Part I (acquired from Noble Transcription Services Blog)
Casey Serin (CS): Welcome, everybody. This is my second live call. TalkShoe is the service I’m using. It’s a nice system. Some of you are wondering if I’m making any money on it. I was surprised that, yes, they do pay money to talk using their service. Now that’s not why I’m doing it. I kind of enjoy doing neat things because it’s different.
I sometimes get tired of writing all day, blogging, and so a talk show should be fun. Now some of you are typing your messages here; I’m probably going to ignore it for now. I’m going to give more preference to the call-in calls. People are on the line, here.
Let me just start off by giving a quick overview of what’s going on. Some of you might appreciate it cause there’s questions that you say I’m not answering. So, I’ll try to hit some of the key questions that I remember, and then we’ll go from there with the calls.
I’ve been getting busier and busier lately, trying to find additional jobs that I can do, with consulting and web design and things like that; so I can make a living while I’m going through this transition stage with my investing business. A lot of you say, “Why don’t you get a job?” Well, I don’t talk about it very much, but I do have jobs. I do do things. I used to do some projects for Chris, whom some of you might remember. I also do other things; I have a couple other jobs lined up where I’m going to be doing some web design for some other bloggers, and basically, putting my background in web development to use, to make a little bit of money. And yes, you saw that right — my wife actually quit college in order to help us make money, because it’s just getting to the point where we need to do that.
We have — the future of this blog is really what I want to address. The blog has been taking a lot of my time, honestly. I’ve been thinking it’s not a big deal, just kind of a thing I do on the side; been a fun ride; I’ve had a lot of traffic and a lot of media exposure, and without even realizing it, and that’s definitely not something I was planning on doing; never thought it would be this big. But, I love to tell my story in order to help other people not to make the same mistakes I made. And so, that’s what I’d like to do.
And so, what I’m looking to do now, because I’m getting busier and busier, trying to actually make a living through other methods, since my real estate investing business right now is kind of at a standstill as I restructure — I’m getting busy with these consulting jobs, so I’ve decided to bring on a partner on board to help me run the entire website, and that’s what I’m going to be doing is running the site through this partner. I’ll still be involved. I’ll still tell my story.
But what I’d really like to do is turn the site into a foreclosure resource to help people out. I’m getting some pretty nice rankings in the search engine under some nice topics. For example, foreclosure; being #10 — actually, I slipped down to #11; that sucks, but that’s fine. I’m still on the first or second page of Google. That’s really good.
I’m getting a lot of e-mails. People are looking to get some help, and things like that. I’ve been trying to answer them, but I’m not really compensated to do that right now. There’s only so much I can allow myself to do, and I do want I can; but if I start turning this into more of a credible resource for foreclosure help, that would feel really good; that I would’ve made a difference out there on the Internet.
That’s what the partner’s going to do; help me run the site and market it, and really take it to the next level. I’m looking to have some guest bloggers in the future, too, and bring a few experts on board. The experts will help increase the credibility of the site. Maybe we’ll have a forum, and those kind of things. I don’t know what else to really cover. Those of you who follow me know what’s going on.
I’d like to touch really quick on some of the last houses I have left, which is the one in Modesto, and the one on Guadalajara in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. We’re still working short sales on those, and there hasn’t been much news from the banks. They’re reviewing the short sale packages, and I just called the realtors who are involved in that.
No news yet, and as soon as I do get some news, I’ll let you guys know. The foreclosure deadlines are coming up; both of those houses are going up on the 28th to auction. I spoke with the one in Modesto, and he says the bank is saying that they’re going to be rescheduling that, because they like the offer. It’s kind of the same story from the one in Rio Rancho, those not as reassuring. Those guys are a little bit hard to get a hold of.
In terms of the Utah payment — the missing payment: people have been bugging me about it for months now, and, unfortunately, I’d like to say that they’re hasn’t been very much progress because I haven’t put a lot of priority on it, and I know I need to call them up and figure this out. There’s a complicated situation because it’s been several months since I spoke to them, and I was supposed to send a fax with a copy of the check that apparently they cashed, but they don’t show it in the system. I need to get on top of that mess, eventually here. I know I need to take care of it. For now, the payments are coming in from the buyers, and so at least it’s not going to foreclosure.
It’s actually up for sale, and the investors — it’s not a family, by the way; people are saying I’m screwing some kind of a family — it’s not a family, it’s actually another group of investors. I think it’s a husband-and-wife team of investors looking to finish my project where I started. They’re standing to make a pretty good amount of money, and I’m happy at least someone’s going to make a profit on it.
What I’d like to do now is take a question or two; that way, we can mix it up a bit. So we’re going to start with StevenCody2002 — that’s the username I see here. Steven, go ahead. Go ahead, Steven.
StevenCody2002 (SC2K2): Hi, how’re you doing, Casey? I had a question for you. First of all, I really appreciate you honesty. I know a lot of people don’t — a lot of haters don’t. I had a specific question for you. I know you used a lot of stated income loans, and I wanted to know exactly what was the highest salary you ever put down on a stated income loan?
CS: I’m going to answer this question — and by the way, just to let everybody know, let’s do one question per person; and if you have a follow-up question, I’ll get to it again. But I’ll go ahead and answer it.
The highest salary I’ve ever actually made was $50,000 with Pride Industries. Now in terms of what I put down, it was different with every loan, because a lot of times, I didn’t even know what we were putting down. I just sort of said, hey, we need to do this loan, and the broker that was helping me was using the numbers that we needed to have in order to qualify. I know there was a number put on there, but I haven’t really gone through and checked all those applications. I definitely know it was higher, because if I was able to state my actual income, then I would have been able to go full doc and get a much better interest rate. I paid more for that loan — more points and a higher interest rate — because I was going stated income.
SC2K2: Well, the broker would actually know, but you don’t know –
CS: It’s on those apps. I could pull them out and see what’s on there, but it’s different numbers. I knew we were overstating —
SC2K2: I know that I and a lot of other people would be curious just to see how high you went; like if you doubled your salary, if you tripled it, or if maybe you just went up 10% or 15%.
CS: From what I remember, it was just a little bit more than I was making. I don’t think I was doubling or tripling, because what happens with stated income loans, is it has to make sense. If I’m sitting in a position of programmer or analyst, and I’m making $50,000 a month, it’s not going to fly. It was in an acceptable range, because we actually have a range for different careers.
SC2K2: Right, that’s understandable. Well, I tell you what, I’ve got a bunch of questions. I know you probably want to get to a few people. If you’d like, I could ask you a few more, or you could come back to me.
CS: Sounds good. Okay, we’ll go with — thank you, Steven. We’ll go with the next person here. We’ve got “Chief100.”
Go ahead, Chief100, you’re on the line.
Chief100 (C100): Hey, Casey. How’re you doing?
CS: Doing great.
C100: My question —
CS: And by the way, with all the questions, go ahead and tell me where you’re from, because I’m curious what parts of the country are calling in.
C100: I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; actually in Orlando right now from some training for work. But anyways, I’m more interested on — are you making any — how much income are you making from the website, from sponsors? What are you pulling in? Is there a way to harness this push you have right now to make some more money?
CS: Sure. Let me answer the question of income. As you know, I used to have Google Adsense on the blog a while back when I first started. That was getting to the point where it was making almost $1000 per month. Unfortunately, a lot of those clicks were fraudulent clicks. Some of the critics/haters on the site were manipulating the system, from what I’ve seen, and so Google banned me. You probably know that if you’ve been on the blog.
After that happened, I decided not to monetize for a few months, and I’m still in that stage. The thing is, a lot of people assume I’m making stuff up when there’s a profit motive, or at least, a possible profit motive. So people think I’m skewing the facts, making stuff up in order to drive up traffic. I didn’t want people thinking that, so I didn’t have any money coming from the site for a while.
Now I’m at a point where I’m thinking, I have to make income somehow, one way or another, and there’s nothing wrong to have a legitimate income stream coming from the site, as long as I’m helping people. I’m looking at putting ads back on and doing sponsorships and things like that.
C100: Excellent. Just want to see you profit for your endeavors. Even though the real estate failed, you’ve entertained a lot of us. We’re appreciative. You’re entertaining the haters, too, so good luck to you, Casey.
CS: Are you a hater, Chief?
C100: It depends on what day it is, Casey.
CS: All right. Sounds good, Chief. Let me just tell you, along the lines of making money from the blog. What I’d really like to be able to do is the next stage of this blog is to be able to match up people that have questions, people that need help with foreclosure or debt, with professionals that can help them. I’m looking to build a network of trusted individuals that we can refer people out to. And obviously, I’m going to collect a little bit of a referral fee, but my goal is to be able to have a matching service happening there.
Thanks, Chief, for your question. We’ll go to GeorgeBush. Go ahead, George. where are you from?
George, are you on the line? Okay, we’re skipping George. Going to Suzanne42. Are you there?
No Suzanne. We’ll go to Robert — is it Rupert, Robert — You there? Okay, we’ll get you on the next cycle.
Okay, we’ll go up again here. JeffShantz, it looks like. Are you there, Jeff?
JeffShantz (JS): Hi, Casey. How’s it going?
CS: Great. Where are you from, Jeff?
JS: I’m from Canada, actually; near Toronto.
CS: Oh, great.
JS: I just have a quick question for you. I’m not a hater, by any means, but I am curious as to — you often said that you weren’t sure if you were on the right side of the law or not; if you were scamming or not. I’m just wondering how — how can you really rationalize saying that when you’re relying on applications — you had to have known you were breaking the law.
CS: Sure, let me address that. That’s a good question, by the way, Jeff. Basically, here’s how it all went down — and I’ve talked about this on the blog, but I’ll try to put it in such a way to where you don’t think I’m just making an excuse.
CS: I knew this was stated income loans. I knew on stated income, you’re stating higher than you’re really making. But the way I saw it, and the way it was explained to me, is it was an acceptable industry practice. So what I was doing was going with that, and figuring it’s not a big deal. If I get caught, it’s a slap on the wrist. Never did I realize I was actually committing criminal — actually, mortgage fraud. Now, if I thought this was something I thought I could go to jail for, I would never do that, because the risk is way too high. Plus, even with the stated income, even though it was so accepted in the industry amongst investors, I knew that it’s something that I won’t want to do too often, because I had a little bit of conscience issues with that, too.
I knew, if I’m signing something on a piece of paper and it’s not 100% true, then my integrity’s on the line. You know what? When I got into it, I had a little bit of a conscience viewing with it, and I should have listened to my gut when I was doing it. Then later on, when my wife found out I was doing these shady loans, she said she didn’t want to see any more of that, because she didn’t realize I was running loans until later. Her involvement in business has always been very limited. That’s my explanation for that.
And then, of course, Jeff, when I started talking about it initially on the blog, I didn’t realize I could really
get in trouble for this stuff. So I thought, no big deal, I’ll just tell people that lying on your application can
mess you up; in terms of your business, you can get in trouble financially. Then, when I said that, and then people came back and said I’m actually convicting myself online, the cat was already out of the bag. I figured, you know what, what am I going to do — live in fear now? I figured I’ll just continue talking and hopefully, this will help somebody.
JS: Fair enough. Thanks.
CS: Thank you for the question, Jeff. We’ll go with OwenF. Owen, are you there?
Owen is not on, it looks like. We’ll skip Owen.
OwenF (OF): Hello.
CS: Owen, are you there?
CS: Hey, Owen. Where are you from?
OF: I’m actually from Canada; just north of Toronto as well.
CS: Oh, great, great.
OF: I’m just wondering if you’re still getting — I’m assuming you’re obviously getting harassed by CashCall — what kind of tricks are they trying? What kind of stuff are they pulling? Let me know.
CS: Sure. Let me address CashCall. You know, it’s funny; I guess CashCall has something about it that a lot of people are interested to see what they’re doing to me. I guess it has a reputation out there. I didn’t realize this when I was getting into the loan with them.
Basically, so far, it’s been just phone calls. I’ll say they’re more persistent than other lenders in terms of calling. They call me pretty much every day. I get a lot of calls, so I don’t know which one is calling me. If it’s an 800 number, it would say “Undisclosed Caller ID” on my cell phone; I don’t answer it because they just keep calling me. Even after I talk to them and tell them my situation, they still call me. They basically want their money, and I don’t blame them.
Here’s what’s going on with CashCall. Yesterday, I talked to somebody from there who’s assigned to my account, and he was trying to get me to please make one payment and work out some kind of payment arrangement. I wasn’t quite ready to commit to a payment arrangement, because I’m still not sure about how much money I’m bringing in per month, even though I do have some jobs coming up here with consulting and all that.
So I wanted to get a little bit extra time with them, and he said I’ll have until the 23rd. I said, let me call you back and discuss it with my wife. Then he cut me off and said, that’s it, we’re forwarding your account to their legal department. So I’m not sure if that’s just a threat, or if something bad is going to really start happening here. I’ll definitely keep you updated to see what they’re going to do now. Apparently now, they’ve lost their patience with me, and they’re going to try and collect.
Thank you, Owen. We’ll go with the next person here.
Gordon Sanders. Gordon, are you there?
Gordon Sanders (GDS): Hey, Casey. Calling in from Dallas. One of the things I was just real surprised about was — I know the area that you bought the house in, and nobody in Dallas has garage conversions. I’m just wondering what were you thinking?
CS: That’s a good question, what was I thinking buying site unseen? That deal was actually brought to me by a wholesaler, and a wholesaler’s a guy that goes out there, finds a deal, puts it under contract, and sells it to somebody who actually going to be doing the rehabbing and fix-and-flip, such as myself. The guy really described it in such a nice light. I know I really fell for it. I don’t think he meant bad, because he was new at it, too. He had only been in on a few deals in the past.
He described it in such a way that made it seem like a really good deal on paper with the numbers, but when I went out there to see what it is that I bought, I realized this was a problem house. I don’t know if you’ve been on that street or not. That street has a really nice street, and this seems to be the one with problems. It’s had foundation repairs in the past and other — it had a stigma. The whole neighborhood thought it was a problem house, and I didn’t realize the garage conversion was going to hurt the value so much. That was probably the top gripe that people had when they were looking at the house, aside from the road noise and the weird layout. Everybody said they would much rather would have had the garage.
That’s one of the lessons I’ve learned: a garage conversion does not add value to the house, normally. Even though it gives extra square footage — if it’s done correctly, it gives you living area — the fact that you don’t have a garage takes away the value; so it’s a wash in the end. And usually, it makes it harder to sell. That was definitely a learning experience for me, and something that I’ll never do again.
GDS: I guess this is one of the one houses that you down a lot of money.
CS: Yes. Well, relatively speaking. I only put down about $30,000 or so, because the hard money lender gave me a loan at 65% LTV, but that was future value. Does that make sense? I told him once we fix it up — we had a appraiser that gave me a future value appraisal, and so I only had to come up with a little bit of money. That $30,000 actually came from a cash back — from another deal. So it was really still a no money down deal for me.
GDS: No; see, that’s the problem. The $30,000 was not money that you earned. It was money you stole from Peter to pay Paul.
CS: You know, I’ll agree with you. Doing no money down deals, man, it can really get you in trouble. Here’s the thing: you don’t really have any skin in the game, and I found this out from personal experience. People that do no money down deals are much more willing to walk away from a deal than the guy that has hard, and his own, cash in the deal. Yeah, I’m an example of a guy that went out there and loved the idea of no money down, and actually put it to use. The problem was, I also made some mistakes, and now you see the pros and cons of doing no money down. You have to be very careful with that strategy.
GDS: Keeping with this same question, you say you had $30,000. It would have cost you so much less to have flown out before you had dropped $29,000 extra money for a $1000 plane ticket.
CS: Exactly. If I was putting my own cash down, I would have been a lot more careful. That’s what happens when you have a real down payment. Anybody out there who’s looking to do a no money down deal, I say, you have to be careful. Don’t treat the no money down as just a free deal for you.
GDS: But Casey, I think that’s why everybody upset about you; is it was your money. You treat it like it wasn’t, but it was your money, and that’s still, I think, why everybody is so upset at you. You’re treating — it’s like its Monopoly money to you. It doesn’t exist. You’re not paying it back. I went back and reviewed a lot of your website last night, and you’re saying wanted to pay the money back; you swore you were going to pay the money back, and now, you’re walking away.
CS: I understand the frustration. I definitely do. That’s why I’m trying to do what I can in order to find a solution to pay it back and settle. Instead of just declaring bankruptcy when I first started this thing, I started looking into doing a short sale, or doing a wraparound, or doing something in order to pay the lenders back. I really could have just stayed quiet; not write on a blog; and just do BK and start from scratch. But I thought, at least I have to put up a fight; find a way to pay that money back.
GDS: But you weren’t fighting. You just kind of hid. Hiding’s not fighting.
I understand your situation. I’ve been in similar situations, and I think a big problem that people see, also, is that you owe all the money, but you’re going off and doing other things. I like Starbucks. I spend five bucks at Starbucks probably four times a week. But the fact is, whenever I owe lots of money to lots of credit cards, I don’t go to Starbucks. I have to make my money; I have to save my money to make that rent payment; to make that mortgage payment; to make the credit card payments; and I don’t go off doing crazy stuff, because I have an obligation.
A lot of the things people are wanting to know is why you’re doing all of this stuff whenever you don’t have the means to back it up.
CS: Sure, sure. I hear you. Well, I’ll put you on mute because I’m going to get the next person. Let me go ahead and — I’m sorry; I cut you off.
GDS: No, go ahead.
CS: I’ll put you on mute because I need to move on, but I will address the question of frivolous living and spending money on In-N-Out and Starbucks and Macaroni Grill. A lot of people have an issue with it. If you actually look at what I was spending on, and you focus on an occasional Starbucks, of course that’s the idea you’re going to get.
Yeah, true, maybe I could have cut out Starbucks completely. At the same time, I’m under that belief that, yes, I do need to save money, but at the same time, if I save so much to where I’m eating ramen every day, or never give myself an ability to go out and buy a Starbucks, then life is not going to be worth living at that point.
I’m not going out every day. This is something I still want to do, is find all the transactions and be able to show people the percentage of my money that went toward living expenses, or the so-called frivolous things. Even the Hawaii trip that I took last year — that was an anniversary. We haven’t done anything in a while, my wife and I. We had an opportunity to visit my brother, who was out there, and we saved money by staying with him. Yes, we do do some of the things that people get upset about, because they say maybe I should just do nothing at all. I like to have a little bit of balance in life, so then I would be more motivated to do something.
In terms of some of these transactions — it’s funny; it just so happens that that day I posted the Wells Fargo statement, that’s what people focused on. If I was to post all the other ones, I’d think you’d see the true story. I do appreciate that question. Perhaps I could be cutting down on my expenses more, but I’m also making money. It’s not like I’m still living on credit cards. You have to keep this in mind; a lot of people assume that I have no income coming in. I am making money. It’s not enough right now to be making payments on all the credit cards.
Perhaps the argument is maybe I should at least make one payment that I can afford, but right now, I’m just having enough coming in to pay my living expenses and a little bit extra left over so I can save and be able to have a little bit of reserves, while I’m working out a plan for repayment, or bankruptcy.
Honestly, at this point, the situation is so severe. If you look at my unsecured debt — and I’ve tried a bunch of different options, or at least I looked at a bunch of different options — I’m not sure what I can do. I’m still keeping my options open, but bankruptcy is definitely a possibility at this point; a very strong possibility.
We’ll go with the next person here. Jay Lathan? If I said your name wrong, I apologize. Go ahead, Jay.
Are you there, Jay? Jay Lathan?
Okay, we’ll go with — let’s see; we’re going to scroll back up to the top here.
Steven, we’re going to give you another shot. Steven, are you there? StevenCody?
SC2K2: Hi, Casey. First of all, I have to tell you: I think this podcast isn’t going super-well. I think you need to start going through questions quicker and answers quicker —
CS: Sure, sure.
SC2K2: – It’s kind of boring listening to you drone on. A lot of it we’re familiar with. I know you’re trying to sell yourself, and you’re a talker by trade, but let’s keep these things quick. In that nature, I’ve got a couple quick questions for you.
SC2K2: What salary would you settle for, if it meant working a minimum of 40-50 hours per week and cut significantly into your real estate time? I’m sure there’d be some price you’d be willing to do that for. What would that be?
CS: I guess it depends on other that salary, because I like to look at the entire package. We’ve got benefits; we’ve got how flexible is the environment — let me tell you, flexibility is the biggest thing for me. Even when I was working at Pride Industries, being an entrepreneur-driven person, I was always doing something on the side, and it was a real challenge for me to keep it contained. Obviously, when I get excited about a business, I go all out. You saw what happened with the fix-and-flip business.
That’s why I ended up quitting Pride Industries. It was a great job with good benefits. I was doing PhP programming, but the real estate thing started to take off. At that point, I thought, I’ve made it. I had all these deals coming in. But I took too big of a risk. I should stayed at that job and worked on the side.
SC2K2: Let’s say I offered you a job. $150,000, full benefits, full 401(K), but you had to work full-time, and there wasn’t the flexibility to do the deals. Would you take it?
CS: You know what? $150,000? In Sacramento, or like San Francisco –
CS: — Where the cost of living is higher?
SC2K2: Sacramento or San Francisco.
CS: Man, that’d be a really tempting offer. I would still do deals on the side, but if I could have the agreement that I can take my lunch hour and have flexibility in terms of being able to take a few days off from time to time, even if it’s unpaid, then, yeah, definitely. I’d strongly consider it. I’d talk with my wife first, of course. But, yeah.
SC2K2: Okay, because I just wanted to get a feel of what you were looking for, what kind of salary you’d work for. Another question I had for you; that picture of your dinner at the Red Lobster. You said that you don’t drink, but there was a beer next to your dinner. What’s the story with that?
CS: Oh, really? I said I don’t drink?
SC2K2: Oh, yeah. I was under the impression that you didn’t drink or use drugs.
CS: I like to take of my body, you know. I stay pretty healthy. I drink wheatgrass shots and juicing and all that stuff. But I’ll enjoy a beer every once in a while. I don’t like to go too much, because alcohol does mess up your body in large volumes. I don’t need to give you a talk on all that. I like to do everything in moderation –
SC2K2: Oh, that’s good. I was under the impression that you didn’t drink at all. That makes perfect sense. I know you said you don’t believe in failure; it’s just a way of succeeding —
SC2K2: — But I see you in the real estate industry, like, if you were trying out for an NFL team. I don’t think you’re going to make the Oakland Raiders. At what point are you going to just say, ok, I failed for x number of years, I’m going to give this up and do something else and find what I’m really good at?
CS: Well, that’s a good point. Is real estate not something I should even be doing? Do I not have the skill for real estate? I’m not sure; maybe I just need to find my niche. I don’t think you can say the whole industry’s not for a person, just because they may not have the follow-through, for example, to do a fix-and-flip from start to finish; or the construction experience, which I lacked, which really contributed to my failures.
There’s other areas of real estate I can probably do, maybe more successfully than some of these other things. And who’s to say that if I do this all over again, I wouldn’t be able to do a successful fix-and-flip, not that I’ve seen what it’s like to do those? The eight properties that I’ve done wasn’t like eight different deals. To me, it was like one successive deal after another. I was really buying the properties at one point, just to float the prior bad deals, so it was really just a continuation. If I was to start all over again, I’d be super-careful; or at least, super-careful for my personality.
SC2K2: Have you ever seen the movie Glengarry Glen Ross?
CS: Ummm, no.
SC2K2: You should really rent that movie.
CS: Oh, yeah?
By the way, besides real estate, I’m also looking at other opportunities. With this exposure I’ve had, I’ve made a lot of interesting contacts in different industries, not just real estate. I’m talking with a gentleman in Southern California who’s a silver broker, for example. The silver and gold and precious metal market right now is on the rise, and whenever there’s turbulence, or any kind of a war, or anything crazy with the economy, that’s a good place to put your money. I’m definitely looking at that.
I’m looking at stocks, but individual stocks, not mutual funds — the performers, the companies that are about to take off, that you’re able to make some money; for example, with penny stocks. Again, it takes a lot of expert knowledge, and it’s something I’m not just going to jump in lightly.
SC2K2: Casey, I’d stay away from the penny stocks. You make me want to dump my precious metals as we speak, but –
CS: (Laughs) Do you have some precious metals yourself, Steven?
SC2K2: What’s that?
CS: Are you invested in gold and silver?
SC2K2: Oh, yeah. I invest in a lot of stuff.
One other question I had for you. What type of work is Galina going to get into? You said she’s quitting — she’s going to work. What’s she going to do?
CS: Right now, we’re still trying to figure that out. Right now, she’s helping me tie everything up for taxes. We’re definitely looking to bring her on board to be producing some income, too, so we can get on financially stable ground here. I’ve been really financially messed up for way too long. It’s beginning to be a huge problem for us, and it’s affecting our marriage. It’s affecting all areas of my life.
Immediately, what she’s doing is — I have a ton of stuff and transactions to go through from 2006 in order to finish for taxes, and the timeline is approaching, and I want to make sure I do it. Based on my initial conversation, it doesn’t look like we’re going to owe any taxes, because I had a ton of expenses, and not much profit. The deals that didn’t close last year in 2006 — even though I took cash back in some of them, until I sell a property, that’s really not profit; it’s just part of the loan. So, the only ones I’m really going to be looking at for profit — I only sold, I believe, four deals, and had one that got foreclosed on in 2006.
SC2K2: One other thing. You know that $50,000 Countrywide note; that was the reason that the bids started so low on that property. You’re still supposed to pay that back, regardless of whether or not a short sale occurred.
CS: Oh, yeah? Are you pretty sure that I owe on that one?
SC2K2: Everyone’s pretty sure of it. Other sites — I know you call them “hater” sites — lawyers have looked at that. You signed a legal document. You scanned it in. Everyone’s gotten a chance to look at it. There’s no ambiguity here. That’s why the sale occurred at a lower price. You’re still on the hook for that $50,000. Whether or not you want to pay it; or if you’re going to pay it; or whatever; that’s your business.
SC2K2: It’s not something you can just disregard.
CS: That’s a good point. Now, I haven’t heard anything from Countrywide about that loan, and it’s been well over a month now, that I was supposed to make that payment. Another thing is, the letter that we received, that was a short sale approval, referenced that note as part of the approval. So, after looking at it again, and talking to some people that know what they’re talking about, from what it looks like is they were doing that just so I could get the thing approved. It went to foreclosure, and to me, that note is not something I’m going to pay on currently, because I have a bunch of other debt. Now if they come back and say this is a valid note, that I’ll definitely look at it. Right now, I haven’t heard anything about it.
SC2K2: I understand the reason they had you sign that is because that way they can put it on their books, and it looks better, rather than just an out-and-out default.
CS: Yeah, that’s true.
SC2K2: Another question –
CS: That property on Larchmont was the worst deal I’ve made. I paid so much for the — even when I was buying it, I thought, wow, this is kind of a high price for this house. Now, that particular property was actually put together for me. It was a package deal; it had the cash-back-at-close built-in. Really, that was too big of a carrot for me to forego, because I had all these other properties that were getting ready to default on, and I thought, oh, man, I just need this deal; I can catch up the other ones, resell everything, and be okay. I was definitely thinking out of desperation at that time.
SC2K2: Yeah. I think flipping a sucker’s game, to me. You put 20% down if it cash flows, and you leave it at that, and you rent it out.
I’ve got a serious question: if you were to go to prison, what would your strategy be? Would you use your Russian ties to hook up with those —
SC2K2: — Gang, or just kind of keep to yourself?
CS: (Laughing) Russian ties — interestingly enough, I don’t have very many Russian ties. Ever since we came to America in ‘94, our family, instead of staying in the Russian community, we mixed in. We had American sponsors that took us under their wing. Unlike other people that came over from a former Soviet Union, we didn’t have any governmental assistance — no food stamps or any of that stuff. We really had it tough. My dad had to work odd jobs, and things like that. From an early age, we were pretty set on doing whatever we can to survive. So maybe that’s where my entrepreneurial sprit is coming from.
In terms of jail — honestly, people keep saying I’m going to jail and all that. You know what — it’s probably a possibility out there, but if I live in fear, am I going to be productive? No. People say I should run away to another country. What use is that? I’m just going to continue living my life, doing the best I can, and hopefully, my story can help somebody. I’m not too worried about jail.
SC2K2: Another question. We’ve all gone over Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Macaroni Grill — that’s all old news. What’s your favorite chain restaurant right now? What’s going to be your new hot chain restaurant?
CS: I haven’t really seen anything new that I’d go for, but something that’s fairly new is Chipotle. I don’t know if it’s a national chain or not — Chipotle. I love it, because they have naturally raised beef, and I love all that organic stuff. I think they have naturally raised pork as well. If I’m in the mood for fast food, that’s where I’ll go.
By the way, I don’t go to fast food every day. You’ve got me talking about it, and everybody’s going to jump on me now, saying that I dine out all the time. But I figured I’d address your point.
Steven, do you have another quick one, because I want to move on, and get a couple more people on.
SC2K2: That’s cool. I’m trying to keep the spirit alive. I’ve done a lot of work in radio. I think, if you want to keep doing this, you should do it weekly, add some sound effects, get a co-host, and run through things quick. Don’t drone on. Keep it to, like, 30 seconds to 1 minute, and keep things moving.
CS: Sounds good. Let me take that advice and try it with the next couple callers. How’s that?
SC2K2: All right.
CS: Okay, thanks. We’re going to go back down to GordonSanders. Gordon, are you there?
GordonSanders (GDS): Hey, Casey. Just to let you know about the Chipotle; are you getting the salads, or are you getting the whole burrito?
CS: I like the burrito. My wife had wraps, but I like to have a package that I can bite into.
GDS: Just to let you know: the whole burrito is about 1200 to 1300 calories.
CS: I’m not too big on calories. If you’ve seen my pictures, I actually need calories. What do you think?
GDS: Yeah –
CS: I used to lift weights. I used to be about 165 pounds. For 5′8″, that actually makes a big difference. Ever since I got married, I lost weight, because I stopped lifting weights. Things change when you get married. Also, all this stress — I’m probably at the lightest I’ve been since high school. So eating some extra food is probably good for me.
GDS: On to the ski trip, that appeared/that didn’t appear. How’d you like Heavenly?
CS: I actually went to Alpine. A couple of people told me I better not even talk about it because it continues to make this image of me as a frivolous spender. Let me address that really quick. Might as well, because people saw thing I put on IAmFacingForclosure.
I had a friend who actually paid me because I did a favor for him — helped him with some stuff he was doing, consulting-wise — and he actually treated me to a trip. I stayed in this cabin, and he paid for my lift ticket. I just had to get there. I was running a little late, so I was speeding on the freeway, and I was coming down a hill, and I normally don’t speed too bad — just a little bit over the speed limit, like stated income loans, don’t state too high, within reason — then I get caught. I didn’t do my negotiation too well, and she gave me a ticket. But I’m glad that my record is pretty clean, so I’ll be able to do traffic school. Do you have anything else, Gordon?
GDS: Back to the fact of you saying that you shouldn’t lead a normal life, but you owe lots of money to everybody. I think, like you said, what everybody’s upset about is that you can’t lead a normal life, because you’re not making your — you say you’re making your personal expenses. Your personal expenses are all the money that you owe. It’s not the money that you choose to pay back; it’s all the money that you owe. Whenever you owe money to somebody — like let’s say you borrowed money from me, and then I saw you eating a steak dinner, or eating out, or eating at Starbucks. I’d be pissed at you.
CS: Yeah. No, I hear you.
GDS: Because you owe me money. Why are you going out, when you could be handing money to me? What everybody’s seeing is that you owe lots of people money, but you’re choosing to pay back people — choosing to pay nobody back, but still spend money on yourself that no one else that owes that kind of money spends. You don’t have the right to do that.
CS: It’s a good point. It keeps coming up; apparently, a lot of people are frustrated by that, because if you were the lender, how would you feel, right? I understand. I’ve actually been in that position where — in fact, somebody owes me $5,000 from a deal we’ve done in the past, and I’m wondering what they’re doing with their money, so, I kind of know what it’s like to be a lender.
At the same time — Gordon, do you have a business or have you run a business before?
GDS: I’ve owned many businesses in the past. Now, because I didn’t like how much time it took up, took a full-time job that has lots of benefits. I’m able to do stuff; taking lots of ski trips. But I like having the steady pay, and at the same time, I do have the opportunity to make money while owning a business, but I made a choice — but I always try to pay my bills.
CS: Let me get to what I’m trying to say. If you own a business, and your business borrows money for its operations, and then something happens and the business fails, do you think it’s the same kind of analogy, where the bank that lent the money to the business for business purposes is going to think this person’s still living a normal life, but he has this huge amount of business debt that they need to pay on that. The thing is, I see it as a separate thing.
My business borrowed all that money. Sure, I personally signed for it, but at the same time, at this point, my business failed, and I’m not sure about what I can do about the business expenses. For me to catch up all those loans would take thousands of dollars I don’t currently have. The only options I have right now is to refinance all that debt. So let’s say I have an extra $50 this month. I can’t just call up one of my
creditors and say I’ll just pay you guys $50. That’s not going to cut it. It’s still in default. Some of them won’t even take $50. They want the full payment, or they’re going to continue with their collection process. So unless I have a way to actually stop the whole collection process, what does that $50 really going to do? Tell me.
GDS: It’ll buy you peace of mind that you tried. It’s peace of mind that you tried; that’s the whole point. If I can’t pay you all of this back, I’m going to at least pay you something. You don’t want it, hey, it’s on the table here, anyway. Think about if you went out to a meal, and you wanted to pay for dinner. Your friend says no, dude, you paid every time. Let me pay. So what do you do? You leave the $20 on the table. If he wants, he’ll take it, fine. If he doesn’t, fine; but you paid, and you feel better about it, because you’re a man.
CS: So you’re saying the best thing for me to do, and you’re saying the right thing to do, is whatever I can scrape up every month, even if it’s $10, I should try to figure out which lender to send it, and go ahead and send it.
GDS: Yes. I’m sure the rest of your callers — ask them what they’d say. That’s about all for me right now. I’m sure I’ll have another thing in a moment.
CS: Thanks, Gordon. I tried to keep it going faster, based on the advice from Steven. We’ll try it again. That was a good question.
All right, we’re going back to GeorgeBush. George, are you there? GeorgeBush. GeorgeBush is not around, I guess.
Going to Suzanne. Are you there, Suzanne?
SUZANNE: Hi, Casey.
CS: Hi, Suzanne. Good to have you. Where are you from, Suzanne?
SUZANNE: I’m calling from Kansas City.
CS: Great, great. What’s your question?
SUZANNE: Okay, first, before I ask my question, I just wanted to say, aside from my mortgage — my regular mortgage payment every month, I only have a total of about $3000 of debt, which I know will be paid off, probably within 5 or 6 months. But, even with that very minimal amount of debt, I just — first, before I go any further, I couldn’t even imagine going to Hawaii, even if it was just air fare alone, because I would be thinking about all those mortgage payments that were due, so — I couldn’t do it. I just could not knowingly purchase an airline ticket. I know you said you were fortunate you had family over there, but it’s all about priorities. I just wanted to throw that in.
Let me tell you my question here —
CS: Let me do a quick response. You’re absolutely right. When we were out there in Hawaii, I got jelly. I couldn’t relax. Looking back on it, I don’t know if I would have made that same trip, because I’m thinking, oh man, this thing is taking more money than I thought. Because you know how you always think that maybe — or maybe you don’t — but sometimes I think that I could save some money, stay with a friend, and then it’s not going to be too expensive.
But you know what? When you go to Hawaii, everything’s expensive, so it ends up costing me more than I thought. So, yeah, I had that pressure in the back of my mind.
SUZANNE: Okay. What I wanted to ask you was, what is in the pipeline? You mentioned Utah for a couple reasons; your recent Utah trip. I know we went to — I believe — check on your property there, but you mentioned a new money partner, and I was wanting to know what was going on with this new money partner, and if you have anything going on, and if so, what is it?
CS: Sure. Let me address that. The Utah trip was a couple of different reasons. Probably the main one was we had some deals we were looking at with my money partner. Those deals — unfortunately, I can’t talk too much about it. He strictly asked me to make sure I don’t reveal his identity or anything we’re doing, because, honestly, the way that people have been acting out there, digging up everything they can on anything I’m doing, can definitely compromise a deal. So I can’t really talk too much about it, but I do want to tell you that I’m still working with other investors who are doing deals, and helping them out with my connections and/or any limited expertise I’ve gained; and whatever I can, in order to maybe make a cut or consulting fee. I’m trying to make money any way I can.
SUZANNE: So you’re doing that by how? You’re making a fee, based on the resources that you’re referring them to?
CS: Yes. If it’s a deal I’ve referred over, then I might get a piece of that deal — piece of the profit. If its
something more minor, it might be just a flat fee. It depends. As long as it’s a win-win, and the deal is sweet enough for there to be enough juice in it for everybody, then that’s fine.
SUZANNE: Okay. Casey, I gotta tell you. Be careful with those two words. I know you’ve gotten a lot of slack from it, but the “sweet” and the “juice.” Dude, they gotta go. (Laughing)
CS: Oh, you don’t like those? You think those make me sound — someone said that those make me sound young or immature, and all that. At the same time, it does create a pretty interesting response from people. Next thing you know, they’re saying the words back to me.
SUZANNE: Yeah. Let me throw in one question, and then I’ll let the next person have their few minutes here. Suze Orman — that just came up on the website, and I wasn’t sure what was happening with Suze Orman — are you going to be on her show?
CS: Yes. But they said, don’t say too much on a blog. Wait until the show airs. Yeah, it’s going to be sometime in April. Early April, I’m going to be on there. It’s not going to be a real major piece, but I’m definitely going to be on there. As soon as I find out the exact date, I’ll announce it.
SUZANNE: Are you going to be a guest on the show, or are you going to be one of the call-ins that she takes?
CS: I’m just going to be a call-in, so I’m not going to be actually right there in the studio. It’s going to be a remote call-in.
SUZANNE: All right. Well, thanks, Casey. I’ll let you go on to the next person.
CS: Sure, Suzanne. Thanks. Okay, we’ll try Rupert again. Are you there?
RUPERT: Yeah, I’m here. Hi, Casey.
CS: How do you say your name?
RUPERT: It’s John.
CS: Oh, okay. That’s just your username. That’s what I figured. John, where are you from?
CS: All right. John from Seattle. Go ahead with your question.
RUPERT: I’m just curious, with all the stress you’re going through — obviously, you mentioned there was some marital strains there. Are you guys doing any type of counseling, or any type of activities to right the situation there? Obviously, you’re not the only one having stress. Marriage is a partnership, and obviously, she has to be feeling [inaudible] just want you opinion on that.
CS: Sure. Let me address the marriage stress. It’s been easier than a lot of people think. They think we’re on the brink of divorce and all that. That’s probably what happens to a lot of couples who are facing foreclosure or big financial problems. Fortunately, and I’d like to say I’m blessed in this regard, she’s been very supportive, considering what’s going on.
At the same time, we have had our issues. We do fight about money quite often, but lately, it’s been better. We’ve had a lot of rocky times early on in our marriage. we married young; we were both 21. There’s some pros and cons to marrying young. The pro was, since we did and we’re still together, those early couple years really refined our marriage, and now we’re able to go through the financial stress — time in unity, more or less.
RUPERT: Okay. Good luck, bud.
CS: Thanks, man. Okay, we’ll go with JayLathan again. I guess they’re not there.
We’ll go with SashimiYum. Are you there? Sashimi? You know what, I like sushi. This is making me hungry.
All right, we’ll go to the next person. We’ll go with MSCLTV. Are you there?
Okay, we’re not there. We’ll try you the next time. We have a person by the name of TShoe2007. Are you there?
Nope. TShoe’s not there. Okay, my software’s freezing up on me.
Looks like it’s coming up to an hour; I’ll probably go for another, maybe, 10 minutes or so, and, unless we’re going to have a lot more questions, I’ll probably going to start wrapping it up. I don’t want to make it too long. We might try this again in the future.
I think I’ve addressed a lot of the things on this podcast - livetalk, which will end up being a podcast, once it’s converted to mp3.
I’d like to just tell everybody that we have some exciting things coming on this blog. Even though my story is coming to an end, what I’m looking to do with this site is really take it to the next level and become the premier foreclosure resource and help site. I feel that would be one of the best contributions of my story is to help others. Of course, to make money out of it, it’s got to be sustainable and profitable. So, that’s what I’m looking to do. There’ll be some announcements to come, probably tomorrow or the next couple of days, on future plans.
Looks like my software is stuck on me, and I’m not able to select any more people.
Thank you again, everybody, for asking questions and listening in. There’s probably things I haven’t addressed yet, but I think this is a pretty good one. Talk to you guys later.