Not Even Money Saves You From Foreclosure

Eric lost his home to foreclosure, but unlike other homeowners, he had actually been trying for the past month-and-a-half to buy it back from the mortgage company for more than the mortgage. The law firm that was handling it, however, wanted an extra $20k in fees to make that happen. He told the realtor that he would buy it for more than it was going to be listed for. The realtor told him that he couldn’t make a bid until it was “active,” which would happen on 11-29. On Sunday he tells the broker he;ll give an offer on Monday. Monday rolls around and they’ve already sold the house to someone else, for less than Eric was willing to pay. They said they “forgot” that he was going to make a bid. Eric is livid. His story, inside…

I recently lost my home to foreclosure. The sad part is I tried for the last 30-40 days before the foreclosure to buy my home from the mortgage company for more than the balance owed on the mortgage. By this time, the mortgage had been referred to a local law firm, which wanted almost $20,000 in fees above the balance of the mortgage. They would not negotiate at all. A friend was helping me try to save my home, but the $20,000 in fees on top of the $100,000 owed was insurmountable.

Fast forward to the house being put on the market. I met the realtor handling the sale. I told him I wanted to make an offer to purchase my home back. I was told I could not make an offer until the listing was ‘active’, per NC law. I was told on Friday 11-28th that the house would go on the market on Saturday 11-29, after which I could submit my offer to purchase. They put the house on the market for $49,950. I called the broker Sunday evening to tell him I would be putting my offer for $50,500 in on Monday morning. I got a phone call on Monday morning telling me that they had already taken an offer, communicated it to the seller and had it accepted and the house was under contract.

Keep in mind the following:
1- The property is in Durham, NC
2- The REO firm in charge of the sale for Homecomings Financial is in San Diego, CA
3- The local real estate firm hired by the REO firm to market and sell the house is in Raleigh, NC

The original story I was given was that an offer was made and accepted on Saturday, and that the contract on the house was already signed on Monday morning at appx. 10am EST. When I remarked that it was odd that all of this happened over a Sat. and Sunday, and that 10am EST was 7am in San Diego, I started getting various changing storied from the Broker-in-Charge.

Long story short, the story now is they simply ‘made a mistake’ when they ‘forgot’ that I wanted to put in an offer. Despite my being in regular contact with their broker. I found out today that they actually took the offer to purchase which they accepted on 11-24.

AT THAT TIME, I WAS BEING TOLD I COULD NOT YET PUT AN OFFER TO PURCHASE IN, BECAUSE THE HOUSE WAS NOT YET AN ACTIVE LISTING AND IT WAS AGAINST THE REAL ESTATE RULES IN NC!!!

The listing real estate company is Weichert-Welcome Home in Raleigh, NC. The broker representing the ‘purchaser’ is with Weichert-Mark Thomas Properties in Durham, NC.

I will have to wait until the deed is recorded before I can find out how much the sale was for, but I have been told that the sale was for less than the listed asking price.

Remember, I was trying to pay HIGHER than the listed asking price…

I apologize for the poorly written email. This is so damn emotionally draining and frustrating, and there is nothing that I can do. I was willing and able to pay my mortgage off in full and then some and was rebuffed. Then when I again tried to buy my home back, I was lied to and deceived so that the house could be sold for less to someone else, who happened to work with an affiliated company.

There is so much wrong here.

Thank you for reading this. I am so sick about all of this. I’ve been trying for almost 4 months to save my home, BY PAYING THAN OWED AND THEN MORE THAN THE LIST PRICE AND EACH DAMN TIME I HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE RUN AROUND, LIED TO AND/OR IGNORED.

I honestly don’t get it. So Homecomings lost a bunch of money on just my home, despite me trying to pay it off in full.

Here are the people and companies I dealt with:

Listing Agent/Firm:
Weichert Realty – Welcome Home
4805 Green Rd. #103 Raleigh, NC 27616
http://bit.ly/10Ssc

I attempted to work with Jim Wilson to resolve this issue.
Mr. Wilson is the Broker-in-Charge as well as owner of this branch.
Mr. Wilson is the individual who ‘just plain forgot all about my offer’.

http://www.weichert.com/search/offices/office.aspx?site=wdc&office=50-J46

REO Asset Mgmt company:
Advent REO LLC
1951 Fourth Ave #302, San Diego, CA 92101
www.adventreo.com

I spoke with Josh Purkiss to try to resolve this issue.

‘Buyer’s’ Firm/Broker:

Weichert Realty – Mark Thomas Realty
3901 University Drive Durham, NC 27707
http://www.markthomasrealty.com/

The broker representing the ‘purchaser’ is Doug Osborn.

The Mortgage Company is Homecomings Financial, a division of GMAC.
www.homecomings.com

My gut read on this story is that the various parties Eric was dealing with were in cahoots with one another to buy the place cheap. Here’s commenter dwasifar’s take on the situation:

“What happened here is obvious. Someone involved in the process of selling this home, either in the lawyer’s office or in the realtor’s, put together a sweetheart deal for themselves or a friend to get this property at a bargain price. They shut Eric out of the process by misleading him so they could get the house themselves for the minimum the bank was willing to accept.

At the very least he should document what happened and inform the seller. The realtor and/or lawyer basically stole money from them, and they are probably not aware of what happened.”

(Photo: woodleywonderworks)

Comments

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  1. Mr.DuckSauce says:

    wow, that would piss me off, more so if the other person who bought the house was in cahoots and knows them personally.

    • sir_eccles says:

      @Mr.DuckSauce: That was my first thought. Sell it cheap to a “friend” then make a tidy profit a few weeks later.

    • Thassodar says:

      @Mr.DuckSauce: Yeah I agree. This whole thing was a bunch of shit. But the question is: What can he do about it? You can’t complain to anyone about it, can you?
      Least I can see is reporting to the Realtor Law people in NC and telling them a offer was accepted on 11-24 and see what they do.

      Man this whole thing was reallll shitty.

      • Anonymous says:

        @Thassodar: I would love to see the details of this case. In many states, a Realtor® is allowed a grace period of usually one week to sell a property before being required to list it in the MLS (as an ‘Active’ listing). The reason harkens back to the old days before the MLS when they would sell only to their own clients. The landscape has changed since then, but many agents still have groups of investors they work with who would get first dibs on new properties. It takes more than just calling a generic Realtor® and saying you want to put an offer in. When I was an agent, those calls went out the window. Call me once you have a loan preapproval or you’re just blowing hot air. Meanwhile, I have routine clients that I KNOW have cash available to buy. I’m working with them. Call it a backroom deal if you want, but the fact is that one is a guaranteed sale and the other is a guy that got foreclosed on! In my state, a Realtor® who is not under contract with a buyer represents the seller, even if he isn’t the seller’s contractual agent. i.e. you call me to inquire about a house I’m not selling. I work for the seller regardless UNTIL you sign a buyer’s representation agreement. The law is structured that way in many states (agency laws). Bottom line here, though, is to pay your bills.

  2. RagingBoehner says:

    This is so frustrating. I’ve heard the FDIC is doing this as well with their REO – selling to a lowball bidder even if there are others willing to pay more just to get the real estate off the books.

    I’m a little confused as to why the home was in foreclosure though — if the OP had the cash why was the mortgage in default (or was it)?

    • zentex says:

      @RagingBoehner: he said a buddy was helping him out.

      “A friend was helping me try to save my home”

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @RagingBoehner: There’s no way they could legally sell off his house unless he hadn’t been paying (unless he fell victim to one of those deed swapping scams)

    • Miguel Valdespino says:

      @RagingBoehner: He was in a poorly-structured adjustable-rate mortgage. With the help of a friend, he might have been able to use a combination of a sensible fixed mortgage and a private loan from his friend in order to make the payments acceptible.

      • Anonymous says:

        @Miguel Valdespino: Or just another mortgage. He may have gone into default quite a while ago and now have the money to get a new mortgage. Clearly Weichert Realty does this as a business plan, they sell from the realty side of their business to the developer side of their business for a song. Best bet is to always contact the bank directly, and ask if they service the loan or if they pay someone to service it. (the servicer accepts payments etc, but often does not own the loan). They all use some sort of loss mitigation department and if it means they will get their money they will order the sale to be held. What I’m unclear about is the REO price of $100,000 when house listed at $50,000. A property only goes into REO once a judgment has been satisfied and someone has bought the home from the state of North Carolina who has seized it to satisfy your debt. Usually the bank buys it and pays themselves to make sure they get the price they want and will pretty much take any figure over your balance plus the REO fees (which are usually capped by State and/or Federal law. and that cap is generally way below $20,000). There is no way that if your balance was $100,000 that the bank would have ever listed at half that unless the market had really gone that far south that your original loan so exceeded current market price. Anyway, when in doubt always call the people who actually own the property to let them know your price. they won’t accept a lower bid then if they are on the ball.

  3. TeeDub says:

    Maybe next time you will stay current on your mortgage and this won’t happen.

    • zentex says:

      @TeeDub: really Captain Obvious? you’ve come to save us all??

      sometimes shit just happens that you cannot control no matter what you do. Taking that stance doesn’t work in all situations.

    • PittsburghJen says:

      @TeeDub: Well that was just unnecessary.

    • Adisharr says:

      @TeeDub:

      Thanks for the useful advice 4chan moderator.

    • Duffin (Ain't This Kitty Cute?) says:

      @TeeDub: Simply put: shut up and die, jerkoff.

    • Rhayader says:

      @TeeDub: I don’t know why everyone is jumping all over you. Your tone may leave a little to be desired, but your point is valid.

      That being said, it does sound like the OP was making a good faith effort to correct the mistakes he made, and the shoddy business practices he ran up against prevented him from doing so.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        Your tone may leave a little to be desired, but your point is valid.

        @Rhayader: To me it sounds like TeeDub is saying that the OP just decided to stop paying his mortgage. That isn’t a valid point.

        • Rhayader says:

          @Rectilinear Propagation: He didn’t say it was a “decision” to stop paying the mortgage, but he does point out that the mortgage was defaulted, which began this whole mess. Being true and an important part of the overall story, I don’t see how this wouldn’t qualify as a valid point.

    • TeeDub says:

      @TeeDub:

      Yeah TeeDub! Don’t you realize if the OP had truly valued his house he would have squirreled away some extra money for occasions such as this!

      Have you no pity?!?

    • nataku8_e30 says:

      @TeeDub: This unwillingness to work with home owners who are in trouble but trying to make an honest effort to stay in their houses is a major contributing factor to the severity of the economic downturn. If lending institutions would adopt more flexibility, transparency and oversight, they could probably prevent a very large percentage of foreclosures. You would really think they would have more of a self preservation instinct, but it appears that there are a lot of people involved who have something to gain when the lender loses money.

      • briandickens says:

        I get about how this is bad. But he had the money to buy the house 30-40 days before the house went into foreclosure. Why not use some of that money to get current on his mortgage and then negotiate the purchase? If he had the money why wait for it to go into foreclosure?

      • pkrieger says:

        @nataku83: I disagree with your statements, where did you find your information? As someone who’s brother work in loss mitigation for a large loan servicer, I find that hard to believe. Companies try as hard as possible to work with people to try to staunch their losses. They provide forgiveness of late fees, modify payment plans, work with the borrower to develop a budget, etc to do so. How much more flexible can you be? Who are you to be transparent to? This particular company calls and sends letters telling borrowers that they are overdue and if they need help to talk to them.
        They also need to be realistic in recognizing borrowers who have no likelihood of paying off their loans and be decisive in foreclosing to put everyone out of their misery.
        You seem to blame financial insititutions for the majority of the problem when a loan an agreement of two parties: the lender AND the borrower (who in this case is the person not fulfilling their side of the bargain.)

      • Anonymous says:

        @nataku83: Except that the financial institutions don’t care since many of them knew they were going to get a bailout long before it happened. No one can convince me that the practices of predatory lending did not have predetermined outcomes, it’s simple math and statistics based on greed. In the end the banks that bought up the smaller ones are the winners, similar to what happened during the first Great Depression, many smaller banks were swallowed by the larger and the common people lost all their money (and ultimately, the gold standard).

    • Sandtiger says:

      @TeeDub:

      Kharma is a wonderful thing. Im sure that TeeDub has some rough times in his future. After all no matter how well prepared you are unforeseen situations happen.

      Even someone with 6 months pay saved away gets caught if they can’t find a job after 12 months looking, a major illness that wipes out your savings and investments in less than a month, etc. Not every foreclosure is a result of someone abusing their finances.

      • emis says:

        @Sandtiger:

        …a major illness that wipes out your savings and investments in less than a month…

        If you have anything more then trivial “savings and investments” and you don’t also have at least health insurance and most likely ST and LT disability insurance then you’re doing it wrong.

        Having more then my fair share of sick relatives and friends I can tell you that those things do work and I would turn down a jobs even if it meant lower pay in order to find one that offered the coverage.

    • snowburnt says:

      @TeeDub: I feel like there are a couple of gaps missing in the story before I can attribute my feelings. Why did he have to foreclose? How long ago did he foreclose before it went on the market? How can he suddenly afford to pay off his defaulted mortgage? It seems strange that one day he couldn’t afford to pay a payment on his mortgage and the next he was able to pay the whole thing off.

      I guess it isn’t necessary for the story to have the effect that it does but without those facts I find it hard to feel bad for him.

    • Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

      @TeeDub:

      Who hurt you?

    • Triterion says:

      @TeeDub: I agree with TeeDub with all my heart. A mortgage should never be defaulted on no matter what, that’s why its called a MORTgage- to death! Anyways, who on earth would let someone take out another mortgage right after he defaulted on one?

    • BrawlerBarbie says:

      @TeeDub: Dad?

    • Ajh says:

      @TeeDub: I was going to write out a thoughtful comment here, but decided you were probably trolling, and have deleted it. Other than the comment that you already probably know, thank you captain obvious. We didn’t know you were supposed to PAY mortgages. Wow.

  4. BoomerFive says:

    Homecomings, a GMAC company. I used to work for GMAC ResCap and I can tell you this, that company used to spout “business with integrity” all the time until the market went in the crapper. Now they are just as scummy and scammy as anyone out there. Not that they were ever that great.

    • ionerox says:

      @BoomerFive: Nah, IMO ResCap has always been kinda scummy (in my experience of business dealings at least). They jumped on the Alt-A tide just as fast as Countrywide did (and even built one of the most widely used automated underwriting systems to support the making of those loans.)

  5. elocanth says:

    “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”

    Something tells me that if these people couldn’t even save their industry from almost total collapse, they’re probably not conspiring to screw over homeowners. It’s probably just a nice side-effect.

    • johnfrombrooklyn says:

      @elocanth: I don’t think at any point did the mortgage industry collectively “try to save their industry.” Mortgage lenders knew they were giving out crappy loans to people that could never possibly pay it back. But mortgage lenders had no skin in the game and they only got paid if a loan went through. So even when the ship was sinking, they had no incentive to quit issuing out bad loans. I have no idea on the truth in this story, but the same people willing to issue crappy loans for a fat commission could certainly be the same people conspiring to screw over this homeowner.

  6. JustThatGuy3 says:

    Sounds like the only injured party here is the lender, which got less for the house than it otherwise could have.

    • elocanth says:

      @JustThatGuy3: No, I’d say that the Eric was damn well injured since he lost his home and basically wasted all the time and effort he invested in it.

      • JustThatGuy3 says:

        @elocanth:

        Eric “lost” his home when he failed to pay the mortgage and defaulted on the loan. At that point, it became the bank’s house, and then could sell it to whomever they wanted, at whatever price they wanted.

        • GuinevereRucker says:

          @JustThatGuy3: It’s interesting that while we live in a prosperous and materially advantageous society, banks own most of our stuff.

          Who has more power, the government who makes laws and enforces them; or banks, who control credit flow and can lend to whomever they want? Keep in mind that the government is deep in debt to banks too.

          If you further accept debt as a form of slavery (the debtor is a slave to a lender), then the vast majority of homeowners or credit users or car purchasers are slaves to BANKS, even in our affluent country. I find this a scary prospect, and it’s why I’m paying off my mortgage asap.

      • johnnya2 says:

        @elocanth: Eric did not lose his home. It was no longer his home when they foreclosed and had the sherrif sale. In most states he had 6 months to come up with the financing to buy back his house for the AMOUNT of the mortgage. Look at what he wanted to do:
        1.Buy the house HE owed 100k PLUS 20 k in lawyers fees on for 50K. Why wouldn’t everybody who has ha house that lowered in value go ahead and do that and rework the mortgage for the NEW amount they want to finance.

    • Adisharr says:

      @JustThatGuy3:

      This might sound CRAZY but I’d say the guy trying to buy his house back was screwed over.

      • Coyote says:

        @JustThatGuy3:
        If the property was bought by a partner or affiliated company then they will resell the house when the property value rises and will make more than he was offering. They get the advantage of waiting as long as they want where as he is SOL.

      • JustThatGuy3 says:

        @Adisharr:

        Nobody can claim to be “screwed” because another party chose not to sell him something. It’s not his house (it ceased to be when he defaulted on his loan), it’s not his call to whom it should be sold.

        • coren says:

          @JustThatGuy3: And he still got screwed – just because he had no claim on it didn’t mean the process wasn’t skewed to prevent him an equal chance to get it, and that he wasn’t lied to. If nothing else, he was screwed out of the time he invested into purchasing the house after 11/24.

        • frodo_35 says:

          @JustThatGuy3: I think he was screwed. Who do you think they will go after for the balance of the mortage. The op said nothing about filing chapter anything. By them selling it for less to whoever he is on the hook for more. I hope he has all this doqumented with tape recordings. I smell a scam by the realtor. How many offers on forclosed properties go unreported so they can sell the property cheaper to someone who will resell it at a higher amount later. I mean how often is someone trying to buy their own house back and can see the inner workings of a messed up process.

          • JustThatGuy3 says:

            @frodo_35:

            He’s on the hook for nada. NC is a non-recourse state, the lender can only come after him for the house, not any of his other assets.

        • bwcbwc says:

          @JustThatGuy3: No, the seller was screwed because the middle-men hid the OP’s higher offer from them.

  7. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    So, if he could outright pay for his house to begin with why was he in foreclosure?
    That sucks dude, I hope you get it back.

    • AD8BC says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese: Yeah, I’m kind of wondering this myself.

    • Etoiles says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese: It’s entirely plausible that money was tight for a while — a layoff, let’s say, then followed by a cash windfall — and the mortgage-holder fell behind by one or two payments, in which case there is then NO negotiating with the bank, no matter how much they claim there is, and by the time he had the cash they were already well on their way into the foreclosure and nothing would stop it, come hell or high water.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese: He said a friend was helping him. Maybe that’s where the extra money to save the house came from?

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese: Did you not read it. He didn’t have the money. A friend got involved to get him the money to buy off the mortgage.

      • coren says:

        @Corporate_guy: Which still doesn’t explain why he defaulted – if he’s got a friend with what sounds like 100 large, then certainly he has a friend with a couple mortgage payments

        • Rhayader says:

          @coren: Sometimes only desperation can make us ask our friends or family for money. I’m guessing he didn’t approach his friend until he felt complete internal panic. While we might be able to question if he waited too long to feel that panic, I actually think it’s a good thing to have discretion when considering whether or not to ask a friend for money.

          • supercereal says:

            @Rhayader: Fair enough, but he had to know that foreclosure was eventually the result of not paying a mortgage. Best to fix the problem when you still have the chance, rather than before it’s too late. It’s sort of akin to saying you’ll working harder AFTER you’ve already been fired…

            • Rhayader says:

              @supercereal: Yeah I sort of agree, which is why I said we could question whether or not he should have felt that panic earlier. Still though, it’s possible his reluctance to borrow from a friend — which could very well be considered a good quality — played a part in his inability to pay his mortgage.

    • Rhayader says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese: As the OP noted in his story, his friend was helping him buy the house back. One might infer that the OP ran into financial trouble and only got help after he defaulted on the mortgage.

    • nataku8_e30 says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese: Sounds like he got a friend to help him out, probably by lending or giving him money, or taking a shared stake in the ownership of the house.

    • qcgallus says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese: When I worked at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage I saw this when Ford first had their big layoff. I got probably about a dozen calls from people in October or November 2006 (I think) saying that they were cut and that they would get a lump sum in January or Feb to the tune of approx. $80,000. They wanted me to help them in the interim, but WFHM didn’t offer anything with no income at the tiem of the delinquency.

      Therefore large cash windfall, but none at the time, as one person already stated.

    • Sidecutter says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese: Read it again please. They wanted 100k for the mortgage plus 20k in legal fees. That’s what wasn;t going to happen.

      However, with the help of his friend, he was able to set himself up to offer 50,500 on the house, when the asking price was around 49,000. That’s a huge, huge difference in prices. But instead, the house was sold behind his back when he was told he couldn’t even, by law, make an offer yet, for LESS than 49k.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        @Sidecutter: I read it the first time. There’s no way, without outside help of course, that he *couldn’t* pay his monthly payment, which landed him in forclosure, and then suddenly turn around and be able to offer $50k on the house. That’s what I was saying.

        His friend lent him the money, a little too late though.

  8. vdragonmpc says:

    With all the money I have put into my house since buying it, I dont know how I would honestly handle the situation.

    Since I paid for appliances, siding, garage door, doors, windows and other upgrades I think they might be moving them with me if I was forced out. I do have the reciepts for the guy at the door.

    V

  9. ZenMasterKel says:

    There’s no way the law firm could possibly have 20K in fees. A routine non-judicial foreclosure costs between $1,200 – 2,000, and I fairly certain that North Carolina is a Deed of Trust state so it would be non-judicial. Unless he was challenging the foreclosure, there wouldn’t be 20K in fees.

    Also, if there was a realtor involved, then they would have written a contract immediately (active or not active). It’s their commission on the line, and if they can get more, then they’ll do anything.

    The story seems to be a little strange.

    • mariospants says:

      My question is: what would the house actually be worth if it wasn’t being foreclosed on? The OP says he had a $100k mortgage on the home but it sold for less than $49k. Was this a deal of the century (in which case, if the Op had gotten it at 50K it would have essentially wiped out 50% of his mortgage debt) or was it massively over-leveraged???

      • MadameX says:

        @mariospants: The way the properties values have fallen over the past 18 months or so, it was probably worth less than he initially paid for it.

        A friend of ours just worked out a short-sale with the bank to avoid foreclosure. He paid $350K for the house about two years ago. The bank accepted a bid of $195K on a short sale.

        If only we had the cash to have bought that place for a rental property… *sigh*

    • ionerox says:

      @ZenMasterKel: I concur. The laws are pretty laid out for what must happen in a forclosure- it kind of sounds like the OP didn’t really know what they were or had anyone working for him as an advocate to ensure his rights in the situation.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @ZenMasterKel: $20k sounds like a deal compared to this story–> [www.nytimes.com]

      In 2003, the Wellmans signed a forbearance agreement with National City….A local accountant, Steve Helwagen, scrutinized the bank’s numbers and testified to the court that National City’s accounting was off by $38,612 in its favor…Included in the questionable charges, Mr. Helwagen said, were bank attorney fees, foreclosure fees and those covering hazard insurance. “The bank’s records were horrendous, they just jumped all over the place,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

      despite many laws designed to stop abuse of the foreclosure process, lack of enforcement & poor oversight often results in lenders (& others involved in the process) using whatever methods they can to maximize their income.

  10. ab3i says:

    @JustThatGuy3: unfortunately this is not uncommon. This summer I ‘lost out’ on bids because the Realtor ‘forgot’ that I was sending in a bid, even though we(my Realtor and I) had been in constant touch with them and they were aware that I was willing to pay listing price or more.

  11. backbroken says:

    Dar’s copper in dem dar walls!!

    Just kidding. Don’t do that. Really.

    • Canadian Impostor says:

      @backbroken: I think it’s sad that people would do that when they couldn’t pay the mortgage, but if I was getting screwed over like the guy in the post and I was still living in the place, I’d put up an ad on Myspace and Facebook advertising free beer and free sledgehammers for a demolition party at my house.

    • Rhayader says:

      @backbroken: How else would he get his fix money? Doing speedballs every day isn’t cheap, and like you said, the copper is right there for the taking.

  12. dwasifar says:

    What happened here is obvious. Someone involved in the process of selling this home, either in the lawyer’s office or in the realtor’s, put together a sweetheart deal for themselves or a friend to get this property at a bargain price. They shut Eric out of the process by misleading him so they could get the house themselves for the minimum the bank was willing to accept.

    At the very least he should document what happened and inform the seller. The realtor and/or lawyer basically stole money from them, and they are probably not aware of what happened.

    • JustThatGuy3 says:

      @dwasifar:

      Agreed – sounds like someone ripped off the bank here.

    • LatherRinseRepeat says:

      @dwasifar:

      Yeah, this seems to be a common occurrence when it comes to transactions on foreclosed homes. Shady people everywhere. There was an LA Times story telling a similar experience.

      > How I bought a foreclosed house

    • mac-phisto says:

      @dwasifar: exactly. unfortunately, hindsight is always 20/20, but if anyone finds themselves in a similar circumstance, the best thing to do would be to hire a real estate attorney & have all communications with the broker pass thru their office. it might cost a few grand, but if the alternative is getting the shaft b/c of a backroom deal, wouldn’t it be worth the cost?

  13. bastion72 says:

    You know, sometimes you forget to turn off the burner with bacon in the pan which happens to be next to a dishrag which happens to be next to the curtains which happen to be next to an old pile of newspapers…

  14. Hawk07 says:

    I wonder what happen if the reader were to conveniently strip everything in the house of value? Or, could he accidentally break every window on the way out?

    More than likely, he’ll get to keep the house as the story gets investigated by the local press. However, if the writer gets so furious that he no longer wants the house, is there anything stopping him from making sure nobody else will want the house either?

    • BrazDane says:

      @Hawk07: While this would indeed provide some instant gratification against the pri*** that took his house, I am sure the new owners will not hesitate to sue him for the loss of value – after all they now know he has money and can use it to pay for the damages.

    • brent_r says:

      @Hawk07: Yeah, I just took up skunk breeding a few days before the foreclosure.

      Sure it smells kinda bad now, but you’ll get used to it.

      Although … I think some of them might have escaped into the basement, attic, and walls, at some point. Sorry.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @Hawk07: Technically, as it is no longer “his” he could be charged with vandalism and breaking & entering, grand theft, etc. Not a good way to spend the next few years once you’re booted out of the house.

      • HeyYouGuyss says:

        @Oranges w/ Cheese: If it’s no longer his property, is it his responsibility to lock the doors at night to prevent such damage by passerby?

        I say trash the place. If they bought it for less than list, they just got a house for < 50K. Durham isn’t that poor – if the walls are left standing, it’s still a decent deal. Plus, did the buyer not purchase it sight-unseen?

  15. SkokieGuy says:

    A realtor has a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the property owner (presumably the bank in this instance). By ignoring an opportunity to obtain a higher selling price, the Realtor is in breach of contract.

    You should contact the Real Estate boards in both states. You should also contact the seller who’s best interests were not served by the RE agent. It seems to me they might want to NOT pay the commission owed, since the Realtor is in breach of contract.

    Your state Attorney General may also have an interest as will local TV stations, since this is both a ‘human interest’ story and it puts a local face on the mortgage crisis, certainly a continuing major news story.

    Good luck!

    • Rhayader says:

      @SkokieGuy: I agree, you should definitely contact the local media about this.

    • Pylon83 says:

      @SkokieGuy:
      I’m not sure you can definitively say that they didn’t act in the best interest of the seller. If they knew his offer was going to take longer to close, and the other offer was all cash, fast closing, who’s to say what was truly in the best interest of the seller? The actual $$ aren’t the only thing to be taken into account.

      • BrianDaBrain says:

        @Pylon83: True, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to try. It’s better than Eric just accepting the fact that he lost his house.

      • failurate says:

        @Pylon83: I agree, would you hold up a fast sure thing deal for a guy that has already sort of failed to keep up his part of an earlier agreement?

        You don’t want your sure thing to move on to another investment.

        • RagingBoehner says:

          @failurate: Hadn’t thought of that. It’s especially plausible given that the OP’s offer was only a few hundred dollars more than the final price.

    • Anonymous says:

      @SkokieGuy: The agent’s fidudiary responsibility is NOT to the property owner, it is to the REO company they are contracted to (I’ve been that agent many times). The REO company MAY have a fiduciary responsibility to the property owner (bank) depending on how their contract is written. How you can cite a breach of contract without reading the contract is beyond me. Contacting the real estate board in NC makes sense. They can look into it to see if any rules or laws were broken. California would likely have no power as no transaction is taking place there; just the REO company is based there. No mention of where the bank is based. In most states, the commission is due upon an agent bringing the seller a “willing and able buyer”; there is no caveat for best offer. There have been suits where the agent collected the commission even when the transaction didn’t close. If I bring a buyer and you simply decide you don’t want to sell anymore, I’ve fulfilled my duty and am entitled to the commission. Most agents would just drop it, but they don’t have to. If the bank, through the REO company, accepted the lower bid, especially so quickly, it was their decision to do so. They could have waited, if even a week, for higher bids. So they share responsibility for not getting the highest bid. I’ve never seen an REO agent take a bid without talking to the bank rep and getting the green light first, even when they had a target number that the contract met.

  16. MosesKabob says:

    My parents were victims of a “sweetheart deal” in Wilson, NC… basically everyone involved in the transaction was in cahoots, letting my folks buy a house that they really couldn’t afford (so yes, my parents take some blame in this too). But it was only after they had left NC that they learned how much back-room dealing apparently went on… arranging the mortgage as some sort of business loan, interest-only with a baloon payment (before this sort of thing was popular), stuff like that. Surprised my folks went in for that, but they loved the house, I guess.

  17. MeOhMy says:

    It definitely sounds like there was some sort of collusion that went on so that someone could get the house on the cheap.

    Eric should contact the state attorney general (maybe even CA’s AG, too) and also whatever state entity in NC that is responsible for licensing real estate agents.

  18. JulesWinnfield says:

    This doesn’t make sense. I don’t know North Carolina law, but generally a mortgagor has an absolute right to redeem the property, even after the foreclosure sale, if he pays the amount of the outstanding mortgage debt. That does not entitle the law firm to insist on attorney’s fees above and beyond the mortgage debt.

    This guy needs to hire a lawyer right away. And he should file a complaint with the North Carolina Bar Association (or whatever they call it) against that law firm.

    • Anonymous says:

      @JulesWinnfield: This comment is correct. IANAL but I know for a fact you get 10 days to submit an upset bid and the actual homeowner gets 30 additional days after that to stop the process. I live in NC and spent a lot of time shopping foreclosures.

    • Anonymous says:

      @JulesWinnfield:

      that’s the first thing i thought of too, but apparently it’s only 10 days in NC, so the OP needs to act fast

      http://www.foreclosure.com/statelaw_NC.html

    • Anonymous says:

      @JulesWinnfield: That’s usually the case when the government takes the property (taxes, etc). A private foreclosure typically works a bit differently. For instance, many contracts will let a bank foreclose on a single late (not missed) payment. There is usually no recovery for that type of foreclosure as the consumer signed (agreed to the terms of) the contract. Bottom line in that case is to take the time to actually read any and all contracts. Some people cite pressure to sign, which is why so many states give consumers 3 or more days to back out of most deals/contracts. You had 3 days to comb over it and still let it stand.

  19. Technick says:

    A house is a house, just that and nothing more. Cut your loses and take your cash and get a better place.

    • failurate says:

      @Technick: I used to want to live like those guys in the movie Heat, where they would just drop everything and bolt with no attachments in 30 seconds.

  20. Rhayader says:

    Not really related to the story (which really does suck), but I find it funny that those who express themselves best are the most likely to apologize for their inability to do so.

    This was a well-written and articulate–if somewhat impassioned–account of what happened, which is a rare find on the interwebz. And then he apologizes for his “poorly written email”. Just kind of funny.

  21. MurrayLaenatus says:

    Am I the only one that wondered about how this guy had the money to pay off his mortgage and yet still went into foreclosure? Maybe it’s a big assumption, but could one possibility be that the value of his home went down so much that he thought he’d foreclose to get the better value on his home and just buy it back? Save $50k! I’m sure if I caught wind of that attitude, I’d give him the run around too.

    Just another thought. It sounds too sketchy to me.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @MurrayLaenatus:

      A friend was helping me try to save my home…

    • Ajh says:

      @MurrayLaenatus: My mother didn’t come to me for financial help until creditors were calling her 30-40 times a day(no exaggeration.)

    • ShariC says:

      @MurrayLaenatus: I was thinking the same thing. It appears from the information at hand that the mortgage was around 100K and the property went into foreclosure and then he wanted to buy it back for around 50K (and only $550 more than the offer that had already been made).

      If that is what occurred, then I’m surprised more people aren’t attempting such a thing as a way of reducing their mortgages and reclaiming their property at the reduced value that it is currently estimated at. I don’t know if I’m misunderstanding the situation or not, but it seems to me that people shouldn’t be allowed to do this at it encourages them to default on their loans as a way of readjusting their mortgage so it’s more in line with their home’s value. All you’d have to do is have someone who can secure a loan for you (which is not all that difficult to manage).

    • Nickoli says:

      @MurrayLaenatus:

      He says that the amount he was trying to pay for the property was more than the amount outstanding on the mortgage: “The sad part is I tried for the last 30-40 days before the foreclosure to buy my home from the mortgage company for more than the balance owed on the mortgage.”

  22. BrazDane says:

    It is amazing this can be happening so obviously, but anywhere there’s money there are enterprising people involved who will use their knowledge of the area to cut corners.
    It really does sound like the lawyers are working with someone to get a great deal on this house.
    The $20,000 in fees they wanted before the foreclosure was probably just to make it too expensive for him. They knew he had just gotten enough money together for the $100,000, so another twenty would put him over the limit.
    I have no doubt the now former owner was screwed over good – their changing stories really support that.

    However, think about this too: If the owner could be allowed to buy his house back for half of the mortgage owed on it, what is to keep others from purposefully defaulting and then buying back their house cheaper – instantly wiping out a good deal of their debt? There must/should be some mechanisms in place to prevent that – i.e. the owner can’t bid on his own house. But of course, that gets the few honest people out there who could raise the money caught in an unfair situation.
    I hope the OP can get some more media attention on this and possibly challenge this in court.

  23. traeblain says:

    This story makes me so sad. I hope that you can take the story and get everything back. Hopefully your local TV station can help you out on this.

  24. Courteous_Gentleman says:

    This is fucking criminal and sickening.

  25. tekmiester says:

    I had a broker screw me out of a sale this way too. VERY IMPORTANT: lodge a complaint with the board of Realtors. They can lose their license over this. Clearly they are not reputable, as they broke their fiduciary duty to their client to get the very best price.

    Make these scumbags lose their license.

    • RagingBoehner says:

      @tekmiester: True — but the fiduciary responsibility as I understand it is not simply “best price” but “best interest” of the seller (in this case the bank)

      An offer that’s only a few hundred dollars more may not be a better deal for the bank if they’ve had trouble working with this guy in the past.

      That doesn’t mean it can’t be a sweetheart deal but $49,950 in hand is worth more than $50,500 in the bush.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @RagingBoehner: yes, but it is their responsibility to relay any offer to their client & allow their client to decide. the client is not obligated to take the highest offer & the agent is not required to advocate for it, but they must at least notify them that the offer exists.

  26. JohnDeere says:

    i bet the lawyers kid just got him a sweet deal on a new house.

  27. TangDrinker says:

    I am not a lawyer, but I work with them.

    contact Legal Aid of NC
    [www.legalaidnc.org]

    or the bar directory’s “Find a Lawyer”
    [www.ncbar.org]

    Contact the NC Fair Housing Center
    [www.fairhousing.com]

    note- the URL given for some searches for this org redirects you to something that’s not the correct site. The contact info is listed on the page above.

    Contact the NC Real Estate Commission – see the PDF link to “contacting the commission” – there is a section on filing complaints.
    [www.ncrec.state.nc.us]

    Good luck.

  28. LawyerontheDL says:

    I would definitely point the finger at the attorneys’ office. I do foreclosures in New York, where they are for the most part, judicial and I have never charged $20,000 in fees, especially for a $100,000.00 mortgage. No judge would allow us to do so. Contact the Attorney General’s office. Also contact HUD and any other agency you can find. This smells bad. You should contact legal aid or another attorney to find out of you can somehow object to the sale.

  29. Chongo says:

    Nothing a little fire won’t fix… Man I would be so angry that I would actually contemplate it.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Something is funny, and missing, about this story. Either it was in foreclosure or it wasn’t. Who was selling the property, the homeowner or the mortgage holder? If a foreclosure sale had not happened, only the homeowner could give title to the property. If there was a foreclosure, the homeowner could have bid at the foreclosure sale to his heart’s content.

    Sounds like he/she gave title to the mortgage holder somehow either via a deed in lieu of foreclosure or otherwise. If so, they are under NO obligation to sell it to back.

  31. brent_r says:

    @JustThatGuy3: However … the “bank” did not sell it to whomever they wanted at whatever price they wanted.

    They entrusted others to do that.
    And those people undersold the bank’s property … likely for personal gain.
    So the bank was certainly screwed.

    As to whether “Eric” was screwed.
    Sure you claim he had no say on what happened to the house.
    But.
    He was still highly invested in attaining the house.
    Next time you’ve put a lot of time and effort into making a big purchase, the seller knows this and knows how much you are willing to pay … then on the agreed day of purchase you arrive to find out that the item was sold, for less than you were going to pay, to the seller’s buddy the night before.

    If you can tell me that you don’t feel screwed after that … well then I’ll be pointing out that you’re a poor liar.

  32. tedyc03 says:

    I dunno. I think I’d file a lawsuit (about $150) then make it clear to the buyer that they can pull out of the deal or I can tie them up in litigation for a couple decades, not to mention the bad PR they’ll get for screwing me out of my house.

  33. Anonymous says:

    In North Carolina, as in many states, there is a statutory right of redemption that allows someone whose home has been foreclosed upon to “buy it back” even after it has been sold to someone else. Eric should consult an attorney immediately as the timeframe in North Carolina is short. Depending on how the home was foreclosed upon, there are strict procedures that must be followed by the entity/individual foreclosing. See http://www.foreclosure.com/statelaw_NC.html as a quick lesson, but consult an attorney.

  34. UnicornMaster says:

    Realtors supposedly have a code of ethics (though I think half of them are sleezeballs and the other half are my friends). I would report the realtor to the National Association of Realtors and send the whole thing into your local Raleigh news agency. This will at least give the law office, realtor and REO company some bad media attention and maybe cost them some future business.

  35. coren says:

    IANAL, but I know there is definitely illegality going on here, and that these folks can get in some serious shit over it. You need to contact a lawyer, preferably a free one, as they’ll better know your options, but I imagine your state’s real estate board (whatever they’re called) will be highly interested to know about a home sale closing below cost before advertised when a higher offer existed. And that’s just for starters.

  36. CK says:

    People are right to be skeptical of politicians, but usually Congressmen and Senators have good systems for dealing with constituent problems. It’s worth a shot to write and call their offices with the names and dates handy. Try your state Reps too. Stick to the facts, ask for help, and impress upon them that time is of the essence (you don’t want to get referred to some agency and get a letter in a year telling you they’re working on it.)

    I’d also draft a letter to a couple of the local newspapers, letter-to-the-editor stylf. Hell, it might even make a good local TV news story.

    This sort of stuff may or may not help keep the house, but it at least puts a couple different kinds of pressure on the industrial strength scum that let this happen.

  37. calvin1864 says:

    This guy should get in contact with his local news station. This is the type of story that reporters would lap up.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I am the Eric in the story. The money made available to attempt to save my home was from a very good friend who was trying to help me. I was injured a bit over a year ago and had very little income in ’08 due to recovery issues.

    I tried paying Homecomings more than the balance due. I tried to buy my home back for more than the listing price. I lost quite a bit in those ‘stop foreclosure now’ scams I should have known better than to even consider.

    I do not know who did what and am not alleging any specifics of wrongdoing here. Complaints have been filed with the NC Real Estate Commission and they will determine whether or not violations have occured.

    The house is scheduled to close today for significantly less than I was willing to pay for it. I went beyond Weichert to Advent REO in San Diego to try to get this fairly resolved, to no avail. Advent REO (www.adventreo.com) is run by a former Homecomings employee. I don’t understand the intricicies of everything. All I know is a very good friend made almost $110,000 available for me to pay off a mortgage which was right around $100,000 balance, and I was rebuffed.

    I tried to purchase my home back for more than the asking price, with a verified funds, immediate close, no contingency, no inspection offer and was ‘mistakenly’ not allowed to submit my offer.

    Yes, had I not fallen behind on my mortgage, none of this would’ve happened. I agree. However, I did everything I could possibly do to make things right and was actively prevented from doing so.

    If wrongdoing was done, hopefully it will be rooted out. But for me, I’ve lost my home. And you know what, it sucks when someone tries to do the right thing and is prevented from doing so.

    For the record, the various parties involved are as follows:

    Property address:
    2508 Highland Ave.
    Durham, NC 27704

    The REO Asset Mgmt company is:
    Advent REO LLC
    1951 Fourth Ave #302, San Diego, CA 92101

    I tried to resolve this issue with Josh Purkiss, brother of the firm founder.

    The listing Realtor is:
    Weichert Realty – Welcome Home
    4805 Green Rd. #103 Raleigh, NC 27616

    I was dealing with Jim Wilson, who is the Owner/Broker in Charge of that office.

    The Broker representing the ‘purchaser’ is Doug Osborn with Weichert Realty – Mark Thomas Realty
    3901 University Drive Durham, NC 27707

    I will not know the ultimate purchaser or the transaction amount until the transaction closes and the deed is filed with the Register of Deeds office. It is tentatively scheduled to go to closing today.

    Feel free to ask any questions any of you may have. If you want to know my name, do a quick deed search online, it is simple to figure out.

    Thank you.

    Eric

  39. downwithmonstercable says:

    What kind of house does 50,000 get you in NC? That is crazy…

  40. vastrightwing says:

    The code words for “you’re being taken advantage of” is “systemic failure”, “slipped through the cracks”, “we forgot”, etc. This guy should go to court, stop the transaction and take everyone involved to court and let the judge settle this. This was fraud. Just knowing the sale went so quickly for less than the previous offer is enough to make this transaction stink like crazy. The injured parties are: Eric, and the bank. The perps are all the others in the real estate chain. Laws were certainly broken here and a good lawyer will find them all. Eric, tell this to the bank and they will possibly take this to court or you can do it. I smell damages here.

  41. Cocotte says:

    Surely this is criminal collusion, and subject to the law?

  42. MeOhMy says:

    @Rhayader: Are you TeeDub’s sock puppet?

    It’s not a valid point because in the real life world of grown-ups where people get laid off, injured in accident, sick, divorced, etc, it just doesn’t always work that way.

    Do we still have a comments moderator, or did Roz get scrapped in the Gawker budget cuts?

    • lockers says:

      @Troy F.: “Are you TeeDub’s sock puppet?”

      Isn’t that ugly. The only way someone could disagree with you is if he was the same person, who is to you an obvious troll.

      “Do we still have a comments moderator, or did Roz get scrapped in the Gawker budget cuts?”

      Now that’s rich. Why don’t you start by apologizing to Rhayder for having a legitimate point that you got personal about. You are the worst kind of dismissive commenter.

      • Rhayader says:

        @lockers: Thanks, my friend. I didn’t think I said anything all that bad, and I certainly didn’t make any personal insults. I was just discussing the topic.

        Troy F., what about my comments deserved moderation? Please show me the part of the commenting code which I violated by saying that TeeDub made a valid point.

        • MeOhMy says:

          @Rhayader:
          You and Locker have got to be kidding me. TeeDub even responded to his own comment with an equally ridiculous one! Oh yeah, not trolling, not at all. No wait. Yeah. Trolling.

          I actually agree with the notion (even if TeeDub was not serious) that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but considering the house already been both foreclosed upon AND resold, just saying “Well next time pay your mortgage” is not relevant or helpful in any way.

          Do you honestly believe that the mortgage-thread equivalent of the “Pay your debts and you won’t have collectors calling you” comment is either germaine to the topic or useful?

          Bearing this in mind, you can’t think why someone agreeing with such a comment might look like a sock puppet? I’m gonna call them when I see them!

          Frankly, I was not referring to your comments specifically being moderated as much as the fact that the original comment (and hence the replies) was and has been allowed to stand.

          • lockers says:

            @Troy F.: “I actually agree with the notion that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

            gibber gibber? You are calling someone a troll who you agree with? Pot meet kettle, you have much in common.

            Notice, Rhayader, that he neither apologized nor was he civil. I guess some people have nothing better to do than be crappy on the internet.

  43. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    @Triterion: Anyways, who on earth would let someone take out another mortgage right after he defaulted on one?

    Um.. isn’t this why we’re IN this mess?

  44. HarleyBabb says:

    Check out this link: http://www.foreclosure.com/statelaw_NC.html

    Apparently there is a very short statutory right of redemption in NC. You’ve got 10 days to “reclaim that property by making payment in full of the sum of the unpaid loan plus costs”.

    Snap to it!

    *this does not constitute legal advice, it is merely the result of a google search. as always see a lawyer immediately prior to acting upon this recommendation*

  45. xip says:

    It sounds shady. I would start by consulting a lawyer. It’s possible that they did something illegal here. If not, you could always contact a local news station and see if they want to run a story on it… but I guess I’m spiteful like that. ;)

  46. Xkeeper says:

    @snowburnt:

    If you actually bothered to ass yourself to read part of the article, you’d know some of the answers and look less like an idiot; it clearly says that one of his friends is giving him help in paying it off.

    A friend was helping me try to save my home, but the $20,000 in fees on top of the $100,000 owed was insurmountable.

    At least put some effort into whining about how you can’t pity somebody.

  47. Marshfield says:

    The one person missing from this story is the OP’s real estate agent. I don’t think there was one, at least if there was, there is no mention of it. In that case the listing agent/ broker would be double agents and need (at least under WA state laws and I suspect any other RE law) to disclose that and get signoffs from the buyer (OP) that he knows he’s dealing with a double agent. Did that happen?

    If not, there might be a wedge here for a lawsuit or at least a valid ethics complaint to the State RE board. They take these things very seriously.

  48. kwsventures says:

    Tell Eric there are millions of other homes available to be bought, many at a better deal then he had originally. So, move on and find another place to buy. It is a buyers market. Go for it.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @kwsventures: I wish it were a buyers market. I can afford a monthly payment, but I’ll never have the $15-$20k required up front.

      I’ll never have a house. :(

  49. Go Team Venture says:

    I love, Love, absolutely love, that photograph.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Truly empathetic that this guy went through all of this. There is the possibility that whoever held title to the property has a policy of not dealing with people who have a history of falling behind on payments. Too, there’d be no/less fee generation than if the title owner completed a deal with Eric. Sounds heartless, but this is what happens when you fall behind on payments.

  51. Jevia says:

    It can’t hurt, but contact a lawyer. Might be able to file some sort of TRO or other claim (lis pendens maybe?) to try and enforce an implied agreement, or at least get some damages from the misrepresentation.

  52. MeOhMy says:

    @lockers: I’m not going to apologize for pointing out the obvious…as far as civility goes, you think calling someone a sock puppet is so awful but didn’t bother whining about some of the other responses here?

    You complain because you think the reason I am calling out the trolls here is just because I disagree with them.

    Then you complain when I respond by pointing out that, my assessment of TeeDub and his sockpuppets-apparent has nothing to do with who I agree with and everything to do with the lack of relevance to the thread.

    Oh and you claim that pointing out trolls based on behavior and not allowing personal prejudices to blind us to trolling is, in fact, trolling?

    Once again, you have got to be kidding me. I honestly hope you are pulling my leg and I’ve fallen for the joke.

    • lockers says:

      @Troy F.: “you think calling someone a sock puppet is so awful but didn’t bother _whining_ about some of the other responses here?”

      Yes, you are the troll. I am feeding you. I apologize for responding to your idiotic posts and I should have known better than to fall for your shenanigans.

  53. 310Drew says:

    First of all, this guy should have gotten his ducks in a row before his house got foreclosed on.

    Second of all. He made an offer over 24 hours after the property went on the market. I am not sure how the market is where he is located, but where I am, REO’s move quickly if priced right. Saturday, Sunday or Holiday, an offer can be accepted any day.

    I am an REO broker in the midwest and quite often people seem to think something sneaky is going on. More often than not, the person who feel’s cheated was just late to the party and the jello shots are gone.

    Even though your typical bank branch closes at 1pm on Saturday does not mean the REO department or the servicing company the bank hired is closed. I get emails from banks at all times of the day and night. I get emails and offers all day and night. Sending an offer at 2am is no big deal, just email it. Its the wonder of email, it does not ring in your ear, it shows up when you check it!

    I know I work crazy hours and have found I am not the only one when my email gets answered at 3am by another Realtor. We are not cheating anyone, we are just working quicker than you are.

  54. PollyHaerk says:

    I work for an REO office as a salesman. As frustrating as this is for the poster, there are some things that he nor the average reader may realize here. The main point is that once you are delinquent enough to be put into foreclosure (and yes folks, thats quite a bit right now, unless you have an FHA loan- but we won’t talk about that), the situation snowballs.

    Firstly, legal fees spent at any time while in foreclosure are placed as “corporate” fees on an account. They become part of the payoff, and in many situations, will be added proportionately to the payments, like escrow, until they are paid. The mortgage company fronts this money and is very well in their right, as a buyer has consented in his mortgage docs, to collect these fees during the tenure of the loan or at the end. Keep in mind, i said “mortgage company”. The attorney would be billing the mortgage company for his services. If the owner of the property was negotiating with the attorney, instead of negotiating with the mortgage company, thats mistake #1. Further, it could have very well been the policy of the mortgage company to advise him that he must pay his legal fees to be reinstated out of foreclosure. $20K? We don’t have an explanation here as to how long he’s been in foreclosure or what mitigation has already been done to save him, but you don’t run up $20k in foreclosure fees with an attorney in the matter of 2 or 3 months. You may say “well the company’s policy isn’t in the best interest of the consumer”, however, for my company atleast, if a borrower has had numerous repayment plans which lead to a MODIFICATION, once someone is modified current and they fall delinquent yet again, our leniancy to bypass rules goes out the window. If anything like this had already occured for him and he was asked to pay his legal fees to reinstate, then its no surprise.
    But thats not even what hes saying. The gentleman states he wanted to “pay off” the home. That means take title and wipe the mortgage clean. If that, folks, is what he wanted, he would without a doubt be required to pay the mortgage company his balance and all fees they have spent in order to have them release the mortgage. Else, thats a short-sale, which is an option that would have been discussed with him prior to this debacle for him to sell the property to another person.

    With regards to the REO process, it is a common bank policy that in order to deed the property back to the former owner (person who held the mortgage), they must pay the balance, all legal fees spent, as well as a daily prorata for living in a house they no longer own. Meaning that had the right person spoken to him, and he did have 20K in fees, his and only his “buyback” price would be $70k.
    I know, you can cry out loud and say “that doesn’t make sense”, but, the mortgage company will pursue its money forever. Do any of you know what recovery departments are? They pursue former borrowers who have been foreclosed upon where the sale of the home did not cover the mortgage company’s owed amount and fees. This is a common practice. This gentleman may be eventually pursued for those legal fees. Had the mortgage company agreed to sell the property to him, they would effectively be cancelling their case for recovery pursuit. Thats why it is essential to collect all owed fees when former owners attempt to buy properties back.

    Had he wanted to get anywhere, he should have had a friend or family member ask to buy the home pre-foreclosure, via “short-sale” or whatever, and attempted the same while in REO.

    At this point, my advice is to ask for an itemized bill for all attorney legal fees and verify they are accurate and that the mortgage company ordered and approved all things which were done.

  55. PollyHaerk says:

    SOMETHING ELSE:
    Look at it this way… the mortgage company is out of $20,000 (apparently) in legal fees. Sure, he’s willing to pay $50K or whatever, but essentially, he’s leaving them with $20k of debt if the balance on the loan is 49k of whatever. Why should the mortgage company give the home back to the same person who has already run them in the red? The attitude is that he cannot have the property back in his name unless he makes them whole.
    Who disagrees with that?

    • J.Heck says:

      @PollyHaerk: He was willing to pay 100,000K, and they tacked on another 20K to make it out of reach to him. So he could have gotten away with buying it outright with 70K is what you’re saying? They sold it for under 50K to a lesser bidder.

  56. Dr Steve Brule says:

    Nothing a little murder-for-hire won’t fix.

  57. Anonymous says:

    My hubby and i were building a house a few years ago with a small builder. The builder called us about a week b4 we were to close and demanded we close that day. We could not as we were selling a house and hadn’t closed on it.

    We were contracting our own landscaping that was to be paid from escrow. The landscaper asked the builder if he could put in the landscaping before the closing. Of course the builder said YES, without or knowledge.

    Long story short, the builder went under, we lost all of our investment and were sued for the landscaping; we lost. We still had a contract to close on the house the week this all happened but the court decided to sell it to a higher bidder. What a reeaallly nice experience building our first house was!

  58. TechnoDestructo says:

    So, is he still in the house? Has he been evicted yet?

    If not…where can one buy termites?

  59. Anthem_ says:

    It might be too late for this (or it might not) – but I’d consider filing chapter 13 bankruptcy. I work with bankruptcies, and 1) North Carolina is debtor-friendly. If you come to a discharge at the end of the BK, the lender should end up wiping a lot of fees and costs off your loan 2) They would have to file a proof of claim listing these 20,000 in fees. You, and a good lawyer, can challenge this with an Objection to the POC. Request to see a “detailed breakdown” of the fees and costs. That is your right, and if they can’t provide it then you have a very good shot at challenging them in court. Also, I 100% guarantee that they won’t be able to – and a lot can get wiped off. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a $7,000 attorney fee or anything. That HAS to be broken down to “hourly fee” and “filing fee” and “document fee”. Don’t accept suspiciously large numbers. Most fees should never go above a grand. 3.) Lender’s systems don’t handle bankruptcy very well. A lot of things get misapplied and f’ed up. If you live in the right state, though – this can be awesome. Detroit? File bankruptcy ALWAYS. North Carolina is pretty good for wiping out fees and costs.

    Anyway, here’s my advice. Get a good bankruptcy lawyer and 1) after they file a Proof of Claim, file an Objection to the POC requesting an exact breakdown. You can also claim the fees are “excessive”, and a judge may agree. 2) Wait a few months and then file a motion to refinance or a motion to cramdown. If you can show that you have the funds to purchase the house based on the equity, or more, these can be really successful for not only getting you away from the lender, but out for less. Another thing is all these lenders are totally overrun right now, and are dropping the ball A LOT. This is good in bankruptcy – you can file sanctions, and they often fail to file responses. Honestly, in a good state, with an aggressive lawyer, you can save thousands. Just keep ALL your paperwork (including anything the lender sends you at all), records of your payments, and I’d encourage you to maintain your own ledger if possible. A woman in NY did this once, and was able to bleed Wells for thousands when they tried to claim she’d defaulted.
    Bankruptcy laws are very strict, and in a lot of states they protect the debtor much more than the mortgage company.

    • johnnya2 says:

      @Anthem_: The Chapter 13 would have saved his house prior to the sheriffs sale, NOT after. The basics of Chapter 13 are temporary struggles, not the inability to pay for it because the income wont justify it.

  60. LorneReams says:

    He had ten days after the sale to redeem the property for the FC sale price AFAIK. If I was worried about losing my home, I would have been at the FC sale, and probably making my own bid. The sale dates are public record and would have had to be published for a specific amount of time (at least a month) weekly in the newspaper before the sale. This story stinks.

  61. snidelywhiplash says:

    I’m a realtor, and have dealt with (and heard about) more than one REO sale in my time. The thing that struck me as odd was the original poster’s statement that an offer was made and accepted within a 24-hour period.

    It seems EXCEEDINGLY strange that this happened. It typically takes anywhere from two to five business days to get a deal put together, and that’s assuming there’s no back-and-forth negotiation.

    To the original poster: YOU NEED A LAWYER, NOW. Quit screwing around with Consumerist. Nothing puts the shit up most realtors’ necks faster than a letter from a law office. You need to go after both realtors, Homecomings, US Bank, and the trustee, this Pettit fellow listed on your trust documents. The Real Estate Commission and Attorney General may be of help, but they can’t stop slimy things from happening. They only punish the wrongdoers through license suspension or revocation. They don’t grant injunctive relief.

    Also with regard to the attorney fees – I’m not a lawyer, but reading your original mortgage documents, if they did indeed ask for $20,000 they might be in breach of the mortgage contract provisions, which allow only for “reasonable” attorney fees. $20K on a $117K foreclosure isn’t reasonable in the world I live in..

    And that’s the other thing. If I read correctly, Eric owed $108,000 on the house. It was foreclosed at ~$117K, and sold as an REO for only $50K? WTF??

    Lastly, if you Google “homecomings financial” and “u.s. bank,” it produces a slew of complaints similar to Eric’s. I sense a theme developing…

  62. Sys Admn says:

    Complain to the state Realtor’s board all you want – you ‘ll find it’s run by Realtors, for the benefit of realtors.

    “The NC Association of REALTORS® is dedicated to providing the opportunities and resources that aid our members. Our mission statement is succinct: “To enhance the ability of our members to be successful.” We further pledge to: preserve and promote the right to own, transfer and use real property; maintain a leadership role in the legislative, political and regulatory process; promote and maintain the highest ethical standards; develop and provide the best education, products and services; promote housing affordability.”

    That part about maintaining the highest ethical standards is a joke.

    • Sys Admn says:

      @Sys Admn:
      The state commission which deals with Realtors is at [www.ncrec.state.nc.us] Gotta love this gem:

      Can the Real Estate Commission give consumers legal advice or help them settle disputes with real estate agents?
      No. The Commission cannot enforce contracts or require real estate agents to fulfill promises, reimburse money, or perform other acts. Persons who feel that money is owed to them in a real estate transaction or that a sales contract, lease, etc. has been breached should consult their private attorney for advice and assistance.