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31 May Ep. 42 Distressed Properties with Ben Nichols


In this episode, Realtor Adam Kruse and Realtor Shannon St. Pierre talk about distressed properties with asset manager, Ben Nichols, of Nichols and Associates Real Estate. Find out what happens during the foreclosure process and what to do if squatters are found.

Email questions to PODCAST@HermannLondon.com


0:44 Adam introduces Ben Nichols of Nichols and Associates Real Estate
1:55 What is Ben’s history in real estate?
4:09 When did Ben decide to start focusing on foreclosures?
5:21 What is an asset management company and an asset manager?
8:14 Adam remembers when it was really hard to get retail listings
9:03 What is the procedure when obtaining a foreclosed property?
11:00 Is it interesting to go through the properties even before the property preservation company does?
12:16 What is relocation assistance and cash for keys? How does cash for keys help avoid paying homeowners associations, Missouri Sewer District, attorneys, court costs
13:16 What is broom swept condition?
14:00 How does a homeowner get foreclosed on after living in a home for 30 years?
14:10 What is a reverse mortgage? Why is appraising a reverse mortgage foreclosure so important?
16:05 Why do banks have a seperate account to pay for things that are not covered by the HUD and why do the listing agents have to float those fees?
18:00 What happens when a property is found vacant?
18:15 Is an asset manager allowed to immediately take any of the stuff he finds in vacant properties?
19:35 What kind of stuff does Ben find to be valuable when looking through a vacant property?
21:00 What kind of first time home buyer gifts does Ben give out from his collection of found stuff?
21:44 What is a personal property eviction?
22:10 When evicting, should all the property be thrown away?
24:20 Are personal items from a foreclosure still put out on the lawn?
26:10 What happens when there is a squatter in a property that’s been foreclosed?
28:10 Does Ben wear a bulletproof vest and carry a weapon?
28:40 What is a foreclosure?
29:18 What does it mean that Missouri is a 3 party ownership state?
29:40 What does a foreclosing attorney do?
30:45 What is a sheriff sale when it comes to foreclosed properties?
31:55 Where do sheriff sales take place? Do sheriff sales take place on the actual courthouse steps?
32:30 How does a bank buy a property back from itself?
34:35 How do buyers get updated on notices of default?
35:30 How long with an REO (real estate owned) property sit on a bank’s balance sheet?
37:00 How can a lawyer delay an eviction even after the bank owns the property?
38:10 Why are people always mad at the bank when they get foreclosed on?
39:10 Is it true that property owners will retaliate against a foreclosure by pouring concrete down the drains?
41:00 Are there rules against stripping the house of everything before getting evicted?
41:30 What is a deficiency judgement?
43:27 How do you tell if methamphetamines have been used and cooked in a house and does it need to be disclosed when selling it?
44:10 What does the company Bio Absolute do?
45:40 How do you fix a mold problem in a foreclosed property?
47:30 Will there be more foreclosures in the future?
48:18 What is shadow inventory?
50:00 What is a broker price opinion (BPO)?
55:15 Are foreclosures always sold as-is?
57:03 How can a foreclosure be sold while still occupied?
58:00 What happens if a landlord stops paying the mortgage while there are leasors living in the property?
1:00:28 You can reach Ben at NicholsRealtySTL.com
1:01:43 Where is Ben at his best?
01:02:16 Does Ben have a favorite blog or podcast?
1:03:31 What is Ben’s guilty pleasure?
1:04:21 Who is Ben’s mentor and how has he thanked them?


Adam: live from the rooftop of the Hermann London real estate group in beautiful downtown Maplewood at the st. Louis realtor podcast with your host Adam Kruse welcome (2) everybody to the st. Louis realtor podcast live from the Hermann London real estate group I’m your host Adam Kruse here with my co-host Shannon st. Pierre

Shannon: Hello

Adam: realtor extraordinaire and we’re very excited for today’s topic we’re gonna be talking all about foreclosures and distressed properties and we have been Nichols with Nichols and associates real estate welcome Ben

Ben:  hi guys

Adam: thank you for being here we’re super excited to have been because as long as I’ve been in real estate Ben has been a foreclosure expert would you call it foreclosure and distressed Property Expert

Ben:  sure that’s a large part of our business about 70% of our businesses bank owned or institutional owned

Adam: okay and so we are we want to just ask you all questions today all about all about the process and where these come from and interesting stories and all that kind of stuff so that the reason I think this is a hot topic for us as realtors is because people are always saying I want to buy a foreclosure

Ben: okay


Adam:  right and they always say sit and I think when they say that they mean I want to get a good deal on a property

Ben: absolutely

Adam:  right

Ben: hand in hand

Adam: and so I’m like well there’s a couple different ways that you can get a good deal on a property but a foreclosure at least always seemed like one of those and we’ll kind of get into if it still is that or not but if you don’t mind then would you just start by telling us just a little bit about yourself and your history with real estate

Ben: sure I’ve been licensed since oh five I’m the broker owner of Nichols and associates real estate we’re kind of a small but mighty firm if you will

Adam:  yes

Ben: I close in the in the range of usually hundred and twenty or hundred and thirty transaction size a year sometimes a little better my (2) brother Brian came on as our buyer’s agent extraordinaire he also focuses a little bit into the commercial arena as well so he’s (2) very talented with that

Adam:  so Brian saw you and having fun and having success and he’s like I got to get into this

Ben:  you know he was my general contractor for some rehab pride that we’ve done very talented from a construction perspective and I focused very heavily on that when I work with buyers as well who want to educate and inform as best I can and he was very talented with that I saw that he had tremendous amount of potential so brought him on I guess three years or so ago now and got him trained and he’s doing fantastic so [???]

Shannon:  you say commercially are you saying I’m bank owned commercial properties are just commercial

Ben: he’s commercial focused in general he’s got a number of clients that that he’s met and has been passed around that group as well he’s got some commercial leasing he’s got a couple of large commercial projects in her contract right now so very excited for (2) how he’s grown and (2) what he’s got on the books for the future so

Adam:  I’m not surprised that you need a buyer’s agent because I’m sure that you’re getting calls all the time from people you have a bunch of foreclosure listings and other listings into like you said but you’re what you say

Ben: the phone rings non-stop

Adam:  its rings non-stop and you can’t be running around town right and you don’t just want to tell these people call some other realtor right so it’s good for you to have a buyer’s agent

Ben: sure and we qualify the ladies the same way that you guys do we make sure that people have proof (2) funds or pre-approved respectively it’s the same process so you know I would like to consider it to be a full-service type of a perspective as opposed

Adam: sure

Ben:  but we do we do filter the leads we make sure everybody’s good to go and then we show them the properties that you know same as you guys do any (2) lead on (2) your listings

Adam: so how did you get into this because I’m guessing you didn’t start day one as sort of a foreclosure focused person right

Ben: there was a lady in an office where I was about well about a year after I started she was looking to relocate out of state and had a had a healthy business we had discussed my purchasing her business or taking it on some sort of a referral basis we were unable to work things out but in the course of (2) my learning a bit more about her business I was intrigued by the by the whole process and I said this is kind of interesting Avenue and so I started looking into it I made a lot of applications this was prior to the (2) foreclosure crisis if you will

Adam:  okay

Ben: when the market was still hot

Shannon: healthy

Ben: healthy there you go and it was easier to apply if you will there are online platforms I applied directly to banks and business started to trickle in as far as that was concerned and then when the market started to slip my name was already on the rolls with (2) a number of large banks and then we answer to asset managers they’re kind of the same thing as the seller if you were in the in the retail end of the business and it’s my babysitter if you will on the on the banks end of things and I had a number of those people who were recruited by other asset management companies or processing houses for banks overflows Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Bank of America so on and so forth couldn’t handle the volume of their own foreclosures so what they did was outsource those to third-party companies so I would have some asset managers leave a bank and go to an asset management company and then I’d meet five or six asset management company and they would get recruited to different companies so there’s a naughty list and a nice list and I’m sure that you guys have your own agents list of not very nice and who you like to work with and who you don’t and

Adam: you will never name names

Ben: where know we’ll never know

Shannon: we enjoy working with them all what he talked about

Ben: yeah I know yeah but (2) kind of got passed around that that circle of asset managers and (2) it became very difficult to get on with a lot of the banks because as retail agents business dried up they said well the money is in REO foreclosures so how do I start getting these (2) listings because I’m not getting any retail this nobody’s selling so the bank’s made the requirements to entry a whole lot more challenging if you will the banks had application processes where you had to have five or six written letters or referrals from other asset management companies or asset managers or bank reps we whom you had worked so it stopped a lot of the retail agents from just saying who I want to sell Bank of properties and (2) it kept kind of the quality there but they did start to bring people in kind of slowly as more and more asset management companies grew when (2) the foreclosure value must slowed down and we also had what we refer to as shadow inventory things that banks just had frankly backlogged for years and years they couldn’t get through all of them once it dried up and the banks were able to handle the foreclosure valium with their in-house processing departments a lot of the asset management companies who had popped up to handle that overflow simply went out of business they there just wasn’t enough foreclosure activity for them to stay in business so the agents who were left at the end of the crisis if you will were the ones that were likely there beforehand or created let’s call it a stronghold during the during the downturn in the market

Adam: this always happens we have sort of an agenda plan for our podcast and then we just ask one question and our (2) guest starts saying so many interesting things and I think we just kind of get thrown off but

Ben:  I talk about me

Adam: know I love it I wanted to I guess make a comment and ask a question if you don’t mind so I remember when you know foreclosures are still there’s still a lot of them happening now I guess but I remember when the market was like you said it was really hard to get listings retail listings and I think that agents just thought of you of the foreclosure listing agents as doing nothing like you just sit there and you just get listings emailed to you right it must be amazing and so I think that people don’t realize how much work you guys do a probably just to get those relationships but then ongoing as you have the listing right and is it it’s been made even harder now your asset managers are requiring even more from you right then much probably much more than the normal sellers

Shannon:  [???] I’m an agent I feel like it seems like a ton of work on your end the one listing the foreclosure but I don’t know if it’s any different than the process that we go through but

Ben:  it process is very procedurally base with online management software so it’s kind of task-oriented get a new property assigned yesterday I have 24 hours to check it out report back and confirm occupancy if it is vacant then we have a preservation company rekey changed the locks than we do an interior inspection we report back and another task is their personal property in the house is it completely cleaned out is it occupied if so who is occupying the property and then there’s kind of a flowchart of where we go from there but it’s all very task based and very you know so many days to complete X Y & Z as far as not doing anything I’d say the labor load is is the same or slightly greater than (2) retail but different in the respect that I have tasks telling me what to do as opposed to having the emotions of different sellers

Shannon: yeah and now just variables here’s a yeah

Ben:  I mean I’ve got ten or twelve retail clients at any given time and (2) there are ten or twelve personalities and (2) you wear ten or twelve different hats as you’re working with ten or twelve different people and you know that this is going to be a sensitive topic to whomever and you juggle that and I think that’s kind of you know one of the emotional challenges of real estate in general right is he’s kind of but on the bank-owned end of things it’s (2) very do your work do it on time have your numbers correct and say yes sir yes ma’am when we ask you to do something so (2) from a workload perspective it’s (2) it’s the same or (2) not more or more they do email us the listing so it’s kind of a cool I get a new one here’s you know then you have a new listing from so-and-so at this property but that’s no different respectively than when somebody’s brother or sister or somebody from work or church or school or whatever says hey Adam would you help so-and-so down the street i turtle damn you’re a great guy and I mean it’s (2) the same thing as when you get a call from (2) a referral if you will it just kind of keeps coming from the (2) same source

Adam:  so you mentioned two other things a). you (2) mentioned property preservation companies and that’s I just I’d ever realized that you’re the one who gets to go and before even the property preservation company and that is the most that’s one of the most interesting parts of like the real estate industry to me that seems like a really cool job it’s probably not but like you could go through all these peoples to stuff and I’ve got a holder in me so

Ben:  you do and that’s well that night totally I get that it it’s fun sometimes it’s scary I am the first point of contact we usually get the assignments three or four days after the foreclosure sale sometimes they’re occupied sometimes they’re vacant it’s probably 50/50 maybe 60/40 when they are occupied I get to knock on the door and say hi I’m the guy who’s here to assist you with relocation

Adam:  okay (2) but by the time we see them they’re always empty you know and you guys have

Ben:  most of the time and there’s a trend of selling them occupied which I guess we can talk about

Adam: oh yeah sure

Ben:  thing if you want to make a note of that but the banks will typically offer what they call cash for keys or relocation assistance very simply it’s less expensive for a bank to pay someone to move than it is for them to have ongoing taxes ongoing insurance loss of that money that they have invested

Adam: while they’re evicting

Ben: the chance of having citations from municipalities for you know people have checked out and they’re not cutting the grass anymore or fines and fees associated with HOAs MSD is probably racking up because they’re done paying that plus the attorney cost plus the court cost so they’ve got all of these ongoing costs during the eviction process it’s easier for them to say hey here’s a couple thousand dollars we want you to be out in the 30-day period sometimes it’s six weeks sometimes it’s two weeks usually it’s about thirty days usually it’s about $2,000 varies bank to bank and appropriate a property investor to investor what the bank requires in return for that $2,000 is that the property is left in bloom swept conditions [???]

Adam:  [???] term broom swept

Ben: yes so that’s kind of the universal sort of a [???]

Shannon: now to find that because I think we all have to [???]

Ben:  nobody has to get on their hands and knees and scrub anything but if a broom would sweep it it’s got to be swept

Shannon: so all personal items and articles [???]

Ben:  correct just the house fixtures have to remain furnaces and so on and so forth and appliances light fixtures etc but and depending upon the person’s situation if somebody’s been in the house for 30 years and they’ve got 30 years worth of stuff nine times out of ten they’re probably not going to participate in the program they’re going to take the stuff that they want to take and let the bank clean it out

Adam:  I hate to think that someone’s been living there for thirty years and then they’re getting foreclosed how into a time master

Ben: it’s very sad and we see that

Adam:  did they just refine its at some point or you know how are they like ending up in that situation

Ben:  any number of situations we’ve done reverse mortgages

Shannon: I feel like I’m seeing more and more of those which is a really weird thing

Ben: so no we do see a lot of the reverse mortgages they have kind of an interesting perspective as far as pricing they are a fixed price type

Shannon:  yeah it’s a non-negotiable

Ben: so they have a licensed appraiser come out and the appraiser says hey the (2) appraisal value is this and a lot of times we have to be very frank with the appraisers that dear sir or ma’am when you look at this property I need you to understand that this is a reverse mortgage and where you appraise this is where I have to list this for 90 days so if you think that the sellers gonna take offers or reduce the price you change the price they’re not going to if you say $100,000 if I get 99 999 they’re not gonna take it and the appraiser usually goes oh I didn’t I didn’t really know that and it’s not my intention to say give the property away or bring the price in low but I want a realistic value a lot of the appraisers are trying to in my opinion kiss up to the banks or show off to the banks and say my values are a little bit higher and they push

Adam:  they’re not doing anyone any favors by doing that basically…even the bank

Ben:  well it’s a same thing… I mean that you would have with any one of your retail clients what’s the term buying a listing or who know that that there are three or four other agents that are interviewing for a listing and you say oh no I can get you away more money than that we’re doing a disservice to that clients or giving them a false value and I really think the (2) appraisers in some fashion will (2) do that that’s not all of them and it’s not on every property but (2) back to the (2) I guess process if you will the bank will offer them cash for keys relocation assistance if they take it they’ll have their 30 days we do a walk-through we trade what’s a check actually but and about half the time we actually have to float that money and that’s the other thing I think that that agents don’t know about the REO business is that banks typically don’t allow utilities back taxes gigantic MSD bills things like that to be saved up and paid from their proceeds on the HUD same as we would with you know any (2) seller with a on the retail sector that had a lien or a judgment or whatever it just comes out of their proceeds banks have a separate account from which they pay all of the (2) extra items and we get to pay for it

Adam:  you as the listing agent are paying for that

Ben: correct

Adam: I heard of that

Shannon:  float that until when like all those fees MSD and he leans back taxes

Adam:  I think you’ve had to put up like offenses and stuff you’ve had to do all sorts of crazy stuff

Ben:  oh sure at any given time I’ve got 35 or 40 thousand dollars out something like that

Shannon: and when do you get that money back

Ben:  so after it’s paid and I’ve got a couple of good hid MSD and the in the city of Pinal on when I leave here today to pay thousand dollars or so worth of whatever and then when I get back my staff will submit for reimbursement and some banks they’ll get it back to me in two or three weeks they’re great about it other ones I might have to wait two or three months to get that money back

Shannon: 90 days up to

Ben: and then you know if there’s a ten thousand dollar sewer bill and they’ll say I’ll go pay it I kind of have to say well okay here you go and (2) I’d float that money until they (2) pay me back

Shannon: okay

Ben: so that’s kind of something else that differs a little bit from (2) retail and you know if I’ve got a client out of town and they have to have some $700 thing done sure I’ll do that on the retail basis you guys probably would too but I mean it’s every single day that you know there’s everything out (2) and (2) I go to the bank and I’m like wow look at this deposit and I’m kind of like but it’s all my own hay that I’m getting cut back from the banks so um so then we take over the property if it is found vacant we call the rekey guy he (2) breaks into it for us sometimes the windows are open so I’ll climb through the window every now and again just because it’s easier than another trip back to the house take pictures of everything take pictures of everything in the house

Adam:  are you allowed to take any of the stuff that’s in there

Ben:  yes and no so a lot of the banks will have a cut-off of two or $300 is usually what it is if we deem that there’s two or three some of them are five hundred but they’ve gotten more and more conservative of personal property value meaning if we had a garage sale today is there more than two or three hundred dollars worth of value and that’s I think an attorney driven type of a thing where they’ll say this person could come back and cause legal trouble because we disposed of their items in excess of two or three hundred dollars if there is personal property we report it back as there is personal property we take photographs of what’s there in not like details like you know here’s all the stuff

Shannon: but maybe the more valuable stuff

Adam:  yeah here’s a VHS copy of Forrest Gump right

Ben:  I mean that’s 50 cents and but (2) every now and again there will be you know flat screens left on the wall and (2) some furniture items that like we’d come back for like we’re not leaving that when we go we but at least put that on Craigslist you know that’s not something

Shannon: so do you saw stuff on Craigslist and then who gets the proceeds

Ben:  well no I’m just I’m saying that the occupant would…like no reasonable person would like

Shannon: okay (2) so you don’t never putting anything on craigslist

Ben: so what’s left that the stuff that I’d I find personally valuable is like charcoal starter and

Shannon: yeah an oil lamp say

Adam: yes I would though [???]

Ben: you know like stuff that stuff that I would use on a functional daily basis

Shannon:  yeah so we found the no oil lamp or a charcoal starter would you just say oh okay and take it

Ben: once the personal property eviction goes through clean-out crew comes in and they throw anything away that that is remaining in the property [???]

Shannon: Can you call Adam and I when you do this just for fun…just once or two times

Ben: you guys check it out someday sure

Shannon:  just for fun

Ben:  sometimes it’s a house full of stuff sometimes it’s an estate type of a thing we deal with all methods of how

Shannon: and then the valuable stuff that really is like maybe over two hundred dollars like say there’s some really nice

Ben:  [???] like awesome I mean I’ll say it

Shannon:  like five GMTV or something what do you do with that because that is

Adam:  there’s been like cars left and garages and stuff [???]

Ben:  occasionally yeah I’ve got a bass boat at a house in South County now it’s not worth anything it would be at the lake with me right now if it works but after the personal property eviction they toss everything that that’s remaining I’ll grab like trim from the basement that you know I can use when I rehab my next apartment or whatever it might be so little stuff that saves me money at Home Depot and Lowe’s and another thing that I’ll do is I have a shed in the yard where I’ve probably got a hundred and fifty rakes and shovels and hoses and garden utensils and so on and so forth and when I have first-time homebuyers they’re closing gift is


Shannon:  that’s awesome

Ben:  it’s stuff that they’re gonna have to buy and

Shannon: and they’re excited to get it get it they don’t care if it’s use I don’t know that I’ve met

Adam: but

Shannon: nobody cares

Adam: then let me ask you (2) called it a personal property eviction is that you’re using the word eviction that’s a sub it’s the same thing you have to go through the courts and other stuff

Ben:  so it’s (2) easier process if you will and I got you’d have to ask an attorney how and in what way it is shorter but I would imagine it has something to do with (2) less notice because we are victim things as opposed to verifying the identity of occupants but I can I can give you the name of some

Shannon: they give them time to find

Adam:  we’ve just had so many like on evictions that we’ve done as property managers here we’ve had different attorneys give us different advice some of them say you have to throw everything away that day some of them say you have to put it in a storage unit some of them are like do whatever you want you know

Ben: storage is the way to get around that personal property eviction well you can

Shannon: time frame

Ben: you can move things into storage if you want to that was a big thing 10 years ago and then you’ve got possession of the property if the person comes back within X days then

Shannon: they are

Ben:  and then your things are here and you pay the storage fee you know for those things that way you’re not and from a property management standpoint to your people are looking at it like hey this (2) thing that my vacancy rate is going up and I want this thing rented and we need to get it processed and cleaned and I’ve got all this down time and I’m losing money and so it makes more sense in that particular respect to (2) get everything moved out but from the bank’s perspective they’ll use the same foreclosing attorney in the same eviction attorney that they would use to evict someone from the property and they simply file the same type of an eviction against the belongings that are in the home I have two of them on Monday one is in eviction of a  big human and the sheriff called yesterday actually [???] and of them just personal property the (2) house has been locked up for a month and a half while we wait for the court to do their thing the were allowed to change the locks on a secondary door when there is an indication of personal property so that’s to allow the individual the ability to come back to get their things so the powers off we’ve determined the property to be vacant we’re gonna go in and see if there’s anything of value oh hey let’s assume that there is something of value will secure a secondary door that person can use their keys and lock to get in to get their things respectively so on the date of that personal property eviction we show up with the sheriff same way that we would evicting humans and we’ll open the door and they’ll say oh no humans are here and they literally turn over possession it used to be that we would put things out on the lawn during the foreclosure crisis it was happening so much that some municipalities freaked out with st. Louis County and now I believe st. Charles Jefferson st. Louis and the city and I don’t quote me on and I know at least the city and in the county we can’t set things out on the lawn anymore unless they’re gone that day

Adam: okay

Ben: so

Adam: between  you do that you’re kind of just like doing the neighborhood like you’ve had to deal with this property for so long years of free couch or something

Ben: you know I’ve had a couple of situations actually that where there were a couple of estate houses in (2) let’s call them neighborhoods where people needed some extra furniture and (2) things of that nature when the clean-out crew comes there or we’re at the eviction when we would set things out we would literally have 15 or 20 neighbors

Adam:  yeah

Ben: waiting and saying I will take that I will take that and it’s great for the clean-out crew because they only have to carry it halfway to the truck you know and when they do go to the dump they’re paying by the pound too

Adam: sure

Ben:  by the pound and by vol.2

Adam: and it’s a shame to throw away something that someone would want you know

Shannon: or could use yeah

Ben: with my shovels and my rakes and my friend so forth and you know I’ll grab bags of fertilizer too because I hate to see something gigantic concentrations of fertilizer going right back into the ground and into landfills and so on and so forth but I would rather see things but to good use we can’t let people in the house to look around but if somebody’s out there waiting you know on [???] and then people will grab stuff and that’s fine that [???]

Shannon:  talking about occupancy and seeing if it’s occupied do you ever have to deal with squatters

Ben: occasionally

Shannon:  and is it harder to get them out

Ben: so if somebody’s occupying the property illegally when we are assigned the listing then they have to go through the process if they want to be stubborn about it then they are they’re referred to as unknown occupant so you know so-and-so and so-and-so who are the mortgagors and unknown occupant is the way that it is is smiled because the person’s probably never gonna talk to us and tell us who they are on and so forth so that’s how the (2) attorney has to file it once we’ve taken possession of the property we put you’ll see the no trespassing signs in the window they’re usually on an eight-and-a-half by eleven sheet of paper there’s some legal ramification of is the reason when you see no trespassing signs they say posted no trespassing there’s some legal reference to it having been posted or the property having been posted whereby you entering the property you are now trespassing as opposed to squatting and that case I just have you arrested

Shannon:  okay (2)

Ben:  but I do show up every now and again in places where there’s a high volume or potential for squatters I’ll open the door and I’ll yell hello and make sure

Shannon:  so we do that anyway and in a weird way I don’t know why

Adam:  I always yell realtor

Shannon:  yeah (2) what did I learned from him I open the door I’m like realtor you know like

Ben:  if you hear somebody moving around and occasionally I will and I’ll just kind of go back to my car and I’ll call the police and I’ll sit there and then I just I let the police show up and deal with it and involve the police whenever I see obvious signs of occupancy on a home that should not be in the dead of summer every window in the house is open but the powers off that’s an obvious indicator that you know somebody’s in there and I don’t even get out of the car I just I call the police I say I suspect someone of being in there they’ll walk through with me in certain areas I do wear a bulletproof vest I do carry a weapon that was frankly at the repeated advice of the sheriff and I was stubborn about it for a number of years and they just kept saying when are you gonna start carrying and who’s your best and (2) I was kind of like you know what they have guns and they have vests and they do this every day and I’ve been warned enough time by times by people who do this for a living that I shouldn’t I should do it

Adam:  next time I see you’re going to be dressed like Dog the Bounty Hunter

Shannon: yeah…oh my goodness

Ben: that’s how I feel

Adam: I would I would really like to ask because I feel like at some point in this podcast we have to ask a simple question which is what is a foreclosure right I mean we’re just talking about it we’re kind of getting deep into it but like how does a property get into foreclosure what does it really mean you know kind of so it’s gonna go to a basic question

Ben: the very simple answer is (2) that the (2) mortgage or defaults on their promise of repayment of that mortgage to the mortgagee which is the bank or lender or lending institution at (2) the bank’s discretion well I guess I should take a step back in Missouri were a three party ownership state as you guys are aware so when you have a mortgage on a property you’ve got the mortgage or the borrower if you will the person who’s living in the house they give to the bank the mortgagee their promise of repayment which isn’t that mortgage document there’s also in the mortgage document that nobody ever reads it closing all the way cuz it’s like 11 pages long and they just sign it there’s a trustee to be named and that’s gonna be the foreclosing attorney who would act upon the bank’s behalf in the event of the default

Adam:  is that a person or a company usually

Ben: it’s going to be a a law office

Adam: okay

Ben:  there of varying sizes there have been small ones I I represent a couple of small local banks who (2) kind of use a one-man shop as far as the (2) foreclosing attorney the big banks filter through I would imagine a large nationwide conglomerates that some of them out to particular law firms locally but that trustee initiates foreclosure with the court’s notices go out they send the occupant lots and lots of notices of default they offer them options of modification they (2) offer them options of getting back on track if the individual is unable to (2) do that then they proceed with the (2) court filings to foreclose it is a court hearing where simply the attorney says this person has not paid their bills and part of the terms of their mortgage we intend to foreclose and the judge bangs the gavel and that’s the very (2) very short version of it

Adam:  this is but that’s way before the whole courthouse steps out

Ben: so then the (2) courthouse well the courthouse steps and (2) what I think the average person refers to is a sheriff sale because you can buy share in city-owned properties at that and that’s a different sort of a thing

Adam: yeah

Ben: we here the foreclosure sale we here the courthouse steps we here the sheriff’s sale they’re generally intended to be the same sort of a thing any one of us can go in there and buy any foreclosed property period but typically if the house is not upside down in some fashion meaning if the individual were have who were able to have sold that property and walked away without having to have the foreclosure they would have done it they would have saved their credit they would have saved the process maybe they would have put a few bucks in their pocket so it’s kind of a rare sort of a thing but if you and I are willing to go to that sale if we are going to pay off the first mortgage the court cost back liens taxes and fees associated with the whole thing if we pay off everything outstanding you or I could go buy any property that we know is about to be for is to be foreclosed at that sale

Shannon:  where the sales take place

Ben: at the courthouse in the county

Shannon:  there in the county in which they are being foreclosed

Ben: correct…yes

Adam: it’s not the courthouse steps it’s upstairs by the printer [???] in the st. Louis County and Clayton it’s (2) like go up the escalator and go around the corner to the printer

Shannon: and then how often

Adam: I’m not sure about that

Ben: I don’t know either to be honest

Adam: but what I guess what your point is is that not so many people are buying at that sale now because this the house is being quote/unquote sold for probably more than what it’s actually worth and so then the banks is basically the highest bidder

Ben: people are buying more or less now respectively  but (2) what the bank does yes is buys the house back from themself essentially they satisfy their own liens thus at the end of the sale the two parties remaining in ownership or the mortgagee the bank and the trustee respectively and then we get the assignment from the bank

Shannon: so if you were to buy it right like after it comes in the foreclosure you like app by the printer over there from tonight the example for st. Louis County though you’re paying what the bank actually has had to pay out as well or

Ben: Correct

Shannon: are they trying making profit as well

Ben: so you are saying satisfying the mortgage

Shannon: you’re satisfying the mortgage the taxes

Ben:  let’s say that there was some property that I mean I don’t know and I can’t think of a scenario but that Adam and I knew that there was really something special about this house that nobody else in st. Louis knew about it Adam and I could go to that sale and bid against one another and bid in significant excessive what [???]

Shannon:  okay how do you find out if you see a a notice of foreclosure what does it call I didn’t notice that it has been filed for example I looked at my (2) husband (2) I were talking about my first house and we were a few months ago and we were we were like I’ll look it up to see if anybody if they resold it or anything of the sort then I saw that they had a note I know

Adam:  the default notice

Shannon:  yeah so you stalk your for it was my first house right so you can stock it in a way that you just like it that’s probably that most a lot of people probably do I have a special attachment to it but I noticed it had a notice of default

Adam: default

Shannon: and I was like oh my gosh it’s going into foreclosure oh my gosh I’m gonna totally buy it back I’m buying this house Bosch and I really would have and then all of a sudden it’s owned by acquisition not an acquisition company it was an investor so do they how do you know when you see that their notice of default weird even go and when to buy the house back cuz it I would have bought it I really would have

Ben:  well you can hit case net online and look up that that mortgagors information you can look at the (2) hearing dates against them you can track down

Shannon: okay it’s all just called you

Ben: the bank’s can track down the property

Shannon: alright next time my house goes in the foreclosures

Adam: I think if you see like on Zillow they you know I’m a Zillow hater but if (2) you see their foreclosures or know is that they’re short sales they’re short sales I think are just people who hadn’t noticed a default filed against to them

Shannon: no you [???]

Adam: so they’re not actually for sale but those are a target for like hey maybe these guys are in trouble and I can buy it from them

Ben: so you have that opportunity to buy as a short that’s not really as much my focus but that would be something to avoid the entire process that we discussed

Shannon: okay but what’s the notice of default has happened they’re kind of already in the process said

Ben: notice of Lisp end ins meaning that the bank has filed documents with the intention to for to the best of my understanding

Shannon: okay

Adam: so then you said in the bank basically is the highest bidder they take it back and then there’s kind of like a indeterminate amount of time that they’ll it’ll sit on their balance sheet right as an REO and eventually they’ll listed do some are probably faster some are slower

Ben: yes but there’s a tremendous variance as far as that’s concerned some of them will package them up kind of the same concept as a mortgage-backed security where XYZ banker here takes their properties and you know Del Mar USA mortgage or whatever they’ve got a billion dollars of loans and they send them the fannie or whatever might be the banks will occasionally take non-performing assets and sell them to hedge funds and the (2) hedge funds will rehab and put into rental programs the ones that they want to and then they’ll sell the other ones some banks I get the assignment before the foreclosure takes place they’ll send me out to check occupancy pardon me prior to the (2) sale actually taking place and then the second that the sale takes place they’ll send me out the next day so there’s a there’s a wide variance I’ve got one on my boards that the occupant is after the foreclosure suing the bank and it keeps getting continued and continued and continued and I’ve had it quote-unquote in my inventory for over a year kind of sits there on the board then like well some day I’m gonna get an email from the attorney and they’re gonna say all done great and meet the sheriff and so on and so forth but it’s there’s no telling when that could be also the occupant I’ve had a couple where people have fought the eviction itself where the foreclosures through the bank owns the property period and the person just says I’m not going to leave and they hire there have been a handful of very clever attorneys I should say if something ever happens to me I know the guy that I’m calling to (2) keep me in that house because that attorney kept fine one thing after the other

Adam: just delaying

Ben: and the intention is very obviously to delay and from the occupants perspective I would assume it’s the attorneys delaying costs me this much a month and letter writing and court appearances and rent somewhere else would probably cost me that much more so it makes more sense for them to just delay it and stay in there but I think the intention is always that they’re going to inevitably have to leave but (2) the lawyers will stretch it out as as long as they as long as they can and I’ve had upwards of a year that that lawyers have been able to (2) you know get people to stay in that house before the actual eviction is approved

Adam: something that’s I guess is interesting to me that I’ve sort of heard of over the years is that people often it’s you know I hate to say this exactly but it’s kind of like their fault that they’re being foreclosed on in theory because they’re the ones not paying their mortgage right

Ben: correct

Adam: but people are often mad at the bank foreclosing on them I mean and they’re almost always right it’s because it’s not my fault that I’m not paying my mortgage it’s always someone else’s fault

Ben: not always no and (2) as a preface I I want to be very clear that more often than not someone lost their job or someone got sick

Adam: sure

Ben: or someone lost their job because they were carrying it for a spouse that was sick

Adam: and it sucks but I’m just saying it’s still not the bank’s fault

Ben: sure

Adam: right and but so people are mad for whatever reason sometimes and I guess what I was hoping to hear from you is do people do they are they trashing the house is it true that people pour concrete down the toilets and stuff like that have you seen that kind of thing

Ben: not that one but I have seen a number of situations where they’ll completely and totally strip the (2) house on their way out I had one was on a private street of six or seven homes done by Saint Anthony’s Hospital off of Schuessler where it was a I think the houses in fixed-up condition probably in the 600’s you ever take something like that they stole everything and (2) not funny just (2) from ade

Shannon: Wow

Ben: Wow yeah that’s that

Adam: I mean you’re talking light fixtures appliances and

Ben: they (2) took the Wayne’s cutting off the walls

Adam: oh wow

Shannon:  and down to the

Ben: they (2) took the ANA toilets they cut out the copper the all of the ductwork not just not just the honest

Adam: wow

Shannon: so they laughs nothing but a shell

Ben: literally if it were new construction they just got the drywall up that’s the stage in which they (2) left the home they put holes and everything else there was the tile they couldn’t rip up so they smashed it all

Shannon: and that’s [???] by the way

Ben: but the interesting portion of it is from the neighbor who was one of the Association trustees he said I I knew something was going on there that they were coming and going late at night from a garage and these people were like filling up their cars every night with stuff I mean like with the house and they finally came back they had been gone for (2) a couple of weeks they finally came back and started digging up the bushes in the front yard which people have family plants hey mom gave me [???] you know and that’s (2) no different than we kind of see that in retail a little bit can I take those up before we list you but (2) he was like digging up generic arborvitaes that were in the yard in the neighbor said he came and chased the guy off because he knew at that point something was (2) not right but for a frame of reference I think that house that would have been in the 600 sold in the twos because they had taken

Adam: yeah sure

Ben: not chadov there

Adam: is there something is there I mean those are rules against that isn’t that kind of like extra like the bank would go after them even more or something or no

Ben: so the bank’s ability to go after them is kind of the same thing as obtaining a deficiency judgment in the event that the bank lost money on the property so let’s say the mortgage was 100 the house only sold for 80 so the bank can seek a deficiency judgment against the individual for the difference plus their costs and so on and so forth

Shannon: you see that off getting

Ben: but I’ve never once seen it because [???] from a stone I mean what are you gonna do

Adam: people will never pay

Ben: so how are you gonna but it’s the same sort of a thing when somebody damages a house after the fact is (2) that a). find him and b). proved that it was done by that work yeah I prove that it was done by them and prove that it was done after the foreclosure meeting after the bank became the owner of the property

Adam: in that case was hundreds of thousands of dollars that they did and damage you know

Ben: hundreds of thousands

Adam: I wonder what they did with all that stuff you know I didn’t donate it to the restore

Ben: I imagine they used it to rehab some other new place that well I don’t know [???]

Adam: so that’s kind of like your most memorable story I guess

Ben: from the

Shannon: but I see I mean I’ve had a foreclosure and it was they literally ripped out everything they could don’t like the whole kitchen was gone the only thing left was the backsplash you could see where the cabinets were but they took the sink the wires was just saying that like the whole thing

Adam: I guess it’s hard to prove whether that was the mortgagees or if it was just like the neighbors vandals

Shannon: there’s no way to prove that

Ben:  yeah they (2) can’t I mean the neighbors the neighbors loved to share stories and I and I’ve heard some very (2) interesting stuff from (2) I’m sure yeah I always have choice things to say about the person who lived there and what trouble they were and so on and so forth and that’s not a consistent thing but it’s always you know it’s always interesting to hear what the (2) neighbors have to say about it but we’ve had we’ve had meth houses and we’ve had no hoarder houses

Shannon:  and now how do you know if it’s a meth house because that is something if it disclosed in the state of Missouri

Ben: that was a neighbor thing

Shannon: and then what do you do with that information as a license professional

Adam:  so the neighbor told you I think it was a meth house and he has acted as if it was definitely a meth house

Ben: well we actually we called the city to see if there have been any citations any drug arrests things like that would you take that very seriously man that’s a hell

Adam: sure

Ben: that you’ve got a I mean you just as a human being you can’t that’s some really heinous stuff that could make somebody very (2) sick just being in the house where people were using it not necessarily even cooking it can make [???]

Shannon: oh really

Ben: yes very much so (2) the city did confirm that there was some meth history in the house there’s a fantastic company called bio absolute that they’re based I guess you’d call it like Terra Grove South Chippewa and Kings Highway ish they deal with some challenging environmental situations murder cleanup suicide cleanup the landlord finds a body in a house mold an environmental remediation but also a meth house cleanup and I know a number of agents that they use them they were fantastic and they came in they did the testing on the on the property and it reads so many it’s kind of like when we have our radon tested picoCuries per you know whatever the measurement is but they take samples all over the house and then they come up with a treatment plan and then they come back in and they test after the fact the banks typically take that type of a thing very seriously from a position of liability they don’t want somebody

Shannon: coming back and suing them

Ben: yeah so you know that time

Shannon: you have to disclose that do you have to disclose that or because it’s a you don’t provide a sellers disclosure moat in most foreclosure key

Ben: I want to say in that case we did anyway and put all of the paperwork in the listing kind of in the attachment so anything just so that people knew hey well you know

Shannon: it was but it was remediated

Ben: if a seller a retail seller says oh well you know we had a leaky toilet but we fixed it and there’s no problem since well that’s all the consumers looking for is they read that disclosure there was a problem what was it they fix the problem cool and there’s no more problem and you know we wanted people to be comfortable with that obviously

Adam: so along those kind of same lines I’m curious about mold I’m sure a lot of houses that you go into have mold but what how do you decide when it’s bad enough that you make people sign that like mold release before they can show it

Ben: that’s up to the bank I tend to be pretty over-the-top about it when we have a report that we submit to the bank it’s kind of our little CMA or mini appraisal it’s called a BPO a Broken Price Opinion and I’ll say property has mold we should disclose mold most of them will anyway they’ll have some corporate sort of a form that says you know property may or may not contain mold or spores or discoloration and Fannie Mae for instance most of the government entities will not allow you to use the M word [???] coloration

Shannon: okay

Adam:  sometimes you go to a house that has it and sometimes you can’t go unless you sign that that form and we had a listing recently where our agent thought there was mold and so I’m like well let’s you know get one of these forms and make people sign it before they show it

Ben: that’s a good idea from a position of liability and you don’t know how sensitive people are there’s a reason that our disclosure asks about what pets were kept on the property because maybe Birds or cats make someone deathly ill and they need to have those ducts cleaned so I think from a safety perspective anytime you encounter mold really that that needs to be disclosed most of the banks are pretty good about it some of them don’t care they just list it what I will typically do in that situation is that they won’t allow it to be in the MLS or public remarks I’ll put it in showing time and I’ll say lockbox code is this if your clients your mold sensitive please bring a respirator

Adam: okay

Ben: and in the feed back people will usually say hey thanks for giving me a heads-up on that you know they were gonna bring their kids to look

Adam:  I brought my respirator

Ben: there you go so

Adam: okay Ben can you pull out your crystal ball cause we’d like to ask you about the future and if there’s gonna be more foreclosure soon or what we should be expecting

Ben: I think we’re at a completely normal volume right now it’s settled back off I think the majority of the shadow inventory has worked its way out of the systems a lot of the (2) hedge funds and investment groups who purchase large pools of properties are starting to unload some of them but I think numbers are our generally normal and generally even

Adam: you mentioned twice now shadow inventory is that when a bank just holding foreclosures on their balance sheet and not listing

Ben: it yeah it was simple supply and demand if they dumped every single property at any given time Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and a number of other banks participated in holding it holding it back you know if you’ve got 12 months of inventory out there that’s going to drop prices fast (5) so they deliberately held up part of it was also for the notion of Neighborhood Stabilization and I think that that’s something that the government agencies especially took (2) particularly seriously a lot of the banks that were part of the bailout as well to my understanding at least had some requirements of the rate at which properties could be put back out there because hey if we’re gonna give you this money we’re not going to let you destroy the economy by flooding the property with that many prob

Adam: yeah so with shadow inventory are they are they still hiring like a property preservation company to do winterizing and all that kind of thing

Ben: yeah so that’s gonna be a standard of any property that’s (2) in their inventory most of that now is subbed out to third-party vendors there are some nationwide companies that sum it out to usually the lowest bidder or there’s a prefix pricing you know you get so much to cut a lawn up to 0.26 acres

Adam: so those don’t even go through you

Ben: the smaller banks have us do it and I’ve got a couple of companies that that I send the work out to but they also work for those nationwide preservation companies as well I just hire them directly with the smaller banks they’ll change locks they’ll winterize they’ll cut grass do board ups

Adam: try to like prolong the life of the property do you have a question you want to ask

Shannon:  I’ve had clients before obsessed with the house they knew it went into foreclosure it’s like can we buy it from the bank I’m like I’ve never had success with that I don’t think there is a process for that

Ben: Oh buying before it gets actually lit

Shannon: yeah and I think it was helped by I think it was Wells Fargo my good luck

Ben:  so the process Wells specifically

Shannon: and I don’t remember I think could have been I think it was it Wells or US

Adam: but basically trying to buy shadow inventory

Shannon: yeah it so they’re trying to call I guess contact (2) somebody at the bank and they’re like this is the house we want it’s right in the neighborhood it’s exactly where we wanna be this is it can i buy it can I pay okay I’ve never heard of a happening so I just didn’t know if it was if I was giving him wrong information I just said I’ve never heard of

Ben: it well let me so let me put Chado inventory to bed that’s something that they’ve been sitting around on for a long (2) time that’s not just hey that house across the street goes into default this month and then it’s gonna list at three months from now I wouldn’t call that cheddar though that would be something that was old that they have generally speaking work their way out so that’s not kind of part of it and to answer your question Shannon they’re gatekeepers are very (2) strong you’re never gonna get anybody the banks typically sub them out to their own REO Department so if you call the bank and say hey this property on such-and-such Street you’re not gonna get a human they’re not gonna talk to you and people say very regularly like I’ll talk to a neighbor and neighbors again great sources of information you know hey if those people moved out I can’t quite tell the power is still on but it looks like it’s vacant neighbors will say oh they’ve been gone for three weeks that’s great then I’ll kind of make up a conversation with the neighbor because you never know maybe they’ve got somebody who wants it maybe they want it maybe a family or friend suddenly bunts to buy the house so I always chat with the neighbors and they’re there they’re a generally good source of information but the neighbors say well do you know what they’re going to want for the property and that’s a fair question but I’m there on day one I have no idea at this point so once the property is cleaned out and we get past kind of the preservation thing that we had talked about then they go into valuations and depending upon the bank will submit what we had talked about earlier broker price opinion which is kind of our little version of an appraisal but since we’re not licensed appraisers it’s kind of a form as opposed to an official document some banks will hire a licensed appraiser and they’ll compare our values some banks will have another agent come up with a a BPO and if there’s a tremendous variance if I say it’s worth 50 and somebody says it’s worth a hundred they’ll order another BPO just to see which one of us was wrong but nine times out of ten the values come pretty close to one another if I say it’s worth 50 and the other person says it’s worth 55 then they’re gonna list it somewhere in that range so

Shannon: they actually have houses appraised

Ben:  yes

Shannon:  they do they go off the appraisal process our appraisal

Ben: they consider the values in tandem

Shannon:  okay

Ben: most of them will if there’s a big variance between what I have to say and what the appraiser has to say they’ll say hey why do you feel that way and (2) maybe there’s something the appraiser missed and then again they might still order another BPO so they have three values on the table so I explained to the neighbor in that particular case over to you with your clients is that they haven’t even begun the valuation process at that point the only thing even if you did get a human but you’re not going to get a human but if you did get a human all they have is that mortgage amount that is owed on it but they don’t have any legal fees attached to it they don’t have any court costs attached to it they haven’t sent it to title yet they don’t have any

Shannon: lien information

Ben: lien information that we would go through with any purchaser that we had respectively so if your people say oh I want to call and I’m just I’m gonna find somebody at Wells Fargo to buy this house no you’re not because there’s nothing from title and there’s nothing

Adam: right

Ben: mean to cipolla there’s nothing from anybody so that’s kind of the process and then once we get through the valuation process and they have those values reconciled then they’ll go to listing but it’s the same thing and we kind of talked either and preparan and early on the conversation is that people thinking they’re getting some sort of a steal purchasing a (2) bank owned property and it’s no different than fair market value reigning supreme in (2) any other sale respectively though we did have people call for years and they’re like I want to buy a foreclosure and we’re kind of like cool happy to help you but everything is on everybody’s phone in five minutes

Adam: and so now let’s go foreclosures price less it’s probably because it needs more work

Ben: absolutely that’s the only distinguishing factor between them and (2) I suppose if you did analyze all bank or government owned homes in st. Louis versus all privately owned homes they would probably sell for a slightly lesser cost per square foot because of instances being dragged down like things being damaged or properties not being cared for and not being maintained if someone is let’s say struggling someone lost their job

Adam: they probably haven’t put granite in recently either

Ben:  and they haven’t had the furnace maintained and they’re doing the bare minimum as far as maintenance is concerned they’re not cleaning carpets they’re not repairing things and replacing things because they’re probably struggling to keep those (2) bills going and that does across the board lessen me

Shannon: and so kind of speaking to that all foreclosures are as is (2) there any opportunity once you go through inspections even though the inspections are usually for the buyers information only

Ben: occasionally

Shannon: as [???] well they kind of will they renegotiate at all

Ben: a pawn rare occasion if it’s going to be something that is going to plague the next buyer so an example would be somebody scopes the sewer there’s three different breaks in it look

Shannon:  the entire thing has to be replaced it’s gonna be fifteen thousand dollars which is

Ben:  something like

Shannon: they can’t

Ben: or (2) a or a bad septic where we obviously know that we have a written report from a soil engineer says that the (2) drain field is blah (3) well they might be or even if it’s a three thousand dollar break in the back of the city a lot something like that if the target buyer is going to be an owner-occupant or a fixer-upper or something like that type of a type of the buyer the next person is just gonna have the sewer scoped and the next person is just gonna come back and complain about the same thing so in those instances I would say more than half of my banks would (2) probably renegotiate on something like that furnace is bad doesn’t matter

Shannon:  okay yeah

Ben: but something that is an is an obvious hidden defect something that you had no reasonable way of now of knowing most of them will be reasonable about that time

Shannon: okay interesting

Adam:  all right cool so we’re kind of coming to the end of the podcast here but you did mention that you want to

Ben: just tired to hear me talking

Adam: well the problem is we could talk forever but we try to keep them at least below an hour and we’re at 58 minutes now so but we wanted to talk about now you’re starting to sell some of the foreclosures occupied

Ben: yeah that is that’s something that a couple of banks and lending institutions are starting to do through their own proprietary websites we’re seeing during the eviction process they want to see if someone’s going to buy the property with the person in the house

Shannon: okay

Ben: and the buyer buys it sight unseen which you can see from the street is what you’re buying and you take it over with the person in that house and you become the person who evicts that individual upon [???]

Adam: that case are you getting a better deal I mean is there

Ben:  i think there’s more of a substantial reduction at that point off of what you would perceive market value to be but the thing is we don’t know what market value is [???]

Shannon: [???] Missouri is a tenant right state so what if they’re they signed the lease unifor and every other in a traditional retail the same point if you sell that property the lease has to the lease convey it so it passes to the next owner if in a foreclosure instance does it convey

Ben: well there was Obama had the PTFA Protecting Tenants from Foreclosure Act which is exactly what you described that that those people could maintain their laces if (2) they want to do and that there were different processes by which to remove tenants with (2) valid and enforceable leases from properties as far as the selling occupied that’s a great question and a better one when you guys have an attorney on the [???]

Shannon: okay

Adam: it’s so interesting because even with that act there’s like chances for loophole right like oh fine 100 year lease for the [???]

Shannon: [???] tenant would have to produce the lease wait how can because how would we know what the lease terms are

Adam: oh they definitely we have to produce the lease

Ben:  a bank does require or did at that time at least to require now most of the time tenants you know I it really bugs me when I when I show up and there are tenants and especially tenants with children and people are like I pay my landlord every month I’ve been pay my landlord every month for like five years

Adam: why are they not paying the mortgage

Ben:  well for the better part of the last year your landlords been taking your money and pocketing it for whatever their personal needs are and they haven’t been paying the mortgage and you can stop giving the landlord any money and usually they’re kind of like cool you’re on my side and (2) you’re here to work with me and then we offer them the cash for keys and nine times out of ten the tenants are gonna leave anyway because they know that some evictions coming they don’t want their name in the court through any sort of the process they just kind of want a realistic hey what’s the timeframe associated with us and (2) sure if I can do the cash for keys and find a new place then most of them

Shannon:  never mature helps with the deposit which they’re probably not going to get back at this point

Ben: well same thing with the deficiency balance or go after the person for stealing the kitchen the landlords always ask that too well what about my deposit I say well you can sue the landlord if you want to absolutely but if the person is the type of person who’s going to steal your rent money every month for a year and no house bills even if you win in a court setting with this person you still have to collect that money and I guarantee you (2)r deposit is not worth the hassle the hassle of going after that money so

Adam: then how can people get a hold of you if they want to talk to you or whatever how can people get a hold you

Ben: I’ll give you our website address it’s NicholsRealtySTL.com we also have a coming soon section of properties

Adam: it’s exciting

Ben: yet listed but it will be

Shannon:  is it on your website

Ben: yeah right on the main page of the website kind of top dead center says coming soon most of them are bank owned properties I do put my retail stuff on there because I’ve got enough web traffic that hey why not give my retail clients the same exposure but (2) most of the stuff on there is (2) bank or institutional owned it will be coming for (2) a list and to the market at some point in time again like we talked about could be a year it could be a week we don’t really know at this point but I’m happy to answer any questions that I that you’ve got on those properties and put your name on the folder if (2) they if they’d like me to give them a ring when they come on

Adam:  speaking of questions I would have four questions I like to ask you we kind of ask all of our guests these questions

Ben: okay

Adam:  if you don’t mind

Ben:  like the end of inside the Actor’s Studio where

Adam: yeah

Ben: something okay all right go on

Adam: so where are you (2)r best

Ben: that’s a super tough one probably when I’m speaking I get invited occasionally by the young professionals network or (2) the state has me come to conferences and talk every now and again sometimes I have the opportunity to (2) be on agent panels where we get questions fired at us and I really I kind of enjoy that call-and-response sort of a thing this has been a whole lot of fun here today so

Adam: good

Ben: kind of right now or in a similar situation how about the

Adam: talking about what you love

Ben: there you go

Adam: okay so do you have a favorite blog or podcast other than our podcast of course

Ben: no I was gonna say yours no to be honest with you I don’t I kinda I work non-stop most of the time and when I’m not working I I try to be unplugged as much as I can

Adam: okay so I I like to try to do a follow-up because I always want to get some sort of answer out of you but basically like where do you get your news right are like yeah

Ben:  I like to I like to exercise I go to the lake as much as I can that’s kind of my happy place something with a something with a view something outdoor something nature-oriented I stare at a screen a whole lot and there’s kind of constant interaction with people as you guys do too so being somewhere surrounded by green and serenity is (2) kind of my relaxation series with regards to news to be quite honest with you I I get the very basics and the big stuff I will pay attention to if there’s something noteworthy but (2) talking heads in the 24-hour media cycle not from a partisan perspective in any respect but I just I just can’t handle the back-and-forth and The Barking and I I just don’t

Adam: okay so what is your guilty pleasure

Ben: food

Adam:  oh do you have a favorite local restaurant top three

Ben:  top three farmhouse there in south say they’re tasting menu is absolutely fantastic Chop House in Clayton 801 is fantastic and (2) two by the same company I guess I would say at least right now and it kind of alternates in references but 801 fish there across the road is sinker a quality a quality product but I’d like to cook I almost left college about nine times for culinary school and ever did and glad I didn’t because I can still have my avocation and cook and do my kind of side thing and

Shannon: if you need anyone to eat your creation Adam and I are often available

Ben:  we’ll hang out again this has been fun so we’ll certainly do that what’s your fourth question so

Adam: who is your mentor and how have you thanked them

Ben:  I had two college professors of whom I was very (2) fond I stay in touch with them regularly online and we’ll talk occasionally from a real estate perspective my (2) second broker Todd meadow check with Realty Executives I think that as far as the and I hesitate to call them big-box because they have a really family-oriented feel there but of the big-name firms if you will the (3) realty executives the Remax the Keller Williams the Coldwell bankers of the world of the big name firms I think that they have the most personalized type of a agent friendly education focused type of a setting and I came from a different firm primarily on their offer for (2) training and they offered so much of it that I probably learned more from that family about how the business works about the behind the scenes of how it really works on a daily they a day to day basis from (2) them than anyone else

Adam:  and how have you thanked them

Ben:  i have sent a number of agents to their firm we’ll catch up every now and again and but gosh I don’t know maybe I owe them dinner too

Adam:  awesome well Ben thank you very much for being on our podcast

Ben: Thank you guys

Adam: for anybody listening check out NicholsRealtySTL.com send us an email PODCAST@HermannLondon.com with any questions or suggestions and thank you for listening and take care

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