Nashville Real Estate Stories - A Day in the Life of a Foreclosure Agent - Part 1
Let's look at one day in my crazy life. If you can put the needs of others ahead of your own, this may be the job for you!
A few years back, I received a new foreclosure assignment in Hermitage, a suburb of Nashville, TN. The first steps with a new foreclosure are gathering information and checking to see if anyone is living in the home. I assembled as much as I could find on this property, printed a map and headed out the door. I had no idea what to expect when I arrived at the home, but I know it will always be an adventure.
Driving slowly through the neighborhood, I approached the home for the first time. It is a good idea to keep your eyes open to get an impression of the neighborhood. You also want to look for homes for sale and for evidence of other distressed properties. One of my routines is to say a quick prayer before I arrive at the property. A blessing for the home, the occupants and myself is a good way to start.
I was expecting the property to be vacant, as the power had been off for several months. No one answered when I knocked on the door. The front of the home was secure and most of the blinds were pulled tight, so I needed to walk around the exterior of the home. The rest of the home appeared the same as the front. When I get to the back of the home, I found the rear door unlocked.
It is now time to go inside. I always knock hard and loudly yell "Hello" when I enter a home for the first time. It is best to listen and take in the sights and smells when you enter a vacant home. After being in this business for a while you learn to read the clues. For example: If it smells like pets, there is a higher probability that you will encounter stranded animals or fleas.
We are required to tour the home, document the condition, and note any personal property. I found the home half filled with furniture and the garage stacked floor to ceiling. This is not unusual as some people just abandon their stuff and move on. As required, I locked the back door, posted a notice on the front door and headed to the office to prepare reports for my client. An eviction would be filed with the courts and the sheriff. It's waiting time.
The eviction process can take from a few weeks to a few years to complete. With Nashville Foreclosures, an eviction takes three months on average. At the conclusion of an eviction, all of the personal property is moved to the curb. Typically, the neighbors start to take anything valuable the minute the sheriff leaves the home. We drive by the property weekly to check the condition of the home and to determine if anyone has moved in or out. Nothing on this home changed for a few months, and then one day I received a call.
The call was from the former owner. She had stopped by to get a few things, and saw the notices that were posted. The time for relocation assistance had expired and her eviction hearing was scheduled for the following week. She was planning on slowly moving her personal property, and now realized that she had to speed up the process. Wanting to finish before the eviction hearing, she decided to move her property on Saturday. To protect their asset, my client asked me to be on site during the moving process. I had better things to do on a Saturday, but my client and this lady needed my help.
Arriving early on Saturday morning, I found the lady and a rental truck. She said help was on the way. Wasting no time, we both got to work. With a few experienced movers, we would have been finished by lunch time. However, it was just us two, and she was not able to help significantly. Shortly after lunch we had about half of her property loaded up, but could not get in touch with her friends. She could not afford to have the truck for too long, and I did not want to come back on Sunday. So I kicked it into high gear.
A few hours later I was running out of steam, and we still had a quarter of the property to load. Starting to get discouraged, I was thinking about making last-minute calls for help. I originally planned to be on site for the morning and help with some of the heavier items. Life is full of surprises, and it turned out that I was 90% of the moving crew. Heading out to the car to get my phone, the help finally arrived. For me, it was like seeing the cavalry coming over the hill in the midst of a horrendous battle.
Now they were not the fastest moving crew, but I was happy for their help. My second wind kicked in and we had the truck loaded by dinner. Exhausted and hungry, I was ready to go home. All of my muscles ached and I started thinking about the other things that I needed to complete that day. This huge burden started to weigh me down, and then it happened.
The former owner came to me with a huge smile and big tears in her eyes. She sincerely expressed her gratitude and stated that her personal property would have been lost without me. Asking for several of my cards, she wanted to share the story and hopefully pay me with referrals. However, there was one thing she did not understand.
The debt was already paid in full.