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Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at County Records Research!!!

Less than half price, Anyone???

You just have to take you hat off to someone who buys a property for less than 50 cents on the dollar.  These opportunities are not advertised.  You have to have a resource like County Records Research, and you have to know what to look for.  Recently, we have seen some excellent buys by people who are watching the auctions and being ready to jump on the best deals as they happen.  Just a couple days ago there was a purchase that was literally stunning.

An 11 unit apartment building on Coco Ave in Los Angeles sold for $821,000.  Comp prices in the area are around $2,000,000 plus.  There are 19 beds and baths.  So these are full sized units.  The new owner can now take over and collect rents and be on the way to recouping their investment in a short period of time.  While these large buildings are not what you see at the auction every day, they are in foreclosure throughout the state.  All it takes is poor financial management to turn a money-maker into a money-pit.  The beauty of foreclosure is that it cleans the slate.  The old owner may have been lax in their methods, but the new owner can redefine the situation.  They can borrow against the property if they want to, or they can make use of the rents to cover expenses and build a savings account with which to buy even more property. 

If you are just beginning to buy property with us, know that you can get similar deals on smaller properties.  Not everyone is buying multi-million dollar properties.  You can buy condos for as little as $50,000.  Just be diligent in your research and give yourself multiple property options so that you have more than one chance to win. 


Counting Down to Turkey Day

Hey folks... only two days to go until we can all loosen our belts and put on our feedbags.  48 hours from now we will be lying on the sofa asking why two plates wasn't enough.   The fact is that any other time one plate is enough.  But there is something special about being able to push the envelope and have all that you want.  That is why we have a holiday that is all about chowing down.  What could be more American than a celebration of self-indulgence.  So what does that have to do with foreclosures?  Everything.   Self-indulgence is what got us here in the first place.  Unwary buyers bellied up to the buffet of no doc loans and ever-increasing values and filled a plate.  They had barely settled down at the table when they decided they wanted more.  It is the "more" part that really sealed their fate.  As the subjective equity skyrocketed the borrowing did too.  You can liken this to a huge spread of all the food you can eat, for someone who simply does not know when to stop.  In the end, the drop in market values closed the buffet.  More than that, the borrowers discovered that they had eaten way more than they needed to... because it was so easy to load up plate after plate.  So we are now in the aftermath of that massive meal.  We who slowly picked at our plates before are the ones still eating.  But we are doing so judiciously.  We do not bite off more than we can chew.  Here are a few snacks that go to sale tomorrow...

A 3BR/2BA Home on Bloom Dr in Monterey Park opens for $300,689.  The estimated value is $515,003.  If you can land this for around $400k, then you have yourself a seven course meal at a sandwich price.

A 4BR/5BA Home on San Sebastian Ave in Murrieta opens for $205,000.  Estimated Value is $347,707.  This is a newer home that was built while folks were lining up to buy anything and everything.  The owner is licking his wounds from a loan that today would buy twice as much home.  But the lender knows that too.  That is why you can buy a banquet today for the cost of a happy meal.

What is cooking this week?

While most of us are obsessing over Turkey, Cranberries, and Pecan Pie....   The real dealmakers are out there working the leads from County Records Research and making some great purchases.  The process of foreclosure rolls forward regardless of the season.  It is likely that you will see quite a few purchase opportunities this week that you will wish you had taken the time to be ready for.  All you need to do is prepare for the inevitable bargain that will be laid at your feet, and you could be the one grinning when the sale is done.  Here are a few samples from Today's Trustee's Sales.

A 4BR/3BA Home on Via Romero in Palos Verdes Estates sold today for $1,010,000.  The estimated value of the home is $1,446,159.  That translates into over $400k in equity for the taking if the buyer is planning to flip.  Not bad for a part time gig.

A 2BR/1BA Home on Gridley Rd in Norwalk sold today for $193,000.   The estimated value of the home is $329,141.  That looks like over $100k in equity for this savvy buyer.  It also looks like the home may be larger than described.  This is one of the secrets of foreclosure purchases.  Sometimes you get more than you bargained for... in a good way.

A 2BR/2BA CONDO in Westwood sold today for $501,000.  The estimated value of the unit is $690,034.  That is over $180k in equity for a great college housing in a prime location.  Condos in this area do not stay on the market long, so the buyer knew that this has the potential to make a nice handful of cash.

More examples tomorrow....

A Pattern of Success...

If you haven't noticed... We are posting sales results with some amazing amounts of equity on a regular basis.  It seems as if there is a pattern of success.  People are getting great deals every day.  Some are better than others, of course.  The best purchases are made where you plan for a "Drop Bid" or you know that the amount owed is obviously less than you are willing to pay.  In both cases, the bids start low.  You want as many of these as possible on your target list.  The more you line up, the higher the odds that you will be a lone bidder or one of only a few bidders.  Here are examples from today's auctions....

A 2BR/1.5BA Townhome on Westminster Ave in Garden Grove sold for $290,000 today.  The estimated value of the home is $399,017.  This represents over $100,000 in potential equity that can be captured with a flip, or you could just hold the property and use it for rental income.

A 3BR/2BA Home with a pool on Cantaloupe in Van Nuys sold today for $383,000.  Estimated value on this home is $517,171.  This also represents a substantial amount of equity for the winning bidder.  This would have been a great investment to sell or rent.  We saw this earlier in the week as a potential bargain and sure enough it was. 

Yesterday and Today... Those deals just don't go away...

Yesterday a 2BR/2BA High Rise Condo on Wilshire Blvd #501 in Westwood sold for $574,400 to a buyer.  The estimated value of the property is $805,071.  More than enough room for a flip in a very desirable area.

Today a 3BR/2BA Home with a Swimming Pool on Cantaloupe Ave in Van Nuys sold for $383,000.  The estimated value on this one is $517,171.  If you want a great deal, just do the research and be ready.

The Dow is up... time to buy low... in Real Estate...

The Dow just hit another benchmark High.  For those of us that have some money riding on the market... Good for Us.  But consider the obvious...  The Dow is way, way up.  If you put money into it now... you will lose money when it corrects... which it will when the big players decide to cash in their stocks and take their profits.  It is like putting your money down at a crap table at the end of a run.  You know someone will throw a 7 and that is it.   So what should you do?  The answer is to pull your money that has been growing with the Dow and put it in another investment at a Low Point that you can sell on a High.  Here are a couple deals that people got last week:

A 2BR/2BA CONDO on N West St in Anaheim sold for just $70,000  Est Value is $379,921.  This could be a margin of up to $300,000.  The profit on this purchase is just amazing.  The new owner can easily just keep this as a rental or flip it for a nice chunk of change all at once.  The bid opened for less than $20,000.  I could have bid on this, and chances are that you could have too.  Imagine the possibilities...

A 3BR/2BA Home on Landisview in Lake Forest sold for just $415,000 Est Value: $$646,774.  While this was not as much profit as the property above, it is still potentially over $200,000 in profit for the buyer.  Think of the amount of control you have.  You can turn this property quickly for a lesser profit, or take your time and get as much as you can. 

How much are people saving?

We get asked this a lot.  How much are people saving?  The answer is "More Than You Think."

We follow these properties every day and we see some amazing deals.  The bottom line is that you are a detective when it comes to foreclosure purchases.  You want the facts, ma'am... and just the facts.  You want no unanswered questions.  Buying a house is not like grabbing a pack of gum at the cash register.  You are potentially going to have some expenses and you don't want to guess your way into a problem.  There is a great movie called "The Money Pit" that shows what happens when you fall in love with a house without knowing the facts about it.  It can get very expensive very quickly.  You should always go by the property and get inside if you can to look around.  If you can't get inside, you can make  some strong inferences from what you can see from the windows.  A house that has been taken care of outside will be taken care of inside most of the time.  A house that has been neglected will be so from front to back.  You should set your max bid price based upon simple observation.  A property that will cost more to fix should cost less initially so you can do the fixing and still come out ahead.  That being said... You should be looking every day and make your shopping list as long as possible.  Don't be afraid to knock on a door.  It could make all the difference.  Here are a couple of good potential purchases for tomorrow's sales, but ONLY if you have done your homework.

A 4BR/3BA Home on Walnut St in Newhall opens at $373,291 Est Value: $538,724 This one looks good and may even have an additional out-building.  It is definitely worth checking out, and should have been checked out weeks ago if you were planning to bid.

A 3BR/3BA Home with a pool on Cardillo Ave in Hacienda Heights opens at $579,080 Est Value: $868,362 This also looks like an opportunity, and you could have made an offer BEFORE the auction.

Another Day.. Another Bunch of Properties that could be Yours....

Yesterday we saw more opportunities come through the Trustee's Sales auctions.  Smart buyers picked up a few properties, some at great discounts.  Here are a couple examples. 

A 6BR/2BA Classic two story home from the turn of the century on Juniper St in Los Angeles sold for just $202,000 Est Value is $380,644  This looks like an undervalued property and with some fixing could be a gem of a listing.  Nice big lot and lots of character.

A 3BR/3BA Home on Mendoza Dr in Valencia sold for $419,000 Est Value: $513,216 This is a nice family home with lots of trees in the yard.  This could be a rental or a flip for this buyer.

These deals are not hard to find at all.  You either go by the amount owed or you guesstimate where the lender will set the discounted "Drop Bid' and be ready to react with a counter bid.  You have a good chance of being the top bidder.

The Challenge is in Knowing what the Challenge Really is...

As you go through the lists of property after property, the goal is to finds as many "A" list properties as you can.  By that I mean those properties where there is an obvious path to success.  That does not necessarily mean you will make an offer... but it could.   It does not necessarily mean you will bid at the auction... but it could.  It does not necessarily mean you will buy a note...  but it could.  You define your "A" list by those properties you can go after with a high chance of success using the methods that you feel comfortable employing.

A buyer bought a 43BR/3BA home on Abajo Dr in Monterey Park for just $544,100 Today.  The place is worth $723,188.

A buyer bought a 3BR/3BA Home on Clementine Dr in Corona for just $360,000 Today.  It is worth $421,024

Hey... Is that home in foreclosure? Maybe so... Questions you should ask...

Do you ask this question when you see a property listing?  Perhaps you should.  Do you know that a lot of the listings you see now are actually foreclosures that are being listed prior to auction.  You should be asking yourself some serious questions.  What do they owe today?  Will you be able to buy that house before the auction?  How low of an offer can you get approved?  These are some of the questions you should always be asking.  Buying a foreclosure is just like buying any other house, except that the person you are making an offer to is in trouble and is much more likely to accept a lesser offer to avoid the foreclosure auction.  When you make an offer you are helping resolve a foreclosure situation.  If you offer less than what is owed, the bank is a direct player in the negotiations.  They have a say if you are offering less then they are owed.  If you offer more than the bank is owed, then you have yourself a simple deal.  All that matters is that the borrower is desperate and you have the cash to pay off what he/she owes.

I have been looking at homes in a particular area, so I am looking at all the homes that come up for sale where I want to buy.  And what do I see over and over again?  The properties listed for sale are also on this website.  Oh yes.  These are properties where the borrower has fallen behind on payments and they have finally decided to list the home before the bank pulls the rug out.  So what am I doing?  I am shopping with a smile on my face.. Why do so many properties say "Backup offer?" Because these are short sale offers and the lenders do not have to take a haircut if they don't want to.  That's ok.  The lender is weighing the offers but also the supposed buyers are facing a challenge to qualify.  So these short sales are still ripe fruit for the picking.  So if I like it, I just make an offer that suits the situation.  I can wait.  Time is on my hands.

It is a Good Day to Buy a Home!

We have seen some excellent purchases over  the past few weeks, and we continue to see more every day.  This is simply the way things are.  There are properties with equity before auction, and properties that gain equity as a result of reduced bids at the auction.  Here are a couple from this morning....

A 4BR/2BA Home on Manly Ave in Santa Ana sold for $460,000 Est Value: $551,707 

A Duplex on Cerritos Ave in Long Beach sold for $295,803 Est Value: $473,652

From Starter Homes to Mansions... You want it, you got it!

Variety is the spice of life, and the Trustee's Sales are definitely loaded with spice these days.  We have been seeing excellent purchases on multi-units, condo's, starter homes, and mansions day after day.  You are always going to be potentially bidding against others, but that does not mean you won't get a bargain.  In fact, you will get a bargain if you have given yourself enough options to choose from.  You cannot affect the behavior of others, but you can predict it within limits.  It is our abilty to percieve and predict based upon past actions that makes buying at the Trustee's Sales a Great Way to buy homes.

Here are a couple of good examples from today's auctions:

A 5BR/5BA Colonial-Style Estate Home on Foothill Dr in Agoura Hills sold today for $1,345,000 Est Value: $1,881,149  What a bargain this was.  The bidding started much lower.  The bidders eventually reached a point where only one could go on.  If this had been your deal, you would have up to $500k in equity.

A 2BR/2BA Newer Home on Garden Ave in Indio sold for $41,700.01 Est Value: $157,987 In this case my only question is... Did the buyer drive by this house?  The bidding opened very low on this one... at only $10,000.  I would have gone to the property and checked it out FIRST.  If they did, and it is what it appears top be.. then what a GREAT DEAL!  If NOT... then a lesson learned.  Learn your lessons BEFORE you buy and you will get only great deals.  Just ask questions and make sure you have the answers before you bid.

Take the Road less Traveled...

Sometimes we focus on one thing or another and we don't see all the opportunities that are out there.  We are often asked how many of our clients wind up bidding against each other at the Trustee's Sales.  The fact is that most of the time our clients do NOT wind up bidding against one another.  You may be looking for a house to flip in Huntington Beach or Garden Grove.  I might be looking for a long term investment like a Four-Plex in Long Beach.  My friend might be looking for Commercial Properties. The odds are that we won't butt up against  each other at all.  This is usually the case.  We see a lot of purchases just over the opening bid, which is a signal that there was little to no competition on that sale.  More importantly, not everyone is looking in the same place or for the same thing, so it is in your best interest to vary your search techniques and maybe look outside of your comfort zone if you are feeling pressed in upon by other investors in one area.  If you do open your mind and search just outside your main target area, you could just get lucky and find exactly the type of deal you can do..  As the song says, "you can't always get what you want... but if you try sometime.. you just might find... you get what you need..."  Here are a couple of examples from this week...

A 3BR/3BA CONDO Home over 2000 sq ft in a Country Club in Rancho Mirage sold for $343,500 Est Value: $466,580 I did not think much about this one on the first look.  But it turns out there is a lot of space in the property,  there is a swimming pool steps away from the back door, and there is a lot of privacy and it is in the middle of a green belt.  So this was a good buy for the right reasons, but I would not have been inclined to move on it on first glance.

A 3BR/2BA Home on Hemingway St in Northridge sold for $352,000 Est Value: $447,231 As an Orange County Resident, I try and stick by the areas I know best.  That is because I generally am looking for a place I would want to live in.  While this is a standard practice when shopping for your own house, it really is impractical when you are shopping as an investor.  When you are looking to buy and flip, or to buy a rental property at a good price, then you really don't need to be as pick about a location as you would be for yourself.  Remember that your prospective end buyers or renters are the people that live or work currently in the vicinity of the property itself.  Just as you will look nearby to work or home if you want to move up or down in size with your own house, your potential renters or buyers will do the same.

Just keep a level head and focus on the basics... is it worth buying? is the price right? Let the list of properties we provide you be the starting point and whittle off the ones that just don't fit your big picture.  You may find a great buy just a few minutes past what was once the last place you would look.

A "What if..?" Question .... Just for You....

What if you could save up to $100,000 on a house  just by being in the right place at the right time, would you do it?  Well you should.

Smart buyers picked up these two properties yesterday at the Trustee's Sales.

A 4BR/1BA Home on Folsom St in Los Angeles sold for a $18,448.01 cash bid on a second Trust Deed.  The first TD was owed around $69,000.00  So the purchase price totaled $87,448  The property is valued at $217,473

A 5BR/4BA Home on Harvard Blvd sold for $324,700 Est Value: $416,215 This was on a first Trust Deed.

There is no use waiting, these deals are happening right now.

October was a month for Great Deals and November looks even Better....

Each day that passes sees exceptional opportunities for investors.   We are seeing excellent starting bid prices at  the Trustee's Sales, and that translates into to low purchase prices for you.  The bargains are exciting, but don't get so thrilled that you let yourself bid the price up when you can keep it low.  We suggest you keep your bid increases as small as possible.  You may have heard it said that someone got a property for just one penny over the "opening bid".  Yes, this happens every day.  People get great deals because they look for the low opening bids and then they calmly bid up just a little bit.  If you find yourself getting too caught up in the process of bidding you should do what people do when they go car shopping.  Have someone with you who knows where you should stop and let them make the call.  Or use our Trustee's Sale Bidding Service.  Our bidders are experts at this and they are very conservative in their approach to bidding at auction.  They simply bid up by a penny first, and by $100 increments after that.  They don't always buy a property, but when they do the price is the lowest it can be.  You don't have to use our bidders to win and save big, but it can help.   

If you are short on cash to bid at the auction, there are other ways to do this.  You can just go make offers to people who are in foreclosure.  You can take over their loans if the amount they owe is reasonable, or you can make a short sale offer and offer LESS than what they owe today.  There are even more options than this.  But your best bet is to get out there and look at properties and make offers.  If you want the property badly enough, you may be able to use a different method.  Just call us and ask us what you could do and we will give you suggestions.  But keep your eye on the ball.  An opportunity may just present itself while you are talking to us or the homeowner.  So pay attention to every detail, and call us for the advice that could make the property yours. 

Here are a few samples of great deals purchased just last Friday...

A Duplex on Craner Ave in North Hollywood sold Friday for $540,000 Est Value; $692,260

A 2BR/2BA CONDO on Willis Ave #321 in Sherman Oaks sold Friday for $340,500 Est Value: $505,556

Turn the clock back on Real Estate Prices....

As we have been saying again and again... the time to buy is now.  The prices on real estate get rolled back at various times for various reasons.  One of the best ways is when those properties are being made available for resale as a direct result of the foreclosure process.  The lenders roll the prices back to levels that would serve their interests if the bank itself was going to buy the property for resale.  By attending the Trustee's Sale and bidding, you give yourself the same advantage the bank has.  If no one else has made the preparations to attend and bid, then you get the best price just like the bank would.  Here are a couple of examples from yesterday's auctions:

A Duplex on Delano St in Van Nuys sold for just $310,000.01 Est Value: $521,036

A 2BR/2BA Mobil Home on a lot on Pederson St in Lake Elsinore sold for just $85,000.01 Est Value: $161,647

In both cases the bidder was just 1 penny over the opening bid, so they got the property at the wholesale price the lender intended to pay.  This is the way to save BIG and pay small at the Trustee's Sales. The lenders were both owed substantially more than the amounts the bidders paid, but the bids were "Dropped" and the buyers were there to take advantage of the savings created by the process of the foreclosure and the fact that the lenders are reducing the bid amounts on a regular basis. 

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