Reality Check - Posted by peteo-MD

Posted by michaela-ATL on December 21, 2002 at 09:12:48:


i don’t know how you come up with all these negative observations. i have noticed the people in their 20’s to be the ones looking for gold and glitter and glamour and surface stuff, but it’s the people, that start soul searching in their 30’s, that are the ones looking for a deeper meaning in life. they realize, that money isn’t everything. Sounds to me as if you have it backwards

just my thoughts

Reality Check - Posted by peteo-MD

Posted by peteo-MD on December 20, 2002 at 09:33:30:

I have a question/thought that will make for an interesting discussion - What obligation do the posters on this site owe the self-professed “newbies”.
It’s my observation that the main themes on this site are:
You can do it!
Yes, it’s possible!
Anyone can participate!

Is this reality? After viewing the last year of posts I see folks who have absolutely no clue about REI and have done no homework, people who are in financial difficulties who think they can be financially independent overnight, and quite frankly, people who have extremely poor communication skills.

Are we portraying a false sense of security by telling these folks they can do it? What makes anyone think that a person who can’t even handle their own personal finances, that they can get involved in some complicated transactions? If you can’t get your thoughts across here, how are you going to do with buyers, contractors, title companies, etc.?

Yes, there are some posters who try to tell it like it is but they always seem to be chastised by those preaching a fairy tale. In reality the REI business can be brutal. You had better have your head on straight, have done your homework, and be prepared for the lean times as well as the good. I sometimes shake my head after reading a post and can only think “This person is not well suited for this business and will get buried”.

I’m not trying to be negative but am interested in your comments.

can - Posted by Steve W (WA)

Posted by Steve W (WA) on December 21, 2002 at 10:16:27:

The focus on REI is not the main thing here.

As you state, the gist is often:

You can do it!
Yes, it’s possible!
Anyone can participate!

Think about it . . . what CAN’T you do? And then consider: is it truly a physical impossibility, or a choice NOT to do?

Success is within anyone’s grasp - ask the paraplegic skydiver, the amputee basketball player, the 80-something marathon runner. It is all within the power of how you think.

Funny thing is, most people here that have any klind of success, it is a result of how they think, now what they CAN do. It’s what they WILL do, what they DO do.

All of the books and courses on REI or whatever . . . they ALL work; the question is do YOU? WILL you?

This is bigger than REI, folks. REI is just one manifestation.

Think and Grow Rich.

Grow thin, grow your marriage, grow beets, grow WHATEVER.

You CAN do it!
Yes, it’S possible!
Anyone CAN participate!

WILL you? DO you? It’s all about choice, confidence, the power of HOW YOU THINK; what you talk yourself into or out of.

Re: Reality Check - Posted by Christen

Posted by Christen on December 20, 2002 at 19:47:48:

I agree whole heartedly with your post. It takes a certain personality to be successful in this business. Yes you can still succeed if you went bankrupt two years ago, but what worries me is just like you said if you can’t handle your own personal finances, how can you handle the investments of your new business. and anyone who doesn’t treat it like a business most assuredly will fail and be left with a bad taste in their mouths. Investigating, reading, taking action, making mistakes, and learning and making important contacts are what counts in this business. It has nothing to do with Credit or “nothing down”.

Great post! - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on December 20, 2002 at 17:02:54:

I remember several attacks on Ron Starr, claiming, that he’s doing a disservice to the newbies, telling them, that it takes time to become financially independent. i’ve been attacked when suggesting to a newbie (after 2 years with a mentor and not one deal, blaming it on the mentor), that this might not be the field for her. i no longer respond to those kinds of posts, because i don’t care for those kind of responses.

this business is definitely not for everyone. for lack of a better way to describe it, i think it takes a type ‘A’ personality. With that i mean a self-starter, someone, that makes things happen, instead of waiting for someone to provide the work. I do not believe, that everybody can learn it, like hanging sheetrock or do trim. If I take myself: I’m not a detailed oriented person. Yes, I know hoe to hang crown moulding, BUT I tend to think:" oh, well, what’s an 1/8"?’ - it just doesn’t look good when I do it ;-). not everybody is cut out to do everything. I just hire people to do the things, that i’m not good at.

Everybody can learn the theory, but to actually be out there and make it happen is a totally different story.
It’s not for you, if

  • you can’t or won’t make fast decisions
  • can’t think on your feet
  • aren’t willing to get dirty at times
  • aren’t flexible
  • don’t like the biz and only do it for money
  • can’t budget your money - because you don’t get a regular paycheck.
  • are not willing to lead
  • are not willing to take responsibility
  • are not willing to take risks

That would already cut a lot of people out. It doesn’t meant they’re failures, but simply, that their strengths may lay somewhere else - like hanging crown moulding (and I couldn’t live without them)

I’ve only been on this board 6 months or so, but i’ve seen a number of newbies come and go. The idea of being a real estate investor sounds intriguing, but it’s just not for everyone, contrary to what a lot of the gurus teach.

just my thoughts


Re: Reality Check - Posted by Shawn J. Dostie

Posted by Shawn J. Dostie on December 20, 2002 at 14:28:38:

I believe that the reality is that ANYONE can do it, I believe that it is very possible, and I believe that a full 90 percent of it AFTER YOU HAVE THE FUNDAMENTALS DOWN is ATTITUDE. We’ve seen it time and time again throughout our history. Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt all started with nothing. Dave Thomas, the Colonel, Donald Trump, etc… all came from humble beginnings. There are people here that will begin here and make it large. That’s why I come here every day, I am that type of person. These are the people we want to share ideas with. Unfortunately, in a free public forum we have to wade through masses of “regular folks” that I believe have evolved culturally to a stance of I want it, give it to me now, type of mentality. These people think, and I have said it many ways many times, that they somehow deserve to be rich overnight with little thought and even less work. They have seen the infomercials but are still like so many cattle following the crowd of wanna be’s. I wish I could look into the eyes of some these posters. I believe that a human’s eyes are the window to their soul, and I see so many vacant lots on a daily basis. To be successful in any endeavor you’ve got to have passion. I am a very passionate person and I believe in the goodness buried deeply in most of us. If during my time here on earth, if I can help someone uncover that passion, how to implement their dreams, then all is not in vain. Ther are others here that I recognize that trait in… Ron Starr, Kristine(CA), Michaela(ATL), Ray Alcorn, JT(IN), Karl(OH), Robert Mcneely, Tony(VA), Nate(DC), Phil Fernandez, Tim Fierro, Jerry Freeman, John Merchant, Ed Copp, David Krulac, Ernest Tew, Peter(MD) etc… i am absolutely certain that each and every one of these individuals lead very busy, hectic, satisfying live, yet come here in a sense, to give a little something back. There is nothing as special as that fleeting moment when you see a spark go off in someones brain that says “I got it! Now I understand!” It seems to be a well documented fact that 90% of folks who buy a Real Estate course, or attend a feel good seminar, will never invest a dime (That’s probably the best thing for them) That’s an awful lot of people who will visit here, ask some questions, buy a course, and do nothing. But, make no mistake, and ask each of those people I mentioned specifically as well as the ones I omitted or missed, they will tell you too, if you can be trained to hang drywall, install a commode, answer the telephone competently, hammer a nail, empty garbage, deliver mail, drive a truck, work a cash register, wait tables, you can be a successful RE investor. Doesn’t mean you will be, it just means that this does not require a doctorate in agronomy, aeronautics, metallergical engineering, architecture, biochemical molecular design, etc… to succeed. What it does require is the common sense to recognize market conditions, what buying low compared to selling high means, area values, who and who not to listen to, the values and limitations of you personal credit, and the DISCIPLINE to work without anyone telling you what and how to do something.

****Is this reality? After viewing the last year of posts I see folks who have absolutely no clue about REI and have done no homework, people who are in financial difficulties who think they can be financially independent overnight, and quite frankly, people who have extremely poor communication skills.

Are we portraying a false sense of security by telling these folks they can do it? What makes anyone think that a person who can’t even handle their own personal finances, that they can get involved in some complicated transactions? If you can’t get your thoughts across here, how are you going to do with buyers, contractors, title companies, etc.? *****

This is a completely different issue and i couldn’t agree more. If you are a newbie and have made it this far through this mile long ramble, you may be one of the few who can succeed. (The rest will just dismiss it as the advice of someone who says mean things). The bottom line is, to be a successful entrepeneur in any arena, you need to be able to take a hard look at yourself and know your own weaknesses as well as strengths. If someone else has to point out your weaknesses then you are not assessing yourself honestly. Do your homework and take the steps that will ensure you a shot at success if you aren’t quite there currently. Learn, know, create a roadmap, and clean up your credit, live within your means, and lower your debt so you’ll be ready when the right time comes.

Wishing everyone a blessed and joyous holiday,

Some perspective - Posted by JD

Posted by JD on December 20, 2002 at 12:51:40:

Some of the motivators you reference are trying to sell something (courses, services, a networking relationship), its just a fact of life that alot of people respond favorably to false praise and positive feedback. But, most of the cheerleaders you reference are not experienced investors, their words of unqualified encouragement are more for their own motivational benefit than for the person to whom they are responding.

Excellent Post - Posted by Bob

Posted by Bob on December 20, 2002 at 12:10:19:

Peteo, You bring up an interesting point.

I’m particularly intriqued by your point on communication. It seems when we are telling a newbie how to get started, we tell them where to find investing articles, how to structure deals, and how to find money. But, we don’t suggest the newbie polish their communication skills, even when it’s obviously needed. As you said, we’ve seen posts that are almost un-intelligeable because of their poor language, etc. We’ve also seen hostile posts by the occasional newbie who is indignant that we have not clearly given them the answer they need (or want) that they feel they are somehow entitled to. If such a newbie communicates or behaves like this with a lender, seller, etc. they are headed for certain failure.

In reality the fundamentals are as important, if not more important, than the techniques we discuss here. Before you begin thinking about structuring deals, I think you need to possess the skills of
-communication (being able to convey your message to others, who themselves will have varied levels of interpretation)
-interpersonal relationships (being able to work with a very diverse group of people without barriers or friction)
-basic math
-basic clerical skills (being able to format a letter or e-mail. You don’t have to have the fanciest words or letterhead, but appear professional.)
-a motivation other than profit (money is temporary, what you do with your life is your legacy. if you’re only in this business for the money and not to help other poeple, or becuase you enjoy what you do, you’re probably in the wrong business)

Regarding those with poor credit, you have taken the bank’s stance “if you haven’t been responsible before, why should I think you’ll start now” And that’s a perfectly reasonable assumption. If someone is thinking of investing and has poor credit, they should know it’s going to limit your options. Doesn’t mean you can’t do it, just that certain avenues will be closed and you’ll have to look to alternatives. Good credit, along with all the other skills I’ve mentioned, and the many more I left out, are the tools in your tool box. If you’re missing a tool, the best you can do is attempt to let the other tools compensate, sometimes that will be enough, and sometimes it won’t.

Probably the single most important skill required to succeed in this business is problem solving. You see, everywhere you turn there will be an obstacle, some bigger than others, and your success as an investor depends on your ability to overcome those daily dilemnas. They come in all shapes and sizes, whether it be not knowing where to start, not knowing where to find the money for a deal, or not knowing how to structure a deal, these obstacles come up every day and as soon as you stop overcoming them, you’re out.

My pet peeve is the newbie who simply posts “I want to invest, where do I start, and then what is step 2,3,…” If a newbie isn’t willing to put in their own effort to improve their life, why should we invest our time in them? Further, if they can’t get off of square one they, as you say, are doomed.

Before I get scathing posts from every newbie, let me clarify that I’m not talking about ALL newbies, just the few that don’t try. And, every situation is different, this may not apply to you at all.

(that was long wasn’t it :slight_smile:


Re: Reality Check - Posted by phil fernandez

Posted by phil fernandez on December 20, 2002 at 11:09:34:

Actually that’s a thought provoking question. No, real estate investing is not as easy as it seems on the late night informercials. Investing is not a hobby. It’s a business. There are so many niches in the business, much has to be learned before venturing out into the marketplace. My pet peeve has always been when Newbies rush out into the market without knowing fair market value. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Saying the above, I still like to encourage the Newbies and to let them know that this stuff does work and it can be done. But skills have to be learned and improved upon in order to be successful. Absolutely.

Re: can - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on December 21, 2002 at 10:34:23:


you’re right: everybody has the possibility to do it.

But, the problem is attitude. it does take a certain attitude and unless someone, who doesn’t have it, is interested in the persoal change to have that attitude, it would be a very difficult business for them to do alone.

maybe if they have a particular strength, they could partner up with someone, that has a different strength, but i believe, most partnerships won’t work for long.

i’m not sure, that someone, that is totally risk adverse can change him/herself to the degree that it takes.

someone who’s habitually unreliable - will he/she have the willpower to stick with something like this?

is someone, that has always been a follower and group person going to be able to throw off all thoughts of ‘what other people may think’ and forge the way as a leader and ‘doer’?

we can change habits, but some character and personality traits are very difficult to change.

i know i sound negative, but i don’t believe that this is for everyone.

just my thoughts

Re: Reality Check - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on December 20, 2002 at 21:25:59:


i just want to comment: please don’t lump everybody with bad credit into one category. some of us have been responsible and had an unforeseen even happen (for me it was a contractor screwing me over big time, which created financial disaster for me. have recovered, but it took some work to get my credit back)

there’re people that are irresponsible and there are people, that had disaster strike. not everybody is the same.

just my thoughts


The Passion Shows, and the reality, … - Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA)

Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA) on December 20, 2002 at 21:07:02:


Your passion shows, I feel in this post. And your firm grasp of reality. I also like your compassion and willingness to share.

Yes, there will be many who will touch on real estate investing, looking for the easily-found pots of gold at the rainbow. Many will go away again soon, convinced that it is not possible to become rich with real estate–false, it is not easy to quickly get rich with real estate–true, or that they cannot get rich with real estate–which, if they do go away, is true.

As I have said in my “beginners success” advice for the beginners, it probably will take 15-20 years to become financially independ with real estate. Most people have to be getting more than just money to keep going that long. The something more is emotional satistifactions. After all, some days one is going to feel stimied, unhappy, incompetent, hopeless, and perhaps more. In fact, those feelings may be there for weeks or even months when the going is rough. To keep going, one has to have some positive emotional experiences as one goes along. I’ve noticed that many of the successful investors who post here on the CREONLINE.COM board love the real estate investing work. Those that don’t love it probably at least enjoy or like it.

The many who sample real estate investing and drift away includes some who will never be successful or satisfied with their lives, some who could have been successful at real estate investing if they had just had a couple of things happen differently when they started out, and those who will go on to some other field where they will succeed–Amway, anybody?

Many of us try to tell the reality. Some appreciate that, some don’t. Well, those who stop by and get an eyefull of information here will at least get some sense of reality if they stick around a while. There are many “rah-rah” posts, of course. But there are a lot of people who come here and share their pain, their mistakes, their embarrasments, so that others can understand.

You’re one of the sharers.

Here’s a cheer to us–to those of us who answer the questions and then come back and do it again later: YEA US!

Ok, another cheer–why not? YEAAA USSS!!

Ok, wait a minute. I didn’t hear everybody cheer that time. Come on, now, loud and clear, with feeling: YEEAAAA UUSSSSS!!! Ok, that felt good.

Good Investing and Good EducatingRon Starr**

That deserves repeating… - Posted by Bob

Posted by Bob on December 20, 2002 at 14:01:45:

JD, couldn’t agree with you more. I want to go one step further for the newbies and make it impossible to miss…

Newbies: The advice and encouragement you receive on this board, may be from other newbies who want to believe what they are telling you but have no experience to support it. Be an intelligent newbie and consider the source of any response. Research prior posts and get an idea of “who” is giving you this advice.

Anyone can post here, any age, experience level, they can be honest and helpful, or making it up for fun. If you’re going to succeed your going to have to figure out what to listen to, what to discard, and how to use what you’ve learned. You are ultimately responsible.


Re: Excellent Post - Posted by RobH_WA

Posted by RobH_WA on December 20, 2002 at 14:13:39:

There can never be a perfect cure for the “I’m a newbie-how do I earn a million without trying” type of question, any more than we will always get rents paid on time.
However, IMHO 2 things would really help:

  1. An obvious FAQ section. Yeah, I know there’s the how-to section, but it’s not really an FAQ that would filter out a lot of these questions before they become posts, and someone logging on for the first time does not get this highlighted in 6’ letters.
    One possible way around this is to have everyone register on their 1st time. They would then be directed to FAQs, How-tos, How-not-tos, etc, etc. From 2nd time on you would come straight in. Issues regarding cookies, etc, but if people dont want cookies they can log in each time (takes 2 secs??)
  2. The search function is more rudimentary than it might be. Cannot search across forums (I think?), no date ranges, filter for posts by xxx, etc, etc. I know response is ordered by relevance (good) but greater flexibility would be nice.
    Site works great for me, above primarily trying to address the newbie issue (but a better search tool would be nice…)

Re: Excellent Post - Posted by Bryan-SactoCA

Posted by Bryan-SactoCA on December 20, 2002 at 13:25:56:

From what I see, a lot of newbies here are lower middle class people who have become trapped in what Robert Kiyosaki calls the “success trap”. They go to college and once they’re out they have amassed massive debt. Then they get a job and amass even more debt in an attempt to “keep up” and look rich. Soon they’re 45 or so, realize that they’re stuck in a dead end job they hate and that they’re a slave to their debt. So during one of those sleepless nights, after reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, they decide that they need to get rich to pay off their staggering debt, not to help the world or provide housing for the less fortunate. They come here and expect real estate investing to be like a project at work with defined goals and procedures. They want to know steps 1, 2, and 3 in order to become rich to pay off their debt. But the world outside their chicken coops (again borrowing from Kiyosaki) doesn’t work like that. It’s a lot messier and vague. They are confined to small coops made out of balsa wood and hay wire that are breaking up in the financial storms of today, and they suddenly get a panicked realization that they have to live without their coops, so they go off in a desperate bid to become rich so their debts don’t eat them alive. But what’s required is a change in who you are, not what you are. After age 25 or so it’s nearly impossible for somebody to change who they are. So they’re E quadrant people trying to survive in the I quadrant but with an E mentality, which is impossible. I believe that only a few people are truly cut out for the world of high stakes investing.

Re: Reality Check - Posted by Christen

Posted by Christen on December 21, 2002 at 10:59:19:

I understand what you are saying but my intention was not to make a general assumption of all people with bad crdit. I am specifically speaking of the type of person with a ton of revolving debt, living beyond their means month after month and order a late night real estate guru course and think they are going to be millionaires in a few short months. But I do have a question, why would you let yourself be in a position where 1 contractor could have so much control and affect over your personal finances?
just my thouhghts

YEEAAAA UUSSSS - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on December 20, 2002 at 21:29:53:


just felt like joining you :wink:


Re: Excellent Post - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on December 20, 2002 at 16:43:03:


i agree, that there’s no set way on how to succeed in real estate, but i disagree with the statement, that it’s almost impossible to change yourself after age 25.

in my experience it’s only after 30, that people start taking a close look at themselves and their inside. up to that point it’s about job, partying, money, cars,girls, guys etc. only after a certain age, which in my observation seems to be in the early 30’s, do most people think about ‘is this what i want?’, ‘do i want my life to continue this way?’, ‘are there things about me, that need changing?’, ‘am i really the best person i can be?’. i think most epiphanies happen when a certain maturity is reached.

i appologize, if i offend any of you in your 20’s, but i’m just voicing my opinion and what i’ve observed about life.

just my thoughts

nearly impossible - Posted by Bob

Posted by Bob on December 20, 2002 at 14:11:17:

Bryan, Good post. You say that “After age 25 or so it’s nearly impossible for somebody to change who they are” And I think ‘changing who you are’ is the missing ingredient that we rarely talk about here. It’s not just techniques but a state of mind, thinking like an entreprenuer not an employee.

You and I agree, there is no roadmap, no complete steps 1-10 and then step 11=collect paycheck. If someone lacks the ability to think this way, they are dreaming and will eventually be awakened to find reality.

In all fairness, changing who you are is possible, not easy, but possible. It will require a major event, epiphany, or paradigm shift: not just watching an info-mercial and thinking, “hey, anyone can do this and make a bunch of money? Well, I need a bunch of money, so sign me up!”


Re: Reality Check - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on December 21, 2002 at 11:16:23:


because i was stupid and never expected aything like this to happen. it’s a long story, but here’s the basic: did a rehab and went over budget. had a buyer, that was ready and willing to close. had about $ 2k left to do, in little bits and pieces all over the house - no money. buyer’s inspector suggested to close and keep 20k in escrow, just to be on the safe side. there was obviously no corrolation between the amounts, but i didn’t think much about it. just thought i’ll finish the work and get my money.

after closing the contractor didn’t come back, wouldn’t return calls. i had 1 week. these were all nit picky little things. i tried to do what i could and also found someone to help me, but didn’t get everything done, since i didn’t really know how to do the work. 1 day before the deadline the contractor wanted to come back (told me his truck had broken down and he couldn’t come) i told him to forget it, because now i had someone, that knew how to do it. didn’t finish in time and buyer threw me out.

contractor went to buyer and said:“she made me do this and this and this wrong, but i can fix it for this and this abount.” (not true). buyer believed him (since buyer had already told me, that he thought he’d chosen the wrong color of carpet and it didn’t match the tile it butted up to, he liked the idea of having the tiles torn out at my cost and replaced with a different color). i had counted on the money to make my mortgage payments and had to agree to give most of my escrow money to buyer in order to get some of it out to pay the mortgages on my other houses, which were far behind, because it had taken 3 months by now.

anyway, it was a chain reaction, that got me. there’re a lot of things, that i would have done differently with 20/20 hindsight, but i didn’t expect these thigns to happen.