What is a Real Estate Bird Dog?

A Bird Dog is someone who finds and reflects properties to an investor for a fee.

It is a great system for a new investor, who is still learning the real estate game, since it will be like "training on the job." It will also provide a way of making money immediately, sometime within days of starting, which can provide a great boost and motivation factor for someone starting the business with no money or credit.

The skills that the investor learns for being a real estate bird dog will be important for other strategies as well:

  1. Locating Buyers – this comes even before locating properties. It is called the "Reverse Approach" or "Shopping versus Selling Mentality." It is important to know what the buyers / investors are looking for and create a trust between the Finder (Birdogger) and the Investor. A buyer list should concentrate on quality instead of quantity: a dozen of ready and able investors is all the Birdogger needs to have a successful business. These buyers have to be cash buyers, so the deal can be closed quickly with no promises.
  2. Locating Properties – once the buyer's list is in place, screening of the buyers will provide sufficient information to compile the properties' requirements: area, price range, type of property. With this information, it is a matter of finding the properties meeting the requirements and in this economic chaos it is fairly easy: foreclosures, preforeclosures, REOs, abandoned properties, absentee owners – all these are ideal properties for a Birdogger to locate and bring to his buyers' attention.
  3. Packaging the Deal – this is where the deal is put together. The Birdogger notifies his buyers that he has located a property meeting their requirement. Before providing the address and other specific information, a Bird Dog Consultation Agreement should be signed, stating payment, confidentiality and other important clauses. This is essential in protecting the Birddogger from being cut out of the deal and it provides full disclosure of the transaction.

What are the fees for a Real Estate Bird Dog ?

It depends – a good practice is charging $ 500 plus 2.5% of the proceeds, if the transaction is flipped or sold by the investor, or $ 1,000 if the investor plans on keeping the property. This is how the deal works:

  1. House is located with a sale price of $ 50,000 – it is assigned by a Birddogger to one of his buyers / investors;
  2. The investor purchases the house – he / she keeps it for investment – a fee of $ 1,000 is paid to the Birddogger;


The investor purchases the house and flips it for $ 70,000 – there is a $ 18,000 spread after closing costs: the Birddogger makes $ 500 plus $ 450.

All these terms will be stated and agreed upon in the Bird Dog Consultation Agreement, which you should have prepared by a knowledgeable attorney.

Source by Laura Al-Amery

Travel credit cards provide a great way to harness your spending for use toward airfare credit, luxury perks, and more. By choosing credit cards with travel perks, you can feasibly reduce or eliminate part or all of your traveling expenses through rewards points.

Best of all, this is possible by simply putting your regular expenses on these cards.

With a little strategic planning, you can bring the cost of your travels down considerably—even to $0—by opening credit cards that offer rewards, according to CardRatings.com. Along with great ongoing rewards, many cards offer introductory bonuses after you meet an early spending requirement.

To get the most out of these types of credit cards, make sure to select an offer that suits your lifestyle the best! Fortunately, banks are very clear about offer conditions, so you can be sure to meet them.

Here are some cards that currently offer awesome travel rewards:

Chase Sapphire Preferred gives you 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

It’s a great travel rewards card and has no foreign transaction fees, making it ideal to travel with, as well. You earn one point per dollar spent on most purchases, but you earn double points on travel and dining worldwide.

It does come with a $95 annual fee, but the bonus points earned are worth up to $750—which is definitely worth it (in our opinion).

For those who love Southwest, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is perfect. You’ll earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.

‘The annual fee is $149, but you earn 7,500 bonus points each year after the cardholder anniversary and a $75 Southwest travel credit each year, as well as four upgraded boardings per year (when available).

Cardholders also earn two points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and on purchases with Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners.

Best Practices for Credit Cards

If you are new to using credit cards, they can either be a very powerful tool or a detriment to your financial well being. Here are some rules of thumb to keep in mind when you’re building up your rewards point stash.

Pay off your balance every month.

First and foremost, pursuing rewards programs doesn’t make any sense if you’re carrying a balance on your cards.

If you’re not able to pay off what you’re spending every month, then this isn’t the right time for you or your business to try to take advantage of these card offers. Pay off your debt and be in a place to pay off your cards every month before you start gathering up rewards points.

Pick a favorite (or two).

When you’re first starting out, it’s best to stick to one airline or hotel you want to earn points for until you have acquired all the points you need for a specific trip.

Having smaller amounts of points on a bunch of airlines that don’t fly to your destination or hotels that aren’t in your travel city don’t do you any good. Decide where you want to go, research the airlines and hotels in that city, look up cards that offer corresponding rewards, apply for those, and start earning!

closeup of tabletop with pile of fanned credit cards on wallet on cash

Join loyalty programs.

Hand in hand with starting to collect rewards points is joining the loyalty program for the airline and hotel you’re choosing. Many of these loyalty programs are free and come with bonus points for joining , as well as upgrade options.

Keep track of your offers and points.

There’s no sense spending almost the minimum spend only to miss out on the bonus by a few dollars.

An example of this would be opening up multiple cards at the same time, only using one card for all your spending, and then missing the bonus for the other card because you didn’t track your spending and points toward the bonus. Once you have earned the bonus, keep track of all your points, where they are, and when they expire!

You can keep a spreadsheet with all the information, and there are even apps to help you out. Read the fine print when you join the programs, too. Many times, as long as there is activity on the account (including adding more points to the account), the points don’t expire.

Following these tips can help you make the most of your rewards, especially when you’re first starting out.

Interested in more tips? Scott and Mindy interviewed Lee Huffman on Episode 27 of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast (an interview filled with suggestions for keeping track of your points, making the most of your points by stacking offers, and why you should have multiple cards in your wallet).

If you have further questions, ask me here!

Leave questions in the comment section below. 


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Long ago when Mahatma Gandhi said, "Every night when I go to sleep, I die. As Time 's Alice Park explains, "It [sleep] is nature's panacea, more powerful than any drug in its ability to restore and rejuvenate the human brain and body." Oh, yes!

For instance, as she reports, when sleep …

  • The wear and tear on our bones is repaired;
  • Muscle tears and injuries are mended;
  • Growth factors restore skin and maintain its elasticity;
  • Brain cells push out the day's accumulated "debris;"
  • The pancreas better breaks down consumed sugar.

Problem is, most of us are not getting enough shut eye, leaving us not just cranky and out of sorts but with a whole host of other potential problems, too. Indeed, says Brown University's Mary Carskadon, "Sleep deprivation comes with consequences that are scary, really scary." And the list, which applies even more so to the young, includes:

  1. Drowsiness and lack of attention
  2. Daydreaming and / or falling asleep during class
  3. Impaired cognitive function
  4. Inability to solve problems, cope with stress, and retain information
  5. A compromised immune system
  6. Moodiness
  7. Depression
  8. Aggression
  9. Substance abuse (alcohol / drugs)
  10. Unsafe driving habits / car accidents
  11. Obesity
  12. Later blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases

So just how much is enough? Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation's recently updated recommendations:

  • Newborns: 14 to 17 hours
  • Infants: 12 to 15 hours (ages 4 to 11 months)
  • Toddlers: 11 to 14 hours (ages 1 to 2)
  • Pre-Schoolers: 10 to 13 hours (ages 3 to 5)
  • School Age: 9 to 11 hours (ages 6 to 13)
  • Teens: 8 to 10 hours (ages 14 to 17)
  • Young Adults: 7 to 9 hours (ages 18 to 25)
  • Adults: 7 to 9 hours (ages 16 to 64)
  • Older Adults: 7 to 8 hours (65+)

Unfortunately, it's just not happening, In fact, Americans' average sleep time has dropped, on average, from 8.5 hours a night to just 6.9 hours in the past fifty years. And it's not just us here who are sleep deprived. A recent study of some 700,000 school-aged kids in 20 countries revealed that they are slept, on average, 75 fewer minutes a night in 2008 than they did back in 1905. One big reason says Harvard's Dr. Charles. A. Czeisler: "Tech has disconnected us from the natural 24-hour day."

So there you have it, so we parents need to take steps to ensure that our kids (and ourselves) are rested and ready to go, not yawning and out of sorts-or worse. Best bet: Be a role model and establish some house rules, as well, making sure to:

  1. Get your kids exercising regularly.
  2. Insist that, one hour before lights out, all electronics and TVs are off. (Reportedly, 70% of kids have a TV in their bedrooms.) These devices emit "blue light" which affects the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin more than any other kind of light. Be advised: This applies to some energy-efficient lamps, too.
  3. Get homework started as soon after school as possible.
  4. See that computer-required homework is done early on, too.
  5. Watch caffeine take and none past noon. Teens are now downing, on average, about 100 mg of it a day, thanks to such drinks as Red Bull (80 mg per 8.4 fl. Oz. Can) and Jolt (280 mg per 23.5 fl. Oz. Can).
  6. Follow the guidelines and establish a regular bedtime (10 or 10:30 for older teens), coupled with a ritual to two, such as listening to instrumental music, quietly talking, reading, etc., and, of course, a goodnight kiss.

One thing we parents have no control over, however, is the start time for schools. As it is, youngger children, who often wake up early, do not typically start school until 9 am. Yet, older teens, who biological clocks have them "programmed" to stay up until 10 or 11 at night and rise around 8 am, usually find themselves in the first period by 7:30, even 7 am-so very sleep deprived.

And that matters a lot.

For instance, a recent University of Minnesota study of some 9,000 high schoolers found that when the start times were pushed back to 8 am or later, it addressed in improved health, academic performance and attendance, together with decreased tardiness rates. That finding, meanwhile, has been replicated so often that, finally, folks are now paying attention.

That includes the Academy of Pediatrics. About two years ago, the organization formally recommended that schools delay their start times; unfortunately several actually are nowdays. For instance, high schools and most middle schools in the Seattle Public Schools district will now start at 8:45 am this fall instead of 7:50 am Then there's the Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. Its high schools now do not get started until around 8 am

Such districts are forging ahead after after school activities, athletics and jobs complications, disrupted family schedules and costly transportation issues, too. And no wonder, since the well-being of our kids is at stake-their grades, too.

Bottom line: As Mark Rosenkind, a National Transportation Safety Board member and psychologist puts it: "If we want to thrive, we have to start valuing sleep."

Source by Carol Josel

Is it better to invest in single family or multifamily rental properties?

There are passionate advocates for both of these types of properties. How do they really stack up? What are pros and cons of each option?

Investing in Single Family Rental Properties


Single family rental property investors enjoy much greater inventory choices. There are around 5 million home sales in an average year. More choices mean the potential for finding better deals and doing a higher volume of transactions. This may not feel like the case in some areas—for example, San Francisco—but if you open up your map, you can find plenty of options with less competition, more value, and more volume potential.

Multiple Exit Strategies

Single family homes are popular investments for the fact that they offer multiple exit strategies. They have much larger resale pools. There are far more end buyers for single family homes than apartment buildings. Individual homes can be sold to retail home buyers (first time home buyers, move up buyers, and those downsizing), rehabbers, other buy and hold investors, builders, cash buyers, or on a seller-financed basis.


Related: Should You Invest in a Small or Mid-Sized Multifamily Deal? Get the Pros & Cons Here!

Ease in Getting Started

This is a cheaper option, too. The average single family home is far cheaper than an apartment building. That can be attractive to those who want to pay all cash. It can also appear easier for those who have little money to put down. If you don’t have the money to buy a whole house yourself, you can even partner with others.

Investing in Multifamily Rental Properties


For those with really big goals, multifamily property investing can help make some big leaps. Imagine if each acquisition added 10, 20, or 100+ new units to your portfolio instead of just one. Anything over five units is considered commercial multifamily. One- to four-unit properties are treated as residential for financing purposes.


It takes less time and energy to acquire 50 units in an apartment building than 50 single family homes. It may take a little longer and a little more work than one single family, but it does build in more efficiency and better ROI on your time. Investing is all about being efficient with your time and money. At some point, most investors will find that it only makes sense to graduate up to multifamily to fully optimize their cash, wealth building, and lives.


One of the best benefits of multifamily property investing is the economy of scale. That means you can do more for less. Apartment buildings typically have a lower cost per door, management is typically more effective and profitable, and any improvements made can help to lift the value of many units, not just one. For example, if you put in a pool, you are adding the value of a swimming pool to every unit in the community.


Related: 4 Ways Technology is Shaking Up Commercial Real Estate (& Why Multifamily Will Pull Ahead)


Multifamily property investors also enjoy more control over their income and asset values. Commercial properties like this are valued on their net income, not comparable sales. Landlords have the freedom to not only adjust rents but also to increase operational efficiency and augment income with factors such as laundry, internet service, and more. You can reposition an apartment building in many ways that are beyond the possibilities available to single family home investors.


Overall, I like both of these types of real estate investment because of the options above. I don’t think it has to be an either/or choice. Single family homes and apartments have their advantages. It really just comes down to what makes sense to you as an investor.


If you are currently investing, what’s your preference—single or multifamily? Why?

Leave your comments below!


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Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love has it. Many in San Francisco want it …

Wireless broadband Internet access ( WiFi ) seems too good to be true. At
relatively low cost, anyone can get on the Internet anywhere in a city. All the city
needs to do is install WiFi antennas.

An argument in favor of citywide WiFi is that it will reduce the digital divide :
the poorer you are, the more limited your access to the Internet and its information
resources. Cities like Philadelphia and San Francisco are actively trying to close the
digital divide. One option is WiFi.

Yet in weighing the options, virtually nothing is heard about the potential health
risks. Saturating an entire city with WiFi adds to the existing burden of nonionizing
radiation. That burden, called electrosmog by some, consists of long-term
exposure to low-level concentrations of nonionizing radiation from familiar sources
like radio and TV signals, electronic and electrical devices, and the ubiquitous cell

Wireless Internet Access

Local area networks ( LANs ) link computers, printers, modems, and other
devices. Traditional LANs make the links physically using wire cable. Messages
between computers and the other devices on the network are managed by a device
called a router .

A wireless LAN does away with the wire cable by using a router that transmits and
receives radio signals. To use a wired LAN, you have to plug the computer or other
device into a wall socket. A wire leads from the socket to the router, which drives
signal traffic between the devices on the network.

With a wireless LAN, each device on the network is built so that it can send a signal
to the router and receive signals back. Wireless routers typically have a range of a
hundred to several hundred feet. The range can be increased by adding a booster
that increases the signal strength.

As with all radio signals, the closer you are to the transmitter (the router) the
stronger the signal. Cell phones work on the same principle. The difference is that
cell phones work at a different frequency and put out a stronger signal than wireless

Radio Frequencies

Cell phones operate at frequencies in the 3 to 30 GHz range, similar to microwave
ovens. Wireless LANs operate at one tenth of that range – 0.3 to 3 GHz, the range of
UHF television broadcasts. GHz stands for gigaHertz, a standard measure
of radio frequency radiation ( RFR ) – electromagnetic radiation created by
sending an alternating electrical current through an antenna. The higher the GHz,
the faster the current alternates.

Frequency by itself does not measure the potential effect of RFR. As you would
guess, the strength of the signal also matters. The strength of a signal is measured
in watts , a standard measure of electrical energy. For example, a 100 watt
light bulb is brighter because it puts out more energy than a 60 watt bulb.

Think of the effect of waves at the beach: small waves far apart (low strength, low
frequency) versus large wave close together (high strength, high frequency). The
former is likely to have less of an effect than the latter.

The exposure to RFR is measured using SAR – specific absorption rate. SAR is
expressed either in milliwatts / kilogram (mW / kg) of body weight or milliwatts / cubic
centimeter (mW / cm2) of exposed body area: the size of the wave and how much of
your body it strikes.

Health Risks

WiFi enthusiasts dismiss health risk concerns because the power output and SAR
exposure is significantly below the minimum standard set for cell phones. But cell
phone standards are set for the short term exposure of a cell phone in use pressed
to your head. In addition, the standards are set based on the thermal (heating) effect
of the radiation.

Nonthermal effects of cell phones are documented at exposures below the current
US standards, including

– memory loss,

– sleep disorder,

– slowed motor skills and reaction time,

– reduced immune function,

– spatial disorientation and dizziness,

– headaches,

– lowered sperm count,

– increased blood pressure and pulse,

– DNA breakage and reduced DNA repair capacity, and

– cell proliferation.

A second problem is that cell phone exposure is intermittent, whereas WiFi
exposure is constant. A more accurate comparison is to the effect of cell phone
broadcast antennas. These antennas send and receive radio frequency signals

The signal strength from an antenna is comparable to a cell phone only at very close
range. The exposure is not a cell phone's brief blast but a persistent bath of low-
strength RFR. In addition to the health effects documented for cell phone use,
exposure to cell phone antennas include

– increased blood pressure and pulse,

– sleep disorder,

– emotional effects such as increased depression and irritability,

– memory loss and mental fog,

– fatique and vertigo, and

– increased cancer risk.

Because of these effects, the International Association of Fire Fighters (AFL-CIO)
determined in 2004 that they will not permit cell phone antennas on fire houses.

RFR Hypersensitivity

Much of the discussion of RFR health effects is framed as a concern with people
who are hypersensitive. Hypersensitivity is the technical term for allergies
and similar immune system overreactions. But instead of pollen, RFR
hypersensitivity is a reaction to nonionizing
radiation. It seems that an unlucky few are affected while the rest of us are off the

Research by Olle Johansson and Örjan Halberg of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm
suggests otherwise. They looked at the incidence of cancer in Europe and the US
and found a striking association between the increase in certain cancers during the
20th Century and exposure RFR as measured by radio and TV broadcasts.

What the hypersensitive really represents is one extreme in a complex landscape of
effects and risks. Just like any other environmental stressor, RFR will affect some
people more than others. And as with other environmental stresses, the greater the
overall bury, the greater the risk of becoming one of the "unlucky few."

Wireless Lans add to the existing burden of RFR. Just as burning more fossil fuels
adds more smog, adding more RFR adds more electrosmog. You do not have to
expose your home or your city to the increased burden created by WiFi. There's a
viable alternative: a wired LAN. The hype might make it seem less convenient and
more expensive. But what's a good night's sleep worth? Or reducing your risk of


International Association of Fire Fighters. 2004. Position on the Health Effects from
Radio Frequency / Microwave (RF / MW) Radiation in Fire Department Facilities from
Base Stations for Antennas and Towers for the Conduction of Cell Phone
Transmissions. Access at http://www.iaff.org/safe/content/celltower/

Johansson, Olle and Doug Loranger. 2005. Electrosmog. Your Own Health And
Fitness. Broadcast November 29, 2005. http://yourownhealthandfitness.org/

Sage, Cindy. 2005. Comment on San Francisco TechConnect Community Wireless
Broadband Initiative. Sage Associates: September 2005.

Source by Jeffry Fawcett

Author: Burton h. Wolfe

ISBN: 1419619748

Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Bookpleasures.com is honored to have as our guest, author, journalist and humorist, Burton h. Wolfe.

Burton is the author of The Hippies, Hitler and the Nazis, Pileup on Death Row, The Devil and Dr. Noxin, The Devil’s Avenger. He was considered by many to be the foremost investigative journalist on the West Coast of the USA.

Winner of many awards, Burton’s articles have appeared in hundreds of newspapers and magazines from San Francisco to Athens, Greece. He is also listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the West, Who’s Who in California, Dictionary of International Biography, Contemporary Authors, and Outstanding Intellectuals of the Twentieth Century.

Recently, Burton launched Lucifer’s Dictionary of the American Language, published by Wild West Publishing House.

Good day Burton and thanks for agreeing to participate in our interview.


When did your passion for writing begin? What keeps you going?


At age 12, in Washington, D.C., I decided I wanted to be a sports columnist like Shirley Povich of the Washington Post. I abandoned sports writing for literary, philosophical, social, and political writing midway through college. Somehow the desire to communicate through the printed word remains as I navigate through old age, though mentally I do not feel old. Motivation is a difficult psychological factor to fathom. My onetime dear friend, Earl Conrad, author of such landmark books as Scottsboro Boy, kept writing until his death, and his answer to the motivation factor was simply: “For me writing is a habit I can’t break.”


Why did you feel compelled to write Lucifer’s Dictionary of the American Language?


Over the years I have become more and more aggravated by the way Americans butcher the English language, by the way members of the media misuse terms, by the charlatanical ways in which corrupt persons in power desecrate noble words such as “democracy” which, coming from their mouths, is the equivalent of the word “love” emanating from the mouth of a whore.

Satirizing all of that, much in the way that Ambrose Bierce and H. L. Mencken did the same in a previous era, provided a release for me. Also, I have an extremely slim hope, undoubtedly quixotic, that if the book becomes popular members of the media will become more careful about the way they put words into print or sound them on the boob tube, and that at least those who read the book will begin to try using the English language, a beautiful language when it is used properly, in a more accurate and original way, understanding that just as you are what you eat, also you are as you speak.


How long did it take you to compile all of the words contained in Lucifer’s Dictionary of the American Language? Can you explain some of your research techniques, and how you found sources for your dictionary? How did you come up with your unique and sometimes hilarious definitions?


I conceived the book around fifteen years ago. Every time I heard a word, term, or phrase used in the atrocious way English is butchered in the U.S., I would jot it down and provide a definition for it. There was no research, just observation, and with a few exceptions the definitions originated inside my restless brain. Where an exception occurs and I owe conception of the definition to someone else, even if I reformulated it, you will see an acknowledgment.


Your dictionary has been compared to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary. Could you tell our readers something about Bierce’s dictionary and did you pattern your dictionary after his? If not, what is the difference between the two?


When Bierce lived in San Francisco, where I live now, he was a columnist for Hearst’s foundation stone newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, and later he journalized in his own periodical. As he became angrier and angrier at the phoniness and hypocrisy and the social injustice he saw everywhere, he became ever more cynical and satirical in his approach to commentary. He was called “Bitter Bierce.” Out of his bitterness and cynicism, his Devil’s Dictionary emerged.

I have followed his method of employing satire to demolish standard applications to words that mean something entirely different from the way they are generally used, to provide the true meanings of them, and to add iconoclastic commentary; but our styles are of necessity very different. Bierce wrote toward the end of the Victorian era, and so much of his writing appears stuffy and even archaic. More importantly, most of the words I define either did not even exist in Bierce’s time or were used in ways that have been drastically changed. I can only imagine how much deviltry Bierce would have found in villainizing words such as downsize and outsource as they emerge from charlatanical business moguls and politicians. But such words did not exist in Bierce’s time on earth because the conditions that have generated them did not exist.


Your dictionary has a broader mission than simply entertaining. Can you talk more about that mission and what you hope readers will take away from reading your dictionary?


For me to believe there has been a “mission” in publishing Lucifer’s Dictionary, I would have to be a Don Quixote, or at least a Pollyanna. The most I can hope for is that readers emerge from a reading of the book with a determination to use the English language accurately and with originality instead of conforming to so-called “pop culture,” that the readers will recognize when members of the media and business and socio-political leaders are spouting claptrap, that the readers will take time to write letters to the media or even op-ed pieces to correct some of the widespread butchering of the language, and that maybe, just maybe, some of all of that will have some effect.


You mention the game of Monopoly in your dictionary and it appears you have extensively researched the history of this popular board-game. Would you briefly inform our readers why Monopoly interested you and what did you discover?


I became interested in the origin of the Monopoly game when a San Francisco State University economics professor, Ralph Anspach, produced a game called Anti-Monopoly and Parker Brothers sued him for infringing on its patent and copyright. As the result of newspaper and television publicity about the lawsuit, Anspach heard from individuals who had played the game in varying forms and under different titles long before Parker Brothers began manufacturing it and suing everyone who tried to produce the game or any similar game or any similar board under any other name.

Out of his research and what is known in law as the discovery process which occurs during a lawsuit, a long-buried story merged.

It turns out that a follower of Henry George’s single tax theory, Lizzie Maggie, produced the precursor of the Monopoly game in 1904 as “The Landlord’s Game.” Using it as an educational tool through the same kind of entertainment Monopoly provides, Lizzie roasted the greedy acquisition of more and more property by landlords, real estate moguls, the railroads, etc.

That was quite a different purpose than providing fun via the Monopoly game of today in acquiring more and more property until the game is won that way or, as Shelley Berman put it, until you experience the fun of wiping out your friends. As the game spread across the U.S. under different names, including the name “Monopoly,” traditionally the players fashioned their own boards and rules.

The purported “inventor” of the Monopoly game as produced by Parker Brothers, Charles Darrow, joined with his wife in a group, mostly Quakers, playing the game in the Philadelphia-Atlantic City area. The Quakers had collectively put together the same board with all the same names, and had created the same rules, as exist today in the Monopoly game produced commercially by Parker Brothers.

Darrow saw the potential for making a fortune from it, copied the board and the rules, and passed off the game to Parker Brothers as his own invention. When the top officers of Parker Brothers learned the truth, they told Darrow to keep his mouth shut and they would all earn a fortune from this game that was stolen by them; and so they have.

I put the whole story into print in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and other writers for other periodicals picked it up from there and summarized what I had written. This was typical of the kind of pioneering journalism I practiced in the 1960s and 1970s. It is also typical that even with the kind of exposé I generated, you cannot eradicate a lie once it becomes part of a culture.

There is a plaque at Broadway and Park Place in Atlantic City commemorating “Darrow’s invention” of the Monopoly game, and the mass periodicals – New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly – continue repeating the myth that Darrow invented the Monopoly game, which is the equivalent of saying he invented fire and the wheel; and no amount of letter writing and telephone calling by Anspach and myself, no amount of excoriating the media and Atlantic City government prostitutes, can induce them to eradicate the Big Lie and tell the truth for history.

This is why I define Monopoly in the way I have, and this is an example of why I define many words in the cynical style I have used, in Lucifer’s Dictionary.


Can you tell us how you found representation for your book? Did you pitch it to an agent, or query publishers who would most likely publish this type of book? Any rejections? Did you self-publish?


I submitted the book to at least fifty literary agents, all but one of whom declined to try to market it. The agent who took it on gave up after a dozen rejections. Eventually I submitted the book to around 100 prospective publishers. Most rejected the book with the usual “not quite right for us.” Some of the editors, however, commented that they found the book to be as funny as it is truthful and even described it as “a great book.”

Some said they felt Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary had exhausted the potential market. Others offered no reason for not publishing the book. None would admit what I have always suspected: that the book is so controversial and pinches so many teats of so many of American society’s sacred cows that there was too much fear of boycotting or other repercussions. A program for authors offered by the BookSurge division of Amazon.com offered me a way to get the book into print in both online and quality paperback versions even while using the name of a small press I started and then abandoned in the 1970s: Wild West Publishing House.


How would you describe the quality of journalism today?


In some ways it is more accurate than that which existed in the days of so-called “yellow journalism.” But hundreds of the stories and ideas of most critical importance to humanity are being not only censored but also blocked from dissemination altogether, and the would-be authors of them are being blacklisted.

Terminology is being used in such a horrendously inaccurate manner that it amounts to nothing less than a form of brainwashing of the kind that George Orwell (Eric Blair) predicted in his definition of “newspeak” in 1984: words used in such a standard and commanding manner that they can have no meaning other than that which is provided by Big Brother and its cooperating media.

For example, the media universally refers to genocidal maniacs using themselves as weapons to kill and maim en masse as “suicide bombers.” That leaves them in the realm of martyrs for their cause. But “suicide” is an act of taking one’s own life, not an act of using oneself as a weapon to kill everyone who does not believe in an imam’s version of Islam.

There is another depressing way in which journalism in the U.S. today has deteriorated, become insipid: we have lost character writers such as Bierce, Mencken, Art Hoppe, Charles McCabe, Artemus Ward, Finely Peter Dunne (Mr. Dooley), Don Marquis (Archy and Mehitabel), or (however cornball) Will Rogers. There are no longer any flamboyant character writers in the newspapers, no longer any writers with guts. The only place you can find them is on the internet. I have a long essay about this on my web log, Wolfebites, [http://burtonhwolfe.blogspot.com].


What challenges or obstacles did you encounter while putting together your dictionary? How did you overcome these challenges?


The major challenges were to keep going in the face of rejection and to keep from allowing myself to slip from satire into tirades against all the cant and hypocrisy which exist. Belief in the value of my book made me determined to find a way to get it into print. My sense of humor, my ability to laugh at the foibles which can otherwise be depressing, rerouted me away from definitions that would emerge as tirades, kept me on the satire road. I was laughing all the way at what I wrote, and thus enjoying myself.


What’s your advice to achieve success as a writer?


Apply your butt to a seat in front of a typewriter or computer, or stand up with either machine mounted on a bookcase ala Ernest Hemingway who did that because of back problems, or lie down on a sofa and scribble on lined legal pads ala Truman Capote – but whichever method you choose, make sure you get to it part of each day or night, do not procrastinate, do not make excuses for not writing.

Even if you run into what is euphemistically called “writer’s block,” get into the writing position you have chosen and do nothing else for two or three hours, until you will write something out of sheer boredom from doing nothing at all. Either believe in the worth of your work or choose some other vocation or avocation.

Believing in it, send it out and keeping submitting it no matter how many rejections you get – unless you decide to self-publish. And forget about the supposed stigma against self-publishing. Some of the most renowned writers in the history of American literature began by self-publishing, and not just individuals identified as writers. Statesmen did so. Benjamin Franklin’s essays were self-published. And promote yourself, brag about yourself, pester anyone and everyone you can think of to pay attention to you. Follow the dictum of the longtime head of the coalminers’ union, John L. Lewis: “He who tooteth not his own horn, it shall not be tooted.”


In the last few years or so have you seen any changes in the way publishers publish and/or distribute books? Are there any emerging trends developing?


There are more and more mergers among the major houses, and more and more concentration of promotion on select books that are designated in advance to be the moneymakers, leaving the authors of the “lesser” books to do more and more of their promoting.

More and more the sales department of a publishing house is determining what will and will not be accepted for publication – with what seems to be a standard test: if the sales department does not envision sales of at least 30,000 copies of a book, forget it. More and more it becomes harder to find a major house that will look at a manuscript not submitted by an established literary agent. Fortunately, there are many small press publishers still available for non-agent submissions. When one of those publishers has some success, a major house has occasionally offered to make it a subdivision of its operation and help with distribution and promotion.

More and more the big discount distributors and sellers – Barnes and Noble is the major example – are taking the bulk of the market by offering discounts based on volume, and lesser distributors and booksellers cannot compete with that. More and more books are being remanded quickly and sold off at prices far less than the original cover price.

There is too much competition. An individual author has a dismally poor chance of making money on a given book. You have to be lucky as well as persistent with self-promotion. There is also an increasing trend for publishing houses to operate in the same way as vanity publishers: the author has to pay for printing and publicity. Prestigious publishing houses, especially those that produce books by scholars, are resorting to that method of operation out of financial necessity.


Although you are not leaving us just yet, how do you want us to remember Burton h. Wolfe?


As somebody who told the truth at all costs, bearing in mind my favorite quotation from George Orwell (Eric Blair): “There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.” 1984


Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered and in particular to Lucifer’s Dictionary of the American Language?



Thanks Burton once again for participating in our interview.

Source by Norm Goldman

Nothing hurts a real estate investor quite like writing a rent check, especially for their own offices. But there are subtle aspects of a deal that can help you buy your own space without disrupting your monthly budget.

Here I was with a successful real estate company and a teaching and training business, yet I was leasing our office building for $2,643 a month. As investors, once we know the proper techniques to buy on terms without using our own capital or signing personally and pledging assets, it makes any training we get all that much more worth it—especially if we can purchase our own home or office.

Looking to Buy Office Space

It may run contrary to the for-profit mode many get stuck in, but buying your own space is an investment in yourself and your business. Of course, it’s more complicated than simply wanting to own your own office. The timing should be right, and factors like location and room for growth should be considered. And then there’s the deal itself….

When we decided to look for a larger office space for ourselves to accommodate our expansion, the properties that matched our needs and wants were running from $3,800 to $5,000 per month—enough to make anyone cringe. So we started looking to potentially purchase on terms (which also happens to be what we teach other investors to do).

With energy focused in that area, results came quickly. A Realtor referred us to a property for sale by owner near a busy intersection. It happened to be one I drive by all the time, yet I totally missed this property.

The seller was not new to real estate and had obviously done his homework to find this prime location 22 years ago. Once we were introduced and talked more, he took care of the Realtor fee and chose to deal with me directly.

Negotiating a Terms Deal

In talks with the seller, I learned he owned massive amounts of real estate in the area (mostly land). He originally bought this property for his son to use, but his son had moved out of state. With both of us in the business and a sense of trust built by dealing directly, we did this deal without a purchase and sale agreement.

I’m a handshake deal kind of guy and would love to do more of them, but it’s just not safe or realistic to do with everyone. There was no deposit, and the seller gave his word he’d take the “for sale” sign down the next day. It also turned out our attorneys were in the same building, so we’d let them close the deal when the time came.

strip mall with clothing storefront in view

Related: When You Should and Shouldn’t Consider Rent-to-Own Investing

Breaking Our Own Rules

As I’ve often said, there are times when an experienced real estate buyer will pivot in a particular deal. Our own deal included several aspects, any one of which could be a useful and advantageous way to structure a deal of your own.

The seller was initially advertising owner financing with the property listed on the market for $650K. He wanted a 20 percent down payment and a mortgage of 20 to 25 years at 5.5 percent.

By the time we were dealing with him, the price was slashed to $565K. We came back with a slightly lower offer of $550K and different terms. These terms were based on me not wanting to exceed our then $2,643 monthly lease payment, and we reverse engineered our offer in that way.

At the closing, we put down $35K, which was coming in from ongoing terms deal as the first and third paydays as opposed to personal savings or business reserves.

Remember, when structuring terms deals the way we do—lease purchase and owner financing—we have three paydays. Oftentimes they’re over a set period, which gives us a nice projected payment schedule to count on for income and business building. I consider it a reallocation into a greater investment.

One of the more nuanced aspects to the deal was to ask for three months of no payments after the deposit. This was to avoid an overlap of paying rent on the leased space and on the new office space, and it freed up roughly $8,000 to use on moving and building improvement costs.

Just being free from paying double that first month and having available funds to get the new refurbished property to meet our needs was a great aspect to this deal, but we added even more.

close up of two men sitting on either side of desk with hands on desktop clasped one holding pen with hands resting on binder

Related: 4 Reasons Negotiating Regularly Will Make You Richer, Wiser & More Confident

After the three months of no payments, I negotiated four months of fixed, principal-only payments at $2,500 monthly—a rate lower than our previous lease payments. That put another $10,000 down on the principal.

While it may seem like this is purely delaying payment, we structured a large sum payment for month eight and allocated funds for our incoming terms deals to pay another $15,000 that month. A structured, reliable cash flow from our other deals made this deal possible.

We set the balance on the loan to start amortizing (including interest, which we usually don’t do in our investment deals) in month eight, not day one. So with that last payment of $15,000, the seller got the desired $60,000 deposit total and then it became more of a conventional amortization of the $490,000 balance.

Our new monthly payments toward the $490,000 remaining principal paid at 5.2 percent, which I negotiated down from 5.5 to keep those payments under $3K. Yes, $2,921 is north of the $2,643 lease payments we’d been making in our old offices, but we now owned the space and did not disrupt our monthly budget to get there. We also had three-and-a-half times the space and additional rentable suites from which we could profit.

There were two existing tenants in the building. Both were there over 20 years (remember, the owner had the property for 22) and never had an increase in rent. I met with them both and negotiated a $1,550 per month 24-month lease on one and a $550 12-month lease on the other.

So the month immediately following closing, we had a nice $2,100 income coming in to offset our outgoing cash. That $2,100 covers most of our payment (not counting taxes and insurance).

The Structure of the Deal

  • $35K deposit
  • No payments for 3 months
  • Fixed, principal payments for months 4 through 7 ($10K applied to principal)
  • $15,000 on month 8, stashed each month from terms deals and rent coming in from tenants
  • Traditional monthly payments on remaining $490K
  • Interest negotiated from 5.5% to 5.2%, so monthly payments were under $3K
  • 20-year term


When the real estate market gets hot, it’s investors with negotiation know-how who get the deal. In The Book on Negotiating Real Estate, J Scott, Mark Ferguson, and Carol Scott combine real-world experience and the science of negotiation to cover the negotiation process and boost your odds of reaching a profitable deal.

Pick up your copy from the BiggerPockets bookstore today!


Do you rent office space? Would you consider buying? Why or why not?

Leave a comment below!


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A majority of Americans – 65% – think it is still a good idea to invest in a home, according to the latest survey of consumer expectations of housing by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. While this hasn’t changed much from last year, the attitudes of younger Americans have.

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What can you do to find a great gift for a girlfriend? Although some guys seem to have a kind of built-in radar to help them find the perfect gifts for girlfriends, others suffer through the serious repercussions of trial and error-error being the key word.

Of course, there are different degrees of girlfriends, which can make a difference as to how much you are willing to spend on gifts. Take, for example, the woman in Philadelphia who refers to everyone she sees as a girlfriend or boyfriend, even when she has never met them personally. She is not likely to buy gifts for everyone simply due to her choice of vernacular.

To most people however, the term girlfriend means more than a simple passing acquaintance. So how can a guy find a great girlfriend gift? Much depends upon how much he has available to spend. A college student who is already struggling with paying rent is not going to have the same funds as someone working fulltime in the professional arena.

Even if you are looking for great girlfriend gifts on a budget, you still have many options. Be sure to take the interests of your girlfriend into account. If she loves to smell good, the major national discounters as well as hundreds of other mom-and-pop srtores sell budget friendly bubble baths, soaks, perfumes, eau de toilette and other bath items such as soaps and creams.

If your girlfriend likes to look good, you can find makeup, brushes, and other beauty products for under $ 30 at most stores. Another option for looking good is clothing although buying clothing for any girl, girlfriend or just a friend is a bit risky. You do not need to blow your wad though if you do choose to go this route. You can find real deals on clothes at stores such as Ross Dress for Less, Old Navy, Marshall's and TJ Maxx. All these stores sell nice brands at reasonable prices.

If your budget is a little looser, there are eye-poppers available most anywhere that make a great birthday gift for a girlfriend (or any other occasion for that matter. about jewelry is that it can say many things for you even if you never open your mouth. rather than a ring or earring.

Although electronics can be nice, make sure it's something she likes rather than something you like. Many friendships are stretched thin because a guy buys his girlfriend the DVD player or iPod he loves rather than the romantic item she craves.

Gifts from the heart also make great girlfriends gifts. Such gifts make the longest repeating impressions. Spur of the moment flowers for example, will melt most any woman's heart. Even a romantic night out can be just the gift to get her heart pounding in appreciation.

If your girlfriend has a sense of humor … and a sense of adventure, you could also buy her land. Yes, land! Land in each of the 50 states too. You will not be buying real land simply one square inch in any or all of the states. She'll get a deed to each piece of her estate but can not build on it, and it holds zero investment value, but she will not have to pay taxes on it, nor upkeep it either. But she'll probably ask you to take you from state to state one day and visit her properties? This is available only on the Internet and is bound to surprise her.

Source by Scott Moger

Should you get private money from your family and friends to invest in real estate? For some, it might make sense; for others, maybe not.

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of working with your loved ones. And stick around until the end, when I’ll give you some quick tips and address some concerns about this topic.

Pros of Getting Private Money From Friends & Family Members

First, here are the pros of working with friends and family who may want to invest with you—whether that means immediate family members or just friends from high school or college.

1. They like you. 

You have a rapport with them. They like you because you’re you. They know you and trust you. They don’t want to do this for you because you’re some juggernaut real estate investor (even if you are). You don’t have to go and prove yourself as an investor to them.

2. It’s a phenomenal way to build wealth. 

What’s great about this is you get to share the gift of wealth building with people you actually care about. It’s a win-win arrangement! You’ll be motivated to create financial freedom for not only you but also them.

3. They are likely to refer you to someone else. 

They’ll be eager to spread the word about you to their friends, neighbors, and so on after the deal goes well. Friends and family are great referral partners.

close up of two men shaking hands one light skinned one dark skinned laptop in background

Related: To Partner or Not to Partner…That is the Question!

Cons of Getting Private Money From Friends & Family Members

Now for the cons. Here are some reasons you might not want to get involved with friends and family when it comes to doing business.

1. The deal could potentially go wrong. 

What if things go wrong? I can imagine the fear of this. It would be awful to lose lots of money that belonged to someone close to you. But I have an answer for this. We’ll talk about it in a bit.

2. You may be tempted to forgo paperwork. 

It’s very important to still have all of the necessary paperwork drawn up and signed by all parties. Just because someone is your friend doesn’t mean it’s okay to skip this step. I’ve seen it go sour (as I mentioned in the video with the friend who leased to another friend—or more accurately, former friend—without a proper lease in place). My own mom lends me money for my business, and guess what? We still sign paperwork.

3. They might not even want to know about the deal. 

This might seem like a good thing. You don’t even have to bother explaining to Aunt Sally about the deal. Or your brother doesn’t even want to know what the money’s for. He trusts you and wants to help. It’s not okay for the lending party to not understand what they’re getting into.

How to Deal With the Cons of Borrowing Money From Friends & Family

This is how you need to view working with friends and family in general.

When it comes to the paperwork, do it! Don’t ever not do loan agreements or property equity agreements—no matter what the lender might say or who the lender is. Just do it anyway.

In terms of them not understanding the deal, it is your duty to explain it to them. That is part of your role in this transaction. They have to understand what they’re getting themselves into, including timelines and when they’re going to get their money back.

And finally, the “what if it goes wrong” thing. Do not do sketchy deals—ever. Underwrite super conservatively, and don’t go after lean deals that will only work if everything goes right. Do this with friends and family and all the other partners you have throughout your investing career.

Build in room to fail. Then the failure can come out of your profit versus their pocket. Always ensure you’re doing deals that have padding in them.

Most importantly, believe in your business! If you don’t think you can bring friends and family into your business comfortably, there’s something wrong there. You need to take another look at everything.

Have you ever done business with friends or family? How did it go? Are you considering it? Why or why not?

Let me know in a comment below!


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