Beyond Foreclosure

by | Dec 17, 2008 | Archives

Good value real estate is becoming easier and easier to find as real estate prices fall and foreclosures grow. There are profitable ways to invest in foreclosures.   This messages shares even more profit…beyond foreclosure. 

Readers often write to me asking about good value real estate in the US, and I often don’t have too much to say, we are so focused n Ecuador real estate now.

However. here is a special opportunity in value real estate.

Recently while visiting my mom, daughter and grand kids, Merri and I took a long drive around Portland.   Portland is a great city…majestic, beautiful.   It was a privilege to have grown up there.

When living there decades ago,  I developed a fascination with Oregon real estate…started buying when young (19) and by age 21 owned seven duplexes!   Then I left for Hong Kong and never moved back . This fact sort of killed my Portland real estate career.

Yet I continue to invest in Portland real estate. You’ll see why and how you can find extra real estate value now in a moment.

On our recent drive round Portland we stopped by the Old County Kitchen steakhouse.


This is quite a restaurant, home of the 72 ounce steak (free if you eat in in an hour),  started in 1946 by two brothers and named as one of the best 100 restaurants in America. I had my first job at age 15 there…bus boy.

One of the managers (brother of the two owners) used to live across the street from me so perhaps he talked to me more than other bus boys…but I recall they always thought about buying the land across from the restaurant…for more parking.  Yet it was always too expensive, or so they thought.

I thought about that as  passed by on my recent trip. All that land is now commercial and worth millions!

The owners of that restaurant were hard working perfectionists who taught me many valuable life lessons about steadiness…determination, value and service. I owe that job a lot.

Another great joy I gained from that job was a best friend, Steve Hankins. Here’s a photo taken by our mutual friend Dennis Goff from Canada of Steve from Portland. when  they both joined Merri and me on a recent Ecuador Shamanic Mingo.


Steve lived down the street from me, we went to grade and high school together and  have remained friends for over 5o years. Really he is no longer a friend…more like a brother.   Merri and I spend a lot of time with Steve ad his wife, Julie.  Here we are on our Ecuador beach.


When I left for Hong Kong, Steve remained in Portland and began building apartments and houses.   I think it is fair to say that he has concluded many hundreds of  Oregon real estate deals. Though as you will see below I continue to putter with property…in Ecuador.

His specialty has evolved into what I call “Beyond Foreclosures”.  He goes to the courthouse steps to see property being sold but rarely buys in these auctions.

As he puts it, “Too much competition”.  Forty years of experience in Portland real estate and a wily sense of the market gives him such an edge that he knows real value that most others miss.

He studies and visit the properties that are to be offered, looking for the “special deals” that seem so bad that even the foreclosure buyers avoid them.   When a property is offered by a bank on the courthouse steps and does not sell…it becomes owned by the bank.  This is when Steve steps in and negotiates (hard) with the bank.

Take, for example, this house in SE Portland.  It was offered on the courthouse steps. The bank had a reserve price of  $117,100.

good-value-real-estate No one bought and Steve then visited and made the bank an offer…$38,000…and got the deal!

He used his 40 years of building experience and his team to fix…what no one thought could be fixed. This house was a mess. Here was the kitchen area when Steve began.


and after.


The house has been totally rejuvenated and was just appraised at $190,000!  Steve has invested about $80,000 in total.


As he puts it…”in this market, I do not think it will sell for its appraisal but I can rent it for a great return.” Steve then says, ” I get a half percent on my credit union checking account.   I should be able to rent this house  for $8400 per year.  That’s pretty  good compared to $400 per year for $80,000 in a checking account.

Sometimes Steve buys a house just to get the land.

This property was a home on a large lot and was purchased in foreclosure.


He tore down the house and built these three houses.


In another similar situation he built seven condos.


Completed and all sold last year.


With another recent property with a large home, he spotted a chance to buy it as a residence, then resold it as commercial to a car dealer next door in 90 days for a quick profit of $60,000.

Merri and I invest in these kind of deals with Steve. In fact we have done enough that we even formed a joint LLC  called OCKBB (Old Country Kitchen Bus Boys) LLC to do the deals.

Steve was lucky…and astute. When the real estate crash hit Portland…he had sold his entire inventory there.  Now he’s just picking up deals like these above…holding and waiting.

However, right now there are so many coming along that he cannot finance them all.   There are 689 properties that he has culled to review for that possible Easter egg he looks for… in Multnomah county alone.

I asked him…would you like a few select investors…and this message is the result of my asking Steve this question.

If you have an interest in investing with Steve…he is happy to talk with you about it.  I am not involved…nor is OCKBB LLC.  We won’t make a penny if you ever do work with Steve.  We do not even need to know. This is just an introduction.  We’ve just returned from a long Thanksgiving visit and drove all around with him!

I like to share with readers when I see a special opportunity.    I have discovered over 50 years that Steve is a very special person.


So too is Portland…it’s a great city that I believe has an excellent  future with great real estate value building.

One reason the US economy has slowed is many bad real estate loans in previous years.  When Savings and Loans made this same error years ago, a small number of astute real estate investors helped bail the mess out by buying good value, real estate from Resolution Trust.   These investors used knowledge, energy and capitalism to get this property into use and help revive the real estate market then.  This is happening again.   Part of this recovery will be created by those who see and invest beyond foreclosure.

If you are interest in finding our more about value property investing, you can reach Steve at


My latest order of fresh Ecuador roses just arrived.  Here they are in the kitchen.


You can have fresh Ecuador roses in your home December 23
if you order by December 18. See Cotacachi Roses

Join Merri and me for a course and or real estate tour in Ecuador this winter.

Join us in Cotacachi.

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

See our Cotacachi real estate fixer uppers…

cotacachi-fixer-upper-real estate

This is our latest and learn what to look for and to do.


Feb. 9-11 Beyond Logic

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ

Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Or join us on the coast. Learn about beach construction.


From the beginning.


to the end.


March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition

March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one$1,799 for two

Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 27 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009 and how to attend as many of them as you like FREE.

The course fee includes meeting at Quito airport (day before the
course)…transportation (by group bus) to Cotacachi and back to Quito.
Course fee does not include air are. accommodations, food or individual transportation.