Could flood-ravaged Houston become jackpot spot for HGTV?

Published: Monday, September 25, 2017 @ 2:02 PM

Hurricane Harvey: Flooding and Aftermath

The thousands of flood-damaged homes across southeast Texas could bring a boom to at least one Lone Star industry.

>> Read more trending news 

Some real estate investors are counseling buyers to purchase homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey, pay for the repairs and then resell them, according to Reuters.

These property “flippers,” as they’re known in the industry, expect to take advantage of a tight housing market, especially in Houston, to reap a potentially substantial profit, Reuters reported.

Ray Sasser, a real estate investor and advisor, followed a similar plan advisors are currently reemploying to attract the home front venturers when Tropical Storm Allison struck Houston in 2001.

He bought several homes -- some for as low as 30 percent of their market value -- selling many of them a year later at full market price.

RELATED: Houston suburb tops best value neighborhoods list

At a recent Houston real estate seminar, Sasser revealed his plan to purchase 50 flooded homes for pennies on the dollar, invest 15 to 20 percent for repairs, aiming to then turn them back onto the market in a short time.

With an estimated 268,000 homes suffering some damage due to the floods, what was a tragedy for a significant number of Houstonian homeowners may be a lucrative opportunity for eager flippers.

Many homeowners may consider walking away from their damaged homes with whatever cash they can get, so flippers can buy properties at near-record-low levels.

Meanwhile, the tight nationwide housing market, combined with Houston’s diverse economy and growing population, are creating ideal conditions for flippers to find buyers.

As new homes go up on the old sites, flippers may also be looking at quick sales for prices at or near full market value.

In this Aug. 29, 2017 file photo, Interstate 69 is covered by floodwaters from Harvey, in Humble, Texas. Just two weeks ago, President Donald Trump rolled back an order by his predecessor that would have made it easier for storm-ravaged communities to use federal emergency aid to rebuild bridges, roads and other construction so they can better withstand future disasters. That decision is now being questioned with the Texas Gulf Coast and much of Houston under water in the wake of Harvey. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)(David J. Phillip/AP)

RELATED: Some Houston neighborhoods better for investment return than others

For homeowners looking to sell their damaged homes, the Better Business Bureau posted some advice on how to avoid scams on its website, including the following:

  • Checking if the company has a local office
  • Meeting in person at the buyer’s office to learn about their processes
  • Avoiding paying any “application fees” or “processing fees”
  • Contacting the buyer’s lender to see if they have the funds to complete the purchase
  • Examining the contract to ensure that the seller is no longer obligated to make mortgage payments
Read more at Reuters.

Tyler Perry buys car for mother of boy born without kidneys

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 1:59 PM

Two-year-old A.J. Burgess with his parents, Carmellia Burgess and Anthony Dickerson. A.J. was born without kidneys. His father is a perfect match and willing donor, but hospital protocol pushed back the surgery after Dickerson violated probation.
Handoff via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Two-year-old A.J. Burgess with his parents, Carmellia Burgess and Anthony Dickerson. A.J. was born without kidneys. His father is a perfect match and willing donor, but hospital protocol pushed back the surgery after Dickerson violated probation.(Handoff via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

A Georgia mother whose toddler has been waiting for a kidney transplant his whole life was gifted a car on Tuesday -- hours before a kidney donor was found.

>> Read more trending news 

Carmellia Burgess brought her son home from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Nov. 8, where he’d been since Oct. 29. 

Burgess’s son, AJ, battled a potentially deadly infection, contracted pneumonia, had surgery to implant a new port for his dialysis treatments and received blood transfusions before he was released from the hospital, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

MORE: Toddler heads home from hospital to wait for kidney transplant

But his mother didn’t have a car to get AJ to his hemodialysis appointments three times a week, she wrote on Facebook.

That trouble ended Tuesday, when actor Tyler Perry gifted Burgess with a new car.

The family later learned a deceased donor kidney would be given to AJ this week, attorney Mawuli Davis said.

Woman helps raise more than $300,000 for homeless veteran who gave her his last $20

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 8:32 PM
Updated: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 8:32 PM

Homeless Vet Gives Stranded Woman Last $20, She Thanks Him by Raising Over $70,000

A New Jersey woman has helped raise more than $300,000 for a homeless man who helped her when she was in a time of need. (Editor’s note: The figure was updated Friday, Nov. 24, 2017.)

>> Read more trending news 

Kate McClure was driving on I-95 in Philadelphia recently when her car ran out of gas. According to PhillyVoice.com, McClure got out of her car to walk to a gas station when she was approached by a homeless man, identified only as Johnny. Johnny told McClure to get back in her car and lock the door. He later returned to the vehicle with a can of gas. He had purchased the gas with what little money he had. 

McClure, who was in town to visit a friend, didn’t have anything to give to repay Johnny at the time, so she told him she would return. 

She kept her word.

According to a post online, McClure says she returned to visit Johnny, 34, at his spot by the side of the interstate with clothes, food and money. Each time, Johnny showed gratefulness and generosity.

“One day, I stopped to see him and had a few things in a bag to give him, one of which was a box of cereal bars so he could have something that he could carry around and eat,” McClure wrote. “He was very appreciative as usual and the first thing he said was, ‘Do you want one?’ Another time I dropped off (two) Wawa gift cards and a case of water. The first words that came out of his mouth were, ‘I can’t wait to show the guys’ -- there are (two) others he hangs out with, and they all take care of each other.”

McClure still felt compelled to do more for Johnny, so she created a GoFundMe account, hoping to raise $10,000 to help get Johnny a car, an apartment and some materials and amenities. 

In less than two weeks, McClure raised more than $318,000.

“With the money, I would like to get him first and last month’s rent at an apartment, a reliable vehicle and 4-6 months worth of expenses,” McClure wrote. “He is very interested in finding a job, and I believe that with a place to be able to clean up every night and get a good night’s rest, his life can get back to being normal. (I) truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break.”

Johnny told PhillyVoice.com that he was once a licensed paramedic and also served in the Marine Corps. He said he moved to Philadelphia last year with plans to start a new job, but when things fell through, he became homeless. 

File photo - Man carrying gas can to car at roadside(Sam Edwards/Getty Images/Caiaimage)

He says now he wants to get a job at the Amazon warehouse in Robbinsville, New Jersey, and hopes to one day become recertified as a paramedic.

“(This) changes my life,” he said.

British police respond to incident at London’s Oxford Circus station

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 12:31 PM
Updated: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 1:03 PM

Police set up a cordon outside Oxford Circus underground station as they respond to an incident in central London on November 24, 2017.
British police said they were responding to an
Police set up a cordon outside Oxford Circus underground station as they respond to an incident in central London on November 24, 2017. British police said they were responding to an "incident" at Oxford Circus in central London on Friday and have evacuated the Underground station, in an area thronged with people on a busy shopping day. (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)(AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty Images)

British police said they were responding to reports of an incident at the Oxford Circus subway station, one of London’s busiest, Friday evening.

>> Read more trending news

Native Americans mark Thanksgiving with day of mourning

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 11:43 AM

Juan Gonzalez of Boston rekindles a small fire with“ the smoke symbolizing a ritual for healing and a connection with the
Juan Gonzalez of Boston rekindles a small fire with“ the smoke symbolizing a ritual for healing and a connection with the "creator." He has been attending this day of mourning for 30 years. "We feel the pain of the Wampanoag," said Gonzalez. United American Indians of New England gather for the National Day of Mourning across from Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, MA on Thursday, November 25, 2010. The day signifies the deaths of American Indians at the hands of early settlers and colonists and the independence of American Indians. (Photo by Yoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)(Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Members of Native American tribes from around New England gathered Thursday in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the town where the Pilgrims settled, for a solemn observance of National Day of Mourning.

>> Read more trending news

Thursday's gathering served to acknowledge and remember the disease, racism and oppression that European settlers brought.

This year was the 48th year that the United American Indians of New England organized the event on Thanksgiving Day.

Moonanum James, a co-leader of the group, said native people have no reason to celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims in 1620.

"We say, 'no thanks, no giving,'" he said.

Along with prayers and public speeches, participants condemned environmental degradation and government restrictions on immigration. They also planned a "stomp dance" to symbolically stomp out opioid addiction, which has ravaged many native communities.