Steve and Veronica's Journal

Steve and Veronica's Journal

Steve and Veronica’s Real Estate Journal. I have said in the past, I did not want to post anything on a deal, until the deal closed. I felt that it is not a deal until it is closed. I see so many other DG Family members writing about offers they make trying to get a deal done and I realized that is part of the deal so I should write about our real estate experiences good and bad. I have a lot to say to catch up here with this first post.

We started with real estate back in 1985 my soon to be Father-in-law told me if I wanted to marry his daughter I had to buy a home for her to live in. To save money to buy this house, we built a room in my Father in-law’s garage for me to sleep in. For 6 months, I worked two jobs to save the down payment money. At this time, I did not earn enough money to go with a VA loan and we had to use a FHA loan with my in-laws co-signing. In Jan. of 1986 I bought my first house for 80k at 10.5% interest. Our payment was $850.00 a month.

I had to rent bedrooms out to friends to help pay the mortgage. Then in August of 86 we got married and Veronica moved in. With my wife working and me working two jobs, we still did not make enough money to pay the mortgage without renting to roommates. After a year of living with roommates, we decided to move back to Veronica’s Mom and Dad’s home and rent our house out to one family.

The last day of 1989 we were blessed with a little girl. I was from the Midwest and my wife and I thought it would be better to raise our daughter in Indiana where my family lived at the time. Veronica’s Dad told us he would give us 40k to buy us out of our home after one of his other homes sold. So off to Indiana we went. It took a while for my in-laws home to sell to give us the 40k and we were down to having no money, no job, and bill collectors calling. Veronica went back to California with our daughter to work and help get the house sold. I said I would not move back to California and I could make this work out here. One of my brothers in Northern Indiana said he could get me a job up there in Elkhart. Finely in December of 1990 our home sold Veronica came back to Indiana with our daughter and the money. We were able to get ourselves out of debt.

We moved to Elkhart Indiana and I started working at an aerosol packaging plant as a maintenance mechanic making good money. In 1993 we bought our first no money down home using a VA loan and seller paying all closing cost. It was a great place to raise our daughter but Veronica was getting tired of what she called "12 years of long winters." She wanted to move back to California. We left Indiana in 2002 with 60k from the sale of our home.

In 2002 the prices of homes in California were going through the roof. We bought a 255K home with no money down, again using a VA loan and seller paying all closing. The week after we closed on this house Veronica and I got laid off from our jobs, we worked at the same place. Veronica was able to get a job right away but it was harder to find a job that paid me what I was making as a maintenance mechanic. We still had money in the bank from the sale of our house in Indiana so we knew we would be okay for a month or so. I have worked for over 20 years without taking any unemployment benefits. So I took the school benefits and put myself through a 23 week Sheriff’s Academy. After I completed the Academy I worked as security at a mall until I was hired on at a Sheriff’s department. During this time houses in California were going up in value like crazy about 10k or more each month.

We moved to Northern California and sold our house in 2004 for 410k that was a 155k profit. We paid 17k in commissions to the real estate agent. We still had over 100k in bank. We bought a house in Northern California with 20% down for 385k. Due to not being on the job for 2 years I could not use the VA loan.
In 2005 the area we lived in was hard on Veronica’s allergies and we knew that if we were going to sell it would have to be very quickly because we knew that the housing bubble was about to burst. We sold that house for 399k. We moved closer to Veronica’s work and into a better high school district for our daughter. Again, we felt that the housing bubble was about to burst so we rented a home for the next three years. The house we rented was close to the high school which was convenient.

In 2006 we started watching Dean’s programs on TV and Veronica read Rich Dad Poor Dad. Veronica told me we needed to start buying homes and renting them out. By 2007 we had been to a 3 day class by Rich Dad but we did not want to pay the 24k-40k they wanted for their advanced training classes.
Veronica knew my Mom and Dad had never owned their own home and were great renters. Homes in the Vermillion County area of Illinois were not affected by the housing market like California was. We bought a house to rent to my Mom and Dad and in 2007 you could buy a house with no money down using a 80/20 loan. 80% on the first mortgage and 20% on the 2nd. We wanted my Mom and Dad to have a nice house to live in that they could feel that it was their own. My Dad takes better care of rentals houses than most homeowners.

In 2008 I bought the book Be A Real Estate Millionaire by Dean Graziosi. We paid $ 495.00 for a 3 day class by Rich Dad. Dean’s book cost $24.95 at the bookstore and had better information on real estate investing than the 3 day class we paid $495.00 for.
In the spring of 2008 our daughter graduated from high school and we felt it was time to buy a primary home for us again. Using Dean’s techniques we bought an REO home that previously sold for 655k we got it for 365k no money down with the seller paying 4% toward all closing cost and enough money left over to buy down the loan. The home was built in 2003 so it was only 5 years old plus it was a 4060 sq ft. We did not need a 4000 sq ft home but all the other homes in the area were smaller needed more work and were priced higher. This house was vacant for a year. The fence in the back yard was down from a windstorm and the neighbor's big dog had left big messes all over the back yard. So we told our realtor to request additonal money form the seller for for repairs. The REO bank said they would give us 1k for repairs in addition to having the fence repaired before closing. All the things Dean says to ask for on a deal the bank was saying yes to. We walked out of closing with so much money we had to have the seller put ther rest of the funds into an escrow account. I guess the seller cannot directly give money to the buyer at closing. However, we did get a check for over 1k at closing and the remainder was placed in an impound account wich was applied to insurance and taxes. Thanks Dean.

In August of 2009 we joined the Success Academy. The On Demand classes are great and the Coaching staff is terrific. We were on fire to get our real estate business going so now we opened a LLC and started making offers. We started with a duplex in the small town of Covington IN...FSBO. I have a sister that lives in that town and she looked at the property for us. The owner did not want to do seller financing so we talked to a small town bank about a loan. The bank said they would consider making a loan to us and needed a purchase agreement. The sellers were asking 38k for the duplex. We sent the sellers a purchase agreement that we printed from this DG site. We gave the seller 5 days to respond. The 5 days went by and we had not heard back from the seller. I called the seller and was only able to leave a message. Since there was no response to our voice mail my wife and I decided to move on to other deals. The seller called us back about ten days later saying she wanted a different contract. I had to tell her we have moved on from this deal. So we did not get that house. It was a duplex, one bed one bath each which had rental income of $550.00 a month together. After the mortgage payment it would cash flow around $150-200 a month. But we did not get this one.

We started working on a two home deal in Danville IL for 34k. I had my Dad go with the realtor to look at the houses for us. Remember we live in California. So my Dad said with a little work they would be good rentals. Both houses were two bed one bath homes that would rent for about $400.00 a month each. We had the down payment money and we wer talking to banks for the rest of funds. We got to the end of the time frame for the loan contingency and all the banks said our debt to income ratio was to high. That crushed us. ( Don’t let this happen to anyone of you reading this post.) We dropped out of the hunt for a deal for a few months.

We tried to see if the stock market would give us the capital to buy homes out right. That did not work out so well.

We refinanced our primary home and dropped our payment by $400.00 a month. I bought the book Profit from Real Estate Right Now. We were back in the game but I wanted to study the classes put on by the Academy and maybe get out of our comfort zone and try something else than just buy and hold. We bought the book Your Town Your Real Estate Profits and we are on fire again making this real estate business work.

I was talking to some coworker of mine about real estate and they said they would be willing to partner up for some deals. This was in May of 2010. We looked at a lot of houses and agreed to go for a house listed for 60k it is the worst looking property in the area in this part of California. The other houses in the area were selling for 150k. It was a two bedroom with one bath on a third of an acre lot. We put an offer in for 55k with the seller paying closing cost. The seller countered with 58k and we said OK. The bank we were working with told us they could not give a loan on this house due to a report of mold. We were dead in the water. We talked to a few so-called Hard Money Loan people and they wanted 30 to 40% down telling us there is no hard money 100% financing. Well with the mold issue which, in my opinion was not that bad we still decided to move on.

A few days later our agent called us and asked if we still wanted that house. The bank was willing to pay $2,100.00 for mold abatement if we would pay 60k for the house. It was worth it to us if the bank could give us something in writing that the mold was removed, so we said yes. Now our partner on this deal moved on to another deal so he would not be able to go through on this deal with us. Veronica and I decided to do the deal on our own. After the inspection report, we felt that there was too much work to be done to this house. The kicker was that the person the bank sent out to remove the mold ended up just wiping the walls down with bleach and not producing a clearance report for the removal of the mold. We countered with a 55k offer with a contingency that the house would appraise at 55k. The bank said no so we exercised one of our exit clauses ad canceled escrow. I just received information that we would get our earnest money back as I am writing this post. There are a lot of deals out there so we know that we don’t have to settle on just one house.

We now have the Set for Life program and are going to try some wholesale deals.

Sorry this was so long but we had to do a lot of catching up.

Steve and Veronica

Great News!

Sounds like you will have that baby rented in no time. It's great that your sister is your boots on the ground person in Indiana. Hope you buy her a nice Christmas gift! Can't wait to hear about more deals you have coming down the pike.


Cathy B

Follow my progress at:


You know when you start something new you are afraid to ask family for help. I did not want to ask anyone for help but when I asked my Sister to look at properties for me she jumped right in. On this deal in Indiana she and her husband have been a big blessing to us. They have done so much work for us and at first I did not want to bother family. I have paid them for there help due to the fact I do not want to burn them out. Now they might want to start doing deals. It is a win win for everyone.



Today I worked on talking to banks to do a refi on the Indiana house we bought I found one bank that might do a no season loan on this house. One bank told me I might be able to take out a HELOC loan on this house.

I was also on the phone with insurance agents, we still need insurance.

Talked to a lot more pepole who want to rent the home. Some were asking for help with the deposit of $500.00. I am thinking no Scotty. Not that we do not want to help, but there are so many that have the money to move in right now. There are so many familys that realy want to move into this school dist. that have the money to pay thier rent on time.

Still looking for another deal in this town.



Today I was on the phone talkin to carpet instalers and bathroom remodalers. I am trying to get every thing set up for when we are going to be in Indiana.

We finaly got our insurance for this house. It is funny we only paid 15k for a house that the replacement value is 120k did not see that one coming. If the house were to be totaly wiped out it would cost 120k to build a new house to replace the old one.

Were still getting a lot of calls to rent the home. We are going to have an open house when we are out there and if they want to still rent it we will give them an app.



The response you're getting on the home is just incredible! I am so happy for you making this all happen! I'm not having as much luck with my home in GA. Are you using SFL to market it?

I'm jealous because you will get to go out and see your house! I won't get to do that with mine. I even have a house in NC I bought in 2004 that I still haven't seen to date except in pictures! LOL

You are doing so wonderful! I am looking for a deal in WI because I have some cousins out there that are contractors and can help me, but that's about the only family I have! Cousins, aunts and uncles are all I have left!

You are doing incredible! Break open the champagne (or cider) Eye-wink


Tammy I do not have to go out there but I get to see my Mom and Dad plus my sisters. My Mom and Dad are both 76 years old and I don't get to spend enogh time with them. It will be a working trip but they will be at the house we are working on to help where they can.

I am not using the set for life to markit it. My Sister put a for rent sign in the front yard and that was it. For a town of only 3k I think we have a good responce.

I wish your land for sale was in this town.

Tammy I hope you get to go see some of your family and do a deal with them.



Still getting more calls on the rental we have. We are getting our game plan together for the work we need to do on the nw property. I think we will have to do a total remodal on the bathroom. It is a small bathroom and should only cost aroun 5k to have it redone by a pro.

Still looking for the next great deal.



Today started by going to church. After church we meet with a friend of mine that we have not seen in 20 years. We found out that we have lived in the same area for the last 6 years and did not know it. We meet for lunch and talked about every thing form our Marine days to our weddings that we were in each others weddings. Our daughter got to here the story about how Verinica and I met from someone else. My friend Eric got me the job were my wife and I met. It is fun to spend time with someone you have not seen or heard from in a long time. We did talk some about REI also.

I can't talk about negative things so I can not talk about Da Bears this week.

Steve and Veronica


Talked to my Dad about checking Lowes for a front door for the house in Indiana. I guess it needs to be replaced. We are getting ready for our trip to Indiana to work on this house and meet the carpenter that will do the big work.

Still getting a lot of calls on this house from people that want to rent it.



Spent more time trying to get all of our ducks in a row for our trip to Indiana. We need to talk to a few small banks about loans for this house. Working on getting all the stuff we need for repairs like paint doors carpet.

I have my Mom lined up to cater the work event. There is nothing like Mom's cooking. Veronica when you read this you know I love your cooking also. We just don't get to eat my Moms cooking that often.

I bought my own flip camera to take on the trip with us. I want to film this deal and send it in to Dean.

I hope we do not run into dogs at this property like Randy 428 did. I still feel sorry for you Randy, I hope you are better.



Hi Steve and Veronica. I am glad to see you both are doing great and your new investment in Indiana sounds exciting. I really appreciate your helpful words before so I wanted to ask your thoughts on doing an assignment. The situation is I have a new friend who is starting to invest and has his first deal under contract. He has locked up a contract with a owner on a NO HOA fee condo built in 1986. The tenants have been in place since 1987 and they are paying $545 a month. The home was appraised a few months ago for over $50,000 and he is asking $35,000
for the home. I do know he got the home under contract for $31,000.

I am not in the position to purchase with cash and I was wondering if you had any creative ways I could get this property myself. I feel its a great deal and I would hate to pass this one up.. Your opinion and thought would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again Steve and I hope you have a great Wednesday!


John Trivett


Is the person that has the condo under contract willing to carry a loan on the condo.

Best case would be come up with the money from a personal loan or family member. Then find a bank that would do a no season loan. At 50k you would only get about 35k back from the bank. Most banks only loan up to 70% of the appraised value. If you could fix the place up some, and other condos go for more than 50k it might appraise for more. You take the money from a new mortgage and pay back who you got the money from. Your cash flow should be around $200.00 a month. Again that would be best case.

I hope this helps. You might want to put this out under a new thread and ask the rest of the DG family what they would do.

If any one else wants to jump in fell free to do so. We are all family here.


Thank You Steve!!

Hey Steve, what an exciting day for me because I feel like all my hard work is paying off. I found out that the condo had two offers yesterday and one was in negotiation so I figured I would not have time to get any financing. I called my good friend who does a few deals in the area and he actually had a buyer ready who was looking in this particular neighborhood. My friends investor decided to buy the property unseen for $38,000.. We had planned on splitting it two ways but we decided to offer the new investor who found the deal $2500 instead of $2000. This means I will only get $1500 and my friend receives $3000 for putting the deal together and using his buyer. I am ok with this because this deal basically worked out while I was sitting in a tree stand hunting in VA through email and text. This is just the beginning and I know for a fact I would have never had anything to do with this deal if it was not for Deans course and also great people like you who takes time to give helpful information to beginners like me. I just want to thank you again and I hope you have a great weekend! Thanks Steve!


John Trivett


Thinks but if you do just make sure you bite it first. And then fire up the grill. Got some great recipes if you need them.hope you have a safe trip and all goes well.




$1500.00 is a good start. Take what you learned from this deal and move on to the next one.

Good luck to you buddy. I hope you got some thing on your hunting trip.

I have wild turkeys cross my yard all most every day here in Northern California. All the time I lived in Illinois and Indiana I never saw a wild turkey in the woods. The deer out here are not as big as back east.



Randy it is going to be a very busy trip. I get off from work at midnight get in bed about 0100, get up at 0400 to catch a plane to Indianapolis at 0600. When we get to Indy it will be non stop work the whole weekend. I will have to come back to work to get some rest.

This will be the last post for a few days.

To everyone that reads this thread we will be back at it on the 26th. Take action and have more success stories for us to read.

God Bless the DG family.

Steve and Veronica.


What a trip. It was a good trip out to the home land of Illiana. That's what they call the area in East central Illinois and western Indiana.

The house we bought in Indiana is better than I thought it would be. We did a lot of work there this last weekend. The weather was great all of the local people thanked us for bringing the California weather with us. We were able to meet the carpenter that will be doing the bathroom project for us. He seams to be a good man. We meet a few other people that are going to do some work for us. It is good to know the workers in an area so you know who to call for what job you may have for them. My brothe in-law was a big help with hooking us up with the people in town to work for us. My Dad and Mom was over helping with work around the house there. My Mom made food and brougt it over for all of us to eat, yum. My sister and her family all helped with the work we were doing there last weekend. It just blew me away with all the help everyone was giving.

We also drove around the small town looking for more deals we found a few FSBO homes we are going to call on.

Over all it was afun working trip. We are glad we went out there.


Glad your back

and didn't run into any dogs. It was kinds lonely on here without you. But glad things went well.




It is good to be back on line. We went 4 days with no TV or internet just elbows flying. No dog issues.


Today I am still talking to renters to see who gets to rent our house in Indiana. I was told the new doors for the house were installed today. It is all coming together. Talked to the bank that is doing our no season refi.

I called some of the FSBO homes we looked at while we were in Indiana.

We realy like this REI stuff. It is a lot of work but fun.



The new doors on the house in Indiana look great. My brother in-law sent me pictures of the house with the new doors on and bushes cut away from the front of the house. This 15k home is looking more like a 60k home with just a little updating.

I also talked with a FSBO person back there that remembers me from high school. She is willing to carry a loan on her house we just need to get the price down a little to make it a good cash flow property.



Today my Mom,Dad and sister were all over at the Indiana house doing more of the painting we did not get to last weekend. The house is looking nicer and nicer all the time. I would like to live in it myself if Veronica would let me. Veronica does not like the winters in Indiana so she says no on moving back there.

Still working on making more deals back in Indiana. We feel a lot better about buying houses back there now that we know more repair people.



Well it's Halloween. I remember back in the 60s and 70s in the church we grew up in had a Halloween party with a costume contest. This was before the evil part of Halloween came out and all of the churches changed to harvest party. The point is I miss the innocent part of Halloween as a kid.

Back to REI. My family members back in IL and In. are still painting for us.

We are working out some details on getting another property there in the same town.



I believe we have a renter now for the Indiana house he will pay $500.00 a month. We are working on the loan to refi this house we hope it goes well.

We hope everyone elses deals are going well also.



I talked to the bank today they said our refi is a go we need to have an apraisal done but we want to wait till the new windows are in and bathrom is done to get the best apraisal.

With all the people calling me about the rent on this Indiana home I started asking the people what kind of home they are looking for. I wish I cloud take a few weeks off from work and work some more deals in this town. I can do a lot over the phone I just like the face to face deals.



You are kicking butt! Are you using a local bank? This is such good news. I'm so worried about that part of my deal and not being able to get out of the HML!

You are doing excellent!!!!


It is a local bank in the same town as the house.



you two are really going at it! it seems that after a first deal, everyone gets addicted to REI. i hope before long you are able to do it full-time and no J-O-B!


Linda, Army EOD Mom
you can follow my journal at
Fear equals:


We hope to do this full time. I have one more year to go with my job to be able to retire with a pension. I can't just quit after working so long to get to this retirement age. I do like my job. Veronica would like to be able to make enough from real estate to quit her job.

Thanks for stopping by Linda.


awesome !!

steve and veronica,excited for you guys !! i hear you about wanting to get out there and do more deals without going back to work or all the other things you have to get back to !! sounds like the retirement days are getting closer and then u can spend MORE time finding and crunching deals!!I too cant wait for that day.great job you two and happy for you to be reaping the rewards from your labor !!


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