SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Alexis McGee, founder of Foreclosures.com, made a national reputation by helping investors find and buy distressed properties whose owners were struggling to stave off foreclosure.
Now those investors might have an unlikely prize in a large new Craftsman-style home in Fair Oaks, Calif., that's scheduled for sale on the courthouse steps early next month.
The distressed owner?
McGee started her website in 1995 as a place for investors to find information on buying distressed properties. The site, which caters to paid subscribers, has grown in popularity. Along the way McGee became a renowned expert -- writing books, offering seminars and getting quoted regularly in media nationwide, including The Bee.
But McGee started having money problems nearly two years ago, records show.
In March 2009, the state filed a lien against her property for $127,000 in unpaid taxes. In August this year, the federal government filed a lien for $210,000 in unpaid taxes.
In June, McGee and her husband, Timothy McGee, went into default on their Fair Oaks home as well as on a property at the Squaw Creek resort in Squaw Valley. As of June 15 the couple was behind $65,000 on their Fair Oaks mortgage. As of June 28, they were $25,000 delinquent on their Squaw Creek loan.
The Squaw Creek home was headed to a foreclosure auction but McGee said she was able to work out a short sale. A short sale is where a lender agrees to let a home sell for less than the money owed on the mortgage loan. A lender can reject such a sale and instead move forward with foreclosure.
McGee said she's trying to arrange a short sale of her Fair Oaks home as well.
"We didn't want to sell it," McGee said. "It does not make financial sense to keep this property."
Earlier this month the lender filed a notice of trustee's sale showing McGee and her husband owe $1.7 million on the Fair Oaks property.
While the house is scheduled to be sold on the courthouse steps in early January, McGee said she's working with a Lyon Real Estate agent on a short sale.
McGee said the Fair Oaks home should sell for a bit less than $1 million -- down from the $3 million-plus she said the home was worth when built in 2007.
Originally, she tried to get a loan modification but found the lender, First Horizon Home Loan Corp., unreceptive, McGee said.
"There's just not a lot of interest in working with the high-end homes," she said.
McGee said she's fortunate that she knows how the system works and has been able to switch from pursuing a loan modification to securing a short sale.
"We're lucky we knew what to do," she said.
McGee is just the latest big name in the region to personally suffer the impact of the foreclosure crisis.
In October, Fox News commentator and financial guru Tom Sullivan acknowledged that he was seeking a short sale on his Granite Bay, Calif., home.
Former Sacramento Kings player Ron Artest finalized a short sale on his Loomis, Calif., home earlier this year, and former teammate Kevin Martin also sought such a sale to stave off foreclosure on his Rocklin, Calif., home.
"This can happen to anybody," said Pam Canada, chief executive officer of NeighborWorks Sacramento, a community development nonprofit that among other functions counsels those facing foreclosure. "We've seen through this tragedy over the last couple of years -- people in all walks of life and circumstances have been affected by this."
(E-mail Sacramento Bee reporter Robert Lewis at rlewis(at)sacbee.com.)
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.scrippsnews.com.)