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Extreme Foreclosure

Extreme Foreclosure Home Edition
CNBC.com
Extreme Foreclosure Home Edition

Okay, I realize I’m a little late to the game on this one, but I was away on vacation last week, so please forgive.

If you haven’t heard already, a home featured on the popular ABC series, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is in danger of foreclosure. The Atlanta home was built for the Harper family in 2005 by the ABC team and Beazer Homes USA. It was delivered scott-free, that is, no mortgage and all the property taxes paid for 25 years. As with all the show’s homes, it’s gorgeous, totally outfitted with all the latest and greatest in Sears appliances and electronics (Sears is a sponsor).

Anyway, it seems that the Harper family took more advantage of the home than just its spacious boudoirs. According to the AP, they took $450,000 out of it to start a construction business. The business went bust, and now they can’t pay for the home. It was scheduled to go on the block this week, but now we’re hearing they may be making a deal with the bank.

But it wasn’t just a home. Apparently Beazer employees helped raise $250,000 in contributions for the family. That included the home maintenance fund (I guess the taxes) and a scholarship fund for the three Harper kids. 1800 people helped build the house, while the Harpers were given the free trip to Disneyland.

While everyone will want to lump this story into the rest of America’s foreclosure stories, I see it as nothing but bad judgment. A family is given such an extreme gift, and they squander it. It makes me slightly ill to think of all the generosity, sweat and hope that went into that structure and into that family’s future. I don’t doubt that the family was deserving in some way; I’ll admit I don’t know the back story. But given all that money, all that equity, and all they had to do was live their luxurious new life, why did they need more?? Why did they have to take nearly half a million dollars out of it, risking this rare gift?

I’ll tell you why: It’s a microcosmic example of what took down the housing market (and the economy for that matter) in the first place. Greed. Plain and simple.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com

  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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