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Our First Deal Kept Us from Living in Our Car

by Chuck & Sue DeFiore   

Our story starts five years ago when we started a bowling publishing business. At first, the business grew, and did quite well for the first 3-1/2 years. Then the bottom started dropping out. As the industry slowed down, we lost advertisers and, of course, revenue.

It was about that time that Sue was "downsized" from a $40,000 per year job. We decided to try to build the publishing business up. We worked on it for the next 1-1/2 years.

At first, we made progress, but then disaster struck. Disaster in the form of losing all but two advertisers. Still we had hope. We went all electronic and built the second most hit bowling site on the web. We were averaging over 100,000 page views per month.

We were getting calls from all over the US and abroad from people wanting to know how to get on our site. However, one thing was becoming very obvious, people wanted the exposure we could give them, but none wanted to pay for it. They did not respect our time, knowledge, or energy.

Since we only have to get hit in the head so many times to realize this wasn't going to work, we looked for another business. We chose gift items. However, this time we applied what we learned from the other business. We gave the gift business a certain time period to prove itself.

During this time, our monetary reserves kept going down. It was getting harder and harder to pay bills and rent. It was about this time that we caught a Carlton Sheets infomercial. We started thinking about real estate investing, since the gift business was going nowhere fast.

Now some may ask why we didn't just go out and get jobs. Two reasons, the pay rate in Las Vegas is terrible and we didn't want to make someone else rich. We liked being self-employed, and in fact, had a very successful business in California. We knew we could do it again, we just needed the proper vehicle.

In October, we came across a website devoted to creative real estate investing (Creative Real Estate Online). On this site, we were introduced to numerous ways of using real estate investing to make money. One which really caught our attention was lease purchases. We read all we could find about the method.

Around Thanksgiving, things came to a head. It was obvious that we were not going to make it. We counted our money and determined that by January, we would be moving to our car to live. We took our last $200 and ordered a tape set on lease purchases.

We received the tapes in early December. After spending about a week and a half going over them, we made the decision to enter real estate investing full time. Please keep in mind, we had no money to work with and no credit available to us. In other words, we had all the motivation we needed: Fear.

In mid-December, we started our business. We called FSBOs, Internet names, everybody and anybody who had property for sale or rent. Two days after starting, we contacted an individual who had a house for sale since May. He could not move it. We spoke with him on Thursday and faxed the contract for a lease purchase to him. Thursday night he faxed back the signature page, and we had our first property under contract.

We immediately ran an ad that the local paper screwed up royally. However, we were also calling Realtors, investors, mortgage brokers, putting up flyers. We weren't depending upon one method to move this house.

As it turned out, one of the few responses we got from the ad looked at the house on Tuesday the 22nd (Sue's birthday). On Wednesday the 23rd we showed them the inside. They asked if others we're looking at the house. "Of course," I replied, "this is a good house with great terms in a good area." I told them that "he who puts a deposit down first wins." Well, they gave us a small deposit and filled out the application. We said we'd let them know. They checked out.

On the morning of Christmas Eve, we picked up the check and assigned the contract over. We were out of the deal. By believing we could make it, we gave ourselves a $5,000 Christmas present.

We went from being less than 30 days away from living in our car to money in the bank through the niche of lease purchasing. From the time we started, to cashing the check, took 10 days. We can't wait for the future.

 
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