Weekend Open Thread (2009-04-24)

Here is your open thread for the weekend beginning Friday April 24th, 2009. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here. Also, if you have an idea or a topic you’d like to see covered in an article, please make it known.

Be sure to also check out the forums, and get your word in the user-driven discussions there!

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

50 comments:

  1. 1
    Acerun says:

    Did anyone happen to catch House Hunters last night in Issaquah?

    It is amazing what you can get for $1 million. :rolleyes:

    I thought house three was great. It was $1.1m and the dining area was in the living room. At least it had 3 ovens in the kitchen.

  2. 2

    By Acerun @ 1:

    Did anyone happen to catch House Hunters last night in Issaquah?

    It is amazing what you can get for $1 million. :rolleyes:

    I thought house three was great. It was $1.1m and the dining area was in the living room. At least it had 3 ovens in the kitchen.

    Does anybody need three ovens in their kitchen?
    If you need that, buy a bakery.

  3. 3
    Marc says:

    RE: Ira sacharoff @ 2

    Ira,

    It would seem they did.

  4. 4
    David McManus says:

    “At pricey high-rise Seattle condos, some buyers back out

    Downtown Seattle condo projects that started several years ago face some buyers who are backing out, even forfeiting big deposits, now that it’s time for the sales to close”

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009113376_condoclosings24.html

  5. 5
    Acerun says:

    By David McManus @ 4:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009113376_condoclosings24.html

    “One complication, Vulcan admits, is a new guideline from giant mortgage underwriter Fannie Mae that says new condo projects should have at least 70 percent of units presold before it will buy the loans.”

    I thought they started requiring this after the Condo Crash in Boston in the late 80’s?
    That is not a new guideline.

  6. 6
    Joel says:

    By David McManus @ 4:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009113376_condoclosings24.html

    “We’re either extremely smart,” he said, “or extremely stupid.”

    This is a common attitude I see these days. People roll the dice and they think if it comes up a winner then it means they were smart.

  7. 7
    Notorious ART says:

    Atlanta, is a mess too.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124035854512141263.html

    “Separate developers in Buckhead are building four speculative office buildings at the same time with virtually no leasing activity. The 35 recent condominium projects will help give Atlanta a 40-year supply at the current sales pace. A $600 million outdoor shopping mall under way has suspended construction to save money.”

    40-year supply, WOW!

  8. 8
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Acerun @ 1

    If you like house #3 at 1.1 mil give me a call. I’ve got some swamp land I’d like you to take a look at.;-) That show was filmed in 2007 at the peak. House #3 is a John Buchan and is owned by 2 Zip agents who bought it in about 2006 for about 1,0250,000. They put it on the market in early 2007 for 1.1 mil. They dropped the price over time and it went contingent around early 2008 for probably 900K because they dropped the listing to that price for a while during the contingent status. (I think they owe close to 900K based upon the Assessors records. After about 6 months the sale failed. It’s currently on the market at 975K (MLS #28014367). Check out the pictures and the Virtual Media if you liked the show cause I think they are as good or better.

    The view from house 3 (and house 2) is better than the TV camera shots showed, especially on a sunny day. Take a look at the view pictures and the Virtual Tour in the listing. House 3 does have a great kitchen, family room, deck and master suite. Due to the way the houses sit, the deck doesn’t have much privacy. It only has a 2 car garage and is kind of bland as to street appeal for a million bucks. If you like the kitchen in house 3# you should see The kitchen’s at John Buchan’s and Bill Buchan’s models at Aldarra. In my opinion they are a little better and the houses are higher priced (about 1.3 to 1.5 mil currently down from about 1.75 at the beginning of the year).

    House number 2 was CamWest’s model and is probably my favorite CamWest house ever, Really nice family room and great master suite. Interior finishes weren’t as high qualities as Buchan’s but IMO the master had a really great view and feel. Although I wasn’t in the market and don’t care for Issaquah Highlands, I liked #2 enough that I personally would like to live there. (I like more space and live on an acre in Maple Valley.)

    By way of full disclosure, I don’t normally give complements to houses and those I give are pure personal opinion, I’m personally partial to William Buchan Homes, my parents owned one in the 1960’s and I currently do some work related to William Buchan Homes.

  9. 9
    Tyler says:

    I have a friend in an interesting situation in Florida with their upside down house. The brief history is: purchased in 2004, 10% down ($46,000), with both the 80/10 loans through Countrywide. The house has been on the market for over 2 years. It was originally listed at $650,000, but now is down to $425k, which is about $35k below where they bought it. One sale fell through due to dry rot, so they spent $35k fixing that, but still it did not sell.

    They consulted a real estate lawyer, and were told that if they walked, Countrywide would still go after them for the 2nd. Is anyone familiar with which type of 2nd mortgage product would work this way?

  10. 10
    Acerun says:

    RE: Tyler @ 9

    Why would there not be any legal ramifications?

  11. 11
    Tyler says:

    RE: Acerun @ 10

    I guess it is my lack of understand of how the 2nd mortgage works. Isn’t the house used as collateral on both the 1st and 2nd mortgages?

  12. 12
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Tyler @ 9

    Real estate law is generally state law so to get an exact answer, it’s necessary to consult an attorney licensed to practice in Florida. I’m not licensed to practice in Florida. The analysis would probably be that the 2nd is a separate promissory note and deed of trust (or mortgage if Florida is not a deed of trust state) from the promissory note and deed of trust in first position. Most promissory notes are recourse obligations and the lender can elect to sue to collect on the note if they desire and is not required to foreclose on the collateral. If the first is foreclosed, many states don’t allow the lender to pursue a deficiency on the foreclosed note and deed of trust. However, the 2nd is a separate promissory note which was not secured by the deed of trust or mortgage in first postion that was foreclosed. The obligation to pay the note secured by the deed of trust in second position remains unaffected by the foreclosure of the obligation in first position (with the exception that the security is now worthless). If the borrower stops making payments on the promissory note for the 2nd, the lender sues to collect on that promissory note.

  13. 13
    Tyler says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 12RE: One Eyed Man @ 12

    Thanks for the explanation. I didn’t want to be nosy in this friend’s business, but I started wondering how people are walking away in other places. Like Ray Pepper always seems to say, people don’t want to stay in an upside down home.

    Is the structuring in Washington State much different? It seems like there would be a huge difference in the foreclosure rate from state to state is people are on the hook for 10-20% of the purchase price in some states and not others.

  14. 14
    b says:

    They won’t go after them, they have bigger fish to fry. They hardly even foreclose people, your friends could probably just stop paying and live there for free for the next two years.

  15. 15
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Tyler @ 13

    I haven’t been practicing law in recent years and you shouldn’t rely on this without consulting a practicing attorney, but in general, yes that’s the way it works in WA. There are a lot of variables to a foreclosure that can make a difference in the analysis, including but not limited to whether the property is commercial or residential and whether the lender forecloses in a lawsuit (judicial foreclosure) or under the much faster procedure called a trustee’s sale (non-judicial foreclosure). I’ve always wondered if some state would pass consumer protection legislation to keep a lender from preserving a portion of the debt after foreclosure by using a second note and deed of trust, but I’m not aware of any. In most cases in residential transactions, the 2nd is a home equity loan with completely different terms from the first. I suppose if the terms on both loans were the same some borrower could try to argue that the subtance was the same as just one loan and the court should therefore wipe out the second, but I don’t think a court would do it. I think it’s generally the same in other western states but I’ve never actually checked to be sure.

  16. 16
    David Losh says:

    Let me relay a story of a short sale did a couple of years ago. The first was with WAMU and the second BECU. Long story short the property flooded within a year of purchase. It sat next to a delineated wet land of a five acre parcel.

    On paper it looks good, but reality sucks.

    We shorted it for the full first position loan and BECU even got a few thousand dollars. BECU had agreed to release liability, but refused to provide documents for closing. The seller had to sign. It’s complicated.

    BECU is pursuing recourse. BECU want their second paid in full. They are in full collection mode.

    The problem is that the purchase, moving with five kids a week before Christmas, and the money they paid to get resettled left them with nothing. BECU wants their money because they are a Credit Union and owe it to their membership.

  17. 17
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: b @ 14

    b, that’s true of some lenders, but there are also others out there that assign bunches of these claims to small collection law firms for a percentage like 50% of any recovery. The law firm might send some letters but they usually do a quick investigation on collectability from the debtor and if they find a job or bank account they’ll sue and garnish wages and accounts until the debtor pays a settlement, files a bankruptcy, or disappears. The law firms are paper mills with paralegals generating form documents efficiently enough to make it pay off. The attorney signs the documents that need an attorney’s signature and shows up in court when needed to move the case forward.

  18. 18
    David Losh says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 17

    Exactly.

    The government has a Catch 22 with the banks. On one hand they are propping them up on the other hand the consumer is continueing to lose homes, jobs, and resources, like stock portfolios. Banks want to do business as usual.

    At some point the government may step in to do some consumer protection, but I doubt that very much. In my opinion, and this is not legal advice, nor do I advocate any one to declare bankruptcy, bankruptcy courts will be setting new standards for dealing with debt.

  19. 19
    The Tim says:

    Wow, this was surprising to read in a national story about the housing market:

    The market’s turning point will be tough to predict, because it will be gradual and obscured by conflicting signs like recent housing reports that showed sales of previously occupied homes fell 3 percent from February to March, while new home sales seemed to have bottomed out.

    Even more puzzling for homebuyers, economists expect sales volumes to recover at least six months before home prices stabilize.

    “Prices will continue to fall sharply this spring and summer and will stabilize at year’s end,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Economy.com.

    Reminds me of the great quote from Suzanne Britsch back in 2007 just a few months after the peak:

    The problem is, is when it flips, it goes in one day! You know… I mean… So you never know when the bottom is.

    Yeah, you NEVER KNOW!!!

  20. 20
    Ira Sacharoff says:

    Just a few years ago the refrain was something like :
    ” You never know. It sure seems like the days of real estate cycles are over. You never know, this might be the new paradigm where real estate just keeps going up and up forever. You never know.”

  21. 21
    Ray Pepper says:

    EXCELLENT NEWS FOR SEATTLE!!

    THIS GUY IS THE REAL DEAL and I believe the BEST player in the entire DRAFT!

    http://www.seahawks.com/media-lounge/videos/nfl-draft-prospect-aaron-curry/2151645e-76de-402c-9b71-d1caed95034d

  22. 22
    patient says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 20

    No, it’s the down cycle paradigm. When prices go up we know for sure it will always go up but when it’s down “you never know” it can turn tomorrow…

  23. 23
    voight-kampff says:

    I sincerely love this site and post very little myself, but I am really curious where everyone is?
    perhaps there has been a “seattle bubble” bubble? ; -)

  24. 24
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Tyler @ 13 – The biggest difference from state to state is perhaps something like California, where in addition to non-judicial foreclosures typically being non-recourse, purchase money loans on residences are apparently also non-recourse.

    Thus, in Washington of you bought a house with an 80/20 loan and the first foreclosed, then you’d likely still owe the second. In contrast, in California, on those same facts you apparently wouldn’t still owe on the second, unless at some point in time you refinanced it (making it no longer purchase money).

    What that means is that in places like California, buyers can make more extreme buying decisions without risk of personal liability, which would tend to make their market more volatile.

  25. 25
    Hugh Dominic says:

    In other news, foreclosures make the front page of the Seattle Times…

    Local foreclosures soar threefold in two years
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009123349_foreclosures26m.html

  26. 26
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Hugh Dominic @ 25 – All of their data is from the period of the distressed property law, but no mention is made at all of that. Clearly that had at least some effect on the numbers, because no one in their right mind would buy a house in foreclosure during that period if it were a short sale where you couldn’t determine the time of a likely close. And in any event, within about 2 months of the sale date, no one in their right mind would make an offer, unless they were cash and could close quickly.

  27. 27
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 26

    Welcome back, and yes you would make an offer and have the offer stick. We were also in the time of the foreclosure moritorium. It was easier to get a deal done because the foreclosure time line was stalled. I have one now that is marching the time line with WAMU moving towards a foreclosure auction at what seems to me great speed.

    You would also be assuming that Real Estate agents understood the Distressed Property Law or cared about it while making offers.

  28. 28
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By David Losh @ 27:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 26 – You would also be assuming that Real Estate agents understood the Distressed Property Law or cared about it while making offers.

    I think the investor types understood what was going on a lot better than many agents.

  29. 29
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    The flu threat should be mentioned here at Seattle Bubble. It’s too early to panic about the new strain, especially since it seems to respond to standard treatments, but I’ve always said the biggest threat to the housing market would be a pandemic. The desire to purchase a 3,000 foot new construction home declines significantly at the point of death. Such a threat to the market is probably greater now that we have so many dual income households.

  30. 30
    Acerun says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 29:

    The flu threat should be mentioned here at Seattle Bubble. It’s too early to panic about the new strain, especially since it seems to respond to standard treatments, but I’ve always said the biggest threat to the housing market would be a pandemic. The desire to purchase a 3,000 foot new construction home declines significantly at the point of death. Such a threat to the market is probably greater now that we have so many dual income households.

    Is this just something for the talking heads on TV to cover? They are tired of Iraq pieces, they are tired of covering our disintegrating economy, they are even getting tired of covering Superman, err I mean Obama. It would be interesting to see the flu mortality rates in Mexico City compared to the recent stretch. Their are 50 million people there and it has killed less than 60 confirmed.

    Flu sucks, I don’t want it, I don’t want people I know to get it. I am wondering if the coverage is because of a slow news weekend?

  31. 31
    Elizabeth says:

    I’m not a medical professional, but I think that the most dangerous flu viruses are those that are (a) mixed, like this one is genetically a mix of human, avian and swine; and (b) when they first make the jump from animals to people. I think that’s the same profile as the 1918 Spanish flu that infected something like 50% of the world’s population (per Wikipedia) in just a few months and killed millions. I think a little overreaction in this case may be warranted… the Wikipedia article is fascinating, if chilling, reading.

  32. 32
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 24

    Kary, you’re correct about residential purchase money financing being nonrecourse in Calif. But I don’t think it materially affects buyers decisions because I think only a very small percentage of Californians are even aware of it, except of course after the housing market crashes and they’re under water. It’s a little like asking the murderer if they knew what facts were required to get the death penalty and if they considered that before commiting the crime. In both cases, they usually only consider it later with their attorney.

  33. 33
    acerun says:

    RE: Elizabeth @ 31

    The Spanish Flu was bad.
    Something like 80% of the deaths came as a result of lung infections post flu. those infections would have been survivable with modern antibiotics.

  34. 34
    cheepseats says:

    My new favorite quote

    “The desire to purchase a 3,000 foot new construction home declines significantly at the point of death.”

  35. 35
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 28

    Investors are not the buyer pool today. The want to be investors never understood anything about the dynamics of the law. That is why the law was passed.

    An interesting word came up at the meet up in Kenmore: Fraud.

    There are laws against misrepresentation, fraud, and swindle by device, but that didn’t seem to bother any one. The Distress Propery Law was a hammer. It scared who it should, like the investors.

  36. 36
    David Losh says:

    With all the talk about recourse and non recourse it seems to me that bankruptcy is going to be a bigger and bigger part of the Real Estate business.

    With equities waning it may make sense for more people, investors in particular, to declare bankruptcy along with a foreclosure. There again some investors may want to declare bankruptcy in a time of declining equity rather than be foreclosed upon.

    It depends on what you believe, but if increased cash flow would help to pay the mortgages, or maybe release some mortgages that have been tapped out, then bankruptcy may make sense.

    Stocks are down, equities gone, maybe starting over in a down market makes sense.

  37. 37
    lilypad says:

    RE: Acerun @ 1 – That made me so sick—a 4500 square foot house cannot ever be green, in my opinion. And with 3 people, that gives them each 1500 square feet to themselves. My family of 3 is living in less than 1500 square feet. And somehow we survive. I guess we like being together.

  38. 38

    RE: lilypad @ 37RE: lilypad @ 37
    Completely agree. The “green building” movement is mostly just a ploy to sell more houses.. As long as you’re chopping down trees to build, how green could it be, especially at 4500 square feet?
    Me, I’m fantasizing about retrofitting old trailers so that they are energy efficient, solar powered, and have composting toilets.

  39. 39
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 32 – I first heard of California being non-recourse from a buyer who made an extreme purchase decision years and years ago (maybe 20). They were a CPA, so maybe that makes them a bit atypical.

  40. 40
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By David Losh @ 35:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 28 – An interesting word came up at the meet up in Kenmore: Fraud.

    There are laws against misrepresentation, fraud, and swindle by device, but that didn’t seem to bother any one. The Distress Propery Law was a hammer. It scared who it should, like the investors.

    Well, first, existing law covered situations like that adequately. But it didn’t provide attorney fees and treble damages.

    The problem with the distressed property law was it was way too over-broad, catching potentially everyone and scaring anyone who was familiar with it. It did not require fraud at all, and made ANY BUYER who bought within 20 days of a foreclosure sale a fiduciary of the seller. There’s a reason why Annie Fitzsimmons suggested every offer contain a Form 22NFW.

  41. 41
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: David Losh @ 36 – Bankruptcy doesn’t typically prevent foreclosure–only delay it. It’s possible credit agencies might report it differently if there’s a bankruptcy first, but when it comes time to answer the question on the loan application about prior foreclosures, the answer would still be yes.

  42. 42
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 41

    The question would be why not keep the house and eliminate other debt to free up monthly cash flow. In another comment you talked about people going to great lengths to keep the house. If there is no equity why not keep the house. In five or ten years the house may be worth something while debt would continue to be a drain.

    I have short sale clients who are continueing to pay thier credit card debt to keep up a credit rating or thinking they are creating one. In time a couple of these people may also have a second note come back to haunt them. It has become my opinion that maybe these people would be better off getting rid of debt and concentrate on keeping the house,.

    I don’t really know anything about this it’s just something that is a getting really confusing. If a second is like an unsecured debt shouldn’t that also be a part of the cram downs they are talking about doing, and wouldn’t that be a viable relief for the consumer?

  43. 43
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: lilypad @ 37
    Oh come on Lilipad, I’ll bet you think that Sean Hannity’s Cadillac Escalade Hybrid isn’t green either.;-) It may be sad, but green is probably at best a relative concept in the high end conspicuous consumption american lifestyle. Take heart, change may be slow and at best incremental, but it’s still change.

  44. 44
    EconE says:

    By Ira sacharoff @ 38:

    RE: lilypad @ 37RE: lilypad @ 37
    Completely agree. The “green building” movement is mostly just a ploy to sell more houses.. As long as you’re chopping down trees to build, how green could it be, especially at 4500 square feet?
    Me, I’m fantasizing about retrofitting old trailers so that they are energy efficient, solar powered, and have composting toilets.

    A pimped out retro Airstream is looking better and better every day. I’d need to figure out a way to tow the thing however.

  45. 45
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: David Losh @ 42 – A few comments.

    A bankruptcy will get rid of most your other debt, such as credit card debt, making it easier to keep the house. But except for Chapter 11 (expensive) and Chapter 13 where the second is entirely unsecured, the lien against the property will remain–but typically the personal liability is wiped out. But even a Chapter 7 would allow you to walk later if you couldn’t make the payments (and had not reaffirmed the debt).

    So, the cramdown stuff they’re talking about is currently the law where the second is totally unsecured (the property is worth less than the amount of the first). But even in Chapter 7, if they file and don’t reaffirm, the 2nd typically would become non-recourse at that point.

  46. 46
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 45

    You see it sounds murky. In my clients case he short sold the property and is now faced with legal action from the second held by BECU. The short I’m doing right now may be the same thing.

    Once the property has been shorted and if there are wages or assets it seems people would then be looking at bankruptcy protection anyway.

    Wouldn’t it be best to have the bankruptcy first before shorting the property, for that matter before a foreclosure? I mean if you are going to go that route wouldn’t it make sense to do all of it at once in bankruptcy?

    I have always advised people to get a lawyer before considering a short or when they talk about walking away. My last short did talk with an attorney and he advised them just to walk. The lawyer even called the bank who advised them to.

    It’s murky.

  47. 47
    lilypad says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 43 – Tee-hee. Oh, don’t get me started. I’m a bleeding heart liberal, tree-hugging, vegetarian, Prius-driving, whole wheat bread baking hippie. Mr. Hannity and I are living in quite different worlds, and thank God for that.

  48. 48
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: David Losh @ 46 – Yes it is murky. For those that can wait, it’s probably best to try to wait for the cramdown legislation to go through. But even that decision should be made with a lawyer’s advice.

    One thing I’ve always wondered, but never seen, is someone simply not paying the second, but paying the first, hoping the second would foreclose. Most people seem to do it the other way since the second is typically the smaller payment. Where the first and second are the same entity, it might just use the first to bring the second current, and then claim the first is in default and foreclose, which would accomplish nothing for the owner. Of the second simply might not foreclose at all. I’d really like to see someone try that some time to see how it works out.

    But because of the complexities involved, including possible tax issues and issues with other debt, attorney advice is the way to go, and that advice should be sought early.

  49. 49
    lilypad says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 48 – I have wondered about that myself. We put 15% cash down + 5% as a 2nd mortgage, and both the 1st and 2nd mortgages were with the same bank. Last year, the original bank sold off the 1st mortgage but kept the 2nd. It’s causing me grief now, because the 1st mortgage holder said we can’t do a deed in lieu of foreclosure (if it got to that) because of the 2nd. When I talked with the 2nd mortgage holder last fall about a short sale, the rep snapped at me that “the 2nd never gets anything!” as if it came out of her personal account and I was the hugest deadbeat ever. (We are, and always have been, current on both mortgages.) I tried to work out a situation with them whereby the 2nd could be turned into a personal loan so that we could pay it off over time, no matter what happened to the 1st mortgage, if it went to foreclosure, for example. They were confused by that and I got nowhere with them. I guess they are not used to people offering to pay something off instead of walking away, and of course they also didn’t want to talk to me unless I was behind on payments. That makes no sense to me, but that’s the way they are. The funny thing is, the 2nd mortgage holder, as the original holder of both loans, is the bank that approved all of this mess in the first place. (All of this was done in 2007, a regular loan, not a liar’s loan, all of it absolutely true and honest—but we see now that they never should have approved us on our one income yet somehow they did, and we foolishly signed the papers. The most stupid move we ever made, for sure.) Part of me wishes they would be the ones who lose the money and get stuck with the house! Anyway, I wondered what would happen if we just quit paying the 2nd, or if we do have to go through foreclosure on the 1st one, how long would it take for the 2nd bank to 1) notice what was happening and 2) go after us for the money. I’m not much of a gambler, so we haven’t tried it yet! We are trying to do a loan modification with the lender of the 1st, and I’m apprehensive that the fact that the 2nd even exists will cause problems. I will never, ever, get a 2nd mortgage again, I’ll tell you that. We were naive and thought we could just refi the 2 into 1 at some point, like we had done with another house in 2005. We found this blog about 1 year too late…

  50. 50
    Tyler says:

    RE: Tyler @ 9

    Just a quick follow up to my original post on this thread.

    They just sold the house for ~15% under the original 2004 price they paid for it. What a painful lesson for them. $42k down, $35k in repairs (resulting from a sales inspection last year), and now they have to bring $35k to the table to close the deal!

    Two years ago when they were trying to sell they thought they would walk away with more than $200k in equity. That is quite a substantial difference for a young couple. Now they are back to square one, just grateful that the last of their saving could buy them out of their home.

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