Former Mortgage Broker Selling Possessions On eBay/Craigslist To Avoid Foreclosure

Marketplace Money took a look at some folks who are selling their possessions on eBay and Craigslist in order to pay their bills. The main interviewee was a former mortgage broker who used to make six figures but was now selling his collection of cool amps to pay off his $5,000 a month mortgage and $50,000 in credit card debt.

From Marketplace Money:

Jagow: So how did you get to the point where you’re having to sell your most prized things?

Ron: Basically, I hit a negative cash flow when the real estate market crashed about two years. I’m a residential mortgage banker. I’ve worked for banks like Washington Mutual and World Savings, but the last lender I worked for was Washington Mutual which was for a good five years. I’m used to making six-figure income without really any effort at all to be honest with you. If I applied myself, I’d make a good quarter of a million a year and that’s pretty much been the flow of things since 1999.

Jagow: So it’s been good times?

Ron: Yeah, so I loaded up, was able to buy every dream amplifier I ever wanted and I started a collection. I started buying real estate as well. I bought a rental and some land.

Jagow: Right, so you’ve got land, you’ve got a great collection of guitars and amps, but what happened? Where did things go wrong?

Ron: Well, slowly, the real estate market just started deteriorating — the mortgage meltdown, they call it. It got to the point where lenders just didn’t want to lend anymore. Even when I brought loans in that met all the requirements that even their pickiness required, they still wouldn’t do it. You know, they starved us to the point where they eventually laid us off and closed all the offices.

Jagow: And obviously, this decimated your personal finances?

Ron: Oh yeah. I was forced to live on my savings and when you have a mortgage of $5,000 a month and I had about $50,000 in credit cards at the time, you’ve got a lot of bills. Bottom line is my savings deteriorated pretty quickly, you know, having no income.

Jagow: Well I know that you’ve been liquidating savings, 401(k), stocks, things like that.

Ron: Yeah.

Jagow: How far down the line did you go before you got to the guitars and amps?

Ron: Well, once everything was gone as far as paper money like stocks, bonds, IRAs, now I’m having to resort to my physical collateral, which is my possessions really.

Ron says he’s trying to find a new career but the job market is flooded with people from the shipwrecked mortgage industry. Marketplace Money says the number of sale listings on Craigslist doubled in March compared to last year. You can listen to Ron’s interview here.

Using the Internet to make ends meet [Marketplace]

Comments

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  1. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    Fromer?

  2. blackmage439 says:

    “I’m used to making six-figure income without really any effort at all to be honest with you. If I applied myself, I’d make a good quarter of a million a year and that’s pretty much been the flow of things since 1999.”

    Well, then. If you had all of that free time, you should have been paying attention to the market trends.

    Lazy, arrogant assholes like you are the reason we’re in this mess.

  3. emmybee says:

    he liquidated his IRA before selling off extra amps?

  4. Nearsite00 says:

    He needed a money manager.

  5. Murph1908 says:

    Ok, I am not usually the one to blame the ‘victim’, but let me sum up:

    Working in a market known to be volatile, I took on too much debt and bought shit I don’t really need.

    Now the market has crashed, my “savings” didn’t last, and I have to sell the crap I bought, but only after squandering my retirement savings first.

  6. Jenng says:

    A six figure income with no effort on his part and he racked up 50K in credit card debt?!?!?!? It’s called living beyond your means and now you want empathy from us? Maybe he should have invested some of that six figure income in something other than amps and credit card debt.

  7. LetMeGetTheManager says:

    @Jaysyn:

    Not to be confused with Frommer’s travel guides.

  8. RandoX says:

    Um, If you’re making 1/4 mil a year, why not pay cash for some of those goodies?

  9. Murph1908 says:

    Oh, and I am not even IN the real estate market, but you couldn’t go a day 3 years ago without hearing about the “housing bubble” and how it might burst.

  10. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Somebody call the waaaaaaaaaaambulance.

    Seriously, my sympathy meter is pegged on 0 right now.

  11. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @emmybee: EXACTLY. The IRAs and the 401(k) is the last thing you touch.

    He says he has no income. I don’t hear “unemployment”, so is he just sitting around doing nothing? Why not get a temp or a consulting job?

    No sympathy. You adapt and work in a different climate to right the ship.

  12. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    I know he’s trying to avoid foreclosure, but when you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, and you don’t have a job, SELL THE HOUSE. As mortgage guy, he got a sweet fixed rate on that house.

  13. heavylee-again says:

    If he had $50K in CC debt while still earning that kind of income, it’s hard to have much sympathy for him.

  14. Nissan288 says:

    i wouldn’t necessarily hire someone as a consultant who failed at this previous job…it’s like hiring someone at a failed hedge fund…you just don’t do it.

  15. bdgbill says:

    Aquiring extremely bad credit before I was 23 was probably the best thing that ever happened to me.

    I defaulted on the little “starter” credit cards before I had the chance to rack up 20,30 or 50K in credit card debt like so many of my friends.

    Now, in my late 30’s, I’m used to a cash based life and have exactly 0 dollars of debt.

  16. RBecho says:

    It’s posts like these that remind me that it’s okay to blame the victim sometimes. Like that victim that somehow loses it all and does dumb stuff to make it happen.

    How I love these posts. Keep them coming consumerist.

  17. @Jenng: I didn’t really see a call for empathy on his part. Didn’t see a lot of contrition, either, for that matter. But I didn’t get a “feel sorry for me” vibe. Just an explanation of how he got where he is. Which did take some pretty stupid decision-making, btw.

  18. heavylee-again says:

    @bdgbill: Very interesting point of view. Good way to look at it.

  19. howie_in_az says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: Exactly. He’s probably one of the reasons we’re all in this mess anyway.

    Also lol to $50k in credit card debit with a six-figure income.

    @bdgbill: Same here due to a certain video game company not liking me trading their games. Now the only debt I have is the car and house, both of which are being overpaid monthly :)

  20. ladycrumpet says:

    @emmybee: I agree – not that I’m wholly sympathetic to his situation, but draining his retirement money before selling things he didn’t need? Also, why didn’t he consider filing for bankruptcy?

  21. woodenturkey says:

    @bdgbill:

    Right there with ya pal, when i was younger, and waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay less responsible I screwed up my credit pretty bad, while everyone was out getting more easy “money” I was paying off the debits I had while unable to acquire any new debt because I was a FICO nightmare. Now I live the cash only life style and I couldn’t be happier!

  22. woodenturkey says:

    @howie_in_az:

    “Same here due to a certain video game company not liking me trading their games.”

    What do you mean?

  23. jinjin1080 says:

    @emmybee: That’s what I was thinking. Wtf? He bankrupted his future for a couple of “cool” amps, no wonder he’s going broke. talk about f’ed up priorities.

  24. teapartys_over says:

    This guy is a victim of himself only. It’s kind of great, actually.

  25. rbcat says:

    To those who are quick to pounce on this guy for failing to plan: You DNRTFA, just the quoted block in Meg’s story. Clicking through to the article gets us:

    Jagow: Have you sat down and thought about how quickly things have changed here? You’ve gone from having all this land and making six figures to having to sell a guitar just to pay the rent.

    Ron: Yeah. I saw it coming two years ago and there was nothing I could do about it. It’s kind of like seeing the Titanic crash, you know. You see it, but there’s nothing you can do about it. I’ve tried everything in my power to prevent this from happening. I even tried to set up another business and that failed. I tried to resort to my other career which was hotel management was what I did before I got into this, but it seems it’s been a good 15 years since I’ve done that and no one will really give me a chance, you know? And the funny thing is I go and I interview and they have no respect for anyone in the mortgage business because they get so many applicants from that line of work. You know, I’ve lived in my car before; I’ll do it again if I have to, but I’m not too concerned with anything other than just seeing, I don’t know, some kind of a secure income within the next year. That’s my hope.

    So he had some kind of clue the crash was coming, but for whatever reason (I’m betting it’s the strong financial management skills that let him rack up $50k in debt on a quarter-mil salary) he couldn’t get out of the way.

  26. savvy9999 says:

    I don’t detect any whining on his part, but good grief– how can a moron like this, that doesn’t know how to manage his own finances, be expected to be of any value to a consumer who is looking for the best deal on a home mortgage?

    No, I’m sure he would never steer people into shitty terms, crazy ready-to-blow-up ARMS, etc, when he’s buying real estate instead of paying down high-interest CC debt.

  27. Kounji says:

    How the **** do you have 50k in credit card debt and average 100,000 a year?

  28. rbb says:

    And the worst is yet to come. He better have saved some money for the additional taxes/penalties he’s going to have to pay the IRS for cashing out the 401K and the IRAs. What a schmuck.

  29. Landru says:

    I’m sorry, but this poor guy is a perfect example of why the mortgage meltdown occurred in the first place, on many levels.

    $50,000 in credit card debt with a six figure income?

    btw, I suspect that part of the boom in Craigslist postings has to do with how awful eBay has become.

  30. mammalpants says:

    “I’m used to making six-figure income without really any effort at all to be honest with you. If I applied myself, I’d make a good quarter of a million a year and that’s pretty much been the flow of things since 1999″

    good for you! i dont make anywhere near that, but then again, im not craigslisting all my sh¡t now am i?

    proof that no matter how much you make, you cant buy wisdom and financial responsibility.

  31. Juggernaut says:

    @emmybee:
    @BuddyGuyMontag:
    @BuddyGuyMontag:
    @ladycrumpet: I call bullshit on this story. No one working in the mortgage field is going to liquidate all his holdings before thinking BK.

  32. graymulligan says:

    @Landru yup…CL looks mighty good to thos eof us that used to use Ebay. If Ebay ever decides to become an auction site instead of a haven for scammers and attention seekers, I’ll come back. Maybe.

  33. Manok says:

    he can always sell cars. They need greasy people like ex mortgage brokers.

  34. pmathews says:

    I spent my first three years out of college making 6 figures. My wife and I used that to pay off student loans, buy a house, buy furnishings for said house, and save for emergency’s. I worked crazy hours in the oil field and we knew I couldn’t work like that for long so we prepared and did not live above our means. I used to work with people like this who spent all their money on 4 wheelers and fancy cars. The sad part is that these types of people have more credit than me. It may not be good credit but credit nonetheless.

  35. BlondeGrlz says:

    @Manok: My mortgage broker used to sell cars. He considered the mortgage business a step up.

  36. What an idiot.

    $5,000 mortgage on a less than $250K / year income that’s based almost completely on commissions is just an incredibly stupid thing to do.

  37. Silversmok3 says:

    Before we all get the pitchforks and brimstone, Consider this:
    Id like to see how many holier-than-thou Consumerist commenters honestly never missed a payment,bought too much useless crap, or got laid off owing too much credit card debt.

    I, for one, see a man who realizes the error of his ways , and has to turn to Craigslist to recover.If youre doing your job right and still get the boot,thats not personal irresponsibility, that’s BS corporate managment.

    Let he without sin cast the first stone.

  38. bossco says:

    I just don’t feel too bad for him.

  39. Sudonum says:

    @rbb:
    You pay the penalties up front when you get the disbursement, and if he had no other income I doubt he’ll be paying much in taxes on what he did get.
    @Manok: @BlondeGrlz: Yeah, my brother was a Finance Manager for a mega dealership in CA, he left to get into mortgages as a “step up” no weekends or late nights, etc. Now he can’t find any work in either field in CA. As a matter of fact when I saw this I immediately thought of him as he’s been selling everything he owns on eBay and has started BK proceedings. As far as I’m concerned he’s just reaping what he sowed.

  40. nutrigm says:

    Loan Officers are the dumbest and most over-paid people in the world. Damn I wanna be a Loan Officer! lol

  41. theblackdog says:

    Suze Orman would kick his ass for liquidating his 401k and IRA’s. Those are the last things you touch when you need cash, and they’re also the last things you cut back your contributions to (unless you’re going to hit the IRS limit).

  42. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @Silversmok3:

    I, for one, see a man who realizes the error of his ways , and has to turn to Craigslist to recover.

    From the article:

    Jagow: How far down the line did you go before you got to the guitars and amps?
    Ron: Well, once everything was gone as far as paper money like stocks, bonds, IRAs, now I’m having to resort to my physical collateral, which is my possessions really.

    I see a guy who paid his mortgage and debts by liquidating every penny of his his savings, including all of his long term retirement savings while keeping his amplifier collection.

    I see a guy who kept a $5,000 monthly mortgage payment even after 6, 12, 18 months of having NO income and little or no hope of getting anything even remotely close to his former income any time in the foreseeable future.

    He says he saw it coming so he doesn’t look like a clueless ass in the interview. If he had seen this coming, he would have known which items you get to keep in a bankruptcy proceeding in his state (such as any money in certain IRAs) and which ones you don’t (like amps), and he would have liquidated his assets accordingly. He would have sold the damned house as soon as he realized how serious the problem was.

    This is not someone who has learned a damned thing. He’s been in denial for years – ever since he “hit a negative cash flow” – and still is. Hell, according to the article, he’s only one month away from “being up against it” and yet he still refuses to sell his crap for less than market value, even though he’s already burned through his entire life savings in just two years.

  43. Sudonum says:

    @TinyBug:
    It’s the denial. My brother is going through the same thing. He has sold everything he has to try and hang onto the house, all the while it’s value is diminishing. If he had sold the house to start with and taken a small loss at that time he could be in the process of getting on and rebuilding his life. Instead he refused to take a loss of any kind, thinking that he still had some kind of equity and he could get back into the car business to get caught up.

    In my brothers case, and probably this guys too, he views himself as “smarter” than everyone else so he doesn’t want to sell anything for less than he paid for it for fear that he overpaid in the first place, and therefore made “bad” investments or wasted his money.

    And I can’t make him understand why I won’t “loan” (give) him $25k to get himself current when he still doesn’t “get” how he got into this position in the first place. He’s been living beyond his means for years and he’s finally paying the price. I just hope he learns something about money.

  44. NotATool says:

    Ron: [...] there’s nothing you can do about it. I’ve tried everything in my power to prevent this from happening. I even tried to set up another business and that failed. I tried to resort to my other career which was hotel management was what I did before I got into this, but it seems it’s been a good 15 years since I’ve done that and no one will really give me a chance, you know?

    Probably because when it comes time to talk salary, he’s demanding $250,000. I’ve worked with these types before…they lose their job and would rather burn thru their life savings/401(k)/etc. than take a lower paying job.

    This guy needs a positive cash flow, or even a less negative one. He’d be well advised to suck it up and take a lower paying job. If he’s lucky, he could save his precious amps.

  45. edosan says:

    Yeah, he was stupid and we all have the benefit of hindsight on his situation. In his defense, when you’ve got a good thing going, it’s hard to realize it at the time — it’s only when you lose it is when you find out you should have saved more, not spent so much on credit, et cetera.

    It’s sort of like all those people that lost their shorts on the stock market — yeah, they all knew rationally that it was going to crash sooner or later, but it wasn’t crashing right now, was it. Oh, it’s crashing now. Whoops.

    That being said, he gets Stupid Points for getting rid of his IRA and bonds before his expensive house and amp collection.

  46. Nighthawke says:

    Sorry, that fellow was jammed in the 80’s spending his money like water. This was back in the days of Milliken and the junk bonds scandal. Now that he is caught up with reality, maybe he can start thinking practical and get back on two feet. He’ll be eating ramen for awhile, but he’ll be ok.

  47. YuFongPi says:

    How much are the amps?

  48. stinerman says:

    Sorry, but I’m going to sleep better tomorrow morning (I’m a 3rd shift worker) knowing this guy got fucked by his own arrogance.

    Couldn’t have happened to a worse guy.

  49. P_Smith says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: Somebody call the waaaaaaaaaaambulance.

    Seriously, my sympathy meter is pegged on 0 right now.

    Too damned right.

    I’m playing my violin for him right now. And it doesn’t need an amplifier.

  50. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    Is Fromer not a spelling error or am I missing the joke?

  51. RandomHookup says:

    @Jaysyn: Unlike on the rest of the Internets, spelling errors last forever at Consumerist.

  52. Sasquatch says:

    I hope nobody drowns in the river I’m currently crying for this poor fuckhead.

  53. Sasquatch says:

    …and now the italics tag is closed.