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Couple regain home lost at auction

When their home was auctioned on the courthouse steps, it seemed almost certain that Jeff and Cathy Norberg would suffer the ultimate penalty for failing to pay their homeowner dues.

The Carrollwood Village couple said they forgot to pay the annual $390 fee and they never received the late notices or court documents that were mailed after the association foreclosed on their home.

"I did not receive anything until after my house was sold," said Norberg, 45.

But he and his wife received good news this week. They negotiated a deal with the real estate investor who bought the property, and will keep their home at 14723 Clarendon Drive.

"We were successful in resolving this at mediation," said Clay Holtsinger, a lawyer who represented the couple. Holtsinger said the couple has asked that the details of their settlement remain confidential.

"We're happy we were able to come to an agreement and that's the most important thing," Mrs. Norberg said. "We're tired, relieved and we just want to pick up the pieces and put it all behind us."

Investor Gary Casper bought the Norberg's home in December for $36,000 at auction. The homeowner association received $2,200 of that. Norberg would have received the rest if Casper had taken possession of the house.

Norberg says he owes $88,000 on the 2,500-square-foot home. The couple paid $140,000, and Norberg estimates it's worth $170,000.

While the courthouse sale was final, a judge gave the Norbergs a chance to negotiate with Casper in order to save everyone the expense of a lengthy appeals process.

Casper also would not discuss details of the settlement they reached. However, he did say it was "more than fair."