John admits on his blog that he’s responsible for falling six months behind on his mortgage. But once he got over his divorce and losing his adopted son and started trying to make things right, he ended up in loan modification limbo at HSBC. The bank never moved forward on any modification, and now he has to pay $21,638.02 today if he wants to keep his house. Logically, he’s offering to burn his car and post the video online in return for donations.
Beyond the obvious big cities where the rich and famous drive around in flashy cars and flaunt designer dresses and amazing homes, there are other towns across America where top-earning residents are living the good life. From north to south, sea to shining see, let’s take a look at a few of these little gems and start planning where we’ll move.
Newly released court documents indicate that over a half-dozen companies knew about the rotten egg smells exuding from Chinese drywall since 2006, but they stayed quiet and kept selling the junk.
Do you like farts? Documents and depositions unearthed by ProPublica and the Sarasota Harold-Tribune show exchanges between homebuilder WCI Communities and drywall distributor Banner that reveal the sulfur-emitting drywall problem was known as far back as 2006, and yet customers and authorities were not notified. In one deposition, a Banner executive refuses to admit that sulfur-stinking drywall might bother others, seeing as he himself, on certain occasions, enjoys the sweet aroma of another man’s butt gas:
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.”
There’s an interesting detail at the end of this New York Times article on borrowers who strategically default–that is, they choose to walk away from the home when its value is significantly less than the mortgage balance. It turns out that the homeowner mentioned at the start of the article applied last fall for a loan modification with Bank of America after his income level had dropped, and this was BofA’s response: “The lender came back a few weeks ago with a plan that added more restrictive terms while keeping the payments about the same. ‘That may have been the last straw,’ Mr. Koellmann said.”
Are you looking for a new apartment or house? Apartment Therapy has some advice about what questions you should ask before putting your name on a new lease. We’re featuring this on Consumerist because there is advice about negotiating extra fees and deposits for cats, a crucial topic for our readership.
Last October, Bank of America screwed up and seized a vacation home that didn’t belong to them. They also changed the locks and shut off the power, leaving 75 pounds of salmon and halibut rotting for a week before it was discovered, writes Laura Elder of the Galveston Daily News.
The owner, Dr. Alan Schroit, and his wife discovered what had happened when they showed up on Halloween to prepare for a party they were going to host the next day.
The publisher of a series of home improvement books has announced a recall of nine of them, because of errors in their instructions on installing or repairing electrical wiring. The Consumer Products Safety Commission says no injuries have been reported so far even though the books have been published since 1975, which I think proves that nobody has ever actually attempted a project from any home improvement book.
“Homeowners should be walking away in droves. But they aren’t. And it’s not because the financial costs of foreclosure outweigh the benefits. One can have a good credit rating again–meaning above 660–within two years after a foreclosure.” That’s the conclusion reached by a law professor who’s written a paper about strategic default, which is when you elect to walk away from an underwater mortgage because you stand to lose more money trying to keep it than if you cut your losses immediately. The problem is, lots of people think it’s the wrong thing to do, because individuals are supposed to play by different rules than the companies they do business with.
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.
Yesterday the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced some findings from its study of the problematic Chinese drywall, which 1,900 Florida homeowners have complained stinks and makes people sick. The commission told the Associated Press that “no connections have been made yet,” but that they’re doing more tests—which means there’s still no definitive answer on who should be held financially responsible if the homes have to be gutted and repaired, which the Wall Street Journal says could cost as much as $25 billion dollars.
Detroit tried to auction off almost 9,000 homes and lots last week—enough property to fill Central Park—but Reuters says less than 1/5th of what went on the block actually sold. Unfortunately, it sounds like speculators snatched up few decent properties, leaving actual Detroit residents looking for new homes out in the cold.
Your new washer, dryer, fridge, monitor, or TV set may have an Energy Star label on it, but it turns out that nobody is making sure that means anything, reports the New York Times. Our parent organization Consumer Reports pointed out that this was a problem a year ago.
Earlier today a former Fannie Mae exec and the current head of the FHA gave conflicting testimonies to Congress about the health of the mortgage insurer—particularly about whether or not it’s going to require a taxpayer bailout in the next couple of years.