Utah Senator Gets A Short Sale, Unlike You

Utah Senator Mike Lee understands the pain of today’s housing market.† The former lawyer and freshman Republican bought a “dream home” in 2008 for $1.1 million, but once he was elected to senate in 2010 he tried to sell it and was unable to.† Knowing he now had to live within his substantially lower salary of a mere $174,500 per year as a politician, Lee sold his home for a $400,000 loss, which his mortgage company JP Morgan Chase agreed to absorb.

Lee bemoans losing his “significant” down payment, but states, “Itís not fun. Itís not something any of us would have chosen. But you do what you have to do when income doesnít match your outlays. You have to pare your outlays down.”

What Lee doesn’t seem to understand — and what still haunts most of America who would be happy to be in Lee’s position — is that many would be happy to do exactly what Lee has done.† Unfortunately, the vast majority of underwater homeowners are unable to get their mortgage companies to agree to any form of short sale, knowing that without one many owners will continue to pay the mortgage until they default and then get both the extra payments and the house itself to sell later.

One of the many factors behind defaulted mortgages are those who are unable to get banks to agree to take the same short sale loss that Lee was able to receive.† Without that agreement from banks, the owners must default, or give up jobs in other states because they are unable to sell their homes.

Lee laments losing his down payment which, based on the idea of 20 percent down means he likely paid at least $200,000 to originally receive his loan.† But that isn’t a “lost” down payment.† In actuality, he just received a $200,000 gift from his bank who agreed to accept the loss rather than force him to continue paying.

If only we could all take the same “loss” as Senator Lee.† I know many who would be happy to “pare their outlays” down in the same manner.

Photo credit: Wikimedia commons


Douglas Johnson
Douglas Johnson3 years ago

There is always a risk of depreciation when you make a large purchase. Formerly that risk was shared by the bank and the borrower. Then. around 1991 the bank lobby got the Supreme Court to put the entire risk on the homeowner. This was part of the radicalization of the courts by the right wing. Now that the "bubble" has deflated it is a little safer to make large purchases, but you should still make sure that the bank is not inflating the sale price and the loan value to enhance their profit at your expense. Vote for Elizabeth Warren, she has her eye on this as well as other bank abuses.

Pamela M.
pam M5 years ago

Chase is my mortgage company and ain't asorbing my loss and I also live in Utah!!! My home is worth $70k less than when purchased. Chase not even thinking about absorb crap except my home . . typical.

Frances C.
Frances C5 years ago

You are off topic Timothy, he is not a Democrat he is a Republican. So what do you think on this subject? If you can focus on the question.

Linda T.
Linda T5 years ago

Wow the mortagage company is actually absorbing the loss? Unbeleivable. Would'nt every underwater home owner love that? Why is he getting special treatment?

timothy m.
timothy m5 years ago

Too bad Lee isn't a Democrat. Then he would be pure as the driven snow and never use his office for personal advantage.

Jennifer C.
Past Member 5 years ago


Philip Amos
.5 years ago

The bank got the real bargain. The financial industry spends millions on congressional lobbyists, but here they got a senator for a mere $400 000.

Carole Cherne
Carole Cherne5 years ago

Mike Lee should be ashamed of himself.

Duane B.
.5 years ago

It must really suck to be a Senator!! ;-)

Carl Oerke
Carl O5 years ago

Would J. P. Morgan Chase who just lost $3 billion in bad investments absorb a $400,000 loss if Mike Lee were not a US Senator? I am sure that there are a lot of others who lost their homes and took losses who would like Chase to absorb their loans also. Maybe you should try some of the settlers of Zuccotti Park in NYC and ask them if they could have used a bailout.