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Sunday, August 10, 2008

cry me a river

This article is one of those where the SF Chron writers were clearly going for sympathetic sob story but have totally missed the mark.

It's got all the elements - family who has owned their home for 54 years, two elderly parents suffering from dementia, except oops, little details reveal some less than sympathetic details:

Most foreclosures nowadays are homes purchased just a year or two ago with no money down. But the Gardners' home is different. Joann's parents, Johnnie Gardner, 87, and Estelle, 88, bought the two-bedroom in the Sobrante Park neighborhood in 1954 for $11,500. His salary as an electrician at the Oakland naval shipyard allowed them to make the payments.

But in recent years, Joann and her brother refinanced it several times for increasingly larger amounts.

The final refinance at the end of 2006 left the family owing $454,000. The monthly payments of $3,362 exceeded the household income of $3,144.

What happened to the money from all the refinances?

Gardner can't quite say. Some went to paying off credit cards; some was eaten up in huge loan fees. What is clear is that the family has not made a mortgage payment since December 2006.

Sounds to me like they were using mom and dad's house as their own personal piggy bank. How do you lose track of $454,000? And how much of this money are we really supposed to believe went to fees? Even if they were charged a ridiculous rate like 20% that's still over $350,000...Not to mention they've been living there for free since 2006, pretty ironic that elsewhere in the story they mention how they're getting a $1,500 check for moving out "early."

Since it's SFGate.com there are always some really goofy comments like this one:

impeach_bush 8/10/2008 7:22:39 AM

There should be a law against evicting anyone from a home that has passed through one generation or more. There would also be safeguards in place with regard to using that home for financial gains to just to insure the home would never be repossessed.

Boys and girls, if "impeach_bush" had his way and such a law was indeed enacted, what do the laws of supply and demand say would happen?

Yup, you guessed it, no more loans for anyone who's home has passed through one generation more.

If I didn't know better I would have almost thought it was a sarcastic comment, but given the source, I'm guessing it's a completely serious statement...And that's pretty scary. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this guy is an Obama supporter.

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wingless was still breathing at 9:14 PM -

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