Corporate Spys Making You Nervous?

Are you worried someone is going to find out how much success you are having and “steal” your secrets?

I’m certainly not.

Or maybe you are NOT having success, and you are wondering what “secrets” people are keeping from you that is stopping you from moving forward in your business.

Stealing trade secrets have become such a big part of business that China is devoting entire divisions of their armed forces to corporate espionage.  Corporate espionage and all the harm that it is causing US companies made the front page of the Wall Street Journal today.

But, do you want to hear the truth about success?  This is going to be a shocker to some of you.

“Success rewards those who are most prepared to meet it.”

Your competition and even those secret divisions of the Chinese army cannot steal their way to success.  It takes hard work to succeed today.  No one will convince me otherwise.

If you are sitting at home, watching Facebook for the next great real estate deal let me take you by the shoulders, shake you and let you in on a little secret.  Get away from your computer for a bit, and go out and actually SEE some neighborhoods.  Drive by a few houses, and see if you can find someone who could use your help.

The odds are pretty good that within just a few miles of where you are sitting right now, someone is DESPERATE to find someone like you to help them get out of the huge problem that is keeping them awake at night.

No one is keeping secrets from you.  Geez, on Monday night you are going to hear a few things that keep our business profitable year after year when it comes to dealing with contractors.  For that matter, you are going to hear directly FROM a successful licensed contractor about what they are doing to keep their clients happy and keep their business operating at a profit.

No one is keeping secrets from you – you have to go find your success.  Get up, get moving and go find yours.  Claim it.

I hope I see you on Monday night – I will be happy to SHARE as many of my secrets as possible.

This Monday at WREIA we are going to be talking about and talking to contractors.  Come out and learn when to hire them, and when you absolutely MUST fire them. Learn first hand what it takes to get a General Contractors (GC) license, and why continuing education is such a big part of holding a professional GC license.

Please make plans to join us.  You can find the registration page at http://wreia-feb2013-wreia.eventbrite.com

Come join us Monday, Feb. 25th and listen in as we discuss contractors.  You will be glad you did.

John Peterson

301-881-5541
Washington REIA Network, President

Profitable Property, Founder

Thieves Are Just Awful

Did you catch the news yesterday?  Eight thieves made off with $50 Million worth of diamonds as they were being loaded onto a plane.

Theft is awful when it happens – and $50 Million is certainly a headline making event. But theft can be even more devastating when it happens to a small business person.

I just finished reading another article about a contractor who had 20 thousand dollars worth of equipment stolen from his job site – overnight.

Sometimes the tools and equipment that a thief walks away with are crucial to the work day.  Without some of those tools – nothing gets done.  It can be demoralizing to your crew to have everyone there, and no one is working because materials were stolen.

It’s part of business.  Things will get stolen.  When it’s a missing ladder, it can be easily replaced at the nearest hardware store. But when it’s custom cabinets or tile, it can sometimes set your schedule back weeks at a time.

Very often physical theft comes as a shock to new renovators. Other times, theft can be much more subtle and involve the theft of time.  Sometimes our employees are taking long, out of the way personal trips while they are “on the clock”.  I once had an employee who went home for a three hour lunch – because he needed a “nap”.

As a small business owner, theft can be extremely frustrating. Believe me – I know. I have been in the same situation.

It’s a nice sunny morning, when you pull up to a home you are working on and immediately notice that the front door is cracked open.  Unless you are the second person to the house that day, this is definitely a sign that you are off to a rough start to the day.  Through the years and after 800 renovations, we have had this happen too many times.

We have lost complete appliance sets from the kitchen.  The refrigerator, the microwave, even the stove.  Gone.  And get this –  in one situation, we even lost all the counter tops – AFTER they had been installed!

Luckily things have changed a bit.  Thanks to GPS tracking, we can keep track of some of those higher ticket items now.  But theft doesn’t always show up where you expect to find it and sometimes even the best workers will surprise you.

Some GPS tracking programs now cost less than $20 a month.  This is a great tool for the small business who has a small fleet of trucks doing business across the area.

In 2011 a friend of mine installed a GPS system on the dashboard of each of his business vans.  His contractors drive these vans all around town.  His first month – the fuel charges went down 20%, and he had more jobs completed than any previous month.

He was stunned.  He thought he could trust his employees to work as hard as he did, only to find out very differently. His initial outrage has now led to him having the most profitable year he has ever had.

Rest assured – theft doesn’t occur on every job, and certainly not every employee is skimming the clock.  Most of the time, our work day goes by without a hiccup – but every once in a while something unexpected will pop up.  You should be prepared for those instances and not let them get the best of you.  Realize that it is part of the renovation process, and learn from it.

Better yet – learn those lessons from others who have been through it already. It’s much cheaper that way.

Next Monday at WREIA we are going to be talking about contractors.  Come out and learn when to hire them, and when you absolutely MUST fire them. Learn first hand what it takes to get a General Contractors (GC) license, and why continuing education is such a big part of holding a professional GC license.

Please make plans to join us.  You can find the registration page at http://wreia-feb2013-wreia.eventbrite.com

Come join us Monday, Feb. 25th and listen in as we discuss contractors.  You will be glad you did.

John Peterson

301-881-5541
Washington REIA Network, President

Profitable Property, Founder

P.S.   We are going to continue to introduce you to local professionals in our area – so you get a sense of how this business really operates. There is no better way to learn about this business, and stay on top of the current local trends than from the DC “insiders”.

P.S We are doing projects all over the Metro DC area!  If you need an active finance partner in the Washington DC area, we have been expanding our capital base and now have all the funds you could ever need to help you with your deals.   You can request a funding letter or share details on your property at http://dchardmoneylender.com/quick-property-submit/ 

White, Black Or Chrome?

The colors we choose in the renovation process can have a huge impact on the first impression of a potential home buyer.

I have been in some homes where the homeowner obviously wanted to “make a statement” about their individuality.  It’s one of the joys of owning a home – you get to make the choices of how you decorate, including the colors you choose.  But let’s be honest – some people go to extremes and then wonder why “everyone” doesn’t just love their artistic splashes of color.  A few extreme examples are posted here.

One of the major trends we see going on right now in the renovation process is the move back to white and more neutral colors.  It seems that people have grown tired of the exciting and bold “make a statement” color choices and instead just want a warm and inviting place to rest in the evenings.

Appliances play a major part in this color cycle.

I stopped in one of the big box stores a few days ago and talked for a few minutes with one of the kitchen designers about what she is experiencing lately.  I walked away with three points to share with you.

1 – People love Chrome, but hate the finger-prints that come with this option.

2 – Renovations are trending to white and off white color patterns in the kitchens, but the white appliances are just too white next to the neutral paint tones, so people are choosing black.  Again – fingerprints are the major complaint with Chrome.

3 – Companies have been trying to get a good fingerprint free Chrome, but so far they have fallen drastically short.

Above is a photo of a recent project we completed in NW DC a few months ago.  These colors are much more muted than what we were using just a few years ago.

Our goal at WREIA is to keep you updated on the most current trends that affect us nationally, regionally, and most important – locally.  In 2013 we will continue down the path we started last year of introducing you to local professionals who are active in our local DC/Baltimore area markets.

On Monday, Feb. 25th we will talk about Contracting, including painting and color choices and how it factors into the success of your business. For most of us, having the right team – at the right price – will make a huge difference when it comes to putting together a good profitable deal.

One thing makes our WREIA group great – and it starts with the leaders in our group.  ALL of our most successful members want to help you succeed.  They have realized that if you have success, they in turn will find success too.  Let us help you set up your business for success in 2013.

Come join us Monday, Feb. 25th and listen in as we discuss the world of contracting.  You will be glad you joined us.

John Peterson

301-881-5541
Washington REIA Network, President

Profitable Property, Founder

Would A 7 Day Head Start Give You Better Results?

We had a good meeting last month at Washington REIA Network.  For over an hour we discussed some of the advantages and disadvantages of getting a Realtor license.

Earlier this week, one of our members sent me some research she found doing some follow-up homework after the January meeting.

Let me give you some background.  After our January meeting she called me and was complaining about how much competition there is in the DC area.  So after a few questions, I gave her a little homework.

In that process, she found that the site she was using to find her “deals” was being updated 7-9 days after properties hit the market.  She also found that the same website was also listing 30% or more properties that were actually off the market.  Between discovering the deals late, and spending time researching properties that were no longer for sale, she was getting very frustrated. She discovered, it wasn’t really the competition, it was her investor “toolbox” that needed some help.

It got me to thinking – How much time and money are most people wasting by trying to use free tools? Most new investors are using “free” sources of information for their research – but they are ultimately paying for it.  When you first get started in this business, free may be all you can afford – and that’s fine.  But if you have some initial success, I have always suggested putting money back into your business, either through good solid education, or through new tools you can use in your business.

We have moved to an information based economy, whether we like it or not.  Nearly everyone has access to all the information you need to be successful.  The trick is how you gather that information and how quickly you put it to use.

It’s true that in today’s economy, the people who are being rewarded with good deals are the people who made their decisions quickly.  BUT – they also gathered the information quickly as well.

You see, a lot of people when they get started as a “real estate investor” can only choose free tools – and that’s fine.  They also have to rely on contractors to come and give them a bid on their project.

This month at WREIA we will talk to a couple of General Contractors who work in the DC area. They are going to give you some insight into their work, and how they use their contracting tools and knowledge as an advantage when it comes to their investing business.

Let’s use our WREIA member above as an example.  She is getting data on properties 7 days after most people because she loves the tools that come with her “free” account at Zillow.com.  Then she takes another week to get a bid from a contractor.  FINALLY, she calls her agent (who is also her cousin) to submit an offer.  The next day, everyone is excited when they meet at the office to write up the offer – and guess what happens?  Her agent/cousin calls to submit the offer – only to find out it went under contract 10 days ago.

Do you know who has the property under contract?  Me.

Actually, it’s under contract through one of my general contractor partners.

I get calls all the time from a few of my contractors.  We joint venture a lot on properties together.  They know that I have a lot of experience funding and solving problems with properties and – together –  we can move through these properties a lot faster than just one of us doing it alone. I hope you are on track to make 2013 the best year you have ever had.  This month and every month we plan to keep sharing with our WREIA members what we learn out “on the street” in the Washington DC and Baltimore area.

Don’t let yourself get frustrated.

Even on a snowy Friday in February – I’m here.  Let me know if you need some help,

John Peterson
301-881-5541
Washington REIA Network, President
Profitable Property, Founder