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INVESTORS’ CORNER: Lessons from an old investor – part 2

Continuing where we left off, here are more of the top lessons I’ve learned from old school Real Estate Investors, many of whom have been doing this longer than I’ve been alive:

  1. Jack Miller – Feasible Financing is the Key

One of my favorite lessons from Jack is that feasible financing is the key to real estate cash flow and wealth.

Jack often said that more investors go out of business because of bad financing than any other reason. And the 2008 – 2010 U.S. economic recession proved him right. Many real estate investors, banks, and companies went out of business or received bailouts because of negative cash flow or because they couldn’t pay off financing that matured (i.e. balloon notes).

Because of Jack’s repeated warnings, I built my own rules for using debt. I also chose to primarily use creative financing from sellers and private lenders instead of loans from banks.

I’m convinced this lesson from Jack helped my business partner and me to survive and thrive during our own plunge into a real estate recession.

  1. Louis Stone – Find a Need and Fill It

Louis (aka Dr. Stone) has been a mentor, private lender, and friend since my time as a college student at Clemson University. I profiled all of my favorite lessons from him in an articled called Lessons on Real Estate Investing, Alligators, and Fleas.

Dr. Stone always uses folksy, memorable quips to help remember his lessons. One of my favorites is “find a need a fill it.”

This lesson teaches that business and real estate investing are about serving people. And people have needs. So, if you just concentrate on filling those needs as often as you can with excellence, the rest will take care of itself.

This lesson has been like a compass for me in all of my business pursuits.

  1. Robyn Thompson – Give a Little Extra to Your End Customer

One of the best lessons I picked up from Robyn was to give a little extra to your end customer.

In the remodeling world, this meant Robyn would do extra repairs like installing a master bath/shower that was nicer than most starter homes her customer would see. It also meant she would hold her buyer’s hand and help them figure out the maze of financing hurdles the first-time buyer would face.

These “extras” were what set Robyn apart from the competition and made her business very profitable. Just like she did, you can all find ways to give extra to your customers in whatever business you happen to be in.

Chad Carson is a member of Metrolina REIA (, which provides education, networking, and networking for real estate investing in the Charlotte region.  Chad also writes about real estate, money, and life at



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