Continuing to examine and hold a lively discussion of the Northern Virginia Real Estate market.
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I have been following this blog for quite some time and really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. Well, something happened today that really have me fuming, so I decide to make my first post. I would love to hear what you guys think.We have been renting a small townhouse in north Reston for 4 years and really love the area. Now that we are expecting our second child, we decide to look for a slightly bigger townhouse to rent in Reston. So far, we haven’t had any luck, but that’s not what this post is about.Today, I came across this rental on realtor.com:http://www.realtor.com/search/searchresults.aspx?mlslid=FX6703207&ml=3&typ=71604 Fieldthorn Dr., Reston, VA 20194 ($1550)MLS ID: FX6703207What makes it special is that according to today’s Washington Post Legal Notices, this house is scheduled for a foreclosure auction next week:http://mypublicnotices.com/washingtonpost/PublicNotice.asp?Page=PublicNotice&AdId=920624BGW# 56788 SALE OF 1604 Fieldthorn Drive, Reston, VA 20194. In execution of a certain deed of trust dated October 20, 2003, in the original principal amount of $164,500.00, the undersigned Substitute Trustee will offer for sale at public auction at the front steps of the Circuit Court for Fairfax County, 4110 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Virginia, on April 22, 2008, at 10:26 AM. www.bgwsales.com (703-548-4600, or 301-961-6555).Curious to know what the story is, I called the realtor’s office (Re/Max 100, 703-339-4500) and talked to the listing agent Bill Wellborn. I inquired about the general condition of the house, and was told that “it’s a beautiful home”, “there are a lot of activities on the house” and he is actually showing someone the house tonight. After a few more questions I learned that the house has been vacant since January, the house is in “ok” condition, there are a few features that are “original”, and the appliances are “not terribly new”. At the end of the conversation, I asked him about the foreclosure sale. Sure enough, he was not very enthusiastic about the question, although he is apparently well aware of it. He told me that the owner has the sale postponed for 2 months. I then asked him whether he would disclose the foreclosure info to potential tenants when he shows the property, he didn’t answer the question directly but said “she (the owner) has equity in the house, she’s not gonna let it go to the bank”. Well, that sounds like a no to me. That ended the phone conversation I had with Bill Wellborn, I then called the foreclosure attorney’s office (didn’t want to rely on their website to have the most current info). The attorney’s office told me that no, the sale is not postponed, it’s still scheduled for April 22nd. This really gets my blood boiling. I hate to think that a family is going to move into this house and be forced to move out in a couple of months, look for another place on short notice and has to go through hell to get their security deposit back. What if it’s a family like mine that is expecting a baby? What the owner and realtor are doing is unethical to say the least. It’s simply WRONG! The realtor is no more than a used car salesman who doesn’t blink an eye when lying to your face. Sorry about the long post. I’ve been known to be a terrible story teller. Anyhow, I would love to hear what you guys think. I’m thinking if there are enough people calling the realtor Bill Wellborn about it, he may be forced to withdraw the rental listing. Granted, we can’t prevent tenants being forced to move out when their home is being foreclosed upon. But in this case, we know the house is in trouble BEFORE a tenant moves in. If we can prevent that from happening for just one person/family, it’s worth doing something about it. Any thoughts?
Send the story/post you just made to the news editors at the Washington Post and Washington Times. Editors love that stuff. Well, real news editors do. I doubt Haggerty or Razzi would do any good with such a story - they'd water it down and make excuses.Anyway, That's a good news story that already has names and documents and only requires a few calls from a real reporter.Just my 2 cents.
An interesting article I found from the WSJ. http://finance.yahoo.com/real-estate/article/104632/Gauging-Value-in-Real-Estate-as-Prices-Slide Apparently, we aren’t the only city experiencing this inner versus outer price decline. A few blurbs to consider:“In many cities during the housing boom, developers ventured far afield to buy cheaper land, expecting that if they built it, buyers would come. Though buyers generally get more house for their dollar in more-remote communities, many buyers today are forsaking size for the conveniences of being close to the city, often in areas that are redeveloping.In the Salt Lake City area, one of the nation's stronger housing markets, communities such as Holladay, built in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s and less than 10 miles from downtown, are maintaining their value, while those farther out are struggling… Similarly, while home prices are up in most of Alexandria and Arlington, Va., prices are down 10% to 15% in Prince William County, about 25 miles outside of Washington.”The article states similar patterns can be seen in places like Chicago, San Francisco, and even meltdown markets like Phoenix
Looks like she took out a home equity loan to pay off her debt maybe? Maybe upgrade a few things in the home?You have to figure paying for 15 years on 117k, she had to have SOME EQUITY in the home.Look here:http://icare.fairfaxcounty.gov/Forms/Datalets.aspx?mode=sales&taxyear=2009&ownseq=1&roll=REAL&jur=&sIndex=0&idx=1&LMparent=138Sales HistoryDate Amount Seller Buyer08/26/1993 $117,700 ZAM ANGELA05/12/1988 $123,000Goto the foreclosure sale with 10% down ;)
dominic, I called Washington Post and was transferred to one of their Real Estate staff writers-Renae Merle. I directed her to this site and told her about the story. We will see what happens next, although I’m not holding my breath. Reporters don’t seem to be very interested in renters’ stories in this market. Those distressed homeowners’ stories seem to attract more of their attention.bas_madone52, we have no intention to live in that house at this point. During my conversation with the listing agent Bill Wellborn, I learned that the house has one full bath on the upper level and another full bath in the basement. No bathroom on the main level. I really don’t understand why anyone would build a house without a bathroom on the main level (where the kitchen and living room are). In my house, that is the mostly used bathroom, since we spend most of our days in the living room and kitchen. There is one good thing though, if anyone is interested in buying this house at the auction, maybe he/she can call the rental listing agent to look at the house first. That is a chance you don’t always get for foreclosure properties. But this also makes it more important to make the realtor withdraw the rental listing. Imagine you just bought the house at the auction and then found out that the realtor has rented this place out? If you intended to buy this house as a rental and get a good tenant, then you are lucky. But what if you get a horrible tenant? What is the incentive for the realtor to find a tenant with good credit and good references at this point? He probably just wants to make a quick buck.Harriet, thanks for getting the word out. Hopefully they won’t find any renter.
What's the real estate agent's motivation to continue advertising and generally working on selling/renting this house if he actually thinks there's a good chance it's really going into foreclosure? Remember, he doesn't get a commission for selling it if the deal doesn't go through. Do you think he's just in cahoots to get a cut of the rent? I suspect the owner has convinced him that she's going to make the back payments before the trustee's sale.I was in the situation once of having recently moved into a rental condo that was foreclosed on. It turned out for the best as I didn't really like the neighborhood. (I had just moved to that city). And luckily the agent was holding my deposit. I remember her being very surprised when I called to tell her I'd gotten home to find a "Vacate within 14 Days" notice tacked to my door. At least I didn't have to worry about the carpetting my dog had pulled up ... (HUD came in and stripped the place after I moved out.)
What is worse is that the deposit is tiny and the rent is high- they're apparently looking for some poor broke sucker that doesn't have the extra months worth of rent to put down for a deposit. Exactly the kind of person who can't afford to move again in 2 months.
lcg, would you be good enough to file a complaint with the Fairfax County Consumer Protection Division?http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/consumer/IQext/CSW_acs.asp
I would also suggest contacting Virginia's Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation's Real Estate Board about Bill Wellborn:Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation9960 Mayland DriveSuite 400Richmond, Virginia 23233-1463Executive Director: Christine Martine (804) 367-8552
Gruntled,You can't report someone for something you think they're going to do. At this point we don't know that the owner doesn't intend to pay before the trustee's sale ... or, perhaps plans to buy the property back for cheaper. For all we know, the bank could be the one who has hired the Realtor ... and the trustee's sale is just so that the bank can write off its loss more easily.
gruntled, I checked out the Fairfax County Consumer Protection Division website, however, I'm not sure what I can really do, since there is no real dispute involved and I don't have any ground for a complaint. If I have submitted an application and been approved and moved in, then that's different. What the realtor and owner are doing is unethical, but legally, I don't know if the realtor is required to disclose such foreclosure info by law. Same thing goes to complaining to Virginia's Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation's Real Estate Board about Bill Wellborn. I don't know if he broke any hard rules. Actually, if the owner makes a payment 1 minute before the auction, the auction will be cancelled, and everything may turn out fine. Although, I really think that 1) the realtor should disclosure the foreclosure info to potential tenants, and 2) the owner should resolve the mortgage issue first and then try to rent this place out. All I'm hoping now is to get the word out, and indeed renters need to beware.Lance, I don't know this for sure, but I think that the realtor is hired by the owner, because he told me that he sold the house to the owner in 1993, and he knows that the last tenant moved out in January after living there for 5 years.
People do this kind of thing all the time. For example, the District holds a yearly tax sale on properties where the property taxes haven't been paid. The delinquent taxpayers have 6 months to come in and pay off the owed taxes (with interest). Something like 99% of these do end up getting redeemed by the delinquent taxpayers ... usually on the last day allowed. It's a cheap way of "borrowing" money since government set interest rates are usually low. Take a look at your neighbor's tax payments sometime. You'll be surprised how many are "deliquent" ... even those where the bank is collecting the payments monthly and paying the twice yearly bills. (I.e., the banks are availing themselves of cheap financing ... while they earn higher returns elsewhere with your funds.) The owner here is most likely just making a good business decision and not intending to defraud. I think this especially since they've apparently owned the house a long time and must have a lot of equity in it. If they were really unable to make the payments, they could just tap some of the equity (via a homeowner's loan) to make the payments until they sold/rented it.Gruntled is assuming the worse 'cause he's ... well ... "gruntled", as usual.
Sigh. Lance, the word "gruntled" is a joke, based on the fact that "disgruntled," meaning unhappy, appears to be created though use of the prefix "dis," which is used in English -- apparently not your mother tongue -- to mean the opposite of the root word (such as proved / disproved and comfort / discomfort, as well as disarmed, disregard, and, particularly appropriate in your case, dishonest). So, if disgruntled means unhappy, gruntled should mean happy. The joke of course is there is no word "gruntled" in modern English.I believe that a real estate agent soliciting a deposit and presumably first months rent for a dwelling that he has admitted to knowing is facing foreclosure within the next 30 days without disclosing that fact is engaged in fraud, and I would urge that he be reported to see if the prosecutors office will see it that way as well.
Gruntled,How do you know this fact wouldn't be disclosed at such time that an offer to rent is made? Like Icg pointed out, even if you knew for sure that the place was going to be foreclosed upon (which you don't), no illegal action has to-date occured.
As I indicated, all that matters is what the Commonwealth's Attorney thinks, and given the increasing number of instances in which homeowners have been taking rent from people without paying a mortgage, I have heard that Virginia is getting far more aggressive in pursuing this sort of thing. But they cant do anything unless somebody files a complaint. The person who has been misled here is lcg, and, again, I urge that a complaint be filed with the authorities. If nothing happens, nothing happens. But you never know until you try.
M-W.comgruntledOne entry found.gruntle Main Entry: grun·tle Pronunciation: \ˈgrən-təl\ Function: transitive verb Inflected Form(s): grun·tled; grun·tling \ˈgrənt-liŋ, ˈgrən-təl-iŋ\ Etymology: back-formation from disgruntle Date: 1926 : to put in a good humor (were gruntled with a good meal and good conversation — W. P. Webb)
disgruntledOne entry found.disgruntle Main Entry: dis·grun·tle Pronunciation: \dis-ˈgrən-təl\ Function: transitive verb Inflected Form(s): dis·grun·tled; dis·grun·tling \-ˈgrənt-liŋ, -ˈgrən-təl-iŋ\ Etymology: dis- + gruntle to grumble, from Middle English gruntlen, frequentative of grunten to gruntDate: 1682 : to make ill-humored or discontented —usually used as a participial adjective (they were a very disgruntled crew — Flannery O'Connor) — dis·grun·tle·ment \-təl-mənt\ noun
Let me save you further research"Gruntle is what lexicographers call a frequentive, a verb that describes repeated or recurrent action. (Some call it ''frequentative,'' but they need preventive, not preventative, medicine.) The frequentive of wrest is wrestle; of prate, prattle; of spark, sparkle; and the frequentive of grunt is gruntle.The Oxford English Dictionary defines gruntle as ''to grumble, murmur, complain,'' and cites a 1589 sermon by Robert Bruce: ''It becomes us not to have our hearts here gruntling upon this earth.''Haynes Goddard of Cincinnati writes to suggest that the verb disgruntle means ''to deprive of the opportunity to register dissatisfaction and complaint'' -- that is, to deny the release of a good, loud grunt, and thereby to make the would-be gruntler sullen. We don't know; the O.E.D. mysteriously lists disgruntle as appearing in 1682 and meaning ''to put into sulky dissatisfaction or ill humor.'' You might think that if the old gruntle meant ''complain,'' then disgruntle would mean ''to stop from complaining,'' but language is not always logical.However, thanks to a comic writer, gruntled -- having died as obsolete -- has indeed made it back into the dictionaries. P.G. Wodehouse, creator of Jeeves, wrote, in his 1938 ''Code of the Woosters,'' ''If not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.'' The O.E.D. and Merriam-Webster list that play on a word as a back-formation from disgruntle, and the word gruntle is born again -- meaning ''to put in a good humor.''Wodehouse has answered the comedic question. There are, indeed, gruntled employees. They're the ones with the soaring 401(k) accounts, and those fat kittens rarely blow their whistles to scandalmongers."From a column by William Safire in the NYThttp://tinyurl.com/6blrjc(To everybody else: sorry I engage in this series of pointless exchanges)
Icg,Great post. And here we thought that these REA’s are professionals and have intimate details of the market and homes. Lance would have you to believe that this REA is an innocent bystander.The REA obviously knew about the auction, and wasn’t going to bring it up. I wish I could have seen the look on his face when you mentioned it. And of course “there are a lot of activities on the house”. I have yet to see a house, according to the realtor, that didn’t have “lots of interest” or “an offer coming in this afternoon” (then it sits on the market for another 6 months).
Remember Gruntled, Lance knows more about everything than you. Even your own moniker. LOLLance is a sociopath.
"dominic, I called Washington Post and was transferred to one of their Real Estate staff writers-Renae Merle.... Reporters don’t seem to be very interested in renters’ stories in this market. Those distressed homeowners’ stories seem to attract more of their attention.#####lcg, I think you did the right thing bringing it to their attention. Hopefully a story will get written because this is bad stuff and shouldn't be happening. And, in a way, it is about distressed homeowners in that it is a decent house looking at foreclosure.
Paul,The sociopaths are those seeking to find an evil motive in everything everyone else does ... other than their own noble selves.To wit: I posted a definition of gruntle supporting what gruntle had said about the word meaning "good humored" And what was gruntle's response to this? Also, the real estate agent has nothing in it for him if the house is really and truly going into foreclosure; yet he continues to market it ... this house with a relatively tiny mortgage on it. To even the most casual observer the allegation that the real estate agent is trying to pull something over on anyone is ludicrous at best. But all the BHs posting in response to it are asserting that he is. What gives? Could there be a correlation between mistrusting everyone and being a BH? sociopath/sosiopath, soshi-/ • noun a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behaviour.
I believe in the case of our current rental, the property manager/realtor holds our deposit. And I think in most cases, the listing agents get paid one month rent, most likely the first month rent goes to them. Regarding the realtor’s motivation to continue advertising and working on renting this house, I agree with gruntled that he is probably in for the first month rent. $1550 is not nearly as big as a commission paycheck for selling a house, but in this market, they are not selling that many houses. Money is still money. Mike, I didn’t realize that the deposit is only $250, that is quite strange, normally it’s the same amount as the monthly rent. Lance, I disagree with “People do this kind of thing all the time”. If DC’s tax sale is the way as you described, it’s a total different scenario than what we are talking about here. When homeowners default on their property taxes, they are not affecting other people’s lives, at least not in a direct way. However, in this rental case, the realtor and homeowner can potentially put someone’s life through hell. I read an article a few weeks ago about a couple (renters) got the vacate notice on the same day that the wife had a miscarriage. Things like that seem to always happen at the worst moment. Moving is quite disruptive to a family’s life, especially when they have kids, in addition to costing a lot of time and money.
lance and gruntled,These sorts of issues have been reported in the news, albeit quietly:http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88251859Renters are losing their deposits, and although I don't know this particular realtor's agenda, I'd be wary of the situation. Unfortunately, there are some people out there looking to make a quick buck.lcg,I used to live in an apartment near there and really liked the area; however, those 2 bedroom THs were selling for over $300K, which I personally deemed overpriced.If it really bothers you, perhaps you can ask a friend to check out the place, ask questions, and get more information from the Realtor. Then you can assess whether a complaint is necessary.
It sounds like the real estate agent is engaging in fraudulent activity. If a house is in foreclosure and is scheduled to sell on April 22 and the agent is trying to rent it out on April 16 knowing full well that the house is scheduled for auction, then the agent is engaging in fraud. Section 18.2-216 of the Virginia Code makes it a class 1 misdemeanor for any person or entity to induce another to partakes of goods, services, etc. through the use of untrue, deceptive, or misleading advertisements, inducements, writings or documents. In this situation, the real estate agent is misleading all potential renters by advertising a home for rent that may not even be available after April 22nd. Since the agent is not disclosing this information IN HIS ADVERTISEMENTS, he is committing, at minimum, a class 1 misdemeanor.In addition, the Virginia Code also states that real estate brokers licensees who are engaged by landlords to lease real estate are prohibited from providing false information to tenants and shall treat all tenants fairly. Section 54.1-2133. Based on this, I would think that this real estate agent is not only violating the licensing requirements for real estate brokers, but is also engaged in criminal activity. At the very least, he should lose is real estate broker license.
'cept we truly don't know yet that the property won't still be in the owner's hands after April 22nd. All indications (small mortgage relative to value of house, long ownership history, long rental history, etc.) point to the fact that it will be. Prior to any money changing hands the real estate agent is under an obligation to disclose the foreclosure proceeding, but the fact that it isn't in his advertisement doesn't mean he won't.
It doesn't matter whether he intends to disclose. It matters whether he did disclose. In advertising the home as for rent without disclosing a very material fact with regard to that home, the real estate broker violated Virginia's criminal code. The code prohibits, among other things, false, deceptive or misleading advertisements. The situation described qualifies as a false, deceptive or misleading advertisement.
christa said:"The code prohibits, among other things, false, deceptive or misleading advertisements. The situation described qualifies as a false, deceptive or misleading advertisement."You're rushing to judgment. You're assuming that because there is going to be a foreclosure proceding on April 22nd that the house will be foreclosed on AND that the bank that forecloses on the house will evict the new tenants. You're making two assumptions there. They are not known facts. Like I said earlier, it's very possible that the owner is simply taking their sweet time paying the mortgage for whatever reason (perhaps it makes sense from a financial standpoint ... or perhaps the owner and the bank are in disagreement with each other over some other matter). It's also very possible that it is the bank/lender themselves who have arranged for the real estate agent to start marketing the property. There are a thousand and one possible scenarios out there. You can't convict someone on un-founded assumptions. I agree it is a material fact that diserves disclosure at time of signing, but I don't agree that anything illegal or unethical has at this point been committed.
You misunderstand the law. It doesn't matter whether the foreclosure will be stopped at the last minute. What matters from a legal perspective is that the house is currently in foreclosure. The real estate broker is required to disclose, in his advertisement of the home for rent, that the house is in foreclosure. This is a material fact that a potential renter has the right to know. The fact that the real estate broker advertised the house as being for rent, without also advertising that the house is currently in foreclosure and scheduled for a foreclosure auction, constitutes fraudulent activity. The fact that he did not engage in fair and honest dealings with possible tenants is a breach of the requirements imposed by the Commonwealth of Virginia on real estate broker licensees. Again, it does not matter what could happen. What matters is what the real estate broker did during that moment when he published a home for rent without also publishing, at the same time, that the house was also in foreclosure. He should lose his license.
I agree with Christa's analysis, but it doesn't really matter what the people on this board think. All that matters is what the state of Virginia thinks, and the only way anybody can find that out is to file an official complaint about this. Either it's dismissed or it goes forward. But *nothing* happens without an official complaint. I would, once again, urge lcg to state the facts as lcg understands them in front of representatives of the legal system of the state of Virginia and let the legal system determine whether this behavior violates the law. (As an aside, there is zero legal risk to lcg; that is lcg does have to be concerned with, for example, a slander suit if lcg confines here statements to the facts: "I saw this house advertised for rent, and then I noticed that the house is facing foreclosure, a fact that was not disclosed in the advertisement. I spoke with the agent, who also did not bring up this salient fact, and, indeed, asserted that it was not relevant to our discusion."
gruntled,Why do you want lcg to report it. What prevents you from doing so? You have seen the advertisement yourself. If you agree with Christa's analysis, then you have been equally misled by the advertisement ... and in the same position as lcg to report the situation.I too would be interested in knowing what they will have to say about this. I see Christa's point ... to a point. I mean I agree that a rental contract should not be signed without full disclosure of this material fact. But what really constitutes deceptive advertising? Does withholding a material fact from advertizing constitute deception? If one is advertizing a house with a major highway running directly behind the property, is one required to advertize that? That is a material consideration, is it not? And that is something which would be found out after the person looking to rent got serious and went to see the house ... The same way the agent would surely have told lcg about the foreclosure had lcg been a serious enough renter to actually go see the place. remember, lcg merely placed a call to make some inquiries. Do you think the real estate agent would have mentioned to lcg the presence of a major highway behind the property in a similar inquiry call?
lance,Apples and oranges.christa,Do you have any idea (or opinion) whether deceptive advertising applies to condos being advertised as townhouses? That is one of my pet peeves, as the ownership is entirely different; yet, Realtors continue to market some two-level condos in Ashburn as townhouses.
Lance,You can legally live in a house with a highway out back, but not in a house where the bank has changed the locks.
Kristina asked:"Do you have any idea (or opinion) whether deceptive advertising applies to condos being advertised as townhouses? That is one of my pet peeves, as the ownership is entirely different; yet, Realtors continue to market some two-level condos in Ashburn as townhouses.""Condo" is short for "condominum unit" and is a form of legal ownership. It can come in apartment form, townhouse form, or even in single family form ... though usually it only comes in apartment form. It just means that in addition to owning your unit outright, you also own in common with the other condominium unit owners the common areas and common systems (plumbing/electrical/etc.) including the limited common areas (e.g., "your" patio.) It's a way of splitting up ownership rights and responsibilities. "Townhome" doesn't really mean anything ... at least not legally. The orginal townhomes, as the name implies, were homes in towns/cities ... as opposed to country manors and country cottages. In my opinion if these 2-level apartments don't have at least a little bit of enclosed (and private) yard space, then they really aren't "townhomes" in the sense we usually think of a townhome. Does this rise to the level of deceptive advertising? I doubt it. The truth in advertsing laws that were passed some 20 years ago were meant to protect against gross abuses ... not every risk inherit in life. Before they were passed caveat emptor (buyer beware) was the rule of the land.
gruntled, I called Fairfax County Consumer Protection and was told that “no, they can’t rent out a foreclosed property”. She also confirmed that a complaint could not be filed based on a phone conversation. I directed her to this site, and she said that she would have someone look into it.
thanks for standing up.
lance said: "gruntled,Why do you want lcg to report it. What prevents you from doing so? You have seen the advertisement yourself. If you agree with Christa's analysis, then you have been equally misled by the advertisement ... and in the same position as lcg to report the situation."Because I was not subject to the alleged fraud Lance. I was not looking to rent a property, nor did I engage in a conversation with a real estate agent during which time relevant information was withheld.
Sometimes this board reminds me of that Monty Python argument skit.No matter what anyone here says lance will take the opposite side and try to lecture them as if he has some idea what is going on.
Eh, he distrusts people's motivations. I actually feel bad for him; his behavior suggests he has a difficult life. And I need to stop teeing off on him; it's pointless.
lcg said... "gruntled, I called Fairfax County Consumer Protection and was told that “no, they can’t rent out a foreclosed property”."That's true. However, until the auction on 4/22 is over and title has been subsequently transfered, the property isn't a "foreclosed property".www.realtytrac.com/foreclosure-laws/Virginia-foreclosure-laws.asp
lance,I don't think you understood the question I posed to christa, or you're simply not aware of the differences between condo and townhouse ownership.Condo owners certainly do not own the common areas and common systems; they are maintained via condo fees and subject to rules established by the condo association. Condo ownership generally means you own the middle of one wall to the middle of the opposite wall, roughly speaking, and the middle of the floor to the middle of the ceiling. I do not believe condo owners own the land upon which their condo rests nor the exterior.In townhouse ownership, you typically own the land and the exterior of the unit, including the roof and/or yard.Thus, my issue is that Realtors incorrectly advertise condos as townhouses based upon their style (more than one level) and not ownership, even though the ownership is much different. (As an aside, condos invariably result in higher monthly fees to maintain the common areas and systems.) I'm not saying that this is illegal, but IMO it is unethical and, at the very least, a bait-and-switch tactic.
Kristina,Under the condominum form of ownership you own "the space" as your post relates PLUS you own in common (with the other owners) the land the building/house/complex sits on as well as the common systems such as main plumbing lines.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CondominiumThere is no townhouse form of ownership. "Townhouse" is a style ... not a legal definition of ownership. Since it is only a style of housing, what it is exactly is up to debate. What is a "ranch" house?
Kritina,To give you an example that may help understand why you're comparing apples to oranges in saying "condos are not townhouses". If you buy a townhouse where the roof and outside of the house is maintained by the association and the land on which the house stands is not subdivided, then you are living in a condo. Call it a condominium townhouse if you like, but the ownership is legally "condominium" as opposed to "freehold". (Where you own the land on which the townhouse stands and are responsible for taking care of the roof and exterior, then you own the place "freehold".)
lance,You indirectly proved my point.http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-townhouse.htmA townhouse is a style of *house* that shares walls; therefore, townhouses fall under "homeownership" vs. "condo ownership". When Realtors advertise condos as townhouses, it is misleading.If a condo is, in fact, multi-level, then the correct listing might be "townhouse-style condo".Why be misleading? In this market and in this area (Ashburn), townhouses are much more marketable than condos. (That's not saying much, but that's beside the point.)
Lance said, “For all we know, the bank could be the one who has hired the Realtor ... and the trustee's sale is just so that the bank can write off its loss more easily”. “That's true. However, until the auction on 4/22 is over and title has been subsequently transferred, the property isn't a "foreclosed property"”.At this point, the bank does not own this property. And with the amount of equity in this house, two things will most likely to happen: 1) the owner make a payment to bring the mortgage current, 2) someone bids on the property at the auction at a price higher than the principle but much lower than market value. It’s very very unlikely that the house will go to the bank. Even if the house ends up on the bank’s book, considering the low principle, they will most likely try to sell it quick. Banks do not want to be in the landlord business. So, why would a bank hire a realtor BEFORE the trustee sale to get a renter in a house that they do not own and most likely will not own? It does not make any logical sense.
lcg asked:"So, why would a bank hire a realtor BEFORE the trustee sale to get a renter in a house that they do not own and most likely will not own?"It's pretty rare where a third party gets the house at auction. Where a house really does get foreclosed on, it's almost aways the bank that buys it. (There was an article about this in the Post last year on the subject.) From what I understood, the auction is necessary for the bank to get to write off its loss even in the case where they are in complete discourse with the debtor and are willing to cut the debtor a break and not persue them for the recovered principal. In such a situation it would make complete sense for the debtor to work with the bank at getting it listed for rent for the bank's eventual benefit. (Remember, banks work very slowly ... a short term lease would bring in revenue while the bank does its thing.)
*recovered principal = unrecovered principal
Lance: "Condo" is short for "condominum unit" and is a form of legal ownership. It can come in apartment form, townhouse form, or even in single family formThanks for the well written lesson, Lance. You know your real estate. Condos, Co-ops (common in New York), Freehold (or Fee Simple), Leased-land (common in Baltimore) are forms of ownership, there are probably others.Highrise apartments, Rowhouses (also called townhouses), garden apartments, single family homes, clusters, are the unit style and have to do with shared walls, access to or relationship to a yard, etc. A "condo" is not a high-rise apartment unit. It can be but as you wrote, a single family home on an acre can be a "condo". In addition, condominium ownership can transition to freehold, it's a matter of dissolving the condominium association, titling the unit owners their share of the land, and creating another legal entity, an owner's association to handle maintaining the swimming pool and mowing the common grass. You might do that to change the bulk of the condo-fee to a separately billed real estate tax.
"A townhouse is a style of *house* that shares walls; therefore, townhouses fall under "homeownership" vs. "condo ownership"."I see what you're saying ... You're differentiating houses/townhouses from condos by the fact that sometimes when you own a townhouse you own the walls/exteriors. That "sometimes" is when the form of ownership is freehold or leasehold (you don't own the land but are leasing a specific plot under the house). However, you don't own those walls when the form of ownership is condo ... even if it looks just like your average leasehold townhouse. I'm guessing when you say "homeownership" (as in vs. "condo ownership") you're meaning "freehold". Yes, that's correct."If a condo is, in fact, multi-level, then the correct listing might be "townhouse-style condo"."Yes, it is ... and I see what you're saying ... Since most townhouses are freehold, then in those cases where it isn't, the developer should make clear in his advertisement that people know these aren't freehold but rather condo. Sounds fair enough to me.
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