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Real Estate Investing - How a Missing Comma Almost Cost $76,000

Aug 17, 2007
A while back, a real estate investor friend of mine (I'll call him Eddie), got the dreaded letter from a law firm. A certain bank (a name he didn't recognize) was foreclosing against 123 Happy Lane (not the real address, obviously) and Eddie was being sued as the owner for not making timely mortgage payments. When Eddie got over the shock of seeing his name listed as the Defendant, he sighed a sigh of relief.

You see, he no longer owned 123 Happy Lane.

The bank must be suing the wrong person!

Or so he thought.

Eddie called the bank many, many times to explain, but no one wanted to listen.

How many times a day do you think a bank's Foreclosure Department gets told they've made a mistake?

The number is staggering.

Because of the pending foreclosure, Eddie couldn't get a loan on some property he was buying.

He couldn't get low interest financing for a new car.

He thought he was going to have to pay off a $76,000 loan for property he didn't own.

Fortunately this story has a happy ending.

Another real estate investor told Eddie about Pre-paid Legal Services and he bought a membership immediately. For less than $50 a month he and his real estate business got coverage. He called the Pre-paid law firm in his state and faxed over all the court documents.

Do you want to know the reason Eddie was embroiled in a lawsuit over property he no longer owned?

It seems he left out an important comma in the quitclaim deed when he sold 123 Happy Lane to someone else. The bank claimed Eddie was still on title. When the buyer defaulted on the new loan, the mortgage company came after Eddie, too.

All because of a MISSING COMMA!

Now, Eddie had never talked to a lawyer before in the course of doing his real estate business. He had bought some fill-in-the-blank legal documents from a late night infomercial and thought he was good to go. He filled in the blanks and had no inkling that a missing comma could later cost him $76,000.

I'm not sure how the problem got rectified.

All I know is, Eddie's Pre-paid Legal lawyer made the problem go away.

Imagine Eddie's relief when the bank called to say, "Mr. S. you no longer owe us $76,000. We apologize for the inconvenience."

I hear stories like this all the time. Eddie swears he will never sign another contract or other legal document again unless his Pre-paid Legal lawyer looks it over first. Eddie is sleeping better at night. His Pre-paid Legal lawyer reviews all his legal documents for free as long as he keeps his membership.

Another real estate investor who has a Prepaid Legal membership, tells me he gets audited regularly (about every three years) by the IRS. Before he had his Prepaid-Legal membership, it cost him a few thousands dollars each time to hire a tax attorney to hold his hand through the ordeal.

Now that he has a Pre-paid Legal "Legal Plan for the Self-Employed," he simply turns over all his documents to his Pre-paid law firm and their tax attorney handles everything as part of his membership.

Pretty sweet.

Prepaid-Legal offers different plans in different states, so you really need to find out which programs are available where you live.
About the Author
Krista Goering is an attorney and real estate investor, who has bought and sold more than $4.5 million of real estate using the strategies she teaches online. Find out more about how a missing comma almost cost $76,000 at http://www.lawyerlegalhelp.com/missing-comma.html
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