This is truly a disgusting case of robbery through home refinancing.
Mortgage-Relief PlanDivides Neighbors
The case of Karenn and Steve Oropeza from down the street shows how Inland Empire buyers complicated their lives by overextending themselves.
The Oropezas arrived at Calle Canon Road in 2004. Public records show they paid $557,000 for a four-bedroom house and took out a $500,000 mortgage. Her husband is an area manager for an auto-parts retailer and she is a purchasing manager for a firm that sells dietary supplements.
As property values skyrocketed, they refinanced three times, most recently in late 2006, for $835,000, Mr. Oropeza says.
The couple say they used some of the money they pulled out of the house for home improvement, such as a backyard waterfall. But Mr. Oropeza says the bulk was used to pay off credit-card arrears. "We were in a vicious cycle of refinancing our home to get out of debt," he says. "We banked on selling the house, but that's where we failed."
The couple listed the house several times, even before the final refinancing, which raised their monthly payments to about $6,300. Earlier this year, they were asking $839,000 for the house. But it just sat. Elsie Cambone, the Coldwell Banker agent who had the listing, says prospective buyers were put off by the vacant home next door.
Meanwhile, Mr. Oropeza expected to be transferred to Texas, so the couple began house hunting there in 2006. In June, they bought a 3,600-square-foot home for $283,000 in the Houston suburb of Katy, Mrs. Oropeza says. "It was easy. We had good credit. The deal was done in seven days."
In the run-up to their move, she says, the couple lived off credit cards to "make sure we had cash for the house payments" in Corona. They packed up in June, and then took their 9-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter on a long-planned Caribbean vacation. They returned to Calle Canon Road, "got in our cars and drove to Texas," Mrs. Oropeza says.
Mrs. Oropeza says that she and her husband recently bought a Lexus and a Chevrolet Suburban with no money down. She denies that the family intended to abandon the house. The choice was straightforward, she says: "It was easier to keep the house in Texas than the one in California."
The couple stopped making their Corona mortgage payments in June, triggering a notice of default 90 days later and starting the countdown to foreclosure. The family is now living in Texas. But Mr. Oropeza says he no longer expects a transfer, so every other week, sometimes more often, he says he flies west to make his usual rounds of retail locations in the Inland Empire. Mrs. Oropeza says she travels to Orange County every three weeks for her job.
"We're sad because there goes our credit, and because people think we are a bunch of flakes who walked away from the house and tried to make money," Mrs. Oropeza says. The property's for-sale listing has expired. "We have zero expectation that we can sell this house," she says. After the government-brokered mortgage plan was announced, Mr. Oropeza says he called the toll-free helpline and left a message, though he doubts he will qualify to get his Corona house back.
WSJ Blog: Fleeing Foreclosure in a Lexus
L.A. Blog: A vacation, a new Lexus... and then, default
Wall Street Examiner
Lets be clear:
- the Oropeza's are FLAKES
- they tried to make money off their home
- they walked away
- the job transfer was a farce; Texas has homestead laws; they were fleeing
Riddle me this: is it easier to live where your job is located, or commute 1500 miles?
I hope Steve's employer finds out and cans his sorry ass.
8733 Calle Canon Rd, Corona, CA
Here is where they live in Texas:
1414 Baldridge Ln
Katy, TX 77494-4713