My name is William Brown. Most of my investor friends call me “Walking Willy”. About 7 yrs ago, I started real estate investing in Atlanta Georgia. All by accident. I am a retired fire fighter and every morning to keep in shape I take my two dogs for long walks.
I lived at the time in one of those older smaller homes type of subdivision. You know the kind with tall trees, sidewalks lots of yards and tiny houses? Retirees and empty-nesters primarily occupied Sherman Oaks.
On my daily walks, I began to notice houses that were once well kept start to show signs of neglect. One morning I even saw an ambulance leaving with no sirens blaring. The local busy body informed me that a neighbor had died alone and did not have any know relatives.
I walked by that house for three months and finally one day I decided to make an inquiry. I found out it was in probate. If you are like me, I did not know what that meant so I looked it up. Probate is the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person's property under a will. (Wikipedia).
The lady at the county clerk office told me that after they send out notices and hear back from creditors that the property will go to a special “sale procedure” or “auction sale” after so many days passes by law.
I will not bore you with that details but I did end out buying that house for $79, 023.86. The houses in Sherman Oaks in decent condition were fetching around $125,000 at the time. Invested another $9,500 in repairs and upgrades and sold it 4 months later for $121,300.
After I paid closing costs and the realtor, my check was cut for $109, 989.23. I paid back my 401K $90, 000 and put the remainder $19,000 in a 6 month CD. Kept a little cash to take Cindy my wife to a 5 Star Steak house on Peach Tree Ave. I was so so excited about my first real estate investing success because I risked almost half of my retirement account and my wife was threatening to cash in my life insurance policy.
Well so the story began. Every year since 2005, I have bought at least one house a year. Wanna know why they call me Walking Willie? Because I take my dogs out with me and we look for houses that look neglected. I am know to talk to gossipy neighbors who dish on who went into the nursing home or went to live with their kids.
I don't fool with probate if I don't have to. Too many forms, lawyers and people with their hand out. I got a fancy computer so I can look up property information like owners, values and see what's on the market. I fire up my letters and business cards on my computer and my fanny pack is my mobile office.
So in grand total I've bought and what you young folks call “Flipped” 11 houses. My first Probate Flip was my biggest payout. Since then I tend to make anywhere from $4,000 – $13,000 in net profits. I used that first flip to fund all of my other deals because dipping into my 401K was just too risky with the markets so bad like they been for the past 5 years.
I love Real Estate Investing and REIClub.com free resources. This old man has found new life and a reason to walk the dogs with his part time gig flipping houses in Atlanta, Georgia.