Jerry Britt Victory


Jerry Britt Victory

365 Property Partners, LLC in Tampa, FL
Jerry Britt with Kevin Lee and Braden Kowalski

Type(s) of Victory: Sold another deal

To fully appreciate the celebration, please bear with me for a somewhat lengthy story. We have been working on this property for five months. We found it by doing direct mail to absentee owners. We mailed both to owners of houses and vacant land. In the case of this particular property, we sent the letter to a dead woman. She is not the one who responded. Her son called us. We had the vacant lot under contract in less than a week. He supplied us with paperwork to show that he had the authority to act on his mother's estate’s behalf. Her estate had already gone through probate in Ohio where she lived at the time that she passed away. She has never lived in Florida where this property is. Her daughter had signed over everything to her brother, the man we had the contract with now. She had signed that over because mom had nothing and the brother's (son's) hassle as executor was more trouble than it was worth. The probate in Ohio had been done pro bono. That's when you know the estate has no value because the court will not ask a lawyer to do it for free if there is anything to be disbursed. The attorney who has done this for free and even paid for a couple of reports out of his own pocket turned out to be a great ally for us in making this deal happen. He got us whatever we needed from his records. We offered to pay him, because it now turns out that the mother's estate was not worthless because of this vacant lot she owned in Tampa, we felt morally obligated to let the sister (daughter) know there was something of value. This attorney helped us get in contact with her. She did know this property existed but also knew that there were complications and that no one had paid the tax bill last year and a tax certificate had been purchased so they were less than a year and a half away from losing this property in a tax sale. They had no money to pay those taxes and things got a little more complicated. Because of the value of the property it was determined that her estate had to go through probate in Florida. They didn't have the money to pay for a probate attorney. We had the property under contract and had a contract to sell it and a backup offer. We paid for their probate. The plan was that they would pay us back at closing. By the time we reach this point we had found another wrinkle as well. The lady that passed away only owned half of this property. We knew that as soon as I looked it up on the county tax records and saw three names. So now her two kids only have the ability to sell us half and they only had that ability after the property went through probate. We knew this before probate was started and now had to find the other two owners. We had names but no addresses or phone numbers. Fortunately we discovered a program a year or two ago that is great for finding contacts for people. We pay less than $20 a month for it and if we never find one more person with it, finding these two sisters that owned the other half has paid for it for as long as I will live. We had several phone numbers and email addresses. We knew this program was worth the money because we looked me up on it and it had several emails and phone numbers for me. All of them were legitimate but some of them were old and no longer active, but if you used every one of them to contact me you would reach me more than once. We did one other test. I also personally know a member of the duPont family. We looked him up and his contacts like mine were legitimate. I digress. We found the other two sisters. I made several calls and no one answered, but I left voice mails when I was able. I sent several of the same e-mail. One of the sisters called me back. She was in contact with the other sister. In the 40+ page title search discovered that this property has been handed down from generation to generation on their side of the family with all but one time the property passing hands upon death without a will be in place. So why did they only own 50%. When their mother passed away without a will, her second husband, their stepdad got the other 50%. They were adults before he became their stepdad and these two ladies in their 60s had been raised in the house on this property which was now a vacant lot. When their stepdad passed away without a will, his half-sister took ownership of his portion of this property. She is the lady we sent the direct-mail piece to about a year after her passing (without a will). These two sisters still lived in Florida but one was on the north edge of the state in Jacksonville and one on the south edge of the state in Miami. I have spoken repeatedly to the one up north and have never spoken to the one down south but her sister has coordinated all the activities. The one in the Miami area is in failing health and I decided not to bother her with phone calls but let her sister communicate with her. There are now four owners to deal with and two of them don't speak to the other two and I might add, with good reason. The two sisters feel the property was taken from them, and they might be right. The brother and sister feel the two sisters have no right to the property because they haven't paid the tax bill since their mother became half owner several years ago. They probably didn't pay the tax bill after that because they felt the property had wrongfully been taken from their family. Neither one of these sets of siblings had any desire to close a deal that would help out the other set. If I can take you back a half hour or so ago to the beginning of the story you might recall that no one had paid the taxes since this woman had passed away and in less than a year and a half this property was going to be sold at a tax sale and none of these 4 partial owners would have gotten anything. And with them never going to speak to each other it was never going to be resolved. They had all resigned themselves to the fact that this property was worthless and unsellable. And technically speaking, they were pretty much right. In comes Kevin Lee, recent college graduate sure of his ability to conquer the world, lover of real estate deals and undaunted by impossible tasks. Kevin will tell you that to get this deal closed he needed a good deal of assistance and he would be telling the truth. But the rest of the truth is I would not have been involved in holding hands and listening to complaints about the other side and paying for probate and leading this disjointed "family" to a completed transaction had Kevin not discovered the property, got the original contract with one of the family members, and before all of the issues unfolded already had a buyer and a backup offer lined up. We spent some money and we spent a lot of time on the phone with family members. I believe there were seven versions of the contract before the one that was used at closing. The brother and sister who had to have their half go through probate before they could sell it were not going to get as much money as the two sisters. I would like to say "to keep peace and harmony", but I will say to create peace and harmony we ended up absorbing the cost of the probate. Everyone got the price they ask for. Everyone got more money than the property was valued at when it became theirs via the death of a family member. We paid for everything. Our original buyer backed out because it took too long. That was a godsend because our backup buyer is a wonderful man. I met him face-to-face for the first time today. I've gotten to know him well over the last few months talking to him and emailing with him about this deal. Today, we met and discussed another property that I own that he may be buying shortly. I am sure he and I will be doing business together several times in the future. He is happy with this purchase. I know the value of vacant lots in this neighborhood and he would have gotten a good deal had he paid $25,000 more for this property. Did I mention it was a double vacant lot and already split into two addresses so it’s easy for him to build two new homes on? Incidentally, we are in the middle of four new builds but since I have almost $2 million in private money borrowed I just didn't want to take on two more new builds until some of these were completed. I have paid as much as $18,000 more for one than we sold him one of these lots for. I bought two similar lots with a small house that we had to tear down, get rezoned and spent about $12,000 to get it ready for two new houses. With that purchase and the accompanying expenses, I spent $40,000 more for those two lots than I sold him these two for. Why would I sell these lots to him at such a bargain? Turns out a side benefit is that he will buy all the lots I can get my hands on in two neighborhoods where we have a very good feel for the market. But the real reason I sold these lots to him at this price is because we are not greedy. Even with all this drama and all the expenses and all of the headaches we went through to acquire these properties and selling them to him at a bargain - when all the dust settled and all holding costs and all closing cost were paid, my company went home with just over $42,000 in profit. That's pretty good when we bought and sold two rental houses last month and went home with a mere $8,000 in profit on that deal. Because of the amount of profit we made, the title company that is owned by the brother of the attorney we used for probate made us hold the property for 10 days after the deed was recorded so there was no conflict of interest on their part in representing some of the original sellers in the probate (even though I had paid for the probate). So good thing I had access to a little more than $50,000 to set on them for a couple of weeks. To recap: each one of the four sellers got more money than they thought the property was worth and more money than it was worth when it became theirs or in the case of the brother and sister, when it became their mother's. In less than a year and a half of the property was going to be sold in a tax sale and they were going to get nothing. They did not get the short end of the stick. They got a good deal and they got a deal that no one else put in the effort to put together for them. The buyer, who is a builder, a realtor and partners with other investors, got a property for 15-20% less than what others had paid for similar vacant lots. 365 Property Partners used what they learned from Fortune Builders and found the deal, reworked the deal, reworked the deal again, bridged gaps, brought people together, spent some money out of their own pocket, and got their biggest win so far in their short two year history. The picture below as taken of me the only time I ever stepped foot on this profitable property.

Shout Outs & Testimonials

Shout out to my coaches Rob McIntosh and Cindy Kwiatkowski who listened when I was overwhelmed, offered encouragement and who want to see us succeed. They have both been with us on the 5 month ride that resulted in our HUGE win today. 42,000 reasons to celebrate today.

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