- Episode 36 -
Struggling through the real estate debacle of the past few years, I am sure each of us has war stories about liens on properties. Whether it is a utility lien, past owed dues for HOA and condo associations, builder’s liens for renovations on properties that ended up in foreclosure or community or city liens for unsightly weeds or dirty driveways. We’ve all been there, done that. But this week topped the list for the best lien story I have ever come across, and unfortunately it was for my own buyer.
I had been helping my buyer find the perfect property for a while. Her price point was in the mid $400’s, which even in South Florida buys you a very nice home. We came upon a foreclosure through Fannie Mae. It was a HomePath property that needed a complete makeover. While the size and layout of the home was perfect, along with a huge backyard that looked to the golf course, she knew the work that would be needed to make the home a showplace and, without hesitation, proceeded with her offer. After submitting it via HomePath, I received an addendum about the liens on the property.
Much to my surprise, the addendum read as follows:
- Seller is disclosing to Purchaser the following code violations and/or liens in compliance based on documentation produced by City of Cooper City, Florida - Purchaser would be responsible for resolving liens AFTER closing.
- Failure to maintain grass
- Failure to maintain roof free of dirt, grime, stains, mildew, peeling, and signs of deterioration
- Failure to keep exterior wall surfaces in good condition and prevent deterioration
Price Tag: $73,026.50
Needless to say, we ran from this property right into the arms of a regular sale without any liens or violations – we closed in 28 days.
Why do cities make it impossible for Realtors to sell homes? Getting an owner occupant into a foreclosure that has been sitting vacant and, in most cases, isn’t looking that great, is something that everyone wants – the neighbors are happy because someone is caring for the unsightly property and the city should be happy because once again property taxes are being paid. What buyer in their right mind would ever purchase a home with such an outstanding debt already attached to it?
How can those who impose such liens, especially for things like grass and dirt, sleep at night, knowing the injustice they are committing? Why should buyers who had nothing to do with the current status of the property be penalized for just wanting to give the house some tender loving care and make it a home to be proud of in the future?
My dad, who was a journalist, always told me that if you didn’t like the outcome of something you need to go to the press – they will listen. I did just that – I sent my story to the local newspapers and TV stations that do investigations into such corrupt behaviors. And while my buyer didn’t end up with the home, this story is far from over.
The saga continues…
Kay Conageski is a professional Realtor® with The Keyes Company based in Plantation, Florida. Check out her RESAAS profile ›