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Friday, January 4, 2008

Time in a parallel dimension...

There is a memorable scene in the original Nightmare on Elm Street movie where Freddie is chasing one of the young victims and she looks down and sees that her feet are sinking into a sticky, tarry mess where the carpet used to be. In addition, everything has ssslllooowwwed wwaayy dddooowwwnn and she can’t get away. It sort of feels like that in the parallel dimension that is foreclosure real estate these days. I’ve got two deals working and one that just fell apart and, in each case, getting anything done, whether it be getting an acceptance or counter-offer from the bank or getting any repair work done just seems to take forever. It’s just like in the nightmare. Maybe it is a nightmare, but I can’t seem to wake up from this one.

The banks and the REO (real estate owned) management companies involved with all of the foreclosures these days just seem to be overwhelmed by it all. To make matters worse there is a cumbersome chain of communications that must go through at least two companies and most of the time three companies, just to request anything or to get a decision to actually do something. In one instance that I’m working on now, I request something to be done by passing my request on to the listing agent, which then passes it on to the REO management company who then must ask for permission (and one would budget approval) from the bank which owns the property, to order the work to be done. Once the REO company hears back fro the bank they then send off the request to some sub-contractor company who may then use it’s own subcontracted worker to get the job done. You can imagine the potential for delay and mistakes in that kind of a set-up.

In one recent instance, it has taken 3 weeks just to get the gas turned on, so that we can proceed to test the new furnace, which itself took over a month to get installed. In another instance, after waiting for a month to get a reply to an offer that I had put in for my client; the bank changed listing agents, and I had to start all over again. Of course the buyers can’t understand why this process is so screwed up. It is after all just another real estate transaction. It’s just that this particular process seems like something out of a Three Stooges meet the Marx Brothers movie. It would be pathetically funny, if the buyers weren’t so serious about trying to by these places. In the end, what makes all of this even worse is that about ½ of the deals fall apart somewhere along the way anyway, so all of the time and effort is just wasted.

Since I am committed to a more positive attitude in 2008, I have to find something good to say about all of this. That would be that, for those who persevere, some of the deals that are available are really great. There are lots of dogs out on the foreclosure market, but there are some real gems, too. If you find one of the gems just set your jaw and hunker down for the long run.

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