Housing in the real world requires skepticism

philipcheng

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Whenever we hear something about the housing market or the economy in general it generally doesn’t phase us as students at a liberal arts college. We’re in our own little community. However, after we leave college, we will have to deal with problems in the outside world. For example, the “robo signer” scandal has left many people without and home. This scandal was uncovered in 2010, and has found that banks and lenders like Bank of America, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup have produce massive amounts of false and forge mortgage assignment, affidavits and legal documents related to foreclosures. In this scandal, many banks created an electronic process that produced massive amounts of false mortgage documents that had a home owner’s signature even though the person had never seen the document. After we leave college, we will have to contend with lenders who are more interested in our money than us and we should learn and practice how to look after our own goods.

But, unless we become a professor at our college, we will have to move out in the real world sooner or later. When we do that we’ll have to finally worry about things we took for granted like housing.

Getting a house should be a straight forward thing, but the 2010 Foreclosure Crisis has shown us otherwise. This crisis was caused by major banks who produced fraudulent signatures to expedite the mortgage process. This dated back to the 1990’s, and if we fast forward to 2010, we see that a crumbling economy made it hard for people to pay for mortgages they signed earlier. However, some of the fraudulent documents had clauses and agreements that home owners viewed or agreed to. This is wrong and illegal, but it caused a little less then half to a third of foreclosures in the past two years. The issue of false foreclosure agreements have been written about by activist bloggers like Lisa Epstein and Michael Redman. Later, such documents were confirmed as false by state courts.

Granted the government now identified the problem and has already passed a foreclosure agreement that makes major banks pay for damages. But, students coming out of college and finding a home should still be skeptical.

Basic things like housing should be fairly straight forward. But in our society it’s not that way. Rather than finding a plot of land and building a house. We have to go through lots of paperwork to buy the land or buy the house and read the fine print of our agreement. It’s great that these contracts and agreements can help prevent people from taking your home by force. However at the same time, with so much writing and fine print, there is always a way someone can be sneaky and underhanded. And unfortunately the only way to watch your back is to be hyper-vigilant and keep up with paper work. It is monotonous, but it’s probably something we have to learn in college, even if there are no classes for it.

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