Shining the Light on Foreclosure

Do You Want a Couple of New Toilets?

“I never thought I would be one of those people.” he said. Frankly, I never thought he would be one of those people, either. We’ve all read about foreclosure and we’ve seen a few stories on TV but may not have the chance to see it up close and personal. To have a face, a name and a family to put on the action of foreclosure is a sad day, indeed. Unfortunately, I’ve known more than a few families that have added their identity to the face of foreclosure recently.

Steve is a great guy, a smart guy, hard worker, a local business man, a great boss, father, honest, kind and now, a victim of foreclosure. Bankruptcy is not too far around the corner, either. The rotten economy and downturn of the building industry has left more than a few people and Bonita Springs businesses in one heck of a bind. I visited Steve at his Bonita Springs home and he just looked around, at the new hardwood floor he had put in just a few months ago, the new halogen lights in the ceiling and the custom marble floors. I sold him the house about three years ago. He’s done wonders with it. It was a decorating disaster and he turned it into a raving beauty. I envy anyone that lives under the roof. It’s gorgeous, now. Unfortunately, there’s one person under that roof that I don’t envy right now. The look on his face says it all. He again, reiterates, “I never thought I would be one of those people.” This time the “those” he’s referring to is not only the people that lose their home but the “those” that start stripping out the house.

According to Steve, the “help line” that his mortgage company has isn’t really a help line. It is no more than a dept collection tip off line. When he called it, they just started harassing him, not helping him. Not one lick of effort was focused on helping him stay in his home, deferring payments to the end of the mortgage or a mortgage “work out” plan. He could have opted for a deed in lieu of foreclosure, had anyone mentioned it. More effort was made to harass him into the next mortgage payment and track him down to serve him with the lis pendens and foreclosure notice. Sadly, the end is near. The American dream of home ownership has turned into a nightmare. The bank will soon own a home with no toilets, fans, light fixtures, wash basins or even light switches. He’s got those one touch jobbies that are very expensive. He was kind enough to offer them to me, knowing full well that I hired him to install them in my house last year when I had my home updated.

Every time I see the commercial or hear the ad on the radio about “calling someone” or “doing something” to stop foreclosure I think of Steve, his rotten bank, the flawed system, the ugly truth of foreclosure and the sad state that families are left by it.

If you are a Bonita Springs home owner and you’re not sleeping well because foreclosure is looming, know this:

  • Not everyone that loses their home has a subprime loan.
  • You don’t have to be a dead beat to lose your home.
  • Losing your home doesn’t make you a dead beat.
  • Most families are only a few paychecks away from the danger of foreclosure.
  • Some crazy Bonita Springs real estate agent still cares and will help you buy another home down the road.

Many home owners are too embarrassed to ask for help until it’s too late. If Steve had come to me sooner we might have been able to sell short or direct him to start on a deed in Lieu of Foreclosure to keep him from losing the home to bank action. That’s a big “might have been able to” because the banks aren’t really cooperating too well with a lot of home owners.

So Steve will pack up and move out and probably take a few things that aren’t screwed down so tightly. He had a beautiful house that was a labor of love and a roller coaster ride to watch get restored. Now it’s just collateral damage of the economic downturn and housing crisis. Steve, thanks for the memories…and thanks but no thanks for the chandelier.