We received this letter from motemanx in Ohio. It is the first in what will be a regular series of first-person narratives from our broken country.
My husband and I live next door to a home that was abandoned approximately three years ago.The address is 2512 North Main Street, 45840. The house was built in the early 1900s (1912?) and needs to be torn down along with the barn at the back of the lot (which is leaning and perhaps a danger to the children who walk down the alley to get to the local school). The home itself has not had any maintenance in the last fifteen to twenty years, so you can imagine what it looks like. The foundation is crumbling and the roofing has been blowing off (especially during a violent storm here in May of last year).
JPMorgan Chase had the last loan on the house and managed to have someone come in after a year and staple blue plastic to part of the roof. They also had someone come in to mow the lawn every couple weeks. According to Hancock County auditor records, Chase Bank had an outstanding amount owed on the property of $141,000. My husband and I were interested in purchasing the property for just the land and having the house and barn demolished if the property went cheap enough at auction. The Sheriff’s office valued the property for auction at $40,000, and at auction it could sell for not less than two thirds of that amount.
On March 19, the auction took place. My husband went to bid, but the property was purchased by the bank for $36,000, and with the additional costs of demolition it was not worth it for us. But my husband said ALL THE PROPERTIES were purchased by the banks at this auction. When I called Chase Bank the next week to inquire about it, they indicated that the property had already been transferred to HUD (the Department of Housing and Urban Development). We had someone from the Hancock Regional Planning Commission come and take a look at the property and they took lots of pictures. She said she could not understand why HUD would buy that property. She is also checking if HUD has a program that will come in and demolish the home and barn for us so we can bid on just the land to make a “green space.”
My question is this: If there is going to be a fairly large write-off on this property (I would say over $100,000), who is going to be taking the “hit” for the loss: Chase Bank or American taxpayers? I am old enough to remember the Savings and Loan Crisis and believe the American taxpayers are still paying for that one. I spoke with our local Chase people (who are nice but apparently not knowledgeable about what is going on), and they said “oh, probably the bank” takes the hit. But I don’t believe so. I would be very interested in finding out who is recording these losses. They’re just getting started. If the banks are buying all the foreclosures at auction and then transferring them to HUD, then we are talking about a LOT OF MONEY IN LOSSES. I went to the HUD website today to see if the property was listed yet, and I counted over 680 houses in Ohio alone that they have for sale. Again, who is accounting for the losses on all these homes? The sad thing is, they’re just getting started.
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