LAW DAY: Make Money With Public Records, Court Listings

By 
Derek Noehren
The Daily Record

Mary Schon didn’t have it easy growing up.

Schon’s book “The Pear Tree Principle,” chronicles her journey from poverty to self-made career success in real estate and lays out the steps she took in a swift 129-page package.

The book, which bills itself as a solid guideline from poverty to wealth and success, tells the true story of Schon’s self-made success which started in her backyard in Omaha.

“As a kid, we were very, very poor. We had nothing,” Schon said. “So, one day I’m sitting in my backyard by the back steps and I’m looking at this tree in my yard, which is a pear tree, and I said you know what, that tree can make me some money.”

That same independent ingenuity is what later led Schon to begin using The Omaha Daily Record in her business life. But before she was an author and owned her own real estate business, Schon had to retrieve her merchandise.

“I climb the tree, shake the tree and got an abundance of fall-harvest pears,” Schon said. “I put them in my little basket and went around door-to-door selling to neighbors. The neighbor ladies would use them in pies or send their kids to school with fruit.”

Earning money, and doing so self-sufficiently, made a lasting impression on the elementary schooler.

“For the first time in my life I had a handful of money,” Schon said.

Instead of blowing it, Schon was already thinking of a way to parlay what she earned into more.

“I said to myself, I’m not going to spend this money, I’m going to invest it,” she said.

Schon took the money earned from the pears to the dime store where she purchased material to make potholders, another item she thought would sell in the neighborhood.

And thus, the Pear Tree Principle was born and cemented in Schon’s mind.

“I start making a beautiful potholders with a loom and loops and found out I could do really neat designs and beautiful colors, and thought OK, I can go sell these,” she said. “So, this idea developed, you can actually start with little or nothing and have a really nice little business going, even at my young age. It became an inspiration for me into my later life.”

She continued to use that mentality in her life as the book details the step-by-step process, she used to go from poverty to owning her own real estate business, Multi-Vest Realty in Omaha.

Using that mindset, Schon developed a database of people in Douglas County who have been sued for unpaid rent.

“The Daily Record has been a wonderful source for me because it has shown me all the way back to 1985 a list of tenants who have been sued for that in this county,” Schon said. “I took all of those names, all the way to today’s date and planted those in my computer. I have a couple hundred thousand names of people to avoid in this community because of The Daily Record.”

The newspaper doesn’t publish a list of tenants to avoid, but it does publish when cases have been filed for nonpayment of rent — which Schon then uses.

“All I’m doing here is accessing and referencing public information,” Schon said. “I used to sell this list to other landlords that were too busy to do it, now I just give it away to help people out.”

Tony Pofahl is the business development director for WorkFit Omaha, which offers occupational health services and medical-legal nurse consulting. Pofahl uses The Daily Record professionally, too.

Notices of organizations are another public record printed in The Daily Record. This tells the public what new businesses are opening, thus allowing a prospective outlet to target their needs.

“Most anyone who is responsible for business development understands they must be concise with marketing and prospecting efforts,” Pofahl said. “Many products and services are needed to be arranged prior to a business opening to ensure efficient operations.”

The Daily Record publishes notices of organization, which help him find new businesses. Similar notices also appear in several other outlets in the metropolitan area.

“Utilizing these notices, in conjunction with other resources, enables the individual to have a clearer picture of their prospects,” Pofahl said. “The information can be used to have a better understanding of who the owners are, contact information, as well as if the organization may be part of a larger umbrella company or franchise.  This upfront research, if done thoroughly and regularly, should increase the individual’s conversion rate.”

Todd Gould of Nebraska Realty also utilizes The Daily Record.

“I use it to look up ownership of property to make sure I have the proper legal names,” Gould said. “I also use it to locate some comparables for sales in those neighborhoods. I also use it to give me an idea of county records for square footage to assess values.”

 County records are a good resource to gain more information about a house, he said.

“When I go to list a property, the first thing I usually do is pull up the county records to give me a little more information about the home so that I kind of know how it’s assessed and if there’s a fourth bedroom being counted in the property or additional garage space, sheds, that sort of thing,” Gould said. “It kind of gives me an idea of whether permits have been pulled on some of those items. That’s an assurance that I don’t have further issue with the property.”

For more information on how to make money using business leads and court information found in The Daily Record, contact Jason Huff at jason@omahadailyrecord.com. Schon’s “The Pear Tree Principle” can be purchased via Amazon.

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