foreclosures

About a decade ago, home prices exploded to bizarro levels, then millions of families got behind on their mortgage payments. A financial crisis spiraled out from there, almost destroying the world. Things have improved a bit since then, but it still sucks for lots of people. If you can’t make your payments, the bank squares the debt by seizing your home, and you’re left out in the cold. In the modern world, it’s one of the worst things that can happen to you that doesn’t involve a somber doctor asking you to please sit down.

That’s where Evelyn comes in. As part of her real estate job, she works with banks to handle foreclosures, evictions, and lockouts. We asked her what it’s like watching this tragedy unfold again and again. And yeah, it’s a fucking nightmare.

I Foreclose Houses For Banks: 5 Awful Realities

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Foreclosure rates soared in August, indicating that government intervention and furor over so-called robo-signing merely offered a false reprieve from the tsunami of foreclosures that slammed the U.S. economy. Thirty-one states saw increases in foreclosure filings while defaults skyrocketed by a staggering 33%. Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts had the highest month-over-month increase in foreclosure filings (in that order).

dealbook.nytimes.com
Remember that pseudo-controversy a few weeks back, involving employees at New York foreclosure firm who dressed as homeless folk for Halloween? That firm, Steven J. Baum PC, has now shut down.

Backstory and nuance: Joe Nocera is the reporter who, late last month, broke the story of the “Homeless Halloween” party that the firm held in 2010. A couple of days ago, the head of the firm, Steven Baum, sent Nocera an email, saying that “there is blood on your hands for this one, Joe;” today, the firm announced that it’s closing its doors, citing “the loss of so much business.” While it was likely negative publicity surrounding the photos that caused the firm’s demise, it’s important to keep in mind that the firm had faced multiple legal battles in the past over the legitimacy of its foreclosures, a fact noted by Nocera in his original piece.

This is how the United States repays its medal winners. (ht @pbump)

EDIT: Because this clearly got misinterpreted, this was not meant as the U.S. government, but the U.S. as a culture. The cultural climate of the United States made foreclosures a fact of life for many. Especially in Florida, of all places, where foreclosures have in recent years been among the country’s highest. That’s what the comment was intended towards. A single sentence probably wasn’t enough to make that clear. — Ernie @ SFB

After foreclosure crisis, renters suffer under Wall Street landlords

The poster child for the foreclosure crisis has been a middle-income suburban family. But low-income urban renters also saw their buildings over-mortgaged at the height of the crisis, and now faceless hedge funds and nameless investors are replacing their desperate landlords — sometimes with disastrous consequences.

Six years after the foreclosure crisis helped tank the world’s economy, investors are snatching up “distressed” properties — those that are in foreclosure or facing foreclosure — and seeking to turn a profit on them. Advocates for affordable housing worry that this profit comes at the expense of tenants.

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Since 2007, banks have foreclosed around eight million homes. It is estimated that another eight to ten million homes will be foreclosed before the financial crisis is over. This approach to resolving one part of the financial crisis means many, many families are living without adequate and secure housing. In addition, approximately 3.5 million people in the U.S. are homeless, many of them veterans. It is worth noting that, at the same time, there are 18.5 million vacant homes in the country.