Last year, right before Thanksgiving, we received an email from a desperate man in Portland, Oregon. For privacy purposes, we will call him Joe. Joe was facing a difficult situation and needed our help. His destitute elderly father was living the last few months of his life and they were struggling to pay the bills and keep up with the mortgage payments for the house they were living in. To add to the difficulty of the situation, the house was in terrible condition and Joe desperately wanted to move his father to a nicer place for the last few months of his life. This is exactly the type of situation we are used to dealing with, and we were eager to help Joe find a solution to his conundrum.
We began by helping Joe understand his options of selling the house, and in his case, there were three options:
1) Traditional method through a real estate agent
2) For sale by owner
3) Selling to a real estate investor like us. We explained the benefits and weaknesses of all methods without attempting to persuade him to choose a specific one
Joe didn’t like that with the traditional method he had no guarantee that the house would sell for the listed price and that it would take up to a month or more after the offer acceptance before he would receive the money. Joe was not familiar with the selling process and didn’t want to learn all of the steps required to sell the house himself. Therefore, Joe decided to sell the house to us. He liked that we guaranteed the purchase price and date, and he liked that he could select the closing date that worked best with his schedule. Also, he liked that he didn’t have to make any repairs to the house and that we would take care of all the closing costs.
By the end of November, we signed a purchase and sales agreement with Joe. He was excited because he anticipated that soon the burden of owning the decrepit house would be off his shoulders and that he and his father would move into a nice and clean apartment, somewhere where his father could enjoy the last few months of his life.
But then tragedy struck. Joe’s father passed away. He was devastated; he lost his father and didn’t get a chance to give him a nice home to live in for the last few months. On top of this, the Title Insurance company preparing for the sale of the house refused to allow Joe to sell the home until it went through probate. Since probates typically last several months, this meant that there was a significant risk that Joe would lose the house to foreclosure.
According to our company principles of helping our sellers in tough situations, we jumped into action. We researched Joe’s situation and found a competent probate lawyer. Because Joe was now practically out of any money, we forwarded Joe money to pay for the lawyer. The lawyer acted as promised and resolved the situation in one week’s time. Joe was ready to sell the house, but he didn’t have any money to rent a place or any relatives to live with. So we jumped in once more and helped him find a good apartment. We even paid for the rent, security deposit, and moving expenses.
Finally, right after New Year, we completed the purchase. Joe got to sell his house before foreclosure. Since the house was in Portland and we are based in Seattle, we decided that we could not repair the house from a different state. Therefore, we found a competent investor, who repaired many houses before, to buy the property.
The investor, let’s call him John, brought his vision for the house and his contractors and in a short three months restored the house to its previous glory. The house no longer looked like an eye sore bringing down the neighborhood. In fact, after the restoration, it became one of the nicest homes on the street. The new owners are proud to call this house their new home.
I wanted to share this story because both Viktor and I are very proud that we are able to help homeowners in tough situations. Joe needed help and the traditional method of selling his house did not fit his criteria. We were able to help Joe and at the same time improve a neighborhood in Portland.