tv Bob Massi Is the Property Man FOX News December 26, 2015 9:00am-9:31am PST
>> all right. >> party time. >> and donald trump and some of the others are going to be there. we have a special invite. hillary clinton, please, we would love toenlt taken you on new year's eve. merry christmas, everybody. have a great weekend. >> i'm bob massi. for 34 years, i've been practicing law and living in las vegas, the center of the recent real-estate crisis. >> 34 years after living in las vegas, the center of the recent real estate crisis, lives were destroyed as the economy tanked. now well it's a different story. the american back. and nowhere is that more clear than the sunshine of florida. so we are headed from the strepz to the beach to show you how to live the american dream. i'm going to meet real people who are facing serious problems. take you behind the gates of properties you have to see to believe. and give you the tips that everyone needs to navigate the landscape. information is power and the property man has got you covered.
i'm bob massi. every minute of every day, somebody is getting scammed out of their money. nobody knows that more than pam bondi, attorney general of florida. it's her job to protect consumers against fraud. and there is plenty to keep her busy. when the housing bubble burst, foreclosures exploded. but as millions lost their homes, they were often taken advantage of, sometimes even by the big banks themselves. in 2012, 49 states announced a historic settlement with the five largest mortgage servicers. >> in many cases, they didn't even verify that these foreclosures were actually legitimate. some of the people they hired to process foreclosures used fake signatures on fake documents. >> the five largest lenders, of course, were involved. and florida received nearly $10 billion in relief. >> but even with some homeowners getting relief, scam artists are still out there.
>> these unscrupulous brokers were promising people that they could either get them cash payment for their foreclosure or get them loan modifications. it's very tough to decipher the good, legitimate companies who are trying to help people and the unscrupulous ones. >> what should the legitimate rescue, if you will, really look like for a consumer? >> a legitimate rescue broker will never ask for a fee up front, unless it's a law firm. and as you know, of course, an attorney can take a retainer. but they must put it in an escrow account. >> right. >> always ask for a copy of the loan modification agreement, the acknowledgment letter and either the approval or denial letter. when they tell you that they can guarantee you a loan modification. you've seen that, haven't you? >> run away. run away. >> a loan mod, or that they will automatically
stop the foreclosure process. and, you know, these cases are so disgusting to me because these are people who are already in distress. and they are preying on the vulnerable. >> don't respond to unsolicited calls, e-mails or letters from companies you don't know anything about. and don't be fooled by the official-sounding names and addresses that make you think that you're being contacted by a government agency. this letter from nations housing modification center has an official-looking seal and a capitol hill address. so where is 611 pennsylvania avenue? this ups store. and here is the nhmc offices, mailbox number 393. it's no longer their office. the founders went to prison for fraud, but not before 300 desperate homeowners fell for these letters and sent in between $2,000 and $3,000 each in up-front money. >> they will tell you, "don't contact your lender." that should be red flag number one, get outta there.
contact your attorney general's office or, if it's an attorney involved, contact the -- the bar association to make sure they're in good standing. >> and it's not just mortgage scams that are pulling people in. here in florida, one of the biggest types of fraud involves vacation rental properties. >> these con artists are getting more and more sophisticated, as we both know. >> these are greedy people. you know, they sell the sizzle, as they say. >> they sure do. >> they sell the sizzle. >> that's right. >> what should a consumer ask to say, "hang up the phone. get away from this." >> well, you know, bob, how they scam consumers is they go on legitimate sites and hijack the photographs and post them as being rentals. so what you do, you contact the owner and say, "i wanna see additional pictures." and the owner or the legitimate company who claims to be renting the property will have additional pictures that they can immediately send you. >> i see. >> someone who's hijacked photographs online from legitimate companies won't be able to produce those.
>> some of these people are victims of scams. they end up showing up actually at the location... >> oh, it's horrible. >> they put money down. and they say, "what are you talking about? doesn't even exist." >> that's why you should use a payment portal, if possible, because that money is deposited in an escrow account. >> okay. >> never pay by cashier's check. never wire money. always use a credit card, or many legitimate companies will let you use paypal, which is very safe. >> the best piece of advice, use an established realtor or, at the very least, a company that you can independently verify. never communicate only by e-mail. request a phone number to someone directly and ask a lot of questions. and up next, we've introduced you to some people battling with their homeowners association. now, the other side. one hoa struggled to deal with a problem property in their community. [ woman vocalizing ] ♪
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>> hi, i'm bob massi, the property man. we've talked in the past about homeowners associations and what their legal rights are when homeowners don't pay their dues. well, we're gonna talk about the other side of it what is thimpact and the decision that has to be made by an association if, in fact, they decide to foreclose on that property and have to maintain their home? we're in a beautiful development in florida. and in a minute, i'm gonna sit down and talk with marshall, who's trying to deal with a major hoa issue, that being that there's a house that was left vacant. and now they have to decide what are they gonna do for purposes of securing that house? marshall, how are you, sir? >> welcome. >> good you see you. >> nice seeing you. >> you know, before we sit down, i really wanna go look at this house that we're gonna be talking about in a few minutes so we have a good understanding of what's going on. >> terrific. let's go take a ride. >> thank you, sir. homeowners associations have legal rights and powers over properties. they can initiate foreclosures for monthly fees, their dues and their special assessments. >> i'm the neighborhood volunteer chair for our neighborhood. >> and that's selected by who? is that just amongst homeowners
themselves? >> right, the homeowners in the neighborhood. >> okay. >> basically have a group of volunteers that look out for everything. >> is this the home right here? >> yes, sir, right here. >> well, let's go see the house, and let's talk about what concerns you may have. >> terrific. >> so this is the house of concern. and the homeowners association has to make a decision. do they actually want to end up potentially owning this property? because if it goes to auction, and nobody bids on it, then you guys could end up owning it. >> that's correct. >> this home has been vacant since 2010. and as always happens, the home's exterior, well, it's getting pretty ragged. it's actually an eyesore for the neighborhood. >> most of the screens ended up blowing out. and because this represented a safety risk, the health department from the county came in and secured the pool area itself. so there was a lot of things growin' in there, an enormous amount of algae. >> now the hoa's put in a position because the lender's not doin' what they should do, and that is foreclose on the property. the homeowners association can decide to foreclose on the property themselves. and if nobody bids on that judgment, well, they take title to that property subject to the bank lien.
>> remediation on just the exterior is probably gonna end up being around $13,000. if we ended up having a move to go in and -- and rent the facility, we would have to remediate the interior portion of this home. since nobody's been in this home for in excess of 5 years, there's no tellin' what we're gonna end up finding. so the particular risk to the neighborhood is enormous. >> let's go sit down and talk about what you guys have been through and what options that there may be. the area is beautiful. but like any other, it was hit hard by the recession. >> and homeowners ended up leaving in, uh, january of 2010. it was, basically, almost impossible to locate them. >> do you have any idea why they haven't foreclosed on this property? >> i have no idea. >> it's probably because they don't want to pay the hoa dues. and they don't want to pay the insurance and they don't want to pay the taxes. >> that's probably correct. >> it's what we've called in the past a zombie foreclosure. >> neighbors ended up complaining to me all the time that the pool looked bad. the screens looked bad. the roof had mold on it. >> although law's different
in every state, hoas can usually only recover a portion of what is owed to them. in this case, they actually got a judgment in the amount of $34,000. so, essentially, the homeowners association has a business decision to make here. >> correct. if we remediate the home, uh, we're gonna end up spending probably the bulk of the homeowner's equity in the entire neighborhood. >> they could decide to lease the property at the market value to try to recover the cost. >> we've looked at that. but the expenses to do that, uh, still far -- far outweigh, you know, what we think the anticipated benefit would be. >> they gotta pay taxes. they gotta pay insurance. and guess what, guys, the bank, at any time -- they could wake up from their zombie and decide to foreclose on the property. >> we'd fix up the house, make it beautiful, uh, get a tenant in there. and that would not, basically, stop the bank to come in and go, "hey, we want our house now." >> you could exercise your lien rights as an hoa to foreclose on a property. >> right. >> so let's say that, uh, that a homeowner owes $10,000.
i could come in as an investor and look at this property and say, "wait a second, i could buy this home at a foreclosure sale by the hoa for 10,000 and get title of that property." but myself as the investor has to look at it and say, "well, wait a second -- they have a mortgage on that property. so there's some legal issues there." >> right. >> if nobody bids on the judgment they have, they could end up owning that property again. what does that mean? that means, once again, the homeowners association is on the hook for all the expenses of the house. you wanna do something that's going to wake up the zombie. and that may be even to the point where, maybe, your lawyers will say, "you know what? we're just gonna file a lawsuit and say, 'judge, you know what? could you ask these people to, basically, foreclose on this property? because it is impeding our ability to take care of our neighborhood.'" get has proactive as possible to get the bank off their butt to say, "let's exercise our rights." when we come back, i'm gonna tell you about this house and the great american it was built
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>> jesse's mission was to be the gunner on the third gun truck that would be over-watching a number of, uh, paratroopers that were gonna be clearing a village. >> my buddy started to step out of the truck and... >> a command-detonated ied blew up jesse's vehicle. >> before we knew it, i mean, we were mid-sentence. i was wakin' up on the bottom of a mountain. i would have to yell up for help in between the -- the gun bursts because i was completely immobile. um, my legs were shredded. >> his paratrooper, uh -- uh, platoon mates fought to him, secured him, performed life-saving measures. >> as they carried me to the bird, the last thing i saw was kind of like the mountains. and i went -- i went dark. >> back home, jesse's mother got th >> they shared with me that he had been hurt and was, um... they were patching me through to the surgeon. and, uh, he explained jesse's injuries and that he was gonna try and save his life for me.
>> i woke up a week and a half later at walter reed. and then that's when, uh, you start tryin' to piece together what just happened and stuff. and that was the first time i found out that my legs were gone. immediately, you could see the fear in his eyes and -- and the recognition of what was truly happening. >> jesse's recovery went on and on. he had 65 surgeries. as things would happen during his recovery, jesse connected with a childhood friend, ashley. >> she was there for me through everything. >> they would end up getting married in 2013. but the surgeries kept coming. life, well, it wasn't easy. then jesse, through his friends, heard about an organization called building homes for heroes. this great organization is building homes for disabled veterans all over the country, providing them an opportunity to be able to own a home free of mortgage so that they know that they're safe, and their families
are protected. it was started by a long island businessman, andy pujol. >> i said to some friends, "why don't we build one home for a severely injured warrior? and, if nothing else, we'll leave a legacy for our children." >> but andy didn't stop at one home. and so far, they have gifted more than 100 homes to veterans. >> we're on target for 50 homes in 2016. and, uh, we have high hopes of doing the same in 2017. >> as jesse recovered, building homes for heroes board members visited him in the hospital and invited him to come to new york for a fundraising dinner. the event was featured by fox's own sean hannity. >> take a look at this. >> we have a special surprise tonight. there's a young man here in the audience who just finished his 58th, 59th, and 60th surgery and left the va hospital because he wanted to be here tonight. jesse and ashley,
you know that home you're hoping for in tampa? from all of us to you, it's yours. [ cheers and applause ] >> it was very emotional. it was a huge weight that's being, like, lifted off your shoulders. >> jesse and ashley, wanted to be in tampa, florida. well, building homes for heroes and william ryan homes built them a beautiful home from the ground up. this home, just like all the homes built by building homes for heroes, is specifically designed to meet the injured soldier's needs. >> it's so important to have an open floor plan. it'll give jesse the freedom to maneuver all throughout the home. we want him to feel like he's in a normal home built for anyone. and, uh, you really can't see all these hidden features that we've done. >> but they're actually here. but they're subtle. >> they are all here. they're very subtle. we design all of our homes with the hallways being 48 inches wide. it gives him the freedom to roll through with a wheelchair. the greatest features that we gave him was the ability to, uh, bathe and shower freely.
this shower allows him to roll in and actually bathe. he has a seat here. he can sit comfortably. >> and i noticed, also, a beautiful backyard that has a swimming pool. >> we have some therapeutic jets that help him in his rehabilitation. we also have two water features in the pool which helps with the ringing in his ears. it's not only therapeutic, but it's also, you know, mentally therapeutic, as well. >> finally, that special day came when building homes for heroes gave jesse and ashley the key to this beautiful home. [ sirens wailing ] [ applause ] >> welcome to building homes for heroes' homecoming celebration for army corporal jesse murphree and his wife, ashley, and son, brody. [ cheers and applause ] >> we are really excited to start this new chapter of our life out here. so to all of our neighbors, everybody out here, thank you for having us. thank you for being here.
[ people cheering ] [ applause ] >> having a home is the place where you build stability. and jesse hasn't had that yet. what they're giving to -- to these soldiers and these families, to me, is a foundation to start a whole new life. >> the building homes for heroes family -- they have been so supportive of us, and they've really gotten us through this year. it is the best thing that's happened to us ever. how do you say thank you for something so big? >> even as we sit in here, i keep thinkin' that, like, it's just -- it's not clickin' yet that this is our house. >> we feel so undeserving. but we feel so blessed. >> up next, a massi memo with information you can't afford to miss. stick around. [ woman vocalizing ] heartburn!
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♪ >> welcome back. i'm bob massi, the property man. and now it's time for the massi memo. at the start of the show, i sat down with florida attorney general pam bondi to talk about scams. scammers are always out there trying to separate you from your money. so what do you do? well, it all boils down to this. the best way to protect yourself is to step back and think before you pay anyone a dime or sign anything.
if anything sounds too good, please, run away. most scams sell the sizzle to pull you in and beware of the sizzle, the 4-day, 3-night dream vacation, expensive gifts. those type of things are the sizzles. anyone who asks for an up-front fee or wire transfers of any type in reference to purchasing real property, rental property or stocks, forget it. never buy any real estate by phone. it is important that you hire a competent realtor and check all credentials. and if a company promises to save your home from foreclosure, don't believe a word. many charge high fees for work you can do on your own. and some actually try to trick you into signing over the deed to the house. never sign anything you don't understand. and don't allow anyone to pressure you. research any company you might work with first. and check with the better business bureau and your state's attorney general's office. earlier, we spoke with marshall, whose hoa is trying to decide what to do
about a vacant property in the community. we'll follow marshall's story and update you when there's a resolution. most people, though, are on the other side trying to decide if they should buy in an hoa neighborhood. here's what you need to do. request all relevant information to review and know the rules before you buy. get the financial information. make sure they're solvent with hoa. ask if there's been any assessments in the past or any scheduled in the future, guys. and make sure you get a copy of the covenants, conditions and restrictions. these are the rules that you will live by in your community. see if you can get a past history of the minutes of the hoa. find out if there has been any construction defect litigation in the area where you're buying. and by the way, ask what the insurance covers as it relates to common areas, that being the walls and where your property is located. that's it for today. be sure to send me your questions or property stories at firstname.lastname@example.org. and check out our website
at foxnews.com/propertyman. i'm bob massi. i'll see you next week. [ woman vocalizing ] college campuses across the country but first these headlines. >> i'm in washington. an alabama residents are cleaning up after a holiday nightmare. a christmas tornado destroyed homes and trees across birmingham. so far, only minor injuries reported. people may be trapped if their homes.