Companies claiming to buy houses come in all shapes and sizes. Sadly, it is all too common in our industry for fly by night people to claim they can help, then go missing after promises are made. This can leave many people in a bad position and cause extra stress. Finding a good home buying company can be difficult for Ferndale seniors when they’re ready to transition out of their home. Our lovely client, Betty, learned the hard way. We’re glad we were her second chance. Here’s her story.
Ferndale Senior Betty – Transitioning Out of Her Home
Betty’s daughter was living in Arizona when she decided to move to Northern Michigan with her mother. She knew Betty was getting older and her Ferndale home was becoming too much for her to handle. Before they purchased their new house in Northern Michigan, they needed to sell Betty’s Ferndale home to help fund the move. The plan was to sell the house and use the equity to pay for closing costs for the new house, moving costs, and payoff existing debts.
They saw an ad on television from a “We Buy Houses” buyer. He said he can purchase the house within a couple of days. This sounded great, so they gave him a call. Betty and her daughter accepted his offer and they were thrilled that they could move forward with the sale. That’s when they’re troubles began.
The Wrong Home Buying Company
Since Betty and her daughter based their plans on the sale of her house, they were depending upon the buyer to close by the end of October 2019 like he had promised. They lined up the close on their new house at the same time. All of a sudden they could no longer reach the buyer.
Betty and her daughter now had their backs against the wall. In order to close on the new house, they were forced to take on debt. Their costs were extremely high because they were moving to Northern Michigan from Ferndale and Arizona. So the only way the move could happen was to bury themselves in credit card debt. To make things worse, the longer they went without selling the house, the more Betty’s reverse mortgage kept eating into the equity of the home. This money was crucial for them to erase the debt the were forced to take on. Now they had to start from scratch and find a new buyer for the Ferndale home while already living in their new home in Northern Michigan.
The Right Home Buying Company Enters the Picture
Before we met Betty, we met her neighbor who was kind enough to watch over her house and move out the last of her belongings. The neighbor knew Betty was having difficulties with the sale of her home, so he decided to give us a call.
When we came into the picture, anxiety levels were very high. Betty was very concerned about their situation as it was worsening by the day. They were skeptical with working with us because their trust was shattered by the previous person. After researching our website and looking through our google reviews, they were comforted by what they saw. Now they were hoping Property Solvers could pull through.
After speaking with Betty, we could tell she was in extreme distress. We wish we could say we were surprised by hearing her story, but we weren’t. Unfortunately false promises and untrustworthy people in this business are far too common. If we were to guess, the person they dealt with tried to get the property under contract for the lowest possible price in order to flip it for quick cash. When he wasn’t able to do so, he disappeared without a word.
The Home’s Condition Limited their Options
The home treated Betty and her family great over the 50 years that she owned it, raising each of her 3 kids there. She recently replaced the roof and siding, and updated the first floor bathroom. Although these were great updates to the house, it needed much more. The upstairs had unfinished framing with no walls, floors were in disrepair, and the kitchen was outdated. With the repairs needed, it would have been very hard to sell the home on the market with a Realtor in As-Is condition. Not only are today’s buyers extremely picky, but with the unfinished 2nd floor, chances of a mortgage being approved on the house was slim to none.
Reverse Mortgage Company Made Life Difficult
Betty, a senior citizen and long time Ferndale resident, had taken a reverse mortgage out on her home in 2009 in order to help supplement her retirement income. She now reached a critical point and needed to sell the home before she used up all the equity.
Dealing with the bank was turning out to be a nightmare. She needed to get a final payoff letter in order to close on the sale. Every time she called the bank they just kept dragging their feet. Giving her excuses the entire way, they were making her jump through hoops in order to get the final payoff letter. She spoke directly with 8 different people over a span of 3 months, patiently waiting to receive her payoff letter which never came. Day by day, her costs were creeping up and her equity disappearing.
We couldn’t believe how difficult the reverse mortgage company was being towards Betty. She simply wanted to sell the home and payoff the debt, but it seemed the bank would rather drag it out in order to increase fees. We made our trusted title agent aware of the situation and she took matters into her own hands. She called the banks and demanded the final payoff. Being contacted by an experienced title agent, the bank knew they could no longer delay the process. They submitted the final payoff letter within 24 hours.
How Property Solvers Helped Betty
When we first saw the Ferndale house, we immediately loved it. We could tell that it was a beloved home and that it was well taking care of over the years. We were excited to have an opportunity to give her home new life. So we gave her an offer. We promised that we would purchase the home and we were going to do whatever we could to help smooth out her current situation.
What helped set her mind at ease was the constant line of communication between us. The last buyer they worked with didn’t communicate at all, leaving them uncertain throughout the process, until they were finally abandoned without reason. Clear communication is key to a trusting relationship. Knowing they had us on their side, and being able to get answers to their questions when needed made all the difference in the world.
We were able to close on Betty’s home 3 weeks after we initially spoke with her. She no longer had to watch her mortgage fees eat away at her equity, and the stress from her uncertainty could finally go away. Her home was sold, and it was just in time for Christmas!
Betty and Christine’s New Home
Since Betty moved to Northern Michigan before we had met, our conversations were entirely over the phone. Shortly after we closed on the purchase of her home, we finally had a chance to meet her and her daughter Christine face to face for the first time. We visited them in their new home and they welcomed us with hugs and warm conversation. They shared stories about their beloved home over the years and the experience they had trying to sell it. It was an emotional experience for them. We felt very lucky that they were so willing to share with us. They were so happy. The burden of their situation was over and they could finally settle in to their new home.
Choosing a Home Buying Company – Lessons Learned
Betty and Christine show us why it’s so important to work with the right people. Finding the right people may be the most challenging of all. They had it all planned out. All the details of the logistics, the sale of their home, and the purchase of their new home. Unfortunately things spun out of their control because they had contacted the wrong person.
So how do you avoid working with the wrong person?
- Prepare Early – It’s always beneficial to have time on your side. By preparing early, you will give yourself enough time to identify your options. Otherwise, you could get forced into a situation you may not want to be in. A quick sale sounded great to Betty and Christine because they were ready to move. Working with someone on that basis ended up costing them time, money, and a whole lot of stress.
- Look at Google Reviews – Looking through Google reviews can give you valuable insight into how a person conducts business. Don’t just look at the star rating, but actually read through some of the reviews. The best reviews to read through are the detailed reviews. A detailed review will actually explain to you a person’s experience working with them. If it’s not a detailed review then you won’t get the insight you need to make an informed decision.
- View Websites – Most real estate websites use keywords in order to be highly searchable on google. Google “Buy my Ferndale house” and a ton of websites pop up. Click into these websites and you’ll quickly realize that there is no information giving about the actually company. Click on another website and you’ll realize that they are all using the same template. You will also realize that they don’t have their face or name anywhere on their website! Realtors also use templates for their websites. If they aren’t sharing real experiences, it’s hard to tell how they conduct business.
- It’s Not Just Selling Your Home, It’s Getting the Support You Need – People find themselves in trouble because the hire the “Top Selling Realtor”, or they call the “Cash for Your House in 24 hours” sign on the road. These are great terms to use to entice people, which is why you see them so often. But oftentimes these terms are empty phrases. When speaking with them, share your experience and make sure that you are being listened to. Do they empathize with you or are they pushing you to sign a contract? Do they have experience working with people through similar situations and how did they successfully help them through it? Be thorough and don’t jump at any person based on the terms they use.
Our Plans for Betty’s Lovely Ferndale House
We are so excited to give Betty’s former home new life! Refinishing and installing new floors, updating the kitchen and bathrooms, finishing the second floor and basement. Before you know it, the house will be ready for the next owner to love it just the way Betty did!
Want to see what we did with the house? Check out the Renovation!