Real Estate Investments

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Number of Chicago-area homes facing foreclosure rose in July

Tribune staff and wire report
7:48 a.m. CDT, August 9, 2012

Foreclosure activity in the Chicago area continued to be well ahead of its year-ago pace in July, as lenders put new homes into foreclosure and pushed through existing cases that languished fore more than a year while federal and state authorities investigated lenders’ foreclosure practices.

During July, 11,885 homes in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties received a foreclosure notice, RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday. Of that total, 5,374 homes entered the foreclosure process, while 3,274 were scheduled for a court-ordered sale and another 3,237 were repossessed by lenders and became bank-owned.

While the overall number is down from the 13,092 foreclosure notices issued in June, it is 37 percent higher than the level of activity in July 2011.

In Cook County alone, more than 7,500 properties began the foreclosure process during June and July.

The trend comes as banks work to make up for time lost last year as the mortgage-lending industry grappled with allegations that it had processed foreclosures without verifying documents.

The nation’s biggest mortgage lenders reached a $25 billion settlement in February with state officials, clearing the way for banks to address their backlog of unpaid mortgages.

On average, 104,000 homes have entered the foreclosure process each month going back to May. That’s well below the 178,000 per-month average in 2009, the year with the highest monthly average, RealtyTrac said.

The increase in homes entering the foreclosure process raises the possibility that more properties could end up being foreclosed upon in coming months. But of late, banks have been dialing back home repossessions and increasingly allowing the borrower to sell the home in a short sale. That’s when the bank agrees to accept less than what the seller owes on the mortgage.

Banks took back 21 percent fewer homes last month than in July last year, RealtyTrac said. Repossessions were down 1 percent from June. They’ve been down on an annual basis every month going back nearly two years.

“Lenders are much less likely now than they were even a year ago or two years ago to repossess a property after they’ve started the foreclosure process,” said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac.

Completing the foreclosure process can potentially open banks up to liability if they’re accused of improper procedures. And short sales, on average, sell for $25,000 more than a bank-owned property, Blomquist said.

As a result, lenders are much more likely to look for alternatives, such as a short sale, a loan modification or refinancing.

So far this year, home repossessions have averaged about 57,000 a month. That puts the nation on track for just under 700,000 completed foreclosures this year, below the 800,000 recorded in 2011.

The latest crop of homes entering the foreclosure process does not signal that there is a fresh wave of homeowners in distress and missing payments. The majority of the loans entering the foreclosure process are mortgages that date back to the housing bubble years, Blomquist said.

Even so, the increase in foreclosure-starts could boost the number of homes that end up on the market for sale at a sharp discount to other properties. That means, barring another outcome, many of the homes that entered the foreclosure pipeline in recent months could end up weighing down the values of nearby homes when they hit the market.

A stronger housing market could mitigate the impact of future foreclosures on home prices, and home sales are expected to end up ahead of last year. But many economists still say the market is years away from a full recovery.

The number of homes receiving foreclosure-related notices last month increased generally in states where the courts play a role in the foreclosure process. Among them: New Jersey, Florida, Ohio and Illinois.

Many homes on the foreclosure path were left in limbo in those states last year, while mortgage lenders sorted out the foreclosure abuse allegations.

In contrast, foreclosure activity was down sharply in Arizona and California, foreclosure hotbeds throughout the housing downturn, but states where the court does not factor into the foreclosure process.

That didn’t keep California from posting the nation’s highest foreclosure rate last month. One in every 325 households reported a foreclosure-related notice in July, more than twice the national average.

– Tribune staff reporter Mary Ellen Podmolik and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune

Bucktown’s six corners sees burst of development

(From Crain’s Chicago Business) — Bucktown’s busiest intersection may be getting a whole lot busier.

A local group is vying to transform the neighborhood’s tallest building, the 12-story Northwest Tower at 1600 N. Milwaukee Ave., into a boutique hotel. Across the street, the former Midwest Bank property is being redeveloped into retail space anchored by a Walgreens and a Caribou Coffee shop.

Just west of the well-known six corners intersection, where Milwaukee, North and Damen avenues converge, a restaurant with concert and event space is planned at a former auto body shop along North Avenue, while a new health club also is in the works.

The flurry of development activity demonstrates the desirability of urban retail markets at a time when other regions continue to struggle.

“It’s the closest thing you have to a downtown-type area on the North Side,” Paul Sajovec, chief of staff for Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd), says of the ward’s bustling intersection.

A joint venture of Donald Wilson, head of trading firm DRW Holdings LLC, and Chicago-based hotel developer AJ Capital Partners recently bought the note on the distressed Northwest Tower through a complicated deal involving two banks and two separate mortgages. The venture is expected to negotiate to take control of the tower from developer Krzysztof Karbowski, who faces foreclosure and has personal guarantees on the loans.

Mr. Wilson did not return a phone call, and AJ Capital CEO Ben Weprin declines to comment. Three years ago Mr. Karbowski proposed a 90-room hotel for the site, which is wedged between Milwaukee and Damen near a Blue Line el stop.

“It’s the trophy property in Bucktown that was at one time zoned for a boutique hotel,” says Keith Lord, president of Chicago-based Lord Financial Advisors LLC, whose debt-sale business sold the notes to the new venture.

A hotel would add a new element to the expanding retail scene in trendy Bucktown and Wicker Park neighborhoods.

“What’s terrific about the six corners intersection is that you’re drawing from a lot of income levels,” says Joe Seigle, a principal at JFS Realty Capital who is one of the developers of the restaurant and event space.

AJ Capital, which has hotels in the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean, also is redeveloping another 12-story distressed building. The firm is converting the former Days Inn at 1816 N. Clark St. in Lincoln Park into a boutique hotel expected to open early next year.

Buying the Northwest Tower notes was complicated by the financial woes of Mr. Karbowski. He faced a $4.5-million foreclosure suit from Harris Bank N.A. for a mortgage on the top 11 floors. Meanwhile, Mr. Karbowski’s Time Properties Inc. — which had a mortgage on the first floor from Chicago-based Lakeside Bank — filed for bankruptcy protection. Mr. Karbowski did not respond to messages.

Mr. Waguespack’s office had not immediately been approached by the Wilson-AJ Capital venture regarding a hotel project there. But Mr. Sajovec says the site has drawn inquiries from many prospective hotel developers in recent years.

“People definitely are interested in it,” Mr. Sajovec says. “It would have a lot of positive synergy with the surrounding retail in the area.”

Despite the 1929 building’s upside as a hotel, the project won’t be easy, even after the venture negotiates with Mr. Karbowski.

People familiar with the property say the Art Deco building’s interior has small rooms that are poorly suited for a modern hotel. While retrofitting the interior, the developers probably will be required to preserve the historic look of the exterior, such as the facade and window work.

Mr. Karbowski’s proposal encountered community opposition. The alderman’s office opposed a zoning permit for the hotel in 2008 because of a lack of specifics from Mr. Karbowski, who had never developed a hotel. Mr. Sajovec says concerns mainly stemmed from a “lack of sophistication” in the planning, such as suggesting that an existing Sprint phone store remain on the ground floor of a hotel.

A zoning permit was granted in October 2008 with the condition that it would expire in three years. But Mr. Karbowski’s project, estimated to cost $15 million, never got beyond the planning stages. Today, the building’s occupants are the Sprint store and some office tenants, all on short-term leases.

In taking on two redevelopments at one of the most high-profile intersections in the city, Mr. Wilson continues to make his mark in real estate with opportunistic moves on financially failing properties.

A separate venture of Mr. Wilson is redeveloping the former Midwest Bank property at 1601 N. Milwaukee Ave., which was acquired through a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure deal last summer.

Walgreens will open a drugstore in the 15,500-square-foot two-story former bank building. The developers gained approval from the city to replace the building’s dark windows with clear ones that show off the ornate ceiling, says David Nelson, senior portfolio manager at DRW.

In the bank’s former parking lot at 1611 N. Milwaukee Ave., AT&T and Caribou Coffee have signed leases for a new structure with about 11,000 square feet of retail space. Mr. Nelson says both retailers are building out their stores and that two spaces remain available.

Mr. Wilson’s venture bought the property’s $13.2-million loan from PrivateBank & Trust Co. for an unknown amount, then took control through a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure from the previous owner, a venture led by Jon Goldman of CG Development Group LLC, which acquired the property for $18.4 million in 2008.

At 2040 W. North Ave., a venture led by Marc Realty principal Larry Weiner is planning a health club that would be its sixth location. The venture, Chicago Athletic Clubs LLC, has clubs in Evanston, Lincoln Park, the West Loop, Lakeview and Lincoln Square.

Mr. Weiner bought the Bucktown property last September for $2.6 million and is working to finalize city approval for his plans.

At 2033-35 W. North Ave., on the opposite side of the street in Wicker Park, Mr. Seigle and Nick Moretti are redeveloping a 9,300-square-foot former auto body garage into a Chicago Chop Shop restaurant with 5,000 square feet of event space in the back. They spent nearly $1 million to close on the two-story, 1913 building in July and plan to begin a gut rehab in September.

The Chicago Chop Shop will occupy the storefront space, serving deli sandwiches in the daytime and small-plate dinners at night. Venue, the name of the event space, will be available for concerts, art shows and other events. There will be at least 400 seats, the developers say.

“The demographics of the neighborhood make it ideal for a flexible space that can be used by a lot of different people,” says Mr. Moretti, a vice-president of leasing and retail development at Chicago-based First American Properties Inc.

10 Reasons To Buy a Home

Brett Arends explains why owning a home is a good thing. Provided by THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Enough with the doom and gloom about homeownership.

Sure, maybe there’s more pain to come in the housing market. But when Time magazine starts running covers that declare “Owning a home may no longer make economic sense,” it’s time to say: Enough is enough. This is what “capitulation” looks like. Everyone has given up.

After all, at the peak of the bubble five years ago, Time had a different take. “Home Sweet Home,” declared its cover then, as it celebrated the boom and asked: “Will your house make your rich?”

But it’s not enough just to be contrarian. So here are 10 reasons why it’s good to buy a home.

1. You can get a good deal. Especially if you play hardball. This is a buyer’s market. Most of the other buyers have now vanished, as the tax credits on purchases have just expired. We’re four to five years into the biggest housing bust in modern history. And prices have come down a long way— about 30% from their peak, according to Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Index, which tracks home prices in 20 big cities. Yes, it’s mixed. New York is only down 20%. Arizona has halved. Will prices fall further? Sure, they could. You’ll never catch the bottom. It doesn’t really matter so much in the long haul.

Where is fair value? Fund manager Jeremy Grantham at GMO, who predicted the bust with remarkable accuracy, said two years ago that home prices needed to fall another 17% to reach fair value in relation to household incomes. Case-Shiller since then: Down 18%.

2. Mortgages are cheap. You can get a 30-year loan for around 4.3%. What’s not to like? These are the lowest rates on record. As recently as two years ago they were about 6.3%. That drop slashes your monthly repayment by a fifth. If inflation picks up, you won’t see these mortgage rates again in your lifetime. And if we get deflation, and rates fall further, you can refi.

3. You’ll save on taxes. You can deduct the mortgage interest from your income taxes. You can deduct your real estate taxes. And you’ll get a tax break on capital gains—if any—when you sell. Sure, you’ll need to do your math. You’ll only get the income tax break if you itemize your deductions, and many people may be better off taking the standard deduction instead. The breaks are more valuable the more you earn, and the bigger your mortgage. But many people will find that these tax breaks mean owning costs them less, often a lot less, than renting.

4. It’ll be yours. You can have the kitchen and bathrooms you want. You can move the walls, build an extension—zoning permitted—or paint everything bright orange. Few landlords are so indulgent; for renters, these types of changes are often impossible. You’ll feel better about your own place if you own it than if you rent. Many years ago, when I was working for a political campaign in England, I toured a working-class northern town. Mrs. Thatcher had just begun selling off public housing to the tenants. “You can tell the ones that have been bought,” said my local guide. “They’ve painted the front door. It’s the first thing people do when they buy.” It was a small sign that said something big.

5. You’ll get a better home. In many parts of the country it can be really hard to find a good rental. All the best places are sold as condos. Money talks. Once again, this is a case by case issue: In Miami right now there are so many vacant luxury condos that owners will rent them out for a fraction of the cost of owning. But few places are so favored. Generally speaking, if you want the best home in the best neighborhood, you’re better off buying.

6. It offers some inflation protection. No, it’s not perfect. But studies by Professor Karl “Chip” Case (of Case-Shiller), and others, suggest that over the long-term housing has tended to beat inflation by a couple of percentage points a year. That’s valuable inflation insurance, especially if you’re young and raising a family and thinking about the next 30 or 40 years. In the recent past, inflation-protected government bonds, or TIPS, offered an easier form of inflation insurance. But yields there have plummeted of late. That also makes homeownership look a little better by contrast.

7. It’s risk capital. No, your home isn’t the stock market and you shouldn’t view it as the way to get rich. But if the economy does surprise us all and start booming, sooner or later real estate prices will head up again, too. One lesson from the last few years is that stocks are incredibly hard for most normal people to own in large quantities—for practical as well as psychological reasons. Equity in a home is another way of linking part of your portfolio to the long-term growth of the economy—if it happens—and still managing to sleep at night.

8. It’s forced savings. If you can rent an apartment for $2,000 month instead of buying one for $2,400 a month, renting may make sense. But will you save that $400 for your future? A lot of people won’t. Most, I dare say. Once again, you have to do your math, but the part of your mortgage payment that goes to principal repayment isn’t a cost. You’re just paying yourself by building equity. As a forced monthly saving, it’s a good discipline.

9. There is a lot to choose from. There is a glut of homes in most of the country. The National Association of Realtors puts the current inventory at around 4 million homes. That’s below last year’s peak, but well above typical levels, and enough for about a year’s worth of sales. More keeping coming onto the market, too, as the banks slowly unload their inventory of unsold properties. That means great choice, as well as great prices.

10. Sooner or later, the market will clear. Demand and supply will meet. The population is forecast to grow by more than 100 million people over the next 40 years. That means maybe 40 million new households looking for homes. Meanwhile, this housing glut will work itself out. Many of the homes will be bought. But many more will simply be destroyed—either deliberately, or by inaction. This is already happening. Even two years ago, when I toured the housing slump in western Florida, I saw bankrupt condo developments that were fast becoming derelict. And, finally, a lot of the “glut” simply won’t matter: It’s concentrated in a few areas, like Florida and Nevada. Unless you live there, the glut won’t have any long-term impact on housing supply in your town.

Preparing for deflation and inflation risks

Yes, we have prices going down in the Chicago and Southern Florida markets. Short term they might go lower (low income areas) but Long Term my estimate is that they will definetely go up. Am I concern about deflation? No, the guys handeling the economy understand how bad it is and they are sending the right signals to the market. The Japanese experience during the 90’s is something that everyone has fresh in their minds. 

Long term I am ready for the Inflation to come: trillions of paper bills in th economy. My strategy: plenty of rental housing and good stocks in leader companies in their category.

Why my desperation to buy and buy more Cheap Rental Housing supply? Because you can lock payments for 30 years at interest rates below real inflation now. Those payments are FIXED for 30 years and rents only with the inflation effect will go up and up. Am I clear enough?–20100804,0,1127859.column

30-year interest rates hit a new record low

WASHINGTON – Dec. 4, 2009 – The average interest rate for a 30-year mortgage dropped to a record low of 4.71 percent this week, pushed down by an aggressive government campaign to reduce borrowing costs.

The rate, published Thursday by Freddie Mac, is the lowest since the mortgage finance company began tracking the data in 1971. The previous record of 4.78 percent was set during the week ending April 30 and matched last week.

The Federal Reserve is pumping $1.25 trillion into mortgage-backed securities to try to bring down mortgage rates, but that money is set to run out next spring. The goal of the program is to make homebuying more affordable and prop up the housing market.

Despite the government support, qualifying for a loan is still tough. Lenders have tightened their standards dramatically, so the best rates are available to those with solid credit and a 20 percent downpayment.

Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders across the country. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a given day, often tracking yields on long-term Treasury bonds.

This week’s drop reflects a rush of investors into the security of government debt after concerns about financial trouble in Dubai drove investors to safe harbors. But rates climbed back later in the week, and analysts say they are likely to remain volatile.

“There are no guarantees that mortgage rates are going to stay at these low levels,” said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at

And millions of American families have not been able to take advantage of them, particularly in the areas where home prices have fallen the most.

About 11 million households, or 23 percent of homeowners with a mortgage, owe more on their home loans than their house is currently worth according to First American CoreLogic, a real estate information company.

That makes refinancing difficult.

While the government has launched a program designed to help these “underwater” borrowers, only about 140,000 homeowners have used it so far.

In Orlando, mortgage broker Chris Brown says the low rates are a boon to first-time homebuyers who can qualify for a loan. But he says he isn’t getting much business from homeowners looking to refinance.

“Most of the people that could refinance probably have” done so, he said. “Rates have been artificially low for quite some time.”

The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low of 4.27 percent, from 4.29 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.

Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.19 percent, up from 4.18 percent a week earlier. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 4.25 percent from 4.35 percent.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount.

The nationwide fee for loans in Freddie Mac’s survey averaged 0.7 points for 30-year loans. The fee averaged 0.6 points for 15-year, five-year and one-year loans.

Buyers and homeowners who want to refinance are picking up their phones. Mortgage applications rose 2 percent last week from a week earlier, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday, driven by a more than 4 percent increase in purchase applications and a nearly 2 percent increase in applications to refinance existing loans.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press, Alan Zibel, AP real estate writer. All rights reserved.

Some reasons to be optimistic in this economy

Freeway Sign - A Brighter Future
MIAMI – Nov. 30, 2009 – In a hopeful sign for the economy, the number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits fell below 500,000 last week for the first time since January. In addition, consumer spending also picked up in October, and new-home sales hit their highest point in more than a year.

Combined, the news suggested that the economy should be able to sustain at least a modest rebound, even as some economists have worried that the country might be at risk of slipping back into recession.

There were no local or state figures released with the reports.

The number of people filing first-time claims for jobless aid fell by 35,000 to 466,000, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That was the fewest since September of last year.

Still, analysts noted that jobless claims would have to drop to near 400,000 for several weeks to signal actual growth in employment.

New-home sales rose 6.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 430,000 from an upwardly revised 405,000 in September. Economists had expected a pace of 410,000 and said the boost was driven by home shoppers acting before lawmakers decided this month to extend a tax credit for first-time buyers and expand it to some existing homeowners.

Consumer spending also rose 0.7 percent last month, following a 0.6 percent drop in September, the Commerce Department said. It was the best showing since a big 1.3 percent jump in August when the government’s now-defunct Cash for Clunkers programs enticed people to buy cars.

“When taken all together, the reports still paint a picture of a slow economic recovery,” said Mark Vitner, an economist at Wells Fargo.

One such sign was that orders for costly manufactured goods fell unexpectedly last month.

Much of October’s weakness came from a big drop for goods related to defense. Excluding those, orders for other types of manufactured goods rose slightly. Still, the overall performance was weaker than economists had expected.

Some analysts also cautioned against reading too much into the sharp drop in unemployment claims.

They noted that part of the improvement reflected large seasonal adjustment factors. Excluding those adjustments, claims rose.

Most economists say the recovery will remain so weak and job creation so slight that the unemployment rate could top 10.5 percent by mid-2010.

Florida’s unemployment rate in October was 11.2 percent, and some economists expect the jobless rate to stay in the double digits through 2012.

Still, taken together, the reports on jobless claims, consumer spending and home sales were encouraging, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 30.6 points on light volume to close at 10,464.

Wednesday’s figures seemed to blunt some fears that consumers would clam up, sending the country into a “double-dip” recession.

Copyright © 2009 The Miami Herald. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. Miami Herald business reporter Jim Wyss and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

US$8,000 First Tax Home Buyer Tax Credit extended until April of 2010

Couple giving two young children piggyback rides smiling
Congress has finally extended the first time home buyer tax credit into 2010. President Obama signed the bill into law yesterday. Here are the specifics so you can see if you qualify:

– You need to have your contract ready by April 10th, 2010
– You need to close on this purchase by July 1st, 2010
– First time home buyers are defined as anyone who has not owned a home for the past 3 years.
– If you will buy in 2009 you will get your US$8,000 tax credit after you file your 2009 Tax Returns in 2010.
– If you will buy in 2010 you will get your US$8,000 tax credit after you file your 2010 Tax Returns in 2011.
– If you own your home for more than 5 years and you want to buy a second one, you will receive a US$6,500 tax credit.
– The credit decreases for buyers who earn between $125,000 and $145,000 for single buyers and between $225,000 and $245,000 for home buyers filing jointly. The amount of the tax credit decreases as his/her income approaches the maximum limit. Home buyers earning more than the maximum qualifying income—over $145,000 for singles and over $245,000 for couples are not eligible for the credit.
– The purchase price of the home must be less than $800,000.

Text me or give me a call if you have questions 847-962-0923. You can also email me to:


“Be a millionaire with Real Estate in Half an Hour or your money back guarantee”, a quick comment about those midnight infomercials.

Retro TV Commercial

A few weeks after a tremendous amount of traveling, I couldn’t sleep very well so I started zipping the remote at 3 a.m. and I was amazed/annoyed!!! There were a bunch of guys talking about these “Magic Real Estate courses” with zero money down, no credit, and no income necessary to buy, rent, sell or flip showing all these amazing homes, cars, beautiful women, beaches, boats, all the “things that we dream about”. You just need to pull out your credit card and call now!!!

It came to my attention since I do Real Estate for a living. I bought a couple of those courses to see the “magic formulas” and I found out that there was a lot of marketing and not as much substance. The advertisement alone looks to me misleading: “you can buy even if your credit score is horrible, if you filed bankruptcy or if you do not have a job” It reminded me of the factors that caused the Real Estate bubble and of the “car salesmen” of Real Estate who are a disgrace to the profession. It reminds me of a happy family that is being cheated and disappointed by a “consultant” who has no idea of reliable advice.

So is anyone ready to deal with vacancies, evictions, liability issues and housing repairs with no money down and no reserves? Is anyone ready to find good financing, deal with appraisal issues and markets that go upside down?… A housewife who barely has a high school diploma or a guy who can barely handle arithmetic is ready to handle million dollar deals. Sorry, but I am little bit skeptical. Licensed Realtors and Mortgage Loan Officers, many of whom have college educations, got many people in trouble with loans that they couldn’t afford. I think it might be irresponsible to suggest Real Estate as an easy business for many people. Even if they tell you “Yes, but there is a 1-800 number and you can ask everything there to dedicated specialists”… oh really? Someone in some town of Arizona is going to tell me how to deal with problems in Waukegan, Illinois or in Hialeah, Florida?

The people who read my blog are people that I love: friends or clients. I do not want them or you to get ripped off. In the same way that there are no magical pills to make you lose weight, there is no secret $199 mail course that can teach you how to be a millionaire in 30 minutes. Let’s get real please!

Here are some points that you should consider when investing in Real Estate:

-Do you homework: understand all the specs of every single deal, since all are different!!! Crunch the numbers, study the market, statistics, trends, demographics, etc. Do not let computer software tell you an undisputable truth.

-Be on top of things. One of these gurus said that “collection is automatic”. Really? So if I put “any tenants” I do not need to worry that they won’t pay and that the income will flow from their checking account to yours. Again, Really? I wonder if he understands the word “lay off”, bad character or unemployment. Also, I did not hear anything regarding building reserves to cushion your vacancies or evictions or foreclosures.
Build a healthy portfolio of income generating properties takes time. It does not happen automatically or overnight.

-Be your own property manager “hands on” to get to know the business. If you never handled these matters you need to learn the trade like an apprentice. You cannot hire a Property Manager if you do not know what it is involved. Like all of the midnight TV guys… he might rip you off.

-Get a specialist who you trust and who has a verifiable success record in Real Estate Investment. You do not need to use me, but you need someone to walk you through the first deals so you can ride the bike alone on your own. If you get bankrupt on the first or second deal, there will not be many more to come.

Real Estate Investment is great. You can make a lot of money, but it is not for everyone. You need to be “hands on”, detail oriented, cost cautious, knowledgeable and hard working. I know these infomercial guys hate “hard work” (that is why they sell courses on TV) but there is no other magic way. You need to work hard and learn the trade before you will actually switch into automatic pilot. Four years ago in the middle of the Real Estate Forum I was called an “Old timer” and “Risk Adverse Old School Investor” by a bunch of South Florida’s fancy investors. Yes, I proudly am. Guess what??? My Real Estate portfolio in this current crisis has a positive cash flow… 2 out of 4 of those guys filed for bankruptcy last year, the other 2 are in serious trouble. Like Anthony Robbins says: “Massive Success is the best revenge”.

I would love to get a phone call from you to talk about Real Estate. I hope you are doing well with your investments and do not forget to have fun with them.

Have a great and profitable week!


Pssst…. Have you seen interest rates recently? I have an updated to the hour chart below on the right side of the blog, if you want to take the pulse to the 30 years-fixed.

The blog about Real Estate Investing

Hi! and thanks for reading my blog. My name is German Llanos and I am a passionate Real Estate Agent in Illinois and Florida. I help people to build wealth through Real Estate. I have been doing this since 2004 and it has been great!

Many of the people who invested following my advice now they enjoy a solid positive cash flow portfolio despite the current crisis. Many people who lost lots of money with the stockmarket now they are turning around and appreciating solid asset/cash flow based investments.

I do what I preach. I am investor myself and having extra passive income is great specially during times of unceirtancy. One thing is for sure, people have always needed housing. You may be able to live without having a GE stock but certainly you will need a roof to protect you from the rain and the cold (specially in Chicago!).

This blog is about that. I want to be able to communicate with my clients, friends and anybody interesed in hearing about news and ideas to invest and profit from Real Estate. This blog is also about making dreams come true and I am not only talking about the American Dream of be a homeowner. I am talking about enjoyable retirement, financial freedom and mental peace.

Welcome to my blog! Hope you enjoy and participate!

German Llanos

The good side of the economical crisis

german_11This crisis made me rethink the ways that I was living life. First of all I started to save. I remember when I wanted to buy anything in the past. I used to wait some time and then save some money and then buy. During the last two decades the “I want it now mentality” was busted by all the credit available… just charge it to your Visa or your Amex… you will pay it later. Well, there is no free lunch so many people are deep in debt now. I stopped spending so my revolving balances are going lower and lower. It really feels like a cleaning diet… and this is a good thing.

I stopped wasting so much. From food to clothing I started thinking that we only can drive one car at a time so we might not need so many toys. In my garage there is a Toyota now which replaced an expensive BMW… which is almost worse as a high maintenance bad girlfriend. I save tons of money in gas and the parts are also cheaper. My company feels the difference too. I stopped spending in costly conference trips to Vegas and started to review all my expense accounts. The result is a much efficient performance of the operation. I tell you this: you do not review your expenses much during good times but during bad times it is good to tight the belt a little bit.

Finally I started to appreciate walks in the park with my wife, cooking at home and having a good cup of coffee with friends. Guess what? This crisis made me lose weight since I am not going to too many fancy restaurants anymore and also my personal relations improved.
This crisis will not be forever and soon we will see that sales will come back and we will be facing a new economical expansion, we do not need to be economists to understand that but I want to get the best teachings of these hard times though: build reserves for the bad times, do not spend in stuff that you do not need and enjoy the simple things in life… usually those are free.
My friends have an amazing week! Thanks for reading the blog!