The operator that drives Alan Cowgills private lending and real estate machines

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  • Author Alan Cowgill
  • Published August 25, 2010
  • Word count 1,350

Hey all. I am Donna and I have been working for Alan Cowgill for a little over three years. Without a doubt, it's the most educational, demanding, thought-provoking, detail oriented, satisfying, fun job I have ever had. That's saying a lot because I am a mother of 2 adult children, grandmother of 1, and a 20-year veteran of the United States Air Force.

My daughter is 22 and, like a lot of young people, is doing what it takes to find her place in the world. She is a wonderful mother and I am very proud of her. My son just graduated from high school and will be taking classes at The Ohio State University in the fall, working towards a degree in architectural design. I'm proud of him too. My three month old grandson is such a joy and I am spoiling him every chance I get.

I joined the Air Force shortly after high school, left home, and rarely looked back for 17 years. I made a tough decision, but it was the right decision and a decision I do not regret to this day even though it took me away from my family for a lot of years. The Air Force was a good fit for me. I was already a hard worker and highly disciplined; my experiences there honed these skills. I traveled all over the world and got to see and do things I know I never would have if I had stayed home. I was stationed in Alaska (twice), England, Mississippi, Arizona, California, Turkey and right down the road at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, where I retired. I was temporarily assigned to locations in Italy, Germany, Texas, Alabama, Nevada, and various parts of California. Of all the places I have been, Turkey was my favorite. It's a beautiful country, chockfull of historical and religious significance; with some of the nicest people I have ever met anywhere and the most amazing food.

I spent the first 9 years as a mechanic working on aircraft support equipment and 11 years as a paralegal working both the defense and prosecution. I learned to follow directions and checklists to the 'T'.

I had never heard of private lending before I interviewed with Mr. Cowgill. I was initially hired for the shipping position in Colby Properties, but by the time my first day arrived, I had been moved to a position in Integrity Home Buyers, Mr. Cowgill's real estate investing business, where my job was to manage the properties and work with the tenants. Within 3 weeks, I had also acquired accounts payable for both companies and private lender management. I loved it. Although I had budget experience, I had no QuickBooks experience. Thankfully, Mr. Cowgill was very patient with me and we did eventually find someone to work with me in Integrity.

Being an organization fanatic, I guess I was the right fit for completing and keeping track of the paperwork for the purchase and sale of the properties, caring for the private lenders and tenants, and the payable and receivable accounts. The attention to detail and ability to follow check sheets that became a routine for me in the Air Force transferred perfectly into my life in Integrity. Even a very small error or delay in the paperwork can be a huge deal and cost you more than you can imagine. Get the money, find the house, inspect the house, make the offer, get the house, fix the house, and determine your exit strategy. Do it again and again. The promissory notes have to not only be exact, but the loans need to be tracked and the paperwork filed correctly. The Third Party Administrator paperwork for the private lender's IRA loan needs to be processed correctly and timely. As for the tenants, there is more paperwork than you would think. It's not just a lease agreement, its notes, mortgages, IRAs, and HUD statements; purchase and sales agreements, maintenance issues, and evictions. How do you handle it all? You need a system and check sheets. I was in my element.

A little more than a year into my time at Integrity, I got a call from my brother, who is a contactor and still lives in the town we grew up in Northern Ohio. He was struggling with his company and trying to branch out into other areas and asked me come work with him. I had spent a lot of years away from home and had only begun working on rebuilding my relationships with two of my brothers. It took me a long time to realize how important all of my family is. Because of this, I felt that I had to leave Mr. Cowgill and become a part of my family again. It was a very hard decision. He was very understanding and we came to an agreement. I would work part time in the office once a week to pay the bills and remotely beyond that, so I didn't really leave.

I worked with my brother for only 5 month before I returned full time to Mr. Cowgill's office. In the end, the economy was changing, my brother's company couldn't support me and I wanted to come home. I missed my kids, my house, and was finding a long-distance relationship difficult to manage. I hated the day I told my brother that I was leaving him more than I did when I told Mr. Cowgill. I would not trade that time back with my family for anything in the world. I left there knowing my brothers as adults instead of remembering them as the tormentors of my youth. During our time together, my brother and I talked a lot about Mr. Cowgill and his use of private lenders. Eventually that led to Scott becoming one of Mr. Cowgill's students. We convinced him to make an investment in his future and get one of the real estate investing courses.

When I got back to the office, my job changed again. changed. expanded. changed. expanded? OK, expanded. While I was still working in Integrity, I also took on responsibilities in Colby Properties too. I am still working in both companies and loving it more than I did three years ago. I enjoy coming to work. I started out creating new products and have added coordinating events and management of the office. I take a lot of pride in creating a product that can help students improve their business and become successful. Did I mention that I love my job? I really do.

It's hard to say which part I like the best. In Integrity, I enjoy working with the tenants, the private lenders and making sure all of our paperwork is in order. The tenants are my favorite because they are such a trip. No two problems, issues, conversations, or months are the same. I just have to laugh. I get a lot of satisfaction out of keeping on top of all of their issues and making sure they are as happy as they can be with us. I also enjoy the payables and receivables accounts that I manage for, now, all four of Mr. Cowgill's companies. I have learned to love numbers.

In Colby, there is so much satisfaction in working with our students; helping them with their problems, answering their questions, and getting them into boot camps. When I talk to a student who raves about one of the programs and has amassed a ton of money, there is such a feeling of pride knowing that we helped him or her do that. I love the boot camps. I like to see the faces that go with the names I see on a regular basis. I like to learn about the students and where they are in their business. I especially like watching all the different aspects of private lending come together and the lights coming on all across the room, brilliantly blinding by the last day. If you haven't been, I don't know what you're waiting for. That's what I tell my brother every time I talk to him.

E. Alan Cowgill is the owner of Colby Properties, LLC. and President of Integrity Home Buyers, Inc. Since 1995, Alan has bought and sold hundreds of single family and small multi-family investment properties. His home study system, 'Private Lending Made Easy', shows others how to find private lenders for their very own real estate business.

His website is

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