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The Rewards of Development

March 14, 2021 by  
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In last week’s post, I shared parts of a bio of mine written years ago. Part of what that bio recounted was how I got into real estate. I started with small properties at first, but later on I gravitated into a much more profitable part of real estate known as development. Looking back, some projects I did really surprise me. I find myself thinking, “Wow, little ole me did all that!”

My work in the development side of real estate has been some of the most profitable of my entire career in investing. I’ll never forget getting a call from a guy in Pennsylvania telling me about a 77-unit apartment building that was for sale at a great low price. Shortly after that I heard, for the first time, about people converting apartment units into condos. After a lot of red tape with the local authorities of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, I got the go-ahead to convert all 77 units into condos and, wow, what a quick 2.7-million-dollar profit I made. It was so easy because most of the renters bought their own unit.

I followed that up with a 44-unit condo development in Mississippi and walked with 1.3-million-dollars in profit from that. After those great successes, I developed a 13.3-acre commercial development right here in Salt Lake City and made 1.1-million-dollars in profit there.

I was on a real roll when my Kauai attorney called me and told me of a great plot of land on which I could develop a bunch of condos. I was skeptical at first, but after I drove by the golf course that was next door to it, I forged ahead and laid out plans to build 68 condo’s right near beautiful Princeville, Hawaii. Wow, was I super surprised when I sold all 68 condo lots before we even broke ground.

Timing is so very important with development. You sure don’t want to get into a big development when the real estate market is at the top and there are reasons to believe that the market is turning and heading down. You also don’t want to get into a market that is oversupplied in the type of real estate that you want to buy into. That’s when you need to be patient or need to look at another city or state where the market is already down but looks like it’s picking up.

I continue, to this day, looking for the right and best real estate, whether it’s dirt to be developed or apartments and commercial developments. In August 2003, I hired an office manager (Kimberly Wangsgard), because, wow, did I need help with all my properties. Ms. Wangsgard had, in her former job, played a critical role in development for S-DEVCORP, a company that had developments ranging from 1.5 million dollars to 30 million dollars.

She helped me so much that I eventually had her change her last name to HAROLDSEN. Yes, I married that very beautiful, brilliant, and kind woman and it’s been an absolutely wonderful and happy marriage. An excellent development indeed!

A Glimpse Into My Past

March 7, 2021 by  
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I was going through some old papers and came across a biography I wrote about my life. I thought, since a lot of people ask me about my background, I would share some of that with you here:

Mark O. Haroldsen was born in Portland, Oregon, way back in 1944. He attended high school for two plus years in the Middle East before moving back to the USA where he graduated in 1962 from Ames High School in Iowa. Mark attended Utah State University on a basketball and track scholarship. His time on the bench, however, helped him decide to drop the basketball dream and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Business which he received in 1969. He followed this with some post-graduate work at De Paul University in Chicago.

His career began as a stockbroker with Goodbody & Co. in 1969. Later he worked for Paine, Webber, Jackson & Curtis, then went on to work as a manager for Bosworth Sullivan in Salt Lake City, Utah from 1972 to 1974. After a short political career, he lost his bid for the Utah State Treasurer and started buying real estate. This change was inspired by a Denver client that was making millions in real estate.

After gaining tremendous success in real estate, Mark started a real estate seminar company which he ran from 1978 to 1986. The multi-million dollar company set the standard for real estate conventions, retreats, and information, presenting up to 50 seminars a week using a huge staff and brilliant speakers.

Not only is Mark an extremely successful real estate investor, he is also the author of many books including his first and most successful book, How To Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You. The book sold over 2 million copies and landed him on several national talk shows.

After the enormous success of that book, he began publishing the Financial Freedom Report, a real estate magazine that ran for over 20 years. And yet, that was just the beginning. He then got into a much more profitable part of real estate, known as development. 

I’ll stop sharing my bio there as I would like to go more into how that development thing worked out in next week’s blog, including how I made millions of dollars in profit through real estate development.

Duplicating Success

August 30, 2020 by  
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As I mentioned last week, I love a good success story and have often tried to get to know these big successful people. In a few cases, they even offered to be my mentor. I really believe that the mentoring was one of the most important contributors to my financial success.

I’m also a huge believer in seeing what other super successful people do and then going out and doing the same thing. I did it with my first book after seeing what Joe Karbo, author of The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches, did to sell his books. I got to know him and then did the same things he did, selling 2 million copies of my first book.

And a long time ago, I read of a guy that converted his apartment units into condos, selling them to existing tenants or new buyers. I took that idea and converted 70 plus apartment units I had in Pennsylvania to condos, quickly selling out to most of the renters who were already in them and, wow, did I make a quick profit of over $7 million! Did that surprise me and please me? Oh yeah… big time!

I also looked to other people when I started fixing up houses. Realizing that the decorating part wasn’t really my thing, I picked other people’s brains to get the ideas I needed. Picking people’s brains is pretty easy since people like to talk about themselves and what they do for a living. I would simply take designers, architects and other professionals to lunch and get ideas for the cost of a meal. I would also look at other nicely fixed up houses. I have gone so far as to exactly copy the look of a neighboring house I was fixing up because I wasn’t sure what to do with it. That little bit of copying got that house sold super-fast!

It’s amazing when I travel to new and different countries too. I see a lot of ways people in other countries are being successful and not just when it comes to making money. For instance, in Europe, people eat much smaller portions, have tiny refrigerators because they buy food fresh so often, and they take time to relax when they eat. We could learn a lot from the way they eat over there that would be healthier for us all.

All of these things are something that anyone can copy and, yes, that means you! Keep your eyes and mind open and you might just see things you can duplicate to make a better life for yourself and maybe even make a fortune.

Great Opportunities in Uncertain Times

June 7, 2020 by  
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Okay, we are still in a pandemic and, I must say, with all this spare time to think and visualize the future, it may be an ideal time to look for those motivated real estate sellers. A purchase now could greatly improve your financial situation while, at the same time, you could be helping the seller who might be struggling to bring in money since they may not be receiving a regular paycheck.

In most American markets, real estate values and prices have been pretty tight and it has made it tough to find real bargains that will produce a cash flow. However, things have started to change and it may well be the ideal time to make a lot of low priced offers in order to find super motivated sellers. As some of you that know me well probably remember, when I was on my way up to the millionaire status and had tons of energy and drive, it was common for me to make many, many offers each week – like dozens.

I would just go through the listings and send the listing brokers offers that were 20% lower than the asking price and sit back and wait for their responses. I called it my “shotgun method”. I did this before I even drove past the property. I didn’t want to spend my time checking out and walking through the property until I had an acceptance or counter proposal. Of course, I made all offers with a “subject to my approval” clause. And, of course, most of my offers came back with an absolute rejection, but some would come back with a counter offer and a few even with a total acceptance of my low, low offer. Then, and only then, would I take my time to go check out the property and accept or reject their offer or even make a counter offer to their counter offer.

So now, with this terrible virus thing, we’re seeing more motivated sellers that really need the money and are much more willing to accept a lower price than just a few months ago. This could very well be a great financial opportunity for you and, for many sellers, it could be a great financial relief. Think about it and then add some ACTION!

So, hey, maybe this pandemic may have a few good things for us. Tracking down opportunities is certainly a much better thing to do with you extra time verses attending a protest with the potential of doing great harm to yourself and others. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t blame most of the demonstrators and, personally, I feel for people of color and I totally believe all humans are equal and should be treated the same. But I think you might agree that looking for investments is a better use of your time.

One last thought. When I told my wife about this week’s subject she said, “What you say is all true, but it does take one thing more and that’s COURAGE.” Wow, she’s so right and having written a book titled The Courage to be RICH, I certainly should have thought of that. So, add courage to making all these offers so you can be more aggressive and really take advantage of these opportunities.

Be One of the Smart Ones

November 10, 2019 by  
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So, in last week’s post I told you a bit about the lady in Paris that suddenly found out one of the paintings in her house, one that she thought was just an average painting (the one you see above), was extremely valuable and it went on to sell for $26 million dollars!  Wow, what a shock that must have been for her! But have you read that many people who all of a sudden win the lottery or suddenly come into a huge fortune blow the money in short order or are scammed out of it? The problem is that most of the time, people who haven’t earned the money over time are clueless and just don’t know how to handle it. Most of these people start spending it like crazy and or they are taken to the cleaners by scam artist.

Compare that overnight super-rich person to a person who has worked for years and saved every extra dollar they could. The smart ones don’t go out and buy a brand-new car that will immediately drop in value. The smart ones buy a used car and put whatever extra money they have into savings. Then they slowly build up enough money to buy an asset that goes up in value and, if they’re really smart, when they sell that asset at a profit, they reinvest that profit in another appreciating asset. Over the years, those small savings and investments can grow into a fortune.  And if you have made your money that way, then you most likely won’t be like those who suddenly came into big money and spent it all or got scammed out of it.

It will be very interesting to try to follow the Paris lady and see if she goes crazy with her money, following the typical lottery winners. Please, Paris lady, be cautious and wise with that $26 million. Don’t put your money with someone else who makes promises of huge returns.

Years ago, I met a guy who told me that he could give me a 10% return, per month, on my money, guaranteed! Remember the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” I had a friend who had invested about $300,000 dollars with this guy who said it was going to get a great return and guaranteed it. I was pretty darn sure it would not be even close to that. And yes, my friend lost his entire investment, and the bad guy in now serving time in prison. Not that him being in prison gives my friend any of his money back.

So, I sure hope you see the huge benefit of saving all the dollars you can and investing them wisely. Do the research carefully. It’s my advice and experience that you should invest your savings in income producing real estate. It almost always goes up in value and even if the appreciation is very slow, if you have purchased wisely, you will have tenants paying off the mortgage. That’s what the smart ones do!

 

Compound Gratitude

October 20, 2019 by  
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Receiving thanks and appreciation from people you have helped can be such a huge reward and is such a great feeling!  Last week I wrote about super successful Scott Keller who was donating 10 million dollars to a University. Scott has thanked me over the years for sharing some of what I’ve learned about financial formulas, motivation and inspiration.

When I was writing my blog about the great feeling of helping others, it brought quickly to my mind and heart the many, many times I’ve received some huge “thank you’s” and credit from Craig D. Horton of Medford, Oregon. It started many years ago, shortly after I wrote my first book and has continued over the years. So, I sent an email to Craig after thinking about him and his generous and great appreciation for the help I gave him as he pursued his fortune. Here are some of the words he wrote back to me.

“Thanks Mark for this continuous journey of excellence as well as persistence. Your mentorship to myself and my wife Jane means a lot personally to our family.” He went on to say, “In my early investing days, I was partners with someone who subscribed to ‘The Financial Freedom Report’, which was an investor magazine for real estate people that Mark O. Haroldsen published … I read each monthly issue and devoured the content, especially the Subscriber Success Story. I subsequently read the following Mark O. Haroldsen books: How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You; Goals, Guts, and Greatness; The Best Real Estate Deal I Ever Did. All are excellent books that every real estate investor should read.”

Wow, those words of thanks to me were worth more than money!  After reading that, I realized that I needed to send him my latest book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living too!

He went on to say, “The major influence on my life of the written work and seminar experiences from Mark O. Haroldsen has been the concept of compound persistence. That principle simply says if you think long term with good goals, good support, and a good plan you will succeed as long as you always stay persistent. This has been my experience from the teachings of Mark and his team in over 40 plus years of investing. I have seen this principle also work with other investors as well.”

He and his wife Jane own a property management company, Medford Better Housing Association. Craig also told me how many rental houses he owns as well as a nice size apartment building. And then he closes the email with, “Your ‘Financial Freedom Report’, Compound Persistence Principle Guy … Craig D. Horton.”

I’ll close this blog by saying this: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, AND DOUBLE THANKS, TO YOU CRAIG D. HORTON FOR LIFTING MY SPIRITS, MY BRAIN, AND MY LIFE!

The 100% Return Goal

January 18, 2019 by  
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As we begin a new year it’s a very good time to remember the basics, specifically the basics of financial independence through which you make and keep your own fortune.  It’s so easy to forget the basics, especially when we are all caught up in the details of our daily lives, even those details that are involved with building our wealth. For example, if you have a big problem with the plumbing at a rental property or the property taxes just got bumped up, it’s easy to focus on just that, but that can get you frustrated or make you kind of space out on your overall plan.

What you should not forget is that you have to continue to look at the big picture, looking for ways to take advantage of leverage whereby you could earn as much as 100% of your money due to compounding. I’ve certainly been there and done that. Even on the very property that is giving me fits, I many times have failed to step back and realize that my equity on that very property has already exceeded a 100% return on my money and I should be motivated and reminded to keep doing that.

There is a simple example that I used in my fist book, How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You, where I showed how 1 single penny a day compounded at 100% a day turns into just over $339 million on the 35th day alone. Now I know there is no way you can compound your money at 100% per day, but it is possible to compound your money at 100% per year, especially in the first few years. The key to those huge numbers is using other people’s money (your leverage). So, maybe only 10, 20 or 30% of the price you pay is with your own money and then the rest is in a loan from the bank or the seller for the balance. It’s not only possible but many people are doing just that, every day, including myself and many people that I know and have helped.

I do know that finding beat up properties these days can be a bit more difficult, depending on where your market is, but things change and prices go up and down and you and I need to always be looking for those bargains, especially those properties that need fixing up, the ones I like to call “dirt bag properties”. Then, always remember that good ole leverage formula:
If your down payment is only 10%, and you improve the property enough to increase the value by 10% you have made a 100% return on your money. That formula is a little simplistic since it doesn’t take into account your expenses, but you can keep those pretty darn low if you do most of the work yourself. Just don’t let the goal of a 100% return on your investment scare you away because it seems too difficult. If you can get even part way there, say just a 30% return on your money per year on only $10,000, that fraction of the big goal will still add up to over $1,124,000 in just 18 years.

My big point here is that we must keep the big picture in mind and remember that those potential returns are there. If you do, it becomes easier to not be deterred or discouraged by those plumbing issues, property tax increases, or other relatively minor problems.  Keep your eye and your dreams focused on the big prize, because it is all together very possible to achieve that big goal.

Save Time to Make Millions

June 1, 2018 by  
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It is so easy to squander your time in a way that you hardly notice.  Most time is wasted in minutes, not hours. The average person squanders enough time in ten years to have earned a college degree. Some people may have lost enough time to have earned 2 or 3 degrees or could have made a few extra thousands of dollars, or even a million dollars.  So maybe next time you find yourself watching TV, turn it off and, using strategies that will save time and expand your opportunities, do some easy chair investing.

Just pick up the newspaper or go on line and take a look at some properties that are for sale. There is no need to drive all over town looking for those “For Sale” signs. That’s a huge waste of time. Instead, stake a claim to a little piece of time one day a week to search for just one good deal. You may be very surprised at how many properties are available. When you do see a property or two that look even somewhat promising, then start doing some delegating. And the fast, easy way to delegate now is too start writing offers and then call a few real estate agents to deliver your offers.  Most agents will be more than happy to do all this beginning legwork.

Of course, never forget those critical words that every offer to purchase needs to have – “This offer is subject to the buyer’s inspection and acceptance of the property,” or words to that effect. This, of course, means that you can walk away from the deal for any reason without any liability to you. You also won’t want to waste any time driving to the property and doing your inspection until the seller has agreed to your price and terms.

These strategies, along with delegating what you can to an agent, will save you a lot of time and will greatly expanded your opportunities. Years ago, when I was buying small properties, I would make dozens of offers each week using these strategies. It worked miracles for me and it can work for anyone. Then once I completed a purchase, I would begin the process of improving the property.

Here, again, I wanted to expand my time by delegating to others.  If you are like me, and do not relish the idea of fixing up a house or apartment building, you can easily find help by putting an ad online or in the newspaper, or ask around for a young, energetic person or a retired handyman.  There are always good workers out there looking to pick up a little extra income. By using their efforts and hard work, you have expanded your world, increased your available time, and greatly improved your odds of making millions through wise strategies and delegation!

Power Summit–A Seminar Not to be Missed!

March 16, 2018 by  
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Wright Thurston is long time trusted friend who credits me with getting him get started in Real Estate, Speaking, & Advertising. To quote Wright, “Mark Haroldsen, my first Real Estate mentor, and his book, changed my life forever! Mark has helped me personally earn over $40 Million since he first began coaching me!”

So I am very excited to see him in Salt Lake City next month with a great “Power Summit”. I have asked Wright if a few of my best blog readers could attend his upcoming event for Free! Wright said “Yes!” but indicated the event was nearly sold out.

**If you act immediately, the first fifteen of my blog readers to register below will receive everything at no cost. You must promise me however that you tell no one of this offer since others attending have paid a lot of money to attend. This is just for you. Sorry but there are not enough seats for you to bring a guest. Just ignore that on the registration page.**

Please do mention you were invited & referred by me. In the space that asks who invited you, write: Mark O Haroldsen

I look forward to seeing you there!

I am very happy to announce our 2nd International Power Summit. Last year’s training event was a huge success and my clients worldwide have request that we do it again in 2018. As promised, I will always make you aware of my VIP events, no matter where in the world they occur.

As a client, admission to the International Power Summit was one of many bonuses you received when becoming a student of mine. As an attendee, you will receive all eleven (11+) of the VIP bonuses, listed on the website, at “no additional cost!”  (including a massage, refreshments, autographed collectible materials, photos with my mentors, etc.) To learn more, just click on the link below:

www.PeakPerformanceWealthBuilders.com

**This year’s Power Summit will be totally unique! At least five of my “personal mentors” will be there for you to meet and mingle with. That’s right! The same experts who helped me become financially successful via:

1) Real Estate

2) Free & Discounted Travel

3) Collectibles

4) Legal & Asset Protection

5) Bitcoin & Other Crypto Currencies

6) And more…

I promise you will be thrilled with the amazing new, update strategies & information that will be taught at this conference. Each of my “mentors” will share their proven, step by step guidelines for success. Ask yourself: How many mentors do you currently have helping you?

Due to the limited seating at our Five (5) Diamond rated Hotel, please register immediately while the space & VIP packages are still available.

You can easily register or learn more about our Power Summit online at:

www.PeakPerformanceWealthBuilders.com

The International Power Summit will be held on:

Friday, April 6th and Saturday, April 7th

8:00 am to 6:00 pm each day

Grand America Hotel, 555 South Main Street, Salt Lake City, 84111

**By conducting this in my hometown, you will able to meet my wife, family, and see many valuable treasures that are part of our collections. I realize you are busy but do whatever it takes to be part of our International Power Summit. Please act before it’s too late. I don’t want you to miss out. Take advantage of this fantastic opportunity. I hope you will be able to join us.

Best wishes for your continued success:

Wright J. Thurston Sr.

P.S. You should contact us immediately, while the VIP seating and gifts are still available.

www.PeakPerformanceWealthBuilders.com

P.P.S. This is the first time that many of my personal mentors will be in attendance. It is going to be great. You do not want to miss this once in a lifetime conference.

 

A Busy and Purposeful Life

February 9, 2018 by  
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I am so very impressed by people that keep themselves involved and busy with work, social connections, play time, and, yes, no matter what their age is, investment goals.  Look at Warren Buffett—he’s 87 and worth billions but is still out their investing.

Speaking of age 87 and of someone who keeps on moving and staying involved, take a look at my January 10th post. After I wrote about my very talented tennis buddy, I asked him if I could post his full name and a photo of him in my blog. So here he is, standing to my left in the photo. Ken Greenbaum, a super, great, inspiring example for me and many others, looks a lot less than 87 years old. And you ought to see how he runs! He plays a great game of tennis.

Right after writing that January 10th blog post entitled “The Key for a Longer and Healthy Life”, I read a great article by Claudia Dreifus in Kauai’s Garden Isle newspaper, entitled “When Work Brings Joy, Why Quit?”  The author highlights 3 great examples of people that have not let aging slow them down.

“On most mornings,” Claudia writes, “Jack B. Weinstein rises at 5:30 to exercise. At 7, a car takes him from his home on Long Island to Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, where he is a senior Federal District Court judge for the Eastern District of New York.” That morning routine might sound pretty ordinary until you find out that the man is 96 years old. That is very impressive and it no doubt helps keep him alive and healthy.

For Adolfo Calovini, a 82-year-old New York City high school teacher Dreifus writes about, ” the need to earn income is part of his motivation. The approximately $110,000 annual salary he earns … is a necessity.”  When asked if he’s ready to retire, Calovini shook his head, saying, “to me, teaching is about life. This is what I do. I can’t see a time when I wouldn’t.”

Then there’s the 88-year-old Dr. Kandel.  He works in a research laboratory at Columbia University. “I like what I do. Keeping engaged keeps you intellectually alive.” He goes on to say, “If you are healthy and enjoy your work, continue. At the very least, it gives you additional income. Even if you don’t need it, the money can be for your kids and grandchildren.”

I don’t know how old you are but I’m getting up there in age myself. The more I think about it, however, and the more of these stories I hear, the more it motivates me to do everything I can to prolong my life and health and create my own great story of keeping busy and purposeful far into my later years.

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