Real Estate & Property Law

Oops. Bank Sells 1 Foreclosed House to 2 Different Buyers; Law Firm Blamed for Mistake


In a mistake that was unusual but, experts say, not unique, a bank reportedly sold the same foreclosed South Florida home twice.

A law firm to which the matter was transferred blamed its predecessor firm, operated by embattled foreclosure king David Stern, for the error, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Shapiro and Fishman said the CitiMortgage-owned home was transferred in a short sale overseen by Stern’s firm a week before it was sold at auction to a second buyer. However, Stern’s firm didn’t alert others to the short sale, so the auction went forward, the newspaper recounts.

An expert tells the newspaper that such mistakes, although unusual, are not unique, and blamed the speed at which foreclosure cases are handled. The second buyer—who learned of the problem when her husband drove by the next day and found the first buyer already in possession—says she called Stern’s firm for a month without receiving any definitive answer about what had happened to her money.

No comment from the Stern firm is included in the article. However, a lawyer the Shapiro firm tells the Sun-Sentinel that the bank and the second buyer had reached an agreement under which her money will be returned, with interest, and her legal fees reimbursed.

Had the second buyer not agreed to step aside, says professor Darryl Wilson of Stetson University College of Law, the first buyer probably would have been found to have a superior right to to the home.

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