Last Updated on March 2, 2023 by Mark Ferguson
I have been in real estate for 20 years as a real estate agent, broker, and investor. Over those years I have had some crazy experiences as many people see on my YouTube channel. I have dealt with evictions, squatters, foreclosures, break-ins, meth labs, stolen vehicles, wanted murderers, and more.
Luckily, I am still here to tell the stories (knock on wood) and hopefully, I will be around a lot longer to keep telling them! I don’t want to turn people off from real estate because this is not the norm for most people. I get myself in some situations because of the type of real estate I was involved in and the properties I buy. This is part 1 and the first story in this series.
Part 1: Threatened with a gun after buying a foreclosure
About five years ago I bought a house from the foreclosure sale. The house was a mess and needed a ton of work. I had actually tried to buy the house from a wholesaler before buying it at the foreclosure sale. A wholesale deal is when an investor gets a house under contract to buy and then tries to sell it to another investor right away without doing any work. My project manager had seen the inside (I was on vacation) and said there was trash everywhere and a fairly large gentleman just sat in a chair until the end of the showing who did not appear happy. I got the house under contract to buy but the deal fell apart due to federal tax liens.
About 6 months later I saw the house come up on the local foreclosure list to be sold at auction. The starting bid was around $85,000 which was extremely cheap for the property and I knew what the inside looked like. My project manager and I went to the sale and were bidding against one other lady who bid us up all the way to $134,500 or something close to that. We ended up being the high bidder and after waiting for the redemption period to end, we had a new house to work on. I was planning to flip this house.
Meeting someone who just lost their home to foreclosure
One of the drawbacks to buying at the foreclosure sale is the occupants usually did not want to sell or lose their home. In a regular sale, they voluntarily put the home up for sale and things usually go as planned, usually. Sometimes with a foreclosure the occupants are not happy or will not even talk to you at all.
Talking to an occupant after their house had been sold at the foreclosure sale is always a little nerve-racking as you never know how they will react. I used to sell foreclosures for banks and would do this all the time on houses that I was going to sell for the banks. I have a lot of experience in this area which has shown me anything can happen!
I knocked on the door and no one answered. I knew the occupant was still living there so I knocked a few more times and then looked around the house just a little bit. I never want to look in windows or do anything that might get my head blown off unless I think the home is vacant. I didn’t see anyone but as I walked back to my car I heard the door open and a burly-looking gentleman asked me what I wanted in a not-so-nice way.
I was about 20 Feet away from him and I told him the house had sold at the foreclosure sale and that I had purchased the home. Usually, when I tell people this they know it happened and were expecting someone to show up and tell them they had to leave. It actually goes much smoother than you might think since most banks will offer cash for keys. The bank will pay people to leave the house, which most people are not expecting, and they are grateful for anything and the ability to have 30 more days or so to move. This gentleman did not give me a chance to tell him anything or offer home anything.
Threatened with a gun by the occupant
As soon as I said I bought the home, he started yelling at me, telling me it was his house and that no one could take it away from him. He told me he had a shotgun and that if I didn’t leave right now or if ever came back on the property he would not hesitate to use it. I let him rant and when he was done I fought the urge to just leave and get in my car. We could do an eviction but that might get even uglier and I need to tell him a few things.
I told him very calmly that the foreclosure sale price was more than what he owed and he would be getting money back from the Public Trustee. Since he owed $85k and the bid was $134k. After fees and lawyer expenses, he would be getting at least $30,000 back.
When I mentioned he would be getting money back his entire demeanor changed, he immediately got a smile on his face and apologized to me. He said he would not shoot me and to tell him more about the situation. I told him how it worked and he was super grateful. He said all he wanted was a lot to put a fifth wheel on and he had no idea he would be getting any money back. He even ask me if I could drop a dumpster off so he could help me by throwing out as much trash as he could. We got him a dumpster, he filled it, and he moved out never to be heard from again.
There was not a long period of time I was scared, but there was a short period of time when I was worried he would get a gun or attack me. Even though I have been a part of many evictions and encounters like this it is rare anyone gets violent or threatens violence. The house was still a giant mess even with him cleaning it up some. We fixed it up and sold it and you can see the videos of that house below. I also wrote a book about my crazy real estate stories which includes this one in more detail and about 20 others!
Here is the link to the book: My Crazy Insane True Stories As a Real Estate Entrepreneur: 23 Stories About Meth Houses, Fire, Eviction, Tires, and Murder