Well, it has been a few days since last I posted and the main reason for that is because I have been looking for another work crew to come in and finish our project. The spouse came home from work last week and decided to fire the guys who were working here. I should've been the one to do the firing a long time ago but, after hearing the stories of childhood trauma, current divorce drama and other calamities, I felt sorry for them and allowed this thing to drag on for far too long. The spouse has instructed me to stop talking to the workers. We are not here to converse, he says, we are paying them to put our bathrooms back to rights.
So, right now, we have two non functional showers, toilets that need to be reinstalled and bathroom sinks that also need to be reinstalled. The (fired) guys had to keep ripping out plumbing from the walls, work that they had already done but had to redo because of mistakes and, after the third time, the spouse called time and said enough.
The paint that appeared on the bedroom carpets didn't help either. Traipsing in and out of disorganized and unprepared work areas meant that the workers were walking all over our carpets with paint on the bottom of their shoes. I could not believe the lack of organization that these two guys exhibited. And the deep sighs that constantly floated on the air to my ears as one of the guys in particular actually had to do some work and didn't seem too happy at that fact. I got tired of listening to him sighing. Deep belly sighs. LOL
Then there was the mud. Tracking in mud constantly from the outside, with nary a thought that maybe maybe the inside of my house would start to resemble a dirt lot. Just completely thoughtless and clueless.
So, this project is far from over. There is actually far more work than I realized but, on the bright side, once it's done it's done .... and it will last for the entire time I live in this house, I hope. And it will help with resale value.
The home prices around our neighborhood continue to rise. Given where I live in the desert, I live in a 'desirable' neighborhood as neighborhoods go out here in the Mojave. My house is central to everything and is well established. Interestingly, an ex-neighbor of mine out here, who lived in a neighborhood I used to live in back in 2000, just lost their beautiful house to foreclosure. The house just popped up on the MLS this morning. I couldn't believe it. Here are the basic stats:
4 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms, 2,290 sq ft, built in 1988, last sold in December 1988 for $205,000
My ex-neighbor bought the house brand new as the builder was building out the tract. So, he lived in the house for 25 years. 25 years. Not passing judgment because the lord knows just how poorly I've managed my own finances but, with my newly acquired clarity, I have to ask myself just how does one lose a house to foreclosure after living in it for 25 years? There's a story here no doubt.
From looking at the photos on Zillow, it would appear that the house has been left in pristine condition. All the expensive built ins that I remember (the gorgeous office, the laundry room, the hallway cabinets, the master bed and bath) are all still there. The carpets are spotless as is the paintwork in every room. The house shows pride of ownership and a love for cleanliness and organization. I am perplexed.
And I'm nosy too. I'm going to check the public records. BRB.
OK so here we go. The mortgage record reads like something from MY past let alone anything else. What would Quest have done? Everything I'm about to divulge. And more.
When my ex-neighbors bought their house, they paid cash. $205,000 in cash to be exact. No mortgage. Nice. For 11 years (11 years) they lived mortgage free. And then they took out a mortgage for $150,000 with those bastards at Countrywide. Perhaps that's why the house looks so nice with all those built ins and all ....... The following year, they took out another $25,000 in the form of a second mortgage. The next year, they took out a $130,000 equity line of credit. Do you see where this going? I sure do because this is what I did a couple of times myself. Borrowing and borrowing against equity until there was nothing left. The next year, they refinanced everything to the tune of $300,000. That probably included the $150K + $25K + $130K HELOC. So there. In the space of just 3 or 4 years, their housing stability was destroyed.
Two years later, they refinanced the $300K again for a new $300K mortgage and limped along with that loan for quite a few years until 2012 when the Notice of Default was filed. The house sold on the courthouse steps a couple of months ago and is now up for sale as a foreclosure. I was just as big a fool as my neighbors have been financially because, as far as I know, there wasn't any job loss or illness that caused this situation. Just the thrill of knowing that they (we) were sitting on an ATM machine that could spit out Countrywide dollars anytime we wanted. Dumb. Of course, if there was a job loss or illness, I stand corrected. However, it's impossible to get a mortgage if you don't have a job so I guess we can rule job loss out.
So there. My neighbors lived for 11 years mortgage free and the other 14 years in increasing debt. And that is the madness that was created by the unregulated banking system and greedy investors and even greedier portfolio manipulators. They offered us money we should never have taken for mortgages we absolutely could not afford. And the landscape is littered with similar tales, all across the land.
Another point to remember is that the house sold originally for $205,000 and is on the market today for $270,000. Assuming the house sold for that amount and assuming that the ex-neighbor was the one selling it instead of the bank, that's a pretty lousy return on capital over 25 years' time IMO. Subtract money for selling expenses and the rate of return is even worse. As an aside, my net worth increased by just over $2000 in just one week .....