Archive | 5:03 am

Let Me Be Your Weatherman

2 Feb


Every morning while I am driving in my car I hear the same commercial.

“Is your home underwater? (not literally but in the figurative sense as in:) Do you owe more on your mortgage than your home is worth?”

And I think to myself, how is this even possible?

Have you ever attempted to or actually bought a home?

It’s not possible unless you have a battery of, no, gang of, no, a veritable gaggle of “professionals” who swarm around you like house flies and come out of the woodwork like cockroaches just to charge you extra money for their necessary, no, needed, no, required by law, “expertise” to make sure that you can not only afford said homestead, but can also pay the absolute highest possible market value for that humble abode that you so happily desire.

There will be people employed by banks and law firms and mortgage companies with titles like, Loan Officer, Title Attorney, Home Appraiser, Escrow Officer, Credit Evaluator, Tax Assessor, Insurance Officer, you’ll meet adjusters and investigators and inspectors and application officers and termite investigators and more people with more titles than you’ve ever heard of or ever thought you would need to buy just one little old house.

And they will all be well schooled and well certified and well trained and professionally paid…by you the lucky home purchaser, and they will all come to a professional and certifiable agreement as to what your home is worth and what you can afford to pay and then of course what you will be expected to pay over the next 30 years or so.

And that’s pretty much how the process works, and yet amazingly enough, without one crime being committed 10.8 million Americans or 22.3 percent of all homeowners (The research firm Zillow has estimated that nearly half of homeowners under the age of 40 are underwater right now) have discovered that all of these professionals, with their degrees and diplomas and pedigrees backed by large banks and mortgage companies and financiers and government officials, have apparently had to take no more responsibility for their being wrong about the value of these homes being inflated and overvalued than a weatherman does when he gets the weather wrong!

“Oops, sorry but you now owe more than your home is worth. Our bad. We sold you something that wasn’t worth all of our professional opinions put together and guess what? Who could have seen this coming? Like a bad storm that took a wrong turn, we “the professionals”, just didn’t see it coming. It was a housing bubble that burst! You know, like a festering blister. Who could have seen that coming?”

Unfortunately for these homeowners they weren’t swindled, as it would have been called in the old days, but rather they now just own what is known as… “Negative Equity”. Ironically the very first meanings of equity  in English were a direct translation from the original Old French equité,  a word whose Latin root means “even,” “just,” and “equal.” So today’s unfortunate underwater homeowners are simply suffering from negative evenness, negative justice and negative equality. Which of course is not a crime when the wind is blowing like it’s 1984 outside!

But I digress because there is good news. Fortunately for all of the well paid “housing professionals” what happened was not a crime and today, the unfortunate homeowners or rather  “Underwater borrowers” owe an average of $72,235 more than the value of their home, which must still be good news for the “professionals”, no?

And because the “homeowners” (I ask you: what do they actually own if the home that they “bought” has less value than the money they borrowed to pay for it?)  can’t sell their homes and move without incurring a steep financial penalty… And since the homeowners and not the “professionals” are penalized for taking such lousy advice from “the professionals” in the first place (the word today is that prospective homeowners need to do their homework and checkout the professional advice they get before taking it!) the homeowners only recourse…as the advertisement spokesperson concludes in the commercial, is…REFINANCE!

Or in other words, since crime just ain’t what it used to be…as in criminal… please, please, please…

Let me be your weatherman.


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