So off we go, perhaps after words I'll stop by one of those cool Grove eateries and get waited on by ex mortgage brokers! I use the trusty nav in my car to get me there, cruise down 32 ave and make a right onto Oak Ave. The further west I go, the worse its getting, almost to the point where I have to rethink WHY THE HELL AM I HERE! I come to the stop sign at the corner of Oak Ave and Elizabeth St and one of the neighborhood characters on a broken down old bike (is there a more PC way to say it?) graciously offers to sell me some drugs. I politely decline his offer and look around for a $600,000 home, unfortunately I see nothing that even resembles a home worth that much. I get ready to leave the stop sign and look over to my left for oncoming traffic and spot a crack house, at this point I almost had an accident (not vehicular either!). Low and behold the crack house on my left had the numbers 3390 on the front! GOOD LORD! I was looking directly at one thousand three hundred and four square feet of SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLAR HOUSE! Here's some photos for your viewing pleasure!
OK, before we get carried away here, let me play realtor and see if I can jazz this house up a little, lets imagine the listing...
Quaint two bedroom home in the heart of the grove, fireplace, guesthouse, corner lot. Great views and interesting architectural elements rarely found in the area, home is full of that old Florida charm! Ideally situated in a great neighborhood, great for small children. Conveniently located near major amenities.Well? Does the description at least make it seem like a $600,000 house? FCUK THAT! Its a little run down house with a sagging roof that's in the worse area of the grove. Not even on the edge of the grove where the boundary between the good area and the bad is blurry, its just BAD! At best this is was a $250,000 to $275,000 home at the peak of the market. I'm assuming that at the time of the sale there were windows and there were actually people living in it. Seeing as how the area is rampant with drug users and dealers, I can see how once the house was vacated, the criminal elements in the area moved into it and destroyed it. I will bet money that at foreclosure sale, this house would be hard pressed to break $20,000.
After looking at the home that is the center of this mess, I've become even more infuriated. You wonder, did Detective Jorge Baluja ever go out and see the house himself? I would have to conclude that if he had done so, his investigation would have gone in a completely different direction. I wonder, what kind of training do the cops on the Mortgage Fraud Task Force get? I'm sure the training is intensive, thorough and covers all aspects of real estate transactions. At this point, I think we need to take a closer look at the good detective and see what he's about.