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!

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