Who knows where the next disaster will strike. Spring has brought destruction over a wide path throughout our country. Tornados across the plains and southern states, widespread flooding, and massive fires close to home. We are entering hurricane season and earthquakes can hit at any time.

 I don’t mean to depress you. All of the above are part of life and over a lifetime will affect most of us in some way. If you are directly affected by a natural tragedy, how does it affect you? I am in no way qualified to understand the physiological effects of having my home totally obliterated or losing loved ones like happened to so many in the recent tornados. I do know that there is an effect. There has to be. If you lived in Joplin, Missouri, and just lost your home and possibly member of your family or close friends, would you still want to live in the community? Would you be nervous every spring if another tornado was coming at any minute? I imagine some people would be able to deal with it and some would not. Some will stay and rebuild and some will want to leave.

 Recently, I was speaking at a HomeVestors conference about investing and promoting ARPOLA and met a young HomeVestors franchisee couple from Joplin, Missouri. While their personal home was spared, two rental properties were completely destroyed in the devastating tornado. The pain was obviously still present and the anguish in their voice as they described the destruction of their city was heartbreaking. What also was very present was their determination and how they were applying their real estate investing training, creativity and entrepreneurial sprit to the current circumstances.

 They told me how so many people were not even considering rebuilding and just wanted to leave and start a new life somewhere else – anywhere else. They had received their insurance settlement and were ready to go.

 What is the one thing that the insurance settlement doesn’t have any thing to do with? The land. People that have been seriously scarred by the tragic event and want to leave, still own the land and they don’t want it. They just want to leave, now. This has created an opportunity for real estate investors that want to stay and want to invest in the recovery of the city. I was told some of these lots are selling for a little as $250.

 Sounds like a win-win. Certainly it is a great price for a lot with the entire infrastructure in place. But, the investor will probably have to sit on it for an extended time until a builder is ready to build a new home and there is demand from a buyer for that home. When that time comes, the investor will do quite well. In the meantime, they may have to clear the debris and, of course, pay the taxes.

 Joplin will take a long time to recover, but it will and entrepreneurial real estate investors will contribute greatly to that recovery. It is what independent real estate investors do and they do it well.

 Smarter investing,

 Alan Langston