Not all houses are created equal. Some, appear to have been ordained the prettiest on the block. Then there are the others that seem to capture the entire neighborhood for all of the wrong reasons. Sometimes it’s the original design, the location and probably even the changes and challenges over the years. Sometimes it may be the difference between good tenants or bad, but all in all, it finally just comes down to the maintenance and the care that the houses have received over the years.
Houses, like dominoes, begin to fall especially when deferred maintenance becomes so overwhelming that there is no way to keep up. Sooner or later, unless it’s addressed, every challenged house wins out. Whether it’s a battle of wills or just a mutual understanding, every homeowner does a dance with every distressed house to determine the best way to fix it, exist with it or just sell it. I think it’s a process that the relationship must go through and when an owner of a house finally says “Sell My House in Stockton” it’s a realization that there is just no other way to make it work.
In the video below I describe the set of circumstances that led to the sale of this house, its 25 year old Probate and ultimately City of Stockton Code enforcement to become involved. I have been around long enough to know that some houses are magnets for trouble and once on that path, it seems that no matter what you do, once the house is on the radar of the local vagrants or the code enforcement officers it may be too little too late to stop the aggravation and the fines. This house like so many across Stockton, Sacramento and Modesto is a cautionary tale and a lesson about the rules of engagement for keeping up appearances. If you are the owner of a house like this, the only light at the end of the tunnel may be to just sell your house in Stockton.
When I initially talked to the probate attorney about the purchase of this house I had an idea what the circumstances were. As we talked I got an better idea and I knew that the house had a number of challenges, the least of which was its condition. He told me that the real goal was to just sell the property and let someone else deal the house issues. He was confident that the Probate was coming to a close and that the sale could take place within 30 days.
- Tenants in the house unwilling to move
- Code Enforcement from the City of Stockton
- Animals running loose in the street
- a 24 year old Probate case
- A real estate agent that was as unresponsive as the house
- Deferred Maintenance
- Sellers will not pay for repairs
- No Inspections
- No Appraisals
It was all pretty much standard operating procedure for me. Plus or minus one or two house issues, it is what I am accustomed to seeing with a Probate of an estate that is over years old. It also isn’t really that uncommon for people that have inherited a house to delay a Probate. They are expensive and time consuming and sometimes the procedure just upsets the status quo. Probates require that all possible heirs to the estate be notified and as such there is a potential that another relative, estranged or otherwise could claim ownership and force the sale of a house as part of that probate. There are many people that just try to keep it all under wraps. There are others that regardless of the title still being in Mom or Dads name want to continue with the ownership as is without any liability. They can collect rent from tenants, pay the property taxes and no one’s the wiser. Sometimes there may be large tax consequences and the silent owners just want to kick that can down the road.
It is usually another major event that causes the heirs to finally decide to sell and face the Probate process. Sometimes it’s what I call the nuisance factor. The house becomes unmanageable, repairs spiral out of control and cost more than any rent collected. Neighborhoods change for the better and the worse. Values rise and fall. Other times it code violations, squatters and/or so much deferred maintenance, that the house no longer remains a quiet asset. It turns into a screaming liability. It is at that point that the owners scream… “I just want to sell my house fast in Stockton“.
What is the downside of delaying a Probate?
From what I have witnessed, there are very few negative effects of waiting to Probate an estate, at least from the courts. The Counties are only alerted when property taxes aren’t paid, or code violations pile up. In any case, for all estates Probate is a reality at some point. The only drawback can be an inflated valuation, because in any Probate, the value to the estate is established at the time of death. So at the time of death, the market were up substantially, it may have a negative impact. But after 24 years the Probate Referee and Appraiser have a difficult time establishing a value from 24 years ago. So many things tie into that valuation such as the condition of the house at the time of death. It is complicated.
In this case it when dad passed away in 1995, the sisters had no real reason to do anything. They were the passive owners of many properties and in Probate there would have been so many tax consequences, that they decided to keep the cash flow intact until it became unmanageable. After multiple tenants and a lot of deferred maintenance, they had had it.
It’s ironic that after so many years that they were in a RUSH. To be fair to the sisters and the Probate attorney, the real estate agents they hired (a team) were stumbling all over each other to avoid showing the house. I am not sure why, but experience with distressed properties eludes a lot of real estate agents. To see the properties It was like scheduling a colonoscopy or a tooth extraction. Sure, both houses had tenants, the houses were not in the best parts of Stockton and each had a lot of problems. Heck, they were ticking time bombs for code enforcement and the tenants were pissed that they were soon going to be displaced. They called the health department, they dumped trash in the front yard and they left animals tied up in the back yard after they vacated. The real estate agents were paralyzed.
The Case For Hiring a Real Estate Agent?
For a lot of real estate agents, selling houses is NOT really selling a house. It is listing houses, and when real estate agents won’t even do that, it kind of destroys the notion to the logic that you need a real estate agent in order to sell a house. But conventional wisdom being what it is, the sisters thought that a real estate agent may best suit them when it came time to showing the houses. Little did the sisters know, they were not interested in doing any of that.
So when the sisters made the decision to sell my House in Stockton, they did just that. They picked up the phone and called the first real estate agent and like 75% of all sellers, they hired the only one that they talked to. They had made their decision, hired the first ones that told them what they wanted to hear, and signed that 6% commission and listing agreement. It made it simple and convenient for them. Or so they thought….
Here is the lesson for anyone reading this… Hiring the first real estate agent you talk to is ALWAYS a disaster. Would you hire an employee that way? For those of us that know something about real estate agents and the numbers, lets just say it’s NOT a good idea.
Certainly education is a factor and that is why I spend so much time writing these articles and making videos in order to grab the attention of as many homeowners as I can to let them know that there are alternatives to real estate agents and some of them may save you a lot of time, money and frustration. Repeat after me “Real Estate Agents Don’t Buy Houses”! Real estate agents don’t fix houses and 99% of real estate agents aren’t equipped to deal with the real underlying issues of these types of houses.
Sometimes the only Solution is to Sell the House For CASH!
Houses come in all shapes and sizes with different kinds of issues that determine its actual condition. Buyers are skittish, and if they perceive a problem, they walk. Real Estate Agents are no different and they have vastly different levels of experience with different types of houses. The truth is that most real estate agents have no experience in selling distressed houses at all and their abysmal performance in selling them is obvious.
Here is another fact… Unless your house is in move-in, near-perfect condition and is priced right, the average buyer is going to pass. The truth of the matter is 95% of all buyers are looking to buy houses that are move-in ready, that need no repairs or updates, which is also evidenced by the fact that over 98% of all buyers order home inspections and expect the seller to pay for the repairs.
If you have a house with any problems whatsoever, what are the chances that you are really going to pull a fast one on the buyer, the inspectors, and finally the bank?
So in a world where buyers are looking for move in ready and sellers are looking to cash out, the only thing that they have in common is a real estate agent that is trying the best they can to match things up and as the above statistics point out, it works only 60% of the time.
My name is Peter Westbrook and I am a local real estate investor located in Stockton, Manteca, Modesto and Sacramento. I am the best at what I do because I work at it everyday. Certainly there are other cash home buyers in the area and some are even local. What sets me apart is my years of experience, my in depth knowledge of real estate issues and solutions and a firm belief that there is a unique solution to whatever real estate challenge you may have.
One call to me, and I think that you will be convinced that I should be on the shortlist of who you talk to. Please call me at (209)481-7780 and I will talk to you personally or visit my website at http://www.IBuyHousesStockton.com. Either way my service is free and my advice may be just what you need to finally resolve that house or other real estate problem that keeps you up at night.
Speaker 1: Hello, my name is Peter Westbrook with Westbrook Real Estate Investments and today’s video is on purchasing homes. As a real estate investor in Stockton, I walk into situations willingly and this is one of those. I’m standing outside of Scotts Street in Stockton, California. It really doesn’t matter the city in California. Every older community has houses like this. You can see that this house is on a raised foundation with siding that is pretty badly worn, in need of paint. The owner of this house had two houses and I’m going to do a video on that one after this. But I’m going to do a little walk around because this property is a code violation waiting to happen. It’s a deep lot, it happens to be sitting next to a property, and I didn’t purchase this one, that suffered a fire. And you can actually see up in the eaves up there the fire. But this fence here, the wrought iron is the end of my lot, but you can see the fire that damaged the fence back here at the back of my lot.
Anyway, when you walk into these, or at least I think this way, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be an owner of one of these properties that has had it for years and having to maintain the lawns, keep the city away, garbage out of the front. This house had been rented out for years. Actually, the gentleman who owned this house passed away in 1995 and his children had just recently brought it to probate, so they have not done anything to settle the estate for many years. That’s one issue. When the attorney called me he said that the “houses were tear downs.” A slight exaggeration.
The second issue is what they were going to do afterward the probate. And there’s these two little puppies that are here and I really don’t know if anybody’s caring for them. I try to come by in at times of the day and give them water but I really don’t know what’s happening. I’ve called the city, they haven’t come out to take care of them yet. I’ve called the real estate agent, they haven’t called me back yet. And that’s a shame. We’ve got these animals and I wish I knew who to contact, who was living here before. And I think I’m just going to have to go to animal control and let them take them away.
Anyway, the yard is quite big. It’s going to turn in a problem pretty soon. City code enforcement is going to I know come out at some point and take a look at this. But if you look at a house like this, there’s no way that any bank in the world is going to provide any financing for any one to buy it let alone purchase it with a loan. There are just so many things that are wrong with it. And you can see the dry rot down here as you go up. There’s are just some of the things that need to be cleaned up.
This right here, the plywood. You can see that underneath, I’m going to get down low. You’re going to see right in there. Oh hey, puppies. I know, I know. Anyway, you’re going to see up in here that the dry rot, the front porch is all falling apart. When I walk on this front porch, it is falling apart, I feel like I am falling in.
But this house, believe it or not, still has value. And I’m going to go inside the house now and this is a two bedroom, one bath. So we’re in the living room. There are cracks in the ceiling, which means the house has settled. It’s not the end of the world. But this is all lath and plaster throughout here. And the property itself actually may be worth more than the house itself as a structure except for the rental value because there’s something on the lot already, there’s a lot of things that can be done. There are options.
The bathroom floor is completely rotted out. You can see that I can step on this and literally I’m bowing all the way through. That’s the vanity and the bathtub is literally a claw tub. But the surround in the back, that’s a shower curtain there to protect that back wall that is really all just falling apart. And then this is the other bedroom and you can see the ceiling up in here. Somebody tried to patch where the roof is leaking and it’s raining out there today and I know it’s going to pose another problem. Got a closet over here and then this is just typical of a house. And this is the second bedroom and then we walk into the kitchen. And I’m walking into a slope here, this is all falling off.
Original cabinets, I don’t know when this house… (I just noticed) It has literally no cabinets up above. I can’t imagine trying to live in a house and keep anything, where do you put your groceries? And then the refrigerator is back in this area with the little sink and it’s just filthy, filthy, filthy. This was actually at one time, the back part of the house that they enclosed and then the outside to the backyard. I’m not going to even bother opening that screen door right now, the security door to the back of it. And there’s the building behind. So it’s a very big lot. I don’t know what we’re going to do with this yet.
My name is Peter Westbrook, I’m with Westbrook Real Estate Investments and if you have a property that you would like to sll, if it’s a house that just… Look at this kitchen. If you have a house that is in desperate need of repair, you don’t know what you’re going to do with it. You’re getting up in age and maybe you’ve had it rented out for years and it’s just been sitting vacant and you’re just trying to stay ahead of code enforcement with the city.
This is the dining room. This is actually a nice little layout for a two bedroom one bath house. But anyway, you’re just trying to stay ahead of code enforcement, give me a call. My phone number is (209)-481-7780. I’d love to talk to you, make you a fair, all cash value offer. And what I mean by that is I’ll look at what the comparable sales have been in the neighborhood. Every neighborhood has basically got its benchmarks and the high and the low. And I’ll make you a cash offer basically for market value minus the repairs and we’ll go from there. Anyway, my name is Peter Westbrook. The name of my company is Westbrook REI. You can find me at www.webuyhousessacramento.org or www.westbrookrei.com/we-buy-houses-stockton or https://www.ibuyhousesstockton.com. Either way, give me a call (209)-481-7780. I’d love to talk to you about your house and who knows? Maybe I’ll buy a piece of property from you. If not, at least you’ll walk away with more information than you had to start with and be able to make a more informed decision for you and your family. Anyway, I want to thank you for watching.