Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Pop... Pop, pop... Pop... (From the LA Times):
For Hennigan, the search for a deal restarts every 10 days, when he gets a packet from United Title Co.
Drawn from public data, it has the names, addresses and loan information for people in Riverside County who are in default, which usually means about three months behind. They generally have another three months before the bank seizes the house.
"They get sold these houses on the idea that they can handle the mortgage, and then they can't," Hennigan said in his cubicle early one afternoon. He glanced at the sheets and reeled off some of the amounts due: $13,708 … $5,209 … $12,776 … $15,149.
When he combs through the listings, Hennigan ignores anyone who owes more on a home than it is worth. These folks are in too much trouble to be saved. What he's looking for are owners who, after closing costs and a 6% agent's commission (half to Hennigan, half to the buyer's agent), will walk away with their credit rating intact and some cash to start anew. This will give them an incentive to deal.
He likes to pay his unannounced visits late in the afternoon, betting that the wife will be home and the husband not. "I can't remember the last time a man said, 'Let's sit down and talk,' " Hennigan said.
Coming along on this afternoon's prospecting trip is Jerald Becerra, a former body-shop estimator for insurance companies who became a full-time agent in August. "I'll stay in the car, keep the engine running," he says. "Just in case someone comes out with a shotgun."