Graham Wood is senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working Through the Distress
When clients experience financial or emotional hardship, agents can help them get back on track.
March 18, 2015
Moving Toward a Brighter Future
When Sarah and her husband divorced in 2011, she was left with the mortgage and the rest of the expenses on the home they had built in Dallas, Ga., five years earlier. Sarah, an educator, received child support for their two sons, which helped with the bills, but when her ex lost his job in 2013, his contributions dropped by more than half. Sarah could no longer afford her home.
“I wasn’t sure what to do or what options I had,” says Sarah, who, for privacy, didn’t want her last name used. Stress, uncertainty, and fear defined her world. That’s when she reached out to
Sarah’s ex-husband’s name was still on the mortgage, so Torella kept in contact with him separately about the process. “She talked with him by phone and e-mail, which put him at ease,” Sarah says. “Looking back, I’m not sure the sale would have happened without her intervention.”
Torella says it was a balancing act getting Sarah and her ex on the same page about the sale, but her main goal was to help Sarah weather a difficult situation. “I wasn’t there because I needed a quick sale,” Torella says. “I was there to give her hope about what comes next.”
Sarah’s home went under contract within a week of coming on the market. She and her children now live in a two-bedroom condo in Marietta. Sarah and her ex-husband “now have closure,” Torella says.
A Second Chance at the Dream
“Paul’s willingness to work with us convinced me that it could become a reality” to own a home again, Christine Rockwell says. “Instead of running screaming in the other direction, Paul rolled up his sleeves and said, ‘Let’s do this thing.’ ”
With McIntyre’s help, the couple found a house they loved. The financing looked like it was a go, but then the lender reconsidered the past foreclosure and pulled back. “We were crushed and thought our dream would end there,” Rockwell says. “But Paul jumped into action, put us in touch with a lender who could work with us, and put a rush on everything.”
McIntyre counseled the Rockwells to apply for an FHA mortgage, which generally has more lenient requirements after foreclosure than a conventional loan. He worked with the seller’s agent to get the seller’s bank to agree to a longer timeline for the closing. The transaction closed at the end of February.
“This has been a challenge for everyone involved,” Christine Rockwell says. “But Paul worked hard to bring everything together for us.”