Introduction

Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes.

Napoleon Hill

Are You Ready?

Are you ready? Are you ready to become a Millionaire Real Estate Investor?

I am a lifelong teacher, and there is one thing I believe to be absolutely true: Real learning begins only when the student is open to the message. I've heard many people say, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear," as if this were some strange or mysterious coincidence. The truth is, a teacher is almost always there and learning is simply a matter of the student being ready and willing to learn. For me this holds true whether I'm teaching an entrepreneur how to create a business plan or showing my son how to make money. If they're not ready, they don't learn! Becoming a successful real estate investor is no exception. The journey begins when you're ready to take it.

I'd like to share a few real-life stories from people who discovered one day that they were ready to start their investment journey and did:

■ As a registered nurse, Barbara Mattson struggled to support her disabled husband and two children. Barbara transformed their lives when instead of paying off an avalanche of accumulated medical a bills she used a long-overdue disability settlement to buy an investment property. In five years she accumulated $9 million in real estate, and now she runs her own real estate company.

■ Donis King left her secretarial job of 16 years to pursue real estate investing and never looked back. She supported herself solely on rental income and now owns 27 houses free and clear. Donis was able to retire at an early age.

■ Ken Jordan, a career biologist, left the security of his government job after buying his first multifamily investment property. He now works for himself, living off rental income and his property management company.

■ As the mother of two children, Barbara Drake was determined to get a college education to set an example for her daughters. Not only did her first two investment properties pay for her degree, they put her children through school as well. Barbara quit her job to pursue real estate investing full time. Now in her sixties, she owns 36 single-family homes and lives off the cash flow.

■ When Wendy Patton bought her first investment property, she was living in a hotel, made $20,000 a year, and owed that much in student loans. Today Wendy has bought and sold more than 600 houses. She lectures around the country and lives off her investment income.

■ When Danny Williams accepted an early retirement package from Delta, he owned 11 rental properties and had two children in college. Danny says he's now "totally unemployable" by choice and in complete control of his destiny.

■ Jimmy and Linda McKissack struggled for years to turn a restaurant and nightclub into a sustainable business. They began supplementing their income through investment properties, and before long they "got it." Within five years they went from a handful of investment homes to 83 residential properties worth over $10 million.

■ Carlos Herbon and his wife immigrated to the United States from Argentina with $150 in their pockets. The couple and their sons now own several million dollars, worth of real estate and run a property management company. For them the American dream has become a reality.

What did these investors have in common? On the surface, not much. They came from all over and began their investment journeys with vastly different resources. Some had stable jobs and equity in their homes, while others began with massive debt, no credit, and not much more than the change in their pockets. What they did share was a burning desire and a readiness to change their lives, to succeed on their own, without a job or a boss, without a pension plan or a safety net, in the entrepreneurial world of real estate investing.

Their drive and will to succeed were strong enough to lead them to do the right things day in and day out for months and years as their net worth steadily grew. None were "instant millionaires," won the proverbial lottery, or tapped into some "secret formula" for overnight financial success. They were ready and they were willing. They got a plan, and they implemented it with persistence and patience.

The Millionaire Real Estate Investor is about building great financial wealth, and although there are ways to make money fast even in real estate investing, this book is not about "get-rich-quick" schemes and techniques. Frankly, there are no express elevators to the top in financial wealth building—just a long flight of steps. But it is a worthy journey, and reaching the top takes both patience and perseverance. This book is about a tried and true financial wealth-building vehicle that rewards those who have patience and perseverance—that vehicle is real estate.

I'm a Millionaire Real Estate Investor too, but perhaps more important, I've also had the privilege, as the founder of one of the largest and fastest-growing real estate franchise companies in history, to oversee and consult on thousands of real estate transactions. In my career I've seen a lot of financial wealth built through real estate. I've also seen money lost. As an agent and broker, a business owner and investor, and an advisor and consultant, I've explored almost every angle of real estate. And I've been taking notes.

In the end, though, this book isn't about me, and even though we interviewed over 100 of them, it's not about the other Millionaire Real Estate Investors you'll meet in these pages. The Millionaire Real Estate Investor is about you, your choices, and your possibilities. It's about the millionaire in you. The millionaire in you who dreams of fulfilling all the thoughts and visions in your head and heart. It's about the unrealized you, the you that wants to focus on how big your life can be and act accordingly. I believe The Millionaire Real Estate Investor is about the real you, not some idealized you or some new person you need to become. It's about the actual, factual, bona fide you, the naked-before-the-mirror, indisputable, unquestionable, honest-to-God (you know what I mean) authentic you. I firmly believe that the opportunity to build financial wealth—even big financial wealth—is open to you. In fact, it is open to all people who are ready and willing to accept the challenge, no matter what their shortcomings, no matter what their current station in life.

Please don't let any doubts or fears you might have turn into excuses such as "I don't have any credit; I've got too much debt; I don't know what to do; and besides, I'm no good with money." I'm here to tell you that in the end none of that really matters. It didn't matter to the Millionaire Real Estate Investors we interviewed, and it won't matter to you. It's time to set aside those doubts that whisper things like "It's not possible" or, worse, "I can't do it" and those fears that stealthily subvert your best ambitions. I want to encourage you to sidestep this kind of self-sabotage and begin the journey with confidence. With confidence it's possible for anyone, and if you're ready—possible for you.

Money Lives on the

Other Side of Fear

Money lives on the other side of fear. I didn't always know this, but I now know it is true. Fear keeps us from getting what we want, especially in matters of money. It is true for me, and it is true for you. All of us can look at our lives and count the times when fear stepped in, prevented us from taking action, and cost us a precious financial opportunity. In this way fear becomes a building block of future regret. It blinds us to possibilities. It keeps us where we are, stuck in a financial box—a box built by fear, a box built by our own hands.

But just as fear can stop us in our tracks, it can make us move faster than we ever imagined. Just as it can give us a negative focus, it can give us a positive focus that can galvanize us to take positive action. What is interesting is that in this moment, when we're afraid that something won't happen or even that it will, fear points out what is most important to us. It shows us what matters most in our lives. In truth, fear isn't all bad. Don't be afraid of fear. Respect it, keep going, and move past it.

Just like a river of water, fear can be bridged. Fear is only as big or as wide as you allow it to be. And as is often the case, once you've crossed that river of fear and experienced the wonders on the other side, you look back and question why you were ever afraid. But here's the catch: The only people who actually know this are those who have crossed that river and are standing on the other side. It is my hope that just like the millionaires we interviewed, you will be among those who choose to cross that river of investment fear and stand financially tall on the other side.

One of the things my coauthors and I will do in this book is dispel the kinds of unproductive fears that prevent good real estate investors from becoming great investors and, even worse, prevent many people from investing in real estate at all. At the same time we'll highlight areas where fear is a good thing and caution should be exercised. The truth is that when you have the confidence that comes from understanding what to do, why you should do it, and how to do it right, most of your uncertainty will be left behind. Knowledge and insight can wash away more fear than anything else can. It's our sincere hope that The Millionaire Real Estate Investor will be a great source of knowledge, insight, and confidence for you.

Money does live on the other side of fear. But in a bigger sense opportunity lives on the other side of fear as well. Money just represents one tangible form of opportunity. It gives you options and allows you to choose. That's one reason we called this book The Millionaire Real Estate Investor. To us the word millionaire represents big opportunity, unlimited options, a large life. That's what this book is ultimately about—living a large and limitless life. The first step on that journey is to acknowledge any fears that might be holding you back and then cross that bridge. Your financial opportunity lies on the other side of your investment fears.

Not Everyone Will

While The Millionaire Real Estate Investor is a handbook for investing in real estate, it is also—at its core—a manual for creating financial wealth. Creating financial wealth begins with an understanding of the best time-tested principles for making and managing money. Creating wealth is about recognizing that wealth and riches are not the same, that the gap between a good deal and a great deal is a vast chasm created by a lack of wisdom. Learning the difference can change the way you look at the world, and eventually it can change the shape of your life.

How you think matters. In fact, it matters a lot. So, before we can share with you these fundamental truths about money, investing, and real estate, we need to make sure you agree with us on two important points:

1. Building financial wealth through real estate is possible.

2. Building financial wealth through real estate is possible for you.

We think history has proved the first point, and chances are, you already know that investing in real estate has made others wealthy. Our primary concern is that you agree with the second point—that you really believe it's possible for you. In our experience many people can't get their minds around the idea that they too can attain real financial wealth through investing. There's a whole laundry list of excuses, but they all boil down to one thing: self-doubt. This book will encourage you to confront that doubt and step past it to the opportunities that lie unrealized before you. Remember, as Shakespeare pointed out, "Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt."

As you'll discover, The Millionaire Real Estate Investor is really two books in one. The first part is devoted to your thinking. In that part you'll confront some of your myths about money, real estate, and yourself. You'll also learn some timeless truths about the way money works. If you can learn to think like a millionaire, you'll have a much better chance to become one. The second part of the book is about taking action. It's the "how-to" part and will outline a proven path to follow as well as tested models to employ.

Remember, anyone can do it—not everyone will. The only question is: Will you?

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