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.