Real estate investing day to day structure for success

One of the most interesting things that I hear from other people is how they structure their days.  That is how the successful people that you or I want to be like, how they structure their days.

ObstacleIstheWayI was recently listening to the book The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday, a very good book, and at the very end of the audiobook version Ryan is being interviewed by Tim Ferriss.  And Tim asks Ryan how he structures his day…

One of the major things that stood out for me about Ryan Holiday’s day is that he writes for 1-2 hours first thing in the morning while the world is still moving slow.  This seems to be the major thing that gets him ahead.  The difference maker.  It’s the producing!  If we want get ahead at our work we need to be producing or creating.  This is the opposite of consuming, or reacting.

The funny thing is that most people (me included) get into the rut of consuming and reacting, and then we run out of time to produce or create.

For this reason I’m gong to give you an account of my day when I’m in the zone, and everything is rocking.

7am-8am – Wake up
8:30am-10:30am – Coffee and writing – this could be writing a blog post, an ebook, some direct mail marketing, a book, or just journaling.  It might sounds weird, but the best times in our physical real estate business have come from a result of blog posts, videos, or unique direct mail that we’ve created.  During this time the email is closed!
10:30am – Eat breakfast
11am-11:30am – Check email
12pm-3pm – Phone calls, meetings, coffee meet ups, look at houses, eat lunch.
3:30pm-4pm – Check email, eat more food.
5pm-7pm – Workout
7:30pm – Eat dinner
8:30pm – Plan todo’s for next day.
9pm-11pm – Relax and eat more.

If there are no phone calls/meetings/houses/etc then I will go into creation mode again.  You can never create too much.

Sleep: GET A LOT!!!  I sleep 8-11 hours every night.  Sleeping helps you perform at your best, as does diet, so eat really clean food.  If you don’t know what this means… look into the Paleo diet.  Also, if you need to get up earlier then go to sleep earlier, but don’t lose sleep.  You should know what is optimal for you.

Workout: never miss a workout!  If you miss a workout, it better be making you at least $10k!  Seriously!  Money is great, but if you’re not healthy, money is NOTHING.

Reading: I almost always listen to audiobooks or podcast during every meal (that I’m by myself), and when I’m driving.  Get into the habit of always listening to books while you drive.  You will learn so much!

Bring is all back
I hope that is will help you to structure your day in a way that gives you success.  This may not be the ideal structure for you, but what I do know is that successful people have structure and routine.  Create your routine, and stick to it.

If you have a daily structure that works great for you I’d love to hear about it.  Drop me a comment below with what has brought you success.

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The AL Report Jan. Seattle Investors Club: Bandit Signs

AL's latest project - SOLD!

AL’s latest project – SOLD!

Welcome to THE ‘AL’ REPORT. My name is AL. Here’s my report.

Topic: The Fine Art of Using Bandit Signs…or…What I Wish I Knew When We Were Starting Out

Presenter: Joe Bauer

This meeting marks the first anniversary of our meetings of the FortuneBuilders Mastery Seattle Investing Club. We began our second year with a record crowd of 25 people, including six brand new to our group. Thank you ALL for coming!

We met at the Shoreline Conference Center. Coach Joe Bauer and Mastery student, Julie Clark, organized it. Thank you! We usually meet the first SATURDAY of the month. Due to New Years and the Seahawk game(s), we met Sunday this month.

The usual format is to mingle, ‘network’ the first hour which this time we did; this format can vary. With a record 25 in attendance it took some time to get around to everyone and talk shop. Since Joe’s presentation was 30 minutes, the presentation started at 5:30.

Joe introduced his topic by saying that over the years he and Coach Erik Bee have honed their wholesaling system to the point where they think it is ‘even better than FortuneBuilder’s’. This is great news especially for those marketing in the Seattle area.
Joe’s six topics were: Bandit Signs, Route, Set Up and Documenting, Tracking, Sign Police, How to Hire.


The best color choices are black on yellow or blue on white. The larger the better, 18” x 24” is workable. The simpler the text the better — We Buy Houses and a phone number seems to be effective. Do NOT use your personal (trackable) cell phone number. Get a call forwarded number like a google voice number or some other low cost NON traceable number. More on this later.


Instead of placing them on busy streets, they find more success by posting them on poles in neighborhoods, on slower streets where cars stop or go slower or can pull over easier. Use a tall sign stapler. One was demonstrated. It is about six feet long with a stapler attachment on the top. Joe has a cheap supplier…about $35. Get two in case you need one and your hired person has the other.

Choose neighborhoods that have houses like the ones you are seeking. Use the MLS to back track where the houses are selling.

Drive the route where you are thinking of placing signs noting on paper were to place them. Make a map of the zone you want to target. Twenty signs per zone is about right. Five block separation is a good minimum and facing different directions. Do not place signs too close to each other or facing the same direction in sight of each other. Try to find a balance between too much exposure and too little. Too much might ‘turn off’ some neighbors.

The key is consistency. Often it takes sellers seeing your sign 5 to 7 times before they call you. Refresh the signs that disappear from 2 to 4 week intervals depending on the frequency of irritated calls you get. The more negative calls, the longer the refreshing interval. You want the neighbors to be your friends…if possible.


Create your zones of about five miles in radius depending on house movement and prices you target. Use your Google account with “” as a tool for this. Take a picture of EVERY sign you place and note where it is.
If you don’t seem to be getting much results, don’t give up on a zone. Keep refreshing them to AT LEAST FOUR TIMES. Plan on four refreshings…maybe even more.


When you get a call, always ask which sign they saw. This way you can determine which signs are ‘working’ and possibly shrink your zone and thus the number of signs. If you want to change something, test ONE change at a time. For example, if you want to test if changing the color of a sign will bring better results, change ONLY the color. Then track the results for awhile before changing something else. Variations can be printed or handwritten, color schemes, size, wording, location, etc.

Successful investors are always marketing to get deals. If you do get a deal and for some reason you are not ready or able to rehab it yourself (too many going on already?), you can wholesale it to other buyers…like to this author for instance! =)


Some areas/cities are ok with signs, some are not. Bellevue is NOT. There are ‘techniques’ to keep in mind in using signs. The Edmonds sign authority called Joe with an ultimatum…take em down by noon or they’ll fine him $250 each. What if he had no idea where all the signs were? What if he had not made a map, and had not taken a photo and labeled each photo location of each sign he or his hired person had placed? What if he couldn’t find some of them? That’s what happened to Joe in his early days of placing signs in Bellevue. It cost thousands in fines. Who can afford that?

Here’s something to say when confronted by ‘sign police’…or anyone who doesn’t like them. You can try to explain to them that we really do not WANT to put out signs, (after all, they cost money and take time) but we DO want to buy properties that need renovating. We have the ability to buy them, fix them, and put them back on the tax rolls at increased values (which pay their salaries) while improving the neighborhoods. This is what we do…and signs help us to finding these properties.

HOWEVER, we’d love to find these eyesores that they see everyday on their rounds without using signs. Perhaps the city authority person would like to provide to us a list of potential properties we could purchase and renovate. This is the idea.

Bothell did this for Joe once, giving him a list of some 40 properties. He then wrote them all letters in his marketing letter campaign to find owners needing to sell to him.

Think of all the many people who drive around each day and see empty or run down houses, eye sores that need our services. Mailmen, plumbers, utility workers, contractors, couriers, UPS drivers, real estate agents, taxi drivers, bus drivers, …just ask if they know of or see any empty houses to give you a call. Give them a card. Tell them you’d appreciate it. There are creative ways to make it worth their while even if they cannot take money….

Of course it is always okay to place your WE BUY HOUSES signs in the yard of any property you own and are renovating. CT Homes does this, so does Hallmark Homes and others in the area. Anthony Moore just hosted a webinar Friday, January 31, 2014 about how to presell your home. It is posted on the Mastery site under Webinars and Replays, on the left see Business Systems (Friday Replays). There are examples of signs he uses and considerable discussion on the topic.


Last but not least, you don’t really want to be the one doing all your own sign placement…do you? At first you do, but after awhile it’ll be time to hire someone to do it for you. Joe pays his people $15 an hour, and double that the first time out (because he says he wouldn’t work for anything below that himself. Hmmm…anyone need some side work?)

He puts an ad on Craigslist. He gets the ad from FortuneBuilders Mastery and changes it as needed. When people respond, he screens them twice with email. Then he calls the best three to arrange to meet each one in a public place. The goal is to get to know them, see what ‘vibes’ he gets, determine if he thinks they’ll be reliable. If he thinks he found one, he goes out right then with them to put up signs and show him how to do it. If all goes well, he leaves a stapler with them, a map of the zones he’s created, and explains that he requires documentation for each sign they put up. When they bring that back and can show him the signs, and where they are on the map with the photos of each sign they placed, then and ONLY then does he pay them.

The best times to place signs are Fridays after dark or early Saturday mornings.

So, that’s the idea. There are trainings on the FortuneBuilders Mastery site, and you can always ask Molly for more input. You can ask Joe for more ninja tips too and I bet, if you ask really nice, he’ll even let you practice putting up some of his signs.

Do you have ideas for a meeting topic? Please let Julie or Joe know what you would like cover in future meetings. Perhaps you know an expert to invite. Perhaps YOU are the expert. We welcome suggestions.

Thank you for helping our group to grow and move forward in our active investing businesses. Meetings are now MONTHLY, the first Saturday of the month, 4 to 6pm, unless otherwise announced. Watch for Joe’s emails and view news on the exclusive Seattle Investors Club Facebook page. If you need an invitation to join that site, ask Joe. If you don’t know how to reach Joe (email), ask me at

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Joe says, “GO HAWKS!”

Disclaimer: Though every effort is made to report accurately; the occasional error may occur, perhaps due to the writer’s lack of brain nutrition. Feel free to let me know if you see any goofs. Thank you. AF email), ask me at

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The AL Report Dec Seattle Investors Club

Dan Wick's recent rehab project

Dan Wick’s recent rehab project

Topic: How to Determine ARV Using Online Real Estate Sites
Presenter: Julie Clark of In City Homes

The eighth FortuneBuilders Mastery Seattle Investing Club meeting gathered at the Shoreline Conference Center. Coach Joe Bauer and Mastery student, Julie Clark, organized it. Thank you for all you do!

I counted 19 present with seven first time attendees! The power was ON this month so all the new people introduced themselves before the meeting. Group announcements included Julie’s Shoreline house closed successfully, 5 DOM, AL and Ken’s Shoreline house got an offer Nov 19 and should close mid December, (it did on Dec 13…one day before the 6 month hard money loan renewal fee would have been due. WHEW!) Dan’s Monroe house went pending!


The all important starting point in evaluating a potential deal, and thus determining what to offer for it, is finding the After Repair Value…the price a rehabbed house will sell for on the open market. This is often referred to as ‘the ARV’. Determining a reliable ARV can be tricky even with some experience. It can require elements of both science and art. Julie agreed to share how she uses as one method to arrive at an ARV.

NOTE: This method is NOT the “draw-a-circle-with-a-half-mile-radius-from-the-property” way that many people use to find ‘comps’. That method is termed ‘a big mistake’ according to Coach Erik Bee who trained us in Seattle just over a year ago.

Once you find a property to investigate, first go to Then input the zip code to search in the MAP section. Zoom into the neighborhood where your subject property is located.

Begin looking for the ‘natural boundaries’ like busy roads, freeways, rivers, gullies, school districts, shopping centers, industrial areas, etc., whatever would separate one submarket and neighborhood from another. This can be just one street over sometimes, so looking at sold comps half a mile out might not work if you are close to a natural boundary line for a specific neighborhood. Redfin sometimes has yellow lines on their maps that define the main roads/boundaries or check GoogleMaps for those boundaries if you are unsure. Google is also good for finding school districts as is the school district website. Erik and Joe call this the ‘polygon method’ and it is taught in the FortuneBuilder’s Inner Circle Academy events at CT Homes in San Diego.

TIP 1. Some RE agents list homes with the sq feet including the garage, some do not. It is important to identify this when viewing your comps. You can break down a house by ‘Total SF’, upper floor, main floor, lower floor, garage. Julie does this. Using the Deal Analyzer (exclusively available on the Mastery website) she gets a price per SF with garage and without garage for a given house.

TIP 2. On, once you have located a good comp, scroll 3 / 4 down the page to Nearby For Sale or Nearby Recent Sold. You can do a fast search within a half mile but be sure NOT to cross over any boundaries like main streets, etc. Also, make sure you are only comparing houses with similar STYLE of construction. This should not be the only way you identify comps, but just a quick and easy look. Play around with it!

Julie then seeks out AT LEAST TWO real estate agents in the local submarket that she has just identified. The key here is to find agents who KNOW the neighborhood, not just the larger area or the county. These agents often are able to tell you details/nuances that the less informed group of agents would not have. This is a crucial point. Most experienced agents are very good at what they do. We are seeking those experienced agents who know our specific street, and who know what the buyers who buy on that street look for. At this point you try to get an idea of value from these experienced agents who know the specific street/neighborhood. This may be the ‘art’ aspect of the process.

CAUTION: An ARV may calculate to a certain price ‘on paper’ and it might seem to make sense at first. But ONLY a knowledgeable agent ON THE GROUND, experienced in that SUB-market, can CONFIRM what the value really should be due to any of several reasons you might not think of or by just doing the math. This is especially important if there are NOT many solid comps to guide you.

Also, Redfin shows ‘solds’ that were never listed, plus nearby ‘solds’ or ‘actives’ where you can look for deals by finding houses that are an average price and maybe find one nearby that is in need of work….and is much lower cost. It might be an opportunity.

Someone asked about a CPA and Julie offered a CPA in Tacoma, John Hodder of Hodder and Land. She says he knows real estate very well and many of his clients own real estate investments.

Julie then asked Mastery Coach, Dan Wick, who is a commercial appraiser, to elaborate further using the Residential Appraisal Summary Report Julie had brought. If you want to learn more about how to read those reports, you can reach out to Dan or Julie with questions as there is too much detail to review here.

The house data can be verified through the county records. King County’s is Parcel Viewer (

For Pierce County:

Snohomish County has a ‘view structural data’ tab to see whether an existing addition (ad-on) was done with permits. See:

One person at the meeting shared that he uses the Coldwell Banker-Bain site to do the same kind of analyses.

Another person comment about septic tanks, “…get it pumped and inspected. If there are problems, they are relatively easy to fix.” Also, in one project he encountered an ‘unexpected problem’ after he purchased the property. He explained, “From the outside, the property looked pretty good. However, [the previous occupants] never turned the heat on, cooked with a lot of grease, and were raising chickens in the crawl space. They used the chicken blood to cook their food. So much grease in the kitchen, all cabinets needed to be replaced. All window areas had mold due to no heat. Very messy. We lost 9K on this project.”

When making offers, be certain to inspect and protect yourself with contingencies. Give yourself an ‘out’ whenever possible. Buyer Beware.

Please let Julie or Joe know other topics you may want to cover in future meetings. This is YOUR meeting, we all benefit from YOUR involvement.

Thank you for helping our group to grow and move forward in our active investing businesses. Meetings are now MONTHLY, the first Saturday of the month, 4 to 6pm, unless otherwise announced. Watch for Joe’s emails….and view news on the exclusive Seattle Investors Club Facebook page. If you need an invitation to join that site, ask Joe.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Joe says, “GO HAWKS!”

Disclaimer: Though every effort is made to report accurately; errors may creep in, likely due to the writer’s lack of brain nutrition. Feel free to let me know if you see any goofs. Thank you. AF

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Tucson Fortune Builders Full Immersion

Fortune Builders real estate tuscon

Fortune Builders Full Immersion Tucson

fortune builders real estate tusconfortune builders real estate tusconfortune builders real estate tusconfortune builders real estate tusconfortune builders real estate tusconfortune builders real estate tuscon

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The AL Report Nov. Seattle Investors Club

Pic from Dan Wick's current project

Pic from Dan Wick’s current project

THE ‘AL’ REPORT Volume 1, Number 7
Meeting Date: Sat. November 2, 2013

Welcome to THE ‘AL’ REPORT. My name is AL. Here’s my report.

Topic: Using the FortuneBuilders Deal Analyzer to Maximize Profits
Presenter: Julie Clark

The seventh Seattle area FortuneBuilders Mastery Seattle Investing Club
meeting convened at the Shoreline Conference Center. Once again Coach
Joe Bauer and Mastery student Julie Clark organized it. Thank you

I counted 19 present. The power was out in the neighborhood so instead
of ‘networking’ the first hour, we got right to it before the sun went
down. Electric lanterns were available which we needed as the room
darkened. It was great!

The main idea was to demonstrate not only how to use the Deal Analyzer
but to show that it can be changed, tailored by each user, to fit your
thinking and specific deals. Julie went through each line of her
analyzer pointing out what she enters, how she thinks through the
process of analyzing her deals, and showed some additional lines she
added to the spreadsheet.

(NOTE: The FortuneBuilders Deal Analyzer and the NEW Deal Analyzers are
found exclusively on the FortuneBuilders Mastery webpage, are
proprietary documents and are not to be given away to non
FortuneBuilders members, per Mastery training. We can show them to
others, just not give them away, or sell, to others. For non
FortuneBuilders members, contact Joe Bauer regarding access to the Deal

The cool thing about these is, if you’re somewhat skilled at Excel, (I
was not, but I learned a few things) you can add or change algorithms
imbedded in the analyzer. Julie has added some lines of her own both in
the green input area and the white analysis areas. For example, the
second line of the white “Purchase Analysis” section she added “Annual
Insurance Premium – Investor Policy”. She added notes to herself like
“use 12%” for the Second Mortgage line. The main idea for making these
changes is to make the Deal Analyzer work for you. There is a
protection password on it. See Joe or Molly.

On the Mastery site are posted some updated Deal Analyzers, for flips,
rentals, wholesaling and the NEW DEAL ANALYZER, with enhanced cells that
you can hide or unhide. Take a look on the first page of the Mastery
site or ask me or Julie or Joe where to find these, if you need help.
There is training for these versions as well where each line is
explained. Julie’s altered version is available upon request.

Other comments throughout the meeting: Dirt Cheap Signs, ask Joe or use
Facebook. Our Seattle Investing Club has it’s own exclusive Facebook
page, courtesy of Joe Bauer. Sewer scopes for about $185 to $220 saved
one member 10K on a short sale deal. Banks can use sewer scopes as a
negative tool. A strategy is to do one on the last day or so before
purchase…just in case you need to back out or get a lower price.
Staging: match the furniture to the house. Plan on 2 months. Be sure
to have the house cleaned before staging, all the construction dust is
still in the air. Run the furnace before cleaning.

There is a funding co-op for builders called Blueprint Capital.
Example: for 100K in, you get up to a 500K loan. They pay lenders 6%,
and charge borrowers 2 points and 10%.

There was discussion about wholesaling bare land, ideas about getting it
under contract, look at zoning, see a banker. There’s a water front
property for 180K with ARV of 700K, new construction. Can be

One member cautioned to watch out for builders who use a low bid, $65 /
sq ft, as a teaser, when the real rehab cost is higher.

Brian Fouts shared and answered questions about his company, Merrill
Investments Group, LLC
, which specializes in highly creative ‘subject
to’ scenarios. Non owner occupied, 90% to 120% LTV, etc. are common.
He presented ways to monetize a lead we may find with multiple exit
strategies in NOD or other distressed situations. He related that 80%
of the population cannot get traditional loans so they seek owner
financing. This means there are more ‘buyers’ available in this
situation than those who are not. It is a vast opportunity. They have
the expertise, legal skills and track record to find solutions on both
sides. Brian is partners with Timothy and Esteban, Mastery students in
Seattle. Contact them for more info. (Brian Fouts approved this write

Please let Julie or Joe know what future topics you want to cover. This
is YOUR meeting, so to speak, and we all benefit from YOUR involvement.

Thank you for participating to keep our group growing and moving
forward. Our meetings are now MONTHLY, the first Saturday of the month,
4 to 6pm. Same time, same place. Watch for Joe’s emails….and view news
on the exclusive Seattle Investors Club facebook page. If you need an
invitation to join it, ask Joe via email.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Disclaimer: Every effort is made to report accurately; any errors are
likely due to the writer’s lack of brain nutrition. Feel free to let me
know if you see any goofs. Thank you. AF

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