April 2010

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Hi Folks!

Today we were asked what makes us successful in what we do when it comes to investing in real estate, finding good rentals and tenants, offering design and remodeling advice, and property management for others.

This question took us by surprise.  Mainly, because JJ and I don’t see ourselves as successful as we should or could be.  We haven’t met our own goals this year.  However, we are on our way, just slower than we anticipated.  You see, just like everyone else, we learn something new everyday.  And every week, we try to look back and gage what things we could have done or have managed better.

Yet, I can understand why some folks would consider us successful.  Like many folks this past year (2009), my husband and I lost our  ‘real jobs’ in the aviation field, and while some folks ‘waller ‘ in the unemployment lines and live off of unemployment for the next 40 weeks wondering how they will survive in the coming months, JJ and I have managed to stay afloat with a combination of income from the flip-sells, to re-investing in another property with other investors in Iowa, to our little vending machine route that we bought into over four years ago to supply us with barely enough income to make up one of our lost incomes.  We even have a small income from all the rentals that we have held onto along with gaining a few more properties to manage for some other folks who are not interested in dealing with the hassles of tenants and property maintenance.

So, just able to afford our home, food, basic (I mean very basic) utilities, and the gas to put into our company vehicle is considered successful —–then yes, we are successful.  What JJ and I have noticed is that when we first began to see the signs of the impending layoffs, together we formulated an emergency plan after going over our current expenditures. 

During those last 10-12 months of work, we began to cut everything.  We thinned out our household items in a massive garage sale along with selling several plant thinnings out of my flower gardens to earn a little extra.  We combined, we dropped, and we shared some of our bills, by sharing trash services with our one neighbors and recycling more (getting more money with metal) and using only one car for the most part.  We dropped several things like Cable Services, pedicures, traveling, and other things that were not considered necessary to live on, and dropped all entertainment down to one thing that we both liked for less than $10 a month.  Luckily, neither of us smoked or drank, saving us an instant $1200+ a year.

Do we like not having a TV or being able to go out at a drop of a hat to do something that entails paying for gas in the car or spending just to live a little?  NO.  But given the current economic situation, one has no choice when it comes to the importance of food and shelter.  However, we are still relatively young enough to make changes and to adapt to this new lifestyle.  We just hope not to get used to this lifestyle for too long.

Change and adapt.  These are two very important words here.  JJ and I know there are no jobs out there that will ever pay the same wage or even half of what we made.  Which left us with our only other option.  Continue and expand on our ‘hobby business’ in investing in real estate.

How are we doing a year later?  We are struggling just like everyone else.  Many walls have been erected on us in our endeavors to plough forward, from banks not lending to us (we have no “real job”); to SBA not willing to lend seed money to businesses like ours (Real Estate Investing is considered speculation not a ‘business’ even though we have a 10 year track history of success——–BUT THEN AGAIN, ISN’T THAT WHAT ALL NEW BUSINESSES ARE?!?!?!? —–SPECULATION?!?!); to still not making enough to have some income left over to re-invest and grow faster.

But even with all those barriers against our attempts to expand, we still network, we still try, and we will go down fighting.  Do we get upset and depressed?  Yes, we do and many times!  But what separates us from most folks is that we look for another way, being creative, finding others willing to work and trade services (and here you must go in with a servant’s attitude and must follow through with what you say you will do and agree to do on both sides with wide open communication)  in order to succeed.  It is a two way street, folks.  There’s give and there’s take.  The more you can give the more you will be able to take. 

This is the time where the only folks who are going to survive this economic crisis are those who are creative and are able to give in order to make it through one more day to one more month.  Those who are obsessed with just money only, will not survive.  Key word: BARTER!

It is why we do what we do —-that is—INVEST IN WICHITA!  We are trying our best to get folks to stop supporting outside companies.  Shop and invest in your local economy and country and eventually, jobs will return.  When we ask others to invest with us, it is because we want our neighborhoods to look and be their best, and when folks invest together and in their local community, we not only help ourselves in the process, but we help others in our community.  Very much like eating and exercising right, and your body remains healthy.  Never cheat or be cheap—–it’ll only hurt you more in the end.

The last bit of advice on surviving and being successful is patience.




Crissy and Johnny