More on the perils of home-flippers

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Today I had a story in the Monitor about Council Member Delia Garza’s  efforts to prevent homeowners from getting scammed by the various entities behind the “CASH FOR HOMES” signs you see in some parts of town (they’re probably less common in Tarrytown). I’ve seen a variety of takes on the no-hassle/don’t-care-how-shitty-your-home -is/I’ll-give-you-a-fat-wad-of-Benjamins appeals, but nothing quite like the mailer that Garza recently received.

An ominous all-caps headline on the yellow card reads, “THIRD NOTICE” – language one would expect on an overdue bill. Below that, it says the following: “Attention: Delia – I urgently need to talk to you about your property.”

“When I read it, I said, ‘Did I get a ticket? Did I not go to jury duty?’” Garza recalled during a Council work session on April 24.

This reminds me somewhat of the mailers that some political groups use to shame people into voting. Of course, in that case, the most a person will be pressured into giving away is a couple hours of their time on Tuesday (well, maybe more than a couple hours in Texas). In contrast, the homeowners being targeted by flippers are likely at risk of missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity that they’ve built up over the years. 

I don’t have a ton of knowledge of the subject, but the anecdotes I’ve heard have been ugly. I once talked to a longtime resident of Webberville Road (near Springdale) who told me he purchased his home for $13,000 in the early 80’s. He was hoping to eventually sell and happily told me that somebody had come by his home and offered him $100,000. The land itself is likely worth nearly double that, I told him, and urged him to speak to a real estate agent if he wants to sell.

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