The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - Episode 77
Oscar: It's a dramatic buildup.
Melina: Uh-huh, it is.
Oscar: You know, you throw a couple more beats on this and it could be something.
Tim: Say what?
Oscar: Matt gives me that face every day.
Melina: Welcome to "Flippin' Off," a purpose-driven podcast about flipping houses and making a difference. Welcome to the "Flippin' Off" podcast. My name is Melina Boswell and in the house with me today, I have some special guests and I'm going to let them introduce themselves starting over here to my left.
David: Hey, it's David Boswell.
Tim: Tim Wilkinson.
Oscar: Oscar Solaris.
Frank: Frank Luna.
Melina: Okay. You could say hi or something.
Melina: Much better. You guys felt like you're so quite...
Frank: Hey, Dave, Tim, Oscar. Hi, guys. Melina.
Melina: That's so much better. Okay, so today we thought it would be a good topic to discuss something that is near and dear to our hearts, which is squatters.
Oscar: Pom, pom, pom.
Melina: Yeah. So why do we love squatters? We love-hate squatters. Actually, as a real estate investor, squatters is a part of the business that you will inevitably have to deal with. And so we just recently had a ridiculous situation with a squatter that it seemed so appropriate to talk about today on podcast. And then that forced us to start thinking about, and looking to, and remembering all the years of ridiculous and most hilarious, I don't know why we find them funny but we do. We have to find it funny. If you don't find squatters funny, then you're going to be miserable in this business. So you have to find the humor in it and find the excitement in it. And so we thought it'd be a good idea for us to discuss and maybe share some of those stories with you guys today, the good, the bad, and the ugly. And our goal is to give you some strategies to deal with squatters, also what not to do. Yes, we have some of those not to do, don't do this, don't try this at home. So maybe we should start with that one. What do you think? Should we start with the, this is what not to do?
Oscar: How not to handle it.
Melina: Yeah. And then I'll share the most exciting moment I had yesterday.
Oscar: Sure. I definitely have some don't dos. So this was a property out in San Bernardino. On Little Mountain, I think it was, right? And the owner, I forget the owner's name, but he was on board to do the short sale. The whole bid, we were working through it. Walked the house, blah, blah, all that stuff. And then he calls and he says, "Hey, I've got a problem. It looks like some people moved into my house." Because it was vacant.
Melina: And this is years ago, before we even knew what the squatters were actually. I mean, we had an idea what squatters were, but there wasn't an epidemic of squatters.
David: Well, now there's like an actual career, where like people...
Oscar: Yeah, now there's professional squatters, right?
Melina: Yes. And we can walk through...
Oscar: So they've honed their skills.
Melina: ...how it's come. Yeah, it's come a long way.
Oscar: Yeah, they've honed their skills. So these guys, so I told them, I said, "Look, go over there, find out who they are, what's going on, let them know you're the owner. You know, just walk them through that." So he did, and they come out and say, "Well, we have a rental agreement." And he's like, "Well, this is going to be interesting, right? Because I'm the owner. So let me see that rental agreement." So they have a half-torn sheet of lined paper with some chicken scratch on it that says that they're renting the place, right?
Melina: "You can stay in."
Oscar: He's like, "Well, this is BS. I didn't do that."
Melina: "Get real."
Oscar: Right. It's like, "Come clean." Right?
Man: Still wet.
Oscar: So he does the logical thing and he calls the cops. So the cops show up and they're like, "We can't do anything because they have a legitimate piece of paper."
David: In quotes.
Oscar: Like that's legit. So they got that from someone, right?
Oscar: And the guy is like, "Are you freaking kidding me right now?"
Melina: And they said, this is what? This is now a civil matter?
Oscar: It is, it's a civil matter. Yeah. "It's a civil matter so now you have to take them to court."
Melina: Oh, God. Which means, ching-ching.
Oscar: So it's like, "Okay, so let me figure this out. So they've got power on, they've got water on, they've got all the utilities on, everything is working." So he took matters into his own hands, right? So he calls in, he says...
Melina: Disclaimer, do not try this at home.
Oscar: So this is the stuff that you never do, right? And he calls me and it was like a moment of silence for me, right, when I'm listening to the guy, because he says, "I'm going to take care of this. Actually, I already took care of this." I'm like, "Okay." He goes, "I went over there with a bat, but I thought that was a bad idea so I left the bat in the car and I took some bolt cutters and I cut the power." David's looking at me like, "What the...?" "What do you mean you cut the power, like you called Edison or somebody?" He's like, "No, no. I literally cut the cable. They have no power. They have no choice but to move out."
Frank: And the house next door is on fire.
Melina: And they're not going to have any power anytime soon.
Oscar: So I'm like, "All right." Didn't work. It absolutely didn't work. They just busted out some candles and stuff.
Melina: They plugged into the neighbor's house.
Oscar: They had an extension cord and life was good. And that's actually one that never really went through because he eventually just got tired of it. He's like, "I'm done. I don't even care anymore. You know, I wanted to do the short sale, but it's pointless. I can't get rid of these people. The bank doesn't want to cooperate, doesn't want to do anything so I'm done." So he walked away from it completely.
Melina: Oh my God.
Oscar: But so the don'ts, right, is... Nowadays, it's changed quite a bit where a piece of paper with some scribbles on it doesn't constitute a contract. But there's other things that...and we'll talk about it I guess, right? Because there are some things that have changed and what people do and how they'd get around things. But that was like the beginning of like Squatterville, right?
Melina: Yeah, It was.
Oscar: In Southern California where...
Melina: It was like 11 years ago. It was a long time ago.
Oscar: They were just doing things that, like, they didn't really care, "It was vacant, I move in and I set up shop."
Oscar: And life is good. You know, calling the cops is normal, but cops, really, they...
David: They can't do anything.
Oscar: Yeah. I mean, there's renter's rights and they kind of fall into that, renter's rights and there's things.
Melina: Yeah, people think there's squatter's rights and it's not technically squatter's rights. It's really technically renter's rights. And so if they make an argument that they're a renter, that's really that you need to be careful of.
Oscar: And I remember speaking with a cop too and he's like, "Yeah, I get it man but there's nothing I can do. This is civil now, so you have to..."
Frank: You know, I was thinking we should stop this podcast right now and sell it for $49 on "How to squat."
Melina: Oh. Wow.
Frank: How to become a squatter.
Melina: That's good. Oh, how much you want to bet that already exists? Because let me tell you something... Okay, so I'm going to go into sophistication now. I've had... That's so funny. I've had... Did you just sing the song? Go ahead, sing to your song. You know what we call Tim, right?
Melina: Go ahead, sing it. Yeah, we...
Man: I sing it all the time.
Melina: That's the "Baby Shark" song. So I've had like an array of squatters over the years. I've dealt with so many different kinds and I was like...they're all starting to come back to me. And there's a few that I can share that were really stand out ones to me. And one of them was probably the most crazy one, by far the most professional squatter that I had ever dealt with, and it was crazy. My seller was a professional. I don't really want to say what he did. This should've never happened to him though. Let me just say that. And so they had moved, him and his wife had moved out of the property, and they moved to like a completely different city. And then they decided that they wanted to sell the house. So they said, "Hey, our neighbors have told us..." And this is in a nice neighborhood in Paris. The house was fairly new. I want to say the house was like maybe only seven or eight years old. And they said, "But our neighbors called and said that there's somebody living there." So I went over and then the seller calls me and says, "I went over there. Like there is an entire family there moved in. They are not just...you know, they're not like they have some, you know, clothes hung up in the... They've got furniture, furnishings and they're running a daycare out of the house." They had done it. Yeah, it'd taken them like two months and they were like legit. Legit living there.
Tim: They're like entrepreneurs.
Melina: Like, entrepreneurs, yeah. So I bet you they're the ones that already wrote that curriculum you were just speaking about, Tim.
Tim: Their daycare…
Melina: Yeah, yeah. I'm telling you, it was just bizarre. So I walk up to the house and I knock on the door and there's these kids and I'm like, "Oh man, this is bad." It's a short sale. The house is in foreclosure. So she doesn't come to the door, so I just start banging on it. And then finally I say, "Hey, you know, I'm from the bank. Bank is here." And I start banging on the door. So she finally opens up the door and says to me... You know, she has a lease in her hand. She met me at the door with a lease in her hand and she said, "I'm a legitimate renter." Just like that. And I was like, "Oh my." Like, she was not kidding around. And I said, "Oh." I had to think quickly on my feet because I was not expecting somebody to be this sophisticated.
Melina: Yeah. Sophisticated and prepared. Like lease in hand. So I said, "Okay. Well, do you mind if I come in?" One of the biggest things I was concerned about was that I wanted to see the interior of the house. Where I had no idea what they were doing, so I'm doing a short sale so I needed to gain access to be able to review it. So I get inside the house and she says, "Yeah, you know, here's the lease." And so I said, "Okay, would you mind if I kind of look at the house?" And I walk around and I see that she's got her adult kids plus her teenage kids, and she's babysitting people. And I'm like, "Ugh."
So I see the house is in decent condition. So I come over and I say, "Hey, can I see the lease?" And she shows it to me. And I'm like, "So you're paying rent?" She said, "Yes, I pay rent every single month. I send a money order every single month to the owner." And I said, "Okay." And she said some name like Billy. And I was like, "You know, that name... Can I just see the contract?" "Yeah. Yeah." So she shows it to me. So I look at it and I say, "Oh, this isn't... Oh." Just like this. And I look at her and I go, "I think you're being scammed, ma'am."
And she kind of looked at me with her eyes like, "I am?" And I go, "Yeah. See somebody scammed you. Somebody scammed you and told you that they own this house and you're paying somebody who doesn't own the house." And she's like, "Oh." I'm like, "Yeah. So both you and my seller, they're getting scammed too. You're all getting scammed. We should find this guy." She's like, "Well, oh, yeah." I'm like, "So what address, where do you send the money to?" "Oh, it's a P.O. Box in Sacramento." I'm like, "Okay." "Well, so what are we going to do?" I'm like, "Okay, I'll deal with this guy, but don't pay any more rent." She's like, "Oh, okay."
I'm like, "Don't pay another dime because you really are getting scammed. I want you to save your money. Now, we're going to have to sell this house, and you know, you're going to have to move. But, you know, we'll help you. We'll help you get moved. I just need you to keep the house in decent condition and I will help you because I feel really, really bad that you've been scammed. But I'll make sure that you can stay here for like another three months at least. And that should help you to save money, you know, and get yourself a deposit for your next place." Wink, wink. And so she was like, "Yeah, thank you."
So I turned around, walked out the door, and patted myself on the back because I became friends with the squatter. And she thought she was scamming my seller, but I scammed her. Isn't that awesome? I felt pretty proud of myself. So I called my seller and I'm like, "There'll be moving out." He's like, "What?" And I said, "Yeah." So they did. They moved all their stuff out. We never had to evict them. And the thing is I had to do a short sale, so it took me three months to do the short sell anyway. And they moved out exactly the date that I told them to move out. So that was a win, win, win. So that's a great strategy. If you have somebody who is that sophisticated in terms of scamming you, that's a great way to do it.
Tim: Kind of play along?
Melina: Play along. Yeah.
Tim: Make them right.
Melina: Win them over. Yeah, don't make them wrong. Don't call them a thief and a crook and tell them what they're doing, because they're just going to fight you. So, right?
Tim: Kind of...we were talking about, they're still a person.
Melina: They are still a person.
Tim: Even though they're not, you know, a functioning, normal person of society, there's still a person there.
Melina: They're an entrepreneur of sorts, right? So...
Oscar: How to open a daycare at no cost.
Melina: Yes. Yes. Isn't that crazy? So then I've had another one where it was a short sale and I had a guy living in there and he was a total drug addict and I knew it, but he was just a harmless addict. So I met him a couple times and I would just, every time I was coming over, I would just yell his name, tell him I'm coming over. I'd bang on the door and yell, "Hey, I'm coming in." And so I would give him maybe five minutes if even that. And he knew it, too. He would get whatever he...you know, get dressed, get whoever he had in there and he would just bolt out the back door and he would say, "I'm leaving, Mrs. Boswell." And then that would be it. And so I'd go in. It's true. It was totally fine. There was never a problem. Your dad wasn't thrilled with me about that when he...he was like, "What the heck?" Yeah, well, it was fine. So I don't generally get afraid of situations like this, but yesterday, I decided to go over to one of our properties that we're working on right now. And I was actually going over to measure closets because we're getting closet inserts.
David: It's actually near done.
David: This is the house we're going to house all of the homeless vets in.
Melina: Yeah. The disabled vets that are homeless, we're going to place them in this house. And so, I went over there to measure closets, to look at closet space. And so, I drive up, and, you know, in my heels. And so I get out of the car. As I pull up the driveway, I see a truck, like, backed up. Yeah. And I see...it looks like a work truck. And I see some lady comes walking out. She greets me as I get out of my car. And she is really sassy, like, kind of, aggressively coming at me. She's like, "Hello, may I help you?" And I instantly was like, "How can I help you?" And she says, "Well, we're here doing work. What is it that you need?" And I said, "What do you mean, you're doing work for who?"
And then her husband comes around the wall, and he's wearing like an orange construction shirt. And so, I started questioning them. "Hey, who..." You know, "The owner had us doing work." And I said, "Oh, really. Who is the owner?" "I don't remember her name." And I said, "How did you meet her? What's her name? What's her phone number? Where did you get her?" And I just start hammering him. And I start to realize they're obviously scamming me because I'm the owner. So I say, "No. Like, you didn't talk to anybody. Who is it, and what exactly are you here to do?" "Just to do some work." And I'm like, "There's no work to be done."
Then I look in their truck, and in the back of the truck I see baseboard and it's full of stuff and I realize, "Holy crap, it's our stuff they've got in the back of their truck." And so, thank God, I had my friend with me who happens to be my trainer who happens to be, like, an ex-marine. And so I look at him and I say, "Do you know what's going on here? Do you see what's happening here?" And he says, "I think I do." And I said, "Can you stay here. Hold them." Because I asked them, "How did you get in the house?" And they said, "It was open." And I'm like, "Oh, no." So I'm like, "Hold them here." So I go around the corner, walk in the house and I just see clothes all over in the bedroom, cigarette butts, and I'm so pissed because we just finished rehabbing this house. So I start screaming and cussing and getting really mad.
Oscar: No, you didn't.
Melina: I did. I know it's hard to believe, but, you know, all the Italian came out in me. And I'm trying to see what damage is done. So I get on the phone, I called David immediately. And then I called 911.
David: So me and Frankie are at the office eating lunch.
Frank: We were about to eat.
David: About. Yeah, it was on its way. And I heard the panic in mom's voice and so I instantly just dropped everything we were doing and I said, "Frankie, let's go." So Frankie jumped in the truck with me and we cruised over there and...
Melina: Did you just cruise over?
David: Yeah. We just took...
Melina: You didn't do 110?
David: ...a light little stroll. No, we were rushing.
Frank: Cruise missile.
Melina: Cruise missile?
David: Right. Yeah. You just don't know what to expect. You know, all I know is we got my mom over there...
Frank: Of course.
David: We don't know what these people are doing or what they're capable of. I'm just panicking.
Frank: I'm like, "David, put your seatbelt on."
Melina: You yelled at him?
Frank: There was no time.
Melina: That's Frankie.
David: Yeah, so.
Frank: Had to put the seat down.
Frank: There was no seat when I first got in the back.
David: Oh, yeah, the seats were put up.
Frank: Yeah, that's right.
Melina: Oh, okay. You were just sitting on the ground?
David: Frankie jumped in the bed.
Melina: So then what? So why don't you...
David: The whole time I'm driving over there, I'm trying to decide on whether or not we're calling the cops because I know when the cops get there, if these people are moved in, there's... What's this look like? I don't know, maybe we can handle it ourselves. I don't want to just immediately involve the law. But at the same time, we're getting robbed. And my mom's there. So we decided to call the cops. And both mom did, and so did Frankie on the way over there. So we get there and I'm expecting a cop to be there and.
David: We tell them it's a burglary in progress and it still takes them, like, 45 minutes...
Frank: In progress right now.
Melina: I actually said like, "I'm here right now with them. I'm here with them. I'm staring at them."
David: Yeah. So we pull up and it's not an escalated situation or anything that would be...I mean...
Melina: Thanks to Sly.
David: It's kind of awkward, but Sly, he's a big dude and he's pretty intimidating and so...
Melina: And really calm.
David: And very calm, yeah. Which was perfect.
Melina: More intimidating.
David: Yeah, it's even more intimidating. So when we pull up, everyone's kind of standing around, and my first thought is, "All right, I need to see what kind of damage is done to the house. I don't really care about what these people are doing." So I walk in the house and I see... What are they called? Pneumatic hoses everywhere from a car. So a whole electrical and copper wires inside of them. So there's all of these hoses all over the house. I instantly think, "Okay, well, he's scrapping." Like I know he's scrapping metal, so we realize there's pneumatic hoses all over the yard. Like they've been there a while, stripping wire in the yard. So that was the first thing I see.
Now I'm want to check and make sure that they haven't gone up in the attic and ripped our unit down and taken anything. You know, he's already got construction material so I'm just trying to go through the house to see what's been done. We get into the back room and so there's holes in the wall, there's a broken window, there's cigarette butts on the ground. They've been smoking in there and there's just...it's like suitcases and dirty clothes just all over the room. And, you know, they just moved into this back room. So we had one of our helpers with us. So my first thought is, "I was just here, so I know they haven't been here long." So my first thought is, "Let's get all of this stuff out of here now." So I told...his name is Chris, who was with us. I said, "Chris, there's a shopping cart outside." I was like, "Grab that Walmart cart, wheel it in here and put all of this stuff in the cart, get everything out, like right now." And so, the hardest part, I think, about this whole thing is there was two little kids there.
Melina: Yeah, this was the worst part.
David: And he was 12, right?
Melina: Yeah, one of them was seven and he belonged to the couple...
David: The couple who was there.
Melina: ...who were there ripping us off.
David: Yeah. And there was a...
Melina: And then there was a…
David: ...Hispanic boy who was...he's definitely not the couple's kid. And he was well-read and well-spoken and really nice. And it was actually heart wrenching because his mom left him with these random people, and he's been told to lie. Absolutely has been taught how to cover up for his mom. And so he'd instantly go...I can see it in him, he instantly goes into that story mode and you can just tell, he's like, "I have a story rehearsed." And he just started saying it, and so. Instantly, I told him like, "Buddy, it's okay. You don't have to lie. Just, I promise you're not going to get in trouble and, you know, don't worry about this." And I'm telling him, "Is this your stuff in here because we need to get it out now." And he says, "Yeah, that's all my family's stuff." And I say, "All right. Well, let's go get it."
And so instantly when I said that, I could see the relief in his face that we were just going to let him get his stuff. And so he goes inside and he just instantly starts apologizing to me and telling me how sorry he is. And I grabbed him by his shoulder and I turned him and looked at him. I said, "Look at me, man. It's not your fault. This is not your fault. You didn't do anything wrong. You're doing everything you're supposed to be doing. So don't feel bad." And when I said that, he just burst into tears. And I got really emotional, I couldn't even help it. I just started crying. I just grabbed him and hugged him and just held onto him and he latched onto me, and he would not let go. It was a seriously emotional moment. And so I couldn't even help but get emotional.
But so, I told him, "Come on, man, let's get your stuff and let's figure out what's going to happen." The whole time, he's like, "Am I going to go to CPS? Is my mom going to go to jail?" Like, "What's going to happen?" And I just keep telling him, "It's going to be okay. Like no matter what happens, it's all going to be okay, you know, no matter what. So don't stress about it. I promise you didn't do anything wrong." So he's just so grateful.
Melina: Yeah. And actually, it was like, the conversation was, we didn't want to lie to him, right? We didn't want to tell him, "No, you're not going to go to CPS and no your mom is not going to go to jail," because we didn't know.
Melina: And so David actually said... I just looked at... When he asked me, "Am I going to go to CPS?" I just looked at him and I was like, "You may. That may be." And David said, "Look. If you do go, it's not going to be forever. And if your mom ends up going to jail, it's not going to be forever."
David: Yeah. I said, "If she goes to jail, she's going to get out."
Melina: She's going to get out.
David: "It's not going to be the end of the world. Lots of people have gone to jail and it's how it has to go sometimes, but it's just..."
Melina: Learn the lesson.
David: "It's just how it goes. You live and you learn, you know? So I promise you, nothing is the end of the world here." And so, it's really hard when... Half of me is irate at this guy who is dragging these kids along and his wife, and it's like, "Dude, you know, I'm a man exactly like you. There's nothing different about either of us except for the choices we decided to make." And I look at him, he's a perfectly capable dude who just...he's dragging these kids along and it makes me so angry. I am instantly just angry at him, but at the same time, they're people. They're just normal people. And...
Melina: Yeah. Did you see...I don't know if you saw this, but when we had walked over to the side, she, the wife walked over to him and started apologizing to him. She kept on saying, "I'm so sorry. I'm the one that got you into this. I am so sorry." And then she starts crying and she's like, "I didn't know what we were getting into. I am so, so sorry." And started crying and he was like, "It's okay, it's okay." It was just the weirdest situation because they were telling a little bit of truth. Probably most of their story was the truth but then there was the one piece that they were leaving out, which was...
David: They were stealing.
Melina: They were stealing. And they were actually getting ready so that they could move into the house.
David: Yeah. The boy ended up telling me that they met some guy named Ralph, and Ralph is basically like a...he's basically a house pimp. He finds homeless people on the street and says, "Hey, I've got this place you guys can move in. Just give me..."
Melina: He finds vacants.
David: Yeah, he finds vacants. "I got this place you can move in. Just give me X amount of dollars or give me whatever, give me..." You know what I mean? Who knows what that type of person really...
Oscar: "Here's a half a piece of lined paper."
Oscar: He apparently took your course, Tim.
David: But yeah, he says that Ralph met them and said, "I got this place, you can go and you can pay me in a week." So they were trying to get money together and he said, the little boy told me, "My mom got a loan. She was going to pay him today." And then he said that Ralph also invited this other couple who was taking stuff. And the boy's name was Andrew. He said...it's crazy enough.
Melina: I know.
David: He says, "Yeah, Ralph invited them, too. They came and they showed up and we thought they were just going to take the other room but as soon as they got here, they just started loading all this stuff up." He said, "And then all of these other hoses came from a stolen car." And so it was...
Melina: Yeah. A horrible situation. Yeah. So, you know, for me, I started saying, "Hey, you know, there's resources that are available to you so that you guys don't need to be doing this." And the wife looked at me and said, "We have a place to stay. We stay in a motel." And I just was like, "Okay. Like, I get it. But..." You know what I mean? "Like there's other resources that are available to you," and they weren't interested in that.
David: Well, they had a truck.
David: So it's, like, there's a level of pride. They were definitely caring...they weren't sticking to the, "We're not homeless," thing, but...
Oscar: It's their ego, right?
Melina: Totally. Totally. Except for, their son said, "Well, we don't have a home."
David: Their seven-year-old boy who was sitting there sobbing...
Melina: Scared to death.
David: ...thinking that his dad's going to go to jail.
Melina: Yeah. And then the wife says something to us like, "You know, my son is here, and, you know, when the cops showed up, he's scared." And I looked at her and I said, "It is nobody else's fault that your son is in this situation except for yours, right? So don't use your child to allow you to get out of consequences because you're the one that brought your son here, nobody else, that was you." Hard words but the truth. And I needed them to take responsibility because I'm guessing most people give them a lot of slack because they do have this kid.
Melina: You know?
David: It's a pity party.
Melina: Absolutely. It was really, really frustrating, especially because they refused to take any services. So you just never know.
Oscar: It's interesting, right? The different range of dynamics behind the squatters, because, I know the one we talked about earlier, there was a daughter involved as well, right? But wasn't really used in that sense, but still the visual there, right, of, "Oh, man, I've got to kick this person out and they have kids," to target your heart and all that, so...
Melina: Yeah. That was a crazy situation.
Christian: Hi, this is Christian Rios. As many of you know, I've been a member of New Wealth Advisor's Club for over 7 years and got started when I was 17 years old with absolutely no real estate experience. One of the biggest lessons I've learned from being in the industry is the need for authentic relationships. If you're looking for an actual team locally in Southern California with all the resources needed to close the deals, register for one of our free workshops by visiting www.joinnwac.com. Thanks for listening to the "Flippin' Off" podcast.
Melina: What were you going to say?
Oscar: I wanted to ask a question like, so what happened? Like, are they still in the house?
Melina: We threw them all in jail. No, I'm just kidding.
David: No. The cops came, and based on all the details, he said, "There's no way..." Like, they didn't actually steal anything. We got everything out of the truck before.
Melina: Yeah, because when Sly was still there and I was, you know, losing my mind inside the house, Sly made them unload every single thing that was ours and put it back where they got it.
David: Oh, and then, yeah, which was awesome. Thank you, Sly. Thank you, Sir.
Oscar: That's pretty fly, Sly.
David: Yeah. The cop said...because I said we loaded everything up in the shopping cart. And so we told the cop when he got there, "So I don't know what our rights really were, but I definitely didn't want you to get here and tell us they had some kind of rights. So we enrolled that boy to help us get everything out." And so the cop was like, "That is the best thing you could have done. Like more power to you," because he said...when he got there, he was looking at us going, "Oh crap, I'm about to have to deliver some bad news to these homeowners."
Melina: Yeah, yeah. But the truth is, nobody was claiming that they actually lived there, you know. So that was a good thing. But, so they were cited for trespassing, and given a warning so that they never do it again. And that was the biggest thing that we wanted, was obviously we didn't want to send anybody to jail. There was no reason for it. I think we scared the daylights out of them enough that they're not going to ever do that again. All right. It's so usual. I mean, it's almost... The wife telling the husband what to do. It's exactly like, you know, there's nothing new under the sun. It started with Adam and Eve and there you saw it playing out in front of your very eyes.
Frank: I was watching David deal and then I was listening to you and I spoke to him. It was really interesting how they interacted with each one of us. Like they didn't have a chance. Like you were pressuring them and then I was saying, "So what's really going on here?" And then he's like... And they were just telling me, "We have a lot of things in common." The truth part, because they were definitely trying to hit a nerve with, "Well, we do this and we're here and we had things in common."
David: They were trying to humanize themselves...
David: ...as much as possible.
Frank: Yeah. And I was just thinking. I'm like, "Wow." Except for, "Well, what about the stuff in the truck?"
David: "What about you jacking my stuff, right?" Yeah.
Melina: "Except all of our stuff was in your truck." And that's what I just kept on saying to her. "Except for you stole from us. Right, that's all true, but you took something that didn't belong to you." "But we didn't know."
Frank: And you've got your kids…
Melina: Yeah. And I looked at her and I go, "You did know." Like, "You did," you know? "You absolutely knew what you were up to. That's why you approached me the way that you did when I walked in the front...when I drove up. Like, you all knew what was going on. And you're just...you know, you took the opportunity to do the wrong thing. That's really what happened and you got caught. So congratulations."
Frank: I mean, what I was thinking, we know we need a video camera there.
David: Oh, yeah, we almost...
Frank: Because, remember what happened at that other property?
Melina: Which one?
Frank: Some people... Goldenville. Some people broke in there. I have video cameras.
Melina: Oh, yeah.
Oscar: They went for a swim, though.
David: They were back and forth. It wasn't the first time they were there.
Frank: Yeah, this wasn't their first time.
Oscar: This was their vacation home. Breaking in like cocoon [SP].
Frank: Yeah, they … out the place. They went into the driveway and he was looking around. And I was like, "Who's this guy?" So he came back that night. So we pulled up and we just were like, "What's going on?" I called the cops because they hadn't broken into the house and I didn't know what it was, but they were driving a stolen car. They were breaking all kinds of laws and that's just how they live. But I was just thinking, because when we went to go over there this time to Lindsey, I didn't know what was going on. Like, we were thinking it was a robbery. Now there's other individuals or people squatting. They're robbing from each other. And that happened over the weekend, right? Because...
Melina: Yes, yes.
Frank: Like in two days.
Frank: Of not having a video camera there. Oh my gosh, I wonder what where they're doing? How many other people had been there? And this isn't the first time someone's been there.
Frank: This is the first time we saw somebody. Like I would go, "Oh my gosh, let me jump to this window and I get their stuff out and..." I don't know, it's just definitely like...
David: If you have a vacant house, in this game, it's pretty much inevitable. If you have a property that is...you know, you've done work on, it's and sitting there and it's vacant.
Oscar: And, you know, sometimes the owners invite people in. And then sell you the house and leave the people there.
Melina: Oh yeah, that just happened.
Oscar: And then they don't want to go, right?
Melina: Yeah. We're experiencing that right now.
Oscar: There's also that other side, right.
David: Oh, yeah.
Melina: We just bought a house where we got it at a great price, but there's a back story and that is this. One of the owners invited...he had a friend and she says, "Hey, I need a place to stay for a couple of days." And said, "Yeah, that's fine, you can stay, you know, at the house for a couple of days." And then she just didn't leave. So then she was there for like two weeks. And then she invited her friend, and then her sister-in-law, and then her sister-in-law's husband. And all of a sudden, all these people were living inside the house, and the refused to leave.
Oscar: And they've been there for about a year now.
Melina: They've been there for a year. Never paid a dime. Totally living there, so it's like, are they squatters?
Oscar: But they were going to do yard work in exchange.
Melina: That's what they told me. And the yard was just a joke. So yeah. So the seller basically said he was afraid of them. Seller was absolutely afraid of them. He said, "You guys..."
Melina: Yeah, he said they were gangsters. So, we went over there, we met them, and then, I realized I was frustrated because when I spoke to them, I knew that they were articulate, intelligent, and fully capable of working jobs, of doing whatever. There was nothing wrong with them and so that frustrated me, you know? That they just chose to squat, and to pay nothing, and to live like absolute pigs. That was the worst part, the house was disgusting. So, anyway, so I finally decided. I said, "You know what, I think David needs to go over because David has the ability, I believe, to communicate with them and he'll probably be able to get them to listen."
Oscar: He's like the squatter whisperer.
Melina: He's just good at...
David: Minus the whispering.
Melina: Yeah, he's just a good communicator. There's no whispering happening with David. And it was actually really funny. David tells me, "Mom, stay calm when you're there." Because I was like, "Oh, I already lost my mind." I already went off. And so I'm like, but it's a good thing Sly is here. Sly is really calm. Dave is like, "Good. Just relax. Don't be all loud and don't be too upset." I'm like, "I'm not." And so David comes in, "Raaaah." Just like screaming.
Oscar: "Save it for me."
Melina: His energy is like at 15.
David: Oh, crap. I had to put the car in parking. So, I'm down and it's rolling. I'm like, "Oh." No, I'm just kidding.
Oscar: Did it hit Frankie?
David: No, I didn't.
Melina: So afterwards, when you walked in the house, I looked at Sly and I go, "Yeah, he's my son." He's like, "He is clearly your son."
David: I don't know what you're talking about.
Melina: I know.
Oscar: So that's not how he approached the other ones, though. The other one, he was really calm, collected and actually got them on board, right? To be willing to...
David: Yeah. So I didn't even know what to expect when we got there. I knew that we had tried a few things before I got...and we decided I was going to go, and...
Melina: This is the other one.
David: Yeah, on the … street.
Melina: Yeah, in Los Angeles.
David: They just were uncooperative, right? So Amir had tried a few times to... They actually declined money.
Melina: They did. We offered them money and they declined it.
David: A good amount.
Oscar: Way more than we should have offered.
David: Yeah. Actually, more than I offered. Which worked out pretty good. But, so we get there and my first impression is, there's just trash all over the yard. It's funny, they said they were going to do yard work, but I don't know, they are going to organize the trash bags into, I don't even know. So there's are all trash bags, it looks like a homeless camp, you know? Blue tarps over everything. And so we had given 24-hour notice so that we could go inside, and that's the law. So we knock on the door and open the door because we're there and we are coming in and so that's...you know, that's what we've let them know we're doing.
So as soon as I start talking to them, I realized they're really capable people. They shouldn't be living like this. And so, they definitely wanted to be treated like people. I don't think they even looked at themselves as squatters or, you know. So I kind of met them right there. And so actually what I did was shame them for how bad their house looked. You know, so their act... I'm just meeting them right where they are. So, this place is just trashed.
So I instantly started saying things like, "What's wrong with you? This is your house? How are you going to let your house look like this? How do you live like this? What kind of quality of life are you living in? Aren't you embarrassed of your front yard when people walk by, they look... I'm talking to you right now. You seem like a normal, awesome guy. Like, you actually have some skills, I can tell. Why do you live like a pig? Why do you have no pride in where you stay?" And so, it's working. I can see the shame coming on to them and they're like, "You know, you're right. You're right." So I just keep rolling.
Melina: David is like, "All right. I think I found the vein. I think I found the vein, yeah."
David: I'm on to something. I'm on the pain point. So I started talking to them about work, and what their experience was in the past. And so I find out there's a married couple and then the man's sister is staying there as well. And so the sister is disabled, and she's going to go do her own thing at the end of this. And then the couple is going to do their own thing. And so, what I came to, the agreement that I mustered up in my head while we were there and the idea I had was to enroll the man and the wife to start cleaning up the project. He tells me he's done demo work in the past. So I say, "Dude, we have to demo this place. We need a lot of demo work done. So we either have to go find somebody to do the demo job here for a good price, or you do it and I pay you to do it."
At the end of this, so what the agreement was, we said, "We'll let you stay here. I want you to clean the place up and take some pride in it like it's actually yours. And then through the process of rehabbing, I'll let you do the demo. I'll pay you for the demo. I'll offer exactly the same amount of money that it would cost us to evict you and go pay the courts to get you guys out and leave you with absolutely nothing. I'll redirect that three grand to give to your sister. And then let's work towards getting you guys a place. Like what are you going to do? You can't stay here forever. Like this place is going to be gone. So you can either have a lifelong friend with me, somebody who...we have work. So if you do a good job on this demo, then you can absolutely do more work for me. And think about this, if you really want to do something with your life, you could absolutely do a few demo jobs. You can save up like $10,000 grand and go buy a dump truck. And now, all of a sudden, you can start yourself a business. People need demo jobs for good prices all over L.A. Why can't you do that? Like, picture that in your head." And so the wheels just started turning in this guy, and he's like, "Man, you're right. I could do that."
Melina: It's true that.
David: "I think I could really do that"
Melina: Totally true. That was great.
David: So we tied it all together and shook hands and said we'd get a dumpster out there and so, we're going to write up the agreement and get the dumpster out there this week. But he was already texting Amir, saying, "Hey, man, we've already done a lot of work." They actually took a trip to the dump and paid to have some of the trash taken to the dump, and he's asking for the dumpster because they want to get the yard cleaned up so they don't look like squatters.
Melina: Yeah. That's so great.
Oscar: That's a perfect example of the value of having a team, right?
Oscar: And knowing each other's skillsets and all that because then you can kind of bring the right person in. When we exhaust other measures, you bring another person in, right? They can take a different approach that... Because inevitably, at some point, your emotions get involved. And as soon as you reach that level, you need to be able to step back and bring in a fresh body in to handle it.
Oscar: So that's the power of it all.
Melina: Yup. Cool. Cool. All right. For you guys, you listeners out there, I hope that this provided some value for you so that when you think about when you're looking at rehabbing properties, buying any kind of properties, if you have a squatter situation, remember all the sweet details and sweet tips...
David: Preventative maintenance, right?
David: Some preventative maintenance. Something like always check on your property.
David: If you aren't in the area, have somebody that's in the area just go over there and walk in the house and hang out for maybe 20 minutes and like just show presence. And if you can, get security cameras. Absolutely, if you can get security...because the only way that you'll be able to prove how long somebody has been there is if you have a camera. And so, legally, if the cops show up and you have a squatter there, and you can't prove how long they've been there, you have to go through the courts. There's no other option. They can't prove it, you can't prove it. So protect yourselves if, you know, you get into this situation and do some preventative maintenance.
Melina: Yup. Yup. Yup. Yup. All right, guys. Yeah, great stuff. So great talk today. We are NWAC and we are "Flippin' off."
I'm Melina Boswell, your host of the "Flippin' Off" podcast. I really hope you enjoyed it. If you did, we'd love for you to subscribe. Give us a five-star rating and tell your friends all about us. You can find more episodes of the "Flippin' Off" podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever else you like to listen to awesome podcasts like this. If you like what you've heard, we'd really appreciate it if you'd follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and tell us the stories that you'd like to hear. Tim Jackson is our senior producer. Luke Jackson is our editor. Brothers. Josh Mauldin is our producer. Sound design by Frequency Factory. Our executive producer is Mind & Mill. This was all created by Dave Boswell for New Wealth Advisor's Club.