By: Jared Clemence 

My mind drifts back to Jose and Sofia Aguayo again. But more on that a little later. I still cannot believe that they successfully stole 10 properties and almost got away with it.

Quick Updates

Law

Life has changed dramatically for me since I last posted. I interviewed with two amazing firms: Coleman & Horowitt, LLP, and Darling & Wilson. Coleman & Horowitt offered me a part-time position as a law clerk, for which I am extremely grateful. I had the pleasure of seeing the lawyers from Darling & Wilson at a Probate education seminar last week, and it was good to see them, but I’m really glad to have a home where I am at.

Real Estate

Because of my part-time job, I have cut back on real estate significantly. I work real estate only four days each week, because I am a law clerk on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. During the other four days, I am real estate agent, husband, father, and law student.

Eleanor

Eleanor is growing so fast. Tonight, she literally asked my wife if she could go to bed. Because she cannot yet speak, she did this by walking herself into her bedroom and playing quietly until my wife came to find her. When she saw Mom, she smiled and pointed at her crib. She pulled out her blanket and laid on the floor in front of Tarah so that Tarah could start her bedtime playlist. Had I not been in classes for Bankruptcy Law, it is something that I would have loved to have seen firsthand!

Law School

On Tuesday nights, I have Statutory Interpretation, which brings me back to Jose and Sofia Aguayo. For Statutory Interpretation, I am required to pick a statute and to become an expert on it. The goal, by the end of the class, is for me to make a hypothetical pitch to my hypothetical law firm as to why the firm ought to develop a practice around that section of the code.

Jose and Sofia Aguoya

Since before my first year of law school, I have been fascinated with “adverse possession” and the statutes found in Chapter 2, Part 2, Title 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Jose and Sofia Aguayo created a “business” (as they described it) around legally taking other people’s property. As far as I can tell, they successfully took (stole?) 9 properties. However, because they did not understand the statutes as well as they thought they did, they were prosecuted both criminally and civilly and did not successfully take the tenth property.

Adverse Possession in Oildale

It fascinates me that such a thing is even possible! Rumors circulate about people who live in Oildale that have amassed properties in this way. The expertise is out there, and people use this information to convert abandoned, unloved properties into profitable rentals. In doing so, it is possible also to remove the blight upon the community of dilapidated unloved buildings. Although, not every landlord is good spirited, and some just want to be slumlords.

New Investors in Bakersfield are Likely to Make Mistakes like Jose and Sofia Aguoya did

I’m reminded of all the new real estate investors who appear in town each year. They don’t just move into town. Rather, they are grown here. Each year, seminars advertise to those people who are either curious or desperate for something new.

After the seminars pass through town, newly educated real estate investors “pop up.” The most recent new addition to cross my desk is Sequoia Capital LLC, which formed in November 2020. I’m not sure which real estate seminar they attended, but I suspect they will learn some hard lessons, because they are essentially practicing real estate without a license. They think they can escape the license by offering home owners a unilateral contract that appears to be an “option contract.” But the tasks required to secure an interest in the contract all constitute real estate sales. One day, the Department of Real Estate will likely come knocking on their door!

But the fact of the matter is this: There are so many new real estate investors out there, like Jose and Sofia Aguoya, who have the passion, but lack the knowledge. These people are likely going to need legal counsel, and knowing how to use these statutes can be an easy way to get the “foot in the door” with people who know that they need a lawyer, but are hesitant to spend the money.

Final Thoughts

Anyway, the case history of Jose and Sofia Aguoya will continue to fascinate me. However, I don’t anticipate that I will be developing a practice around adverse possession. Still, it will be a fun topic on which to base a school assignment, and the topic allows me to research further a fascinating area of the law.

Naturally, if you need a good lawyer, you should call Coleman & Horowitt. If they cannot help you, then they can refer you to someone who can! I could not be more proud to work with such a great group of people who are honest, trustworthy and put the client first. Seriously, I’m a blessed man!