How am I doing? 2nd Quarter Progress Report

Scott CostelloAll, Blog 16 Comments

Every 3 months or so I like to go back and take a look at what I’ve accomplished.  It’s a good way to see how I have progressed in my quest at becoming a successful, full time investor.  This exercise really helps me figure out if I’ve been spending my time on tasks that will lead to my goal or if I am wasting my time.   I’m going to run a two part review, one for my real estate related items and the next to update how my blog is doing.

Reading Books

I slowed down a bit reading books the last three months.  It’s not that I wasn’t reading though, it’s because it took me a while to get through the latest book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini.  The book was really good and I learned a lot from it, but it was just very technical.  I will have a book review about it in the near future.  In all I read the following books..

So even though it took me over a month to get through Influence, I’m still keeping up with my 1 book a month goal that I set back in December.

Sending Out Probate Mailers

The last three months I’ve only sent out two sets of mailers because I wanted to wait 8 weeks from the time the probate files where issued as opposed to the 4 weeks I started out doing.  This caused me to not send any letters out in April.  Over all I believe I took a step backwards in terms of progress and momentum.  Here are the stats for the last 3 months

Letters and Postcards

This quarter I wanted to try and do more testing of different letters and chose a new, shorter letter that I had and did a split test.  I also tried hand writing some of the addresses and compare that to printing out the addresses directly.  I sent out a total of 165 Letters.  85 of them using the Ron Mead letter and 80 using the alternate letter.

85 Ron Mead Letters

  • 8 Responses
  • 8% Response rate
  • 0 Motivated
  • 1 Not very happy
  • 3 Not interested in selling
  • 2 Take me off the mailing list
  • 2 Interested in selling but have a realtor and looking for retail price.

Hand Written Envelopes Vs. Printer Printed Envelopes

  • 4 Responses from each

Overall Stats

  • 4.8% Response rate
  • 0% Motivated

I also decided to go back and resend postcards to those people I sent letters to back in November and December.

  • 166 Postcards sent
  • 1 response
  • 0 interested

In conclusion I did not do a real good job of staying consistent with my mailings and fell off track big time.  I got extremely frustrated with trying to keep track of all my lists because the number of lists grows by one each and every month.  Sometimes you’ll get a call from somebody 4 months later and you won’t know which list they came from and have to go searching threw them all.  This is what prompted me to create my own program (SI Lead Manager) that I’m still working on but getting really close to finishing thanks to some great beta testers!

Networking With Like Minded People

One of the things I wanted to do this year was get more involved with people who are actually investing.  I wanted to establish a “support” group where I could bring any problems to and get help.  I already have a great support group with all of you and you guys/gals are the reason I’ve gotten as far as I have.  To be successful though, I believed I needed some local people who I could talk to or either team up with to lead me through a transaction in Northern NJ.   I think I’ve accomplished this during the 2nd quarter of 2010.

Real Estate License

I haven’t mentioned this much over the past few months because at first I was in the process of switching brokerages and I needed to get my old broker to send me my license and deactivate myself from his control.  This took a lot longer then expected.

However it gave me some time to think about why I really needed my license and if it’s worth it to actually keep it.  The $1200 to $2000 yearly bills are quite steep at this point when I haven’t gotten any deals.   Over the past few months I haven’t really had a need for it and I believe I could use some of my current connections to get access to the mls if I need it.  If you may recall, about two weeks before I got my own access a friend of mine let me use his access.  I’m going to ask him if I could use it again and if I get a yes, I’m going to just let my license fall away.  What does everyone else thing?

Scott Costello
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Comments 16

  1. With the license issue, I agree that you should let it go. I once had a license too, however I didn't go as far as hanging it with a broker. When you can get the MLS access you need without it, there isn't much need for one. Unless you can get a retail listing/referrals here and there. Also, I don't know about NJ, but in IL there were a ton of legal obligations that hindered a licensee/RE investor. If NJ's the same, you can release yourself of that liability that comes with the license by letting it go.

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  3. Being an agent is overrated by far anywhere I have ever heard of. Having connections to agents is important yes being one is just a P.I.T.A. that's more trouble than it's worth.

  4. If you can get MLS access with someone on a consistent basis, like being an assistant like Kelly spoke about in her blog post… then I think it would make sense to let the license drop. My first thought was “what a shame to waste the licensing education” but it really isn't a waste…you'll still have the knowledge. 🙂

  5. I've got to disagree on this one. You've already put in the time and money to get your license, why let it go?

    When I started investing the first thing I did was get my license. I began working with buyers and taking a few listings, while this was not my ultimate goal it helped me learn the real estate business more and helped me pay the bills while I continued to pursue my investment carreer.

    Why not hang on to it so you can possibly get a listing or two, or at least make some money on referrals. With probates you are going to run into alot of sellers wanting retail, why not capitalize on these? I just picked up a $1,000 referral check last week for a deal I sent to an agent.

    Longer term, as you start to buy and sell more, you can list all your own properties and save thousands on the commissions. Plus if you start to go after listed properties, like REO's, you can grab a commission on the buy side too.

    If you start to work on short sales you are going to need to list most of them, you can do this on your own. Also you can pull commissions out of your short sale deals too…. even when you are buying them.

    Ok, sorry for the book, but I think there are alot more advantages to having a license than just MLS access.

  6. I appreciate that advice Matt. I will admit that what you said are pretty much the reason why I got my license and the reasons why I'm debating whether to keep it or not. So far I have found it to be a pain in the butt having to take off days of work in order to go to the mandatory trainings.

    Getting some money from listings however is not what I want to do as I don't need money right now to get by. What I do need is more time and listings will just take away from that. I agree however that the experience is a good thing.

    I've gone back and forth all weekend with this issue. Maybe it's worth keeping my license for 1 full year before I decided what to do with it. Right now however it's only money going out.

  7. So far all I know is having to take off from my J.O.B. to go to the training classes is a P.I.T.A. for sure

  8. Scott,

    You have access to the MLS, but how much are you using it? While probate will ultimately be a great way to go, why not utilize the MLS in the mean time. Start looking for properties as a more proactive approach while waiting for sellers to call in. Also, I'm still getting probate calls even though I haven't mailed anything in months. Going to look at a property tonight. I know Ron talks about only sending out 1 letter and postcard, but maybe try sending out a 6 month final response letter. If your up for it, we can jump on skype and run through some ideas.

    It seems like your in a bit of a quagmire and may need something to push through the log jam. Call me out if I am off base.

  9. Scott! All that studying…bummer. I would keep it for the credibility. I would keep it for the independence of not having to ask someone to use their mls access. I would use it to network, to find properties before the average joe, to be on the inside. I would also refer stuff out, list my own projects, write my own offers. I am finding it a HUGE pain in the neck to get my agent to write offers WHEN I want. I missed out on several deals so far just from that alone!! AND I worked this whole weekend…..didn't even have BBQ……I went shopping for mansions 🙂 without an agent with my special master keys. (I don't have my license yet, waiting to take the state exam) If I had to wait for an agent on the 4th when I wanted to see the property, then I would be sunk. I had to wait for today to ask my agent to write the offers. If I had my license, I would have submitted the offers on the SPOT!! Steve Cook says, “you can't steal in slow motion!” I'm not marketing yet, no letters or postcards. I still am making deals off of the MLS so my area is different than yours. I think I am just too much of a control freak 🙂 to not be licensed.

  10. I understand what you are saying Kelly. It's definitely a plus to have the license as long as you use it. I feel like I'm wasting money with the way I've been using it so far. I guess the problem is actually just me

  11. definitely a quagmire my friend!

    I'm going to download skype right after I finish this reply because for one reason or another I keep either putting it off or forgetting.

  12. Scott, you work harder than most folks I know. Perhaps its like the first probate letters, or first seller call, or any number of 1st things. I suggest looking at the MLS find a property within your criteria and get an offer in on it. Who cares if your 30k lower then list, just get the offer in by next Wednesday. Get the momentum going. Best thing my coach ever made me do was get that first offer in by a deadline. I got flatly rejected, but ever offer since then gets easier and easier. Your much better at this stuff than I am, so I think you will really get the ball rolling.

  13. It's funny you say that because I feel like I don't work hard at all and feel I waste to much time LOL. Thanks for that though it means a lot.

    I made the call at noon and thanks for sending me a text, it really helped. I'm also going to take you up on the suggestion and make an offer by next wednesday on an MLS house.

  14. kelly,
    I ran into the same problem with my agent. I got him convinced to let me write the offers to save him time. I setup the showing and write the offer. It saves me a lot of grief. Eventually I will hire that part out, but for now, it is good experience. I do utilize his time quite a bit, but only for non time sensitive items.


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