It’s True – I Bought A House for $1.00

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My story began when I was looking at my emails, over 4 years ago. I found one from an investor who lived in NJ. His email said he found my name on Craigslist through an ad that stated I was looking for properties.

He emailed me that he had a property in Buffalo, NY and that he wanted to get out of it. He told me the city had code violations on it and he had even hired a lawyer out there to help, but he just wanted out. I asked what were the violations?

He began quite a story of how he had hired a repair person to fix a falling down front porch. He had made a big mistake. He gave the guy the money in advance. This guy took off the front porch; put the trash in the back yard and put X boards across the upstairs and down stairs doors. The repair guy then made himself disappear. The city proceeded to issue tickets for the trash in the back yard, the X boards on the doors, and the fact the siding was torn up.

I asked him what he wanted me to do and he said �Just take it off my hands.� It didn't take me long to tell him I had to send him a contract and to make it binding and I would pay him $1.00 to cement the deal.

He took me up on the offer and I faxed him the contract immediately. Within 1 hour I had it back signed. As promised, I sent him the check for $1.00 in the mail. Only a few days had passed by, and I had the deed for the property delivered through the mail.

I'm not crazy – but I just bought a property, unseen, uninspected and not even sure of the location – for 4 quarters!

Now the problem is mine-right? So I called the city courts and made a time to go there and show the deed and discuss what I was going to do. I live 5 hrs away so I had to take my truck and tools to Buffalo. When I got there I found the place. It was not in the best area of town, but not the worst. It was a older run down home that could use some TLC.

As I was looking over what I was going to do, a lady walked up to me and asked what I was doing? Turned out she lived on the second floor of this two family. Did I tell you that the downstairs was vacant?

The tenant that occupied the upstairs unit had 3 kids and was a single mom. She said she was very happy to see me and asked if I was going to fix the place. I said yes, but I would need her help. I asked if I could hire her kids to bring out to the curb some of the trash in the back yard each pickup day. She said “Yes & Yes”. I also asked her to help me find someone to work with me on the new porch. She got me a nephew who was out of work.

We rebuilt the porch, fixed the siding and for $75.00, the trash was removed by her kids. They even raked up the small stuff and made the area look good. My angel of a tenant feed me while I worked and made sure all was safe at night regarding the vacant unit downstairs and the building materials on site.

I had taken the time to go to the city to settle all of the violations and they gave me 2 weeks to get it done. I had it done in one week and took pictures down to the court once completed. They sent an inspector up to take a look and released all code infractions.

She had been paying the other investor $350.00 per month and I kept it that way. I did not want to put any more money into it, so I never even bothered with fixing and renting the downstairs unit. I was getting enough cash flow to keep me happy.

After I left there she would call me every once in a while to let me know about anything that needed fixing. After my 2nd trip out, I asked her to have lunch with me and at lunch I asked her if she would like to own the place. She lit up and said  “Yes, but I don't know how”.

She said her credit was not good enough for a loan. I asked her why you need a loan. I told her that she had been paying her rent on time every month and that she had gone to great lengths to help me, so I would help her. I told her I would raise the rent to $400.00 and if she paid on time at the end of 4 years I would give her the deed for $1.00.

Do you think I had a happy camper? I did. This gal had been there 17 years and did not want to go anyplace else. She worked as a maid in a hotel. Went to work every day, and even helped me make some repairs. She paid every month on time and I gave her the deed as promised. I made about $16,000 on a house that was valued at around $25,000. Great gal and I felt she deserved to own the house.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!!

Arthur Cipperley
East Greenbush, NY

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It’s True – I Bought A House for $1.00

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