To help you better see what it takes to become a successful real estate investor, “About Us” is broken into three sections.
Frankly, who Kim and I are is not very important.But the lessons you can learn from our timeline are extremely important!
The lessons: Don’t expect to become an expert real estate investor overnight. Fact is, it will take you 10,000 hours of getting face to face with sellers and making written offers before you master creative deal structuring. So if you’re looking for instant gratification and quick, big-time riches that require little time and a token effort, stop here and move onto something else – like buying lottery tickets – because real estate investing is a waste of your time.
Remember this: Real estate investing is simple, but it’s not easy!
ABOUT BILL AND KIM
Bill and Kim Cook are a husband and wife real estate investing team.They began investing in real estate in 1995. Most of their investment properties are within a 5-mile circle of the Cartersville, Georgia Walmart.
Their investment portfolio consists of single-family rental homes, a small mobile home park, plus notes and options. Their REI business was built squarely on the back of knocking on homeowners’ doors.
Their core belief is that real estate investing is not about buying, selling or renting property.It’s about helping folks solve their real estate problems.
Bill’s main responsibilities are meeting with sellers, structuring creative win-win deals, managing their rental properties and tenants, and taking care of the paperwork. Kim’s main responsibilities are overseeing all repairs and rehabs, marketing their properties, and selling their flips.
Bill has made a living knocking on homeowners’ doors since 1972 – since he was twelve-years old. At twelve, because he was allergic to cutting grass, he began taking his mother’s Electrolux shampooer door-to-door and offering to shampoo the homeowner’s biggest or dirtiest room for $5.
Beginning in 1978, to put himself through college, Bill sold Electrolux vacuums door-to-door.This allowed him to pay for college and graduate without owing any debt.
After graduating, Bill stayed with Electrolux because the earnings potential was substantially higher than what any other company offered.Bill worked for Electrolux selling vacuums door-to-door from 1978 until 1996 – a total of 18 years.As a national trainer, he knocked doors throughout the country.
On average, Bill made 10 to 15 written offers to homeowners a day. He also discovered that 8 out of 10 sellers would invite him into their home. This was an amazing discovery!
There are maybe a handful of people in America who have knocked on as many homeowners’ doors as has Bill. In fact, very few investors ever knock on a single homeowner’s door – even though door knocking is the fastest, cheapest and most effective way to get face-to-face with sellers!
These days, along with nine other courses Bill and Kim offer, he does a full-day, out-in-a-neighborhood, door-knocking class. He takes groups as large as 60 investors out to get face-to-face with homeowners and sellers.
Why does Bill do this? It’s one thing to learn about real estate investing in the classroom, but it’s a horse of a different color to go out and get face-to-face with sellers and watch Bill make between 5 and 10 written offers…and have 8 out of 10 sellers invite the group into their homes!
In January 2002, Bill and Kim founded North Georgia REIA in Cartersville, Georgia. This group met until December 2015 – 14 years. North Georgia REIA grew to 2,400 members. This made it one of the largest real estate investor groups in the country.
From January 2003 until December 2015, Bill wrote a weekly real estate investing column that was published in a number of Georgia newspapers.
The most important teachers Bill and Kim had were Jack Miller, Pete Fortunato and Dyches Boddiford. Let’s also add David Tilney, and Gary Johnston to this list. Without Jack, Pete and Dyches, there is no way Bill and Kim would have attained their level of success.
Beginning in 2018, Bill and Kim will sell their 34 acre horse ranch in Adairsville, Georgia. They are moving into a 40-foot motor home. For the next three years, they will spend from March through November traveling clockwise around the country. They’ll teach real estate investing as they go.
Bill and Kim will teach at local REIAs (Real Estate Investor Associations), but instead of flying out the next day, they’ll stay in town – this is the reason for the motor home – to take investors out knocking on homeowners’ doors.
It’s simple really: It’s one thing to say you can make 5 to 10 face-to-face written offers a day, or that 8 out of 10 sellers will invite you in, but it’s another thing to actually see and experience it done in a real-world setting!
Why are we including our timeline? We want you to see that we all learn about real estate investing in bits and pieces over time. Also, the first time most of us try anything, it scares the hell out of us – including the first time we sit down at a seller’s kitchen table and begin asking, “Why are you selling such a nice house like this?” questions. (Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!)
Think of real estate investing this way: Picture a very tall cake – it’s one mile high. It has thousands of layers. Like this cake, all real estate investors gain experience one layer at a time. In the beginning, your “cake” is only one layer high! Your goal is to continually add more layers until one day your “cake” is a skyscraper.
How is this achieved? Every time you meet with a seller, you add a new layer to the cake. Each time you buy a rental property, flip a house, attend a seminar or REIA meeting, you add more layers. Simply put: You can’t shortcut time and experience! There is no “everything you need to know about real estate investing” seminar.
Simply put, it takes 10,000 hours to master real estate investing – or anything else, for that matter. Are you willing to pay this price to achieve financial freedom?
Our real estate investing timeline begins in 1995:
In 1995, Bill and Kim made over 100 written offers before finding their first deal. That first deal scared the hell out of them!
In 1996, they made over 70 written offers before finding their second deal. That deal also scared the hell out of them!
In 1997, they did a whopping two deals. They were still terrified of making mistakes, but after submitting several hundred written offers over the prior two year period, plus attending a number of seminars and REIA meetings, they were beginning to learn how to manage their fear.
Of the two deals they did in ‘97, they kept one as a rental property. This was their first time dealing with tenants. It scared the hell out of them!
Also In 1997, because their friends kept asking them “how to” real estate investing questions, they formed the Cherokee County Subgroup for Georgia REIA. They didn’t know the answers to most questions asked, but they would investigate and get back to the questioner with the needed answers. In the process, Bill and Kim’s level of knowledge rapidly increased. In addition, Bill began taking investors door knocking with him so they could see what it was like to sit at a seller’s kitchen table, ask questions and make a written offer. While class room learning is important, Bill and Kim believe that the hands-on method is still the best way to learn about real estate investing.
On January 1, 1998, Bill quit his J-O-B and became a full-time real estate investor. To make sure they could afford to keep putting food on the table, Kim kept her job at her dad’s pawn/beauty shop.
Around 1998, they discovered three incredible real-estate-investing teachers: Jack Miller, Pete Fortunato and Dyches Boddiford. From that day to this, they still attend most every class these men teach. (Note: Jack Miller passed in 2009. That said, you should attend Pete and Dyches’ classes as often as possible!) Some other great teachers: John Schaub, David Tilney, and Gary Johnston.
Also in 1998, Bill and Kim did their first Subject-to Deal. It scared the hell out of them!
Also in 1998, Bill and Kim bought their first property at a foreclosure auction. It scared the…well, you get the picture. Please understand, as you read further, each time you see Bill and Kim trying a new deal structure, know that they went into that deal terrified. No matter, they still marched forward… and so must you!
In 1999, Bill and Kim did their first 121 Deal.
In 2001, Bill and Kim did their first Lease/Option Deal.
Also in 2001, Bill and Kim bought their first house using owner financing.
Also in 2001, Bill and Kim bought their first promissory note (mortgage) from a bank.
Also in 2001, Kim began doing short sales. This was before the term “short sales” existed. By 2007, she became one of the most successful short sellers in the country. At one point, Kim went 6 years without losing a short sale! Without a doubt, Kim is one of the best negotiators you’ll ever meet.
In 2002, Kim quit her J-O-B and became a full-time real estate investor with Bill.
Also in 2002, Bill and Kim founded North Georgia REIA. Over time, their REIA grew to 2,400 members. They also began publishing The Equity, which grew into a 28-page monthly real estate investing newspaper subscribed to by investors nationwide.
Also in 2002, Bill and Kim began doing Option Deals.
In 2003, Bill began writing a weekly real estate investing newspaper column. For 13 years, it ran in a number of Georgia newspapers.
In 2004, Bill and Kim began doing hard money and private money lending to other investors.
Also in 2004, they began teaching real estate investing classes nationwide.
In 2006, after declaring “enough was enough”, Bill began fighting their property taxes – AND WINNING! Through the end of 2017, Bill has appealed their property taxes 142 times and has won 122 times. This is an 86% winning percentage! Who says you can’t fight city hall and win?
Also in 2006, they brought in Terrah Whitlock to help with bookkeeping. Terrah is still part of their family today. By the way, leaving banking and joining Bill and Kim scared the hell out of Terrah!
In 2007, Bill and Kim did their first Deed for Note Deal with a local bank.
In 2008, the economy continued to tank. Because of the number of calls Bill was getting from folks looking for $400 to $500 per month affordable housing, Bill and Kim began doing Lonnie Deals. (This is where you buy a mobile home in a park for cash and then sell it on time, thus creating a note.) Since then, they’ve done – and helped many other investors do – a good number of Lonnie Deals.
Also in 2008, they sold their first house with owner financing.
In 2009, because the demand for affordable housing continued to grow, Bill and Kim bought their first mobile home park.
In 2012, they did their first Master Lease Deal.
In 2013, Bill and Kim, along with Dyches Boddiford, Dorsie Boddiford and Pete Fortunato, began hosting the yearly Captains of the Deal real estate investors cruise. These week-long cruises are attended by nearly 200 real estate investors from around the country. These cruises sell out fast every year. For more information on next year’s Captains of the Deal cruise, go to CaptainsOfTheDeal.com.
At the end of 2015, after 14 years, Bill and Kim closed North Georgia REIA. At the same time, they also ended their weekly real estate investing newspaper column. They turned their column over to Joe and Ashley English who picked up the torch and ran with it. And yes, taking over the column scared the hell out of Joe and Ashley!
Also in 2015, they did their first Dorsie Deal. This is where you use a little bit of money to wrap a bigger mortgage.
In 2017, Bill and Kim bought a motor home. These days they travel the country teaching folks how to be successful real estate investors. In addition, after teaching at a REIA, they often stay in town for a week or two to take investors out door knocking. Can you think of a better way to learn about real-world real estate investing than by sitting at sellers’ kitchen tables, asking them lots of questions and making creatively-structured win-win written offers?
From our timeline, the main lesson to take away is that in 1995 we knew NOTHING about real estate investing. Our cake was only one layer high. Every new step we took terrified us. No matter, we kept moving forward!
Being scared is a good thing, just don’t let it paralyze you and keep you from taking action!
Often I’m called by investors who are stuck in a rut because they’re not finding any deals. It’s easy and quick to get to the source of their problem by asking two simple questions:
Question #1: How many written offers have you made to sellers in the past 30 days?
Question #2: How many written offers have you made to sellers in the past 12 months?
Most of the time the answers are zero or very close to zero!
How on earth can anyone expect to make a profit at anything if the doors to their business are always locked? And believe me, if you’re not constantly and consistently getting face-to-face with sellers, asking a lot of questions, and making written offers that help solve the seller’s real estate problem, the doors to your business are shut tighter than the spandex shorts on a 350 pound person walking into Walmart.
Always track those two numbers. If you are seeing a lot of sellers and making a lot of written offers, you will do well. If you’re not, you’ll soon be a statistic.
Finally, one of the most important things Kim and I did from the beginning was to gather like-minded people around us. Having this positive support network was hugely important. Sadly, many of us are surrounded by naysayers and doom predictors. These negative influences are all to happy to point out all the ways we can fail even though they’ve never tried it themselves! Keep a strong support group around you at all times. They will help you make it through the difficult times. And there will be many difficult times!
We wish you God’s speed. You’re always welcome to give me a call. Now go out and meet with some sellers!!!
Bill and Kim Cook