An interesting AP addition to the increasing deluge of mortgage related articles.

The Pents grieve losing their three-acre property in the middle of horse country, with its swimming pool and fish pond.

"It was my dad's house," said Connie, 39, an elementary schools receptionist. "It's quiet, it's open — we love it."

Their troubles began in April 2006 when they refinanced the remaining $207,000 on a 30-year fixed loan to a two-year adjustable rate mortgage so they could pay down hefty obligations on their SUV and pickup truck.

A mortgage broker informed them just before the closing that the remaining debt would be $3,500 more than expected, but they signed anyway.

"We didn't have time to change the terms so we just signed them," Connie said.

About the time the first payment on the new loan came due, a sequence of events left them unable to keep up. First Connie's mother moved out and stopped helping out with mortgage payments. Then her husband Timothy lost his job at a mobile home factory because of the housing industry slump.

Their loan servicing company first demanded payments, then stopped returning their calls.

Connie wishes the lender and servicing company would have been easier to get a hold of, easier to talk to. But she knows she and Timothy shoulder some of the blame.

"We probably should have been better prepared for it," she said. "When the job goes, unfortunately, so does everything else."

It always amazes me how so many people assume that their circumstances are either going to remain unchanged or improve. Maybe I have an innately pessimistic viewpoint, but always at the back of my mind is the thought that some unforeseen mishap may strike out of the blue. I have arranged our finances to accomodate this. So, when my wife lost one her jobs this summer, the blow was far milder than it would otherwise have been.

The other thing that astonishes me about people and house buying is how they seem to sign off on agreements they do not fully understand, even though the consequences – as the article details – can be devastating. Caveat emptor is as true now as it ever was and ever will be. Are people as easily manipulated by slick advertising and the verbal promises of those whose self-interest always comes first as they seem to be here? Dismal reading. 😦