I'm Ken Jones. I've been an award-winning real estate professional since 1971.
My passion in life is to help you to better understand and benefit from the vast wealth-building opportunities that real estate has to offer.
It doesn't matter how much you earn, or how much formal education you may or may not have. There are countless opportunities available for anyone with the desire to learn and the dedication to build wealth for their future.
Whether you're new to real estate and just want to learn how to sell your own home to save thousands in real estate commissions, or you're an experienced professional seeking advice or training in advanced or complex issues, there's something here for everyone.
I believe that the best way to build wealth in real estate is to buy and hold income-producing property that will increase in value over a period of years.
I also believe, that a good investment strategy is one that provides for the acquisition of multiple income-producing properties, and to "trade-up" using the benefits of the 1031 Tax Deferred Exchange.
As for "flipping" houses, it is definitely not an investment, but a business; one that I strongly believe should be left to those with the appropriate level of knowledge and experience.
It's my view, that the present business structure of the residential real estate brokerage industry is seriously outdated.
The combination of the virtual absence of sufficient professional training of real estate agents, especially the newly licensed, combined with the lack of adequate professional oversight has resulted in an unstructured, free-for-all atmosphere.
Add to these issues, the onset of significant technological advances and consumer DIY services, like Zillow.com, and you have the "perfect storm" of events that will likely reduce the use of licensed real estate agents by 50% by 2025.
Once the most prestigious of real estate professionals, the appraisal industry is now on its death bed.
Since the inception of the licensing of real estate appraisers in 1992
there's been a ridiculous and prohibitive level of prerequisite education, ever changing and confusing mandated regulation and unreasonable appraiser liability with virtually no public benefit.
The most endangered is the residential real estate appraiser who makes less in real dollar terms in 2016 than in 1986.
And, with virtually no "new blood," the average age of a real estate appraiser is over 60 years old.
Training someone to reach their maximum potential is beneficial to the elevation of both that person and their industry. I believe that's especially true of the real estate industry.
My education philosophy is to provide factual information in an entertaining and objective manner, and to offer the student a spectrum of practical examples for the appropriate use of that information.
I employ the Socratic method; interacting with and involving the student in discussing the topics. I believe this method provides the student an entertaining experience, and the potential for better understanding and retention.
I started my real estate career as a full-time real estate agent in July 1971.
Since then, I've listed, sold, leased and appraised literally thousands of properties. I've also designed, built, bought, managed, renovated, flipped, auctioned, provided expert testimony, written books, and provided professional education.
In fact, there's probably nothing in, or related to the real estate industry that I haven't done.
Life Before Real Estate
I'm literally one of the first of the "baby boomer" generation, born in January 1946.
The oldest of 5 children, I was raised in a working-class family in Staten Island, which was a beautiful semi-rural place that was virtually isolated from the rest of New York City at the time.
I remember, that whenever I wanted something that my mom didn't want me to have, she'd say, "When you earn your own money, you can buy whatever you want." I took those words very seriously.
In fact, at age 7, I sold Christmas cards door to door.
From age 9 and into my teens, I mowed lawns in the summer and shoveled snow in the winter (when it snowed) so I could earn and save enough money to buy those "special things" I wanted.
With the money I saved, I bought my first pair of ice skates from the Sears Roebuck catalog, my first Silvertone 3-speed record player (also from Sears), along with a continual supply of records.
I've always loved music. And, as long as I can remember, I dreamed of becoming a famous singer. Ah, the dreams of a child.
Aside from my dreams, my parents thought it would be good for me and my sister to take music lessons. So, at age 8 and 6, respectively, we began to learn to play the accordion. But, by the time I was 10, I quit because the teachers wouldn't teach me how to play "modern" music.
In the 7th grade, I started a doo-wop singing group with a few other boys in my class; I was 11 years old.
Trying to arrange the harmonies forced me to pick up the accordion again. It was at this point, that I became committed to pursuing a singing career. And, by the time I was 14, we landed a major recording contract and made our first record (which was a total flop).
But, we did get to do some major stage shows around the New York City area with some of the big-name recording stars at that time.
As for school, to say I was a mediocre student would be a compliment. I didn't like school; it bored me. My attitude toward school was a source of constant conflict with my parents. They saw my devotion to music as a distraction; a waste of time and without a future. They'd say, "Music isn't a 'real' job."
When I was 17, I seriously thought about quitting high school because I was a 1/2 credit short of being able to graduate on time. But, I listened to a friend who convinced me to stick it out.
After graduation, I had a series of meaningless jobs, including changing tires on Greyhound buses and as a night auditor clerk for Avis Rent-a-Car at Newark Airport.
But, all the while I continued to pursue a music career. And, in 1965 I was hired as a studio musician and singer by a team of very successful record producers.
We had several major hit records, including some you still hear to this day.
We toured the US, performed on national and local TV shows, and played in major venues along side other top name rock 'n roll artists of the period; I finally "made it."
But, I became financially irresponsible and abandoned my childhood financial discipline; I spent money faster than I made it. The ignorance of youth, fueled by the arrogance of success at a young age, created the foolish thought that the music gravy train would never end . . . but, it did.
After the Music Died
There I was . . . 25 years old, married (for a second time). expecting my first child, working at a mind-numbing, dead-end 9-5'er, and playing music in local bars 7 nights a week just to pay the bills. My life was a far cry from being the "rock star" I was just a few short years before.
For the first time in my life, I was floundering with no direction. It was scary as hell.
Then, one night, the drummer in the band told me he was selling real estate. He bragged about how easy it was to make "big money," and suggested that I give it a try. Although, I did some construction work when I was in high school, I didn't know anything about selling real estate. But, I had nothing left to lose. So, I went to real estate school at night (between my day job and my night gig), and got my real estate license in July 1971.
Little did I realize, that my desire to simply make a decent living would be the start of what would become a 4+ decade career that would bring me financial success and personal satisfaction beyond my wildest dreams.
A Hard Lesson Learned
I quit my day job, quit playing in the band and devoted 100% of my attention to selling real estate. Starting in August 1971, I worked diligently. And, despite the fact that there was no such thing a "training," I was instantly successful; a "natural," if you will.
I sold 9 homes and rented another in my first 10 weeks. My share of those commissions totaled about $7,000.00 - a tidy sum, especially when you consider that a typical new car, like a Dodge Charger or a Chevy Impala, sold for about $3,000.00.
Then, just before my deals were about to close (at about the same time I was running out of savings), the broker I worked for left town one night with all the trust account deposit monies. Needless to say, I never got paid a dime.
Angry, disappointed and scared, I promised myself I'd never let anyone control my financial future again.
After that setback, I associated with another agency and dedicated myself to becoming a super-successful real estate agent and investor.
While there was no such thing a "professional training" at the time, I had the unique benefit of working with a very successful broker who provided me with excellent guidance. I'll always be grateful for his help.
To become confident in speaking with buyers and sellers, I'd make up imaginary scenarios and act out answering questions I anticipated aloud. I practiced over and over, until I was able to respond confidently and without hesitation.
And, when it came to learning about income-producing property, I also had the good fortune to become acquainted with an older builder who was also a real estate investor. He taught me the basics of cash flow and how to understand risk. I expanded this knowledge through experience and professional real estate appraisal courses and seminars.
Onward and Upward
I opened my own real estate agency in January 1978.
The company grew quickly, and I won several awards for "Best Advertising in New Jersey" from the New Jersey Press Association. I quickly expanded into new construction and renovations, and continued to adhere to my investing plan.
Because there were so few well trained real estate agents (which I needed to meet the demands of my growing brokerage business), and a total absence of real estate agent training programs, I was forced to developed my own fast-track real estate agent training program.
I became known as a skilled and productive broker, as well as a builder and an appraiser. Local attorneys and bankers approached me to provide them with appraisal services, which quickly grew into a major business that took on a life of its own.
I became involved in real estate education as a real estate sales and broker licensing instructor in 1983. And, in 1991, I responded to the demand for real estate appraiser education by opening my own professional education service, writing accredited courses and seminars, and teaching them throughout the eastern United States.
Here's an overview of some of the highlights of my real estate career . . .
I hope you have a better idea of who I am. Not just as a real estate professional, but as a fellow human being.
I look forward to meeting you, and to the opportunity of helping you reach whatever real estate goal you may have.
If there's anything more you'd like to know about me, just click the Start recording button below and leave me a voice message right from your computer. Or, send me an email, if you prefer.