Monthly Archives: February 2016


view from loft to great room


view from back with 3 huge pines and chain link fence


solid oak spiral staircase leading to apt from house

My dad drives out from Rehoboth Beach to assess the house for us.  He says crawl spaces are no big deal, but they creep me out.  There is a trap door in the hall closet and a trap door outside to access them.  Something right out of a horror movie.  He says there is water in there but that is no surprise since the gutters are so clogged they have trees growing out of them and some are hanging off the house or already gone.  Any rain goes right into the space.  But that is fixable.  It only takes money!  He thinks the dining room has sank because maybe a beam has fallen underneath, no big deal. The leaks are repairable and any wet drywall can be cut out and repaired fairly easily.  Over all, he thinks the house is great, will take alot to fix up but nothing too bad.  Hmmm…I still have my doubts and how much money will we have to sink into it to get it right?  We do not have that much is what I am thinking.   We also have two other contractors come in and look, none of them seem bothered by possible mold, they say its all hype and a money maker for many.  I guess they have seen worse and we feel a bit better over it.

Another reason we wanted some acreage was for my mom to have a house to live in one day when she is ready to move.  I went downtown to the zoning and health department to find out about the property, when it was built, if the proper permits were pulled, what kind of septic system it has, etc.  They tell me where the well is, how deep it is, and what the proposed septic and drainfield is supposed to look like.  They cannot find the final inspection on the septic and have no record of it ever being pumped out.  Yuck.  However, they do tell me I can build a house for my mom on the property and she can have her own septic tank and the drainfield can empty into mine.

My mom comes up and she has an open bed trailer we can start using to haul boxes to our storage unit.  She is such a blessing because even at 78 she works hard and is organized and starts packing right away.  She sees only the good in our crappy foreclosure and knows it can be fixed up.  There is a chain link fence in the back of the property that we decide is high enough we can have a garden inside.  The fence is ugly but already there so why not?

Another reason mom comes up is because Mark and I have to go on a business trip to Turks and Caicos.  Well it is the worst time to go and we are so stressed to travel and the house needs packing but we have to go.  We found out about it the beginning of December.  We had no idea we would be in the middle of all this at the time.  Mom packs the whole time we are gone and we had beautiful weather, we really tried to enjoy ourselves but it was hard to do.  One day under less stressful conditions I would love to go back, it is gorgeous there.     But I probably will not have any more money after fixing up the house.  When we get home that Saturday night, all the talk on the news is about a big snow storm coming.  I can’t help but thank the Lord the storm did not happen that weekend and we were stuck in an airport somewhere trying to get home.  His timing is perfect!  I have booked the apartment over at Wegmans to move Jan 25th, and the movers are coming then too. I want time to clean the house and make sure everything is out before our January 29th settlement.  We book Eastwind Movers, who incidentally moved us into Catesby 20 years ago!  They are wonderful and so flexible and affordable.  8 days till moving day, and 12 days to settling on our home for 20 years. I do not have time to think about it and do not even want to go see the house.  I don’t like going there alone and will not go inside either.  I had to concentrate on my move and wasn’t even sure we would get the house in the end.  The only thing I did do was have Vertex Roofing come give me a quote on a new roof, and have some garage door estimates done.  That would be the first thing to do if we closed on the foreclosure and it could take weeks to get on the schedule sometimes. We also had a landscaper come give us a price on leveling all the landscaping around the house and churning up the trunks and getting rid of all the dead pines that were standing and laying all over.  There were 3 huge pines in the back that needed to come down, their roots were getting into the foundation and pine needles clogging everything.

The next week would be the most trying of all!


The saga continues..

Ok, so we have seen the house, and my husband wants out.  I let him go to work, which is stressful enough these days and tell him it will all be okay.  I am surprisingly at peace with what is happening, maybe because one of us has to be strong during this major life change?  I am sure the Lord got me through, there is no other explanation.  First, I call Jaime, my title attorney, and explain the situation.  She says there is probably no way for us to get out of the contract without losing our 18K deposit.  Even though the bank keeps stalling on the closing, I can’t even use that against them.  Then I call the listing agent, and tell her the place is disgusting and not habitable and we might be weighing our options on getting out of the deal.  Of course I get no response…

When Mark comes home that night, I tell him that maybe we can forget buying the foreclosure, cut our losses and lose the deposit.  But there is no way we can get out of selling our house.  We have made a commitment to a family that is counting on buying our house.  It is not good business for a realtor to change her mind and it’s just not right.  I felt that the Lord had brought us this buyer and we should follow through and maybe He has  another plan.

I started calling around looking for a short term rental to move into until we decided what to do.  Even if we ended up buying the foreclosure we could not live there anyway, so we had to make alternate plans.  We needed a 2 bedroom apartment that would take our 13 year old lab.  I would send the cat to Meemaws, bless her heart for taking him.  Because it was the winter, short term rentals are readily available in apartments.  In the summer when everyone is moving around, you can never find one apparently.  We found a great place over by Wegmans, it was new and big enough and took Boo!  A little pricey at 2,000 a month but worth it.  Next, I booked a storage unit.  I was familiar with Cube Smart nearby again thanks to CLBL, who also had units over there.  They also had storage deals since it was wintertime.   I booked one big one, figuring some of the bulky items we could store at the foreclosure if we ended up getting it.

I finally hear from the listing agent.  The bank is asking for another delay to our closing on January 7 to be extended to February 5th.  Jaime and I could not understand why it was taking so long.  They had possession of the property, they had kicked the guy out (what a blessing that was), the foreclosure deed should have been filed long ago.  The house was up for auction on the courthouse steps back in October!  The bank’s attorney in Texas promises they will file on January 4th, but it will take a few weeks to process.  I really could not believe how long this was taking.  I had a friend tell us that was familiar with foreclosures that this was so unusual, maybe the bank was looking at booting us out and selling it for more.  Someone out there was probably dumber than us and would pay more! Jaime is still asking for all the paperwork regarding the foreclosure.  She wants to make sure there is a clear title before we settle.  If the title is not clear, the title company will not insure me and someone could come back later and want money out of the property.  She keeps requesting and does not get anywhere.  Even the listing agent tries to get thru and gets no where.  It is frustrating me that this could take even longer.  However, part of me thinks this is another blessing from the Lord that now we can settle on our existing house, get the money out of it, then buy the property.  We would at least have enough money to start fixing the place up with right-away fixes, like roof and drywall and siding and garage doors, the list goes on and on…

I decide to call my dad to come out and see the place.  He is a builder in Rehoboth Beach and is familiar with crawl spaces and renovating big ugly houses.  He can tell us if this property is worth buying still or maybe we should walk away.  We also decide we are going to fix up the apartment first, move in and then regroup and fix the rest of the house.  That is, if we even end up buying it!  The bank was being so sketchy, we didn’t want to waste too much time thinking and planning if they decided to drag it out so long we could not wait any longer.  We also had alot of packing to do.


apartment kitchen


Master bath



Part 7 of my Foreclosure story…

As we drive up to the house for the first time, I am struck by how quiet and isolated the house is.  It’s dark, and we have a flashlight to get to the front door and get the lock open.  The front door is covered with mud dauber nests and vegetation is everywhere.  We open the front door to ugly white ceramic tile, and dirt.  The place is filthy, there are mouse droppings all over the kitchen and in the cabinets, the  drywall has alot of repair needed due to leaks left over time.  I dare not say how bad because I don’t want the health department stepping in.  Luckily, it’s winter and not much grows then.  The decor is clearly not been touched since the 80s.  Pink formica and white pressed board kitchen cabinets and white and black appliances are in the small kitchen.  There is more pink formica and cabinets in the master bath, everything needs a total gut job.  The dining room does have a slight slope to it, not good.  The upstairs bedrooms are not bad, just a few more leaks to deal with.  The white tile continues from the front hall thru the kitchen into this enormous great hall that Mark calls the bowling alley.  It has more leaks and health hazards and dead mice are laying in the corner.  There is an enormous wooden circular stairwell that leads to the apartment over the garage.  Again more leaks and everything needs to come out, like it has not been cleaned in about a decade.  Mouse traps are set everywhere.  I hate the layout of the house except for the first floor master and the whole idea of buying this house is just a big let down.  The last straw is the crawl space below, Mark opens the trap door in the closet which is creepy in itself and shines a flashlight into it.  I see one of those industrial rat traps in there like they put outside chinese restaurants.  There is water in the crawl space which cannot be good.

The only blessing is no wallpaper!!!!  I could not believe it.  I wish our first impression was not at night.  I bet it would not have seemed so bad.  I also wish we had waited for the bank preservation company to come in and totally clean the place, they did a fabulous job in the days ahead, even the carpet looked clean.  Again, another surprise from the bank.  First they kicked the owner out, then they cleaned it?  I was starting to get suspicious that the bank was going to pull the contract away from us and try to sell it for more.  Even though we felt we paid too much, a contractor might take a look at the land and location and pay more than we did.  The way the contract was written we really had no rights, except our 18k we put down to secure it.

Suddenly we went home and realized we had to buy this house in the next coming days and we did not have enough money to fix it up to our standards.  We could not live in it until it was fixed, and we had 25 days to get out of our house we sold.  I didn’t even want to store any of our stuff there until it was fumigated and secure.    We had no idea what we were up against.  That night, Mark had a panic attack which he and I had never experienced before. It was like he was having a heart attack or a lung collapse.   He thought we sold a perfectly good house (which we did) for this nightmare ahead of us. I didnt know what to do so I prayed most of the night for him and finally laid my hands on him and  asked the Lord to completely heal him.  He went right to sleep after that.  Another miracle.  However, we woke up and Mark said “Get us out of that contract.  Tell our buyer we changed our mind.” I was floored.  He had no idea what he was asking.


Part 6 of my occupied foreclosure

So my house was sold, and I was on the way out of town for Christmas.  The home inspection on my sold home was scheduled for the following week.  I knew there were some problems that would come up during inspection, some windows were hazy, the wood rot around the windows looked iffy, the garage doors were old and  a bit shaky.  Mark thought since the buyer agreed on the price and chose the house, we could ignore all that.  I knew that a buyer can back out of a sale for any reason with the home inspection contingency, they can just get out a contract with no reason stated.  I also knew as an agent, I had an ethical responsibility to reveal all my flaws, also it was the right thing to do.  God sent us this buyer, I was not going to just lose him.

Sure enough, the home inspection list came back and some windows were on there, the garage doors were on there and there was extensive wood rot listed.  As much as Mark wanted me to push back that the house was “as is”, I had to point out to Mark that even if we said no and my buyer walked, we would have to still fix everything for the next buyer, it was going to come up on every inspection we had.  I also reminded him of how hard it was to show the house, keep it clean, I had not painted a thing, and it was a blessing that we had a buyer during the winter!  We agreed to fix all the wood rot, at the tune of $3,000.  I assured Mark that even if my buyer backed out later, that expense was done and it was a good investment anyway.  We also agreed to fix some windows glass but did not agree to fix the garage doors.  So we were over that hurdle.  I found out later my buyer had gone to visit all the other houses for sale in the neighborhood again, in case we would not agree to fix the wood.  He could have just told us he didn’t want the house anymore.

I forgot to mention another thing that happened that was a funny destiny.  Over the summer, I decided to join Central Loudoun Basketball League Board.  CLBL has been around for years and all my kids participated.  Since I was a realtor, I figured it would be a good outreach and great way to meet people.  I love basketball too.  When I first signed on, they told me I could be the Discipline Guru.  It was an easy way to get into the organization and feel my way to other posts I might want to do later.  I showed up at the first meeting and they told me they changed my position to now being the Uniform Guru.  I was in charge of ordering all the uniforms, coaches apparel, sponsor t-shirts and travel uniforms. I was a bit panicked, but I just had peace about it that it would be okay.  Yes, it was a difficult job, but I got so many boxes for packing it was a miracle!  Not only did I get all these great boxes from the apparel, but my uniform distributor saved me boxes too.  I saved so much money not buying boxes and they were already put together for me.  Also my friend Staci just moved and she had boxes too!  Again, the Lord was working His timing.

It was the new year, and we were home and packing like crazy.  A couple days after we were home, the bank called and said the owner was gone. The realtor had met with him and given him a check after she inspected the property for any intentional damage.  That was great news, we were thinking it would be great to move some of our things up there to store for the move.  We were supposed to settle on January 7, which gave us plenty of time. We asked if we could go see it, she said “Sure” and gave us the code to the front door lock.  It was night time by then.  Mark said, “Lets go see it”, I was hesitant.  I didnt want to go at night, I mean what if the guy really wasn’t gone, what if he was lurking nearby?  It was already scary to go at night.  I wasn’t even sure if the lights would be on.  But he insisted.  We went.  We did not sleep well after that night, for a long time.  Actually, I do not think we have had a good night’s sleep since then, so much on our minds.







Part 5 of my Occupied Foreclosure…

The girls were home and the house was of course a mess with everyone around.  One blessing was we had booked a family vacation between Christmas and New Years in the Florida Keys so we would not be home for Christmas and therefore I did not have to decorate too heavily or bake alot of cookies.  We were going to Meemaws!  We had not spent a Christmas away from home in probably 18 years!  We had no idea that last Christmas had been our last Christmas in our house.

The listing agent for the foreclosure called and said the bank wanted an extension to the date of January 9, 2016.  She said the owner was having trouble getting rid of all his stuff and needed more time.  I believed that.  But I still wasn’t sure why the bank was working with him this long.  We would drive up there and see what was going on in the hopes he was gone but he never was.  He had 3 huge dumpsters delivered and was filling them with Lord knows what.  My title attorney Jaime told me to make sure when I filled out the extension (why I had to fill it out was crazy and that was just the beginning, I mean they were the one that wanted the extension!) I should make a note that it was the bank’s idea and it would be no cost to the buyer.  There was a clause in the contract that if we didn’t close on the original date we would be charged $100 per day, an add-on expense I didn’t need.  We went ahead and extended it. Our title lawyer was concerned though that she kept asking for the foreclosure documents, and no one would supply them or even answer her.  We thought the bank might be hiding something, like maybe they didn’t file the right papers or messed up the foreclosure.  That could be a long wait if that was the case.

The week before Christmas, we had 2 families ask to see our house.  One was from an agent in our office and the other was from an agent that had already sold his house and wanted to live in Woodlea.  Too good to be true?  I don’t believe in fate, I believe things happen for a reason.  The first couple set up a time and we went crazy, the whole house getting the place looking halfway decent and clean and straightened, you know, like when company is coming and the house has to look like no one lives there.  We hustled everyone out including our poor old dog and they came thru.  They said the house wasn’t open enough, which I didn’t take personally.  They could have said “Boy this place needs a paint job inside”  which was true!  Maybe since I was the painter I noticed things like that more.

The agent who wanted to live in Woodlea wanted us to settle the end of January when he had his settlement.  At first I thought “No Way can I be ready to move by then!”  Mark pushed me though and said “What would it hurt to let him see it?”  So again we cleaned and straightened and kicked everyone out.  It was early morning and my daughter jumped in her car in her robe cause she of course had slept in.  We took all the cars away cause we have 5 cars between all of us and that looks bad in the driveway.  Curb appeal is important!

The agent/buyer stayed maximum 10 minutes.  That was discouraging cause we spent so much time cleaning up and we all thought this procedure was going to get more and more old.  I honestly don’t know how people can have their home on the market for so long and try and keep it clean and neat while living there.  It’s a great argument for pricing your house right so it sells as quickly as possible!   The next day, my buyer made an offer. He had apparently been looking for awhile.   I told him to come look again and make sure our house is what he wanted.   So I cleaned up once again!  What sold him on our house was the extra bathroom upstairs and the recently remodeled master bath.  It had a nice MTI free standing bathtub.  That is what he said when he came to see it the next day again.

We really couldn’t believe we had a contract on our house.  We still had to get thru home inspection and making sure my buyer was financially set.  We also wondered if his buyer fell thru, would ours fall thru as well?  We just kept thinking this could not be happening, having to be out my January 29th.  Now it was more important than ever to close by Jan 9th on the foreclosure.  Even if we could not move in right away, we could at least store all our stuff at the foreclosure and rent an apartment somewhere if the place was not liveable, which it already sounded like it wasn’t.  We set the home inspection up for the week between Christmas and New Years, the sooner the better, but we were in Key West that week.  Thankfully, my friend and neighbor, Suzanne, agreed to let everyone into the house.   That meant we would have to negotiate the home inspection while we were away.  We went off on vacation, knowing we were missing a week of packing up, but a nice warm family vacation would be nice too.

More later!


Part 4 of How to buy a foreclosure

Now that I was under contract, I tried contacting the listing agent to find out what was happening with the owner of the house.  She would not answer me at all and it was so frustrating.

I decided to call the renter since I knew him from volleyball days.  I got the number from an old roster my friend Deanna had kept, I was surprised the phone number worked since it had been 4 years ago!  He answered the phone and I asked him if he was the person renting an apartment from the owner of the foreclosure.  He was a bit hostile cause he wondered where I got his number, but I quickly reminded him our daughters played volleyball together and in fact, my daughter his his car one night.  Of course he remembered that!  I told him we had a contract on the house and wondered what he thought of the house.  He said it was a mess, the owner had not done any maintenance on it since he bought it in 2002.  It had multiple leaks in the roof and probably mold and he had alot of junk.   He lived alone and so did he owner.  Since they were bachelors, he said he could live in the place but probably no one else would.  He had no idea the house was even in foreclosure and found out from the neighbors.  The living room had sunk a few inches, which the owner said happened during the earthquake but he thought that was highly unlikely.  He said the owner kept a window open on the 2nd floor all year long and when he asked him why he was letting all the heat out the man wouldn’t answer him.  I can only imagine why he did that and wondered if birds or animals lived up there! The whole conversation put me into a panic.  It sounded like there were extensive repairs to be done and we would not have enough money… I wish I had called him before we bid on this house!!!!  Well, actually, I will return to that statement in a year and see if I still feel that way.   Some encouraging news was that the owner had installed all new HVAC through out the house,  and that the water was really good up there.   He told me the bank was in negotiation with the owner to get him to vacate.  I found that strange. We had bid on the property occupied and you would think they would be happy to get their money and run.  The renter said he was buying a place in WV and would be out by December 9th, and the owner was supposed to be out as well.  With all the junk he had on the outside of his house I wondered how that would be possible.

Finally I was able to get in contact with the listing agents assistant, Jackie.  She was wonderful through the whole process.  Unfortunately, she did not have much info.  The bank was out of Texas, they had hired a title company out of Florida, and Homesearch which is in Colorado would not give out any info either.  She did confirm the owner would not talk to anyone except thru his lawyer and the bank was trying to cut a deal so he would vacate the property, not take anything and leave it broom swept.  That was a relief because sometimes the owner will take everything on his way out, including copper piping and doors and plumbing, and could take his new HVAC equipment!

Meanwhile, I was looking at my current house thinking about all the stuff I had to do to get it ready to sell.  I had lots of painting to redo, lots of packing, Christmas was coming and my college girls were coming home.  Because there were no houses for sale in my neighborhood at the time, a neighbor had sold in just days.  As much as I hate Zillow as a realtor for a whole list of reasons, I knew everyone used it.  There is an app on there called “Make me Move” where you can throw your house out there with a price and see if anyone is dying enough to want to be in your area or neighborhood.  Because I am an agent and represent myself, I thought “Why Not?”  So I put it on there for $660,000 or something, I can’t remember the exact price.  It was not an outrageous a price cause then no one thinks you are serious.  I also told my fellow agents that I was selling soon in my neighborhood if they had any buyers!  That turned out to be the best blessing so far. The Lord was going to test my faith in big ways in the following months though!

More Soon!


Part 3…my foreclosure story

After we were not the successful bidder, we concentrated on getting our house ready to sell in the spring.  I started packing stuff and we ordered a new roof.   It was the best time to get a roof in the fall/winter when they are not busy.

Two weeks later, the house was listed on the MLS as being for sale as a foreclosure for $712,000.  The house was still occupied so no one could see it, but everyone knew it was out there and that was smart of the bank so everyone would see it and know they could bid on it. The house ended up on Homesearch again.  I guess the original high bidder did not have the funds or it was the bank bidding to get the price higher.  Mark and I figured the bank wanted closer to their reserve amount, which was probably $712,000, the price they wanted on the courthouse steps.  We again went to the bank and told them our idea on bidding and they were very helpful and told us they could max out each house at 80% of worth and offer equity lines on both.  The paperwork was a tedious and they had to send an appraiser to both properties to access and the costs were about $2500 but we figured if we didn’t get this house we would bid on another fixer upper and flip it with our equity lines.

The house went on timed auction Saturday again, the weekend before Thanksgiving and ended Monday afternoon like around 2:45 which I found very strange.  I had a seminar to attend with my fellow agent Lynne and of course we were in the middle of the seminar while Mark was bidding at home.  He kept texting me that he was outbidding the other bidder and I thought it might be the bank.  But we went as far as we could bid at 593,000 and we were the high bidder!  Mark couldn’t believe it and either could I.  But we didn’t meet the reserve amount.  So we figured the bank would counter us with a higher number and see if we accepted.  Which we would not be able to do, we were at our limit on having that much cash to close. The next day, Homesearch sent us a 30 page contract and said our bid was accepted and we were to send in the earnest money deposit of 18,000 in three days time.  What we didn’t realize was they added a 5% buyer premium to the amount so now the price was up to $623,000 which was higher than we really wanted. The listing stated the buyer agent (which was me)  would get 1% commission so ultimately we paid 4% over the price we bid.  Alot of money. That worried us because it was cutting into our renovation budget, we knew the house was in bad shape outside, we had no idea how bad it was inside. But we kept telling ourselves “10 acres in Loudoun County it’s worth it”.

We traveled to South Carolina for Thanksgiving and thought the whole time what we should do, this was a huge commitment of money, we hadn’t sold our house, and the place was still occupied! I honestly don’t know why we thought we could do it except I had the peace of God that He had it all under control.   We didn’t tell anyone about it cause we just didn’t think it would happen. That Friday on the way home from South Carolina we were at our time limit for putting down the 18K deposit, we were all in or nothing and the contract that was really intimidating said we had to close in 2 weeks time.  We stopped by a BB&T on the way home and secured a wire transfer to the bank to buy the house.   There was no turning back now.  The bank sent us the paperwork that the closing was to take place December 14th.  We had two weeks to get ready.  I chose Champion Title to do our closing because Jaime Morehouse was the lawyer on staff there and she was in my neighborhood and I really liked her.  She was such a blessing thru this whole thing. (if you ever need a real estate lawyer, use her!!!

Of course we kept driving past the house to see if the guy was even moving anything.  He had to know the bank was selling his property, right?  Nothing was happening at all.  I decided to call the renter that I knew from volleyball and see what he had to say.

More tomorrow!



How to buy an occupied foreclosure…Part 2

The week before the property went for sale on the courthouse steps, I went down to the Loudoun County land records, way into the pit of the courthouse.  I pulled up the property and it listed all the deeds and judgments recorded on the property.  I could see the line of title and some judgments that were attached to the property, not only did the owner have a huge mortgage, but the bank had also given him a home equity line. Looking at the property he had some child support judgments on him. I wondered if I would be responsible for paying those debts if I acquired the property.  I put that in the back of my mind. There were so many records and paper trails I decided to have the title company attached to Keller Williams do the search for me.  They pretty much confirmed everything I saw and didn’t see any builder liens on the property or tax liens.

The day of the sale, I ran to the bank and acquired my $20,000 certified check you needed to have in order to even bid on the property.  The sale was 9:30 in front of the courthouse. There were about 5 people there, all ready to bid.  I recognized a realtor.  One bidder asked if I was buying the property to flip or live in.  I said I wanted to live in it, he said he would go easy on me then.  He told me he comes to these sales all the time and bids up properties so flippers don’t win them cheaply.  Strange.  Finally, a young girl shows up, reads the rules so fast I cant even begin to tell you what she said, then announces the sale beginning bid is $712,000.  Everyone just groans and says “Forget it.”  The house was not worth that price in its condition and the owner was still living in it!  The girl would not answer any questions and walked quickly away.  Everyone agreed the house was probably going to end up on Hubzu or Homesearch in the next couple weeks.

While I waited for that to happen, I decided to write to the neighbors surrounding the property, let them know I was a realtor and if any of them wanted to sell to call me first, I might be interested in buying their house.  Also, did they know their neighbor just had his home auctioned on the courthouse steps?  I got a call a few days later.  This neighbor told me everything that was going on that he knew.  There was a renter in the apartment above the garage that didn’t even know the house was in foreclosure.  The neighbor told me the renters name and I couldn’t believe it.  I knew the guy! Our daughters played club volleyball together and in fact my daughter ran into his car one night coming home from practice.  I wasn’t sure how he was going to feel calling him up.  So I waited.  Good idea or bad idea?  I can’t help but wonder if we had talked to him before bidding, would we have even tried for the property?  Probably not.

Two weeks later, the property did show up on  The bidding was a timed bid, with the highest bid winning.  It started Saturday morning and ended Monday afternoon around 3 PM.   The terms stated you had to put up money on your credit card and if you were the successful bid, you had 2 weeks to get the money and close or they would charge your card a fee.  Very intimidating. But we decided to go for it!  We were the only one to bid all weekend and then Monday around noon others started joining in the bidding.  The increments started at 25,000 per bid (also intimidating) and as the price got higher, the increments decreased.  I wondered if the bank was bidding against us to get the price up higher, who knows?  We bid as high as we could and didnt win it.  We were sad but relieved too and I waited to see what happened in the next few weeks.  The highest bidder did not meet the “Reserve amount”, which is a hidden amount only the bank knows what it is.  So I wondered if the highest bid would get the property even without meeting the reserve amount.  Meanwhile, I started purging my house of “stuff” getting it ready to sell in the spring possibly.  After 20 years you can accumulate alot of junk!

More tomorrow!


How to buy an occupied foreclosure in 2 weeks…no 3 months!

For those of you who know me, I am no writer.  However, after the last 90 days of ups and downs in this Foreclosure Process, I reflect on everything that has happened and know I have to write it down, not just for anyone interested, but so I can remember these whirlwind days and hopefully one day look back and laugh!  Right now, I am excited and terrified at the same time.

Also for those that know me well, my faith in the Lord has strengthened over the last 90 days and He has walked beside me thru every step!  So not only is this a real estate blog, but a faith blog as well.

So much has happened I don’t know where to begin.

My interest in foreclosures and bank owned properties has increased since obtaining my real estate licence.  Now I can actually go visit a house and see the potential in it.   I can see the house condition before I bid on it!   When I see one that is a great buy, I wish I had more money to buy it and flip it just like they do on HGTV.  I am fascinated with and, all those houses to time-bid on and see if you are the winning bidder!  I figured, now that I have my real estate license, I can navigate this process, it should be easier.  Was I wrong.  I had so much to learn and learn I did.  What a blessing God knew I was in over my head and sent me so many life rafts!

Mark and I are riding around Leesburg one October day, looking for houses nearby with land, cause as much as we love our neighborhood, it was getting too close for us.  We told ourselves if just the right property came up, we would hurry and put our house up for sale and buy it.  We came to a small neighborhood nearby in Leesburg.  We have looked in the neighborhood before, but we always thought they were out of our price range.  We happened to go by a house that clearly looked like it was distressed.  I said “That is a foreclosure if I ever saw one.”  The view in the back looked amazing.  The place looked clearly occupied and cars and trucks and junk were everywhere. I went back to my computer and researched and sure enough it had just come up on the foreclosure site.  It was to be auctioned on the courthouse steps in two weeks.

We quickly scrambled with the bank to see how much we could pull together in those 2 weeks, Between the two properties we already owned we could max out their loans to buy this house and then sell one of the houses after we acquired this one.  I really dont know what we were thinking, it did not leave us much money to renovate and we had no idea what the condition of the house was, but we figured, hey people are living there how bad can it be?

More tommorrow!