Money or Marketing

Posted On 6:23 AM by Scott Costello | 0 comments

Yesterday was a normal day for me since I started learning about real estate investing. I did my usual reading of the posts on...


...forums. I do this every day and it's amazing how much free and valuable information you can get! Visit those sites daily if you want to learn.

I usually work on my website while I'm at my JOB but needed to do some actually JOB related duties so I figured I'd just work on it when I got home. That didn't happen either because I needed to do some work for my brother. He gets a pretty steady business with creating CADD drawings of building floor plans and I help him with this. He pays me and I get extra money for my Investing as I've discussed briefly in previous posts. Well to make a long story short it took all my free time to figure out and update the drawings he needed.

So even though I didn't get to work on my website I was still able to help my Investing career move forward by making some extra mullah!

Also I may have mentioned this before, but if anyone wants a free website that you can use for your business I'd look into

Google Sites

my brother is just setting it up to keep track of all his clients and drawing files and it looks like it is going to work out well. You can setup calenders, share pages with clients (I.E. create a page for one of your deals and send it out to your buyers). You can also have file storage pages that you could keep your contracts on. I think it is limitless with it's features. You can even link your domain to the site and create email accounts that use gmail. To get all of that you'll need a free...

Google Apps

... account as well. Google is GREAT! say it with me..GOOGLE IS GREAT!

Well have a great Holiday weekend!
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Get out Get out Get out!

Posted On 6:15 AM by Scott Costello | 0 comments

Why does doubt creep into your mind as if out of nowhere? Every once in a while this rush of anxiety will rush through my body. I guess it's just the fear and uncertainty that the next step in my evolution to become a Real Estate Investor is. There is no more studying that I can do, there is no more pondering where I should start, there is only one thing in front of me now. That is getting that list of leads, whether by creating it myself of buying it, and sending out the mailers.

I started to think the other day that I wanted to get my real estate license again, and definitely going to. Now my usual inclination would be to do that first and then start investing, but I'm not going to do it that way. I'm not going to use that as an excuse to stay on the side lines. It's funny most of the time I don't even know I'm just doing things to avoid jumping into the game. I've rationalize it all in my head that I MUST do this, and this and that before I start. The mind is funny that way.

Well enough of these thoughts for now. It feels good to put them into words it kind of gets them out of your head and motivates you to get past them.

Moving forward!
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Open Houses

Posted On 7:27 AM by Scott Costello | 0 comments

On my first baseball free Sunday I took my wife to go see 4 open houses. Was sort of like killing two birds with one stone, I continued my goal of seeing 100 open houses and also my goal to spend time with my wife. It helps that all the open houses are in areas my wife and I want to eventually buy a house.

I can definitely see how going to 100 open houses will help in gaining knowledge of the area. I'm already getting a sense of price, quality and location. There was this one house, a "modified" ranch, that was very strange. It had an addition on one side that was a family/living room that didn't match the rest of the house. It had these custom cabinets and shelving all over the house, a hidden trap door in the wall between the kitchen and dinning room and the house was wired for a stereo system from the 70's. There was a fold out record player in the wall!!! This house was going to need a lot of work to be updated, it was a 4bed 2.5 bath and they were asking $799,000. My guess is that it won't sell very quickly.

The other houses where better and more reasonably priced. There was a newer home built in 1999 going for $699k (this would have been more but was on a major road) and a split Colonial for $649k as well as another colonial at $699k.

I'm finding it's hard to separate your likes and dislikes and just look at the house and see potential profit. I'll learn how to do that as I go I hope.

The rest of this week will be devoted to getting my website ready and getting my business cards(failed goal from previous week). Oh and I also didn't go to the REI Club meeting last week because I couldn't find anyone to watch my puppy. I will do a better job of planning next time.
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Under Construction

Posted On 6:25 PM by Scott Costello | 2 comments

I've been working on my website the last two couple days. After buying the Theme from Revolution I have been pretty much just figuring out where things are and how to effectively update it. It's not to hard but it's a slow process at first. Take a look if you have the time


Yesterday I decided I was going to take my dog for a walk around town a little bit to look at the homes in the area. We were out for about 45 minutes but didn't see much but nicely kept houses that would probably go from the low 400's to the high 700's. Since i'm going to be focusing on first time home buyers I've got to look for 3 bed 1 to 2 bath houses that should run around 350 in this area. I'm going to have to look at the older parts of town because anything new is a McMansion.

I did find out one good thing though, that little doggy is a conversation starter. Everyone you pass wants to pet the dog :) Great way to meet people and then talk about the neighborhood.

Time to do some work for my brother and make some extra cash, got a check for 180 bucks the other day.
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Vacation Pictures

Posted On 6:47 AM by Scott Costello | 0 comments

Here are the pictures I promised of my vacation last week....hope you like them

The Condo We Rented which is 3 blocks from the beach...

Mom and Dad (In the back), Brother Joe and Fiance Alicia (Right Middle), Brother Tim (Middle), his wife Jen (Left holding two kids), Josh and Addie(The two kids), Me (bottom right) and my wife Valarie (Bottom Left).

Addie on the Beach

Val and me on the beach..

Some places we spent alot of time at...

Boardwalk Pics
We are all standing by a letter...

He didn't want to go on the ride anyway...

Joe, Alicia, Mom and Addie...

Welcome to Wildwood

Actual sign on the boardwalk...

I think that should be enough :) hope you liked them
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Great Discussion at ReiPlace

Posted On 6:52 AM by Scott Costello | 0 comments

I was reading a thread at one of the Rei forums I visit everyday. The thread talks about loan modifications and how you can make money doing them or even just helping out a home owner. It also includes a GREAT example of a Hardship Letter. Have a read

Loan Modifications and Hardship Letter
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Back from Vacation

Posted On 8:41 AM by Scott Costello | 0 comments

I don't have anything new to post about except that I am back from my shore vacation in Wildwood Crest, NJ. It was fun, had the whole family down there with us which is always nice, 10 people in all. We all get together very well so there is never any drama. I'll post some pictures when we get them uploaded.

My goal for this week is to go to a new REI group meeting on Wednesday and also create and order some business cards. Here is a good read on how to create a proper business card...

Business Cards

Last but not least, today is my Wife's 28th Birthday so Happy Birthday to her! On here request, I'm going to bake her a cake (chocolate with vanilla frosting) along with diner (probably some sort of chicken) and then give the presents. I'll let you know if I don't kill her with the dinner and cake..haha
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Up and Running...but that's about it

Posted On 6:39 AM by Scott Costello | 0 comments

I managed to get my website up and running ( but I have no content on it yet, that will be for next week and the week after to do. The whole process of registering the new domains, signing up for the hosting service and then pointing the domains to the new hosting service is never "straight" forward, but was much easier then I remember. The killer is that since it always takes some time for the internet to propagate your changes, nothing works right away so you think you did something wrong even though everything is setup correctly. I must have changed the settings 2 to 3 times before I remembered I have to wait like 10 to 20 minutes. I also installed wordpress, which was S I M P L E! I'm excited to get the template I mentioned in my previous post and set it up.

Tonight my wife and I are going to a wedding (been to about 24 weddings in the last 3 years, getting a bit old) and then we are gonna head down to Wildwood Crest for the week with my family. I CAN'T WAIT!!! So I may not be able to post, but I will bring my laptop just in case I get some free moments.

Quote of the day (new idea..hehe)

I like thinking big. I always have. To me it is very simple: if you are going to be thinking anyway you might as well think big.

Most people think small because most people are afraid of success, afraid of making decisions, afraid of winning. That gives people like me a great advantage

Quoted page 46 The Art of The Deal by: Donald Trump
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Posted On 8:12 AM by Scott Costello | 0 comments

I took one step forward yesterday and bought a couple domain names so I can create my investor website. I purchased them from GoDaddy and found a coupon code (OYH3) to knock the price down to $6.95 per domain. You can find more coupon codes here...

Godaddy Coupon Codes

It took me a few days to figure out some decent word combinations to get a domain name I liked. Well tell me what you think...

I like'm, and I came up with a few others as well but decided to just start with these three for now. My next task is to sign up for 1and1 home web hosting at...

As for the design of the webpage, I could do it myself as I'm a computer programmer but I don't want to waste my time designing the thing when there are perfectly good templates I could use. Fadi over at recommends using this theme...

Revolution Real Estate Theme

...Which is very impressive. One last thing is he recommends downloading and implementing Wordpress. It's a blogger software package but is very effective in created a webpage that I need. As Fadi says...

I know some of you may think thats dumb… using a blogging software as a Real Estate Website, but if it is good for The New York Times, it is good for you… besides… you will see in a second what you can accomplish!

My choice for WordPress is not coincidental… WordPress is known for its 5 Minutes install… you basically download it… unzip it… upload it to your account hosted by 1 and 1 or and visit the admin page. WordPress takes over and installs itself!

You should get WordPress For Dummies it explains all the features in plain english and helps you manage your website.

Well that is it for now
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Finding Leads

Posted On 5:23 AM by Scott Costello | 0 comments

Yesterday I found the site for New Jersey that published the Public Notices and also the county clerks office as well as another site that will be helpfull...

Public Notices
Document Searches
Morris County Clerks Office

I played around with the sites and find a lot of Foreclosures and Notice of Defaults. Not sure how to tell the difference between the two yet but I'll figure it out. I'd like to be able to produce my own leads by looking up all of the following types of properties...

  1. Notice of Defaults Pre-foreclosures (NODs)

  2. For sale by owners (FSBO)

  3. For Rent By Owners (FRBO)

  4. Expired Listings

  5. Free and Clear

  6. Center of influence

  7. Probate

  8. Divorces

  9. Bankruptcy

  10. Vacant land

I'll report back when I figure out where to find the rest of these.
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Last Baseball Sunday...maybe

Posted On 11:13 AM by Scott Costello | 0 comments

Well, I could possibly have played my last baseball game. We won our first round playoff game 2-1. I pitched and managed to throw 9 innings and give up 5 hits and 2 walks. Not to bad, the game flew by though. Next week I'll be on vacation in Wildwood Crest, NJ for my family's annual summer trip so I'll miss the semifinal game.

I've also got to buy my wife a birthday present, her bday is on the 18th and I have NO IDEA what to get her. She doesn't want jewelry, flowers, clothes or a weekend trip somewhere. Those are all my backup plans!?!?!?! So I'm gonna get her tickets to see a show or something like that for starters. I have my eye on a comedian named Jeff Dunham (the ventriloquist) but having problems finding reasonably priced tickets. I usually have no problems getting her presents but this year is a P A I N!

Back to REI, I've written down my monthly goals and am gonna start by trudging through my county notices online and get some leads so I can send direct mail to them. Good site to find your County's information is on


I also am going to post an add on craigslist and some other sites looking for buyers. Lets see how that goes.
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Posted On 5:10 PM by Scott Costello | 0 comments

Just a post i read over at reiclub that is good information about negotiating a deal.

There is an old saying “You don’t make your money when you sell the home, you make your money when you buy”. From my experience that statement is about 50% true. Your ability to negotiate can end up playing a huge role in how much money you will make on a deal. Learning how to negotiate with sellers and buyers will be one of the keys to your success as a real estate wholesaler

Good negotiation with the seller will save you money on the purchase home. Good negotiation with the buyer will allow you to sell the home for more money. It goes without saying that spending less and selling for more is the key to maximizing profits.

Negotiation strategies for all situations

1.Identify your wants and needs ahead of time. Needs are the things that must happen in order for you to put a deal together. Wants are the things that you would like to happen in order to put a deal together. Always stand your ground when it comes to needs, if you must compromise your position be sure that you do so with your wants.

2.Try to identify the sellers/buyers wants and needs- By knowing what the sellers needs are you may be able to keep a deal together by making it a win-win for both of you.

3.Know what you are trying to accomplish ahead of time- If price is most important to you then focus you efforts on price. If financing is your primary goal then focus your efforts on getting the type of financing that you want.

4.Be sure that all of the decision making people are at the negotiation- Make sure that all of the decision makers are at the negotiation with you. There is no need to waste your time negotiating when the buyer or seller needs to consult with another party before making a decision.


1. Make your offer for an odd amount of money. If a seller sees an offer like 123,000 they may think that you have just pulled a number out of nowhere. If you offer an odd amount like $121,768 a seller will be more likely to think that you know what you are doing and some actual thought was put behind the number.

2. Never say “This is what I think you home is worth”. Instead let the sellers know that “This is the amount that I can afford to pay for your home”. This slight change in dialogs will help eliminate discussions about how much the seller thinks his/her home is worth.

3. Don’t be an expert. Sellers are apt to feel that they are being duped if they have a sense that you know far more than them. I am not saying to act like an idiot but definitely avoid appearing that you are an expert.

4. Move past sticking points. If you come to a sticking point in your conversation with a seller don’t sit and dwell on it. Move onto the rest of the negotiation and come back to the sticky point later on.

5. Ask for everything. In most real estate purchases there will be a variety of things that you could care less about including in the contract. Things like appliances, window coverings, antique fixtures, etc. Even though you may not really want them, include them in your initial offering so that later down the road you can give back those things to leave the seller feeling like you are willing to budge a little in the negotiation.

6. Use an expense letter. Layout the expenses that you think will be incurred in purchasing the sellers property. Be sure to include ghost expenses like interest paid while marketing the home, taxes, Realtor fees, closing costs, etc. You may not end up doing many of the things on your expense list, but it will give the seller something concrete to look at while evaluating your offer.

7. Make the seller feel good about themselves. If a seller likes you, the chances of your offer getting accepted at a lower price increase significantly.

8. Set up an imaginary deadline. This is a great tool for getting indecisive sellers to make a decision. Do not push too hard or you will appear fake. Example: Try to bring up the fact that your partner and you are going to look at some other homes tomorrow. Let the seller know that you only have the money to buy one home right now, and you would love it too be the theirs.

9. Test the seller. Don’t make them a firm commitment but ask them things like “If I could offer you x, do you think we might have a deal”.

10. Find out why the seller is selling before making an offer. One of the best ways to uncover the motivation of the seller is to find out why they are selling. If the seller MUST sell you can negotiate a far better price than if they are just CHOOSING to sell for no particular reason.

11. Find the sellers time line for selling. Prior to making an offer find out what kind of time line that the seller is on. The seller’s time line will often dictate the type of terms that you should be offering.

12. Do not get emotionally involved. Emotions have a strange way of affecting your profits if they are not controlled. Remember your goal is to save money, and if a seller knows that you are in love with their home then you have lost. Keep in mind if one deal does not work out, more deals will come along.

13. No bragging. A potential seller does not want to hear how much money you have made real estate investing. Bragging about your success will only increase the likelihood that the seller will feel that they are being duped.

14. If price is your main concern make everything else easy. If you want the seller to come down substantially in price then write a very clean offer. Clean offers often include fast closing times, cash, no inspections, and a good procession date.

15. Prove to the seller that you are a strong buyer. A seller will be far more likely to lower their price to a strong buyer than a buyer who may not have financing lined up. If you are sending the deal to someone else then a testimonial letter from someone else who you have helped may do the trick.

16. Be animated. When the seller lets you know what price they would like to get for the property show a surprised look, or take a deep breath. This non verbal cue may get them second guessing there price.

These are a few of the strategies that have worked great for me, I would be interested to hear what other people are doing.

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Reader, Twitter and Investor Words to Live By

Posted On 3:05 PM by Scott Costello | 3 comments

I discovered Google Reader today, which is great for keeping track of all your RSS feeds (Blogs and news sites). So spent the morning messing around with that, it's great and will allow me to read all my blogs in one spot. I also messed around with twitter for a little bit, looks promising but I just have to figure out how to effectively use it to help me network. That's about all I did today, so I'll leave you with some wise Investor Words to Live By...

* Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it.

* Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.

* Our favorite holding period is forever.

* Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.

* I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.

* Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing.

* Never count on making a good sale. Have the purchase price be so attractive that even a mediocre sale gives good results.

* We will reject interesting opportunities rather than over-leverage our balance sheet.

* It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.

* A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought.

* The most important quality for an investor is temperament, not intellect… You need a temperament that neither derives great pleasure from being with the crowd or against the crowd.

* You ought to be able to explain why you’re taking the job you’re taking, why you’re making the investment you’re making, or whatever it may be. And if it can’t stand applying pencil to paper, you’d better think it through some more. And if you can’t write an intelligent answer to those questions, don’t do it.

* I’ll make more mistakes in the future – you

* can bet on that. A line from Bobby Bare’s country song explains what too often happens with acquisitions:

* “I’ve never gone to bed with an ugly woman, but I’ve sure woke up with a few."
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