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How I became an Urban Farmer

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Bill’s Life and his Lessons Learned and Opinions, Part III

When I was twelve years old, I had bought and sold many shares
of stock on the NYSE. I was a motor mouth even then. I always
was eager to talk to anyone who liked to invest and discuss
stock picks. One of my fathers friends John was such a person.
John only had a 3rd grade education. His mother was a prostitute
and his first job was collecting and selling leaches to whores
in Trenton to be used to remove hickies on their…Well, you got
the picture?

John could hardly speak, he studderd so bad that it was a labor
to talk to him. But John was no dummy. He had gone on to become
a noted designer of transformers and had built up a large
company. He lived on a large estate that overlooked a huge pond
which to a twelve year old was an eye opener. What ever John
would say or do had to be noteworthy.

John would also talk of the lastest electronic gadgets, hottest
stock picks, Trees, hunting stories, and about real estate. Just
what I was interest in. One day John came to our house. He was
so excited that he could hardly talk to us. He handed me a book
and said,” Re…re……re…read this. “It was a book on
stock options. The book detailed about puts and calls and how
powerful they are in investing. At the time there were few
options offered. I read this book. I reread this book over and
over. I was amazed at how powerful an option could be. I did not
buy or sell any as I did not have the funds to risk on them but
I said to myself , “This is something that I am going to do some

Most options on stocks or commodities expire as worthless. Some
estimates are that 80% expire as worthless. Not a very good
track record for an investor. Now for every option buyer there
is a seller. Someone is making money, not just the brokers.
Option buyers aquire what can be called leverage. An occasional
winner can make up for a bunch of losers. The option sellers
don’t necessarly lose unless they trade options naked, ( they
don’t own the underlining security) they just don’t have
potential gains that they would have had.

Options clearly define an investors loss liabilities. When you
buy an option it defines the price of the asset, the time you
have to excerise the option, and the capital that you risk. If
the value of theoption cotract goes down the most you lose is
your inital investment.

There are two basic options, a put and a call. A call allows the
buyer of the option to buy the asset a established price for an
established peroid of time. A put allows the buyer to force the
right to force the seller to buy the asset at and establihed
price for an established peroid of time.

What I decided to do when I purchased real estate is to acquire
real estate options for farms which had long term contracts. I
sought contacts that went out 5-10 years. If I could put
together a contract that would run long enough, the rising real
estate market would make the contract price a bargain price in
afew years. I would offer yearly option renewal payments to the
sellers. I made those payments applicable to the purchase price
so as time flies the property becomes cheaper.

Now I know that your thinking that this can’t work. I know it
does for I have done many of these contracts. Most people who
have sold me these contracts want just what this contract
offers. They can remain on their property and have the option
payment which suppliments their income. They just don’t own any
appreciation in the property which they would not have if they
sold it. There are also great tax reasons for selling an option.
When an option is written it is considered an opening
transaction. Taxes are assesed on completed transactions. If a
option is not closed revenue is generally not taxed. (see your
investment advisor and make sure the contract is properly

Once this contract is in place one could lease the fields from
the owners. This could be known as a lease purchase contract.
Now you have ground on which you can plant trees. In many
instances I have aquired land this way for less than the cost of
the taxes on a yearly cash flow basis.

You can see Bill’s web sit at


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  • Posted On August 1, 2006
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