Well this is silly. People burning their underwater homes so they can escape the mortgages. Come on people. Let's think for a second here.
1. All you have to do is walk away from the mortgage. No need to get in trouble with the law by setting fires. Just mail the keys to your lender and be done with it. You'll take a hit to the old FICO but so what? You were most likely a 550 to start with. How much difference will it make when you drop to 510?
2. Just stop making payments. It takes a long time to get foreclosed on. And even then it can take months or even years before the sheriff comes knocking on your door. And who knows, by then John Rodham McClintomaba will be president and he/she will bail your sorry ass out. And give you "FREE" health care too. In the meantime Jorge W. will be sending you a nice fat tax rebate in June for taxes you haven't paid. Take that money to the local casino, bet it on 23 and who knows you might just win enough money to pay a few months of mortgage.
3. Benny B will drop interest rates to 0%.Maybe even into negative territory. Soon enough your lender will pay you interest.
My point is, no need to resort to drastic actions like arson. You live in the People's Socialist American Republic. Let the government take care of you.
By Marilyn Lewis
Arson is nothing new in Detroit. It's a time-honored weapon of the angry, vengeful, distressed and dispossessed in a city that gets hurt harder and sooner than others, making it a perfect place to spot early evidence of stress from the real-estate meltdown.
The Detroit Fire Department can't draw a definitive link between its rising arson rate (151 arrest warrants in 2007), rising foreclosures (up more than 65% last year) and falling housing prices (the region's median house price dropped 17.3% in the past four years, to $145,173).
But Capt. Steve Varnas of the department's arson section says he sees a connection: In 2005, the city issued only 80 arrest warrants for arson -- about half the number last year. "Things were going great," Varnas says. "There were fewer desperate people in 2004 and 2005."
Across the U.S., homeowners are searching for ways to escape from mortgages they can't pay -- or don't want to. A few are turning to arson, but it's too soon to turn anecdotes into meaningful statistics. Consumer pressure and state laws require speedy settlements, which means insurance companies are quick to pay up and slower to complete complex arson investigations. Definitive answers will come later.
But the signs of trouble are there if you're looking for them:
- The FBI reportsthat arson grew 4% in suburbs and 2.2% in cities from 2005 to 2006. The 2007 numbers aren't out yet.
- In California, a state hit particularly hard by foreclosures, insurance companies must tell the state within 60 days if they suspect a fire is "questionable." Last year, more than 120 reports were filed, and in 14 foreclosure was named a possible factor. The previous year, just 70 reports were filed, with seven citing foreclosure, says the state insurance commissioner's office. (Not all reports become arson cases.)
- Arrest warrants for arson in Detroit rose 89% between 2005 and 2007. "We are up to our eyeballs in arsons," says Varnas, of the Detroit Fire Department. "We're not only dealing with hardened criminals. We're dealing with desperate people."