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Allonhillers Take On Writing Challenge

A couple of weeks ago, Allonhill invited writing professors Margaret Whitt and Sally Kurtzman to teach a writing seminar for our employees.  We hire analysts, whose strength is in numbers and not necessarily in the written word.  It’s obvious that I care about writing (you don’t have a blog if you don’t appreciate writing).  Much of our work includes communicating to our clients, and I want those communications to reflect well on this company.

Whitt and Kurtzman are an outrage, and they could easily turn their business writing classes into a network comedy series, starring them.  They’re like an old married couple, jazzed up with the panache of Dame Edna and a touch of dry humor worthy of David Letterman.  They also do a good job teaching business writing to people who don’t have much time and may not have thought it would be of any interest.

After the session, two of my employees put their new-found writing skills to work by editing a piece of technical literature that I had written, and which had been published.  They somewhat gleefully reported an error to me.  I felt proud for them; so proud that I felt their efforts warranted recognition.  As a prize, I invited them to write a blog post.  Their story appears below.

Tales of Mortgage Malady
By Aaron Mejia and Steven Jeffrey

 The mortgage industry has gone through some changes over the past several years.  It has been a wild ride to say the least.  As we have all watched the industry struggle and evolve, we have heard plenty of interesting stories.  The mortgage industry has not been a hot bed of joy recently; many of the stories are sad.  However, we have also heard stories that are outrageous, surprising, and sometimes downright funny.  The following is a list of stories that tickled us, for whatever reason, and we would like to share them with you.

Extreme Utilities 

What was once a popular “must-see” TV show – full of excitement, tears, and joy – needs yet another ‘extreme makeover’ in order to move these homes off the market. The Wall Street Journal reported that the homeowners from the reality TV show Extreme Makeover couldn’t afford the utility bills from their refurbished homes.  If they are going to give these people these extreme houses, then why didn't they help them with the extreme utilities?

The Brazen Bulldozer 

In Moscow, Ohio, a borrower became delinquent on his payments and decided to take foreclosure proceedings into his own hands.  When the bank wanted to take over his home nearly a decade after he bought it, the borrower replied:  “as far as what the bank is going to get, I plan on giving them back what was on this hill exactly (as) it was... I brought it out of the ground, and I plan on putting it back into the ground” – and that’s exactly what he did.

Gone in 60 Seconds

The foreclosure on Oscar-winning Nicolas Cage’s mansion was a flop, according to the LA Times.  The Real estate agent described the house as a “'frat house bordello. . . There must have been 300 comic book covers elaborately framed and hanging on the walls. . . Model train sets on raised tracks a couple feet below the ceiling circled the inside of the breakfast room and two bedrooms." The $35 million house opened at foreclosure sale for $10.4 million and received no bids – talk about Gone in 60 Seconds.

Fish Ponds Galore

The increasing costs of maintaining REO properties have forced lenders and municipalities to be creative.  A code enforcement officer in Florida, for example, reported that the town of Wellington was spending $7,000 per month on chemicals just to keep foreclosed swimming pools in sanitary condition.  The town has found a practical solution to the problem.  According to NBC Universal in Los Angeles, Wellington drops 15 big, ugly, algae-eating catfish in each pool to keep the water clean.   Despite being a potential safety hazard, the town believes that keeping pools filled will make the houses more attractive to buyers, especially if they are clean.  Beware of the house warming party: it may be a fish fry. 

The Grass is Always… Greener? 

One foreclosure business is booming - yard beautification.  Banks, real-estate agents, and municipalities contact the Green Genie when homes are abandoned, to clean up the lawn, mow it and paint it green. What about dirt patches, you ask? “It is not recommended.  When we spray a lawn it is recommended that the lawn be all grass [because] it has a better visual effect … than with dirt” – We should think so. 

Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast 

Wayne Newton, The King of Las Vegas, might not have a home to live in soon. According to, Newton is being sued for failing to pay his $3.35 million loan. We were thinking the same thing: Wayne Newton’s house is only worth three-point-three five million? Why not sell one of his pinky-rings? 

Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead

When foreclosed property disposition experts at PMH Mortgage take over properties, they often encounter unpleasant situations.  Once, there was a freezer in a garage that had been without power for several weeks.  In the summer.  With a side of beef in it.  Another time, the smell was even worse, and it was because someone had expired while in one of the rooms.  PMH reports that stories like these are commonplace, and recommends watching the movie Sunshine Cleaning  if you want more of these grisly tales.  (We saw the movie, and it’s actually very good.)

That’s it for now from guest bloggers Steven Jeffrey and Aaron Meija.    I’m told they plan to become movie critics in the near future, if the business writing doesn’t work out for them.  I recommend they start with Pacific Heights.  If you haven’t seen it and you’re in the foreclosure or default business, you should.