A Spoonful of Foreclosure…

I saw another movie about foreclosure over the weekend.

I’ve already seen The Big Short, 99 Homes, The Grapes of Wrath. This one fit right in: Mary Poppins Returns.

You read that correctly, the new Mary Poppins movie centers around the Banks family (um, I just saw the irony in their name) struggling to keep their home. Good ol’ Disney has added foreclosure to its repertoire of tragic plot lines.

Of course the foreclosure in Mary Poppins Returns is unrealistic and much more nightmarish compared to how foreclosure actually works here, in the U.S. and in Connecticut.

The themes were similar, and they got one right, but most of them wrong.

They nailed the main theme: when a crisis hits and causes financial struggle, usually a household can survive that; it’s when a SECOND crisis hits when the mortgage goes unpaid.The first crisis in the movie was the Great Depression of the 1930’s. I won’t give away what the second crisis was, but any fans of Disney can take a wild guess…

The movie gave the impression you have little to no time to work out a solution with the bank or find a solution that is better suited for your household. You don’t get a notice nailed to your door with only five days to pay up or move out like the Banks family did. You do get notice of foreclosure and a relatively reasonable amount of time in Connecticut to work things out with your bank. We even have a mediation program that slows the whole process down.

The Banks family focused on one possible way to solve their problem. You might think you have only one option too, but time and again my meetings with homeowners end with us making a list of solutions to getting out of foreclosure.

The bad guy in the movie was the head of the bank: he sabotaged the family’s attempt to solve the foreclosure, he was eager to foreclose not only on their home but multiple others, even setting quotas of foreclosures for the bank’s attorneys to fulfill. He went so far as to say he wanted THEIR home. This is how most homeowners in the U.S. feel who are in foreclosure—I’ve written about it before, it feels personal when it really isn’t. No, your bank
doesn’t want your house, but despite that I can’t explain the zeal with which they move to foreclose.

And you have a lot of stuff; years worth of stuff to sort through; so moving is going to be tedious, take you weeks or months, and be very emotional and difficult. The movie got this totally wrong with how it portrayed the Banks family’s resignation and bright attitude about leaving their longtime home; it was – like Mary Poppins’ henanigans—unrealistic, without the feel-good magic.

Last but not least, the family had no lawyer. This allowed the head of the bank to conceal valuable information from the family, to deny them any options other than full payment. They had no one to speak for them, to keep an eye out for other ways to solve the problem or to negotiate a payment plan. I see this a lot—a homeowner will just take a bank’s word for it when they are told what their options are or what they have to do and by when. This usually ends up with a shorter timeframe for leaving the house- and when you’re facing a deadline, five months
can feel like five days, the amount of time the Banks family had to pay up or else. The movie got that right—without help, you’re on your own, scrambling for a solution while fighting the clock.

I guess all the exaggeration makes for better on-screen drama. But who needs that in real life?

It’s About Neighborhoods

A friend of mine came by the office early morning, the Friday before Christmas. He’s from what we would consider a ‘well-to-do’ town in Farmington Valley. About thirty seconds after he took a sip of coffee he told me this: he took a slightly different way to Avon Mountain that morning and drove down a popular back road he hadn’t taken in several months.

He was shocked. Over a short stretch, maybe half a mile, probably less, he counted five houses either abandoned or in foreclosure.

Smack in the middle of nice homes with big yards and lots of trees. The other houses were so well maintained, the lawns neat and raked, that the empty houses just stood out.They were eyesores.

They did, in fact, take a lot away from the rest of the street. My friend went on to say that he knew, because this was, after all, his town, that it was just an unhappy coincidence that that many houses were in foreclosure in such close proximity. There wasn’t a water problem, the road wasn’t about to be widened, this isn’t an area afflicted by crumbling foundations.

It was just a weird coincidence. But, he said, if he wasn’t from town and he noticed so many houses like that almost in a row, he would have wondered what was going on. And, having to wonder ‘what is going on’ in a neighborhood is hardly conducive to real estate values. Nor is a fading red Colonial with broken shutters, a partially collapsed garage, and two years’ worth of leaves in the gutters.

It’s always been my position, my belief, that we do everything we can to save homes in foreclosure because it’s about more than just that home, that house. It’s about the neighborhood. And beyond. Foreclosed on homes that sit untended destroy home values in the area, lower home values lead to lower tax bases, which leads to hits on schools, infrastructure …. you get the picture.

As if to drive this home to me that Friday morning, an hour or so later I caught a short piece n NPR’s Morning Edition. It was about the burned out town of Paradise, California, the town decimated by the wildfires. Houses did survive the fires, apparently it’s not very expensive to make a house almost fire proof – special roofing, eaves, keeping fire resistant trees like maples while getting rid of flammable ones, keeping dead leaves and pine needles well away from the house.

NPR talked to some of the homeowners who’s houses survived the fires. Lone houses in a sea of ashes. One quote about an older couple who’s home is standing untouched sums it up:

Their plan had been to sell in a couple of years so they could retire in Chico. But with the uncertainty in the real estate market and the future of Paradise, that’s all on hold now.

It’s the extreme – very extreme – example of my worst case neighborhood scenario. But there are a lot of people here in Connecticut – perhaps the people on the street my friend drove down, more likely the many neighborhoods and towns with so many houses afflicted with crumbling foundations – who also have the long term goal of selling their homes to move away for retirement – who are facing the same fate, albeit much slower.

It’s never about one house. It’s about neighborhoods.


Surviving Debt: Expert Advice

Some people just like self-help books. Some people (like someone I am related to) always have one open on their nightstand and seem to have read them all. I’ve only recently gotten into them and that is to supplement the in-person help I have been getting (specifically, on managing my business).

If you’re a self-help person, you have to check out Surviving Debt: Expert Advice for Getting Out of Financial Trouble, published by the National Consumer Law Center, now in its 11th edition. It covers almost every personal financial issue you can think of, and is only $20. CLICK HERE to purchase (I get no benefit from this other than to share with you a really valuable resource)

You can even get free content from the book by clicking here. 

Let’s say you had a car repossessed a few years ago, and you can’t figure out how to pay off the debt resulted from that. Or you want to know which of your accounts to pay first. Surviving Debt has a chapter for that. If you’re the type of person who can read instructions and advice and follow through, then the price tag on this book is more than worth it. Maybe you’re shy about talking to someone about your finances, or want to know if you really are as bad off as you think you are (if I had a nickel for everyone who was afraid to pull their credit reports!), try Surviving Debt first. Then let me know if it was helpful, and which sections were the most relevant to you. You may need some follow up help, or have questions about your options. After all, this kind of book doesn’t (and can’t) provide you advice specific to where you live as each state is different in how debt is pursued and your options are different depending on which creditor you are dealing with, whether you have been sued on the account or whether it is in collection or not. Foreclosures especially are different in every state, so maybe after reading about your particular problem you will feel better prepared to ask questions and start tackling your situation with a live professional.

This book, and the chance to read parts of it for no charge, was too good an opportunity not to share with you. Again, I get no proceeds from the sale of the book (I don’t even keep the proceeds from the sales of my own book!), I just wanted to make sure you knew about it, especially as many of you are looking forward to a new year soon and in my experience, most people have something money-related on their New Year’s resolution list.

My First Solo

It was twelve years ago today, October 2, 2006, that I went solo.  I actually didn’t have much of a plan. I had obtained a position reviewing documents for large class actions which I could do from home on my computer. That was going to pay enough to pay my bills. That’s as far as I had gotten with my plan.

I had been working in consumer protection for four years, helping all kinds of people out of all kinds of bad deals, protecting them from harassing debt collectors, unwinding their complicated identity theft problems, and recovering money taken by home improvement contractors, car dealers and even dating services.  But even as fulfilling as that was, there was something missing. I didn’t know what, I just knew I needed a change. I didn’t really look around for other jobs, but I found the document review opportunity and thought it would allow me to rethink my path as an attorney.

Within a week or two, my old boss called asking if I was interested in helping all the people that called his firm looking for help defending against credit card and medical collection.  So I shifted from being the lawyer that brought suit to being the lawyer that defended clients in court. And no one else was really doing that with any regularity.

Almost exactly two years later, though, the economy dramatically shifted when the real estate bubble burst and the country went into recession.  The need for lawyers helping homeowners in foreclosure increased dramatically and as I had already handled a few foreclosures for homeowners, I was in position to take on more of these cases.  Now I have the largest foreclosure defense practice in the state.

This did not come easy.  Helping a homeowner save their home from foreclosure is labor-intensive, document and paperwork intensive and takes a lot of time and patience, both on my part and the part of the homeowner.  I have had to hire staff to handle the paperwork, answer the phones and manage the office. This was a scary process- I used to work alone in a spare bedroom, then I rented a small office, but now I need space for four employees, and then some.  This all needs to be paid for. Everyone wonders how I do it: “How do you get paid if your clients can’t pay their mortgage?”

Good question.  Probably the most important lesson I’ve learned from growing this business is to figure out what clients really want.  When you think about it, people pay for the things they want. If they REALLY want that Starbucks coffee, they will have the money to pay for it.  If they REALLY want a Lexus car, they will find a way to pay for it. And if they REALLY want help in court when their home is in foreclosure, they will make sure to pay their lawyer for that help.  

I did assume for a long time that everyone wanted to save their house, or that everyone who called me wanted to pay for legal services.  I’ve been working on how to have the conversation to figure out what people really WANT. I’ve learned it’s OK to not want to keep your house, and it’s OK if people don’t think paying for a lawyer is worth it.  I want to work with the people who REALLY want legal help from me, people who value having a lawyer by their side, a lawyer who will explain the process to them, who will walk them through each step and clarify what is going on in court so they aren’t so confused, don’t feel helpless, and aren’t spending any more sleepless nights over their foreclosure.  

Even better are the clients who know we will solve their legal problem and who want to do better in the future.  People who are motivated to manage their money so they will NEVER be in foreclosure again, and who will have savings and a retirement plan and a future to look forward to.  Because I’ve learned it was never the foreclosure that was the problem, that was just the symptom of many decisions over the years that led to an inability to pay the mortgage.  I can treat the symptoms, but the fulfilling part is working together with clients to cure the underlying problem.

A Day in Court

I was in court a few days ago, a woman was there, representing herself, trying to tell the court that she was about to sell her house and the foreclosure ‘could stop now.’ She was too late. She tried explaining that the bank told her she’d be fine and needn’t worry about what was going on in court as long as the house was about to be sold. It didn’t matter, she was too late . . . by about a week.


A different take in foreclosure court: usually the judge takes cases where attorneys have entered appearances – ostensibly to try and curb expenses, (who wants to pay a lawyer to sit in court all morning?) – but today, he decided to take homeowners representing themselves first – the better so they don’t miss work.

A lot of homeowners representing themselves don’t show up, but they did today.  So, I sat through foreclosure story after foreclosure story and a lot of pretty solid explanations why homes shouldn’t be foreclosed on.

  It really is no fun to be in court by yourself….

One man explained he fell behind after his house sustained storm damage. His insurance company assured him he would be reimbursed in full for the repairs. Two checks came and he paid the contractors but then, for some reason, the bank held the last $19,000 check.

He is in the beginning of a foreclosure while still trying to work things out with the bank. That’s it, he, by himself, is working with his bank, only, to get money released and start to ‘take care of the mess.’

The judge set a date and if the homeowner doesn’t resolve the problem in time the bank will own his house. The poor guy has the attitude of someone who just can’t believe that the problem won’t get resolved, that the bank won’t do the right thing. Eventually.

Other families came before the judge with different stories based on the same theme – the bank said ‘x’ and they’ll be following up … soon.

All of them now have foreclosure dates.

I wrote a few weeks ago about where the banks’ interest lay. To tersely sum up that post – the banks do not share many interests with regular people.

The general rule is once you don’t feel your bank is helping you or listening to you, you need to stop seeking help and advice from them.  I mean, if if you were arrested, would you ask the cops for help?  I think we have been trained from all the law shows on TV to know there’s an adversarial relationship between the police and someone who has been arrested (even if the person is innocent).  What TV hasn’t taught us – because how un-sexy would a show about foreclosure court be – is that the banks and mortgage lenders are the cops and homeowners have the right to remain silent and have the right to seek the advice of an attorney.  People who are arrested know that without an attorney they are likely to lose some liberties- likely to spend time in jail.  People in foreclosure are also at risk of losing similar liberties- like the right to own their homes- if they don’t seek out the advice of an attorney.

So please, don’t be standing in front of a judge before it occurs to you to check with a lawyer.

When Geoffrey Owens Played a Lawyer . . .

I posted something about Geoffrey Owens and ‘job shaming’ on Facebook last week because I saw in the ‘story’ of Geoffrey’s job at Trader Joe’s something I see regularly working with people going through foreclosure: the ‘debt shaming’ I write about often. It seemed especially poignant as all this was precipitated by Owens losing his steady income source, The Cosby Show residuals that went away when the show was pulled from syndication because of the sexual abuse charges leveled at Cosby.

Just like many of my clients, an unexpected change in income had a disastrous effect.

All that reminded me of a great Geoffrey Owens role as one of my favorite TV lawyers of all time: Gerald Watkins Mayfield in HBO’s Divorce.

Divorce is the story of a successful business woman, Frances (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her not quite as successful husband, Robert (Thomas Hayden Church) living in Hastings-on-Hudson NY, a pretty, upscale town on the Hudson River an hour or so north of New York City. The town, by the way, is pretty much a character.

sarahbloghboObviously, they have marital problems. They go through all the motions of therapy and reconciliation and mediation, it’s obvious six show or so in that they need to divorce and it’s going to get ugly.

They need lawyers. Robert’s not the type to ask around or spend time on Google, or, indeed, doing anything proactive. Eventually, though, a friend introduces him to  a relative who’s an attorney right in town and ‘does everything.’ That would be Gerald Watkins Mayfield and he is everything I’ve been writing for years.

He works out of his garage and his wife pops in every few minutes to remind him to ‘watch the oven, dinner’s in’ but, all in all, it’s pretty charming. Until he starts talking. Then it’s funny and chilling – if you’re a lawyer.

The scene (easily the funniest in the show, period):

“So, you do mostly divorces?”

“Nope, mostly wills, trusts, estates.”

“You do some divorces?”

“You know what, Robert? Basically, it’s all law.”

That’s it, in a nutshell, perfectly put by a great character. ‘Basically, it’s all law.’

It’s not, of course, but clients still buy into it. As Robert does. Disastrously. I’ll leave it to you to watch the show to see just how disastrously it is.

For now, though, just understand that if you need a divorce attorney, hire a firm that does family law; need an estate plan? Hire an estate planning firm; are facing a foreclosure? Retain someone who does exactly that most of her working day.

Debt Games

wargamesI asked a friend to dive into the wild and wacky world of all things financial on the web.

He’s in his 50s, has three kids, a decent credit score, couple of credit cards, student loan, leased car. Pretty run-of-the-mill-doing-okay-not-drowning-in-debt (today) Mid-America – though he calls it ‘depressingly normal.’

First thing he did was, of course, to try to make a few bucks. Football season started a few weeks ago so Draftkings and FanDuel are all in with ad saturations and sponsoring shows on ESPN and the like. (What happened to last year’s uproar over them?)

He knows sports, follow the NFL, even reads a few things from writers who aren’t in the bag for the Patriots. So, he replied to the latest of the hundred or so Draftkings messages he gets a week.

This one was a free entry to a $10,000 payout. But it wasn’t. He clicked on it, filled out a imagelineup, submitted it, was informed that he had to deposit $10 for the future games he would undoubtedly want to play after the fun of the free game. The free game a few hundred thousand people were also playing, some with advanced math degrees and a full grasp of algorithms. So much for using sports knowledge is a path to riches.

lendingSo he turned to consolidating his debt. And maybe getting an extra few bucks to plop into his business. He clicked on one of the few hundred emails from Lending Tree sitting in his spam folder. He filled out a quick form – very easy – waited less than a minute and – *WOW* – he had offers. Lots of offers.

He could consolidate his credit card debt and – assuming he only paid monthly minimums – he would *SAVE* 60% per month. If he acted now. Plus, you get a next or $1000. He could click *DO IT!* now or he could read the fine print. Because he was doing this for me, he read the fine prin:. 36 months, $350 processing fee taken off the top of the loan, an effective rate of 30% – because it all went through Utah, a state with apparently generous usury laws – if they have them at all.

He could also shave off a hundred dollars per month for his auto lease by doubling the lease term from 36 months to 72. Lending Tree assured him that this was a great deal, so great he only had 48 hours to accept it. Having passed seventh grade math, he passed.

Because he signed up with Lending Tree he now gets two to three prescreened credit card offers a week. At a minimum. Most have fees, the lowest interest rate so far is 22%.

There’s more, but it’s all the same. He drew the line, though, at opening an account with Wells Fargo.

It’s pretty clear what the lesson is here, it’s a lesson from the 1980’s and a Matthew Broderick. Wargames. Which ended with this warning:

“The only way to win is to not play the game.”

Foreclosure and Jimmy McGill

post26Probably the most authentic picture of what it’s like to run a small law firm is Better Call Saul. No, this has nothing to do with working with someone like Mike, or filming 2 am attorney ads surreptitiously on Air Force bases, or any one of his dozen other antics.

And, it’s not any of his personal quirks: the flashes of legal genius, his skill as a flim-flam man, his deft touch with the elderly client.

What makes Jimmy McGill real is his need for clients and that which comes with them and allows lawyers to continue to be lawyers – money. Jimmy needs every retainer he can lay his hands on. Paying for parking is a stretch for him.

It’s a well-kept secret in the TV/movie/streaming content legal world that (a) attorneys arebetter-call-saul business people and (b) they need to be paid to continue to be (a) above.

One of Connecticut’s best known criminal defense attorneys just wrote this in his weekly New Haven Register column: “Almost ever lawyer I know is struggling to keep the lights on these days.” That’s Norm Pattis, and while he is somewhat exaggerating (the column was an attempt to explain the appeal of Donald Trump) and ‘struggling’ is a very, very subjective term, he does underscore the much overlooked truism of the practice of law: lawyers need to be paid like everyone else who works for a living.

prodigalparent2No one ever saw Perry Mason or any of the guys from LA Law scrambling to pay the bills. As a matter of fact, Della Street seemed remarkably well paid for a 1950’s solo practitioner’s legal assistant. Popular culture portrayals of lawyers almost never even hint at the business side of practice. When they do, it’s almost universally about a poor but noble lawyer working a case without hope of payment.

Attorneys are not like doctors, they are not locked into a ‘specialization.’ As a matter of fact most Bar Association rules in most states prohibit attorneys saying they specialize in any aspect of the law.

Do you know what the equivalent title for Neurologist/Oncologist/Orthopedic is in the law? Attorney.

Attorneys are taught to think like an attorney – that’s it, that’s what law school is all about, thinking. Studying for the Bar means studying every aspect of the law. Torts, Bankruptcy, Easements, Constitutional, Criminal. Everything.

You pass the Bar, you’re a lawyer, there are no restrictions on what you can do, no restrictions on the license. It’s like the woman doctor repairing your ACL checking and treating the troublesome looking freckle on your forehead.

Here’s something that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone but frequently is: lawyers have student loans, lawyers need to eat, lawyers can accept any case they want as long as there’s no looming conflict of interest.

Most lawyers stay with what they know and are comfortable with. It’s smart, minimizes potential problems, allows for real expertise (although, per Bar rules, no one can really say they’re an expert) and rapport with the court and ‘the other side.’

When lawyers go ‘outside the box’ they usually do so for one of two reasons: a friend or relative needs help; they need the retainer to ‘keep the lights on.’ They are especially apt to do the second if they don’t see the area they are about to stray into as challenging.

In other words, they are more likely to stray into foreclosures than a civil rights action. Which is, of course, a misconception that can only arise when a practitioner is unfamiliar with, well, foreclosure actions.

The problem is, foreclosure law, like bankruptcy and a host other, looks – very much on the surface – like an orderly, procedural driven process. A -B-C … Z, keep the house.

This would be great if it were true. But, it’s not. Foreclosure defense is fraught with little hiccups and steep, nasty pitfalls that don’t show up in the manuals and guides – on-line and off. The only way to know where they are is to do it every day for hundreds of clients in a hundred different scenarios with scores of banks, mortgage companies, and lawyers on the other side. And, that doesn’t include knowing the judges, clerks, mediators in each court.

The learning curve in foreclosure court is steep, the timeline is restrictive, no one should go through it with the additional stress of watching their attorney catch up on the fly.

YO! Adrian! Here’s Why I’ve Been Posting About a Triathlon

forsarahblogFor about the past week, I’ve been posting on Facebook about the Litchfield Hills Triathlon I ran last Sunday. I wasn’t posting to help psych myself up for a rough, hot, intimidating race (okay, maybe a little), I was hoping to make a point. A strong point about a real problem my clients run into, especially when they are late becoming my client (i.e., have gone it alone through a court hearing or two).

So, here’s the thing: I have a running coach. She outlined a comprehensive, step-by-step program to help get me ready for this race. I considered that vital – anyone who’s ever driven around Litchfield, Connecticut would know why … it’s not call the Litchfield HILLS race for nothing.

My … edited … training plan

I followed the plan religiously … until I didn’t. Things got in the way. I am not a professional triathlete, I will never get any king of sponsorship to pay for shoes, clothing, coaching, all that stuff. In short, I’m a business owner who runs (swims and bikes too, I suppose) to stay in shape and, most importantly, stay mentally sharp.

So, things (life) got in the way of our perfect plan. A workout skipped, a mile or two skimped on, you know how it goes.

At no time during my training, however, did I ever run the risk of being kept from running the race. It wasn’t like I had to check in Sunday morning with my training program signed off on and in perfect order in order to race. No race clerk to scan through and say, “It’s all in order, go get in line, hand this to the starter and you’re good to go.”

And. it’s certainly not like, in my case, there was someone to say, “Oh, hey Sarah, you missed a timed workout on June 8th, and this long run on the 20th … sorry, you can’t race. You’re out … it just wouldn’t be fair to the racers who did the work.”

     My plan for clients

No, that would have been ridiculous, anyone who pays the race fee and wants to abuse their body for a few hours can start the race. Anyone who has prepared at least somewhat has a chance to at least finish.

The ‘Sorry, you can’t race scenario” is the foreclosure process. I give my clients a list of things they have to do. Same as my coach gave me. The difference is, however, that if they skip an item or try to get by with a half measure, they know they stand a good chance of defaulting – they will get kicked out of the race.

This kind of default means losing a home. It’s as simple as that.

For the people who are debating getting an attorney because they think they’ve got a decent grasp on what should be on the list and how and when to get into the race … well, usually I see those people at some point after it’s started and why I can usually help, it’s like running the race with a cramping hamstring – it can go a number of ways, only one is good.

Back at the Movies . . .

10649966_1086276854757139_7594272388235192014_nBack at the beginning of the year I took a group of clients to see The Big Short. Great movie, fun and infuriating. That was about, in a fashion, how we got into this mess – the great recession, housing crisis, ongoing foreclosures. It was a sobering overview of the last few years.

This promised to be a year of movies about the financial crisis, recession, and aftermath and I’ve recently had a chance to see one of the latest, 99 Homes. Okay, actually, I saw Money Monster first, but that’s so far out of the realm of … reality . . . as to be meaningless (unless you believe that Julia Roberts and George Clooney solving a pending financial disaster/scam in a few hours has some real world application).

99 Homes, on the other hand, was a kick in the stomach. It was visceral, it was brutal. It sarahblogbegan with a court hearing in Orlando, Florida. A twenty second hearing in which a character was told the paperwork was in order and he would be evicted by the bank in the morning. The eviction scene was tense and just heart-ripping. It was hard to watch.

Something really hit me in the brief moments before that scene, though. It was quick and it could certainly have been overlooked in what follows – except that it’s repeated later in the movie, a few times actually, albeit in different forms.

This is it: a shot of the homeowner at a kitchen table buried in paperwork. He’s frantically burrowing through it while calling attorneys on his cell phone. It becomes clear that our protagonist ignored dozens – at least – notices from the bank, court, and the sheriff’s office.

Later, as the movie takes some dark turns and heads toward the ’99’ homes of the title, it’s obvious that most of the people Michael Shannon (great in this, as in almost everything else) is evicting have done exactly the same thing – they’ve ignored notices, even ones stuck on their front doors by day-glo red tape.

99-homes-18It’s a theme I’ve explored more than a few times and really thought I had a handle on. But seeing it … was hard. There’s a natural reaction to wanting bad news to go away without having to do anything. There’s the depression that hits, the ‘nah, this isn’t really happening’ denial … well, really most of the steps normally associated with the grieving process.

Except here, as so vividly shown in the film, there is no acceptance, just sheriffs and a bank rep at the door to wrest the home away.

I’m still a little rocked by this but I’m pretty sure the next time someone hesitates before hiring me I’ll just tell them to watch 99 Homes and get back to me.