I know I’m supposed to sympathize with the woman in this story today in the Washington Post, but I’m having trouble going all the way. The gist: She bought a house in 2005, and was foreclosed on last March. But the devil is in the details:
- In 2005 she looked at one house and bought it
- She paid $430k, more than triple what the house sold for only a year earlier
- She paid more than $5k above asking
- She agree to a loan that would require her and her husband to pay more than 70% of their monthly income on mortgage payments
- She signed papers in English she didn’t understand, including one that said she was married to someone she didn’t know
- She sought no-one’s financial advice
- Her agent was a Mary Kay salesperson
On a personal level this is a tragedy, and there seems little doubt her agent committed fraud, but it is closer to farce. I mean, c’mon: This is someone who couldn’t speak the language, and yet got no advice when making the biggest financial decision of her life. She had to know she was taking immense financial risks (numbers are numbers, whether in Spanish or English), but did nothing to ameliorate her obvious risks, and is now being presented as a victim.
Sorry — and this may make me a bad man — but I have trouble with the idea. This is someone who strapped themselves to the wing of a plane because a Fuller Brush salesperson told them that when they jumped in a few minutes up at 8,000 feet they’d learn how to fly.