Boom, Bust, Flip
Tim and Jenni Earll didn’t have a lot of money saved up, but they’d seen enough of their friends buy homes to feel like fools for burning their cash on rent. So they took out a 30-year mortgage and bought a fixer-upper on a quiet street in Seattle’s Roxhill neighborhood for $309,900. That was in the spring of 2007.
Tim and a cousin spent the next couple of years trying to build some “sweat equity” by redoing the electrical wiring, plumbing and landscaping, but when Jenni lost her administrative position, they had to delay the improvements. Soon after, Tim’s work at a glass company began petering out, too. Desperate to hold on to their house, they sought a loan modification, but by the end of 2010, the bank refused to refinance. The following summer, it foreclosed and auctioned off their home to AKA Investors L.L.C., which paid $155,000 in cash for the house.
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Catherine Rampell is an economics reporter at The Times. Adam Davidson is off this week.