The Johnson sisters thought they were safe; their father paid off the house before he died in 1995. But hard times began five years later, when their mother, who had only limited health insurance, took out a loan on the house to help pay for her double-bypass surgery. She died the next year, and three years ago, in 2004, Lisa Johnson decided to refinance the mortgage.
To this day, she does not understand exactly what happened, but somehow the refinanced mortgage ended up costing the family $2,700 a month. With Chantée’s pay as a bus driver and Lisa’s as a data-entry clerk and a production assistant for a clothing firm, the sisters could not handle the payments. They defaulted on the mortgage last fall.
“Sometimes,” Lisa Johnson said ruefully, “ignorance can get you in a lot of trouble.”
Stranger at the Door
“They often just don’t understand the financial transaction they got involved with,” Ms. Morris said of the borrowers in the area. “They’re not digging their own graves; the brokers, the attorneys and the banks weren’t giving them the correct information.”
In Queens, 130 to 150 homes a week enter foreclosure, said Jessica Davis, president of Profiles Publications, which lists foreclosed properties.
"Last year at this time, you were seeing 60, maybe 70 max," she said. "It's troubling, and we have no way of knowing when that's going to start slowing down."
Foreclosure 'rescuer' is your best pal - and then he cons you out of home
Photo from NY Times