It was the final day that I was following Cory McGilvery, REO Field Agent Extraordinaire, on his daily rounds to bank owned properties. We were on our way to a property to meet our boss, Carlos Aguilar, a locksmith, and the sheriff’s department to evict a tenant.
The tenant lived at a property Cory and I had visited the prior week. The property actually had two separate living spaces: The main house in the front, and attached to the garage in the back, was a loft type 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 1 story apartment. The owners had their home foreclosed on, cooperated in a cash for keys exchange, and vacated the premises in a reasonable time-frame. When the property came under the ownership of the bank and Cory was sent to inspect the property, he noticed that someone still seemed to be living in the separate living space attached to the garage. So, as part of his duties, he left a note on the door alerting the tenant that the owners had foreclosed and he had 60 days (it is now 90 days) to vacate the property. Week after week Cory came to check on the place and could tell by looking at the gas and electric meter that someone was definitely still living there, but no one was ever home, nor did anyone ever respond to the notices that he continued to leave on the door.
So when Cory and I went to inspect this property one last time before the 60 days were up we weren’t surprised when no one answered the door. We left another notice and on our way back to the car were caught by surprise by a man on his cell phone in the driveway who asked if he could help us with something. The man claimed to be on the phone with the tenant and as Cory explained who he was and why he had been coming by leaving notices for the past 8 weeks, the man kept asking his friend on the phone if he was hearing all of that. Cory told him to tell his friend to call him as soon as he can because he has to be out by next week. And we left.
Driving away, I asked Cory what the chances were that the man’s friend would actually call. Cory laughed and said, “I bet you a $100 that that WAS the tenant. Never believe anything anyone tells you…especially when you’re there to evict them.” Good point, I thought, and why would he call? Afterall, he’s been living rent free for three months. In theory, he’s supposed to be paying the bank his rent, but that never happens.
As we waited for the sheriff’s department to arrive, we saw the tenant in the back frantically throwing away his stuff and packing. Afterall, he knew we were coming (the sheriff’s department is responsible for posting a notice at least 24 hours in advance, stating that the courts have approved an eviction and then lists the date and time that they will be returning to proceed with the eviction). Sure enough the guy rushing to get his stuff cleaned out was the same person on his phone claiming to be the tenant’s friend the week before.
Upon their arrival, we followed the officers to the back and they presented the man with his eviction papers. He assured them that he would just need a few more minutes to finish, even though the place was still a complete mess. As the locksmith geared up his drill bit to change the locks on the place, an officer took a call on his radio, and minutes later, he alerted the man being evicted that there was a warrant out for his arrest. As it turns out, it’s easier to get away with not paying your rent then it is to get away with not paying you traffic tickets. So, what did you do today? It was great! First I got evicted and then escorted to jail in handcuffs for outstanding speeding ticket! Wooohoo! What a day!
Well there you have it folks. Life as an REO Field Agent isn’t the most glamorous work, but it can open up one’s eyes to some things that you might not see every day. And it will certainly make you appreciate your stable living situation a whole lot more. And so, while Cory doesn’t wake up every morning thrilled to go do his property inspections, he leaves his house, camera in hand, knowing that today he might see something completely strange and unexpected. And that makes his job something he’s more than willing to do for now.
The Life and Times of an REO Agent: Part III – By Andrew Brentan