When The Frenzy Busted Loose

The real estate market was boisterous in last half of 2020, which made it easy to predict that once we got past the election and into the new year we’d probably see the Greatest Real Estate Frenzy Ever.

Let’s use February 22nd as the day the frenzy really kicked in.

It was the day that this home was listed for sale, after a troubled past:

2005: $679,000 Sold (vacant lot)

2007: $550,000 Sold (vacant lot)

2008: $2,000,000 borrowed from WaMu

2009: House built

2015: $2,137,500 WaMu/Chase FORECLOSED

2016: $1,930,000 Sold

2018: $2,875,000 listed for sale for the next 18 months

2019: $2,044,000 Borrowed in January

2019: $2,225,000 last list price before FORECLOSED

2019: $1,540,000 sold at trustee sale 12/27/2019

2021: $2,595,000 listed for sale

2021: $2,840,000 sold 4/6/2021

Timing is everything!

Rancho Mold REO

This house has a history – it was once the family compound for Alaska Airlines! It was foreclosed in 1994 when the lender received no bids and took it back for the balance owed of $6,372,931 – and they sold it for $3,350,000 six months later. It was then resold for $4,000,000 in 2001.

At the height of the market in 2007, the former owners of this property took out a mortgage for $8,500,000, but the lender foreclosed in 2014. They finally sold it for $2,437,500 a year ago, and those new owners just flipped it for $2,995,000 or $3,750,000 depending on the data source. This time it was marketed and sold as a vacant lot with approved plans.

This is what it looked like in 2017:

FHA Foreclosures

The FHA foreclosures are likely to be picking up steam.

The authorities must know it too, because now they are doling out the REO listings to the usual suspects, instead of a centralized approach.  Back in the day, you had to have a special FHA-REO lockbox key!

These borrowers refinanced their FHA purchase loan two times since buying in 2008 – the latest in May, 2010 – and paid loads of mortgage insurance along the way.  Yet by early 2011 they must have given up, and received their first NOD in July of that year – 14 months after the loan’s origination.

Even though they had to qualify for their loan each time, their initial 3.5% investment ($21,525) wasn’t enough to keep them engaged.  Add these post-peak newer borrowers to the masses who have procurred the FHA reverse mortgages, and there has to be trouble coming.  Luckily, there haven’t been that many FHA loans in the higher-priced areas?

Post-Peak Foreclosures

Thanks for the ideas, suggestions, and well-wishes for the blog!

How long will foreclosures persist? 

Flat or bumpy pricing isn’t enough – because homeowners on a tight budget can have a single life-changing event that forces them to sell.  They need a rising market to be able to break even with costs, and with little or no penalties or stigma attached, we’ll probably see a steady trickle/stream of foreclosures from now on.

I saw one today where the seller, who purchased using FHA on 9/30/09, was already short-selling!

We offered to help here, where the previous owner had lasted less than a year:

Buying A House Sight Unseen

In the comments of the last post, we were discussing the thought of making an offer on a house that you haven’t seen.  It is definitely more personal when you are looking at a primary residence – so let’s start with an investment property!

The intent of this video is to give you enough ingredients to be able to calculate the cost of repairs, and hopefully determine if this property pencils out for you, prior to visiting in person.  Buyers are checking comps in advance, and just need to estimate repair costs on any property, right?

As the listing agent, do I worry about verifying that buyers have seen the property? 

On vacant properties – No. 


Because on vacant houses, listing agents don’t know if ANY of the offerors have seen it – unless I stake out the property, slumped down in my car across the street, Rockford-style.  Yes, I would prefer if buyers have seen it, but when asked, every buyer’s agent says, “of course”.

I’m going to assume that NONE of them have seen it, and instead I’ll provide ample evidence to give everyone the most thorough experience of what you are buying, before you go.

Try it out for yourself – those who follow the blog have already seen this house a few times, here is the final cut – plus for those who need to see it, we’ll make that easy too, by conducting open house late in the afternoon during the first day on the market (in effect, our actual stake-out!):

Old Spanish Under $200,000?

This house was foreclosed on February 4, 2008 when the previous owner owed $435,000. 

The bank re-sold it to this guy for $285,000, and he put 20% down on 7/10/08 – and by then borrowers had to qualify for their mortgage.

Ten months later his NOD was filed, in May 2009. It was foreclosed again on 3/18/2011:

DM Mesa

A few months back after this house was foreclosed for the second time, I went by and found a door open, and peeked inside for a quick look.  There has been workers there ever since, so hopefully we’ll see it back on the market at some point – and maybe get an after-look?

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