Tentmaking Tips

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Do Deals in Real Estate Still Exist?

flip hacking Jun 02, 2023

You may have heard people say, “Real estate deals just don’t exist anymore.”

I’m living proof that’s not true.

It’s a numbers game.

If you talk to enough people & make enough offers, you will find deals.

In a hot market, you may have to talk to more people to find a deal than in a cooler market, but they’re still out there.

We just closed on a deal this week that we plan to do a “Lipstick Flip” on.

We had people offering us $10,000-15,000 more than we paid for it just to “Quick Flip” it to them, but we knew if we put a little work into the house, we could make significantly more than that.

We plan to do a light remodel & then sell it again to a family who will live there.

How did we find this deal?

It was a referral from a seller we had bought a deal from previously.

We called them about a year after the first deal & asked if they had any other properties they’d be interested in selling.

They did.

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You Can Get a 5%+ Conservative Return

life hacking May 26, 2023

Just a few years ago, achieving a 5% “conservative” return on your investments was laughable.

By “conservative” I mean government-insured or government-sponsored accounts — CDs, HYSAs, and Treasuries.

It’s not laughable anymore!

Right now you can buy CDs or invest in Treasuries and get a yield above 5%. Unbelievable!

Now, I’ve recommended in this newsletter that you should probably consider a more aggressive (i.e. less conservative) approach to investing for long-term returns (like retirement savings).

I like stock index funds the best for this.

But all of us need a more “conservative” place to put short-term funds like our emergency fund or savings for an upcoming purchase.

The good news is you have lots of vehicles to choose between right now to get a great return.

For HYSAs, check out the Marcus savings account by Goldman Sachs.

For CDs, check out your local bank or use a broker like Vanguard to buy brokered CDs.


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80,000 + 15,000 Points On Our Favorite Card

travel hacking May 19, 2023

I wrote a few weeks ago about the 90,000 in-branch Chase Sapphire credit card offer.

My wife applied, was approved, & we’ve already earned that additional 90,000 points.

Now it was my turn.

I downgraded my Chase Sapphire & then I decided to reapply online because the online offer just went up to 80,000 points.

I used my wife’s referral code to apply for my card which would give us an extra 15,000 points for the referral. Even better than the current in-branch offer.

Just a few minutes ago, as I’m writing this, I was approved for the Chase Sapphire card (again) and once I hit the minimum spend, we’ll receive a full 95,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (including the referral points).


95,000 Chase points can be worth well in excess of $2,000 in free travel!

Now’s a great time to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred if you haven’t already.

And if you want to use our referral link, we’d love that — thanks for the support!


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How We Made Over $40,000 By Having a Real Estate License

agent hacking May 12, 2023

We just moved… again!

Probably not too surprising if you’ve read this newsletter for awhile.

We lived in our previous home almost 3 years and we decided to sell it recently & move on to our next project.

Our friends & family joke that after we’ve lived in a home 2-3 years, we start getting the itch to move again. They’re certainly not wrong!

Because my wife and I both have a real estate license (and own a real estate brokerage), we knew we’d be able to list our home on the market without having to pay half of the commissions, since we’d represent ourselves, or without having to pay any commissions if someone came & represented themselves.

Like many people who bought a home before COVID, our house had gone up a lot in value.

We knew that commissions could take a huge chunk out of our profit, so we hoped to work directly with a buyer who didn’t have an agent.

We hosted 2 open houses, where many people came to look that...

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Protest Your Taxes

house hacking May 04, 2023

Chances are you recently received an appraisal notice from your property tax authority.

In that notice, they told likely told you your appraised/market value and your assessed value (taxable value).

Most people assume there’s nothing you can do about it.

That’s not true.

Due to the increase in property values nationwide in recent years, tax authorities are taking the opportunity to significantly raise taxes.

An increase makes sense, but you can negotiate with them about how much your increase should be.

And, obviously, you want the increase to be as little as possible.

Their increase is often applied broadly & doesn’t account for the specifics of your house.

That’s why you want to tell them more about your house to have them evaluate it specifically & hopefully lower your taxes as a result.

We had a big increase in our appraised value last year and we were able to protest & negotiate a six-figure drop in value for our house, which was awesome!


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$81,500 Profit - Student Deal Highlight

flip hacking Apr 28, 2023

Every few months I highlight one of our student’s deals in the Flip Hacking Course & Mastermind. I’m hoping these highlights give you an idea of how flipping houses could help you generate extra income to support your ministry.

If you missed the first five, here they are:

$140,874 Profit - Student Deal Highlight

$13,000 Profit - Student Deal Highlight

$26,000 Profit - Student Deal Highlight

$23,637 Profit - Student Deal Highlight

$50,000 Profit - Student Deal Highlight

For today’s Student Deal Highlight, I’m going to let the student share it in his own words.

This is a student who has been through our Flip Hacking Course and also our Flip Hacking Freedom program for students who have done 5+ deals.

Here’s the story in the words of the student:

We are calling our last deal the Duolingo deal.

I started learning Spanish everyday 713 days ago to reach our local mission field better. Who knew it would also net us a big deal.

We had texted the seller...

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Great In-Branch Offer on Top Card

travel hacking Apr 14, 2023

Readers of this newsletter know that I regularly recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred card as one of the best cards to get started on your Travel Hacking journey.

The bonus on this card is most often 50,000-60,000 points - a great bonus!

Right now, many Chase branches are offering this card with a 90,000 point bonus if you apply within a Chase branch.

My wife and I both had this card and it was coming up on her 4-year anniversary. The terms of the Chase Sapphire are that you can get the welcome bonus once every 4 years.

Wanting to take advantage of this great in-branch offer, we downgraded her current card to a no annual fee Chase Flex card, waited 3 weeks for the old card to be removed from the system, and they reapplied for the Chase Sapphire again at our local Chase branch.

She was instantly approved.

We have to spend $6,000 on the card in 6 months to get the full 90,000 points which will be no problem.

I’ll hit my 4 year anniversary with the Sapphire card this month...

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Run Your Personal Finances Like a Business

life hacking Apr 07, 2023

This mindset is key to increasing your income, decreasing your expenses and investing more toward financial freedom (passive investments covering your living costs).

Too often we don’t treat our personal finances like a business.

We don’t watch them closely. We aren’t as active in cutting costs. We aren’t looking for ways to generate extra income. We aren’t investing wisely. We aren’t looking for a “profit” at the end of the month.

But we actively do all of these things when we run a business. You have to.

A number of years ago I paid an extra $25/mo for a Quickbooks account for my personal finances. Quickbooks is business accounting software.

I was already using Quickbooks for my businesses, but I thought it was time to begin treating my personal finances like a business.

Sure, we had lived on a budget for years, but I felt like that was not enough. A budget is just trying to help you not spend more than you make. A business is...

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5 Nights in Washington DC for Free

travel hacking Mar 31, 2023

Our family just got back from our Spring Break trip to Washington DC.

We had a blast.

Neither me, nor my wife, nor our daughters had been to DC & we all wanted to see the White House, the Capitol, the museums, and the monuments. Oh, and the cherry blossoms too!

And it didn’t disappoint.

Here’s how we booked the trip for nearly free:

  • I booked a round-trip Southwest flight with 40,749 of my Southwest miles. I could’ve booked with fewer miles but I booked fairly close to the departure date. You can often get the best point redemptions if you book further out.
  • My wife also booked a round-trip Southwest flight with 40,749 of her Southwest miles.
  • Since we both have Companion Passes, we were able to each add one of our daughter’s as a companion for free (well, we had to pay $11.20 in taxes, but nearly free). I’ll link below to our past newsletters that describe how to earn the Companion Pass.
  • We love staying at Park Hyatts and we booked the Park...
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Max Out Your IRAs

life hacking Mar 24, 2023

It’s almost tax time.

And, believe it or not, the government is giving you a little extra time to do something very wise.

As you know, most activities that affect your 2022 taxes had to be completed in 2022. Income, expenses, deductions, charitable donations, etc for 2022 had to take place in 2022.

But there’s a contribution that the government gives you until tax time in 2023 to take advantage of.

It’s the contribution to your IRA - Individual Retirement Account.

For the 2022 tax year, both you and your spouse can contribute up to $6,000 to your IRA (or $7,000 if 50+).

And you still have time to make this contribution.

You can contribute to a Roth IRA (if your income qualifies) or a Traditional IRA.

A Roth IRA doesn’t save you on taxes in the short-term but it definitely does in the long-term. You make after-tax contributions now, but it grows tax free and you can withdraw tax free after age 59.5.

A Traditional IRA does save you on taxes in the short-term,...

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