Never Say “Never” By David Pannell

Sometimes, when you least expect it, you find a diamond in the rough.

Much of the day-to-day work a realtor does is mundane. Of course, it’s exciting and fulfilling when a transaction closes, but the behind-the-scenes work people don’t see us doing is finding motivated sellers.

One of the ways we find sellers is by contacting people whose listing of their home being for sale has expired. We call people we don’t know, who don’t know us, and try to earn their business by helping them sell their home if they’re still interested.

That’s how we found “Miss Bridget” Lockridge. Miss Bridget had listed her home with several agents over a period of 18 months without success. Upon meeting her, we saw an investment opportunity to buy the house for a “fix and flip.”

But, after hearing her story, we did much more than that. As we sat and talked with Miss Bridget, we learned that there was a ghost lien (unreleased) on her title. The two other agents she had listed with couldn’t figure out how to clear the loan. My ears perked up – I love a challenge. I had previous experience completing sales like hers by rolling up my sleeves and spending hours poring through files online – tax records, lien records, mortgage records, etc.

I believed I could help her. Miss Bridget had another property she wanted to talk about with us – her mother’s home, which she lived in. Miss Bridget had fallen behind on payments, and the foreclosure process had started. So, this kind-hearted woman had two properties that she would lose if we didn’t help her.

A Realtor Playing Detective

I started the process of helping Miss Bridget with her home first. After four days glued to my computer digging through the chain of trustee/deed/mortgage documents online that were published back in 1996 – 2008, I finally found where a company had purchased the note, on page 285 of a 600-page document.

The page contained three signatures that had approved the loan purchase. I plugged the names into skip tracing sites to locate the company's owners through their family tree sites.

I found that two of the three men that had signed the document were deceased, and the third was a 72-year-old living in North Carolina. I found twelve phone numbers and thirteen email addresses for him and learned he had 23 family members.

Every email address turned out to be invalid, and every phone number was disconnected. I also tried LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram to find him, to no avail. However, finally provided me with corporate addresses and personal home addresses of the signers that might be of help. Over the next few days, I sent 52 letters to all of the addresses I had.

The breakthrough came on the fourth day when I reached the ex-wife of one of the deceased gentlemen, and she connected me with a granddaughter that might be able to help. Thanks to them, I was able to locate the gentleman from North Carolina.

Through a title company, we verified that he was an authorized signer of the note, and he gave us a payoff of $11,500. We were getting close.

Case Closed

Miss Bridget’s original loan balance was $31,500 back in 1998, with an interest rate of 10.7%. The loan balance could have been $79,000 if we hadn’t found the $11,000 payoff.

Through the sale of Miss Bridget’s home, she ended up with an additional $58,000 in equity, which enabled her to pay off all of her car notes and the mortgage balance on her mother’s home. As a result, Miss Bridget now lives peacefully in that home – her real estate nightmare is behind her.

Besides a feeling of satisfaction from having helped Miss Bridget, this experience reinforced two things for me: never say “never,” and there are nice people out there who will help you if they can.

We look forward to helping others in a similar situation as Miss Bridget’s.

680 Properties
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Information is deemed reliable, but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS or NTREIS. The information being provided is for the consumer's personal, non-commercial use, and may not be reproduced, redistributed or used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Cities Real Estate (Fort Worth) are marked with the NTREIS IDX logo and information about them includes the name of the listing brokerage.

NTREIS data last updated June 19, 2024.

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