Carl Richards, author of a new book and a financial analyst by trade, recently wrote an article in The New York Times detailing how he lost his home, despite a life of helping people make money.
The last few years have been very difficult for many Americans. Job losses, poor financial decisions and other factors have led to a historic number of foreclosures in Miami, throughout Florida and nationwide.
As Miami foreclosure defense lawyers have seen, many people are stuck in the same situation. Whether rich or middle class, employed or recently laid off, this is a problem that crosses cultural, racial and socioeconomic lines.
There are a variety of ways to deal with a foreclosure. The worst way is to simply let the banks roll over you by not fighting back, refusing to try to stay in a home that is special to you. It is also not advisable to try to deal with a bank by yourself.
An experienced and skilled lawyer can advocate on behalf of a homeowner and help save the house from foreclosure, especially if there are identified mistakes in the process, such as robo-signing and falsified documentation.
Richards wrote that he was a financial adviser and a certified financial planner, making good money. In 2003, housing prices were high in Las Vegas, where they lived. They planned on looking to buy, but budgeted for $350,000, based on their salary and bills.
But after speaking with a real estate agent, before long they were looking at houses listed at $500,000 or more, despite their reservations. They noticed that other couples, younger than they, were lining up to look at these houses and he wondered how so many people were making so much money.
They ended up buying a house in a nice neighborhood for $575,000 and tried to negotiate, but the owners wouldn’t have it. The couple put nothing down and borrowed 100 percent and could have had more, they were told, because of a steady and rising income.
The financial adviser admits he shouldn’t have bought a house with a 100 percent loan. He said he felt secure knowing that so many others were doing the same thing. He should have done an independent review of the numbers before signing on the line, but he didn’t.
Richards and his family got caught up in materialism, comparing their spending habits to that of their neighbors, despite knowing that they were taking out new lines of credit because they were spending more than they were making.
And things began spiraling downward from there. As the economy began crumbling, he had clients breaking down in tears because their portfolios were declining significantly. His clients were looking for advice and he didn’t have much to offer at a time when his finances were in trouble, too.
He had also recently gone out on his own, and his income depended on how much money he was making for people, which was not a lot. Health insurance and property taxes were increasing and the family began using credit cards as a stopgap.
Battling the moral fight of not paying for a house he agreed to pay for, Richards and his family stopped paying for their house. They could no longer afford it and felt it would be better to move back to Utah, where most of his clients lived. They would attempt a short sale or loan modification.
The bank agreed to a short sale and the family was able to rent a house in Utah. In the article, he laments that he could be part of the reason why the economy has faltered and many people have lost their jobs because of actions like his.
If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas, contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991.
More Blog Entries:
Halloween Costumes Mock Home Foreclosure Problems: November 4, 2011
Occupy Movement Forces Banks’ Hand and Helps Homeowner Get Loan Modification in Miami: October 18, 2011
How a Financial Pro Lost His House, by Carl Richards, The New York Times