About The Author
I'll briefly walk you through my background so you'll see how I ended up in the home inspection business. My father died of cancer when I was 15, and as a result, I had to pay my own way through high school and college. I've worked many different types of service industry jobs to help pay my bills. I worked with a tree service company, a moving company, a house painting company, as a security guard, a day camp counselor, a golf caddie, in a restaurant as a dishwasher, a busboy, a waiter and a bartender, and the list goes on and on.
I studied Art History in college. When I graduated college I was working as a waiter at a local restaurant. You can see from my education and training that I had no experience in real estate and I knew virtually nothing about it. I didn't even know what a mortgage was! I knew a mortgage had something to do with real estate, but I didn't know exactly what it had to do with it. One day I saw an Infomercial TV show advertising products dealing with real estate investing. The show peaked my curiosity because it talked about buying real estate with "no money down." I ended up buying the products and I went through the material about 10 times. I memorized just about everything in that material. That's what got me started thinking about getting involved in real estate. The main problem was that I had almost no money in the bank! However, I was young and very ambitious and that can do a lot to help you get started. (By the way, I wouldn't recommend buying the "no money down" books and products sold on TV infomercials. Statistics show that less than 1% of the people actually earn money who buy wealth making products, like the real estate "get rich quick" no-money down type of products. You have to be extremely ambitious, determined, plus be able to overcome major obstacles to use those products to get started in buying real estate. Moreover, many of the techniques they teach were much easier to use before the 1990's. Today they are just a pipe dream in the real world of real estate investing. The way they get customers is by preying on people's emotions. They pump you up with hyped-up customer testimonials and they make you think that with their material you'll be rich and financially independent in a few short years. It doesn't happen that way in the real world of real estate - unless you have a lot of money in the bank to start investing with).
In the 1980's, while I was working as a waiter, my brother and I took out small personal loans to get down payment money to buy a rundown, old single-family house. This house was located in a low-income area of New York and it needed a lot of work. We gradually fixed this house up in our spare time, learning the ropes as we went along by trial and error. When we were finished, the house was appraised for twice hat we paid for it. As a result, we refinanced the house. We used the money from this loan as a down payment to buy a two-family house that was in just as bad condition as the first house. We renovated the two-family house and then it was also appraised for twice what we paid for it. We refinanced this house and used the extra money to buy a six-family house. The six-family needed a lot of work in repairs. So we did the same thing again, except this time when we were finished with the renovations, the house didn't appraise for twice what we paid for it. The six-family house was appraised for four times what we paid for it!! (We had bought the six-family at a bargain basement price.)
We hired the best home inspector we could find to check these houses out before we purchased them. This inspector also inspected other houses we wanted to buy, however, things came up in the inspection that made us change our minds. We were beginning to learn the ropes about real estate and construction from buying, renovating and managing our own rental properties. This inspector coincidentally offered to train us to go into the home inspection business ourselves. The only catch was that we had to pay him $10,000 to do it! We saw that this inspector was earning over $135,000 per year while working right out of his home, and so we decided to take him up on his offer. I'm glad we did, because that $10,000 investment may have seemed like a lot of money back then, but it paid for itself many times over. I trained under this home inspector and did a lot of reading, research and memorization on my own. This learning process took a long time before I really felt that I knew what I was doing.
After getting into the home inspection business, I ran into a friend of mine from high school, named Mike, who was a local real estate appraiser. Mike had become a very qualified real estate appraiser. I was curious about how Mike trained to become an appraiser and what type of income someone could make in that profession. So I asked Mike some questions and found out that many appraisers earn over $140,000 per year while working out of their homes. He told me some of the aspects about the appraisal business but I just stored it all in the back of my mind and didn't think much about it.
Shortly after that, I received a phone call from another friend of mine from college, named Phil. Phil told me he was working for a bank in their foreclosure department. Phil said that he didn't hire home inspectors as much as he did appraisers for the properties the bank would foreclose on. After a bank forecloses on a property, they have an appraisal done to determine what the present market value is. A bank needs to estimate the market value to know what to try to sell the property for. Sometimes they need to have a home inspection done as well, but not as often. Anyway, this really got me thinking about learning how to do real estate appraisals. I was making a good income with my rental properties and home inspection business. However, I'm always looking for new opportunities that peak my interest. My friend Phil at the bank said that if I learned how to do appraisals well enough, he could give me plenty of work. This really set the wheels turning in my head.
I called back my other friend Mike, who was an appraiser, and asked if he could train me to do appraisals for a reasonable fee. Mike agreed to train me for one-half of the fee that I would charge the bank for each appraisal. This ended up amounting to over $8,500! I called Phil at the bank and told him I could do appraisals for him. I said that I will be getting trained by a qualified appraiser who had been in the business for years. This appraiser would also review all of my appraisal reports before they were mailed to the bank. Phil then agreed to give me some appraisal work since I would have all of my appraisals reviewed by a qualified appraiser during my training.
It took about six months of working with Mike and writing up and reviewing many appraisals before I really felt that I knew what I was doing. I then went on to take the State Appraisal classes to get even more knowledge and expertise in real estate appraising. To continue building up my credentials and experience, I passed the State Appraisal examination to become a State Certified Real Estate Appraiser. With all of this training combined with my experience in the business, I have a big edge on many of the appraisers. This is because I have an extensive and diverse background in many different aspects of real estate.
In this book and educational series I'm going to tell you about all of the information and training I learned from a top-notch home inspector, a highly qualified appraiser, and the classes I have taken. Plus I'll tell you about all of the information I've learned from my own experience in real estate and in the inspection and appraisal businesses. The only part of that training I'm going to leave out is the $20,000 in up front fees and class tuition that I had to pay when I first started!! I hope you don't mind me leaving that part out.