Sick of the Hype?

Sensationalism is everywhere and it's hard to know what's real, anymore. The economy is tanking, the marketing noise is deafening, and you just don't know what tomorrow will hold. This site is dedicated to a no-hype retelling of what's working for me in real estate, business, and life. Welcome.

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Are You Getting Out of The Market?

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I promised I’d keep you up to date on the stock market insights passed along from my Father who spend a good deal of his time immersed in the financial news of the day.  And there is some heated political commentary here which I don’t apologize for since I think the misguided “fairness” policies of the Obama regime are in large part responsible for a lot of the pessimism in the stock market now.

My parents are so upset that my Dad really shocked me when he told me last night that he was stabilizing his financial position by getting SIGNIFICANTLY out of the stock market, selling shares at a loss, and going into secure assets like cash and treasury bonds.


He suggested that he is concerned that the stock market will continue to do badly for the next 2-5 years or more and that the recession that we’re currently in will turn to a depression shortly.

This might be a good time for you to review one of my most popular posts – What to invest in during a recession.

Given that Ben and I are much earlier in our investing careers and not approaching a retirement horizon as my baby-boomer parents are, he admitted that it might make more sense for Ben and me to not SELL in order to increase our cash position, but to continue to stock pile cash, rather than dollar-cost-averaging into the market as it continues the Obama-fueled free fall.

Assuming the market has another few bad years ahead of it, we don’t need to be in a rush to continue buying in.

Take away lesson – look for security in cash, government bonds, and precious metals.

Inflation and Deflation

Also, he mentioned that we face both inflationary and deflationary risk.

Deflation will come in the short term – this is caused by economic contractions in which people lose their jobs and can not afford to pay as much for things like houses, cars, food, recreation, etc.  Deflation will cause the cost of goods to go down.  This is bad for businesses and people who hold real estate, as the prices they can charge for goods and services will decrease.

Inflation will come over a longer period and Dad thinks it is somewhat inevitable at this point.  Inflation means that the currency loses it’s value and spending power.  Milk used to cost $3 a gallon and now it costs $4.  This erosion of the dollar will massacre baby boomers’ retirement funds.  (This is unfortunate for Obama’s so-called “Investor Class” since it punishes the people who have worked hard and saved and done the responsible thing all their lives…)  Anyway, inflation will be one of the few “tools” that the government has to dig us out of this mess with.

When inflation strikes, leverage can be your friend (the opposite is true during Deflationary economies).

Bottom Line: Cash Now, Buy Later

It’s an ugly time in the US economy right now.  The smart money is on storing up cash until “the bottom” – whenever that might be – and keeping an eye out for a turn around, both in stocks and real estate.

For the stock market, the news today said that we’d know we were close to the bottom when the market didn’t keep having these giant downward slides like it has for the last couple days, and we started to see stronger interest in buying into the market.

The real estate market is a little slower moving and even easier to time the bottoms on.  There’s some great information about knowing when to buy, sell and hold real estate here.


Family Budget Best Bets:  Keep your job, look for extra ways to earn income – such as babysitting, lawn mowing, delivering pizza, starting a business, etc.  Then sock it away!  According to my friends in MLMs, network marketing or “direct selling” as it’s called now, does well during a recession because people are willing to put the time and energy into making a second stream of income during lean times.


Good luck!

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Seattle Real Estate Update From Redfin

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I just got a monthly update on the state of the Seattle real estate market from my real estate brokerage, Redfin.

Showings are up… More buyers are looking but not buying yet.
Redfin’s traffic is through the roof: up 43% in January, and probably another 30% in February. Other websites have reported similar gains.

Seattle Real Estate Market Down 13%
Year over year in 2008, the Seattle real estate market is down over 13% and down 16% from the peak. Read more Seattle real estate stats.

More Distressed Sales
According to Redfin stats man Mose Andre, 11% of the listings in Redfin’s major markets (Seattle, California, Chicago, D.C., etc.) are being sold by banks, up from 3% in April 2008.

Check out Redfin’s blog for more fun real estate statistics and a way to buy real estate without paying your realtor an arm an a leg.

Or register for a webinar on how you can take advantage of today’s distressed housing market.

Time to put out the rain buckets!


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Free Subs at Quiznos

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Hi there,

This is random, but I just tried it and it was fast, free and easy.

Trade your email address to Quizno’s for a free sub. 😉

Check it out here.


Have a great day!


Categories : Just For Fun
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My Friend Byron From Denver… A double success story!

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Back when I got started investing in real estate, I signed up for a coaching program with Mentor Financial Group, I’ve probably told that story before.

I remember when I got started there was one “really cool” student who was a few months ahead of me in the coaching program.  His name was Byron Walker and the reason he was “really cool” is that he was already having pretty significant success picking up rental properties in Denver after just 3 months in the program.  When I went to a 3-day live training event in Denver, Byron – who lived nearby – came to the event and shared his success after just 3 months in the program and encouraged us to get started!

I remember saying, “Wow, Byron is cool!” – If HE can do it, maybe *I* can do it, too.

(Not that I was anything approaching cool, but just because Byron seemed so real and accessible, which he is…)

I was just talking with Byron last week about Phil Pustejovsky’s short sale teaching program, which I mentioned to you in my last post, to see if he wanted to share it with some of the investors that he knows.  (He did – he was excited to get started…)

But I also found out from Byron that he was involved in something other than real estate investing now. basically doing some marketing on the web that had gone from making him $40/day to $1,000/day.  I couldn’t believe it, so I had to check out it.  When I went to this website, I actually saw a video with Byron as ANOTHER SUCCESS STORY. (He’s the first guy on the video, saying he’s “new to the game…”)

I want to pause here and point out two things…

  1. It is very common for real estate investors to supplement their investing activities (which are really long-term wealth-building investments with BUSINESSES which are short-term cash-creation vehicles.  In fact, my partner Rob Powell and I have a website about commercial real estate and associated topics in which we delve into this philosophy more.  The bottom line is BUSINESS for cash flow, and REAL ESTATE for wealth.
  2. It’s interesting to me that Byron would be “held up” as an example of a success story in two separate businesses where I have watched him succeed.  Why is it that “some guys have all the luck?”  What is Byron doing to distinguish himself here?

From what I can see… a few things distinguish Byron:

  • Byron pays for the best education… He has probably paid over $10,000 to learn real estate investing and another $10,000 to learn about affiliate marketing.
  • Byron sets his sights high.  When he enters a business, his goal is to make a lot of money, not just to “cover his bills” or “scrape by.”  After all, he’s got a wife and kid to feed and a mortgage to pay!
  • Byron is willing to pay his dues.  There are a lot of people out there who dabble in business ventures. They learn a business model, try it for a while, and when it doesn’t work – they find something “Better” and move on to the next thing.  Byron sticks with the same thing until he gets it right, until he masters it.  In this case, it only took him about 6 months to go from zero to making significant money with is affiliate marketing business.
  • He dumps the losers in a hurry.  I have seen Byron work on things that didn’t take off for him, but he didn’t work on them long.  From what I understand about his new business, you have to weed out the losers (10-20) to find the ones that work… seems like he’s found an effective system for doing that.  Rather than hem and haw about what will work and what won’t… Byron tries things, gets a lot of data from his tests, and makes decisions based on FEEDBACK, not based on his own projections (which could be right or wrong…)

I think these are characteristics we can all learn from whether we’re in business, real estate, or just trying to be the best opportunity evaluators and decision makers we can be!

Til next time!


P.S. Oh, this is what Byron is doing now to make $1,000/day – check it out!

Categories : Starting A Business
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Status Report – Short Sales Abound, Even in Seattle

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Wow, in the last month, I have been surprised by the number of short sale homes in the Seattle area.  I have recently started showing homes for Redfin, a low-cost, full-service real estate brokerage started by some local entrepreneurs here in Seattle. (The super-cool connection is that it was started by two guys in my high school class that I ran into last summer.)

How Does Redfin Real Estate Work?

The way it works is that clients do MLS-style neighborhood searches to find the homes they want to tour, then they sign up for a tour for free with a local neighborhood realtor.  Once they identify a home they want to put an offer on, they call the “lead agent” who negotiates the deal and handles the paperwork for them.

None of the agents work on commission, so they are free from any sales pressure.  It’s all about customer service at Redfin.  As a result of doing their own neighborhood research and using the firm, they can save about 1/3 of the commission.  Also, statistics are showing that Redfin agents negotiate better (they don’t get paid more if the buyer pays more for the house) so our buyers are getting better prices on the homes they buy, too.  All-in-all clients are saving about $10,000 when they buy a home in the $500,000 price range.

Why Real Estate Agents Don’t Like Their Buyers To Pursue Short Sales

Anyway, one thing Redfin DOESN’T support is showing or supporting transactions on short sale property.  Short sales don’t make a lot of sense to buy for the individual home owner because they take so long to negotiate.  It can take 3-6 months in many cases to pursue a short sale, and even then, you have no assurances that the bank will say yes to your offer. 

Although this long turn around time isn’t necessarily a big deal for a real estate investor, it can really slow down the average home buyer who might be looking for a personal residence sooner rather than later.   Also, most realtors don’t want their clients to be tied up waiting that long (they’d rather sell them something and make a commission sooner) especially since short sale attempts frequently don’t work out.

Realtor’s don’t like the back-and-forth of the negotiating with the bank – it’s a lot of work – and they don’t like the extended time table to close.  The hassle factor keeps many realtors and their clients AWAY from the short sale negotiations table.


How That Makes Short Sales A Great Opportunity For Real Estate Investors

So, what that means to us as real estate investors, is that we really don’t have as much competition for the short sale properties as we might on a regular home.  Sure, we’ll have MORE competition from other investors, like us, trying to get a good deal on the home… but that’s an opportunity, too.

If the primary buyer pool for short sale homes is investors, the home owners and the banks will have to settle for working with the lower-priced offers investors are inclined to make.

Plus, in today’s economy, there are really a lot of short sales to go around.  Many more than there have been in the past.  I was amazed when I was out showing homes this weekend, to see how many of the homes we had to scratch off our tour list because they were involved in short sales.

And THIS in SEATTLE which has historically been a very stable market.  It is still one of the strongest real estate markets in the country, so the fact that we have an abundance of short sales here, indicates to me that there are many more available elsewhere in the country.

In fact, my buddy Phil Pustejovsky has been investing in short sales for the better part of a decade and he says he’s never seen anything like this in terms of an abundance of short sales available now.  In fact, he’s got the corner on the market on his state, and is partnering up with investors from out of state so he can participate in short sale deals all across the country.

If you’re interested in partnering up with Phil, you can learn more about him and the success of the people he’s started working with here.  This is not some seminar salesman mumbo-jumbo… that’s HYPE.  Phil is not about Hype, he’s focused on HUD-1’s. 😉

How Long With The Opportunity Last?

I’ve started working with Phil to help him market his short sale business.  It’s going very well, as there is a lot of interest amongst active investors and promoters in short sales right now.

A lot of the techniques, like buying on terms that were big a few years ago have fallen by the wayside now… you can’t do a short sale or lease/option deal on an upside down property and still be conservative and make money, it’s just not a good idea.

This is a short sale market – that’s where things are right now.  Phil doesn’t know how long this window will last, he thinks probably just 12-24 months, but for those who are working the short sale business NOW, there is a lot of money to be made.  Phil is out there making it, and it’s very exciting to see!  (He does about one $50K short sale deal per month since he’s cherry-picking them) and he’s making another $10K/month in realtor commissions on the short sale deals that don’t pan out with the bank.

If you want to know more about his methods, you can check out his website, Short Sale Teaching.

Hope this helps!



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About Emily Cressey

Emily Cressey is a real estate investor and licensed real estate agent living in Seattle, Washington. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa with an Economics degree from UNC-Chapel Hill (Go Tarheels!) her focus has been on building business for cash flow and investing in real estate for wealth. If you have questions about real estate investing, personal finance, or would like some flat-rate, affordable advice on one of these topics. Please fill in the Contact form.