Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Knocking on Mrs A's Door

Just came back from Mrs A's house. I was notified about the notice of default on her property from a foreclosure website. I dropped a letter offering my services to stop the foreclosure. It is a dreary rainy cloudy grey day.

I rung the door bell

ME: "Hello I am here to see Mrs. AM is she here?"

Mrs. A: "What is going on?"

ME: "I left a message with her and wanted to talk with her regardining an issue with the house."

Mrs. A: "She is not here and she will never come back" Slam the door.

* I waited for a few minutes debating on how to ring the doorbell and seeing what else I can say to start the conversation. I didn't want to talk with her about the foreclosure unless she is the owner. Many things going in my head. Next thing I know she opens the door*

Mrs. A: "Why are you here? I told you she is never coming back. Why don't you leave?"

ME: "I am a 3rd party vendor who talks with lenders regarding the house. I am here to help the situation."

Mrs. A: "Look you are not dressed professionally [I was in a white clean tee shirt, black jeans, and black sneakers with a napsack.], you don't have any identification for the 3rd party company you are from and you don't have any cards, you ring my doorbell and stand out here. Just get out of here."

ME: "I am here to help Mrs. Are you the owner of the house?"

Mrs. A: "Leave now or I am calling the police."

*Looking at the situation the shields are up with her and I wasn't sure how to take them down. I left in stride and went on my next run.*

It is a learning experience that I am still digesting. The 2nd was foreclosing but it was less than $12K in arrears. I figured some of the things gave me feedback:

* It would serve to have a stronger script and verbal rebounding skills.
* Dress more professionally.
* Offer the owner a business card for them to feel that I am for real.

Hopefully I can illuminate more with any successes that I do have.

What Constitutes a Good Life? by Jim Rohn

What Constitutes a Good Life? by Jim Rohn

The ultimate expression of life is not a paycheck. The ultimate expression of life is not a Mercedes. The ultimate expression of life is not a million dollars or a bank account or a home. Here's the ultimate expression of life in my opinion, and that is living a good life. Here's what we must ask constantly, "What for me would be a good life?" And you have to keep going over and over the list. A list including areas such as spirituality, economics, health, relationships and recreation. What would constitute a good life? I've got a short list.

1) Productivity. You won't be happy if you don't produce. The game of life is not rest. We must rest, but only long enough to gather strength to get back to productivity. What's the reason for the seasons and the seeds, the soil and the sunshine, the rain and the miracle of life? It's to see what you can do with it. To try your hand, other people have tried their hand; here's what they did. You try your hand to see what you can do. So part of life is productivity.

2) Good friends. Friendship is probably the greatest support system in the world. Don't deny yourself the time to develop this support system. Nothing can match it. It's extraordinary in its benefit. Friends are those wonderful people who know all about you and still like you. A few years ago I lost one of my dearest friends. He died at age 53 - heart attack. David is gone, but he was one of my very special friends. I used to say of David that if I was stuck in a foreign jail somewhere accused unduly and if they would allow me one phone call, I would call David. Why? He would come and get me. That's a friend. Somebody who would come and get you. Now we've all got casual friends. And if you called them they would say, "Hey, if you get back, call me we'll have a party." So you've got to have both, real friends and casual friends.

3) Your culture. Your language, your music, the ceremonies, the traditions, the dress. All of that is so vitally important that you must keep it alive. In fact it is the uniqueness of all of us that when blended together brings vitality, energy, power, influence, uniqueness and rightness to the world.

4) Spirituality. It helps to form the foundation of the family that builds the nation. And make sure you study, practice and teach. Don't be careless about the spiritual part of your nature, it's what makes us who we are, different from animal, dogs, cats, birds and mice. Spirituality.

5) Don't miss anything. My parents taught me to miss anything. Don't miss the game. Don't miss the performance, don't miss the movie, don't miss the show, don't miss the dance. Go to everything you possibly can. Buy a ticket to everything you possibly can. Go see everything and experience all you possibly can. This has served me so well to this day. Just before my father died at age 93 if you were to call him at 10:30 or 11:00 at night, he wouldn't be home. He was at the rodeo, he was watching the kids play softball, he was listening to the concert, he was at church, he was somewhere every night.

Live a vital life. Here's one of the reasons why. If you live well, you will earn well. If you live well it will show in your face, it will show in the texture of your voice. There will be something unique and magical about you if you live well. It will infuse not only your personal life but also your business life. And it will give you a vitality nothing else can give.

6) Your family and the inner circle. Invest in them and they'll invest in you. Inspire them and they'll inspire you. With your inner circle take care of the details. When my father was still alive, I used to call him when I traveled. He'd have breakfast most every morning with the farmers. Little place called The Decoy Inn out in the country where we lived in Southwest Idaho.

So Papa would go there and have breakfast and I'd call him just to give him a special day. Now if I was in Israel, I'd have to get up in the middle of the night, but it only took five minutes, ten minutes. So I'd call Papa and they'd bring him the phone. I'd say, "Papa I'm in Israel." He'd say, "Israel! Son, how are things in Israel?" He'd talk real loud so everybody could hear - my son's calling me from Israel. I'd say, "Papa last night they gave me a reception on the rooftop underneath the stars overlooking the Mediterranean." He'd say, "Son, a reception on the rooftop underneath the stars overlooking the Mediterranean." Now everybody knows the story. It only took 5 - 10 minutes, but what a special day for my father, age 93.

If a father walks out of the house and he can still feel his daughter's kiss on his face all day, he's a powerful man. If a husband walks out of the house and he can still feel the imprint of his wife's arms around his body he's invincible all day. It's the special stuff with the inner circle that makes you strong and powerful and influential. So don't miss that opportunity. Here's the greatest value. The prophet said, "There are many virtues and values, but here's the greatest, one person caring for another." There is no greater value than love. Better to live in a tent on the beach with someone you love than to live in a mansion by yourself. One person caring for another, that's one of life's greatest expressions.

So make sure in your busy day to remember the true purpose and the reasons you do what you do. May you truly live the kind of life that will bring the fruit and rewards that you desire.

To Your Success,
Jim Rohn

Monday, June 20, 2005

Foreclosure FAQ on the RichDad Forum

Locutus 9 started posting some good faq on how to start doing preforeclosures. I believe it is a great tool to learn more about it.

Click here to read Locutus9's foreclosure faq on the Rich Dad Forum

Friday, June 17, 2005

Steve Job's Commencement Address to Stanford Graduates 6/12/2005

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.


I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky – I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me – I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

One - The Campaign to Make Poverty History

Be United to Beat AIDS, STARVATION, and EXTREME PROVERTY Posted by Hello

I was watching the Diane Sawyer interview with Brad Pitt on ABC's Primetime tv magazine. I was touched by his devotion to bring peace and life to those suffering in Africa at the extreme poverty level there. How Americans can just share a slight bit of our blessings to others which can impact them forever.

Visit and see how you can be part of the generation that can end poverty in the world!

Click here to the see the One video
Click here to see the video with Nelson Mandela

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Best Darn Document on the Planet (CYA) by Joe Kaiser

I spent a dozen years in the real estate business before I ever really took a good long moment to just sit still and think about what I was doing.

A couple words of advise...start sooner.

Had I invested the time I should have really thinking things through, my life as a bona fide investor would have started a whole lot sooner, and sooner is definitely better than later.

I didn't think things through because I was too interested in the latest wild goose chase and my energies were always aimed at something other than work. Trust me, it's work to spend time thinking things through. But it turns out it's one of the most important things you should be doing early on in your real estate career.

Just as a life unexamined is not worth living, an investment strategy unexamined is not worth executing.

The problem is, when you're new, you don't have a clue about what to think about. Sure, you're considering trying to pull something off and have a general idea regarding what it'll take to make it fly, but you really don't have anything more than that. Frankly a general idea isn't much of an idea at all.
All the ways it could go wrong
Try this . . .

Think about all the ways it could go wrong. Seriously examine the weak spots and look to see where problems are likely to make their presence known. Make up your list of horribles that can affect your strategy, and then figure out a way to make sure those things are handled so they can't happen. If that's not possible, make sure you've figured out your position should those things actually come true.

There's a house I'm looking to buy from an owner facing foreclosure. She wants to stay in the house and rent it back from me and maybe buy it at a later day for significantly more than I'm paying her.

Good strategy, but do you see any problems? Years ago I would have just signed her up and been happy with it. In fact, I did a bunch of these kinds of deals with distressed sellers and never gave a second thought to the likely outcomes. Since I was only focused on doing another deal, I never stopped to just think things through. Had I done so, I could have saved myself countless hours of frustration along with the thousands of dollars lost when things ultimately went sideways.

I had one deal like this where the lady filed bankruptcy shortly after we closed. I hadn't planned for that and didn't have a clue what to do about it. That should have been an obvious likely outcome.

One guy sued me on a similar deal when I later refused to sell the property back to him. His checks had bounced a number of times, and his right to purchase the property was supposed to end when that happens. While that was my understanding, it wasn't his attorney's.

That, too, was easily predictable.

One gal claimed that I hadn't really bought the property from her at all. She said I'd agreed to make her a loan and all that other stuff she didn't understand.

One guy later told me he'd been on drugs when he signed the paperwork and now wanted out. Another had his attorney advise me that his hearing aids weren't working when I explained the terms of our deal to him and now he wanted the property back.
You need a good plan
Had I been smart, I would have had a plan in place for all these kinds of events. Remember, we're not talking about remote possibilities here. The problems that surfaced are obvious to anyone who spends more than a moment or two thinking about what could go wrong with this kind of deal, and you're advised to take that time and really think things through.

Unfortunately, when you're new, you really don't have enough of a background to hit all the likely outcomes. If that's the case, get together with someone who does, and the two of you brainstorm the deal out. Having an experienced person along for the ride is a tremendous asset and should not be overlooked.

No real estate friends?

Go hire one - that's why they make attorneys. Real estate attorneys who've been in business for any length of time have seen things you and I can't begin to dream about, and running your plan past them with an eye on anticipating and avoiding potential problems is money well spent. Don't overlook the benefits of having someone looking over your shoulder.

And don't just think about worst-case scenarios . . . figure out your exit strategy. you'll want to know with a high degree of certainty how things will end up and, most importantly, how you'll get paid when things do. With proper planning you really can predict outcomes and, if you're paying attention, and you fine tune along the way, the outcome you design into the plan can in fact be the outcome you end up with. Or at least be something that sort of resembles it. What you don't want is something entirely unanticipated entering into the picture and putting the crimps on your profit.
Final answer: The Seller Disclosure Statement
For years we've made sellers sign a disclosure statement that makes it difficult for them to later change their story and attempt to "unwind" our deal. When you're dealing with distressed sellers, it's mandatory to have something like this in the file, because you can be certain that once the problems are solved and the pressure is off, that friendly seller of yours is going to change his tune and decide you took advantage of him.

Here it is:
Seller's Acknowledgements

I ,_________________________________________________________ (Seller), on this ____ day of ______________________, 20_____, have agreed in writing to sell the property commonly known as ______________________________________________, (The Property) to ________________________________________ (Buyer) and or assigns, according to the terms and conditions contained in the Purchase and Sale Agreement (The Agreement) of even date, a copy of which is attached hereto. I further state as follows:

________ 1. OWNERSHIP OF THE PROPERTY: I am the owner of The Property (or I have an equitable interest in The Property) and am able to contract for its sale.

________ 2. ACCEPTANCE: I have reviewed the terms and conditions contained in The Agreement and have accepted Buyer's offer to purchase The Property.

________ 3. GOOD AND VALUABLE CONSIDERATION: I have received good and valuable consideration in signing The Agreement, and I acknowledge both the receipt and the sufficiency of the consideration.

________ 4. IN MY BEST INTEREST: I am satisfied with The Agreement and have agreed to sell The Property because it is in my best interest to do so.

________ 5. FULLY INFORMED AND NOT CONFUSED: I have signed The Agreement being fully informed and with sufficient understanding of all terms and conditions contained therein. I am not confused about any aspect of The Agreement.

________ 6. SATISFIED WITH THE SALES PRICE: I understand I may be selling The Property for less than market value but have chosen to do so because circumstances dictate that an immediate sale, even at a discounted price, is in my best interest. I am satisfied with the sales price I have negotiated.

________ 7. SALE IS FINAL: I understand by signing The Agreement, I have agreed to sell The Property to Buyer and am now bound by the terms and conditions described in The Agreement. I further understand that I cannot change my mind or cancel the contract at some later date, nor can I continue to market The Property to any other buyer.

________ 8. CONTINGENCIES MAY EXIST: I understand the sale may be contingent upon Buyer's inspection and approval of certain items described in The Agreement. I further understand that if Buyer does not approve of these items, Buyer may cancel The Agreement and if cancelled, I must return Buyer's earnest money in full.

________ 9. NOT A LOAN: I understand The Agreement I have signed is for the outright sale of The Property and is not intended to be a loan of any kind.

________ 10. AGREEMENT MAY BE ASSIGNED: I understand Buyer may assign The Agreement to another party and I may be closing the sale with someone other than Buyer.

________ 11. NO ESCROW: I understand Buyer may choose to close this transaction without the use of an escrow company and may record the conveyance documents himself.

________ 12. CLOSING DOCUMENTS: I understand there will be additional closing documents to sign and upon receipt, agree to sign and deliver the closing documents either into Escrow or directly to Buyer, as Buyer may direct, in a timely manner.

________ 13. COPIES OF THE PAPERWORK: I understand that copies of the paperwork I've signed will be provided to me in a timely manner and I acknowledge that circumstances dictate that copies may not be immediately made available to me.

________ 14. BUYER ENTITLED TO MAKE A PROFIT: I understand Buyer may resell The Property and may realize a profit in doing so. I agree Buyer is entitled to any profit that may ultimately result from the subsequent resale of The Property.

________ 15. LEGAL COUNSEL ADVISED: I acknowledge Buyer has advised me to seek independent legal counsel to review The Agreement.

________ 16. FINANCIAL REVIEW ADVISED: I acknowledge Buyer has advised me to seek an independent financial advisor to review The Agreement.

________ 17. FAIRLY NEGOTIATED: I understand Buyer has negotiated on his own behalf and likewise, I have negotiated on mine. I acknowledge The Agreement has been negotiated fairly and Buyer has not taken advantage of me or my current situation.

________ 18. NO PRECLUDING AILMENTS: I have no physical, mental or emotional ailments that preclude me from signing The Agreement.

________ 19. NOT UNDER THE INFLUENCE: I am not now under the influence of alcohol or any other mind-altering substance, nor am I taking medication that would cloud my judgment or make me unable to think clearly.

________ 20. NO OTHER PROMISES: I have not been promised anything other than what is described in The Agreement. There are no unresolved issues, no ¡°side agreements,¡± nor are there other terms not disclosed in The Agreement.

________ 21. NOT UNDER DURESS: I am not under duress and have signed The Agreement of my own free will, without any undue financial pressure. Buyer has in no way pressured me into signing The Agreement.

________ 22. FULLY SATISFIED WITH AGREEMENT: I am fully satisfied with all terms and conditions contained in The Agreement.

Dated this _____ day of ___________________, 20____.

___________________________ Seller (Signature)

___________________________ Seller (Signature)
Use THE BEST DARN DOCUMENT ON THE PLANET to put the finishing touches on your latest deal. There's no better feeling than knowing you've got that little beauty tucked safely away in the file.

Reprinted with permission by Joe Kaiser (