Posted by reasonable, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 12, 2010 at 10:21 am
One good thing about this list -- if you read the sizes and prices of these homes, 90% of them are modest, 2 and 3 bedroom homes under 2,000 square feet -- these were NOT people who went hog-wild buying homes they couldn't afford, just ordinary people trying to live modestly in the bay area. Most of these homes were below the average size and price in the area.
But generally, I'm with Be Nice - these people have suffered enough; they don't also need to be publicly exposed.
Posted by so sad, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 12, 2010 at 11:27 am
This is a tradegy.. I know a few people who have lost their homes and they are all hard working individuals who needed help and the banks just said no!!!!!one family owned their home for 6 years and lost their home because they both lost their jobs and asked the bank if they can work with them to lower their mortgage until they got back on their feet.. bank said NO!!!!!!!!!! seriously after paying for the home for 6 yrs and was never late...
Posted by Mr Cranky, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 12, 2010 at 1:11 pm
Hey "So Sad" - we live in a world where good people say what they're going to do and then make good on their word. That includes deals between individuals and corporations. These people broke their agreement to pay back money lent to them by a corporation (i.e. the bank.) Now, they can certainly ask the corporation to change the deal, but it is ridiculous to blame the corporation if they choose to say no.
In any story like this (someone losing their home to foreclosure) it is never just one thing. It's never just that "they lost their job". It's always a sequence of decisions - common examples include:
- They got a mortgage they could afford *only* if everything in their life works out great.
- They chose to not have any savings in the event that something bad happens (e.g. loss of job, illness, ...)
- They chose a career that makes them easily replaceable so that in the event of an economic downturn, their job is eliminated.
- They chose a lifestyle that makes them prone to illness/injury, but didn't plan for this possibility.
- They chose to have children even though they don't have enough money to support a family.
- They chose to live beyond their means, assuming nothing bad would ever happen.
Life can be hard, and bad decisions are often costly. Only fools think otherwise. Good people learn from their mistakes, look within themselves and move forward with the rest of their lives. Selfish idiots look for someone else to blame. Morons wring their hands and cry for the "poor people". Wow, that's helpful.
Posted by Johnny, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 12, 2010 at 4:00 pm
Just another example of the big banks getting rich on the backs of the poor people just trying to get by. Obama was supposed to have had a mortgage rescue plan and funded it to the tune of 75 billion dollars. Unfortunately, he could not, can not, or does not want to put pressure on Bank of America because they are the biggest culprit in bank foreclosures nationally. Shame on our government for once again letting us down. Speaking of letting us down. Wait until this Friday when our Governor announces is plans to make cuts statewide to close our 18.6 billion dollar deficit. Truly shocking!!! I feel so very bad for these people losing their homes and not having a place for their kids to live.
Posted by responsible homeowner, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 12, 2010 at 5:08 pm
Johhny, Where do you get off saying "Shame on our government for once again letting us down"?
Why is it the responsibility of the banks, the president or anyone else to relieve people of their lawful debts? Who do you think ultimately pays for that? Those of us who DO honor our legal debts!
If you don't plan to pay back the debt then don't buy the house that you surely cannot afford. But do not ever expect me to bail you out. I pay my debts and always have. I am more than tired of people getting mortgage and credit card debt forgiven -- with no consequence to themselves -- while most of us pay what we have agreed to pay.
There is a highly placed city official in a Bay Area city (not Pleasanton) who is now doing his second short sale in less than 10 years. NOT because they cannot afford the home but simply because they are under water on the mortgage and CHOOSE not to continue paying the debt. Way to show fiscal responsibility.
Posted by Mr Cranky, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 12, 2010 at 5:35 pm
To "Give Me a Break": I think you're missing my point. I actually agree in that I see no benefit in publishing this information in the PW. I also agree that the situation is probably (or certainly should be) humiliating to the people in default. Having said that, this is *not* what I was commenting on.
I was commenting on the posters who see situations like this and blame the Banks, the Tea Partiers, the Government, etc.. What pisses me off is the complete lack of accountability and personal responsibility in these arguments.
So how about this? Maybe I'm wrong, or maybe I'm naive. I would really like to hear the facts behind one of these foreclosures:
- Why did the owners default?
- Why didn't the owners just sell the house? Were they underwater on the loan? By how much? Why did they overpay?
- Why couldn't they keep up on the payments? Did the payment balloon? Why didn't they know this was going to happen?
- Did they lose their job? What kind of job? Why can't they get another one?
- Did they have savings to help tide them over? How much?
- Do they have friends/family that can help them out?
Finally, and this is a bigger question for all of us: What are we doing as parents to ensure that our kids don't have these kinds of problems? Are we all making sure our kids understand that it's a hard world out there and becoming harder all the time? Are we making sure that they understand a college education is *critical*? Are we making sure that a career choice that is in high demand (i.e. pays a lot and can't be sent offshore) is *critical*? Are we making sure that our kids understand that *no one* is going to look out for them better than themselves and that they should not just assume that the government will give them what they need?
I care very much about the next generation, and I do my best to educate and prepare them - both my kids and others. I do *not* pity them, and I do *not* coddle them. That doesn't help them, and it sure as hell doesn't help our society.
Posted by banks are evil, a resident of the Canyon Oaks neighborhood, on May 12, 2010 at 7:17 pm
I think what people are saying is that the government has given banks money, etc. to help people that are in this position where they need help. The banks are useless when people are asking for help that really, the banks are not paying for. They are supposed to be assisting homeowners who are having trouble. Yet, what do they do when you call?
I know someone who asked for not a loan modification but to have their principal payment be reduced for 6 months because their home was $200k under water. The individual inherited foundation problems that were not disclosed, and other structural issues. The bank said (repeatedly) that they could not help him because he was not late on payments (after 7 years, not one late payment). What kind of lame answer is that?
I also know someone who worked in the mortgage department of WAMU and said they faked documents all the time. If she did not do what her boss told her to do, she would be fired. She complained to the person on top, and what happened? She got FIRED for reporting it.
Posted by responsible homeowner, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2010 at 8:26 am
I agree that banks are probably evil and certainly did not deserve bailout money. But I will ask again -- why does that mean that people who signed an agreement to pay the money should suddenly be forgiven their debts just because "things changed"?
Much of the fault lies with real estate sales people who will sell anything to anyone just to get their outrageous commissions. Or mortgage brokers who have been known to lie and forge docs to get the loans funded and collect their outrageous commissions. But the bottom line is that these homeowners did not plan for contingencies and did not save money to get them through hard times.
Mr. Cranky makes good points in asking how these people ended up here. The ones who I personally know all took out 90%-100% financing with a teaser rate and were assured by their scummy realtors that they could just refinance in a year when the house was worth more.
In answer to Mr. Cranky about what we are doing -- started with expecting fiscal and personal responsibility from our kids when they were young. Paying only a small portion of their college bills although we could easily afford to pay it all. If they had no personal investment we felt they would not value the education. They all graduated in record time with good grades and are all employed in good jobs. They all knew that they needed to be personally responsible and have never expected us to bail them out, nor would we.
Posted by Mr Cranky, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 13, 2010 at 9:12 am
Mr Walden - if you read my last post, you'll see we're in agreement: printing addresses of foreclosed homes serves no purpose other than to "out" the people who've been foreclosed upon. As I also said, my point was more about personal responsibility.
How did this situations occur? "responsible homeowner" is right: mortgage brokers did what was required to get the loan approved, and realtors assured the buyers that they could afford a home with an unaffordable loan because they could just refinance in a year or two when the home had appreciated in value. MOST IMPORTANT THOUGH: is that it also required buyers who either were foolish enough or dumb enough to assume nothing bad would ever happen. These people have learned their lesson the hard way.
It's easy to point the finger at the banks, but the fact is the TARP program gave money to banks to ensure they remained solvent. There was *never* any promise extracted or given that the money would be used to give loans to individuals. By many estimates, 65-75% of modified sub-prime loans go back into default within one year of the modification. Given this, banks would be irresponsible to modify most underwater loans. Lots of money managers agree that for most people in these situations, bankruptcy is actually a cleaner way to move forward.
We all need to take responsibility for our own actions - both the good and the bad. Don't be foolish enough to think that the government will fix things. The government is great at building roads, fighting wars, and taxing its citizens. That's about it.
Posted by Choices, a resident of Dublin, on May 13, 2010 at 9:33 am
I'm a responsible homeowner and find it disturbing that people who got in over their head are asking to be bailed out with my money. We bought our house six years ago and ran into the same type of broker who said we could purchase a much larger house and within a few years could sell with a huge profit. A lot of people were doing this at the time because they were hearing of others who had made a lot of money doing this. They took a risk, some a huge risk, which didn't pan out. Its too bad they got themselves into this situation but they are the ones ultimately responsible - not the banks, mortgage brokers, Bush, Obama etc. We bought our house to raise a family and that wasn't worth gambling on. I have sympathy for those who lost their primary residence, this has happened to some neighbors and its never a pretty sight. But I still think back to years ago when my wife and I would discuss how people with less income then us could buy homes nearly twice the size then immediately run out and buy a new car, and I wonder how those people are managing today. I guess I just don't understand the mentality of taking out 120% equity against your home. We made sure to put 20% down and only took out a HELOC for dire emergencies, but we still have ample reserves to hopefully outlast any bad times.
How are the banks evil? Did they change the agreement which all parties signed? I personally feel the government should have let the market run its course and allowed these failed businesses to fail. Now we're in a situation which the government is involved in a business which it has no right be involved with. After all it was two GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which allowed these bad Wall Street practices to occur.
Posted by nancy s, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2010 at 10:04 am
Mr. Cranky - WOW. Your description fits every person on the planet. Example "So here I am doing great, great job, family, then I lose my job and spouse losses theirs (maybe because through no fault of our own)the industriy we work in takes a dive, or it is a domino effect within the economy. Now becausue I haven't set aside the $200K/child it takes to raise a child to adulthood, or purchased my house or car with cash, I am irresponsible? Have you never had to use credit? Did you pay cash for your kids college? Your house? Your car? Lighten up. I know people who were always responsible with their money, they lost a job, went through their savings and retirements and are still losing their home because they can't find work. California's unemployment rate is over 12%. I so happy you never experience a hard time...you problem grew up with the silver spoon!
Posted by Cindy, a resident of the Lund Ranch II neighborhood, on May 13, 2010 at 10:11 am
I have a brother-in-law who is around 60. He's had the same stable job for over 20 years. He bought a home about 15 years ago. Seems like a perfect example of someone who's careful, responsible, and has his act together.
I was blown away to find out he has maxed out multiple credit cards and taken out a line of credit so that he's used up every cent of equity in his house.
So what's going on here? It sounds like maybe someone with a bad illness or a drug habit. In fact, he just likes to have a lot of cool stuff. Shiny toys, nice clothes, vacations, etc.
I bite my tongue every time I see him. What I really want to ask is what the hell he thinks he's going to do in 5-10 years when he wants to retire. As far as I can tell, he just doesn't think about it.
Posted by so sad, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2010 at 10:31 am
You are so fortunate.
Enjoy it and I wish you never get into a sad situation like this.
I wish to all those having trouble not to feel humiliated or down, life is cruel and people can even be more cruel, keep your heads up and know there are people out their who if they could would help out.
Posted by Mr Cranky, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 13, 2010 at 10:35 am
Careful there Nancy, you don't know me, and you don't know what my life experience has been.
Honestly, I don't know how many people fit your description: both husband and wife lose their jobs, they've got a lot of bills, went through all their savings and retirement money, and then still lose their house. I'm guessing this is pretty rare, because that's a lot of bad karma coming back onto one family. Further, I'm guessing such a family has been living beyond its means for a while. Your description is too general to know for sure.
I'll give you a small peek into my life experience: I bought a house back in 2008. At the time, I thought it was a pretty good deal. The price had come down a lot due to the downturn in the economy. Unfortunately, the economy hadn't hit bottom yet, and the house is now worth about 80% of what I bought it for. To make matters worse, the nice little old lady I bought it from neglected to disclose three serious defects in the home (leaking roof, inoperative AC, screwed up electrical panel.) So, as I'm watching the home value go down, I'm shelling out $20,000 to pay to fix these problems.
Now, I grumble every month when I have to pay the mortgage. Frankly, I get a little pissed off every night when I pull into the driveway and look at the place. The key point though is that I keep paying the mortgage. Why? Because I made sure I could afford it before I bought the place. I kick myself because I made a few bad decisions, but I don't blame anyone else but me. Every once in a while, I see someone driving a really cool car and I think it would be fun to have one. Then, I look the other way and put it out of my mind, because I remind myself that I intentionally chose to have a home instead of a fun car.
I hope this doesn't come off as "holier than thou", because I actually think what I do is just like what 80-90% of the people in this country do. We live within our means and we focus on what's really important. Don't expect me to feel compassion for people who choose to live irresponsibly.
Posted by Mr Cranky, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 13, 2010 at 10:47 am
Hey "so sad" - Your comments are *exactly* the problem with this society: you wish rainbows and unicorns for the downtrodden people. Do you actually help them in any way, or do you expect your positive vibes to fix it all up?
More important: do you do anything for anyone to help educate them so that they don't run into these kinds of problems in the future? Or are you the type of person that believes everything is up to fate and so planning and foresight are worthless?
Posted by bad attitude, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm
I believe you are the bigger problem in this picture.. not so sad..so sad is being compassionate and wishing people well.. you on the other hand are belittle people for something you dont know a thing about in their specific situation..
I am in this situation, my husband and I bought our house in 2007, had enough money to put a 20% down on my house which was worth 560K little 3 bdrm 2 bath house..nothing fancy.. we both has stable jobs.. I a teacher and he a software engineer.. we have 2 children.. 10 and 13...we made enough to cover our mortgage x 3.. so far so good right..
well..hubby lost his job...his benefits...he has had jobs here and there...nothing permanent...I lost my job as a teacher.....am working at the mall now to help get by.. salary has gone down 10 fold so we are living on our savings which 1 year ago was enough to keeo us in our home for 2 years...well we are almost to the 2 year mark and we have kept paying our mortgage...now i think for what bec I know as soon as I stop paying we will lose the house that we so love..I think geez it is just a material thing so no big deal...so based on this does this make me a person of no credablility... seriously sir I think you are full of yourself...
So sad.. thanks for the encouragement...maybe Cranky can learn some humility...and not assume people are all the same.
Posted by accountabilityplease, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 13, 2010 at 1:15 pm
I love reading everyone's comments and believe we are all entitled to our opinion. It's all perception. So no use arguing with those who do not share the same beliefs as you, it is simply beating a dead horse. With that being said.....
We do not live in a socialist country (yet). Nothing is for free and you must work for it. Accountability needs to be adhered to. No one made these borrowers sign on the dotted line with a gun pointed to their head. Whether or not the loan officer was honest or dishonest in his/her work practices should not hold any leverage or blame. If you are "big boy" enough to accept the responsibility of a home and a mortgage, than you should also be "big boy" enough to do your due diligence and read the fine print and ask the questions before signing on dotted line. Don't live beyond your means. Try to save for a rainy day. Buy what you need, not what you want. I lost my job 2 months after I bought my home. I lived off my savings and unemployment and did odd jobs until 10 months later I was finally able to secure employment. You do what have to do to survive and try your darnedest to pay your obligations. I am a single woman and managed to stay afloat so I have a difficult time hearing excuses and hearing people playing the blame game. Life is is full of speed bumps along the way, deal with it and always hold your head high. I make a third of what I used to but still make it work, have my home, and credit in tact. My house is worth 200k less than what I paid for it due to foreclosures in the neighborhoods. This to will pass and eventually things will start looking up. Playing the victim will get you no where and will only perpetuate the situation and leave you stagnant. Wheww. I feel better now. Thanks for letting me vent. Best of luck to all in this difficult financial cycle we are in.
Posted by Mr Cranky, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 13, 2010 at 2:18 pm
As "accountabilityplease" says, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Perhaps I shouldn't argue with those who disagree with me. I feel I learn something from it - or maybe I just like annoying people.
To "Bad Attitude" - I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. Most people would say I have a really great life. Many have said I'm really lucky. In fact, I've had good luck and bad luck in pretty equal measure. In face, I've worked really hard to get where I am.
You on the other hand sound - and with no disrespect intended - sound like your life is pretty unpleasant. Here's what I truly don't understand: you say I should learn some humility. Why? Because I could just as easily be in your shoes? I don't think so. Because what I say makes you feel bad? That is not my intent, though sometimes the truth can be painful to admit. That's certainly been my experience in some situations.
If I may, I'd like to ask you a few questions and I'm sure I can learn something if you'll answer honestly:
- Your husband is a software engineer. This is something I know a lot about since I manage a group of about 30 software engineers down in the valley. Does he have a degree? Does he actually write software or does he work in a support role? In my experience, good software engineers are very tough to find and they have no problem getting work. So, why is he having trouble getting a job?
- You say you're a teacher. What type of teacher? I assume you have a credential. With that, why do you have to work in the mall? You might not be able to get a job in the Pleasanton school district, but other districts in the area need good teachers. What about tutoring on the side? A teaching credential looks really good to someone looking for a tutor for their kid.
- You say you've both been out of work for two years. Why are you still in the house? At what point are you going to decide your jobs aren't coming back and just dump it? Yeah, you might very well take a loss, but if you put 20% down you shouldn't be underwater unless you horribly overpaid even in 2007 terms. Losing some money on the house seems preferrable to blowing through all your savings.
- It sounds like you have a rather limited amount of time before you hit the wall. What are you expecting to change? Are you planning to make a change to your lifestyle? What are you expecting you'll do when your savings runs out?
I guess what I'm saying is that your story doesn't ring true to me. My guess is that you're either exaggerating you and your husband's qualifications, or you're unwilling to downgrade your lifestyle in order to live within your means. But please, help me to understand where I'm just being obtuse and don't understand people in situations like yours.
Posted by The real issue, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2010 at 9:31 pm
The subject matter at hand has nothing to do with opinions,
the economy, right or wrong attitudes, etc.
The fact is that it was wrong for PW to publish the addresses.
If they found it necessary to have this information know, they could just as easily have published a link to the site where the public information is available. While I personally still see even that as unnecessary, at least it allows some privacy and concern for the community that we live in. If PW was a responsible publication, perhaps instead of just allowing these boards to go crazy, they would address the thought and reason behind their actions, allowing us to make informed decisions, rather than assumptions. On that note, those with opinions, please do some research before making uninformed statements!
Posted by Qwerty, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2010 at 11:17 pm
There's the old Native American saying: "Don't judge another until you have walked in his moccasins".
This isn't the place to be criticizing people for their life situation, because no one really knows what it is, except them. No one is going to divulge their entire life on this forum. Perhaps "Mr Cranky" is right but perhaps he isn't. Who knows why "Bad Attitude" doesn't have the job she wants at this time. Maybe she's in the mall because with unemployment being what it is she can't find an open position because there are 100-500 people applying for the same job. Yes, that can happen.
I personally know someone who put an ad out for a part time job at a non-profit and received 500 applications! Who knows, maybe "Bad Attitude" applied for something higher paying and didn't get it for whatever reason. Or perhaps she found something that appeared to pay better than something at the mall, but the higher pay was negated by the cost of the commute. Maybe she applied for an adjunct position at a community college, but found they aren't hiring any new people because they don't even have the budget to keep the existing adjuncts busy? The point is, there are many things she could be doing now and probably is, but you can't judge her unless you know everything.
It is time for people to put up or shut up and get the conversation back on track.
This thread is really about the insensitivity of PW in posting this story in the first place.
Posted by Qwerty, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2010 at 11:32 pm
Another comment, particularly for "Mr Cranky":
Maybe "Bad Attitude" has tried looking for tutoring opportunities but can't find any because with all the unemployed PhD's, they are getting preference for private tutoring or learning center jobs over K-12 teachers...
Posted by drdoug, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on May 14, 2010 at 9:01 am
I wonder what all of us have become. We live in sensationalism, gossip, and obsessed with the negatives that are presented to us as "news" or entertainment, and in most cases required to "become" both. Yes many bad things have happened and many more will arrive unless we change. We simply have been so over "media-dized" and instantly texted that we have come to expect the sordid details of everything as a necessary? part of our day. To top it off, we expect this continuing behavior will arrive us to any peace, balance, respect and recovery. Wow!
Posted by res, a resident of another community, on May 14, 2010 at 9:39 am
PW you could have said the number of foreclosure and cities without the addresses, this sort of gossip style article is really low.
These people are already dealing with the vulture type agents that swoop in when theres a wiff of foreclosure trying to get the place cheap to the mess of having to move and dealing with banks that don't make it easy to contact them. Some of these houses could have renters in them who are dealing with effects of foreclosure despite regularly paying rent.
The house we rented foreclosed, we were paying rent, then the real estate vultures swooped in, harassing us thinking we were the home owners, later a notice got taped to the door. My son had to change schools, we had to move out of town away from his friends.
Posted by Aunty Entity, a resident of another community, on May 14, 2010 at 10:33 am
Suppose instead of getting a loan from a bank to buy their house, these people had borrowed money from you? They sign a contract with you to pay back a specified amount of money to you every month. One day they come to you and say they can't pay you any longer because of one reason or another.
You're now out something like half a million dollars, but everyone around you is telling you to "Leave these poor people alone! They've suffered enough already!" These people are treating you like a greedy bad guy because you want your money back.
Aunty says: Break a deal and spin the wheel! Let's bring back the Debtor's Prison!
Posted by res, a resident of another community, on May 14, 2010 at 11:39 am
I'm not talking about any specific individuals or addresses, just what kind of things go on with foreclosures since my family just went through it as renters. Its a lot to deal with and its bad enough without your address posted so peole around town can see.
Posted by Artlover, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on May 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm
My comment over and over again to anyone who asks me what The Bay Area is like:
We are house rich and cash poor. This is why downtown merchants can't make it, because let's face it- people want to look like they are rich but can really only afford Walmart or Target. All of us need to learn to live within our means, and teaching this lesson to my entitled feeling children here in Pleasanton, is very hard, but do it I MUST. I owe it to my kids to prepare them for the future to be independent, hard working and compassionate people. That means making them pay for things, doing chores WITHOUT being paid, and reaching out to others in true need. You can't imagine how many parents I know who don't have their children contribute anything to keeping the house up, paying for all of the kids' social activites, and giving them a credit card, and then complaining when the kid uses it irresponsibly. Sigh- we STILL have a long way to go people- and it starts in the home- where morals, integrity are taught. Know where your kids are- physcially and Morally. Then elect people who espouse the same.
Posted by wooden, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on May 16, 2010 at 8:42 pm
Got to blame idiots for getting themselves into the situation, except in cases of unemployment.
I am in my late 20s and know multiple employed peers that took loans they couldn't afford and have purposely gone into foreclosure. Stupid decisions on loan structure, where to buy, what to buy, and more. I say ought them, it is public record anyways, and I bet 60% of the situations above are either on purpose or a result of bad personal financial decisions.
Sucks, but might as well point out which properties are available so someone smart can snatch them up and help YOUR property value.