Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Virginia Court Rules And Procedures

See the list of rules and procedures for Virginia Courts below.

§ 8.01-126. Summons for unlawful detainer issued by magistrate or clerk or judge of a general district court.
A. In any case when possession of any house, land or tenement is unlawfully detained by the person in possession thereof, the landlord, his agent, attorney, or other person, entitled to the possession may present to a magistrate or a clerk or judge of a general district court a statement under oath of the facts which authorize the removal of the tenant or other person in possession, describing such premises; and thereupon such magistrate, clerk or judge shall issue his summons against the person or persons named in such affidavit. The process issued upon any such summons issued by a magistrate, clerk or judge may be served as provided in § 8.01-293, 8.01-296, or 8.01-299. When issued by a magistrate it may be returned to and the case heard and determined by the judge of a general district court. If the summons for unlawful detainer is filed to terminate a tenancy pursuant to the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act (§ 55-248.2 et seq.), the initial hearing on such summons shall occur as soon as practicable, but not more than 21 days from the date of filing. If the case cannot be heard within 21 days from the date of filing, the initial hearing shall be held as soon as practicable. If the plaintiff requests that the initial hearing be set on a date later than 21 days from the date of filing, the initial hearing shall be set on a date the plaintiff is available that is also available for the court. Such summons shall be served at least 10 days before the return day thereof.
B. Notwithstanding any other rule of court or provision of law to the contrary, the plaintiff in an unlawful detainer case may submit into evidence a photocopy of a properly executed paper document or paper printout of an electronically stored document including a copy of the original lease or other documents, provided that the plaintiff provides an affidavit or sworn testimony that the copy of such document is a true and accurate copy of the original lease. An attorney or agent of the landlord or managing agent may present such affidavit into evidence.
C. Notwithstanding any other rule of court or provision of law to the contrary, when the defendant does not make an appearance in court, the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney or agent may include in the affidavit entered into evidence pursuant to subsection B a statement of the amount of outstanding rent, late charges, attorney fees, and any other charges or damages due as of the date of the hearing. Upon request of the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney or agent, if the court determines that the affidavit accurately sets forth the amount due the plaintiff, the court shall enter a judgment for such amount in addition to entering an order of possession for the premises.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Our Member and Very Good Friend, Walter Crosby Died.

I have some very bad news to tell you. Our good friend Walter Crosby died. He passed away November 16th which was just after we saw him at the meeting. I was wondering why he hadn't been around because almost always either Walt, his wife Carol or both of them were at our meeting.

I spoke with Carol. She was in a nursing home for rehabilitation services because she broke her hip. Walt was back home and was feeling bad. His kids were telling him to go to the hospital but he was being stubborn and didn't want to. He later died.

Carol never got to tell Walt goodbye. That's the one thing I struggled with when my dad died. He passed quickly as well. One day I'm talking to him and the next day he's dead. All I could think was wish that God gave me just one more day to sit down and talk with Dad about politics like we used to do and tell him how much I loved him. A moment I would have cherished dearly as all other similar moments were taken for granted.

As you may know, when a family member / business partner passes their death is often not the only thing that has to be dealt with. In the case of my dad, there were many things in the business that he took care of and we were left not knowing what was going on or exactly how to proceed. There was a rather large learning curve that had to happen for us to pick the pieces up and continue.

REI of Virginia is not only an educational organization but we are an extended family.  We are there to give a helping hand to our members whenever they need help. My heart goes out to Carol and her family in their time of need. If there is anything you can do for Carol please give her a helping hand. I can imagine that she will need some help picking up the pieces in one instance or another with their business.

Walt was a great guy. He was in the military. A few of our last conversations were about Deuce And a Half trucks. He knew allot about them. He was also a former HVAC mechanic and helped me solve some issues I had.

Please come and show your respect. His services will be at Unity of Roanoke Valley. The address is 3300 Green Ridge Rd, Roanoke VA 24019. It will be this Sunday December 15th at 3:00 pm.

Directions Click Here:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cox Home Security For You And Or Your Tenants

I don't have time to write much right now. I hope you all have a few minutes here and there to put some time towards looking into what happens to real estate in periods of inflation and deflation. That article I wrote and the link provided is essentially a beginner crash course on the subject. It was very well received as I had at least 60 emails from our members regarding the subject.

If you read it and were able to understand it you're a long way there. If you didn't you are more than welcome to ask me questions and I'll help bring you up to speed. Once you understand the impact of inflation and deflation you are armed with one of a few tools needed to read the future in our industry. Other tools include understanding the impact of population fluctuation, the basics of supply and demand, and cycles that happen over and over in our industry.

Educated investors win in times of uncertainty. They win big. And everyone else loses. This group is all about making ourselves money through our collective knowledge. We hit it on every angle. It's essentially an ongoing masters degree program for the intellectually superior. And it's fun so it doesn't even seem like we're learning.

This week we're going to have our vendor style meeting with a local rep for Cox Home Security named Laura who will be talking about their product for your own home and or middle to upper class rental properties as an upgrade that can potentially justify higher rents.

Essentially their product isn't only an alarm system that can send you photo and video of what's happening at your house but it also can help you save money by setting up rules for lighting and heating that can be managed right from your smartphone.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Read The Future For Real Estate

This is a picture of Weimar Germany during their period of Hyperinflation. Wheelbarrows of money bought a loaf of bread. People used money for wallpaper because it was cheaper than using wallpaper.

Serious condition? Yes, that's very serious. Much more serious than the United States Great Depression. And Germanys hyperinflation wasn't the worst in history. As a matter of fact it was the 5th worse. The worse was Hungary when rated on a scale of the average daily inflation rate.

Hyperinflation has happened time and time again in history, each of which were caused by the government printing massive amounts of excess money which devalues the currency. It's often used as another way to tax the people without them knowing it's happening. Your money is worth less due to inflation. More money in the system makes your one dollar worth less than one dollar as there is more to go around. Less money in the system makes your one dollar worth more than one dollar as they are harder to come by. The government has preached to the people that a little inflation every year is good. Good for who? Them or you?

I'll give you a list of a few of the countries that have suffered hyperinflation over the past 90 or so years. Hungary, Zimbabwe, Yugoslavia, Germany, Greece, China 2 times, Danzig, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Taiwan, Peru, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Ukraine, Poland, Congo (Zaire), Russia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Soviet Union (prior to Russia), Georgia and Tajikistan. Many of these have been since the 1970's.

So, yes, it has happened many times in history and there is plenty of history to determine how and why it happens.

Typically hyperinflation takes place about 5 to 9 years after the representative government has printed additional currency with nothing to back it as the United States has done countless times over the past few years. And interest rates have been kept very low for a number of years now to hold off the inevitable.

So what does inflation have to do with Real Estate?

Stable Currency: If there were no inflation and no deflation than the price of real estate would remain relatively stable. It would have ups and downs based on population, supply and demand as a result of population fluctuation, and other cyclical events. Drastic change one way or another can be very scary. Massive wealth is made during times of drastic change.  Massive wealth is lost as well during times of drastic change.

A stable currency is not a Fiat currency as we currently have that's backed on nothing but the worlds personal perception. Rather it's a currency that is backed on a globally traded equity such as a precious metal. All fiat currencies in the past have failed. That's right. ALL. EVERY SINGLE ONE. And there have been many.

Those who are not positioned correctly will suffer tremendously. Those who wish to protect themselves will spend time understanding inflation or at least follow people who you are confident that do. That's why I'm writing this article for the group. I would like to start an ongoing dialogue on the subject. I'm no expert but I am learning about it and have a pretty good grasp on how we are affected by it.

Hyperinflation: During hyperinflation on the front side real estate goes up in value. The cost of all goods go up in value as the dollar won't buy as much as it used to each and every day it decreases in value due to the inflation. Mortgage rates increase as they reflect interest rates and interest rates tend to go up with inflation. Rents increase some but not comparitively to afford the higher adjustable mortgage rates.

Tenants that are on fixed incomes such as the elderly and recipients of disability checks will suffer the most and landlords who rent to them will find great difficulty in obtaining rent.

Landlords who use year to year leases and have mortgages will suffer.  They would be better off with month to month leases as they can adjust the rent as needed when adjustable rates drastically increase.

A moderating factor on the back side of hyperinflation is that when mortgage rates go too high people will stop taking out home loans and and the supply of available property will increase significantly causing a big pop of the housing bubble hyperinflation quickly creates as home prices drastically drop in value.

I have been a strong believer that the United States will face hyperinflation due to our politicians inability to adequately control their spending of our money.  My beliefs are based on historical events and if you know history you can read the future in many cases as we all know history repeats itself quite frequently.

Here's another look on what will happen regarding inflation as a result what they have done to us. This analyst has an interesting spin on the subject and feels more or less that people will suffer but it won't be as a result of hyperinflation but rather a result of a necessary pay down of the debt. They cover how the debt will be paid down and with who's "entitlements".

It's a long article that I didn't feel like reading but wanted to know about so I took the cheesy way out by copy and pasting it into a word document and then highlighted it all and had my computer read it to me.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Landlord Nightmare Stories Coming Up This Tuesday Near You…

First let me give thanks to our President Andy Stowasser for doing such a great job with setting up some really informative and fun meetings. It's not an easy job, I know that from personal experience.

This week he scheduled a meeting called Landlord Nightmare Stories. In this meeting we get to talk about the worst or most interesting things we've individually bumped into as landlords so we can learn from each other. It helps to hear what kinds of problems other landlords have encountered so you know how to handle it when it happens to you.

Did you have a con artist nightmare tenant put you through the ringer with the judge while they shacked up in your place and got free rent for months? How about a neighbor who tapped into your rental's power lines and ran your bill up for months before you caught them? Or a tenant that you had a past relationship with that turned the court room into another Judge Judy show? What about this, some real mean tenants that wanted to move and you told them that they will need to honor the lease agreement so they tried to burn your house to the ground? Or a few squatter families that lived in your condemned house that refused to move and the city wouldn't do anything about it so they filled all 11 toilets and 4 bathtubs with their feces and smeared it all over the walls when the landlord eventually forced them out?

Ohh, Whoops, that's my low income landlord drama…

There's an easy way and a hard way to manage your property. The easy way is to come to REI this Tuesday and listen to the stories that our members tell. Many of us have run into a number of interesting, irritating and or legal problems in our profession. It's good to hear these stories and how they were handled as it gives you an understanding on what to do or not do if and when it happens to you.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Rules Of Thumb for Property Rehabilitation and Maintenance

It's a simple fact that there are many people out there that want to get one over on you. It is unfortunate but I see the entire culture of the United States changing into everyone trying to get one over on the other guy.

Real Estate as an Industry has it's fair share of dirt balls around every corner. There are safeguards you can put in place to protect yourself. We often do this with LLC's, insurance, leases, etc.

One area of your business that can drain a huge pile of cash out of your company is your rehab and maintenance services. That's why it's so important for you to know how much money it should cost to do any repair to your property that you may need to do.

How do you know when your contractor or maintenance people are charging you too much to rehab a house or paint a room? Or when they come up with some figures that look legit but the reality is that they cushioned the materials so much they will be walking away with fat pockets when they are done with you.

Our experts Andy Stowasser and Dennis Miller will be at REI this Tuesday to give us a seminar on the general rules of thumb in our area regarding the pricing of jobs. They will take two different angles. The cost of fixing up a property to flip condition and the cost of fixing up a property to rental condition. That includes each and every aspect. From a new roof to flooring.

These guys did this meeting before and it was so popular that we asked them to do it again. They will also be providing us with a simple cheat sheet that you can use on each job to ensure that you are being treated fairly by your contractor.

Ladies, and gentlemen, this is not a meeting to miss. I can't think of one single meeting that we have had that has been more beneficial in helping our members save money. As you know, contractors prices are often all over the board. Don't let them stick it to you again. This meeting alone could save you thousands in 2014. Go ahead and reschedule your plans if you have to.

Come on down and have a good time with some of the nicest people in Roanoke. By Far, The Largest Neighborhood Organization in the city. Real Estate Investors of Virginia.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Binding Arbitration Clause In Your Lease

I'm happy to say we have a great meeting lined up this week. Roanoke's real estate law expert, Ross Hart, will be at our meeting next week to talk about binding arbitration clauses in your lease.

REI of Virginia's interest came about a few years ago when member CB Knox mentioned his use of an arbitration agreement in his lease. Later Dan and I went to a meeting legal aid was holding on nursing home law and they mentioned how difficult it was for them to sue any of the nursing homes these days because it has become standard practice for them to include binding arbitration in all of their contracts with the elderly.

This further confirmed the benefit of these clauses. The benefit being protection against being sued and potentially losing a suit that could end up costing you treble damages. A law that permits the court to triple the amount of damages awarded in cases where the defendant willfully acted in a prohibited way. Kind of like tenants refusing to pay rent when they know they owe it. But it doesn't seem to go both ways. This law is most often used in landlord tenant law against the landlord. Not against the tenant.

So lets say that the court determines that what you did requires all of the rent paid to date to be returned to the tenant. Maybe they are saying you rented a place without a valid certificate of occupancy. And they are confusing the difference between a certificate of occupancy and a rental certificate. And the total to the date of court is $5,000. If treble damages are awarded, the court is allowing judgement against you for $15,000!

I can't think of a better person to come and talk about this to our group than Ross. His family has been heavily involved with legal aid in Roanoke since its inception.

This isn't a ploy to get around legal aid. It's nothing more than an attempt to protect your interest. REI of Virginia does nothing more than preach being a good honest and ethical business person and following the direction of the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act, weather you feel it is right or not. It's best to attempt to change a law you don't agree with than to break it as breaking it can come with some pretty serious consequences at times.

Regarding the binding arbitration agreement, it's important that it exists in all cases with exception of nonpayment of rent as it wouldn't be advisable to hold up the termination of a lease knowing that in most cases you will never be paid. That's why most landlords don't do mediation when asked to in court. Under nonpayment of rent conditions it is necessary to go ahead and terminate the lease agreement and get the judges final stamp of approval if the residents don't move out of the place given the 5 day pay or quit notice as they are required to do.

Ross is going to cover benefits and disadvantages of a binding arbitration clause. Maybe he'll throw in some information that tells us what the difference is between arbitration and mediation in non compliance of the resolution. What happens if you have to go to arbitration when the tenant is causing neighborhood drama? Or when they brought unauthorized pets in the unit and refuse to pay a non refundable pet fee and pet rent? What are the steps required by the landlord? What happens if there is an agreement made in arbitration and the tenant doesn't comply? What are the next steps for the landlord?

How about if the tenant has a grievance with the landlord… What is the process they have to take to bring the landlord to arbitration to develop a solution to what they see as a breech of our agreement? What happens if they hold their rent via tenants assertion with the court when it clearly states in the lease that arbitration is required?

Who pays for the arbitration in both cases and what amount of time is involved in waiting for an arbitrator? I'll bet it could be much faster than court. What if the resident doesn't show up to arbitration?

Good stuff this week people. Come on out to our weekly shindig. The mic will be open and if you have any other real estate law questions, bring them along with you. Ross knows his stuff…

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Final Vote On New Storm Water Utility Bill This Monday

3 city councilmen are up for re election soon. I'm curious how the general public will feel about them after they make their vote to give every homeowner and business owner in the city a new utility bill due to their lack of planning over the years and frivolous spending on pet projects, giving away $10 dollar buildings and taxpayer money to friends for their private businesses.

I'm guessing that they will have strong support and may even run unopposed. That's one of the problems with the city not having much owner occupied property and business owners primarily doing business in the city but living outside of it.

I saw an interesting lease clause in Jeffery Taylor's Lease Clause contest that would likely make their constituents squirm.

“ If any Federal, State, City, or any other governmental entity imposes any fee, assessment, or similar charge against the premises during the term of this contract, said fee, assessment, or similar charge shall be considered additional rent to be paid by the LESSEE.”

As Newton said, To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. However people don't always see that opposite reaction. Rents will rise due to the higher cost of doing business whether a statement such as that is in the lease or not.

Costs of doing business always pass through a company and land square in the hands of the end user. Too bad that most people are too economically ignorant to understand that. If they did they would be telling the city to make budget cuts rather than passing this cost along to property owners. I sat on the city council budget committee and can tell you from personal experience that there are many millions of dollars that can be cut from frivolous waste that would not cost even one city employee job.

The city council is supposed to be giving their final vote on your new utility bill this Monday. City council chambers at 7pm as usual.

Please see the message below from Dan:

Was downtown getting a permit today and talked to the city engineer that is the main guy with info on the water runoff project.
He said the council will pass it at the council meeting this coming Monday.I will be out of town but I strongly believe that REI should have another good showing and voice our concerns.Roger ,myself and a couple of other members spoke at the first meeting and we need to hit them again with all the waste and lack of funding set aside for this when they knew about it for 10 years.
Please forward to the group as this will happen before our meeting on tuesday.


Monday, November 11, 2013

How To Care For Your Rental Unit Addendum & Results Of A Lease Clause Contest

One of our favorite speakers, Ray Alcorn, is not able to make it to our meeting this week and has rescheduled. However, you don't want to miss this meeting because it will end up directly resulting in more money in your pocket.

This week we will have a group discussion on a few topics pertaining to leases, maintenance calls and your money.

Tenants can waste a significant amount of your time and hard earned money due to a lack of knowledge of minor general maintenance procedures that are required of any occupant of a house. There is a solution that will keep your money in your pocket if handled correctly and I am in the process of developing a lease addendum to do it.

Common Problems:

*  I'm sure you have heard tenants call you over the years about things such as an electrical outlet that is not working and it turns out that the breaker was off.  That simple mistake of theirs just cost you time and money.

*  Or a light that doesn't work and it was the light bulb, not the light.

* How about this, I have had this one happen to me multiple times. A tenant calls about their power not working and you send maintenance out there and it's because they got it cut off. LOL. Jokes on you though because they again just wasted your valuable time and money.

*  Have you ever had a tenant call you and tell you that their toilet is stopped up and your maintenance goes out there and finds that they are using one of those little thin plungers from the dollar store and a couple pumps of yours that pushes allot of water and air in the pipe instantly fixes the problem.

*  How about getting a call for a shower that is stopped up and it turns out to be nothing more than their hair as you pour down some Drano and it is instantly cleared.

* Have you ever had a tenant call you saying they saw a roach or some other kind of bug?

In order to do this properly, it's important at the start of a lease for your residents to sign something that indicates that all of the pipes drain freely, there are no bugs in the place, it is free of mold and everything is in proper working condition. This would be part of a Rental Checklist that they will complete.

What is also given along with the lease is a "How To Maintain Your Rental Unit Addendum".  It will explain what they need to do BEFORE calling maintenance. 

Smart landlords don't plunge toilets, don't change light bulbs, don't flip breakers, don't pour Drano and don't apply pest control gel bait when their tenants are perfectly capable of doing so. I'm not running a hotel. These people live in the house over a long period of time and there is some very minor maintenance that is required by them. I'll handle the big stuff.

So at this meeting we're going to have a conversation about common maintenance calls that we as a group get so they can be partially eliminated. I will use what we come up with to develop the maintenance addendum.

We will also talk about a list of tips that our member Doug Turner developed to give to tenants, most of which are along the lines of house rules and procedures.

And in addition we will have a discussion on an Effective Lease Clause Contest that Jeffery Taylor of Mr. Landlord had. Some interesting results.

Going to be an action packed meeting at REI Tuesday night at Shakers. Bring your friends, family and girlfriend / boyfriend. Don't miss it.

Last Week Property Management Software And Bobbed Deuces


Last week we had a presentation by me on property management software, Landlord Max. I personally feel that there is no part of my job that is more boring than the accounting part. So if you were bored with my presentation, don't worry, so was I.

I'm more of the sales kind of person and prefer finding and negotiating deals.

SOOO, instead of putting up a picture of Landlord Max I decided to put up a picture of something much more entertaining. A picture of my last deal. That's a 1969 M35A2C, otherwise known as a "Bobbed Deuce And A Half" with a Hercules Whistler turbo multi fuel engine.

So I've been looking for one of those for a few months now. The bobbed part is because the last set of wheels and frame has been cut off and a shorter M105 Military Trailer bed has been put on as the pickup truck bed. The multi fuel engine runs on anything like diesel, gas, kerosene, used motor oil, cooking fryer grease, etc. A Good Prepper Truck.

If you look online you will see these "bobbed deuces" starting at around $15,000 on up. Some tough negotiation with the bars I bought it from in Charlotte NC accompanied with some of my hard closing techniques and I turned that 15K deal into a $3,800 truck. I got every last dollar I could off that truck and then put it up for bid on UShip to have it delivered to me on a heavy equipment trailer.

That is one BIG truck. Need a ladder to get up in it. The door handle is face high. The tires alone are 4 feet high. Believer it or not, it's allot bigger than it looks in the picture.

So you ask WHY, Why a Deuce Dallas? Do you have a little man complex or something? The answer is YES I DO. I'm a Big man with a Little man complex.

And This Is What They Do:

Monday, November 4, 2013

This Week We Will Learn About Landlord Max Property Management Software

Last time we had a meeting about property management software it was about Quicken Rental Property Manager which was done by Phil Givens. Dan uses that software as well and added some points.

This time we are going to talk about Landlord Max. Before I purchased Landlord Max I did extensive research on the various software available. I decided I wanted software that was NOT web based as many of them are. The web based property management software comes with a monthly bill. I have enough of those.

I also wanted something that was very easy to use because I don't have the time to spend days or months trying to learn some software.

So my options were limited to Rent Tracker, Quicken Rental Property Manager, Real Tools, Tenant File (the one Jeffrey Taylor - Mr. Landlord -  uses), and Landlord Max.

I read and watched videos on websites such as TheREIBrain.com and settled on Landlord Max because the price was right and it seemed to do almost everything I wanted it to do other than automatically generating pay or quit notices which would be nice. BTW, that review website has discounts on most if not all of the software that they review. The runner up would have been Tenant File for me but the higher price knocked it out back in the day when I was researching this software.

So this week I'm going to do a review of what I have learned about Landlord Max over the years. I never read the user manual so I'm sure I'm not using it to it's fullest potential. I just started inputting data and generating reports that can help you figure out quite a bit about your company and give you something quick and easy to give your accountant. To see some of the videos on Landlord Max Click Here.

If you come to the meeting I'll show you how to use it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

This Week at REI ~ Behr Paint - What Colors To Use Where and Why & Tips And Tricks

At our last paint related meeting with Valspar they got a little long winded about several things and didn't get to some important topics pertaining to paint that we were going to talk about.

This REI meeting we will have a Behr Paint Representative who will be covering reasons to use certain colors and when they are done we will break into a conversation that will save you money on what is probably your most expensive maintenance expense. Repainting your properties.

Let me ask you some questions that we will answer through our collective experience.

1. What is the best way to paint a fire damaged property?
2. Are their any tips or tricks regarding painting a property that had smokers? Just painting as usual requires several coats to get adequate coverage.
3. Are there any particular colors that cover better than others?
4. What are the benefits to painting all of the interiors on your rentals the exact same color?
5. If you need to paint a damaged wood floor, are there any steps that should be taken prior to doing so? And what type of paint should be used?
6. Is their any fast way of ensuring a one coat paint job in a house?
7. What is the fastest and neatest way to paint trim, doors and cabinets?

Being aware of the intricacies, tips and tricks used by professionals in the know will save you hundreds to thousands of dollars per year. REI is all about saving you money.  Don't miss this meeting! Money saved is money earned…

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ronald Dennis, Notice Of Trespass


Friday, October 18, 2013

Tenants Being Naughty... / NEW REALITY SHOW!!!

So anyone know what that is? It's the leg of my deck. DUHHH,  LOL, Just kidding. That is marijuana. That is my tenants in the West End being naughty.

I told you from time to time I would add some of my stories of the weekly drama of being a low income landlord.

So lets go ahead and get this out of the way. Dallas, Did You Do A Background Check On Your Tenants? The answer is YES. I do both a civil and criminal background check on every tenant that lives in any of my units. If they have violent crimes or evictions they are automatically out of luck. Any string of crimes within the past few years will also get them looking for another place. But the past is the past and if a tenant had some minor drug charges or whatever many years ago I feel that they should have the opportunity to redeem themselves. I can tell you that I'm no angel and was quite the problem child years ago. However I am a grown man now and am a completely different person than what I was 15-20 years ago.

 So the pot plants were at one of my multifamily houses. One of my tenants that is a transsexual called me up and was very disturbed. She felt that another one of the tenants in the house stuck those marijuana plants outside her door to get her in trouble. She said that there are many people out there that hate transsexuals and felt that they were trying to get her arrested. I told her to calm down and don't worry about it, I'll take care of it.

So I drove over there and she showed me where they put them. She moved them off the back deck to the bottom of the deck so it would be away from her apartment. I told her to not worry about it. Honestly I think they put them outside for sun and didn't think she used the back door. I doubt that one of them were trying to get her in trouble but who knows.

Many of them were sitting on the front porch so just after I called the cops I went around the house and started taking pictures. I like to take pictures of any repairs I want done and text them to my contractor whenever I am at one of my properties. One of them asked why I was taking pictures of the house. They probably thought I was a code enforcer and were going to run me off. I told them that I am the landlord and am taking pictures of what I want fixed. You see, I don't know many of my tenants other than some communication on the phone or by text. Most of them have never seen me as my contractor rents all of my places.

I asked them who's pot plants are around the back of the house. They obviously all denied it and played stupid. I told them I could care less about what they do but I don't ever want to see anyone breaking the law on my property. Honestly I could care less about marijuana but it is still illegal in Virginia and as long as it is illegal I don't want it on my property.

So a few cop cars showed up. I think they all want to see it. An interesting call. But they pretty much had the same feeling that I do. They asked if I wanted them to search the house. I told them no. I really would just like to send a message to whoever it was that doing anything illegal on my property will not be tolerated. So they destroyed it right there and we left the broken pot on the ground so they would see what happens when they misbehave. The End.

Being a low income landlord comes with drama. It's not that bad though. I can definitely say that my life is very interesting. Most of the time I do enjoy being a source of affordable housing in the inner city. 


It's going to be allot of fun! We're putting together a few pilot shows. Essentially the subject matter will be low income landlording. We will show some of the drama that we have to deal with. We will expose what cities across the country are doing to the tax payer. And we'll show people how to make millions doing exactly what we are doing. FUN STUFF!

Inner City Landlording…

I read an interesting list of inner city landlording tips that Jeffery Taylor with http://www.mrlandlord.com  sent out for the author of the ebook Building Wealth With Inner City Rentals.

It's really important to the community and your property values for low income landlords to have some involvement in the neighborhood. Visit your local neighborhood association from time to time and let people know who you are. I like to donate some money to the groups I attend from time to time for their special events. It's important for small business owners working within the community to be a part of it and show our goodwill.  To show that we aren't that evil rich landlord that so many think.

Sure, there are a few oddballs in the neighborhood groups that will hate you no matter what because you are a landlord but don't worry about them because they are not an adequate representation of the community. Most will like you and will end up getting a much different impression of how things work when you explain to them what can and can't legally be done.

I feel confident in saying that the neighborhoods that I rent property in feel that I am "one of the good landlords" as I have been told many times. That is mainly due to my involvement in the community. Many of the points listed below for inner city landlords are things I have been doing for a long time now.

If anyone is interested in finding out what neighborhood groups are in your areas of rentals, reply to this email with the roads they are on and I'll tell you. I can also lead you to the date and time of the next meeting.


Did you know inner city landlords have super powers? They can easily amass equity with very little effort, but all too often they don't even try.  You could improve the neighborhood surrounding your rental property by practicing some of the habits of highly effective inner city landlords.  You'll see improvements when you:

1 - Respect your hood - Simply being an inner city landlord grants you a little celebrity; use it to esteem others. 

2 - Show up after something bad happens - This act of kindness directly helps your bottom line through lower vacancy rates and a higher sense of loyalty.

3 - Fight disorder within and beyond their property lines - Disorder creates an atmosphere that encourages illegal activities. The neighborhood's appearance is your business; advocate for it.

4 - Harness the collective voice of Property Owners - Disorder flourishes when property owners don't communicate.  Collect the contact information of all the landlords on your block.

5 - Be a Landlord's Landlord - Encourage other landlords to work towards the common goal of a nicer neighborhood. They will happily lend support if you take the lead.

Landlords that create safety also create equity.

6 - Support annual community-building traditions - Local events and festivals give neighbors an excellent excuse to meet each other. 

7 - Promote and circulate good news - Like blight and disorder, good news also has a snowball effect. Actively spread good news to help change perceptions of your neighborhood.

8 - Support local reputable businesses - Encourage residents to support local businesses that cater to them. Simultaneously, use the power of your collective voice to reduce the density of non-reputable businesses (liquor stores, massage parlors, etc.) that bring neighborhoods down.

Make a Difference - Make a Profit
When you practice these habits, you will help build momentum to overcome any problem! Changing a neighborhood is a marathon, not a sprint, so don't quit until your inner city neighborhood becomes the next big thing.

-- By Al Williamson, author of the eBook Building Wealth with Inner City Rentals  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

This Week We Will Be Talking About Rainwater Systems You Can Install For Potable or Non Potable Water

This week our guest speaker will be Rick Hall of Rainwater Management Systems. Rick is going to educate us on the different types of systems that are available to collect rainwater that can either be filtered and used for drinking water or non filtered which can be used on gardens. They also are experts in setting up grey water systems to multipurpose the water you use. For example, the water from your sink or shower or something gets filtered and reused to water your garden or reused in showers or whatever.

If you have a house that is on well water, these systems are good to have when your well runs dry and can be used instead of your well when the power goes out which could be for weeks in the case of some sort of national or local emergency to the energy grid such as a bad storm or worst case scenario, a sunburst or an electromagnetic bomb which is one of the worst feared forms of terrorism in todays day and age.

If you have been reading these emails you would know that Roanoke City Council also has a new Utility bill that they are planning on giving all homeowners. They plan to start charging you for all of the water that comes off your roof, driveway, sheds, etc. You get charged based on how much space those things take up on your properties.

If you set up one of these kinds of systems and big daddy approves it, you will be able to cut your storm water utility bill in half. You obviously wouldn't do it just for this purpose alone because you're not going to be able to get a good ROI on it. But it would be an added benefit.

Self Sustainability also has it's merit. To not have to rely on the government to be there for you in the case of emergency. You don't need it until you need it and then it's too late.

As the great artist Salvador Dali said, "Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings." REI is essentially a college level investment class that is fun and has no tests. We provide the knowledge for you to be well rounded within all aspects of our industry. Take the intelligence you gain and use it within your personal life and business endeavors.

Give yourself a mental vacation and come on out to our meeting Tuesday evening and enjoy intelligent conversation with like minded people.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's Tough Being A Low Income Landlord…

Ron Writing Up A Violation And Getting Ready To Trespass on my property
Bad Boy Ron Trespassing as I call over to him, Not So Fast Ron!
Ron on my property yelling at me as I take my court pictures, nice guy he is.
Being a low income landlord is a tough job that is filled with drama. You've got to have thick skin to do it and the ability to fight back when you are verbally or even potentially physically attacked by deadbeat tenants or code enforcement.

The picture you see is a picture I took of the angry code enforcer, Ronald Dennis. Ron and I am like Fire and Water. He is the fire as you can see in the picture below.

I never meant for it to be that way. It just is. He apparently didn’t like me right off the bat when he told me that I can not paint a kitchen floor and I told him I have every right to and he will have to take me to court if he disagrees with me.

I could tell by his nasty anti landlord attitude that we were starting out on the wrong foot. He said, all you landlords care about is money. It’s all about money for you Dallas... Wow, interesting how he can judge me like that when he doesn’t even know me. Also interesting considering the fact that I have a valid rental exemption certificate on every rental unit I have even though I don’t even have to participate in the program according to the case between the American Civil Liberties Union and Chesterfield Virginia.

I also am a Section 8 landlord so I have a rental inspection done on all of my units from them as well. And I have insurance inspections...  EVERY property I own is completely up to snuff. As a matter of fact, as a result of all of the inspections I have, I have some of the nicest houses in the low income neighborhoods since owner occupied property is not held to the same standards.

What a nasty mean spirited man Ron is. That picture shows Ron actually walking on my property when he already knows that he is trespassing if he steps foot on it. The nerve he has. He saw me sitting on the retaining wall at my house next door and stopped his car to look over the other house. And actually had the nerve to walk on my property and post a violation after already being notified that he would be criminally trespassing. Who the heck does this guy think he is? And then to yell at me as you see in the picture above to top it off?

I have to back up a minute, you see, Ron is not allowed to step foot on any of my properties anywhere as he has been maliciously attacking me for a long time now and I can't continue to live with this continual harassment. He has gone way above and beyond the call of duty.  He doesn't like me or my contractor who also has rental property and has been attacking us since Joanne Ellis left the Code Enforcement department.

The final straw just before the actual final straw was when I had my guys making room in one of my storage facilities. I had to pull out a bunch of left behind tenant belongings so I could make room for those stoves that Dan and I got. I had a trailer full of stoves and had a few more to get before I could load the tenant stuff on the trailer and take it to the dump. Within an hour of moving stuff out Ron went after my guys questioning them what I was doing with the stuff and demanding that it not be left there as if they didn't already know that from his frequent attacks.

This had been a regular thing with Ron, weekly violations for what my tenants were doing. It didn’t take more than a few hours and Ron would be jumping all over any issue that he saw at any of my properties. I had definitely been singled out by Ron and was on his hit list.

So I called him up and told him that he needs to leave my guys alone and demanded that he never attack them again. If he has problems he needs to contact me, not them. He said like he usually does, you landlords are always complaining about everything and how much he was sick of it.

I’ve got news for you buddy, I know you are close to your retirement and impatiently waiting for the day you can leave and get your pension but you WILL treat me with respect when you are on my property or you will never step foot on it again which is what ended up having to happen.

The final blow from Ron was a few months ago when an SUV plowed into my contractors rental property. It literally broke through the wall, hit his tenant and spun her around breaking her back in 2 places and destroying her jaw. When the car hit the next wall and stopped, the guy who was driving it still had his foot on the gas. The tire was on the poor girls leg spinning at full speed and burning the meat off of it. Imagine being woken up like that. WOW. It also threw her boyfriend who works for my contractor up against the wall and as he said, slung a TV at him. Their little baby was in a crib just a couple feet away and fortunately was left unharmed.

As you can imagine, this was a very traumatic experience for the family. And within minutes Ron was on the scene. He boisterously pushed his way into the house and immediately started taking pictures for court. While saying  how happy he was that he FINALLY can get access to the property. After he left he went over to the Hardees across the street and was bragging to everyone in there about how happy he was that he got into that rooming house so he can finally condemn it. Little did he know, a friend of mines maintenance people were in there and heard the whole thing.

You can’t just go around running your mouth where ever you are Ron because I know a lot more people than you think.

Ron has not been allowed to access this legal rooming house as it has a valid rental exemption certificate and the tenants are aware of their rights. This made Ron real mad because it doesn’t work well for his power trip when he is told no.

Ron’s complete disregard for this poor family who had their life completely and permanently turned upside down within a matter of minutes was the defining moment when both me and my contractor made the decision that Ron will never again step foot on our properties.

I called down to the Code Enforcement Department to have a conversation with Ron’s boss who agreed with what I initially thought that this is not behavior that was considered acceptable or promoted by the department. I’m not sure what kind of disciplinary action was taken but it’s crystal clear to me that whatever it was, Ron could care less about it considering the fact that he continues to walk on my property even after knowing that he is forbidden to do so.

Landlords in general are fearful of the code enforcement department. One landlord asked me “What if you really make Ron mad by giving him a trespassing notice.” My answer to that is I could care less. I keep my property in good condition and always support safety in my rental units. And who cares if Ron is mad at me anyway? It’s clear that he already is going after me every chance he gets. So what would be the difference if I made him even more angry?

This last throw it in my face thing he did by criminally walking on my property right in front of me is outrageous. He saw an old big screen television on the front porch that the tenants took out there to make room for their new TV and didn’t want to put on the street because I have told them already that they can only put “bulk trash” on the street every other week the night before bulk is picked up. So they tried to follow the rules not realizing that you are not allowed to put a TV or anything else on your porch under any circumstance in Roanoke City. And within a few hours of it being put out there Ron Dennis is giving violations as he usually does on my properties.

I have a question for the code enforcement department. Do you think that this type of behavior coincides with the original intent of the city ordinances? To harass it’s citizens? I would say we all know the answer to that.

I am curious how the Code Enforcement Department will handle this situation? Will Ron Dennis be continued to be allowed to walk on my property and continue to violate my constitutional rights? Do you see it as a simple and reasonable request for Ron to stay off my property and if he wants to send me a love letter to do it through the mail? How about continuing my initial request to have another code enforcer that isn't busy or one of the other 2 enforcers in SE to go to my houses if there is a problem? I'm working on trying to develop a solution to ending my continual harassment from Ron. I think the Code Enforcement Department should work together with me on this issue and protect me from him.

Monday, September 30, 2013

NASA Technologies That Result in Significant Home Energy Reduction

We have another knock it out of the park meeting lined up for this Tuesday. Our  guest speaker will be Dave Brubaker of Home Energy Products.

Dave's company specializes in products that lower people's utility bills. Many of which are products that were spun off developments of NASA.

Products that they promote include a heat reflecting product that reflects 97 percent of radiant heat ; an interesting box that hooks up to your breaker box and reduces sine waves which lowers your power bills and increases the life of your appliances as well as protecting from power surges; an eco friendly laundry system that requires no hot water, no laundry detergent, clothing drys 40 percent faster and saves about $43 a month on 8 loads of laundry; a Pure Heat product that heats 1,000 to 1,500 square feet on about a dollar per day and a product that hooks into your HVAC system that destroys VOC's, Odors, Bacteria, Viruses and molds and keeps your system free from mold and bacteria.

It's going to be a fun educational meeting this week. Come on down to Shakers and hang out with some good, like minded people…

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Correction - Our Speaker Tonight Is Travis Akins, Next Week Is Mark Page

Hi Everyone,

I told you last night that Mark Page would be talking to us tonight but I had my dates wrong. Mark will be next week.

Tonight will be Independent Travis Akins who is running for Roanoke City Sheriff against Republican Octavia Johnson and Democrat Tim Allen

As always, whenever possible we are fair to all candidates and hear everyone so we can make an educated vote on which candidate will be best for our businesses.

A great deal of our group consists of landlords. As a landlord we have 2 points of contact with the sheriff's department. One point is when we file an Unlawful Detainer or Warrant in Debt. At that point the courts set the case out about 3 weeks to allow for time for service. I have in the past had to file and request a speedy hearing due to a tenant I inherited from the seller of the property that was a threat to the health and safety of the surrounding neighbors as she tried to murder one of them and almost successfully did so.

I was told by the court that we can bump it up and I can get a hearing date in 2 weeks. That they could hear it right away but there had to be time for proper service. I personally feel that 2-3 weeks is allowing too much time for a deadbeat tenant to shack up in our property. This is one area that could be shaved down some.

Our second point of contact with the Sheriff's office is right after we finally get possession of the property. Many tenants hunker down and decide that they still won't leave. When they do this we have to file a Writ of Possession which is essentially setting a date for the Deputy Sheriff to come out to the house and help you remove the deadbeat tenant. It often takes 3 weeks from the date the Writ was filed to get the Deputy out there.

So in all we are looking at a month to a month and a half of time waiting on the Sheriff. That's a lot of money that Roanoke City Landlords are losing every month. Lets say the average rent is $700 and Octavia told us that there are 300 Unlawful detainers filed per month. That means that Roanoke City Landlords lose $210,000 every month waiting on the Sheriff's office.

I understand that there is no way that they can run right out there and serve the papers the next day. Especially with budget cuts. However I would like to see these numbers shaved down some. After all, Roanoke City Landlords are losing 2.5 million dollars per year waiting on service. That doesn't count all of the time the tenant already got out of us because they came up with some good excuse and we decided to give them the benefit of the doubt out of the goodness in our hearts.

So come on down tonight and lets hear Travis's stance on this and other subjects. It's super important that every candidate understands that there is an issue here so we can work together with them in the future on out of the box ideas to help landlords in the city.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Star City ~ The New Detroit …


Roanoke City council has been guilty of corruption on multiple occasions. The time will soon come where the citizens of this great city will become aware of what the city council is doing with their tax money and the law will hold them personally accountable for their actions on both civil and criminal levels.

Indisputable Information:

The city takes over 260 Million dollars from it's citizens every year in the form of taxation and fines. They then take a significant portion of this money and allocate it for their special interest programs and give it away to their friends.

Roanoke City has implemented a make a millionaire program where if you are able to become friends of the council, you are able to acquire buildings for only $10 dollars a piece. Here are a list of some of the recent shady deals done by the council that the general public isn't aware of as they don't pay attention to politics.

1. The city purchased the Old YMCA building for $2,856,200 and gave it away to a man who was charged for prescription fraud for $10 dollars.

2. The city gave a building that had a fair market value of at least $618,700 to Ed Walker to do with as he wishes. Stipulations are it can be Whatever he wants it to be. The city says there hasn't been much interest in the building so the $10 dollar deal was a fair deal.

3. Roanoke City renovated the City Market Building for approximately 10 Million Dollars and at the same time had a 10 Million Dollar shortfall in money for the schools that they said they had to recoup through implementing the highest meals tax in the country. People, they are the ones that give general guidance to and final approval of the budget. If they want 10 million in extra money for a special project, all they have to do is adjust the budget and take money away from the schools or public safety and the sheeple will be practically begging to give them more money.

4. The city decided to get in the golf course business so they purchased countryside. And they took a portion of that property that they spent your money on and gave it to a private business on a rent to own contract for only 30K which included the improvements such as a new horse barn, etc. This property was worth a couple million dollars before they lowered it to 700K last year potentially due to their 30K deal. Regardless, giving a 700K piece of property away for 30K is an outrage!

5. Average Real Estate property values in the city have dropped by 20% or more since the bubble popped. And in the process, the city council dropped many areas by no more than 2%. And in doing so they gave all city employees a pay raise of a couple percent. Then again in the following year another across the board 3% city employee pay raise while shooting for a 28.5 percent pay raise for themselves. That final pay raise turned out to be 10% for themselves. The Mayor now makes 23K a year which is only 2K below the state cap for the extremely part time position.

A couple of them even personally told me that they do not wish for tenants to ever be held accountable for their own actions. That they say we are the property owner so we will always be held personally responsible for what tenants do that is illegal or against Roanoke city code or ordinances.

The list goes on and on. Mark my words. Their wrongdoings will eventually catch up with them.

The city council continually works against the best interest of their constituents.  From giving away very expensive buildings and land for next to nothing to voting themselves massive pay raises in these tough economic times.

They think they are immune to both criminal and civil charges being held against them as they have a team of lawyers that will defend them at no cost out of their pocket.  The tax payer will unwillingly pay for their defense by the use of the city attorneys that are paid for with our dime.

It's best to always live your life to the highest moral and ethical manor. Bad Karma always comes back around and gets you.

Over & Under Improvements of Property - Efficiently Reaching Your Pot Of Gold

Ghetto Rainbow
We have another awesome meeting lined up this week. Our good friend and REI Member, Mark Page, has been an appraiser for many years. Mark will be sharing his knowledge and experience in how individuals over or under improve a project.

Does it pay to add that swimming pool in the backyard? Adding flocked wall paper in the living room? Adding a half bath off the Master bedroom? Replacing old aluminum windows with thermal efficient ones?

Mark knows what pays off with your flips and what doesn't.

Come on down to our weekly business / entertainment meeting and become a better investor. Roanoke's meeting that talks about lining your pockets. Your continual involvement with our group will directly result in you begin able to save money, make more money and become a multi millionaire in a rather short period of time if you choose to do so.

And if you don't care about making or saving money I can assure you that you will benefit by becoming friends with a group of nice educated investors that you can always count on to help you with any question you have that arises within your company.

Shakers Restaurant, Every Tuesday Evening 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Your Real Estate Property Taxes Are Too High And Roger Malouf Can Prove It!

I bet you just got your over inflated tax bills from our lovely government. We pay them as a tribute for all of the things that they constantly do for us. Just Kidding!

We ask for some very simple things and they absolutely won't have it. Won't even entertain the thought of working together with Roanoke landlords. They prefer to send us threat letters, fines and criminal court charges for what our tenants do. That's how they pay us back. And they say they don't feel that the tenant should ever be held accountable for their own actions. We should, as we are their landlords and the owner of the property of which they reside. Unbelievable…

Lets give our hand to Commissioner for Revenue hopeful, Roger Malouf as he is going to bat for us and every single citizen in Roanoke City. Taxes are too high in these trying times. Property values have significantly decreased and the city continues to tax you at close to the same rates they always have. Their greed for your money is relentless. It's time to put an end to it!

Roger will have 2 debates coming up regarding this issue. One will be September 25th and the other will be October 5th. Details will be coming.

Roger needs volunteers to give away water at the Greenway in Roanoke City. All you have to do is hand out bottles of cold water with information attached. We're trying to get the message out.

We need volunteers for week day evenings. Maybe 6:00pm to 7:30 or so. Saturdays somewhere between 11am and 2pm at Willey Drive… And other parks in the city at similar times. Your help is greatly appreciated. In all actuality you will be helping yourself as well as every citizen in Roanoke by giving out water. A nice and easy way to show people you care about Roanoke.

Hand out some Vote for Low Taxes water by contacting me and I'll get you in touch with Roger. I don't want to post his email on here for the spammers.

Spammers Click Here

REI of Virginia Inc. Teams Up With Roanoke's Rebuild Together Program To Help Veterans or Widows of Veterans!


Ladies and Gentlemen, REI Member Jim Arend, will be the House Captain for a Rebuilding Together program that we will be participating in.

We will have the opportunity to help one of about 15 Veterans or widows of Veterans this year by giving a helping hand, going to their house on November 9th and rehabbing it.

Jim did this last year with the Kiwanis Club and says it usually takes about a half a day… Rebuild selects the homes, provides all the materials and supplies, provides lunch and a T-Shirt with our name on it. REI will need a minimum of about 12 workers for that Saturday morning. Lets make this happen. Good positive PR for REI and an opportunity to show our support for those, or the widows of those who have fought for our freedom!

Your Good Karma Will Go A Long Way!

Roanoke City Develops A New Program To Lower Your New Stormwater Utility Bill

So you probably know by now that they city has developed a new utility bill. As if you don't already have enough with your water bill, electric bill, gas bill, phone bill, etc. You now will have a Stormwater Bill.

The city blames this bill on you. They say that the surface area of your house, your shed and your driveway, even if it is gravel, doesn't let water soak into the ground so you are causing runoff into the creeks and river which leads to a polluted waterway.

A few years back, Roanoke City dumped and buried cubic tons of hazardous waste and got caught. They now got caught dumping solid waste and you're at fault.

The reality is that the Water Authority and City now have a real big problem with dumping raw sewage into the Roanoke River and it's tributaries. Too bad they can't just tell the truth and say they need money to fix their problem. None of us want the waterways to be contaminated. Just don't pass the buck. Admit it.

The city now developed a new program that you can spend thousands doing and cut your Stormwater Bill by up to half. That's right, You can spend a few hundred to a few thousand and can cut your $45 dollar bill in two!

Here it is: Click Here

This Week Susan Lower On GIS Functionality - At Shakers Restaurant

This week we have special guest speaker, Susan Lower. Susan is the Director of Real Estate for Roanoke City Government.

Susan will be back with us this week to talk about the functionality of the NEW Roanoke City GIS. She is going to teach us how to use it and will cover what has been added and hopefully not subtracted.

I see some missing things like the ability to download the Geographical Information System database. Downloading the database is important as it allows us to come up with currant statistics on how many owner occupied property there is in a neighborhood vs. rentals. It also allows for lots of other useful statistical information. And for those real estate professionals who are setting up mailing lists to purchase a particular kind of property, the ability to download the database is critical.

Maybe it is still there. I don't know. Hopefully so. The one thing I can truly say that Roanoke City has done well with is the GIS. It is a very useful tool.

Last Week we had a fantastic meeting at Shakers. Let me tell you, I was really impressed with the restaurant. They handled our group very well. The waitstaff was very professional, the food was good and the atmosphere was exactly what we needed.

Susan and the guy she brought, sorry I forgot his name, covered the functionality of the new GIS. I was very happy to see that everything is still there and they hit another home run on this one!!! It is now even easier to operate and obtain most kinds of needed statistical information. Susan also gave us an idea of what was to come and it sounds great.

Friday, September 6, 2013


Ok, Thank You. Now that I have your attention I need to tell you something very important.

We now have a new meeting location. Our meeting time and day will remain the same. However instead of being at the Williamson El Rodeo, now our meetings will be at Shakers Restaurant, 1909 Valley View Blvd NW, Roanoke VA 24012. Yes, that is the Shakers over by the mall. Good food there! Prices aren't too bad.

We will have a different room there for the first few meetings and then they will move us over to a private room. I was very happy to hear that Andy pulled that one off.

Andy, Dan and I talked with the owner of El Rodeo last week. They pretty much implied that we were not their "good paying" customers and they would rather put them in the air conditioned side and put us in the heat since we weren't as important. I made her realize that the place was dead when we moved there a few years ago. The simple fact that we filled the parking lot every Tuesday gave people passing by the impression that the place was desirable. And that became the first place they thought about on other days when deciding where to go to eat. Branding 101 …

She responded to me that that is part of the problem. We filled the parking lot and there is no room for any of her good customers. I left at that point.

Dan and Andy can handle people like that better than I can so it was time for me to go before my mouth got me arrested. The owners then cut it back from a few weeks of being over there to 1 or 2 weeks but they already dug their own hole and now they are going to have to lay in it. I think this is their first restaurant venture and they have made a big mistake but we are now on our way to some better tasting food and a different environment at Shakers.

We have had many complaints from our membership over the deteriorating food condition and poor service by the wait staff. It is time to change…

So…. El Rodeo is on my email list and if you are reading this message this is your first notification that you were mean and we don't like mean people.  Best wishes for your future endeavors. Good bye.  We will call you too to let you know if you don't read this because we are NICE…


Come on down to our weekly shindig and spend some time with some good like minded people to listen and participate in our weekly entertainment / educational meetings.

EVERY Tuesday From 6:30 pm to about 8:00 pm

At Shakers Restaurant, 1909 Valley View Blvd NW,  Roanoke VA 24012

We'll See You There!

Monday, September 2, 2013

REI President, Andy Stowasser, Leading A Discussion On 3 of the Most Important Concepts To Consider When Refurbishing Property.

When renovating or flipping a house, or even buying one to rent out, what are the three most important concepts to consider? This fun and informative presentation will explore and answer those questions. Using the latest renovation project, we will also explore two business models that can be used by anyone, especially those who are new or looking to expand their business into real estate. For both investor and landlord this will be an evening to learn some new ideas, tips and tricks on making your projects better and to "think outside of the box."

Our meetings that are given by our members always seem to be the most fun. I'm really looking forward to this meeting because I know I will walk away with good tried and true information. I highly value information from our members who have "been there and done that". Our members who slipped through our recession unscathed. Andy is that guy. He's proven himself over the years to be a sophisticated investor with a tried and true business model that works!

I've been told by Andy's Realtor that he is one of, if not the best renovator in this area. I had an opportunity to see one of his rehabs a couple months ago but unfortunately I was tied up too deep with work to leave the office. I'll definitely find a way to squeeze out some time on his next one.

Come out to our Real Estate Investor Meeting this week and educate yourself while spending a little time with good, like minded people.

EVERY Tuesday From 6:30 pm to about 8:00 pm
At El Rodeo, 4017 Williamson Rd. Roanoke VA

*** We are currently looking for a new location so please be sure to keep an eye on where we are meeting because it will likely change soon. ***

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Roanoke City Plans On Making YOU Pay For The WATER AUTHORITIES Dumping of Raw Sewage In The River


The EPA wants our rivers and streams cleaned up.

A few of us were given a presentation regarding the new tax that the city plans on implementing to cover the costs of cleaning up the Water Authorities mess. As I recall, each property will be required to pay approximately 30 to 40 dollars per year. They have positioned their strategy to place blame on the Roanoke City homeowner. The city takes the position that your house and driveway and other structures such as sheds are not allowing water to soak in the ground and the runoff is the reason the waterways are polluted. I strongly question the number one contaminant of our waterways. And I can guarantee you that it's not raining fecal matter.

The Water Authority is dumping a massive amount of raw sewage into the rivers. Take a trip to Tinker Creek Park one day and you will see for yourself the huge grate chained on the ground where the creek meets the Roanoke River. On a number of occasions I have personally seen raw sewage shooting 8 feet in the air out of that grate and running down into Tinker Creek. They have lye spread on the ground around it. No way that will do anything with the amount of sewage that runs down that hill. It forms it's own tributary to the river.

I hate seeing all of the people play in the water whenever we have a big storm and the city floods. The Water Authorities raw sewage plant backs up as their lines have city storm water runoff draining into them.  These kids clearly don't know they're playing in raw sewage. The currant infrastructure can't handle large quantities of excess water. 

This is a problem that has to be straightened out but it kills me that the city pretends it is a result of the homeowners impervious surfaces and talks about pesticides and oil and such rather than the raw sewage issue that they have been covering up for a long time now.

The Draft Stormwater Ordinance - Click Here

Frank Is Going To Knock It Out Of The Park With A Section 8 Tool He Has Developed!!!

This Week it's all about Section 8. Our Member and Chief Technology Officer, Frank Erhartic, developed a new tool that will help you mathematically determine what's affordable for your Section 8 tenants. It takes everything into account including the utilities, number of bedrooms, etc. Is your rent too high? Or is it too low…

You're not going to want to miss this meeting. Go ahead and cancel any plans you had and come on down.

Maybe I can get Frank to tell me how I get my own page on Forbes…

On another note regarding the Housing Authorities Section 8 program, we had some discussion a couple of times regarding the program and how difficult it has been with one of the inspectors in particular. A police style my way or no way attitude and the no house will get a clean bill of health standard that had developed doesn't work for the Section 8 Program or the Landlords who participate in it.

I had a conference call with the leadership as they were concerned and do have an interest in the continual development of positive relationships with landlords in the program. So don't give up on it yet. After talking with them, I do strongly feel that they will make some changes in the program regarding their methods of communication with Section 8 landlords which will allow us to continue to move forward providing safe and healthy environments for Roanoke's low income residents. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

There Is No REI Group In The Country Like Ours!!!

Your Dump Truck Kind Of Looks Like This, It's Under CDL
Real Estate Investors of Virginia is diligently working on developing some great benefits for our Premium Members. One idea we came up with was to start buying items that Premium Members can use with their businesses. We just bought an old dump truck with only about 67,000 miles on it. It is currently getting a tuneup and some paint to stop the rust. We are looking for a good deal on a lowboy trailer, backhoe or skid steer loader, maybe a mini excavator, a dump trailer, soil pipe cutter, commercial ozone generator, power plumbers auger with 100 feet of cable and a cutting head, a brush cutter, jackhammer, maybe a ditch witch,  a towable lift or cherry picker, etc. We don't have much money so we will be getting these things slowly throughout time.

You will only be able to use these items if you are a Premium Member. REI of Virginia is interested in setting up some awesome benefits for our members. We are paid nothing for what we do!!! We are merely volunteers.  Your dues money goes back to helping out you and landlords in general in greater Roanoke. If you haven't signed up for Premium Membership yet, please contact me right away and I will lead you in the right direction if you don't already have Eric's contact info. I'm not putting it here on the internet as he will end up getting spammed.

Spammers Click Here 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Slash The Cost Of What Is Likely Your Largest Yearly Maintenance Expense…

This week we will be learning about what you probably spend the most amount of money on with your rental properties. Our guest speaker will be Larry Ray who is the territory manager for Valspar Paint.

Larry will be out to talk about Valspar but this meeting will be all about paint in general. Tips and tricks regarding painting for rental purposes and for flip purposes.

Let me ask you some questions that we will answer through our collective experience.

1. What is the best way to paint a fire damaged property?
2. Are their any tips or tricks regarding painting a property that had smokers? Just painting as usual requires several coats to get adequate coverage.
3. Are there any particular colors that cover better than others?
4. What are the benefits to painting all of the interiors on your rentals the exact same color?
5. If you need to paint a damaged wood floor, are there any steps that should be taken prior to doing so? And what type of paint should be used?
6. Is their any fast way of ensuring a one coat paint job in a house?
7. What is the fastest and neatest way to paint trim, doors and cabinets?

Being aware of the intricacies, tips and tricks used by professionals in the know will save you hundreds to thousands of dollars per year. REI is all about saving you money. After Larry's presentation we will break into a tips and tricks discussion. Don't miss this meeting! Money saved is money earned…

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Learn How To Save $ This Week By Using Roanoke Cities Tax Abatement Program…

This week at REI will be the week of showing you how to keep money in your pocket by using Roanoke Cities Tax Abatement program. Our guest speaker will be KC Bratton, appraiser for the Real Estate Valuation office. I have used this program many times and we used it on our REI Group Flip to benefit the buyer as it passes on to them.

Essentially the way it works is you give them a little money to apply for the program, they come out and look at your property before rehab and take plenty of pictures, count how many rooms you have, etc. They at that point in time assess the currant value of the structure and lower it to what it should be.

You then are required to fix it up to at least 40% greater value and they come back out and take another look when it's done. Depending on the exact location of the property, you don't have to pay taxes for 5 to 10 years on the additional value they assessed the property for. So if you buy a junker that is worth 20K and 5K is the land value you have 15K on the structure. Then they come back out and say that the structure is now worth 60K, you won't have to pay 40K of taxes for the next 5 to 10 years. Nice way to save some money.

This works out great for the city because when you fix up these eye sores, they can go around all of the surrounding property and increase the tax assessed value significantly which more than makes up for the deduction that you get. I like to look at this as an Old Neighbors helping the New Neighbor program. The may not be happy about their tax assessed values going up if they aren't selling but they sure would be when it's time to cash out.

If you are flipping your property it's absolutely essential that you are involved in this program since there are so many people that think that the tax assessed value is what the property should be worth. You then can get the value increased for the numbers to look good on the GIS.

Like all things, there are pros and cons:

1. Save a substantial amount of money over the next few years.
2. Raise the value of the whole neighborhood by putting some lipstick on that pig.
3. For flipping purposes, get the correct tax assessed value so people have a generality to go by.
4. The higher tax assessed value of the property certainly will affect a bank appraisers opinion to some degree. The more it's worth, the more you can borrow.

1. You have to get a permit even if you're doing nothing more than cosmetic work that doesn't require a permit. (Update) At the meeting they said you don't have to have a permit if only cosmetic but I have been required to do so.
2. They will take lots of pictures that will be used against you in court if you make non permitted changes. Everything you are doing has to be on that permit.
3. If you are buying to hold the property as a rental, and didn't get a permit because you weren't required to do so, they wouldn't know that it got fixed up in the first place so you would most likely continue to have low taxes. Their final assessment of your property will allow you low taxes for a few years. Maybe many more if they didn't know it happened.

Fun stuff people. I'm telling you both the positives and negatives of this program because you should know. As I said before, I like it and continue to use it therefore in my opinion in many cases, the pros outweigh the cons.

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