Lisa Frazier and my missing $19k, Part 1

Posted August 11th, 2007 by Joe Kaiser

I am, after all, the Tiger Woods of foreclosure rescue.

Dear Rob,

Last year, in Mason County, we did a deal with Nina and her husband Mark.

It’s an interesting situation and definitely something I’ll need to get cleaned up once things settle down a bit.

How will I do that?

I’ll have to sue them, all because of Lisa Frazier.

lisa_frazier.jpg
Mason County Treasurer Lisa Frazier

The initial proposal

We put a deal together with Mark and Nina just a few days before the tax sale.

Why just a few days?

They’d waited way too long to call.

Their property consisted of two separate parcels. One, the property they lived on (in a mobile home) and the other, an adjacent vacant lot with no access, sitting behind the mobile.

Our proposal was simple . . . we’d pay the back taxes and partner up with them on the one property, co-owing the parcel with the mobile, 25/75 (we get the smaller percentage).

And, they’d deed the adjoining lot to us at no additional cost.

So, we’d invest some $4k, own 25% of a $50k property, and have a no-access, unbuildable lot to do something with down the road.

My plan for that lot?

Let it go to the sale and collect the overage.


title problems

We ordered title and sure enough, problems.

Not one, not two, but three separate judgments for money owned on a failed business venture, as I recall. All total, the judgments exceeded the value of the property.

So now what?

My partners bailed, deciding there wasn’t anything worth pursuing on this one.

I was unwilling to give up, knowing I was now Mark and Nina’s last hope. If I couldn’t somehow figure this thing out, their home was as good as gone.

And so, the Real Estate Equalizer got to work.

I knew there were a few things going for me . . .

  1. It only required $4k out of pocket. In terms of speculating, that’s about where I want to be.
  2. I’d own the extra lot. I could let it go to sale and, with luck, overage gets my $4k back. Not likely, but a shot at least.
  3. The Homestead Act might play. Since the property with the mobile is Nina and Mark’s home, it likely falls under the protections of the act.

That meant there was the possibility of avoiding some or even all of those judgments. Again, no guarantees, but a chance.


the new deal

It’s one thing to do this deal when it’s free and clear, as Nina initially indicated. That’s risky enough. It’s another to do it when there’s zero equity. That’s insane.

Remember, they owed more than the property was worth and not even my partners, big-time risk takers, were interested in touching it.

The solution?

I proposed they sell me the entire property outright. That meant she and her husband deed me 100% interest in both parcels and be done with it.

In turn, I agreed to pay the taxes on the one property with the mobile and allow them to live in the home rent free for a period of three months, enough time to catch their breath.

I’d hoped, secretly, to clear title using the Homestead Act and sell the property back to them at a “real steal deal” kind of price sometime down the road.

But, I wasn’t about to make any promises.

Figuring out a way to allow the seller to stay is always my ultimate objective.

I like being the hero.

It’s what I do.


a good deal?

Nina and her husband decided to take me up on my offer.

Why?

It gave them sufficient time to find another place and get their lives in order. Now, at least, they wouldn’t be evicted and out on the street with nothing in the morning.

So, with no time to spare and a cashier’s check in my pocket, I made the one-hour drive to Mason County, (getting lost in the process). I picked up Nina at her home since she had no transportation of her own and Mark was on the road.

We made our way to the treasurer’s office and once at the counter, I let it be known we were there to pay the taxes and take Nina’s home out of the sale.

The county treasurer, Lisa Frazier, with less than 30 minutes until the deadline, refused to accept my cashier’s check.

Huh?


I kid you not

There’s another Washington State tax sale statute county treasurers routinely get wrong. Lisa actually believed that Nina, with a cashier’s check, was barred by state law from paying her taxes and she refused to accept her money.

In Lisa’s opinion, since my name was on the cashier’s check and not Nina’s, the funds were coming from me and the law says only a person with a recorded interest can pay taxes on properties in the sale.

Apparently, in Lisa’s view, it would be better to reject my check and foreclose on Nina’s home than just take the damn money and be done with it.

“Lisa,” I said, “she’s handing you a check to stop the foreclosure. You should take it from her.”

(continued tomorrow)


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