It all started with a phone call from Patricia. She had a client in Oakland that the bank could not help. Her debt was too much and her income was too low. Patricia told Ella that I may be able to help her improve her cash flow. Her Oakland home was a quaint craftsman and she was a very gracious person. She needed help. When I arrived I noticed her concrete driveway was cracked and the side of her house was cracked from the roofline to the foundation.
As we talked she said that she needed money to replace her disabled car in the driveway. She wanted transportation. Her living room had a ceiling that was much damaged from roof leaks. She had a friend that had made repairs but that did not stop the leaks. I had a plan that I recommended to her. I would have a contractor Gary’s Brick Stone and Concrete from Oakland, come by and evaluate the work needed for the crack repairs to the home and driveway. I would also ask GSR Roofing, an Oakland contractor, to come by and evaluate the roof. Ella seemed to like what I presented and I could move forward. In the meantime she would arrange a counseling session to get the reverse mortgage started. My strategy would be to get the work completed before the appraisal so that would not delay the process further. Both Gary (Gary’s Brick Stone and Concrete) and Geraldo (GSR Roofing) agreed to do the repairs after Ella approved their estimates. These Oakland contractors were willing to complete the work and get paid at closing. They were fantastic to agree to do this and help out an older homeowner.
Geraldo showed me pictures of the damaged roof and I could tell that Ella had been taken advantage of. A form of Elder abuse, whoever did the previous work did a crappy job and it failed causing the interior damage to Ella’s home. Geraldo made repairs and also arranged to make repairs to the ceiling in the living room, entry, and master bedroom. Gary did a beautiful job with the concrete repair and repairing the cracks in the stucco as well as repair cracks around the chimney and painting the sidewalk and driveway.
Then I had another surprise, Ella had four judgements against her plus unpaid garbage. We had to clear these up and title had their work cut out for them. Oakland garbage bills left unpaid are placed as liens on the property so we got payoff on this and other judgements. Thankfully the other judgements were minor (less than $300) but we still have to get them resolved. This took several weeks while my contractors had to wait to get paid. They were very patient but hung in there with me.
Now three months after application we have a clear to close and can get documents prepared. Ella signed the documents. She was expecting more money but because of the repairs her cash was reduced by about $29,000 and the lower appraisal on her Oakland home was less than she expected.
In the end we paid Ella’s mortgage, repaired her home, gave her some cash to buy a used car and left a small amount in a credit line account for her to have available in emergencies. We improved her cash flow by $600 per month. She is very happy with the result. Now to move on to help other Oakland homeowners.