Valley Family Fights to Save Home after Unexpected Foreclosure Letter
MCALLEN – A Rio Grande Valley family is on edge. They say a home they are paying for was never theirs, to begin with.
The Gracia’s say they may lose it in four days.
Juan Gracia says they signed a contract and paid their mortgage on time every month. Now, the family of four is fighting to keep a roof over their heads.
"The lady even told us, look, this is your home. Yes, this would be our home,” he says.
Gracia tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS his daughter pays $1,600 a month for their two-story home in McAllen.
The family's lived in the house for two years and have created an office and gym.
"Right now, I put in over with my payment and everything down, I put over like $70,000 dollars,” said Gracia.
He says they saw a sign on the side of the road that said homes for sale. The company owner he met with claimed she was selling the home.
"We met up with the lady. The mortgage company South Texas Orion talked to the lady, sounded good,” he says. “The lady asked us for a $25,000 down payment. Gave it to her, gave us the keys. We have been here ever since.”
Gracia's daughter signed the contract with the company and notary public. She kept all of the receipts.
But this year they got an unexpected piece of mail.
"All a sudden we get a letter a couple of weeks ago saying that we have until the third of April to move out. That there's a foreclosure on it under somebody else,” says Gracia.
He found out South Texas Orion didn't tell him everything he needed to know about this home.
"We were always under the assumption that this house was owned by South Texas Orion,” he says.
Gracia, apparently, is not the only one, according to Real Estate Attorney Lauren Christy.
"They seemed to be selling property that they're not disclosing, information on the property as to where there's money owed to the property or whether their even the record title owner of the property,” she explains.
Christy says she’s working on a similar case with the same company.
"And was given assurances that the entity owned the property that was being transferred, and actually spent a quite of bit of money in exchange for this property,” she says, “come to find out by surprise, that their home is being foreclosed on because they was an outstanding lien that was never disclosed when they purchased the property.”
The company’s address on the contract led us to a storefront mailbox company. It’s where the mortgage company mail is received.
After calling their number numerous times, no one answered the phone.
"We tried to do something good and tried to get something good for our family – and everything for this to be happening to us, it's like a big shock,” said Gracia.
Gracia says, however, he's learned a lesson.
"We learned we have to do our investigation and not just to take somebody's word – and the paperwork looks all good and everything,” he says.
Now, he's going to try to save the family's home.
The company calling itself South Texas Orion is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
Records show the company has pending lawsuits in local and federal courts here in the Valley.
Christy explains you should go to an attorney to have all documents reviewed. She says make sure you go through a title company so they can let you know if the person that’s selling the property is the actual owner.
She also recommends getting a survey done on the home. And always be careful in dealing with a notary public, she says.
“A notary can only verify you are who you say you are, and they have no authority as far as legal documents go,” she explains.
Christy says you should take safety measures if the seller is not interested in going to a title company or an attorney to prepare documents.