- March 11, 2019
- Posted by: august19
- Category: Podcast
On this open mic night, Chris and Gail bring back Dan Deppen and Chad Urbshott to talk about their real estate and note investing experiences, particularly the worst houses they’ve ever encountered while doing deals. Chad is the President of Equigrowth Capital and Managing Director of Equigrowth Properties. He’s been involved in real estate and construction nearly all his life. Dan is a real estate investor and the founder of Fusion Notes, a private real estate investment firm. Join us for insights on doing rehabs, using BPOs, running AVMs, turnkey rentals, and a whole lot more.
Listen to the podcast here:
Open Mic Night: The Worst Houses In The Country with Dan Deppen and Chad Urbshott
This episode is an encore presentation to our open mic night. When we held the last open mic, it continued on and when we wrapped up the episode, people stayed on and start asking more questions. What we did is we brought back on Dan Deppen and Chad Urbshott and reopened the conversation. While we’re discussing it, we wanted to make this available to our audience as well. I hope you enjoy our encore presentation of this open mic night. Thank you all.
This is going to be the worst house in the country and it’s quite a face-off.
I never talked about the one I’m rehabbing right now in East St. Louis, Belleville, Illinois to be exact. It’s the worst house I’ve ever rehabbed in my life. My budget going in was mid-twenties and I’m at $55,000 right now. However, the first realtor told me it was only worth $50,000 fixed up and now I’m at a $100,000. I could have sold it at a loss as everybody talked about, but I have endeavored since I got notes to never lose money once again on real estate. There are too many different exit strategies where you can make money regardless of how you do it. If worse comes to worst, I’m going to sell this sucker on a seller finance deal, which I’ll probably end up doing. I may or may not. If I’m going to retail price on a conventional mortgage that I need something for my pain and suffering, I want to make at least time in, which will make about $5 an hour for all the time I put into it but I didn’t lose money on it.
Chad, you mentioned your experience and you’ve got vast real estate experience. You just mentioned that you had a budget and it went double. I say that because it happens to everybody. For people who are newer that haven’t done a lot of this, it happens so just be very careful. When you’re doing rehabs, make sure you have a schedule of values. How people are getting paid is one of the most important things that’s involved because rehabs can go take a left turn so quickly. I have somebody I know who wasn’t in rehab, but doing new construction. I offered to review their plans and help them on this property and their budget was $400,000 and they ended up spending $700,000 on the property. These were simple things. They dropped their basement to gain an extra foot in the basement but never had the engineer look at where the sewer lateral was on the street. They didn’t have the pitch so they had to put a pump now as well.
One of my advantages on my rehab is that my property manager lives two doors away. He’s going to bird dog the rehab. When it’s time to put the renter in, he wants to find the renter. I figured that’s a good thing. He’ll hopefully find someone good if he’s going to have to be their neighbor.
He can have a friend or family member who already has their eye on it.
Chad, I want to go back to something where you said you never use BPOs. You just take the bottom five while at comps.
Back in the day when I first started buying for closures at 2012 or 2013, I rate from the county on auctions. I was pulling my hair out because if there be a couple 100 a week they were coming up and I’m like, “How am I going to peg the value of all these?” Zillow back then was even way worse than it is now for values. I developed a tool that pulls the 25 nearest comps in the area for each property. It’s not all that accurate, but it’s somewhat accurate. I developed it at the time to get an ARV of a property. I was pulling the top five comps when I started investing in notes. I tweaked it a bit more so that I can pull the bottom five and the top fives when I have an ARV range, which is somewhat accurate.There are many different exit strategies where you can make money regardless of how you do it. Click To Tweet
It’s the high-end value and then I’ve got the low-end value. Almost predominantly every single house you take back, especially low-value ones that are going to be in the low-value range because they’re not paying the mortgage and paying their taxes. There’s no way they’re putting money into it. It all falls within the bottom five. When I go in to do a bid analysis out of all of those, sometimes they are way off. I always validate those bottom five comps to make sure that it’s in the ballpark. If it’s higher than that, then that’s a plus but sometimes it’s even lower.
Do you still have someone to put eyes on the property for you?
Yes, I have.
That’s what I want to get. I’ve done that a lot of times and it’s a mixed bag for me. I go back and forth. If I’ve got eight assets under agreement, instead of trying to chase eight people down and go take pictures and pay him $30 on Craigslist or $25, I’ll just call Dickey and be like, “Dickey, get me these eight because of time.” I take the values of the BPO with a grain of salt. What I’ll do is I’ll run an AVM in DataTree as well as look at what they provide and come up with my own value. People will look at the number on a BPO and not look at the information in there. Typically, these agents are way off.
Another thing I do too is I’ll get local agents to give me a CMA. What that does is it gives you way more than just the three comps. We’ll get a one-line CMA where they’ll give all the comps within a mile or half a mile of every property and I’ll take that. DataTree will give most of that, but I find that realtors in each jurisdiction have way more comps. I’ll pull those in and then put them into a spreadsheet where I filter them out by square footage and age. That narrows it down. Oftentimes, I’ll tell the agent, “I think this property is worth that.” I get them to agree to it.
The other thing with BPOs too is you’ve got to look at the comps and go online and look at them. I’ve seen BPOs from one company who I no longer use anymore. I just want to be clear that because I mentioned Dickey’s company. This isn’t his company and I still use Dickey. The stuff I get from him is pretty good. This other company used some of these BPO comps and these would be houses that were updated with new kitchens and baths. They say, “This is what this property is worth.” I’m like, “I can tell you right now, this person hasn’t paid in two years so I highly doubt it’s got a new kitchen and bath inside of this house.”
That’s one I do. When I pull those bottom five comps, I’ll look at each one of those. If it’s an as-is property, then I’m sure that mortgage question that we’re bidding on is somewhere to those. A lot of times I may not bid because of the old saying, “The best deal is the one you never get.”
We were also talking with Dan because Dan is in the process of doing a fix and rent because the property right now is his best exit strategy. I know you had a lot of experience doing a lot of renovation side, but I wasn’t sure if you exit your assets or you keep them as rentals.
I used to do turnkey rentals as well before going into notes. I heard part of that, Dan. You have to run your numbers. You’ve got to see the 1% rule. That’s a theory, but it depends on how much the taxes are. If you’re renovating the property, there’s not going to be much maintenance. Taxes are usually the big kicker in there. If it’s in Indiana, most places I know in Indiana, the taxes aren’t too bad so it won’t take that big of a chunk. If it was in Cleveland, taxes are 3% or 4% of the value of the property. You want to be in the 2% rule in Cleveland.
Pennsylvania is the same.
If you do it as a turnkey rental, how long do you rent it before you go sell it? What’s the seasoning on a renter like?
It could be the first month. You don’t need seasoning. A lot of buyers are going to want to see the application to see what their credit history is and their strength. As long as you have a good renter in there and you have a property manager that vets them properly, then it shouldn’t be a problem turning around. I’m sure you’ve heard of Roofstock. It’s is a good place to put your rentals. They’re the preeminent. These guys have only been on a couple of years and it’s amazing what they’ve done for the last few years. They’ve just come with fractional ownership. I saw a news article where you can buy a portion of a rental now. It’s cool how they come up with that concept. A lot of turnkey buyers are buying on them because what they do is, they’ll send out an inspector. They’ll still do the inspections. They are protecting investors because there’s been a lot of people ripped off in the turnkey rental business.
How is fractional investing not an FCC violation?
I don’t know how they’re doing it. I didn’t read much into it. They might be doing it through security.
I’m just curious because it’s no difference. They’re raising money. It’s passive. It’s almost like a crowdfunding type thing. I’m wondering how they regulate it because with Bitcoin and stuff, what they’re trying to get to is a lot of fractional ownership of things. I’m like, “How is that not a violation?”
They may be doing it at security because they said they were retaining 10% ownership of each property. The idea is they’re allowing people to invest. If someone got $50,000 as opposed to putting it in one property and the tenant leaves the next day, you out of rent for a couple of months and the turnover costs. They’re allowing you to take $50,000 splitting up into five properties. You put $10,000 each where you’re allocating your risk across five properties. That’s what I understood from it. That’s an interesting concept that they’re doing that now.The best deal is the one you never get. Click To Tweet
You starting to see a lot more of Wall Street and other companies getting into single-family rentals and creative things. It’s interesting to see how it works out once the markets turn a little bit and how they manage these properties. Someone asked, “If you can get a longer lease, is it more attractive to a potential buyer?”
It helps but it all comes down to the strength of the renter, their credit scores, their past rental history and all that. A good property manager that vets the borrower is worth his weight in gold. It’s the same rules of getting a mortgage. You want to see it three times or more on the rental application.
In Maryland, you have to offer a two-year lease. It’s a state law. I don’t want to go for more than a year because you just want to make sure that the borrower will pay. Also, you want to make sure that borrower is not calling you every two days because the shower head is too low or the toilet is not flushing. Some renters can be a little more high-maintenance. You don’t want to have to deal with that for multiple years. You can always take the first year and then if they’re doing well, just roam and renew the amount.
We have a question, “Dan, is your property is somewhere that it would work as an Airbnb?”
No, this is Muncie, Indiana. I’m guessing there’s not a lot of Airbnb. It’s very close to Ball State. As a renter, it’ll be okay. Airbnb is not an option although it’d better than the hotels because the hotels are dirty and horrible. I ended up flying out there when I realized that I had the orders because I wanted to meet with cleanout folks. I interviewed a bunch of contractors and had a bunch of people look at it because this one was so extreme. I wanted to go out there and check everything out myself. I have some other notes in the area too so I of killed a bunch of birds with that stone.
I just want to encourage you, Dan, to consider the possibility that it might be a good Airbnb area. Ball State has resident students with the out of state residency. A college that’s got stuff going on, parents and families will come. It would be interesting to look at the school schedule to see how many events there are that people might come to. You probably heard of Walter Wofford in Jackson, Mississippi. Walter has a whole bunch of Airbnb in Jackson, Mississippi. I somewhat incredulously said to him like, “Do you have that many people coming to Jackson, Mississippi?” He’s like, “Yes.” It’s true of most places. We think of truly exciting destinations, San Francisco, Chicago, LA, Philadelphia a little bit. People go all over the place for all different reasons. It would be worth it. You should just go on Airbnb and see what’s in Muncie and what it rents for.
I’ll check that out because I had not thought about that.
It seems that it’s a lot of work to do in the Airbnb.
You need a manager just like what you do with a normal rental property.
The logistics of it wouldn’t be too bad in this case.
The visitors pay the cleaning fee so you just have to pay Airbnb, which is not very much and the manager. The income can be a lot higher than a conventional rental. I never thought that turnkey Airbnb is a great business for people who can’t get this stuff set up themselves. If you have proven income in Airbnb that’s bigger than a normal rental, you should be able to charge a premium price for it. A lot of people do Airbnbs by renting properties instead of buying them and making money on the spread. Not everybody loves it on first hearing, but it’s a great deal for a landlord if you agree to do automatic rent deposit into their accounts. You let them know, “This thing is going to get cleaned regularly. The visitors use it very lightly. They don’t wear out the appliances. They barely use anything. They’re vetted by Airbnb.” There are a lot of advantages to it.
I already sent you the email, Gail, of the business plan of buying the property from owner finance people under land contract and then turn around an Airbnb. On the title, you have the contract, you got the low monthly payment, the low down payment and you’re going to Airbnb it.
If only there was a land contract property that didn’t need thousands of dollars in renovations to be somewhat acceptable to an Airbnb person.
Do you know what your capital rate might be on this if you were to fix it up?
From what I’m told by a couple of different people that are realtors and property managers, it should rent from between a $1,000 to $1,200 a month. By the time I rehab it, I’ll be all in for $95,000 or maybe $100,000. I’ve already started the rehab, but if I were just to sell it and not do it, it will probably be at least a $20,000 loss at that point. That was the trade-off.
If you fixed it and sold it, would you bring it closer to even?A good property manager that vets the borrower is worth his weight in gold. Click To Tweet
The ARV is supposed to be $115 to $120 fixed start.
How much work does it need budget wise?
It’s about $25,000 to $30,000 in work. If you’re tearing out the kitchen and two bathrooms and flooring and paint. Structurally, it was okay. There’s exterior painting and there’s a tree that’s got to be removed and some other odds and ends and it’s a bunch of stuff. These orders were bad. Luckily, the house was okay underneath that, but the whole thing is repugnant. They pulled out three 40-yard dumpsters of trash and a one twenty-yard dumpster. I guess there was so much stuff that they were overweight because they ended up charging me a little bit extra later.
That was not construction debris. That was just the stuff that was in the house.
There was no structure debris. I was worried at first because we’re going to have to tear out the drywall. There are a couple of holes in the drywall. It got it repaired, but that’s all and it’s not construction debris. In the backyard, they left about five lawn mowers. It was about waist deep throughout most of it. It was about chest deep in the garage. There was a lot of gross stuff inside there too.
I’ve got a property right now in Indiana where we’re wrapping up the forfeiture. There was essentially about a dumpster worth of material out in the yard that I just had the cleaned up because I got a call from the county. They’re like, “There’s a dumpster worth of stuff out in the yard from the house.” Hopefully, they’ve already emptied out the house or is it going to be opposite that the house was so filled with so much junk in there and need to pull out two more dumpster loads in the house. It’s amazing how much stuff you can pack into a 1000-square-foot home. It can have many dumpster loads of junk.
I did a forfeiture in Cincinnati. The home was just under 1000 square feet and they pulled out 46 yards out of that one. They weren’t quite full on hoarders, but it was a lot of stuff. The other thing I should mention too was the one in Muncie. The original contractor that was going to do the clean-out said, “We use the HUD schedule. We charge $50 a cubic yard. We’ll just let you know and when we’re done.” I was like, “No. I need a fixed price quote.” They came back and they wanted $17,000 just to do the clean-out. I got another contractor come back and they quoted $13,000. What I ended up doing was I talked to somebody here in Denver who does fix and flips and stuff and he’s like, “There’s no problem. Just order the dumpsters yourself to go on Craigslist and find some laborers.” The dumpsters cost almost $2,000 altogether for the four dumpsters and the overages. I found a small crew of guys. The guy and his two sons out of Indianapolis who did the whole cleanup for $1,500 and just kicked butt. For $3,500, I ended up getting the whole thing.
If you’re not finishing drywall or painting, if it’s a demo or trash outs, I find most of my people on Craigslist. I order dumpsters for $500 to $600 bucks and then I pay somebody $1,000 on Craigslist. The thing you’ve got to be careful of is sending somebody else by to make sure they did the full cleanout. In one instance, I had somebody who snapped pictures of the house and it looked clean. What they did is they took one room and just threw everything in one room that was left because the dumpster was full. Instead of telling me to get a new dumpster, they want to have to come back. They just took a bunch of stuff and threw it and packed the room up. I ended up having paid them and I ended up having to get somebody else to do it and finish it.
What I ended up doing was since I wanted to go out there to meet with contractors and see it for myself, I met with them the day that they wrapped up. I was going to pay for them when I got there. I saw it for myself and I did it that way. It was all good and I was impressed. Those guys kicked butt. They weren’t just cheaper. They did a good job. That was fortunate.
As long as you find those people, then you just wish you could fly them all over the country to do all your deals. We have a guy in New Hampshire who is so awesome, but he’s in New Hampshire. He’s not near with anything else if you’re ever going to buy.
I would suggest that unless you want to hold this as a rental, I would try to fix it up and sell it. I’m running the math here. I bought an A cap on your cost and that’s what the going rate is even more on rental properties. I don’t know what it is in Indiana, but you’re not going to be able to sell it. I hate to burst your bubble, but I can be able to sell it for much more for what you’re into it if you were to sell it as a rental. If you can sell it as retail a little bit higher on ARV for $115,000 or $120,000, you might breakeven and make a few bucks. Unless you want to hold it for rental for a couple of years and collect.
If I could get out and break even, I’d be happy because I had about five different things go wrong. I made a few mistakes and a bunch of things broke the wrong way. If I can get out of it, I’ll be very happy. I was just going to do a lipstick on a pig and turn around and sell it as a seller finance deal because I harbor and make it look a little prettier. The entire plumbing had to be replaced, all the electrical had to be replaced and the furnace, the water heater and the foundation was crumbling. I hired my favorite first-rate field services. It’s not their fault. I was the stupid one who bought the property.
I couldn’t get them to send me a report because they’re saying there’s no internet in the area there. I never knew that Maryland didn’t have the internet.
I’m not too sure what happened to them. This was part of a portfolio. I bought ten properties and ten CFDs. I was wanting to try to get out of it in the last minute and John was like, “There’s no way you are getting out of this one. If you want an excellent price, are you getting all the other ones?” You have take it with a grain of salt.
Chad, I wanted to ask you this because there was that tape that John put out that was from AHP that I know you have looked at prior. We all keep talking about it being hairy assets and it sounds like you’ve done a lot of due diligence. You may be already ordered O&E or done BPOs on stuff. What were some of the things you could share with that? When I looked at it, I know that the values of a lot of those assets were way off for what they had pricing on. I was just curious. It’s nothing against the seller in this because they’re a very good and reputable company. I’m just curious what your thoughts were.
When I got the tape, they didn’t have values on it. That’s why I ran it through my comp tool and pull the bottom five and a couple of that were was way off. I had to go back to the person who I got the tape from originally. I was talking to them and I was like, “A couple of these are way high.” I want to use the values that they put on the next day if they came out with the notes. What I had was way higher than what they have. A lot of them are outside the statute of limitations specifically in the State of Ohio. There’s a new ruling out in the state. I’m not in a new ruling. It depends on the rule and which attorney you talked to.
There’s always been a six-year rule on the statute of limitations where you can no longer take the borrower down to collect any further payments from them if they have been six-years since they breached the contract. If you buy the loan, you can’t try to track them. When they come out of bankruptcy and they have a Chapter Seven and they’re personally no longer obligated to pay the debt anymore, you can still foreclose on them. There was a BK ruling that truncated the statute of limitations to foreclose on the mortgage for fifteen years. They combine it with the statute of limitations on the ability to collect the debt, which is six years.
They ruled them one and the same. There’s a federal decision that has truncated the two into one statute limitation of six years, but it depends on the attorney you talked to and saying, “That’s all hogwash. That’s going to get overruled again.” It’s the same thing as licensing in Maryland. It’s going to go back and forth. There was a ton on there that were in Ohio that were way beyond the statute of limitations with all these new statutes of limitations to foreclose. That wasn’t the only one. There was a bunch on Florida that were beyond five years. For new people coming in, I’d highly advise against buying any of these. One I found for instance had a probate sale which was in 2012 or 2013. It was in the new owner’s name.
However, they still think that there’s a valid loan on this property. How could that be if it’s sold in the probate sale? The release of the lien was not executed or there was never a satisfaction of mortgage given. Another one, there was a bankruptcy proceeding entered into a loan modification and went immediately into a bankruptcy proceeding. They never paid a cent on the loan modification. Since he didn’t pay a cent in the loan modification even though he signed it, it does that go back now on the statute of limitations that he never paid a cent into it. There is nothing to be enforced.
I looked at 30 or 40 assets and almost every one of them had some hairy issue with it. I’m going to spending way more time than I care for doing the due diligence on these. It also comes down to a business decision. Are these borrowers going to be savvy enough to come back and have any knowledge of all these rules, then they’re going to hire a defense counsel to fight this for them. To also do a bit of homework on these borrowers and find out where they’re living and what their incomes are and what have you. If you can get these at a good enough discount versus the value of the properties, then it’s a risk where you were at this point.
I had a property that I hadn’t paid in a while. It had a low UPB so I picked it up for a very low dollar. Let’s just say it didn’t end well for me. I borrower got an attorney and fought it. The problem is, based on where the UPB is at and then maybe what the property is worth, if you’re going to fight this thing, these things can cost you $20,000 to $30,000 fighting them. What these defense attorneys will do is they’ll put it into a more liberal court and submit a 30 to 40-page claim and file a counterclaim against you for a fair debt and some of these other things. I get it and the attorney is like, “What do you want to do? Do you want to spend $30,000 or just let it go?” I thought the same thing. This borrower, I looked him up and found out a lot of information about them and I was like, “This borrower is was never going to get an attorney.” I don’t buy outside statutes of limitations anymore. I’m all for one and I’m going to keep it that way.
These are all well-underwater and they all have significant taxes on them, significant code enforcement issues against them on all the ones I’ve looked at so far. I’m thinking that I could come along and just get rid of their headaches. These people are probably sick and tired of dealing with these properties by now and they just want an exit. AHPs business model is to keep people in their homes and they mean it. They never take foreclosures while they’re getting rid of all these because they realize that they can’t do anything with any of these borrowers so they are selling them off. A lot of hedge funds are like that where they don’t want to take it through foreclosure and get a bad rep in their community.
Do you have any idea of why they’re taking so long to get back on bids?
I heard there were over 300 people who bid.
I’m going back and forth with them right now. I have a dozen of them right now. I’m not sure if I’m going to close on all of them. I’ll probably close maybe half of those initially. There was a couple of that that were decent in there. However, I haven’t even over the title reports on these yet. I usually do all my due diligence up front and all the collateral review. It’s worse than paying $200 a pop and you don’t close on it. You do that ten times in a month and that adds up pretty quick.
That’s one thing that I try to relate to a lot of investors. As you set up your businesses, make sure you account for some lost opportunity costs throughout your year because you order an O&E, a BPO and have a lawyer and review it. Now, there’s $400 or $500 and those add up quickly.
I have done that all too often at the beginning and it’s a lot more work on my part to review everything up front and then order the title report. I’m saving money in the long run.
In 2018, I closed on between 60-plus assets, but my lost opportunity cost was about $7,000. One of them was Harbor that was seven assets and I didn’t close on a single one. That was $3,000 so I had a lot of heartache with Harbor and not buying their assets. We’re still shut for those ones, Gail. I don’t think I bought any other assets from them.
Yes, we don’t have Harbor to kick around anymore.
They are still dealing with some of their issues especially in Pennsylvania.
Scott proudly told me that he called them up and explained what we do. He thought he chilled them out, but are people still being threatened by the attorney general of PA?
It was quite in the last couple of months, but I’m actually converting mine into note mortgages right now. I’ve got an attorney that I have several conversations with them and build me forward on what we’re doing. The conversion was going to be $500 and now they’re up to $2,000. I’m like, “How did this get so high?” They’re totally on board with what I’m doing. They’re dropping the interest rates down to six because I was usually on six, which I didn’t know at the time.
I live in Pennsylvania and I have one conventional note here that’s in foreclosure. I’ve never done a contract for deed.
If you’re converting notes, I believe Fannie Mae on their website has a note and mortgage template for every state.
If you’re converting, why don’t you just do a cancellation of the land contract and then write a new note with the mortgage?
I’m not sure if this is how this attorney is doing it. It’s called a loan mod/loan mortgage.
Dan, Chad and everyone else, thanks for joining us. On the next episode, we’re going to have Debbie Mullins on who is bookkeeping for note investors. We’re going to bring her on because as tax year was closing, as people are wrapping up their taxes, there’s a lot of questions out there and there’s a lot of information that some of it is correct and some it is not correct. We wanted to bring somebody who does the day-to-day work with QuickBooks or how to do their balance sheets and P&Ls and stuff. She’s not an accountant, but she knows enough to get in trouble. We’ll be talking about some bookkeeping and the top five things to do and the top five biggest mistakes that investors do with their books. With that, I want to say thank you all. Go out and do some good deeds.
About Dan Deppen
Dan Deppen is the Managing Member of Fusion Notes and has been actively involved in real estate since 2001. He has a wide range of other investment experience going back to 1995 including stock and option trading and small businesses. Dan also is interested in strategy games and authored a book on poker called PLO8 Revealed in 2009. He worked as a mechanical design engineer in the defense industry for many years specializing in robotics design. In 2011 he completed his MBA from the University of Colorado and is a Product Manager at a startup software company. His extensive project management, analytical and budget/financial governance experience uniquely qualifies him to manage large pools of notes to produce the most optimal profit outcomes for the company and its investor partners.
About Chad Urbshott, P. Eng.
Chad has been in real estate and construction nearly his entire life. He spent the first several years of his career engineering significant buildings such as an airport terminal and several casinos. From there, he moved into the construction and development aspect o the business for a prominent multi-billion dollar Constructor, working with developers to substantiate the viability of real estate developments who then oversaw their design and construction.
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