by Carol Mangum

I’d like to share another story of a client we helped in our business.

The homeowner east of Austin was at his wits’ end with the insurance company. His house had burned, so he was out about $1,800 in temporary housing expenses and had no idea what else to do. He’d been homeless for a couple of months and needed cash.

Finally, he reached out to us from an ad he’d found in the Greensheet.

The homeowner explained about his burned-out house and all the damage the firemen had done on top of the damage the house fire had caused. I listened to his tale concerning his temporary housing expenses, lack of communication from the bank and the insurance company. He went on to explain the good news that he’d arranged a longer-term and more cost effective housing solution for himself. He was a feeling a little less pressured thanks to this. He told me that he was ready to cut this house loose, and that we could have the property for a certain amount so he could have a down payment on his new home nearby.

I advised him on language and arrangements he could offer his lender and the insurance agency to finally get his settlement on the burned house, and I arranged a meeting to take a look at the property.

The next day we walked the property together and he told me more about the septic system that had never been pumped since built back in 1965. He admitted that how cancelled trash service and had been burning the trash out in the yard for years too. He showed me the pile of soggy, now dried, suits trampled and covered in soot. The dirty photos, still on the walls, of his deceased father and his beautiful mother. This guy deserved some help! And I knew someone out there could take this extreme fixer upper and make it a home again—just not him.

Almost miraculously, the bank had responded to the advice I’d given him and because I had found a way to get new documents to him, he had documentation for the settlement he’d been due for months. He was very grateful. We settled on an amount to help him started over in the nearby town of Smithville.

It took a little while to get all the paperwork together for the title company, since the fire had damaged all of the house loan and deed paperwork. But our patience paid off. Shortly thereafter the seller met me at the title company for his closing and we were able to get him his funds. He happily sidled off into the sunset to start his new life, free of the burned up property.

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This house was about as sad as a house gets. But it had utilities and was on a main road. Not all bad!