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Homebuyer claims diet pills caused auction mistake

Florida Attorney Moses DeWitt
Florida Attorney Moses DeWitt

South Orange County resident Mary McKaig said she had been confused after taking “judgment-altering” weight-loss medication for the first time and mistakenly bid more than $100,000 at a Feb. 19 public auction for a house that — unbeknownst to her — was saddled with more than $400,000 of debt, according to court documents filed by her attorney.
Immediately after submitting the top auction bid through the Orange County court auction process, McKaig realized she made a mistake, according to the court records. She hired an attorney to try to undo what she had just done.

McKaig and her husband “basically dumped $100,000 into a property that is $100,000 underwater,” said Orlando attorney Richard Weinman, who represents McKaig.

Mistakenly buying a property enshrouded in debt is more common that most people think, DeWitt said. He noted that five other bidders on the Windermere house were willing to pay more than the homeownerassociation debt on it.

But few people, he added, overbid by as much as McKaig did.

“I’ve seen so many people get themselves into this situation,” said DeWitt. He said he once had a client who purchased at auction a house that, unbeknownst to the buyer, was deeply underwater. The buyer spent $50,000 on renovations before he realized his mistake and the bank filed to foreclose.

Weinman said foreclosure-auction bidders are best served when they hire an insured title company to research the property. For anyone who wants to bid on multiple properties, that can become expensive.

But, he added, it’s better than unknowingly purchasing a property deeply underwater with debt.