We like to say we are “redevelopers” instead of “flippers” for a couple of reasons:
- We are not dolphins. By the most common measures of animal intelligence (brain weight and the ratio of brain cells to body cells), dolphins are probably more intelligent than humans are.
- Flippers have something of a bad reputation. Deserved or not, many people think of flippers as preying on the weak or just taking advantage of other people’s misfortune. After all, we buy below market and sell at the top of the market.
While some do take advantage, most of us want to do good in the world. We will even walk away from a deal if we don’t feel we are doing right by the seller. To that end, I want to share a story from a fellow redeveloper, Cheryl Thompson. I met Cheryl though FortuneBuilders, an investor group to which we both belong. She posted this story on the group’s closed Facebook page and gave me permission to reproduce it here.
Last week I got an opportunity to spend time with a woman who was selling her parents’ home. Three bedroom/1 bath. Amazing hardwood floors. She walked me through the impeccable and memory filled home that her father had built in the 1950s. The property in top condition would be worth $90,000. My MAO (maximum allowable offer) would have been $30,000 – $36,000.
She told me how her father had died four years ago, and she bought her mother a condo that would be easier for her to get around in after she had a stroke two years earlier. Now this kind and love-filled daughter had to sell the house. For most, this is the OPTIMUM opportunity. She explained how she was going to use the funds to keep her mom comfortable and safe in her condo with nursing staff and how she was managing all this single-handedly.
As I walked through the house, my rehab hat was making a detailed list of items that would have to be done to the house to get top dollar. My heart hat was listening to the woman’s goals and knowing deep down that I had to use my knowledge to help her, not to fatten my own bank account.
I stopped in the middle of the basement and said to her, “I can’t buy your house. You have too much capital here to be able to take care of your mother with. I’m going to show you how to get top dollar for this house and put the money in your bank account for your mom.”
The tears in her eyes said it all.
We started the walk through again and I pointed out exactly what she needed to do to be able to list the property with a realtor. I told her what to pay attention to and what to let go. I gave her my favorite realtor team’s name and number.
She mentioned that even though her parents had had insurance with State Farm for over 50 years that State Farm had dropped her because the house was now vacant. I asked her who was insuring it…she said, “No one.” I panicked. An uninsured vacant house. At that moment I begged her to call my company, who insures vacant houses before the end of the day. She had 1 hour and 15 minutes to get it done…and $90,000 to lose if something happened to the house while she was getting it ready to sell.
When I was getting ready to leave, we hugged and agreed to stay in touch. I felt like I had run a victory lap knowing that this woman was going to be able to take better care of her mother for at least 1-2 years because of our 30-minute meeting. She would insure it, get it ready for sale, hire a realtor, and feel a little bit less overwhelmed because our paths had crossed.
This is one of the most beautiful things about FortuneBuilders. We have knowledge (lots of it) that we can put to work for great good.
I love deals. All kinds. But the best deal you can ever make is one that will make another person’s life a whole lot better.
Since we started Hermit Haus Redevelopment, I have not had the opportunity to help someone like this. The people we have talked to have many reasons for just wanting out of the house. Either they don’t have the money to do the rehab themselves, or they don’t have the time, energy, and patience an extended rehab requires. Giving these people what they want is not taking advantage of them. Sometimes they see the what’s in their best interest in terms other than financial gain—like my father did when he sold the house he and my mother had lived in for $20,000 less than its “as-is” value. He felt it was worth $20,000 to move out of a house with too many memories and move where he could begin to rebuild his life after Mom died.
If you know of someone who wants out from under a house that has become a burden for them, we are happy to help by buying that house. If you know someone who wants to know how to get top dollar for their house, we can help with that, too.