The Sacramento Bee is running a huge front-page story, with a full-color picture, about the Sacramento area’s record numbers of home foreclosures.
Shown and highlighted are Paul Sosa and Pauline Sosa, with the above the fold headline about them being “caught in the growing trend” of foreclosures.
“Caught” implies it is not their fault. Like fish caught in a net, they have been swooped-up without fault and lost their home.
But is that what happened?
Catching my eye immediately is the large picture of what appears to be a couple of dolts. I don’t know Paul Sosa or Pauline Sosa, and maybe the photo does not represent them accurately. Interestingly, the photo is not attributed, but you can evaluate for yourself the Sosas:
Then you notice, although it is small, the picture of the home they lost. A 3-car garage – yep, 3 cars!, large home that so commonly blights the Sacramento landscape these days. Basically, a large home with mainly driveway pavement serving as its invitation to the neighborhood, with a not so large yard, and undoubtedly crammed as close as possible to the next house.
The Sacramento Bee article on the front page talks about the region being colored with “heartsick tales of financial misery.” I wonder why the Sosa’s lost their home. My heart tugs. What can be done to help them out from the ruthless lenders catching more and more people and throwing them out of their homes?
So I read on .. and on .. and on … wondering why their are no details about the Sosas.
Finally, buried in the article as it continues on page 12 is a meager, short one-paragraph blurb about the Sosas, and it says:
“Paul Sosa said they were caught in a risky loan scheme that overstated their income, enabling them to buy a $341,000 home now worth – at best – $270,000. When their monthly payment jumped by $500, they were finished.”
My heart and brain are tugging a different way now.
“Risky loan scheme that overstated their income.”
In other words, it appears they committed fraud to get a home they had no business buying.
The value of the home is irrelevant to the monthly cost. An extra $500 a month meant they were living on the edge to begin with.
Having bought the home in October 2005, and with lengthy foreclosure proceedings, they probably had a 2-year adjustable that adjusted up in October 2007. They couldn’t make payments and ultimately were kicked out now.
There is nothing in the story about the Sosa’s not understanding the loan terms. Nothing about being taken advantage of. Nothing except Paul Sosa’s own statement we was involved in a risky scheme.
Risk means just that – risk. There is a risk when you commit fraud that you won’t be able to make future loan payments.
That is a little different than getting “caught” in a growing trend of foreclosures.
Really now, are Paul and Pauline Sosa the best the Sacramento Bee could come up with? And now you know why I used the word “dolts.” Not just because of their situation, but who would give their pictures and story to the Bee so that everyone knows they have been foreclosed upon and why?
At this point, it’s not as if media publicity about their plight can do anything for them. They’ve lost their home. And once Paul Sosa admitted to a risky scheme overstating his income, I would guess there is no chance in the world they can get their home back.
But back to the media. Please, if you’re going to run a story about hardships and the foreclosure crisis, give us a real hardship. Give us a real story. What do they do for a living? Was there a possibility in 2005 of having the extra $500 per month two years later. And have a reporter talk to the loan agent so see if – and how – they were duped about the overstated income, or whether they were part of the problem, giving oversized loans that could not be afforded in two years.