May 20, 2012

Putting the DUH back in Florida

Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for passing along this fascinating news item via IP.  That stands for Infirm Pigeon, which explains why it’s not as timely as our usual articles.

$1.2 million mansion for $10K?

By Jay MacDonald ·,
Monday, July 4, 2011, Posted: 9 am ET

120518-florida-scamsHere in Florida, the Foreclosure State, we thought we’d already cataloged every genus responsible for this plague on all our houses, from the predatory lenders to the oblivious robosigners androcket dockets to the no-mod-for-you bank Nazis. That was, until we caught wind of the HOA chasers.

The St. Petersburg Times recently profiled an opportunistic little industry that discovered a loophole in the state’s foreclosure laws and is milking it for all it’s worth.

Florida law allows homeowners associations, or HOAs, to foreclose on properties when dues are in arrears and does not require the HOA to notify the primary mortgage lender. Florida has 40,000 homeowner and condo associations, many struggling to keep basic services going with so many owners behind in dues. The HOA’s lawyers encourage them to foreclose because, if the bank beats them to it, they usually won’t see a cent.

Here’s where opportunity creeps in: Since most homeowners owe less than $15,000 in association dues, the HOAs can file their foreclosure cases in county court rather than in circuit court, where caseloads are backed up. This allows the associations to get final judgment on a foreclosure in as few as 270 days verses the 617 days it now takes for the average bank foreclosure.

120518-florida-mapThe piece goes on to explain that with the long wait times on foreclosure trials, coupled with county courts not notifying banks of the HOA lien foreclosure, scammers grab “temporary” control of these properties for years.  What do they do with them?  Live in them?  Share extras with all their friends?  Have blowout parties in a different locale each weekend, because they can?

Better yet, rent them out!  Fill them with renters who don’t know the foreclosure clock of doom is counting down.  And this is all completely 100% legal!  At least it’s legal in Florida.  I don’t know why everyone keep ragging on California real estate problems.  Florida is clearly the champion when it comes to Real Scammery.

Now, Florida is far away, so feel free to also discuss things closer to home.  Scams in the Bay Area?  Open houses?  Maybe some more about the Facebook IPO?  This is an Open Thread.

Comments (30) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

30 Responses to “Putting the DUH back in Florida”

  1. SV Shopper Says:

    Shopping Burlingame this afternoon. Have friends with kids in the school district. They totally recommend the schools. Wsh me good luck!

  2. Faux Estater Says:

    Wsh me good luck!

    Lost another loan to Ditech Lost another bid to Facebook employee.

  3. SEA Says:

    temp fencing is in place for construction

  4. Crissa Says:

    I think it’s important for cities and neighborhood associations to be able to move on an abandoned property…

    …but that they can foreclose without checking or discharging prior liens on the property is kinda creepy.

  5. nomadic Says:

    Eclipse reminder – it’s starting now and will reach maximum at about 6:30pm. Don’t look at the sun…

  6. Tom Stone Says:

    HOA’s are very special entities. Be sure you have an attorney versed in HOA law read the specific bylaws of any HOA if you absolutely have to live in a development that has one. And if you are buying Real Estate in Florida you night look up Pastor Stephen Horillo of the Efficient Life Church. He’s also a Relitter and can work miracles. If I could I’d nominate him as NAR spokesperson.

  7. arnold Says:

    How do you put Facebook out of business? Download the add on for Firefox or Chrome call AdBlock Plus… more ads….crazy

  8. nomadic Says:

    Tom, that’s a splendid idea! lol

  9. madhaus Says:

    Well I still haven’t gone blind from the eclipse, despite looking directly at the sun through xray film. One of our neighbors is a veterinarian and has used xrays (the blacked-out part) for eclipse viewing in the past without ill effect, so we had a little eclipse party on their front lawn.

    One nice thing about all the really old housing stock in Silicon Valley: no homeowners associations.

  10. nomadic Says:

    Damn! I didn’t know that trick! I have an x-ray sitting here that I could have looked through.

    I was hoping to see it in the reflection of my pool, but there was too much shadow from the house.

  11. SEA Says:

    I used a welding helmet, 100% ultraviolet and infrared filtering (meets ANSI Z87.1).

  12. Faux Estater Says:

    I just went to my brother’s home and watched the eclipse with naked eyes from his backyard. That place is so special, even sun does not dare to harm your eyes there. After all it is RBA. Palo Alto to be precise.

  13. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    Welding mask FTW. Not the modern self-adjusting type I’d have to find a battery for, the old type. Glad I found it, otherwise I’d have made an old-style 1800s smoked glass, involving, you guessed it, candle smoke and glass.

    It was neat, all the little spots of sun filtering through the trees looked like shimmering C-shape fish scales. And it cooled down at its peak.

    Florida is one of those places that make me extremely glad I live in California. I can only name 48 other states that make me feel that way.

  14. The Gilroy Alex Says:


    Also: Never ever ever respond or make use of, any Internet ad.

    Make ’em all broke.

    PROFIT! Er, sweet justice.

  15. nomadic Says:

    Looks like this HOA foreclosure has a catch: the mortgage survives the process as a senior debt.
    When a homeowner association forecloses and takes title to a home, the idea is the board will be able to rent it out until the bank forecloses as the primary lien holder. With banks taking years to foreclose on some properties, the board can potentially collect thousands of dollars.

    From an over-zealous buyer who didn’t consult an attorney first:

  16. SEA Says:

    Overbidding Facebook- “By Monday morning, Facebook was trading below $35.”

    From $38 to $35? RBA probation.

  17. nomadic Says:

    What do you expect with a company with the ticker symbol “FB?”

  18. madhaus Says:

    Does FB stand for F***ed Borrower or FuBar (which in turn is an acronym for F***ed Up Beyond All Recognition)?

    It sure doesn’t stand for Frantic Buy.

  19. sprezzatura Says:

    FB = FUBAR

  20. Banker East Says:

    They priced FB at full value in my opinion. If they had priced it lower, and the market will take it where it needs to be.

    On the point about HOAs, in New York it is quite common for apartments to have HOA of over $2500 a month. That does come with a door man, however.

  21. madhaus Says:

    Funny. Every New Yorker I know calls them “doormen” and I know a LOT of New Yorkers.

    Are you sure you live in New York? Why don’t you go outside and check. While you’re checking, you might want to read up on how the underwriters had to buy extra FB stock to support the $38 opening price through the first day of trading. It’s since dropped a little. Okay more than a little. It dropped 11% today.

  22. Banker East Says:

    We also call them doorkeeper. Not sure what your point is. Anyways, still looks like New York outside to me.

  23. Banker East Says:

    On FB, if you had been dreaming about buying it at below IPO price. Now is your chance. Take it or leave it!

  24. nomadic Says:

    Now that Facebook is down again today, do you suppose all of the locked out employees are soiling themselves? Might put a damper on the whole “buy up all prime real estate” craze that CNN was writing about. A 12% drop in two days might sober them up a little bit – well, at least the ones who joined within the last year. The others should be set, regardless.

  25. SEA Says:

    “While it only took one day to confirm what many unsuccessfully tried to argue for years—that Facebook was overvalued—the drama has only begun to play out, Barry Ritholtz of Fusion IQ says.”

    FB I’m keeping you on RBA probation. Keep it up, and you’ll be priced out of the RBA forever.

  26. Banker East Says:

    Too big to fail.

  27. SEA Says:

    Like WaMu.

  28. madhaus Says:

    Like JP Morgan Chase.


  29. arnold Says:

    What”s the difference between The Titantic and Facebook?


    It only took 2 hours for the Titantic to sink…..


  30. Faux Estater Says:

    On FB, if you had been dreaming about buying it at below IPO price. Now is your chance. Take it or leave it!

    Thanks for the lead. I put order that is going to trigger at $8.88.

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