Monday, July 4, 2011

Want to sell your house? Good luck!



haglundc photo/Flickr
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
A friend of mine in Georgia was recently widowed. The house she and her husband raised their daughter in is much-too-much for her to maintain. The daughter lives in California.
She wants out.
She’d like to move someplace else – into a new, smaller house.
But she owes more on the house now than what it’s worth. So she’s stuck.
Another couple, from Israel, lives in New Jersey. They are in the autumn of their years. They want to move back to their homeland.
But, they too, are “underwater.”
“Even if we could sell the house, we wouldn’t have enough money to buy an apartment in Israel,” the wife tells me. So, they are economically stuck in New Jersey.
Another fellow, in New Jersey, is in love with a gal in Manhattan. They want to live together. But her work keeps her in the city. And, he, too, can’t afford to sell his house.
“A friend told me to just stop paying my mortgage,” he said.
“He suggested I stop paying and bank the money so – in the end – we can afford to combine our resources and live together in the city. But I don’t like the idea of ruining my credit that way.”
He, and she, want to be together full-time. But they can’t afford it. So they spend weekends together, either at her Manhattan apartment or his New Jersey house.
“People are holding onto their homes in the hopes that prices will start to go up,” the Israeli woman says. “But they don’t. They just go down, down, down.”
She’s right. Latest data show that home rices are down to, at least, 2004 levels.

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