Our team recently took a listing for a woman who was facing foreclosure. Patty’s* house had a great layout, and a fantastic location in one of our most highly sought after neighborhoods. And the price range for this neighborhood is modest enough that many first time home buyers can afford to buy there. Patty’s house needed some work though. It needed new paint and flooring throughout. The kitchens and bathrooms while functional were outdated. But most importantly, it needed a new roof badly, and this is probably the critical repair that was going to make this listing a cash-only deal.
And The Going Gets Tougher
In addition to the repairs that were needed, Patty was not the only party on the title. Many, many years ago, Patty had shared the home with her spouse. They parted ways and went through proper legal proceedings giving Patty sole ownership of the property. Unbeknownst to them, the title was not updated correctly and this person still remained on the title. It had been decades since they had last spoken. Patty would need his signature to clear title, and she wasn’t sure she would be able to get it.
With those obstacles in mind, Patty didn’t know if she could even sell her house. And if she could sell it, she didn’t know if she could sell it for enough. In fact, because of the impending foreclosure, she thought she might lose the house and end up with substantial debt in her name. The thought terrified her.
As part of our consultative process, our listing specialist, Anna, met with Patty to discuss her options. We ask a lot of questions in these consultations. Sometimes these are questions that you would never think to ask yourself before deciding to sell or not. The questions are as much for the seller as they are for the realtor., and we feel it’s essential for each seller to go through this process of discovery before they make their decision. Not only were we concerned with logistically how to avoid foreclosure, but we neede to know Patty’s goals. To completely understand her wants and needs. To help her formulate a plan to achieve all that, whether that meant selling her house or not. In Patty’s case, she wanted to make a fresh start and move abroad, and selling the house was the right thing to do.
Armed with our team’s aggressive marketing plan, we all set to work. Having the strength of an entire team working for a common goal is a powerful thing. The amount of marketing we do in such a short amount of time, couldn’t possibly be done by just one person. Each member of our team is assigned different activities to market the property. With the listing now live, the phones started ringing off the hook. This property garnered an insane amount of attention. There was a total of 49 offers within those first six days and the property bid way up.
The frenzy of bidding buyers surprised me this time because our audience of qualified buyers was narrowed down to only those who could afford to pay cash. Just goes to show you that our market is still hot, hot, hot(summer 2019.) Even if your house is a fixer, Even if your home is not eligible for conventional financing. There are still way more buyers out there then there are sellers. Patty didn’t do anything to try to fix her house up. We listed it as-is.
If we know a house is going to be hot, and we expect multiple offers, we like to set an offer review date so that we can provide an ample window of time for buyers to see the property. We want to give the maximum number of interested buyers a chance to bid on the property. The more bids we get will usually mean a higher sales price for our client.
Sometimes I see houses go on the market and then come right back off after a day or two and I always wonder, was it the seller who wanted to take the first offer that came in, or was it the realtor? Sometimes I hear people say that the first offer is always the best, but I think that is only true under certain market conditions and certain situations. With the pricing and marketing strategy that we used with Patty’s home, we frequently see the highest and best come in right before we sit down with our seller to review offers. And with Patty’s house, this was one of those times, so we’re glad we waited for the highest and best.
Accepting the Offer
Ultimately, the offer that won was one of the top 3 highest offers, but not the highest. This offer also took into account Patty’s particular situation regarding her requested closing date, and how long Patty needed after closing to move out. As an added bonus, the winning bid did not ask her to clean the property or even move out her personal belongings. They couldn’t have made it any easier for Patty to move. All she needed to do was pack up the things she wanted, and leave the rest behind. Patty said that it was the thoughtfulness of this offer, their additional effort to try and accommodate her needs as much as possible that was the deciding factor for her.
Now with her home under contract, Patty had one more obstacle she needed to overcome before she could move forward into her new life. Because she was planning to move abroad, she wouldn’t be able to take her beloved dog with her. Being in real estate, we connect with a lot of people; it’s part of our job. And Anna just happened to know exactly the right person to help Patty re-home her dog.
Thank Goodness for Happy Endings
When Patty finally received her closing statement and saw how much money she was going to net from the sale of her home she cried. In less than 30 days, she went from worrying about foreclosure and mountains of debt to walking away with a tidy sum of money that will forever change her future for the better.
The credit for this happy ending goes to Anna, our teams Listing Specialist. Though I was part of the marketing efforts, I didn’t know the full story until after closing. I was so inspired by this story that I had to put it into words for the rest of you to read. These are the stories that remind me of why I’ve chosen real estate as my profession. Yes, we sell houses. But what we really do is change people’s lives, and we are proud and deeply grateful to be earning a living doing so.
What to do If You’re Facing Foreclosure
If you are facing foreclosure and you’re not sure what to do, please contact me for a consultation. My listing specialist and I will work hard to come up with the best plan of action for you. I wish I could share the end all be all rock-solid foreclosure plan, but I don’t think there is one. Every situation is unique, and what might be best for one person may not be best for you. You may have some options that you haven’t thought of yet. We’d love to brainstorm with you.
A Note of Disclosure
*Please note that names have been changed and specific details left out to protect “Patty’s” identity. Foreclosure can be an embarrassing ordeal for some people, and “Patty” wanted to remain anonymous.