All posts by dlcarey

A Real Email List

I finally got a real “Real Estate” email list

Email List for Homes and MoreGo to to sign up for real estate deals, observations and (mis)adventures. Do it now. You can read the rest of this afterward. That’s

And wait, that’s not all, read below to find out about the free extras. (Billy Mays would be proud)

As many of you know, I’ve had an “email list” for some time. Unfortunately, I’d been trying to do it the hard way. Lists of email address in word, manually updating notes, trying to keep it right, and not get “spammed” off.

My first attempt with “Unnamed email list service provider” resulted in my account being cancelled the first day. I had uploaded the business cards from several networking  events over 3 years. and sent them an email. 2000 people. 4 clicked spam, and account cancelled. $120 poof. Geesh, give a guy a break. 3 hours on the phone, no mercy. So that project got shelved for almost two years.

And we won’t even talk about how long it took to get those typed in. Ok, I admit it, I started typing them all in, then paid someone else to finish. Otherwise I’d still be typing.

So I went back to working from memory, and my short list. Unfortunately the short list only exists in my head, and consists of people who’ve bought properties, or I met recently. Not the best way to run a business. Not even a good way. But it worked, and hey, if it’s working, why change, right? wrong!

This past year, I decided to ramp up. And the system broke. Well, the lack of a system broke, and it tried to break me.

Without an Email List service for Homes and More
This was me. This was my business.

I felt like the old school stage performer trying to spin plates on a stick, running from one to another to keep each going and keep any of them from falling. So, I added another plate.

Sounds crazy I know. I started forcing myself to take time again to focus on running the business better. And that lead me to identify three items to get implemented.

  1. A Property Manager
  2. A CRM program to track leads.
  3. A good email list service (which may be covered by the CRM later)

We’ll cover the property manager in another post, but I will say I have one and I’m gradually turning over all my properties. And I like it.

Next, I started looking at CRM, but found the many choices overwhelming. I’ve looked at many, and very few seemed to fit for a real estate business. I have finally narrowed it down to two. One will be implemented by the end of the year.

When the CRM frustrated me, I looked at the easier one, an email list service. Who knew two years would make so many changes. Multiple reputable providers, cool tools, great tracking. And the best part, getting started cost nothing! (My favorite price.)

I sent out my first email to the list today. Creating it was a piece of cake. Editing took longer, but that’s my fault, not theirs. Great tools, made it super simple. Now I’m asking you to make my life simple. Get on the list. Get great deals via email (email is free, deals are not. Usually). Get the occasional snarky post (always free), and some genuinely useful information (also free).

Go to to sign up. Do it now. (Only if you didn’t follow the instructions the first time. You don’t need to do it twice.)

Tantalizing Teaser
Which email list service did I pick? If the curiosity is killing you, and you still haven’t signed up, the confirmation email will show you the email list provider I chose. Hey, they get a free advertisement at the bottom. I can work with that. And so can you.

If you click “manage your preference” on the confirmation, you can add some additional details on your interests.

Dayton Rental Property Deals

Dayton Rental Property Deals

There’s a couple good deals for you below, but first, a bit of admin

Please go to the main website at to sign up for the official email list. I’m making my emailing life easier, so you’ll get more deals coming via email, and they’ll look better too. During the transition, you may get duplicates, for which I will apologize in advance. The old list will go away soon, so please sign up to continue.

Front Tiny
1808 Brookline


1808 Brookline – Belmont 2 bedroom, $650 rent, for only $42,700


40 Wampler
40 Wampler


40 Wampler – Harrison Township 3 bedroom, $650 rent, for only $29,700


Details are at:


Sorry, the West Carrollton property is under contract. If you’re ready to submit a back up offer, let me know.

Coming Soon

  • Creighton Ave, rent $700 for only 29,700

We just finished a rehab for retail sale. Nothing to do here except move in. Check it out and see how we finished it off. I’ll do a blog post later with before and after photos.

To Your Success,

Darrin Carey
Homes and More, Inc
(937) 458-3303

Dayton, Ohio Real Estate Undervalued

Dayton real estate undervalued by 16%

According to, Ohio has five of the top ten undervalued real estate markets, with Dayton real estate undervalued by 16% and coming in at #4.

Of course, California dominates for overpriced markets with 8 of the 10 most overvalued markets.

Read the full Trulia article here.

Personally, I’m seeing more activity in 2014, than in 2013. There is more demand for lower priced homes as investors and homeowners are both buying properties.

I’m encountering more “multiple offer” situations, especially when the houses are priced right. There is still a lot of inventory, but now there’s competition for them.

Hoarder House in Dayton Ohio

Huffman 1714 Front photo
For Sale, $29,700
$700 Rent
No Rehab needed
(Eastern Hills area of Dayton, Ohio)
This is NOT the Hoarder house.

I thought you all would enjoy a few pictures of the latest project.

My property manager referred this house to me. Several real estate agents declined to list it. One of them got permission to have me contact the owners and see if I could help. It’s in the Huber Heights suburb of Dayton,  so that’s a good one to look at. It could be a retail sale, or a good rental.

The owner told me on the phone there was a bunch of “stuff” in the house. That didn’t really worry me. When they told me that several agents had declined the listing I got concerned. There are plenty of real estate agents that will list anything at any price, reasonable or not.

Once I get there, the exterior of the house looks normal. I decide to open the garage and go through there first. The garage is got stuff in it, but not bad. My garage at home is worse.

Belle Plain 7207 (33) (800x600)
Can’t get through the kitchen.
Open the Front door and what should appear?
20140213_122600 (800x450)
King of the Hill

I tried to open the door to the kitchen, and only got it open about 12 inches.

I stuck my head in and got this picture.

Rather than crawling through here, I decided to try the front door, hoping to find a path.

I got the front door open enough to squeeze in, but there’s no path. Just a small mountain.

There’s about 2 feet between the top and the ceiling. After I climb to the top and take a look, What do you think I found?

Belle Plain 7207 (32) (800x600)
For as far as the eye can see.

Yep, more of the same. 4 – 5 feet deep through the entire house. Every room is full of stuff. How many 40 yard dumpsters will this one take? At least 3, maybe 4.

I still haven’t finalized my exit strategy on this one. I’m not keeping it as a rental, so the question is how far do I go before I market it?

Trash it out and sell it Wholesale?

Do a partial rehab, then sell it to a homeowner as a fixer?

Or do I finish a full rehab and sell it full retail?

What do you think?

The Title Co wants to write my check to me AND the past owner!

I just cancelled my property sale.

First, a little background. I bought a property as a short sale a couple months ago, closed at the bank’s title co, got the HUD, paid the bank, and the mortgage is released. I titled the property in a Land Trust with my LLC as Trustee, and me as the beneficiary. It’s a cash purchase, so I have no mortgage on the property. Just another routine transaction. Or so I thought.

I did my marketing, found a buyer (I used an agent this time), signed a contract, etc. Buyer selects Lawyers Title, where the buyer has done multiple transactions. Nice and routine, just the way I like it.

And then it hits.  I get an interesting call from the title company. “We need the Beneficiary to give the trustee written permission to sell the property. Oh, and legally, we need the Beneficiary information so we can attach it to the deed.”

Land Trust Frustration
Hello? You What?

Silently my head is screaming “Huh? Hello? Have you ever done a Land Trust before?”  Verbally, I tried to explain that a land trust is gives the beneficiary PRIVACY, so as to NOT put their name in the public record. I’ve done this many times, and putting the beneficiary in the public record has NEVER been needed to sell a property. Nor, has any additional written permission been needed, as the Land Trust already covers that. After a brief conversation, it ended with “That’s what our Attorney said.”  While the voices in my head are screaming “Your attorney is an idiot!” I’m calmly asking to speak with the attorney. She promises to have him call me.

And the attorney calls. And I repeat the previous conversation. So he quotes the Memorandum of Land Trust, “With the consent of the Beneficiary, the Trustee shall have the power to….sell the property”. He reads it to say the beneficiary must give additional permission, I read it to say the beneficiary gave permission by creating the trust. Deadlocked. Not a big deal though, I can give myself permission if it makes them happy. However, the attorney continues to insist the beneficiary info gets attached to the Deed. But don’t worry he says, “it’s an attachment. Nobody would really look through the attachments.”

Really? Then why bother with the attachment? This is a sign of problems. Are there more?

Meanwhile, having kept my infinitely patient and smart agent in the loop, my agent is talking with the Title Co, and gets some additional info. The underwriting guidelines are the issue. After three phone calls and 30 minutes of conversation with the title company and the attorney (and no attorney bill) he’s never mentioned he’s following the underwriting guidelines. He’s been giving me the impression that this is a legal issue. (attaching the beneficiary info to the deed is NOT in the guideline)

So, my infinitely patient and very resourceful agent gets a copy of the relevant underwriting guideline from Lawyers Title, whose underwriter is LandAmerica, aka Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company, Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation, Transnation Title Insurance Company (No wonder they went with LandAmerica).

And now it gets even better. What they had not told me yet, was in addition to the issues already at hand, the underwriting guideline states the original owner (the seller I bought the property from) must sign the new HUD. It’s not like they actually signed a HUD and a deed at a closing at a title company already. Oh, wait, they did. Apparently being the beneficiary and the trustee isn’t good enough. The PREVIOUS owner must sign off on the following sale.

Here’s the BEST part, because there is not enough already. The proceeds check gets written payable to the trustee and the PREVIOUS owner. Hello? I PAID the seller for the property already. I own it. WTF do I need the previous owners signature to sell it. AND you want to make the check out to both of us? Really? How intelligent is that? How do you think that conversation would go?

“Hey, I bought your house at the short sale a while back and you didn’t get any cash. Now I’m selling it for a profit, and the title co is going to make a check out to both of us and you need to sign it over to me.”

I can see that going really smoothly.

Making a check out to the Trustee and the Beneficiary, while still wrong, is more logical.

I read the guideline. The problem is the assumption made by the underwriter in the beginning of the guideline. The underwriter assumes that because a land trust is sometimes involved in a distressed property, “subject to” or “short sale” situation, that ALL land trusts are treated as something questionable. Their presumption is that ALL land trust transactions are a problem. This is the same as saying some people in sports cars speed, so treat all sports cars as speeders. You sir, are presumed guilty, and will be treated as such.

At this point, it becomes obvious I cannot surmount these problems. So, I give the seller the opportunity to choose another Title co. He declines, and his agent requests a release of contract and earnest money, and of course, I comply. He was not the culprit here.

So who’s at fault in this fiasco? Clearly it’s not the buyers fault. Do I blame the local Title Co office? No, they are following the Underwriter guidelines as they are required to do. However, they chose their underwriter. Do I blame their local attorney? No, he’s following the same guidelines. The real problem is with a single bozo or underwriting counsel that wrote the guideline in the first place. They made a lot of assumptions, and applied them incorrectly to all Land Trusts, not just the ones at issue.

They decided that because a Land Trust has been used in one type of potentially problematic transaction, that all Land Trusts are a problem. Had they wrote the guideline to say that a specific type of transaction is the issue, and a Land Trust may be an indicator, then they would be on better footing.

So what’s the result here? The buyer lost a great deal. The Title Co lost this closing and any future closing from me. The buyer’s agent lost a commission. The seller lost a couple weeks of time and needs to find another buyer.

So, I have a great deal on a property in Southwest Ohio. Anybody interested? You can use any title company you like. Well, almost any title company.

Bonus Reading.  Two page underwriting guideline

Darrin Carey

Evaluate your Real Estate Deal BEFORE you Buy

Evaluate your Real Estate Deals correctly BEFORE you Buy

Wholesaling, Retailing, Landlording. Each of these Real Estate business specialties is different. However, there are some skills that apply to all three. Foremost and an absolute key to success is evaluating the real estate property and the deal. No matter what your primary real estate strategy is, you must answer these four questions correctly:

  • How much will the property be worth?
  • What repairs does the property need?
  • How much will the repairs cost?
  • How much should I pay for the property?

Evaluating each question and getting the right answers will help you succeed in your real estate investing.

First, determine your After Repaired Value (ARV). Getting accurate recent sales is critical. You MUST accurately assess the end value of your target property. Many investors think they know the value range for real estate in their target neighborhoods. However, the values do change. Checking recent sales gives you an accurate ARV of your target property now.

Second, evaluate the extent of repairs needed. Your final exit strategy will influence the type and quality of repairs you perform. A house inspection can give you the details you need and identify items you may have missed. The more evaluations you do, the better you will get. Having a solid list of what to do and not to do is critical to the next step.

Third, determine your repair budget. Again, practice and experience helps. Having contractors you can call for questions and bids will help you refine this to a final number. Do NOT underestimate here.
Fourth, taking all the numbers from steps 1-3, determine your Maximum Allowable Offer (MAO). Once you have this final number, do NOT pay more. If you get new information that changes previous numbers you can update it. But, do not fudge the numbers because you fall in love with the house, or you’re anxious to get a real estate deal done. Fudging the numbers rarely ends well.

Initially, you will evaluate a lot of properties to find a good deal. As you gain experience, you will get much faster at all four of these steps. Getting out and practicing will rapidly increase your confidence, and improve your skills. The best way to get experience is through practice and more practice. Accompany experienced people. Take bus tours. Talk to contractors. Talk to other investors.

Accurately evaluating your properties can truly make or break your Real Estate business. Get good at it.

By Darrin Carey

Turnkey Rental Property Investing

Turnkey Rental Properties

turnkey rental property
If only it was this easy

Turnkey rental properties are good investments, especially if you are short on time. However, there are some pitfalls too. A turnkey rental property may come from a provider, the MLS or any other source. A turnkey property could be fully renovated, ready to rent or currently rented.

I’m here on the ground in the Midwest in glorious Dayton, Ohio. I’ve bought and sold turnkey rental properties, and seen what many people offer as a Turnkey rental. I’ve also bought “turnkey” rental properties in areas thousands of miles from where I lived.

Here is what I have seen and experienced, and how to avoid some of the big problems that come up.

First, you MUST have a good team where you are investing, even if it’s local. Your number one local person is your property manager. They are overseeing the long-term performance of your investment, and are the most important team member to get right. I’ve been ripped off by bad property managers, anything from non-performance, to them actually stealing the rents and security deposits.

Are they licensed in their profession (if required)? Ohio law requires Property Managers be a licensed real estate agent. Are they? I get a surprising number of calls from people with bad managers who aren’t even licensed. Interview several while you visit the area. Personalities differ. Prices vary. Most PMs in our area charge about 10% of collected rent. That gives them a good incentive to keep your property maintained and rented. Your Property Manager also becomes a source for rent amounts, values, and other team members.

Taking even basic steps will save a lot of grief. Check the BBB and Angie’s list. If someone has a ‘D’ rating do you really want to hire them?

Contractors seem to have a whole different ethic when someone is not overseeing them. A good local property manager will keep this in check. I bought a “finished” house from a lady in Florida, who had fantastic pictures showing it the house done. Unfortunately, the “contractors” only painted two walls, then set a small piece of new carpet in the corner for the photo. Several of the bath and kitchen pictures were from a different house. They set some fixtures in place, but didn’t install them. The owner paid them based on the pictures they sent, but nobody local walked through the property. She was not happy with the pictures I sent her. Of course, once the truth was known, nobody could find the “contractor”.

Look for recommendations from other investors and landlords.

Second, you MUST visit where you are investing. There is nothing like getting you boots on the ground and walking the neighborhood. I am continually amazed by the number of people who will spend $30,000, $50,000, or more, on a rental house, but won’t spend $500 on a plane ticket.

Third, pay for a property inspection ($500-$600). You’re about to spend thousands of dollars on a property. Get an independent assessment of the property condition. I tell all my potential buyers to do this too. It’s good business for me and protects them. The last property I sold, as a result of the inspection, I paid $906 to have a roof repair done. I didn’t know about it before the inspection, and I do not begrudge it to the buyer. I told him the roof was already repaired. (It was, but not correctly). If you’re working with a formal Turnkey company, did they do all the repairs correctly and fully? An independent property inspection will tell you.

Fourth, run all the numbers. I see a lot of properties advertised with a claimed ROI, but they fail to account for ALL the expenses: Taxes, Insurance, Management, Maintenance and Repairs, Reserves, Vacancy. Then, independently verify if the numbers given are close to being correct. A small overstatement in the projected rent, and a couple missing or understated expenses can make what looked like a great deal into a real alligator that you’re endlessly feeding.

Determining market value is frequently a challenge, especially in hard hit areas. An appraisal will give you a formal written opinion. An agent can give you their opinion. Using third-party sources like Zillow, gives you data, but will mislead you. You can see the price, but what was the condition? Were the nearby sales all finished properties? Or do they need substantial work? Are these even comps at all? Is it the same school district? All are factors in determining property value.

What do you do in an area where people are buying cheap properties, putting substantial dollars into renovations, but not selling them? All the sales are low, but the values are obviously more. Ultimately, a property is worth what a willing buyer and seller agree it is worth.

In summary, if you are considering a turnkey rental or ANY rental property you need to:

  • Visit the location and property
  • Check the numbers
  • Interview and build a good local team
  • Stay involved
  • Trust, but verify

Darrin Carey
Homes and More, Inc

Turnkey double in Dayton, Ohio.

Only $39,700 for $900 per month gross rents.

This double is what you’re looking for!! This property is turnkey and can be a truly hands-off investment for you. Double digit returns are right here.

One side is already rented for $450. The second unit will be ready this week. Then the property manager will find a highly qualified resident to rent it. This side will rent for at least $450. Total rent is $900. Tenants pay all their utilities.

A fantastic, professionally licensed property manager is in place!

Each unit is 2 Bedroom, 1 Bath, 1200 square feet.

Property taxes are currently $1150 per year. Easily reduce those with a Board of Revision complaint.



Lead Paint is likely to be found in what age of house?

Lead paint

Lead Paint is found in approximately three-quarters of the homes built before 1978. As a general rule, the older a home, the stronger the risk of lead paint.

Lead paint used in most homes built before the 1950s had higher concentrations of lead, with lower levels of lead used until 1977. In 1978, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the use of lead paint in housing. On April 22, 2008, EPA issued the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule. It requires that projects disturbing lead paint be done by EPA certified renovators. Large fines can be given for not complying with the rule.

Lead paint and age of home
Percentage of Homes likely to contain lead.

Lead paint may be found on any surface but is most commonly found on exterior painted surfaces, interior woodwork, doors, and windows. When properly maintained and managed, this paint poses little risk. Lead paint that peels or deteriorates is especially risky; friction surfaces (windows and window sills, doors and door frames, and stairs and railings) are also a concern.

A lead paint myth claims that children must eat lead paint chips to develop lead poisoning. People are exposed to lead through the lead paint chips and flakes you can see, and also through the fine dust that forms. This dust gets on carpets, floors, furniture, toys and other objects, as well as on the hands of children and adults in the home. The lead is ingested when the lead dust on their hands is transferred by touch to their mouths.

The only way to positively identify lead paint is by using a test kit. As with any test, false readings are possible. The EPA approved test kits have high accuracy. You may want to repeat the test to ensure accurate results.

Darrin Carey
Homes and More, LLC