Category: Real Estate (Page 1 of 3)

payoff mortgage fast

5 Surefire Ways to Payoff Your Mortgage Fast

“So you want to payoff your mortgage faster?”

I wish I had read this before paying off my mortgage!


Some banks or other financial institutions offer a mortgage accelerator program.  It’s usually some type of program that helps you payoff your mortgage faster.  The deal is, they charge you for this.  It could be anywhere from a few hundred bucks to several thousands dollars.

Do not use these programs.  They are a total rip-off.  You can use any of the methods below to payoff your mortgage faster without spending a penny.

Paying off your mortgage faster is something most homeowners consider at some point.  There are practical and psychological reasons for doing so.  We’ll hit the pros and cons after discussing the 5 top strategies to payoff your mortgage fast.

Make sure that your loan doesn’t have a prepayment penalty built in.  They are uncommon, but out there.  Be sure you understand how much it will cost and if it makes sense to pay this fee.

By the way, when you get a loan, make sure there isn’t a prepayment penalty!

In my case, I bought a townhouse in 2003 in Alexandria, Virginia for $280,000.  I put 10% down, financed 10% of the loan at a 7% interest rate, and then rest was a mortgage at 5.5% on a 30-year fixed rate loan.

While reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover book one day, I saw the section in there where he suggests paying off your mortgage after paying off debt and funding retirement accounts.

I thought, wow! That’s a crazy idea!

But the idea of paying if off intrigued me.  I liked the idea of having no debt!

I threw everything I could at that loan over the next six years and paid it off.

And I LOVE the feeling of it being gone.

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5 Secrets to Finding the Best Property Manager


I will give you my 5 secrets to finding the perfect rental property management company.

Maybe you think you can manage the property yourself?


But if you use my tips to find an outstanding management company, they’ll save you more money than the fee you’re paying them.

Think about that.  You’ll do less work, but save more money.

The perfect rental property management company earns their management fee and more. They do things better than you could if you did it yourself.

They have more experience:

  • Finding tenants
  • Dealing with dead-beat tenants
  • Collecting late rent
  • Doing evictions
  • Finding fair prices and getting discounts from contractors
  • Knowing what repairs are necessary (and unnecessary) for rentals
  • Knowing which locations are best for rentals
  • Pricing rentals
  • And much, much more…

To reiterate, these companies end up being worth far more than their fees just through their contacts, expertise, and understanding of the rental market.

Again, this is only true if you find the right management company.  There are also plenty of bad ones that will cost more money and be as much work as doing it yourself.

That’s where following these tips come in!

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Investor Profile of Rich on Money

Chad Carson of did a profile piece of me on his website.

Chad has become a friend, and he is one of the best real estate bloggers out there.  He’s got something like 90 properties in a small college town.  He has reached financial independence, and is currently living in Ecuador with his wife and kids.

Read his piece on me at his website.

My Secret Weapon for Real Estate

I’m in D.C. for some leadership training.  I’m glad my organization gives us two weeks to focus on leadership before we take on a supervisory job.  It’s a great time for personal reflection.

In this training, we do stuff like take personality tests, find out what our leadership style is, and discuss how to deal with common personnel challenges.

We also examine what our values are.

I was surprised how different my core values were from many of my military peers.  The typical military member has values that center around the following things:

  • Honor
  • Loyalty
  • Duty
  • Integrity
  • Trust
  • Teamwork

All the things above are clearly important, but they weren’t values that drove me.  They don’t define who I am.

Our deepest values often manifest themselves during significant events in our lives.  I mapped out the significant events in my life and was surprised at what trait stood out.

I believe the trait that is most important to me has been key to my successes in life.

It’s clearly been the key to my success in real estate.

Let me share two significant events with you.


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military millionaire

Seven Steps to Being a Military Millionaire


It is possible to retire a military millionaire?  I know a few people who have done it.

I hit the mark before retirement.  No rich parents, no help, wife didn’t work.

Can the average military member go from being in debt to military millionaire?

We all see websites and books from people who were deep in debt and somehow quickly made millions.

Maybe we should read their books or infomercials and try their methods…

I believe it is hard to duplicate their success.

These gurus get rich off people looking for shortcuts.  Most that try the guru route fail miserably.

It often involves going into lots of debt or paying a lot upfront for a product or a course.

military millionaire

It also requires no common sense

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Debt Pitfalls for Military Members

The military has some unique debt traps that are easy to fall into.

Buying New Cars

One is this whole military car sales thing.

“Let me go talk to my manager!”

You’ve seen them lurking around the BX preying on new enlistees just getting started out in life.

They try to sell you a new car when you are overseas.  They’ll tell you it’s an amazing deal because you are in the military.  They sometimes try to sell it as a military benefit.

It is simply not true. A military benefit is when the US government subsidizes the cost.

Here are examples of actual military benefits:

  • Commissary
  • BX
  • Medical and dental care
  • Space-A Travel
  • Tax-free housing
  • Montgomery GI bill

Here’s an example of what is not a military benefit:

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Real Estate Investing from a Distance

I’ve done it again!

Trying to expand my readership, I’ve asked another friend from the blogger world to let me post on their site.   Mr. 1500 from is someone I first met at FINCON.  We crossed paths again at Chautauqua attending on separate weeks.  Super-cool guy with a great website.

This post, I give some tips on how to invest in real estate from afar:


My name is Rich.

I love real estate.

I grew up in Southern California.  I remember thinking about buying real estate as a kid.  I was twelve years old.  I thought if I could buy a house then, I would be able to sell it when I was eighteen and have enough money for a car!  I was always fascinated by how fast real estate appreciated in certain places, especially near the beach.

Real estate is tricky for me.  I’m in the military, which means I move every two to three years.  Ten of the last sixteen years I’ve been overseas, including currently.

What kind of real estate investor moves every two to three years? 

That will never work!

I’ve found a way to make it work for me.  Over the past three years, I’ve purchased several buy-and-hold rental properties with cash.  The income they provide has made me financially independent.  Most of these purchases have been made from overseas.

Maybe some of my methods could be useful to you.  I’ll summarize my advice in three main points:

Click here to read more…

3 Steps to Retire Early on a Military Salary

This week I did a guest post on one of the most popular military financial independence websites.  This website was started by Doug Nordman.  He retired from the Navy in 2002 and hasn’t worked since.  He currently lives in Hawaii and surfs often when he’s not traveling the world.

Not a bad life.

What he did is what I’m writing about.  Working 20 years (or less), and then retiring, never needing to work again!

Here we go…

BLUF: In college I paid off $32k in student loans in a year. On a military salary I paid off a $280k mortgage in seven years. I’ve bought several rental properties with cash. I did this through paying off debt, having a high savings rate, and investing well.

My name is Rich. I’m an Air Force Lt Col of 16 years. I’m married with 2 young kids.


Here is my message:

Don’t work until you’re 65. Not even 55. You can save enough money to retire in 20 years or less. I mean after 20 years of work, NEVER WORK AGAIN (unless you want to). This method doesn’t depend on a military retirement, that’s just a bonus!

I currently make enough money from my investments to live on. I could quit working today, but I’m less than four years from a generous military retirement.

Continue reading…

What should I teach my kids about money?

I love all things money.  My kids often see me reading finance books and browsing real estate blogs.  They hear me talking about money with my wife.  They watch us negotiate deals to buy houses with cash, and they overhear our discussions on retiring early.

I explain what I’m doing with money in simple terms to my kids, but I can’t be sure it’s sinking in.  They are 10 and 6.  It is my job to prepare them to navigate money and life.  I wonder how I’m doing.

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Why I Pay Cash for Real Estate

Here’s my background. I paid off my $280k mortgage is six years. $32k of student loan debt in a year. I’ve purchased several rental properties with cash while serving overseas in the military.

Why don’t I use financing? Why cash? How do I afford that? (Rich Uncle? No.)

Real estate is a powerful way to make money. Debt can be a powerful tool. With a chunk of money, let’s say $200,000, you could buy one property with cash.

You could also, with that same money, buy five houses worth $200k each with mortgages and 20% down.

Leverage gets you 4 extra houses!!

Some people find ways to use no money down and buy properties. Some even find a way to take cash out of these deals. These are obviously riskier than cash or 20% down.

Everyone makes the decision to invest in real estate somewhere along this spectrum of risk. There are pros and cons at both ends.

I want to share with you why I’m at one extreme end of the spectrum, and how it’s worked for me.

It’s worked despite the fact that I’ve been serving in the military over the last 16 years, moving every few years, and mostly living overseas (including currently).

Click here to continue reading this guest blog post.

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