I bought my first home in 1987. In 2002, I began to buy income-producing properties. To date, I have bought 32 properties in seven cities in four states. I have taken my share of lumps through the boom and bust. However, I made capital gains on properties I sold, maintained high occupancy on properties I kept, and have never been late on a single mortgage payment.
My approach can be summarized as follows:
1) I only buy income-producing properties at cash-flow prices.
2) I adequately capitalize each property.
3) I buy at or below market value.
4) I follow cash-flow fundamentals to avoid bubble markets.
5) I finance conservatively, preferring fixed-rate loans.
6) I choose my tenants as carefully as I choose my properties.
Professional Profile Apart from Real Estate
I’ve spent 17 years as an editor and publisher in the financial publishing business. For the last 12 years, I have been self-employed by my own company, Seeds of Wealth, Inc., though my main client remained my former employer, Agora, Inc., the world’s largest publisher of financial newsletters. This career has taken me all over the world and helped make me a better investor.
I have visited central banks, finance ministries, stock exchanges, and leading public companies – from Beijing to Tokyo, Hong Kong, Prague, Paris, London, New York, Sao Paulo, and Buenos Aires. I have worked with, interviewed, and learned from Global 500 CEOs, high-level public officials, and independent analysts.
From 1993 through 1999, I published international-investment and business-to-business newsletters, covering Latin America, China, Africa, and the former Soviet Union. During this time, I also became the founding publisher of the U.S. version of The Fleet Street Letter, then the oldest continuously published financial newsletter in the world, with roots in the 19th century.
In 1997, I began publishing The Richebächer Letter, a monthly analysis of global capital and currency markets written by Dr. Kurt Richebächer, the former head of Dresdner Bank and a leading Austrian School economist. Dr. Richebächer’s training in classical economics and independent analysis enabled him to warn of the crisis brewing in Asia before it erupted in 1997 and the Internet bubble before its collapse in 2000. In 2002, he began warning in great detail of the brewing derivatives crisis, even identifying the major banks that would be most affected in the eventual crisis. The viewpoints of our analysts were often quoted by The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, and The Financial Times.
In short, I’ve had the good fortune to work with and learn from independent analysts around the world – free from the conflicts of interest that led to the disastrous analysis and decisions of so many ratings agencies, financial institutions, and government agencies during the bubble.
This is not to imply that I have a perfect track record. There are at least two properties I own that, if they were fish, I’d throw them back. But we’ve never been late on a mortgage payment on them or any other property. And that, I believe, is because I’ve been steeped in the ideas of value investing and the responsible use of productive debt. As a result, I’ve bought only at cash-flow prices, I’ve budgeted reserves for tough times, I’ve financed conservatively, and we’ve worked hard at managing our properties well and maintaining high occupancy.
This approach has left me with equity, cash, and credit after the crash of the real estate market. It has also left me with the capacity to take advantage of today’s extraordinary values – and help others do the same.
I have researched, written, and edited hundreds of articles and papers on financial markets and real estate investing, as well as a number of books. Some highlights include:
1. Seeds of Wealth – a parent-directed program for helping children develop good money habits from an early age
2. Dr. Van Tharp’s Safe Strategies for Financial Freedom – contributing author
3. Main Street Millionaire – a course on real estate value investing
4. "Sunbelt Value Cities" – co-author of a study that showed far greater value for real estate investors in markets such as Austin, Texas than in the then-inflated markets of South Florida, California, Arizona, and Nevada
From 2004 to 2006, I wrote over two dozen articles in Early to Rise, a personal-success e-zine with over 400,000 readers. In it, I repeatedly warned of dangerous real estate bubbles brewing in major U.S. markets.
In January 2010, I wrote an article for The Sovereign Individual, an investment newsletter, saying that for the first time in years, markets like Florida and California offered compelling value. The article was reprinted by the California Multi-family Investors Association.
In March 2011, Stansberry & Associates’ Daily Wealth –the largest individual investment newsletter advisory in the country – quoted my views on the current real estate market and rental demand.
In 2014, I’m proud to publish my current real estate investment education course, The C.A.P. Strategy. It’s filled with over a decade’s worth of real-world investment lessons. I believe these are the key to “bubble proof” real estate investing and lifelong cash flow. I am excited to share these lessons and strategies with a brand new audience of investors.
Formal Education and Training
I have a B.A. from Fordham University and have studied economics and finance at the graduate level. I was a scholarship exchange student abroad, lived in four countries, and traveled to dozens of others. I speak, read, and write English, Spanish, French, and Italian.
I have a Florida Real Estate Broker’s License, a Community Association Manager’s License, a Mortgage Originator’s License, and Certification as a Building Inspector.