I was at a Christmas party last night and.. - Posted by Mark-NC

Posted by ScottS on December 22, 2000 at 18:10:27:

I also have learned not to try and explain it in detail. Mostly because of the fact that the person I am talking with might just be a future seller.

Also, it no longer bothers me to be “considered” a “bottom feeder”. I like to fish and the last “bottom feeder” (Halibut) I caught was a LOT bigger then the last Salmon I caught. That’s my analogy.


I was at a Christmas party last night and… - Posted by Mark-NC

Posted by Mark-NC on December 22, 2000 at 12:51:53:

It was a Christmas party put on by the people that my wife work with.

Anyway, It was very festive and everyone was having a good time. My wife introduces me to a group of about 5 people that are standing around talking, drinking and enjoying the festivities.

After a little bit of small talk one of my wifes colleagues looks at me and say’s "So mark your wife tells me your in real estate just exactly what to you do?

Now Mind you, I love to talk real estate and once you get me started I usually can’t stop and my wife knows this. So she looks up at me and gives me the look like OK, go ahead but don’t over do it. I have been with her long enough to recognize that look.

Without answering the last question someone else pipes up and asks. Are you a Realtor? I say, “no I am just an independent real estate investor that buy’s and sells properties”.

Well, suddenly I had the whole groups attention and after answering a few basic guestions they started getting a little more detailed with their questions.

Then I had questions coming from everyone, answering them as short as I could without putting to much detail into the answers trying to avoid a lengthy answer. That’s when it started to get sticky.

Questions like;
So how do you make your money?
I reply, “one easy way is to put a contact on a home from a motivated seller and sell it at closing for a higher price and I put the difference in my pocket at closing”.

The response I get to that is. Why would any one want to sell it to you for a lower price and let you turn around and sell it for a higher price? I answer, “they just do, I deal with motivated sellers, bank properties and forclosures what ever it takes”.

By now everyone is looking at me, some of them have there heads tilted, they have one eyebrow raised and a couple of them have there fingers on there chin. You know the look I am talking about, that confused look of trying to understand something. (You can get this same look yourself by trying to multiply 3976295 x 496247 in your head)

Then one girl blurts out and says “so basicly what you are doing is taking advantage of people, is that what you are saying”? Oh no, I am thinking to myself I don’t like where this is going. I have some non believers that I have to convince.

So I look right at her and quickly say. No, “what I do is solve peoples problems”. Before I could finish my answer in more detail she asks, “but aren’t you making money from their misfortune”? Then she continues to say my nieghbors house was foreclosed on it was the sadest thing they were an elderly couple and he had taken some risks to make some money and lost everything.

I knew if I didn’t pipe up soon I was going to be the bad guy the rest of the evening. So I quickly gained control of the convesation and explained that If your neighbor had contacted me or another investor there is a good chance that they could have helped them in some way even if it was to avoid a forclosure. It may have not been what they wanted but how many choices did they have. Your neighbor had to know the risks before they lost everything. Thats very unfortunate but thats the way it is. Besides if you felt bad for him why didn’t you help them?

Well after carrying on that line of retoric for a while I gained control again thinking to myself, I am glad this is converstaion is over and tried to change the subject.

Then out of the blue comes another question. So Mark, How did you learn this stuff? Did you buy one of those tv courses by whats his name, Carlton somebody? I smiled and replied, "well no, I don’t have his course, but I know of it, I do have others that have taught me a great deal along with some mentors and other investors on a creative real estate site. ( later on a couple people asked me for the site)

So how long did it take you to learn it? Well, I am still learning it. It’s a constant learning process.

Can anybody do it? “Absolutley not”, I quickly replied. Why Not? It’s not that the idividualls that do it are any better than anyone else it’s just an area that they excel in and take advantage of it. The reason I do this is because I like it I make good money at it and I can’t sing.

How much money do you make? Well, it varies from month to month but I stay comfortable doing it.

How much can you make on a deal? Well it varies. I took a napkin and wrote number down on it and handed it to him and said this is what I made last month. His jaw droped then someone else grabbed it from him and said wow thats more than I make in 6 months. I did then remind him that there are good months and slow months and that was one of the better ones.

As the napkin passed around the group someone spoke up and said “thats nice, but I don’t know if I could keep myself motivated enough to do it”. I said, “you are right, many people can’t, many people have to have the securitry of a job”. As they all stood there nodding their heads in agreement.

Then I looked at the girl that was hasseling me earlier and asked her “do you have a job”? She said, “Yes I do”. Then I asked her, “Do you know what JOB stands for”? She Looked at me with that confused look, you know the one I was talking about about earlier and said. “No, what does it stand for”? With a smile on my face I said “JUST OVER BROKE”.

Just then my wife looks at me, grabs my arm and says come on honey lets go refill our drinks.

We had great time and I think that the next time I go to an avent like this I will just Say, “I am an investor” and leave it at that, unless of course there is another investor there that I can share ideas with.

I also want to say merry Christmas to all on this board. I have met and talked to some wonderful people on here, the continuing education that I have got just from reading the posts from this board have really put me ahead of the game in many ways.

Here is a Christmas card for all to enjoy should you wish to click on it.


Best wishes!!


How to LOSE friends and TURN PEOPLE OFF … - Posted by JohnG

Posted by JohnG on December 23, 2000 at 15:37:45:

What you are doing is attacking someones very survival and that is not a very comfortable topic for most people.

I , too, went through all this in the early days of my real estate career. It was most frustrating - you would feel like you were from another planet.
Everyone sat around talking about their 2 weeks holidays, their pensions, their squabbles with the boss at work, and on and on. Meanwhile, here I was talking about getting up at the crack of noon and making more money by 5pm than the average guy would make all month. I thought I was being cool - all I was doing was insulting and alienating a bunch of people.

Think about it - we are the EXCEPTIONS and not the rule when we are self-employed real estate investors. It is a lonely and sometimes frightening path and to try and get the average person to relate is impossible. They don’t want what we have - the freedom to do what you want and to write your own paycheck.

Whats even more frustrating is the average person thinks “hey I’m smarter than that guy - how come he’s doing these deals and I’m not ?”. So, you either (a) insult the person or (b) frighten the person - neither of which is really good for interpersonal relations.

So - what to do ? Well,heres what I do - I take a sip of my drink, look at the person with a smile and say “I buy a house, fix it up and either sell it or rent it out. Its a living” and then just sigh as if its been one of those days !!!
Its easier than trying to convert the masses to the concept of real freedom !!!
They can relate to “its a living” !!!

I just don’t mention that after the Christmas party, when they have to slog back to work and look forward to their 2-3 days off, I am taking my whole family to the sunny south for 3 weeks of R’n R.
Its one of the perks of the “job” !!!

Re: I was at a Christmas party last night and… - Posted by AnnNC

Posted by AnnNC on December 22, 2000 at 22:30:13:

Mark, this is a good time to thank you for your past help to me.

Good post, but… Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to discuss money and income? Are you SURE you’re from the South? Lordy, Lordy! Those other guests for sure are not! Of course there is that Yankee invasion.

I have a friend for over 30 years, and both our moms are from Alabama, and we have never discussed income
ever, and we are as close as friends can be.
Ok, it’s just a thing, now.

But, really, your post shows what the common beliefs are. Sellers and buyers and I’m pretty sure, the employees at the county records dept.
feel similarly, and in fact, I think that this is why the county employees are often secretive about that albeit public information…'cuz you just don’t deserve to have it! You might be evil!

Attitudes are interesting. When I was 14 my parents got a good deal on a home in a much better neighborhood.
Old friends of mine who visited would say, “How many people live here?” as if we needed to take in people to justify living in such a place, because it’s too big for just one family. We had moved from a “lower middle class” neighborhood.

Friends of my mom would comment behind her back “At least she keeps it
clean” (so she deserves it) (always the woman’s job, like caulking couldn’t have prevented alot of the problem!) and others in the neighborhood could only think of it as the “Jones” house and how the “Jones” kept it this way or that, and would never have gone with that color scheme, though Jones had sold it 15 years before to the man from whose estate my family bought it. Oh her? She lives in the old Jones house.
You get the picture. Were we worthy to live in such a house?
Apparently we were to be envied, as evidenced by the
many fast food cartons that made their way over the
hip-high wall. Take that, you.

“Jones” had of course gone to jail for operating a dental office out of the illegally built garage -apartment while collecting 100%disabilty, but that’s another day. Gee, no wonder he was so popular in the neighborhood.

The parties at the house would deteriorate into money discussions, during which my parents were attacked for having more than one pension.
So let’s not enjoy your hospitality, let’s see if you are worthy of even having this house (or making money)

I loved your post, and will be on guard with my own
clever comments now! I should be so lucky uh, I meant, hardworking, as to have to defend my riches! Of course, you can’t say you are a consultant to people in foreclosure because there
are laws against that.

Your best part was about what would the people in F/C
have done had you not come along.

So, by now, I hope you have come up with an illustrative story to tell these people.
You must have a story that makes you appear vulnerable, and lucky, when necessary.
Hey, why not say you had property you were losing money on, and you did a 1031 exchange on it, and how everyone ended up with a problem solved. All very true. Their eyes will glaze over before you get to the details.
Just one quote of some statute number and a tax rule, and pretty soon they will be beggin’ for the recipe for the dip.

There is a Spanish folk tale about a man, a boy and a donkey. Short version, no matter who is riding the donkey, some other person along the path, through the town through which they pass, is telling the rider that they are selfish or stupid. How can the young/old make the young/old ride/walk. No matter what they do, someone else perceives it as wrong.
Each time, one rider gets off to please the people nagging them. Finally, the man and the boy carryy the donkey, and later, one or all fall off a cliff. Moral: A jazzier version of “You can’t please all the people all the time”.
It’s a lovely illustration of other people telling you what you “should” be doing, and especially when they are not involved and have no stake in it.

The question comes up: should you appear humble and hapless, and approachable, or should you appear “successful” and in control. Depends on the audience.

Graduate student on grants, and needing to get the grants renewed for getting their PhD MUST wear
torn jeans and ragged t-shirts. It goes with the

But in investing, you switch from “successful investor” looking for rehab money, to humble buyer
of a flip. Man, the wardrobe changes!

Don’t you think you’re better off just saying you have income properties? Then you can complain about your vacancies (but you never evict… of course)

You really got yourself into this one, Mark. I know your heart was in the right place, but next time, bring the dip. The most neutral thing to discuss that will
stand you in good stead is gardening and cooking, and perhaps cabinet making, and art.
See, turn it around to where you are the hapless person
with a remodelling problem, and then get the guys to tell you their solutions. Then they will love you, because they could help you. There is just too much fodder there that you can use to pull talents out of other people. Use THAT. Let THEM develop, introduce them to
each other, and fade into the background. Oops, too late, meany.

Well, maybe time will heal.

At parties, plants and food, are fairly neutral territory for discussion.
And they are inclusive.
Anytime strangers are together, food is the best thing
to discuss, then onto growing it.

People can be argumentative Thanks for the heads up on
the common feeling of people who view RE investors as
vultures. It’s funny, because here on this board we encourage each other, but in some circumstances
it’s better to make it look more difficult. Well , it IS difficult. There IS work involved.
Why is it that when you are working for someone else
it’s honerable, and when you are working for yourself,
it’s a party and you’re goofing off. If you worked for
$5/hour doing courthouse research, you would be beloved, but if you did it for your own account,
well, you know the rest.

Go for the food connection.
Of course, hot sauce is a “guy thing” but
Artechoke and crab with parmesan is best, with endive
and maybe the artechoke leaves as the dipper, though a cracker works well, and it’s complicated enough.

Barring that, I suggest this to you: it is fairly easy to learn plant propagation, and easy to teach oneself.
This is an appropriate party conversation, unless the other people at the party are world-renowned propagator, or plant biologist.

The talent is in the segway. (sp?) as in, “I have rental properties I’m trying to landscape, how 'bout those thrips?” Yea, I know, you’re not landscaping with orchids. just couldn’t think of something else.

BIG for the South is tomatoes and, of course anywhere,
roses. If you get into tomatoes and hybrids, and maybe some heirloom tomatoes, and heirloom beans, well, there just won’t be enough time to rag on you about
you ill- gotten gains, Bubba.

Re: I was at a Christmas party last night and… - Posted by Rob FL

Posted by Rob FL on December 22, 2000 at 20:39:59:

I usually just tell people I buy fixer-uppers and other problem properties.

Of course some of those people at my JOB get really annoyed that I have flashy signs on my car saying “We buy houses, all cash.” That all cash thing really seems to stick in some of their sides.

Oh well.

Re: I was at a Christmas party last night and… - Posted by CurtNY

Posted by CurtNY on December 22, 2000 at 20:07:17:

Sounds like you had a great time, your story made me laugh. I love that look, lol. Happy Holidays to you and your family. While I’m at it Happy Holidays to everyone here!


I have had similar experiences… - Posted by Ben (NJ)

Posted by Ben (NJ) on December 22, 2000 at 13:18:41:

As many of you know I am a tax lien foreclosure attorney and tax lien investor. I have learned to dance around the word “foreclosure” if at all possible because it seems all questions stop at that point and you are dismissed as some kind of bottom-feeding vulture. My wife once told me that no one really understands what we do, to which I replied, “good, then there is no chance of them bidding against me at the next tax sale.” I guess what I am saying is I would rather leave them confused than with an unfounded negative impression. Happy Holidays!

Re: How to LOSE friends and TURN PEOPLE OFF … - Posted by David Alexander

Posted by David Alexander on December 23, 2000 at 19:21:32:

Yep, I agree…

Confine the Investor talk to conventions, meetings etc where Investors all gather to meet or where folks want to learn, otherwise it’s wasted energy and breath anyway.

Don’t teach those that aren’t ready and likewise we never learn more than we are ready for or when we are not ready to accept.

David Alexander

Re: How to LOSE friends and TURN PEOPLE OFF … - Posted by chris

Posted by chris on December 23, 2000 at 17:42:51:


How about saying that you work for a company with the boss from hell although it is yourself/your corporation? You know the rest that you need to feed these folks so that they know you’re like them. Many of the type of people you mention won’t feel so alienated when they think you also work for the man.

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