Some people risk $10 a day on lottery tickets. I spent around $10 a day to buy slivers of land, land sold for non-payment of taxes, abandoned storage containers. In my career as a wheeler dealer, I probably made thousands of little deals. If I told you how much money I made, you wouldn’t believe me. So I won’t tell. Today I will mention only one of many places I got my leads on little deals that sometimes made big money.
In almost every town and county there is a newspaper for “public legal notices.” It usually comes out weekly, but in a big city it may be daily.
You can subscribe to it, or buy it at their offices. These newspapers make their money by selling ads. These are what’s called “legal notices” or “boilerplate” required by law to announce auctions, foreclosures, tax & unclaimed property sales, divorce & probate estate sales, sales by the tax authorities and drug enforcement administration seizures , government surplus sales, seeking missing heirs and many more categories. These all require public announcement notices. The Secret? These notices are generally ignored by everyone although I found them to be virtual treasure maps.
The same information – about auctions sales, foreclosures, etc. is also found on public notice boards. These postings are usually more scattered but always inside and on the outside walls of public buildings. What buildings? They include, but are not limited to: town halls, county administrative centers, courthouses and Federal buildings. Notices are also posted on the properties themselves, and sometimes on special bulletin boards set up in town centers or popular shopping malls. When the administrative buildings are in outlying districts notices must be posted in places where they are more likely to be seen by the general public. The truth is that these postings are generally ignored except by the small coterie of “vulture capitalists” who (as I once did) bid on distressed and abandoned properties.
In my bad old days —for 50 years— I got many leads from these adverts & postings. My practice for years was to bid $10 on everything without wasting my time beating the bushes and actually looking at the properties. Once in a while, a very valuable property came up in a foreclosure auction, and in such cases, the posted notices usually contained the times and dates for public inspection and a person to contact for details. In such special cases, there was often a provision for a minimum bid which could be placed and accepted before the auction. Just as I was writing this, I made such a bid on some storage rooms in my own apartment building which I picked up at half of market value. I will keep two for my own needs and sell the rest at double what I paid for them. You can do deals like this if you open your eyes to seek out the many opportunities arising every day in your own back yard.
For my hundreds of ten-dollar bids, I picked up many property slivers and much worthless stuff . I technically own these parcels today. Sometimes I get inquiries. “Will you sell that sliver to me?” Sometimes those pieces on roadsides are wanted for billboard locations . Yes Indeed! I will sell them for around $100.
But here I will tell you about the BIG MONEY made from little $10 bids.
Every now and then I acquired an unexpected treasure where I could sell something I got for peanuts for very serious money. Once I almost inadvertently acquired a huge library for $10 that I sold as individual books for over $10,000. In another case my $10 bid won a whole uninhabited island for $100,000. There were many others like this.
These deals cost me only $10. Why? Because I was the only bidder. I could and did write a book about these deals: “Distress Property.” This activity was far better than betting on a lottery or Keno tickets. Why? Because I actually bought “something.” It was then up to me to market slivers of land –usually to a neighboring property owner. This might have allowed the neighboring property to expand or gain access to a rear yard.
While “flipping” improved (rental) property sounds easy, it usually involves a huge amount of work! Clearing a lot of bureaucracy, getting permits , actually fixing up a place, sometime evicting old tenants or squatters, blah blah blah. Lots of stress!
Actually selling means you deal with lots of Lookie Lous and tire-kickers. More deals fall through than are completed. As in any business what is required includes 1) Experience and specialized expertise 2) Attention to detail 3) Persistence 4) A lot of paperwork.
Is it worth it? In my opinion (IMO) yes.
If you can end up with a net worth of $50 Million in a decade or two, well, all the pain, trouble and effort needed might be worth it to some people. For me it was better to be a self-starter and deal maker than to work all my life for a boss in a job. Truth is that most people are followers and would rather be told what to do than go out on their own to look for deals.
I have written a lot in this topic “Making money in real estate deals and F.I.R.E.” Financial Independence/Retire Early. If this appeals to you, go to Quora and ask as a question: “Peter Taradash-content” Read my other answers on QUORA and my other stuff — if you are interested. Make the effort that few will make! You will be rewarded with your own personalized “how to” manual on how to make a your own millions without a regular job. //