L. A. Heir
Stephanie Collett sighed as she tried to focus on her laptop. It was late at night shortly before Christmas 2012, and she had spent hours trying to make the math work on a struggling apartment complex. Although she had no training or background in real estate, as a Stanford MBA student (2013), she was the best resource her family had to solve a complex financial dilemma. Her husband’s grandmother had just passed away, leaving the family a portfolio of low-end rental properties scattered throughout the Los Angeles (L.A.), California, metropolitan area. One property in particular, an apartment complex located at West 92nd/94th Street, was behind on its maintenance schedule, as well as behind in payments on taxes and the mortgage. Collett’s brother-in-law, Aaron Collett, had been working hard to bring the property back to profitability, but the bank was threatening to foreclose, and the Colletts had to make a decision. Should they pay off the loan and continue renting the property, which would require taking out a mortgage on the family home? Should they sell the property and use the proceeds to pay off the loan? Or should they just hand over the keys?
Stephanie Collett was not at all sure how to go about valuing the property, but she knew two things: the West 92nd/94th Street complex was hemorrhaging cash, and the bank was preparing the foreclosure paperwork. Whatever they were to decide, they would need to decide fast.