Cheap houses, Fixer Upper

The Seventeenth Week – Guess I’m Chewy

Danny Johnson / 25 comments

These are the results of the Seventeenth week of opening up my house flipping business for you guys to see how my wife and I are building back up to 30 deals a year. If you missed the first post explaining what I am doing, please visit This Post.

These are the things I did this week:

Got Chewed Out Again From A Letter

You really do need to develop somewhat of a thick skin if you are going into flipping houses or any sort of business. Mostly, I just need it for dealing with contractors and people I send letters to. It just blows my mind how many people get so angry about someone sending them a letter asking them if they would like to sell their house. Do like most normal people and just throw the thing away if you are not interested.

This particular caller did not appreciate that I had sent him a letter and wondered why I targeted him and how I got his information. I politely explained that I got his information from the county tax office. He asked why I had sent the letter to him, when he did not have a sign out front. I mistakenly told him that I must have noticed his house while driving the area and it looked like it needed some repairs. Of course, he did not like this very much. Oops. Oh well, we can’t make everybody happy can we?

Def Leppard House Being Staged and Put On The Market

While rehabbing the Def Leppard House, I decided to try to just have the carpet cleaned instead of replacing it with new. This is a 2500 square foot house and the carpet was filthy. My carpet cleaning guy told me he could get it clean and it would only cost $175. The risk versus reward was good enough to go ahead and try.

After the carpet was cleaned, I went by to check out the job. The carpet was much cleaner but still had a lot of small stains everywhere. This would have been acceptable for a rental but not for a house that will retail around $170,000 (which is above median in San Antonio). Ugh. At least I did not pay much. Had to make a call to my carpet guy and he agreed to remove the old carpet and install new for $1,900. Great price.

This all caused a bit of a delay but we are getting it all wrapped up. The cleaning crew will be cleaning on Friday and my wife went to purchase staging furniture and other items. We are just starting to stage the houses and my wife and our Realtor have done an incredible job picking out spectacular pieces for the houses. This will be the second one they’ve staged with furniture. The first was a house that we had already owned before beginning this house flipping follow along blog stuff.

My wife just wrote a blog post about staging. Check it out (It’s a great read! Be sure to share it on Facebook and Twitter, to show how much we appreciate her post.): Staging A House Flip – Lesson Learned

My wife kicks butt, doesn’t she!

Historic House Wholesale Is Supposed To Close Tomorrow

The historic house that we are wholesaling is supposed to close on the sell side tomorrow. I will have a complete breakdown of the deal for you next week. Stay tuned…you won’t want to miss this.

Mailed Probate Letters

Mailed probate letters last Friday and only received a couple calls and these were just wanting me to remove them from the mailing list. One was none to polite about it. She had left a message and I suppose she was more comfortable leaving a message about how much she thought of me and my business. She then went on to tear apart my letter and to tell me how much of a grammatical disaster it was. Another happy customer. πŸ™‚

Had Bandit Signs Put Out

Had 40 bandit signs put out over the weekend. Don’t know if they’ve stayed up as I haven’t received very many calls. It’s already time for me to order more.

Still Working Hidden Iron Closing

Not much to say about this. We have things ironed out and are just waiting to close.

Frustration House Set To Close Next Week

The seller actually called Friday evening while we were having dinner. The phone went to voicemail because I do not answer the phone at the dinner table, but that didn’t stop me from worrying about what the message was going to be. My immediate thought was that he was going to tell me the deal was off. As soon as we were finished with dinner, I checked my messages. Shocker. He actually had called to apologize about how he acted the other day when he told me he wanted more money, after we had already signed the contract. I guess my handling of it worked and I was successful in nipping that in the bud.

Considering a Resources Page For The Blog

I’ve been considering adding a resources page for this site that will include books that I feel are great for any body interested in flipping houses. Will be working on this over the coming weeks…if I have time.


Total Motivated Seller Leads This Week: 22 πŸ™‚

Lead SourceLeads This WeekNotes
Bandit Signs140 bandit signs put out over the weekend.
Yellow Pages5For a picture of my ad, visit the ‘The First Week’ post.
Buying Website15For a link to my site, visit the ‘The First Week’ post.
Drive For Dollars1Mailed about 50 out last week.
MLS0Did not look at any listed properties this week.
Wholesale Deals?There were several that were not worth mentioning.
Probates0100 mailed out.

Total Leads To Date [243]
This is the total number of leads for each source since I started posting about the leads (since late March 2011).

Lead SourceTotal Leads To Date
Buying Website:126
Bandit Signs:45
Yellow Pages Ad:30
Driving For Dollars:16
REO Realtors:6
Absentee Owners:5
MLS Search:2
Probate Letters:2
For Sale By Owner:1

Leads Analyzed

  1. We Protested The #$%! Out Of The Taxes

    [Source: Website]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 900 sf house in a not-so-good neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$60,000
    Amount Owed:$45,000
    Repairs:$minor (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$65,000
    Max Offer:$40,000 – repairs

    Seller says they completely remodeled the house but want to move. He went on to inform me that the neighbors all got together and protested the $#%@ out of the taxes. Too funny. Looking at the county tax appraisal district website however doesn’t show much in the way of a decrease over the last 5 years. There is one but not more than 3-5k. In our last primary residence, a historic house, the city tried to up the taxes almost 300% in one year. The house did go from looking like the paper street house on Fight Club to a like-new condition. I’m glad those days of fighting so hard to keep the tax value down are over.

    Back to this one. He owes a little too much for my liking and will pass this lead on as a bird dog.

  2. Belongs To A Church

    [Source: Website]

    Pastor wants to sell a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, ??? sf house in a bad neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$Make Offer
    Amount Owed:$0
    Repairs:$a lot (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$???
    Max Offer:$probably in the teens or below

    Pastor for a church wants to sell the house behind the church that they own. The house is small and boarded up, in a bad neighborhood. He did not know the exact address so I had to virtually walk through google maps around the corner from the church address to see it. This neighborhood is not my cup of tea so I passed it on to someone who might appreciate it.

  3. Section 8 Tenant Moving Out

    [Source: Yellow Pages]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 3 bedroom, 1 bath, 900 sf house in a not-so-good neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$Make Offer
    Amount Owed:$0
    Repairs:$cosmetic (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$60,000
    Max Offer:$30,000 – repairs

    Seller has medical problems and is getting rid of some of his rentals. The house was rented section 8 and they are moving out. I asked why the tenants were moving out and he mentioned that they had said they would “stay there forever” but that they ran into family problems with a family member that lives near there. This house will probably fetch more from a landlord so I am passing this one on. Next.

  4. Bought Another House

    [Source: Website]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1300 sf house in a decent neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$89,000
    Amount Owed:$89,000
    Repairs:$none (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$100,000
    Max Offer:$65k – repairs

    Seller is moving in a couple months to another house she has bought and does not want to wait 6 months for this house to sell through a Realtor. Too much is owed for my liking but this might be a sub2 deal for someone.

  5. Mother’s House Is Falling Apart

    [Source: Website]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath, 1200 sf house in a neighborhood outside of the city.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$Make Offer
    Amount Owed:Nothing
    Repairs:$everything (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$50,000
    Max Offer:$20,000 – repairs

    Caller’s mom’s house and it has been deteriorating since the father passed away years ago. She says it needs a lot of work. This house is probably 45 minutes away from where I live and the houses are very slow to sell there. This would be a good owner finance (sell side) for someone. I will try to find that someone because I am not personally interested.

    She wanted to know at least a ball park figure to have something to go on so that they can make a decision whether to sell or not. I told them most likely low teens but would need to verify repairs needed.

  6. Doesn’t Want Anymore – Too Many Repairs

    [Source: Website]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 4 bedroom, 1 bath, 1500 sf house in a really bad neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$15,000
    Amount Owed:$1,500 taxes
    Repairs:$quite a bit (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$???
    Max Offer:$cheap

    House needs too many repairs and they want to get rid of it. This area is not for me but I passed it on to someone that buys in the area being that their asking price was reasonable and negotiable. Should be able to get bird dog fee for this one.

  7. Does Not Want To Make Another Payment

    [Source: Website]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 900 sf house in a decent neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$52,000
    Amount Owed:$43,000
    Repairs:$some (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$80,000
    Max Offer:$Can’t Offer

    She called from a letter we sent and mentioned that another investor had made an offer and she wanted to get another offer. I went through all of my typical questions and talked about everything the house had. Then, I asked about the other investor’s offer. She promptly told me what his offer was and I was immediately thinking that it was a good, high offer and I likely could not beat it. I asked if he was wanting to sign a contract to which she replied that she did sign something. She then read the top of the “thing” she signed and it was a standard contract. She didn’t even know she was under contract to sell the house. Now, I don’t know if the investor is to blame for not explaining things clearly or if she was just not all there. Either way, I had to inform her that she already had the house sold and it was just a matter of it closing. Next.

  8. Does Not Want The Extra Headache

    [Source: Website]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 3 bedroom, 1 bath, 900 sf house in a so-so neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$33,000
    Amount Owed:$0
    Repairs:$good amount (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$60,000
    Max Offer:$35,000 – repairs

    The seller has a house that has been vacant for a while. I was asking why he wanted to sell and he just mentioned that he doesn’t need it and doesn’t want the extra headache. He is a real estate broker and it is strange to me that he is trying to sell to an investor. I’m not interested in this area but I know someone that is, so I sent the lead to him. Next.

  9. Needs Cash Not Tenants

    [Source: Yellow Pages]

    Homeowner wants to sell a duplex with 1/1 and 1/1 and two efficiencies in a decent neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$Make Offer
    Amount Owed:$53,000
    Repairs:$exterior only (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$???
    Max Offer:$???

    Seller called with the rental property. All units are occupied but share utilities. I’m not interested in rentals and she owes more than I would consider for such a property anyway. I’m more interestd in flipping houses. Passed on to someone that might be interested. Next.

  10. Behind 12 Months

    [Source: Website]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2800 sf house in a decent neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$163,000
    Amount Owed:$163,000 taxes
    Repairs:$minor (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$125,000
    Max Offer:$80,000 – repairs

    Seller needs to sell this house because he is behind on payments, by a year. This house is from a previous marriage and he has since moved on. This is an area that has been hit hard with price drops caused by competition with foreclosures. This would be a perfect candidate for a short sale. If you work short sales in San Antonio, please contact me. danny at flipping junkie.

  11. Financial Problems And Needs To Sell

    [Source: Website]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath, 3000 sf house in a good neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$225,000
    Amount Owed:$195,000 taxes
    Repairs:$some (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$220,000
    Max Offer:$143,000

    Seller wants to sell in a good area, but houses are just not selling there. My ARV is conservative and I would not want to pay more than MAO on this one. The house would likely sit for a long time unless I reduced it below my ARV to help move it. Not going to mess with it because of how much is owed. May be another short sale candidate. I thought possibly sub2, but the seller is not interested in that at the moment. He said he’d call if he couldn’t do anything with it.

  12. Need To Relocate Closer To Church

    [Source: Website]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath, 1350 sf house in a bad neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$74,000
    Amount Owed:$64,000 taxes
    Repairs:$minor (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$60,000
    Max Offer:$35,000 – repairs

    This house is in a rough area and they owe more than what I could possibly buy, or even sell it for. Sometimes people give strange reasons for selling when, in reality, I think they just want to get out of a bad area. Can’t blame them. Next.

  13. Manufactured Home

    [Source: Website]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1500 sf manufactured home.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$41,000
    Amount Owed:$41,000
    Repairs:$cosmetic (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$???
    Max Offer:$???

    I do not buy manufactured homes for house flipping, unless I can get them dirt cheap. They also need to be on their own land. This one is not. If you might be interested in this let me know.

  14. Inherited Property And Need To Sell

    [Source: Bandit Signs]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath, 900 sf house in a not-so-good neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$45,000
    Amount Owed:$0
    Repairs:$says lots (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$50,000
    Max Offer:$25,000 minus repairs

    They want to sell their parents’ house. It was very difficult to find any comps in this area and just ended up being a “gut feel” valuation. This is really a rental or owner finance type property so I am passing the lead on. Next.

  15. Good Neighborhood – Owe Too Much

    [Source: Webiste]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 1464 sf house in a good neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$135,000 (least will take $125,000)
    Amount Owed:$100,000
    Repairs:$unknown (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$135,000
    Max Offer:$88,000 minus repairs

    Not sure why they are selling the house because they never did return my call. They owe too much anyway. Next.

  16. I Thought It Would Be An Expensive House

    [Source: Yellow Pages]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 900 sf house in a bad neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$55,000
    Amount Owed:$0
    Repairs:$minor (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$50,000
    Max Offer:$25,000 minus repairs

    This call was interesting. The seller had an English accent and she wanted to describe every single thing about the house. I started getting anxious as I knew she just wasn’t that motivated as she went on and on about how the house was in a historic district. At this point, I was figuring this was a $300k+ house (which is a lot for San Antonio). After her lengthy description we got down to details. It turns out this house is in the middle of the worst area of San Antonio. It really shocked me.

    This one ended with me informing her that we typically buy in the teens in the area, to which she was none to happy. Sorry. Next.

  17. Family Moved – Want To See How Much I Can Get

    [Source: Website]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1500 sf house outside of town.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$130,000
    Amount Owed:$25,000
    Repairs:$minor (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$95,000
    Max Offer:$62,000 minus repairs

    This is a classic example of a tire-kicker. He even mentioned already having a Realtor lined up but just wanted to see how much I would pay. I did not spend much time on this and just ended up telling him that I am not interested. The values in the area have dropped considerably and I don’t want any part of it. Next.

  18. Mom Wanted Them To Sell

    [Source: Website]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 5 bedroom, 2 bath, 2000 sf house in a bad neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$30,000
    Amount Owed:$11,000
    Repairs:$a lot (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$65,000
    Max Offer:$Not For Me

    Seller inherited the house. Her mother wanted them to sell the house after she passed. This area is not one that I buy in, but I passed the lead on as they were already asking a somewhat reasonable price.

    Update: Just found out from the investor I sent this lead to that there was a murder there very recently. He says that the husband killed his wife in the shed in the back of the property. Sad. He got it under contract for a good price (of course) and says it will take a while to close because of probate issues.

    Always interesting things happening in this business…

  19. Wants To Sell, But Owes Too Much

    [Source: Website]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 900 sf house in a so-so neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$66,000
    Amount Owed:$61,000
    Repairs:$cosmetic (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$69,000
    Max Offer:$44,000 – repairs

    Seller just said that they want to sell and that was it. Too much is owed. Next.

  20. Remarried And Moving To Kentucky

    [Source: Yellow Pages]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1100 sf house in a decent neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$Make Offer
    Amount Owed:$14,000
    Repairs:$minor (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$69,000
    Max Offer:$45,000 minus repairs

    Seller was recently remarried and is moving to Kentucky. She needs to sell this house that she still owns with her ex. She seemed pretty motivated and ready to move on with her new life. The area is a decent one, but I had some trouble selling a house there last year and would just rather pass on this one. I’m sure a deal could be made and passed it on to a friend. Should make a reasonable birddog fee with this one.

    This could have been a decent wholesale deal, but I was tied up this morning and was not able to make it to see the house and I knew the seller was calling other people so I sent someone right away to try and at least make something on it.

  21. Heard About Me On The Radio

    [Source: Yellow Pages]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1100 sf house on a busy street.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:$125,000
    Amount Owed:$0
    Repairs:$unknown (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$50,000
    Max Offer:$25,000 minus repairs

    Seller heard an ad from a home buyer on the radio and ended up seeing my ad in the yellow pages. I don’t have an ad on the radio. Somebody else’s ad directed this lead to me. πŸ™‚ Not a good lead, but a lead none-the-less. This house is on really busy street and is considered commercial. He’s had it listed for a long time and is set on his price. Nobody else wanted it at that price, why would I?

  22. Tire-Kicker From Third Letter

    [Source: Driving For Dollars Letters]

    Homeowner wants to sell a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1400 sf house in a good neighborhood.

    Here are the numbers:

    Asking Price:Make Offer
    Amount Owed:Would Not Tell
    Repairs:$minor (unconfirmed)
    After Repaired Value:$100,000
    Max Offer:$65,000 minus repairs

    Seller finally called after receiving three letters from me. She mentioned they were considering selling and wanted to know how much I would offer, before they listed with a Realtor. I made them a ballpark estimate in the 60’s. No go, so far.

    I have always gone back and forth on whether to keep sending a series letters and postcards after the first couple. It seems the motivated ones call mostly from the first letter. This time I am going to continue to send them as I feel that maybe my message will be “burned” into their mind a little more and there is more of a chance they will keep at least one of the letters.


Leads picked up again big time this week. Monday was spent frantically handling most of these leads as they all seemed to come in that morning. It was crazy. The rest of the week was a little more relaxed. Got to fly a Piper Cub Monday afternoon, which was awesome. I birddogged a lot of leads this week and am sure to make some money from those. Nothing seemed good enough for me to want to take down myself. Something should come along soon. Bandits went out and hopefully stayed up. Letters went out and I’ve since printed some more for stuffing and mailing. Called follow ups. It was a good week.

Plans For Next Week

  • Prepare Letters For Mailing
  • Put Def Leppard House on The Market
  • Get Some More Probate Leads
  • Figure Out What I Am Going To Do With The Expensive House – Might Wholesale
  • Close on The Frustration House
Bonus: Click Here to Download My Top 5 Motivated Seller Marketing Methods Guide pdf that will show you, in awesome detail how to use 5 different marketing methods to generate great leads consistently.

“The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.” -Dale Carnegie

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25 awesome responses to “The Seventeenth Week – Guess I’m Chewy”

  1. Jaime on

    You remind me every week that this business requires ACTION. I don’t use the word “work” because if I wanted to work, I’d go get a JOB. We’ve got to get through the tire-kickers to hit the deals, sometimes.

    Keep up the good work and ACTION.

  2. Matt K on

    Hi Danny,

    I just got a great call last week.

    Women called my 800 message line from one of my postcards. She let me know she wasn’t interested in selling, and if she was, she certainly wouldn’t need my help…. she then proceeded to tell me to “Go F@$k Myself” and to “F@$k Off” several times over and over!!!!
    The best part was she then took the time to mail my postcard back to me and wrote “F@$k You” all over it…… what a waste of a stamp!!! πŸ™‚

    She was definitely the most ticked off seller I’ve heard from

  3. Burke on


    Still enjoying your blog. Any updated info on “the death house”?

  4. Chris L. on

    Hey Danny,

    Sounds like you had a extremely active week which is always a good thing =). I was wondering what information do you go by to determine if a neighborhood is good, bad, so-so etc?

  5. Burt on

    Danny, This blog is great. Thick skin seems required. I’ll have to grow some (skin that is).
    Look forward to this blog every week. Thanks

  6. Jay Palmquist on

    “I must have noticed that your house needed a little work.” I laughed out loud that was so funny! I have said that before myself from my “driving for dollars” letters. I think I said, “your house looked like a dump…” :p

    I love your blog and I’m referring newbies to it, so that can get an idea of what’s involved with this business.

    Great, great post!

  7. Eli on

    Danny, resources page would be awesome! As a newbie I’m always looking for good material to read but there is so much junk around there that it’s hard to identify a good read.

  8. Daniel on

    Hi Danny,

    I once had a woman call me from one of my letters stating that she was going to turn my letter over to her attorney and pursue legal action. I politely told her that last time I checked mailing a letter was not against the law.

    Also, I made the mistake once of using my home address as the return address on a mailing. Always, use a PO Box! I had to learn the hard way.

  9. Clifford on

    This is EXCELLENT Mr. Johnson!! I have just finished reading from Week 1 and I must say thanks for all the detailed and hard work!

  10. Lucky on

    I have had a few irate calls due to letters I sent. Could not help but laugh at yours. One said she was calling the Better Business Bureau, I gave her the phone number, made her even more mad. Another threatened a lawsuit, told her she could use my lawyer if she wanted. I don’t mean to be sarcastic or condecending and make it a point to be polite and courteous but sometimes I just can’t help it.

  11. Brooks on

    When I got started investing in real estate full time a few years ago, one of my biggest fears (and still is) is angry people calling.

    I’m a nice guy. What did I do? I’m mean, I’m just trying to help!
    I’ve had a few of my own encounters – mostly via voicemail, which also allowed me to post them on my blog haha!

    But I fear that small things like this cause a large number of people to stop chasing their goals when investing in real estate. Don’t let it stop you, and I won’t either!

    Well, I have a new goal – to get a letter back in the mail with hate messages on it – Matt K, that is the funniest thing that I’ve heard all week!

    Thanks for the post Danny.

  12. Brooks on

    Amen to that!

  13. Bryce on

    3. Section 8 Tenant Moving Out
    β€œThis house will probably fetch more from a landlord so I am passing this one on.”

    How do you conclude this? What criteria determine if a house will work better as a rental or a flip?