Flip Houses Blog- North Carolina

Hello Friend, my name is Lou Gimbutis! Welcome to my Real Estate Investing Blog!

I have been buying and selling houses full time since 2004, and have served as Director of Education for the Metrolina Real Estate Investors Association since 2008.

I have been co-writing a column called “Investors Corner” for our local Real Estate and Legal Newspaper, the Mecklenburg Times, for around 4 years.  I have spent well in excess of $50K on my real estate investing education.  My primary business strategy most closely follows Ron Legrand’s “Quick Turn” model, but I integrate the best ideas wherever I may find them.

Be sure to bookmark this page, as new articles are constantly being added.

The Strangest Person I’ve Ever Bought a House From.

Flip Houses Blog picture of readerMailing to homeowners in pre-foreclosure has always been a mainstay of my business.  Back in 2008, a homeowner filled out a “Sell Your House” form on my website.  As I was not doing a lot of Search Engine or Pay-Per-Cick advertising at the time, and had mailed several letters to her, it was easy to conclude the form was generated by the latter medium.  CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BUYING HOUSES FROM STRANGE PEOPLE.

9 Things I learned the Hard Way in Real Estate Investing.

Why is it that so many of us with the entrepreneurial mindset tend to learn best through the medium of pain? Was it indeed a fundamental truth that Mark Twain voiced when he said: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something that he can learn in no other way?”

Contemplating goals for another year and looking back over the good and the bad of yesteryear, I decided to try an interesting thought experiment: What if Dr. Emmet Brown, from “Back to the Future”, were to be so kind as to lend me his time machine, and I had the opportunity to go back and spend ten minutes with the Lou Gimbutis of 2004? If such an event were to happen, I would have absolutely no lack of words of wisdom with which to fill the 10 minutes. I would find myself somewhat more open minded, a tad more energetic, and excited as a kid at Christmas over my new Quick-Turn Real Estate toy (I still am on the last count). I’d find my younger self about to embark on a remarkable journey, and about to make some colossal mistakes in the process. Here are 9 things I’d cover with myself that would make life a heck of a lot easier over the 50 or so deals that I’d be about to do:  CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GETTTING STARTED IN REAL ESTATE

Real Estate Investing Blog picture of enlightened reader.
Find a Mentor!

New to Real Estate Investing- Find a Mentor!

When I got started in Real Estate Investing, I had no money, bad credit, and no knowledge of investing or even rudimentary building construction.  I couldn’t for the life of me have told you the difference between an asphalt shingle and asbestos siding.

Sound like a great starting point?  I was 27 years old, and devoid of any resources and even so much as a clue where to begin.   So what did I do?  CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT FINDING A MENTOR

Find a Real Estate Need and Fill it!

We buy houses Mooresville NC

Real Estate Investing can seem like a singular, all-encompassing category, but it is much better understood when broken down into its niches, or sub-areas.  From rehab and re-sell (commonly thought of as “the only strategy”), to mobile homes, commercial real estate, raw land . . . the list could easily outstrip my available work count.

I know a gentleman who has made an extremely profitable business focusing on one tiny niche within residential real estate- shared housing.  LEARN MORE ABOUT SHARED HOUSING HERE

we buy houses timeDon’t Squander Your Most Precious Resource

As Real Estate Investors, we are largely independent of the direction and supervision most employees receive, and thus the temptation to misuse time until such misuse has become a habit is greater than many of us are consciously aware of. Realtors all into the same category.  Our time is all we have to sell, for weal or for woe.  Let’s see what Franklin had to say on the matter:

Ben Franklin, our Country’s first millionaire, was famous for his courteous ways and manners, and was once described as being “one of the most courtly and gentlemanly men in the English Colonies”.   However, we all have our “pet peeves”.  LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW BENJAMIN FRANKLIN FELT ABOUT HIS TIME BEING WASTED

We Pay Cash for HousesDon’t Paint Yourself into a Corner

Real Estate is hot today, make no mistake about it.  We’ve all heard stories of the unsophisticated and untrained buying a property, doing very little but riding the wave of appreciation, and selling it at a tidy profit.  Television shows abound that make it look easy (primarily because they omit a lot of the real factors and real numbers that you will face when you actually step into the arena to do it for yourself).  Yet and still, those profit numbers are enticing, aren’t they?

However- from a Buyer’s Market we have come, and to a Buyer’s Market we shall return.  Continue reading to learn more about Multiple Exit Strategies.

We buy houses cash12 Great Riches of Life- What are You Thankful For?

Napoleon Hill devoted over 40 years to studying the most successful men of his generation, and came to know intimately such fabulous success stories as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Theodore Roosevelt.  At the beginning of his studies, Dr. Hill defined “success” purely in financial terms, and plowed forward with the certainty that discovering the cause of financial success would simultaneously lead to the discovery of human happiness.

After studying the 500 most successful men of his generation, as well as making statistical study of over 16,000 people classed as “failures”, Dr. Hill isolated 12 things that are necessary for true, enduring riches.  They are here presented in order, and Dr. Hill points out that it is not by accident that money is listed in last place (a telling point coming from the man who likely created more millionaires than any person in history).  Learn more about Napoleon Hill’s 12 Great Riches of Life.

We pay cash for properties
Bargains are to be had by bargain-seekers.

21 Ways to Find Bargain Properties in a Hot Market

I am frequently asked something along the lines of “How do you find good deals in a strong market like Charlotte today?”  This list is in no particular order, nor are these even a fraction of the ways available to uncover properties that can be purchased at bargain prices or favorable terms.  Rather, consider this a random sampling to stimulate your creativity to come up with or research to find even more.  Some are free, some have a relatively high cost per “lead”.  Some investors use many, many investors carve out a highly profitable niche from just one or 2.  Every one has a higher-than-average tendency to help you find Motivated Sellers.  Read the rest of this article on finding motivated sellers.

we buy houses for cash as-is

(Over)Familiarity Breeds Contempt 1 of 2

Although, as Winston Churchill so poignantly reminded us, “Without a certain degree if familiarity, we would find it quite impossible to breed anything”.

So, familiarity breeds contempt? A bold, categorical statement, some would say.  No, not all tenants are created equal, just as all landlords are not.  This is addressed to landlords who rent property to individuals or families that live paycheck to paycheck, exactly as some landlords (normally beginning landlords, real estate has an insidious way of bloating your net worth and cashflow if held long enough) do.  Find out more about Over-Familiarity with Tenants.

(Over)Familiarity Breeds Contempt 2 of 2

Now, Tommy’s landlord is a real nice guy.  Watched the football game with him just the other Sunday.  If all Tommy has to do to keep a roof over his head is call his landlord and ask, plead, or threaten, can anyone else guess who will not be paid in this scenario 100% of the time?

I fell prey to this with my first tenant, and never since.  I have literally seen it drive dozens upon dozens of landlords clear out of the business.  I have bought a number of houses from such individuals, and thereby solved the largest problem in their life at the time, the one that kept them up at night tossing and turning.

What I learned from real estate teacher and veteran landlord Louis Brown changed all this. . .   To find out the rest of the story, click here.

The Power of Clearly Set Goals in Real Estate

Goal setting is integral to success in any field of endeavor, but particularly in Real Estate Investing.  While differing strategies can certainly pay off very quickly, the greatest benefits come to those who buy property and hold on to it for a long, long time.  Rents tend to rise over time, co-relating roughly with inflation, but your mortgage payment will stay the same.  Then, after years of watching rents rise, on one glorious day you will find that your tenant has fully paid off the house.  It is very hard to find someone who has owned income real estate for over 20 years who is not doing extremely well financially.  Your goals today will largely determine what your portfolio looks like 20 years from now, and thus your lifestyle.

Let’s take Mary, for example.

Mary knew exactly what she wanted in life.    FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MARY AND HER GOALS HERE 

My Hoarder House Flip

An Actual House I got back when the tenants moved
An Actual House I got back when the tenants moved!

I’ve purchased houses in all shapes and sizes, but never one even half this cluttered.  Yes, that is an actual picture taken the day I first viewed the house.  And that was the living room, active living space being used at the time- not a storage room.  And despite first-glance impressions, it was not a vacant house.  3 people lived there.

It was a condo in a lakefront community.  So far, so good.  From the outside, it looked no different than the 40-odd other condos in the community.

Come to find out, this is because the HOA, over the 10 years or so the owners had lived there, had thoroughly trained them on the consequences of leaving so much as a bubble gum wrapper on the yard, or a mess inside that the blinds did not hide.  An entirely different story unfolded upon entering the house . . .  To Step Inside, CLICK HERE

The Vocabulary of Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Vocabulary Dictionary

Much as with any highly specialized field of endeavor, R/E investing has a language of its own.  A firm grounding in some of the more important terms can help you to grasp subtle nuances, and to more intelligently evaluate and make better distinctions, leading ultimately to wiser decisions.

We’ll start with the A’s, Amortization & ARM. Amortization has as its root the French word for death, and refers to the ever so slowly “killing off” of the principal portion of a mortgage. It is important that you understand that the interest on almost every mortgage you will ever get is heavily “front-weighted”.  Where logic may suggest that the infamous “halfway point”, when your payments begin paying more principal than interest, is, well, halfway- year 15. It is actually in year 21. The average mortgage is refinanced in under 7 years, a statistic I urge you to consider deeply the implications of. Just when the “Golden Eggs” wax large, out comes the hatchet and we dine that evening on roast goose.  CLICK HERE for further alphabetical adventures in Real Estate.

More than One Way to Skin a Cat

Picture of angry cat.

One of the very first Real Estate Deals I ever completed with my mentor netted us just under $40K, and came from a lead that most “Investors” would have tossed into the trash can.

The Seller contacted us with a house worth approximately $100K, with 3 mortgages on it, all in default: the 1st for around $35K, the 2nd around $30K, the 3rd also around $30k.  Doesn’t smell like a deal so far, does it?

We didn’t bother attempting to discount the first, as well-entrenched as they were with a 35% loan to value.  We did get the 2nd to agree to accept around $3K as payment in full (lenders will do this with a loan in default to avoid getting wiped out at a foreclosure sale), but with the common stipulation that any junior lienholder (ie: the 3rd mortgage) receive no more than $500 (also quite common).  This is normally a good thing, because the 2nd has in effect done our negotiating with the 3rd for us: “We’d love to give you more, but the 2nd won’t let us, so just take the $500 and let’s get this off your books”.  CLICK HERE to finish the story.

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