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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Other Agents Share Horror Stories with "Property Preservation" Teams

From Hussein Garcia, Brokers Guild Cherry Creek:

I had a listing that was owned by Bank of America. Of course you know that banks usually require 72 hours to approve the HUD. The buyer did their final walk through before closing and seen that plumbing as missing in the basement. He wouldn't close so I notified the asset manager. After a week of waiting (2 weeks went by) I got approval to repair through one of my vendors, it was repaired. We scheduled closing and buyer was doing walk through and guess what, it was stolen again! We had to go through another week of waiting for approval to repair before closing, and as you know Bank of America doesn't work in a timely fashion and using an out of state title company doesn't help any. I repaired again but this time with plastic piping and ask the neighbor to keep an eye out. The neighbor told me it was the company that did the initial trash out and they would visit the property frequently at night! I called them but could not prove anything. Finally got the house closed. The problem isn't the actual preservation company. The problem is the people they sub contract out to! Call me with any questions! Hope this helps your column as I sure do enjoy it and look for it every Thursday. 

From Kristal Kraft, The Berkshire Group

Last year I had a vendor for BofA going into a house to winterize.  He was given the lock box code to do so.  He changed the locks and instead of leaving my lockbox for me to pick up, he took it.  When I called him on it he said he didn't take it and to never call this number again!  I complained to BofA's vendor, they said they would replace the box but never did.
To make matters worse, the winterzation was never done.  The vendor merely taped over the sink and left a sign stating the house was winterized.  When I visited, I was compelled to turn on the faucet to check. The water came flowing out.  It was appalling to think this guy got paid for basically making a mess out of things.

From Jeri Groves, Groves Homes, LLC:
I just closed a single-loan short sale (Bank of America)—800 days after listing it!  And, the “property preservation” team from BOA went in and STOLE the washer, dryer and stove/oven/range (all part of the contract) sometime within the last 72 hours prior to closing.  They had changed the locks, so NO ONE knew the lock box code except my son (who actually was the listing broker), and we gave it to the Buyer’s agent for the walk-through.  The Sellers had moved and didn’t have access, we were paying the utilities so as to get it through inspections, etc., and there was no sign of forced entry.  I’m so tired of the criminality within the distressed property market.

Love to read your excellent, thought-provoking columns, and hope all is well with you--

More from Jeri Groves:
Hi, Jim.  You already have the instance in Brighton where the washer, dryer and stove/oven/range were stolen out of the property by the property preservation staff at Safeguard within 72 hours of closing—after 800 days on the market!  Before they stole the appliances, they had changed the locks AFTER it was under contract for the SEVENTH time, and AFTER I had told the negotiator at Bank of America that we were maintaining the property for inspections and appraisals.   We had installed batteries in all the smoke/fire detectors, and when they “winterized” and turned off the power, the batteries all went dead.  It’s not the fact that Brighton requires fire detectors in every room, so we had to replace batteries in all 10 fire detectors, it’s THE PRINCIPAL of WHY, WHY, WHY are you undoing what needs to be done to CLOSE this short sale transaction?  Then, when we bought four new carbon monoxide detectors and installed them, they came in and stole them right off the screws.  We had to AGAIN buy carbon monoxide detectors and install them…

On another transaction, the Seller had moved out after her husband committed suicide in the home because he was so distraught about losing the home to foreclosure.  Safeguard's contractor, again, went in and stole the washer and dryer.  The widow had moved to an apartment where there was a stack washer and dryer, and she had been very explicit about leaving the washer and dryer.  Well, they were gone, and the dust bunnies were ONLY present where they had been removed.  Interesting, huh?  Because no one goes into the house BEFORE property preservation, in most cases, unless the home is listed as a short sale, no one would know WHAT the sellers had left in the home.  To the property preservation people, what the banks don’t know won’t hurt them, right?  It’s illegal, it’s unfair, it’s unethical, but who ever said the banks (or their property preservation companies) would act legally, morally, fairly or ethically, right?  They’ve shown their true colors since 2008, and now that they’ve been deemed “too big to prosecute”, who knows what the next few years will bring.  As long as their profits increase 37% per QUARTER (Denver Post, 2/27/13, p. 17A), they have PLENTY of money to use for lobbying, so I don’t see any changes in the foreseeable future.

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