CHAPTER 6 The Bank's Checklist

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copyright 2017 Chris Smith  All Rights Reserved.

"So what does it mean that the Bank owns it?" I asked.

"Well, yesterday I called Alex. Do you remember him? He was the one who helped us with the mortgage for Parcel D."

"Yeah, I do."

Alex had told Dad that when properties get auctioned off, in order to buy the property back at the auction, we would need to have the entire purchase price in a bank account at the moment of sale. For us that would have meant we'd need a little over one million U.S. dollars cash for the two parcels, Parcel A and B, of the Farm.

If no one else bids on the property, then it reverts back to the paper owner of the mortgage. In our case that was two different Banks. The Banks wanted to get their money back out of the property as quickly as they could, especially given the poor condition of the current real estate market across America. They would take immediate, somewhat brutal control of the property to get a sale.

They'd start down their checklist:

Step One: Hire a local real estate agent to facilitate getting the property ready to put on the market and handle the sale.

Step Two: If anyone is still living on the property, start the process of Eviction (for liability concerns) and Evict any and all tenants immediately.

Step Three: Take photos of the property and any items left at the property at the moment that they take legal ownership.

Step Four: Obtain a current appraisal of the property.

Step Five: Clean the property up enough to sell it [will vary from property to property].

Step Six: Put the property on the market for sale.

Step Seven: Sell the property.

Step Eight: Repeat process with next property or properties [since a lot of Banks were handling multiple properties at once].

Our homes could be taken in a matter of milliseconds, seconds, minutes, and hours gone by and yet it didn't impact anyone else. Our lives could be destroyed in the blink of an eye, and life wouldn't skip a beat.

A feeling of disbelief and shock filled me that the downfall to our security could happen so fast. No one else would even be aware that anything had happened because the changes had all been made on paper. On paper my family was now homeless.

How does one make sense of that?

"Banks are not in the business of owning real estate. They don't want to own the house. When they own the house, that means that their money is tied up in the physical asset of the home, and is therefore not available to lend to someone else. Lending money is a bank's business. Not real estate. So, the longer it takes to sell a property, the more likely it is that a bank will take a low and lower price. They want to get rid of it – off their books."

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