Normally people post either news articles or rants here. This time I want to post a personal story.
I just got a call from my brother. He lives in the Sacramento area, and is looking to move out of his apartment and rent a house. So he called up a realtor this morning. After telling the realtor what he wanted, the realtor directed him to their web site and told him how to set up an account to look at their listing.
Then things got interesting.
The realtor told him that most of the owners were "60 to 90 days behind" on their mortgage. In order to move in, my brother would need to come up with enough cash to make the mortgage current. At which point the mortgage would then be transferred into my brother's name. No verification that my brother has a job. No credit check.
My brother was a little surprised at this point and asked the guy if this was how people rented these days. The realtor answer him, "We prefer to call it Lease-to-own".
At this point my brother started laughing into the phone and couldn't stop. The realtor eventually hung up.
If this is a widespread practice, and I have little doubt that it is, how can anyone believe that we are anywhere near a bottom in the real estate bust?