“Are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?” The Outlaw Josey Wales faced four Union soldiers that had just walked out of the town saloon. They had been chasing him across the countryside for months. The soldiers knew that Josey Wales was a gunslinger – a cold blooded killer. That’s why they were afraid to draw their pistols. He sized each one of them up by reading their eyes and hands. You see, Josey had been in this situation many times and he knew exactly what to do.
One of the cavalrymen finally worked up the nerve and drew his six shooter. But before he could get it out of the holster Josey had gunned three of them down. The fourth was shot by Josey’s riding companion, Lone Watie.
As they rode off together Lone Watie asked his friend how he knew who was going to draw first. Josey explained that the one in the center had his holster flapped and the other had scared eyes. The solider on the left had crazy eyes – he knew he would draw first. When Lone Watie asked what about the fourth shooter Josey replied, “I never paid him no mind, you were there!”
It should be obvious to you by now that I love westerns. My favorite of all time is The Outlaw Josey Wales starring Clint Eastwood. If this movie comes on (usually late at night on TNT) I can’t stop watching. I have every line memorized.
When you hear the term gunslinger what do you think of? Do the words impulsive, dangerous and reckless come to mind? Josey Wales was none of those things. He was quite the opposite – strategic, measured and careful. Wales may have had to make quick decisions but he never made them impulsively and he always had a plan.
Buying a House at the Courthouse Steps
If you’re considering buying a house at the courthouse steps then you must adopt the gunslinger mentality. That is, be strategic, measured and careful – but also possess the ability to make a quick decision.
Each day in Phoenix auctions (they are called trustee’s sales in Arizona) take place at the courthouse steps and in trustee’s offices at 10a, 11a, 12p, 12:30p and 2p. On any given day there are as many as 500 homes or more that are sold.
This week we bought three houses at trustee’s sales. It may surprise you that I didn’t attend any of these auctions, nor did I ever see the inside of the houses (they were occupied). As a matter of fact, I didn’t even drive by the properties. Sounds impulsive, dangerous and reckless right?
Wrong. Like the Outlaw Josey Wales our firm moves quickly and has a plan. Here’s our strategy:
- We use an online bidding service, AZBidder.com, that provides us with all of the trustee’s sale information, as well as title checks, up to date opening bid amounts, drive reports and comprehensive market analysis from tax records and the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service. Their web-based program even allows us to watch the bids take place in real time.
- We only bid on newer single-family homes with a minimum of 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a 2 car garage and an acquisition price of 200K or less. This makes sifting through the list of homes much more simple. It shrinks down to about 10-15 properties a day with this criteria plugged into the system.
- We use a simple but effective formula to determine our bid amount.
- If we win a bid on a house that is occupied we make contact with the former owner and offer cash for keys while simultaneously starting the eviction process.
Buying a house at the courthouse steps is a high risk – high reward business model. It requires a great deal of knowledge about the market you are in. I have a Realtor friend that has been in the business for 15 years and he’d rather have a colonoscopy then buy a house without having time to inspect it. The thought of it makes him sick to his stomach. If you need time to “kick the tires” before you buy a property then this type of acquisition strategy won’t work. You get hours, not days in this game. However, if you have the gunslinger mentality and can pull the trigger quickly this could be for you. Just don’t miss.