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Last Updated: Friday, 23 February 2007, 09:40 GMT
House repossession 'lost me 22K'
The flat was sold at auction in Plymouth for 82,000
A Torquay woman has criticised the system of auctioning repossessed homes after she lost out on 22,000.

Susan Smith's flat was sold by receivers at auction in London for 60,000, but six weeks later it fetched 82,000 at auction in Plymouth.

The practice, which is standard, reveals how some borrowers fail to get the best price for repossessed homes.

Her plight came as mortgage repossession orders reached a five-year high in England and Wales last year.

Mrs Smith told BBC Inside Out how she was forced to give up her home after she remortgaged her property to pay off debts and fell behind with the mortgage payments.

Susan Smith
I think I just want to cry
Susan Smith
The 60,000 she received for her property leaves her with 27,000 still to find.

"I'm not quite sure how I'm going to pay the money back," she said.

"I think I just want to cry."

Mrs Smith added: "I've got to find 27,000. At the moment they can swing for it. Because they're not going to get it off me."

Inside Out learned of several repossessed properties that were sent to auction in London.

For instance:

  • A flat in Torquay that sold for 47,000 at auction in London, fetched 66,000 just two months later when auctioned again locally.

  • A house in Plymouth that sold for 71,000 in London, turned up two months later in a local auction and sold for 82,000.

  • And in Weymouth a house that sold at auction in London for 100,000 was sold locally two months later and fetched 118,000.

Plymouth auctioneer Graham Barton said: "There are hundreds of thousands of pounds to be made, but the guys who buy in London and sell in the West Country aren't the bad guys.

Mrs Smith outside her flat
"The errors are being made by mortgage lenders and their advisors in taking it to London in the first place.

"You'd have thought the mortgage lenders would have wanted to make the best price rather than give an easy profit to someone."

Mrs Smith's lender, GMAC-RFC, said the lender's duty was to obtain "the best possible price within a reasonable timeframe" and this was standard practice across the industry.

Because Mrs Smith took out a buy-to-let mortgage, GMAC said it appointed receivers to handle the sale of the flat and it was the receivers who decided to auction it in London.


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