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The stereotypical view of people who face foreclosure is that they are irresponsible or unintelligent. But sometimes, they are good, intelligent professionals who have had bad things happen. My own older brother, a Cornell alum, lost his house in the early 90’s due to illness.

One couple I listed was in similarly bad circumstances. She was a nurse; he was incapacitated due to an incurable debilitating illness. They were certainly upside down after refinancing 2 years earlier to catch up when health and work issues crippled their finances. One week after they went on the market she told him she had a headache. Those were the last words she ever spoke.

The house was taken off the active market while the family grieved. It was a terrible, unexpected tragedy, and bitterly ironic, since she was the healthy one. Unfortunately, the house was off the market for the earlier summer and when it went back on the sub-prime crisis hit, thinning the herd of buyers and blowing a hole in the confidence of those that remained. Fortunately, that winter we got a buyer.

The loss mitigation process on this file was particularly difficult, because the original lender was insolvent. Then, when the buyer’s lender required a test of the underground oil tank, it failed. We needed to get another $10,000 from the lender to remediate, but that wouldn’t be issued until closing. The buyer agent and I called in ever favor we could from the oil tank company to do the work and get paid at closing. They were understandably reluctant. This closing was not a sure thing. Thanks to the good relationship the buyer agent had with the owner of the firm, the work was competed, allowing the borrower to get their mortgage cleared to close.

Last minute environmental issues, while rare, can send a regular tranaction into a tailspin. You can’t underestimate the havoc they cause in a short sale. Teamwork got this done, and my client was able to open a new chapter in his life and move on as best he could. In a way it was almost like an estate sale as well, because they were in sense taking the last step in burying a loved one.

A young newlywed couple bought the house.

J. Philip Faranda is Westchester’s Premier Short Sale REALTOR. Find out more at www.NYShortSaleTeam.com  

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