Chet loved to share his knowledge and experience. This generosity was his primary motivation for writing and teaching. Chet created his own courses for real estate professionals. He authored seminars approved by several States as credits for Continuing Education for agents and brokers. He wrote and presented seminars on Analyzing Investment Properties; Developing and Syndication; Client Estate Building; The Secrets of Successful Exchanging; and Beyond 1031, Market Driven Exchanging.
Chet was renowned for his course, Developing, Syndicating and Big Money Brokerage. He created the course and started presenting the course in the late 1970’s. This three-day seminar typically drew crowds of 100 to 150 real estate professionals. He continued providing this course until the early 2000’s when he became fully involved with developing residential communities with his friends in G5 Enterprises, Inc. After the 2008 Great Recession, Chet again began presenting the seminar to enthusiastic audiences. Over the course of those 30 plus years of offering this seminar, he touched and enhanced the careers of thousands of professionals.
Chad had written extensively for Creative Real Estate, a popular magazine for real estate professionals. As a result of these contributed articles, the editors of the magazine granted Chet their “Best Creator of Wealth” award.
In 1999, Chet wrote a book called The Guide To Becoming Real Estate Rich. The book did well but was not a number one hit. In 2010, he wrote a book called Boom, Bust, & Beyond, Winning Real Estate Strategy in the 2010s. The book is still offered on Amazon.com and IUniverse.com.
At lunch, Chet would sometimes brag a little to Virgil about the size of his royalty checks. They were always large enough to cover the cost of lunch for both guys.
Virgil was with Chet on a few occasions when someone would say, “Hi Chet, by the way I bought your book and really enjoyed it.” Chet always the same reply. He would flash his wide grin and say, “Oh, thanks, I guess you’re the one! I wondered who it was.”
Boom, Bust and Beyond, was written two years after the 2008 Great Recession. In the Forward to his book, the reader is made aware that Chet was still smarting from the banking debacle that led to the Great Recession. In the Forward he accurately relates how G5 Enterprises and other developers got caught in the middle of a no-win situation through no fault of their own.
As extracted from that Forward, with a few minor edits, Chet writes:
Although I’ve been in real estate investment broker, developer, builder, and investor for over 40 years, and veteran of three other recessions, nothing in my experience compared to the turmoil of the 2007-2009 years
The years between 1999 and the writing of this book have been filled with unprecedented events. In 1999, California and much of the nation was recovering from a real estate recession. In the preceding years, brokers and builders were barely hanging on – the 1993 Builder’s Association Convention moto was “Stay alive til ’95.” However, by 1999 the real estate market was on the upswing, and in the next seven years recorded unprecedented property appreciation, far beyond my previous experience.
And I was in the right place at the right time with the right team. A group of us, Dan Harrison, Greg La Marca, Virgil Opfer, Bob Stewart, and myself formed G5 Enterprises, Inc, a real estate development corporation. The company hit home run after home run, recording huge profits for ourselves and our investors. Our properties were appreciating 1% to 5% per month and buyers were flocking to acquire our homes and condos. Financing had never been easier, and the “flippers” were making tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes without ever going into title.
Our team was made up a real estate veterans: we had all survived the ups and downs the previous cycles. One of our mission statements was to not to be highly leveraged and nonliquid when the appreciation (boom) stopped and the properties quit selling.
What we, and most of the country’s other developers couldn’t control is the lead time projects required to process obtaining final project approvals. When I first started developing real estate, I could get a subdivision approved in six weeks and a building permit in a few hours. With the onslaught of state regulations, required environmental impact reports, neighborhood protesters, understaffed city building departments, planning departments, and utility providers, projects in California and many other states were taking years to get approved. To tie up a potentially productive parcel land in boom times requires quick action and a large, nonrefundable deposit. To attract investors, a construction lender needs to be in place. Entitling a major development project requires hundreds of thousands, even millions, of upfront investment dollars and loan commitments.
The bottom line is once a project is started, because of the money already committed, the developer just can’t stop. There are a few who saw the writing on the wall, who didn’t acquire any land, and sat on the sidelines during the end of the 2000-2006 boom. The rest of us got caught, and it cost us millions.
In preparing the material for this website, Lynn Allen introduced Virgil to a novel that had been written many years ago by Chet. The novel, Geneva Cove, is a fictional story centered around a fraudulent scheme by a ruthless developer who tries to cheat his investor partners. The hero, Max Webster, is a problem solver. In the graphic story, Chet vividly describes places and problem solving ideas that could have been based on Chet’s own professional experiences. By relying on his own multi-week mountain hikes, the story takes the reader on a journey through the High Sierras with a feeling of authenticity. This had to be a fun project for Chet because his fictional characters sometimes use earthy language that Virgil never heard Chet use. For authenticity, he describes actual places that he had visited. In the book, Chet describes an estate in Sutter Creek that, in the novel, was built by Max’s father. The estate described was actually built many years ago by Chet as his own home.
By clicking on the Geneva Cove button below, the reader can review Chet’s synopsis of the novel. At the end of the synopsis, there is an invitation to receive a PDF version of Geneva Cove by return email.