Former Army Sergeant Reveals Secrets to Buying a Neighborhood and Profiting over $60K

cant-reach-itchGreetings fellow Soldiers, Franklin Cruz, CleverInvestor’s  here I proudly served my country as Army Sergeant for many years. I had earned my way to a cushy desk job. I could have secured the job for good, been safe and secure in my income and not take any risks or leaps of faith into entrepreneurship. My buddies were looking for secure civilian jobs or just deciding to stay in as I was doing. But then… I started to get that itch… You know the kind of itch I’m talking about… The one you can’t reach unless you stretch yourself out real far… I knew I was meant for more. I knew it was time to pursue my dream to become a full time Real Estate Investor from scratch. So I made my first deal while in the Army, turning -$17,500 into investing success. I wanted more.

My buddies kept telling me: “dude, Franklin, you either need to stay in OR sure up a decent civilian job. Get on it!” I said “FORGET THAT NOISE! I want to be my OWN FREAKIN’ BOSS!”. After that first deal, the rest is history. I knew it was time to be my own boss, and begin on my journey to help others real estate investors create lasting wealth right along with me. I’ve been in the real estate investing game for over a decade now. I have even been blessed with the opportunity to buy an ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD. This is Part One of Seven in an ongoing series explaining exactly HOW I did it…

Disclaimer: Wholesaling is still the quickest and “sometimes“ easiest way to make money with real estate investing. But learning how to rehab properties is ESSENTIAL skill for REI professionals. The first property we’re going to talk about is (A) 409 E Hugh St.

409 E Hugh St.

Buying the Neighborhood,  (More Pictures Below)

I did an in-depth vocal breakdown of this neighborhood project EXCLUSIVELY for our AWESOME INVESTORS

check it out here

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So let’s get started on what to look for, when rehabbing.

Before - Kitchen

Before – Kitchen

PHEW… As you can see, the kitchen in this property was absolutely HORRENDOUS when we first came in. It almost looked like Leatherface from “Texas Chainsaw Massacre“ stormed in and just TRASHED the place – smashing every freaking pipe with his chainsaw along the way. EVERYTHING was destroyed. It was brutal. You can’t even see the floor in this picture, and trust me, you probably don’t want to. That was horrible as well. But, with the right amount of desire and know how, you can turn TRASH into…

After - Kitchen

After – Kitchen

I know what you’re thinking: “how in the world did he turn that trash into this treasure? Rehabbing this property took us about two weeks to complete, the kitchen being the toughest part. We paid extra attention to painstakingly perfect the kitchen and its appearance. We put lots of work into the kitchen for one important reason: kitchens sell houses. Always remember that. An impressive kitchen can mean the difference between selling the house in a few days or six months. So don’t skimp on improving the kitchen!

Before - Bathroom

Before – Bathroom

Next we have the bathroom. As you can see, the bathroom was falling apart also. It seemed like various homeless people had been using the tub as a toilet for quite some time. The stench was almost unbearable. stink

Get those clothespins on your noses, people!

Yes, extremely nasty. But my crew and I are SOLDIERS and just dealt with it, and made it happen. Turning this, into…

After - Bathroom

After – Bathroom

Here’s 4 ways we made this bathroom shine:

  1. First we ripped out the entire floor and put tile down. If you’re aiming for a rental income property, go with tile. Tile is the most cost effective, low maintenance flooring there is.
  2. To keep costs low we used the side wall cabinets that were already in the bathroom.
  3. A fresh coat of “eggshell“ colored paint clearly went a long way.
  4. Lastly, for staging purposes, we put in brand new blinds and toilet racks stocked with plenty of toilet paper. You NEVER want a potential buyer coming into your property and seeing the bathroom ANYTHING but “TIDE FRESH”.


Tide Fresh



Before - Backroom leading outside.

Before – Backroom leading outside.

This room started off looking dingy and AWKWARD. We weren’t sure what to do with it at first, but we knew it needed more light. So we moved the door and windows and made our improvements. Afterwards, we got this…

After - Backroom

After – Backroom

We put down some fresh gray berber carpet with new padding. We added two windows two make the room appear more spacious and inviting. We installed a new door and new blinds in the room as well.

Before -  Front of the House

Before – Front of the House

This historic property seemed like a dead house from Tales From the Crypt. All the creepy looking overhanging trees weren’t helping either, as you can see from this photo. This house was DEAD, so I brought it back to life again. Just call me the historic property Scientist “Re-Animator”.

Just call me the historic property reanimator.

As you can see, rehabbing a historic home can be labor-intensive. There are several very real challenges to taking on this type of project.

Here are the challenges:

  1. Termites, and the damage they leave behind. Gut everything in every room as much as you can. Make sure you repair any damage to wooden surfaces, flooring, etc. as much as you can. All the improvements you make will help increase the value of your property.
  2. Old plumbing, and everything that comes with old plumbing. It’s an old home, so don’t discredit the frustrations you may have with trying to get all the old stuff working properly.
  3. Pillars on the house started rotting underneath and must be addressed.

Got something out of these challenges? We will be covering solutions on how to take care of the downsides of rehabbing historic homes. So we talked about the negatives and challenges that come with this type of project. Here are a few positive benefits that come with rehabbing Historic Homes:

  1. Most old homes have tall ceilings. This is one good selling point that many investors like. Why do old homes have tall ceilings? Because, remember in the 1920’s air conditioning didn’t exist yet. Heat rises, so the ceilings were high to keep homes cool.
  2. Most historic properties are built with wood floors that just last and last.
  3.  Character. Older homes often have more charm than that of their modern counterparts. The pride of work, craftsmanship and quality time that general contractors put in homes were entirely different than they are now.

So if you find a way to bring the old school charm and character out of the home, while modernizing it with upgrades and more open spaces inside, you’ll have a high-quality historic property to sell.

After - Front of the House

After – Front of the House

This is what the final product of the outside looked like. Here’s what we did to the outside:

  1.  Planted all new grass.
  2. Put down some red mulch and cheap, low maintenance plants with color. Remember from the bathroom that we should keep costs down but keep richness in appearance high.
  3. We went back to a bungalow feel with the color scheme, doing away with the dingy, old look and highlighting the amazing features of the property.

Okay, okay. It LOOKS great. But you’re probably wondering by now… What did Franklin profit from this property?!!

Profit from sale
Profit from sale

I made a total profit of $61,850 on the property.

Here are the main points I want you to take away from this article:

  1. When it comes to kitchens, don’t skimp at all. Pull out all the stops and make the kitchen look as spectacular as possible. Remember, kitchens sell houses.
  2. In the bathroom, always, always, ALWAYS stock the toilet paper and clean as much as possible to make it look TIDE FRESH!
  3. If the back room seems closed in, add some windows to let light in and add some eggshell paint to make the room appear more spacious.
  4. Make sure you get some grass planted in the front of the home. Install some cheap, low maintenance yet colorful plants to keep costs down yet keep richness in appearance high.

Overall takeaway points: Just be smart. Don’t think you can take on more than you’re able. Restoring an old home has its challenges and frustrations, as you can see from this article. But if you do it the right way, you can turn your old, dingy house into a sexy modernized one and earn yourself lots of money in the process!

For the next post in this series, I will be going over how I purchased the next house on the block, which was 419 e Hugh.

  • Part # 1: 409 e. Hugh St.
  • Part # 2: 419 e Hugh St.
  • Part # 3 504 e. Hugh St
  • Part # 4 507 e. Hugh St.
  • Part # 5 511 e Hugh St.
  • Part # 6 520 e. Hugh St.
  • Part # 7  “InDepth – Breakdown plus Bonus”

Did you get some good info out of this article? I hope it helped you. Let’s continue the conversation… What was the best thing to take away from this article? What do you want to see us talk about in the future? How was your last rehab experiences? Leave a Comment below and share your experiences, concerns or questions!

No Excuses! Make it Happen!

Franklin Cruz
Clever Investor Mentor “Real Estate Drill Sergeant“

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Ps. The fastest way to get where you want to go is always going to be with a mentor. That’s how I did it. If Mentorship is a possibility for your New Future click the link above.