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Forget Everything You’ve Read: Buying a House is NOT For Suckers

Recently, one of my favorite online financial gurus, Grant Cardone, put out a video that exclaimed, “Buying a house is for suckers!”

Before that, he wrote here on Entrepreneur that, “Unless you have 20 million bucks in the bank, in cash, you have no business buying a house.”

It’s not the first time I’ve heard him say this, nor is he the only financial guru peddling this message today. Author James Altucher has described time and time again how he’s refused to own a house. Remit Sethi, the blogger behind the I Can Teach You to Be Rich brand, often cautions readers to be wary of buying real estate. Even Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, has become famous for informing the public that a home is a liability, not an asset.

Related: An Investor Answers: “Should I Buy a House for Myself or Purchase an Investment Property?”

Yet, for the majority of Americans, home ownership is clearly a part of the American Dream. Even a guy like me — a landlord for the past decade — has had to stop and ask if there is any truth to this. Is owning a home truly for suckers, as Cardone said? Or was the headline over his Business Insider video just click bait?

Here, my goal is to explore the the three primary reasons Cardone and other financial gurus typically use for arguing against buying a house — and offer a counter-argument.

1. It depends where you live.

Should you own your home? Maybe. But, maybe not. Real estate is expensive. In fact, that’s one of the primary reasons a lot of homeowners and landlords fail.

Besides the mortgage payment, the owner of the house also has to fix the plumbing, replace the roof, shovel the snow, paint the walls, replace the carpet — you get the idea. There are a lot of hidden expenses above and beyond the cost of the mortgage to consider, and the older the property is, the greater those expenses tend to be.

However, in many areas, it is still cheaper to own than rent. For example, in my town, I can purchase a decent single family home for around $75,000, which works out to a mortgage of around $500 per month, with taxes and insurance included. That same house would rent for about $1,000 per month. So, does the average homeowner of a $75,000 house have $500 in house-related expenses each month? Not unless he or she owns a terrible home.

Therefore, where I live, at least, it makes a lot more financial sense to own versus buy — even with the repairs and maintenance required. Of course, in some areas, it might be far less expensive to rent than to own, while in larger cities such as New York, San Francisco, Miami and other cities,the opposite is often true. All these facts add up to why you shouldn’t take blanket advice from the internet when you make your decisions.


2. Owning a house makes you immobile — or does it?

This was the primary reason Cardone put forward for his argument against buying a house. “To make money today, you need mobility,” he wrote.

Related: Buying a House: The Ultimate Guide to Purchasing Your First Property

Personally, I found that weird — because I’ve lived in the same county for 10 years, and I’ve made money. Lots of it.

So, do you truly need mobility to make money? Sure, mobility is fun. I remember “mobile life.” Living out of a suitcase, sleeping on friends’ couches, eating leftover cold mac ’n cheese I found in the back of the fridge. All hail mobility!

But, then, a funny thing happens: We grow up. We start having responsibility for things in our life. We actually want some kind of stability. We want to raise our kids in the same place. We don’t want to lose the friendships we have with our neighbors. We want to avoid having to move again and again and again because of someone else’s decision.

When you rent a home, yes, you can leave when your lease is up, which might be six or nine months down the road. Or, if you sell your house, you can be out in a month or two. Even better, if you need to move suddenly, you can just rent your house out to a tenant and — gasp — move! Now, you are building wealth through rental properties and you are free to be mobile — whatever that means.

3. Is real estate a bad investment?

Many financial bloggers love to point out that real estate values climb at a pace slower than that of stocks. Okay, that might be true, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

As famed economist and Nobel prize winner Robert Shiller has pointed out, using the S&P/Case-Shiller Index, home values over the past 100 years have appreciated, on average, at nearly the same rate as inflation: around 3 percent.

So, should we immediately reject buying a house because it doesn’t appreciate fast enough?

Of course not. Real estate appreciation is just one of several benefits to owning property. When you own real estate, you don’t usually pay 100 percent cash for it. Instead, you obtain a loan and use a small down payment to take possession. That way, although the price of your property may increase only 3 percent, your actual return on investment could be significantly higher

(Continue reading on BiggerPockets…)

P.S. looking for hard money loans in California? Be sure to check out my friends over at They have very competitive rates, can fund within a week and specialize in fix and flip loans and other hard money loans.

Last year (2015) was a pretty slow year for real estate investing for me.

flipped a house and bought a primary residence for myself, but other than that, I was so busy with a hundred other things — like managing the properties I already own, taking a road trip around the entire USA, and writing The Book on Rental Property Investing — that buying new properties got pushed to the back.

However, this year I decided things were going to be different.

So this year I’ve already purchased seven units, flipped two houses, I have four more units under contract to close soon, and we’re just nine months through the year!

Best of all, these properties will add around $150,000 to my net worth and over $2,000 a month to my passive income.

So how did I 10x my results this year compared to last?

Well, today I want to share with you the four fundamental choices I made in my life that helped me 10x my real estate investing this year.

4 Fundamental Choices That Helped Me 10x My Real Estate Investing This Year

1. Set a Big Goal

On January 1st of this year, my wife and I sat down at one of our favorite restaurants for our annual review of our goals. Over gourmet burgers and fries, we discussed how we did on our previous year’s goals and what we wanted to get out of the coming year.

And one of the specific goals we made was to buy a dozen units this year.

Why 12?

Well, I knew 12 would be a stretch goal, especially with the 40+ hours I was spending working on content for BiggerPockets, our first baby due in a few months, and the upheaval that would cause.

But I also saw 12 as something I could achieve if I put my heart into it.

But goal setting is fairly worthless if you don’t also plan a strategy for how you are going to get to that goal. It’s great that you want to become a millionaire, win a Grammy, go to the moon — but do you have a plan to achieve it? So our conversation on that New Year’s day led us toward another fundamental change that helped me 10x my goals this year:


2. Get Help

So, as you know, I wanted to buy a dozen units this year, but I also knew this year would likely be the most crazy year of my life so far.

Related: There is a Major Problem With Your Goals

So I knew I needed help.

After putting out a call on Facebook for an assistant, I found Tracey.

While Tracey helps me with a variety of tasks in my life, primarily she is my acquisitions manager. In other words, I placed her in charge of finding real estate deals for me.

Tracey came on board in February, and within seven days — with no prior real estate experience — she had our first property under contract.


(Continue reading on BiggerPockets…)

P.S. looking for hard money loans in California? Be sure to check out my friends over at They have very competitive rates, can fund within a week and specialize in fix and flip loans and other hard money loans.

I keep hearing people say things like “I hate my job” or “I don’t make enough money” or “my stupid boss said [this]or [that]” or asking questions about how to become an entrepreneur.

And then a week, a month, a year, a lifetime later… they are still at that job.

They have dreams of spending more time with family, traveling the world, working on their own thing…

…but it never happens.

Sure, maybe they jump over to another job, but let’s be honest: The same jerk co-workers, boss, time clock, and TPS reports are there, too.

So how does someone quit their job — for good?

If you want to know how to become an entrepreneur and start living life on your own terms, you are going to have to grow up and understand four simple truths.

How to Become an Entrepreneur, in 4 (Not So) Easy Steps

1. You’ve Got to Take It — No One is Going to Give it to You

Look: If you really want to learn how to become an entrepreneur, you need to stop living reactively. This means stop living life like you are a pinball, getting hit back and forth by everyone and everything else.

What do you want with your life? Really. What do you want?

Who do you want to be?

What do you want to spend your days doing?

What makes you happy and fulfilled?

How do you want to look?

Where do you want to live?

Related: 10 Simple, Everyday Things You MUST Do to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

Figure out who you want to be, and then stop living reactively and spend the rest of your life going after it with everything you have.


2. To Learn How to Become an Entrepreneur, Use Your Collateral

If you are looking to quit your job, it’s likely you have a few ideas on how you want to do it. Maybe you are going to flip houses. Maybe you are going to open up a gas station. Maybe you are going to sell products on Amazon.

But it’s going to fail if you don’t have collateral.

What’s collateral? It’s a term used in Cal Newport’s incredible book So Good They Can’t Ignore You that comprises the knowledge, experience, and skills you’ve acquired in a given industry, over time. Too many people try to start businesses without collateral and wind up broke — or worse.

Let me give you an example. I’ve been investing in real estate for a decade. I know how to find, analyze, and finance deals. I know how to flip houses. I know how to manage tenants.

But if I decided to open up a burger joint because it sounds fun, my lack of collateral is going to kill me. I don’t know anything about burgers. But could I open up a roofing company? There’s a much better chance at that.

So maybe you want to open up a Crossfit gym or a plumbing company or a music studio or whatever. Before you do, ask yourself: Do you have the necessary collateral?

The fastest way to quit your job is to use the collateral you’ve built up at your job and start getting paid for it. Maybe that means freelancing or jumping into a related field. But it doesn’t mean jumping ship and starting something new just because you are bored. Play to your strengths and use the collateral you have.

(Continue reading on BiggerPockets…)

P.S. looking for hard money loans in California? Be sure to check out my friends over at They have very competitive rates, can fund within a week and specialize in fix and flip loans and other hard money loans.

The 6 Crucial Factors of an Amazing Tenant

[Note: The following is an excerpt from Brandon Turner’s The Book on Managing Rental Properties. To learn more about screening tenants and saving yourself from the heartache of a poorly managed property, be sure to check it out here!]

The most important decision you make that will determine the success or failure of your rental is the person you put in the property. A bad tenant can potentially cause years of stress, headache, and financial loss, while a great tenant can provide years of security, peace, and prosperity. Don’t underestimate the importance of renting to only the best tenants. While it’s not possible to know with 100 percent certainty what type of tenant your applicant will be, there are some telltale signs and traits that will give you a pretty darn good indication that they are great tenant material. Here’s what you should be looking for.

Related: Yikes! My Tenant Just Went to Jail: Here’s How I Handled It

Their Ability to Afford the Rent Payment

The first and foremost quality of a good tenant is their being financially responsible and their ability to afford the rent. Without proper payment, the landlord will be forced to evict and be faced with potentially thousands of dollars’ worth of legal fees, lost rent, and damages. Most landlords require that a tenant’s (documentable) income equal at least three times the monthly rent. Many tenants believe that they can afford more than they really can – so it is the job of the landlord to set the rules to protect their investment. If the tenant is already financially responsible, earning three times the monthly rent should be sufficient.


Their Willingness to Pay on Time

While some landlords look at late rent as a benefit because of the extra income from the late fee, a late-paying tenant is more likely to stop paying altogether. The stress involved when the rent doesn’t come in is not a pleasant experience and can be avoided by only renting to tenants who have a solid history of paying on time.

The Long-Term Outlook for Their Job Stability

While a tenant may be able to pay the rent and pay it on time right now, their ability to do so in the future is often determined by their job situation. If they are the type to switch jobs often or have long periods of unemployment, you may find long periods of missed rent.

Their Cleanliness and Housekeeping Skills

No tenant stays forever—and when they leave, you want the property back in good condition. As such, it is important that the tenant’s day-to-day living be clean and orderly. They must take good care of the property you have entrusted with them.


Their Aversion to Crime, Drugs, and Other Illegal Activities

A person who has no regard for the law will also likely have no regard for your policies. Tenants who engage in illegal activities will cause nothing but stress and expense.

Related: 10 Invaluable Lessons I Learned From My Very First Tenant Eviction

The “Stress Quotient”—How Much Stress Will They Cause You?

The final quality of a great tenant is something we call their “stress quotient,” or in other words, the amount of stress a tenant will cause you, the landlord. Some tenants are very high maintenance and constantly demand time and attention. Others simply ignore the terms in their lease and need constant babysitting, reprimanding, and discipline (late fees, notices, phone calls, etc.). This type of tenant will only be a thorn in your side.

(Continue reading on BiggerPockets…)

P.S. looking for hard money loans in California? Be sure to check out my friends over at They have very competitive rates, can fund within a week and specialize in fix and flip loans and other hard money loans.

She was a three-unit small apartment located in a great location, with stable tenants, and an ugly paint job. This triplex, which I call “Cherry Street,” was close to becoming the newest addition to my growing rental portfolio, but with Cherry Street I was about to do something I had never done before: start looking at investment property loans.

You see, before Cherry Street, I had only used conventional home mortgages, seller financing, and hard money lenders to invest in real estate. However, Cherry Street was purely a cash flow beast that I was hoping to buy, re-paint (please!) and hold on to for retirement.

However, as I began shopping around for a mortgage, I quickly realized that the process was not going to be the exact same as it had been in the past. What I soon realized was that investment property loans are slightly different than your typical home mortgage in several ways (but similar in several ways as well.) The information below contains a lot of the things I learned in my quest for the best investment property loan, and enabled me to get a great loan, with a great rate, from a great lender. It is my hope that this article does the same for you.

This article is going to look at exactly what a investment property loans are, the difference between and investment loan and a typical mortgage, tips for qualifying for an investment loan, and where to find the best loan for your real estate investment.

What Are Investment Property Loans?

As most readers on BiggerPockets already know, investment properties provide a vehicle that allow you to enjoy the potential for market appreciation while building equity each month. In addition, the monthly cash flow from a real estate investment can provide extra income to your wallet, help you pay down debt faster, or allow you to quit your job and begin living life on your own terms.

However, unless you have all the cash needed for your investment property, a loan is going to be required. Investment property loans can be used for either purchasing an investment property or refinancing an existing investment. Whether you are purchasing or refinancing a single or multi-family home, condo, or shopping mall – getting the best loan is essential to your bottom line. Investment property loans can also be used for real estate development, such as new construction, spec building, or raw land development.

The rate and term that you achieve is going to directly affect your monthly payment, which will affect your monthly cash flow — the life-blood of any real estate investor. We’ll look deeper at both “rate” and “term” in a little while, but first let’s look at the major differences between investment property loans and regular home mortgages.


There are typically two types of investment property loans:

  • Residential
  • Commercial

Because lending institutions will typically have two completely different departments to deal with these different kind of investment property loans, as well as significantly different qualifying standards, it’s important to know the difference before you go searching for a loan. Let’s look at both those types of investment property loans in greater detail.

Residential Investment Property Loans

Residential loans are designed for properties that provide housing for individuals or families and contain four units or less on the property. These loans more closely follow a typical home mortgage, with similar qualifying standards and processes. These standards include:

  • Debt to Income: Your debt to income ratio is a number used by lenders to determine your ability to pay a certain debt based on how much income you make, typically in a given month. If you have $2000 per month in monthly debts on your credit report, but have an income of $6000 per month – your debt to income would be 33.33%. Debt to income can get a little more complicated than that as well, so for much more thorough information, please see “What Is Debt to Income? 
  • Credit Score: Your credit score is a numerical number applied by three different “credit reporting agencies” and is designed to tell inquirers how you handle credit. On a scale from 300 to 850, you will typically need to have a minimum of 700 to obtain a investment property loan.
  • Loan to Value: The loan to value is another ratio, used by lenders to discover their risk on the property based on how much equity they have in the property if they had to foreclose. The loan to value, as the name suggests, is determined by comparing at the total loan amount to the total fair market value of the property. In the height of the last real estate bubble, many lenders were allowing a borrower to take a loan up to 125% of the value, but today, 70-80% is much more likely on investment properties.
  • Landlord Experience: While previous landlord experience is not a requirement to obtain an investment property loan, it can affect your ability to qualify for a loan. You see, as you attempt to obtain multiple loans for investment properties, your debt to income ratio climbs very quickly, even though that debt is being paid by a tenant. To help increase your income, a bank can add your rental income to your regular monthly income but usually will only do so after you have been a property investor for more than two years – though this requirement can differ greatly between lenders. Keep in mind also – that even with landlord experience, a lender will typically only apply 70-80% of that rental amount toward your income, to protect themselves against losses.

Typically, residential investment loans will extend for up to thirty years and the rate is generally some of the lowest rates you can find, usually between .5% and 1% higher than you’ll obtain for a home mortgage. To check out current rates on investment property loans, be sure to check out the BiggerPockets Mortgage Center.

(Continue reading on BiggerPockets…)

P.S. looking for hard money loans in California? Be sure to check out my friends over at They have very competitive rates, can fund within a week and specialize in fix and flip loans and other hard money loans.

Should You Pay for an Expensive Real Estate Education Course?


No doubt, you have seen expensive coaching and training programs advertised on late-night television or internet banner ads. Real estate gurus claim to be able to teach you to become filthy rich through real estate investing. Is this real? Can you really learn from these guys?

Let me first explain how this industry works. Typically, this kind of coaching or training involves several “layers,” and as you peel away the layers, the education gets more and more expensive. Let me share the most common layers, so you’ll be able to recognize them in the future.


1. The Free Class

You might come across an advertisement on the radio, on television, in your local newspaper, or on your favorite website –something like “free real estate seminar” at a local hotel or conference center. The marketing teams behind these gurus spend a lot of money to drive traffic to these free seminars, hoping to pack the room with wannabe real estate investors.

2. The Hype

In the seminar, the real estate guru creates massive hype around what real estate can do, showing photos of his properties, citing impressive numbers on how much profit he made, and claiming how easy it was. He tells stories of past students who have amassed a fortune from his investing tips. He pushes on all the right pain points about how hard being broke is, how you are not taking care of your family well enough, how you are missing out on life’s luxuries. Then, he pitches hard for you to attend his weekend boot camp, usually for a small yet not insignificant chunk of money, between $200 and $500. After the pitch, he encourages the attendees to run to the back of the room to sign up — and many people do.

(Continue reading on BiggerPockets…)

P.S. looking for hard money loans in California? Be sure to check out my friends over at They have very competitive rates, can fund within a week and specialize in fix and flip loans and other hard money loans.