A recent Reader’s Digest article highlighted Clint Medford, referred to by some as "Mr. Foreclosure." While the foreclosure epidemic certainly has hit many homeowners and would-be investors hard, it has created a host of interesting opportunities for savvy investors and thieves alike.
Often a foreclosed home will sit empty for a time, which has invited a brand of looters who strip a home of its valuable materials. Indeed, as copper prices have sky-rocketed in recent years, desperate looters are stealing copper wires and pipes from foreclosed homes. Indeed, it has been reported that some owners of very expensive homes have stripped their own homes before foreclosure. This phenomenon is happening most prevalently in the Rust Belt states. Some estimate that the average home has over $1,000 in copper in it. Despite some recent legislative attempts to control the scrap metal market, thieves have successfully been able to find buyers for the stolen metal.
In those instances where a lender is sitting on a home that has sat for several months and no longer is inhabitable because of the destruction to the home, Medford steps in. He has created a network of banks that look to him to unload their rising stock of these uninhabitable homes. Medford has picked up houses for as little as a few thousand dollars. Rather than touch the hyper-inflated California markets, Medford focuses his purchases in the tough hit areas in the Rust Belt and places like Detroit, that has been especially hard hit.
Medford puts a little money into the house and turns around and sells it to investors looking for rental properties. Medford has a list of about 600 to 700 investors ready to purchase the homes he has picked up on the cheap from the banks. While selling to investors proved to be good business, Mr. Foreclosure has stepped into a completely new realm – mortgage lender.
For many in the foreclosure belt, many people may be able to afford some of the houses now for sale, but they can not get a mortgage. That is where Medford is stepping in. Rather than make the mistakes that many lenders were making during the rah-rah days of the hysterical real estate boom, Medford works with people by doing something unheard of – verifying their income. Hard to believe there was a time when people could get loans with NO income, just a credit score. The same buyers that obtained sub-prime loans and later faced foreclosure are the same people coming back to buy some of the homes that Medford has to offer. In other words, Medford is stepping in where the banks are all afraid to go right now.
Many question whether someone like Medford is a "foreclosure vulture" or someone willing to stop the forthcoming blight of neighborhoods hard hit by the foreclosure crisis. Sure Medford is charging 11 percent for a mortgage on a house he may have bought for a couple thousand dollars, but he is providing people an opportunity to get back into a house for less than they would be paying in rent in many places. That is a whole lot less shady than the other vultures who swoop in before a foreclosure only to grab someone’s title and equity because they can think of no other options. It sure is interesting out there though.