I buy houses in Melbourne, Florida. I buy Owner-Carry, producing income for the seller. Need to sell a problem house NOW? Willing to carry a mortgage? Have a solid house with some repairs needed? I can work with probate and estates. Fixers float my boat! Contact me to see how I can solve your house problem.
|Posted on June 10, 2017 at 11:05 PM||comments (0)|
Long after our closing, I called to order a survey. Because we didn’t buy with conventional financing, we no longer needed a survey. However, the neighbors tell me that one property has encroached upon our boundary line. About the time that I made my appointment, the Realtor came by with old copies of a survey that was conducted in the 1980s. I notice that the survey company I called up had also conducted the last survey. I believe we can ask for an update to that survey, rather than a completely new one. Having the landscaping cleared will enable this crew to get to all parts of the property.
When we were younger, we had a house with an easement. This agreement gave the landowner behind our property permission to use a sewer line that ran under our land. This landowner operated a seasonal RV park. At some point in the off-season, we received a letter from their lawyer requesting they renew their ten year lease of access to our land for a very small sum of money. Years had passed since this prior agreement had been in place, and we decided that a 10 year lease should have some value so we requested a higher price. They countered with “No." Our neighbor was a plumber, and suggested at the expiration of our current agreement, we turn the sewer line off. This was now high season for RVs, and I can only imagine the situation in which they found themselves. Soon, we received another agreeable letter from their lawyer, saying they were very happy to present us with a larger sum of money for a ten year easement across our land. This is one of many reasons why you want to know what your particular survey says.
The survey at our present house showed us that the dog yard fence put in place by the previous owners actually encroaches upon the neighbors' land. Sometimes, a neighbor will need access to your driveway, or you need to provide right of way to utility or fire trucks. A survey will identify these issues.
Lastly, a survey will identify where power or water lines are placed. When we dig a giant hole for our future swimming pool, we know that there is a nice clean swathe of land with no underground hazards of which we need to be concerned.
Next time you make a real estate purchase, you will better understand this component of the process.
|Posted on June 10, 2017 at 10:45 PM||comments (0)|
The current remodel has deteriorated single pane double-hung windows. Many were broken when we bought the house, and water has been coming into the vacant property for years. We must replace 19 windows and 5 French doors, and since the house is located in the hurricane wind zone of central Florida, we must have either shutters or impact rated doors and windows. We are choosing the impact rating, which bumps the price up significantly.
I called Maria at big box store to see why we haven’t had a measure up for windows yet. Derek, who is an installer, will work with local landscaper Jack Hammer to do our install. We have considered PVC or vinyl windows, and received a quote in the $25,000 range. And then we reconsidered the materials.
I read the details from the appraisal, and recognize that the house quality should be at a Q3. I am copying from the appraisal: "Dwellings with this quality rating are residences of higher quality, built from individual or readily available designer plans in above-standard residential tract developments or on an individual property owner's site. The design includes significant exterior ornamentation and interiors that are well finished. The workmanship exceeds acceptable standards and many materials and finishes throughout the dwelling have been upgraded from "stock" standards."
When we met with Maria, she sent us off with a sheet of wood samples in three colors of white and a number of plain woods and stained woods. We took that to the house to see what the current window framing color is closest to the paint chip. Initially we had her run pricing for mahogany, but in fact the color matches cherry more closely.
What do you think? PVC or wood windows?
|Posted on June 10, 2017 at 10:30 PM||comments (0)|
Lloyd finished the siding. It looks fabulous!
This part of the house had been a porch, and was in the middle of conversion by the previous occupants. The waterproof membrane had come off and had been damaged. Lloyd took off what remained of the old wood siding and set about making the underlayment sound, and restoring the waterproof quality.
Siding as we bought the house
This part of the house had been a porch, and was in the middle of conversion by the previous occupants. The waterproof membrane had come off and had been damaged. Lloyd took off what remained of the old wood siding and set about making the underlayment sound, and restoring the waterproof quality.
This is the same section of the house with a cement fiber board siding in place. When the dust settles, we will have it painted to match the house.
|Posted on May 5, 2017 at 11:30 AM||comments (0)|
Jack from Jack Hammer Plus of Melbourne is bringing his window specialist from Home Depot out to give us an idea of materials and products available. We have been researching windows, and have a quote on a PVC product. However, we think this house needs something of a higher grade, given the potential for the house to be priced in the million dollar range. Windows are the Prime Directive at the moment.
Met with electrician Jeff from T&V Electric. He will do the re-wire of the house, and add two new electrical panels. The panel in the carport is just fine.
The trees, shrubs and other foliage need to get 10 feet away from the roof and sides of the house. The leaf litter holds dampness in place, and contributes to the decline of the materials, both at the base of the house and on the roof.
|Posted on May 4, 2017 at 9:30 PM||comments (0)|
Bougainvillea throws a thrilling punch of hot pink around the neighborhood, and landed a knock-out punch on the cheek of our property.
Today, handyman Lloyd came over to repair the siding. Lloyd's mission was to remove the damaged wood and repair the siding.
He found some matching boards in the garage, and bought some water proof membrane to complete the task. He cut away the old tar paper, removed the damaged planks the copper flashing at the junction of the roof with the house. Then Lloyd set about making it all tight and weather proof again.
|Posted on May 4, 2017 at 8:40 PM||comments (0)|
This photo shows the green patina of the weathered copper. Now that I have talked with several metal roof specialists, I recognize some issues with this roof. To start with, the vertical strips of metal are usually in one long run. Because the prior owner appeared to do much of the work on this house by himself, he must have cut lengths that were manageable for him. If a roofer were to do similar work, each seam would be riveted, but ours are not. Additionally, there are places where the vertical standing seams have not been crimped together, and are rather boxy in shape. This can allow water to get inside.
This photo shows a few of our most pressing issues. Well, actually, the photo doesn't exactly show the issues, since they are somewhat concealed. One area of concern is the overgrown shrub. It has now been trimmed back so that it doesn't do further damage to the siding. Futher, the copper ridge cap has blown away from the dormer, and we have been concerned that water is coming in from the top of the dormers. The south dormer is also missing the ridge cap, but the middle dormer has its intact. I am attempting to have a local roofer secure both ridge caps in place again.
Next, we have water issues in the corner that is behind that shrub. Water runs along the gutter system from the left side and from the right side, and funnels *into* the house at that corner. We can see that support beam, as it is open in a compartment under the internal stairs. And the beam is surpringly crumbly, as with dry rot. There is hardly any distinct wood left in the wood! We can see water on the plaster inside the laundry room (which is behind that window), every time it rains. So far, this is the only structural damage that we have found in the house, and thankfully there are many other supporting beams.
Lastly, there are two panes of glass out in the upper dormer. The windows appear to be hand made, and have single pane squares of glass. A few broken pieces of windowpane are resting in the junction of the two sections of ths house.
|Posted on April 28, 2017 at 11:25 AM||comments (0)|
Daily we have been out in the garden. It is necessary to rake the leaf litter away from the house, so that we can see whether there is any damage to the siding, as well as prevent new infestation. I got up on the ladder and cleaned out the gutters, and I found the butt end of the house, which was buried in leaves. The foliage is overgrown, so we have had clippers at the ready to trim back the shrubs and to shape them again. The landscaping is the part that is visible to the world. As they've seen us at work, the neighbors have come by to introduce themselves and to meet us. I'm finding several New Englanders on the street, some of whom are snowbirds. We continue to hear comments that reflect happiness that we are improving the house, and not knocking it down.
I went out to the property and met with another roofing contractor. He wants to replace and not repair. He says that his company cannot grant a warranty on the repair, only on replacement of the roof. He will write up an offer. Uses the satellite imagery to determine the square footage, and will have an accurate measurement of the roof area.
Also we continued the search for new windows. We received a quote for white PVC frames and new doors, for $26496 including taxes and permit. This is for impact rated. Non-impact rated windows and fiberglass doors are $21321. Just a word on impact vs non-impact, turtle glass and such: I have been doing research on this topic, since the price point is so high and a mistake will be very expensive. Since the house is located on the barrier island, it is in the highest hurricane wind locale. Therefore, we must either put in impact resistant windows, or add external shutters. We could also put in impact windows up high, and shutters down low. That way, in the event of a hurricane, we wouldn't be scrambling to climb ladders to shutter the upper story windows.
I've come to the conclusion that excellent windows should last a very long time, and we'd be better off to spend a bit more on them, rather than cut corners, especially at this price point. Additionally, the salt water causes corrosion in this locale, whereas we don't have that issue at our other properties, which are all inland a few miles. This rules out aluminum, too, which will show corrosion in any event.
It has been raining in this “dry season." To my children's delight, the two reflecting pools have become tadpole pools.
Back to A/C, as the quotes are coming in: Everly Air and Heat came back with AC prices: $9625 4 ton 19.5 seer. $8915 is for the 3 ton 19.75 seer. We need two units, so we are looking at a figure right around $20,000 for air conditioning.
SEER is the energy efficiency, from 13 to maximum of 25. Old units were often 8, so even the lower SEER units today are excellent compared to those. ANYthing is better than what is currently in the house: window units.
|Posted on April 28, 2017 at 10:50 AM||comments (0)|
Lowell Everly, from Everly's Air told us that not all ducting was suitable for air conditioning and that he'd have to take a look under the house, in the crawl space. He came over and told us that the ducting is good for an A/C system, but a system isn’t currently hooked up. He also said that the square footage is quite large, and suggests that we use an air handler for the downstairs, and another unit for the upstairs of the house. The large condenser units will be placed on a concrete pad in the “courtyard” area outside of the kitchen.
Lastly, we may want a single wall mounted air conditioning unit in the Cottage area. The Cottage was a garage that the previous occupants converted, and it is connected to the rest of the house via a hallway. We are supposing that the air flow might be reduced in this part of the house.
My husband, Robert, bought an ozone machine to use in the new house. He has moved it from room to room in order to kill any mold spores. It has a timer on it, so we turn the timer to 60 minutes and wait two hours, so the ozone has a chance to fill the room in the first hour and then dissipate in the second hour. The ozone will also kill any bugs or rodents in the house, and obviously must be used with care around pets or children.
|Posted on April 28, 2017 at 10:45 AM||comments (0)|
Turned on power at FPL
Water- called. Need to take ID, proof of purchase and current account information down to the City Hall off at Strawbridge to open new account. They are turning off water today. Running out of time today and will have to take documents and go out tomorrow.
Called mold remediation company ServPro who advertise that they do cleanup and restoration, at 321-409-9441. They said to fix the water problem first and then call them. They will fix whatever they remove. I asked about the wood surfaces whether they hold mold and they said that they can sand down surfaces that hold spores. That’s pretty much the entire house! They will ask for a $250 deposit to prepare a bid. Call once water situation is fixed.
Talked with Window guy, from Property Renovations and Construction. He was already out to talk through the process on the day before closing, and said at that time that he’d have to get inside to measure up so that he has good measurements. He called again today to let me know he hadn’t forgotten about me, just had a lot on his plate. He will prepare a bid today, and has been busy.
Called Lloyd and asked him what he wants to do, project-manage, tear out, or what. He wants me to call him back later tonight. He will meet me on Saturday at the house.
Militano Construction. He contacted us through the pair of Realtors involved with our deal and he’d like to be part of the restoration of the house. He’d been inside with another set of buyers.
My Realtor in this deal was Scott Schuetz at Hoven Real Estate. https://www.hovenrealestate.com/
|Posted on April 22, 2017 at 12:20 AM||comments (0)|
We went over with the kids and did a lot of yard work. One of my friends, Mel, came over with her power tools and we set out to do some major trimming of the overgrown plants. We had a plan to take back the plants so that the windows were revealed, and to clear 10 feet around the house. The plants become a super-highway for bugs, to include termites. Additionally, Mel took out the huge bougainvillea that was pulling off the siding by the kitchen window. This area is damaged internally from water intrusion, but we haven't been able to get close enough to evaluate it with any clarity. Once that big thorny plant came down, we could see that the tar paper under the siding has been ripped. We can see the area that we now call the Courtyard. Prior to this, we couldn't see the patterned brickwork beneath. It is lovely!
I see termite damage near the laundry room door as high as the top of the doorway. Uh oh.
|Posted on April 21, 2017 at 10:00 PM||comments (0)|
Repaired hose bib. Raked and put the trash and recycle bins out. Asked a roofer to come out and take a look at the roof. He came out and we talked about the project. He showed me how the copper standing seams are smaller than usual, and are not crimped down in many areas. Additionally, there are no rivets. Rivets would keep rainwater from seeping under the loose edges.
A neighbor had told us that the 90 year old gentlemen who owned the property prior to us, was up there on the roof himself. We can see areas where the crimping of the vertical seam of the metal roof only reaches up as high as a man on a ladder could reach, and no further. He apparently cut the copper into smaller vertical sheets to make it easier for him to climb up there. Also, the roofer said that the wooden structures we see hanging from the roof peak are likely the method by which the owner perched on the slopes of the hot metal roof. We couldn't figure out what they might be used for.
Frank-the-Roofer said he will get a crew out there with a ladder and do a thorough check to see if the underlayment is OK, and if the plywood sheathing is in good condition. If so, the price is $5000 to repair, or less. If it isn’t good, then we have about $40k to replace the roof.
If we go with copper, the price is about $80k.*blink blink* $80,000?! That's my ENTIRE budget!
|Posted on April 13, 2017 at 2:25 PM||comments (0)|
DAY 1 —right after closing
Brought the whole family over...parents, kids and dog
We chopped at bushes around the back. Leaf litter and branches that contact the house provide an Insect Super Highway for termites and other invasive critters. The goal is to get all vegetation ten feet away from the house. In the near future, we will hire an arborist to do the trees. But for now, we wanted the kids to have their fingerprints on the house. We raked leaves into piles in the driveway. We bagged these and placed into bins.
Robert rented a mister unit and we bought Borax and liquid mold treatment. He used these and misted the kitchen, the addition, and the great room. There is a strong scent of mold in the house, and I seem to be the only one really affected by breathing it in. Thankfully, we found a respirator mask for fine particulates and I wear that in the house, and we limit the kids from time inside. The toilets work, however, and we all need a restroom break. Other than that, I'm aiming to keep the kids outside.
Daughter R climbed the large oak tree by the back porch to pull down some of the Spanish moss. She also found numerous air plants: you may have seen the little aloe-shaped plants that do not require soil to grow and are often found affixed to magnets or in little pots. Additionally, we found several orchids on the trees around the property.
Photos will be coming soon.
|Posted on April 13, 2017 at 1:25 PM||comments (0)|
Have had the Riverside house under contract for about a month. I didn't want to post until we got the deal firmly in hand. And that, honestly, didn't happen until the day after our closing was to occur!
We were very close to the finish line. Tension was building. We'd gotten all of our required paperwork to the lender, had our credit run. The inspection period had passed uneventfully about three weeks before. And yet the lender wasn’t able to get an appraisal ordered until the last moments of the week prior to closing. There was not enough time to get the appraisal to underwriting and still make it to closing.
The family were losing confidence in our ability to close with that lender. Our appraisal contingency passed by, so we felt that the deal was falling apart. In that manner of thinking, we sent them a release, letting them know that we were walking away from our obligation to buy in accordance with issues with the financing contingency. Additionally, we indicated through our Realtor that we wanted to be the back-up offer to their back-up, as we hoped to renovate the house and bring it back to its former glory. The back-up offer was from a builder who wanted to knock the house down and build two new properties on the site.
Back to the bank and the much-delayed appraisal: the appraiser told the lender that there was black mold, loose wires and termite damage. My thought was that no one can put “black mold” in an appraisal unless they had done the testing to identify it as the dangerous type of mold. At any rate, by the end of Friday, the appraisal manager recalled the appraisal for revision, and left us all hanging all weekend.
Monday, our closing day, came and went without any communication from the lender. I felt panic. What to do?
On Tuesday, underwriting came back and said we’d have to source bids from contractors…but we were out of the inspection days, so that wasn’t going to work. Our inspection period was over by several weeks! While the lender would allow a “hold back” of funds to pay for the renovation, our time period for closing would start back up again at about a month.
The sellers communicated that their frustration was mounting. We sent word through our Realtor that we were still interested in the house, and intended to renovate it and turn it into a family house again. Another day passed while the 8 other parties discussed their end of the transaction. When we received word back, we were floored:
The 84 year old owner and her 7 kids countered us with more time, something that I hadn't seen before. And so they didn't sign the release. The family wanted to give us time to work it out. We decided to go back to the drawing board, and contacted a number of hard-money lenders, a Line of Credit outfit, and family members, hoping to get a fast closing. Nothing was solidifying, and again I felt panic. We were challenged with finding a way to make the deal work, combined with the seller frustrations and the time horizon.
When we thought that all was lost, all eight of the the family members agreed to offer us a deal whereby they hold a mortgage for us: half down now, and 1/4 due in six months, and the last 1/4 due in a year.
And that is how we came to own an extreme fixer in one of the nicest old neighborhoods in Indialantic.
|Posted on September 29, 2016 at 11:25 AM||comments (0)|
We went to a local stone yard to make some initial selections. Stone and Surface Designers, who import much of their stone from Brazil, is the location from which we made our selection. http://www.stoneandsurface.com/
We initially came up with 12 slabs that caught our attention, and then met with the fabricator. He showed us why certain slabs from our original choices won’t be good. In one case, the flow of the stone looks terrific in the huge slab, but when it is cut, it won’t have the same dynamic.
In another case, the mica pieces were overwhelming to the pattern and would be likely to flake out of the face of the stone. And in still another, the surface was a leather texture, which the fabricator said would not reflect enough light for the space in which he was aiming to install. I am grateful for his expertise. We went with a granite called Crazy Horse. This is not an entry level piece of stone, nor is it in the stratosphere.
|Posted on September 29, 2016 at 11:05 AM||comments (0)|
The install team affixed the cabinetry to the walls, and the room started to take on a new natural-wood glow.
|Posted on September 29, 2016 at 10:15 AM||comments (0)|
We had the kitchen cabinet boxes built by a local carpenter. On an afternoon drive where we were looking for houses, we stopped in at a high-end new build, and when we pulled out a drawer, we saw the builder's name stamped inside and then searched them out. This led us to Derek of Cabinet Designs of Central Florida, and website: http://www.cabinetdesignscfl.com
Every cabinet is built right here in Brevard County, and is made with amazing precision. In comparing the big box store prices, we found that these kitchens are comparable in pricing, but with much better quality.
So the boxes were delivered, and they took up a good part of the living room and carried into the entry.
|Posted on September 29, 2016 at 10:05 AM||comments (0)|
Kitchen Rehab, T Minus 2 Days
We gave our 13 year old son a power-screwdriver and showed him how to remove the countertop, and together we pulled out most of the cabinets. Instead of chiseling out the tiles from the backsplash, our handyman used a saw and cut out the portion of sheetrock that contained tiles.
He then fed new wiring through the sheetrock into the cavities between the studs, up to the spot that will be above the upper cabinets. He did the same down to the toe-kick area, so that when the cabinets are all in, he will be able to connect new lighting in those areas.
We bought Phillips LED tape lights for upper and lowers, and a few sets of hockey puck lights for the “pooling” concentrated light effect in the work spaces and over the sink. He then fit sheet rock back into the walls, taped and mudded. The walls are ready for new cabinets.
|Posted on September 28, 2016 at 8:35 AM||comments (0)|
Now that the kids are back in school, my focus is turning back to real estate. We have an offer in on House 31, which is on a canal in Indialantic. My friend and Realtor Scott Schuetz brought this lead. The sellers are elderly and have no interest in listing the property on the MLS. We viewed the house, and spoke with the sellers on a second visit. They had a situation where they preferred to wait a few months before moving, so we gave them a written offer and explained that we could be flexible on time. We had good rapport, and brought a price that is close to their asking price, so now the ball is in their court. We'd like to occupy that house and improve it over time.
|Posted on June 7, 2016 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
I have recently been engaged in several conversations about a New Bubble. Prices are going up, demand in our local area of Brevard County is high. The concern is whether we are going to be enmeshed in another nail-biting outcome for single family homes. My buy-and-hold friends are concerned about another Property Price Crash. The talk among investors revolves around: Should I take my profits now? Should I sell up?
I don't think so, and here are a few reasons why:
Lenders are loosening, but only just. We are starting to see the 3% dow- payment again. Yippee! But, it takes much more than a pulse to qualify for loans in the current environment. Dodd-Frank implementation ensures that consumer buyers demonstrate the Ablity to Repay. This encourages a level-headed approach to the market, rather than "Tulip Mania."
Baby Boomers are downsizing, Gen-X is up-sizing, and the Millennials have begun to buy. But the Millennial Generation, which has surpassed the Boomers in size, has a different feature to their growth curve. This Generation does not present a sharp mountain in their birth wave as the Baby Boomer Generation did; rather it is more like a long mesa, a table. This means long and sustained demand for single family houses. Millennials buyers often have student loans to hamper their credit, but some are doing well as they become established in the work force. At the front end of the Generation, Millennials are getting married and forming families. This is great for the Starter Home segment of real estate. Starter homes will be in demand for a very long time. A. Very. Long. Time.
There are more controls on investors at this time: depending upon State, investors are strongly encouraged to go on title when flipping. Double-closings are the norm, instead of flipping contracts. Investors cannot sell handfuls of houses through owner-carry or even lease-options, without first qualifying consumer buyers through MLOs (mortgage loan originators).
I do see higher prices on the auction properties; banks realize there are buyers of distressed housing and the houses are priced accordingly. This means that the rehabber needs to get out there and do the hard work of marketing again, rather than look to the auction or MLS sites for "low hanging fruit." That is also a healthy sign in a local market, that houses at all levels are moving steadily.
Yes, there are more members at our local investing clubs. Yes, houses are going up in price again. But, demand is also increasing as more families are formed. From what my banker friends have been saying, it still is difficult to find buyers who can qualify. Debt to Income ratios are scrutinized. But all of these are signs of a healthy marketplace, not of irrational exhuberance.
I will not hesitate at this point to buy solid, investment grade rental properties. I will continue to add value to the properties I already own, and to offer good quality, safe rentals to my tenants.
I will continue my quest to...
Improve My Local Area, One House at a Time
All the best~ Kerry
|Posted on May 31, 2016 at 1:40 PM||comments (0)|
A week ago, I took my 16 year old daughter to another real estate education event in Orlando. At the early stages of this event, the organizer had us group up based upon the area of interest we had. I have had an ownership interest in 29 or 30 single family properties at this point, and was up for something new. Additionally, there were a number of wet-behind-the-ears people there, and while I do enjoy teaching or mentoring, I actually came to this event so that I could learn something new. Yes, this is an old dog who wants to learn new tricks!
So my daughter and I joined up with the Apartment Investors, as opposed to Single Family Investors, but right close to the Self-Storage and Mobile Home Park Investors. We were given the underpinnings of this national educator’s system on the first day. On the second day, we moved into the Analysis segment. For this portion, we looked at apartment buildings on Loopnet or with Marcus-Millichap, and then took a cursory view at the income vs the expenses on apartments. Sadly, no one in our group was experienced with apartments, and so with no one to lead us, we didn’t make much forward motion.
However, I decided to follow up on one of the apartments that we analyzed. This one is not in the Orlando MSA, as the others were, but is located in my local area. This apartment is in Satellite Beach, which is very close to Melbourne. This apartment is listed at an asking price of $2,225,000. There are 19 2-Bed 2-Bath units and 1 1-Bed 1-Bath unit in this concrete-block cluster of buildings, with stucco on the exterior.
I contacted the listing broker, who is located in Miami, and I asked for more information. They sent me a 2014 data sheet, with the old rent rolls. The broker gave me the phone number of another person, but not this person’s role at the brokerage. I called her, and we talked about the property for a short while. My thought is that these “doorkeepers” are attempting to see if I am the real deal or not. I found the tax payments on the Brevard County Tax Assessor site, so those were actual numbers. And I found some information on the seller, outside of what the brokers have discussed with me. Additionally, on the 17th of May, I wrote an email asking for cap rate, actual current expenses, current rents. I need more complete information on the property in order to make an offer on it. From the rents I was shown,
Little as this experience is, I write about it. I am comfortable in my own Single Farmily Residence bailiwick, and raising the bar on my experience is, I admit, exhilarating. At this point, I imagine the brokerage will not be sending me more information, and I would have to be much more aggressive in pursuing additional information. I also could send over a finance sheet that shows I am able to qualify for financing in the $2M range, as I expect they might perk up at that.