Hal Roark

Two Things You Should be Reading Every Week and Why
by Hal Roark

I'm astounded when I hear other real estate investors tell me that they don't read their local, daily paper.

You don't read your local, daily paper?

Don't you realize what's in there?

Information about your local market! Stories on your local economy. Trends in your marketplace. Important real estate data and statistics. Not to mention the classified ads, loaded with people who want to sell their homes ("homes for sale") and people who want to buy houses, i.e. other investors ("wanted to buy" section).

I know an extremely successful, fulltime investor (30+ years) who shared with me once one of his secrets for finding deals. He admitted that one of his best buying avenues was the classified section of his local paper.

"Hal," he said, "they all want to sell their house. All in one spot. Cheap. With their phone numbers to boot!"

Now, as this investor would admit, they aren't all motivated sellers. But, in his 30+ years of experience, there was always at least one motivated seller hidden in the sections, and, usually, there was more than one. When he wasn't getting deals from other sources, he picked up the phone and, starting from the top to the bottom, made the calls to unearth the motivated sellers.

If these deals are there, right under all our noses, why don't more folks pursue this approach?

Because it's hard. It's not easy. It involves cold-calling. It involves hearing 99 "Nos" before you hear one "Yes". And most of us don't want to take the time, or the abuse, to get to that one lead.

But it works. And it's all right there, for pennies a day, in your local paper.

The second publication I think everyone should read weekly is the magazine Businessweek. I love Businessweek. It will help you to see the larger movements and the big picture of our national, and international, economies. This is highly relevant.

If my local market is trending in one direction, it's incredibly important (and helpful) to know how this trend relates to our larger economy. Is my market bucking the trend? Ahead of the trend? Behind the trend?

If I'm in a seller's market, for example, is most of the country experiencing that, too? If the rest of the country is in a buyer's market, is my market heading there too? If so, should I switch my current investing strategies? Is this a good time to sell, and prepare for a buyer's market? Etc.

Business week will help you understand the national context of your local market (which you will learn about from your local, daily paper).

Businessweek is invaluable in another respect, too. It focuses on well and poorly performing businesses.

All of us, no matter what the investing strategies we employ, should seek to run our real estate investing activities like a business (as opposed to a sloppy hobby, an experiment, or a "wing and a prayer" get-rich-quick scheme). One way to learn how to do that is by reading about other businesses, and other managers, who seek to do the same with their own enterprises. You can learn a lot by their mistakes and successes.

Personally, I curl up with my Businessweek with a pen in hand and mark the heck out of every page. I read the articles with these questions in mind:

How can this information help me in my businesses?

What can I learn from these trends, successes, and mistakes, and apply to my businesses?

Take notes. Make connections. Jot down ideas. You'll be surprised how a story on Intel and semi-conductors can be highly relevant to your landlording activities, for example.

Read your local paper daily for the local knowledge it can give you, in addition to the other benefits. Read Businessweek to stay on top of the national trends, and to learn about the successes and failures of other businesses. They are two cheap, quick ways to keep your finger on the pulse of your local and national economy. Any real CEO would have it no other way.

Hal Roark
Hal Roark is a full time real estate investor from New Orleans, Louisiana. Hal got started in real estate investing in 1997, having made over $138,000 on his first deal "by accident, when I didn't even know what I was doing."

Today, Hal specializes in renovating properties needing serious structural repair, and he also invests in unique landlording niches. These unique niches include Section 8 investments, rehab lease options, renting to people with pets, renting to international students, as well as other creative investing strategies that "provide huge profits with small hassles."

Hal served on the board of the New Orleans Real Estate Investors Association for four years, one of the oldest and largest reia groups in the United States.

Hal has been a guest speaker before many reia groups around the country. Hal is still in the trenches every day doing deals, and he teaches others how to replicate the success he has achieved via his website, www.landlordingsecrets.com.

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