Locating distressed properties

This is just a collection of quotes from other authors about various ways to locate distressed properties. Pretty much all of the info is a repost.

For those wondering how to find distressed properties other than driving around, there are multiple methods to searching online. However, it should be noted that distressed properties come in many forms, and are not always called “distressed” outright. Look for ‘distressed properties for sale by owner’ that are delinquent in taxes and mortgage payments, properties that must be sold legally due to bankruptcy or divorce, probate deals, and properties that are owned by the banks or the government.

Starting with the first example, finding properties with tax delinquencies is luckily a straightforward process. The hardest part will be finding your local tax assessor’s web page that lists these properties. After you have found the site, simply search the listings until you have found a property you’re interested in. Another type of property that might be in distressed is one for which the owners have been delinquent on their mortgage payments, also known as “underwater.” These properties are usually in “pre-foreclosure,” and can be found on multiple listing sites such as your local county website or paid sites such as Foreclosure.com.

Properties that must be sold legally, such as through bankruptcy or divorce, may also be in distress. When looking through your county foreclosure listings, you may have already noticed listings that are listed as being auctioned for bankruptcy or divorce. Although not every county is required to list such properties, you can at least find properties that are up for auction. The probate court is yet another creative space to find distressed properties. A probate property is one that was owned by someone who has passed, but without leaving the property to anyone in their will. It should be noted that making an offer on a probate sale requires a special process, as the property is being sold through an attorney or an executor. Finally, investors should search through REO (real estate-owned) and government-owned properties that have already been foreclosed upon. When a property owner fails to make mortgage payments, the provider of the mortgage loan (in this case the bank or the government) retains the rights to reclaim the property. Many local and national banks have their own property listing sites, as do government entities such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Other suggestions from the same article:

Driving For Dollars
If you’re wondering where to find distressed properties, there is a traditional method that transcends time: hopping in the car and driving around. Assuming you already have a target neighborhood in mind, simply drive around and look for properties that stand out from others due to a state of neglect. Telltale signs to look out for include an overgrown yard, broken windows and shutters, exterior paint that is faded or peeling, notices that are posted on windows and doors, and junk mail and newspapers that are left uncollected. If you find a property that meets any or all of these descriptions, be sure to write down the address so you can start investigating.

Expanding on some of those suggestions, here is the article from BiggerPockets by Drew Sygit  called “6 Ways to Locate Distressed Properties Online

Finding properties with delinquent taxes is fairly straightforward if you can find the local tax assessor’s website. Depending on where you’re looking, you might need to Google for “[City Name] Tax Assessor” or “[County Name] Tax Assessor”

The best “underwater” properties are the ones that are right on the verge of foreclosure — they’re the most motivated sellers. In many parts of the United States, you can find an official publication of these houses by Googling for “[County Name] Legal Notices,” but you can also find reliable, easy-to-browse listings at RealtyTrac.comForeclosure.com, and HUDForeclosed.com

Another option is to cultivate relationships with local bankruptcy and divorce attorneys, so they call you when they encounter a motivated seller.  

Real estate-owned a.k.a. bank-owned properties aren’t just “distressed”; they’ve already been foreclosed upon. Most of them are just sitting empty, slowly costing the companies that own them money. On the downside, 100 percent of them are sold as-is, so if you don’t have a good reason to be confident that a particular home is solid, they can be a gamble. The best way to find REO properties is right here on BiggerPockets: a well-maintained list of REO searches that covers the entire country.

When the HUD, FreddyMac, or FannieMae insures a mortgage and that mortgage fails, those entities foreclose on the mortgaged homes just like a bank would. And when they do, they turn around and try to sell those homes, just like a bank does. Furthermore, properties are also frequently offered by several other government entities, such as the Department for Veterans Affairs or the FDIC. While every agency has its own rules and methods, you can start your research into this vast arena at the HUD Single-Family Homes for Sale webpage, which has links to each government department’s relevant webpage. There are also several solid links on the U.S. Marshal Services’ National Sellers List [PDF].

Yet more tips from article “How to Find Distressed Properties” by Angela Colley

One way to find distressed properties is to choose a target neighborhood, then drive around and eyeball the homes there. Be on the lookout for these telltale signs:

  • Properties that stand out from other homes on the block because they are in a state of neglect
  • Properties where the lights are not turned on at night
  • Homes with yards overgrown with weeds
  • Broken windows and shutters in need of repair
  • Faded and peeling paint
  • Notices post on doors or windows
  • Uncollected newspapers and junk mail

Be Wary of Web Searches
Internet searches can yield a wealth of information about distressed properties, but there are a few risks:

  • Many sites charge a fee to browse their database. Since you’ll have to pay upfront, you won’t know if the cost was worth it until you’ve already paid.
  • Not all sites guarantee their information. What you’re looking at online may not be what you see in person.
  • Some listings are outdated. You may waste time by looking at already-sold homes.
  • If you’re browsing online, be sure to stick with a reputable free site. Try browsing realtor.com®’s Homes for Sale to get an idea of what is available in your area.

Pivoting to real estate

In 2019, I am pivoting to real estate. I do not know how soon I will be able to start investing myself, but at the very least I can start learning and looking for friends within that industry.

I am starting a new category of links that will deal with this topic

AoW: Ch. 7 Maneuvering

sun tzu quote

I am continuing with my interpretation of the book. Everything in italic is a direct quote from the book.

2. Having collected an army and concentrated his forces, he must blend and harmonise the different elements thereof before pitching his camp. 3. After that, comes tactical manoeuvring, than which there is nothing more difficult. The difficulty of tactical manoeuvring consists in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain. 4. Thus, to take a long and circuitous route, after enticing the enemy out of the way, and though starting after him, to contrive to reach the goal before him, shows knowledge of the artifice of deviation. 5. Manoeuvring with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous.

Once the strategist sets his eyes on a challenge, he must gather together the available resources and inspect them. After that, he needs to start to blend and weight different elements before deciding what to make a starting point of the campaign. After that comes designs of tactical maneuvering, which is the most challenging part of the planning. The difficulty of the tactical maneuvers is to turn your disadvantages to your strengths, the indirect into direct, to entice the opponents out of their way into your chosen battlefield, and, if starting being the last, to come being the first to capture the goal.  Maneuvering with a well-organized team is to your benefit; maneuvering with a poorly organized team is to your detriment.

6. If you set a fully equipped army in march in order to snatch an advantage, the chances are that you will be too late. On the other hand, to detach a flying column for the purpose involves the sacrifice of its baggage and stores.

Do not move your entire organization or team in order to obtain some advantage. They will be too slow and arrive too late to take advantage of the situation. Instead, send a small mobile unit first, and they will more likely to make good use of the opportunity.

12. We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbours. 13. We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are familiar with the face of the country — its mountains and forests, its pitfalls and precipices, its marshes and swamps. 14. We shall be unable to turn natural advantage to account unless we make use of local guides.

We should not attempt to try to gain an ally until we know very well the ally’s secret plans and desires for the future. We are also not ready to start our campaign until we are very familiar with the lay of the land, the easy and the dangerous areas, and all the players who might affect the game. To be able to turn all the elements of the environment to our advantage, we will need some help from the inside, a trusted guide into the unknown territory.

15. In war, practice dissimulation, and you will succeed. Move only if there is a real advantage to be gained. 16. Whether to concentrate or to divide your troops, must be decided by circumstances. 17. Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the forest. 18. In raiding and plundering be like fire, in immovability like a mountain. 19. Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt. 22. He will conquer who has learnt the artifice of deviation. Such is the art of manoeuvring.

In your campaign, practice deceit in all appearances, and you will be successful. Make your open moves only if there is a serious advantage that can be obtained. Do not make plans that are written in stone, but let circumstances guide your decisions on when to scatter and when to show up in force. Whenever you do, be fast like the wind, yet solid like a tree,  lay wreck to your opponent’s positions faster like a moving fire, and then make yourself impossible to move from the position you obtained. Be like a thunder coming from dark clouds –  invisible until the very second that it appears, its plans and next direction are impossible to know. That is the art of maneuvering.

25. The host thus forming a single united body, it is impossible either for the brave to advance alone, or for the cowardly to retreat alone. This is the art of handling large masses of men.

When handling large masses of man, move them in such way as it would be impossible for the brave to be left too far advanced without a backup or for the cowardly to fall back behind the lines.

22. Though the enemy be stronger in numbers, we may prevent him from fighting. Scheme so as to discover his plans and the likelihood of their success. 23. Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots. 24. Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient.

When the opponent is too strong, find a way to prevent him from attacking. Do all you can, subtly, to discover his plans and strategies, and calculate the chances of their success. To study him, lure him out or provoke him to make him move, so you could discover where he is strong and weak, where he has resources and where he is short on resources.

25. In making tactical dispositions, the highest pitch you can attain is to conceal them; conceal your dispositions, and you will be safe from the prying of the subtlest spies, from the machinations of the wisest brains. 26. How victory may be produced for them out of the enemy’s own tactics — that is what the multitude cannot comprehend. 27. All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved. 28. Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances. 29. Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards. 30. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak. 31. Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.

When making strategic arrangements, the best way to make them is to conceal them for as long as possible. This way, you won’t be discovered by the opponent’s spies or by smart observers. Seek to produce a victory for yourself out of your opponent’s own strategy and tactics. When you achieve victory, let everyone see your tactics, but no one should be able to comprehend your strategy. Do not use the same tactic twice. Instead, allow your tactics to be dictated by your circumstances, thus creating infinite variety. Let your tactics imitate the movement of the water. In nature, water does not flow uphill, but downhill. So in a confrontation, do not attack what is strong, but attack what is weak. The water always traces the shape of the ground upon which is it running, so your maneuvers should be dictated by the opponent’s own movements.

28. Now a soldier’s spirit is keenest in the morning; by noonday it has begun to flag; and in the evening, his mind is bent only on returning to camp. 29. A clever general, therefore, avoids an army when its spirit is keen, but attacks it when it is sluggish and inclined to return. This is the art of studying moods.

Study your opponents’ daily routines and change of energy. If he is most active in the morning, slows down after lunch, and in the evening is in a hurry to get home, then never make your move when his energy is high. Instead, wait for the time when all his thoughts are on being back home. This is the art of studying moods.

30. Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance of disorder and hubbub amongst the enemy: — this is the art of retaining self-possession. 31. To be near the goal while the enemy is still far from it, to wait at ease while the enemy is toiling and struggling, to be well-fed while the enemy is famished: — this is the art of husbanding one’s strength. 32. To refrain from intercepting an enemy whose banners are in perfect order, to refrain from attacking an army drawn up in calm and confident array: — this is the art of studying circumstances. 33. It is a military axiom not to advance uphill against the enemy, nor to oppose him when he comes downhill. 34. Do not pursue an enemy who simulates flight; do not attack soldiers whose temper is keen. 35. Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy. Do not interfere with an army that is returning home. 36. When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard. 37. Such is the art of warfare

The art of self-control is to remain collected and calm among the turmoil and clamor of the confrontation. The art of managing of power is to maintain your supplies while your opponent’s resources are exhausted, to reach the goal first and secretly wait there, preparing for your opponent to arrive. The art of reading the situation is to avoid attacking a calm and confident opponent whose operations are in perfect visible order.  The military axion tells us not to charge uphill, and not to try to stop those running downhill. Never pursue an opponent whose flight you believe to be simulated. Never try to snatch the bait offered by the opponent. Do not try to mess with the opponent who is returning home. If you manage to make him feel desperate and pressed against the wall, always give him one safe way to retreat. Never make your opponent fight without a safe out that you prepared for him.

11. If we wish to fight, the enemy can be forced to an engagement even though he be sheltered behind a high rampart and a deep ditch. All we need do is to attack some other place that he will be obliged to relieve. 12. If we do not wish to fight, we can prevent the enemy from engaging us even though the lines of our encampment be merely traced out on the ground. All we need do is to throw something odd and unaccountable in his way. 13. By discovering the enemy’s dispositions and remaining invisible ourselves, we can keep our forces concentrated, while the enemy’s must be divided. 14. We can form a single united body, while the enemy must split up into fractions. Hence there will be a whole pitted against separate parts of a whole, which means that we shall be many to the enemy’s few. 15. And if we are able thus to attack an inferior force with a superior one, our opponents will be in dire straits

If we want to make a strike, but the opponent is well-sheltered from an attack, get him to leave his shelter by attacking some other spot which he will feel a need to rush to protect. If he wants to make a strike against us, but we are not in a position to prevail, prevent him from going forward with his plan by throwing something odd and hard to explain in his way, and he will stop, puzzled. Think of how to throw small challenges at him, while remaining out of reach and invisible to him, so that he is forced to split his strength or his team. As we continue to do that, at one point, we will be a one strong whole that is facing an opponent pulled in many directions. If we can then attack his scattered weakness with our unified strength, he will be in danger of losing the confrontation.

16. The spot where we intend to fight must not be made known; for then the enemy will have to prepare against a possible attack at several different points; and his forces being thus distributed in many directions, the numbers we shall have to face at any given point will be proportionately few. 17. For should the enemy strengthen his van, he will weaken his rear; should he strengthen his rear, he will weaken his van; should he strengthen his left, he will weaken his right; should he strengthen his right, he will weaken his left. If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak. 18. Numerical weakness comes from having to prepare against possible attacks; numerical strength, from compelling our adversary to make these preparations against us. 19. Knowing the place and the time of the coming battle, we may concentrate from the greatest distances in order to fight. 20. But if neither time nor place be known, then the left wing will be impotent to succour the right, the right equally

We should never reveal where we plan to strike. His it remains unknown, our opponent would have to prepare for every possible angle of attack, splitting his resources. As a result, no matter where we strike, his resources at that point will be fairly scant. Any time the opponent feels like he has to strengthen one line of defense, he will have to weaken another. If he tries to prepare everywhere, he will be weak everywhere. His weakness will come from having too many lines of defenses, our strength will come from having to force him to prepare everywhere against us. And as we know the point where we will strike, we can concentrate great strength at that specific point.

32. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions. 33. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain. 34. The five elements are not always equally predominant; the four seasons make way for each other in turn. There are short days and long; the moon has its periods of waning and waxing.

As the water never maintains any specific shape consistently, so is warfare – the situation is never the same from one hour to another. The leader who can always change his maneuvers to respond to the opponent’s movements will succeed in winning the confrontation, and is a natural-born strategist. But remember what the five elements are not always equally distributed. The seasons change. There will be long days and short days, successes and failures, the nights when the moon is shining strong and the nights of complete darkness.

AoW: Ch. 4 Tactical dispositions

I am continuing with my interpretation of the book. Everything in italic is a direct quote from the book.

1. Sun Tzu said: The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy. 2. To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. 3. Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy. 4. Hence the saying: One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.

The best fighters first find a way to ensure that everything is so set up that the defeat is not possible, and then wait for an opportunity to defeat their opponent.  Assurance of the security from defeat is within our power to control. A convenient opening for an attack is provided by the opponent himself. A good warrior of success takes every care to set up everything to protect himself against a defeat, but he cannot assure that the possibility of attack will ever happen. Therefore, some warriors have all the knowledge of how to win, but not be able to actually win.

5. Security against defeat implies defensive tactics; ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive. 6. Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient strength; attacking, a superabundance of strength. 7. The general who is skilled in defense hides in the most secret recesses of the earth; he who is skilled in attack flashes forth from the topmost heights of heaven. Thus on the one hand we have ability to protect ourselves; on the other, a victory that is complete. 8. To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence. 9. Neither is it the acme of excellence if you fight and conquer and the whole Empire says, “Well done!” 10. To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength; to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear. 11. What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease. 12. Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage

Securing yourself against a defeat means employing defensive tactics; ability to defeat an enemy means employing offensive tactics. Relying on a defensive strategy indicates insufficient strength to attack; relying on an offensive strategy indicates an abundance of strength. The leader who is skilled at relying on defensive tactics knows how to be able to retreat to the most unaccessible positions and stay invisible and undetected; the leader who is skilled at defensive tactics knows how to appear out of thin air with so much force and noise as to overwhelm resistance of the opponent. So, one skill is to be able to evade opposition and protect resources; another skill is to be able to completely overrun opposition and convert their resources into your resources.

It is not a big sign of cleverness to be able to see who will be victorious when the battle is nearly over. Neither it is a sign of good strategy to fight hard battles and get praised for winning them. Do not pride yourself on that which is achievable by every man. What the ancient called a clever warrior of success is the one who not only knows how to win, but how to win without much effort and sacrifice. But because victories without effort and sacrifice do not bring him neither a reputation of a fighter nor recognition of his courage, they do not look like victories and he gets no praise.

16. The consummate leader cultivates the Moral Law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success. 17. In respect of military method, we have, firstly, Measurement; secondly, Estimation of quantity; thirdly, Calculation; fourthly, Balancing of chances; fifthly, Victory. 18. Measurement owes its existence to Earth; Estimation of quantity to Measurement; Calculation to Estimation of quantity; Balancing of chances to Calculation; and Victory to Balancing of chances.

The skillful leader does everything he can to promote Values and Ideology, and takes extreme care of the methodology and discipline. When it comes to military methodology, we have 1) ability to precisely measure; 2) ability to estimate; 3) ability to calculate; 4) ability to predict outcomes; 5) ability to assure outcomes.

Ability to do precise measurements owe their existence to the element of Earth; ability to estimate – to the ability to measure; ability to calculate – to the ability to estimate; ability to predict outcome – to the ability to calculate; ability to assure outcome – to the ability to predict outcomes

Tech Meetups in DFW

Usually free, except for food/drinks if the meetup is in a restaurant

Full list with links to the groups will be posted on https://twitter.com/ElementalCyber

Organization Web site Membership Meetings
Dallas Hacker Association Meetup free 1st Wed in Dallas
Dallas Open Web Application Security Project (OSWAP) Meetup free Plano
Geeknight Dallas Meetup free Addison
Data Science Applications Community (DSAC) – Dallas Meetup free Dallas
DFW Pythoneers Meetup free Nov 20, Dallas
Dallas PHP Meetup free Nov 13, Dallas
Dallas.js Meetup free Dec 6, Dallas
0DAYALLDAY Meetup free Dallas
DFW Scrum Meetup free Nov 20, Plano
Cryptoparty DFW Meetup free Nov 15, Plano
Docker Dallas Meetup free Nov 26, Addison
HTML5 User Group Meetup free Nov 28, Dallas
Club AJAX Meetup free Dec 4, Plano
Tech Talent South – Dallas Meetup free Nov 15,  Dallas
Cloud Security Alliance – North Texas Chapter Meetup free Dallas
Dallas Cloud Security Meetup Meetup free Nov 21, Richardson
DC214 Meetup free Nov 14, TBD
IoT Texas Meetup free Nov 15,  Dallas
North Texas Cyber Security Group Meetup free Frisco
DFW Power BI User Group Meetup free Nov 14, Dallas
Java Developers of Dallas (JDD) Meetup free Nov 13, Dallas
Learn to Code | Thinkful Dallas Meetup free Nov 13, Addison
Women Who Code Dallas/Ft. Worth Meetup free Nov 14, Coppell
Code’s Cool Dallas Meetup free Nov 14, Dallas
TheLab.ms Plano’s Makerspace Meetup free Dallas
Dallas Immersive Design and Development – AR/VR/MR Meetup free Nov 14, TBD
Dallas App Developers Meetup free Nov 14, Addison
DevOps Meetup -Dallas Meetup free Nov 14, online
North Texas SQL Server User Group Meetup free Nov 15, Irving
The Pwn School Project Meetup free Nov 19, Denton
Dallas/ Fort Worth Future Technologies Forum Meetup free Dec 5, Fort Worth
DevOps & Cloud Meetup free Dec 6, TBD
SME Virtual Network Meetup free Dec 7, Dallas
Dallas Ethereum Meetup Meetup free Dallas
Game Devs Anonymous Meetup free Nov 15, The Labs
FW Cisco UCS Meetup Meetup free Jan 17, Irving, Tx
DFWRPA(Business Process Meets Intelligence) Meetup free Dec 19, Garland

Why you need to stop saying what people want to hear

I really liked this talk, I struggle with issues that Kyle Cease brings up myself. I am very approval-seeking creature, and working on it is a constant challenge.

Main thoughts I got from this talk:

  1. I do not know how this will go, and I like it! (this one is the best part!)
  2. Do not hold on to your past, it no longer exists
  3. No one breaks your heart, they just shine a light on your false (and usually egoistical) expectations
  4. Differentiate between goals and intentions
  5. Your goals are your limits; you are infinite and goals place limits on the infinite possibilities that the universe presents
  6. Goals come from the ego, they are rooted in your past, and they are there to tell some story
  7. Intentions come from the moment, they are free of past or future, and they do not set limits

Today is day 1

Unexpectedly, today became the 1st day of my new life. For the 1st time in many years, I lived up to my potential rather than my fears. And now, yoga.

Price negotiation strategies

From the presentation I listened to recently:

  • make your price offer first, and then explain the value proposition; 
  • this way, you first make the offer and then justify it; this makes the offer more likely to be accepted than if you first justified the value, then put a price tag on it
  • When making an offer, use specific, rather than round, numbers.

A journey of a thousand miles….

For the last few months, I have been thinking about starting a journal of my journey. And finally I stopped procrastinating and did it (big thanks to the kind folks at Host Express!)

My journey is toward learning the art of achieving “success.” I do not define success as money or power or popularity, but as the ability to consistently accomplish things that you feel are important.. Be it solving world hunger or building a new company, it is all the same process (I think).

Anyhow, here is me raising a cup of hot tea to my first step on this journey of a thousand miles.