Thursday, September 17, 2009
7 News Investigations: Home Sweet Home
If you are losing your home in foreclosure, you are probably heartbroken, but one person has found a way to keep people from getting evicted from their houses legally, and they get their homes back at half of what they owed the bank. It's all because of one man who Patrick Fraser tells us is making it home sweet home again.
WSVN -- This is a foreclosure auction where dream homes that people bought for two, three, four hundred thousand dollars are sold.
A family couldn't pay their mortgage, Luis Malden just bought their house for almost nothing.
Luis Valdeon: "It's a $230,000 judgment, just sold for $10,000."
The next step for the winning bidder.
Carlos Cintra: "It's a nice neighborhood, you know, peaceful."
Go to the house and evict the people who used to own it.
Carlos Cintra: "He said, I'm sorry, I have to kick you out right now."
But, after talking to Carlos, Luis changed his mind.
Luis Valdeon: "You are legally the owner of the property back. God bless you guys, I wish you the best."
Carlos's mortgage was $256,000. Luis helped him get a different bank loan and sold it to him for half that just $123,000.
Carlos Cintra: "I mean, if it wasn't for that gentleman right there, I would be out on the street. I mean, I would be probably living in my car."
Luis says he has done this 15 times in the last year, taken a house from a bank and put the foreclosed family right back in it.
Esther Liontos: "My parents were frantic."
The Gonzalez's bought this house and an avocado grove in 2005 for just over $600,000.
Patrick Fraser: "Why the farm?"
Esther Liontos: "Because my dad, in Cuba, my dad always had a farm, and my dad has always loved to have a farm."
Then the family business failed when the Gonzalez's couldn't pay the two loans on the property. Luis grabbed it in foreclosure.
Luis Valdeon: "And I said, I'm going to be making on this property here $250,000 net profit for me by the time I'm done."
That's when he met Esther and her parents. Instead of evicting them, he told them he would help them.
Esther Liontos: "Honestly, I thought he was lying."
Luis paid $30,000 for the property at the auction. He sold it back to the Gonzalez's for $10,000 and kept the avocado grove as his profit. He is also helping them get a reverse mortgage on the other loan, so they can live here for free for the rest of their lives.
Esther Liontos: "To me, I think he's an angel sent from up above. I mean, I don't know what to tell you, nobody would do that. I don't think anyone could do that. No one would do that these days, not even the bank."
Luis Valdeon, some people who have seen what he does jokingly refer to him as Robin Hood. Taking properties from rich banks and returning them to heartbroken and nearly broke homeowners.
Luis Valdeon: "This is how it's done, every day."
Luis owns a company called Miami-Dade Foreclosure, which buys 100 properties a year at the auction. Most he fixes up and sells to the highest bidder.
Luis Valdeon: "We spent about $15,000 remodeling that house."
But, about 15 times a year, if he can get a mortgage for the prior owner, he sells it back to them. Luis made $40,000 by selling it back to Carlos. If he had sold it to someone else he could have made another $40,000.
Luis Valdeon: "If it's not for you, I'm going to get divorced, I'm going to live in my car, and I'm going to die, so I said, wait a minute, is that worth $40,000? It's not."
He lost $250,000 profit by giving the Gonzalezs their home.
Luis Valdeon: "And I come here and they treat me more like family, so for me that's more important sometimes than money."
The homeowners are happy, but when he puts the original owners back in their homes with mortgages cut in half the banks are not thrilled, Luis could care less.
Luis Valdeon: "I think, honestly, the banks made their money. They are the ones who created this problem, they made millions of dollars by charging closing costs, closing fees."
For Luis's plan to work the homeowner has to have someone willing to sign for their loan. Carlos's mother bailed him out, but realizes she could not have afforded the home if Luis had sold it for what it's really worth.
Esther Liontos: "She said an angel appeared that day, and that was Luis. Super nice, super nice."
Foreclosure is a horrible thing to go through unless you are lucky to meet Luis Valdeon.
Esther Liontos: "He thinks he's a beautiful person. Says the best thing that could ever happen to them, to find him, meet him."
And he made their home a sweet home again.
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