I've been, (sigh) really busy ! (Long) - Posted by DougO(NM)

Posted by DougO(NM) on December 03, 1999 at 16:50:56:

Thanks for the note…now if I can shake this darn cold !

I’ve been, (sigh) really busy ! (Long) - Posted by DougO(NM)

Posted by DougO(NM) on December 02, 1999 at 09:55:18:

Thought I would take minute and let you all know I’ve been pretty busy these last several months. I started my first “major” spec house, and we are down to the final details. We finished final grading of the lot yesterday, and can start landscaping. The covered entryways and sidewalks go in next week. I used a 1726 sq. ft. manufactured home on a permanent foundation in an excavated site. The foundation alone used 20 yards of #3000 lb concrete, it is the best I have ever seen ! By the time we back filled dirt up against the concrete stem wall, the bottom of the door sill was sitting 16" above grade. That, coupled with the dormer on the roof and a few other things really make this place look like a “house” instead of a “doublewide”. I decided to list this for sale with a local Realtor that helps me out with comps, leads, etc. The deal was set-up so that when it sells, my IRA will buy an option from the unrelated third party Land Trust Beneficiary that “owns” the property for the price of the debt. The buyer then “buys” the option from my IRA. Anything left over the debt/expenses amount goes to the IRA.

In the middle of this project my own house went to hell ! We had to do a major re-hab due to some bad water leaks. The kitchen and bath had to be gutted down to the floor joists, and some of those replaced. Isn’t it amazing how much extra has to be done due to the “better do it now while we have the opportunity” syndrome ? All new plumbing, water heater, tub, furnace, windows, paneling, etc. are the proof. We are now walking around on 3/4" plywood sitting atop doubled up 2x6 joists, talk about solid ! After a week of cleaning the saw dust left from saws and routers, my wife Ana is almost speaking to me again ! Anyway, now we can tile the floors and do the trim work. What did I learn ? NEVER NEVER NEVER rehab a house you are living in ! Buy another one first !

Doug O

P.S. Also forgot to mention I spent a serious amount of time (and $) putting together a deal to buy a MH Community, only to get down to the wire and have to walk away. I learned how to “just say no” regardless of emotional involvement in a deal. That’s a tough one for sure.

Well if you posted more often you wouldn’t have to type so much! - Posted by ray@lcorn

Posted by ray@lcorn on December 03, 1999 at 01:16:42:

Hey Doug!,

Good to hear from you! Man, it sounds like you walked onto the set of “This Old House” and couldn’t find your way out! I bet Bob Vila would have put down a tarp before firing up that saw! (Just kidding… I know you’re a pro, but what does Ana say!.. darn, I did it again… okay, really, I’m just kidding!) Nothing quite like living in a construction zone. I did it once, and never, never again. I’d buy another hotel first!

Congratulations on your spec house. If people realized half of what it takes to get a house built, they wouldn’t grind the builders so hard on trying to make a little profit. Building houses, even manufactured ones, has to be one of the most difficult tasks anyone can ever undertake. It’s a lot like trying to conduct an orchestra with one arm from behind a curtain. Hope you get a quick sale.

I commiserate with you on the loss of your deal. I knew after our last telephone conversation a while back that you were getting ready to learn a most poignant lesson… that hoping won’t make it so. I have learned the same lesson over and over again. In fact, looking back on my own year, I have walked away from more deals this year than at any time in recent memory. But I have also closed a good number of deals, and have been looking harder than ever before also. We have to pay to play, but we have to be in to win.

Keep on looking, the next one is out there… but remember:

Opportunity, without the capacity to capture it, is an illusion.

So my goal this coming year is simple… I want to increase my capacity to capture opportunity! That means I may have to learn some new ways of doing old things… and some new things to replace old ways! When I stop learning I start dying.

I also happen to know you are a very capable young man, and that when opportunity presents itself, I bet you will be RWA! (ready, willing, and able)


Re: I’ve been, (sigh) really busy ! (Long) - Posted by Pat

Posted by Pat on December 02, 1999 at 19:04:36:

Hi, Doug & ana
I sat in front of you at the convention in Dallas
Good to see things are going good for you
(except your water problems at home…)

I’ll do better after these next few weeks are over! - Posted by DougO(NM)

Posted by DougO(NM) on December 03, 1999 at 17:09:50:

Thanks for the kind words Ray. I agree with increasing the capacity to capture opportunity, however sometimes I feel like I know too much for my own good ! One of the things I lament is that for me to do what I want at this point in my life, (Increase the number of MH sites we own), I fear I may have to seek those opportunities outside my preffered geographic region. And that would put me in conflict with my number one priority: family/wife/kids. Hard to do deals and TCOB and not travel too muchwhen the preoprty is not inthe back yard. So will do my best to continue and sharpen my skills so that when another opportunity presents itself I will be better prepared ! This last one shows to go it’s hard to negotiate with someone thats been in the business 20 years longer than you, and just sold their last MHP to K&S for about $3.5M more than it’s worth. Hard to bring them back to the real world.

I am really proud of this spec we are doing, whether the person that eventually buys it knows it or not, or even cares, they are getting a pretty decent place to live. We had to go with a lower quality MH to get the square footage we wanted at a price that the buyer could afford (The lot alone was $40k and are almost non-exsistant here in Santa Fe) so I put some nice upgrades in the construction features and ammenities and they can not get any better installation anywhere. It is alot of work as you say, but it’s modular in nature. I am fortunate in that my MH installer does it all. After I get the dirt, they excavate, form, pour and finish the foundation. Go to the factory, get the home, and install it and set it up, including water sewer, gas and electric. Do the block stem wall, back fill and final grade. I just do the small stuff, oh, and sign the construction loan and draw requests !
I’m ready to get this one done and sold so I can do it again !
Thanks again Ray, I know we’ll be talking again soon.