We sit down for a hard hitting Joe Perez interview and get his take on becoming one of the most successful county foreclosure auction bidders in South Florida. Joe has won over 400 auctions in 5 Florida counties in the past few years. He tells us how he won an auction for a property worth $150,000 for $17,000 with one freak occurrence.
Then Joe kindly gives us a tour of his mansion once owned by Hollywood Legend Jackie Gleason. See the poker room and in house bar where U.S. Presidents and none other than the “Rat Pack” used to gamble the night away.
Tony Stern: How are you?
Tony Stern: You’re getting filmed. Just in case, I can’t remember about your dog, whether it’s a good one or a bad one? (he’s a good one but he’s locked in there) Okay, Joe! Let’s sit down and have a chat about real estate.
Tony Stern: Joe
Joe Perez: How you doing Tony?
Tony Stern: Very good. Thank you very much. Thank you for inviting us into your beautiful home. I’ve been here several times before this is probably the most I’ve been here so far
Tony Stern: (laugh). So tell me something about this house. Anyway,
Joe Perez: This house belonged the Jackie Gleason and it when he died the wife solid to a hot dog chain guy from New York and he lived here about five years and then she passed away and nobody had paid the association for I think was about $20,000, it was only the association and they didn’t have any mortgage on it and the association foreclosed on it. I bought it for $182,000, and it’s 9,200 square feet beautiful three lots, beautiful house. We’ve been doing are you know improvements on it, but as it is it’s valued for like a million two to a million four.
Tony Stern: It’s a fabulous house, maybe afterwards if we got enough tape left you could take us around and just do a little bit of video – it’s absolutely lovely.
Tony Stern: How long you been doing this business for?
Joe Perez: February 2011
Tony Stern: Really?
Joe Perez: Somebody called me, friend of mine bought a house at foreclosure for $10,000. That opened my eyes, I started researching, I had about 20,000 saved, and I bid on a house, waterfront with a dock in the back of a townhouse in Eastern Shores next to Sunny Isles, and I got it for $14,000. and I still have it. It’s got a mortgage on it. But I’ve had it for over what nine years or eight years. I’ve had it rented out for $2,500 or so a month. I got my boat parked in the back there of the dock. And the lawyer I have, he’s incredible we’ll ride it out another three or four years and then the bank will get tired and then want to negotiate it. They can get us a lower price on their own or they paid me to go away. Usually they pay me more than I originally paid for the property.
Tony Stern: So I you know, I mean, I’ve known you a while here and I know that one of your biggest things is that you like to do research. Research is your big thing, isn’t it?
Joe Perez: When I research I’m looking for gold. And any time that you’re out there looking for gold it’s pretty exciting. So I get excited in the research part of it and finding, you know banks that went out of business and we’ve been able to find banks that are no longer around that you can do a quiet title on it and you don’t need to do anything else.
Tony Stern: I think if memory serves me right, you’ve actually picked up some properties for free, almost free. Am I right?
Tony Stern: Right?
Joe Perez: What do you mean?
Tony Stern: When I say free I mean that that you found that, you know, those that say free you paid your auction money you taking a bank out of the supposed mortgage of one two, three or four hundred thousand and you made it go away to me. To me that’s free (laughs)
Joe Perez: When I started out I started, I started out with little money. So second property I got with my mom in Doral we made a hundred thousand on it. I got one with my sister over at Sunny Isles that we also, we paid 40. I think the point is about 250 sold for 500. So I start off with that and then my friends I started partnering up with my friends
Tony Stern: So you began the syndication.
Joe Perez: We were doing about 50 properties that year
Tony Stern: Really. How many how many foreclosures and how many foreclosures, tax deeds, whatever, how many do you think you bought since 2011 if you were to guess.
Joe Perez: Probably 400 or so in that ballpark.
Tony Stern: So you kind of got the hang of the game now.
Joe Perez: Yes.
Tony Stern: What is your preferred type of properties? What’s the properties you like to go after?
Joe Perez: Well right now I’m looking for properties to rent out, and I like newer properties nothing over, let’s say (built in) 95′. Less chance of a lot of repairs and rent them out, and when it’s a condo association you still have the bank, you know, rent it out. As long as you can and make your money that way and negotiate at the end, see if you can keep em’, or…
Tony Stern: I mean, you’ve always told me you’d that you like to buy houses or properties that you actually like.
Joe Perez: Well, yeah. Especially with my 1031 (exchange) now it’s properties, I would, would love buying I’m not buying any distress or a lot of repairs.
Tony Stern: Something that’s certainly a lot of people that are watching this video or in the office or wherever, they’re sitting there with Zero. They got no idea where to start. What advice would you have for them? If you said, you know, what would you say to them?
Joe Perez: It’s a learning curve and you’re gonna lose at the beginning until you learn everything there is to learn, or a lot of things there is to learn. So I would recommend somebody getting advice partnering up with somebody who really knows what they’re doing learn about the business.
Tony Stern: That’s a big thing in this business as we both know, so you know.
Joe Perez: I see people bidding on stuff that has a mortgage and they’re bidding the property doesn’t have a mortgage on it.
Tony Stern: Yeah, I know there’s some crazy stuff going on there.
Joe Perez: So you really you really need to do the research before you bid on anything.
Tony Stern: And you’re perfect area out of all of South Florida the playing property wise in terms of action. You know, what is your favorite everyone has got a favorite my favorite area here is Palm Beach County as you know.
Joe Perez: I look for areas where there is a demand at like Davie as Noble University anything around the college things will rent. South Beach and Brickell and anything close to the water usually has a good demand for it. If they’re rental properties you want a place where, you know, you could rent it out the same day you put the ad up.
Tony Stern: How many times a week do you trade?
Joe Perez: Every day except the weekends.
Tony Stern: I know that Friday Palm Beach County doesn’t have an auction at the moment. Miami, Broward
Joe Perez: Miami & Broward, Broward on Friday, it’s just association foreclosures, no bank foreclosures on Friday in Broward. Those are the ones you have to research the most are the association ones. you
Tony Stern: Yeah, no, tell me about. Yeah.
Tony Stern: Tax Deed or foreclosure, what is your prefered purchase, do you prefer tax deeds sales or foreclosure sales, in terms of what you actually purchase.
Joe Perez: Tax Deed sales, believe it or not, I just got into tax deed sales and I was surprised how you get the title. Usually bank foreclosure takes 3 weeks or so to get the title and tax deed, you get it in about a week. So it, and it wipes out everybody you don’t have to watch out for associations how much their owed and stuff like that. So it’s, it’s pretty good and it all depends on how high it’s bid up.
Tony Stern: Worst deal, best deal? What’s the, let’s start with the worst deal that you have done, what’s the worst deal you have done. Because actually a lot of people learn, a lot of people learn from….
Joe Perez: Worse deal is when you buy a property and researched it inside out and the person, changed names or even change the letter in her name and they quit claimed it over to the new name, or the mortgage is in the old name and now everything else… and you miss catching stuff.
Tony Stern: And the only time you find out, is after you bought it yeah.
Joe Perez: Bought it, and fixed it up and then this guy says look we just foreclosed on the property and I have no idea. It’s under a completely different name, and it’s them. Just last week. I got a two-bedroom two-bath right in the middle of a golf course, in West Palm, I got for $7,000 and its really good and it’s worth about a $150,000 and, the bank called me “Oh we messed up. My person wasn’t there” or something and they objected and went before the Judge and he (the judge) says “Sorry should’ve been there” for $7,000 I got one worth $150,000. I bought a town houses for $1,700. We went to the same owner that was there to take three months first last and security and I got like $5,000 for something I just bought for $1,700. So there’s a, there’s Luck out there too.
Tony Stern: Yeah. So listen, I say the same thing being that you know, there’s lots of times I’ve had a bad deal and everyone gets them and you think “Oh what am I doing in this business, and then you know, then you have a winner, and you go “Yeah! And now I know why!”
Joe Perez: That was the part to learn from. What did I miss that I can catch the next time?
Tony Stern: Yeah. Well, you know, I’m a big believer in research and you know, even right up to the last minute I’m looking to see if there’s any docs have been filed in court, you know prior to the auction just to make sure that you know, I’ve got all the encumbrances.
Joe Perez: One of the important things with a condominium is really the condo docs see if you can rent, if they have two years rental restriction or something like that the way that could throw a wrench.
Tony Stern: Do you like the buy to rent market? Is that something, you know, because you can build up quite a nice portfolio there can’t you really?
Joe Perez: Yeah, I’ve been not buying to flip which most, most investors are living to flip and all that. Because I was buying the HOA’s that still had a mortgage in front of them, unless you had equity you really couldn’t sell, you rent as long as you can. And the one that are free and clear you do find Association foreclosures where the properties are free and clear. And normally we still rent them out.
Joe Perez: Yeah, you could sell those.
Joe Perez: You know my grandfather back in the early 60s used to buy houses in Hialeah for like $18,000, $20,000, and he’d save up and he’d buy one and he kinda went and save up by another one, he wound up with like 8 houses paid off and his retirement was set. He passed it on to his kids. You know, that’s what I’d like to setup is have a…
Tony Stern: So what I hear is you’re buying really for passive income. Yeah that is very, very cool. Well through those of you watching at home Joe has very kindly agreed to come down and give some education at some upcoming seminars which were trying to put together. I think in the next four to five months which will let you know by email about and be advertised on the Property Onion website. You have been using our Propertyonion tools a while now, okay. So let’s have a little look around this this wonderful house that you did a great deal on.
Joe Perez: All right.
Tony Stern: so tell us a bit about this house. This is beautiful
Joe Perez: This was the poker room where the rat pack and all of Jackie Gleason’s friends used to come and play cards & poker, he even had a few presidents that came by here also.
Tony Stern: really and we’re not talking presidents of HOA to be sure, they were presidents of the United States of America, right? Yeah! Yeah!
Tony Stern: I’ve got a few of my friends here that can destroy that
Tony Stern: I’m into aquariums right now. But there not really in good condition right now.
Tony Stern: What’s today’s current value?
Joe Perez: It’s got a value of like a $1,200,000 or something.
Tony Stern: And you gave remind me how much?
Joe Perez: $180,000
Tony Stern: $182,000 for 1.2million. I think that’s not a bad day’s work.
Tony Stern: This is the microphone that Sammy Davis jr. used? LOL
Joe Perez: No, no, that was from a karaoke machine.
Tony Stern: The truth of this is that the rat pack did hang out here and they played here and everything else and that’s kind of cool.
Joe Perez: No. No, yeah a lot of the furniture was left here by Jackie. Yeah.
Tony Stern: Thank you very much for showing us around you at home sharing some experiences and getting a little bit of advice and see you very shortly. We thank you very much.
Joe Perez: All right thank you.
Tony Stern: See you guys.