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I just got this blockbuster update from my buddy; Scott “Spidey” Smith. Hopefully you saw my recent video blog post where I talked about the extreme difficulty of selling houses. Now hold on…we’re getting buyers, and contrary to what the news reports, those buyers are getting financed, but the lenders and title co’s are making us (the Seller) jump through a Ba-Zillion (that’s a lot) hoops.

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Always on the bleeding edge, I give you the following article from The New York Times by David Streifeld, entitled “Company Stops Insuring Titles in Chase Foreclosures.” And as you read it (you damn site better read this one) ask yourself, how soon until all title co’s stop insuring any foreclosures until these lenders can prove that they followed the letter of the law in all 2 million foreclosures (thus far).

Find out what bank you’re buying your next REO from, and make sure they are not on the “shit list!” And Realtors – you better be careful too.

Here’s the New York Times article

Interesting Flip Tip: There are a ton of title companies out there. Hell, there must be several hundred in my little state of Maryland, alone. But did you know that each title company writes policies for only a VERY small handful of TITLE INSURERS? The title companies are basically insurance brokers who in most cases write exclusively for one title insurer. A list of the top-5 is above. Given the new above – you BETTER know who your title co is writing for.

Here’s another related CNBC article on what the media is referring to as RoboSigning Scandal.

Here’s a bunch of articles on RoboSigning and how its affecting foreclosures

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I can’t say it was T.G.I.Friday, yesterday. Those of you living on the east coast know what I’m talkin’ about. We got DUMPED ON by the remnants of tropical storm, Nicole in an historic rainfall. Some parts of Maryland got 12″. Holy crap that’s a lot of rain. Needless to say, it wasn’t the leisurely Friday I was hoping for. We had water in two of our 6 listed houses. No big deal, just a learning experience.

So you rehabbers – are you waterproofing your houses? What are you paying?

The picture to the left by the way shows a house that we purchased several months ago. On the day we bought the house it had 15″ of rain in the basement!

As a rule, we waterproof EVERY basement. Its a crappy task. The tips below WILL save THOUSANDS on your next waterproofing job. Seriously folks, this might be my most important tip yet. Waterproofing is NOT rocket science.

Flipping Homes Tip: Basement Waterproofing: You do not have to hire an expensive waterproofing company to do this job. If you do, you will, in most EVERY case, pay at least 3-4 times what you should pay. You will also get a warranty that is basically useless as most of these companies change names every few years! Don’t fall prey to those tactics. Read on!

Any licensed plumber or general contractor who has had experience installing waterproofing should be able to do the following.

Step 1. DIG THE TRENCH. Break up the concrete around the entire perimeter (or if your budget is limited, dig specifically where you are seeing signs of water). This is where you can save a TON of money. Busting up the concrete, digging a 12″ wide x 12″ deep trench and removing all the debris is hard work and truly is the BULK of the job. A typical single family (30’x30′) home can be done in about 1 to 1.5 days by a crew of two. You should expect to pay these types of laborers $115.00-120.00 per day each. You might also want to pay someone $150 total to manage the workers during the start, the midway and the completion of this step. You’ll also need to rent a jackhammer for about $150.00  Total Cost: $700.00

The most important part of this entire step is making sure that the laborers do not disturb the footers while jacking up the concrete floor. I cannot stress the importance of this.

Once complete, the trench will look something like the picture below.

Step 2. INSTALL THE DRAIN TILE At this point your ready to install some pea-gravel. An inch or two should do fine. You want to make sure however that the gravel slopes toward your sump pump. This is critical. Once the gravel has been installed, call your plumber. This is the ONLY time during the process that you will need skilled labor. A good plumber; someone who truly understands waterproofing, will more than likely finish his job in less than 1/2 -3/4 of a day. That said – you can expect to pay him $300-$350 for his labor. The parts; corrugated pipe, waffle-board, sump pit, and sump pump will cost about $300-$500 dollars depending on the size of your basement.  Total Cost: $900.00

The picture above shows the corrugated pipe resting above the pea-gravel then covered by additional pea-gravel. We prefer the picture below, where you see the corrugated pipe first wrapped in a muslin sock. The sock prevents dirt and sediment from entering and clogging the pipe. You can find this sock usually right next to the pipe at your Home Depot.

At this point all your corrugated pipe should connect into the sump pit. A sump pit is basically a large hole that accommodates a special plastic trash can. The corrugated pipe connects to and flows into the can. Inside the can is a sump pump. That’s it. Simple right?

Step 3. INSTALL THE WAFFLE-BOARD. Called many things, waffle board – hydroguard etc…this material allows any water that comes down the wall to flow into the drain tile you just installed in step 2. The material comes in a roll, is fairly expensive at about $150.00 per roll – and can be found near the currogated pipe. A roll is usually more than enough for a whole basement.

The waffle board is placed up against the wall and sits down in the trench with the corrugated pipe. You will have a few inches below grade, and a couple feet above grade. We then cut the excess above grade waffle-board and leave 3-4″ above grade. The plumber will connect up a PVC pipe with a check-valve to the sump-pump and run it out of your house. Make sure your electrician provides a GFE-outlet near the sump pump for electric. Can’t run a pump without electric.

Step 4. CALL BACK THE LABORERS. You’re almost there. Its now time to cover over the pit. After mixing several bags of concrete, a good laborer (who knows how to do concrete) can finish a job like this in a 1/2 day or less. Total Cost: $250.00 When finished, the job should look like the picture below:

There you have it. A basement waterproofing job that will work like a champ and NOT bust your rehabbing budget. This is of course is NOT the only way to waterproof a basement. There are many other  interior “systems” and waterproofing can also be done from the outside. We usually follow the interior trench method on every job. Total cost to the budget – usually $1500-$2500 depending on the size of the house.

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