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By Kim Murphy
Murphy & Murphy Southern California Realty 

Real Estate Round-Up: A scary but true story

 

Last updated 8/6/2018 at 5:02pm



This week I want you to take a journey with me. This is the journey of an escrow that includes ghosts, vampires and an iconic court jester.

The scene is a neat old home, built in 1950. Back in the day, the home was modified and expanded with no permits to be found. Owned by a man who later sold it to his grandson, modifications continued to be made. The original home was 1,100-plus square feet but grew to nearly 2,000 square feet, sited on a half-acre with room for fruit trees, chickens and landscaping trucks.

The time came to sell the home, and Murphy and Murphy Southern California Realty entered the story. The ghosts of the current owner appeared in the form of tax liens, code violations, judgments and impending foreclosure. The vampires suck the living blood out of the equity in the home, due to ever escalating interest and fees on each ghost. Sounds like a scary story, don’t you think?

Shortly after the home was listed for sale, buyers discovered this cosmetically-appealing property and wanted it. That was great news, except now all the ghosts and vampires needed to be exorcized. The iconic court jester waited in the wings, hoping that the problems would magically disappear if her performance was entertaining enough.

It takes a production team to take on this kind of a project, and this is when escrow and title officers get to show how invaluable they are to a transaction. Don’t get me wrong – the key to things going smoothly in any transaction is the team of professionals that a Realtor works with. But when things are as messy as this, they need to be top notch, the best of the best. Our team was up to the task.

Payoff demands were received, code violations were removed and foreclosure was delayed. The judgments didn’t want to budge. Judgments get paid second after the mortgagor in the case of foreclosure, so they could just sit back and let the home go to foreclosure. This was not an option. The buyer wanted this home. The seller wanted to sell it. We needed to find a way.

After much discussion, one of the judgments agreed to take a partial pay off from the sale of this property and attach the very small balance to another property the seller owned. Sounds good, right? Enter the court jester, who on the 12th hour has second thoughts about the attachment. If the court jester would not agree to the small attachment, the existing liens and violations, valued at over $1,000,000, would not be resolved. The buyer would not get the home, the contractors who did the repairs would not get paid and the home would go to foreclosure.

It took 70 days from start to finish, but the jester did finally decide to accept the attachment. The liens were paid, the judgments satisfied, the code violations gone, foreclosure vanished, and the buyer got their dream home.

This is the life of one transaction. The next time you think that your Realtor is not worth whatever it is you are paying them, I hope you will remember this story and think again. It takes years of experience to know how to deal with ghosts, vampires and court jesters and your Realtor is the key to how the story ends. We’re up to the task at Murphy and Murphy Southern California Realty. If you know of anyone who needs this kind of help, give us a shot, we might be able to exorcize theirs ghosts too.

Kim Murphy can be reached at kim@murphy-realty.com or (760) 415-9292 or at 130 N Main Avenue, in Fallbrook. Her broker license is #01229921, and she is on the board of directors for the California Association of Realtors.

 

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