We talk about housing a lot, but usually from an altitude of 30,000 feet.
Seldom do we actually speak to the people in the thick of it, people who got in over their heads and are now drowning in debt.
Here is one of those people. He's Scott Mintz, a Los Angeles chiropractor who believed all the talk (some of it on our air) that housing prices would continue to go up. Like a lot of Americans, he wanted to make money investing in real estate, believing he could continue to leverage by refinancing mortgages and drawing money out to buy more property. He's not the only one.
That's the problem. What to do? Let them all fail? Save some? Only those trying to keep primary residences?
"I was under the hope that property keeps going up," Mintz told me outside one of his properties. He began buying houses in 2001, ending up with four homes, including his primary residence. He then refinanced them to pull out more money to buy and fix up a four-plex. That's about the time the market started to tank, and he barely got out of that investment with his shirt.
Now, he is late and underwater on all four home mortgages.