Archive for September, 2014

To Guru or Not to Guru

Even before investing in real estate or considering it, you may have heard radio advertisements announcing a national “guru’s” meeting coming to town, seen the latest no money no credit infomercial, been pitched on $25,000 real estate investment programs, and the list goes on. I have been invited to many meetings, courses, classes, groups, etc. and have learned plenty but I didn’t spend thousands to do so. I have learned that not all “gurus” are created equal. Here are a few tips to consider before attending another course or pitch meeting.

  1. Does this “guru” still invest in real estate TODAY? If they do not invest in today’s market I more than likely will not spend any money on this person. It is OK to make an exception if the meeting is free to attend to see for yourself if the info is still relevant. I personally have been in the real estate investment business for nearly a decade and the market has constantly changed. What did work years ago does not work as well as it once did.

  2. If the person does invest, do they invest in your market? It may be an informative meeting but may not be overly useful in your market. I would strongly suggest that you find a person at your local REIA that invests in your local market.

  3. I like to go to certain investor specific websites to get reviews on that person and the information they are teaching. A person cannot please everyone so expect to find negative comments. However, if the negative comments are repetitive and consistent it may be a valid negative observation about that person, his/her material, business practice etc. to take into consideration.

  4. Another item to consider is to make sure the information has not just been repackaged. There are plenty of investment courses that offer the same info with a small twist or gimmick to make it appear different. There is no need to get both. There is plenty of information about real estate investing that can be picked up from respective websites, local REIAs and local investors.

These are the top items I use to evaluate a “guru” but the most important thing is to continue learning. I would advise new investors to get all the free info they can get their hands on. This will lead them to discovering the investment method or methods they will want to pursue.

Michael VazquezMichael Vazquez has been offering properties to real estate investors significantly below market value since 2006 in both Texas and Georgia. Michael taken on projects starting with just 4 brick walls (literally) to managing his own rental portfolio. When it comes to investing in real estate he has done much more than many twice his age. Michael is always looking for more investors to work with.

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Little Tips to Make Your QuickBooks Easier…

It is the goal of this column to answer questions about QuickBooks and how it is used in the REI arena. Knowing how to record transactions in the proper way and have your set of books in good shape when it comes time for taxes. It is our intention to do this with you, the members, submitting questions to, and getting answers here in this column.

Q: I need to segment my balance sheet AND income statement into three departments (classes). Which version of QuickBooks can provide me with this capability?

A: The lowest edition you can use to have classes on both the balance sheet and the income statement is the QuickBooks Premier.

 Q: It takes me all day to reconcile my bank account. I thought it was supposed to be easy in QuickBooks. Every rent check I receive shows up as a separate deposit in my check register, but when I go to the bank I deposit several checks at a time in one deposit. Why doesn’t it show up the same in my register as on my bank statement.

A; If you did not turn on the “Undeposited Funds” feature in preferences, then QuickBooks will put each received payment directly to the bank. You want the “Undeposited Funds” feature on so you can “collect” your received payments together as one deposit duplicating what you actually take to the bank.

Q: I received a “Refundable Security Deposit” from my tenant. How do I enter this into QuickBooks?

A: This is a Liability account that you will need to pay out at some later date. In your chart of accounts you should have a Liability account set up for Security Deposits Escrow – or some name that sets it apart from security deposits you paid that are owed back to you (which is an Asset). In the deposit window, instead of showing this as income you should go to this special Liability account and book it to that account. When it is time to pay the tenant the money back, less any damages if need be, you will write the check out and expense it also to this Liability account to clear the money from the account.

Q: I have used my business checking/debit card to make a number of purchases that were for me personally and have nothing to do with my business – how can I fix this?

A: You have two choices: You can reimburse the company for those expenses and put them in an account (equity) called Personal Expense and then when you make the deposit you apply that to the same account. Or you can just leave them in the Equity account and this will become income to you at the end of the year.

Q: How can I compare my business P&L of this year to last years’ P&L?

A: When you run your P&L for the period you want to look at you can go up to the tab on that screen that says Modify – go to bottom of screen and choose box that is Last Period Comparison and you can also choose % if you want. Then you will have a side by side report for the same period last year.

Karen BershadKaren Bershad is The Small Business Advisor. Most small business owners have a challenge handling all the different areas of running a business. The accounting can be a challenge, particularly if the software seems overwhelming. The Small Business Advisor is what you may need to get you to the next level of your business. We work at your office or provide off site assistance in getting things under control by providing a wide variety of services that are specifically for the small business.

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