30 Year Reunion…

18 08 2011

Saturday night I had my 30 year class reunion.  I drove to our cottage the night before and spent the next day alone with my thoughts.  I found myself unusually reflective thinking about the past 30 years…comparing the 3 decades to the ambitions and dreams I had the summer of 1981.  Then I started getting anxious.  

Why am I so nervous?   Possibly it is because I didn’t like who I was in high school… I guess we were all trying to figure it out who we were.  I still didn’t get the apprehension I was feeling ? … I haven’t seen any of these people in at least 5 years…actually most of them I haven’t seen in 30 years & many I will never see again.   Then it finally it hit me … I really care what these people think of me & just maybe I can make atonement for not be a better friend, classmate, or boyfriend.  Daunting and impossible, I know.

My best friend from High School met me at our cottage about an hour before the event and we had a blast sitting on the deck of our lake house looking through our year book trying to remember people we would be seeing that evening.  Thank goodness for name tags (in large print)!

We arrived at the reunion at 5:45 and we were warmly welcomed by my good friend and college roommate Jeff Cramer.  Immediately I was at ease and as the night unfolded I had a real sense of love for the 100 people who made the effort to show up.  Egos were pretty much gone as we’ve all been humbled by life’s challenges. Yes, most of us were just trying to reconnect with a special time in our lives and relive some memories that occurred during simpler times.

 Speaking of memories…I had a situation that I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry.  I ran into an old friend I played baseball and football with.  I loved this guy and we used to ride the bus together to games and share a lot of laughs … but… he didn’t remember me.  I mean he totally couldn’t remember even knowing a ‘David Pendley’ in high school.  I was floored!  All memories of me were erased from his brain, (or sometime after high school he got hit in the head with a Lawn Jart).  I tried to jolt his recall with memories of me playing  first base and him in right field etc.  It was useless and at that point I wished him the best and gracelessly walked away.

Finally, the tribute of 17 classmates who had passed away, lent itself to an inherent gratitude for those who were there…those who travelled from as far as Alaska/Arizona/California to reawaken some memories of a time in life that played a roll in defining us.  To the 200 or so who missed this special night …these are sweet gatherings…don’t miss the next one.


Where do I get a list of foreclosed homes in my area ?

2 08 2011

Like so many Americans, my brother Mike was unemployed last year.  Living in Elkhart Indiana the jobs were not plentiful so he and his wife, Maria, decided to combine their talents and create their own income.  Maria, a wonderful realtor, found a foreclosed home in a nice area and bought it at the right price.  After 60 days of paint/carpet and cleaning they sold their home within 3 weeks.

Mike made more income  in 100 days than he would have made in a year and a half on his old job.  I am so proud of them and thankfully today Mike has a great job… but in 2010 this was a huge blessing!

I have many years of experience in this field…both working with investors and doing it myself.  Here are my keys to a successful flip: 

                                                             My keys to a successful flip

  • The profit is made the day you buy the home.  It must be acquired at well below market value.  Leave room for interest costs, unforeseen repairs, closing costs, legal costs and other surprises.
  • Make sure the home has no unfixable objections:  busy street, wet basement, no garage etc.  In our current market conditions this is a killer.  Buyers discount your property a ton for these things.
  • Know why this home didn’t sell prior to the bank taking it.  There is a reason!  Find out what it is.
  • Know your area.  Take time looking at the current home inventory so you can compare a potential flip with what buyers are going to compare your property to. 
  • If you are not handy or do not have the time to do the repairs this may not be the time for you.  Paying professionals to do this may eat all potential profit.
  • Have a pre-determined plan if the house does not sell.  This should never be a make or break deal.  In this economy you must plan on worst case scenario. 
  • Don’t risk more than you can afford to lose.  There are no sure things and this truly is a risk.

If you would like to view some properties in your area here is a list of bank owned properties.  I would be happy to discuss the financing & strategy of these properties with you as well.  We work with wonderful real estate professionals and would be happy to refer you one (like Maria Pendley @ mmpen@aol.com  ).

Fannie Mae REO:http://www.homepath.com/

Bank of America REO:

Countrywide REO:


OneWest Bank / IndyMac Bank REO:

Ocwen Financial REO:

JP Morgan Chase Bank REO:

M&T Bank REO:

Wells Fargo REO:

Washington Mutual REO (WAMU):

Wachovia REO:

Fannie Mae REO:

Freddie Mac REO:


HomeSales.gov also offers properties offered for sale by the government.

Coldwell Banker REO Division
Coldwell Banker REO Division

Citibank REO

SBA Properties

FDIC Real Estate Owned

BB&T REO (Branch Bank and Trust)

Fifth Third Bank REO:

People’s Bank REO

National City Mortgage REO

Taylor Bean REO

Downey Savings & Loan

How to ruin a perfect morning…

28 07 2011

 …woke up early Sunday morning and started the day with my favorite Michigan routine:  drive the boat to the middle of Indian Lake, kill the engine, cup of coffee, bible…wait  for the sun to bless the day.  I had an amazing morning reading, reflecting and experiencing a beautiful sunrise (see pict).  I was present/in the moment and savoring the quiet morning.   After about an hour I decided to check my email …huge mistake! …I know better!  What was I thinking?

As I scanned my inbox I saw an email marked urgent!  I opened the email from a large bank that I have a credit line with.  They informed me “there may be some problems funding our loans on Monday morning”.  My blood pressure went from “placid” to “call a medic”. I assumed there must be a mistake but my brain churned to the worst case scenario.   My mind shifted from Romans Chapter 1 to professional calamity… in an instant. 

I knew better than to check my work email over the weekend, but my own sense of curiosity got the best of me.   This sacred morning had been desecrated &  I thought about that email all day.

On 8:15 Monday morning I received a call from the bank stating the email was sent in error…but the damage had been done. The incredible ‘connected’ technology that we all must have today to be mobile and effective in business is also one of the greatest curses to mankind. 

The next time I am having a “perfect” morning, or “perfect” time with my wife, daughters, friends, etc. I will not invite the anxiety of the world into these precious moments.  I want to be present at all times.  Its’ ironic…I don’t have commit  to be present when the stresses  of life arise, but I must resolve to protect the special moments of life that truly matter.

Why my girls go to camp…

20 07 2011

Elizabeth (grey shirt), and Johanna (pink shirt) have been going to camp for about 7 years.  This year they are at Springhill Camps in Evart Michigan.  For 2 weeks before camp all they could talk about was how excited they were to go to camp (and be free from us!). 

We drive 8 hours round trip and trust me…it’s not free, but it is so worth it.  Here are some statistics I read recently from a George Barna survey:

  • 1,680 minutes…………the average amount of time a child watches TV per week 
  •  30 minutes per week…. the average amount of time a child spends outdoors    
  • 20+ hours per week….the average amount of time a child spends in front of a computer/video game

We believe that camp allows our daughters to gain some clarity and perspective on all parts of their lives.  At Springhill they integrate faith and fun all week with a goal of encouraging these kids to live their lives for Christ. 

I fall short everyday as a parent, but this is one investment I do not regret.  If you would like more information on overnight camps/day camps feel free checkout http://www.springhillcamps.com/

Socially Conscious Dining…

19 07 2011
I have a twisted sense of humor …

Life below the city…

28 06 2011

  This is a stairway view from Lower Wacker Avenue in Chicago.  In 1926 Daniel Burnham had a vision to build a road under the city of Chicago to expedite traffic flow.  Essentially it allows the Chicagoan to travel to other parts of the city, all under ground.   Almost immediately after it’s construction the United States was decimated by The Great Depression causing the homeless population to explode in America.  Since Lower Wacker is protected from the elements, (wind, rain, and 15 degrees warmer), it made a natural habitat for people seeking shelter… as well as rats the size of footballs and thousands of pigeons.  Since Lower Wacker never see’s rain it also doesn’t get clean.  On the walls and ground there is about 1/4 inch of dirt, grease and pigeon feces everywhere.  At its’ peek over 2000 people resided in Lower Wacker.

Today approximately 100-200 homeless people live on Lower Wacker.  Mayor Daley  and the Chicago City Council erected bars and cages in about 80% of the areas to discourage ‘settlers’, but many still call it home.

I’ve been going down to Lower Wacker for about 6 years now with a couple friends.  Early on we realized a homeless person’s  greatest need wasn’t food or clothing (although that is what we bring).  What these men and women yearn for is love.  They are seldom listened to, hugged,  or prayed for.   After getting to know Reggie, Dave, Macktee, Big Joe, Gwyn, Mike, Gary and many more I have been deeply moved by their various journeys. 

Dave for example grew up in what appeared to be the perfect family in Berwyn Illinois ( a suburb just a few miles west of Chicago).  His father was wonderful to the family… until he drank.  On the weekends he would violently beat Dave’s mother.  As the years went on Dave watched the decline of his mothers’ health at the hand of his fathers brutal tirades.  When his mothers front tooth was knocked out one exceedingly gruesome night Dave snapped.  He threw his father down the basement stairs and beat his head against the masonry floor until he was dead.  When Dave was telling me this story he was shaking and very emotional.  Ironically he said he loved his father  and missed him very much.  He also said he was reeling from the guilt.  Fast forward 35 years…Dave was 18 months away from retiring from UPS when he found out his wife was having an affair with one of his co-workers.  When he confronted her she confessed his eldest son was not his.   He fell into severe depression and went down to Lower Wacker to kill himself.  He has now been living there almost three years.  Dave never asks us for anything and he is overly appreciated that we come down and visit.  We pray for Dave and try to show him Christs’ love.

Each story is complicated and the journey “up the stairs” is even more complex.  I have realized I can’t fix anyones life, but I can show them Christs’ love and respect.   My hope for these gentle souls is they would find the perfect peace that comes from Christ alone…and know they have a home being built for them in heaven.

Tornado Help For Vets

22 06 2011

The VA is urging its approved lenders to provide relief to military borrowers affected by the tornadoes that devastated Alabama, Arkansas and other parts of the country in April

The agency issued a circular in early May to help those whose homes were damaged or destroyed and families of those injured or killed in the storms. Thousands of homes and businesses were ravaged by dozens of tornadoes that roared through the South.

Among the salient points:

  • The VA encouraged mortgage servicers to waive any late charges or fees for borrowers in affected areas. It also suggested that servicers stop credit reporting on veterans whose homes, families or livelihoods have been impacted. The agency isn’t penalizing servicers for late default reporting.
  • There’s a hope that lenders will abide by the VA’s suggested 90-day moratorium on starting new foreclosure proceedings against borrowers in affected areas.
  • Lenders and servicers are expected to work closely with borrowers to determine their needs and what type of forbearance would likely prove most helpful and effective.
  • National Guard members are being activated in some communities to help with recovery efforts. The VA is asking lenders to be mindful of those Guardsmen in the coming weeks and months, as they can experience financial stress during times of extended activation.

The agency put forward a similar message last September in the wake of the Gulf oil spill.  Borrowers in need should contact their mortgage servicer as soon as possible. They can also contact their nearest VA Regional Loan Center by calling 1-877-827-3702.

Borrowers don’t need to have a VA loan to utilize the agency’s counseling services

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