Category Archives: Real Estate Investment

On Mindset and Turning Things Around – Reflecting on Steve Jobs’ 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford University



Turning things around
Reflecting on truth


Focus has been an important lesson for me these past 12 months. It has meant re-setting priorities and making tough decisions along the way. One–of which–was to set school aside to focus on getting my business through rough economic waters.  For many years, I was able to balance school, work, and life; but when the economy took a turn for the worse and as my studies grew markedly intense, I knew that I had to make a choice–although, it was not an easy one for me to make. When we are feeling down, it is easy to get lost in the waves of emotion that often go with life’s’ disappointments. However…

I found a video that really put it all into perspective for me. It was a video of Steve Jobs giving a commencement speech at Stanford University. It reminded me that working towards a vision in life is worth fighting for. It means staying strong when the going gets tough, and not letting the years escape when there is so much to carry out to bring things back into balance.  The most striking thing I heard him say was when he spoke about a calligraphy class that inspired greater things to come and ultimately brought our world to a new level of connectivity and communication. It shows how seemingly small inconsequential things can become the seeds of change for the future:

“Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart; even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.” (Jobs, 2005)

In order to change the future, we must start with our vision of life and then trace back to the first step that begins today. There will never be a way to predict an outcome. We can “what if” ourselves to death, but when it comes right down to it, there is no room for fear and doubt. There is no instant gratification when it comes making a positive difference in changing the context of our lives for the better. When the winds of change begin to call us, we can either answer it by recognizing that something is not right– and then do something about it–or we can take the path of least resistance accepting things as fate and settling into a life of mediocrity and unfulfilled aspiration. We can choose to live our lives as others would prescribe to us, or we can choose to find our own way. We can choose to pursue and live an extraordinary life, or we can procrastinate and fall asleep at the wheel letting the years escape us while rendering us lost ships in a world of uncertainty. It is totally up to us. We all have a choice, and no one can make this choice for us.

This is especially true for families who have struggled financially to make life a better place for themselves and for their future generations. It only takes one person to break the vicious cycle of generational poverty in their family line. It only takes one person to set an example for others to follow—proving that change can happen for the better. I believe Steve Jobs was such an example that we may learn from,

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” (Jobs, 2005)


It all takes determination, perseverance, focus, and a deep sense of living a purposeful life.  It means acknowledging what we must do, and then making the necessary decisions to make them happen and to make life better. It may mean that we lose some friends in the midst of transition, but at the same time, it may also mean that we discover who our real friends truly are— a treasure trove in itself.

Dare to dream. If we dare to follow the heart that lives within us all, then it will serve as our beacon of light to a better way of life. Anything is possible as long as we believe it is so.


We can choose how to live our lives--for better, or for worse.


Three tips for first time homebuyers: Peace is in the planning!

I remember when I bought my first home. It was one of the most exciting times in my life. What I love most about what I do is that I get to re-live that joy every time I deliver a set of keys to a brand new homeowner. I can see it in their eyes when they realize the home they are standing in is all theirs including the land.

Here are three reasons why your home buying experience will be more peaceful when you take a little time up-front to plan:

1. Reduced anxiety

There is so much uncertainty in the eyes of the first-time home buyer, but generally I see nervousness that can materialize in different ways. It depends on the person being nervous. A good buyers agent will take the time to familiarize themselves with your preferences. They will make your life easier and buying experience more enjoyable and ultimately more exciting, so make sure that you find and work with only the best. You can find a good buyers agent by asking them to provide references from past clients.  When a  good buyers agent consistently delivers a quality service to their buyer clients, their clients are typically very happy to provide a reference.

2. Have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish, and more importantly, how you will accomplish it.

3. Move forward with a sense of confidence. When it comes to buying real estate. Planning goes a long way to ensure your peace of mind when you are buying your first home. A good buyers agent will earn their weight in gold when they can connect to your preferences quickly, spot signs of trouble in a transaction or property, and  then work to resolve issues as they arise in an efficient way.


Buying a home is only the beginning of a whole new world of possibilities. While you are cozy in your first home, you can start thinking about how you would like to liberate yourself through real estate investing. A buyers agent with experience in real estate investing will take care of you on all fronts. They are a partner in your success, so choose wisely and make sure that they recognize what it means to fill this role in your team of professionals. A good buyers agent will look to familiarize themselves with your vision of “home,” as well as your vision of what you want rental income to do for your life, and then work with you to uncover the options to help materialize that vision.

Planning ahead is key to spelling out all of these components before you step into the market, and to your peace of mind during the process.


Three Things Every Buyer Needs to Know About Buying a HUD Home

Buying a HUD Homes

You can find a good deal through the department of Housing and Urban Development, otherwise known as “HUD.” There are few things every buyer should know before beginning a transaction involving the government’s arm in the housing market. Dealing with HUD as a seller is unlike any other transaction under normal buy-sell circumstances. There is a lot of bureaucratic red tape to deal with and the timelines are strict and to the letter–no exceptions. So here are my top three things every buyer should know before getting into a transaction involving a HUD home:

1. Get ready to be on your toes – HUD imposes strict timelines. You have only 48 hours to send original purchase and sale documents after being notified that you have been selected to be the winning bid. If the documents get there one day late, the bid gets canceled–no exceptions.

2. It is a bureacratic experience – In a HUD transaction there are more people involved than a traditional buy-sell transaction. Not only is there the listing agent, the buyers agent, escrow, inspectors and mortgage professionals, but there is also a third-party adminstrator–PEMCO–and a facilities management company that is responsible for maintaining the properties. They handle all the necessary work orders, as required by the conveyance laws of the county where the property is located. In Kitsap County, it is the seller’s responsibility to obtain a health letter for the septic system prior to conveying property ownership.

3. It’s going to cost you to turn on the utilities and water to the property for an inspection – After receiving bid confirmation, you will need to pay $150.00 to the facilities management company in order to turn the utilities on in order to schedule and complete necessary inspections.

The best advice I can give a buyer who is interested in buying a HUD home is to make sure you are dealing with an agent or broker who is HUD-Certified, and one who has streamlined the process to make it easier to bid and buy a HUD home. There is not much time to waste in a transaction with HUD. Many frustrated buyers have had their bids cancelled because their original purchase and sale documents arrived a day late.

A lot of stress can be prevented with a little planning and a certified HUD-Broker that knows what it takes to keep the transaction moving forward to closing. The peace of mind gained is a value to buyers.

More info about buying a HUD home

My Perspective in Brief: A Life Purpose, Mission, and Passion

strategic real estate investment coaching and planning
Requires a smart and strategic plan as a key to building wealth in real estate.

I got into real estate for the same reasons many people get into the business–to find a rewarding career that pays well. With these expectations, I gravitated towards investment property. I felt that if I learned all I could about it I could then take my skills and help people build stronger financial futures for themselves over time.

I can never forget where I came from, and what it was like growing up with parents who worked their butts off only to find themselves still struggling to make ends meet. I feel that every person deserves a chance in life to succeed–if they so choose.

I intend to be the change I see in the world. Where there is a strong desire to become financially independent through real estate, I will be there ready to help.

6 Personal Attributes That Affect Your Real Estate Investing Style


What is your personal real estate investing style?

In order to answer this question, it is important to take a look at the attributes that affect your investing style – and ultimately your investment strategies. Every investor is different, and by realizing that who we are as individuals affects our investment style, we will become better and stronger investors with clearer goals and a more definitive plan.

There are 6 main attributes that will help you gain a better understanding of your real estate investment style. Consider the following attributes and think about how they impact your views on real estate investments:

1. Lifestyle – Do you have time to self-manage, or do you need a property manager?

2. Perspective on life – Do you want to travel, do you have a purpose to fulfill in life, etc.?

3. Personality – Are you good with people, or would you prefer not to deal with too many people?

4. Financial Goals – How much do you need to earn, how often, and by when?

5. Limitations – What are your weaknesses, and what could you do to begin strengthening those weaknesses?

6. Capabilities, unique strengths – What are your strengths, and what could you do to put those strengths to work as you begin paving the path towards your financial independence?

By understanding how these attributes will influence your personal investment style, you will be able to identify real estate investment strategies that will be the best fit for you, allowing you to embark on your real estate journey in a way that truly fits you.

You will also create a symbolic lens that will enable you to distinguish between the strategies and properties you may want to avoid — and the strategies and properties that are ideal.

Suzette West is an exclusive buyer’s agent in Seattle whose mission is to help her clients build wealth and achieve financial independence through real estate investing.

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Sustainable Power and Influence: When are You Powerful?

Power Comes from Within...

Here is a powerful quote from The Power Principle by Blaine Lee  (1997), “Power is not a new phenomenon. It can be intriguing, because power can be surprisingly complex. It can be enticing, because power can be seductive. But it can also inspire and uplift and exalt, because power can be used to help people accomplish marvelous things” (p. 7). Blaine Lee, The Power Principle.”