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Beginners, Keep At It...The First Deal Is Always the Hardest

by Rommel Gonzales, West Bend, WI   
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My name is Rommel, and I'm from WI. Here is my success story: Six minutes at a real estate investor's meeting leads to my first deal...

Back in 2003, I read a book recommended by my brother called Rich Dad, Poor Dad. From that point forward, I knew that real estate was going to be my ticket to wealth. Over the next 12-18 months, I read tons of books, attended plenty of conventions, listened to real estate radio shows on the Internet, and attended local real estate investor's meetings.

After all that, I finally got out of the "analysis paralysis" stage and started pursuing pre-foreclosures. I came up with all kinds of marketing materials, sent out hundreds of letters, flyers, postcards, and knocked on a lot of doors.

After a solid 6-8 months of hitting the streets, I still hadn't been able to close a deal. I was thoroughly frustrated and seemingly getting nowhere, but I was not going to give up.

Your local real estate club is a GREAT place to start

Then one day while attending the local investor's meeting where the speakers were talking about pre-foreclosures and short sales, they let slip that they were doing a couple condo-conversions. At the end of their presentation when people took turns asking questions, one person had asked them to elaborate a little more on their condo-conversion deals.

They went into depth about their condo-conversions, which took all of 5 or 6 minutes. Luckily I had recorded the entire meeting, and when I got home I listened to those 5 or 6 minutes over, and over, and over until I completely understood what they were talking about.

During the next few weeks, my girlfriend and I made calls to an assortment of people to gather information, and we knew that we could make this work. After only 2 months we had found and purchased a duplex to convert into two condominiums.

Our plan in action

We had no money at the time and needed the seller to credit 3% for our down payment, then had to move into the duplex and rent out one side, while we fixed up the side we were living in. It took us over a year to fix everything up and stage it to sell (a la Designed to Sell and Sell This House).

Finally in the summer of 2006, we sold the first condo! I personally went through the local condo sales data to run my own comparable sales analysis, and comped the condo's value to be around $132,000. We listed the condo for $139,900 to leave room for the buyers to negotiate us down.

Since our condo was completely ready for the market and staged to sell, we had an accepted offer within 7 days of listing in the MLS! They ended up negotiating us down to $138,000, but their appraisal only came back at $135,000, so we adjusted the sale price accordingly.

Persistence finally pays off

We picked up a check at closing for $11,000, moved into the other side, and rolled $29,000 of equity into the condo that we now live in (as of 2009.)

We are currently working on our second and third deals, another duplex condo-conversion (It took me 6 months of scouring to find another duplex suitable for conversion) and a single-family HUD foreclosure that we're getting for 50 cents on the dollar (from another investor who is flipping the property).

So, I wish the best of luck to all of you who have the will to succeed. You've got the power to change your future if you have clear direction, take decisive action, and constantly assess yourself, so you can make the needed adjustments.

The lessons to be learned here:

  1. The first deal is always the hardest.

  2. Persistence pays off.

 
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