I bought one of Dean's books last year because I needed a house to live in, followed his advice, and bought a house in an auction; an interesting experience. My goal is/was not to do RE for a living. I just wanted to get the best deal on my own house.
I think I did. The house I got was sold (2 yrs. ago at the peak of the housing bubble) for over $425K. I got it for under $170K (financed it using FHA loan). That was last year.
I had to spend about $15K to bring it to living conditions + finished the basement, but it was worth it. Real Estate in my area (Woodbridge, VA) has been going up, and recently a house sold for $257K, another one for $234K, and even a short sale asking $199K 1 month ago, increased the asking price to $235K; surely due to multiple higher offers. All those houses are in my street.
I figured now is the right time to refi and take equity out of my house... but the bank did not think so. They only appraised the house at $217K! Then, only would lend 85% of that. I asked, and they can't accept a house would appreciate about $90K in 1 year in this market. I basically told them that it can if you buy at rock-bottom price. My argument did not fly with them...
Realistically, based on the other properties in my neighborhood, and trends, I think my house could fetch $250K if I listed it for sale now.
Any ideas to find an investor, or some other form of financing (RE backed loan, or something similar) to get the equity out? It has to be an investor/company familiar with this area, so he/she can make a realistic home appraisal. Additionally, I think prices will go up even more soon in this area thanks to the federal government creating a lot of well-paid jobs in the DC Area, something a savvy investor would also be able to see.