Sunday, August 31, 2003

She owned, now rents family home of 100 years


Janet Holland, Northside

[IMAGE] Janet Holland pets her cat in front of the home she lost.
(Gary Landers photo)
| ZOOM |
Janet Holland pays rent to live in a Northside house that she once owned and her great-grandfather built.

She's never lived anywhere else. But when faced with health problems and a failing business, she signed high-interest-rate loans that cost her her home.

"I lost something that's been my life and part of my family for 100 years," Holland, 60, says. "There isn't a minute out of 24 that I don't think about it."

In January 1999, Holland was deep in debt from loans she'd taken out over a decade.

At that point, she obtained a new $55,250 loan with an 11.5 percent interest rate from Decision One Mortgage of Blue Ash. Less than a month later, she got a second mortgage loan of $16,205 with a 25.7 percent rate from Household Realty Corp. of Prospect Heights, Ill. The application for that loan falsely said she owned a new Acura and earned double her $778 monthly Social Security income.

SPECIAL REPORT
TODAY:
Questionable home loan deals are contributing to record foreclosures.
Home schemes, broken dreams
High-interest loans jeopardized their home
Fliers and signs popping up on streets
Papers she can't read gave away her home
Novice owner put faith in her former teacher
Subprime loans carry high risks, high rates
Lured into investing, left with shabby rentals

MONDAY:
West and East Price Hill are prime examples of how foreclosures contribute to a neighborhood's decline.
ONLINE EXTRAS:
Search Greater Cincinnati property records and use a mortgage calculator to see how much home you can afford
"The mortgage broker overestimated her income to get the loan," says Jim Hartke, a lawyer friend of Holland's. He eventually negotiated better repayment terms for the loan. A Household spokesman wouldn't comment.

The loans gave Holland quick cash, but also worsened her debt. In May 2000, Pennsylvania-based ContiMortage, which had purchased the $55,000 loan, filed foreclosure.

Despondent, her spirits were lifted when Jerry Dollenmeyer called offering help. Dollenmeyer, an investor who owns a rental house next door, had seen the mortgage default notice in the newspaper. "He called me shortly before 10 on that night, and by a quarter after (10 p.m.) he came here to look at my paperwork," Holland says.

Dollenmeyer said she could sell the house to him, and he would rent it back to her for $400 a month. She agreed, and he bought the home last December for $37,000. He got $7,000 back at closing; ContiMortgage took $30,000.

"Ultimately, she refinanced herself into foreclosure," Hartke says. Now she's awaiting approval of a federal Section 8 housing voucher to help her pay the rent.

Dollenmeyer, who obtained the house for $10,300 less than what the county auditor says it's worth, says he was just trying to help Holland.

"At this point, it's a dig at my pocket," he says. "I don't make any money on the property, but at some point I will."




SPECIAL REPORT: FORECLOSURES
Home schemes, broken dreams
High-interest loans jeopardized their home
Fliers and signs popping up on streets
Papers she can't read gave away her home
She owned, now rents family home of 100 years
Novice owner put faith in her former teacher
Lured into investing, left with shabby rentals
Subprime loans carry high risks, high rates

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