CONCORD By most accounts, life in Southern Chase is not as fragile as it once was. Foreclosures are down and so are complaints about overgrown lawns and abandoned furniture.
But there are still reminders of the mortgage debacle that rocked the subdivision off N.C. 49 and other Beazer Homes neighborhoods in 2007.
Just beyond the white picket fence off Zion Church Road, the grass grows waist-high at one abandoned house and porch railings are broken. The front door lock has been replaced with wood. A zip-tie secures the mailbox shut.
It was an absolutely adorable neighborhood when it was built, said Louise Mack, president of Prosperity Unlimited, a Kannapolis-based nonprofit that counsels homeowners facing foreclosure. It didnt take but a few years for the transition downhill.
In 2001, Lea and Mark Tingley bought one of the new homes for $112,000. The Observer, in its 2007 Sold A Nightmare series, told their story: On their original loan application, Leas income was correctly stated, but on the final version it was overstated by $187 per month. Lea said she wasnt aware until an Observer reporter pointed it out. She also said a Beazer employee advised them to omit a monthly $350 car payment.
The Tingleyss mortgage started out at an introductory rate of $675 a month but over time it soared to more than $1,000 a month, and they couldnt afford the payments. Other homebuyers faced similar circumstances, and soon 21 percent of homes were in foreclosure more than six times the national rate.
The Tingleys sold their house in 2009 for $85,500.
Its messed up that only one person got charged, Tingley said about Beazer. It was a whole corporation that was corrupt.
Janette Parker, who managed the Beazer Mortgage office in Charlotte and pleaded guilty to fraud, signed the faulty loan application. But Lea Tingley said she dealt with other employees and doesnt recall ever meeting Parker.
As part of a deferred prosecution agreement, Beazer pledged to pay up to $50 million in restitution to victimized buyers.
The Charlotte School of Law has helped about 475 people apply for around $3.5 million in restitution, said Randall Faircloth, who chaired the schools Beazer Restitution Clinic. Requests ranged from roughly $2,000 to $20,000, he said.
Mack said her nonprofit, Prosperity Unlimited, has helped current and former homeowners file claims for about $1.2 million.
Researcher Marion Paynter contributed.
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