I Sell Foreclosed Properties
I’ve been selling foreclosed properties for 20 years. In that time I have checked the occupancy on thousands of houses that had just been foreclosed upon. I have knocked on the door and said,”Hi, My name is Bill Lublin and I represent the Lender that just foreclosed on your property. I was just stopping by to see what your plans were about leaving the property.”
Usually the reasons for foreclosures fell into what I called the four “D”s. Death, Divorce, Drugs, and Drinking. Someone dies, and the heirs didn’t make mortgage payments. People divorced and lost the house through spite. People drank or drugged and lost the house to their habit. Sometimes the loss was the result of a gambling problem.
Though I’m a pretty charitable guy, you become inured to the situations because someone has to do the job. You distance yourself from the issues of the former mortgagors because you need to, and sometimes its easy because they’re harsh or offensive or uncaring themselves. Often they’re gone before you get “the assignment” so you don’t even think about them, other then to reflect on the possessions they left behind (a lot of free weights get left – I guess body building and bill paying don’t always go hand in hand). And over the years, it has been a good specialty to pursue. People that sell foreclosures help get housing stock back into the community. We put families in vacant homes, help investors create security for their families, and improve the neighborhoods where the vacant homes are.
A Real Tragedy
Yesterday there was a headline in USA Today entitled “Foreclosures Take Toll on Mental Health” which talked about an older couple in Prineville, Oregon, ages 71, and 69 who committed suicide 2 days before their house was scheduled for foreclosure. The article quoted the Crook County Sheriff’s office who said, “It is believed that the Donacas committed suicide after attempts to save their home following a foreclosure notice left them believing they had few options”.
The article tells us little . Its main point is that losing your home is stressful (Duh!) and that people will react to that stress in a variety of ways. Raymond Donaca, the brother of the deceased husband Raymond was quoted as saying “He got so deep in debt he couldn’t figure out what to else to do. I guess a guy would have to walk a few miles in his shoes to understand.” That may be the understatement of this yet new century.
Their case is obviously extreme, and as obviously disturbing, and I am struggling to make some sense out of this and take some lesson away from it. We aren’t given any of the back story. Why did the house end up in foreclosure? What happened to these two people in the later years of their life that created this problem? What was therein this situation that got out of hand? Were there health issues? What were the financial circumstances that led to their terrible choice? Why didn’t they know that they had other choices?
Be the expert , Be a resource, Be a lifeline.
In the current real estate market, more agents are meeting people who are under financial stress because of the current market and the mortgage industries challenges. Many of us have never had experience with foreclosures or with short sales. We need to be aware that the people that they are dealing with need them to become informed. They need to know what the laws are in their state. We need to find out what programs thir local or state government has put in place to help people in financial trouble. And We need to provide the consumer with answers to their questions so that they can find a more positive way to handle their issues.
I’m not suggesting that everyone run out and take the first course they find, I’m suggesting that you take the time to google search or go to the local governmental authority, or read the HUD website, learn about Hope Now or get information from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and get it out to the consumer.Go to Realtor.org to get information on Short Sales, and look for the information coming to you soon from the NAR Working Group on Short Sales that reported at NAR’s Mid-Year meetings this week.
Every one of us talks about being the expert in our neighborhoods. Knowing where things are, how they work, taxes, schools, movies, and shops. Maybe we can get some more knowledge to share with consumers that need it. We are the members of the Real Estate Profession and the members of our Communities. We can make a difference when we make a living.
Sorry for the weight of the message. I’ll keep it lighter next time-