Reviews


Thanks for going the extra mile to help my family sell my father’s house during a very difficult time in our lives. Your business savy helped us close a deal beneficial to all parties concerned, and in a shorter time frame than expected. Thank you again for everything you did for us.  Joe

  • I appreciate the fact that you keep me posted on properties that I might be interested in. I have enjoyed working with you on the two properties that I recently purchased through you. keep it up. I like it. Bill

  • I love the service that you provided . Your in depth knowledge allowed me to feel secure about my home purchase and I will recommend your service to others that are in the real estate market , Thank You Phil

  • We feel you are extremly well above any other realtor that we have tried to deal with. We really were satisfied with your work. You provided beyond our expectations.- Harry & Marie

  • Thank you Sheila, for making our transaction smooth and efficient. We highly recommend you as a Real Estate professional.- Claude & Theresa

  • I would like to take this time and opportunity to share my most recent real estate purchase experience with the professional assistance from Sheila Barrett. As an investor, the benefits are very rewarding not only monetary but most importantly being able to help a family that needs a home. Aside the twenty four hour dedication to my tenants my main priority is respect to my tenants- I strive to provide them with a comfortable, clean, updated residence that they can call home. With Sheila Barrett’s real estate knowledge, to include Sheila’s attention to detail, personal involvement and professional attitude, Sheila has made it possible for me to achieve my goal of serving the housing community. As we all know our economy is struggling right now with various financial issues however Sheila has demonstrated her compassion and concerns for investors like me. Sheila prioritized herself with my budget and economic specifications to include discussing and planning future generated income potential for my company portfolio. Sheila’s dedication and extensive research of hundreds of homes and continuous direct contact with me demonstrates her strong work ethics. Sheila Barrett is not about high commissions on her sales however most importantly saving money for her clients.

  • Sheila Barrett went above and beyond for us. She was very knowledgeable about the business and did the best for us. We have tried the rest and Timeless Real Estate is the Best! Thank you again Sheila and may God continue to prosper you- Tyron and Cathy

  • Sheila is a great agent. We really enjoy working with her- Stonecrest
By TIMELESS REAL ESTATE SERVICES Posted in Reviews

Homes with sordid pasts: Creepy, but great bargains


Murder. Suicide. Homes with dark histories can be difficult to sell and often suffer severe drops in value. Here’s how to learn whether a home has a sketchy past and how to mitigate the stigma if you own one.
By Marilyn Lewis of MSN Real Estate

Chris Butler had a list of “musts” when he went house shopping in 2005 in Summit County, Ohio, near his hometown of Cleveland.

    “I had a pretty strict list,” he says. “I play rock ’n’ roll and I was tired of having the neighbors yell at me.” The house needed to have:

● Plenty of space to accommodate his band mates.

● Distance from neighbors, so he could make music without getting angry phone calls.

● Ground-level living quarters, in case his aging mom needed to move in.

It was a tall order in this part of Ohio, outside Akron, where the style is Ralph Lauren and the real-estate market is replete with two-story colonials, Butler recalls.

Imagine his happiness, then, when his agent showed him a stunning, 2,000-square foot split-level home atop a rocky hill on a two-acre lot deep in the woods near the town of Bath. The house was a stylish, well-built 1950s specimen, with a flat roof, wrap-around deck and expansive windows overlooking Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The price — $269,000 — seemed ridiculously low.

The other shoe dropped when Butler’s real-estate agent called. The seller’s agent had made an important disclosure: The house had been the childhood home of serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer and it was there — in 1978, while Dahmer was in his late teens — that he had committed his first murder.

Butler, a native of the region, knew that Dahmer had lived somewhere nearby. But the news that a homicide had happened in this house that he’d fallen in love with was a startling disappointment.

“My initial shock was, ‘I can’t do this,’” he says.

Then he looked at it differently: In a way — an offbeat way — the home’s bizarre and outcast persona resonated with his own. “After I got over it, it was like, ‘I can’t not do this.’ It fits my alternative lifestyle, my musician-artist nature,” he told himself.

He also understood a rule of thumb in the real-estate market: Homes that have a stigma are harder to sell. They spend more time on the market and, when they do sell, it’s usually at a discount. Some are never purchased and the owner must destroy them to recoup any of the value from the property.

The sellers of Dahmer’s childhood home were at a disadvantage, Butler sensed, so he offered even less than the low asking price and purchased the house for $245,000.

Owners stuck with loss
The sad truth is that if a property you own is the scene of a murder or infamous death, no one is likely to compensate you for the loss in value.

“Believe it or not,” Bell says, “insurance doesn’t cover this kind of thing. Insurance covers physical damage, but not these kinds of stigma damages.”

Bell’s job, in part, is to help owners of these properties establish the market value and figure out ways to mitigate the impact.

Bell helped the owner of the 9,000-square-foot Heaven’s Gate mansion evaluate his property after 39 cult members committed suicide there in 1997.

The owner had purchased the Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., property in 1994 for $1.37 million. By 1997, he listed it for sale at $1.59 million, and meanwhile was renting it to the Heaven’s Gate group. The home on 3.11 acres had every amenity — including an elevator, tennis court, spa, sauna and swimming pool – as well as privacy and a beautiful view.

After the deaths, the owner kept trying to sell, dropping his price to $1 million, Bell says. But no legitimate offers were made and expenses mounted: The decaying bodies caused $100,000 in damage. Finally, the owner let the home go to foreclosure.

“He lost a lot of money, unfortunately. His equity was gone,” Bell says. A neighbor bought the house and demolished it.

So this kind of stigma typically has two effects: It lowers market value and lengthens the time to sell.

A case in point is the Beverly Hills mansion of the Menendez family, where brothers Erik and Lyle murdered their parents in 1989. The father, Jose Menendez, bought the home — 9,063 square feet with 23 rooms, a tennis court, pool and guest house — the year before he died, for $4 million.

The Menendez mansion became a staple on tours of famous and infamous Los Angeles homes. It spent a year and a half on the market and sold for $3 million — about 35% less than equivalent homes that were selling in six months, Bell says.

Overcoming a stigma
Bell says making changes can help, depending on the cause of the stigma. For example, environmental problems can be fixed or a landslide danger remediated. At murder scenes, remodeling is an option. In the worst cases, such as with the Heaven’s Gate property, demolition is the answer.

Otherwise, the best hope for a stigmatized property is simply time. A fresh murder damages value the most. In such instances, Bell advises clients to rent the property — an easier proposition — and wait for time to pass and memories to fade. The more distant the heinous event in people’s minds, the better the chance that the value will recover.

Back in Ohio, Chris Butler continues to enjoy his “unbelievably cool pad,” along with any ghosts and stigma still clinging to it. Some neighbors still won’t set foot inside. But Butler says he believes the home’s notoriety may be fading.

Check out this great MSN Video: Ghost Stories From a Haunted House

Can you take over the abandoned home next door?


Q: The house next door is vacant. The previous owners let it go into foreclosure and moved out. The bank that owned it has abandoned it. I know because I’ve tried to contact them, and they say they have no record of it. Can I go in, change the locks, fix it up and rent it out? Will I be protected under squatter’s rights?
— Laura

A: The problem is, some entity does own that distressed house, even though it’s not “taking ownership of it” in the way that you and the rest of the neighborhood would like to see. If that foreclosure was not finalized — which is possible — the previous owner is still the owner. If it was finalized, the bank or whoever acquired the bank’s assets owns it.

Sorry, but a bank employee who wasn’t willing to dig into the property’s institutional history isn’t an official information source. Countless distressed properties seem to be disappearing in an ocean of red tape and red ink these days.

Research county records to locate the property deed, which will list the owner. Then make the right contacts from there.

Of course, you could try to take “adverse possession,” where you openly and without resistance “squat” on the property from five years to 25 years or more, depending on applicable laws. At that point, occupancy rights might revert to you.

But I don’t recommend it. The place could all be whisked away from you at a moment’s notice, and any tenants would be out on the street.

By the way, squatters who take over abandoned houses face more legal challenges in the United States than in most other countries. This is true even in so-called “front-door squats,” where occupants make little effort to conceal their presence.

A better option would be to make a cursory cash offer to the owner that would cover back taxes. This assumes you can locate the owner.

There also may be a local process for acquiring the home cheaply. At least 100 U.S cities have modified their abandoned-home laws in the last three years, and many are working with buyers who are interested in seized homes.

Some cities — such as Detroit, Atlanta and Cleveland — have clear-cut processes that allow adjacent owners to acquire abandoned properties.

Home-abandonment laws in this country essentially say owners must clearly demonstrate they have given up rights to a property. Long-term nonuse of a property isn’t quite enough to illustrate that, although it may help illustrate the owner’s intent to abandon.

On the other hand, leaving a house unguarded or free and open in a place that’s easily accessible can be considered abandonment in court. But there are no guarantees.

People who have moved into abandoned homes and started paying property taxes on them in recent years have had some success keeping them — or at least getting those tax payments reimbursed when the houses’ true owners reclaim them. But it’s a process fraught with uncertainty.

In the meantime, if you are entering the property to police it for trash, mow the overgrown grass or perform other upkeep, you are probably trespassing, at least technically.

Of course, few would complain about this case because it improves the neighborhood’s appearance. But if you were to mow into a cable or injure yourself there, you could face nagging legal or insurance complications.

To clean the place without such personal risk, contact the municipality or governing body where you live with a code-compliance complaint — be it for an overgrown lawn, trash, broken windows, vagrancy on the property, etc.

That should at least get an inspector out there who will assess the situation and contact the absentee landowner, if possible. If nothing else, the city will clear the lot and bill the owner.

Source
By Steve McLinden of Bankrate.com

1880 Historic Building Collapsed In Butchertown



Click on photo to see more…

Article from the Courier Journal Click to Read the Story at the Courier Journal

Owner of collapsed Butchertown building cites dispute with city over preservation

A building under renovation on Story Avenue in the Butchertown neighborhood collapsed on Wednesday afternoon, and the owner says a dispute with the city over preservation may have contributed to the incident.

No one was injured.

The collapse in the 1400 block of Story happened shortly after 4 p.m., according to a MetroSafe Communications dispatcher.

The structure on the corner of Story Avenue and Webster Street was split into two separate buildings with addresses of 1401 and 1403, each with three stories and with three apartments between the two, said Sgt. Sal Melendez, a spokesman for Louisville Fire & Rescue.

The front half of 1401 collapsed, but no one was inside. There were two apartments in 1401, one of which was occupied, though no one was home at the time.

The building is more than 140 years old, Melendez said.

Bobbie Rushing was the only one in the structure, at home in her apartment in the undamaged 1403 building. She ran out of her apartment when she felt shaking and found a cloud of dust and debris outside.

“It felt like what I would think an earthquake would feel like,” she said

Richard Bruning said he was power washing a building across the street when he took a break and saw an outside wall of the building give way.

“Next thing you know the whole side of the building collapsed,” Bruning said, adding that a plume of dust rose higher than all the buildings on the block.

The owner of the collapsed building, J.R. Hennessey, said he was renovating it to serve as a storefront on the ground floor with apartments above. He has owned it since March 2008, and estimated the building had been vacant since the mid-1990s.

Hennessey said he had been in a dispute with the city Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission which he said may have contributed to the collapse.

Inspectors went to the building Sept. 9 or 10, when Hennessey said he called after finding cracks in a wall.

Inspectors found “a significant bulge” in the brick wall, said Dave Marchal, urban design administrator who supervises the city landmarks staff.

“Everybody there knew that this thing was in trouble,” Marchal said.

Initially Hennessey wanted to put in a temporary support on the outside of the wall while he formulated a permanent plan, but the inspectors advised him to get an engineer’s opinion.

Because the building lies inside the Butchertown Preservation District, Hennessey would need the approval of the Landmarks Commission for any changes to the outside of the building.

Several engineers Hennessey spoke to said they could provide advice, but a contractor would have to agree to carry out any plan. He said several contractors he spoke with advised him the safest thing to do would be to take down the entire wall and build it new.

But when he brought this recommendation to the Landmarks Commission, Hennessey said he was told to get another engineer’s opinion.

“They wanted it done their way or no way,” Hennessey said.

Hennessey said he didn’t think he had enough time to get any permits to make changes to the outside. He said he was consulting with other contractors and working to put shoring support to the inside of the wall when the building collapsed.

Marchal said he was told Hennessey couldn’t afford to rebuild the wall, which Hennessey denies.

Marchal said his office’s goal is to keep historic buildings standing and “we wouldn’t have stood in the way” over a solution that would do so.