Sec. 53. It is quite important that the investor should be able to figure percentages. How to multiply a given amount by a certain rate and obtain a correct result, is comparatively easy, but how to ascertain the rate when the amount of the percentage is given, is not so well understood. The rule is: Divide the number considered the percentage by 1 per cent of the other number. In the above illustration, let us suppose the investor, at the end of two years, sold the property for $5,000, the buyer to assume the mortgage, and that the insurance per year was $10, the taxes, $16, and repairs, $14, a total of $40 per annum, or $80 for the two years. In this case we are considering the cost to the buyer as $2,000, as that was the amount of cash he invested. The statement, therefore, would be:
Rent received, $240 per annum x 2......................
Total gross gain..................
Less taxes, insurance and repairs, $40 per annum x 2...................
Interest, $120 per annum x 2...............
One per cent of investment, $2,000, is $20; dividing $1,160 by 20 equals 58, covering a period of two years, or 29% per annum, net.
Sec. 54. Undesirable properties should be avoided.
(1.) Don't buy key lots. To illustrate a key lot: Let us suppose that the principal street is called Main and that a street running at right angles with and across it is called Lincoln. Lots face on Main and are 150 feet in depth. The lot facing on Lincoln, immediately in the rear of the Main street lots, even though an alley intervened, would be a key lot. If the lots, as sub-divided, faced on Lincoln, instead of Main, and were each 50 feet in width by 150 feet in depth, someone might buy two of them and subdivide into three lots, each 50 by 100 feet, facing on Main, so that the third lot, in such case, would be a key lot. A barn, or the rear of a store, in either case, might obstruct the view of a house situate on the key lot. Some banks will not make loans on key lots.
(2.) Don't buy lots adjoining saloons, livery stables, blacksmith shops, planing mills, undertaking parlors, and the like. The inhabitants of houses close to this class of improvements are apt to be troubled with flies, disagreeable odors, noises or uncanny sensations.
(3.) Don't buy a corner lot on a street, the inhabitants of which take so much pride in the street and in its exclusiveness as a residence street that they would not trade with the occupant of the corner if it were improved.
Sec. 55. The real estate investor should buy and sell philosophically. If he finds, after having purchased, that he could have bought that particular lot at a lower price, or could have bought a more desirable lot at the same price, or after having sold, ascertains that he sold at too low a price on an advancing market, he should not do, as some have done, play the baby act and blubber, but rather should think a few intense thoughts. He should seek to know wherein his weakness lies and whether or not he had bought or sold too hastily and without sufficient investigation, and should make firm resolutions as to future conduct in this respect; otherwise, his subsequent transactions will be a repetition of previous errors. He should not worry; worry irritates but does not benefit. A calm analysis of the cause of the failure should lead to the determination to apply an efficient remedy in the future, and this course will strengthen the judgment. One should crystallize past experience into fixed principles for future guidance, and even go so far as to set down, briefly and tersely, such principles in a memorandum book, where they can be reviewed occasionally and kept fresh in the memory. The investor, before investing, should make up his mind to lose gracefully, if lose he must. As old Cargill said: "Any fool kin be a good winner, but the public has a lingerin' an' strong affection for the feller that kin smile when he's losin'. He's the real sport; he's the man they like."
Sec. 56. Several years ago a book entitled "Mortgage Lifters" was published, and in the introduction it is stated that "There are thousands and thousands of farmers in this great country who have bought farms with but very little cash to pay down, have given a mortgage for the balance, and in the course of a shorter or longer period have paid it off, and now own their farms free of all incumbrance." One of these "Mortgage lifters" gives the following good advice: "Marry a good wife, buy a farm, be honest, industrious and saving, trust in God, and go ahead." A young man should not fear to go in debt to a reasonable amount for a farm, provided he is healthy, industrious and ambitious. What constitutes a "reasonable amount" must be decided by each individual in view of all the circumstances.
Sec. 57. Farming in the twentieth century is not a mere matter of guess. Farming is being reduced to a science. The farmer studies the soil and its needs. The modern farm is a field of diversified interests. A portion is devoted to forage plants; another portion is set to an orchard of desirable trees and vines. The barnyards and barns are well arranged and enclose only the best of live stock. Every avenue is made to pay a profit on the investment. The farmer studies the soil and its needs. Irrigation to him is an agency of perfection in soil cultivation. Irrigation supplies moisture at the time when plants and trees require it and in the ratio demanded for correct growth. With judicious cultivation, seed time and harvest are certainties. The modern farmer is an educated power in the land. His influence is noticeable everywhere that men of determination and force of character are wanted. Many of our modern farmers are making from three thousand to ten thousand dollars per annum.
Sec. 58. Parts of Washington, Oregon and California, and other western states, offer good farming opportunities, and possess all of the natural conditions and few of the disadvantages of the older settled districts. The soil is good, climate desirable and natural conditions are adapted to general farming. No section, however, offers homes to men who will not work. Farms are made and not found. The location selected must be converted into a farm by the owner. Opportunities await the industrious and energetic young man throughout the Northwest, and the young man who can and will do something is welcome in every locality.