Another Successful Rehab

- - Testimonial

Deepa Quadir-Alam is no rooky when it comes to real estate deals. She brokers them, she has flipped three of them, and she buys and sells them as an agent. The last property she closed with COGO was a home she found herself on the MLS.

With a loan price of $107,250, Deepa finished the project from loan to closing in under six months, pulling from it a profit of $17,500.

This New Jersey home was a smooth job, for the most part. Trouble wasn’t far from the beginning, however, when her first contractor abruptly dropped the job before the scope of work was completed. It proved an insignificant hurdle in the end.

She then hired a new contractor using Lee’s contractor contract was able to stay on COGO’s draw schedule for the project.

After a few projects, she has realized the detailed scope of work changes a little each time, and Deepa gets to know more of what needs to be done each time. She builds upon her knowledge each time, always striving for better.

During the project, Deepa encountered a problem when she discovered that an underground oil tank had been removed before she took possession of the property yet still needed to provide proof to the EPA that it had been safely and properly removed. The document took time to produce a “no action required” letter. The benefit to the snag in her plan was that it bought time to find a new contractor after the first abandoned the project.

The lesson, she said is, “Don’t stress over too many things, it could work out for good.” And her timing worked out well, in the end.

Otherwise, the project ran smoothly. The project was delayed a little because the painters fell behind with the spackling. But again the delay proved a benefit. The comps in the area were suffering and would’ve meant a lower sale price had it not been for a last-minute comp that sold at a high value and saved the price of hers. Any sooner and Deepa would’ve had to sell the home at a lower value. Again, she mentioned the perfection of the timing and the hidden blessing in the delay.

Moving forward, Deepa is closing on an REO now; just waiting for the seller to sign and getting a contractor quote. Deepa sold a house to a friend as an agent, is closing another in October, and is buying one in November. Her future in flipping is ripe for the picking, and her biggest piece of advice is to “Find a good handyman!”

Deepa found her handyman though her contractor, and he saved the day with all the little things at a reasonable price. She maintains a good relationship with her handyman, and he remains accountable to her requests and communicates well.

“Even if you can’t find a good contractor, find a good, insured handyman to do the small jobs, and you’ll stay on schedule.”

To learn more about the products and services Deepa has taken advantage of, including participation in the now-replaced Lee’s Inner Circle and Rehab for Riches, call us at 800-533-1622. If you have a great deal that you’d like COGO Capital to fund, call us at (800) 473-6051 or visit to get a fast quote.

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5 Tips for Real Estate Beginners

- - Getting Started

When you’re just starting out in real estate investing, you’re flooded with a blend of emotions; excitement, anticipation, and likely a little trepidation. It can be daunting to realize how much there is to learn. Rest assured, along with the Lee Arnold System of Real Estate, we’re here for you, providing the education, direction, and content you need to get started and thrive on your journey to success.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to start that journey with a few nuggets of wisdom from someone who’s been around the block for a few decades.

Here are 5 of my top tips for beginners, in no particular order.

1. Be educated enough to start, then get a coach to take you to the next level.

You definitely want to know the basics, but once you figure out how simple a lot of this can be, you’ll crave the details where a lot of money is hiding. That’s where a coach comes in. Also, this industry changes constantly. If you don’t stay on top of your market, you could be leaving money on the table. A coach or mentor can help you focus on what works best today, and it’s never too early to have one on your side. If you’re interested in obtaining a coach, let us know by calling 800-533-1622. If you want to see what having a coach could do for your, read our latest success story HERE.

“The people you surround yourself with influence your behaviors, so choose friends who have healthy habits.” Dan Buettner

For more about associating with the best, read THIS ARTICLE HERE.

2. Start by wholesaling first.

I teach that when you acquire a property, you should have a clear strategy for selling it from the start. First, try to wholesale it. Then, if it doesn’t sell on the wholesale market, fix and retail it. Sell it with owner finance if it sits on the market too long (tying up your capital), and finally rent it out if it’s not moving.

Why sell wholesale first? You can make more by fixing and retailing than wholesaling, right? Well, if you have a steady stream of leads, not only should you have plenty of houses to purchase, but wholesaling will make you quick money. Plus, for a beginner, it’s less daunting to get a few wholesale jobs under your belt, be acquainted with the process, and pocket some income which I believe will fuel your new obsession with success. Once you see how little work goes into wholesaling ($5,000 for 10 hours of work, anyone?*), your confidence will rise. Plus, we all know that mistakes are a part of life, a part of growth, and a part of every business. Take Robert Kiyosaki’s advice; you’re going to make mistakes, so you might as well make them right away when your business is small.

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” John Wooden

If you want to learn more about building your database of wholesalers, READ THIS ARTICLE HERE.

3. Keep your day job.

I want to get you making a supplementary income BEFORE you let go of your regular earnings because I want you to enter into the Circle of Wealth faster. What’s the Circle of Wealth, you ask? CLICK HERE to learn more, but basically, we want to get you to the point of having $250,000 liquid cash as fast as we can so you can then focus on becoming an investor.

4. Be consistent.

At first, you’re going to be obsessed with figuring this business out…at least you should be. The income potential is so great that if you aren’t a little crazy about learning, you don’t truly see the potential. However, once you’ve taken a loan for a spin around the block, you want to make decisions based on numbers and not emotion. If you don’t know the first thing about the numbers, that’s what we’re here for. Try our home study course (call 800-533-1622 for details on this complete at home class) or an event like a Funding Tour or sign up for our email subscription list to stay on top of the webinars we provide and attend my Scratch Paper Chronicles where I break down the numbers in real time on your projects.

Don’t worry! Even if you are feeling emotionally attached to a project, if you want to fund it with COGO Capital, we won’t loan to you unless the numbers make sense. We’ll never fund to you if we know you’ll lose money on a deal because we want you to succeed!

Lack of consistency can bring a lack of interest.

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.” Anthony Robbins

5. Even if you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing entirely, start marketing anyway!

You do not have a business without generating leads. I hear it every day; people struggle along looking for good deals, and once they figure out how to market themselves, they wonder why they didn’t do it sooner! Market yourself right away, hone your marketing skills (try reading THIS ARTICLE HERE to strategize about how to do this), and remain consistent in your efforts. If you don’t market, you won’t have any deals, and without deals, your business is not much more than a dream and a wish.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Arthur Ashe

I get it, it’s a lot to learn. Becoming educated can feel like a mountain climbing excursion. But it doesn’t have to! We’d like to help. Our motto is “We get more of what we want by helping you get more of what you want.”

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” Oprah Winfrey

We have several Funding Tours fast approaching in Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, and California. If you’d like to have your ticket paid for AND receive a $250,000 pre-approval letter for attending this 3-day educational even, CLICK HERE to learn more or call us at 800-533-1622. We’ll even take you into the area on a bus tour to learn hands-on what it is like to find and fund a good deal. If you’re a beginner, you CANNOT afford to miss this opportunity. I’ll see you there.

To Your Success;

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about COGO first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!

*This is a loose, low estimate based on what my clients and I make on an average deal.

A Dual-Track Investor with a Promising Future

- - Testimonial


When it comes to hard work, Tyon Robinson doesn’t get discouraged easy. And his positive attitude has served him well in his work and his business, netting him $47,711 on his last project—his first full project he did from start to finish with funding through COGO Capital.

After working with his cousin on several real estate projects, Tyon caught the real estate investing “bug” and learned some of the hands-on skills of handiwork and project management. Branching out and starting his journey has served him well.

He found this property by putting a post on Facebook to advertise for his services as a Certified Private Money Broker. A couple from his church saw the ad and contacted him to meet about lending, but they ended up offering their property for sale, which had been flood damaged.

Tyon secured funding with COGO Capital and got started right away.


The flood damage and the rest of the rehab went smooth, mostly as expected. A challenge arose when they found a hole in the backyard that turned out to be an old septic tank. During an attempt to fill it, the dump truck sunk into the ground and they lost a load of sand and some time. But after some troubleshooting, Tyon was still able to get the sign in the ground on the 45th day after beginning the work. Five days later, he had the house under contract after multiple offers, of which he took the best one of a few hundred over asking price. Once the house was under contract, he had a few FHA items to tighten after inspection, but with a profit of $47,711, the added handiwork was worth it.

Not only that, but Tyon made an added $4,950 brokering the deal as a Certified Private Money Broker. He has brokered ten deals since Mark 2017, following the dual-track investor system of making money on the properties he flips AND making money through the brokering funnel.

As a police officer in Louisiana, Tyon already works 50-60-hour work weeks. But he isn’t in a hurry to walk away from his day job. He likes real estate because he says, “It’s fun, it’s flexible, and I can supplement my income to make better money for my family.” With a 6-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy, extra income and flexibility are a must.

Because of his training in Rehab for Riches and being a member of the Success Accountability Group where he received 9 months of 1-on-1 coaching, he stays accountable to his key performance indicators (KPIs) and can track his growth. Tyon has been able to define his project management skills, minimizing his time with each project and maximizing profits. He speaks highly of the Lee Arnold System of Real Estate and his coach saying he was always helpful and informative. Tyon even used the staging list and lessons from Rehab for Riches, moving the items from this home into the one closing next week, attributing his quick sale to an accumulation of the lessons he’s learned.

Moving forward with the help of a few trusted partners (one of which he was introduced to by his Success Accountability Group coach), Tyon has a rental property closing next week with approximately $60,000 in profit. He has another project with about a week of work left to be done on it, closes on a lot next Friday, and closes on a flip next Wednesday on the same street. With several other loans through COGO Capital, Tyon’s business is thriving.

We can’t wait to see what he’ll do next!

To learn more about the education Tyon Robinson received, and to get on your own path to success, call us at 800-533-1622. Click HERE to learn more about a Funding Tour near you and get started on your next project with a $250,000 pre-approval letter for attending.

To Your Success;

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about COGO first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!


A Better Auction Experience

- - Property Evaluation

You’ve done your research (you’ve read THIS article), prepared for an auction, and maybe even attended a few to get a feel of the process and the competition. How can you set up for success when it comes time to put your money where your mouth is?

Let’s talk debt stack, bid strategy, and bidding with other people’s money…

Debt Stack

What is it and how do I use this information to my benefit?

Separate your leads from you we call a “Full Debt Bid” and a “Specified Bid.” When an auction starts, the opening bid is one of the other. But what are they and how to do you determine which one you’re facing?

A “Full Debt Bid” is the same as and “Equity Deal.” The homeowner had equity in the house at the time of the foreclosure, so the opening bid covers the full debt. If the opening bid is $100,000, and you get it for $100,001, you own the property for $100,001.

A “Specified Bid” is an opening bid that does not met the reserve of the debt owed. If the opening bid is $100,000 but the reserve bid is $140,000, and you’re the only bidder at $100,001, you’re NOT going to own the property for $100,001.

How do you know if the opening bid is a “Full Debt Bid” or a “Specified Bid?” You pull out your property information and refer to the debt stack; the unpaid fees, interests, liens, etc. that are lingering with the house. If you’d like to see what a debt stack looks like on any given property, we will go in and pull that for you. They’re $2.50 a piece, which is a no-brainer option when we give you information about a property that could mean the difference between you finding a good deal or not.

Let’s take for example. Their low opening bids advertised online are bogus. They entice you to come to the auction with a super low opening bid but have what’s called a “reserve credit bid.” The amount that the bank has to get. The underlying liens on the house will determine the real opening bid. These bids start low with the hope that the low bid will attract investors to come down and bid it up higher (which usually happens). But if there is underlying debt on a house, the property will go for a lot more than that low bid that enticed you to the sale.

Remember! Full Debt Bid means there is equity in the property, Specified Bid means there are hidden costs that will drive the purchase price higher.

Know the Living Situation Before You Bid

Know if the property is occupied or not.

We always bid higher and more aggressively on an empty property because I buy it, I own it. If a tenant is in the home, there could be a 30 day, 90 day, or even a 180 day eviction period before you can even access the property, not to mention the headaches and legal fees associated with assuring an empty property. Drive by the property before the auction to be sure.

Bid Strategy

“I thought I just placed a bid for the house I wanted until I win? You mean there’s more?”

Let’s say there’s a property I’m willing to bid aggressively on and everyone someone bids up a thousand, I increase the bid by 5k. This is called “Shocking the Bid.”

Let’s say it starts at 100,000 and I open the bid. Someone bids 101,000, so I then bid 105,000. Someone else bids 106,000, so I bump it to 110,000. Then 111,000 is the next bid, and I increase to 115,000. Now, why would I do that? Doesn’t it seem risky, like I would end up paying more than needed?

There are two ways to bid; spiking the bid and chilling the bid. When I bid in chunks of five-thousand dollars, I’m “spiking” the bid with the intention of shock anyone else who is bidding because they might not be ready for it and could back off their own bid.

Why is this an advantage? You are bidding against people who have the same set of numbers that you do (year build, current value, maintenance cost, repair/rehab cost, sales cost, and ARV). This is especially helpful when you know the bid will go a lot higher than the opening anyway (for our example of opening at 100k, let’s say you know it will go for at least 140k because it’s in good shape).

Then, there’s “chilling” the bid, where you bid in smaller increments of around $100.

Why chill the bid? You want to make sure you don’t pay more than you have to (you’re not aggressive, there are tenants, no one else seems particularly interested.)

No matter your strategy—whether spiking the bid or chilling it, you should still always stay within your maximum allowed offer (MAO), or max allowed bid in this case. When you win an auction, you are the person who was willing to work for the least because you can’t sell it for anymore than the person next to you and you can’t get the labor any cheaper than anyone else. So it boils down to who is willing to do the same amount of work for the least payoff, and you don’t want to bid so high that you don’t make a profit at all.

Bidding with My Money

How would you bid if the money wasn’t yours?

Most people just starting out at auction make decisions based on fear. Of course you do, it’s scary to spend so much money when you’ve never done it before. But what if you could bid with someone else’s money? How would that change the way you view the bidding process?

I believe it would, and I’m willing to bed my money on it…


The best advice I could give you about auctions is to not buy houses at them.

“Wait, Lee! You just taught us all about auctions and now you don’t want us to shop them?”

If I can avoid picking up a house at auction, I will and here’s why; if the owner has any equity in the property (Pop quiz! What’s this called when the house goes to auction?…a “Full Debt Bid”), then I will try to purchase that house direct from the owner.

If the opening bid is a full debt bid, then it’s an equity deal and I can go knock on their door before the auction and buy the property straight from the owner at that opening bid, making us both money. (For more on equity bids, CLICK HERE!)

Why? If I want to be the best person in the room, the easiest way to achieve that is by being the ONLY person in the room. If I can make the homeowner an offer before the property goes to auction, I can get the house without being bid up and the homeowner can make a profit they wouldn’t otherwise make by losing the house to foreclosure.

To learn more about Equity deals, CLICK HERE.

“But wait, Lee!” you say. “You didn’t say enough about bidding at auction with money that isn’t mine! How does that work?”

The last Lee’s Inner Circle is in September. The last one. If you want in, this is your last chance. As a bonus, at this event, we are going to set aside funds to help you buy at foreclosure auction. We’ve never done this for a group before, so why are we doing it now? Well, we want to test to see how successful you can be in your own market at auction when you aren’t concerned with the cash. If you’d like auction money to buy properties in your market, contact us to find out how you can have access to that privileged training. This is the first time we are doing this, but like I said, this is the LAST time I’m doing Lee’s Inner Circle and it’s filling up quick. If you’ve been considering it for a while, you’re down to your last opportunity, so don’t make the decision lightly. If you want to attend, I want to get you there. Call us to discuss your options (800) 747-1104.

To Your Success;

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about COGO first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!

Why Use Private Money?

- - Borrowing

Welcome to the home of the most creative financing solution available for today’s real estate investor!

What gives us these bragging rights? We evaluate loans based on the assent and not the borrower, making finding capital the easiest part of any real estate transaction. Regardless of your past, if you find a good deal, we want to fund it.

With all the options out there today for financing, you may feel lost and perplexed as to why private financing is a good solution for your real estate needs, so let’s do a deep dive into some reasons you can’t argue.

We can put these into 2 categories; reasons why YOU, the borrower, might want to fund a deal with private money and the reasons why your property wants to be funded by us.

The borrower’s reasons:

  • You need (or want) a quick close
  • You need funds for a short period of time
  • You have weak credit or income documentation

The Property reasons:

  • It needs work
  • It isn’t fundable through conventional financing
  • It has weak income potential in its current state

With the mandates against banks through FDIC–as well as all the other hoops the banks have to jump through–about 50 percent of the properties in the country will never qualify for conventional financing. Because of this, there will always be a place for private money.

Through the recessionary downturns and the tumultuous market, there has never been a situation where we were not lending. That’s the kind of industry that I can get behind. Even though there’s volatility, there’s always opportunity. That’s why I love real estate and mortgage and debt finance.

There are several main differences between conventional/bank finance and private money financing.

I don’t have to tell you this; the time it takes to close with banks is long. For private lenders, of course, we know that there’s commonly a short closing time.

With banks, the borrower needs a healthy credit score, solid credit reading, and strong financial statement. Private lenders don’t care as much if your credit is weak or you don’t have any credit. We ask for a strong asset–a good deal.

Banks, as it relates to the property, need a strong history with an income property. They want the property to be sound, saleable, and in a decent location. Private lenders, however, can accept weak income on property knowing that it probably needs repair. Private money knows that through an investment of capital, you, the competent rehabber, can take that property from where it is and eventually make it qualify for conventional financing.

Most people reading this already know how powerful a tool private money can be. You don’t need me to tell you how beneficial it is to have a private money lender on your side. But, you do need me to remind you that getting the funding you need is not the most important thing. Funding is second, EASY.

Finding the DEAL is where your project starts and getting a property at a good price is how you make a profit. Once you have a good deal, the money will follow, so stop stressing about the money first!

Think you have a good deal? Call us about it! (800) 747-1104. If it’s a good deal, the funding will be easy. And don’t worry, our team won’t let you get into a bad deal because we want to see you make money. If the deal you’re after doesn’t make sense, we’ll tell you.

We have several COGO tools for you to use while you search for that good deal. Check out our Proof of Funds letter (READ MORE HERE), or attend a FUNDING TOUR and receive a $250,000 pre-approval letter for buying real estate investments.

Whatever your reason for needing private money, we want to be your GO-TO lender. Gives us a call and we’ll prove why. (800) 747-1104.

To Your Success;

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about COGO first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!

Guessing Game

- - Flipping, Property Evaluation

It may not occur often, but if a home auction is happening with, Marshall & Swift, or another auction group, you may be allowed access to the property before the auction takes place. This can be a true advantage, especially since most trustee sale and sheriff’s auctions will not let you into the house unless you have a realtor key–or if the house just happens to be left unlocked. (Even if that is the case, if someone is living there, do not go on the property!)

If you get to see inside, you can better judge the ballpark rehab costs, watch for red flags, and better estimate your time and investment for that property. But it’s more likely that you won’t get to see inside.

So what do you do if you’re interested in purchasing a property at auction, but you have no idea what you’re getting into?

You can try to look through the windows from the sidewalk, sure, but the easier and more efficient strategy is to understand the type of people who occupy the home.

Go across the street, knock on the neighbor’s door, and say, “Hey, what can you tell me about the people who currently live there?”

Chances are they will unload on you! They’ll tell you everything you never wanted to know, and you’ll have a good idea what condition the home is in.

If you can’t get a neighbor to answer the door, the next best way to estimate the house’s condition is by analyzing the exterior. Generally, the inside will match the outside. So, if you’re staring down a forest of weeds with a cracked walkway and a car without tires in the drive, you can estimate your rehab costs on the high end. If the grass is trimmed and the paint is a little worn, but things seem alright, you’re probably looking at less work inside.

Houses can be like the prize in a cracker jack box–hard to tell from a little shaking. But, even though there is no true science to predicting the interior of auction homes, you will find that you develop a keen, instinctual eye the more you view, bid on, and purchase. Some may surprise you, but understanding the signs of neglect from the outside and knowing who occupies the property can save you a lot of guess work.

To Your Success;

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about COGO first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!


- - Fixing, Flipping

I heard about a conversation recently with a client who was out to lunch with a team of other rehabbers. The server said something the effect of, “Looks like you’re having a work lunch” to which our client said, “We’re taking a break from a workshop. We’re real estate investors who rehab homes.” The server, with the understanding that I see from so many, said, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to do that, but I’m not handy at all.”

I know where this preconceived notion came from…TV programs that show people getting their hands dirty on a job site. And I’ll never tell you not to help out on your projects, but you don’t have to make the mistake I made early in my career by believing you have to do the work yourself!

Even if you don’t know a wrench from a pair of pliers, you don’t have to let that stop you. You have the same opportunity and potential to make good money in this industry.


Stick to your strengths and follow a direction based on your skill level. I recommend that everyone gets a little education before you start building. In fact, I believe this so strongly that I will pay for your ticket to my next Funding Tour–a 3 day, intensive study with on-site training and more information than you can shake a finger at!

And once you’ve had your training on the basics, you can hire your contractor (the professional to do the handy work you can’t do) and jumpstart your rehabbing business without being a contracting expert.

For each project, get bids from at least three contractors. Look for any discrepancies between the proposals and address them.  Look for someone both competent and honest.  When flipping multiple times, you can work with the same contractors, earning both discounts and loyalty.

If you’re still hesitant, convinced that you don’t even know enough to lead a contractor, I recommend one of 2 things (in this order):

  1. Get a mentor. A coach. A leader. Walk alongside someone who has done this successfully dozens of times over. Need help finding a mentor, give us a call. 800-533-1622


  1. Work with a partner. I won’t always recommend this, but if you find a partner who has successfully completed several profitable rehabs, consider yoking yourself with them for a single project. Once you have one under your belt and know the process start to finish, you’ll not only see that it is possible, but that you could have done it yourself! Just be careful; research and understand your partnership before signing on the dotted lines.

No matter your skill level, there are things you can do to save more cash.  Know the cost of items: dishwashers, toilets, molding, sinks, paint, ceiling fans, etc.  This will help you budget, and know what you are talking about when working with someone. Have and stick to a budget and schedule.

You can still participate in real estate–the number one millionaire producing industry–even if you have limitations. I’ve seen people who have never picked up a hammer become highly successful.

It takes 2 things: consistency and the decision to start.

If you want to start today but don’t know where to begin, give us a call (800-533-1622).

We can help.

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about COGO first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Fixing and Retailing Houses

- - Fixing, Flipping, Uncategorized

Fixing and retailing houses can be an extremely lucrative business. I should know. I’ve spent almost my entire professional life using this avenue to create wealth. Not only am I an expert on the topic, but have created a comprehensive system for you to use that takes out the guess work, the headache, and the trial and error so you can set yourself on a path to success.

And my system of education doesn’t stop at rehabbing homes. I’m guessing that flipping is your main real estate focus, but we have something for everyone who is looking to get started, improve their current career, or striving to branch out into a new channel of real estate investing.

I’ve been there on every side, in every part from being an agent to contracting work to brokering to buying houses with cash.

I can promise you one thing; regardless of where you are in your career and what hurdles you are facing, I’ve been there. If I can help you to avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made and see others make consistently, then I will. After all, our company motto (and my PERSONAL motto) is “We get more of what we want by helping you get more of what you want.”

So, I want to steer you away from these expensive mistakes that could leave you disenchanted with an industry that could otherwise change your life!

1. Thinking this is an easy, “Get Rich Quick” model.

Yes, I can teach you exactly what to do and how to do it. But it’s still a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of offers, a lot of rejection. This is no “get rich quick scheme.” I will never promise you instant riches.

You must make the phone calls, market yourself, stay the course, and continue to learn. If you follow the Lee Arnold System of Real Estate, you will reach your goals quicker and with less frustration and financial growing pains. It’s a proven system, and you’re in good hands if you implement what we teach. It’s important that you understand you aren’t 2 weeks away from your first paycheck yet.

This is an investment, and although I’ve seen great success happen to people in short periods of time, you’re likely looking at four months of full time, dedicated work from the start to the payoff. But you must be ready for the work!

2. Jumping in with only minor research.

90% of your time will be spent researching, viewing, negotiating, and then doing more research before you acquire the property. Why? Because the most direct and least expensive way to avoid mistakes is by understanding the market, the contractors, the fine print, and expectations.

Knowledge is power. You can do all this research yourself (good luck, I can tell you from experience that the internet is a black hole of information!) or you can follow a system that is proven. Let us show you exactly what to look for, how to do each task and in what order, and where to find the vital information you need to put together a successful deal.

3. Doing all the work yourself to “save money.”

I’ve been there. I’ve done this. I’ve ripped drywall out of basement walls with my buddies only to get covered in roaches—ask Gary Myers who likes to tell the story on the road! Don’t do what I did and assume that if you can do the work yourself that you should.

You should hire and outsource almost every single task related to property ownership and instead qualify the contractors to do the job for you. Once a property rehab is underway, your priority is to manage the workmanship to assure maximum profit in the resale of the house, keep things on schedule, and properly manage the draw system and budget. You can’t do these things if you’re busy installing tile.

If you chose to do a task that you could otherwise hire out for $35 an hour, you are proving to yourself that your time is only worth $35 an hour. You can do a contractor’s job for $35 an hour, or you can go out there and find another house that has the potential to make you thousands. See what I mean?

4. Quitting your day job too soon.

I do a lot of private consulting, and my clients always come to me with interesting goals. They want to make a million dollars in a year and quit their job. It’s a noble goal, but aside from not being realistic, most people wouldn’t be able to wrap their brains around that drastic and rapid of change.

What I tell people is to stay at their current job and build their business in tandem with their work. It’s a lot of late nights and weekends, yes. It involves sacrifices, but here’s why it’s good: You need stability in your income so you can make rational, smart decisions in real estate. If you quit your job and rely solely on real estate as a source of income before your business is stable enough, you’ll end up making poor decisions just to put food on the table.

Keep your job and let me help you build wealth so you can walk away from the 9-to-5 with confidence.

5. Not having a real exit strategy.

If your main goal is to rehab a home that will be purchased with conventional or FHA financing, are you considering the standards in which conventional financing or FHA standards dictate? If you aren’t building according to these standards, you are essentially playing a game of craps. What happens if the house doesn’t sell?

If your strategy is to then purchase the home with conventional financing at the end of your private money term, can you qualify for conventional bank financing? If not, you need to rethink your exit strategy. Understanding each scenario is vital to your future success.

Remember how I said I’ve seen it all? I promise you, if you sell every house you ever rehab without having to use a different exit strategy, you’re a lucky investor. Things come up, and if you need help developing new exit strategies, give us a call, and we’ll plug you into the right source of information for that. 800-533-1622.

6. Paying too much when you buy.

You make your money when you buy, not when you sell. That’s why 90% of your research goes into the acquisitions part of the process and not the sales aspect. Start with the final selling price and work backward to deduct the selling cost, profit margin, renovation cost, and buying costs. Don’t forget to factor in holding costs and margin for error. You figure out your MAO (maximum allowed offer) by first determining the ARV (after repair value) of a house. $80,000 for a house means something different in every single market, so do your research!

7. Paying too much for the rehab.

I can’t tell you how many people get into this business and treat the renovation as if they are designing their dream home. This is an expensive, unnecessary, headache-inducing mistake and should be avoided! Your main objectives in renovating a house is to address every safety issue, update and clean the house to current market standards, and design it to appeal to the masses. This isn’t a luxury rehab.

Want to implement the “wow factor?” That’s where a few strategically placed designs can come in such as a small backsplash or a cool sink faucet. (And STAGING! Click here for more about this vital step). Don’t go all out on cabinets that are 300% more than you budgeted. By overdesigning a house, you run the risk of going over budget, turning the right buyers away, or having someone purchase the house only to redo what you thought was a good idea. Your budget should dictate your choice. Otherwise, the style choice comes straight out of your profit.

If you’re still having trouble creating and managing a project that yields you the highest investment, let us help you.

You can spend money 2 ways. The first, by investing it in your continued real estate education which will foster the right environment for you to see a return on your investment with higher profits. Or second, by making your own (possibly expensive) mistakes and losing money. You can learn a lot that way, yes. But you had better have thick skin and a whole lot of fortitude.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to what several of our valued clients have to say.

The education I received gave me an added layer of understanding of how to work in this real estate market, the integrity used in developing and processing a loan, and how to become a better business oriented individual. Before this education, I thought that I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t understand what I needed to do until I went through the program.” Anita Cothran, Master Broker.

As a visionary from Chicago, I’ve been to many events, but have never had an experience like the Lee Arnold VIP session. I’m blown away by how powerful and impactful it was to have Lee Arnold sit with us and breakdown every fear and hindrance. He helped me think of the big picture, and take bite-sized portions in order to get the first deal done. There’s no stopping you if you’re backed with Lee’s education and COGO Capital’s financing!” Ray Colon, Chicago, IL.

Through an intensive training with a coach received one-on-one attention. I went out marketing, got agents and investors excited, got some applications back, and learned how to present myself in a better way. I learned how to develop different scripts, what to say and how to say it, how to originate loans, where I can go if I have questions. I’m confident that I can get clients excited and in turn close more loans.” Sherry Falk- Jacksonville, FL

I’ll see you out there!

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about COGO first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!


A Guide on Where to Meet Homeowners

When working with distressed homeowners, there are several key traits to working out a respectful deal that profits both sides and keeps the transaction professional.

I’ve discussed helping distressed homeowners before, and if you need a refresher course on the basics of putting together a deal with tact, please CLICK HERE to get your tips.

Now, let’s talk about where to meet a distressed homeowner to discuss terms and sign the purchase and sale agreement. Because the sale in question is their property, a homeowner may expect that the meeting will take place in their home. For reasons we’ll discuss, this isn’t a great idea.

I recommend meeting them in a professional office setting.

By signing in a professional office setting, you can maintain control over the situation. When you sign in their home, you convey that you are available to them on their schedule, giving them control.

You also convey the importance of them coming to you, securing the fact that although you may have reached out to them in the first place to offer on the property, you aren’t going to chase them down to get it.

When you meet at their home, you are also giving them more time to “think” about it because they don’t have to physically do anything or go anywhere to have this meeting. By removing them from their home, you give them an actionable step to show commitment–both to you and subconsciously to themselves. Additionally, if you meet them at their home and they decide to do business with you, they will expect you to come back.

By meeting in a professional office setting, you are setting the standard that you are a professional and giving the homeowner peace of mind.

If you don’t have the option of a professional office setting, you can use the middle ground of a location such as a coffee shop. Don’t let this be your first option, but if it helps you avoid meeting at their home, it’s a better way to go.

What is the purpose of this meeting?

First, you need to introduce yourself; who you are and what real estate services you provide. Then, listen to their story and find out their needs. Educate them on what you do and how. This is your opportunity to align their needs with your services and make the option of having them sell you their house a no-brainer. Most importantly, your goal for this meeting is to get the purchase and sale agreements signed!

When you meet at your office, stress how important it is to have the paperwork signed in order to get the ball rolling. They’re likely going to be hesitant, but if you let them bring the paperwork home, chances are you’ll never hear from them again. Remember to assure the homeowner that they are not signing their life away, and should be comfortable with the process. They may not be as motivated to work toward a solution for losing their home as you’d think, so it is your job to explain to them why they should be.

Before you leave the meeting, be sure also to ask these key questions:

– What condition is the house in?

– Is there anything else I should know about the property?

– Do you have any contact information for your lender?

– Are there any other questions I can answer for you before I leave?

When in doubt, put yourself in their shoes. Remember that many owners who are on the brink of losing their homes are emotional, desperate, and/or in denial. You must be aware of their position and ready to step forward with confidence.

Choose a professional office setting to meet, make sure they understand the benefits of working with you, and get them to sign the paperwork. From there, they can move forward with one less trouble and you can work toward a profitable deal.

If you’re ready to kick it up a notch, join us for a FUNDING TOUR and we’ll provide you with a $250,000 pre-approval letter to support your next transaction. For more information on what a FUNDING TOUR is and why I believe so strongly that you should attend that I’ll pay for your $497 seat, visit or call 800-533-1622.

To Your Success;

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about COGO first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!

The Art of REOs

- - Borrowing

We’ve talked about Equity Deals and Attending Foreclosure Auctions. But what happens if no one bids on a property at auction and how can you benefit? If you’re unfamiliar with the process, listen up! This alternative property acquiring technique is not only a viable option (especially to those without cash to purchase homes), but thousands of people just like yourself obtain properties this way every year.

What happens to an unsold house?

When an auction house has not sold, ownership of the property transfers to the foreclosing lien holder. When the principal owed, interest accrued, foreclosure fees, and other expenses total more than the value of the property, there is no equity to attract third party bidders. So, the property reverts to the lender for the opening bid amount. At this point, the bank now owns the property and the mortgage that was in default no longer exists.

This property is now referred to as a REO or Real Estate Owned property.

What bank does to it?

Most of the time, the bank handles the eviction of any tenants or homeowners lingering in the property. This saves you a tremendous amount of time and energy. They’ll usually take care of some needed repairs—anything that poses an immediate danger or threat to the property’s condition such as missing exterior doors, unsafe wiring, or winterizing the property should to stay vacant. They’re not going to sink any more money into a house than needed. And why would they? They’re likely taking a loss on the property.

The house is now sold “as is,” with the condition of the property already in mind.

Other benefits

With the bank expunging any second or third liens on the property by this time, you’re looking at a clearly cheaper piece of property than if you’d worked directly with the owner.

Another upside to buying REOs is the ability to look at the property before purchasing it; a luxury not often awarded when buying at auction. You’ll also be able to have the property fully inspected to determine the estimated cost of repairs to bring the house up to full market value.

Not only are you paying below market value for one of these properties, there never seems to be a shortage of inventory.

REOs are not always made available to the public. Banks generally like to make these properties available to investors. Although they prefer to bundle them and unload a big batch at a time to million-dollar investors, you can take advantage on a single property basis.

As an added benefit, you can often save money by using the same title company that the lender used during foreclosure.

Where to Find Them

First the obvious; pick up the phone and call the bank. Because banks don’t want the properties (they want the money), they normally have entire departments that handle foreclosures and REOs. You can contact the REO or Asset Management department of the bank or mortgage company for information on available properties.

Network with real estate professionals. (How many networking events have you attended this month? Was it at least 4?)

Contact a local real estate agent, preferably one with experience working with REOs who can supply you with a list of primary lenders. If you need help finding an agent, check out my guide HERE.

When in doubt, go online. Any search engine will produce a multitude of leads for you to wade through. Type in “foreclosures” or “bank owned properties” with your target town and state. Just set aside some time; you may have to do a little digging.

Another way to find REOs is to track a property you’re interested in from the day the first. You can contact the individual conducting the sale to follow up on the status of the property. It can be more profitable for you to purchase a property after it goes unpurchased at a foreclosure auction, especially with consideration to any other liens, interest, or fees the bank has now cleared.

How to make an offer

Some buyers misunderstand the bank’s motives, thinking that banks are in a hurry to sell these properties, but that isn’t true. The bank has the money, they’re not paying interest on the property and don’t have holding costs associated with it. They aren’t in a rush, so never assume they are motivated when you make an offer.

Still, make sure to run proper inspections to understand what you’re offering on. Check all major factors: the condition of the roof, foundation, plumbing, electric, insect problems. Like any property you purchase, you’re not only offering on the property, you’re inheriting all its problems. Although the bank is not likely to discount the property greatly—understanding they are selling it “as is”—you can still factor these into your offer.

Your offer should include inspection contingency time frames that allow you to cancel the offer if your inspections uncover unacceptable damages.

Once you make an offer, they are likely to counter. Often, they do this to show their shareholders and auditors that they’re doing their part to get the best possible price. Don’t be afraid to counter back.

With your offer, always include a pre-approval letter from your lender to make your offer as attractive as possible. Don’t have a pre-approval letter? No problem. We can help you with that. In fact, if you attend a Funding Tour we will give you a pre-approval letter for up to $250,000. Not a bad deal considering the valuable education you’ll receive and the valuable, hands-on experience we’ll pass to you! For details, visit or call us at 800-533-1622 to secure your spot.

Now what?

Be patient and consistent! 

To Your Success;

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about COGO first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!