What I’ve Been Up To: Off for the Summer

Well, it’s that time of the year again. And, I’m finally off for the summer! Though, not from work — only from this blog.

This year has been quite different from prior years. Usually, I try to finish up all my work before summer hits. That way, I can take the entire summer off from work and get some relaxation in. Though, sometimes things just don’t go as planned. So, what have I been up to? Well, let’s just say it’s been pretty chaotic and busy non-stop!

Recently, I just finished a fix-up and just put it on the market. So, I’m in marketing mode taking calls left and right from prospective residents.

(Note: For those who are interested on how I screen prospective residents, you can find more details in my book. Thanks for reading!)

Other than that, I have a closing scheduled for the end of the month plus two more leads to work on via a park manager on some residents in the process of buying a new home.

(Note: Recently, I’ve been running into folks who are upgrading and a few who are downgrading as well.)

Lastly, I may be taking a home back due to a divorce situation. (Yes, it happens!) Though, the home is in good condition and the residents have agreed to leave the home quietly.

So, to say the least — it looks like it’s shaping up to be a busy summer. Though, I definitely will try to find the time to relax in between work and all!

Before I leave this blog for the summer, I’d like to share a story with you about a home I just walked away from. Here’s a pic:

Now, this lead came via craigslist (out of all places!). I just happened to catch the post while looking at cars (I’m in the market for one!).

(Note: For those who have been following my blog and have read my book, you’ll know craigslist has not really worked for me in the past. In my experience, most folks I’ve dealt with on craigslist for mobile homes haven’t been really serious. Though, that’s just my experience.)

In any case, I noticed the home was in one of my favorite parks. So, of course I called! I got all the information and set up an appointment to see the home since it fell within my buying criteria.

(Note: For those interested in learning more about the types of homes and parks I work with, more details can be found in my book. Thanks for reading!)

After I set up the appointment, I immediately took a trip to the park to chat with the park manager. To the park manager’s surprise, the park manager had no idea the home was on the market. In fact, the park manager told me the sellers had not even submitted their notice to leave the park (usually 30-60 days). The park manager went on to tell me that had they known, of course they would have called me.

In any case, we chatted about the seller. The park manager told me the seller has been quite difficult to work with in the past. There have been issues with other residents concerning the seller and also advised me the title was not in the seller’s name – it was in the seller’s parent’s name. Though, the seller told the park manager years ago they were the one that bought the home. (Definitely a red flag!)

(Note: This is the power of networking and having a good team. Though it takes time to network and build strong relationships, it will pay off in the end. It definitely has for me!)

After we chatted for awhile, I told the park manager I’d let them know how it goes. Good deal!

So, the day comes when I meet with the seller and inspect the home. The first thing that came to my mind when I met the seller was that this was not my typical kind of seller. This seller was a “do-it-yourself” type — most sellers I work with are not “do-it-yourself” types. If something needs fixing in the home, they hire folks to fix the problems for them. Not the other way around.

In any case, I knew there was something I didn’t exactly trust with this seller. There were so many issues I spotted in the home (i.e. plumbing problems, leaks, holes in the walls, etc). When I pointed these items out, the seller just told me there wasn’t a problem and it was “no big deal.” I was especially shocked to find this hole in the wall when I first walked in:

The seller told me it had been there when they bought it….5 years ago. I asked why didn’t they fix it and the seller just shrugged. Seriously?

(Note: Most homeowners I buy from will fix a problem when they see it. If they don’t, it just goes to show you what kind of person you’re dealing with – one that doesen’t care about their own home. And, if they don’t care about their own home — why would they care about negotiating a fair deal with you?)

In any case, the big issue was the plumbing — it looked like there was damage to the wood beneath the sinks. Plus, the seller did tell me about a major plumbing issue from the master bathroom that came in through the wall of the master bedroom. When I viewed the area, there was a piece of wood over the troubled area which was not finished and looked like an amateur job. In addition, I also saw what looked like water damage against the wall behind the dresser – I asked the seller to move it for me.

Apart from the plumbing, the deck needed to be replaced. The wood was rotting and there was a big hole covered up by a piece of wood. Here are some pics:

Rotting wood

Hole in floor covered by wood

At first glance, I knew it would cost at least $1000 to replace the deck. This was shaping up to be a costly project!

Apart from the plumbing and the deck, the trees and hedges definitely needed to be trimmed out. There was vegetation all around the home which made it look less appealing. I knew something like this would cost at least a couple hundred dollars to get it up to my standard.

So, I told the seller these issues. And, the seller agreed to work with me and reduce the price. Though, the main issue I wasn’t certain of was the plumbing. And, I definitely needed to get my plumber in to assess the damage!

To make a long story short, I got my plumber in there. And, guess what? He found some major issues. He told me it looks like the home has all original plumbing and some of the plumbing has gone out in the past and was just “patched up” but not completely replaced. He told me it could be a major problem for me down the road. One strange thing my plumber found was beneath the home — it looked like there were some pipes down there covered up by some tarp. He told me he couldn’t get into it as it was wrapped pretty tight.

(Note: In the past, I’ve bought from sellers who have replaced the old plumbing with new plumbing when the need arises. This is why I haven’t had any major issues with plumbing with the homes I’ve bought so far!)

Once I got the report from my plumber, I told the seller I’d have to pass on the home.

(Note: This is the power of having a good team. That’s why we hire experts as it’s hard to know everything!)

The seller was shocked and told me they were willing to go down on price. But, I told the seller it was just too much work for me especially with the unknown plumbing issues that could come up in the future. Well, the seller told me to think about it and maybe we can talk again.

Over the next couple of days, the seller called. And, called and called. Eventually, the seller stopped calling and got the message. This was not a deal I wanted to pursue.

So if the title was not in the seller’s name, why did I even pursue the deal? I did it because I was waiting for the seller to tell me it was in their parent’s name. Though, that never happened — the seller mentioned many times how they bought the home many years ago. So even after viewing the home, I knew I couldn’t trust the seller. And, if I couldn’t trust the seller it wasn’t a deal for me.

(Note: I’ve bought homes before from sellers who are not on title. Usually, they will tell me upfront the title is in someone else’s name. Most times, it’s in their parents’ or a relative’s name like the fix-up I just finished up with. Then, it’s all a matter of getting the folks on title to come and sign the necessary paperwork. Usually, it’s not a problem with folks I build trust with.)

In any case, this definitely was a learning experience for me with the amount of fix-up work involved. It just goes to show my theory that the best types of leads have and always will come from folks I know (like park managers), not complete strangers from a random ad like craigslist!

(Note: This is why so many folks struggle when it comes to real estate investing. They try to deal with strangers rather than people they know!)

I hope this post has helped. Before I go, I’m going to leave you with an inspiring video.

Have a great summer!

(Note: One last mention about the “Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act”. Thanks for your support and for helping to spread the word!)

Video Link

Interested in learning more about mobile home investing? Be sure to check out my new book, thanks for reading!

Adventures in Mobile Homes: Official Book Trailer

Video Link


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Related posts:

  1. What I’ve Been Up To: Off For the Summer
  2. Inspecting a Mobile Home Part I
  3. Inspecting a Mobile Home Part II
  4. What I’ve Been Up To: Off For the Summer
  5. Does it Look Like a Deal?: 2/1 Mobile Home In a Park
hiatus, what I've been up to

4 comments


  1. Hey Rachel -

    Sometimes you just need to know when to “fold ‘em”. Just understanding this is so valuable for a real estate investor. There’s nothing worse than trying to make a bad deal work. Great post.

    Sharon

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence, Sharon!

      I totally hear you on trying to force a bad deal to work — I think we’ve all been there. For me personally, it’s led to disaster and I don’t want to repeat history!

      At the end of the day, I had to keep asking myself if this were a product I could stand behind and a seller I could trust. Both answers were “no” and I knew this was my last and final test before I went thru on any deal. It’s just all the time I put into scoping this deal out though I guess that’s the whole point of doing your due diligence!

      Nice to hear your input Sharon, enjoy the summer! :)

  2. Jessica Sala

    Hope you enjoy the time off!!

  3. Rachel –

    Thanks so much for sharing the deal you walked away from. Most Guru’s only want to tell you about the great deals. A ‘REAL GURU’ tells it like it is, good, bad, indifferent! This post convinced me that I ‘NEED’ to buy your book.

    Also thanks for all your YouTube posts. I am working my way through watching them all.

    Again, thanks so much for sharing and enjoy your summer.

    Matt Schreiber