My Craziest Transaction

Mortgage and Lending with Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, NMLS #138061 MMCD #1141

My Craziest Transaction - A December Contest


As a lender, I see a lot.  I see people's financials, their credit, inside their homes.  Over the years, there have been a lot of disturbing things - spouses with wild spending habits their partners knew nothing about.  Homes of hoarders.  Folks who make a ton of money and have a ton of flash while in reality they're drowning in debt.  Agents behaving badly.   But when I saw the December ActiveRain contest for the craziest transaction story, I didn't have to think too hard.

Jail Mortgage

Back when I lived in Pennsylvania, I connected with a real estate agent in an old coal mining and oil town.  Since that industry business dried up, the town was low income, low home values, and some complex transactions.  It wasn't the best place to earn a ton of money, but for a new loan officer, it was the perfect place to learn just about anything and everything about doing loans- how to deal with various water and waste systems (septic, wells, cisterns, and everything else you can imagine).  Older homes with lead and asbestos.  Clients with interesting income and credit challenges.  People not well versed in finances or technology.  In all honesty, I loved it.  I worked with some of the nicest, most appreciative clients and real estate agents in my entire career in that area.  But one transaction was just nuts.


I was introduced to the client by my Realtor friend, and connected with him to take an application:

Me: "I see your wages are hourly, how many hours do you work each week?"
Client:  "Typically 70-80"

Sure enough, his paystubs were full of overtime pay, and it was consistent for at least the previous 2 years.  The client worked 6am-6pm 6 days a week, and 8 hours on the 7th day durnig a typical week.  That meant 2 things - for one, we had plenty of income for him to buy a home in this area.  And 2, the client could only talk BEFORE 6am during the week (when leaving work, he explained, he got some dinner, and pretty much went straight to bed).


The guy seemed nice enough, so I'd wake up at 5am during our time working together any time I needed to follow up with him, explain things, and help him get his finances and documents in order.  I was not a morning person, so this was going above and beyond - but for about a month, our 5am calls moved things along while he went under contract and through the loan process, all the way to settlement.


And then came settlement day.  A happy time.  A joyous time.  A time when a lifelong renter finally got the keys to the place they could call their own.  There was only one problem.  Our client didn't show up to settlement.  Like a ghost, he vanished the day he was supposed to wrap up his loan.  The Realtor didn't know where he was, I sure didn't, and the title company didn't either.  For a couple of hours we did all we could - called his employer - but he had taken the day off so they weren't sure where he was.  We didn't know his family.   He lived alone.  The agent went to his house to check on him - no one answered.


After a few hours of operating as a real estate search team, the Realtor was able to track his brother down, and finally someone knew where he was - jail.  Apparently someone had a little too much fun celebrating the fact they had a day off and were buying a new home, had a little more than a little too much to drink, and made the decision to get behind the wheel of a car.  Upon hearing the story from the Realtor, it turned out this wasn't our buyer's first DUI.  It also wasn't his 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th.  I forget the exact number, but if memory serves me right, it was somewhere around #10.  


So what do you do when your client is locked up in the drunk tank the morning they're supposed to buy a home?  After all, the seller is relying on those funds to make THEIR next move.  Well, this loan officer decided he'd have a conversation with the police, so I called the local sheriff's office where he was being held.  I explained the situation, and asked if my client was still intoxicated.  He was not, but he was being held while charges were placed and his fate was determined.  After talking with the sheriff, we made arrangements for the police to transport our client to settlement, allow him to sign for his new home, and transport him back to his new home - not the one we financed, but the jail cell he'd be calling home for a bit.


This was by far the craziest ending to a purchase I've ever had, and thankfully it took place in very small town, very rural America, where the sheriff knew everyone including our client and the folks selling their home.  I lost touch with this client, and for years after my Realtor friend and I would recount the memory of the police bringing the client to buy a home.  I'm not sure whatever happened to him, but I hope he got the help he clearly needed, and lived happily ever after.




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Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Wow! What an experience!

I had had tenants that were locked up or died on the property and I had to make arrangements with next of kin to access their personal property of course with the help of my attorney

Dec 05, 2019 04:02 AM #19
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

Was his name Otis Campbell by chance? Fyi: Otis was the town drunk in Mayberry. That is some story. Only in small town America would you find the sheriff willing to transport someone so he could close on his house.

Dec 05, 2019 04:14 AM #20
Gordon Crawford
Gordon Crawford Home Selling Team - Morristown, NJ
Your Morris County Specialist!

John, you have the b est story ever!  I don’t think anyone can touch that one

Dec 05, 2019 04:57 AM #21
Gwen Fowler-CRS- 864-638-3599 SC Mountains & Lakes--
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Salem, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

Wow, now that is a crazy story. I hope he was a cash buyer, and not relying on financing. 

Dec 05, 2019 06:37 AM #22
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Great story! I also had a jailhouse closing, only we went to the jail to get papers signed. This job is never boring. 

Dec 05, 2019 08:11 AM #23
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

Clearly a fake story. This could never happen in America. 

Just kidding. That's one for the Remember when storybook for sure. 

Dec 05, 2019 08:19 AM #24
Ron Aguilar
Continental Mortgage - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

Thank you for your post. Your story was very interesting. I also have stories as a Mortgage lender. The Beat goes on...

Dec 05, 2019 09:06 AM #25
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Wow what a story!  Feel sad for the buyer--all that work and money, yet consistantly drank too  much.  My most unusual transaction could never top that!

Dec 05, 2019 01:29 PM #26
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

John I love this story. You are such a sweetheart and this is a perfect example. We all have crazy transactions in our rear view mirrors and this is a prize.

Dec 05, 2019 06:19 PM #27
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

This could only happen in a small town. Great story/entry for the contest.

Dec 05, 2019 06:27 PM #28
Ben Yost - 303-587-4297
First Time Home Buyer, Mortgage Rates, Pre-Approval - Denver, CO
FHA, VA, Conventional - Mortgage Loans in De

Wow great story. But.... did you contact the U/W and or Investor and apprise them of the situation? Per your license you would need to contact them and let them know - that the borrower might not be able to meet his obligations on the home. (10 DUI's in Colorado - means 2-5 years in prison- State Prison). They would have had to make the decision to go ahead with the loan - not you. Hopefully it never goes into forclosure because you could have some liability. Sorry to be a downer.

Dec 05, 2019 07:38 PM #29
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

ONly in a small town - and only years ago. I seriously doubt if you could duplicate that story today.

Dec 05, 2019 08:29 PM #30
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Wow that is definitely one crazy story and one wild ride. 

Dec 05, 2019 11:50 PM #31
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

Thats a good one!!  Get it done John! I am glad he got to close and everyone got to close and it all ended up happy. I love happy endings!  

Dec 06, 2019 12:41 AM #32
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Wow! Now that is an unusual story ... or should I say "CRAZY". One thing is for sure, anyone who has been in the real estate profession (lenders, home inspectors, title companies, etc) have a lot of strange experiences. Probably enough to write a book. Thanks for sharing.  Hope that buyer did find the help they needed to move on with life.

Dec 06, 2019 07:18 AM #33
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear John,

That story is hard to beat. Never had that happen. Puts a broken water heater during the walk through right into perspective.

Dec 06, 2019 08:17 AM #34
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Some of my craziest transactions I try to forget them. Stressful and dangerous. I have known women realtors got pinned on the floor. Oh, boy do they all have a lot to share.

For the contest I am a silient participant.

Dec 06, 2019 11:19 AM #35
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

HI John Meussner,

Talk about going above and beyond. This may be crazy but it is a real testament to your commitment to your client. 

Dec 06, 2019 03:47 PM #36
Raymond Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

That is a crazy transaction.  I do not think the Elk Grove Police Department would be that accommodating.  

Dec 06, 2019 06:57 PM #37
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Wow, John Meussner  The only way this story could have been crazier would have been if the signing had taken place in the buyer's "temporary" home...the jail cell. 

Dec 17, 2019 12:50 PM #38
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