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15 Little Life Hacks

The week in review (real estate)

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This is a guest post by Owen Johnson.

Part 7 in a series of 7 on real estate.

1. The Real Scoop on Real Estate
2. Starting Down the Real Estate Investment Path
3. The Transaction Mechanics
4. A Primer on Real Estate Agency
5. Leveraging Yourself to Grow Your Wealth
6. Management Infrastructure
7. The Week in Review

After reading the last six days worth of articles, you’re now armed with a good base of knowledge to start on your real estate adventure. Hopefully, you’ve taken some of the knowledge provided and acted upon it. If not, I’ve summarized some of the more actionable pieces that were covered and added a few more that you can do at your leisure:

Day 1 – The Real Scoop on Real Estate

  • Go to a local real estate website or and do some quick searches to determine the price range of the type of property you’d like to buy. Don’t obsess about small details, just get a feel for the different types of properties out there(2 vs. 3 bedroom), sqft, etc. From this, pick something interesting. You probably aren’t going to buy what you pick, but it will give you something real to talk about when you are speaking with vendors.
  • Call a friend and schedule a date and time to drive around areas that you think might be interesting. Note down the addresses of properties that look interesting.
  • Buy Modern Real Estate Practice

Day 2 – The First Steps

  • Order your credit report (howto)
  • Call three lenders and ask them about their rates.
  • Let one lender prequalify you and tell you your credit score.

Day 3 – The Transaction Mechanics

  • Find a friend or relative willing to review a settlement statement with you.
  • Read this line-by-line description of a settlement statement

Day 4 – A Primer on Real Estate Agency

  • Call your state association of Realtors® and ask about buyer’s agency in the state. (association directory)
  • Write me at and include the name of the association you called, its contact information, and what you discovered. I’ll use this information to create a resource page for people to use in the future.
  • Look in the paper and find some open houses to go to this weekend. When you go, don’t leave your name, and if the agent asks if you are working with a Realtor, say yes, or say, “yes, I’m interviewing Buyer’s Agent’s now.” You want your own representation, you don’t want the listing agent to handle your business.

Day 5 – Leveraging Yourself to Grow Your Wealth

  • Put together a simple spreadsheet that allows you to calculate the impact of leverage.
  • Figure out what PMI is.
  • Go to Fair Isaac and learn about FICO scores. Don’t bother buying their products.
  • Read about predatory lending.

Day 6 – Management Infrastructure

  • Buy or get access to a digital camera
  • Get a cell phone
  • Check out

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