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Los Angeles, CA, United States


Wednesday, August 24, 2011


It's a sad day as I watch my neighbor pack up the last of his belongings to move to storage. His home is being foreclosed and he's been ordered to vacate.  It sucks because he really loved his home and made huge improvements while he lived there. And for what, for some stranger to come in and enjoy the fruits of his labor.

My neighbor admits he made a bad decision taking out a second mortgage.  According to him, he used some shady Armenian mafioso that his cousin recommended.  The rate was high and he didn't think it'd be a problem to pay it off.  This is just another example of the mortgage crisis hitting close to home.  How many so called friends and relatives have recommended someone they know to help refinance or get you a second?  And how many people sign the loan docs without really considering the consequences if they don't make the payments?  Oh, it's easy to blame the banks or the loan shark or even that cousin that "hooked" you up.  What it all boils down to is those cursive letters above all the lines where one needs to initial or sign.

Granted, it was ridiculous for lenders to give out money without so much as an income verification.  As long as there was equity in the home, money was available.  Mortgage brokers/agents got rich turning loans and making a cool percentage off the deal.  Wall Street got greedy too with their packaging of loans and selling it as a security.  All these bastards wanted a piece of the action and found a way to make even more money.  Mortgage securities were this decade's internet IPO.  And just like the internet boom of the 90's, it all exploded.  Maybe that's why they coined the term boom because just like a bomb, it just explodes and leaves a path of destruction.

There are those folks who knew they couldn't pay their mortgage and lived large off the equity borrowing every penny they could.  These are the people who consider a car to be an investment.  The same people who feel if they have money in the bank, it's meant to be spent.  These are the people who took advantage of the system only to file BK when the house of cards came crumbling down and they're forced to move out.  The are the people who usually take no personal accountability for the actions and blame the banks.

Then there's the hard working family who realized their dream of owning a house with every intent on paying it off only to get screwed because the lender didn't want to do a loan modification because the housing value went down and regardless of the US government pushing for loan modifications, lenders just gave lip service and foreclosed.

So why does my neighbor's foreclosure bother me?  It's not that he's leaving. He was cool but we weren't all that neighborly.  I think it's because the thought that one single decision can really jack things up.  I make decisions daily.  We all do as adults.  If it involves a significant purchase or an investment, the decision is made jointly between the wife and me.

But what about those decisions we make nonchalantly because we think it won't really matter.  What comes to mind are the dumb decisions I made as kid like driving under the influence.  Or what about the decisions when we missed out on a great experience because we said no to the invitation. Or the decision on what career path to take and what company to work for.  All decisions with consequences that could be life altering in some cases.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not sitting here advocating indecision or second guessing past decisions.  What I guess I'm trying to verbalize is the idea that sometimes, what may seem as an insignificant decision may have dire consequences and can really jack things up with the possibility of having to pack up the belongings and start all over.....

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