Learning About Flipping Homes

For years I have considered dabbling in real estate investing.  As many of you know, I do have some rental properties, but I had always dreamed of taking my real estate business to the big leagues.  This would mean changing my thinking as it comes to these properties as investment vehicles, and I have been actively trying to learn what I can along the way.

Today I had the opportunity to attend a private presentation on the effects on home prices with respect to specific renovations.  The speaker had done research to see what house flippers could do to maximize their property values.  When I had heard that this presentation was going to happen in our city, I was excited – any information that teaches you how to squeeze more money out of your investments is always valuable.

During the presentation, many real-world examples were used to help illustrate the concepts.  Some of the specifics included Milgard Ultra Woodclad Windows in Studio City and their effect of home prices, sale values of homes based on the colors of their walls, and simple landscaping ideas that could give you good return on investment.  While these topics were all over the place, they all focused on one thing – how to make the most profit from a home sale.

Today’s seminar has definitely given me some food for thought.

Dealing with Mold Issues

Over the last six months or so, I have been ill a lot more than usual.  At first I thought that I was working too hard or just run down, but after taking a meaningful break, I discovered that it wasn’t the case.  Some of my friends thought that I should go to the hospital to see my family doctor, but for me, going to the doctor is a last resort.  I figured that I should be able to solve this problem, all I had to do was take a deeper look at my home.

It wouldn’t hurt, right?

I started in the basement as I spent more time there than anywhere else in the home.  A few years ago we had a bit of a water leak and had a water damage restoration done on the basement to make sure that it was safe to live in.  I didn’t want to work in an environment full of black mold, so I made sure that the restoration was done properly and by professionals.

It was the right thing to do.

While the basement seemed okay, I did hear some faint dripping while I was down there.  I pulled back my bookcase only to discover mold growing on the wall behind it.  It seemed like the pipe in the wall had sprung a leak a long time ago.

I had found the source of my troubles.

I will have to get the same company I used in the past out to fix the mold issues – I can’t be sick all of the time, I have a company to run.

A Little Present for my Cousin

For the last five years my cousin has been operating a hair salon here in the city.  While it started off slow, her clientele has grown steadily and she has a thriving business.  It has been a joy watching her grow from a one woman show to employing six stylists.

It has been quite the journey.

I thought that I would get her a little something to commemorate her success and celebrate her journey as an entrepreneur.  But what do you get a business owner?  I really had to think long and hard to come up with something that would work well for her.

After much brainstorming, I decided to get her something that was useful and practical.  I bought her some new barbers & stylists aprons that matched the colors of her shop and I am going to get her logo emblazoned on them.  I figured that it made the most sense to get her something that her and her staff could use, and aprons really made the most sense.

I can’t wait to see them.

I’m hoping to give them to her next week when we have our bi-monthly business meeting.  I hope that she is happy with the gift – she has done a lot for someone that is so young.

Finding Peace Though Tai Chi

Tai ChiWorking as a business owner can create a lot of stress in ones life.  For most people it is not a problem, but there comes a point where the stress can get the most of you – for me, it happened just six short months ago.

It was the first time that I had ever broken down in my life.  I thought that I had everything under control, but after I blew up, I knew that things weren’t quite as good as I had thought.

I decided to do something about it.

One of my mentors suggested that I find an outlet to get rid of my stress, relax and connect with my true self.

I decided to take his advice and enroll myself in a Tai Chi class.

It was one of the best decisions I could have ever made.

In fact, Tai Chi has given me the opportunity to let go of all of the stress that comes along with being an entrepreneur.  I attend classes twice per week, and you can also find me out practicing outside when the opportunity arises.  By taking up this martial art I have been able to work harder and stay more focused on the business.

Practicing Tai Chi has been one of the best decisions that I have made this year.

Weird Day at the Gym

Working Out at the Gym

For the last six months I have been going to the gym five days per week.  Initially I went on a dare from a friend, but once I made it through the first couple of weeks, I feel in love with working out.

It has become a big part of my life.

I usually go early in the morning to the gym down the street, and for the most part it is empty when I get there.  Working out at 6 AM is not good for everyone’s schedule, but it suits me just fine.

Today was a little different as there was one guy that happened to be working out when I walked into the door.  I had never seen him before, and he was kind of nerdy looking and scrawny.

He didn’t look like he belonged in the gym.

I was just about to ignore him when I noticed the shirt he was wearing: it was a fitness and weight lifting T-Shirt for Meat Heads Only.  What got me was part of the saying on the shirt that said “6 Pack Having chick magnet, Meat Head type of guy your girlfriend dreams about”.

It was all I could do to stop myself from laughing out loud: the shirt was ludicrous.

Needless to say, it made my day – in fact I am still smiling over the whole experience.

Planning my Next Trip

It has been awhile since I have gone on a trip anywhere.  I know that I started out this year  traveling to many places around the world, but I have been so busy the last few months at work that I just haven’t had time to go anywhere at all.  The last few months of the year are my busy season here at work, so I know that I won’t be able to get away any time soon, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t plan for a trip early in the new year.

By the time 2017 rolls around, I am going to need a break from the office.

After much deliberation as to where I should travel in the world, I decided that I am going to travel to one of my favorite destinations in the world: Vietnam.  You might remember the last time that I traveled to that little piece of the world and since that time I have wanted to go back.

There is just so much I didn’t get to see.

So, I have been spending a lot of time at a Vietnam Cambodia Laos Travel site planning my next vacation.  I am going to look for a travel package that provides the itinerary for me as I don’t have the time to research and plan the trip myself.  There are a number of possibilities that I am considering, and I might even explore some new territory as well.

I will finalize my travel plans in the next month or so and book my trip so that everything is in place for me to travel to that corner of the world in the new year.

I can’t wait until I can take a break from the office – my trip won’t start soon enough.

Lost a Window on the House

Sunday morning started out like every other day.  It was quiet and I was sitting out on the deck enjoying a cup of coffee early in the morning.  I was thinking about the work I was going to do throughout the day when all of a sudden I heard the sound of breaking glass.

I got up to investigate.

What I found surprised me.  One of the windows of my house had fallen out of the house and broke.

It was something that I had never seen before.

I guess I needed to replace the window.

I decided to wait until Monday to find someone that offered replacement windows in Los Angeles.  After a couple of calls, I booked an appointment with Intex Windows to come out and replace the window that broke.

They came out later that day to measure the old window, and the following day they were out to install it.  It didn’t take them long to have the window replaced and the house looked as good as new.

Hopefully coffee will be incident free moving forward – I would be happy if no more windows fell out of the house any time in the future.

Repairing Our Basement After a Water Leak

Three years ago I had a water softener installed.  The water where we lived was hard and was doing a real number on our appliances, faucets and drains.  At the time, I was worried that the water would damage everything and shorten their lifespan, so I did something about it.  Everything has been problem-free since then until last week.

Last week, one of the hoses sprung a leak and before we knew it, our basement was under five inches of water.  We would have caught it sooner, but I was out of town for most of last week, so I didn’t notice it until I came back home.

Thank goodness I caught it when I did.

Wanting to deal with the issue as soon as possible, I went online to find a water damage restoration company that could come out and deal with the problem as soon as possible.  I didn’t want to have to deal with any other issues such as black mold, so I knew that I needed to fix our house as soon as possible.

Thankfully the company that I contacted came out quickly and dealt with the problem right away.  After the repairs were completed, our basement looked as good as new.  In the future, I will know who to call to fix any water damage to my home.

Enjoying my New Leather iPad Case

For years I have been using iPads without a case.  I could never really find one that fit my needs both in terms of style and functionality.  I always believed that being a business professional required a certain level of professionalism when it came to these types of cases, and I was unable to find anything that really meshed with my perception of what I needed.  It was something that I just put on the back burner hoping to pick it up at a later date.

That time arrived just a couple of weeks ago.

We were on our annual company retreat just a couple of weeks ago and traditionally we give out “goody bags” to each employee in attendance.  These gift bags are put together by the head of HR and I have no idea what she puts in them – I like to keep it a surprise for myself.

Opening my bag of goodies, I found one of the many custom cases for iPad Pro that we ordered a few weeks prior from iCarryAlls.com.  We decided to go with custom cases as we were able to emblazon our company logo on each case as well as provided all of the necessary pockets that our staff need on a daily basis.  All our company did was give our design requirements to iCarryAlls and they did the rest – they turned our design into a physical product.

And it was exactly what I had been looking for in terms of an iPad case.

Now, just a few weeks later, I know that I could not live without this case.  It has made my life more convenient and I love the professionalism that it shows both in the office and out on the road.  The rest of the team in the office feels the same way – investing in these high quality iPad folio cases was a good idea for our business.

Helping my Cousin Prepare for his DMV Test

driving-1434211 It seems like it has been years since I was a young teenager just itching to get behind the wheel of a car.  For me, it was always one of those things that I dreamed of doing sometime in the future and I spent nights thinking of where I would go as soon as I had my driver’s license.

But the trick was that I needed to pass my DMV test before any of my dreams came true.  So I studied, and studied trying to make sure that I would ace the test the first time around.

That didn’t happen.  In fact, it took me three tries to pass the test, and when I learned that my cousin was hoping to get his driver’s license, I knew that I could and should help him out.  Failing my DMV test is one of those things that I look back on today with shame and as one of the big failures in my life.  I know that Kevin wants to drive really bad as well, so I thought I would do what I could to help him prepare for his exam.

We have been studying every night to help him get familiar with the laws and rules as they apply to drivers.  I was even able to find some free DMV tests that he can use to test his knowledge to see where he needs to focus his studying efforts.  I can tell by the look in his eyes that he is getting tired of studying, but I know if he doesn’t keep doing it he will just end up failing his test like I did.

So, we are going to keep pushing forward, studying every night right up until he takes his exam.

I hope he passes it on his first try.