Discover Enchanting Belize!

We’re going back to Belize and invite you to join us!

Belize is beautiful, fun and very well positioned in today’s crazy economic climate.  Plus, it’s got some very unique attributes which are beginning to attract worldwide interest.

But as popular as House Hunters International and The Real Estate Guys™ are, Belize remains a largely undiscovered land of opportunity.  If you’ve ever looked at any mature real estate market and wished you could’ve gotten in years ago before the crowd, then you REALLY want to get to Belize sooner rather than later.  And we can help you!

There are lots of reasons to like Belize.

Some are obvious.  It’s beautiful.  It’s the only English speaking country in Latin America. They like Americans and Canadians. The currency and the government are simple and stable.  It’s closer to the most of the U.S., Canada and Europe than Hawaii.  It’s one of the top diving meccas in the world.

Other things are less obvious, but arguably more interesting.  Belize is a net positive exporter. That means they produce more than they consume. What a concept.  And they are a low tax (how about NO capital gains?), privacy banking and asset protection haven, but not for drug dealers and terrorists.  Just for folks who like to to have their stuff some place where trial lawyers and over-reaching governments can’t grab it on a whim.  That’s not everyone, but it’s enough that interest has picked up recently.

As you can see, it would take us several days to tell you all about it.  So rather than write a small book and make you sit in front of your computer for hours, wouldn’t you much rather sit in a boat on warm, turquoise blue Caribbean water, and chat with us while you’re sipping some foo-foo drink with an umbrella in it?  Of course you would.

So click here to learn more about how you can spend 4 days in paradise with The Real Estate Guys™ while we help YOU discover enchanting Belize!

5/27/12: Economics, Politics and Freedom – Making Financial Decisions in an Election Year

What do The Federal Reserve, the IRS, the income tax, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, HUD, the mortgage interest deduction, Section 8, accelerated depreciation, the 1031 tax deferred exchange and our personal “favorite”, inflation, ALL have in common?

Each of them are creatures of politicians.  Of course, we could add to this list (for days), but you get the idea.

It’s impossible to pay attention to your investments without paying attention to politics.  Some think that politicians drive economics, but we tend to think that economics drive politicians. But at the end of the day, does it matter?  The bottom line that the two are linked – like the chicken and the egg.

So with the U.S. headed into one of the more interesting political seasons in recent history, you can bet the rhetoric will hit high gear and a lot of it will be focused on “the economy, stupid”.

As real estate investors, we care a lot about the supply and cost of capital, job creation and tax rates.  Like it or not, politicians like to “manage” these things.  And while we can’t control what politicians do, we sure want to anticipate it – especially if big changes are being proposed.  End the Fed?  Return to a gold standard?  Raise taxes on capital gains?  Tax the “rich”? Eliminate the mortgage deduction?  Lions, tigers and bears – or just a lot of bull?

What’s an investor to do?

We think a good start is to pay attention to people who are paying attention and are qualified to have an opinion.  To help you, we packed up our portable studio and headed to the Las Vegas Money Show where we hit an interview jackpot!

In the silver state, behind The Real Estate Guys™ silver microphones for yet another spin of the radio roulette wheel:

  • Your dynamic dealer of dialog and host, Robert Helms
  • Your crapped out co-host, Russell Gray
  • Special guest, author, lecturer, Ph.D and really nice guy, Dr. Mark Skousen

This is Dr. Skousen’s third appearance on the show, but the first time face to face.  Our experience is that getting together face to face is WAY better than phone, internet, Skype, texting or running string between cans.  Before we ever get on the microphones with Mark, we enjoy a nice conversation, talked through the show, and then discussed some things we’d like to work together on after the interview is over.  More on that later…

So lesson #1:  Get out and meet people face to face.  Yes, it’s more expensive and time-consuming.  But the results make it one of the best investments you can make.

But back to this episode…

In addition to having a big education, as the founder and promoter of Freedom Fest (one of our personal favorite conventions of the year), Mark is probably one of the most connected people we know. He knows politicians, businesspeople, money managers, academics and media pundits.  That means he has perspectives that are bigger and broader than the average person.  So we’re always anxious to hear what he has to say.  Fortunately, as you’ll hear, he’s not afraid to share his opinions.

So right out of the gate, Mark tells us that he’s concerned about the path the U.S. is on. No shock there.  A lot of people feel the same, though there are certainly a big group who believe we just need to give the current direction more time.  So Mark isn’t sure what the voters will decide.  Only time will tell.

Nonetheless, we’re interested in knowing what the think is happening and how it compares to what he thinks should be happening.  And we’re specifically interested in jobs.  It isn’t that we aren’t interested in same-sex marriage, abortion, birth-control, or even whether 9/11 was an inside job or if President Obama really was born in Kenya.  Those are all interesting topics.  But when a prospective tenant fills out a rental application, we don’t ask them those things.  We just want to know if they have a job.

So Mark says Uncle Sam has been making it harder for the American businessperson to create jobs and get the economy moving again.  And he thinks America needs new leadership. More importantly, he tells which policies help and hurt.  After all, Mark says, economics is political and vice-versa.

So what policies are most likely to stimulate economic growth?  Well, no one can predict the future, but Mark is a free market guy who thinks that more regulation hinders growth.  With Dodd-Frank looming, healthcare reform rolling out, and the Fed being active with stimulus, there’s a lot of tinkering going on.  He’s not a fan because when a business is directing time and money into government and compliance, they aren’t competing for customers and improving productivity.

Then we ask him what he thinks about real estate right now.  You’ll have to listen to get the full answer, but he sees real estate as one of the better places to be right now.  We humbly agree. 😉

Of course, we couldn’t let him go without talking about Freedom Fest. We were already excited about it, but hearing him got us even more enthused.  So, off mic, we told him about our recent Investor Summit at Sea™ with Robert Kiyosaki and G. Edward Griffin, which got him excited.  Before long, we agreed to talk to Mr. Kiyosaki and Mr. Griffin – and next thing you know, both of them are now speakers at Freedom Fest!

We told you.  Good things happen when you get out and get face to face with people – especially, the right people.  So make your plans to come join us at the next Freedom Fest.  Who know?  You just might get lucky.  Meanwhile, enjoy this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show!

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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources that help real estate investors succeed.


5/20/12: Bigger Deals, Bigger Profits – Great News for Real Estate Entrepreneurs

Show me the money!

At a time when many are complaining about how Uncle Sam makes it harder to do business, Congress just passed a law that gives real estate entrepreneurs a break.  Actually, ALL entrepreneurs benefit, but since we’re The Real Estate Guys™, we’re excited about the real estate angle.

So what’s the big deal?  In the studio to find out:

  • Your big deal of a host, Robert Helms
  • Your square deal co-host, Russell Gray
  • Attorney and regular contributor to The Real Estate Guys™ radio show, Mauricio Rauld

Our friend Robert Kiyosaki says raising money is the main job of an entrepreneur.  Small time operators rely on their own money, but to break into the big time (or even the medium time), you need to acquire capital.

The good news is that money is always looking for good deals.  The bad news is that there are very strict rules about how one is permitted to raise money from strangers.  Whether you subscribe to the theory that it’s all a conspiracy to drive money through Wall Street, or just do-good lawmakers putting so much effort into protecting the little guys that the little guys can’t get in on any good deals, the bottom line is that until now, most money raising had to happen between friends.  Just like Momma used to say, “Don’t talk to strangers!”

But now Mauricio tells us that the new Jump Start Our Businesses (JOBS) Act is actually loosening up some of the rules!  We know, it’s hard to believe.  But let’s face it.  America is getting pretty tired of anemic job growth.  So Congress put in a provision that loosens the rules for raising money from an online crowd of strangers.  It’s cleverly termed “crowd funding”.

Actually, the concept of raising on-line isn’t brand new, but as is often the case, laws have a hard time keeping up with free market innovation.  Usually, that means things go from loose to constrained.  But since the fund raising rules were already constrained, in this case it seems that things are loosening up.  Great!  Even better, the updates affect many forms of advertising, even the old fashioned kind.

Mauricio tells us all about it and then generously offers a free article on the topic, which is yours for the asking if you’re faithful to listen to the entire interview (and why wouldn’t you?).  So grab your notepad and a tasty beverage, then settle in for another crowd pleasing episode of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show!

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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources that help real estate investors succeed.


5/13/12: Healing Commercial Property Woes – The Trillion Dollar Challenge

There’s a lot of chatter in the news about the state of residential mortgage market – defaults, foreclosures, etc.  Do you remember when it all started?  Big Ben Bernanke tried to convince us that the damage would be limited to the sub-prime market.  Oops.

As we know now, a funny thing happened on the way to recovery.  Sub-prime leaked over to prime, values plummeted, and a wave of defaults – strategic and otherwise ensued.  In short, a financial train wreck of epic proportions.

Of course, we’re giddy today, because all that disaster opened up all kinds of opportunities for astute and bold investors.  Opportunistic investors are starting to snap up residential real in several markets and clearly investors are part of that market’s healing process.

But what about the long awaited “other shoe” of commercial loans?  We wondered the same thing, so we trucked (actually flew, then drove) to sunny San Diego, California to catch up with a friend of ours who is neck deep in helping commercial borrowers re-work untenable loans before they implode.

We found it extremely interesting for two reasons.  First, many of principles of crisis management, negotiation and business pragmatism that multi-million dollar borrowers face contain lots of lessons for us mere mortals.  Second, we want to know what’s really happening in the commercial mortgage markets at the street level.  Is there another sub-prime-like tremor signaling a bigger financial earthquake?

Behind the silver microphone of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show:

  • Your doctor of dialog and host, Robert Helms
  • Your woeful co-host, Russell Gray
  • Commercial loan workout expert and entrepreneur, Phil Jemmet

So we show up at Breakwater Equity Partners’ brand new office in beautiful San Diego, California to have our sit down interview with return guest Phil Jemmet.  Business must be good because the office is beautiful and there are a lot more people running around than our last visit.

Phil tells us that business is in fact booming, yet Breakwater is only scratching the surface of what’s out there.

We discover there is nearly $1.7 trillion in commercial loans coming due in the short term and Phil estimates that over $1 trillion (a ridiculous number) will NOT be able to be refinanced.  Uh oh!  What does that mean?

For the property owner / borrower / personal guarantor it means major brain damage and stress.  In many cases, these people are facing absolute personal financial Armageddon.  But there is one saving grace.

When you owe the bank $100,000, you have a problem.  But when you owe $10 million, the bank has a problem.  That is, it’s worth a lot of time and effort to work something out.

Here’s the deal:  if the loan defaults, then the borrower is wiped out.  That’s bad.  But the bank doesn’t care about the borrower.  However, if the loan defaults, the bank is going to have a severely distressed asset on their hands.  Not only will they take a haircut (a scalping?) on the loan balance, but they’ll have the additional risk and expense of having to own and operate the property until they can dispose of it.  That’s making a bad situation worse for the bank.

So, it behooves the bank to find the least damaging solution.  Makes sense, right?  Sure.  Except that bankers can be really stupid sometimes.  It’s called “denial”.  So someone has to help them see reality.  That’s what Phil and his team do.

We find the whole thing fascinating.  What’s scary is that Breakwater has done about $2 billion of workouts, which sounds like a lot, but out of an over $1 trillion market, it’s only a 2% drop in the bucket.

It’s like the little girl who’s rushing to throw the dying starfish back into the water after the wave washed them all up on the beach.  Then her father tells her, “Honey, give up.  There’s too many.  You can’t possibly make a difference.”  To which she replies, as tosses another back into the water, “I can make a difference for this one.”

We feel sorry for commercial borrowers who are sitting on commercial loan time bombs, and don’t know that help is available.  For us, we’re happy to glean wisdom from Phil’s experiences.  And even if are problems aren’t of the tens of millions of dollars variety, we learn a lot from Phil about how to approach our problems.

So listen in to our conversation with Phil Jemmet from Breakwater Equity Partners and see what you can learn about what to do when faced with a really big financial problem.

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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

5/6/12: Catching the Wave – Where Tropical Profits are a Breeze

One of the secrets to making a lot of money is to catch a profitable wave.  Sounds interesting, but how does it work?

Well, a financial wave happens when a variety of forces converge to move people or their money in a particular direction. That movement can have a substantial impact on any given asset class or geographic region – and the effect can be much more pronounced when the asset class or region is very limited in size.   That’s why we’ve been intrigued over the years by the tiny country of Belize.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show, we’re on location at a beautiful beachfront resort in Ambergris Caye, Belize.  Yes, it’s a rough life on the road as radio talk show hosts, but someone has to do it.

Sipping coconut juice behind the microphones while the tropical breezes blow:

  • Your light and breezy host, Robert Helms
  • Your coconut co-host, Russell Gray
  • Special guest, top producing international real estate broker, John Turley

As part of the preparation for our upcoming field trips to Belize, we headed to San Pedro Town in Ambergris Caye, Belize.  Yes, it’s THAT San Pedro – the one Madonna sings about in La Isla Bonita.

When you’re here, you understand why Madonna fell in love with San Pedro…and why we stopped here during our recent Summit at Sea™, then came back just a few weeks later for this trip, and are now going back for Memorial Day, again in June and staying into July.  Yeah, it’s an addiction.

But for John Turley, formerly from the Rocky Mountain state of Colorado, his visit turned into a 7 year (and counting) transplantation.  And in those 7 years, big John has become the #1 real estate agent in the entire country of Belize and the #2 international property (non-US) agent in the RE/MAX system.  In case you didn’t know it, RE/MAX is the #1 (as in top selling) real estate brokerage in the world.  So John Turley is not just #1 in his cubicle.  He’s #1 for the #1 company in the world.  Hey, nothing but the best for our listeners.

So NOW you can see that we have a LOT to talk about.  Like, why did John decide to leave his life in the USA, uproot his family and start all over again in some dinky third world country? Hint: it’s beautiful, peaceful, friendly and insanely profitable.  But listen in and let John tell you himself.

What’s important to note is that John is just like MILLIONS of other people in the US, Canada and around the world who are looking for a change.  And as that wave of people continues to discover enchanting Belize, many are grabbing homes and filling hotels.  Hmmmm….does that sound like real estate investment opportunity?

John explains how tourism is UP over the several years.  What?!?  We thought there was a global recession and everyone was hunkered down waiting for the storm to clear.

Some are.  But it seems that others have decided that financial and political storms bring big waves, so it might be fun (and profitable) to go ride one (figuratively speaking, of course).

John reports that the interests of the people who come through his office have changed significantly in the last several years.  It used to be that people came to Belize because it’s beautiful, quiet, affordable and friendly.  After all, Belize is the ONLY English speaking country in Latin America, and it’s government and currency are stable.  Did we mention that it’s breathtakingly beautiful?

But today, according to John, MANY people are coming into his office because they are concerned about the direction of the United States.  Now, you may or may not be concerned, but apparently lots of folks are.  So much so, they come to Belize not to vacation, but to establish a second home that could be easily converted into a primary residence.  Kind of a Plan B (like Belize).

There are lots of other interesting tidbits in this interview, and your job (should you choose to accept it) is to listen as Big John Turley shares his perspectives on what’s driving this very popular real estate market – and how you can catch the wave of interest that is building about Belize.

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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.