HUD Informative - HUD... the helpful government program

Review by tracker on 2004-11-14
MUSKEGON, MICHIGAN -- Happened quite a few years ago when my wife and I were young and naive, plus I have always wanted to complain publically, so here goes... . Buying our 1st home, in the city, $8000, owner held the note, small fixer-upper. We put our hearts and every dime we had into the home. One day a HUD agent (we'll call him JL) stops by and says as part of a neighborhood renewal project HUD would strip the roof, replace shingles and paint the exterior... for free! The only stipulation JL explained was that we could not sell the home for 3 years. If we sold, we had to pay HUD back. Ok, being very low income and our newborn baby had just arrived, we thought "What a nice Government Program!" and went for it. They (HUD) had the shingles replaced and a coat of paint slapped on. Terribly shoddy work (I think it took 4 men 2 days to complete everything), but it was done for free so... . The final total was $6000 and some change.

About 2 years later the somewhat rough neighborhood went real sour. Shootings, break-ins (our home included), assaults. I was afraid for my wife and baby. I spoke to JL and explained we couldn't stay in the home anymore. He said, "Fine... just don't sell it, there's only a few months left". We then moved in with family. We figured we could sell the home for about $10,000, pay HUD their $6000, pay off the note and have about $2000 left. Then we get the call. HUD official wants to meet with us, so we met. She says they are taking our home because we were not living in it. I explained the situation, that I had spoken with JL and thought everything was ok. I then asked to see JL (HUD agent that set everything up). She said "We don't want to talk about JL". As we couldn't afford an attorney to fight HUD, we were forced to sign off the home (conveniently HUD had themselves a buyer at the table who purchased it for $11,000). We later learned JL had been terminated for misrepresentation, etc..., but it was too late for us. I did however keep the pen used to sign off the home... my $2000 pen. So, if you ever contemplate assistance from HUD, be sure you are getting the straight facts, then contemplate some more.
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