Waging War On The Poor, & Other Ironies

Keeping Aggression In The Skies Over Impoverished People
Courtesy Of Roll Royce


July 5 (UPI) — Rolls-Royce Corp. has been awarded a contract for the maintenance, repair and rebuilding of engines used on MQ-4C Triton and RQ-4 Global Hawk drones.

The contract, announced Tuesday by the Department of Defense, is valued at $420 million and provides for the maintenance, repair and rebuilding of AE 3007H engines, as well as for program management and sustaining engineering services.

The AE 3007 series of engines is used on a variety of civilian passenger jets, such as the Cessna Citation X, in addition to military aircraft such as the Brazilian Embraer R-99 and Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton and RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles. For the military, the engine is classified as the F137.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a large high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations. It has a wingspan of over 130 feet and has a maximum takeoff weight of 16 tons, making it very large for a UAV.

The MQ-4C Triton is a derivative of the RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance UAV. It is designed as a sensor platform for long-range and high-endurance surveillance missions over ocean and coastal areas.

Work on the contract will be performed in Montreal, Canada, and at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and is expected to be concluded by June 2024.

More than $8.2 million in fiscal year 2018 operations and maintenance funds of the Air Force and Navy have been obligated to Rolls-Royce at the time of the award for an already placed contract order.

Sites Of Interest

[Site Watch]

Real Estate Investing Tools and Resources

By Tod Snodgrass

What follows are scores of real estate investor-friendly websites:

Private Lenders: Hundreds of them aaplonline.combiggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2012/12/31/ private-money lenders

Hard Money Lenders: Over 600 listed – biggerpockets.com/hardmoneylenders

Free Property Reports: Chicago Title offers property look-ups. To become a member (at no cost) and look up properties all over the US – premier.ctic.com/#login

House Values & Comps:Redfin.com Zillow.com Trulia.com Realtor.com

Mortgage Calculators: moneychimp.com/calculator/mortgage_calculator.htm biggerpockets.com/calculator-mortgage

Public Records Search:CourthouseDirect.com KnowX.comPipl.com SearchBug.comZabbaSearch.comMunicode.com

Credit Reports, Scores & FICO:AnnualCreditReport.com You’re entitled to 1 Free Credit Report per year.

Credit Reporting Agencies:Equifax.comExperian.comTransUnion.commyfico.com

Real Estate Abbreviations, Glossary:biggerpockets.com/rei/real-estate-abbreviationsbiggerpockets.com/rei/glossary/

Guides to Real Estate Investing:biggerpockets.comconnectedinvestors.comcrepig.ning.comnationalreia.orgrealestatefinance.ning.comfoacommercial.comactiverenter.com/about-usrentalrookie.comsmarterlandlording.comsmarterlandlording.comlandlordology.comrealestateinyourtwenties.cominvestfourmore.comaffordanything.compropertymetrics.comcommercialrealestateshow.comcompstak.comblog.thebrokerlist.comcreoutsider.comparkstreetpartners.commobilehomeinvesting.netadventuresinmobilehomes.commobilehomeebook.comastudentoftherealestategame.com/bloglandhub.comthelandgeek.com/category/blogroilandinvestments.comlandthink.comretipster.comrentpost.comrehabfinancial.comrehabberpro.comflipthiswholesaler.netalphahomeflipping.com/bloghouseflippinghq.comhouseflippingschool.com/blog123flip.com/blogflippingjunkie.com/flipping-houses-blog-postsbawldguy.comthemichaelblank.comrei360.neteffadams.comjustaskbenwhy.comjoecrumpblog.comjoefairless.comthinkrealty.comrevestor.comfortunebuilders.compropertymob.comrealestateguysradio.com/blogrockstarbrokerage.comreitips.comidealrei.combiggerpockets.com/real-estate-investingbiggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2010/03/24/7-tips-for-better-realestate-negotiation

What We Do: Quickly provide short-term, first position funding, in smaller amounts, to investors who own a property free/clear but cannot or will not use hard money lenders or conventional funding sources. See more info below.

Contact info: Tod Snodgrass, EMD Funding, emdfunding1@gmail.com, 310-408-7015

new drone tech contracts and Poway home prices

Poway Drones: Huge General Atomics Contracts In The Works

by the editor

When I was a kid in the mid-1970’s and my mom worked for a realty company on Poway Road houses were going for about 20 thousand a piece. Now that things have changed and there’s plenty of million-dollar homes dotting the hills above the Poway valley that economic surge will only grow larger this year since General Atomics is getting $328.8 million for their MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial systems programs. The hills south of Poway Road had undeveloped archeological sites rumored to be replete with Indian burial grounds. Now the drones made there will be haunting the skies over Afghanistan and elsewhere.

According to this article on the UPI wire:

‘The MQ-1 Predator is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft that has seen action in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen. The aircraft is used as an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance asset, and can be used to conduct pattern-of-life analysis, as well as targeted and signature strikes on targets.

‘Similarly, the MQ-9 Reaper can conduct multi-missions, and as a medium-altitude range and long-endurance that is remotely piloted. The Reaper, however, is larger and more heavily-armed than the MQ-1 Predator and is used to conduct time-sensitive strikes on targets.’

Maybe San Diego can use some of that aerial surveillance to supplement its dwindling police presence doing traffic monitoring of motorcycle lane-splitting during rush hour.

Drone tech economy.
Drone tech economy.
Haunting the skies of the economic future.
Haunting the skies of the economic future.

Graphs, Charts, and Other Important Data

[Market Trends]

Real Estate Update, December, 2017, from Lenska…

by Lenska Bracknell

Published on her Youtube channel, December 10, 2017.

[Originally from Berlin, Germany, Lenska Bracknell is a full-time real estate agent and broker based in San Diego, California. You can reach her through her website, LenskaRealty.com. ~Editor]

Lenska Realty provides residential real estate services in San Diego for real estate investors, buyers and sellers. Being a landlord and investor herself, Lenska’s background and expertise makes her a valuable resource in understanding real estate market, property evaluations and acquisition. Lenska offers monthly investor tours in different San Diego neighborhoods evaluating houses and searching for deals.

In addition, Lenska assisted many homebuilders with their marketing using aerial photography as a pilot and a aerial photographer. She has been a pilot for over 20 years and has seen San Diego from the air which gives her a whole other perspective and intimate knowledge of our communities.

Fix&Flip Real Estate Investing

[Flipping Houses]

BRRRR (Buy-Rehab-Rent-Refinance-and-Repeat) Advice

by Tod Snodgrass

This real estate investing concept is not new. It has been around for a very long time. Done right, it is a tried and true method for investing in real estate. But it is, at the same time, a somewhat complex and sophisticated investing system that requires a fair amount of ready capital to it pull off.

Whether it is your own cash, a joint venture or the money comes from an equity investor or a loan (debt) BRRRR is usually best employed by seasoned, experienced investors—those who have successfully done a good number of wholesale contract flips, built up their cash reserves, and then (when they are ready) leap into the buy/rehab-fix/flip side of the real estate investing business.

Most smart RE investors use a combination of outside (debt or equity) capital + their own money. Buy-Rehab- Rent- Refinance-and-Repeat really only works if you have a proven track record since banks are reluctant to lend money to inexperienced players; most equity and joint venture types are even more cautious.

Cheap Price vs. Good Value

It all starts with due diligence. Before you consider purchasing a property, make sure (as much as humanly possible) that at the end of the BRRRR process (months long in most cases) that a profit will be waiting for you. Just because you can acquire a property at a super low price does not mean that it will wind up being a good deal. Often, a lowball price probably means there is something wrong—sometimes REALLY wrong—with the property.

Rehab Checklist

This highlights how important initial inspections are to ensure you don’t buy a lemon. Beyond the initial purchase price, funds you will need, money for the rehab work is also required for, among other things:

1) New doors and/or windows; 2) Paint (outside and inside), and maybe some drywall repairs;

3) New cabinets; 4) Replacement flooring; 5) Some new appliances in most cases;

6) Bathroom showers that need replacing (if damaged or obviously quite old); 7) Roof repairs

8) Replacement garage door; 9) Electrical or plumbing repairs/upgrades; 10) General landscaping.

Three Separate Financings Required

The first (and biggest cost in most cases) is for the initial purchase of the property. Since most banks won’t loan money on what they view as a “speculative investment”, and assuming you are not wealthy yourself, you are going to need private capital—that is money that comes from individuals with whom you have, or can develop, a personal and hopefully ongoing business relationship. Again, this money is just for the initial purchase, be it debt, equity or a JV deal.

FYI: The problem with debt is that the servicing costs, during the time you are rehabbing the house, and the added time to put the house on the market and sell it, can quickly eat away at even the most well-thought-out finance plan. Equity does not require any monthly payments. JV deals can go either way.

The second round of financing you will need is for the rehab/fix portion of the job. This can easily run into thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in total. The third money need (if you are using borrowed money to finance the deal) is debt service costs that you run up during the months it takes to complete the full BRRRR cycle.

For example, if it is not unusual to pay a private debt investor an annual interest rate of 10%-14% and maybe 2-4 points. Some cost less, some cost more. So, for every $100,000 you borrow, over the course of say 6-9 months, the costs can equal $10,000 or more, in total, for financing costs alone.


Doing BRRRR is NOT for newbies or the inexperienced. You should have several flips under your belt first; save up our money; learn as much as you can about rehabbing before embarking on any fix/slip deals, etc. and last MAKE SURE that you have adequate money resources lined up well in advance of the purchase of the property to cover it, and the rehab/fix costs, and the debt servicing costs as well.

Profit Comes First: Last, carve out how much profit you need to make on the deal, and work backwards (reverse engineer the costs) from there. If it doesn’t pencil out the way you want, move on to another deal that does make economic sense.

[Editor’s note: this article is a reprint from Tod’s monthly newsletter which you can subscribe to by emailing him at emdfunding3@gmail.com.]

Rehab house image added by Proispector.us.
Rehab house image added by Proispector.us.

The New Wild West

Gates’ Tech City On A Hill

In The Arizona Desert Bill Gates Plans A Master Tech Community

possibly a modern-day EPCOT Center

by Robert Rowsey

Belmont, Gates' shining tech hub city on a hill of the future may do what Dinsey's EPCOT Center could not.
Belmont, Gates’ shining tech hub city on a hill of the future may do what Dinsey’s EPCOT Center could not.

I saw a click-bait article on my Facebook feed today and rather than follow it down its link rabbit hole I googled the main headline points and came up with this story, and then this story here about how Bill Gates recently bought 25,000 acres of desert sand, rock, and cactus in Tonopah, Arizona, for 80 million dollars and plans to turn it into a city with smart cars and other high tech features: ‘…Gates could do what Disney could not, because he has more control over the outcome, and because technology has advanced to a level that makes the overall vision more viable.’

Gates’ shining city in the desert will be called Belmont.

One news site quotes the Gates-owned real estate company who organized the purchase, Belmont Partners, as saying in a press release, “Belmont will create a forward-thinking community with a communication and infrastructure spine that embraces cutting-edge technology, designed around high-speed digital networks, data centres, new manufacturing technologies and distribution models, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistics hubs”.

While this master plan can and should be replicated elsewhere, my first thought was, “Who’s going to provide the nightclubs and entertainment for the geeks?”

Okay, no seriously, what a great idea. Do you know how much BLM land may be freed up for development in the next three to seven years if Trump gets his way? Isn’t 95 percent of Nevada federal land that’s basically unused? Think of all the mega-casinos and convention centers that could be built.

And what about all the Appalachian towns and Rust-Belt cities in the Northeast that are dying because industry left them? Some smart tech billionaire could approach their city planners and say, “Right, let me invest all this money in your tired but scrappy little old town and I’ll turn it into a high-technology burg of the future with free high-speed internet for all but you give me and my company bargain basement deals and zoning rights on all the real estate you have for sale and 50 percent of all the returns your town makes in productivity and profit for the next fifty years.”

Or something like that. You get the idea. There is SO MUCH investment potential in vast swathes of this gigantic country if more people with the means like Bill Gates were allowed to take the chance. Positive change would happen fast!


Plenty Of Money For Defense

A Great Time For
The War Business

by Robert Rowsey

Things are shaping up to be good for those who work in national defense. While the liberal arts, social services, and education sectors in the U.S. today are facing budget cuts, more money is slated to be funneled into the military.

On March 17 UPI issued a story saying Northrop Grumman received a “$68.7 million contract from the U.S. Navy for the production of littoral combat ship gun mission modules.”

“The contract includes outfitting assembly installation, interim depot level maintenance, engineering support and sustainment services. The deal includes other options which, if exercised, can its bring the total cumulative value to $812 million.”

Maybe the “sustainment services” will include millions of dollars in “Navy husbandry” support activities like those reportedly at the core of the recent and ongoing “Fat Leonard” scandal which ensnared several high ranking Navy officers here in San Diego this week. According to the UPI story the contract work will center in “Virginia, Alabama, New York, California, and other states. It is expected to be complete by July 2019.”

Also according to the article Northrop Grumman got $23 million at signing of the contract and $500,000 is set to expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Littoral combat ships are vessels used to project power. Other functions include maintaining a forward presence, providing deterrence, sea control and maritime security.

The article also said littoral combat ships can also be used to support humanitarian operations, but with the current White House resident one can suspect they probably won’t see much of that,

Littoral combat ships from Northrup-Grummon.
Littoral combat ships from Northrup-Grummon.

The Art And Science Of Closing

Artfully Scientific Closing

by Tod Snodgrass

“Nothing happens until a sale is made (closed).”
–Thomas Watson Sr. (Founder, IBM Corp.)

Closing sales is usually described as more art than science. If it was the latter, then you could expect the exact same outcome every time you apply the same sales techniques to a particular selling situation. However, anyone who possesses even a modicum of knowledge about the process knows darn well that the outcome of any particular sales meeting is anything but totally predictable. The variables are too many to count, starting with the fact that we are dealing with human beings each of whom brings many different agendas, opinions and life experiences to the table.

Artful Science

This doesn’t mean that sales is totally lacking when it comes to applying well-known techniques and tried and true approaches in order to turn a lead into a sale. What most sales pros will tell you is that a lead is one thing, a closed sale can be quite another. So, if closing sales—or in this case—getting properties under contract is the goal, then it stands to reason that a combination of art and science needs to be applied in order to maximize potential outcomes.

Door to Door Learning Curve

I learned about sales and selling early on in my life. At the tender age of 13 I went to work for a company that sold magazine subscriptions. Essentially we knocked on doors, doing cold calling; LOTS of cold calling. Sometimes a hundred doors or more in one day—with 95 of them slammed in my face. It was tough sledding. Ninety percent of new sales recruits the company hired bombed out in the first few days. And in fact I did not sell anything until the third day. But once I got the hang of it, I was off to the races. Wound up setting sales records and making a lot of money for my age, at the time.

Here are some of the things I learned then that pretty much still apply today, all these many decades later.

1. Know your stuff. Included in that catchall phrase is knowing pretty much in advance what you are going to say, but then adapting it to the unique person and circumstances staring at you across the table. For instance, when I was 13, we were required to memorize a canned pitch. It was slightly hokey, but it worked. The company had hired a psychological testing company who experimented with all sorts of different sayings, phrases, etc. What they came up with was actually pretty good. We of course could add our own spins to the memorized spiel, but only at the margins.

Lesson learned: Plan your work, work your plan. Write out in advance of your meeting what you need to say and how you are going to achieve same. Go over potential objections. Know in advance how much you are prepared to bid, under what terms, in what time frame. Have an agreement ready to go in order to make the sale.

2. Get it in writing. Harkening back again to my door to door learning experiences, in addition to knowing what to say, we were also schooled in how to put pen to paper in order to convert a verbal OK into something in writing. Example: We were given index-card-sized “sales cards” to use with potential buyers. As the conversation progressed, we would find out what magazines they liked and check them off on the card. Then we would ask for and write down their name. What we were employing then, is what they now refer to as “assumptive closing”. As long as the buyer did not object, we just kept writing down more and more info such as their address, phone number, etc. Finally, we would hand them the pen and card (that had an “X” where they were supposed to sign). Then we were told to just shut up. The vast majority of the time the buyer would sign the card because it was just part of the natural progression of events that make up the sales process.

Lesson learned: Once the customer signed the sales card, in THEIR mind, they were committed. When the manager/closer came by later that day to get the actual sales contract signed, very few buyers changed their minds. They were locked in once they signed the sales card. Same thing goes with getting properties under contract. It can be done on the back of an envelope, or on a Letter of Intent or Memo of Understanding etc. Doesn’t really matter what form it takes, because the important point is that you need to get it in writing. Once they have signed say the LOI, they are usually very committed to the deal.

3. Different closes for changing circumstances

a. Minor point closing: This technique calls for you to ask a series of questions for which you know you are bound to get “yes” answers. Finally, when you get to the point of them signing the LOI, it is just one more in a long series of small incremental steps that culminates in you walking out of their home with a signed contract in hand.

b. Avoid questions that result in Yes or No answers. Instead, dwell on details that help move the deal along in a linear fashion—from first hello to last goodbye. For instance: Which day would you like escrow to open? How many days of contingency do you feel comfortable with? What items were you planning on taking from the home that are currently fixtures, but could be moved and that are important to you?

c. Door knob close. If the sales call does not go as planned, and you are faced with a do-or-die decision about how to save the sale, try to have lined up in your mind some new concession you can make as a last- gasp-effort to save the currently-DOA deal—but only if they sign on the dotted line right now. It might be a higher offering price, faster time frame, more cash up front, etc. These are called door knob closes because you save them until you literally have your hand on the door knob ready to leave their home with no sale. Then you turn around and make one last final appeal to save the deal with something you have saved up that makes them want to reconsider their previous negative decision.

The bottom line is that sales is not rocket science, but is does have some science in it. It is not pure art either, because there are predictable elements to it. It is, at the end of the day, really a combination of the two = artfully scientific. Your job is to take the best elements of both art and science, and create a vehicle that works best for you.

[Editor’s Note: this article is a reprint from and email newsletter I was signed up for by Tod Snodgrass, a San Diego real estate professional who helps people buy-and-hold or buy-and-flip properties. He can be reached by email at emdfunding1@gmail.com.]