Family Wrongly Booted From Home Returns To Wreckage

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Amid the avalanche of foreclosure proceedings unleashed by the housing crisis, thousands of families may have been illegally booted from their homes.

The story of the King family, recently reported by WLUK FOX 11, offers a nightmare scenario of the hardship a family may endure because of such wrongful foreclosures.

The Kings returned this fall to their old home in the town of Clayton, Wis., to find it in utter ruin: The basement was flooded in eight feet of water, the walls covered with mold and the kitchen littered with mouse droppings.

Their ill-fated home had sat unoccupied for more than a year, after the family succumbed to pressure from Bank of America, who notified them that their home would be subject to foreclosure because they had missed a mortgage payment. The Kings, who have eight children, knew that they had actually made their payments but gave in to the bank in order to shelter their children from the rocky proceedings.

"We didn't want to further traumatize our children by having a sheriff show up," Christina King told WLUK.

Originally, in 2009, the family had applied for the Home Affordable Modification Program, an initiative launched by the Obama administration that allows qualified borrowers to receive interest rate reductions on their mortgages. The program, which was recently modified so that it could reach more beleaguered homeowners, would have provided significant relief to the Kings by reducing their rate from 10 percent to 4 percent.

But after a year of cooperating with the bank under the terms of the program, the Kings were informed that they had missed a payment during the program's trial period. Then a steady tide of foreclosure notices arrived, prompting the family to move into a rental property.

Fast forward by about a year, to when the family receives a notice from Bank of America.

"In a previous letter to you, we told you that ... you missed a Trial Period Plan Payment. However, this was incorrect," it reads, according to WLUK. The letter also reportedly informs the family that their mortgage actually was approved for HARP.

The Kings return home, perhaps thinking that their long streak of misfortune may finally have come to an end. Not so. They find a house that has fallen into such disrepair that a contractor estimates that the cost of fixing it exceeds its value.

"It's really awful, it's really awful what was done to us," King told WLUK.

Unfortunately, the story of the Kings is only one of many examples of families who have suffered unjustly at the hands of mortgage lenders.

The practice of "robosigning," which refers to a range of foreclosure paperwork abuses, has launched various probes around the country, including an investigation led by a broad coalition of state attorneys general which reportedly could end up costing banks upward of $20 billion in a settlement. Setting a precedent, Nevada recently filed criminal charges for robosigning by indicting two staffers at a mortgage company for directing employees to falsely notarize foreclosure documents and forge signatures.

And these proceedings have had a very real impact on homeowners. One homeowner in Pittsburgh had her home -- and her parrot -- mistakenly seized by Bank of America, while another family in Houston faced foreclosure simply because their property title wasn't properly transferred.



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10 Cities Getting Slammed by Foreclosures
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Family Wrongly Booted From Home Returns To Wreckage

Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +32%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 2,273
Unemployment: 7.6%
% home value down from peak: -12.42%

Columbus hit its median home value peak in the first quarter of 2006. Since that time, home values have declined a relatively modest 12.4%, including a 3.4% drop last year. By the second quarter of 2012, Fiserv projects that homes in the area will lose another 2.3% of their value. Median family income in Columbus is above the national average, and unemployment is just 8%, a full percentage point less than the national average. Despite the fact that things don’t look so bad for the Columbus housing market compared to other regions, the city foreclosure rate still increased by 32% last quarter. A total of 2,273 homes were foreclosed upon during that time.

See foreclosed homes for sale in Columbus, Ohio

Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +35%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 1,743
Unemployment: 11.2%
% home value down from peak: -59.3%

There is arguably no single housing market with a worse long-term outlook than southwest Florida, and the Cape Coral-Fort Myers region is the worst of these. Housing prices in the have already dropped 59.3% from their peak, and Fiserv project them to decline another 12.2% by the second quarter of next year. According to Corelogic, 47% of the homes in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area are worth less than their mortgages because of declining values. Foreclosures have increased 35% in the last quarter, and with no sign of recovery in the immediate future that trend may worsen in the coming months.

See foreclosed homes for sale in Fort Myers, Fla.

Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +36%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 1,348
Unemployment: 11%
% home value down from peak: -59.1%

As of last month, Vallejo-Fairfield had the second-highest foreclosure rate in the country, with one out of every 51 homes being foreclosed upon in the third quarter of this year. This was a 36% increase in foreclosures from the second quarter. Home values have dropped 7.5% in the past year and are projected by Fiserv to drop an additional 4.9% by the second quarter of 2012. A remarkable 53% of homes in the region are worth less than their mortgages. This is the seventh highest rate of homes with underwater mortgages in the country.

See foreclosed homes for sale in Fairfield, Calif.

Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +41%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 2,174
Unemployment: 14.9%
% home value down from peak: -54%

Fresno’s economy has continued to suffer since housing prices began to drop in 2006. It currently has an unemployment rate of 14.9%, which is one of the highest in the country. Home prices peaked in the first quarter of 2006 and have been decreasing since. The metropolitan area also has one of the highest underwater mortgage rates in the country, with a negative equity share of nearly 46%. In the last year alone home prices have dropped 11%.

See foreclosed homes for sale in Fresno, Calif.

Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +44%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 1,039
Unemployment: 11.6%
% home value down from peak: -53.4%

More than 1,000 homes were foreclosed upon in the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville region last quarter, a 44% increase from the previous three-month period. Nearly half of the region’s homes are worth less than their mortgages. With Fiserv projecting home values would drop 7.1% by next year and another 4.9% the year after that, things may just get even worse.

See foreclosed homes for sale in Titusville, Fla.

Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +49%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 2,559
Unemployment: 9.5%
% home value down from peak: -39.3%

Jacksonville has experienced a quarterly increase in foreclosures of nearly 50%. Home prices have dropped 39.1% since their peak in the second quarter of 2006. The metropolitan area’s negative equity share also exceeds 46%, making it among the worst in the country for underwater mortgages. Home prices are expected to decrease another 10.7% by the second quarter of 2012.

See foreclosed homes for sale in Jacksonville, Fla.

Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +55%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 1,956
Unemployment: 8.7%
% home value down from peak: -15.9%

Nearly 2,000 homes were foreclosed upon during the last quarter, a 55% increase from the previous three months. Unlike many of the regions on this list with accelerating home foreclures, Cincinnati’s local economy is doing fairly well. Home prices are only down 15.9% from their peak in the first quarter of 2006. Unemployment and median family income are both better than average. One possible explanation for this recent increase may be that nearly a third of the total decline in home value since the peak has occurred in the past 12 months.

See foreclosed homes for sale in Cincinnati, Ohio

Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +57%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 1,673
Unemployment: 11%
% home value down from peak: -51.4%

The Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice metropolitan area has seen the third largest increase in the country in foreclosures in the third quarter. However, only 1,673 homes out of the 311,475 on the market were foreclosed upon. The housing market has suffered a great deal since housing prices peaked in the first quarter of 2006. Since then, overall home prices have dropped 51.4%.

See foreclosed homes for sale in Venice, Fla.

Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +67%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 2,003
Unemployment: 6.6%
% home value down from peak: -15.8%

The Boston metropolitan area is considered to have a particularly resilient housing market. In the most recent quarter, however, foreclosures have increased 67%. Home prices have only dropped 15.8% since they peaked in the third quarter of 2005. The national average is -32.3%. From the second quarter of 2010 to the second quarter of 2011, home prices dropped a mere 1.7%.

See foreclosed homes for sale in Boston, Mass

Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +151%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 1,358
Unemployment: 6.9%
% home value down from peak: -14.9%

Albuquerque’s housing market, like Boston’s, is relatively healthy. While home prices decreased 32.3% nationally after their peak, home prices in Albuquerque only decreased 14.9% since they peaked. Regardless, foreclosures have recently skyrocketed. In the third quarter of 2011, the number of foreclosures in Albuquerque increased 151%. According to New Mexico Business Weekly, the lack of job creation in the area has been a major contributor to this problem.

See foreclosed homes for sale in Albuquerque, N.M.

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The Cities Where People Are Racing to Buy Homes
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Family Wrongly Booted From Home Returns To Wreckage

Metro movers index: 1.87
Median home price: $142,000
Home value decline from peak: -53.4%
Unemployment: 10.2%
Forecast change in home price through 2Q 2012: -11.4%

Like most of the state of Florida, the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford statistical area was hit hard by the housing crisis. More than one in five homes in the region is vacant, and more than half of all owned homes are now worth less than the mortgages on them. Real estate prices have declined 53.4% since the 2006 peak. By the second quarter of next year, Fiserv projects median home values will decline an additional 11.4%. For every person in the region looking for a home elsewhere, 1.87 people are looking at real estate in the area.

Click through to see what the median price buys in Orlando. 

Location: Orlando, Fla.
Price: $140,000
Beds/Baths: 3/3
Sq Ft: 1,510

This single family delivers comfortable living on the cheap. A sophisticated interior boasts arched doorways and hardwood floors. Features include an eat-in kitchen, backyard patio and one-car garage.

See a slide show of this home or see other homes for sale around the median price in Orlando, Fla.

Metro movers index: 1.88
Median home price: $135,000
Home value decline from peak: -59.2% (8th biggest decline)
Unemployment: 13.6% (13th highest)
Forecast change in home price through 2Q 2012: -15.9% (2nd biggest decline)

Almost two out of every three homes with a mortgage in the Las Vegas-Paradise metropolitan area is underwater — meaning the home is worth less than the mortgage on it. This is, by far, the highest rate in the country, and it is 10 percentage points greater than the metro area with the second highest rate. Since the first quarter of 2006, the median home value has dropped nearly 60% in this statistical area, and it is expected to drop another 15.9% by the middle of next year. Nearly 40% of the homes sold in the area had previously been foreclosed upon.

Click through to see what the median price buys in Las Vegas. 

Location: Las Vegas, Nev.
Price: $135,000
Beds/Baths: 3/2
Sq Ft: 1,234

This cozy home is an economical choice whose low price sheds light on just how much of a hit Vegas took from the housing meltdown. The home offers mountain views, neat landscaping, ample lighting, access to a community pool and exercise facilities, marble kitchen countertops, a two-car garage, a backyard patio and an decent supply of appliances.

See photos of this home or see other homes for sale around the median price in Las Vegas, Nev.

Metro movers index: 1.92
Median home price: $400,000 (9th highest)
Home value decline from peak: -39.9%
Unemployment: 10.1%
Forecast change in home price through 2Q 2012: -6%

The Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura area of California forms part of the Los Angeles suburbs, and is one of the wealthier regions in the country. It also features some of the most expensive and desirable retirement homes in the country. The median home value is $400,000 — the ninth-highest in the U.S. But even that high price is nearly 40% down from its peak in the second quarter of 2006. Foreclosures in the region are up 24% from last quarter. Many wealthy individuals close to retirement are looking to this area for second homes at bargain prices.

Click through to see what the median price buys in Ventura. 

Location: Ventura, Calif.
Price: $395,000
Beds/Baths: 3/2
Sq Ft: 1,878
Ventura, Calif. is a tad more upscale than some other buying hotspots, so it follows that homes are costlier. This 1,878-square-foot single family features a garage, patio and fenced backyard. 

See the listing or see other homes for sale around the median price in Ventura, Calif.

Metro movers index: 1.97
Median home price: n/a
Home value decline from peak: -5.9%
Unemployment: 8.3%
Forecast change in home price through 2Q 2012: +2.7%

Fort Worth is unlike most of the areas on our list in some key respects. It is the only one of the 10 where home prices are expected to rise by the second quarter of next year, and the only city with an unemployment rate below the national average. The subprime mortgage crisis appears to have completely missed the Fort Worth area altogether. Home prices are down just 5.9% from their peak in 2009. According to Trulia, the biggest reason for the high rate of inbound searches is the large number of people looking to move from the nearby city of Dallas.

Click through to see what the median price buys in Fort Worth. 

Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Price: $140,000
Beds/Baths: 4/2
Sq Ft: 2,106

This new traditional offers quite a bit of space for its price tag and enjoys some charming landscaping. The home shows just how much bang for your buck home buyers enjoy if they opt for this city in the Lone Star State.

See the listing or other homes for sale around the median price in Fort Worth, Texas

Metro movers index: 1.99
Median home price: $205,000
Home value decline from peak: -50.2%
Unemployment: 11.1%
Forecast change in home price through 2Q 2012: -9.6% (19th biggest decline)

Homes in the West Palm beach area are worth less than half what they were before the recession. Many people have been unable to sell their homes, especially as values are projected by Fiserv to decline an additional 9.6% by the second quarter of 2012. Last year, West Palm Beach had more listings than all but a handful of major U.S. cities. However, inventory will likely be drawn down as foreclosures decline and people begin purchasing dirt-cheap real estate. Nearly one in four of the home sales in the region in the last 12 months was on a formerly foreclosed upon home.

Click through to see what the median price buys near West Palm.

Location: Riviera Beach, Fla.
Price: $205,000
Beds/Baths: 3/2
Sq Ft: 1,480

You can live on the water for just over $200K if you purchase this gleaming, tile-floored condo. The unit offers three bedrooms and access to facilities including an expansive swimming pool and tennis courts.

See a slideshow of this home or see other homes for sale around the median price in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Metro movers index: 2.09
Median home price: $106,000
Home value decline from peak: -59.3% (7th biggest drop)
Unemployment: 11.2%
Forecast change in home price through 2Q 2012: -12.2% (6th biggest decrease)

There is arguably no single housing market with a worse outlook than southwest Florida, and Cape Coral-Fort Myers is the hardest-hit area. Housing prices here have already dropped 59.3% from their peak, and Fiserv projects a further decline of 12.2% by the second quarter of next year. According to Corelogic, 47% of the homes in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area are worth less than their mortgages. Foreclosures have increased 35% in the last quarter. However, the long-term outlook may be better than these figures suggest. Real estate agents are giving “foreclosure tours” to show homes that are now worth 40% or less of what they were just five years ago, and the number of people looking for homes in the area is nearly double the number looking to leave.

Click through to see what the median price buys in Fort Myers. 

Location: Fort Myers, Fla.
Price: $110,000
Beds/Baths: 2/2
Sq Ft: 1,441

This thrifty condo has lake views, a well-decorated interior and a glass-enclosed pool. Just watch out for the alligators.

See a slideshow of this home or see other homes for sale around the median price in Fort Myers, Fla.

Metro movers index: 2.15
Median home price: $199,000
Home value decline from peak: -48.4%
Unemployment: 10.6%
Forecast change in home price through 2Q 2012: -9.2%

Just five years ago, the median home price in the greater Fort Lauderdale area was nearly $400,000. As of last quarter, it was less than $200,000, and still falling. Prices are projected to fall an additional 9.2% by the middle of next year. The area is, however, one of the most popular retirement destinations in the country, and many see the current lows as an opportunity to purchase a cheap second home.

Click through to see what the median price buys near Ft. Lauderdale. 

Location: Sunrise, Fla.
Price: $200,000
Beds/Baths: 4/2
Sq Ft: N/A

Sited on a generous, fenced lot, this four-bedroom boasts a recently upgraded kitchen and breakfast area and hardwood floors. Sliding glass doors open up to a wood deck in the back. HOA fees are low.

See the listing or see other homes for sale around the median price in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Metro movers index: 2.25
Median home price: $200,000
Home value decline from peak: -23.3%
Unemployment: 9%
Forecast change in home price through 2Q 2012: -1.6%

The Charleston-North Charleston area saw home prices drop nearly 23% since the 2007 peak. Nearly 10% of homes are vacant — one of the highest rates in the country. Charleston has been, and remains, a popular retirement destination. According to Trulia, most of the people looking at homes in Charleston are from other parts of the state and other southern cities.

Click through to see what the median price buys in North Charleston. 

Location: North Charleston, S.C.
Price: $199,000
Beds/Baths: 3/2
Sq Ft: 2,016

Sheesh, that's a lot of room for $200K! The home sits on a quarter-acre landscaped lot and enjoys vistas of a nearby river viewable from the home's backyard porch. The interior has vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors. 

See photos of this home or see other homes for sale around the median price in North Charleston, S.C.

Metro movers index: 4.36
Median home price: $180,000
Home value decline from peak: -55.4% (14th biggest decline)
Unemployment: 13.4% (15th highest)
Forecast change in home price through 2Q 2012: -14.8% (3rd biggest decline)

This is one of the largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S. It also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country — 13.4%. Poor economic conditions have led to a massive drop of over 55% since home prices peaked in 2006. Prices are projected to fall an additional 14.8% by the second quarter of 2012. The area has had massive foreclosures in the past few years, and nearly 40% of the homes sold in the last 12 months were previously foreclosed upon.

Click through to see what the median price buys in San Bernardino. 

Location: San Bernardino, Calif.
Price: $225,000
Beds/Baths: 3/3
Sq Ft: 2,166

This affordable contemporary comes with a three-car garage. So if you're ready to splurge on wheels, but keep the digs cheap, this place  could be just what you're looking for. 

See the listing or see other homes for sale around the median price in San Bernardino, Calif.

Metro movers index: 6.03
Median home price: $170,000
Home value decline from peak: -51.4%
Unemployment: 11%
Forecast change in Home price through 2Q 2012: -6.5%

Last quarter, the rate of foreclosures in the North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota area jumped 57%, the third-greatest increase in the country. Since the first quarter of 2006, home prices have dropped 51.4%. Foreclosures are likely to increase for some time unless economic conditions improve, as 40.84% of regional homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Further, prices are expected to drop an additional 6.5% by the second quarter of next year. For every person looking to leave the area, six others are searching for homes here.

Click through to see what the median price buys in North Port. 

Location: North Port, Fla.
Price: $199,000
BEds/Baths: 4/3
Sq Ft: 2,257

At $88 per square foot this home -- which may have given its builder quite the headache since it was constructed just prior to housing meltdown -- seems like quite a bargain. It offers the usuals and a two-car garage. Throw some palm trees into the mix too. 

See the listing or see other homes for sale around the median price in North Port, Fla. 

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