Many of you have heard me tell the story of what Creative Real Estate Investing was like when I started, 15 years ago.  It was very much an underground, unheard of business practice.  So much so that it invited a lot of scams and unethical practices.

It should be no surprise, then, that Wikepedia, still today, defines Creative Real Estate Investing in the following way:

“Creative real estate investing is any non-traditional method of buying and selling real estate.  Confidence tricks and pyramid schemes … have embraced the term, leading contemporary usage of the term to be synonymous with unscrupulous practices.”

To find out this is how the general public really thinks, we did our own survey.  When asked what you think of when you hear the word “creative real estate investor” or see an “I Buy Houses” advertisement… the top answers that emerged were “Fraud”, “Scam”, “Greedy”, “Unprofessional” and “Uncaring”. Continue reading “Help us Bring Creative Real Estate Investing into the Mainstream!”

A few weeks ago, with the help of Patten Law Firm, StepStone had the opportunity to present a free CE class, Advanced Owner Fi Strategies, to local real estate agents. Dan teaches this class and while it can be a lot of information the take away is certainly the advantages of the owner finance option for sellers.

After one of the classes, an agent came up to me and admitted that she had a lot of questions but didn’t ask during the class because she felt so behind the eight ball in understanding the subject. However, her interest was piqued particularly because she had a listing in which owner financing seemed like a perfect option for her client.  We discussed the seller situation and I agreed with her and gave her some advice on her listing.  In fact, not only was owner financing a good option for her listing it was a GREAT option that would allow her clients to not only sell the property but also create residual income on that sale for many years to come. I have a feeling that her clients are going to appreciate her out of the box thinking. Continue reading “Black Sheep Make Better Agents”

I was chatting with a Realtor recently who was considering joining the StepStone team. He’s interested in investing and has done a bit himself but was skeptical that our brokerage could really be the community we described when he came to one of our monthly MasterMind lunches.  After that lunch, he had spent some time with some of our Investor-Agents and found that it really was a group that collaborated on investing strategies, partnered, shared their knowledge with others and had strong ethics. Glad to have you on the team, Sergio. I may have paraphrased a little but that’s how I heard it!

The StepStone Workshops are the culmination of that community spirit.  Twice a year, StepStone Agent Investors and their business partners and spouses are invited to an exclusive event… StepStone Workshops. Our next one is in Houston on August 10th & 11th (‘cause we’re Investors so Houston in August doesn’t scare us!) Continue reading “Which Group Will You Be In?”

My sister and brother-in-law recently purchased a business that they plan to operate together. While they have been married for over 25 years, they are still a little nervous about working together day after day. For the past 10+ years, he was on the road a lot and they sometimes only saw each other on weekends so this will be a huge shift in both their professional and personal lives. My husband, Dan, and I have been in business together for 12 years so she asked for my advice.

In real estate, it’s very common to find spouses or partners working together so I thought this was some advice many of us in the field could appreciate. I reached out to several other successful couples who are in business together to solicit their advice as well. Based on their responses and my experience, I believe the best advice can be boiled down to three main points: Continue reading “When The Personal Gets Professional”

The following is a speech I gave at the April StepStone Agent Workshop introducing our new logo! Read on to find out how StepStone Realty is Moving Real Estate Forward!


Have any of you ever looked up “creative real estate investing” on Wikipedia?

Creative real estate investing is any non-traditional method of buying and selling real estate. Confidence tricks and pyramid schemes in the 20th and 21st century such as Nouveau Riche (real estate investment college) have embraced the term, leading contemporary usage of the term to be synonymous with unscrupulous practices.

Ouch. What we do is synonymous with unscrupulous practices? Well, this is certainly what Dan’s parents worried about when he decided to start real estate investing. They probably started to worry more when Dan left his job as a political consultant to practice creative real estate investing full time. A year or so after Dan left his job he would call me on my lunch hour and he would tell me “Angie, you need to get your real estate license. Angie, you need to start your own business” and I would think, “Dan, I’m the one bringing in a steady paycheck!”  or ” What kind of business could I start? What do I have to offer?” I’ve always said Dan is the gas and I’m the brake pedal. Continue reading “StepStone Realty-Moving Real Estate Forward”

StepStone back offices are in full prep mode for the upcoming StepStone Agent Workshop scheduled for April 13th and 14th in Austin. We are fine tuning the schedule, lining up sponsors, creating handouts, processing registrations, printing name tags…

It’s a big undertaking that started late last year and as I write this we are coming up on the registration deadline on April 5th. Have you registered? Still on the fence? Unsure if it’s really worth your time?

First things first, this is not a profit driven pursuit for StepStone. In fact, the Workshop is a significant expense of both time and money and each additional person who attends costs us a little more. Yet, we still call you, email you and blog about it in an effort to GET YOU THERE! Why? Because we honestly believe the Workshops will help you become more successful. And I don’t mean that in a general sense. I mean that in a very real concrete way. Here’s how: Continue reading “Get Off Your Lonely Island”

My extended family has a Christmas tradition that Dan finds a bit maddening. When we gather to celebrate the holiday and exchange gifts we take turns as each person opens their stocking and Christmas gifts as the rest of us watch. I really enjoy giving each person their own time to open their gifts, thank the giver and see all the great stuff everyone gave each other.

We’ve kept up this tradition for quite some time but the trouble is that every Christmas it seems the group gets bigger. What used to be just me and my two sisters with my parents is now multiplied with our spouses, our kids, their spouses, their kids, assorted in-laws and a gaggle of 5 little girls including a new set of twins. Things have gotten out of hand to say the least. What used to take an hour or so can now stretch well into the night with no time left to do anything else.

Much like the Sherosky clan, our StepStone family has grown a lot in the last few years and based on your comments on our recent survey many of you, like Dan, are ready for a little change in tradition. And, while there are things I really love about how we’ve done the MasterMinds in the past, it’s time to take a new direction. Continue reading “MasterMind Shake UP”

Have you ever seen the TV show Bridezillas? It starts with an introduction to a beautiful, blissful bride and her loving, supportive family. But then, somewhere along the way, a switch goes off and the pleasant bride-to-be turns into Bridezilla- mean spirited, demanding, lashing out at everyone around her.  Usually, the people who get the worst of her abuses are the ones who are closest to her, helping to make her dream wedding come true.

I’ve also seen this same phenomenon in real estate. The buying and selling process can be very stressful. Especially, when things don’t go just right. Or, worse, when things go absolutely wrong.  The stress can cause your most pleasant, friendly client to turn into a Sellerzilla or Buyerzilla in the blink of an eye.  And much like the show, the folks who get the worst of the behavior are often the sales agents who have been working so hard to make the transaction work. Continue reading “When Conflict Arises”

It’s Dan’s favorite time of the year.. the decorations come down, the shopping stops, the hurried and distracted pace of the holidays fades away. January 2nd! Official Back to Work Day!

We’ll get back to work by spending the next few weeks reviewing our 2017 goals and setting the new ones for 2018. By using the techniques we learned reading TRACTION by Gino Wickman over the last year we were able to make some great strides in our goals for StepStone Realty.

First on our agenda was to provide additional training and educational opportunities for our agents. As a result, we produced four Agent Workshops that were offered in each of our major metros.  All four were a great success where agents & partners enjoyed making connections with agents from other cities, excellent networking, great classes and fun happy hours. Based on your comments, this year we’ll be doing 2 Two Day Workshops. Mark your calendars now for April 13 & 14 for the Austin event and August 10 & 11 for the Houston Workshop. You won’t want to miss them. Continue reading “2017 StepStone Goals in Review”

As StepStone grows and our reputation as an excellent brokerage for Licensed Real Estate Investors spreads we start to attract not only folks already in the REI world but those wanting to get into it. We’ve had many brand new agents come on board who see the advantage to having the skill sets of both traditional agents and creative investors to provide them the most likely chance of turning leads into deals and succeeding in the world of real estate.

However, as “greenhorns”, knowing exactly where to start can be daunting. On one hand there is so much information out there that it can be overwhelming and yet on the other hand there is no set curriculum or guide on exactly how to start that you can feel stuck. I’ve chatted with several of these agents over the last few weeks and as a result we are working on creating a Getting Started guide to help our newest agent/investors get off to a good start.

In the meantime, though, if you are one of these agent/investors, there are some active steps you can take to get started in the world of both retail and creative real estate. Make no mistake… breaking into this field takes time and commitment. Determination and willingness to put yourself out there is a requirement. If you are willing to take these first steps you are putting yourself on a path for success. Continue reading “First Steps for the Newbie”