My name is Wasiu Adedeji and I am a member of Holy Family Catholic Church. General Electric – and their subprime lender, WMC Mortgage – is the reason I became a real estate agent. I had to learn how to short sell my own house to avoid foreclosure.
My story begins in September 2006. I just started a new job six months prior. Even though I never bought a house, I had heard from friends how easy their experiences had been.
Making $35,000 per year, I was told I qualified for a $425,000 loan.
I told my real estate agent that seemed strange. How could I afford the loan?
He said, “Don’t worry!” I could rent out the basement. I could live with other family members. I could take on a second job. This would be a great investment! And I trusted him.
A stated income comprising of the potential rental income and those of family members was used to qualify me for the loan. But the loans my broker put together – a broker I never saw or met before I signed the paperwork – were crazy.
On a $425,000 loan, my interest rate started at 8.07% and could go as high as 14.57%. Payments started at more than $3000 per month and could have been as high as $5000 if I had stayed in the loan. To top it all off, even if I had kept the house for 30 years, I would have had a balloon payment of almost $200,000 to keep the house!
Looking back, I should have known better. I should never have signed those papers.
But – as a real estate agent now – I also know that I was taken advantage of. My trust was violated. My ego and self-esteem were severely battered. My life was almost ruined. But I fought back. Unfortunately, more than 600 families cannot say the same.
I accept responsibility for what happened to me. I accept responsibility for what I could and should have done. And now I challenge General Electric & Mr. Immelt to accept their responsibility as well.