Demolishing the Wrong House, Other Housing Blunders

When you're tackling a problem as big as the housing crisis, there are bound to be a few mistakes. But you wouldn't believe some of the doozies.

confused man
confused man

Imagine having your house boarded up — while you're still inside.

Ted Poetsch was having lunch and packing up a few last-minute things at his Minneapolis home, thinking he had an hour before the inspector came to board up the house.

But, while he was taking a final walk down memory lane, the inspector came early and boarded it up with him in it!

Poetsch called his lawyer, who called the city, who called 911. Finally, after three hours, a policeman came to pry the boards off his front door and let him out.

City officials said Poetsch's brief incarceration in his own home was an "unprecedented mistake."

Do You Want Me to Finish the Lawn?

You think that's bad, imagine if you paid your bills on time and still lost your house — literally.

Atlanta resident Al Byrd was having a normal Monday when he got a strange call from the lawn guy, who asked Byrd if he still wanted him to finish the lawn.

Byrd replied — Of course! Why wouldn't I?

"Because they're tearing down the house," the lawn guy replied.

Apparently, the demolition crew had used a GPS device to locate the house they were supposed to tear down but got the wrong houseand tore down Byrd's instead.

And you thought YOU had GPS problems!

That'll Be $1,900, Please

Our final mistake comes compliments of — try to act surprised — Florida, where the legislature recently passed a law raising court fees for foreclosure cases to $1,900 from $295.

That may sound OK at first glance — if a bank wants to start foreclosure proceedings against you, it has to pay a hefty fee. But it becomes a "blunder of colossal proportions" as one blogger put it when you consider that any homeowner facing foreclosure who wants to fight fraudulent lenders or other wrongdoing against them also has to pay $1,900.

OK, show of hands please: Who here facing foreclosure has $1,900 lying around?

It's like when you're in a traffic jam and people behind you start honking. Really? You think I have the ability to go, I'm just choosing to sit here and make all of us late to work?

Nice going, Florida. You've earned your status as one of the top foreclosure states in the nation — and as one of the last expected to recover.

So, no matter how bad it gets this recession, just remember, it could be worse: You could live in Florida, be held prisoner in your own home or come home to find your home GONE.

Feel better? I do!

Pony Treats:

Don't Do These 10 Things. Your first instinct during a financial crisis like this is probably to run for the exits, elbowing women and children in the process. Wait! Before you do, check out Business Week's 10 Worst Innovation Mistakes in a Recession.

The Biggest Real Estate Blunder. As real estate gets hammered, agents need to keep a cool head and stop chasing every shiny object they seeto make a sale. There's a better recession strategy, says real estate pro Rob Minton.

The $1 Million Mistake. For one woman in Tel Aviv, foreclosure would probably be a dream problem instead of the one she faces: Combing through 2,500 tons of garbage to find her mother's mattress, which she threw out when she bought her mom a new one. Turns out, mom stashed her retirement savings — all $1 million of it — in that mattress.

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