Foreclosures

FHFA's new program to help underwater homeowners

Today the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced a new program designed to help even more underwater homeowners refinance their mortgages at today's low rates. The plan hopefully will allow homeowners to lower their monthly mortgage payments, thus freeing up money to be spent in the broader economy and help the US from slipping back into recession again.


Previous programs had been restricted to homeowners who were no more than 125% upside-down on their homes. The new FHFA program places no cap on how much the borrower owes, or how far underwater they are.  Only mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be eligible. Need to know if your mortgage is owned or managed by Fannie/Freddie? Check here and then here. Then call us for a loan officer recommendation.


Helpful links -

Does Freddie Mac own your mortgage?

Does Fannie Mae own your mortgage?

Rapidly dwindling inventory of bank owned homes in metro Phoenix

In his September 15th market summary Mike Orr of Cromford Report said




We are projecting about 4,500 new foreclosure notices during September, a drop of some 16% from August and about 2,850 trustee sales, a drop of about 21%. Part of the drop is because September has 9% fewer working days (21) than August (23).


Nevertheless it still looks like the foreclosure tide is on its way out, and the inventory of bank owned homes continues to fall, as does the count of pending foreclosures.



Context: In the 30days preceding Mr. Orr's report, there were 8,763 properties sold in the greater Phoenix metro region. As of September 20, 2011 there are 19,241 properties listed for sale in the area. Nineteen thousand, plus forty-five hundred, minus nearly nine thousand... equals not enough homes for sale in a mere couple of months.


You can sign up for the highly respected and frequently dead-on accurate Cromford Report for a nominal fee for a 3month membership. Last I checked I think it was $90 for 3 months. WELL worth it.


By the way, I completely agree with Mr. Orr. The foreclosure tide is on it's way out. My investors looking for bank owned homes in the under $125,000 price range are having a devilish time finding and getting the right home. Multiple offers, bidding wars, paying over asking price. If you're shopping under $75,000, triple that difficulty level.

Condo financing near-impossible to get

A while back, I wrote a piece called Condo Re-Financing: Tricky to Impossible. Nowadays, that lending dilemma has grown -- it's next to impossible to get a new mortgage to purchase a condo, according to my favorite lenders Kevin Reiser and Jeannie Bolger. (need an ace loan officer? call me or text me and I'll forward their info. 602-999-8831). The exception may be luxury condos, think million dollar plus, but I'm not sure that mortgage market is healthy either.


The reason one can't get a mortgage to buy a condo these days has almost nothing whatsoever to do with the buyer and his/her credit profile. It has to do with the condo community and it's overall financial health/outlook. Many, many condo (and patio home and townhome) communities have experienced so many foreclosures that their Homeowners Associations are in severe financial distress. Other times, the owner-occupant to investor ratio is so out of whack - with investors owning 75% or more of the units in the community - that lenders won't lend to anyone who wants to buy there.


If you're really digging the idea of a condo right now.... check with several lenders first. Getting a mortgage for your new, hip pad might be tricky to impossible.


Want more in-depth explanation of the metro Phoenix condo market outlook? Try this article we wrote waaaay back in Spring 2010. http://thephoenixagents.com/newsletters/viewpoint-2010-0407/

Most expensive REO

Here it is, folks, the most expensive REO bank owned foreclosure home currently for sale in the metro Phoenix, Arizona MLS database. For a mere $18 million, this estate can be yours.

18mil EF

Seven bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, and over 17,000 square feet of living space. The home boasts two swimming pools, a billiard room, 3 family rooms, a theater room with actual movie-house projection system and seats that move with the movie action. Garage space for 21 cars. Home has an exercise room and a piano room, 2 libraries, and it’s own solar electric generating station.

The closets in this place will suit turn anyone into a clothes horse…

18mil closet218mil closet1

The house sits on 5 acres in Paradise Valley, on prestigious Mockingbird Lane.  Want to see it in person? Shown by appointment only; bank references required prior to showing. That’s Realtor-speak for “show me the money before I show you the house.”

18mil HALL18mil ENTRY

18mil POOL218mil POOL1

18mil LIBR

And, proving that even the excessively wealthy have sense of humor, at the entrance to this home’s theater room, Zoltar from the movie Big.

18mil THEATER

The difference between Bank Owned, Foreclosure, REO, and Short Sale

July 2011. This is an update and reprint of an article from June 2008. Reprinted because, sadly, it's still relevant. Updated because things in real estate are always changing. This information pertains to metro Phoenix, Arizona in 2011. If you're reading this from another locale or long after the publication date, please consult a professional in your area. We are Realtors, but we are not your Realtors; get local, professional advice.

REO, a.k.a. Foreclosure, a.k.a. Bank Owned -- the bank has already foreclosed and the former homeowner is long gone. In Arizona, there is no "Redemption Period" after a foreclosure during which the former owner can reclaim the home. Once the bank has foreclosed on an owner, it's game over. The bank owns this house outright and is selling it, almost always using a Realtor and an MLS listing. (There are extremely rare situations where a bank forecloses and doesn't obtain clear title to the home. How rare? In a combined 13 years of practice in metro Phoenix, we at ThePhoenixAgents have seen this happen once.).


Pre-Foreclosure - Treat these as "Short Sales".


Short Sale - In this case, a homeowner is trying to sell at today's prices which will not completely pay off his/her mortgage, and seller won't or can't bring enough money to the closing table to pay off the mortgage. The seller's lender will be left with a short payoff, hence the name.  If the seller can't get his/her lender's approval of the short sale, the sale will not happen.


Short Sales are sometimes great bargains for buyers, but these homes are frequently sold without any disclosures about condition, and are almost always sold As-Is. Buyers can inspect the house but Sellers/Lenders won't do any repairs.


Then, there's the Short Sale Waiting Game. Lenders are overwhelmed, they were never set up to operate a real estate brokerage in the first place, and will probably take a month or more to even acknowledge receipt of a Buyer offer. Total wait time can vary wildly depending on which bank you're dealing with. What are "normal" wait times? I've seen 2 to 9 months, with a personal record of 13 months from offer to closing (30-day escrow).


Want More Info? See all posts in our Short Sale category, or our Foreclosure category. Get even more information, and search for area short sale and foreclosure homes.

How to make an offer on a Fannie Mae home

This is a post about how to make an offer on a Fannie Mae-owned (foreclosure) home in metro Phoenix, Arizona where I’m a licensed Realtor. If you’re reading this from out of area, or long after Summer 2011, please consult a professional in your area.   Need a metro Phoenix-area Realtor? Contact me!

To make an offer on a Phoenix-area Fannie Mae home at present, you need at least the following forms, completely filled out:

  • REO coversheet
  • Owner Occupant Certification
  • Notification to Listing Agent
  • Fannie Mae Real Estate Purchase Addendum
  • AZ State Purchase Offer/ Contract
  • Agency form
  • Loan PQF

I submitted a Fannie Mae purchase offer this morning for one of our buyer clients -- it was 28 pages long!

Several of these forms you get from the Listing Agent (that’s the seller’s Realtor). The Loan PQF (Pre-Qualification Form) you have to get from the Buyer’s loan officer, and it must be dated within the past 1 to 8 weeks or so.

Currently, Fannie Mae is requiring that the Buyer complete their Fannie Mae Real Estate Purchase Addendum. That’s a fairly new requirement; it used to be buyers didn’t fill in that form at all but rather waited for Fannie Mae to send it once the buyer’s bid had been accepted. Be careful with this form! It has a couple really vital “trigger dates” in it, and the Buyer has to fill in those dates. A trigger date is my term for a date that other contract deadlines count from. For example, the inspection period counts from the Acknowledgement Date which is different from (but closely related to) the Effective Date. Fill in the wrong dates on these blank trigger date fields and you can seriously screw yourself up.

Another thing to be carful with on the Fannie Mae addendum – the form uses the terms Settlement Date and Expiration Date interchangeably, but never use the term Closing Date, which I find utterly stupid. The way the government’s attorneys wrote the form, if the closing doesn’t happen on the Settlement Date, the deal expires, per the Expiration Date. But the addendum doesn’t say what happens then! Does the buyer lose their Earnest Money? Does the deal just close on the next business day? Who knows! The Addendum doesn’t say.

Oh, and don’t forget to specifically ask for the Fannie Mae Incentive of 3.50% of the purchase price from the Seller to cover some of the buyer’s closing costs, by adding that request to your purchase offer. If you don’t ask, you won’t get the closing cost assistance! You also have to know when Fannie Mae’s offering that incentive; they don’t do it all the time.

Confused yet? You’re not alone. If you’re a buyer or potential buyer in the metro Phoenix are in Summer 2011 you’re bound to run into Fannie Mae homes. Fannie Mae’s got so many homes for sale these days, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.  As the commercials say, “Don’t attempt this at home alone kids!”  

You really need an experienced Realtor working on your behalf when you’re trying to make an offer on a Fannie Mae home. The paperwork is just so confusing and Fannie Mae keeps changing the rules about which forms they want and how you have to fill them out.  Hire a Realtor!

Need a Realtor? Read all about Heather and Chris, authors of this site and experienced Buyers’ Agents.  Then contact us and hire us; we’re happy to help.

What happens at a foreclosure auction?

A frequent question we're asked here at The Phoenix Agents is about the process a home goes through when it transitions from being a short sale to a foreclosure.  Here's the skinny.

Typically, banks and mortgage companies will allow a homeowner many months to attempt a short sale. Sellers hire a Realtor who lists the property in the regional MLS database. Showings happen. A buyer makes an offer. For whatever ridiculously silly reason, the seller's lender denies the short sale. Unless the seller can find a backup buyer in time to satisfy their lender(s), the home goes to foreclosure auction.

What happens at the foreclosure auction?

As you can see, most homes are not "sold on the court house steps" to an investor. They're taken back by the mortgage lender/bank who held the former homeowner's original first mortgage, and the home is now an REO, or Real Estate, Owned. The mortgage lender/bank then hires a Realtor to list the property for sale in the regional MLS.

This information applies only to metro Phoenix, Arizona where we work as residential realtors. This article was published in May 2011. If you're reading this from another state or long after publication, please consult a professional in your town or contact us for updated information.

What's a Notice of Trustee's Sale?

In Maricopa County where Chris and Heather work as Realtors, the Notice of Trustee's Sale is the official notice that a bank has begun foreclosure proceedings against a homeowner.  Here's a run-down of the typical process as of today's writing.


Remember, this information is meant for Maricopa County, Arizona homeowners, buyers and sellers. Your local market might behave very differently, so consult a professional in your area.


closeup image of a portion of a mortgage applicationUsually, if a homeowner misses 3 to 4 mortgage payments, the bank that holds the mortgage may send the homeowner a Notice of Trustee's Sale. It's a 2 or 3 page document that states the original mortgage balance on the loan currently not being paid. It also lists the date scheduled for the foreclosure auction.  Sometimes the Notice is taped to the front door, sometimes I believe it's sent certified mail.


Regardless of method of delivery, the message in the Notice of Trustee's Sale is simple:  the homeowner has 90 days to come completely current on their mortgage, or make other arrangements with their lender, or the lender that holds the mortgage will foreclose, immediately and without further notice.


The foreclosure process in Arizona is very cut-and-dried. There's no redemption period, there's no additional notice required. You get your 90-day notice and that's all you get.


Homeowners who receive a Notice of Trustee's Sale may request a short sale or a loan modification, or a forbearance period, but the lender holding the mortgage is not required to agree to any of these. There's only 1 thing that obligates the bank which holds the mortgage to stop the foreclosure: if the homeowner comes completely current on the mortgage -- pays all back-owed payments, and pays off any/all penalties and fees imposed by the bank.


There are several circumstances where a Short Sale is the best of all possible uncomfortable options. Look for a post in the near future explaining why a Short Sale might be a homeowner's best option.

Are 70% of Phoenix homes at risk of foreclosure?

Are 70% of Phoenix homes at risk of foreclosure? The Associated Press says so. But it’s not actually true.  Of homes sold in the Phoenix area recently, 70% were distressed. That means the homes were either bank owned or short sales.

See below for a press release just issued by the local MLS data provider, the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS)…

Yesterday, two writers from the  Associated Press put out a story that said that 70% of the homes in Phoenix are at risk of foreclosures. By the end of the day the story had gone viral on the Internet and was picked up by multiple large media, including the Wall Street Journal. 

Of course, the information is flat out wrong, and unfortunately, it was attributed to ARMLS. We are reaching out to the original writers and others who re-circulated it to get the information corrected.

The statement was a result of the writers’ misinterpretation of the correct information put out in the February issue of STAT.  In that issue we stated that distressed properties accounted for 70.2% of total sales.

ARMLS is reaching out to our Subscribers to make sure they understand the error, and do not inadvertently re-circulate the wrong information in their blogs and on their social media platforms.

Buying a foreclosure is hard

Sometimes buying a bank owned REO foreclosure home is well… hard.  Sometimes it’s very hard.

It’s not that the homes are sketchy (sometimes they are).  It’s not that the homes come without any disclosures of condition (they do). It’s not that the seller won’t guarantee anything during or after the sale (they don’t). It's not even that there are always multiple offers (although under $150,000 in Metro Phoenix in Winter 2010 there are often *are* multiple offers).

Often, the problem is that you can't contact the darn agent who works for the bank. They’re either overwhelmed with too many REO homes from the bank, or they’re … otherwise… missing in action.


Video created using software available at Xtranormal.com

Pets abandoned in foreclosure homes

A shocking number of dogs and cats have been rescued from local foreclosure and short sale homes where their owners have abandoned them, leaving them to starve to death.

Your donation of food and supplies will help to save the lives of these homeless pets who have been rescued by Lost Our Home Pet Foundation.

Can you even imagine the horror of this situation for the animals involved? I’m almost ashamed to be part of the human race when I think that some people can do this to their pets. You just close the door and walk away?! You can’t even be bothered to pay the small fee to surrender your pet at a shelter?  It’s sickening.

Contact Lost Our Home Pet Foundation


http://www.lostourhome.org/how-you-can-help/
or call 602-230-HELP(4357)

This organization is supported by the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing System. And also by Chris Butterworth and Heather Barr, The Phoenix Agents at Thompson’s Realty. And our broker, Jay & Francy Thompson. And about a bajillion other cool peeps in town.

Pet Food Drive Locations



  • Wet or dry dog and cat food of any type

  • Pet toys

  • Cat Litter/litter pans

  • Water or food dishes


This is an ongoing project with no end date in sight.

ARMLS Support Center: Phoenix
5033 N. 19th Ave. Suite 113
Phoenix, AZ 85015
Mon – Friday 8:30 – 5:00

ARMLS Support Center: SE Valley
1363 S. Vineyard
Mesa, AZ 85210
Mon – Friday 8:30 – 5:00

Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS®
4221 N. Scottsdale Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Phone: 480-945-2651
Mon – Friday 8:00 -5:00 EXCEPT Tuesday
which is 9:00 – 5:00

ARMLS Main Office : Tempe
130 S. Priest Dr. Suite 101
Tempe, AZ 85281
Mon – Friday 8:30 – 5:00

ARMLS Support Center: Glendale
17235 N. 75th Ave. Suite E-160
Glendale, AZ 85308
Mon – Friday 8:30 – 5:00

ARMLS Support Center: Scottsdale
7600 E. Redfield Rd. Suite 170
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Mon – Friday 8:30 – 5:00

Bank owned home for $11,000?!

Yep. You might remember my periodic series The Highs and The Lows? This is a definite low.

Within the past 30 days, some lucky buyer got a bank owned REO foreclosure house for $11,000. It was a 2 bed, 2 bath home built in 1947, located in Avondale.

11k EF

11k EB

11k KIT

So my Canadian friends and other out of town investor buyers…  when you call me and ask me about $10,000 and $20,000 houses in “nice” neighborhoods, know that this is what you’re buying.

Metro Phoenix is like every other town. It’s even like the town where you live Mr. or Mrs. Investor Buyer. The really, really cheap real estate is really cheap for good reason. In “nice” neighborhoods you pay nice prices.

How long do banks take to reply to an offer on an REO foreclosure home?

I wanted to use the title “when banks hold up their own closings”.  I also considered titling this “I hate banks.”

The short answer is “banks reply whenever they feel like it.” The longer answer is: usually, in Metro Phoenix, in Fall/Winter 2010, banks take about 2-3 business days to reply to an offer. Once you’re under contract and in escrow the bank’s reply time often slows down considerably. Try 2-3 weeks.

This is an email trail between myself and the Realtor representing a bank on an actual transaction currently in progress.

Me, on Nov 29 at 5:55pm:
The buyer's underwriter is ready to issue final approval but needs seller's signature on Amendment changing price. Still don't have that and it could hold us up. Otherwise, we're aiming to close on Mon, Dec 6 as planned.

Bank’s Realtor, on Nov 30 at 1:03am:
This addendum was submitted to seller on 11/17/10 when I received it. All we can do is wait for it to go through Fannie. It is reviewed by 4 people each of whom can take up to 3 days, not including weekends and holidays.

I will send the seller signed copy just as soon as I have it.

(note that Realtor was working at 1 o’clock in the morning! Being a Realtor is not all sweetness and light and easy money)

Me, on Nov 30 at 6:24am:
Ok, understood.  Just as long as seller knows that Buyer's lender is at a stand-still and Seller is holding up closing. I'm sure you know, but wanted to put it in black and white for seller's 4 people who have to review. thanks.

again, note the timestamp. Don’t go into real estate unless you consider yourself a workaholic.
del.icio.us Tags: ,

Bank of America halts foreclosures in all 50 states

Just announced today, Friday, October 8, 2010 - Bank of America will stop all foreclosure proceedings in all 50 U.S.  states while they review their internal legal procedures related to the foreclosure document filing process.


From the official statement:




"Bank of America has extended our review of foreclosure documents to all 50 states. We will stop foreclosure sales until our assessment has been satisfactorily completed. Our ongoing assessment shows the basis for our past foreclosure decisions is accurate. We continue to serve the interests of our customers, investors and communities. Providing solutions for distressed homeowners remains our primary focus.” (source, Mortgage Professional Magazine, Oct 8, 2010)



The bank hasn't halted all foreclosure proceedings, however. If a borrower is delinquent, the bank is still issuing notices of default and pursuing efforts to modify certain mortgages, the spokesman said. (source: Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2010)


Last week, Bank of America halted foreclosures in 23 states where evictions need court approval, saying it was reviewing its filings in the wake of disclosures about improperly prepared documents. (source: The New York Times, October 8, 2010)


Bank of America services 14 million loans. More than 14 percent of those loans are past due or already in foreclosure. (source: The New York Times, October 8, 2010)

More news coverage --

from the political left, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/08/bank-of-america-halts-foreclosures_n_755737.html AND http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/08/AR2010100804213.html?hpid=topnews

from the political right, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704657304575539963605720860.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories AND http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2010/10/08/bank-america-extends-foreclosure-moratorium/

I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with banks

Really, I'm 110% over the bank owned REO thing. I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with banks and their stupid requirements.

I swear that lately the big banks and Fannie Mae, and especially the Realtors who work for them, are trying to make it hard to buy their properties.

Here’s a mere sampling of what I mean.


Please email documents to this email: [actual email address removed to protect the stupid]. Do not email the Realtor personally. Emails to the Realtor will not be accepted! Do not fax! Faxes will not be accepted.  After emailing, please note that originals of all documents must be delivered to the Realtor’s office.

Really? You won’t respond to my buyer’s offer documents unless I email them to your super-special address? And you wouldn’t like a chance to look at the offer if I faxed it to you?  And then after all that I have to “deliver” the original documents to your office, which is 1 hour away from mine? What do you mean “deliver”? Is US postal mail OK? Or do I have to hire a bicycle messenger? Or should I hire a guy in a gorilla suit to hand deliver the documents? Why?

Or this one…


(seller’s Realtor’s email to me) Buyer’s Earnest deposit will immediately become non-refundable if an extension to Close of Escrow is requested. ** BE AWARE that the Seller has been known to cancel a Contract if any deadline is not met or if extensions are requested. **

Um, yeah.  This is a Fannie Mae contract. It was written by federal government attorneys. Every single Fannie Mae home sold in Arizona – and possibly in the whole country – is sold using the exact same form of contract documents. They do not say this.

The seller’s Realtor cannot change the terms of the contract with something written to the Buyer’s Realtor in an email. Any first-year law school student would tell you that written contracts trump emailed threats.

More idiocy…


Seller requires a Lead Based Paint Addendum on all contracts regardless of age.

I assume you mean the age of the home, not my buyer’s age. Regardless, you are aware that lead based paint forms are a federal government requirement, and are only required on homes built prior to 1978? So you’re adding a layer of bureaucracy on top of the federal government’s bureaucracy? Great.  Because we all know how much everybody loves bureaucratic red tape.

Another…


You MUST provide a REVISED PURCHASE CONTRACT/OFFER that matches the REO As Is Purchase Addendum IN ITS ENTIRETY (if applicable due to counter-offer). Seller will not sign the Contract unless ALL TERMS in the Contract and Addendum MATCH!

Really? I mean, come on, really? The legal purpose of an Addendum is to override some of the terms of the original contract. Your lawyers created the Addendum, you should know that! By design, an offer and an REO Addendum will not match in their entirety. But because your clerks can’t be bothered to communicate with your corporate lawyers, I have to revise the 9-page contract buyers already signed, have them sign it again, and then send the entire shebang to your super-secret email address. Great.  I had nothing else planned for today.

Oh but wait, there’s more…


(received at 9:03am on Wednesday) . . . .You must return all documents with original ink signatures to our office by 5:00pm Central Standard Time today. If we do not receive your signed documents by that time, Seller will cancel your offer and accept offers from any other interested buyers.

Ok, let me get this straight. I emailed my buyer’s offer to your super secret email address 11 calendar days ago. I called to confirm you received it. After sitting on buyer’s offer for 11 days, now you’re demanding that my buyer sign and return your As Is Addendums in less than 8 hours?! What were you doing for 11 days? And why do you get 11 days but Buyers only get 7 hours?

And yet more…


You MUST provide a copy of the certified check in the amount of the earnest deposit as stated on the Addendum.

Me: OK, fine. Which title company do you require we use?

Bank’s Realtor: We don’t know yet. Bank will assign that later.

Me: How in the name of all that’s holy is my buyer supposed to get a cashier’s check from his bank made out to “we don’t know yet”? Head’s up, smartypants. Banks don’t like making out cashier’s checks to no one.

This is maybe my all-time favorite…


I submitted our buyer’s offer on a condo. I got an auto-responder email confirming the seller’s Realtor received it. Nothing happened for 5 business days.
Day 6, Me:  “I’m calling to see if the selling bank made a decision on our buyer’s offer that we sent to you 6 days ago?”

Seller’s Realtor’s Assistant: (clicking computer keys) “Hmmmm.  We don’t seem to have that offer. Could you re-send it?”

Me: “Do you have any other offers at this time?”

Assistant: “No, we don’t.”

I re-send the buyer’s offer. Within 4 hours, I get an email that goes like this:
"We now have multiple offers on this property. Please submit your buyer’s ‘highest and best’ offer within the next 2 hours in order for it to be considered. Please include original ink signatures, as the bank no longer accepts electronic signatures.

Please also include your buyers’ blood type and a sample, a stool sample and social security number, as well as his birth date and pictures of his first born child which may be used as collateral against the property at the seller’s discretion.”

OK. I admit it. That last bit about bodily fluids and children I made up. But sometimes I need a little comic relief from the exciting adventure of trying to help people buy REO foreclosure homes. And sometimes the bank’s requirements are nearly that ridiculous.

But really, the important thing is this: I sent you an offer that you sat on and did nothing with for 5 business days. Within 4 hours of me re-sending that offer, you mysteriously have multiple offers?! Do you think I just fell off the turnip truck yesterday?

I have had this happen three times in the past 2 or 3 years. Twice, my buyers called the banks’ bluff, held firm at the original offer price, and won the so-called multiple offer bidding war anyway.  Once, my buyer called their bluff and lost out to the phantom ‘other’ buyer. Five days after that, the property is still showing as Active, For Sale in the local MLS.

<I am now banging head against my computer keyboard.
Hard. And repeatedly.>


Oh, banks. You’re just so silly! When will you go away and leave us all alone?

Not all banks are utterly moronic

Last December our buyer clients found a house online that they loved in a big way. It was priced at $2,195,000 and their budget was $1,800,000 max. It was a short sale, headed for the foreclosure auction block in 2 days.


We saw it in person. They fell in love. I checked the tax records:  seller’s mortgage is held by a local savings and loan.


Bam! Foreclosure auction. House goes back to the bank.


I get on the horn and call the savings and loan in Scottsdale. The receptionist puts me right through to the guy in charge of selling the S&L’s foreclosed homes. Right through! The guy! I nearly fell off my chair.


He & I talk; he says send an offer. We help our buyer clients write up an offer and we send it over.


Long story short, about 60 days later our buyer clients moved into their dream home. Which they got for about 18% less than the true market value. And the savings and loan sold a foreclosure property without paying two Realtor’s fees or any landscaping & pool maintenance fees. Happy, happy all around; win-win for everybody.


All because someone at a bank answered the phone, in person and was ready to act when opportunity knocked. Wouldn’t it be nice if more banks operated that way?

The Highs and the Lows, some more

A periodic series about the highest and lowest priced homes in the local MLS. Properties must be:

  • single family, detached homes

  • bank owned

  • currently Active in the ARMLS (Ariz. Regional Multiple Listing Service)

  • located in the Greater Phoenix area (Wickenburg, Florence, Coolidge, etc are excluded; Surprise, Buckeye, Queen Creek, etc are included)


1 House, 2 Lots, $14,840


low, 1 home 2 lots, EF

Property is a 624 sq.ft. home with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a family room and a kitchen. House sits on 2 lots in the Valencia subdivision of Buckeye with a total of 13,500 sq.ft. Owned by Fannie Mae and Fannie's Realtor says the property is eligible for Fannie Mae HomePath Renovation Financing.


low, 1 home 2 lots, map(click to enlarge map)


See it there on the far West side, in Buckeye . . . that little black & white star? That’s the location. I sold a home next door to this subdivision, in 2006. I say from personal experience that the surrounding homes are mid-1990s and newer with stucco exteriors and tile roofs. This home is probably the sore thumb in the neighborhood, and almost certainly needs to be just knocked down.



6 Flat Acres in Paradise Valley, $4,850,000


high, pitch and putt SAT close


  • 7,595 square foot house


  • 4 bedrooms, 4-1/2 bathrooms, 4 car garage, pool


  • originally built in 1972


  • a self-contained 500 square foot guest house with full kitchen


  • located on 5.75 acres (250,266 sf)


  • property taxes are $23,616 annually for tax year 2009


The grounds have a pitch & putt golf course, tennis court and gazebo. Located near Lincoln Drive and Invergordon Road.

High, pitch and putt MAP

The former owners tried to sell this home & land for over 3 years before the bank finally took it back via foreclosure. Originally listed for sale at $14,000,000 in January 2006. Later the owners tried to rent it out for Super Bowl Week January 30th to February 4th, 2008 for $100,000. A hundred grand for a week. Mind blowing! Finally in July 2009 the home was foreclosed on. In September 2009 the bank listed it for sale at $5,250,000.

As near as I can tell by zooming in on the satellite photo and Google maps, the house is round. Well, not round round, but built around this central courtyard.

high, pitch and putt COURT

In all the time it’s spent on the local MLS, there are only 3 interior photos of the home, which one Realtor described as “the most romantic estate in Arizona” and another described as “magical.” Magical? One hopes the bank removed the fairies and elves before listing the home for sale. Or at least got rid of the orcs. Nasty, those orcs.

high, pitch and putt KIT Kitchen

high, pitch and putt LIV Living/Family (?) Room

high, pitch and putt DIN Dining Room

At first I thought, “I can’t believe that’s not sold; 6 flat acres in Paradise Valley is easily worth more than the asking price.” But jumbo loans are wicked hard to get these days, and the tax assessor has the property valued at only $3,610,800. Plus the buyer would have to love the ‘look’ of the home, which I call Old Spanish Trail House in my head. I’ve seen this type of decor done extremely well, and it’s beautiful when well executed. But it’s undeniably not popular these days, and it's difficult to change the look & feel of this decor to anything else without investing huge bucketloads of cash.

That’s it for today’s Highs and Lows. View other posts in this series. Thanks for reading! Call, email or text us if you’d like help finding your bank-owned bargain.

Heather, 602.999.8831
Chris, 623.570.9940