Handicapped-Accessible House on Bank Foreclosure List

by on Foreclosure Help

The Arends couple, Barb and Larry, have three adopted children who have disabilities. In 2007, when they learned that they won a handicapped-accessible house in a contest, they were very ecstatic. They regarded the house as a fulfillment of their dream for their three handicapped children not knowing that it is on bank foreclosure list.

On March 18, 2007, the couple and their children moved into the Hope House, as it came to be known, and city leaders, volunteer workers and friends gave the family a very emotional welcome.

Two years later, they were shocked to learn that the one-story house, which they won in a contest sponsored by the Independent Luxury Benefit Fund, is on bank foreclosure list. This fact puts the future of the couple’s children in jeopardy.

The Independent Luxury blamed the mess on the collapse of the housing market and the dire financial situation of the Arends couple.
But the couple and officials of the city, which helped publicize the contest, feel that the Independent Luxury fooled them.

Larry questioned how someone could give away a property that is on foreclosure. He said that they should have hired a lawyer to look at the paperwork but they never did because they trusted the organization.

City officials have filed a complaint against the Independent Luxury with the attorney general’s office in Minnesota. Assistant city administrator Heidi Nelson said that it was understood that the house was donated to a couple and their children.

Explaining the mess, Patrick Schmeichel of the Independent Luxury, said that the organization went above its call of duty by helping the Arendses build the Hope House and repairing the couple’s previous property so that they could sell it. He added that the Hope House would not have been included on the bank foreclosure list if the economy did not deteriorate.

The Arends couple said that Schmeichel volunteered to hold the mortgage of the property in trust for about 10 years. After the 10-year period, the property would be turned over to them. They diligently paid their utilities, home insurance and property taxes.

Meanwhile, in order to help the couple deal with their current predicament, city officials referred them to foreclosure rescue programs.

The couple is hoping that they could save their home from bank foreclosure list, which is scheduled for auction on June 25. If not, they will have to move out of the house six months after, which Barb said is very hard to do considering that it would be Christmas Day.

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