I bought a house on a street named Hidden Valley. Isn’t that a great name? They even made a salad dressing named after that street. This particular house I bought at a foreclosure auction. I had to work my way through the auction to buy it without a big to do. When I showed up at an auction people would see me and try to bid $100 over my highest bid without having done their homework. They all knew I had done my homework and paying only $100 more than me would make them a good deal. Some of them had actually done just that. So when I started to buy this house, several men showed up doing their normal routine of trying to out bid me by just $100, no matter where I stopped. I commented, “Gee did you know about the dead cat in the living room?” Some of them walked away. For one such man, I had to remind him that there was a lot of damage done to that house prior to it being on the auction block that day. He too, finally fell back and did not bid against me. Once I got the house into my name, there were all those repairs to be done. Yes there was that dead cat in the living room. It had been dead for so many months that it had melted into the concrete floor. Only the fur was sticking up. The most peculiar thing I had ever seen. There were no bones. I think the rats had taken them away. Basically the structure was fine. It had three bedrooms, and one and one half bathroom, two car garage, brick house, with a covered patio out back. It was in a nice neighborhood. Well, sort of nice until we realized that there was drug activity next door. It was against the deed restrictions in that neighborhood to put up a fence between the two houses. However, I decided I’d rather fight the homeowners association, than the drug dealers. So, we started to put up a fence in the front yard, when my carpenter said: “There is more activity next door than you thought. They are in and out all day long” This called for a phone call to the undercover world of the police department. With a phone call to the narcotics squad we agreed, I would give them the keys to the house. They would dress as though they were contract labor installing the fence. I met them at a local convenience store parking lot, to hand them the keys to the house. Within two days I got a phone call, stating they were giving the keys back. One of the undercover police officers had been identified by one of the drug dealers. This made the undercover officers very uncomfortable. It wasn’t safe for them to be there any longer. With all that, I had to get my guys out there to finish that fence. Now I knew I could only sell that house to someone who was aware of the drug activity next door, and still wanted to buy. I needed to find someone who may be very large and could take care of himself or herself.
I started marketing the house, knowing the city would take care of the drug dealers eventually. At an open house I was holding to sell, a couple showed up. They had their son with them. They wanted to buy the house. The 6 foot 4 inch husband said he was already approved by a Mortgage Company and he told me their name. It was a company that I used a lot and liked. So the next day this couple and I went to get their loan started. We also needed to get their earnest money contract signed. This couple had a big problem. The loan officer was told that this couple had filed bankruptcy seven years ago.
They explained, that when the wife was pregnant with their son, she had to be hospitalized for a long time to keep from loosing the baby before he was born. That was more money than they could ever pay back. An attorney had filed bankruptcy for the couple. The seven years had passed. Now their credit should be good. So I set out to get the appraisal on the house done.
The next step I needed to get the termite certificate completed. The title company had to prepare a title policy. All this was being done so that when the loan was complete, we would have everything done.
After several weeks, I got a phone call from the loan officer saying their loan was being denied. I couldn’t believe my ears. We were ready to close the transaction. Now the loan was being denied? How could this be? Now I could have gone out to find new buyers and start all over again. However, I had gotten to know this couple, and I liked them and their little boy.
I asked myself, how could I still make this happen? I called the mortgage broker back, and asked what happened. He said when his clerk ran the buyers credit, a few doctors had never been listed in the bankruptcy. They showed up on the couples credit report. The credit wasn’t good enough for an FHA loan. They didn’t have enough down payments for any other loan. The FHA loan had the best interest rate. A sister-in-law of mine at a Thanksgiving dinner had mentioned that doctors and nurses gave professional courtesy to each other. The wife, of this couple was a nurse’s aid. So I called the wife and asked: “Which hospital had she been admitted to when she was pregnant?” She said: “Parkway Hospital.” That was the same hospital where she now works. I asked: “If I could come over and talk to her.” She said, “Yes.” I called the Mortgage Company asking for the names of the doctors that where still on her credit report. They gave them to me.
We where working as a team. As I walked into the hospital the wife greeted me. I showed her the names of the doctors and asked if they still worked at the hospital. She said: “They did.” Now I asked: “Could have permission to talk to them?” She said: “If that would help her get the house they wanted the answer was yes.” One by one, I talked to the doctors. Most said they didn’t know their office had ever filed against the wife’s credit. One doctor said, he ought to get something. I asked, “Would two hundred dollars be enough.” He paused but said, “Yes.” I wrote him a check for the money right then and there. He gave me a release. Now I took all of this back to the mortgage company. We finished the transaction. They got the loan, and now they own that house. I got paid for all my work really well. And then the fun began. The husband, Charles called all three of his adult daughters. They were by his previous marriage. He told them they needed to buy a house … and they needed to buy it from me. In our business it is find a house … fix a house … sell the house. When someone wants to buy a house over half the work is done. It was easy to find a house that suited the daughter’s needs and still make lots of money.
It gets better. Shirley was spreading the word at Parkway Hospital. She let everyone know that she and her husband had just bought a house. I sold houses to several other nurses’ aids, who worked at Parkway Hospital, just as a result of Shirley being extremely happy.
I sold that house in the wintertime. Owning other houses in that area, I drove by it from time to time. Charles, did a fantastic job of landscaping the front yard, which indicated to me, he was very proud of that house. He was very proud every time he drove in that drive way. Charles made a great back yard for his son to play in and fixed up the patio up for his favorite hobby, which was barbequing. Knowing all of this, put a smile on my face. Now came my birthday … May 31st. I got a phone call from Charles stating that he had been up all night cooking a Cajun feast in honor of my special day. He was asking where could he bring this meal. I didn’t have the heart to tell him, we were having a large pig roast that day, for 50 of our closest friends. I did tell him not to worry; I would send my oldest son to pick up the meal. To this day I don’t know how he found out when my birthday was.
The drug activity next door finally went away. The homeowners association never complained about the fence. The neighborhood got a salt of the earth citizen of the community. I think of that house often and particularly when a waitress rattles off names of possible dressings for my salad.