Bel Partner

The Value of an Experienced Sales Agent in REO Transactions

July 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Real estate owned (REO) properties can be wise investments for the smart investor. Buying discounted properties is often a complex process. Some sales agents are experienced in completing these property transactions and can be a great help to buyers. For instance, the sales agent can identify REO properties, help the buyer prepare paperwork, and offer advice about how to negotiate with the bank throughout the REO transaction process. Buyers should learn as much as possible about how to buy foreclosures or bank-owned properties before committing capital. Even a modest amount of research can help the buyer avoid frustration and paying too much on an REO property.

Banks and Negotiation

Some banks will negotiate on REO properties. The experienced sales agent can help the prospective buyer to assess certain criteria prior to an attempt to negotiate a better sales price. The property’s location, its condition, and the number of prospective buyers for the property all count to the bank. For instance, if the property is in good condition but miles away from the center of town, or it’s in a less than desirable school district, fewer buyers are likely to bid on it. The bank may be willing to accept a lower price if the buyer has cash in hand.


Successful negotiation requires the ability to understand the other party’s perspective. The buyer must understand what the bank is thinking. If a property has been on the market substantially longer than the bank believes it should, they may become concerned about losing money on their investment. They want to liquidate such a property as soon as possible.


Kuba Jewgieniew is the CEO of one of the top brokerage firms in the United States. Realty ONE Group uses technology and data to help individuals and investors buy and sell property. Realty ONE Group has headquarters in Irvine, California.

Netflix Corporate History

July 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Samuel Phineas Upham

Founded in 1997, Netflix has become a national leader in video streaming and entertainment. It hasn’t been an easy road, but the company has successfully built a streaming service and produces its own content. The two founders, Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings had both worked together at Hastings previous company Pure Software.

Hastings was a math teacher turned software programmer, and then he sold the venture for $700 million. Of that sum, Hastings invested $2.5 million of his own cash to start a rental service for movies. Hastings got the idea after being forced to pay $40 in fines after he returned Apollo 13 well past its due date.

Hastings launched Netflix with 30 employees working under him, and about 925 titles available for rental. In its early days, Netflix was primarily a shipping company that brought rentals to consumers with late fees for single rentals. It launched a subscription service soon after, which the company has built its reputation off of since.

Netflix tried to sell to Blockbuster for $50 million in 2000, but the offer was rejected.

The company went public in 2002, with shares that debuted at $15.

By 2005, Netflix had 35,000 titles in its arsenal, and eventually added a streaming service. By 2007, when the company announced it had shipped its one billionth DVD, DVD orders began to decline. This decline lasted well into 2011 and has caused Netflix to pivot and focus primarily on streaming content.

About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Samuel Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his Facebook page.

General Motors Corporation

July 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Phineas Upham

General Motors is more than a century old, but it remains one of the largest automotive manufacturers in the world. The company is primarily focused on the industry of automotive transportation, and concentrates heavily on engineering improvements that make automotive manufacture possible. It’s headquartered in Flint, Michigan and employs over 200,000 people across the world as of 2012.

William C. Durant founded the company in 1908 as a holding company. Its first holding was the Buick motor company, but it began a period of rapid acquisitions. Some of these buyouts included Oldsmobile, Cadillac and a company called Oakland (later changed to “Pontiac.”).

Durant already owned a carriage company, which was building in excess of 100,000 carriages yearly to meet demand from its factories in Michigan and Canada. Durant also held several Ford dealerships. The acquisition of Rapid Motor Vehicle Company was the predecessor for the GMC truck line we have today.

The 1930s saw GM branch out into aircraft design and manufacture. It bought Fokker Aircraft, then took controlling interest in North American Aviation through a stock exchange deal. Although, GM dropped its interests in aircraft manufacturing by 1948, when sales were tanking post World War II. The engines built by GM also made appearances in submarines and other sea craft.

After World War II, GM was one of the highest grossing companies in the US. It never held the title for long, but it was briefly the largest employer in the world in 1955. Only Soviet state-held companies could rival GMs sheer power of production for its time.

Phineas Upham

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phineas on his Phineas Upham website.

Burns and McDonnell History

July 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Phineas Upham

Burns and McDonnell is an engineering and design firm that is based out of Kansas City, Missouri. The company is 100 percent owned by employees, and is one of the leading design firms in the continental US. Burns and McDonnell cater primarily to government and utility markets, handling construction and consulting for organizations in industries like aviation or defense.

The company was founded in 1898 by Clinton Burns and Robert McDonnell, who were both graduates of engineering from Stanford. They began with the name Burns and McDonnell, Consulting Engineers. The company was built to provide clean water systems, sewage and reliable power grids to the growing municipalities of the Midwest. Its first major project was to build a water and light plant in Iola Kansas.

At the age of 53, after designing countless water systems and railroad lines, Clinton Burns passed away in 1924. McDonnell changed the name of the firm to Burns and McDonnell Engineering Company, and stayed on as leader until his death in 1960 at the age of 82.

In 1942, the company switched to aviation projects with its first major undertaking in Salina Kansas. The base they constructed was Smoky Hill Army Airfield, which would become the home of the B-29 Bomber.

The company has been ranked in the top 50 of Fortune Magazine’s Best Companies to Work For in 2009, 2012, 2013, and 2014. The company also runs its own foundation, where it nourishes communities through educational outreach and human services.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phineas on his Phineas Upham website

Why a gelato business can be good for you

July 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Gelato Products

If you have been working as an employee all your life, it would be a really good idea for you to make a change of scenery by starting up your own business. An ice cream parlor would be a really good idea, and it’s definitely quite a profitable business too if you’re willing to put in the work. You need to remember, however, that it’s more than just Gelato spoonsand Gelato supplies. Any business requires that you should have some degree of marketing and advertising if you want to be successful. And by doing so, you need to make sure as well that you can commit to things. To help you with your business, you also need to have employees that are competent and trustworthy as well. After all, you can’t do everything by yourself. You need someone to run your store while you’re looking for ways to expand or increase profitability as well. And the main reason why a gelato business is good for you is because cash flow in this business is really good, and you’ll find that turnover is fast as well. That means that you can literally rake in profits on a daily basis instead of having to wait for your salary to come in every week or every fifteen days. If you’re wondering if you can earn more by having your own business, the answer is yes. You can make more money if you have your own business instead of being an employee.


Findinggood gelato suppliers doesn’t have to be hard. You’ll have to be reasonable as well when it comes to your standards.

Dispute and mediation services

July 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Lyle Charles

Construction claims managementas well as any conflict that may arise from your construction projects do not have to turn into a full-blown court case that involves thousands of dollars and countless work hours going to waste all because of judicial proceedings. Let’s face it, you don’t want to go to court and neither does your client. In situations like these, the best solution is prevention. Why find a cure when you don’t have to get sick in the first place, right? In construction disputes, it usually ends up in dispute and mediation wherein both parties are able to air out their grievances and ask for the remedies that they seek. In disputes, dispute and mediation services are necessary, but having to go to court is not. You can end your problems in mediation and you can move on. You can do this by recognizing your options. Who is the real party at fault? Do you have any liability to your client? You need to recognize things for what they are. If your chances of winning are slim to none, then settle. Nobody wants to do business with a construction firm that turns on their own clients. And you do not want your construction firm to have a reputation like that either. Your lawyer knows what to do, and listen carefully as well to what he has to say as he has the best opinion in the room on whether you have a valid cause of action or not.


Lyle Charles Consultinghas everything that a construction company needs out of consultation. They also have construction claims analysis so you can have a proper course of action.

The History of Nintendo

July 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Phineas Upham

Prior to Nintendo’s 1979 unveiling of the Game and Watch, the company enjoyed humble beginnings as a playing card maker. It created handmade cards to be played with a game called Hanafuda, until the dawn of the electronic age.

It began by producing color TV game consoles, with 4 versions initially. Each version played a different game, like Tennis.

This was around the time that Nintendo hired a young man named Shigeru Miyamoto, who would eventually become one of the most recognized figures in the industry. His first task was designing the casing for the console in the new “Nintendo Games” department. His next task was designing the game we would all come to know as Donkey Kong. This single title completely changed Nintendo’s way of life.

Nintendo enjoyed a fair amount of success from these home consoles before releasing its Game & Watch system in 1979. Donkey Kong would join the list of titles getting the Game & Watch treatment. In 1983, Nintendo released its Family Computer, which it shortened to “Famicom.” The US received a similar version, today known to children all over as the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Nintendo completely dominated the market for home gaming consoles, beating out Atari as the number one device. Its Super Mario Bros. is one of the best-selling video games in history.

That success was followed by the Super Nintendo, which was based on a 16-bit processor and allowed for better graphics and sound. Since, Nintendo has made a mark in the industry with innovative software design, and hardware for handhelds. The flagship console of today is the Wii-U, which has sold somewhat below expectations.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phineas on his LinedIn page.