City Saves Snoopy House Christmas Display Amid Foreclosure

After a homeowner lost his family house to foreclosure, he was threatened with also taking away a neighborhood tradition, in the form of a sprawling Snoopy Christmas display. But the community isn’t letting that happen.

Jim J.’s Costa Mesa, Calif. ranch house was foreclosed upon last year after a failed loan modification attempt, says the Associated Press, which could’ve meant the end of the 200-foot “Peanuts” character display, complete with Santa, that brought 80,000 visitors a year. Instead, the city is moving the scenery to outside City Hall.

Jim was raised in the home, and began building his display as a teenager. It grew every year with an ice-skating Charlie Brown and dancing Snoopy, as well as Peppermint Patty playing hockey with a Christmas present instead of a puck.

He stopped paying mortgage payments while he was trying to apply for loan modification, hoping to file for relief, but when that failed, the home was put into foreclosure.

The warm and fuzzies keep going, as the AP quotes a city spokesman who said $1,000 in donations had already come in to power the $1,800 electric bill for the holiday spectacle.

Snoopy Christmas display saved from foreclosure [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

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  1. Hi_Hello says:

    i know this is suppose to be good news… but the city save his Snoopy but not his house??

    come on…… coooommmmeee ooooonnnnn…

    • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

      Chunk! Do the truffle shuffle!

    • Bsamm09 says:

      If it really brought that many people in I’m surprised no one bought it from him. Maybe some corporate sponsorship that would be enough to pay the mortgage. Nevermind, probably licensing issues.

    • Costner says:

      Per the article, he was no longer living in the house. There was a renter who was allowed to stay until the lease expired, but he wasn’t even living there so it really is more of a loss of an investment property than it was a home.

  2. Bsamm09 says:

    $1,800 electric bill?!? I think someone made some unwise choices with their money.

    • Costner says:

      I was thinking it too, but I’m not certain a lack of financial resourcse is what led to the foreclosure. He thought it would be a good idea to miss some payments to help his chances at a modification, but the modification was rejected (for whatever reason). If he really did have the resources to make the payments he should have continued to make them. If not, he should have tried to make as much of a payment as possible.

      Either way – the home is gone.

      • Kaleey says:

        Yes, but making payments while trying for a mod can confuse the bank, and then they think you’re making partial payments, even though you’re making the full payment, and then the house goes into foreclosure anyway.

        There was an article on that here last month, perhaps?

        If he didn’t get the mod, then why didn’t he immediately send in a big check? Can the foreclosure process start even if the owner is waiting on a modification (since he isn’t making his payments)? Or did he just blow the money assuming he’d get the mod?

        • Costner says:

          We would have to assume to know the answer – and there isn’t enough info to tell us. We do know he was collecting rent from a tenant yet he wasn’t making a payment. We do know he was living somewhere else. We do know he was making his payments when he first tried to get a loan mod, but when that didn’t work he decided to stop making payments.

          So basically it seems he could make the payments, and obviously the rent collected from the tenant would probably make most of the payment, but for whatever reason he didn’t. What he did with the money that should have went to those payments and what he did with the rental income is beyond me. In most cases people just blow it on other things and then they wonder why they are losing their homes, but in his case who really can say. He might have needed the money for living expenses or an emergency – but either way he is losing his investment property which when you think about it isn’t that big of a deal because he still has whatever home he is living in.

      • Bsamm09 says:

        He should have slapped an advertisement for his business on the display. It left a lasting impression on so many people over so many years, might as well associate your business with it too.

  3. El_Fez says:

    You know, I would think that someone who likes Snoopy enough to blow a grand on the electricity alone would take the message from A Charlie Brown Christmas more to heart. . . .

  4. Don't Bother says:

    Wait, so everyone rallied so save the Christmas display… but the guy is left homeless? They collected donations to power light-em-up Snoopy… but couldn’t help this guy with his loan?

    Then again, we don’t know anything about the guy besides the fact that he had a rockin’ display. Maybe he spent all his money on it.

    • Costner says:

      He wasn’t living in the home – he was renting it. So he isn’t homeless, and he was collecting rent from the renter but not making his payments on the loan. He was able to make the payments, but he chose not to because he thought it would help his chances at a loan modification.

      The thing is, loan mods are much harder to get on anything other than a primary residence, and beacuse he was renting it, I imagine it would be hard for him to qualify. He effed up – he admits it – but the moral of the story is the display is saved and kids can continue to ask their parents questions about this “Snoopy” character that they have never heard of.

      • Don't Bother says:

        I just read the full article–thanks the insight.

        … Why was he renting out his childhood home?

        Maybe I’m too sentimental to understand that logic.

        • Bsamm09 says:

          If you inherit a house with no mortgage, pretty much all income is profit. The situation he is in may even be worse than the story we have.

          What did he spend the loan money on? Where was he writing the interest on the loan off on? When it was foreclosed there may be a lot of depreciation recapture and cancellation of debt income also. I’m purely speculating but these are the first things that come into my head in a situation like this.

          I hope I am 100% wrong and I wish the best for him.

        • Costner says:

          “Why was he renting out his childhood home?”

          It is possible it wasn’t suitable for his lifestyle. Perhaps he needed something bigger or closer to his business or perhaps his wife didn’t like sleeping in the same bedroom where her in-laws got busy. Who knows.

          But if there is sentimental value to his childhood home, keeping it and renting it out is probably a lot better option than just selling it or heaven forbid losing it via foreclosure….. oh wait.

  5. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    This is effing nuts.

  6. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    Aww.. I love Snoopy, but yeah.. this story is all kinds of messed up.

  7. TinaBringMeTheAx says:

    It’s the house he grew up in, and has lived in it for over 40 years.

    Why was there a mortgage on it anyway?

    …yea, I know there are a million reasons why, but only a few of them are really good reasons.

    • Don't Bother says:

      To build all of Snoopy’s friends, I’m guessing

    • Costner says:

      He wasn’t living there! He was renting the house out to a tenant. I would guess like many Americans he used his home as a piggy bank and used that money elsewhere, thus the mortgage.

      Clearly he needs to take a refresher course on money management, but so does about 70% of the public.

      • TinaBringMeTheAx says:

        Oh, you’re right, it was an investment property.

        Well, no tears shed: Bad businessman makes bad business decision…no story here.

  8. smo0 says:

    Aww. I love snoopy. Sucks for the home owner though.

  9. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    I thought the various federal loan modification programs were put in place by the adminstration to make sure things like this didn’t happen.

    • Costner says:

      They are meant for people to save their homes they are actually living in. They are not designed for people to get help with investment properties they are currently renting out.

      I surely hope my tax dollars aren’t subsidizing landlords… so I see no reason why he should have qualified for a loan mod in this case – at least not one from the federal government. If a private bank wishes to give him a loan mod that is their choice.

  10. DanGarion says:

    Just an FYI, there is a lot more to the back story, this wasn’t their only house. it was a second home that was used as a rental. Sure it’s sad to lose a house but when you mortgage it beyond your means because it was worth lots of money (I think the family had owned it for 44 years) this type of stuff can happen. Still it is nice to know that the “Snoopy House” decorations will continue to be on display.

  11. SmokeyBacon says:

    Yeah, yeah whatever, what I really want to know is where can I get that cute Snoopy decoration in the picture – it is awesome!

    (I love Christmas and Christmas lights but $1800 for electric for the display is insane – even I wouldn’t go that far).

  12. FreeMarketFan says:

    He has the $1800 for the holiday decorations but won’t pay his bills. No sympathy here what-so-ever

  13. Earl Butz says:

    How sweet! All those people making sure that the guy didn’t lose his house for Christm-

    Never mind.

  14. AllanG54 says:

    This is what people are worried about? This poor schmuck doesn’t pay his mortgage, gets foreclosed upon but hell, we saved Snoopy. Wonder where they’re going to put this display when the season is over as Jimbo won’t be around to store it in the house.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      Maybe he can store it at his primary residence. The summary conveniently left the part out that this was a rental house.

  15. nybiker says:

    I guess MetLife is all tapped out after dropping some serious coin for the naming rights to the new stadium in the swamps of new jersey.

  16. coffee100 says:

    Family sleeping in a box this year? That’s tough, man. We’ll send someone to get the Charlie Brown stuff. Merry Christmas.

    I really have trouble understanding people who watch this happen to their neighbors and then pat the newly homeless on the head and say “sucks, man. Later.”

  17. BettyCrocker says:

    I’m glad they all feel warm and fuzzy about some energy hogging display and he’s out on his ass.

    Seriously – what is up with their priorities?