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The Power of Direct Mail

flip hacking Jan 21, 2022

Whether you’re looking to buy a house for your family off-market or you’re looking to buy houses to flip, direct mail can be a powerful tool.

Direct mail refers to any type of mail piece you send directly to a seller. It could be a letter, a postcard, a brochure, or any other type of mail piece.

I can’t even tell you the number of houses we’ve bought by sending people letters & postcards. It’s likely more than 100 by now. We’ve bought both personal homes & investment property this way.

Our best-performing letter usually had a picture of our family at the top & a short note letting the seller know we were looking for a house to buy in their neighborhood. We’d mention some of the benefits of selling to us like:

  • Not having to pay 6% in real estate commissions
  • Not having the hassle of listing it, cleaning it up & showing it
  • Not having to worry about making any repairs
  • Not having to wait for a long closing process

And so...

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House Hacking & Afghan Students

house hacking Jan 14, 2022

Honestly, when we decided to buy our current "house hack," we never could've dreamed we'd have this current opportunity.

I shared in a recent blog post, A Closer Look at Our Latest House Hack, that we recently finished renovating our single-car garage into a guest house. We were planning to use it for family, friends, & guests on Airbnb.

In our first 2 stays on Airbnb, we had a 30-day and a 31-day booking. In each of those stays, we made almost double what we made per month in our previous Airbnb. We were hoping to continue the 30-day booking streak when the Lord put something in our path we couldn't ignore.

We received an email from a campus ministry informing us that the university near our house was planning to scholarship 5 Afghan girls to come to college here & finish their education. These girls were in the middle of a degree plan in Afghanistan but had to flee the country when the Taliban took control in August 2021. They knew that the opportunity for women to get...

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More Companion Pass Perks

travel hacking Jan 07, 2022

This blog post is a continuation of the last post. You can read that first here if you haven't already: The Holy Grail of Travel Rewards.

The Southwest Companion pass truly is an amazing travel reward!

In fact, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

You can get it again, and again, and again. And not just you. Your spouse can get it too.

My wife and I have both had a Companion Pass for the last 2 years and we are about to renew my wife’s for another 2 years. That means that both of our daughters have traveled free as our companions on all of the trips we've been on the last few years.

How cool is that?

Here are the details.

You are allowed to receive the welcome bonuses on the Southwest cards once in a 24 month period. If you earn the bonuses on both a Southwest personal & business card right at the beginning of the year (and reach the 125,000 points), you'll have the Companion Pass for the rest of that year & all of the following year (nearly 2 years). By the time...

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The Holy Grail of Travel Rewards

travel hacking Dec 17, 2021

I want to give you an introduction to the most sought after travel reward out there.

It's so sought after that I've heard it called the "holy grail" of travel rewards.

What is it, you may ask?

The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass.

Everyone wants one, but they can be tricky to get.

In case you don't know what it is, the Southwest Companion Pass allows you to take a companion for free on as many Southwest flights as you'd like during the duration of the pass.

It's basically a free ticket anytime you fly for someone to join you.

The way you typically get the Companion Pass is by "flying 100 qualifying one-way flights or earning 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year." That's straight off the Southwest website.

If you do one of these two things, you'll earn a Companion Pass "for the following full calendar year, plus the remainder of the year in which you earned it."

To most people, this seems impossible.

You'd have to fly nearly 10 times per month to hit the 100 flight...

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Get Out of Debt & Stay Out

life hacking Dec 10, 2021

There is almost nothing that will impede your financial progress more than debt.

This shouldn't surprise us.

Solomon said, "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender." (Prov 22:7)

The implication here is that you're probably not going in the right direction financially if you're a financial slave to someone else.

Just a few verses later, Solomon again warns of the danger, "Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you." (Prov 22:26-27)

That's scary. Who wants their bed snatched from under them? Solomon is trying to warn his listeners about the potential consequences of going into debt & not being able to repay. Perhaps his warning will cause his listeners to rethink "shaking hands in a pledge" by going into debt.

I think he's suggesting we ask the question, "If you go into debt, how do you know you'll have the means to repay?"

In other words, we're...

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Making Money with Referral Fees

agent hacking Dec 03, 2021

Believe it or not, you can make money in real estate without doing any "real estate" at all.

Let's just assume you don't want to Flip Hack, House Hack, or even Agent Hack (represent your family and friends as a real estate agent).

There's still a way you can make extra income from real estate.

Referral Fees.

What you may not know is that when one agent refers a lead to another agent, the referring agent will often be rewarded with a percentage of the commission (often 25%).

You must be a licensed agent to get this referral fee, but you don't actually have to represent any clients to make this extra money. And getting your license is a fairly quick & easy process. See the post entitled, The Best Places to Get Your Real Estate License.

We have a neighbor that does this exact thing. She was an active real estate agent for years, but now that she's older, she really doesn't want to be active in the business anymore. But, of course, she'd still love to make some extra money. The...

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Our 1st Quick Flip

flip hacking Nov 19, 2021

I recently posted a blog entitled, The Story Behind Our 1st Flip. This was about the first flip we had ever done. It was a Cosmetic (or Lipstick) Flip. Check out this article which explains the types of flips — 3 Ways to Flip a House.

In this post, I want to talk about our 1st Quick Flip.

Remember, with a Quick Flip, you don't fix up the house at all. You buy it and sell it again as-is, usually a few hours later. You don't make as much money as you would on a Cosmetic Flip or Fix & Flip, but it's more convenient and you can do more of them quickly.

Here's the story behind our 1st Quick Flip:

  1. We built a list of investors who we knew could close quickly with cash & were looking for investment property.
  1. We sent out letters to homeowners in multiple zip codes where we knew these investor buyers were looking for houses to purchase. In the letter, we offered to buy the seller's home quickly, as-is, & with cash. We knew this would likely appeal to sellers who had...
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Why My Wife Loves Older Homes

house hacking Nov 12, 2021

My wife definitely loves older homes.

I often joke that unless the home is older than 1970, my wife probably won't like it. Haha!

She'd tell you that older homes have a certain character and build quality that is hard to replicate in newer homes (especially with the increasing cost of lumber). This is obviously an opinion & very subjective! ;)

That's led to us living in many different older homes over the years.

And these older homes have really accelerated our financial goals.

I want to share some reasons why older homes can be advantageous if you're looking to supplement your income.

  1. Older homes give you the ability to "force" appreciation

    I'm using a term here that's more common in commercial real estate but applies here as well. Normal appreciation is the 3-5% (on average) that your home may increase in value each year. Forced appreciation is when you accelerate the appreciation by making changes to the house that increase its value quickly (like updating a kitchen or...

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Your New Favorite Airline

travel hacking Nov 05, 2021

I posted a blog recently called, Your New Favorite Hotel. In that blog I talked about the difference in point values between several hotel chains.

I'd like to do the same thing for airlines.

Flying can be expensive, especially when you're taking your kids. It's really important to maximize every single point you can when it comes to airline rewards. Doing this will help you be able to travel nearly free with the whole family.

In this blog, I want to talk primarily about domestic travel.

What airline has the highest value point redemptions? Let's take a look.

Delta Airlines - worth 1.1 cents per point

  • For a $350/flight, it would require 31,819 points

United Airlines - worth 1.3 cents per point

  • For a $350/flight, it would require 26,923 points

American Airlines - worth 1.4 cents per point

  • For a $350/flight, it would require 25,000 points

Southwest Airlines - worth 1.5 cents per point

  • For a $350/flight, it would require 23,334 points

Southwest Rapid Rewards points are some of...

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Introduction to the F.I.R.E. Community

life hacking Oct 29, 2021

The people I want to introduce you to belong to a community online called the F.I.R.E community. F.I.R.E. is an acronym for Financial Independence Retire Early.

These are some of the most savvy investors & life hackers (aka optimizers) I've found online.

This community is pursuing Financial Independence which would allow them to Retire Early if they wanted. And by retire, they usually don’t mean sitting by the beach for the rest of their lives. They mean no longer having to show up to a 9-5 job they don't like. They can do this because their passive investment income now meets or exceeds the income they were earning from their jobs. This frees them up to be able to spend their time doing whatever they'd like.

In the same way, as tentmaking pastors, missionaries or Christian leaders, we're trying to generate income to free us up to do what we've been called to do — ministry!

A common story in the F.I.R.E community will sound like this: John graduates college with a...

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