Housing crisis hits hard at home

By Christopher Blake
October 9, 2008


“People might think they are in a good economic position and that the economy can not affect them but so did I,” senior English and communication major Grayce Turnbach, said. Little did she think that her family would lose their home.

In 2006, the once thriving housing market began to slow down, putting an increasing number of homeowners into foreclosure. Turnbach was one of the casualties.

Americans across the country either lost ownership of their home or were threatened with it because they could not meet their mortgage payments.

The large number of risky mortgages that banks made has been the force behind all the trouble that has hit Wall Street.

By June 2008, 2.75 percent of all home loans or 1.75 million mortgages, were in foreclosure.

Just in the last few weeks, Turnbach’s mother had to sell her house because she could no longer meet her payments.

In the four years Turnbach, 21, has been a student at Cabrini, her life has been filled with happy memories: making new friends, earning acclaim for her academic work and spending time with her family.

For Turnbach, life was good and nothing seemed to stand in the way of her and her family’s success. But then, starting in 2005, Turnbach’s life took a sudden hault when her parents decided to divorce.

When her father left so did his income, yet Turnbach’s mother decided she would have enough money to continue to provide for Grayce and her older sister with her income from a job in quality control.

“My mom was making a decent amount of money but then, in 2006, she had to go on unemployment,” Turnbach said.

Turnbach’s mother was out of a job when the home development company laid her and other employees off.

“With her unemployment, she still had to pay our healthcare which was $600 a month and at the same time she decided to take a mortgage on the house or a negative balloon loan, which was refinanced every year at a higher price,” Turnbach said.

With the pressure of “going from a two-income home, to a one-income home, to a no-income home,” her mother was forced to sell the house she worked so hard to keep.

Turnbach’s house was originally placed on sale for $460,000, but because of the weak market there were no buyers and the price of the house kept dropping month after month. Finally, the house was purchased at $385,000.

However, the money received from the house would not become the Turnbach’s because her mother still needed to pay $365,000 towards her mortgage payment.

“Out of the $385,000 that was given to us for the house, subtract $365,000 from that, plus you pay a percentage towards the realtor. At settlement they gave my mother a check for $3.64,” Turnbach said.

Within a year, Turnbach and the lives of her family drastically changed. Her mom went from a high paying job to a position with a much lower salary. The family was out of a house.

“It tore my mom apart receiving that check but at the same time she stayed strong for us,” Turnbach said. “Just by taking the one last walk around your house and kind of reliving all the memories you had there with your family was the hardest part. Having to shut the door and kind of walk away and never look back will never leave my mind.”

Turnbach and her family are currently living life without a home. Her mother and sister live with family friends and Turnbach lives at Cabrini. The family has learned to save money and have limited their spending to food, gas, laundry detergent and other essential items.

“This happens and it happens everyday to people. I am just one of the many cases that this occurred to,” Turnbach said.

For Turnbach her future is unclear, but her views on the economy have changed and her perspective on life will never be the same.

“I don’t think anyone can understand the seriousness of the crisis that we are in until you have experienced it first-hand because you can sit here and listen to someone’s story, but you really can’t imagine what it’s like to go through what I, and so many others, have gone through,” Turnbach said.

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Christopher Blake

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