cincinnati · vacation

Come To Cincinnati, You May Be Surprised

When you think of the top 50 places in the world to travel to, Cincinnati probably isn’t the first city to come to mind. But, don’t judge too quickly. While many Americans might consider Cincinnati just another flyover city in the midwest, this growing Ohio city has a lot to offer.

In a recent article from TravelandLeisure.com, Cincinnati was #7 on a list of 50 top places to travel to in 2017. So, what sparked the high ranking? Here’s a bit from the article:

The Queen City’s transformation is most evident in its Over-the-Rhine district, first settled by German immigrants in the 19th century. Once a dodgy neighborhood, it has renovated buildings and warehouses that are now apartments and offices for tech companies. … Filmmakers are also increasingly drawn to Cincinnati, thanks to its Art Deco buildings and its tax incentives. Off-camera, Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, and Ellen Page have all been spotted dining in hot spots like Boca and Sotto and checking in to the art-filled 21C Museum Hotel. —Aoife O’Riordain

The author is correct. The city is definitely in the middle of a transformation. More and more people are moving into the downtown and Over-the-Rhine area. The Banks project, which covers the riverfront highlighted by the Bengals and Reds’ stadium has been slow to progress, but is now a beautiful piece of the city’s changing.

The city is luring more and more tech talent and with incubators like The Brandery, an entrepreneurial scene is rising in Cincinnati. When you have low costs of living and a city rising with amenities, you have the makings of growth.

If you come to Cincinnati to travel, you won’t find sandy beaches or vast mountains, what you get instead are top notch museums and art. The Cincinnati Zoo is a world renowned zoo. You can enjoy professional sports with the Cincinnati Reds or Bengals. And the hugely successful launch of FC Cincinnati soccer club may soon give the city one more professional team if the MLS chooses them for expansion – a pretty good bet, given their attendance averages are smashing all kinds of records.

What I also found interesting in the Travel and Leisure space is that filmmakers are starting to come to Cincinnati. Part of that is due to smart politics on the state of Ohio to offer tax incentives and part of that is the rich architecture and diversity of landscapes that the city offers.

Drive Media House - Cincinnati video production skyline shot

Local Cincinnati video production companies have known this for years and have taken full advantage of the beautiful river city.  But now, national filmmakers are starting to take notice. So, couple the business friendly environment coupled with neighborly host residents who will bend over backwards for video production crews and you have a recipe for a growing film industry.

So, if you come to Cincinnati in 2017 – be it for a Reds or Bengals game, Kings Island, our museums, the art scene, the Creation Museum, the Ark Encounter, the growing foodie and craft beer scene, keep an eye out for a few Hollywood celebrities as well. They just might be filming the next big movie.

Cincinnati is not CapeTown South Africa, Bermuda, Belfast or any of the other cities on the Top 50 list, but it is definitely worth exploring and traveling to. Don’t consider the Queen City just another flyover city. Come and enjoy a city that is all about home, heart and hustle.

Church · Religion

How The Church Hurts Us

I just had lunch with a friend, and it was a tough one.

The church is one of the greatest gifts Christ ever gave to his people. We experience love, diversity of gifts, grace, and care for one another. However, because it’s made up of a bunch of broken people, we also experience pain and lots of it.

When Adam and Eve chose to eat the fruit in the beginning, everything went wrong. We’re still recovering. And shame is such a devastating force that was unleashed on the earth.

I won’t get into the details, but this father has been hurt. And, he’s hurt others. Apart from strict guidelines and rules (which we tend to run to as humans), it’s easy to have wrong expectations in church life. And, we often cross boundaries or don’t have enough humility to accept people speaking into our lives.

More pain. More hurt.

Jesus, may we be one as you and the father are one. May there be reconciliation, unity and peace in your church.

real estate · wholesaling

Fascinated By Real Estate Business Boom

If you checked out this blog last year, you know that I’ve been getting more and more interested in real estate over the years. I was looking back 10+ years ago and laughing about some of my blog posts on kids toys and learning to be a new husband.

Well, 10 years later with three sons and another baby on the way and a man starts to take a good hard look at his assets. In particular, I’ve been looking at real estate an becoming an investor.

House Flipping TV Shows Are Everywhere

When you turn on the TV today, it seems that everyone and their uncle are becoming house flippers. I mean, just look at the number of results on Google for a simple “house flipping tv shows” search.

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 3.32.51 PM

There are 10+ shows there without even blinking – Flip This House, Flip or Flop, Flipping Vegas, Flipping Out, Property Ladder and the list goes on.

All of these shows promise that making wealth with real estate couldn’t be any easier. And better yet, they wrap up an entire project in a 22 minute show! Crazy. The profits always seem to be a bit higher and the costs a bit lower. I guess small profit margins don’t make for good real estate TV these days.

Anyway, because of all of these shows, you see a lot of people getting into the real estate business. Many people try to flip but soon find out that they may be in over their head. First of all, they need the cash to buy properties. In the real estate investing space, if you don’t have cash to close quickly, you are in a tight spot to try to get any good deal.

Then, once you get the property, you better be sure you know what you are doing in terms of rehabbing. It’s easy to let your rehabbing costs get out of line quickly. Then, instead of making money, you’ve quickly lost your investment. I’m pretty sure that’s not the way it’s supposed to go.

Wholesaling as a Real Estate Alternative to Flipping

If you don’t flip, another way people try to break into the real estate investing space is by wholesaling real estate. What is wholesaling? Basically, it’s the process of acquiring a property from a motivated seller at a discount price and then turning around and selling that property to another buyer, often times another real estate investor.

The advantage of working in this space is that you often times have less risk than a house flipper. Because you are generally holding onto the property for a very short period of time – often times only a few hours – you don’t have all of the construction risks that come with house flipping.

Wholesaling companies are basically in every city in the United States, and you find a TON of information on sites like Bigger Pockets to learn how to get started. Once a wholesaler acquires a property, they often times become the lead source for those who will flip the house. When you have a wholesaler who has integrity, it can be a fantastic relationship and a great way to find deals.

That said, there are a lot of people who wholesale because of the low barrier of entry that you cannot trust. Those people aren’t too hard to spot. When you are around them, you kind of get that “icky” vibe. I’d recommend you find someone who puts their name and face on their website and has some good reviews and testimonials. This site, WeBuyNKYHouses.com is a good example. The owners face is on every page, and you can get a feel for the personality by watching all of the YouTube videos on the site.

we buy nky houses - trust a wholesaler if their face is on their site

As I mentioned, Bigger Pockets is an excellent source for educating yourself on both wholesaling and flipping. And beyond learning, it’s a wonderful place to network with people locally and nationally. They are constantly coming out with excellent content on their blog, their member blogs and with their podcast. It’s all free. So, if you want to learn more, go check them out.

Buy and Hold for the Long Term

While I think flipping and wholesaling are both great for immediate income, my passion in real estate is to buy and hold properties for the long term. This is where the benefits of appreciation and amortization of the loan really start compounding in good ways for you.

The other big benefit of real estate for me personally is that I like being able to see and touch my investment. If I invest in a mutual fund somewhere, who knows what that company is doing to earn a profit. I like being able to know I’m giving someone a good place to work or live.

No matter what area of real estate you are thinking of getting into, there is no question it is a boom. Learn the lessons from 2008 and then go forward and make your wealth in real estate!

assisted living · real estate · Uncategorized

Real Estate Opportunities in 2016

Over the course of the past 8 years, another thing that has grabbed a lot of my time and attention is the study of real estate.

Let me be straightforward. I love real estate.

I think it’s an amazing way to build wealth.

Now, a lot of people who got into real estate and then got hammered after the great recession would argue differently. Not me. I’m still in.

Why do I like real estate so much?

There are lots of ways to make money in real estate. Principally, there are 4 basic ways:

  1. Cash Flow
  2. Appreciation
  3. Amortization
  4. Depreciation

Let’s take a quick minute to walk through each of these.

house-409451_960_720

Cash flow is pretty self explanatory. When you take all of your revenues of the property and subtract all of your expenses, including debt if you are carrying a mortgage, the cash flow is what you have left. For example, is the property renting more than it is worth. If so, you have cash flow.

Next, is appreciation. What is great about real estate is that the value tends to go up (or stay the same, based on how you look at inflation). But historically, over time, in terms of $’s, a real estate market will go up over time. So, if you simply control the real estate (or manage the cash flow), you will make money in that a house today is generally worth more than it was 20 years ago. Now, this depends a lot on each market. But typically across the board, most markets will appreciate.

Amortization. This is simply paying down of a loan. So, your monthly payment goes towards interest and taxes, but part of it also goes towards principal. That is, if you have a renter who is covering your mortgage, each month, some of their dollars are adding to your net worth. Nice. So, how many units do you want?

Depreciation. This is another great one. Basically, this is a “non-cash” expense, which means you get to deduct expenses on your taxes for the property wearing down, even if you didn’t have to pay for any actual accrued expenses that year. This saves you money on your taxes.

I love it. So many ways to make money. Backed by a real asset. I can actually see and touch my investment. It’s not some elusive stock to a company that I have no idea who manages it.

So, what are the opportunities in 2016?

There are always hot residential markets. In the past few years, Texas has been fantastic. How do you know where to look? Follow the jobs. Dallas, Austin, Ft. Worth have all been very hot because they have been growing in population and jobs. Follow the jobs, demand increases, and real estate prices go up.

In the same line of thinking, follow the demographics. The boomers are aging. So, different than your residential, multi-family, or commercial types of investments, there is a lot of money flowing into health care for these seniors.

In particular, there are senior living projects going up all across America. These can range from independent living, to assisted living, memory care and full nursing care. A little sub-niche that has spun out of this that I’ve really had my eye on is residential assisted living. There are little operators all over the country who are opening up smaller senior care homes that actually feel like a home, vs. an institution. Pretty smart.

There are all kinds of ways to make money in real estate. And, I’m going to do some of that right now.

Have a good day!

 

Uncategorized

At 8 Year Review of the United States

So, it’s been a little while. You know, about 8 years. It’s ok to take a break every now and then, right?

Let’s see … a few things that have happened since 2008.

  • Global financial crisis
  • Obama gets elected
  • Tea party runs wild
  • Michael Jackson dies (2009) – Man, been 7 years on that
  • Deepwater Horizon explodes, massive oil spill in gulf
  • Tornados in flooding in the deep south
  • Bin Laden gets killed
  • Obama gets re-elected
  • Lots of terrorist attacks – Boston and Orlando

Just a few things.

The world has seemed to speed up a lot. All social media. Lots of bickering. Not a lot of communicating. It’s been kind of sad to watch.

In the meantime, I’ve been doing my thing – growing my family, growing my business, learning how to live life. Learning how to love others.

We could all use a little bit more of that.

So, I’ll be writing a bit more on here again. We’ll see how it goes.

Uncategorized

Chillin

Today is an absolutely gorgeous day, and I’m just chillin.  There are a few things that I should be doing, like updating my finances and mowing the lawn – but days like these are rare.  These are the days when people take half days for “dentist appointments” and go play 9 before dinner.  These are days when kids get “sick” after lunch and have mom come and get them.  I remember doing that when I was in high school, just dreaming of when I could get out of the cage.

That’s what I’m doing today.  I went to a local park earlier and just sat and people watched.  There were all kind of folks out, some wearing some pretty interesting things like these punk boots.  Others were parading their pets around with their no-choke dog harnesses and fancy collars.  Me, I just took it all in, read me a little Bible and passed the day away.  It’s a good day.

This weekend, I need to head to the ballpark and catch a game.  Nothing like a dog and a beer and the green grass.  The smell, the sounds, and the sights all come alive when you take in a ball game, or at least they do for me.  Hope you get to have a good weekend, and I hope you get to chill.

Uncategorized

TX

I’m leaving Texas and heading back to the Nati.  I spent the weekend there with my friends from college having a great time.  We played a lot of golf, basketball, derby and tennis.  We also went to the Rangers game on Saturday, which was awesome.  Our goal was to get 5 balls in batting practice, and we came away with 9 on the night!  One of those was from my favorite player, Josh Hamilton.  He actually threw me a ball during the game.  I flashed him my Reds jersey, and he threw it up after a catch and the third out of the inning.  It was awesome!!!

The other big news of the weekend was that my friend Ryan and his wife are pregnant with twins.  This is so great because they have been trying for months, and she was getting really discouraged.  I’m so happy for them.  It seems that we are all heading into that idea of having kids, which I’m all about.  We stayed at Wes’ house and he has two cute boys already.  I stayed in their room with the Thomas the Train Bedding, Wiggles Toys, and other fun boy toys.

My wife and I are hoping for a little bit more job security, but we’d like to start trying as soon as possible.  I cannot wait to have a baby.  It will completely change our lives, but I think it will be absolutely amazing.  I pray now that I would be developing into the man I need to be to be a good father.