I had a client come in to see me who bought a property from a bank after the bank had foreclosed on their borrower and purchased it at sheriff’s sale. The property was marketed by the realtors for the bank as having a gazebo, a beautiful stone two car garage and a certain amount of acreage. It turned out that the bank, when it did its mortgage, had only included one tax parcel on the legal description and the gazebo, two car garage and almost half an acre of land, including half of my client’s driveway, was on a parcel that was not part of the bank’s mortgage. Therefore when the bank bought the property at sheriff’s sale it only bought the house and half of the driveway.
My client relied on the advertisements by the realtors for the property and thought he was buying the entire property including the two car garage and gazebo. The first part of this case was where I sued the bank, the realtors and the title company for negligently misrepresenting what my client was buying. We were able to settle that case for the difference between the fair market value of his property with the garage and gazebo on it and its value without the garage, gazebo and extra land.
My client’s problem was that even though I was able to recover for him the difference between the value of his property without the garage and gazebo and half an acre of land it still didn’t allow him use of his garage, gazebo and half an acre of land. We then went to the former owner who lost the home at sheriff’s sale but still owned the garage, gazebo and half an acre and tried to buy it from her but she was holding out for way more than the property was worth. At first we tried to buy it at tax sale but the former owner paid the taxes. Then, I used my prior experience in sheriff’s sales and mortgage foreclosures to do a lien search on her property and find an old judgment which I bought for my client for $1,000.00. I then executed on the real estate and was able to buy my client’s garage and gazebo back for the amount we paid to buy the judgment plus the cost of taking it to sheriff’s sale. Now, my client has his house, his entire driveway, his two car garage, gazebo and extra half acre of land. Sometimes you have to just think outside the box.
Attorney Michael Louis supports the needs of businesses and homeowners in a changing economic environment. He has extensive experience defending clients in mortgage foreclosures, collections and loan workouts, general counsel work and real estate litigation, including landlord-tenant litigation. In addition to practicing civil litigation as referenced above, Michael does bankruptcy for debtors and creditors. Michael has been with MacElree Harvey, Ltd. since 1980. He has received an “AV Preeminent” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest level of professional excellence and ethical standards an attorney can receive from the national attorney peer review rating service. Michael has also been consistently named as one of Main Line Today’s “Top Lawyers” since 2009 and selected to Suburban Life’s “Awesome Attorneys” from 2012 through 2015. He has the highest rating possible on Avvo, which is derived from client reviews. To learn more about Michael, visit his bio.