• 13 Dec 2012 at 2:10 PM

Your Tampa Bay-Area Dream Home Is Within Reach

If you’re looking to buy in sunny Florida, there’s (almost) never been a better time than right now. Read more »

Jill Kelley, the woman who alerted the FBI to the “harassing” emails she’d been receiving from All In author and possible bunny boiler* Paula Broadwell, has run into some financial trouble. Read more »

Former Goldman Sachs executive Donald Mullen, one of the architects of the subprime mortgage trade, is trying to raise at least $500 million for a fund that will buy foreclosed homes with an eye toward renting them out. Mullen, who until January was head of the credit and mortgage business inside Goldman’s securities division, began marketing his Fundamental REO Access fund in earnest about a month ago, said seven people familiar with the matter, but who did not want to be identified because they do not work for the upstart fund…The new fund is part of a growing move by former Wall Street traders, hedge funds and private equity shops to profit from acquiring foreclosed homes and turning them into rental properties for their steady stream of cash. Two sources familiar with the foreclosed home market said Mullen has told people the fund could raise as much as $1 billion. [Reuters, related]

  • 11 Apr 2012 at 3:58 PM
  • Banks

Who Wouldn’t Want To Sue Bank of America?

August was kind of rough for Bank of America on the legal front, to the point that we once said in Write-Offs “Everybody who hadn’t yet sued BofA did today, or will soon.” But that turned out to be wrong! Or at least, it underestimated the continuing appeal of suing Bank of America, because now not only is everyone who is not Bank of America suing Bank of America, but so is Bank of America:

[I]n Florida’s Palm Beach County alone, Bank of America has sued itself for foreclosure 11 times since late March, according to foreclosure fraud activist Lynn Szymoniak, who forwarded one such foreclosure filing, dated March 29, 2012, to The Huffington Post. … In the March 29 filing, Bank of America is seeking to foreclose on a condominium and names the condo owner and Bank of America as defendants in the suit. The company is literally seeking damages from itself in order to foreclose on the condo owner.

Ha ha ha but why is Bank of America a delinquent condo owner? Because of course it’s not; it’s the second lien holder: Read more »

  • 02 Dec 2011 at 2:55 PM

And Now, Blech, Mortgage Lawsuits

It’s difficult to keep track of all the things that all the people are suing all the banks for regarding mortgages. A place to start is by remembering that banks stood in the middle of originating loans to people who didn’t pay them and selling them to people who are now sad that they didn’t get paid. So the flow of money was kind of Investor -> Bank -> Homeowner -> Incinerator. If you think of that flow of money, it makes sense that the people are are doing the most suing are the investors and GSEs who bought mortgages, and regulators who sort of kind of represent the investors, and so in fact there are a lot of big numbers sloshing around in pretty normal securities-fraud-y lawsuits of exactly that sort.

But there are also lawsuits, with quite large dollar numbers attached to them, that go the other way. In these, homeowners, and regulators who sort of kind of purport to speak on behalf of the homeowners, are suing the banks for really quite stonking amounts of money.

It’s analytically helpful for me to separate those suits into two further buckets: Read more »

As you may have heard, when the housing market collapsed, California was hit pretty, pretty, pretty bad. Particularly screwed was the town of Merced, which is third only to Las Vegas and Vallejo, CA in “metropolitan-area foreclosures,” where “builders were [once] coming into the area by the bulkload” and are now desperate to put warm bodies that can pay something, anything in the hundreds of empty houses. It’s obviously a very depressing situation, unless you happen to be a student attending school at the University of California-Merced, in which case, ka-motherfucking-ching. According to the Times, UC-M undergrads, whose school enrolls 5,200 but only has enough on-campus housing for 1,600, are moving into the nearby McMansions en-masse, creating a win-win for all.

The finances of subdivision life are compelling: the university estimates yearly on-campus room and board at $13,720 a year, compared with roughly $7,000 off-campus. Sprawl rats sharing a McMansion — with each getting a bedroom and often a private bath — pay $200 to $350 a month each, depending on the amenities…students willing to share houses have been “a blessing,” said Ellie Wooten, a former mayor of Merced and a real estate broker. Five students paying $200 a month each trump families who cannot afford more than $800 a month.

And for less than $100 extra a month, you can score yourself an even sweeter set up, new friends and the opportunity to have a major news outlet take gratuitous* pictures of you in the bath** where it appears as though you’re about to be electrocuted.

Heather Alarab, a junior at the University of California, Merced, and Jill Foster, a freshman, know that their sudden popularity has little to do with their sparkling personalities, intelligence or athletic prowess. “Hey, what are you doing?” throngs of friends perpetually text. “Hot tub today?”…Gurbir Dhillon, a senior majoring in molecular cell biology, pays $70 more than his four housemates each month for the privilege of having what they enviously call “the penthouse suite” — a princely boudoir with a whirlpool tub worthy of Caesars Palace and a huge walk-in closet, which Mr. Dhillon has filled with baseball caps and T-shirts…Jaron Brandon, a sophomore and a senator in the student government, does his homework in the Jacuzzi in his six-bedroom house, on a waterproof countertop that he rigged over the tub.

There are, of course, a few minor downsides to McMansion life, like the hobos (“Lance Eber, the crime analyst for the Merced Police Department, said vacant houses were frequent targets of theft, most recently of copper wiring. They also attract squatters, who sometimes encamp beneath covered patios, he said”), vying for parking spots (“one parks on the street, two park in the garage and two in the driveway. Whoever is getting up for an 8 a.m. class parks last”), yard work (“after an unsuccessful attempt at tending the yard with a hand mower, they now pay $50 a month to a gardener”), and the neighbors, who are having a hard time swallowing the fact that they’re living alongside kids when they were banking on stay-at-home moms of loose morals. Read more »

Where Shawn DeCelle should get points here is for 1) not foreclosing on a place that wasn’t actually up for foreclosure which has happened just a few times 2) not stealing someone’s beloved pet, holding it hostage for weeks and driving owner of said kidnapped pet into counseling and 3) not being a lying, unapologetic dick about the whole thing, a holy trifecta that belongs to the pros. Read more »

Yesterday we learned the disturbing news that R. Kelly may soon lose his house, on account of not having paid his mortgage since June 2010. Kelly owes JPMorgan $2.9 million, plus unpaid interest accruing at $251 a day on the suburban Chicago spread and while he probably has a few other places in which to crash, this place is special as it comes with six full bathrooms, seven half-baths, and 12 walk-in closets. What was the R&B singer to do? His options appeared limited. Then, today, while thumbing through the international section…eureka. Read more »