Sunday, November 04, 2007

Perplexing IJ Article

So this fool in Mill Valley is like so many other Marinites it seems. He lives in the house he grew up in and no doubt owns it now. Yet he is foreclosing. How can that be? I mean, thanks to Prop. 13 he has certainly inherited a ridiculously low property tax based on when the house was last purchased, probably in the 1950s. So how can this guy be foreclosing? By now you would think he owns his house outright. But no. He must have drunk deeply from the HELOC/equity extraction/refinance teat and now he is whining about its consequences:
Wealthy Marin not immune to foreclosure crisis

Ian Minto isn't exactly homeless, but he sure doesn't have his home.

The 58-year-old former banker lost his job and, last fall, began falling behind on mortgage payments on the Mill Valley house he grew up in on East Manor Drive.

Desperate, he sold the home - appraised at $1.2 million - for about $300,000 less than it was worth.

"(I felt) like I wanted to kill somebody or jump off the bridge," said Minto, who just took a job at Radio Shack to help cover the cost of a $600-a-month windowless room he is moving into on Fourth Street in San Rafael.
After that fool's story, the next third of the article is all about calming our fears and assuaging our hurt egos... about how special we are, about how we have fewer foreclosures, etc., compared to other counties (never mind that our population is far, far smaller than most and so of course our absolute numbers of foreclosures are smaller, but they are not smaller on a percentage basis (see here and here for recent action); and dang but the IJ is really pushing that message recently, isn't it?), and that if you factor out Novato and San Rafael, then there is not too much of a foreclosure problem in Marin (hear that Novato and San Rafael? The Marin IJ has just kicked you out of Marin).

Yet then, strangely, the article focuses on Marin realtors getting trained to deal with short-sales and foreclosures:
"We started beefing up the agents' education," he said [Steve Dickason, vice president and managing broker at Pacific Union in Greenbrae]. "This year it's more short-sale activity than we've seen in many years. The signs were there that it was coming. There was a lot creative financing with the lenders."

Teaching these classes is Paul Hickman, president of California Land Title Co. of Marin. He said it is vital that realty agents stay active in a foreclosure or short sale, as most clients are not equipped with the skills to close the deal.

Hickman, who started teaching the classes last year, expects to be at it for awhile.
Why would Marin realtors/agents need special training in short-sales and foreclosures?

This IJ article is just plain perplexing. Are we special or not?

8 Comments:

Blogger marin_explorer said...

By now you would think he owns his house outright. But no.

And, judging by the age of that box, one would guess the mort was covered a few decades back, and that second mortgage is perhaps due to his own fiscal indiscretions? Without the IJ providing some backstory, we're forced to guess on this one: a banker making a supposedly decent salary and a cheap living arrangement...needed a second mortgage? What has this guy been up to the past few decades? Let me guess…

Ah, but now we read "he is now suing to get his house back." Go get 'em…how dare the bank steal your Marin birthright and force you into a "windowless room"! Litigation is a far better course of action than owning up to your mistakes, I'll say!

Can I add how pathetic I find these Marin adult children who grew up in relative ease, then after consuming to an inevitable conclusion, now feel that society, banks, what-have-you, owe them something more? O-m-g!

Nov 4, 2007, 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger fortunateone said...

This IJ article is just plain perplexing. Are we special or not?

While the numbers will probably go higher, at this time, Marin does have much lower foreclosure numbers on a per capita basis. I think looking at the numbers in percentage increases within the county shows that they've gone from almost non-existent to very low compared to other areas.

If you take Marin County's population at 250,000 and 41 Trustee Deeds in the 3rd quarter of 2007 and compare it with Solano County's 495 Trustee Deeds and 411,000 population, the difference is dramatic. Solano County has less than twice Marin's population, yet it has more than ten times as many foreclosures in process.

To me, one thing I was reminded of by that article, is that I think Marin probably has a higher percentage of idiots on a per-capita basis!

Nov 4, 2007, 1:35:00 PM  
Blogger Lance said...

By now you would think he owns his house outright. But no.

I don't know too many people who inheret their parents' homes prior to their passing away. My guess is that he bought the place in the same way the rest of us buy our homes ... with a downpayment and a hefty mortgage.

Nov 4, 2007, 1:41:00 PM  
Blogger Marinmaven said...

I am not sure what is up with this guy. For someone who works in a bank, you would think he would be able to manage his money better. Why would someone who didn't need to pay rent, choose to pay rent to the bank? If he needed to do improvements, he could have saved the money he made at the bank and did improvements as he could afford them out of pocket. He also should have saved for a rainy day, so if he lost his job when he was almost 60 (when it is difficult for older people to find work).
It is kind of a bummer that now the entire county knows he can't handle his money. Way to go when you are trying to find work in the Banking industry.

Nov 4, 2007, 2:51:00 PM  
Blogger Tyrone said...

Sounds like he was leveraged to the hilt. Trying to maintain a lifestyle? Not saving? HELOCing his way to a better life? I hope I don't get to age 60, still dependent on a steady, working income.

This guy is Hall of Shame® material.

Nov 4, 2007, 5:41:00 PM  
Blogger rdm said...

"Desperate, he sold the home - appraised at $1.2 million - for about $300,000 less than it was worth."

This is such a crock. If one assumes this guy hasn’t just fallen off the turnip truck and surely he hasn’t because he's a native and must be savvy in all things financial (he he) than his appraisal is a worthless piece of paper suitable for adorning the bottom of a toilet bowl. I have read a few of these tear jerk stories that did elicit some sympathy but if this is the best that the I J can come up with, it aint cuttin it for me. Than again I am not of that rarefied breed, those choosen few that are the true Marinites. I am a mere carpet bagger intruding on their sacred ground.

Nov 4, 2007, 6:08:00 PM  
Blogger J at IHB and HFF said...

Hello. The banker's situation seems fishy but (before we hang him) some possibilities include:

He has a gambling problem.

His parents have a gambling problem and he is cleaning up like a good son.

He or his parents had a medical problem.

His parents sold and ran off to Florida with the loot while he re-bought from a stranger at full bubble price.

As usual, the media did not report the whole story.

Nov 5, 2007, 7:48:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

"Desperate, he sold the home - appraised at $1.2 million - for about $300,000 less than it was worth."

No, he sold the house for exactly what it was worth. The Marin IJ is shameless in helping perpetuate this county's sense of entitlement.

Yes, there are plenty of people here who make good salaries. And yes, these are the same people who are HELOC'd up to their eyeballs to maintain their precious Marin "lifestyle."

$100K to remodel your kitchen? $50K for the new BMW in the driveway? Take the kids to Europe for 2 weeks? Why not?? You DESERVE it, since you are oh-so-smart for buying a house in this county.

Nov 5, 2007, 8:37:00 AM  

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