Entry 129: Real Estate Nightmares

While our real estate transactions last year didn’t exactly go smoothly, I am horrified to learn what could have happened.

For instance, there is this story from the world of real estate, as reported by WREG TV in Memphis, and regurgitated by the Huffington Post:

The foreclosure crisis just resulted in a very expensive mix-up for one Mississippi resident.

Terry Jordan was sold the wrong foreclosed home by her realtor and wasn’t informed until after she had spent thousands of dollars on renovations, WREG 3 reports. Her realtor then admitted she had actually been sold the house a few feet away, one half the size and full of mold.

Having gone through the home-buying process at a time recent enough to be within memory, I can’t help but think, “WTF!” Don’t they have title searches in Mississippi? Inspections? Jeez, in New York, I think they make sure you have a C of O if you installed a friggin’ skylight!

I mean, what exactly was the procedure here? The listing had the wrong house, the realtor showed the wrong house, the person bought the wrong house, renovated it, moved in…all without, oh, I don’t know, checking the address?

I sent the story to my nearest real estate professional, who happens to be my lovely wife. I asked, “How is this possible?” She replied, using official real estate lingo for which she is constantly taking online refresher courses: “Someone made a boo-boo?”

Well, yes. Yes, indeed.

And the new owner of the moldy house says she replaced the roof on the other house, and redid the electrical and some plumbing, and now she can’t even sue, because she’s only out a few thousand dollars and can’t get a lawyer to take the case.

She put a new roof on for a few thousand dollars? What did they use–tin foil? And–watch the video: doesn’t she seem just a bit too happy?  She’s like, “Oh, I’m out a few thousand bucks and I own a moldy home. La di dah.” If this had happened to me, the interview would have needed subtitles, because you couldn’t have understood what I was saying, what with my head spinning around and all.

Closer to home (in fact, right down the block), a house that we had always sort of assumed was empty because it looked abandoned turned out not to be when the owner, an 85-year-old-woman, was shot by her 57-year-old daughter because the older woman had asked if she had “met a nice boy yet.”

No, that’s not it. The house was in the process of a foreclosure sale, the family owed $50,000 in taxes, and I guess they didn’t want to sell any of the “dozens of handguns, shotguns and rifles” authorities found at the home to help make a payment or two. Evidently, seeing no way out, the daughter used one of the handy double-barreled shotguns to shoot her mother in the back, and then shoot herself, probably in the front.

What makes this a real tragedy is that the family owned four dogs. They were taken into custody by Stamford Animal Control. You know, for questioning.

Captain Richard Conklin, was particularly upset. “To discover something like this, it’s just so unnecessary,” he said. “Especially two days before Mother’s Day.”

Yes, if only the daughter had waited. Take mom out for a nice dinner, some flowers maybe, an E-card…then shoot her in the back with a double-barreled shotgun.

And to Conklin’s other point, I think it was kinda necessary to discover it; otherwise the new owners would have been in for even more of a shock than Terry Jordan down in Mississippi.

See you soon.

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