Disabled Family's Home Is Saved
The original intention in 2006 was to give a wheelchair friendly home to a family with a wheelchair-bound daughter. The home was lost at a tax deed sale. Desoto Holdings, Inc, Brad Hodge and Michael Smith of the Sunnyside Foundation raised the money to buy the home back for the family.
Desoto Holdings, Inc. a local real estate investor and wholesaler, and their Vice President, Brad Hodge, along with instrumental help from the Sunnyside Foundation of Sarasota, have successfully raised the $40,000 needed for the Karen Laffler family to purchase the home they have been living in since 2006. The home was originally built specifically to accomdate the Karen Laffler and her daughter, who has Spina Bifida and has been wheelchair-bound since birth. Wide hallways, low counters and a specially designed bathroom were all required. With the help of the community’s developer and many donations of time and materials from the community, the keys were delivered to the Laffler family seven years ago, but an unfortunate series of events put them in danger of eviction.
The home was held in a Limited Liability Corporation for many years, but the taxes inadvertently went unpaid, causing the home to be sold at a tax deed sale for $40,100 to an investor named Dominck Tarantola in 2010. Mr. Tarantola had no way to know the unique situation with the Laffler family and their custom handicap-accessible home. He tried to rent the home to the family, but deed restrictions forbid renting and only the homeowner may live in the house. As this was leading to a forced eviction, Mr. Tarantola came to Desoto Holdings searching for solutions. To make the situation even worse, at about the time the home was sold at auction, the Karen Laffler had a stroke and is now also in a wheelchair.
After many months of effort, it bacame clear that the only solution was to sell the home to the Laffler family. In an act of great kindness, Mr. Tarantola agree to sell the home to the Laffler family for $40,000, which is about half of its real value. Desoto Holdings’ task was then to find a way to fund the purchase. The family’s limited income is devoted to basic living expenses and medical care, so they did not qualify for a mortgage. Valiant but failed attempts were made to find a private lender, and the outlook for saving the family home was grim.
At this point, Michael Smith, Director of the Sunnyside Foundation of Sarasota came forward with a $20,000 commitment, as long as Desoto Holdings could raise the remaining $20,000 plus closing expenses and under the important restriction that the family would own the home free and clear. On August 30th, with the help of generous donations from 60 additional members of the community, the last of the money was raised. The final push over the top was provided by real estate agent Damon Zuchelli, who kindly waived all but a few hundred dollars of his commission to reach the goal.
A closing is set for Friday, September 6th, at which point the Laffler family will be secure in the knowledge that they have a permanent place to live, without fear of being homeless or breaking up the family. Equity National Title of Palm Harbour is performing the closing with no fees or profits. Last minute assistance reconciling of association dues was quickly and efficiently provided by Progressive Community Management and Association Financial Services.
The deed to the property will be given to the family at a celebratory event at the Bella Mia Grill(soon to be known as the VS Grill) at Riviera Dunes in Palmetto. The event will be from 1pm to 3pm on Saturday, September 14th, and is sponsored by Desoto Holdings and discounted delicious food from the VS Grill. Donors that contributed money or services are invited to attend at no expense, but all are welcome with a $10 per person donation to the Lafflers family’s future medical expenses. You may contact the manager of the VS Grill, Steve Polanski, at email@example.com. Regarding this series of events, you may contact Brad Hodge at 941-724-7744 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
VP, Desoto Holdings, Inc.
Manager, Bay Vision Realty, Inc.
Licensed real estate salesperson in the state of Florida
4232 20th St W
Bradenton, FL 34205