LETTERS TO THE EDITOR – The Bee (June, 2015)
Several weeks ago I received a postcard warning me that this was my final notice if I wanted to sell my home. Final notice? This sounded serious, so I reread the post card carefully.
On second reading this was clearly designed to frighten someone – perhaps one of our elderly neighbors. In my case, my elderly neighbor is the formidable Robert “Bud” Oringdulph – “O” in BOORA, and one of the city’s most respected architects. I suspect that the tricky businessman was never born who would best this neighbor in a real estate transaction.
Unfortunately, not everyone is quite as formidable as my neighbor. Twice, in the past year we have come across demolitions of fine old houses where the sellers received far less than the market price for their homes.
Part of the problem is that the low cost of development loans has made purchasing an existing home for demolition quite attractive. A second part of the problem is that home values have risen sharply, and some sellers are taken in by offers that might have been sufficient in past years, but are deceptive in the current market.
One recent story is of some interest. A long time neighbor was approached with a fast cash offer. In the discussions that followed, they were promised that the new buyer would remodel the home. Soon after the home was purchased, it was “flipped” — rapidly resold – to a developer. for demolition and subdivision.
The economics would not have favored demolition if the home had been sold by a reputable realtor. Unfortunately, no realtor was involved. The price was low – $100,000 below market – and the promises to the previous owners were worthless.
As always, the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association will fight to save that home – one of the original homes in the area – but there is no one to fight for the pocket book of the previous owners. “Caveat emptor” is all fine and good, unless it is your wallet that has been “emptored”.
There is no simple solution. I have asked a neighborhood lawyer to look into elder law to see if the defrauded couple can be protected. I hope that there is some provision of the law that would protect elderly home owners against predators, but frankly I doubt there is.
THE BEE, however, is a different matter. Everyone reads THE BEE. So please save this letter as a reminder: Please don’t take the first offer from some firm no one has ever heard of. The area has a number of very reputable realtors – business folks we have known for years. Talk to them. Get an estimate of the sale price in the current market. The money you save will be your own.
Moreover, the home you love will not be bulldozed to make room for McMansions. Sold at market, the home you love will be there for future generations, not knocked down for inexpensively-built tract homes.
If all this bewilders you, call the Sellwood-Moreland or Eastmoreland neighborhood associations. We want to live next to your wonderful home (not to mention your trees and lawn) and we will help where we can.
Robert McCullough, President
Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association