vultures

One of the side effects of being poor is that you don’t blog about the bargains from your non-existent shopping excursions or the cool new gadgets that you don’t have. I experience the thrill of finding the perfect purse vicariously on others’ blogs. What I don’t enjoy, are the blogs that post “foreclosure” finds. They link to the latest properties about to be foreclosed and auctioned. They encourage people looking for homes and investments to grab these great deals. They brag about the 100K homes being purchased for 5K. Even people who aren’t house hunting, read these blogs and fantasize about being able to flip property at a great profit. There is a huge difference between finding a pair of jeans on a clearance rack and buying a home at 20% of its’ value.

What nobody talks about are the families who are struggling to scrape together the money to save their homes from foreclosure. These are the kinds of families who need to take out a loan for a car, or hospital bills. The debt that increases exponentially every single day with legal fees and penalties. The stress and anxiety at not knowing what horror the next day will bring. It is implicitly encouraged on the “property watch” blogs that you should check out these properties and bid on them. Checking them out means parking in front of the house and staring, pointing and taking pictures. It means getting out of your car and wandering around on property that still belongs to the family living there. It means strangers walking up to children playing in their yard and asking them questions about their home. It seems to make people think that it is okay to knock on someone’s door and ask if you can come inside and look around. These families are still trying to save their homes. They are financially wounded and struggling to survive. Foreclosure bloggers and their supporters are vultures. They are parasites who prey upon the defenseless. Grave robbers.

We watched in helpless horror as a happy family in our neighborhood lost their home. When they ran out of options and the will to fight, they moved into assisted housing. We tried to keep in touch with them, but as they began to change and adapt to their new lifestyle, the play dates for our children quickly stopped happening. Losing their home changed everything about that family. Their marriage ended. Their personalities changed and they are lost forever to the system. The house at the corner of our cove was the home for a multi-generational family. The bank foreclosed and the family left TN to start over again. That house has sat vacant for YEARS. Now it a place for squatters and suspicious activity. Losing the family that belonged there has changed the landscape of our quiet, uneventful cove.

Sometimes, we still dream of a different life. When I do, one thing about my plans never changes. I want to pay off this house and move somewhere else. I want to give this house to someone else who is struggling. It is our lifeboat in the stormy seas and if we survive this storm, I know it can be the refuge for another family.

14 thoughts on “vultures

  1. People really do that? I mean, stalk the property, ask children questions and actually ask to come inside? Obviously, at least to most of us, it is an extreme tragedy when a family who is really trying to keep their home is foreclosed. Our realtor did show us foreclosures, but the houses were vacant. Maybe I’m misreading you, but I fail to see how not considering a foreclosure helps. If the foreclosures aren’t purchased and the lender recouping some amount of money, isn’t that hurting the economy more?

  2. Andrea I think foreclosed to purchase is one thing but stalking the about to be forclosed is just cruel and disgusting. No to mention I am guessing you were just looking to purchase a house to live in not just one you could turn a profit on

  3. My real estate rule is nothing in the foreclosure category that is occupied. Too cruel. Short sales, down here, are hard to skip though. Since almost every listing is a short sale that is. Because everybody, regardless of need, is trying to skip out on their mortgage. I’ve seen everything from sad to ridiculous in this market, and it will get worse. That’s the saddest part.

  4. Ten points for Paula. From today’s KNS: “Well, hey diddle, diddle, Watchers. In this week’s edition of Knoxville Foreclosure Watch, active foreclosures were down, while pending & closed foreclosures were both up. You know what that means? That means you guys are out there buying these bad boys up! Good for you!”

  5. Paula, we were in the market for a house in which to live, not turn a profit.

    Cathy, the blog linked from KNS highlights this foreclosure http://realfocus.kaarmls.com/view/freeView.asp?Address=suzytrotta%40gmail.com&ID=2423910

    This was my neighbor. The owner packed up and left the state for a new job, in June of 2008. She just walked away from the house, her responsibility. She allowed a group of hard partying young men (believe me, I was their neighbor) to continuing living there for the past year…FOR FREE. They have destroyed the house. THIS case gets NO sympathy from me. I don’t deny the true hardship cases, and the vultures you speak of are a shocking revelation to me. If we can’t separate these cases, though, should we criticize ALL such websites?

  6. From – http://www.frontdoor.com/Buy/How-to-Buy-a-PreForeclosure-House/1059 “After you find a property, drive by it to get a better idea of its condition and neighborhood. This could facilitate a casual meeting with the owner or yield a wealth of unexpected information from a talkative neighbor.”

    Google “make money buying pre-foreclosures” and tell me that there is anything right about what they are doing. People and families are not improved by losing their homes.

  7. A few years ago I tried to take advantage of the day’s better interest rates. In the process, something got messed up and one department at our mortgage company claimed everything was in order while another department claimed we had fallen into default. Faxes and certified letters were sent in both directions. I proved the error to the company and the department claiming we were in default would acknowledge, “ah! we see the error and I’m submitting it for correction. Don’t worry.” Then the next month, another autodialer script reader from that department would call to say we were in default. After reviewing copious notes, they would transfer me to the supervisor and the supervisor’s supervisor who would acknowledge the error.

    Eventually we received letters from attorneys and our house was put into a foreclosure status. It wasn’t just a couple of cars driving by. Our little deadend street became a thoroughfare of strangers doing slow drive-bys, sometimes pausing in front of the house then speeding off quickly when we’d look up from our dinner table. Yes, they’d roll down their windows and interview the children who had no idea what was going on. I’d have to rush out and tell them, “this house is not for sale.” They’d sneer and drive off. Someone I once worked with came by under false pretenses and slowly turned the conversation to the house and went so far as to start talking about his plans for the property. I would receive 3-4 letters a day from people expressing interest in buying the house; never said but implied would be their willingness to immediate rent it back to me. The letters always had the words “it’s not too late” and “investment”. At one point, signs appeared on several telephone poles in the neighborhood saying “we buy houses.”

    It dehumanizes you.

    With days to go before the auction, I gave up on trying to convince the mortgage company of the error despite their assurances that the auction would be stopped and the error corrected. Instead I returned to my original interest rate and took a loss on the whole process. But I sure learned a lot.

    A friend of a friend had her house go to auction while she was living in it. Her husband had died. I won’t go into her details but I can say that while living in the house that her husband had built by hand, she received an eviction notice from the new owner. Fortunately, a kind lawyer stepped up and straightening things out. The sale was reversed and she still has her home.

    We have plenty profiteers out there. Why don’t we have an organization that approaches people who have slipped into foreclosure to find out the root cause? Certainly if these investment people can so easily find out about the foreclosures, a helping organization should be able to also. Does the family need legal assistance with the mortgage company? Are they simply deadbeats ditching on the mortgage? Are they merely 1 payment behind and unable to stop the dominos falling? Do they not have the knowledge to fix the problem? Perhaps a little education or advice is all they need. I am certain people lose their homes unnecessarily. There’s something wrong with this process.

  8. Doug,

    Greenspan’s Body Count is now 103.

    And as we often point out, that’s only a small fraction of the true toll, as most suicides don’t get media attention.

  9. Vultures is so true. I am in pre foreclosure. Our home is in Los Angeles. I’ve had 4-5 people knock on my door. Our children do not know anything about what is going on and we don’t want them to. We are trying to work things out with the lender but they have denied our requests for a loan modification. Our lender is the former Indy Mac now known as One West Bank owned by Michael Dell (the computer guy) and George Soros (an ultra liberal billionaire) these two made a deal with the FDIC in which the FDIC picks up 80% of any loss for Indy Mac thru foreclosure. Bottom line, Indy Mac is not motivated to modify anyone’s loan. We retained an attorney for a loan modification and he ended up being a scam. He took $3300 up front and was later suspended by the State Bar, now he’s resigned from practicing law and based on his bad advice, we are now in worse shape with our mortgage than we were before retaining him. What are the banks going to do with all these vacant homes? Like your friend’s home, is ours going to sit here vacant and a haven for crime while we try to live on the street??

  10. Rebecca, don’t give up! Don’t lose hope. Keep talking to the mortgage company and asking for other options. Loan modification is simply one of many options. Publish your plight on the Internet. It is okay to ask for help. Talk to different lawyers and look into government programs. I hope you get through this. No one should lose their home.

    I know someone who lost their house to foreclosure, received an eviction notice stating to leave the property, a lawyer got involved, and she got her house back. When things look like there is no hope left, options sometimes still exist.

    Good luck!

  11. Thank you Doug. I’ve actually published 2 blogs about my plight. Also I have a group of about 35 people who were also scammed by the Loan Modification attorney. I am thinking chapter 13 might save my home? We want to hang on to it for about another 18 months. We have 2 children in college and the last one is a Junior in High School. We’d like her to graduate and then moving would not be a major problem. We never intended to stay in this home longer than 8 yrs. We’d love to re-fi but our credit history has taken a big hit. Do you think ch 13 will stop foreclosure?

  12. I don’t know. I don’t the rules or laws. I do know that you really need to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate attorney. Lots of scammers out there. I’ve heard of people filing bankruptcy before only to have the “credit counselor” take all their fees first and the people only got in deeper with their creditors. I’ve also heard that if you miss a payment to your … what do they call it? basically you end up paying the bankruptcy attorney and they pay your bills but if you miss a payment to the bankruptcy attorney you fall out of ch 13 and are right back where you started. I think.

    Never quit seeking options!

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