Reader S finally got his homeowner’s insurance company to pay up for the rebuilding of the glass railings around his condo, thanks to a well-crafted and scary letter he wrote them. Here is his story, and his ass-kicking letter.
An Iowa homeowner was surprised when he looked at his house and half the siding on it was gone, leaving an exposed underbelly of bare white plastic. No other nearby houses were affected. Had a highly localized tornado swept through and targeted just the side of his house? Nope. A local contractor got the address wrong and taken the siding off the wrong abode. The timing was pretty poor, too, as the homeowner had just put it up for sale. And because of insurance bureaucracy, it may be a while before the siding goes back up.
Now we finally understand the secrets of the pharoahs: a bunch of angry people in Stony Ridge, Ohio have sealed up a home with the homeowner inside, with his permission, leaving only a golf ball-sized hole in the front door. The man, Keith Sadler, says he fell behind last year after paying on his mortgage for 12 years, and that his bank promised to work with him but instead proceeded with foreclosure.
Terry Hoskins, the guy in Ohio who bulldozed his home earlier this month to prevent it from being taken back and auctioned off by his bank, is now the subject of a song. Someone else made t-shirts and caps–they feature a bright yellow bulldozer and the words, “Take ‘Er Down”–that are being sold to raise money for him. WLWT says Hoskins didn’t break any laws by dozing the home, but as he puts it, “I still have a mortgage of ($160,000). I still (have) to pay that.”
A man in Ohio grew so angry at his bank for refusing to work with him to keep his home that he bulldozed it. He told WLWT News, “As far as what the bank is going to get, I plan on giving them back what was on this hill exactly (as) it was. I brought it out of the ground and I plan on putting it back in the ground.”
Are you hitting that stage in life where you’re thinking of becoming a homeowner? Morningstar has published two home buying articles that together offer some good, concise advice to the prospective buyer, especially if you’re a first-timer.
Here’s an interesting discovery about mortgage defaults from the LA Times:
A city in Florida has just warned its residents of a weird scam: someone’s been hanging pink notices on doors around town that say, “Due to the water quality in this area, we will be installing whole-house water treatment systems.” You’re supposed to fill out the back of the notice and leave it out for further contact. Remember, don’t let anyone remodel your home on behalf of the city. It probably goes without saying, but still.
The New York Times says a white roof on your house “can cost as little as 15 percent more than its dark counterpart” yet “reduce air-conditioning costs by 20 percent or more in hot, sunny weather.” This is because, scientifically speaking, the color white hates the stupid sun and won’t have anything to do with it.
Brett Arends at The Wall Street Journal has compared Case-Shiller house price data to annual inflation rates, and speculates that owning a home may not be a very good investment. “You can often do better on long-term inflation protected government bonds,” he writes.
Thomas says his wife was approached by a belligerent salesman the other day regarding the windows on their home. He tried to get her to agree to an instant estimate and promised a huge discount for being a “model home” for the window upgrades, but when she refused to make an instant decision, Thomas says he “snatched the card out of her hand” and “yelled at her.”
Great news for renters facing eviction due to foreclosure: any mortgage owner seeking assistance under Congress’ mammoth bailout bill is required to let paying renters stay in their homes.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he understood he was flouting the law in refusing to have deputies carry out the rising number of eviction requests, but mortgage holders must be accountable.
If you have an open home equity line of credit you were counting on for renovations or other projects, you might want to read CNN Money’s article about how lenders are freezing them around the country. The main triggers for HELOC freezing are credit score changes and a rapid drop in home value in your area. The freeze may also be a computer-determined action, so if your HELOC suddenly goes away and you don’t think it was justified, it may be worth checking your FICO score and then contacting the lender to reopen the line or renegotiate it.
The New York Times has an article about a growing problem, a scam called “equity stripping.” Here’s how it works: You answer an advertisement targeting people who are facing foreclosure, but want to stay in their homes. You think you’re refinancing your loan at a lower rate, but in reality you’re transferring the deed to someone else. That person then takes out as much as they can against the value of your home. From the NYT:
Jessica Attie, co-director of the foreclosure prevention project at South Brooklyn Legal Services and the lawyer for the Johnsons, said her office was overwhelmed with homeowners who had handed over their deeds to people pretending to help “save” their homes.
We know times are tough and a lot of homeowners are facing difficult financial decisions, but make sure you know what you’re signing. If someone offers to “temporarily” buy your home, warning bells should go off.
Christy is having the best time getting DirecTV installed in her home. Highlights of her hilariously tragic email include:
"All-Parties" Release Absolves Home Depot, Manufacturer, and Contractor From Shoddy Door Installation
Another painful reminder that you should read what you sign before you sign it, and don’t let yourself be rushed.