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WHEREAS, default has been made in the terms of the mortgage executed on the 19th day of January, 2012, by Hiawatha Washington and White Eagle Washington, husband and wife, as mortgagors in favor of George W. Capps, as mortgagee, as recorded in the Office of the Judge of Probate of Lee County, Alabama, in Mortgage Book No. 3851, at Page No. 639, and said default continuing, the mortgagee, under power of sale contained in said mortgage will sell at auction for cash to the highest bidder on the steps of the Lee County Courthouse in Opelika, Alabama on Friday, the 3rd day of November, 2017, during the legal hours of sale, the following described real estate embraced in said mortgage, situated in Lee County, Alabama, to-wit:
PARCEL 1: Lots 12, 13 and 15, WASHINGTON TERRACE SUBDIVISION, PHASE III, according to and as shown by that certain map or plat thereof of record in Town Plat Book 32, at Page 170, in the Office of the Judge of Probate of Lee County, Alabama.
PARCEL 2: Lots 2 and 4, WASHINGTON PARK II, PHASE I, according to and as shown by that certain map or plat thereof of record in Town Plat Book 31, at Page 73, in the Office of the Judge of Probate of Lee County, Alabama.
PARCEL 3: 29.47 acres +/- described as Parcel 43-21-06-13-0-000-004.000 on the records of the Revenue Commission of Lee County, Alabama.
PARCEL 4: 6.00 acres +/- described as Parcel 43-22-04-19-0-000-006.002 on the records of the Revenue Commission of Lee County, Alabama.
PARCEL 5: 1.37 acres +/- described as Parcel 43-22-04-20-0-000-006.000 on the records of the Revenue Commission of Lee County, Alabama.
Said sale is made for the purpose of foreclosing of said mortgage, paying the mortgage debt, the costs and expenses of foreclosure, including a reasonable attorney’s fee.
Mortgagee reserves the right to bid on the subject property. Said mortgage is a first mortgage and is not junior to another mortgage of record. Said sale is also subject to unpaid taxes or assessments whether of record or not.
George W. Capps,
J. Brandon Rice
Attorney for Mortgagee
830 Avenue A, Suite A Opelika, AL 36801
Legal run 9/20/17, 9/27/17, 10/4/17 10/11/17

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Unpaid water bill leads to foreclosure notice for Columbus Square Park

Sylvia Virtuoso opened the Gazette a few weeks ago and found a notice of foreclosure on a parcel at the intersection of Pine Avenue and 15th Street. 

It was an unwelcome surprise. 

The property, 1425 Pine Ave., is the address of Columbus Square Park, which she and the Pine Avenue Redevelopment Project (PARP), with a slate of volunteers, spent nearly six months and $10,000 renovating this summer.

Virtuoso, who is a secretary with PARP, notified other members and together the group engaged a deed transfer through city hall.

As it turns out, the defunct Pine Avenue Business Association had accumulated a $300 water bill in 2013 through an “unauthorized use,” she said last week. Under municipal rules, the back bill accumulates past due fees, which are then rolled into a outstanding tax bill.

In the past four years the bill has ballooned to $3,000. Under Niagara Falls Water Authority policy, there is no option to forgive it, and so PARP is left with no other option but to pay. 

Michael Capizzi, PARP’s president, said the park is formally owned by the former Pine Avenue Business Association (PABA). Neglected for years, the park was not given much thought.

“No one paid claims to that park for so long. It was just desolate and deteriorating,” he said, adding it was among the reasons PARP undertook it as a concentration point during its revitalization efforts.

Notice for the bill were sent to a P.O. box used by PABA, long since dormant. When members began PARP, they abandoned the idea of restarting PABA, of which some were once part, due to the debt accumulated by previous leadership.

The water bill was not a tab the group expected to pick up, with plans to use remaining funds on holiday decorations and festivities on the street, but one they will need to settle if they are to assume ownership of the park.

Capizzi said “every dime we took in” was meant to be spent “back out” in the city and the idea of expending them on a back bill bucks that philosophy. The focus of the fundraising was supposed to be the ongoing “beautification” efforts on the street. 

So the group is asking the community for assistance. They began a “GoFundMe” webpage last week with the address

Its members have taken the lead, the owners of Guido’s Upholstering, Tattler’s Lane Bridal, George Optical and Pine Avenue’s division of the Keller Group Realty have all made donations of at least $100. As of Monday, the group had collected $750 of its $3,000 goal.

Once the bill is paid, and the deed transfer complete, the park will be listed fully under PARP’s stewardship.

“We’re dedicated to maintaining and preserving the park, and that’s what we intend to do,” Virtuoso said.


• Visit to donated to Pine Avenue Redevelopment Project’s effort

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Tax foreclosure rates in Detroit drop to lowest level in 10 years …

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Detroit’s tax foreclosure rate is at it’s lowest point in nearly a decade.

DETROIT (WXYZ) – Tax foreclosures in Detroit are the lowest they’ve been in almost 10 years. City officials say it’s all thanks to an initiative that helps people stay in their homes.

This program doesn’t just help homeowners but also renters.

Denise Tanks has lived on Detroit’s West Side her whole life.

“I do want to be a homeowner, I just didn’t think it would happen this soon,” she said.

Earlier this year she rented out a home for her and her two kids.

“It was nice and spacious on the inside as well. My daughter loved it. We just fell in love with it.”

Four months later, she received letters that said her landlord is facing a tax foreclosure. She knew she had rights as a tenant, but she didn’t know she could actually purchase the home.

It wasn’t until neighborhood groups went door-to-door telling her and others about a city program.

She’s now becoming the home’s owner, thanks to the Interest Rate Reduction program that helps people get on payment plans to help stay in their homes.

“We can’t stabilize neighborhoods if we keep moving people out,” said Mayor Mike Duggan.

He tells us more than 700 owner occupants had foreclosed this year. That’s down 70% compared to 2015.

“This is a great case with the city, the County, the community groups all came together and are keeping people in their homes and next year our goal is: we are going to get it down even further,” he said.

Denise is only a few weeks away from owning this home and now she is advocate trying to spread the word.

She added, “Just motivates me to get a lot of people involved because it would save so many homes and so many lives with it.”

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Home foreclosures rise in Phoenix – Finance & Commerce

PHOENIX — Arizona residents are seeing their houses end up in foreclosure over missed homeowner association maintenance payments as low as $1,200, a newspaper investigation has found.

Homeowners associations in Arizona are allowed to foreclose after a year of missed payments or when homeowners have a debt of $1,200, the Arizona Republic reported.

The investigation found that foreclosures by homeowners associations in metro Phoenix have increased since 2015 when home values began to rebound.

“It’s become a huge issue,” said Judy Lowe, an Arizona real estate commissioner. “Most homeowners don’t understand the foreclosure process and don’t know their HOA can foreclose.”

Homeowners associations have taken foreclosure action on more than 3,000 homes over the past two years. Last year, 330 Maricopa County residents lost their homes to homeowners associations foreclosures. The rate for this year is expected to be about the same.

Neighborhoods in south Phoenix and the West Valley have been affected the most by the foreclosures. But more affluent areas including Scottsdale Pinnacle condos, Sun City Grand and Provinces in Gilbert have also had their share of foreclosures.

City Property Management Co. of Phoenix oversees 20 communities among the top 50 homeowners associations in Maricopa County with foreclosure filings. The company uses foreclosures as a tactic to get homeowners to pay their debt, said Brian Lincks, City Property president.

“We don’t want their houses,” he said. “About 90 percent of our homeowners pay when we file to foreclose.”

Afterward, City Property works out a repayment plan with the homeowner, Lincks said.

That was not the case with Cynthia Levine and her homeowners association, Cobblestone Farms. Levine owes a total of $24,000 with the additional $8,000 attorney’s fees, court fees and late penalties that were tacked onto her $9,000 debt. She began missing quarterly HOA dues on the home she shares with her dog, Sammy, in 2008.

Levine had enough money to back the $9,000 she owed, not counting the legal fees, but Cobblestone Farms said it was not enough and filed for foreclosure in March 2016.

“The HOA is heartless,” she said. “Literally I’m going to be homeless. Sammy and I will be out on the street.”

Cobblestone Farms declined to be interviewed for the story, but said its board does not consider a foreclosure until all alternatives have been exhausted.

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Corktown building faces foreclosure, raises awareness for city drainage fees

Earlier this year, the Detroit Water and Sewage Department changed the way they calculate drainage billing for non-residential customers. It was supposed to help customers with high fees; instead, some are facing unforeseen circumstances.

2051 Dalzelle, a Corktown service station which has been owned by the same family since 1966, recently received a foreclosure notice for an overdue bill which they never received. They’re bringing awareness to their plight through social media. A sign reading #2051Dalzelle hangs over the door, and they’re hoping to reach others facing the same issue. Since going public, they’ve learned of other nearby properties who aren’t being assessed the fee.

Owner Arnold Carpen tells Curbed that they’ve never been billed for the drainage fees and it’s been adding up since 2013. He says the fees now equal about two times the property taxes. They were made aware of the fees after receiving the foreclosure notice from Wayne County.

Carpen says they’ve reached out to the Mayor, DWSD, the Wayne County Treasurer, and Gary Brown, the head of DWSD. Carpen says, “All have been unwilling to help, meet, or listen and have made no effort to right this wrong. During an in-person visit to DWSD they refused to discuss the issue and directed me to a postcard. I called the number from the postcard and they acknowledged that, according to their system, no bills had been sent or would be sent! DWSD has stated that they will do nothing about the foreclosure proceedings.”

Let us know if you’ve had experience with this issue or know other properties facing this situation. We’ll keep you updated. Meanwhile, they’ll keep trying to reach DWSD.

#2051dalzelle #detroithomecoming #cityofdetroit #headleeamendment

A post shared by 2051 Dalzelle (@2051dalzelle) on Sep 13, 2017 at 4:46pm PDT

A post shared by Andy Didorosi (@andydidorosi) on Sep 16, 2017 at 9:11pm PDT

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In California’s foreclosure valley, rents soar thanks to hedge fund …

California’s Inland Empire was hit hard by the 2008 crisis, with disproportionate foreclosures on poor and working-class families, leaving neighborhoods blighted by empty, vandalized homes.

But then a funny thing happened: the rents in these blighted neighborhoods started going up and up and up, so that now 63% of tenants are paying 30% or more of their income in rent (33% of tenants are paying 50% or more).

The soaring rents are the results of a cornered market: the houses in San Bernardino were snapped up by Invitation Homes, a division of the Blackstone Group, the world’s largest hedge fund. Blackstone is at the center of a national epidemic of high rents, and is financializing tenants by creating bonds based on their rent payments.

The story is told in Rana Foroohar’s Makers and Takers: How Wall Street Destroyed Main Street, just publishing in paperback, in which the Financial Times associate editor describes the way that financialization undermines productive economic activity and replaces it with casino capitalism to the benefits of financiers and the detriment of the world.

Private equity investors have become the single largest group of buyers in the residential housing market, purchasing $20 billion worth of steeply discounted properties between 2012 and 2014 alone and reaping huge rewards as housing prices have slowly risen from their troughs. Blackstone, the biggest of the big private equity firms, with more than $330 billion in assets under management, has become the largest investor landlord in the country, with a portfolio of 46,000 homes and other properties that generated $1.9 billion worth of income in 2014, making real estate the largest profit center for the firm. Blackstone’s CEO, the infamous Wall Street titan Stephen Schwarzman, has called the firm’s move into the rental business in places like the Inland Empire a “bet on America.”

To be more precise, it’s a bet on the fact that fewer Americans can afford, in the wake of the financial crisis, to own a home. Thus an increasing number will be forced to rent from a Wall Street investor like Blackstone. Indeed, private equity’s rush into real estate goes some way toward answering one of the most perplexing economic questions of late: If housing is back, then why is the percentage of people who own homes in our country at a twenty-year low? Home values began rebounding from their post-financial-crisis trough in the beginning of 2012, and by July 2015, home sales had increased to their highest pace in eight and a half years. But the percentage of Americans who can call themselves homeowners is still declining from its peak in 2004, and many experts expect it to fall further as credit continues to be tight, young people struggle with higher-than average levels of unemployment, and baby boomers begin moving into retirement housing.

When Wall Street Owns Main Street — Literally
[Rana Foroohar/Naked Capitalism]


Cory Doctorow

I write books. My latest are: a YA graphic novel called In Real Life (with Jen Wang); a nonfiction book about the arts and the Internet called Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age (with introductions by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer) and a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it’s the sequel to Little Brother). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.


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Reverse mortgages lead to sharp uptick in seniors seeking help from foreclosure

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 17. 2017 10:00PM

New Hampshire Legal Assistance is reporting a sharp uptick in the number of seniors needing help staving off foreclosure, and reverse mortgages are mostly to blame.

Stephanie Bray, director of legal assistance’s Foreclosure Relief Project, said the percentage of people 60 and over needing legal help with foreclosures has more than doubled, to 78 percent of their relief clients in the last year.

“I am not seeing a giant increase overall for applicants with mortgage problems, but I am seeing a sharp increase in the percentage of those clients over the age of 60,” Bray said.

Bray points the finger at reverse mortgages. A reverse mortgage provides cash to homeowners who are 62 or older in the form of a lump sum, a line of credit, or monthly check. The company takes its payment from the equity in the home, tacking on fees and interest. The balance owed becomes due when the homeowner sells, moves or dies.

“It doesn’t shrink like a regular mortgage because of the interest and fees that are being taken out,” Bray said. “The balance gets bigger — not smaller.”

The homeowner is still responsible for insurance payments and property taxes — and that’s where Bray said people often get into trouble with reverse mortgages. Tax bills will be coming out in November and she urges homeowners to look now at their community’s senior tax discounts or deferment programs. Under New Hampshire law, every community must offer some sort of senior tax relief.

“When people get in trouble, they come to me and they have not paid their property taxes for two or three billing seasons and the mortgage company doesn’t like that,” she said. “If nobody does anything, the town will put a tax lien on it and on that lien’s second birthday, the town can foreclose on it.”

She said for those able to work out a deal to repay their taxes either through the mortgage company or the town, it’s imperative those payments are on time.

“Eventually what happens is one of those monthly checks gets lost or something happens and it snowballs to the point where homeowners get stuck,” she said. “I try and see if there are ways to reduce the tax bill. Usually those reductions happen in the future and it’s hard to get towns to do something retroactively about taxes.”

Bray said some of her clients have reverse mortgages that date back to 2008 and 2010, but most took out these loans in 2015.

“There was a lot of rising equity in houses 12 years ago,” she said. “There’s a lot less equity than there used to be. Everyone who wanted to suck out the equity of their house already have and people are approaching 62 with bigger mortgages than they used to have. It makes the product a little less attractive. The mania has cut down.”

The federal government has also taken a more active interest in protecting reverse mortgage customers, Bray said. Those who take out these loans must take a counseling course and be able to meet certain income requirements.

“Ten years ago, companies were lending these reverse mortgages with no check on income,” Bray said.

Bray said those who may benefit from a reverse mortgage include someone with a large amount of equity in their home, or someone who has trouble with the upkeep of maintenance, property taxes or homeowners insurance.

“For the right people in the right situation, they are very useful and sometimes the right situation is getting out of a jam with an existing mortgage,” Bray said. “It’s a way to stay in the home that you love.”

How to get help

New Hampshire Legal Assistance’s hotline is 877-399-9995. A video “Five Things You Should Know About Reverse Mortgages” is at

Silver Linings is a continuing Union Leader/Sunday News report focusing on the issues of New Hampshire’s aging population and seeking out solutions. Union Leader reporter Gretchen Grosky would like to hear from readers about issues related to aging. She can be reached at or (603) 206-7739. See more at

Social issues
Real estate

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Woman about to lose home to foreclosure | 2:03

Cynthia Levine is faced with losing her Maricopa home to foreclosure. After losing her business and getting behind in HOA payments, foreclosure proceedings started. She talks about her ordeal outside her home May 3, 2017. Tom Tingle/





Lawyer represents homeowners facing foreclosure from HOA | 2:05

Attorney Jonathan Dessaules represents homeowners facing foreclosure from a homeowners association. He talks about how there has been an uptick in foreclosures based on unpaid HOA fees. Tom Tingle/





Problems with HOA nearly lead to foreclosure | 1:11

Marie De Sanna talks about problems she experienced with her HOA, at her Chandler home on May 26, 2017.





HOA foreclosure auction in Phoenix | 1:35

Homeowners associations in Arizona can foreclose on a home after one year of missed payments or $1,200.

Ask anyone living in a neighborhood managed by an HOA, and you will likely hear a rant.

It could be about anything from fights over paint colors to parking or garbage cans. 

HOAs are one of the most controversial topics I have covered during my 22-year tenure as a real-estate reporter in metro Phoenix. 

Half of all Valley homeowners live in a community association; many people have strong opinions about them. 

I hadn’t delved deeply into the world of HOAs before this year because many of the issues were community stories.

But last year, complaints against HOAs in the Phoenix area ratcheted up. I started hearing from homeowners with HOA issues almost daily.

 Arizona Republic community reporter Jessica Boehm has written many stories about HOA battles in the West and East Valley, and she quickly became an expert.

Late last year, Boehm began to hear about homeowners losing houses to HOAs through foreclosure, something most people don’t realize is legal.

I am, unhappily, a foreclosure expert because of the housing crash. So we teamed up and have spent the past eight months investigating HOA foreclosures.

It wasn’t easy. Before 2014, there were so few HOA foreclosures that no one was tracking them.

We looked for a state agency that regulated HOAs and found there isn’t one. The Arizona Department of Real Estate began handling arbitration between HOAs and homeowners last year, but unfortunately it can’t help people facing foreclosure.

“While so many professions and places are regulated – from Realtors to pet cremation centers – community managers and HOAs have no such oversight by the state,” said Boehm. ”This made it difficult for us to navigate this expanding industry.”

And HOA foreclosures aren’t filed like regular foreclosures that can be tracked through real-estate records. Half of an HOA foreclosure is filed as a court document and the other half is a real-estate record.

So we built a comprehensive database of all the HOA records, with help from The Information Market.

Our investigation found HOAs were foreclosing on a record number of homeowners for as little as $1,200 or a year of missed dues.

We also found out who those homeowners were, what HOAs were foreclosing the most, the attorneys who handled the most foreclosures for HOAs, and the investors who bought the HOA foreclosure homes at auction.

And we were shocked by some of the legal fees being heaped on homeowners who weren’t making their payments.

From the beginning of the investigation, we had a hunch more HOAs were foreclosing because Valley home values are up, and investors are now lining up to buy the houses. Three or four years ago, Valley homes were worth much less than they are now.

We went to several  HOA Sheriff’s auctions in downtown Phoenix. The room was packed with bidders because there were so many more bargains among HOA foreclosure homes on the block.

We reached out to dozens of homeowners who were in danger of losing their house to foreclosure or already had. Some didn’t want to talk to us because they were embarrassed; others were angry and wanted people to know their stories. 

All the homeowners we spoke to said they feel bad about not being able to pay their HOA fees and want to catch up and keep their home. 

A pretty horrible recession and real-estate crash from 2008 to 2011 forced many of these homeowners into tough choices. Sometimes it was whether to pay HOA dues or buy food. 

Almost every homeowner we spoke to was shocked their HOA could foreclose. Most people don’t know it’s legal, even though it’s in the covenants, conditions and restrictions homeowners sign when they close on their home purchase —  often buried in those many pages of rules.

I have never lived in an HOA. Boehm, who now covers the city of Phoenix, grew up in an HOA community and bought her first house in a neighborhood with an HOA. 

“I had no idea the amount of power these associations have until Catherine and I started getting calls from people who were about to lose their homes,” Boehm said. 

“I’ve been covering basic HOA issues for years – things like paint colors and quarrels between neighbors. But I was shocked that there was a more serious underlying issue.”

Boehm and I are looking into other HOA issues besides foreclosures. We have talked extensively with the Arizona Association of Community Managers. We know HOAs serve a needed purpose for many homeowners. 

But not all HOAs are members of that industry group – only about 60 percent – and Valley homeowners in a dispute with a community association have little recourse but to lawyer up.   

We started with the HOA foreclosure issue because of its severity for homeowners. But we know homeowners are confronting many other issues. Please contact us if you have a story to share.

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Fundraiser seeks help uncovering the truth about Wayne County foreclosures

click image

  • Loveland Technologies
  • This Loveland map shows all of the properties that have been foreclosed and sold at auction in the city over the past 15 years.

When it comes to Wayne County tax foreclosures, some of the gaps in what even supposed experts know about it are surprising. Few people know this better than Jerry Paffendorf, the CEO of Loveland Technologies. Despite his firm’s best efforts to track the county’s tax foreclosures in Detroit, it’s difficult to get a nuanced picture of them over the last 15 years.

How many, for instance, have been notified about foreclosure proceedings? How properties many reached auction? Just how many of the homes were occupied when the foreclosures took place?

Paffendorf recently filed a large Freedom of Information Act request with the county, seeking answers to all of those questions.

While the county approved most of his request, there’s still the matter of what the county estimates it need to be paid for the work required to properly furnish the information. In this case, it’s a little bit more than $1,000.

Given this high figure, Paffendorf has taken to crowdfunding to raise the needed funds. He’s already gotten a large donation, but hopes to exceed the goal, since the estimate might prove low. He has promised to give any leftover funds to the good people at Tricycle Collective, who help keep families facing tax foreclosure in their homes.

To learn more about the crowdfunding campaign or to make a donation, click here.

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Foreclosures continue to go down in Cobb County

A total of 125 properties were advertised for the county’s September foreclosure auction, and while the number of properties advertised for foreclosure continues to decline, it seems to be approaching a baseline.

So far this year, 1,146 properties have been advertised for sale at auction, 259 fewer listings compared to the 1,405 properties advertised by this time in 2016.

Every month this year has seen fewer properties advertised for foreclosure than their counterparts in 2016, but sometimes the difference is slight. The county saw 147 properties advertised for foreclosure in April 2017, down just six properties compared to the 153 parcels advertised in April 2016.

Through 2017, the number of plots advertised for auction each month has ranged from 121 in June to 170 in March.

The 125 properties advertised for auction in September is less than the 160 advertised for the September 2016 auction. This September also saw fewer properties advertised than the September auctions for 2015 (259) and 2014 (277).

In Cobb County, if a foreclosure notice is printed for four consecutive weeks, the property is sold at an auction on the steps of the Cobb Superior Courthouse in Marietta. The auctions begin at 10 a.m. on the first Tuesday of each month.

The next auction is slated for Oct. 3.

Advertising a property does not mean the property will be foreclosed upon and sold at auction; often banks and owners agree to new terms before the auction takes place.

The decrease in foreclosures has contributed in part to higher property values in Cobb County: Since the county tax assessor uses the prices of similar homes recently sold nearby when reassessing property values, a foreclosed property sold cheaply at auction can drag down values for the rest of the neighborhood.

A recent market trend report from RE/MAX of Georgia shows the median sales price of a home in Cobb has changed only slightly compared to last year, up just 0.7 percent from $264,898 in July 2016 to $266,660 in July 2017.

The report also shows a slight decrease in the number of days Marietta homes have been on the market, from 35 days in July 2016 to 33 days in July 2017.

“After a jump in home sales in May and June, it’s not unusual to see a dip in home sales in July,” said John Rainey, vice president, RE/MAX Georgia. “This summertime slowdown is a trend that we sometimes see this time of year, especially on a national level. Low inventory continues to constrain the greater Atlanta housing market and, on average, homes are on the market for less than a month and a half. Successful buyers will need to be ready to act fast to purchase listings that are selling quickly.”

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