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The Biggest Mistakes Real Estate Investors Make

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Best Practices for the Intelligent Real Estate Investor
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How to Order

To Order:

  1. Navigate our website to the product you wish to purchase and click Add to Cart (this will take you to our Yahoo! Store shopping cart)

  2. If you would like to purchase other products, click the "Back" button and add them as well (cookies must be turned on in your browser preferences to order more than one product on the same order because Yahoo! Store uses the cookie to recognize you are the same customer that selected the first product); if you have completed your order, click "Checkout"

  3. Enter your shipping information and click continue.

  4. At this point, you will be prompted to enter your billing information. We accept:

    • MasterCard

    • Visa

    • Discover

    • Diner's Club

  5. You can view your total, including shipping charges on the right (and tax for CA residents)

    • 1 item: $4.99

    • 2 items: $6.99 ($3.495 each)

    • 3+ items: FREE shipping for entire order

    • These are DOMESTIC RATES. See shipping details below for International rates.

Typically, your order will go out within 24 hours of your pushing the Order button. I ship Priority Mail for orders weighing one pound or more and First Class for those weighing less than one pound. The Postal Service is not consistent with regard to how fast they deliver Priority or First Class Mail. I get compliments almost daily on how fast orders arrived and complaints occasionally about how slow others arrived. Complain to your mailman. I also frequently get complaints on one day, then the same person sends me an email the next day saying the package just arrived. Be patient.

No delivery estimate

The Federal Trade Commission says any estimate I give regarding when a book will arrive becomes a guarantee and a law violation if not met, therefore I cannot even estimate arrival dates. If it has been ten days (four weeks for international) and you have not received your order, there is probably a problem. Please contact us and we will be glad to investigate and take appropriate action.

Self-service pump for books

I used to accept all kinds of orders. The change I have made is like the switch gas stations made from full-service to a combination then to all self-serve. With the secure shopping cart, you process your own order. That has a number of benefits to all concerned as you will read below.

Snail mail: I no longer accept mail orders. They require rekeyboarding of all information and often result in errors or extra work because of illegibility, missing pages, transcription error, bad checks, and they require invoicing in the event of credit card decline or short check payment and mailed refunds in the event of an overpayment.

Fax: I no longer accept fax orders. They require rekeyboarding of all information and often result in errors because of illegibility, missing pages, transcription errors, malfunction of the fax machines at either end, and they require invoicing in the event of credit-card decline.

Refunds: If we charge you in error—which is virtually impossible because you process your own charge—we will refund the erroneous charge. If you receive a physically defective book, I will send you a replacement after you have returned the defective one to me. If you cancel your subscription to Real Estate Investor’s Monthly before it ends, I will refund the value of the unused portion. Otherwise, sales are final and no cancellations are allowed. The notion of cancellations implies that I put orders in some sort of holding area before shipping and could pull them out of that area when cancelled. There is no such thing at my company or any other. When I or my wife or son process an order, it goes from beginning of processing to out the door in a matter of hours. Virtually every cancellation attempt we ever received arrived after the books in question were shipped.

When you allow returns for refunds in the book business, some people try to use you as a free lending library. Chain book stores allow limited returns within 30 days for refunds, but only if the buyer had just glanced at the book and decided it was not what they wanted. If a person reads the book, which makes it appear used, the book stores will not take it back.

Shipping: Our rates are simple: $4.99 for the first item, $6.99 for two items ordered at the same time, and FOR 3 OR MORE ITEMS ordered at the same time and sent to the same address on one order form, shipping is FREE. Be aware that Yahoo!Store cannot process a multiple book order unless your Internet browser cookies are turned on. U.S. shipping is by first class and priority mail. APO/FPO are accepted now.

Shipping to FOREIGN COUNTRIES*** is different. We use PRIORITY INTERNATIONAL MAIL (PIM) flat rate envelopes. Shipping rates are estimated by each envelope, as follows:

Canada and Mexico: US$15.00 per PIM flat rate envelope*

Other foreign countries: US$17.00 per PIM flat rate envelope*

*GPM flat rate envelopes each hold about 300 pages. Each book description says how many pages are in the book. Each envelope will hold one large book or two-three small books.

***International customers: The Succeeding book is probably universally helpful. However, BE AWARE: I know nothing about foreign real estate. The main problem is that other countries have different laws. Other countries have different sports rules, so the coaching books may not apply to your foreign country, either. Non-U.S. people are constantly asking me whether my books apply in their country. How would I know? If that sounds harsh or rude, try getting that same question over and over daily for 25 years and see how you answer it.

In my experience, about 99% of the orders that are not two weeks overdue are delivered without error. Checking on the status of orders was taking me about an hour a day before I started doing it only for orders that were two weeks overdue. Since there are only eight hours in the work day, checking on order status was costing me 1/8 or 12.5% of my income. Add the fact that status information was absolutely useless to all concerned and you see why I stopped doing it. I know that Amazon and others provide such information. It’s a silly marketing gimmick. Unless you are planning a welcoming party for my book and need to alert the caterer, you do not benefit from knowing when it will arrive. You’ll get it when you get it. The way I inform you of its having been shipped is I ship it. If you want to know the date it was shipped, look at the post mark on the package when you get it.

The inquiries I get about order status imply that there is some complex thing going on at my house with regard to orders. Here is what goes on. I get a copy of the confirming email that you get. I grab the books you ordered and put them on a postal scale. I print the mailing label and put that label on the package (envelope or box). I put the books into the package and put them in a USPS plastic bin. Then I take them to the post office and put the bin on the counter. It takes about two minutes per order. Since the process is so simple and straight forward, I am entitled to get annoyed at customers who want to know what stage their order is at. Either I just got it or I already shipped it. About the only time there is a status is if you happened to catch me in the middle of the two minutes it takes to do your order.

“The status of your order? Well, you ordered two books. The first one is sitting next to the postal scale. I am now reaching for the second one. Now I am putting them both on the scale...”

This does not strike me as productive use of your time or mine. So please leave me alone unless your order has not arrived after two weeks.

Most customer service problems are bad addresses

The vast majority of customer service problems are from the customer typing his address wrong or not knowing his address. I kid you not. We get packages back marked, “undeliverable as addressed,” “no mail receptacle,” “Forwarding order expired,” “No such address,” and so forth.

• Warning: Many book stores will tell you they can get my books for you in 4 to 8 weeks. Not true. They are engaging in illegal bait and switch. I refuse to sell to them under any circumstances. They apparently hope to change your mind and get you to buy another book by another author on the same topic that they do have in stock. They also tell you my books are out of print when they are not in the hope that you will buy another book from them instead.

Book Stores: Effective 8/1/01, I no longer ship books to any book store, including on-line book stores like Amazon. So they cannot get them. They often tell you they can get them when, in fact, they cannot. I am the author and publisher so there is no other source. Some book stores offer to pay me full retail price plus shipping. I still will not sell to them. No book stores, period. Why? It’s a long story. I explain in my book How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Own How-To Book. I also have a free Web article on some of the reasons why I do not sell through Amazon.

Volume discounts: I used to offer a small volume discount. But then I started having Yahoo Store process my orders and they do not offer a volume-discount option. So I stopped offering it.

Some people who want to order a large number of books at once expect some sort of special big customer treatment. Many businesses do treat big customers better. It makes sense for them. But when you think about it, it does not make sense for me. Giving big customers special treatment is designed to cause those big customers to keep coming back. My customers do come back, but it’s because they like my books, not because of my doing them favors other than writing good books.

My approach is to sell my books because they are a good value, not because I fawned over the customer. I enjoy writing good books. I do not enjoy fawning. One of the reasons the bad guru speakers or telephone salesmen are so big on fawning over customers—at least until they have your money—is because they make a huge commission on every sale of their overpriced products and services.

I am uncomfortable with large orders. You can only read a couple of books at a time, so you should only buy a couple of books at a time. If you like my books, you are free to buy more. If you don’t like them or get out of real estate or coaching or another of my topics, you are not stuck with a bunch of books you have not read and no longer need.

Part of the impetus to buy a lot of my books at once appears to be the bad gurus who pressure you to buy seminars or “mentoring” that costs thousands of dollars. They get people into the habit of spending such ridiculous amounts for small amounts of real estate investment advice and their prices make even buying all of my books look cheap by comparison. But I am not one of those guys and I do not even want to benefit from their cons indirectly. (I do now have a discount for buying all of my real estate books and a subscription to my real estate newsletter.)

The higher the amount any business charges a customer, the more complaints they get. I deliberately have relatively low prices because I would rather spend my day writing than dealing with customer complaints. Encouraging people to buy hundreds of dollars worth of my books at once with many volume discounts sort of changes my low-priced products into a high-priced product. I do not want to go that route.

I will sell you as many of my books as you want, but I do not encourage large orders.

Offers to improve my Web site in return for books: About once a week some guy tells me my Web site sucks and that he will improve it in return for free books. No, thanks.

By the way, the last time I checked, my site ranked : 149,519th in the world and 48,719th in the U.S. by traffic. (You can see where any Web site ranks at www.alexa.com.) That means I am in the top fraction of a percent of all the Web sites in the world. Changing it to look more like the many Web sites that rank below mine might adversely affect my traffic. I doubt that any of the guys who say they want to redesign my site have any of their Web sites in the top fraction of one percent. In other words, there is a method to my site appearance madness.