How to Recognize Value in Junk Homes

Now in Inman News

I have made a good career in San Antonio real estate investing by buying and selling under-market-value properties (“junk” houses) that most investors would never touch. Then, I owner finance them for maintenance-free cash flow, which has the added benefit of giving a hardworking family a chance to own their own home.

Sure, the under-market-value houses that I buy are ugly at first glance, but the smart investor needs to look underneath that ugliness and see the value of the home and the area around it.

Last week, I had yet another junk house success story that I wanted to share with you. Last year, I bought this junk house:


It sat vacant for several years, and I bought it in an estate sale in September 2015. No question that this house was ugly and run down:


However, this under-market-value property is located in a booming area a few miles west of downtown San Antonio. The Bexar County government has invested millions of dollars in this area with new running trails, parks, shopping plazas, green space and more. Just two miles from this junk property is the San Antonio Riverwalk, a tourist mecca.

Also, this distressed property has nice, owner-occupied homes right next to it worth $100,000:

tampico-5-300x169 tampico-6-300x169

So I snatched up the house and resold it to my out-of-state investor for $25,000 late last year. The regular investor cannot see past the temporary ugliness of the under-market-value house, but I can.

After my investor purchased the home, I did $27,000 in rehab:

  • Electrical update
  • New flooring (float new floor over that minor foundation issue after it’s repaired)
  • Clean out
  • Update bath and kitchen with tile and granite
  • New light fixtures
  • Paint — interior and exterior
  • Finish second bedroom

Now the under-market-value property looks like this:

The ARV on this distressed property is $89,000, and we completed the rehab in mid-January. By the end of January, we already had an owner-finance buyer for it with these terms:

  • $89,000 purchase price
  • $5,000 down
  • $800 per month
  • 10 percent interest
  • 30-year note

So, the investor bought this out of state investment property for a total of $52,000, and is now earning 15 percent per year in real estate cash flow on a property that he will never have to repair. The buyer of the home will take care of it, and eventually, hopefully, pay off the investor and own the home.

That is the type of under market value property investing that you can do — if you have some cash and if you can see beyond surface ugliness in San Antonio investment property.