Huntington Beach CA– The New York Times had an interesting article about one man’s mission in the fight to stop foreclosure. According to the article, Mark Guerette, attempted to make use of all the empty, abandoned houses he saw.
I get frustrated when I see homes sitting empty for months and months. “Those homes should be put to good use!” I thought to myself.
It bugged me that homes would sit empty for months and even years at a time. The lawn would become overgrown.
A window might leak. Or, vandals would break the windows. Rain would start getting inside the house, thereby causing mold on the walls and ceiling.
The house would get uglier and uglier. As a working short sale realtor, I knew how much this would cause the home’s value to drop.
Most of the homes were in foreclosure. The owners had moved out to avoid being kicked out. But, the banks didn’t take care of the homes.
It bugged me to see these trashed homes come on the market and sell at a substantial discount.
“Those banks are hurting the housing market. Someone needs to do something!” I thought to myself. But, I never did anything about it.
Apparently this guy did. Mark would find abandoned homes, fix them up, and rent them to needy families.
An old English Common Law principle called “Adverse Possession” would make him the owner of the home after several to a dozen or more years.
Of course, he was responsible for keeping the home up, paying all the property taxes (including past dues taxes), and risking having a former homeowner confront him.
California’s Adverse Possession law would give ownership after 7 years. He thought that law was enough to make what he was doing legal. Apparently not!
According to the article, he now faces up to 15 years in prison. This is after he disclosed what he was doing to everyone.
He mailed the owners of the homes and the banks with the mortgage and told them of his plans. The lease with his tenants disclosed that he wasn’t the legal owner.
And yet, he still faces a prison sentence? Do you think that is fair? I don’t. Please tell me what you think in the comments section below.
Thinking about a short sale? I can help you short sale your property and never pay the bank another penny. Send me an e-mail at Tony@HunthausenGroup.com. I will contact you for a free consultation.
When we talk, I will explain how the process works in detail and answer any questions you may have. Or, if you prefer, you can call me at 714-334-7808
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Thanks for reading this, Tony Hunthausen.
Tony is a Real Estate Broker Associate at Remax Select One. Huntington Beach Short Sales Realtor:
Phone: 714-334-7808. Tony@HunthausenGroup.com.
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