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My Life & 1,000 Houses: Failing Forward to Financial Freedom

My Life & 1,000 Houses: Failing Forward to Financial Freedom

This autobiographical tale is perfect for entrepreneurs and a must-read for anyone aspiring to be a real estate investor. Beginning with a handful of credit cards, he mastered the art of the purchase and sale of single and multi-family residences, sm

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3 Responses to “My Life & 1,000 Houses: Failing Forward to Financial Freedom”

  • Homer Jay Simpson "Homer J.":
    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    meh, whats next?, April 3, 2011
    By 
    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: My Life & 1,000 Houses: Failing Forward to Financial Freedom (Paperback)

    ok, i am sure i will hear about it for giving the book just 2 stars, but i dont care. I will tell you how i really feel about this book. In fact, i will tell you exactly what to expect.

    The book has two aspects – his story and land contract. I wish i could give this book 2 ratings. One for the story it self, the other for what you can take away from this book.

    First about the story. It’s interesting, nonetheless, but it’s not worth much to me. Everyone goes through hardship in their live, so i will not fall over when i read that someone had to suffer for much of their young life simply because they did not choose to go to college (to better themselves). Living in motels and traveling for 2-4 yrs is not that hard especially when you get paid handsomely (without expenses) while doing it.

    I know some people “laughed and cried” as they read page after page, but i felt none of that. His relative died. Big deal (here’s where i seem very insensitive). I (and i am sure many people also) had someone close die as well. I did not get this book to hear about his personal struggles. I got it to better myself by learning about the real estate investment.

    In addition, the book had a lot of inconsistent statements/episodes….

    1. He spends 80% of the book telling you how many properties his and his wife acquired and then all of a sudden she “decides to pack her bags because he did not tell her he bought another one”. I mean, come on….by that time they had over a few hundred houses and he was bragging that it was no big deal to them and then all of a sudden she gets pissed for him “buying another one”.

    2. After bragging for buying hundreds of houses and having tons of storage units, he states that he needs to borrow $11K to close a deal. That made no sense after saying that he used to acquire houses with a Credit Card cash advance. One would think that he was loaded with money at that point.

    3. Statement like “Why not pay $50k for a property if you can find someone who will pay $80k after 60 days” simply make no sense. Dude, if i know i will find someone who will pay $150 for that property, i will buy it. But that’s the risk you are taking and statements like this are not even valid. how about you find me a person who will pay more than i paid for it and i will get the house, huh?

    4. Again, after hundreds of deals he stated that a huge 8/16 lot deal almost fell through because noone checked the lot dimensions. How stupid is this? i mean, really…how stupid? you’d think that after so many houses he’d have a check list/procedure which he would use to acquire the next house. i guess the people that he works with are not that good.

    overall, you don’t learn much from this book. It’s a personal story and a tiny amount of material about “land contract”. easy to read, but useless for the real estate investor.

    Story – 4.5 stars entertaining if you have not had an interesting life, although some of the stories seemed to be made up.

    financial knowledge gained from the book – .5 star

    that.is.all

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  • Jaime Vasquez:
    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Wealth comes from Chaos!, February 17, 2011
    By 
    This review is from: My Life & 1,000 Houses: Failing Forward to Financial Freedom (Paperback)

    I’m a real estate investor in San Antonio, Texas. I’ve been flipping houses in San Antonio since 2003 and thru the years I would constantly hear tales of “Mitch and Sam”. Title companies, mortgage brokers, real estate agents and other investors would talk about the massive scale flip operation these guys were running in San Antonio. Many local investors, including myself, have adopted Mitch Stephens style of flipping as our own, and it has worked for me. I had never met the men, so for me they were something of a “urban myth”, until I found a free chapter for download and I was compelled to drive over to meet Mr Stephens and buy his book personally. Since then Mitch has called me looking for houses/deals, this guy is the real deal!! I am very picky when I buy real estate books, I don’t want pie in the sky systems by professional gurus, I want real information from the guys doing what I do. That made buying this book a no brainer!

    “wealth comes from chaos”-mitch stephen

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  • Reviewer:
    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Personal story and fast read, January 3, 2011
    By 
    Reviewer (Near Columbus, OH United States) –
    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: My Life & 1,000 Houses: Failing Forward to Financial Freedom (Paperback)

    Unlike all of the other real estate investment books, this one is autobiographical and contains less posturing, marketing, and salesmanship than others. Mitch Stephen still has his websites that he likes to mention throughout the book, but it isn’t like reading a sales pitch as many of the other investment books are.

    The book is divided into two parts. The first is largely autobiographical, explaining how Mitch Stephen went from stressed and overworked with no time to happily overworked and financially independent. I think this is the easiest thing to appreciate in the book: this guy has always and will continue to work his butt off, but his message is not that you should work your butt off so you can be like him; instead he is telling you how he found purpose and passion in his work and the effort came naturally. He also admits that he isn’t going to tell you how to make your money, or even if you should get into real estate. But he’s telling you how he ended up in real estate, and I find that kind of story more relevant and applicable than any generic step-by-step instruction manual on how to be somebody that you aren’t. His story doesn’t leave out his feelings of self doubt, the failiures, and the ups and downs. It is peppered with pieces of his personal life that obviously led him to make some of the decisions he did, such as abandoning everything in a low point of his life to work on the road for several years, which eventually allowed him to minimize his expenses and save up enough cash to make his first investments. This is refreshing in a genre of books that is full of only sanitized success stories and simplified schemes.

    The second part of the book (or later ~third) is a random collection of stories about his experiences as an investor. These stories reveal a bit more of the personality in Mitch Stephen that one might find in common with other investors. He explains one trick he used to contact the owner of an abandoned property, for example, and given the context of the story it made sense. Another writer would simply present a “how to contact owners of abandoned houses” list. Given the context of the story, however, you can see how he might have come to do what he did. When you are deeply involved in something every day, you are bound to get innovative, and Stephen proves that to the reader through narration of his own experiences. What these stories help convey is that the situational context led him to solve problems, and that he isn’t necessarily gifted and he didn’t get all of his ideas from seminars, mentors, or other secretive sources. This is much easier to understand than an out-of-context list of tricks. Since the story is autobiographical, there is a flavor of “look what I did!” validation that exists in other books, but you can’t blame the guy: he has a full and rich life, even without his money. This is something we should all hope for, and we’d all have the right to tell our story if we had done half of what he’s done.

    The main takeaway of the book (for me), is that the only way you can get into real estate is to START. The experiences from this author came to him because he inserted himself into a place where he was open to opportunity. He didn’t get where he is because he went to seminars or read books (though he did plenty of both). He got where he is because he simply made his first leap and pulled it together as he learned. He managed properties for others before he managed his own. He saved up money and paid off his debts before he made purchases in mini storage facilities and low income housing. He learned about owner financing out of necessity when damages to his rentals were ruining his profits. He learned about selling notes when somebody sent him a letter offering to buy the notes he had created. He learned about financing deals with none of his own money by initiating an option to buy until he could find a way to make it happen (which he did). He got out of the note selling game in 2001 after 9/11, and hedged with his other investments to come out OK. With each new experience he leveraged his knowledge into new ideas and creativity to build his success. That’s what the rest of us do in our jobs every day. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do this for ourselves as he has done? His story shows one way that it can be possible, and more importantly, it reveals the underlying qualities of character needed to make it happen.

    After reading a lot of other books on this topic, this personal story helped me understand a lot more of the “how” by simply providing real examples with all of the doubt, fear, excitement, and emotion included.

    As a final note, two crticisms: 1) there are lots of typos that slipped through proofreading. No biggie. 2) This story was published before the recent economic splat (it ends around 2007). I am still searching for a book like this that includes the last few years. I want to read a…

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