Don't Try This At Home
Narrator: Welcome to "Flipping Off," a purpose-driven podcast about flipping houses and making a difference.
Dave: Well, hello. Dave and Melina here, New Wealth Advisors Club, Dave and Melina Boswell, that is. And today, we're gonna teach you a lesson, a lesson that we've learned in real estate deals are not found, they are created. Write that down. Real estate deals are not found, they are created. And I am staring at one of the most creative people that I've ever had the privilege of being around, my wife, and it's only the two of us here today.
Melina: I know.
Dave: How awesome, right?
Melina: It's so awesome.
Dave: Except there's people over there watching us...
Melina: I know, in the booth.
Dave: In the booth, so we can't do anything crazy. So we're gonna talk about a deal that came across our desk, where...I mean, I don't know how many people probably looked at it before us, but a lot of them. And there was this conversation of, "This is just a straight short sell, and we've gotta try to short sell this house" and, you know, "It's a short sell because it's buried. It's got lien after lien after lien, and it's going to auction. It's gonna be sold."
Dave: And in our office, one of the things that we constantly talk about is that there's no such thing as a real estate emergency, right? And you say that why exactly?
Melina: Well, anytime you have an emergency situation, you always miss details, so you know, it's never a good practice. Unfortunately, they come...I mean, we have to actually have the rule because they happen often, and oftentimes, the emergency is what creates the opportunity. So we say there's no such thing, and we do operate in that way. But every once and a while, something comes up where you just have to violate your own rules.
Dave: Or we stretch them.
Melina: We stretch them, yeah.
Dave: To, "If we can do that, then maybe there's a possibility."
Dave: So this deal, well, let's break it down. This was a referral from someone that knew what we do.
Dave: And obviously one of the things that we practice and we preach is that, you know, you need to tell everyone what you do.
Dave: Right? I don't care whether you're working on your first deal right now or you've been in this game forever. At the end of the day, we have to...there's a need to advertise to let people know that we're real estate investors, and as a real estate investor, we're nothing more than problem solvers.
Dave: Right? So our ultimate goal is that we put this...whoever we come in contact with is we put them in a better spot than we found them.
Dave: So this has some sensitive issues in it, so we'll be sensitive to this. We won't use anybody's names and/or addresses or cities or anything like that, just because I know it has some sensitive stuff, and the individuals could hear this at some point. We don't wanna air their dirty laundry. But this was a husband and wife that had... Were they divorced yet, or were they just separated?
Melina: Yes, they were divorced.
Dave: They're divorced. Both still on title?
Dave: Yeah. So we have a first mortgage.
Dave: We have a second mortgage.
Dave: We have a franchise tax board lien.
Dave: For unpaid personal taxes.
Melina: Income taxes, yes.
Dave: Income taxes, not property taxes.
Dave: Big distinction.
Melina: Property taxes are always number one in line, no matter what.
Dave: No matter what.
Melina: Yeah. it's a myth. People think, "Oh, I can negotiate property taxes." No, you cannot.
Dave: Right, but...well, we'll come back to that. Number four was a lien by an attorney's office?
Melina: A creditor, mm-hmm.
Dave: A creditor, okay.
Dave: So we stack all these liens up, and I'm doing some really quick math. Let's see, $250,000 on the first, roughly.
Melina: Approximately, yeah.
Dave: $140,000-ish on the second.
Melina: Yep, yes.
Dave: $30,000, I think it was FTBs.
Melina: I believe.
Dave: I think that was the number and...
Dave: $12,000 to the fourth.
Dave: So...$200,000 and $420,000 somewhere around $430,000 is what was owed on this place.
Dave: Right, okay. And...
Melina: And it was actually, I believe, more than that. I wanna say I think there was 300 owed on the first.
Dave: I was gonna sorta say that. I think...
Melina: Yes, $300,000 was on the first.
Dave: the first was $300,000, yeah. Okay. So we're probably pushing upwards of $450,000, $470,000 in that ball park, that's owed on this place.
Melina: Yes. correct.
Dave: That's why we were initially like, "Ooh."
Dave: So you went out to go look at the property without me.
Dave: And I think you took Frank with you.
Melina: Yes, I think that's correct as well.
Dave: So it's in a nice area.
Dave: Nice view.
Melina: Yep, nice street.
Dave: Nice street.
Dave: And you walk in to meet the ex that's there.
Dave: And what'd you find?
Melina: I found a very dark home. It was a house. It was dark in terms of energy, you know. After doing this for so many years, you walk into a home, and you can pick up energy of it immediately. This was one of those, I walked in and the energy was immediately heavy, negative, even though the home itself, you know, the sticks were pretty, but nothing about it was attractive to me. It was very dirty, which I've walked into plenty of dirty homes. I've walked into hoarder homes and dirty homes, and still, the energy is good. This was not one of them. This was one where the house itself was nice, but the energy in the home was very, very negative, very...it was oppressive.
Dave: Mm, okay.
Melina: On top of being filthy dirty.
Dave: Yeah, so and filthy dirty, I think is an understatement, based on...
Melina: It was dangerous dirty, yeah.
Dave: So dangerous that it was actually, at one point...
Melina: Yeah, what had been deemed uninhabitable at one point because just of filth.
Dave: Mm, wow, which takes quite a bit.
Dave: Yeah, so we've been to some really nasty, dirty homes. So you ask me to go take a look at it. I go up and take a look at it. And I'm like, "This house needs a lot of work."
Dave: And it's in a really nice neighborhood, and you know, it was built, like, 1999. So it didn't have a lot of time to deteriorate or have, you know, that much deferred maintenance. It was more neglect. Not even neglect, abuse, as we've said.
Dave: Okay, so we're looking at it. We've got...let's call it roughly $300,000 on the first, $140,000 on the second, so we're at $440,000 already.
Dave: And we thought the house would sell for around $500,000 to $515,000, I think?
Melina: Yeah, maybe. I mean, more like...
Dave: Once it was fixed.
Melina: Yeah. I mean, ARV was anywhere between $475,000...I believe I was estimating the ARV to be at $475,000. That's what I felt safe and comfortable at. I knew that there was an, you know, possibly, it could go for more, but really, the ARV was, by all intents and purposes, $475,000.
Dave: Got it. So ARV, After Repair Value.
Dave: So once we fix this place up, we're gonna sell it for $475,000. Well, if we gotta pay $300,000 to the first, $140,000 to the second, we're at $440,000. $35,000 to repair, it would get us there, not including any enclosing costs, money costs, nothing in there. So there is no room to be made. This house needs every bit of $40, $50, $60 grand to get up to par.
Dave: Yeah. So we've got a problem.
Dave: We've got a big problem.
Dave: On top of it, we have a looming auction date.
Melina: Yes, the first was in foreclosure. And there was actually an auction date set, so we had a very short timeline. This is where it became an emergency because there was an auction date set.
Dave: So I know this is what you do all day every day and those that may be listening to this might not know. So talk about that foreclosure timeline. So when you say there's no real estate emergency, it's because there's a lot of time that takes place.
Dave: So give us a...
Melina: Yeah, so basically, there is approximately a six-month window for a nonjudicial foreclosure to go through. So in nonjudicial foreclosure, the commencement is no sooner than four months behind on mortgage payments, so basically, somebody would be behind three months. After their third month, on month four, the lender could initiate the nonjudicial foreclosure process. Once that's happened, it's in pre-foreclosure.
Dave: Hence the notice of default.
Melina: The notice of default, yeah.
Melina: Once that happens, then you have approximately 111 days. Let's say this, a minimum of 111 days, so it could go, yeah.
Dave: Before they sell...
Melina: Before the house could actually go to auction.
Dave: Okay. So we've got roughly like you said, six months plus.
Melina: Yeah, six to seven months that somebody has not made mortgage payments that they know a problem is there.
Melina: But unfortunately, most people don't start to act until they're you know, if you have 111 days, they start getting nervous around Day 88.
Dave: So they bring it to us in the last minute, and that's where we get those emergencies.
Dave: So this one comes, and I immediately said, "Number one, I don't see this as being worth it." We had a lot of challenges. So the ex-husband knew us and said, "Yeah, you know, is there something we can do to help?" And he was really coming from a perspective of I wanna help also my ex. He wasn't really looking for anything himself.
Melina: No, not at all.
Dave: Yeah, he was very much...
Melina: Well, she was still living in the home, and she had nowhere to go.
Melina: So he was concerned. And he had shared custody of his children, so you know, there was serious issues happening.
Dave: Right. Well, we'll just say she was suffering from addiction and substance abuse.
Melina: Yeah, and she wasn't, you know, necessarily living in reality of the severity of the situation, you know. I always say people, when they have a scenario like this, it's a colossal problem. People have one of two reactions, which is, right, fight or flight. So the flight looks like we just bury our head in the sand and do nothing, and that's really what she was doing. You know, when I went over there, she was like, you know, working part-time and just kind of like, "Oh, I have to get to work." And you know, just not facing the reality of you have a house full of stuff, and the house is going to go to auction. Something is going to happen in the next, you know, 10 days." You know, the house, there were some boxes, but there was a lot of furniture. And you know, there was no semblance, and then she had no idea where she was gonna go.
Dave: And no money to get there.
Dave: Yeah. We looked at this and we said, okay, so what do we do? So we got all these liens stacked up, right, so if we buy this house, we're gonna be responsible for those liens. Then we had the conversation of, maybe we'd just let the first go to auction.
Dave: So if the first goes to auction, what happens to all those other liens?
Melina: They get wiped out.
Dave: Yeah. So for $300,000, somebody goes to auction, they can buy this place, and ultimately, she'd be on her own.
Dave: So somebody knocks at the door, "Hi, I bought your house. Here's your eviction notice," maybe give her a couple of bucks to help her move along. Or we could step in.
Dave: And you chose to step in.
Melina: Step in, yes.
Dave: So what'd you do first? So walk us through this process.
Melina: Yeah, so the first thing that I wanted to do was I wanted to talk to the second because, in my mind, that was the biggest hindrance in this equation. You know, I knew that the first was in an equitable position and...
Dave: Meaning they're getting paid, no matter what.
Melina: They're gonna get paid off, no matter what. So they had no reason and although they were the one that was foreclosing on the property, they had nothing to lose, so if they went into foreclosure, they'd get paid off in full. So there was really no point in negotiating with them.
Dave: No leverage there.
Melina: No leverage.
Melina: So all of the leverage, in my mind, was with the second lien holder, so that's where I started. I started with the second lien holder. It was $140,000, and so I started having a conversation with them to negotiate what could possibly be...
Dave: And a key on that one was not with the mortgage company, anymore.
Melina: Correct. They had sold their...because it was actually a HELOC, a home equity line of credit. So they had sold it to a third-party collection agency.
Dave: So in essence, they wrote it off their books, said, "We're not gonna collect from this, and so we'll just take something and get a collection agent."
Dave: Okay, so you recognize there's some leverage potential there with the...
Melina: Yeah. Well, I immediately know. Well, so the collection agency didn't pay $140,000 for this lien, for this debt, if you will. So it sparked my interest because I know enough to know that collection agencies buy debts for pennies on the dollar. So I thought, well, maybe there's an opportunity here. So that's where I started, and it turned out that I was correct. So there was an immediate offer, very, very low, I don't know, $30,000 or something like that right away.
Dave: So from $140,000 right down to $30,000.
Melina: Yeah, yeah, like almost immediately. I think it started at $100,000 and then down to $30,000 or something crazy.
Dave: Yeah. Well, you educated them on, "This house is going to auction. You're about to get zero?
Dave: Yeah. "So something versus nothing is going to be better than where you presently sit. So $100,000 and you said, not a chance?
Dave: They came back with $30,000?
Dave: That's a big drop. So now...
Melina: Now it became a challenge for me. Now it kinda became fun.
Dave: Yeah, because now you're at $300,000 plus $30,000.
Dave: Okay, so...
Melina: So hmm, now it's starting to make sense.
Dave: Okay. And notice we're only talking about the first and second because that's. Let's talk about the franchise tax board, and we'll come back to that second.
Dave: So during this time, you also...And this is really important for those listening, that the franchise tax board, contrary to what we often times hear, is like, you owe taxes, so you can't sell your house, or they've gotta get paid if you sell your house. And so tell us about how it worked with contacting the FTB.
Melina: Well, thanks to you, I said, I just happen to know that there's, you know, a way that you can take a debt and if truly, the borrowers have no way to pay back the debt, they can essentially put it on hold. That's called a non-collectible status. Is that right?
Dave: Currently non-collectible.
Melina: Currently non-collectible.
Melina: There you go. Sounds spoken just like a tax guy, so yeah.
Dave: Former, former...
Melina: Right, former.
Dave: Tax guy.
Melina: So yeah. So I knew that that was a possibility, so we made some phone calls. And they truly, neither one of them, were in a position to be able to repay anything, so we got them put into that status. And I got them to release the lien from the property, but not the debt.
Dave: Correct. So the taxes stay attached to their social security number as individuals.
Dave: But there are areas we were able to demonstrate to the FTB that there's no equity in this position. When they sell this, they need to release the lien, simply so they could sell the property and not go through foreclosure.
Dave: Yeah. So now you've got this attorney's office hanging out here in fourth position, and they're owed $12 grand. So how the heck are you gonna get an attorney to release.
Melina: Oh, I just called and said, "Do you want nothing, or would you like 1,200 bucks?" And they said, "Can you pay me in cash?" No, not really.
Dave: They said, "We'll take 1,200 bucks and how quickly can you get it to us?"
Melina: Exactly, yes.
Melina: Yeah, so a key part of that, you know, is that I stroked the check for $1,200, so...
Dave: Right there.
Melina: Yeah, because they didn't wanna wait.
Dave: So they said, "If you want us to release it...
Melina: ...pay me $1,200 now."
Dave: So you paid 1,200 bucks before all this other stuff is...
Melina: I did.
Dave: ...coming to fruition.
Melina: I did.
Dave: I mean, we definitely don't teach students to do that.
Melina: No, absolutely. It's one of the things, one of my rules is don't put money into a deal that isn't completely solid, which would be probably what I did. But there was a couple of things that happened. I knew, number one, that well, frankly, $1,200 wasn't going to change our life one way or the other, so it was worth it for me to do that. I knew that I was going to create something. And part of this whole process, I believed that the effort that I was making, you know, timing was very, very strategic in that I had the first foreclosing, which was creating urgency for everybody else behind the first mortgage. So that was both to my benefit and to my detriment, right, because it took years off my life because it was very, very stressful. But it did create the urgency, which allowed me to negotiate with creditors. So I was willing to take the risk to write the check to get that lien released.
Dave: For 1,200 bucks.
Melina: For $1,200, yeah.
Melina: It was worth it to do that.
Dave: So you get the fourth, the attorney releases the lien, gives them 1,200 bucks. Franchise tax board says, "No problem." They release the lien. Got that done very quickly. Second's there.
Dave: Second knows that any day, this thing's going to auction.
Melina: Yeah. Yeah, so the cool thing, well, again, the good and the bad with the collection agency was that I know that they get paid on what they collect. I know that the collection agent I'm speaking to is going to get paid off of... So I just, I mean, I probably argued with this collection agent like several times a day. We developed quite a relationship. She would hang up on me.
Dave: Call back.
Melina: She was like, "You again." And so, you know, I...anyway, it was very, very hot and heavy negotiations. But I ended up coming to an agreement with the collection agent, wherein I would pay upfront, not through escrow. But I would essentially pay off the lien very much like I did.
Melina: I know. And Dave's holding his head, screaming at me, but you gave me permission. I asked.
Dave: She says, "So they want $11,000, and we have to wire it tomorrow." Okay, so hold on. We're already out $1,200. We're into the second now for $11,000.
Melina: Yeah, yeah. So they didn't wanna wait until we closed, see.
Dave: Yeah, they want their money now.
Melina: Right. Well, it's because we had, once again, a foreclosure looming, so what they weren't going to do was wait until they didn't want to take that risk. So they said, "If you make us wait while you're in escrow, we're not giving you the discount."
Dave: Meanwhile, is the first having any conversation with postponing at all?
Melina: I am, on a daily basis, talking to the first, trying to get them to give me time to get them paid off, and I was absolutely dancing a jig of literally daily on the phone. Yeah, I had escalated up to upper management at the lender, you know, which I tend to do often.
Dave: Did you tweet them?
Melina: I didn't tweet them because I don't think...
Melina: Well, I didn't know to tweet at that point in time.
Dave: Got it.
Dave: You've done that before.
Melina: I have definitely done that. It works.
Dave: They pay attention to Twitter more than they do the phone.
Melina: They sure do, absolutely. So yeah. So anyway, I was on a daily basis, and truly, I got down to the day before the auction.
Dave: Wow. So the day before the auction, we're out. Meanwhile, we've wired $11 grand to them. They're paid off.
Melina: Yeah, yeah.
Dave: 1,200 bucks to the attorneys paid off. Franchise tax board sets aside their lien. So now, we're really dealing with the first of $300,000 plus, we're owed $12 grand.
Melina: Yeah. Well, we had a homeowner in the house, too, who needed...
Dave: Yeah, so that's where I was going to next. So meanwhile, what's the homeowner doing?
Melina: Well, she found a place.
Dave: She has no money to move.
Melina: Yeah. So I went to her new landlord and brought her landlord $6,000.
Dave: So the agreement we made with her was, "We'll give you $6 grand to move."
Melina: Yeah, I wasn't gonna give it to her, though. I wanted it to go to the landlord. I actually met the owner of the property she moved into.
Dave: And a cashier's check.
Melina: Yes, payable to the landlord.
Dave: Payable to the landlord, on her behalf, to make sure that the rent actually got paid and they could move.
Dave: Got it. And they didn't get moved, they weren't even moving. So you had to end up... I know you end up buying a bunch of boxes and...
Melina: Yeah, I had patched boxes.
Dave: Yeah, wow. You can be in the trenches sometimes. So another big key on all this, so in order to put out that money, we were really confident that we could sell this house very quickly as is. Because you mentioned in the very beginning that the house was dark and oppressive, and we're very much, you know, we don't have to do deals if we don't want to do them. And this was a house that I didn't wanna fix and flip.
Melina: Right. Neither one of us did. I wasn't interested in flipping it, either.
Dave: I wasn't interested in being in that house any longer than I had to.
Melina: No, right.
Dave: But we also have relationships with plenty of buyers in this area who would take that house all day long.
Dave: So we knew that that was taking place, right? So...
Melina: Yeah, so in my mind, I was...yeah, I wanted to wholesale the house out. That's what it comes down to. I knew that I was going to. I think you and I had had the conversation, and I don't think there was much of a conversation. We were both in agreement. You know, truly, this whole thing started with the intention of helping the homeowners get out, and I didn't really think there was gonna be an opportunity to make any money. And then at some point, I realized, "Well, maybe there will be an opportunity." And once, I think, we realized that we had the conversation and we both said, "No. Don't have any interest in flipping it," and we knew we were gonna wholesale it out.
Dave: Right, so we ended up doing exactly that. So a takeaway from all this. So we can talk about all the details of all these different liens and all this different stuff that's happening there. I mean, I'm talking to a powerhouse. I happen to be married to her at the same time for a long time. But I'm talking to someone who's extremely gifted and smart when it comes to knowing how to get through all these processes and negotiating and knowing all the rules and laws and so forth, and I lean on you all the time for this stuff. I don't know half of what you know, right?
So a really big key for that is and I know our members and everybody in the club gets to pick your brain all the time and go through all this stuff, and you teach all this stuff in your classes and so on. But to really watch it first-hand, like, play out like, you know, I think we were on vacation when a bunch of this was happening.
Melina: Yeah, we were.
Dave: And you're still on the phone. I can remember you sitting there going, "I need cell service" and...
Melina: Yeah, we were at the river.
Dave: We were at the river, yeah. That was crazy, so crazy.
Melina: I remember I had to go into weird places to get cell service to fight with the bank.
Dave: Yeah. So a really huge key, like takeaway, from all this is, like, I would never think about taking on, like, I would've walked away from this deal a hundred times. I don't know how many people had to have knocked on her door, just going to auctioning day. How many letters, I mean, mail was stacked up on that table on that house of all the people that were mailing to her, you know, and so forth.
And you were able to step in, get into her world, as nasty and dirty and like beaten down as she was. And you treated her like a human being, you know, and you gave her an opportunity, whatever she did with that or so forth. You helped the ex-husband have peace of mind that his kids were not gonna be on the street that night, you know, or in the next 10 days, you know, got them into a good spot.
And at the same time, we were able to put $12,000 out of our pocket, and take the risk that we could get this thing done and pulled off in the timeline that we got it done, and then turn around and sell it. And we wholesaled that and made 40...
Melina: I think, right around $40,000.
Dave: Right at $40,000, I think it was.
Melina: Yeah, something like that.
Dave: Right at $40,000. It was a heck of a payday.
Dave: Had we fixed and flipped it, we probably wouldn't have made much more than that, you know, based on the amount of work that it needed. I've since watched the property, and I saw that the guy we sold it to turned around and sold it. And he made probably somewhere around $75,000. So he did really well. So it's the same guy that's bought...
Melina: No, mm-mm.
Dave: Not the same one?
Dave: So you know, the moral of this story, I guess, if as we're looking through all this stuff, is, so property taxes definitely different from income taxes.
Dave: Franchise tax board, IRS liens, right? So that was a really big key. Most people shied away from that because they didn't know they could do anything with it.
Dave: This collection agent who said, "Give me 100 grand or nothing."
Melina: Everything's for sale.
Dave: You dug your heels in and said, "Let's get back to the negotiating table." And when they dropped to $30,000, I saw the look in your eye of, "I got 'em because they're gonna drop more."
Melina: Yeah. One of the things I think I learned through this was when you get told no, just ask a different way.
Melina: Yeah, just rephrase it, you know. Ask the same question, but just ask it in... Yeah, just rephrase the question, and definitely, it, 100% sharpened my negotiation skills. And also, I think, you know, tenacity, so just not being willing to give up.
Dave: Yeah. There was an opportunity. It was a win, win, win, win, win all over the place.
Melina: It absolutely was. It was the right thing to do, and I was committed to the right outcome. And that's really why I wasn't...I can say this. I can say I was not 100%, I was not committed to a payday. I was not. I was committed to creating a win-win. I wanted this deal to end up right, and that's really why I kept on moving the way I was moving and fighting the way I was fighting.
Dave: I just wanted us to get our money back.
Melina: I know you did. Well, and I did too. I did too, but I was...
Dave: Our $12,000.
Melina: I know, I know. Like I said, I just...and I think that's... For me, I learned later that that's a strategy that I did. I didn't even know there was an actual strategy called forcing equity.
Dave: There you go.
Melina: Right? And I didn't even know that that was a... And to me, it wasn't, you know, "Oh, I'm gonna force equity." To me, it was, "I see a problem, so I'm gonna go in and solve it. And you know, that is truly why I just put my head down and went to work.
Dave: Right. Do not try this on your own. Do not try this on your own. Do not ship money to the fourth position and hope your deal works out. She's underplaying her experience. She's had years and years and years of dealing with this as a paralegal and working for attorneys and, you know, a long time in this industry. And so you knew what you were doing, and that's really, really key. Those of you that are listening, get yourself with people that know what the heck they're doing. Joint venture with them, partner with them, whatever you wanna call it, and create those opportunities as well because real estate deals are definitely, definitely not found. They are 100% created, and this is about as creative as you can possibly get. Hats off to you, honey, because...
Melina: Thank you.
Dave: ...I would've walked away from this all day every day. And instead, that put a nice payday in our pocket and probably aged us a couple of years, but...
Melina: Yeah, I feel like I got gray hair from it, but that's all right.
Dave: Well, anyways, we'll leave you guys with that, and we'll catch you guys around the club, and we're gonna call it a wrap.
Melina: It's a wrap.
Dave: That's it.
Melina: Boswells, flippin' out.