Plattsburgh Mortgage News: Old School Stip Chasing for Cancelled Checks

Old School Stip Chasing for Cancelled Checks

I write some blog posts to share my experiences with other professionals. I write some for the benefit of consumers. It's rare that I write a consumer centric post that also benefits professionals such as this one. I want to share an experience that I had recently.

I am working with a woman who purchased a home on a land contract. There were some issues with the file and we have been working with her here at Plattsburgh Mortgage Company for over a year to help her fix up her credit.

So when it finally came time to get her out of the land contract we weren't sure how to do it. When we initially started working with her we had been targeting USDA. However, since she moved into the home she built an addition with a seperate entrance, a seperate electric meter, and her utilities are on a seperate bill. 

That turned the home into a duplex thus making it ineligible for USDA Rural financing. So we decided to do it as a streamline FHA refinance which we can do but then we found out that the land contract had never been recorded. This presents a problem obviously because in order for her to refinance she needs to be the owner of the property. 

Well, the underwriter said that was OK and gave me some simple instructions. She said that the original land contract that we had on file showed that she a down payment on the property. She said that if we can get a copy of the cancelled check that we can do it as a refinance. Now, doing this deal as a refi is beneficial to the borrower because it is an easier process and costs a lot less out of pocket.

Simple right? All I have to do is get a copy of the cancelled check from the borrower. That is when things got complicated. I called her to ask her for the check. She said that she obtained the downpayment money by borrowing from her teacher's retirement account and that she signed it over to the seller. No problem. I called the seller to get it from him and he says that he has 7 different accounts, makes four or five deposits at a time, and has no idea where that check went.

I stayed on them for a couple of days hoping that they could track it down but no luck. Without this check the deal falls apart. I decided to take matters into my own hands. We used to do it all the time long away but stip chasing isn't really something that we do anymore. We have a phenominal processing and underwriting team that usually does it for us but in this case they didn't know what to do.

I called our borrower and told her what I was going to do. I called the teachers union retirement system and explained the situation to them. I very politely told the lady that I spoke to over the phone that I have a borrower signature authorization and that I would fax it over with my request. 

A few moments later I had that check in my hands and we were able to get the deal done. It was super simple to do and it saved the day. I feel very good about that and it is a reminder to me that while things have changed in this business over the past few years sometimes you just need to roll up your sleeves and dig in. 


Christopher Ohlsen

37 Boynton Ave

(845) 243-5293 (Office)

(518) 565-0799 (Cell)



Comment balloon 10 commentsChristopher Ohlsen • June 25 2014 02:18PM


Your persistence and diligence paid off, Christopher!  Many people would have thrown in the towel.   Great job!

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) over 4 years ago

I know this isn't the point of the story but I love credit unions. They are always so helpful.

Posted by Julie A. Black, CLHMS, CRS, GRI, Realtor, Broker (KAUAI DREAMS REALTY Kauai Real Property Specialist) over 4 years ago

Fascinating.  Always love it when old school techniques save the day.   :)

Posted by Jimmy Chickey, Realtor, Nationally Recognized Author, Teacher (Keller Williams Realty Southwest, Partner in the Jamie Cox Group) over 4 years ago

Fred - Yeah, everyone was actually about to throw the towel in on this one. The seller, his wife, my colleague. I told everyone that I was going to get the check and they all told me that the Teacher's Retirement System would not talk to me. However, this is how we used to do it when I was a broker (As opposed to a direct lender). Now, our processor gets everything for us but our processor was unable to obtain this check. I am glad that it worked out and since then I had to track down a missing 2012 W2 from Dunkin Donuts on another deal. I used the same method and it works. So long as we have a signed Borrower Signature Authorization we can get just about anything from anywhere.

Posted by Christopher Ohlsen (Credit Werx, LLC.) over 4 years ago

Julie - I agree, Credit Unions are usually a pleasure to work with. Danemora Federal Credit Union is a popular one in this area. They are always helpful when I need to get bank statements and/or loan documents. This was actually the Teacher's Union Retirement System but they were very nice and helpful as well.

Posted by Christopher Ohlsen (Credit Werx, LLC.) over 4 years ago

Jimmy - Same here. Going to be employing this strategy whenever there is anything that is hard to track down. A couple hours of detective work and 20 minutes on the fax machine is worth not having to kill a deal.

Posted by Christopher Ohlsen (Credit Werx, LLC.) over 4 years ago

Chris, thannk you for taking the time to chat with me today about the lead I wanted to send your way.  I hope it works out for you! 

Posted by Whitney Watson (First Heritage Mortgage) over 4 years ago

Your welcome Whitney and I really appreciate the referral! Thank you!

Posted by Christopher Ohlsen (Credit Werx, LLC.) over 4 years ago

It is great to have a financial adviser like yourself who is not afraid to do that extra mile and to do a bit more. At the end of the day, you have a happy client and a lots of referrals:)

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) about 4 years ago

Thank you for the kind words Inna! That is what it is all about. We can do mortgages that very few other lender's can because my business partner, Travis Carter, and I are willing to go the extra mile to get the deal done. We work hard to provide world class service and we do get a lot of referrals as a result.

Posted by Christopher Ohlsen (Credit Werx, LLC.) about 4 years ago