Dead Men Tell No Tales with Peter Vanderlinde
Melina: And I have this weird thing by my head and this funky thing in my mouth. What the flip? No, don't say that?
Announcer: Welcome to Flipping Off, a purpose driven podcast about flipping houses and making the difference.
Melina: Hey everybody. My name is Melina Boswell, co-founder of New Wealth Advisors Club. And today I have with me one of our club members Peter Vanderlinde and of course the very, very infamous Dave Boswell my husband and also co-founder of New Wealth Advisors Club.
Dave: You're so silly.
Melina: Yes. So anyway today I have Peter Vanderlinde with me to have a conversation just about a property, a wife, a family, a homeowner, a foreclosure, a widow. And it just kind of, it's a cool story. I love it because it really drives home the idea of flipping houses with purpose. We talk a lot about how important it is to put a homeowner before a deal, to put a person before the dollar. And people, I find in general, right, say, "Yeah, yeah I wanna do that." But when it comes down to it and the opportunity really presents itself not everybody shows up in the way that they should. So Peter, I just was hoping that you would share a little bit of the story that you have about our dear friend over in...It was in Perris right? That property?
Peter: Actually in Rialto.
Melina: Oh, Rialto. Oh, right.
Peter: Well and I love earlier how you used the term "from foreclosure to free house." Because it totally encapsulates the idea of the story. So long story short, me and a couple of business partners were out door-knocking, which is a lead source that we use, properties that were facing foreclosure. And this particular one it was probably like the fourth or fifth one in our route. And we were kinda grab-assing on the way up there, playing jokes, I mean you get three guys in the car and it's kinda fun not to pass the time. But when we pulled up to this particular property one of my partners like literally just stopped everything is like, "Hey, hey, hey, stop, stop. I have this real, really strong feeling that we need to pray right now." And we were like, "Okay." So we kinda just entered the moment and by the time we got up to the door we're walking to the door and looked at the sheet and it said that there was a company on title and it was the first time I'd ever encountered anything like this. Usually it's a homeowner or a trust or some sort of personal residence, being that it was a personal residence.
So we get there, we knock on the door and this older lady probably mid 60s, early 70s comes to the door very, very interactive, very energetic and we're like, "Hey, can we can we speak with the homeowner?" And she's like, "Well, that's me." And we're like, "Okay. Well, first off, who is this company name?" And she goes, "I have no idea." So in talking with her we started to realize, she realized that the property was going to foreclosure. She had had some health issues the year or two before and fell behind. The bank ended up paying her taxes to secure their position. Well, in the process they said, "Look, we want that money back in full." And where she was, she wasn't able to pay that, she missed a couple of payments, the foreclosure process started and that's exactly kinda where she was.
As we started talking with her more and more we realized that her husband and her had bought the property many years ago. Her husband had passed away, I believe it was 2007. And that in 2014 that's when she got sick. So as we were starting to get together and kinda put the timeline together we're like, "Well, when did this company take ownership of the property?" And as we were kind of looking through things she's like, "Hey, I've got a friend of mine who's a realtor, who's kinda working on things." So we took some notes and said, "Okay. Well, we'll be back." Got her contact information and I went to doing some research. So I got on Title, started looking, saw when the transaction happened, did some research on this company, found the agents of service, made a couple of phone calls, started sending out some e-mails, just doing my due diligence. And so once I had some information we went back to her and kinda said, "Okay. Well, this is what we think happened." And I showed her a copy of the grant deed and she's like, "Well, that's not my husband's signature." And as we started looking, so we started to possibly suspect some fraudulent activity or figure that somebody was doing something wrong.
Melina: So real quick, let me just interject here because maybe not everybody understands that the person whose name is on title is the actual owner of the property.
Dave: Being a company in this place.
Melina: Yeah exactly. So which is interesting, a lot of people don't understand that a person could be the owner of a property and there could be a lien, right, from a bank on the property not in the owner's name.
Dave: In this case the mortgage was still in her name.
Melina: Yes, right.
Peter: Actually the mortgage was still in the husband's name.
Peter: Because he was the one who had initially taken out the loan on the property.
Dave: Even more interesting, and he's been deceased now for seven plus years.
Peter: Yeah, at that time.
Dave: Wow. Okay. All right. Cool. You know it's interesting as I'm listening to Peter right now, it's been a few years that you've obviously been a club member at New Wealth Advisors and your conversation is totally different. I mean, think about how far you've come so where you're like, "I'm doing research and I'm checking out Title." I can remember the day you were like, "What's Title?"
Melina: What's a deed?
Dave: That's cool, I'm just kinda like a fly on the wall sitting here listening.
Melina: It is surreal.
Dave: It is really surreal, so.
Melina: Yeah, it's almost as if you're teaching a class right now. It's kinda funny.
Melina: You're telling me a story but you're using terminology and language like it's, you know, old hat to you.
Peter: Well, and that's the thing it has become part of my daily vocabulary, it has become part of my tool-belt of knowledge and things to do. Like to me it is standard conversation which I guess sometimes I don't stop to think.
Melina: Yeah, you should really recognize it. Because if I think about where you were three years ago you would never be able to have this conversation, right?
Dave: So three guys cruise around a car, playing grab ass as you said.
Melina: And grab ass is a technical term.
Dave: That's definitely a technical term.
Peter: Not as technical as shenanigans, but it is a technical term.
Dave: It works. All right, so going back to this you got... The company is on title, you got an NOD, I'm assuming?
Dave: So you Notice of Default has been filed, foreclosure process, is happening.
Dave: And you guys are there saying, "Hey, what's going on?" And she's obviously getting notices and she's fallen behind. So you said, "I'm gonna go do some due diligence and get back with you." So take it from there, what happened?
Peter: Okay. So once we reach back out to her, we show up, come visit her again while we're out in the neighborhood and just kinda show her. I said, "Okay, this is around the time frame that the transfer happened from your husband's name to this company name." And that's where she's like, "Well, that's not his signature. It couldn't have happened. He was dead at that time."
Dave: Okay, hold. Slowdowns like it. You just spoke so fast. Does everybody understand that's possible? Like back up. Repeat that. So people even get it.
Peter: Okay well like Pirates of the Caribbean says, "Dead men tell no tales." Kinda like dead people can't sell property. It's kinda the same thing. Unless there's a judge involved which didn't happen in this case.
Dave: So somebody records a deed in his name, somebody notarized that deed.
Dave: And meanwhile, he's deceased.
Dave: Interesting. Okay.
Melina: Which is why we started to think maybe there was fraud involved.
Dave: That's a clue.
Melina: That is a clue.
Dave: That's a clue. Okay.
Peter: So right around this time once we're talking with the homeowner getting confirmation on who owned the property, when, creating a timeline, once we were pretty confident that there were some fraudulent activity involved that's when I brought it to Melina's attention because at that point it was a little bit above what I had learned in class. It was a little bit like I'd never encountered anything like this. It didn't fit the script and I was coming into uncharted territory. So I brought it to Melina, shared with her our findings, had enough evidence to back it up. We reached out to the owner of that company first by way of the service processor agent. He then gave me the contact information of the owner of the company, called, got in contact with him. I actually called and left him a message then didn't hear anything back. So then that's when I brought it to Melina's attention. She called and basically.
Melina: Well, my voicemail was a little bit. Maybe it was a little more clear. I left a message something like this, "Hey this is Melina Boswell, I'm calling about the property over at blah blah blah." I gave the address and I said, "You know, the one where you have the fraudulent deed. So give me a call back so we can talk." It's was kinda funny. So he called me back within, seriously, like five minutes. He called me back and was like, "Hey, hey, you can't be, you know, you can't use the word fraud like, you know, you can't just throw that around." And I was like, "I'm pretty sure I can because my guy's dead. And I, you know, as far as I know there's only one guy who came back from the dead and, you know, walked around for a while and wasn't this guy. So I know that we have a dead guy signature notarized and you are the one who is the recipient of that fraud. So I'm pretty confident that it is fraud."
Peter: Yeah. And the idea of where she says the recipient of, so him being the owner of the company by the property being deeded into the company's ownership when and if the foreclosure did happen or if anything was sold by the property, any proceeds that were left above the lien or the loan would actually go to him as the owner. So this particular property I think around at the time there was about $70,000, $75,000 worth of equity, minus some major repairs that had happened to the property. And that's another thing that really comes in effect to this story. So here's this elderly lady who's kinda living on her own. She has children and things to network with, but no one's really helping her and supporting her. So a year or two before part of the roof had caved in. She had such bad roof damage that literally the back half of her house where her bathroom was had literally caved in. There was mold growing in the walls and just, she had kinda buried her head in the sand. She had kinda put towels under the door and just kinda, "Hey, don't go in that room, everyone use the hall bathroom."
And part of the idea of getting her to face the scenario, like that was one of the coolest things about this, is a lot of time homeowners don't realize what their options are. They don't understand, mind you, you've heard me using complicated terminology and stuff that I've learned. But your average homeowner doesn't know these things, doesn't know what their options are, doesn't know who to talk to, doesn't know where to ask for help. And that's one of the coolest things about our strategy and who we are as a company and as a business. Is that our number one objective is to serve the homeowner. Our number one objective is to leave the homeowner in a better place than when we found them. And in this case we helped her make some phone calls, she didn't understand what it meant to make an insurance claim. Like every home has home insurance, at least if there's a loan attached to it. So we helped her put in a homeowner's insurance claim. In that process there was money released to the contractor who came out, basically they gave her a whole new roof, whole new bathroom. Then as we started talking with the company that's when we started realizing what had happened. So the company, the guy says, "Okay. Well, why don't you talk to her son?" And that's when we realized, okay maybe this is, now we're starting to unravel where the fraud came from. So we call her back and we're like, "Hey, so what we found out is that it looks like possibly your son was involved in this transaction." And she just kinda went off, she's like, "Oh, I knew it, that little..."
Melina: Bleepity-bleep bleep bleep.
Peter: Yeah, "Bleepity-bleep, I knew it, he couldn't look at me in the face our last Christmas party." So, and we were like, "Well, and in talking with the guy he gave the indication that if we were to go after them and make this a big deal that he would implement and probably take your son down with him." And she's like, "Well, go ahead that little bleepity-bleep bleep bleep deserves everything he gets. If he's going to treat his mama like that than he should go to jail." And at that moment we were literally high five and going, "Okay. Let's go."
Melina: We were excited.
Peter: So then we, Melina actually called the guy back and I'll kinda let her say what she said.
Melina: Yeah. So I told him, I called him back after he told me, "Well, you tell your client to talk to her son, like I'm taking him down with me." So when she said to us, "Oh they can all go to jail." We were like, "Yes." I was so happy, so I called him back and I was like, "Hey, it's me again, guess what? Nobody cares. Nobody cares, you're gonna go to jail, so you can either go to jail or you can sign the deed back to this widow and we'll let you go." And he said, "Okay, fine." So he did. He ended up giving, signing the grant deed, notarizing it, and giving it back to our widow.
Dave: One of the things I think we glazed over kinda got through right there is everybody needs to understand is that the fraud took place, right? So the deed is notarized. It's recorded. Life goes on. Whatever year that was, right? Life goes on and there's equity built into this house. And so that company can sit back, do nothing, if that house falls apart, if the mortgage doesn't get paid, if the taxes don't get paid, whatever and somebody forecloses. When it goes to auction assuming there's any proceeds above any of those liens. That company would just sit back and collect the check. So in this case you're saying $75,000 in equity. Right? Even if it goes to auction and sells for 30, 40, 50 grand over what's owed on that property it goes back to the company. This homeowner who's sitting there would absolutely receive nothing. And I think that's a really big deal and that's where the fraud comes into play. So now when you mention to him, "Hey you need deed this house back to the rightful owner." Right? "You didn't have, you did not have the dead guy's signature to be able to do this. And so therefore we know what you did, whether the son is involved or not." But clearly the son was involved in some way with this guy. Which is really sad.
Melina: It was awful for her.
Dave: Yeah it's got to be.
Melina: Ultimately our number one goal was to get the property back in her name because we were concerned that if the bank did move forward with the foreclosure any excess proceeds needed to go to her. Period.
Melina: That was all we cared about. That was what we were really working toward. That was our entire goal. We got our whole team involved. I got our title company involved, our title company stepped in, prepared all the deeds. We got our mobile notary involved, you know, and sent our notary to him to this guy to get his signature on it.
Dave: Let me ask you, how much are you guys charging the homeowner to do this?
Peter: Absolutely nothing.
Melina: Absolutely nothing.
Dave: Yeah, why don't everybody really get that when we talk about flipping houses and making a difference. You know, there are opportunities to serve the homeowners where you knew ahead of time there was no money to be made in this deal. You knew that when you recognize that fraud had taken place you didn't just go, "There's no money to be made" and skip town, move on to the next deal.
Melina: Yeah. That wasn't even a thought. It wasn't even ever a conversation. Frankly we had no idea how we were gonna...we still had to solve the foreclosure problem for her.
Melina: So at this point it became just a whole different goal, a whole different purpose which was just to get the property in her name.
Dave: So get into her name, step one.
Melina: Right. And that was a huge thing in and of itself. But yeah.
Dave: You get this guy to finally do it, right?
Melina: Yes. Right.
Dave: So now what happens? I mean, you still got a looming foreclosure.
Dave: Trustee sell.
Melina: Yeah, a looming. We got the bank to postpone, I believe, didn't we? Like once or twice.
Peter: Yeah they were willing to work with...we helped her notify them what was going on and they were willing to buy some time. And then when they finally did have a sale date that they weren't going to postpone, we started kinda just sharing with the homeowner what some of our options were. At that point, that's when she took on a bankruptcy attorney trying to figure out, she had some other debts and things going on that she needed from her medical bills and things like that that she was trying to handle. And through the bankruptcy the attorney was able to cause the bank to kind of prove their loan, a couple of different things. Well as they started getting deeper and deeper into the files they realized that her husband had actually taken out a mortgage life insurance when he bought the property. And in that process, basically what the life insurance says is that, "Hey, if I the owner of this home were to pass away at any time this life insurance that's built into the mortgage and that it's paid for actually pays the house off in full." And this was a game changer. So that's when the attorney got in like totally knee-deep in with saying, "Look, we've got to fight for this because there's a possibility that they should have never started the foreclosure. You should have never had to been paying the mortgage monthly over the last few years since your husband has passed away. And if that's the case that changes everything."
So part of the process was them looking into the documents, getting everything together and that's when they realized, "You know what? Somebody messed up." So in that process she had the property paid off, she had the insurance claim that came and helped her fix the roof, she also got all of the years that she had been paying the mortgage that money actually had to be reimbursed to her, paid back with interest. And her attorney at that point took on the case to actually come after proactively suing the bank because of the hardship, the headache and just the emotional distress that she had went through recovering from an injury, recovering from illness, and then on a daily basis fretting the fact that, hey, she may be homeless. They went all the way up to have local media come and cover the story and got it published and like it was just a huge deal that was missed because nobody was really paying attention. They were so focused on, "Hey, this is the process, this is what it looks like." And here it was that we stepped up and honestly if I would have been paying attention when I even pulled those leads, if I would have saw a property that was owned by a company I probably would have never knocked the door in the first place. It just happened to be part of the route that we were taking that day and it was thrown in because, "Hey, it's less than a mile away from some of the other ones that we're working on."
Dave: Wow, it's just remarkable.
Melina: Yeah, so recap it, if you think about it. Where she started out, like when Peter, you know, came to that door, albeit playing grab ass, then stopped, right? And prayed and said, "Okay, like, something's happening here." They sensed something. And I don't know I'm just gonna go out on a limb and obviously I wasn't there and you didn't share with me how you prayed but I'm going to assume that you were probably praying to be in, you know, the will and, you know, my prayer every day, as you know, is, you know, "Put in front of me whoever you want me to serve and I'll do it." So I'm assuming it was something like that.
Peter: Yeah absolutely. There was this overwhelming sense of, "Hey, this next door that you're about to knock on is a really big deal."
Peter: And it was literally because we just went from telling jokes and playing around to literally we just stopped and were like, "Okay, we're about to walk into something that is totally bigger than us and way beyond what we were prepared for."
Melina: Yeah. Wow.
Peter: And it was just asking us to be quiet and kinda prepare ourselves for that.
Melina: Yeah. And that's obviously that is the juice for Dave and I. That right there is the juice is that, you know, having fun doing what you're doing, right? So you guys are playing around, you stop, you pray, you realize you're about ready to walk into something you don't know what to do, how to handle it or what it's going to be, to a lady who is a widow. I mean, just the idea that she's a widow is painful enough, right? For several years, you know, depending on her husband for all those years and now trying to make it on her own, not understanding that she has insurance to cover a roof leak. So she literally, you know, takes out part of her house because the roof has caved in, like it's not a usable piece of her home anymore. Just...
Dave: Close the door and forget about it.
Melina: Close the door. Yeah and she put towels under the door because of the mold.
Dave: Yeah, it's, you know, the idea we...and everybody goes through ups and downs in life, right? I'm just picturing this woman, you know, for me it would be like I wouldn't know what to do without you and I just think about what would that look like if one day, you know, I have my spouse the next day I don't. And then you're trying to survive day in and day out, whatever that looks like and then, you know, just close that door because I can't deal with whatever that is.
Melina: It's significant.
Dave: It's significant, right? And then on top of you have somebody, her own family preying on her, right? Oh gosh. And then she meets a complete stranger, and by clearly divine appointment. And you learned a lot through this process. I can remember some of these conversations you guys were going back and forth and I remember Melina's hair standing up on end going, "Are you kidding me?"
Melina: Yeah. It infuriated me.
Dave: And she's like "I'm gonna get these guys." It was crazy. And meanwhile this woman she's still surviving each day, right?
Dave: I mean, she's still got the bank sending notices, people knocking at her door, all these different things happening. And we can't even really fathom what she's going through, right? And then you step up and, you know, you're not getting paid to this process, you had no agreement with her to get paid, you didn't say to her, "If I can get your house back to you, give me something." There was nothing, I mean, this is one of your very first deals you think about it, this is a deal and you made zero money.
Dave: Right? This is a deal and you make no money. And yet this might be, you know, I've know you've closed several deals and last year we closed a bunch of deals together and we made a bunch of money and that's all great. But, you know, from a significance point of view I can't think of any deal that you've been involved with that would be more significant and really life changing and, you know, a ripple effect if you will. It's just remarkable. I can't imagine. Have you had any contact with her since or after that or?
Peter: It's probably been about six to eight months since I last spoke with her, just kinda called to touch base with her see how things were going. There was still some litigation and stuff going on with the bank, but yeah she owns the house free and clear. She got a new car, a new kitchen, a new bathroom, a new roof, all kinds of stuff like that. So yeah.
Melina: So she went from foreclosure literally to a free house.
Peter: A free house.
Melina: Amazing. Completely amazing.
Dave: Foreclosure free house. And when she was making those mortgage payments think about this, that was a savings account for her.
Melina: You better believe.
Peter: With I'm sure with a high interest yield.
Melina: Hopefully she's getting a great rate of return. Yeah and that's pretty amazing.
Dave: It really is amazing. I, you know, I just want to commend you, great job Peter, I mean, you've been fantastic, you know, obviously a student and club member, you know, in NWAC and you stepped up now helping and mentoring others.
Melina: Yeah, I was gonna say now a coach.
Dave: And coaching.
Melina: And teaching.
Dave: And teaching, yeah. You know, it's kinda crazy, just a few years ago you're sitting there, you know, I'm not sure what exactly you were gathering the first couple of times. One of the things we talked about all the time and really the way that we've set up everything that we've done inside the club is all about like, stay plugged in and repeat, stay plugged in and repeat. You know, if you wanna do this business you need to be around other people that do this business. And, you know, a real key you said early on was, you know, "It was over my head. Like I didn't understand it was above my pay grade, it was..." You know, that happens for Melina and I as well. Like there are things like that come up in this business, we've been doing this for a lot of years now and there are things that come up where we have people that we need to go to and say, "Help. We don't understand." You know? Melina and I talked, you know, if we could write a book, right? Or if we could produce some sort of series and just come up with every single scenario we could possibly come up with in real estate and then it would just be, you know, this great book, you know, and we can tell everybody about everything. And it's just impossible. And it's impossible because we could what-if it to death, we could have a million different stories that go a million different directions because it involves people. And so I just wanted to tell you man, I'm even a little bit emotional looking at you right now just thinking how far you've come. I mean how far. I can remember the very first weekend meeting you. And what a remarkable difference. Life looks just a little bit different for you now, I would assume.
Peter: Absolutely. And the emotion is the same for me. I mean even here looking you in the face and having this conversation, it takes me back to that day, that moment. Like I will never forget that day. As long as I live. And I will never forget the memories and the friendship and the business and the education and just the overall impact that the two of you have had on my life, my family's life, and the friends and other people that I have now been able to show up in a space of integrity, have been able to show up in a space at really truly giving my all and laying down my life and my experiences for the sacrifice of other people. And I've never had a deeper sense of joy. I've never had a deeper sense of accomplishment and purpose as I do right now. And as it's continuing to grow through our relationship, our friendship and our partnerships. So I thank both of you immensely.
Dave: If we weren't sitting here right now I'd probably jump across this table and bear hug you.
Melina: Kiss your face.
Dave: And start playing a little, having our own grab ass. I gotta break it up with a joke because otherwise I'm gonna be sitting here blubbering in a minute. But, no, very cool. Very cool. And honey, obviously this couldn't have been done without you. And thank you for your willingness to step up and the hours and hours and hours that you guys dedicated to this and the time into this homeowner. And, you know, I got to sit back and watch it and sit here today and recap it. And I hope those of you that are listening out here really understand that, you know, inside this, you know, we kinda make a joke and say, "Ah, you know, welcome to our podcast. It's Flipping Off." And, you know, "a purpose driven podcast about flipping houses and making a difference." And that at the end is really what it's all about, it's about making a difference. Because I can promise you this we've had some huge paydays, some gigantic deals that we've done and there's never been the satisfaction from that money hitting the bank account as there is in this story and I would love to, at some point, I would just love to like maybe visit with her, that would be kinda cool to kinda put this all together and go see her new car and her new kitchen or new roof, I mean.
Melina: For sure.
Dave: I don't know.
Melina: When the bank pays her off that's gonna be a happy day too. That'll be good.
Dave: Yeah that's awesome. So anyways We'll catch you on on the next one. And thanks for coming out and sharing with us today Peter.
Melina: Yeah Pete thanks.
Peter: Thank you guys for having me.