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OPINION - Welcome To Whoville

POSTED February 2, 2010 3:43 p.m.

And so the time has come.

Many have spent the last year and a half watching their neighbors pack up a moving van and leave the neighborhood. While many have left the area altogether, others have had to resort to rental properties in an effort to regroup financially. In short, homeowners are still losing their homes.

But, not all of these homeowners are people who took a bad loan in the day of free money. Not all of them are people who lived beyond their means and borrowed money shamelessly against the roof over their heads.

Many of these people are no different than the individuals reading these words. They are the people you see leave their driveway each morning, as they shuttle their kids to school on their way to work. They are the people, who would offer a hand when a neighbor was in need or prepare a meal for a friend who has lost a loved one. So what went wrong?

Simply put, things change. There are many layers to what this ‘change’ represents. There is the mommy who has had to return to work because the construction business has dried up and daddy is unemployed. There are the employees who are asked to take a 10 percent pay cut and furlough days, so the company can stay afloat. And the unemployed who, after months of searching, finally find a job, at a pay rate which is significantly less than what they once earned.

These are the people who are now loading the moving vans and heading back to square one. They have talked to the banks, provided the paperwork, documentation and hardship letters. In the end many of them are told, there is no program for them and others might have been told financially they do not qualify for the home they occupy.

The golden question, of course, becomes if the government/taxpayers bail out the banks, who bails out the people?

Many of the people packing those moving vans, did not reach out to the banks for a hand out. Some reached to the banks in search of a loan modification. A modification in the way of the life of the loan, an adjusted interest rate, or simply tacking a few months of payments onto the end.

With California real estate in the toilet, it makes more sense to the bank for the house to sit empty and give it away at auction. So, individuals who paid their mortgage faithfully year after year are now renters. Now, if they are lucky their bank may have given them ‘Cash for Keys.’ That is, of course, if they left their toilets, light fixtures and appliances and they weren’t stolen by looters.

It’s hard to believe, but somehow we are now living in a time where a Dr. Seuss book seems to make more sense than the current beauracracy. A simple book of nonsensical words, rhyming and chiming make more sense than the current system.

A system, which tells a homeowner thanks for 15 years of payments, sorry you lost your job, now please get out. After all, there is a first time buyer anxiously waiting to give us 50 percent of what you currently owe on the home via an FHA loan. Hopefully in five years that family will not be met with the same set of circumstances and if so, well, on to the next one…

“You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.” Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

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