when you’re policy is to not budge when it comes to rent, suddenly all those excuses disappear immediately. When I first started in Real Estate, I went through exactly this. Trying to be the nice guy screwed me over time and time again. As soon as I made the decision to enforce every fee, late payments dropped from almost a dozen a month down to none. Late fee’s are rare now, and when they occur, tenants don’t call and complain. They know the rules.

They are properly trained.

 

Real Estate is my muse.

 

In Tim Ferris’ book “The 4-hour Workweek” he discusses the need for a “muse” in which to satisfy that little craving in our life called “money” without needing to fight rush hour, punch the time clock, or suck up to your sexist boss. (If you haven’t read my review yet or want to buy the book for yourself, click here). To quote The 4-hour Workweek:

 

Our goal is simple: to create an automated vehicle for generating
cash without consuming time. That’s it. I will call this vehicle a
“muse” whenever possible to separate it from the ambiguous term
“business,” which can refer to a lemonade stand or a Fortune 10 oil
conglomerate—our objective is more limited and thus requires a
more precise label.

 

For Ferris, it was an online business that sold nutritional supplements for weight lifters. For me, my muse is real estate.

 

A muse is simply a tool you use to generate income, that is not dependent on you working a 9-5 job to make it happen. In the investment world, we call that “passive income”, which comes to you passively (as opposed to “active income”, which – shocker – comes to you through active work). Stocks are passive income, but require large amounts of cash to begin with weak returns.

 

Real Estate, for most, is not a passive activity. Many investors are (literally) knee deep in crap half the time and saturated with headaches the other half. Buildings require work, tenants require training, and toilets will always need to be plunged.

 

But that won’t be you.

 

Hacking Real Estate is about using shortcuts, tips, techniques, and systems to turn a normally “active” investment into a “passive” muse. Its about making the choice to automate your investments. Its about making the choice to control your investments, not have them control you. Its about making the choice of how you want to live, rather than simply following the herd.

 

Your muse can be real estate, a supplement company, stocks, or an infinite number of other sources of income. The important thing is making your muse passive. This doesn’t mean you will never do any work to maintain it. It takes time, patience, and work to create a muse. But it does mean you make the continual and conscience choice to fine-tune your muse into a well oiled cashflow machine that will allow you to live the life you want.

 

“Maximizer.”

 

It was the result of a five hour test I had taken to determine my greatest personality strength, so my boss could better “guide me into paths of increasingly productive work behavior”. Out of 50 or so strengths, I scored highest in being what the test described as “Maximizer”. My first thought involved spandex, a damsel in distress, and a ray-gun to fight crime. I can handle that. The truth, however, was not so glamorous.

As it turns out, a “maximizer” is simply a person who’s goal in life is to find the shortest distance between starting and ending, thus “maximizing” results with minimal work. In other words, I seek to be get as much as I can for as little effort as possible.

Accurate? You bet.

Flash back to 4th grade. My punishment from my parents for the crime I had committed was to “write sentences”. I’m sure most of you are familiar with this cruel and unusual form of punishment, but for those of you brought up by more civilized forms of punishments like beatings and public humiliation, “writing sentences” was inflicted to brainwash a simple phrase or sentence into the heads of children by writing the words over and over and over.

Like Bart Simpson on the chalkboard, I was forced to write thousands of sentences in a notebook, stating important promises like “I will not take off my pants in public” or “I will not shave a mohawk into my sister’s hair”. That is until my maximizer strength kicked in.

In a moment of genius and inspiration(or endless boredom), I took two pencils, taped them together side-by-side, and began writing two lines at a time. This worked so well I decided to see how many pencils I could tape together and still write. The answer?

24.

My “thousand” sentences turned into just over forty, and within minutes I was finished. I was on my way to maximizing my way through life. Throughout high school, college, and my beginning years in the corporate world, I instinctively found every shortcut, trick, and tip to get things done faster and with less effort. That’s when I discovered Real Estate, and began plotting the shortest path between the life I had and the life of freedom I wanted.

I am not rich by the worlds standards, I don’t drive a million dollar car, live in a million dollar house, or have a million in the bank (yet). But four years later, I now sleep-in in the morning when I desire. I vacation when I want and where I want. I spend my days working to better my life and the life of those around me, rather than a multinational corporation that exists for the benefit of the shareholders. I am living the life that I want to live. This blog, my friends, is dedicated to teaching you how to do the same, using real estate to fire your boss, fund your adventures, and secure your future.

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