12-Year-Old Raises $10,500 To Save Grandma From Foreclosure

It’s such stuff as uplifting after-school specials are made on. A plucky Wisconsin tween recently managed to raise enough money to save his grandmother from losing a house that had been in the family for three generations.

The boy’s 72-year-old grandmother had begun falling behind on her mortgage payments in 2010 and her house was slated for a foreclosure auction on Feb. 15.

But the 12-year-old took to the internet to create this website explaining his grandma’s situation and asking people to help the woman who had helped so many others over the years by serving as a foster parent to hundreds of children.

“My Grandma incase you don’t know her has a heart of gold. She has given so much to our community since I can remember!!!” he wrote on Jan. 5.

Within a month, he’d raised $10,500 from donors as far away as California. Earlier this week, he signed over all the donated cash to the bank so that the foreclosure auction would not take place.

“He’s always putting others before himself, even as a little child,” the boy’s mother tells ABC News. “I think he got it from seeing the foster kids come into my mom’s home.”

Wisconsin Boy Saves Grandma’s House From Foreclosure [ABC News]

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  1. dolemite says:

    We all know he really raised the money through the pro golf circuit with his amazing drives.

    • agent 47 says:

      I lol’d.

    • agent 47 says:

      The house has been in the family for three generations and there’s still a mortgage?

      • K-Bo says:

        My thought too. My parents worked their butts off to pay off their 30 year mortgage in about 17, just for the joy of not having a house payment, and being able to use the money they would have used as a house payment for travel and home upgrades. The only way I could see having a mortgage after 3 generations is to do the opposite, and use the house as an ATM to pay for other things.

      • Xero says:

        My thoughts exactly. How is this possible?

      • agent 47 says:

        Why the heck did this post here? I wasn’t replying to anyone! Grrrr!

        Oh well. :(

      • Anathema777 says:

        The article explains that she took out the mortgage to pay for a new roof.

        • Costner says:

          I wonder how much she took out and how long she financed it. She fell behind payments back in 2010 and all of the $10k this kid raised went towards the debt.

          That must have been one heck of an expensive roof.

          • Anathema777 says:

            Since it’s an older house, I’m wondering if there wasn’t some structural repair required when they fixed the roof. I could see how the structure could deteriorate with time, especially in a Wisconsin winter.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            If it was a ceramic roof, a roof with a very steep pitch, or had extensive underlying damage, the cost for a new roof can really add up fast.

            • Costner says:

              You’re right… it can. If this was an old victorian with all kind of crazy angles and steep pitch, and if they found rot in the sheathing and had to replace all the flashing and venting etc I could see it being more than $10k (especially if they used a high quality roofing material). I just wish we had more detail here.

              The reason I ask is because in most cases people don’t finance mortgages for less than five years. If we get crazy and say she took out $15k for a roof and repairs, and we assume the short time frame of 5 years at a rather high rate of 7% interest, the payments are under $300 a month. Grandma is 72 and therefore on full social security, plus any income she might make (if she does work), so she should be able to handle a $300 payment. That suggests she may have borrowed much more so the payments are higher, and as such she is having trouble making them and the $10k this kid raised merely went to pay the overdue amount.

              I don’t know of course, but I’d like to know more about it. This doesn’t take anything away from the kid did for his grandmother and it is a great thing, but I hate to see people donate money to someone who took out money from a full paid mortgage to buy a new Cadillac or a Trip to Maui.

    • pop top says:

      Since no one else said anything, nice Happy Gilmore reference.

  2. Cat says:

    Well done, lad. Well done.

  3. scoutermac says:

    yeah.. until the IRS gets a hold of him.

  4. Lethe says:

    Kids like this really make me feel like I was a slacker growing up.

  5. FreeMarketFan says:

    The house was in the family for generations and there was still an issue of foreclosure?

    Seems like the fiscal responsibilities will come back again in the near future. All this 12 year old did was learn a lesson that if you don’t pay your bills and beg for help – people will reward bad behavior with negative reinforcement.

    • Anathema777 says:

      The grandmother took out a mortgage to pay for a new roof and then fell behind when asthma and eye surgery complications stopped her from being able to work.

    • pop top says:

      You really are heartless, aren’t you?

    • cybrczch says:

      According to the linked article, the mortgage was taken out to pay for roof repairs to the century old structure.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      I think the lesson is “Don’t use secured debt unless you have to.” Who knows, maybe this was the only way she could have fixed the roof. But if it was put on a credit card her house would be safe.

      Kudos to the kid though.

    • borgia says:

      I’ve never lost a roof, but wouldn’t homeowners insurance pay for most roof replacements from damage except for neglect and age?

      • The Porkchop Express says:

        Not for regular wear and tear. You need have something actively causing the damage. on top of that, depending on the policy, there would be depreciation for an old roof.

        Let’s say the new roof costs $10K and the old one was 50 years old, they may only give you 50% of the total and take out the deductible. You could end up only getting a couple grand by the time its all over.

    • castlecraver says:

      Please. Don’t have kids. I hope it’s not already too late, despite my hunch that you couldn’t get laid in a whorehouse.

    • manos.sem says:

      You know that trolls go away when you don’t respond. It’s not even worth responding to FreeMarketFan (ugh, which i just did)

  6. chizu says:

    In cases like this — do you report that money as income and file your tax according?

    • Bsamm09 says:

      Not usually. I haven’t looked at his site but it should make it clear that these are gifts and he is giving nothing in return. Now, if he didn’t use the money for what he said it was for he’d have a problem but not a tax one per se.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        You can give monetary gifts without a tax penalty but states cap the amount you can give per year. I have no idea what his state’s cap is.

      • UberGeek says:

        Hmmm… If someone gifts you something over a certain dollar value (last I remember the magic number was $10k, I think) you don’t have to claim it as income. But what if you convince 100,000 people to gift you $10? No individual gift was anywhere near that threshold, but the total would be WAY over.

        • Bsamm09 says:

          If someone makes a legitimate gift to you of $5,000,000 you don’t claim anything. Gift tax returns are filed by giver.

    • KyBash says:

      You only have to report gifts that are over a certain amount (used to be $10,000 — I don’t know what it is now) from one person each year. There’s also an amount for total gifts received in a year, but I think it’s something like $5million. (The laws are like this to prevent people giving their kids everything so their estate is tiny when it gets to probate.)

      • Bsamm09 says:

        It’s $13,000 and that is what the reportable threshold is. (We file them a lot for amounts under) The larger number is your total gift limit. Think it is $5,000,000 but that is lifetime exemption before you owe tax on it. There is no limit to how much you can give, just before the gov’t wants it’s cut.

        If you have a ton of money, you aren’t likely giving large sums of cash as gifts. There are way better ways to move money out of an estate and pay less tax. Too complex for a forum though.

  7. Lethe says:

    I also wonder if in the near future we’ll start getting emails from someone claiming to raise money to keep their grandmother in her house, but can we please wire the money to a different account?

  8. Bob Lu says:

    The family has the house fo three generations and mortgage is still not paid?

    • Bob Lu says:

      Ahh didn’t read the original news earlier.

      It seems the grandma’s situation was not caused by irresponsible spending.

  9. crispyduck13 says:

    In the article it says the woman took out a mortgage on the home to pay for a new roof. There are a few questions not answered:

    Why on earth would you take out a mortgage to make home repairs when you could easily take out a HELOC? Does a HELOC also carry the risk of foreclosure if non-payment occurs?

    Did the new roof cost anywhere near the value of the home?

    This woman has lived in this home for many years and not having to pay on it, that is she was only paying property tax and repairs throughout her ownership. The article also states that she has served as foster parent to “hundreds” of children. That right there must have cost her tens of thousands of dollars over the years. So she went ahead and did that but didn’t sock any money away to take care of herself or her home? Maybe she had to spend it on something else? It just doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t have the capacity to feel pity or empathy for someone who is charitable to their own serious detriment.

    Also: where the hell are the other members of this family? Why is it down to this kid to get money together to save this woman from homelessness?

    Maybe I’m just an asshole today, but this story does the exact opposite of warming my heart.

    I know I should look at this story as heart warming

    • crispyduck13 says:

      My little rant there has nothing to do with the kid. The kid did a great thing and I hope any future kids of mine are half as productive.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I’m not a banker or lawyer, but I think if she takes out a HELOC and uses the house as collateral, and fails to pay on the loan, the bank could either put a lein on the house or if they really want their money, they could take the home and sell it. Similar to what happens when you fail to pay your property taxes.

    • wasabirobot says:

      A lot of people make money being foster parents. The state give you an allotment to care for the child. You can make that allotment into a profit by only giving the kid the bare minimum. That is why many foster homes suck.

      /not saying anything about this foster home because I have no idea.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        My wife and I fostered off and on for about a decade. If you treat a foster child like your own, it’s far from being a profitable endeavor. You would have to seriously neglect the child to even break even.

    • Bob Lu says:

      HELOC, mortgage, my understanding is that they are pretty much the same: you fail to pay, the bank sell your house and most of the times if they sell the house for more than what you owed, you don’t get the differences back.

      Being foster parents is a profitable job. I do (want to) believe most foster parents don’t just take the money and ignore or even abuse the children, but they really don’t have to be particularly caring/loving either.

  10. Dallas_shopper says:

    That kid rules.

  11. lunasdude says:

    Sniff…SNIFFFF… dam allergies..

  12. rambo76098 says:

    How do they have a mortgage on a house that’s been in the family that long? Is it a 70 year mortgage? lol.

    • Kestris says:

      RTFA.

      She took out a mortgage to pay for a new roof. Then she had asthma and eye surgery complications that prevented her from working, thus causing her to fall behind in payments.

  13. drjayphd says:

    Here’s hoping the bank actually stopped the foreclosure auction. I wouldn’t trust a mortgage lender to get things right farther than I could throw their toxic asse(t)s.