You’re interested in real estate investing because you seek passive income and long-term wealth. And perhaps you’ve considered investing in multifamily properties but you haven’t pursued it because you didn’t know how to get started.

In this article, I want to show you the blueprint to getting to your first apartment building deal. I believe that once you see the roadmap to your first deal, you will begin to believe that you, too, can do it.

How to Land Your First Apartment Building Deal

Step #1: Don’t sound like a newbie.

You have to use the right language when you speak to other professionals. You only have one chance to make a first impression. So if you call a broker and sound like a newbie, it will be difficult for you to convince him otherwise later.

This means you’ll have to educate yourself. Read everything you can on BiggerPockets. Check out all of the free resources, like the forums, podcasts, and blog. Read books. Eventually, it might mean that you invest in your education by purchasing a course or attending a seminar.

Either way, do your homework first. Learn the lingo, use the right words, and understand basic financial concepts.

Step #2: Get good at analyzing deals.

Real estate is a numbers game—the more offers you make, the more deals you do. Unfortunately, analyzing apartment building deals is more complex than analyzing a house flip or single family house rental.

I remember clearly when I got into apartment buildings back in 2007—it took me four hours to analyze a deal. Four hours! It took so long and was so overwhelming that I almost quit.

And then I discovered a better way. I call it “The 10-Minute Offer,” and it will allow you to make an offer on a deal you get from a broker within 10 minutes of getting the marketing package. It’s that powerful, and it will accelerate the progress you’ll make towards your first deal.

Related: Your Complete Guide to Analyzing a Property in Just 10 Minutes

And once you get a counter offer, it’s time to sharpen your pencil. Now you need a financial model that lets you determine exactly how much you can offer, taking into account the income and expenses, your investors, and the terms of your mortgage. It’s got to be easy to use and accommodate investors, but it also needs to be able to model more complex situations, like value-add scenarios or a cash-out refinance.

For some recommendations on a multifamily deal analyzer spreadsheet, see this Bigger Pockets forum post.

Here’s a side effect of getting good at analyzing deals: Once you’ve analyzed about a dozen deals, you will find that your confidence level will sky rocket.

One of my students, Nick, told me that his potential investors always asked him about his experience, and he didn’t have a good answer for them. But after a few weeks of analyzing deals, he went to his local REIA meeting and spoke to three potential investors who never asked him how many units he already had. It never came up! Why? Because he was speaking so confidently that it never occurred to these investors to ask about his experience.

That’s the difference confidence makes, and you build confidence by getting good at analyzing deals.

Step #3: Create deal flow.

Once you can analyze deals quickly and accurately, it’s time to put as many deals through the pipeline as possible. You can do that in a variety of ways, but the No. 1 way is through brokers.

That’s because their job is it to find, network, and know apartment building owners. They send cards and letters, make phone calls, and try to meet with these owners. When an owner is ready to sell, they will likely call one of these brokers who has built a relationship with them over the years.

There are other techniques, like sending letters and cold-calling, but the No. 1 way is brokers.

Related: The #1 Way To Find Great Apartment Building Deals

Step #4: Learn the secret to raising money.

The chicken-and-egg problem with apartment building investing goes something like this: “I don’t have a deal under contract, so I can’t go out and talk to investors.” Or, “I have a deal under contract, and now I don’t have enough time to find investors so that I can close.”

This is a real problem that will stop you dead in your tracks. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can get financial commitments from people LONG BEFORE you ever get a deal under contract. Once you have the majority of the money committed, you can make offers with confidence, and you have a very high chance of being able to close.

I’ve written extensively on BiggerPockets about raising money—if this is of interest to you, see these related articles:



Step #5: Avoid costly mistakes.

You’re going to make mistakes no matter what you do. You just want to take steps to avoid the kind where you lose your shirt. Here are some of the most common (but avoidable) mistakes newbies make with apartment building investing:

  • Buying in the wrong area
  • Not correctly analyzing a deal and overpaying
  • Choosing a deal that doesn’t have enough cash flow
  • Not having enough cash reserves
  • Not starting the money-raising process soon enough
  • Spending money too soon in the due diligence process
  • Not knowing your lender’s underwriting requirements up front

The best way to avoid these mistakes is to educate yourself and to surround yourself with experienced investors and/or hire a coach.

Step #6: Consider partnering on or wholesaling your first deal.

Don’t think that you have to have all of the money raised to get into apartment building investing. Absolutely not. In fact, many new investors get started by referring or wholesaling a deal or by partnering with someone.

I had a student who brought me a deal in Columbus. He found it, analyzed it, and was getting close to a verbal agreement around a number that made sense. He then called me up, and we determined that the deal was in fact going to work. We agreed on a $45,000 referral fee payable at closing, and I would take over from there.

This would let him say that he did a deal AND got paid $45K. Experience + getting paid = very cool.

Listen, if you can find a deal, properly analyze it, and negotiate around a number that makes sense, THAT has value. That’s something you can get paid for.


Many newbie investors don’t pursue apartment building investing as a viable option to achieve financial independence because of these three limiting beliefs:

  • “I don’t have the cash or credit.”
  • “No one’s going to take me seriously without a track record.”
  • “I don’t know how to get started and what to do next.”

I hope that this article dispels some of these limiting beliefs and gives you a map to help you visualize the road to doing your first apartment building deal.

Have you considered getting into multifamily investing? What’s holding you back?

Let’s chat in the comment section below!


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"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds and six, result misery" Charles Dickens

The question of "how will I afford to make the change" arises with every person considering self-employment.

Research shows that people who move easily and successfully into self employment have plans in place to guarantee some form of a positive cash flow or income stream during their initial start-up period. A general rule of thumb is that people feel they need a guaranteed lump sum that covers six months of living expenses.

An essential part of planning to become self-employed has to be an analysis of your financial situation. Outlined below are the three key steps you should take:

1. Calculate the personal expenses you need to cover A good idea when becoming self employed is to reduce your monthly living expenses as much as you reasonably can. This has to be an accurate calculation. You can not reduce rent payments (although despite you could change your mortgage to a lower payment plan), but you can put off a holiday this year. You can not reduce the heating bill, but you can eat out less often.

Start by completing a BID Survival Budget. BID stands for:

  • B asic needs eg mortgage payments or rent, house insurance, life insurance, gas, electricity, water, council tax, phone, car and housekeeping
  • I mportant needs eg TV, school fees, gym membership
  • D esirables eg holidays, presents, meals out

Most people are staggered to find out how little they really need to survive. Whether you are planning to jump, or expecting to be pushed, knowledge of your true financial situation can be very empowering and will allow you to identify the lowest monthly expenditure level that you (and your family) can reasonably commit to.

2. Calculate the business expenses you need to cover A useful rule when starting out is never to spend until you have to. But equally you need to recognize that every business faces one-time start-up costs that you will need to bear. Often it is easy to overlook these start-up costs, particularly if you have been working at a large company where they are part of the infrastructure. It is also important to plan for all monthly expenses, however minor.

Having carried out these first two steps you should now be in a position to determine how much money you need to manage for the first six months of self-employment so next you need to

3. Establish a fund for the first six months To provide yourself with a financial cushion, you need to find enough money – guaranteed money, not future business or projections – to fund your personal and business expenses for at least the first six months when you should assume that you have outgoings but no extra income from earnings.

There are various options for funding your move to self-employment. For some it may involve savings and investments, and for others it may involve using a redundancy payment. Financial support from a partner may be an option or getting a part-time job may be the answer in the short-term.

Analyze your financial situation, slowly and carefully. Talk to people you trust. And most importantly, take advice. It is wise to seek professional financial advice for your particular circumstance.

Source by Antoinette Oglethorpe

One of the unexpected truths of the industrial age is that people enjoy shopping. They enjoy picking things up, and comparing them; it’s all the pleasure responses from being hunter-gatherers, without having to watch out for leopards or hyenas. The modern extension of this is retail space that packs a lot of retailers together in close proximity. We’ve all seen this pattern – it’s the shopping mall or strip mall.

The strip mall is a solid vehicle for commercial real estate investment, provided you’re in a part of the country with significant and real job growth. Current figures show that occupancy rates are increasing, with a nationwide vacancy rate of under 8%, and a number of hot markets under 3%. What this means is that you can expect over 90% occupancy rates through most of the urban areas of the country (it’s harder to fill rural strip malls, so be warned), and expect on average about 15% churn (new tenants moving out and being replaced) per year. Over the last year, strip mall rents have risen by between 1 and 6%, depending on the market, outstripping inflation, and making them a prime candidate for a buy-and-hold strategy.

Strip malls are a poor choice for a buy-and-flip real estate investor, so make sure that one fits your overall investment strategy. A good strip mall produces a revenue stream that’s fairly even, but won’t give much more than a 5-6% annual rate of return on your investment. Like all rental properties, you are dependent on the cycle of job growth and the local humps and bumps of the economic cycle; make sure that your rental income is generating a significant cash flow even at low levels of occupancy, because economic news and job creation and loss, like the tides, will ebb and flow, and they’re your bread and butter indicator for how to plan with your investment.

Cities that have grown out, rather than up, such as Houston, are good candidates for strip mall ownership. If you’re constructing a new facility rather than buying an existing one, do what you can to drum up clients before the mall is completed; when you know when the doors are open, you’ll want to have at least one or two “anchor” businesses in the mall immediately. (An anchor business is generally a large national chain, usually electronics or clothing driven, depending on the demographic chosen).

Strip mall and shopping center design is a mixture of planning and artistry. Look at your local demographic trends, and consider all your options. One of the newer trends in shopping centers are what are called lifestyle centers. Catering to people who are looking for entertainment options as well as shopping, lifestyle centers offer theaters, restaurants beyond the basic food court, and are laid out with a wider array of parking options are a fast growing trend. Many are more open air, and a number of cities (like Philadelphia and Houston) offer grants for making some of your shopping center into parkland. Focus on who you want to come to your center, and build relationships with businesses that will pull in those customers for you.

Recall that shopping centers are, in today’s hectic world, family centers, and plan appropriately. If you have a suboptimal space (one that’s hard to rent, and every mall has at least one), consider leasing it at cost (or marginally above) to the YMCA or another charitable organization that provides facilities for children with some modicum of supervision. The loyalty you build from harried parents for your other tenants will be greatly appreciated if your mall has a place where children can be sent to play that’s safe and well lit while they go and shop without having to mind them.

Don’t overlook the cultural opportunities for a shopping center; many of the layout arrangements that make for aesthetically pleasing, friendly shopping experiences can also be used for small open air concerts or small theater productions; in addition to pulling more customers into the mall, it’s a point of differentiation that, in a world where over 800 shopping centers, totaling 106 million feet of floor space were opened last year, is critical.

Ultimately, your shopping center is an investment in your community, and an investment you get a solid return on.

Source by Tony J Seruga

Most of us are on autopilot with our money. It keeps us aloft, if only just off the ground.

What attention we pay to our finances is mostly just fruitless worrying, not constructive action. But overhauling your finances is downright daunting. Where do you even begin?

Glad you asked! Below is a simple one-week plan. If you spend 30 minutes a day on the following mini-projects for the next week, you will end up in much better financial shape than when you started.

No advance degree is required, just a half hour a day for seven days. Give it a try and see just how much headway you can make in a week!

Day 1: Give Your Credit a Checkup

When was the last time you pulled your own credit report? Probably too long ago.

Start by going to or a similar site and pulling your free credit report. It won’t ding your score, don’t worry. Americans are guaranteed a free credit report every year by law.

Look over your report carefully. In particular, look for any late payments in your history. Are any of them in error? Contact the credit bureaus to dispute false data.

If you see late payments that are not errors, set up automatic payments to those accounts moving forward so it never happens again.

Lastly, if you want to keep a close eye on your credit moving forward, consider signing up for credit monitoring on a site like CreditKarma.

young couple looking over financials in kitchen on computer and printed papers with piggy bank and money in view

Related: The 3 Critical Elements of Human Happiness (& Why Unlimited Money Isn’t Enough)

Day 2: Audit Your Credit Cards

There’s a fun part of this—and a not-so-fun part. We’ll start with the not-so-fun part first (of course).

Do any of your credit cards have balances over 30 percent of the card limit? Using more than 30 percent of a credit card’s limit starts damaging your credit, and it gets worse the higher proportion that you use.

Create a plan for paying down your credit card debt (start with these four steps). You should ideally be paying off your credit card balances every month—credit card debt is extremely expensive. Sure, there are exceptions, such as if you use credit cards to buy real estate, but as a general rule, aim to pay off your credit card every month to avoid hefty finance charges.

Now for the fun part. Do you have any credit card rewards that you’ve earned but haven’t spent? How much? Where are they held? How can you spend them in a productive way?

That latter is trickier than it sounds. Don’t just go blow your rewards on a shopping spree. Look for items that you would otherwise have spent your own money on, and pay them with reward points instead.

Lastly, are you using high-cost, low-reward credit cards? Maybe it’s time to shift to a lower-cost, higher-reward card. NerdWallet periodically publishes good summaries on these. Check ‘em out. Don’t cancel your old cards; just pay them off and only use them occasionally. Leave them at home in your bedside drawer for an emergency.

Day 3: Switch to a Lower Cost Cell Phone Plan

According to, the average monthly cell phone bill for Americans is $80—or nearly a grand a year. If you use one of the four “big brand” cell phone carriers—Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile—you’re probably paying even more.

Here’s a not-so-private secret: the smaller-name carriers simply pay a usage fee to the big brand carriers to access their networks. They charge a quarter of the price for the same network service. Why? Because the big name companies spend massive amounts on advertising campaigns to build their brand name. Don’t fall for it.

Find a company that lets you swap out sim cards and use unlocked phones. Spend $35/month and use whatever phone you want, instead of way more on a phone artificially locked to one carrier.

Day 4: Ditch Your Subscriptions

Companies love the subscription sales model. They only have to convert customers once, and they keep making money from them every month!

Break the cycle. Look over your monthly spending and highlight all subscriptions in red. Which ones do you actually use every day? Every week? Every month?

Classic example: gym memberships. They cost from $40 to over $100/month, yet a study published by Statistic Brain showed a shocking 63 percent of members never even go to the gym.

Ready for an idea you won’t like? Cancel your cable subscription, and start actually using that gym subscription. But if that’s just not going to happen, then cancel the gym membership, too, so you’re not wasting money on a service you’re not using.

Keep your monthly statements handy—you’ll need them tomorrow.

Day 5: Review (or Create) Your Monthly Budget

Do you have a firm monthly budget? Most people have only the loosest of budgets. It’s why a third of Americans have no savings, and another third have less than $1,000.

If you want your budget to work, the first thing you need to do is make sure that saving is your first priority—the first “bill” paid on every payday. Most people make saving their last priority (whatever happens to be left at the end of the month).

Reverse that pecking order. Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account, to take place every time you get paid—on the same day you get paid.

While you’re at it, create an account on or another financial aggregation service if you don’t have one. It makes a huge difference to be able to see all of your accounts, in one place, on one dashboard. Your net worth suddenly becomes a real, living, breathing entity, rather than an abstraction.

piggy bank with coins on a table

Related: 12 Sneaky Habits That Kill Your Budget in the Night

Day 6: Back Up Your Important Documents

First and foremost, pull out your wallet and your smartphone. Take everything out of your wallet and photograph it with your phone. Save those photos on your computer, in a safe place, because you never know when you and your wallet will be parted.

Speaking of your computer, is your most important data backed up? No, I’m not proposing you go out and buy another subscription service after all the haranguing about them above. Download Google Drive’s desktop app to your computer, and set it to sync your most important folders to Google Drive’s online cloud storage.

Wrap it up by buying a portable fireproof safe for your most important physical documents, such as the deeds to your home and any investment properties. The title to your car. Your Social Security card. Your passport. Anything else that is difficult or expensive to replace should go in the safe, and the safe needs to go somewhere equally, well, safe.

Day 7: Reevaluate Your Retirement (and Consider Adding Rentals)

At your current retirement savings rate, when could you retire?

OK, OK, that was a bit of a trick question—or at least a tricky question.

First, do you have a target for your nest egg? If not, set one. And remember, this is based on your spending, not on your current income (big difference—at least it should be).

Next, keep in mind that your nest egg is only part of the equation. Retirement is more about ongoing, reliable income than it is about a lump sum figure on a balance sheet. Rental properties can be an excellent source of income and can change the math dramatically for how much you need to retire. They are investments optimized for yield that can adjust for inflation, over which the investor has much greater control than they do over some distant corporation.

Retirees typically have to sell off parts of their stock portfolio each year, drawing down the total value. Rental properties only increase in value over time, even as the mortgages debt draws down toward zero.

Take your new-and-improved budget from a few days ago and consider making it even more aggressive. With lean spending and heaving savings and investments, you can turbocharge your retirement investments.

Feel better about your finances? Good. Now keep your momentum moving forward, and accelerate your investing!

What’s your plan for financial growth? What have you had success with? Have any quick exercises that were a big help to you, to add to this list?

We’d love to hear about them below!


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The Pittsburgh Steelers is an NFL franchise who found themselves having three primary rivals with all three playing in the same division as their. The team's rivals are the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, and Baltimore Ravens. Further, the team also has other rivals in the post season games normally the Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, and the Dallas Cowboys. An intrastate rivalry between the Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles also aerose but they play against each other only once every four years as per scheduling regulations.

The rivalry between the Cleveland Browns and the Steelers started way back 1950 when they first played against each other. At the start of the rivalry, the Browns had the advantage over the Steelers who had a 9-31 record at that time. The Steelers continued to lose for 16 straight years. It was only recently that the Steelers took over the rivalry for the first time ever with a 17-3 record. It was during this time that the team won ten straight games. To intensify the rivalry, former head coach of the Steelers had actually coached the Browns earlier in his career.

On the other hand, the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens have a really bitten division rivalry evidenced by countless memorable match-ups between the two teams. Both teams caused each other's first loss in the home fields. The Pittsburgh Steelers won their first game at the M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore and three years later, the Ravens crushed the Steelers in a game at the Heinz field. The rivalry between the Ravens and the Steelers is like a seesaw winning and losing against each other and serve as a great complement by showing their fans how they can field really strong defenses against each other.

The Cincinnati Bengals dates the rivalry with the Steelers from the 1970 season when the merger was completed. The most memorable game of their rivalry happened in the 2005 AFC Wildcard playoff game when the Steelers made a come from behind win over the Bengals to compete for a Super Bowl title. This particular win was partly due to the knee injury the Bengal's quarterback experienced and thus was forced to leave the game.

Rivalry between the Steelers and the New England Patriots started when the latter upset the Steelers in 2001 at the Heinz Field. Later, in 2008, the Patriots were accused of videotaping hand signs of the opposing team's coaches which added to more controversies. The rivalry between the Oakland Raiders and Steelers was most heated during the 1970's. While that of the Cowboys started with the team's first game as a franchise in the 1960's.

As a team, the Pittsburgh Steelers will still have a lot to challenges to face, not just with their current rivals but with the new andcoming teams of the NFL. Although the team have made their mark as one of the most competitive teams in the NFL, they still have to perform at their best to balance out every competitor they play against.

Source by Rick Grantham

This particular method has really helped me over the years. I present it at speaking presentations, I believe I’ve written blog articles about it in the past, and today, I’m giving you a video post about this question that I ask everyone before we look at doing business together.

Why Is This Question So Important?

When I moved here from Australia, I found everyone in the United States to be very transactional, meaning they want to do business immediately; they don’t want to wait. I’m here to tell you guys that if you want to succeed in real estate, it is not going to happen overnight.

Real estate is a long-term play. And I like to joke around by saying it’s not a one-night stand; it’s a marriage. Every relationship that you are looking at getting into, real estate investment-wise, has to be considered a marriage.

The people who you are looking at working with must be willing to plant the seed now before the harvest later. It’s going to take you five, seven, 10-plus years to get you where you need to be to fully realize the potential of your hard work.

It doesn’t happen overnight. So I’m begging you guys to stop working with people who are very transactional. You really have to work with people who really care about you and your best interests, who are in it for the long haul.

Related: 4 Tell-Tale Signs of a Bad Partnership (From Personal Experience)

The Question That Magically Weeds Out Bad Business Partners

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, here is the magic question that I ask everyone: Are you willing to wait six, nine, or even 12 months in building a trusting relationship with me before we do any business together?

I know what you’re thinking. “Why the hell would I even ask that question? If the deal is so good, I want to buy it right then and there.”

I understand sometimes you have to pull the trigger quickly, and I have nothing against that! But still, pop the question. I really want you to weed out all the shady people out there.

Way too many shady people exist. And what you’re going to find is you’re exchanging emails with these folks, you’re on the phone and in meetings, and then you’re going to pop the question. And then you are going to find out if there are any true hidden agendas within these people.

Anyone who wants your money right now will not be willing to wait. They can’t wait. They’re greedy, and they want your money now. They’re going to try and influence you any way they know how to get to your money. These are the people who are not right for you. These are the people who you do not want to be doing business with. These aren’t the people who are going to help you get where you need to be five, seven, or 10 years from now.

Related: 4 Lessons I’ve Learned From My Made-in-Heaven Real Estate Partnership

Let me repeat that question for you: Are you willing to wait six, nine, or even 12 months of building a trusting relationship with me before we do any business together?

Guys, it’s a powerful question. It will eliminate 99.9 percent of the shady operators out there. The only ones who are going to be left are the good people and the people who understand what delayed gratification means. And those are the people who you want to brush shoulders with, you want to associate yourself with, and you want to help get where they need to be. And they will help you get to where you need to be.

So, as you can tell, this is a topic I’m very passionate about. I love this question. It has helped save me hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past.

What tactics do you use to weed out the good from the bad?

Leave your comments below!


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Real Estate Agents are in themselves entrepreneurs; their business is buying and selling of properties. Although they have no monetary capitalization in the transaction, the fact that they invest time and effort is already a form of entrepreneurship. As businessmen, they must possess qualities and acumen that can improve their trade.

These agents had been educated and trained specifically in their marketing strategies. Their qualifications are incessantly upgraded to cope with the modern demands of their profession. Although the primary motivation to go into this business is income generation, they act to provide the best quality goods and services.

Their ability to provide the best services must start from themselves. They should endeavor to improve their personality in order to be able to be convincing and look trustworthy in the company of their clients.

There are four basic qualities that each and every real estate agent should develop and apply to themselves.

* Personality and Self-improvement

The agent should project a respectable personality. It should start from the way he looks – neat and presentable. He does not need to be good-looking, it is just being able to carry himself to exude self-confidence. Personality includes proper grooming and hygiene. Women should wear appropriate make-up and every agent should don proper business attire. The working station where he conducts office should also be tidy and presentable. The place must be conducive to good working relationship with the client.

* Positive Attitude

As this is a job and a special kind of business, the agent should always have a positive attitude. He should see to it that he meets appointments with client, on time and with strict punctuality. Every word delivered must reflect of trustworthiness and honesty. Never judge the client from the outward appearance, remembering that everyone who approaches him is a client. Always welcome a client be guided by the old adage that "customers are always right". He should have passion for this trade.

* Product Knowledge

He should have an extensive knowledge of as many real estate properties as possible. Clients have different choices so he should be prepared with the preferences of his clients. He should be familiar with all the details and structure of the building, the lot and the neighborhood. He should have vast knowledge of alternatives to be recommended should the first option fails.

* Availability and Time

He should have full time availability to meet with the client. In cases of property viewing, he should always be free on the time and date scheduled by the client. It must be the agent who is to conform to the availability of the client.

Real estate agents should consistently upgrade their own qualifications. As professionals, they should be equipped with qualities that would appeal to their clients.

Source by Alona Rudnitsky

Many parents are hungry for healthy parenting tips and effective parenting advice. The Responsible Kids Network offers parenting tips to encourage and support authoritative parenting.

I did not expect parenting to be so hard

New parents may be unprepared for the exhilarating, yet exhausting, journey that lies ahead in parenting. It's important for all parents to realize that just because a person is able to procreate, does not naturally provide the patience and knowledge needed to be an effective and healthy parent. Gaining knowledge about the nature of children and healthy and effective parenting styles, will help parents to be calmer and empower parents to be more effective in raising responsible children.

I am expecting to parent differently than I was parented

Many times a parent may be aware of times that did not go so smoothly in his or her own childhood and wish to parent differently once he or she has children. At all ages and stages of our children's lives, we may remember back to how our parents may have reacted in similar situations. Prior generations did not have the information that we now have available about healthy parenting. But family loyalties and legacies in each of our families has shown to significantly impact our parenting.

I am nice to my child but then he misbehaves

Parents and other caregivers sometimes hope that if they act nicely to a child, the child will act nicely in return. This is referred to as the "strings attached" approach. Adults (and some older children) can refer to the concept of fair giving and receiving, but most children are not mature enough to respond this way. By expecting this level of maturity, a parent is being unfair to a child. The executive role of parenting can not be done through love and understanding alone. Effective discipline promotes self esteem, self-respect, self-control and preserves a positive parent-child relationship.

Am I a bad parent when I get angry with my child?

Anger is a natural and inevitable emotion and it's okay to feel angry with a child. The key is for parents to learn healthy ways to express angry feelings to a child. Anger is usually a secondary emotion, so figuring out what the underlying feelings may be (frustration, disappointment, embarrassment, etc.) can be helpful in managing how to express anger. At these emotionally charged times, parents are role-modeling for a child how to handle anger.

My child and I are so different and we're always clashing

The make-up of who a child is consists of ages and stages of development, uniqueness, maturity level, and situational factors. The uniqueness of a child (or any person) includes the individual nature of temperament, intelligences, brain dominance, giftedness, and learning styles. If these unique hits of a child do not "match" the unique habits of a parent, then there may not be "goodness to fit" and power struggles and miscommunication may result. When a parent is able to better understand these unique habits in a child, and how it may differ (ie conflict) with his or her own unique exercises, the parent becomes calmer and more confident in parenting.

Is it ok to spank my child?

Spanking, and other forms of corporal punishment, is not a healthy or effective way to discriminate children. The goal of discipline is to teach children proper behavior and self-control. Spanking may teach children to stop doing something out of fear. Despite some underlying attitudes and beliefs that spanking is an effective way to discriminate children, extensive research strongly indicates that any form of corporal punishment will negatively affect a child's self esteem and the relationship between parent and child.

My spouse and I do not have the same style of parenting

Reconciling different parenting styles may be a challenge for many spouses. Consistent messages from parents to children is a key element of healthy and effective parenting. Many times when we court and marry our spouse, we have not even thought about parenting styles, and then we have children and parenting style differences may suddenly surface. Parents should take time when children are not present to work on a consistent "parenting philosophy" that can accept and even honor different parenting styles. Working together, rather than against each other, will help support and nurture responsible children.

How can I be a good parent?

A healthy and effective parent is an intentional parent, who understands a child's needs. There are no "perfect parents" just as there are no "perfect children." Striving for perfection in all areas of parenting can only cause frustration and stress. Parents are given numerous chances each and every day to provide healthy authoritative parenting for their kids.

Show your love . Tell your kids you love them every day by sending messages of "I believe in you, I trust you, I know you can handle life situations, you are listened to, you are cared for, and you are very important to me."

Be consistent . Your rules do not have to be the same ones other parents have, but they do need to be clear and consistent. (Consistent means the rules are the same all time, and followed by all family members.) Establish a "parenting philosophy" with your spouse.

Prioritize your relationship with your child . Building a strong relationship with your child should be top priority, and when communicating with a child, it's most effective to remember to preserve the strength of the bond. The importance of strong, healthy bonds between parent and child can not be overstated, because these bonds serve as the foundation upon which all other life relationships are formed.

Listen to your child . Active listening is the greatest gift to a child. Learn to accept, although not necessarily agree with, what your child is saying. Temporarily put aside your own thoughts and values ​​and show empathy when listening to a child, trying diligently to see things from his or her perspective.

Strive for an emotional connection with your child . Understanding your child's emotions will help you understand what motivates his or her behavior. Emotions are the real fuel of power struggles with your kids. When you identify those emotions, you can choose strategies to teach your child what he or she may be feeling and how to respond to those feelings in a more appropriate way.

Evaluate the behavior, not the child . Be intentional about self-esteem building and address misbehavior directly, rather than through evaluating the child. It's better to say "I see you've got trouble sharing with your friend," rather than "Do not be selfish, you need to share.

Source by Marty Wolner

When the time comes to step outside your comfort zone for a deal, it’s still a gut call.

In their early days of making deals, I recommend new investors follow a script and make their deals contingent upon finding a buyer. In addition to experience, it helps to have numerous other sources of cash flow (my associates and I typically structure three paydays) coming in to be able to step outside the comfort zone and fund deals.

This is the story of one of my more experienced associates, Bill, who was comfortable enough with the seller and the property in a certain instance to go outside his usual terms.

Related: What to Do When a Deal Goes Sideways (Hint: Don’t Panic!)

Straying From the Norm

The property was an expired-listing townhouse in good condition and in a good neighborhood. The seller needed a firm commitment on a lease purchase commencement date from Bill in order to get financing for another home he was buying.

He accepted that, but with a very spacious six-month term to find a tenant-buyer. Bill agreed that if he couldn’t find a tenant in six months, he’d start paying the underlying mortgage.

The real estate agent had been unable to find a buyer on the market for $359,000, and Bill was able to tie it up for a lease purchase of $320,000. That was another reassurance; if he couldn’t find a tenant-buyer, he could sell it outright for at least that purchase price.

To come to a deal took three buyer-seller meetings at the house, but once Bill started marketing with our proven funnel, there was a flurry of inquiries.

Everyone asks us, “Well, if I get a property, how will I know I can sell it?”

The buyer end is not the challenge, as somewhere between 60 to 82 percent of the buyer pool (depending on your area) cannot get financing. This makes your rent-to-own option extremely attractive—you’ll have plenty of buyers.

Young business people shaking hands in the office. Finishing successful meeting. Three persons

Related: How Remaining Flexible Resulted in a $54,000 Profit

Coming to Terms

The tenant-buyer in this scenario had some financial issues. When he was pre-qualified, the mortgage-ready date suggested he would need 24 to 36 months, and the deal terms were right at 36 months on Bill’s buy side with the seller.

This was risky, but as long as nothing tripped up the tenant-buyer, the deal could be closed. (If not, there are other options, but those are for another article.)

To compensate for the risk, Bill insisted on a hefty down payment of roughly $40,000 with about $25,000 of that within the first few months and the other $15,000 over the next year.

In the end, the risk was worth the reward of a $78,000 profit all three paydays. Another reward was that the sellers were happy, and the buyers gave Bill a big hug for helping them finally attain home ownership.

Deal Structure Summary

  • Lease-Purchase: $320,000
  • Sale Price: $369,900
  • Term: 36 months
  • Principal Paydown:
    • Payday #1: $40K down payment ($25K early, $15K first year)
    • Payday #2: $9K ($250 x 36 spread)
    • Payday #3: $28K (principal paydown and remainder of markup, less deposit down)
  • Profit: $78,000 (just under Bill’s average of approximately $110,000 per deal all three paydays)

What’s your level of comfort when it comes to straying from the norm in business? 

Let’s talk in the comment section below!


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In 1951, Alexander Calder (1898-1976) was bursting onto the international art scene. Two years earlier, the Philadelphia native constructed his largest mobile, “International Mobile,” for the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Third International Exhibition of Sculpture. His works were featured in the best galleries and a retrospective was mounted at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Shows in Paris followed.

But before he began focusing on large-scale commissioned works — such as “.125” at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and “El Sol Rojo” in Mexico City — Calder met Stanley Marcus (1905-2002). At the time, Marcus had just assumed the CEO post at Neiman Marcus, the department store founded by his father and aunt.

Impressed with the artist’s work, Marcus purchased a Calder mobile in 1951. “Today, it’s the most prized piece in the Neiman Marcus Collection,” says Julie Kronick, corporate art curator at the Dallas-based luxury retailer. “We like to say that’s when the collection officially started.”

“Stanley Marcus had impeccable taste,” adds Greg Rohan, president of Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries, “and that extended to his art collection.”

The Neiman Marcus Collection today includes more than 2,500 pieces spanning all mediums, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, mobiles and even ancient artifacts and textiles from across the world. Works range from Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991) to French artist and sculptor Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985). Unlike most corporate collections, pieces from the Neiman Marcus Collection are spread across the country, displayed at the company’s 41 full-line Neiman Marcus stores. “Most of the pieces are not housed in a warehouse or in the executive offices,” Kronick says. “The majority of the work is in our stores, on view for customers and associates to enjoy.”

Q: You first came to Neiman Marcus as a private consultant in 1990, correct?

A: I was initially hired on contract to work for four months. I had worked at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and then at one of Leo Castelli’s galleries. I came to Neiman’s as a consultant to work on new store openings. Mr. Marcus had already left the company by then.

Q: How has the acquisitions process changed since Stanley Marcus left?

A: There are two big changes. First, while Mr. Marcus was at the helm, he made most of the decisions regarding art acquisitions. Mr. Marcus had an appreciation for all types of fine art, from textiles to sculptures to mixed media. He was at liberty to buy what moved him, and he made some significant purchases. I could never acquire a Jean Dubuffet today or an Alexander Calder. When I first came to Neiman’s, I thought it would be more wise to acquire three to four important pieces a year and really highlight them within the company and for our customers. But I soon recognized that we have so many spaces and so many stores that it’s better to buy more work and cover more ground. The second big change is that Mr. Marcus bought art without particular spaces in mind. That is why I found a lot of artwork housed in a warehouse, awaiting the appropriate space to be installed. On the other hand, I buy art for site-specific locations.

Q: What is your annual acquisitions budget?

A: I am not at liberty to tell you. The budget does vary, and when we open a new store, the art budget generally is based on the square footage of the store.

Q: What is the most you’ve spent on one piece of art?

A: It would probably be an outdoor piece, something that is much larger in scale. We do not always have the space to accommodate these monumental pieces, but when we do, they make quite a statement.

Q: How many pieces do you acquire each year?

A: It depends if we are opening a new store or working on a major remodel. An average per store is approximately 100 to 150 works. We may acquire several pieces by the same artist, so we may have 25 to 30 artists represented in a given store.

Q: So explain how you go about looking for pieces to fill a particular store.

A: Generally, about a year before a store opens, I begin the process of networking in a particular region. I sometimes start with the gallery guide for a given city and call on galleries from those listings. I also approach art dealers who live in various parts of the country. The ones who I work with understand our parameters, as far as taste level, style and price point. Sometimes I contact the curator at a local museum and inquire about some of the younger local artists who are doing exciting work. In addition to the above sources, I visit artist and gallery Web sites. All of this legwork is done before I make my first trip to the area.

Q: So when do the artists start fitting into your store layout?

A: When I have artists in mind, I look at the scope of their work. I take that information and work hours upon hours on my floor plans, looking at wall elevations and different options. It is similar to fitting puzzle pieces together. Adjacencies are extremely important. For example, if the presence of designer shops create several walls which are seen in the same view, it is crucial that the art pieces are complimentary. The works of art in any given store need to flow. Once I’m comfortable with the fit, I then approach the artist and commission him or her to produce a piece of a specific size. Approximately 85 percent of all the artwork purchased is commissioned.

Q: Most artists must be happy to work with you to achieve your goals.

A: They are usually quite pleased. Neiman Marcus is honored to have their work included in the collection and they, likewise, feel fortunate to have their work featured.

Q: What about artists who don’t want to cooperate?

A: There have been times, yes. Several artists have declined, most likely, because they would rather have their work purchased by a museum or private collector rather than a retailer. We respect their wishes and move onward. There are so many artists doing interesting, sophisticated work in abstraction who are pleased to be a part of who we are and what we do. As for the others, if it’s not a right fit, it would not be a successful project.

Q: You must receive unsolicited portfolios from artists all the time.

A: I get hundreds of portfolios. If an artist sends a package or directs us to his or her Web site and it is not what we are interested in, they are at least owed a response. I typically explain that we work with regional artists, local to where we are opening a new store. We also focus primarily on non-representational work. If someone insists on presenting images of their Western art pieces or traditional botanicals, we politely reply that the work is not in our scope or focus.

Q: So you must get lots of artwork featuring pricey bags and shoes?

A: Occasionally we do. Generally, we don’t mix fashion with art. The more recent acquisitions certainly reflect my taste. If someone else came on board as curator, his or her stamp would be left on this collection, too. But I am not interested in fashion as the subject matter for the art. It is important that the works in our collection stand on their own integrity. They should have the same strong presence and validity, whether they are installed in a retail environment or any other environment.

Q: Are any other themes off limits when you look for art?

A: We focus on abstract, non-representational work. If someone brought you into our Hawaii store, and then 15 minutes later blindfolded you and took you to our San Antonio store, you would see a consistency. Nothing is cookie-cutter in our stores, especially the art. The high level of taste and sophistication are the consistent factors. While we want the work to be interesting and thought-provoking, we believe it can be beautiful and entertaining as well.

Q: But that doesn’t mean you don’t push artists. There have been times you’ve asked artists to do things they don’t normally do, right?

A: I think we sometimes stretch an artist in a way that he or she may not have been stretched before. About eight years ago we asked artist Richard Beckman to create a large sculpture for one of our focal spaces. He had never worked in this large scale before. After some hesitancy, he took on the task, conquering several engineering challenges. The finished piece is dynamic and quite breathtaking. Sometimes, as in this case, we believe that if we can stretch an artist and open them up to something they haven’t considered, the end result can be an exciting step into another phase of their work. If we can encourage an artist to reach beyond his or her potential, it’s a win-win.

Q: Who are some of the artists you’ve acquired whose pieces have now skyrocketed in value?

A: Of course the most noticed price escalations are seen with our larger sculptures, such as our Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, Alexander Liberman and Harry Bertoia sculptures. Some of our limited edition prints have also increased in value over the years. A lot of our artists have certainly received national and international attention.

Source by Hector Cantu