Being Hearing Impaired Didn’t Stop Me!

First of all, it has taken me a long time to submit this success story. The reason why it has taken so long, is that I never thought that what I did was anything out of the ordinary. I have had hearing problems all my life, becoming deaf in my left ear by the time I was 10 and having worn hearing aids in my right ear since I was 8. I have had a great deal of difficulty on the phone since about 1990, and thus have had others making calls for me.

I don’t like to have others do it for me, as I am by nature an outgoing person and have a salesperson’s personality, and I don’t like to rely on others as I feel like I can never repay those people that have helped me enough. However, I am going to have cochlear implant surgery, and one of the things I am looking forward to doing as a result of this surgery is to be able to talk on the phone again.

It will not restore normal hearing, but from what the doctors have told me and what I have read about others that have had this surgery, I should be able to hear better and, most importantly, understand what I am hearing as a result of this surgery.

I think what finally inspired me to write this story is the inspiration I can give to others that this real estate investing stuff CAN be done if you go out there and do it! Regardless of your situation! You only live one time, so let’s play the hand that is dealt us and make the best of it! If a 29-year-old deaf guy can do it, then I know that you guys can too!

I know that if and when I am able to talk on the phone, I will be BURNING UP the phone lines, looking for deals because talking on the phone is something that most people take for granted–and I certainly won’t take it for granted!

Anyway, on to the deals…In July 1997, I found this wonderful site. After reading everything on here, I ordered both of Lonnie’s books Deals on Wheels and Making Money on Mobile Homes. After reading them and feeling confident enough to go out and make things happen, I took a week off from the regular job. I went out every morning and went to a nearby county (Jefferson County, near St. Louis) where there are a lot of mobile homes.

I would cruise the mobile home parks, stop by some of the “FSBO” homes or jot down the numbers, visit all the mom and pop groceries and the convenience stores looking for ads, and read the newspaper and Thrifty Nickel ads.

I would have my girlfriend at the time make calls for me, while I sat there with her. I printed out some “Mobile Home for Sale” questionnaires for her to ask the sellers questions from. She would write down their responses and, if I was interested, I would have her set up appointments for me to look at these places.

My first deal was done from a 3″ X 5″ card in a remote grocery store in the middle of nowhere. It was a 1980 14′ X 70′ 2-bedroom, 1-bath mobile home. The seller was asking $2,500. I went over to look at the place, and it wasn’t in too bad of shape. It needed some cosmetics, and the toilet and bathtub, to my knowledge, had seemingly NEVER been cleaned during the seven years the seller had lived in it!

I remember his reaction when I was walking around the place looking at it. He stayed with me until I went in to inspect that bathroom. I won’t describe in great detail what the toilet and bathtub looked like, other than to say that I used at least seven different chemicals and scraped all the knuckles on both my hands getting it clean!

Anyway, since the place was a little messy, and I knew that he didn’t seem like the kind of dude that would want to clean it up, I offered him $2,000, and all he had to do was move his stuff, not clean anything. We ended up at $2,100, and I told him cool but I wanted to talk to the park manager about the trailer staying there in the park.

I went down and found the manager, whom I later caught trying to rip off me and the seller on the seller’s deposit money. (I guess he thought he could pull a fast one on this young dude with a hearing aid. What a pleasure it was seeing the old geezer’s tail between his legs.) He tells me that the baby has to be moved, he wants to put a double wide on that lot. My heart sank.

I remembered Lonnie’s advice about not buying one that has to be moved right off the bat. I KNEW that this was a great deal for that trailer, though, and I was confident that if I advertised owner financing that someone would buy it from me, regardless of whether it had to be moved or not. Of all the ads I had seen up to that point, maybe one or two offered owner financing, and those were priced at around $20,000.

I went back and gave the seller $100 bucks for a deposit and gave him the remainder a week later after withdrawing some savings that I had. I then advertised the place for $6,500 with owner financing. The first week the darn paper had the wrong phone number in there! ARRGGGGH!! And the park manager told me I had two weeks to move the darn thing! When the newspaper had time to fix the number when I got done cussing at them, the phone started ringing off the hook.

With a lot of phone work being done by my girlfriend, I eventually sold it to the third people who looked at it. They were a young couple around my age with two young kids. The guy had a bankruptcy on his record, and they were each living with their respective parents.

I liked the couple; they took care of themselves and their possessions, so I sold it to them. I was able to bring this couple together by selling the place to them for $5,900. I took $500 down, and I also found the people to move it for them and set it up in a different park.

It was NOT easy finding a mobile home park that would take the place, but between me and the young buyers’ perseverance, we found one. They found some things wrong with the place, the central air unit was shot, two or three holes in the floor, bad carpet, etc. I gave them 0% interest to further entice them to buy, and they paid $650 for the move.

They paid me judiciously for 22 months out of the original 36 month term, and they still owed me around $2,500. I offered to settle with them for $2,000, and they took it. I ended up putting about $2,300 in the deal, and got back a total of $5,400 in 23 months. The yield on this is, uh, (Where’s my calculator?) pretty good! I still get Christmas cards from this couple to this day, by the way…

After a move to Springfield, Missouri, I again had a different girlfriend make some calls for me when I was ready to do another Lonnie deal. The one I found here was selling for $3,500. It was advertised an 1986 14 X 70, 2-bedroom 1-bath. It had some rough edges, but it had a 4′ x 6′ garden style bathtub and some other updates to the bathroom, and this one could stay in the park.

When I went over to buy the place and get the title, I noticed on the title that it said it was a 1981 and not an 1986! “Eh, hold on here podner!” I told the guy that I couldn’t pay him $3,500. He asked what could he do. I pulled the wad of cash out of my pocket, and told him the best I could do was $2,500. He immediately accepted, and I kicked myself right there and then that I should have said $1,500! I knew that I could have come down more, and I blew it!

Anyway, I got the place, and now I advertised it for $7,500 with owner financing. I sold it to a 20-year-old couple. The guy’s older brother lived in the mobile home right behind this one, and I liked that. They gave me $500 down, and I financed $7,000 for 42 months at 12.75%.

After receiving $208 a month for eight months, they were late in paying me. After trying to call them a few times, I took a little drive out there. I pulled up as the guy was moving some furniture out of there to his daddy’s truck.”What’s the story here son?” “My wife is pregnant and can’t work, and now we have to move in with my parents because we can’t afford the payments anymore.”

I asked the guy why he didn’t call me first and why I never got the check…”Duh, well my wife was supposed to mail it and this and that and…” “Well fine then, just move all the stuff out of here, clean the place up, and sign the back of the title reverting ownership back to me and I promise you I won’t take you to small claims court.”

So this is what happened, I got the trailer back and advertised it again. The couple had put some ugly purple wallpaper up in the kitchen, but other than me having to fix some of the skirting and cleaning up the yard, the place was in as good a shape as when I sold it the first time.

I advertised it with owner financing for $6,000 or $4,500 cash. I was feeling a little more generous the second time around. I had gotten $2,100 out of the first couple. I sold it the second time for $4,250 cash to a Big Wig in the area who owned his own mobile home park and most of the homes in it and rents them all out. He moved the thing over there and had it rented out a week later! I wonder if that guy comes to this site?

So after all was said and done, I had about $3,000 in the place and got back $6,350 in a total of eight months’ time. Somebody find my calculator! Now I am looking into getting more into what I consider the bigger game of flipping properties. I have some ideas that will help me prosper in this area that I am going to post on the CRE Online Real Estate Forum.

I will still look at Lonnie deals, but just don’t plan on swearing by them exclusively. I am looking forward to having the surgery and pray that I will be able to make my own calls very soon! Whether or not I can accomplish this or not, then my love of real estate, my belief that this is a great way to make money, and my perseverance will pull me through.

By CREOnline Contributor

A content contributor to the original