Active Rain April 23, 2009

Why Armadillos Don’t Own Real Estate

I have blogged previously that lizards who are smart enough to move survive and those that sit still are quickly eaten by any colonies. Both sitting still and moving are survival mechanisms, but depending on the circumstances one can kill you and the other can save your life. In a New York short sale, curling up in a ball might work fine for an armadillo to survive, but it doesn’t help a homeowner avoid a foreclosure. I have often stated that proactive sellers, who help themselves, have far better results. It’s just that simple.

Yesterday, I met with one of my agents and a client who had bought a home with her about 4 years ago. We have known for months that they were having difficulties, and for some reason they delayed meeting with us. In fairness, they were trying to refinance and then for a loan modification, but when that failed they went to an outfit that promised to solve all their problems for a fee. The money for the fee disappeared, but their problems did not.

5 minutes into the meeting, we learned that we were too late. The bank took back the house in January. The REO broker, whom I know, was in contact with them about vacating the premises. They had a copies of legal notices, and lots of other things that indicated that they were there on borrowed time. They didn’t seem to grasp this until I told them it was over; what this all meant was that the bank now owned the property. He crossed his legs and seemed very intent on the TV news across the room. I looked around. My agent was speaking to him and he was nodding, but his eyes were lost in the TV and I noticed how nice their place was. This was a really beautiful pre war brick 2 family. The crown molding was exquisite. The pastel artwork on the wall was cheerful and beckoned happy times. Typically, the finances and the physical surroundings match. This didn’t match.

Clearly, their choice to engage with people who made unrealistic promises for a fee cost them their house. Had they met with me this past autumn when we were first made aware of their problems we could have sold their house for them. As it was, the house never made it to the market. It would have sold easily, and they could have avoided a foreclosure. While they didn’t curl into the fetal position, their failure to act smartly cost them. Westchester short sales are high stakes; you can’t just act, you have to act intelligently.

I will amend my philosophy slightly. In a short sale, people who help themselves and act intelligently will get the best results.


  J. Philip Real Estate

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J. Philip Faranda ranks among New York’s premier short sale REALTORS specializing in short sales in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam & Dutchess Counties. Read Phil’s short sale blog at

J. Philip Serves Briarcliff Manor, Ossining, Croton on Hudson, Pleasantville, Sleepy Hollow, White Plains, Yonkers, Peekskill, Cortlandt, Tarrytown, Yorktown, Montrose, Hawthorne, Thornwood, Valhalla, Hartsdale & all of Westchester County, New York.