Monday, December 15, 2014

People, Prison & Property

Here's a riddle for you:

Question: What do you get when you cross a notorious motorcycle gang with guns, drugs and assault?

Answer: Another Bakerson house!

That's right. And, this one had some fascinating twists and turns.

What happened? Well, I received a lead on a short sale from a realtor. We made the offer and waited, and waited, and then we waited. The banks are never in much of a hurry. After a couple of months I asked the realtor if she knew what the hold up was. She said the seller was in prison and it was difficult getting information needed to complete the sale. Did you know when a person is in prison you can't just call them up or meet for coffee? It's quite a process. Even getting messages and questions to them is slow and laborious.

Great. Slow banks and a seller in prison. This could be interesting. Anyway, the realtor got the signatures needed and we progressed nicely to closing. Only took us 7 months to get to this point.

Per the agent, the house was occupied and the occupant wanted to buy the house. At this point I had no idea why the seller was in prison or who the occupant was. Naturally, I went to meet him and find out the details of the house and the occupant to work out a deal. When I arrived the house was cluttered with double sets of everything – one set in the house and one in the garage. He told me he was moving in and finding a place for the seller's stuff.

The man was gracious enough and walked me around the house. I then noticed on the back of his belt was the name of an infamous motorcycle gang. Paraphernalia from this same club were everywhere! I furrowed my brow in thought. He told me he owns a house free and clear in Sunburst Farms and was going to free up some capital in that house to buy this one. He didn't have a job. I was skeptical. We worked up a price. But, before he signed anything he wanted to make sure he could get the cash because it was being held up in some “stupid legal issues”. I furrowed my brow again. We shook hands and I left. When I walked back to the car I saw his motorcycle in the driveway. It had two big letters “H. A.” and the numbers “666” on the gas tank. Interesting. I furrowed my brow.

Back at the office I researched the house in Sunburst Farms and found out it was owned by “BD” (Biker Dude) and there was no loan on it. He owned it free and clear. So, maybe he could get the money.

Fast forward 2 years. I am sitting at coffee with a wholesale investor. He found a couple of deals and wanted to discuss building his network and finding more deals. Being curious, I asked him if he was full-time in real estate. Nope. Part-time. His full-time job was on the Glendale SWAT team. I paused. This time I didn't furrow my brow.

Me: Are you familiar with a house on Carol Ann Way that was occupied by a biker gang member?
Him: Yes
Me: Did you shatter the front window and blow out the front door?
Him: Yes
Me: That was my house
Him (bowing his head): Sorry about that.

We laughed at his funny response. That's right! The house was compromised by the Glendale PD. 

About a week after I had walked through the house with BD, the realtor related she received a call from a lady in the neighborhood. The police had blown out the front door and seized the house. Whoa! I immediately went to the house to see it for myself. Sure enough, the front door was boarded up with plywood as was the front window which goes into the living room. There was a notice posted by the Glendale Police Department. The property was seized. Anyone wishing to enter the house must get access through the PD. I called them. They told me they had what they needed and gave me the code for the lock to get inside. The lead detective said BD was arrested and going away for a very long time. Domestic assault, weapons violations, theft, drugs, you name it. Well, there went that buyer. What a bummer. He seemed like such a nice guy.

As I walked through the house I realized we had a dilemma and it involved a bunch of motorcycle club paraphernalia and valuables. We weren't going to simply throw them away. The realtor was called. She said, "Go see BD in jail and ask him." My brother Mike and I went. We talked to him through a video monitor system at the jail and asked what we should do with his stuff. He wasn't very helpful and said he just wanted to speak to the realtor. Well, that was fun. At least it was interesting!

Information was relayed to the realtor. She called a member of the club. (Wait! How did she just have some club bigwig's phone number? This was getting crazy!) The club members said they would just go pick it up. Upon calling the Glendale PD, we heard, “Not so fast! Anything that leaves the house must be supervised by the police.” The Glendale Police met the motorcycle gang there in unmarked cars and no uniforms (per gang request) and monitored them when they removed all of BD's stuff. In fact, the first time the gang showed up to clean it they turned around and left. Why? Because the cops were there with marked cars and in uniform. Makes me wonder, “Who makes the rules?”

We fixed the front door. We fixed the front window. We sold the house without further delay. It was fun.

And THAT is real estate in my corner of the globe.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Business Lessons from Dad

Today, December 7, is a special day. Personally. It really is. I'm much too young to recall Pearl Harbor so THAT can't be it. So what is it? What could be special? Here is a clue, it happened on the first anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, in 1942. My father, Ben Wuollet was born. Today would be his 72nd birthday. I could take this time and think, “Why was he taken from our midst?” Being selfish and feeling sorry for myself would be so easy. I could ask, “What could have been?” I could lament I can no longer pick up the phone to call him. But, if I could, his advice would be clear. His instruction concise. He would say, “Don't look back. You aren't going that way.” So, look forward I must. Look forward I will.

My dad was a remarkable man. He loved his family. He loved his employees. He loved life. I learned a lot from him. Oftentimes when I run into a challenge I ask myself, “What would dad say?” Being in business myself there are many times I ponder what advice he would give. And, I already know what he would say. Really, I am clear to his instruction. Simply said, I would be seeking affirmation.

He was a really cool dad. I was fortunate to work with him. I was lucky to have him for a mentor. On this, his birthday, I am writing a special edition to my blog. Those who knew him will understand. Those who worked for him will relate. And those who grew up in his house? We were the luckiest of them all! What a joyful home it was. And, he lives on in our memories, our minds and our daily decisions.

Below is a poem I wrote today. I titled it “Business Lessons from Dad”. So, read, enjoy and thanks for letting me use the word “I”, a lot, in my musings above. Actually, you didn't really let me as this is my blog. The overuse of the word is intentional. The critical writers may want to correct me and say how it could have been written differently. Too bad. I am writing a heartfelt letter, it is personal and I am sharing it with you.

This blog will be a special one
Like none other I have done
Lessons dad has taught his son
Things I use in business every day.

Many things my dad had taught
Things I should do and ought not
And which battles should be fought
We'll look at these all in a different way

So today on his birthday
I could think no better way
Then to stand up tall and say
“Thanks for lessons in my work and play!”

Employees were everything
He'd hand out checks and even sing
“Thanks for everything you bring!”
And skip to find the next person to pay

Then he'd stop and stoop to clean
Something on the floor he'd seen
So what does this really mean?
There was no job that was below his pay

“Never be less than correct”
Do not be vague, be direct
Treat everyone with respect
You'll find out that this way is okay

“Life's about relationships”
Not about wages and tips
You will learn it will eclipse
The worth of what all worldly gold does weigh

“Be on time do not be late”
Tension you will not create
By having too much on your plate
If you do this until you are grey

And, “'Good enough' never is”
Not at home or in the biz
Do your best, golly gee whiz
Another phrase that he would often say

“Do it right or not at all”
If the job were big or small
It would keep us on the ball
And never quit when we were just halfway

To the future straight ahead
As on this way of life you tread
Smile big and say instead
“Don't look back 'cause you aren't going that way”

At the end of every day
He'd ask “How was your day of play?”
“Did you have fun at work today?”
Another thing that he would always say.

Thank you dad for all you've done
Not just for me, for everyone
From, you know, your eldest son
On this your 72nd birthday

Monday, December 1, 2014

Our Occupied Vacant Home

Do you know what’s funny? Well, not funny as in humorous. Rather, funny as in unusual…at least to me. I never saw myself as a "blogger". It just happened. I had been sending emails of experiences to various people in our circles within the business. And, one individual said I should do a blog. I said, “Me? Who would care what I write?” Well, I guess candidly sharing my experiences is interesting to people. I am amazed people even read them. Being we just came off the Thanksgiving weekend, I want to express a heartfelt “Thank You!” to those who read and support my little blog.

Last month's blog was on Jumpy and his purchase of one of our houses. You know, where he began remodeling before he actually owned it. But, hey! this stuff happens. And, it all worked out and everyone was happy. Well, not so sure about the listing agent as we haven't heard from him since.

As you may have noticed, this blog is “Our Occupied Vacant Home”. So, how can it be occupied if it was vacant? We were wondering the same thing. One day one of our employees, “Scout”, was out with a youth group for a gathering. And, on his way home he drove by our house at 33rd Street and Sweetwater. It's right there in view of the 51.

For those of you from outside of Arizona you should know it is required to put “The” in front of numbered highways, “The 51”, “The 1 oh 1”, “The 2 oh 2”, “The 3 oh 3”, etc. For the record, those are state highway names, 51, 101, 202, 303, etc. Or, officially marked as SR51, SR101, SR202, SR303, etc. The “SR stands for State Route”. Since it is a “highway”, and the ones I mentioned are actually “freeways”, I wonder why the state still uses “state route”. Seriously, I do. Oh, as a family member always says, “The one-zero-one”, “The two-zero-two”, etc. to be different. I have since adopted this. Funny.

Ok, back to the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove by the house he saw an RV trailer in the front with a pickup truck. So, naturally knowing it was ours and it was vacant, he stopped. He walked up to the house and there was a couple with children unloading their stuff into the house. He said hello and asked them what they were doing. They said they rented it and were moving in. Scout called me and asked me if we rented the house. I told him no. He confirmed with them it was NOT for rent. They said they signed a lease. When Scout asked them to produce the document they said, “Oh. The guy renting it to us said he couldn't make a copy and would deliver it here to the house.” No paperwork. No proof. They were acting really strange. Something smelled fishy.

Scout called me back and relayed the above information to me. I told him I was on the way. Scout called the police. I showed up and the police were yet to arrive. I politely told them the house was not for rent. In fact, the house was for sale. They were refusing to leave. He then pulled out a printout of a Craigslist ad showing OUR house with OUR pictures and for rent at $450 with a $1,000 deposit and someone else's phone number. We told him he was scammed. Plus, rent for this house would have been $950, not $450. $450 would get you a small apartment, not a 3 bedroom 2 bath home. Then they got a little angry. 

The cops showed up. And, instead of admitting they had been scammed, they began to argue. The police asked me for proof of ownership and I pulled out the file I had fetched from my desk. In it was proof with the deed, my company name, my name and more. I produced my driver's license and the cops believed I was the owner. They asked me the obligatory questions: Is this your house? Have you ever met these people? Do you recognize this Craigslist ad? Do you recognize the phone number in the ad? Is this house for rent? My answers were: Yes. No. No. No. No.

He then turned to the “occupants” and asked if they had ever met us. They said no. He asked if they had a copy of the lease they signed. They said no. He told them they had to pack up their belongings and move as they were trespassing. Now, things got weird. The man stood up from the chair in which he was sitting and grabbed his cane. He hobbled a little and said, “I am a Vietnam vet! You cannot kick me into the streets! I signed a lease, paid the amounts and am allowed to move in!”

The friendly cops became not so friendly and said, “You have 2 choices, pack up your stuff and go or I will have you arrested. It's quite simple.” This seemed to get the fellow's attention. Finally, the woman with him said, “Let's just go. We've been scammed. I believe these guys. No more fighting.” He said, “But, where will we go? How will we get our money back?” The police politely reminded them of a very nice 5th wheel trailer in the front. And, the police will open an investigation.

They left. I got to sleep at 3:am.

And that's real estate in my corner of the globe.


Monday, November 17, 2014

"Jumpy" Buys a House

It's been a couple of weeks since my last blog: “Is this the right house?” A friend of mine said, “Is it that time already? Wow! Time flies when you are having fun!” It reminded me of the frog who remarked, “Time's fun when you’re having flies!” But, this is a blog on real estate and not herpetology.

In a previous blog I mentioned the process for a double close. In my last blog I wouldn't share this secret as I wanted more people to read more of my blogs. Well, this time I will give a brief explanation as it is important for the experience I will share for this installment.

Process: We get a property under contract and open escrow. If the seller is a bank we generally have to use their preferred title company. We deposit earnest money. We market the property for sale. We find a buyer. Our buyer opens escrow with our favorite title agency, Security Title, and they deposit their earnest money. Let's say we have a purchase contract of $50,000 with the bank (seller). And, we have a sales contract with our buyer for $55,000. On closing day the buyer deposits the $55,000 with Security Title. Security Title then wires the $50,000 to the bank's title company. Once the closing with the bank's title company is complete we close our sale with our buyer with our title company. The $5,000 difference is our profit. This is typically the most creative double escrow we do.

I hope this helps. If not, don't worry about it. The story will make less sense, but I only have so much time and patience to explain these things.

The above example is how a smooth transaction should go. I am sure by this time the readers are sensing there is more to the story. You are correct in your assumption. I am sensing you are all of above-average intelligence. And, my measure of above-average is anyone smarter than me, which is nearly everyone. I know, this is not supported mathematically. Did you know “mathematics” is the study of math? Clever. But, this is a real estate blog. Know what? There is not a fancy word for the “Study of Real Estate”. How unfortunate.

Ok, back to the experience. We bought a property from a bank. Well, by “bought” I mean we had it under contract. We marketed it and found a buyer. Let's call him “Jumpy”. Jumpy was what is called a “rehabber”, or a fix-and-sell buyer. In other words, Jumpy would buy the property, fix it up and then resell it retail to a homeowner.

Everything was moving along fine and we were scheduled to close on a sunny Friday afternoon. I don't recall if it was sunny or not. But, this is Phoenix and the odds are in my favor. Jumpy was anxious and couldn't wait to get started on the project. We were in a hot market and the quicker he could close, rehab and resell the better off he was. There are two measures to a profitable project, time and money.

Friday afternoon there was a hiccup with the title process and we didn't close. So, the closing would be postponed to the next week. This was no big deal. As much as we wanted to close we understood they couldn't close until the issues were cleared up and we could get clean title that we could pass on to our buyer, Jumpy.

Mid-day Monday we hadn't closed. The seller's agent happened to drive by the property. Actually, he didn't drive by. He slammed on his brakes and came to a screeching halt. There was a construction crew working madly on the house. He was shocked! The windows were being replaced and the inside had been torn apart. They were putting in a new front door as he was sitting in his car with his mouth agape. He immediately called our agent to find out what was going on. Our agent called us and asked what was going on. We called Jumpy and asked him what was going on. He said, “Well we closed on Friday. So, on Friday afternoon we started to work on the project and have been at it all weekend!” He was pretty happy with his incredible efficiency. Well, happiness turned to panic. We had NOT closed on Friday. Now he was nervous, really nervous. He said he had already sunk $20k into the project (likely an exaggeration, but there was no doubt he had spent money).

We called our agent and told him the crew thought we had closed. The best thing to do was just close and all would be fine. He called the seller's agent and relayed the information to him. The seller's agent was not happy and suggested lawsuits, fights, legal battles and more. Our agent informed him if he went that route the selling agent would ultimately lose the listing and get nothing. He told him to just close and all would be fine.

Well, Monday turned to Tuesday and Jumpy was getting jumpy. He hadn't slept well. He begged us to make it happen. We told him we were working on it and to just relax. Jumpy was jumpy and not going to relax. Plus, he hadn't slept. Tuesday turned to Wednesday. Anxiety was rampant. Wednesday turned to Thursday. Our agent was in communication with the title company and the seller's agent. The seller's agent was getting super angry. Our agent told him to relax. But, the selling agent wasn't listening.

Well, on Thursday while the agents were arguing about who was responsible for what and which side of the lawsuits each would be on, we closed. There was a collective sigh of relief. Well, with all except the selling agent. He wanted blood. The commission check must have changed his mind. We never heard from him again.

And that is real estate in my corner of the globe.

Bruce B Wuollet
Bakerson, LLC

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Is It This House?

Last month the blog was the first of many on “Family Matters.” It was about the Addams Family and the dysfunction within it regarding a house we had purchased and flipped. Speaking of family, one of my favorite stories from the late Zig Ziglar is one he told at a conference. He said he was on an airplane and visiting with the man next to him. This man had a wedding band on his middle finger. Zig looked at him and said, “Your wedding ring is on the wrong finger!”, in his southern twang with a tinge of a drawl. The man looked up and said, “I married the wrong woman.” Zig emphatically exclaimed HE hadn’t married the wrong woman and took the opportunity to mention his wife. It was trademark Zig. That brings us to today's blog. What if you bought the wrong house? What if you sold the wrong house? What if you tore down the wrong house? Well, tearing down the wrong house isn’t funny. But, it did happen to a friend of mine. They DID tear down the wrong house. But, these are MY real estate experiences, not his. So, I won’t tell that story. Although, it is quite funny…

Let me bring you back a few years. We were flipping houses by simply tying them up and flipping the contracts. In a previous blog I mentioned how this is done. So, if you don’t know you will have to read the others to find the answer. I won’t even tell you which one. Don’t worry, they aren’t long. Well, except that one blog, it was long. But, the rest are reasonably shorter. It’s not that I don’t want to tell you again, it’s simply that I want more people to read more of my blogs. So, go ahead, read the other ones and then come back. I’ll just wait here.

While the few people that haven’t read the other blogs are gone I will plow forward without them. I hope they don’t mind.

We had a fellow working for us. His name was “Aaron” and he was getting started in real estate. He found a lead from a seller and drove to the property. The addresses weren’t too clear. But, he happened to see it. The house was boarded up just like she said. However, the code wouldn’t open the lockbox. He called the seller. No answer. So, he snooped around and got some basics from the property without getting inside and then he called Jack. Jack agreed it was a deal and we would get inside once we confirmed the code.

We went into contract, opened escrow, and marketed the property. Well... “marketed the property” is a relative phrase. In those days we simply made some phone calls and sent a few emails. We didn’t have photos. We didn’t have video. We just had the simple details on the bed, bath and beyond. Wait, I can’t say that! "Bed, bath and beyond" is trademarked. Oops.

Jack found a buyer and told him to meet at the property. Jack and Aaron went to the property early to meet the buyer. When they got there the lock box still didn’t work. They called the seller. No answer. They walked around the property and VOILĂ€! The back door was unlocked! They walked in to see inside for the first time. They checked out the property. They unlocked the front door. Aaron’s phone rang and it was the buyer. He asked where they were. Aaron said at the property. The buyer said, “So am I. I don’t see a car. Did you walk here?” Aaron said, “No. We drove and parked out front.” They confirmed the address. Weird. They were at the same address but not at the same house. Confusion. The buyer told Aaron he was in a red pickup.

Aaron and Jack went outside and walked out to the street. Down the road a few houses and across the street was a red pickup. They looked at the curb and saw their mistake. They had transposed the numbers! They were at the wrong house. Jack quickly went back and secured it. Aaron told the buyer they were down the road at another vacant house. The buyer asked, “Do you own the WHOLE block?”

They walked up to the house and tried the lockbox code. It worked just fine! Imagine that! Their first walkthrough of the house was with the buyer. He liked the house. And, he bought it. He asked Aaron if he had any others. Aaron said he was working on another one just down the street and would let him know when it became available. It didn’t. That seller did not want to sell.

And that is Real Estate in my corner of the Globe.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Family Matters

It appears I need to do some housekeeping. A few people informed me they really enjoyed the previous blog, but it was a bit long. I suggested that it was simply a "short story". They suggested blogs are meant to be shorter. I suggested they find something else to read. Actually, I listened and pondered what they said. Who knew there were rules for blogs? I am not one that even likes rules. In their defense I do call it a “blog” and I like to listen to the readers. The readers suggested it be shorter. What do you think I did? I checked the word count on the three blogs. And the results:

Blog 1: 549 words and 2944 characters

Blog 2: 810 words and 4411 characters

Blog 3: 1369 words and 7327 characters

Wow! That is a lot more. I suppose I should keep these blogs to around 750 words or less. Otherwise, I may not be allowed to call it a blog. That would be unfortunate.

Well, that’s a wrap for this twice-a-month blog! See you again on November first!

Haha. Wait! Don’t go away. I really do have more to share. This blog is titled “Family Matters”, so I better at least touch on it. I will have multiple blogs on this topic and they will come and go as new experiences arise.

Just as I find humans fascinating, they can be a bit strange. Believe me, I know this from a personal experience with the mirror every day. But, this isn’t about me. This is about my real estate experiences. Did you know money and family create some interesting situations? Emotions can run high. As the saying goes, “Where there’s a will there’s a relative!” And, I have found … where there's no will, well, there's no relative.

The first one I will share was really recent. We were purchasing a house … this can get confusing REALLY fast. So, I will make it simple. Is a list better? Or, is paragraph form better? I have no idea. I am going with a list:

The Addams Family

  • Property was acquired by brothers Robert and James Addams as joint tenants with right of survivorship
  • Robert was married to Sally.

  • Sally disclaimed interest in the property.

  • Robert is deceased.

  • Sally is deceased.

  • Timmy (son of Robert & Sally) & his wife Mary state they got the property through probate.

  • Mary is trying very hard to sell the property. She wants to do quiet title action. I am suspicious.

  • James’ whereabouts is unknown. Is he alive?

  • Based on the title report Timmy has no right to the property and Mary has no right to sell it. James still owns it.

To simplify further, brothers Robert and James were the sole owners of the property and the "right of survivorship" after the death of Robert grants the property to James, and not to the children of Robert. Timmy and his wife say that James had sold the property to Robert and they got the property through probate. However, the chain of title tells a different story. It is a mess. The young couple is not cooperating.

It gets stranger. They say that James has been found, is in a home and suffers from dementia. We asked to locate the home and perhaps the caregivers have some paperwork as to who is handling his financial affairs; perhaps THEY could help us out. Days go by. Suddenly, without warning, James Addams is no longer suffering from dementia, is no longer in a care home,  and has been located in another state! (no pun intended) He has agreed to sign any paperwork needed to correctly transfer the property to the heirs of his deceased brother. But, before we go into celebratory mode, we must be cautious. You see, the mobile notary shows up to have him sign the paperwork and he has no idea who this Timmy Addams fellow is - even though Timmy is his very own nephew! So, perhaps he really is in another state. (pun clearly intended)

After further discussion with the family he DOES recall that his brother had a son Timmy and agrees to sign the necessary paperwork. The transaction is cleared up and we close. (whew!)

Life, often stranger than fiction.

And that is real estate in my corner of the globe. (Nailed it! 741 words.)

~Bruce Wuollet

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Significance of The Toothless Roofer

As the previous posting explained, Jack had networked with The Toothless Roofer. This moniker is not to poke fun at him. Rather, it is to share with you the power of networking. You never know who knows whom. So, who did Jack meet and what was the significance to our business? Before I get to that I am going to share with you how we got into wholesaling houses in Phoenix. This is important to lay some groundwork. Well, at least I think it’s important.

Shortly after Jack and I began in our business (2 months into it to be precise), we had more potential deals in the works than we could possibly fix and sell ourselves. So, we had to do something with them. But what? Well, the answer came to us in a lightning bolt. Well, not an actual one. No one got injured. What I mean is the impact was great and sudden. You know, … like a lightning bolt.

Phoenix, Arizona
One day Jack’s brother in Seattle called Jack and said he signed up for a real estate boot camp and the trainer was flying into Seattle to show him one-on-one how to flip houses. However, that isn’t actually accurate. You see, the course included the option to invite a spouse or a business associate. So, more accurately a one-on-two training. But, it’s called one-on-one so we will just go with that. 

Back to Seattle. Being Jack’s brother’s wife was 9 months pregnant, she had zero interest in being part of the action-packed, fun-filled, intense weekend. Wait…. was she 9 months pregnant? It may have been 8. Or, 8-and-a-half. I really don’t know for sure. Ladies are always up to speed on how many weeks, days and such until a child arrives. Men will be sitting around and the wife will say, "I feel a contraction, check this out." The guy will jump up, start packing the overnight bag, look for the car keys, grab his jacket and scream, “Get in the car! I am not having this baby at home!” Mom-to-be will calmly smile and say, “Relax honey. We are not leaving yet. They are still too far apart and not that strong”. Dad-to-be: “Are you sure? How do you know? Here, let’s time them. Never mind. Get in the car. We should just go in. Let the doctor decide if it’s too early. Seriously, I don’t what this baby at home! This is freaking me out!” (As he continues his nervous pacing around the room, wringing his hands, quickly walking back and forth with increasing anxiety….). Anyway, whether it was 8 or 9 months is not  important so we won’t dwell on it. 

So, this father-to-be called Jack to invite him to this weekend real estate boot camp. At the time, Jack was remodeling the few houses we had picked up and was up to his elbows in alligators with work. No, he wasn’t working in the everglades. That is just a way to say he was really, really busy. And, when Jack is busy he is best not to be bothered with nonsense like this. So, he told his brother to call me. Which he did. 

I went to Seattle. 

When I arrived there I stayed with Jack’s brother and his brother’s wife. The father-to-be was so calm and didn’t seem anxious at all about the birth of their new baby. He had a certain calm about him. I wondered if he was normal. 

The next morning we got up bright and early and drove to a motel down the way a bit. It was there we met a trainer named Jim Staples. He’s from Dallas. But, if you say “Dallas” he will quickly correct you and say “Ahlington”, which is really spelled “Arlington”. I know this because I have been there. He’s a true Texan and you can tell as soon as he starts speaking. But, more importantly, he is a master at teaching everything wholesaling. Jim has become a close friend over the years and we still work closely on investor education and real estate deals to this day. 

Jim Staples

While we were sitting there and reading and going through the manual on wholesaling, I had an “Aha!” moment and was quickly asking questions in rapid-fire succession. He told me to slow down and we would cover all my questions. After a few short minutes I had forgotten this instruction and began asking him 100 more questions, you know, like a young kid discovering something new. Due to this exchange, he gave me the name “WildCard”, or as he says, “WahldCahd”, and still calls me that to this day. I think it’s considered a positive nickname…

So, what got me so excited? He told me that we could get a property under contract, open escrow, find a buyer, assign the buyer or open a second escrow, close and get paid without using our own money. And THAT is what it means to flip a house. That wasn’t the exciting part. The exciting part was that we had a property under contract. (Remember, Jack was busy with the remodeling of the other 3 houses we had purchased.) And, all we needed was a buyer. So, Jack called Joe and told him about the house. Joe liked the house and bought it. So, we didn’t have to take it down. We sold it before we bought it. Confusing? No. Wholesaling. I will write a future blog on why investors buy from wholesalers like me and the value we bring. If I remember. 

Bakerson's First House Flip - 2002
This brings me back to The Toothless Roofer. The investor/house buyer that his step-daughter worked for was “Joe". Yep. One and the same. Jack had gotten Joe's name and phone number from him. But, that’s not the whole story. You see, in 2003 Joe and his team purchased 47 homes from us. And, we always flipped the contract to him or did a double escrow so that we could use Joe's money to purchase the house and then the difference was our profit. Here, let me show an example on how this works:

  1. Bruce finds a property and signs a contract to purchase at $30,000
  2. Escrow is opened
  3. Jack introduces the deal to Joe
  4. Joe said he can pay $35,000 for the property
  5. Joe opens escrow on his purchase (there are now 2 escrows open - one with Bakerson as the buyer and the other with Bakerson as the seller)
  6. Both the purchase ($30,000) and the sale ($35,000) close at the same time. 
  7. $5,000 goes to Bakerson.

Isn’t that awesome? I think so. And it’s fun. And, investors love to buy from us. Why? They just do. As stated earlier, I will try to remember to write a future blog on this subject. 

So, why is all of this important? Well, two exciting things happened. Actually, more than two. But, I am only going to reference two here. 

One: a man from Dallas, er, Ahlington, met with me in Seattle to show me how I can flip houses in Phoenix. And, while in Seattle we flipped our first house in Phoenix. I was completely sold. That system works. If a guy from Texas can meet me in Washington to flip a house in Arizona, well, I will believe him. And, believe him I did. We still work with Jim today. He is a wonderful resource for us. 

Two: we learned the power of networking. In other words, you never know who knows whom. Do not underestimate the power of networking. Do not be judgmental. Do not be slow to ask, “Who do you know?” As already mentioned, we met Joe in the winter of 2002 through The Toothless Roofer. We still do business with Joe and his brother in 2014. It’s become a great business relationship. Another great connection. Just like Jack, networking is real. Networking is necessary. 

My next blog will be on the cases of disappearing AND reappearing family members. Seriously folks, I am not making this up. Some members appear to have risen from the dead. It will be entitled “Family Matters”.

And that is real estate in my corner of the globe. 


Monday, September 15, 2014

The Toothless Roofer

Before we get to "The Toothless Roofer" I'm going to give you an overview on what this blog is and what this blog is not. What you will read actually happened. Some of the names will be changed to protect their ignorance. Others will be modified just because we want to. Others will be altered to keep them out of the limelight. (Heh. Heh. If we can call my little blog "limelight".)

First off, Jack is real. You want proof? You can watch him on his "Two-Minute Tuesday" video blogs. ( Know how we came up with that name? It's a two-minute video sent out on Tuesday. Pretty clever, eh? (A little Canadian lingo for you, eh?)

Bruce is real. You have to trust me on this. I am Bruce and will be the author of these blogs. You can see my mug shot on various Bakerson websites. But, you will not see me in the Two-Minute Tuesday videos or any other such medium for that matter. I prefer to be under the radar. Besides, I have a face for radio and a voice for blogging. You have to trust me on this. 

And, this will be a semi-monthly blog. Or, is it bi-monthly? That is an interesting question. Let’s review that for a moment. If a "semi-annual sale" occurs twice a year and a "bi-annual sale" occurs twice a year…huh? Wait a minute! Let me go look that up. Geez. What do you know? The dictionary says the bi-annual and semi-annual are the same thing; twice a year. BUT, it also says that bi-annual is every other year. How can we have it both ways? Well then, what is bi-monthly? You know, way back when I was in 2nd grade we celebrated the bi-centennial which means 200 years. So, if bi-centennial is every other century (every other 100 years) then bi-monthly must be every other month. The dictionary says that bi-monthly is the same as semi-monthly, which is twice a month. However, it also says it means every other month, which is NOT the same as semi-monthly, quite different actually. While you scholars who read this are fighting it out I am quietly publishing this blog twice a month. 

Now, to the tale of The Toothless Roofer. 

In the first months of our business I found the houses and Jack remodeled them. We were fixing homes to sell. Back in 2002 real estate in Phoenix was a quiet business. There wasn’t the hype that there is today. In fact, many of the homes we bought had been vacant for many years. And, vacant properties were common. I drove neighborhoods looking for deals. Jack managed the properties and was hands-on with the remodeling. The deals were plentiful and we could find and take down more properties than we could possibly fix and sell. 

So, what do you do if you can buy more houses than you can fix and sell? You flip them. What does this involve? Well, you will have to wait. You see, my next blog will be on how we got into the fascinating business of wholesaling - which is just a fancy word for flipping houses. It is a niche that is fast-paced, exciting and truly rewarding. 

Ok, back to the story. Jack was managing and remodeling a house. Some of the work was subbed out to contractors. And, one of our contractors was a roofer. He did great work and his price was very reasonable. And, he had a quirky sense about him. When he smiled he revealed a nearly toothless smile. As Jack puts it, “He has two teeth, and they’re both crooked." He is affectionately known in our history as “The Toothless Roofer”. The benefit, as you will learn, is much greater than roofs he put on our houses.

Before New Roof

Before New Roof

One day when working on the second or third job for us he asked Jack about our business. Jack told him what we do. He said, "Wow! My step-daughter works for a guy that does the same thing." And then he broadly smiled to reveal the row of two pearly whites. So Jack, being a natural networker, asked for the investor's name and number. The Toothless Roofer said he would find out and get back to Jack. 

Each time Jack would ask for the investor's number The Toothless Roofer would quietly say he forgot. After weeks of checking in, Jack finally got the phone number. Know what happened? Ha! You will have to wait and see.  My next blog will also cover the power of networking.  It's a wonderful thing! Don’t miss it.

Work Completed!

And that is real estate in my corner of the globe. Now, go back to what you were doing before you decided to waste a few precious moments to read my blog. 

Life. Often stranger than fiction. 


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