Friday, October 31, 2008

What's the Rest of the Story?

At first glance, the following story makes me feel good about the compassion of people. Then, on second glance, I have a few questions.

If you will, go ahead and read the story below. I’ll share a few thoughts at the end. And, I hope you’ll comment, letting me know your thoughts as well. Maybe I’ve missed something.

The story comes from Dallas, Texas. It seems that a Texas woman went to a housing auction distraught about the prospect of watching strangers bid on her foreclosed home. Then one of those strangers bought her back for her!

Now, Tracy Orr can return to her Pottsboro home, making payments to the woman who unexpectedly and impulsively bought it for her. “It means so much to all of us,” Orr told Dallas television station WFAA. “It’s not just a house.”

Marilyn Mock said she was acting on instinct on Saturday when she decided to buy a house she had never seen for a woman she had never met. Mock was at the foreclosure auction to help her 27-year-old son bid on a house when she struck up a conversation with Orr, who was crying about losing her home.

Orr had bought the house for $80,000 in 2004 but fell behind on the payments. She lost her job a month after taking out the loan, and earlier this year she lost the house. On the spot, Mock decided to buy it, eventually bidding $30,000.

“She didn’t even know if I had a job or was a nut case,” Orr said in a story for Wednesday’s online edition of The Dallas Morning News. “She didn’t even see a picture of the house.”

Mock told a crying Orr she could stay in the house, making payments to her instead of a bank.
“She needed help. That was it,” Mock told the newspaper. “I just happened to be there and anybody else would have done the same thing.”

Orr said she hopes others will do as Mock did. “More than my house, she gave me something inside, and that’s more important than material or financial things,” she said.

The two are waiting on final approval from Fannie Mae before visiting the home.

So, what do you think? At first glance, this is a great story. We should probably praise Ms. Mock for helping Ms. Orr. She was truly a blessing to someone who certainly wasn’t expecting a blessing.

Now, on the other side of the coin, Ms. Orr bought her home in 2004, and a month later lost her job. And, then in 2008, she finally lost the home. Did she not have a job from 2004 until earlier this year? Did she not work? Or, did she fall so far behind in payments that she couldn’t catch up? That part of the story isn’t complete. But, what I’ve found in life is that most companies are more than willing to work with you to solve back payments. Don’t take that as meaning that they do so out of the goodness of their heart. Instead, these companies had rather have steady payments coming in, instead of foreclosing on a house. Why? Well, in this case, the house originally sold for $80,000. When it was sold in foreclosure, how much did the company get? $30,000, less any fees charged by the auctioning company. Needless to say, they lost money on the deal.

I just hope in the months ahead that Ms. Orr does everything in her power to repay Ms. Mock every penny she is due. If not, will the next time they meet up be in court? Probably so.

I’m sorry if I seem cynical about this. There’s probably more to this story than I know. If you know more, please share. If you have comment, please do the same.


  1. I don't know what I think about this one either. I think the woman who bought the house and "gave" it back is a hero. I hope everything is worked out beautifully and that the ending of the story is just as nice as the beginning.

    I've learned an important lesson in lending -- once you lend don't expect to get it back. You have to be willing to let it go. If you can't do that, then don't lend.

    Heidi Reed

  2. I agree with Heidi when it comes to lending money or 'stuff' to friends or relatives. But when there's a contract involved, there is an automatic expectation of compliance by all parties. I hope Ms. Mock gets paid.

  3. A good blogging friend is SelahV (you'll find her blog on the list of blogs I read every day). She tried to post but for some reason it would not go through. So, she sent it to me by email. Here's what Mrs. V. had to say:

    Mortgage companies will not always work with you. I know that as a fact. We asked Countrywide to let us sell our home for 89,900 that had been purchased for 68,000 in previous years, refinanced for 94,000 due to equity increase (appraisers lied to us). We wanted to get a loan for the balance and pay it off. Countrywide would not work with us. Nearly a year later, Countrywide sold the house to Fannie Mae and Fannie sold it to H & R Block for 64,000 nearly 30,000 less than we offered to give them to liquidate the sale. If they'd given us that deal, we'd still own the house and would be renting it to someone else. For nearly 7 years we never missed a payment on the house before we needed to sell it due to us having to relocate out of state. We had a pristine credit rating.

    In the case of Orr & Mock, I'd need to know more of the details. But I'd say that while Mock purchased the house for 30,000, I wonder if she will want Orr to pay payments on the original value of the home, 80,000 or at least more than the 30,000-dollar purchase price. I think Mock was wonderful. I pray this works out for Orr and Mock. selahV

  4. Heidi and Jerald...thanks for stopping by and commenting. I think you two are exactly correct. My parents often taught me that when you lend something to someone, don't expect to get it back. If you do, count it a blessing. If you don't, think of it as experience. Hopefully Orr/Mock will follow through with everything promised.

  5. I think it was an elaborate plan from the beginning to scam the mortgage broker. The woman KNEW she was going to lose her job a month after the loan, lived there rent free for many years, then got her previously (until now) undisclosed aunt to buy the house for her at a fraction of the cost therefore adding to the already overwhelming tax burden of the average American citizen.

    Sorry about that... all this election politicking is getting to me...

  6. Rick: So it's a conspiracy. Love it!


    PS: I am blog bombarding today. I don't want to clean. I don't want to do laundry. I just want to eat bon-bons and read blogs.

  7. I live in the Dallas suburbs, and this was on all the local stations. The key point here is that Ms. Mock went to the sale for her son, not to purchase the house for the stranger. It was a spur of the moment purchase when she saw Ms. Orr crying and struck up a conversation. Orr showed up to make a last-ditch effort for her home, only to see it quickly go above what she could pay (CNN story.

    I agree with your questions regarding length of time between no job and foreclosure - those were not discussed. I've been to the thriving town of Pottsboro up on Lake Texoma (yes, the school still has all 12 grades in a single building), but Sherman is a decent sized town not too far away, so I'm curious about the apparent lack-of-job in that long timeline. But if the payback is over $30k in payments, I'd bet it would only be to cover the fees/taxes. Ms. Mock doesn't give off that "exploiter" vibe. After all, she also bought her son a home at the same auction.

  8. Will...thanks for visiting the site and taking the time to are always welcomed here...

    Sounds like I need Ms. Mock to be my long lost aunt...bought two houses, with at least one for $30,000...I don't know anyone who is rich!

  9. Like Will - have heard a little about this story given where we live.

    Will? Are you connected to Boerne, Texas I see on Steve's livefeed? I only ask because I have family there..

    Parker might say, "Where's Paul Harvey with the rest of the story?" (That would be from some of the time he spends with his dad in the mornings! lol)

  10. You guys are way too cynical about this.

    I think the real scams are going to start now that this story came out. I can see someone dragging their kids out to the foreclosure auction with torn clothes trying to get the same deal out of someone.

    I definitely don't think that Ms. Orr deserved this or that anyone else should follow suit - I guess that's what makes it a cool story.

  11. Well, forty...I guess I am a little cynical...been burned a few times too many over the excuse for cynical though...


Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I can't wait to read what you have written.