Bank Forecloses on 'Extreme Makeover' Homeowner

USA Today | May 26, 2017         HOLT, Mich. — Nearly nine years after her home was rebuilt on national television, Arlene Nickless must turn in her keys.

Designers with ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition — with the help of hundreds of volunteers — built her family's home in 2008 following the death of Tim Nickless, her husband of 18 years. But Arlene Nickless has been struggling to manage the mortgage for years and must leave by Monday.

The home was foreclosed on in September and has been up for auction online for weeks.

This past Sunday, cardboard boxes were stacked on the dark hardwood floors once showcased in nationwide broadcasts. The 2009 Ford Flex given with the home sat in the driveway hooked to a moving trailer.

And the overwhelming feeling a tearful Arlene Nickless had all those years ago took on a different tenor.

“When I stepped out of the house the day Extreme Makeover came, you will see me say ‘I can’t believe this is happening,’ ” she said. “And, truthfully, that’s what I feel right now: I can’t believe this is happening.”

Arlene Nickless is quick to defend the ABC show, whose lavish rebuilds have in some cases led to foreclosure because of increased property taxes and pricey utilities. She's less complimentary of her mortgage servicer that state regulators now are targeting.

Her home’s foreclosure resulted from an ongoing struggle to manage the property’s pre-makeover mortgage — a balance that rested at about $30,000 after the 2008 makeover, but had ballooned to at least $113,000 by the end of 2016, she said.  Read more here.

Rising Sale Prices and Mortgage Rates Mean You’ll Have to Fork Over More for that Home Purchase this Year

The Washington Post | January 11, 2017       Last year, more people wanted to buy homes and fewer people decided to sell, which made 2016 one of the strongest seller’s markets in recent years.

Unfortunately, 2017 looks to be more of the same. According to Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, homeowners are staying in their homes longer, and the super-low interest rates we’ve seen since 2012 mean that it’s often less expensive to stay rather than downsize.

Low housing inventory means that prices will continue to rise. Rising interest rates mean affordability will be impacted, particularly for first-time buyers. So, if you’re planning to buy in 2017, be prepared for even higher prices and higher interest rates.  Read more here.

 

Foreclosure Fallout: 43 Percent of Americans Are Still Renting

NBC News | February 11, 2016    Although the start of the mortgage meltdown is nearly a decade in America's rearview mirror, its effects are still evident in the number of former homeowners who are treading water in the nation's rental market.

A new report by real estate site Trulia.com found that the number of renters across the United States grew by about five percentage points between 2006 and 2014, to just over 43 percent.

Within this cohort, though, some geographic and demographic groups suffered a more acute dropoff in homeownership levels. As aspiring presidential nominees travel to Las Vegas to woo Nevada voters in advance of that state's primary later this month, candidates will be facing a population in which fully half of households rent today, up from just under 40 percent a decade earlier, the highest increase among major U.S. metro areas.

While adults under 35 always have rented in substantially higher numbers than older age brackets, the leading edge of the millennial generation — those between the ages of 26 and 34 — bore the brunt of the mortgage market implosion, with the percentage of renters shooting up 11 percentage points to 67 percent.  Read more here.

Lenders Ask Court to Toss Foreclosure Verdict Favoring Homeowners

Houston Chronicle | December 24, 2015    Wells Fargo Bank and its mortgage servicer are asking a state district judge in Houston to throw out a jury verdict in favor of a West University couple facing foreclosure and to order a sheriff's sale of their house.  Read more here.