Buying a New Hampshire Bank Owned Home

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty

8 Howard Rd Hampstead front view On Friday March 7th Monika and I closed on this bank owned property in East Hampstead, New Hampshire. It had been on the market for just a few hours when our buyers called us and said they they wanted to see it.

Our website extracts listings from our MLS a few times a day so our customers and clients can see what is new to the market quicker than most other websites out there.

Our Buyers had just had a bad experience with another bank owned property in Hampstead where the bank's management company took over two weeks to de-winterize the property and for our buyers time was of the essence. After much delay our clients finally walked away from that property and moved on.

Things looked good as we drafted an offer on the new listing and had a pretty quick negotiating session. We were able to save our client over $18,000 off the already  below market list price.

Then the fun started! Because of the timing we needed a pretty quick closing date and agreed on just 15 days from acceptance. In the end it took 37 days from acceptance to close and I guess we're lucky that it didn't take longer.

The toughest problem dealing with bank owned properties is that the Banks and their management companies are so inundated with paperwork that they don't know which end is up. Trying to get simple addendum's signed took days and then only after we called and emailed numerous times.

The straw that almost broke the Camels back was when we were waiting for a response for a remedy to a certain home inspection defect and it took almost two weeks to get it. We kept trying and the buyer's lender kept trying to get an answer but all we got was a big goose egg. It wasn't until after 8PM the night before we were to close that we finally got it. Imagine going that long without anything signed?

At the same time the closing agent (attorney) was looking for an assignment that needed to be recorded but the banks management company wouldn't return phone calls because they didn't understand what the closing agent needed. It wasn't until she called late in the day the day before we were to close that someone finally called and said they didn't understand what she needed as it was way over their head. She finally asked to speak to their legal department to get it straightened out.

I guess the moral to this post is that bank owned properties aren't the easiest to get to the closing table. You need to have a strong stomach to tolerate the needless delays and issues that arise.

Dealing with people who are over worked and probably under paid and not all that competent can be hazardous to your well being. Dealing with a Co-Broker that has way too many listings and not enough office support to do their job just adds unnecessarily to the stress level of everyone involved.

I don't know how we did it BUT we got it closed...thanks to a diligent closing attorney who went above and beyond her duty, Jackie Fitzgerald from Maplewood Title Company and from an experienced mortgage officer Dennis Edmondson from Chase Mortgage who kept us all calm and worked with us to do what was needed to be done... thats how we got it to close. We all worked Together as a TEAM.

If you ever think that being a REALTOR is just about unlocking the door...give me a call, I'd love to tell you the whole story.




Comments (19)

Monika McGillicuddy
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty - Hampstead, NH
Southern NH & the Seacoast Area
This sure was one difficult transaction! I give you credit Jay as in the end I would have lost it for sure.
Mar 11, 2008 12:50 PM
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Hi Jay - this sounds like that sale we were talking about just yesterday.  It is extremely frustrating and aggravating when dealing with bank-owned properties.  I've been working on trying to put together a few sales on bank-owned properties as well, and the buyers I'm working with are trying to be as patient as they can with the length of time it takes to get everything done.  I feel badly for those bank employees trying to deal with those stacks of files that each represent a property that bank is sitting on, waiting to be sold.

You're so right about doing FAR MORE than unlocking a door - FAR MORE....


Mar 11, 2008 12:50 PM
Paul Kaplan
The Paul Kaplan Group, Inc - Palm Springs, CA
Mid Century/Modern homes in Palm Springs - www.Pau

This story is all too dificult.  Now you're an expert though, and have learned from your experience.  Hopefully you'll be better prepared to help your next REO sale, knowing what to expect and perhaps ways to be "heard."

It is unfortnately that the banks don't realize that if they had better service, they could be moving these properties much faster, and in the long, save themselves and their investors, millions of dollars.

Mar 11, 2008 12:59 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

Jay:  My daughter just closed on a bank owned condo (follow our progress as we refinish it) and she had many anxious and frustrated days.  She put an offer and they came back with a counter offer and she accepted.  Next thing she knew they were asking for her "best offer" and told they may have another interested buyer and she needed to submit her highest offer.  She was very upset.  Phone calls were not returned, days turned into weeks...

The place is a nice little place and she is very happy now, but what a time she had getting to closing!

Mar 11, 2008 01:10 PM
Linda Scanlan
A Fan of AR - Burleson, TX
Jay - Sometimes deals like this are just a little too much for the heart strings! I'm glad you held it all together and got it closed.'s just a little closer to Germany!
Mar 11, 2008 01:14 PM
Paul Kaplan
The Paul Kaplan Group, Inc - Palm Springs, CA
Mid Century/Modern homes in Palm Springs - www.Pau
I think the other thing to remember, the bottom line, is buyers are getting a great buy typically on an REO.... that's their reward for beint able to put up with all the inconveniences.
Mar 11, 2008 01:21 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert
Jay I hate dealing with bank owned properties for the reasons you stated and then some.  But for me the worst transactions are Short Sales, I just want to run and hide ever time some one comes to me for a loan on one. 
Mar 11, 2008 02:24 PM
Jay McGillicuddy
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty - Exeter, NH
Real Estate Broker
Hi all, I know the banks are swamped and listing agents don't know what end is up. But, there is a difference between trying to do the best you can and blantanly dropping the ball and not communicating to the other party. What does it take to write an email or pick up the phone? It is simple tasks like that, that can go a long way in keeping the peace.
Mar 11, 2008 02:30 PM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services
Jay -- incredible.  I was meeting with some new clients for the past couple of hours.  They asked me to explain bank owned properties, foreclosure and short sales -- I could have been out of there in an hour instead of 2 hours, if I had read them your blog.  The bank owned properties are not for everyone -- sometimes, they reqire the buyer pay to turn on and off the water ($300)per shot --  Most of the documentation also requires that the buyer pays ALL of the transfer tax.  Lots of hidden things in those addendums.  Short sales seem to have more horror stories -- taking 4-6 months per one of the attorney seminars given at our local board!
Mar 11, 2008 02:32 PM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation
Bank-owned properties are something I've avoided in the past, and hope to again in this market.  We have so many private homeowners competing with them, I don't think I'll have much trouble selling one of those instead - at least, I didn't in past buyer's markets.  Can my luck hold out???  The good news for our area is that there are not the huge number of bank-owned properties that other areas are seeing, so my luck could...  just one more seller's market before I retire, Please God????
Mar 11, 2008 02:58 PM
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate
Hi Jay I have not been involved in a bank owned property since the early 90's but I remember very well the twists and turns that these type of deals could take. You always need to keep in the back of your mind that they most likely will not be easy.
Mar 12, 2008 12:40 AM
Jay McGillicuddy
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty - Exeter, NH
Real Estate Broker

We worked with Lawrence Savings Bank back in the early nineties and it was nothing compared to what we are seeing now.

I think we just need to explain to buyers that it just may take a little bit longer than normal to get the transaction closed. 

If they are in a hurry to close it just may not work out that way. 

Always remember that communication between all parties is crucial.

Mar 12, 2008 12:46 AM
Jay McGillicuddy
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty - Exeter, NH
Real Estate Broker
We also put this post on New Hampshire Real Estate Blog and there are some interesting comments there too.
Mar 12, 2008 12:53 AM
Katherine Anderson
Coldwell Banker Hobin Realty, LLC - Hampton & Rye, NH, USA - Exeter, NH
Managing Broker
We are running into the same sorts of delays.  Lots of bank owned properties out there right now.  Agents with too many listings, too little help and/or knowledge.  You are right that it takes a professional team to get things done.  Too many folks don't realize what goes on behind the scenes.  If we actually figured out our hourly pay on some of these deals, it would be sad.
Mar 12, 2008 05:19 AM
Monika McGillicuddy
Prudential Verani Realty - Atkinson, NH
NH Real Estate Broker
Working those bank owned properties can just be  a nightmare.
Mar 14, 2008 01:14 PM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
Very involved, Jay, and a good description of just how good we have to be (and you are!) at untangling messes to help things close. Our mortgage guy did a yeoman's job this week; seems my client saw a student loan paper and thought it said first payment in April on the settlement and in reality it was he was behind! Long story short it worked out but not without a lot of phone calls. So you are great in my book for pointing out why professionals are needed!  Glad it worked out too
Mar 14, 2008 01:33 PM
Jay McGillicuddy
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty - Exeter, NH
Real Estate Broker

Thanks all, Spring is finally here and let's hope all the buyers come out full force.

We need some positive press.

Mar 20, 2008 01:25 PM
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
Jay - the only thing missing from your scenario is to have the listing agent be one that's taken a second job so is unavailable during business hours! We're dealing with so many short sales in our part of Florida that I actually see foreclosure properties as a piece of cake. So much depends on your frame of reference!
Mar 22, 2008 08:31 AM
Jay McGillicuddy
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty - Exeter, NH
Real Estate Broker
Sharon, that's pretty scary. What a shame. I don't mind selling them either but trying to get a decent two way conversation is a little distressing.
Mar 22, 2008 10:40 AM