|Monday, May 30 2005|
by Sina Woolcott
(Los Angeles Times)
Mortgage Issued to Corpse
Dead Man Owes $650K
A review of court filings in Los Angeles' Second Circuit Court highlights the mania that has taken hold of the real estate market. An Inland Empire two bedroom bungalow was sold to a deceased man last month and nobody, from the real estate agent to the bank to the title company seemed to notice.
Apparently the time honored practice of having the sellers and buyers sign paperwork at the closing has been bypassed in many cases to speed the deals. While the case of the dead man buying the home is extreme, the Times uncovered many other cases where closings proceeded without the seller, the buyer or both present.
In February of this year, William Hobolt made an offer a two bedroom bungalow in a L.A. suburb. He died soon after, but the transaction took on a life of its own. Neither his realtor, Jeff King Realty, nor the bank, Van Nuys Capital ever met with Hobolt but his agent, Shawn King, was able to push the deal through to closure without Hobolt's participation. King is being sued by Van Nuys Capital and California Executive Title for unspecified losses. King declined to comment for this story, but King Realty issued a statement indicating that they were unaware of Mr. Hobolt's demise and were acting in good faith to "close the deal before it was too late."
Said Professer Jane Sendle of UCLA's School of Business, "It is highly unusual for a real estate transaction to proceed without the seller being involved. However, the pace of sales has overloaded the system and prudent safeguards are going by the board. People feel like they must rush through the closing before it gets derailed and then the next similar house will cost them $50,000 more to buy next month."