Selling the Most Challenging Homes in America: The Skater on the Roof in Forney, Texas
Dallas agent Keith Yonnick is a man of many talents. But skateboarding was not one of those talents, until recently. Like most agents in this market, Keith takes on an REO (that’s bank-owned, or foreclosed) property to sell from time to time. REO’s are doozies, and everyone knows they can be quite challenging to sell because you have to deal with banks, a distressed property, and usually an unhappy homeowner who was basically kicked out of the home for non-payment. Think they nurtured that property? Think they tightened one loose screw? No way!
(One of these days I’ll show you the condition of a Dallas magazine writer’s home after she fled the foreclosure police.)
So Keith gets this home in Forney, Texas, and it’s Mission Impossible from the getgo. The home is in Forney, heart of the Bible Belt. What’s the addy? 666. He goes out to the house, and cannot get to the door. The homeowner has removed the stairs. The only staircase accessible leads to a side window where the homeowner is waiting with a shotgun. No wonder it has taken three agents two years to sell this home. That’s right: this palace had been on the market a whopping 566 days.
Keith understood (sort of) the missing steps. Constables had been delivering a steady stream of foreclosure notices to this house, so the homeowners fixed that by taking away the staircase to keep anyone from getting to the front door to deliver their bad news notices.
Then Keith saw the backside of the house: the roof had been turned into a skateboard ramp. Not only was the house a mess, it had a slide for a roof. BPO (broker price opinion, ‘nother REO term) value: $20,000. The bank wanted a listing price of $29,900.
When Keith came to the front door, they tossed him a ladder to get up and climb in the house. He knew he had to do two things: de-emphasize the address, and find a buyer who loved skateboarding. Keith became a skateboard connoisseur in Valentino shoes. He googled skateboard shops and scoured each one, marketing his Skateboarder’s Dreamhouse. He covered every Skateboarders outlet. A 19 year old boy –a skateboarder — found out about the house. Turns out the boy’s grandmother needed a place to live, she had been evicted from her home. Or something.
“Sweet house,” said the kid when he saw 666 in Forney.
Keith sold the home for $24,000 cash to the skateboarder and his grandma. In 13 days. Sweet house, sweet deal.
Keith Yonnick & his skateboard!