Saturday, July 1, 2017

How I Got Started Investing in Real Estate

I've been interested in investing in Real Estate for quite a few years, but was held back because I felt like I didn't have enough money on hand and didn't have someone to walk me through the process to make sure I didn't do something stupid.  So I kept putting it off until 2014 when my wife, Kim, started talking with someone at Done For You Real Estate USA.  They were offering a free book the owner had written called The Straight Path to Real Estate.  I read through it and was excited about how he had been able to become financially free in just a few years though real estate.

I found out that the company's strategy is to teach you how to do real estate and even provide a mentor to walk you through the whole process of buying a rental and getting it rented out.  They've also done the research to find out which markets in the US are good for generating cash flow and which markets are solid and expecting to grow in value over the next few years.  At first I was only interested in buying locally since it seemed so risky to buy out of state and not be able to check in on the property.  I could also make a bit more money by not using a property manager.  Eventually, though, I realized that I wanted the real estate to act as an investment rather than a side job.  I didn't really want to be called in the middle of the night or during work about something that needed to be fixed.  Also, the deals in my local market didn't look as good.

It was also through them that I realized I wasn't as money poor as I told myself I was.  I didn't really have much money in my bank savings account, but I did have equity in the house I was living in and I had money in my 401k.  I work at HP, Inc. and my 401k is through them, so I can't just take the money out but they will let me take loans out from myself (up to $50,000 or 50%, whichever is less.  The interest I pay to myself goes back to my 401k account).  About this time we were thinking about buying a new home, so after checking I found out I could take out a 30 year loan from myself as the down payment on the new home.  Then when I sold my current house, I could use the equity from that to use as a down payment on a rental.

So the two things holding me back (lack of money and lack of a real estate mentor) were no longer a problem.  After moving to a new home and selling our current home, I had $40,000 for a down payment on a rental.  We found one in Memphis, TN (a cash flow market) that would cash flow about $270/month and bought it.  Shortly after, the property managers had a tenant lined up with a 3 year lease and $100 higher rent than anticipated, so we would cash flow $370/month.  I'm all for higher rent and a 3 year lease so I don't have to worry about them moving out after a year!

Two years later the monthly checks keep coming in.  There have been a couple minor costs to fix things around the house, but not much, so I'm still quite happy with how the rental is going.

With this new mindset on money, I was able to find enough money in equity and 401k loans to buy even more rentals.  We bought a second rental in Memphis that has the same cash flow as the first.  Then we bought one in Orlando, FL (a growth market) that is cash flowing $526/month with a $45,000 investment and next week we're buying another in Orlando.

My first rental in Memphis, TN

My second rental in Memphis, TN

My First Orlando, FL rental

If you're interested in getting started in Real Estate, you can see some of their current deals on their website  On that site, they'll show you detailed info on each property so you can tell what the expected monthly cash flow is, as well as their estimate on the yearly rate of return if you were to sell 5 years after buying it.  You can even set up a free call to talk with them about your situation and get their advice.  Let them know I referred you.

Buying real estate requires cash and credit.  If you're lacking in credit, but have some cash, let me know and I may be able to help you get started anyway.  By partnering, we can all get what we want!  I've actually partnered with others on two of my properties and it's working out well.  Of course, you want a clear legal agreement, and I've got a legal team who is experienced at this stuff.

Randy Reeder

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Whirlpool Duet Steam error F09 E01 - Easier method!

Yesterday our washing machine stopped mid-cycle and started beeping and showed the error codes F09 E01.  I wasn't excited about trying to diagnose what the problem was, but I turned to Google to see what I could find.  The first post didn't seem very promising, but the second post looked very familiar...It was a post from me just over two years ago  Whirlpool Duet Steam error F09 E01.  Suddenly I felt much more confident I could have this fixed in no time.  I thought I was blogging about it to help other people but this time I was able to help myself!  My previous post showed that it can be fixed by removing the back and disassembling the drain pump.  However, I also suggested that it might actually be really easy to just open up the front and unscrew the drain.  This time I decided to take my advice and try to fix it from the front.

To get in through the front, there are four 1/4" bolts at the bottom that need to be removed.  Once they're removed, you can pull the bottom of the front out and peer in to see the drain pump cap.
Once they're removed, you can pull the bottom of the front out and peer in to see the drain pump cap.
Looks like I may be able to reach in and unscrew the drain pump cap.
Opening the cap

The contents!
No money this time, but a couple earrings and lots of hair pins and lint

Watch out for that red rubber piece that could get in the way when you're removing or re-installing the cap
I noticed that a red wire came disconnected on the right side of the washer.  I just reached in and reconnected it before closing the front back up.


All back together and running again!  I even removed the tray underneath and cleaned it out while I was at it.
That was a lot easier than removing the back and taking the pump apart.  I'm so glad I took my own advice!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Whirlpool Duet Steam error F09 E01

I did a load of laundry yesterday and partway through the wash, it stopped and displayed a set of error codes: F09 E01.

It has also been leaking a bit during each load.  Luckily I have a big pan under it so it's all contained though.

A google search seemed to indicate that it was a problem with drainage taking too long.  The solution was to clean out the entrance to the drain pump.

NOTE:  This post describes the steps I took to resolve the issue.  I encourage you to read through it, but make sure you read my last paragraph before actually taking anything apart because that might save you a lot of work!

UPDATE 11 June 2017: Two years after this post, I got this same error again.  A Google search led me to my own post!  I read my own post and took my own advice on a potentially easier method of cleaning out the drain pump from the front of the washer instead of disassembling all the hoses around the pump.  It was a lot easier.  Here's a link to the easier method: Whirlpool Duet Steam error F09 E01 - Easier Method!

To find the drain pump, I took the back off the washer.  In the following picture we see the flexible hose coming out of the bottom of the washer drum into the drain pump.
When I unhooked the small end of that hose I found a paperclip in it.  Then I decided to unhook the large end too, so I could take it out and clean it up better in the sink.

After cleaning that up, I felt into the pump and found a lot of junk in it.  There was even a dime in it.
After getting all I thought I could get out, there was still some small rocks and stringish stuff inside that I couldn't really get out.  I decided to take the pump out and see if I could clean it better that way.  I unhooked the other hose and pulled on the pump until it came out.  It was held in by some rubber grommets.  I then had to unhook the wire.  After getting it out, I noticed on the other side of the pump was a removable cap.

Once removed, it was easy to remove the rest of the junk. I should have done that first!

After cleaning that up, I put it all back together, and it seems to be draining much better now.  So far, the leaking also seems to be fixed.

If you notice that second to last picture, though, you'll notice that there's a really nice big cap that would have been real easy to unscrew and clean out the junk if only I had opened the washer from the front!  Looking a little closer, I believe the front might actually come off.  I'm not going to take it off now that I've got it all fixed, but if I were you I would try removing the front instead of the back for this project.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Caden and Betsy playing Boil the Cabbage at the 2012 Country Harvest Hoedown.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Check out this beautiful sourdough start!  

I'm so happy to have a good, active sourdough start in the house again.  I keep one going for over a year a while back, but eventually killed it due to neglect.  Colin and I have since attempted to get a new one going, but I keep killing them with my side-tracked nature.  Happily, Randy's brother has more focus and got a good one going.  Uncle Ron shared some of his this past weekend while we were visiting and it is alive and well. 

We've used it to make two of my favorite sourdough recipes: pancakes and pizza.  YUM!

Sourdough Pancakes

1 Tablespoon oil
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon White Powder*

Mix together well, then add:

1 Cup sourdough starter

Cook on hot griddle. 

We had them with fresh blackberries and whipped cream.  Too bad we ate them before I thought of getting a picture - they sure didn't last long! 

*The White Powder is:
1 part Salt
1 part Baking Soda
3 parts Baking Powder
5 parts Sugar

Sourdough Pizza Dough

1 1/2 cups Sourdough Starter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Flour

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Mix ingredients, working in the flour until you have a soft dough. 
Let dough rest for 1/2 hour so it will relax and forming the pizza will be easier.  
Roll out the dough in a circle, however big you like.
I pre-bake my pizza dough for 5 minutes on my pizza stone, then top it and bake 5 or 10 minutes more.  If you prefer, you can just top it and bake for 15ish minutes.  

We topped our pizza with BBQ sauce, bacon, and cheese because that's what we had on hand.  Again, this got gobbled up before I could snap a picture.  I'll try to remember better next time. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Bug

Recently I've been doing a lot of photography.  So when I saw this bug on the porch, I ran in the house and grabbed the camera.  I think it's a praying mantis.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Alabama Smoked Chicken Sandwich

If you're looking for a GREAT tasting smoked chicken sandwich, this is it!

The Recipe (From Smoke & Spice by Cheryl and Bill Jamison)

Southern Succor Rub:
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded lightly
Alabama Great White:
1 cup mayonnaise
3-4 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
Pinch or two of onion powder
Pinch or two of cayenne
12 large slices toasted white bread
6 crisp lettuce leaves

I use a regular gas grill, so I fill a metal box like this with wood chips (cherry this time) after soaking them in water a bit.  Then I light the grill on one side and start it smoking and getting the grill up to 200-220 degrees F.
Sprinkle the rub on each side and rub it in.

Then put the chicken on the grill on the opposite side. The idea is to have one burner on, and the chicken over the other burner which is off so the chicken is cooked by indirect heat.  This gives a juicy slow cooked chicken.

Drizzle with a little of the Alabama Great White mixed with a little water.
I put a thermometer in the chicken so I can just wait for it to beep when it's reached 165 degrees F.  This way it doesn't end up getting overcooked.
When it's about done, toast some buns.
Slice up the chicken, slather the buns with the Alabama Great White Sauce, add lettuce, and some chicken slices.