I may have to outsource HP to India. Just can't keep up with all the sad stories...
A Warning for Condo SpeculatorsChicago Sun Times ^ 2/16/2005 Terry Savage
Posted on 02/16/2006 11:12:27 AM PST by ex-Texan
Q: My husband and I were on a great path to being financially stable. We both started saving for retirement early on, we both have great credit and we have always tried to live within our means and save for a rainy day.
Before we were married, we purchased a condo in the loop. After we were married for a year, we decided to buy a second condo for investment purposes -- and this is where the trouble starts. We used $20,000 that we had saved -- for a rainy day -- and took a second mortgage on our unit for $20,000 to make up our down payment for condo number two. The real estate developer was offering one full year of mortgage, assessments and taxes as an incentive to buy -- not to mention the unit was rented.
We thought this was a win/win situation. We would have two years minimum of no out of pocket costs, and at the end of that period or even before we can put the unit on the market and sell. We figured even if the value only increased by $5,000 it was still a good thing.
When we applied for a mortgage, the lender informed us that our credit score was good enough that they were going to approve us for a no doc loan. I now think this was a red flag for us to realize "this means you really can't afford this loan, but we're going to give it to you anyway."
Well, here we are two years later, and I fear of what is to come. We put the unit on the market in April 2005 with no luck thus far. We first started the price out high, but by the summer we had came down to our exact purchase price.
In November 2005, the tenants' lease was over, so they left. Now we are in the last stage of the two-year period with no out of pocket costs. We are hopeful that we will get a tenant in the spring, but the rent does not cover all of the costs of owning the unit. We pay our current bills no problem, but once we have to start covering the costs of our second condo on our own, there is going to be no way.
I know the bank will want us to blow off our current debt and pay them first. We've worked so hard to keep our credit scores looking A+, and now I'm afraid of what is going to happen.
I know you can't tell us what to do, but can you advise me on how to handle this? Should I start talking to attorneys or debt consolidators? I just want to be pro-active in taking care of this costly mistake.
A: I hope you don't mind that I'm going to print your letter -- with no names, of course -- because for sure you're not the only ones in this situation. About two years ago the speculative condo boom was at its peak. And now many speculators are about to find out that it doesn't take a "crash" or "breaking the bubble" to create your own personal speculative crisis. All it takes is being unable to cover the carrying costs.
February 17, 2006
Posted by blogger at 2/17/2006