Category Archives: Media

Mayor Leppert says Dallas Entrepreneurship Day is November 19th

Mayor Tom Leppert has officially named November 19th as Entrepreneurship Day in Dallas!

On November 19th, Entrepreneurs’ Organization will be holding an event to celebrate EO24 and Global Entrepreneurship Week – to inspire entrepreneurial activity in Dallas and around the globe.

Our event will bring together prominent Dallas area business leaders and entrepreneurs for a panel discussion on entrepreneurial activity in Dallas, the economy and other topics of interest to business leaders.

Entrepreneurship Day


Extreme Home Makeover – For Sale

The Okvath family, recipients of an Extreme Home Makeover in 2005, have listed their mansion for $1.3 million. The 5,346 sq. ft. home is on a 1.07-acre lot, has 6 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, and a 3-car garage big enough for four cars and includes a home theater with seating for 12.

Unfortunately, it seems that it is growing more common for these Extreme Home Makeover houses to be foreclosed on, mortgaged to the hilt, or sold off to pay debts.  Many people, when presented with something for “free” don’t value it and tend to waste it.

Another problem for many of the recipients of Home Makeovers is the cost of upkeep.  Many of these new houses have high electricity bills, high taxes, and cost a lot to keep going.  Instead of building a $2m home that the new owners can’t afford to keep, perhaps ABC should focus on building smaller homes.

If they insist on building luxury homes (they do have to be Extreme don’t they?), they should be put them in a trust and provide for upkeep/taxes as part of the deal.

More info from AZ Republic, WSJ Blog, ABC15.

Real Estate News – Who can you trust?

Recently I did an interview with a magazine devoted to residential real estate investing on the topic “Who can you trust in real estate news?

I highlighted my appearance on Larry King Live, where a supposed “real estate expert” made incorrect comments regarding the taxation of forgiven debt during a short sale.  Unfortunately, my interview segment had completed and I was unable to correct the error before the end of the show.

Once the show was over, I called the producers but there wasn’t much they could do at that point.  Hundreds of thousands of home owners got bad information from a reputable source!

Another problem we’ve seen recently is the “pay-for-play” system that many magazines and web sites are using.  Most people expect a trade magazine or web site to provide industry information and trends based on expertise.  The issue arises with magazines force advertising in exchange for “news” coverage.  I’ve heard this many times in so many words: “We’ll do a cover story on your company if you buy $10,000 worth of ads from us”.

This creates a situation where the content is not driven by the industry, but by who is willing to buy advertising.  This isn’t illegal, but is disingenuous.  Most readers would put much less weight on the articles and stories in a publication if they knew they were simply bought with ad dollars.  In the music industry this is called “payola” and IS illegal.

The lesson is: Always question everything you hear or read in the media!

How Entrepreneurs Beat Insomnia and get ROI from rest

The title is a little cheesy, but CNNMoney recently interviewed 8 entrepreneurs on how they cope with insomnia and ensure a good nights sleep.

My tips included writing everything down before you go to bed and doing something “mindless (watch TV, read a novel) that helps your brain wind down and disengage.  As an entrepreneur and business owner it is easy to let your mind go wild thinking of all the things that must be accomplished the next day, most of which nothing can be done about right now

Getting good sleep is critical to operating at your peak and being creative.  There are some great suggestions in this article and its a quick read.    Here is the link to the full story.

Larry King, Foreclosures and Short Sale Taxation

Wednesday I had the great opportunity to be interviewed by Larry King on his show about foreclosures, short sales and the housing mess.

A lot of people have contacted me regarding the final segment in the show.  Two supposed “real estate experts” both made a huge error.

They stated that after a short sale, the home seller will be required to pay taxes on any debt forgiveness.

This is totally false.

While a bank will 1099 a home seller for any debt forgiveness on the loan, there are provisions in the tax code so the home seller does not have to declare this as taxable income.

Unfortunately, I was not on the final segment to make the correction and it stood as fact.  Hopefully I will have the opportunity to go back on Larry’s show and correct the record!

House Swapping – Valuable Service or Waste of Time?

I recently spoke with SmartMoney magazine about all the home swapping web sites that have come out of nowhere over the past 6 months.

These sites have received an incredible amount of publicity on national TV, in newspapers and throughout the web.  The pitch is this – if you can’t sell your house, why not trade with someone else in another market that also can’t sell their home.  The stars align and you can trade homes without having to worry about selling on the open market.

No question these sites are making easy money.  One claims over 40,000 listings at $20 a pop ($800,000 in revenue in less than a year).  Most of these sites also sell your information to real estate agents, mortgage brokers, foreclosure “rescue” companies and the like creating another lucrative revenue stream.

The question is: Is anyone actually swapping houses?

By my estimates, much less than 1% of people who contact these sites ever “swap houses” with someone else.

None of the home swapping companies will release how many houses are actually swapped – and with good reason.  If swappers knew that they had almost no chance of a successful transaction, they wouldn’t pay the $20 or more to one of these companies.

Just thinking through the logistics of what has to happen for a swap to be successful makes it clear that very few (if any) transactions are completing.

If your home will not sell on the open market (listing with a real estate agent), and a discount property buyer won’t purchase it, the likelihood of finding someone that is in a market you want to move to, and has a house you would like, and is in your price range, that also wants to move to your market, and likes your house, and your house is in their price range – is minuscule at best.  If you ever do find a match, the real work of getting financed and the logistics of closing begins.

Distressed home sellers have a number of viable options in this market, swapping houses is not one of them.

USA Today Housing Roundtable – Just Walk Away?

I had the opportunity recently to participate in a USA Today roundtable on the housing market .  It was a great way to share some of my thoughts on investing, foreclosures and what home owners should do given the current housing market.  I was surrounded by some very smart people from various industries.

One of the questions posed by the reporter was “What if you can’t pay your mortgage, yet can’t sell your home for enough to pay off your mortgage? Should you mail in your keys and walk away?”

Unfortunately, one of the supposed “experts” actually suggested this is a perfectly rational choice for many people –

People should consider the risk to their credit rating vs. how much
they can save. In some cases, walking away might be a perfectly
rational choice. People may owe $500,000 on a home that is now worth $300,000. You (might be able to buy a much cheaper) home across the street and put $200,000 in your pocket. That might be worth the risk to your credit rating. Furthermore, since this is happening on a very large scale, my guess is that plenty of lenders will still be happy to issue loans in a couple of years to people who walked away.

I am amazed that this continues to be the opinion held by some in our community.  Home owners need to take personal responsibility and try to work things out with their lender. “Just walk away” is the head-in-the-sand type of attitude that got many home owners in the place they are in.

If you are a home owner facing foreclosure, the very first thing you need to do is call your lender, be up front about your situation, and try to work out a payment plan.  Most lenders are very willing to work with you.

If you can’t work something out with your lender and you have some time, list your home at a discount with a real estate agent.  Find someone who is very experienced with short sales, be sure they have closed successfully on at least 2 or 3 as the listing agent.

If time is short, call a reputable real estate investor in your local market.  Experienced investors can purchase your home quickly and prevent a foreclosure on your credit report.

CNBC Interview with Jeremy

Last Friday CNBC interviewed me on the state of the real estate market as it relates to investors, foreclosures, short sales, and a few other things.  They also spoke with one of our great investors in the Philadelphia area who was able to talk in more detail about what he is doing with short sales, and how the market is for him.

In short, I said that now is a great time for residential real estate investors.  It is separating the serious business-minded investors from the “seminar junkies” who have been following a formula to buy (flip) houses, and don’t know what to do as the market shifts.

For the serious business person, you must change with the times, constantly re-evaluate your strategy, and not get complacent with what works today – because it likely won’t work tomorrow.

With the glut of inexperienced investors being churned out by afternoon TV shows, late night infomercials, and “real estate gurus” – I believe the market shift is a welcome sight for most experienced investors.

Be looking for the CNBC segment sometime later this week!

CNBC Blog Post on 1-800-CashOffer

Short Sale Basics