You know this house. It’s the large white one on the right as you drive into town on Division Street, just before the First Avenue split – number 506. There are large tree limbs blocking one side of the crescent-shaped driveway, limbs that fell during the blizzard last February.
Why is it in such a derelict state?
According to town records, the property is owned by the Federal National Mortgage Association, otherwise known as Fannie Mae. The former owners – Robert Rainville of East Greenwich and Lisa Walker of California – deeded the property over to Fannie Mae last August to avoid foreclosure.
Since then – possibly before that – it has sat vacant and neglected.
“You’re trying to talk to someone at Fannie Mae about a house in East Greenwich and it’s like a black hole. You get no response,” said Town Building Official Wayne Pimental.
“I’ve left emails with them. I’ve left phone messages with them,” Pimental said. “It’s absolutely amazing. With an asset like that, you’d think they want to maintain it, but they really don’t care.”
The house, a Colonial built in 1920, is 1,764 square feet, has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an in-ground pool, central air conditioning and a two-car garage.
It last sold on the market in 2005 for $395,000. It is assessed at $348,500 and taxes are up-to-date, according to the town's finance department.
According to Pimental, when a property is neglected, the town tries to contact the owner to take care of it. If that doesn’t work the town will then send a town employee out to mow the lawn and place a lien on the property for the cost of the service. In this particular case, he said, they haven’t done anything at the property because of the tree limbs.
“I’m dealing with about six to eight foreclosed properties right now, in various states of neglect,” he said. “I know some towns require that when a house goes into a bank’s hands, you have to give a contact name and number” to the town for the property. East Greenwich does not require that.
I decided to give Fannie Mae a call, to see if I could find out anything. I was told 506 Division Street was not in their system. It’s not listed on homepath.com, the website listing Fannie Mae homes for sale – two houses in East Greenwich are listed there. In an earlier call to Fannie Mae, a representative said some homes owned by FM are not yet listed for sale because of foreclosure red tape.
But 506 Division was not foreclosed on, so what's the deal with that vacant on Division Street? We're still looking for answers....