The Story Behind 1704 West Colorado NOT on the Foreclosure Block: Homeowner Wanted Bank’s Attention

1704 W Colorado

We do not think that 1704 West Colorado, the Oak Cliff home of Ken Row (and at one time, Sergio Remirez), is hitting the auction block tomorrow, or next month, though we know a lot of people looking for quarters under the seat cushions to buy this amazing historical estate. Robert Wilonsky over at The Dallas Morning News  got people more excited over the weekend, and gave us even more background on the stunning, 90 year old home — turns out it was built by James Binford and quite a party house even back in the day:

Best I can tell from our archives it was built by one James Robert Binford in 1925; according to our archives it was quite the party house even then. A March 1, 1929, headline reads “Mrs. J.R. Binford Entertains With Tea,” and merely lists some of the 300 guests in attendances, among them women all the way from …New York City.

As Jennifer Mitten notes in the comments, Mrs. J.R. Binford was Estelle Zang — daughter of early Oak Cliff developer John F. Zang, the boulevard’s namesake.

We had reached out to the owner of the home, Ken Row, right after we saw the story in The Advocate. He said he was a pretty shy guy and also  “I think we should wait to see how this movie ends… I think you can see from the facts available..this has been a calculated decision … I’m impressed you bird dogged me here.”

Ken directed us to his attorney, Dax Richards, who told us the house would not be on the auction block and that when the story came out, it wouldn’t be quite as salacious as we might be hoping. (Dang!) He was out of state and asked us to wait a bit, which we did, but we kept circling the story. I was intrigued by some other things the owner, Ken, whom I have heard is just one of the nicest people you could ever meet, had to say —

“It’s an important story that needs telling…  I’m the least of the story… just a guy with very little to lose… and the willingness to go to the mat for things I am passionate about. Of course the historical way to reference what I just said …”pride goeth before the fall” lol.”

This morning I reached Dax by phone. He told me the property will NOT be foreclosed on. The homeowner, Ken, was trying to get the bank’s attention (Bank of America, with another company doing the servicing) in order to refinance his interest rate using tactics that commercials properties sometimes use… withhold a few payments.

Well, this doesn’t work too well in residential. Especially after the foreclosure mess that led us into the Great Recession. The bank’s response was — to foreclose.

“To the banks credit, they understood (that Ken was NOT a scofflaw) and they already have reinstatement papers working,” said Dax. Dax had told me the auction item would be taken down from the website, but that didn’t happen. Could be because of 4th of July vacations or that perhaps the sites don’t remove the listings, just cross them off the real list at the auction. In any case, Dax has multiple emails and phone conversations indicating that Ken is once again to be the owner of his home on paper.

“Regulations give you certain channels at banks right now, which are different than commercial,” says Dax.

No kidding. As anyone who has ever dealt with a big bank holding a mortgage knows only too well… it’s difficult to follow the given channels and like moving Mt. Everest to get a live person on the phone. We dealt with Wells Fargo a few years ago and they told me my phone calls to their live person in Arizona were limited to 5 on my fourth call.

“Bank decision making goes through a tree the computer holds,” says Dax. “This was an attempt to get some attention from a bank and get a human to talk to them.”

It was a scream I feel loud and clear! Fortunately, Dax says the bank did realize best decision was full reinstatement of a property that is known as one of the Most Beautiful in Dallas, one the owner has a hellofalot of equity in. He paid $1.1 million for it in 2000, subdivided and sold the back house but still has 9/10th of an acre.

However, there may be another chapter: Ken’s house has received so much media attention over this, who knows? Maybe he just touched on a drastic but great new way get attention for a home. Here are some more photos of 1704 West Colorado… oh and sorry if we disappoint that it WON’T be on the auction block:

 

 

 

5 Comment

  • What a house! Wow! And what a story!

  • Fascinating story! Thanks for the update, Candy. I feel his pain. The big banks are not to be trusted and service is next to non-existent. Good for him. I applaud his tactics. As a neighbor, we are glad it will not be in foreclosure.

  • The only caveat in this story is that large banks don’t hold the mortgage. Many of them only service the mortgage. Generally, banks are not the holder in due course of the note. The paper is traded to the federal Reserve who creates the funds. The notes are then traded as securities and the true owner of the note is difficult to ascertain. The banks only hold evidence of debt.

  • thank you Dodd-Frank

  • Still seems fishy to me. Why does he need to get the bank’s ‘attention’ in order to refi? Probably because his house doesn’t appraise for nearly enough, as in it’s mortgaged to the hilt. And a refi after 15 years, when the last few years have had the lowest rates in history? I’d keep digging on this one.