Steamboat Springs A property auction at the Routt County Courthouse this week illustrated the thin line in today’s distressed home market between losing one’s home to foreclosure and salvaging a portion of one’s credit rating.
Steamboat Springs Realtor Denise Cantafio was frustrated Wednesday when her clients’ log home in Stagecoach was claimed by the original lender in a public trustee’s sale.
“That was a sale that really shouldn’t have happened,” Cantafio said. “We’ve had a standing offer of $330,000 on that home for two months.”
Chase Home Finance took the home back during a foreclosure sale at the Routt County Courthouse on Wednesday morning after no third-party bidders appeared to top the bank’s own deficiency bid of $349,726 on the home in the Meadowgreen subdivision. A bid of an amount just $1 higher than the bank’s bid would have claimed the home that sold for $695,000 in August 2007, virtually at the peak of the Steamboat real estate bubble.
Cantafio was representing the previous owner in a short sale process when another Realtor brought her a buyer who made the $330,000 offer. It was within $20,000 of what the bank indicated it was willing to accept in the foreclosure auction, and Cantafio was optimistic at the time.
Cantafio, who is with Real Living Real Estate in Steamboat Springs, said she has helped to close several short sales in the recent past. It’s a process that results when a homeowner realizes that a change in their circumstances, for example a job loss, means they won’t be able to keep up with their mortgage payments. Instead of waiting until they are in arrears on their mortgage payments, they go to the bank and work out a plan in which the bank agrees to sell the property for less than what is owed on the mortgage.
Even when the sale is successful, the homeowner loses their property and their equity, but the hit to their credit is not as severe as it would be in a foreclosure.
Routt County Public Trustee Jeanne Whiddon said Wednesday the total outstanding indebtedness on the home at 23425 Willow Highland Trail was $587,730.
Stephen Caragol, who invests in distressed properties, said the home, built in 2006, appeared to be an attractive investment. However, he did not attend Wednesday’s sale.
Caragol’s Steamboat-based company, Blue Rhino Investments, sometimes acquires foreclosed properties in Routt County, but more often in Front Range cities. He said that had the Meadowgreen home been offered at foreclosure auction in a market with a community of active investors, it might have been bid up to the neighborhood of $375,000.
The two-story, four-bedroom, 3.5-bath home comprises a total of 2,299 square feet. Of that, 1,713 square feet is livable space, according to records at the Routt County Assessor’s Office. The home has a two-car garage and luxuries such as granite countertops and a large corner bathtub. Large log posts support the vaulted paneled ceiling in the great room. Of course, there are views of Stagecoach Reservoir.
Cantafio said when she initially described the short-sale offer to a representative of Chase, she was told not to submit it because it was too low. She said an attorney representing the bank advised them to take a closer look, and she submitted the offer despite instructions to the contrary. She called the representative weeks later and was told again that the offer was too low.
Typically, the next step would be for the bank to engage a Realtor specializing in foreclosures to sell the house.
Efforts to reach the previous owner of the home at a phone number in Westminster were unsuccessful.