Monday, November 14, 2011

Incredible Panther's Sideline Experience

I know most of my blogging will be about real estate but after what I experienced yesterday at the Carolina Panthers vs Tennessee Titans game, I have to make an exception.
Allen Tate Realtors is a sponsor for the Carolina Panthers. With the corporate office in Charlotte, Allen Tate has the ability to assist the Panthers staff and all the players with their real estate needs ….. it’s a great partnership. As some of you know Jerri and I are original PSL owners at Bank of America Stadium and the Carolina Panthers.  Last week we received an email from the Allen Tate marketing department asking us if we would like to accept the Panther’s offer to let someone from Allen Tate go on to the field during pre-game warm-ups. It turns out that this invitation extended to us getting to stand on the field next to the cheerleaders during player introductions. As a hard core Panthers fan, I can’t tell you how “pumped” we were to be able to experience this.
We took Jerri’s nephew and his dad to be with us on the sideline but Jerri gave up her spot to go on the field to her nephew. So it was me and Dillon standing on the 50 yard line waiting for our time to run out on the field and stand with the Panther players while the starters were introduced. It was a Veteran’s Day celebration so the Panthers started the pre-game ceremonies by honoring a veteran that lost both legs in Afghanistan. He boldly walked out on the field on two prosthetic legs with the biggest smile on his face. That smile quickly turned to tears once he heard the thunderous ovation from the crowd acknowledging this man’s sacrifice.
The next introduction was the wife of an Afghanistan veteran and her four children. The Panthers played a message from her husband on the large video boards at both ends of the stadium. Her face was glued to the big screen while her husband spoke of how much he missed her and his children.
The Panther’s announcer told the crowd they had another special guest they wanted to introduce and out of the visitor’s tunnel the veteran who we just gave such a stirring message to his wife on the big video boards came running on the field to be re-united with his wife and children. I looked back at Jerri and she’s sobbing from what we were seeing and I’m having to wipe my own eyes just so I don’t trip over all the TV cords laying at my feet.
While all this is going on two of the Carolina Panthers Cheerleaders move right in front of me holding a little girl we would later find out was 6 years old with cancer. The Carolina Panthers and the Make a Wish Foundation were granting her a wish to be a Top Cat Cheerleader for this game. Standing less than 10 feet from this little girl I could clearly see the effects of Chemotherapy treatments.
As a cancer survivor, I’ve gone through some of what this little girl has gone through and it’s not fun. She deserved to be on that field having her wish come true and at that moment if someone had told me I could trade places with this little girl and she, instead of me, could run on that field cancer free, I would have done it in a minute. Anyone having to deal with cancer is tragic but seeing someone so young having to fight this dreadful disease tugs at your heart like nothing else can. The “On Field Experience” with the Panthers was incredible but in a much different way than I expected. 
Thanks to Allen Tate for thinking of us when the Panthers called and a special thanks to Jerry Richardson and The Carolina Panthers for all the things they do for people in our part of the world.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Foreclosure experiences

I don’t want all my blogging to be about the world of foreclosures but I thought I would share some of our experiences as well as the process of the foreclosures and evictions we handle.  First of all, most people have long vacated their homes prior to us showing up at their door. Fannie Mae’s attorney contacts the local sheriff to meet us at the properties to perform the eviction. The sheriff’s primary function is to perform the eviction and to protect everyone involved in the process. Usually it’s vacant and we just secure the property, change the locks and move forward with clean up, repairs and marketing the property. Now on those occasions when someone is at home when we show up to evict it becomes very interesting and sometimes pretty sad.  As I said in my earlier blog, this part of the process is not much fun. Some evictions are surprising to the one that answers the door because they are tenants, not the owner. All the foreclosure warning letters are going to the owner and not the tenant.  After making their rent payments as expected, the tenants are the ones that are now asked to leave. I think we are handling those situations much better now than we had before. Several months ago we started posting a “Knowing your options” letter on the door of the property several days prior to eviction. This letter from Fannie Mae acknowledged that the person living at the subject property may not be the owner and we were alerting them of their options prior to the eviction. Fannie Mae has actually been pretty gracious to these tenants in some cases allowing them to rent from Fannie Mae for a few months until they found another home in lieu of eviction. They also have an option to receive compensation of at least $500 if they vacate the property voluntarily and clean it up before they vacate. At least the program gave them enough money for deposits on their next home if they chose to take advantage of it.
On the day of eviction the owner/tenant is given a time of around 30 minutes to gather up what ever they need to get through a day or two. They then have 10 days to line up a time with me or Jerri to come back to the home to unlock the doors so they can get the rest their belongings.  Most of these evictions are filled with tears and sadness, some more than others. I once showed up for an eviction of a home on 12th street in Winston Salem. There we found a young girl in her early twenties, nine months pregnant and a 4 year old little girl … no car….no way to go anywhere. This young girl was a tenant and was paying her rent payments through a section 8 program (guaranteed money to the owner of the property) but it turns out the owner was not making his mortgage payment. After we explained what was about to happen to the young lady she began to sob uncontrollably with the 4 year old rubbing her shoulder trying to tell her that everything was going to be alright. It was more than I could handle at that moment so I had the locksmith finish up changing the locks and I told the sheriff he could go on to his next appointment. This was against protocol but there was no way I was being a part of putting this young pregnant girl and her 4 year old on the street. I called Jerri and told her what was going on and she contacted our rep at Fannie Mae. I put the young lady and her daughter in to my car and took her to her section 8 counciler’s office and told her to hang out there until I had a chance to get an answer from Fannie Mae. Upon hearing the situation Fannie Mae immediately let this young girl move back in to her house for 90 days, rent free, allowing her to have her baby and then find a new place to stay. So the next time you hear or read something about the “big bad Fannie Mae” I hope you will remember this young girl and know that there are some very reasonable people with big hearts at Fannie Mae. Not all of our experiences are sad so next week I’ll write about some of the more amusing foreclosure situations we’ve run in to. Have a great day!

Monday, July 25, 2011

New Fannie Mae Incentives

Since this is the first serious blog I have written/posted I thought I might give some credibility to it by letting everyone know about our experience with Fanie Mae. Jerri and I are a direct Fannie Mae broker. We handle a large inventory of foreclosed homes for Fannie Mae that are in different stages of the foreclosure. We handle the process from the initial eviction, to repairs, listing and then the final close. We've been a Fannie Mae property manager long before the big rise in foreclosures started. I would like to say that we have seen it all when it comes to the foreclosure market but each day has been an adventure.

Not all is doom and gloom in the world of foreclosures. Although it's a devastating ending for a homeowner, regardless of the reason, to have your home foreclosed on. That's not the side of the business we enjoy but on the other side of the equation we often get to help buyers realize their dream of owning a new home and actually starting out with some equity in it.

Fannie Mae is doing their part in helping buyer's with this process. Fannie Mae has recently rolled out a program that offers incentives for "owner occupants" that purchase Fannie Mae HomePath qualified foreclosed homes. If you can close by October 31, 2011, Fannie Mae is offering up to 3% in closing cost assistance to help buyers get in to one of their foreclosed properties. Buying a foreclosed home may not be everyone's cup of tea but many of the Fannie Mae homes we market have been renovated. Quite often we will have new flooring installed along with new paint on the wall and ceiling surfaces. Installing new appliances and light fixtures are also part of most renovations.

Unfortunately these incentives are not available to investors but the great values offered in a Fannie Mae foreclosure can be enjoyed far beyond these incentives. Pricing on these homes are always below market value. There are mortgage savings through a HomePath mortgage and if you purchase a foreclosure that was not renovated by Fannie Mae then simply talk to your mortgage broker about a 203K repair loan. Some mortgage brokers are not set up to do HomePath mortgages but it's nice to have that covered through Allen Tate Mortgage.

I hope my first attempt at blogging was beneficial to someone. I might try to include some of those "foreclosure adventures" in future blogs. Trust me, that will be interesting reading! Call me if you need me.