In all of the homes I’ve bought at foreclosure auctions to sell, most are in terrible condition. My brother and I joke about how bad the condition of a home is by saying how many dump truck loads to the dump the home was worth. A typical home is a “2-dumper.” We’ve had 6-dumpers and 8-dumpers.
Most of the homeowners (foreclosed homeowners) were slobs. I take my hat off to anybody who is in the foreclosure/flipping business. They are doing their neighborhoods a great service just by cleaning and repairing distressed homes. Because investors are doing it for profit, they bring up the value of neighborhoods. I’ve had some horror stories, and here are just a few examples:
- In one house, a kid was using the flattop stove as a cooking surface. The kitchen was just slimy and disgusting.
- In another home, we went to the front door and you could actually smell the inside of the home. A curious neighbor who was walking by when we broke in to our new house said, “There were animals living here — and I think they even let the people into the home.”
- In another home, they turned the garage into a kennel for their huge dogs. The urine and feces had actually absorbed into the concrete, and it took tons of cleaning and bacterial treatments to cover the smell.
- In another home, one room had bird droppings and poop all over the carpets and dripping off the walls.
- Another home’s garage was filled — literally filled — with trash, old furniture, car engine parts, and oil and grease spilled all over the garage.
- In one house, along with drug parafernalia strewn throughout the house, had animal droppings just sitting on the carpets.
- In one house, doors had been kicked through throughout the house, and there were holes in walls throughout the house.
In all the houses we’ve bought, only one was left in a clean condition. And it happened to be the cheapest home I’ve ever bought. It was a townhome in an old part of the city. I met the people staying there, and they didn’t speak English. When they finally moved out, we opened the door, fully expecting a typical foreclosure disaster. I was shocked by what I saw. My partner simply said, “Bless her heart. Bless her heart. That is someone who takes pride in herself. That’s a good person.” The little non-English speaking grandma had left it in perfect condition. Carpets were vacuumed, the refrigerator was sparkling, walls were scrubbed, windows were cleaned, and even the blinds and curtains were left hanging neatly.
My first job was as a lot boy, detailing cars on my dad’s car dealiership. My dad always said that a clean car drives much better than a dirty car. A clean home not only sells for more than a dirty home, but more importantly, you just feel better about yourself when being in a clean home versus a dirty home.