Homes over 1400 square feet in the Maine Farmers Home Administration were being kicked out of the loan program 30 years ago when ever a real estate buyer stubbed their financial toe.
Surrendering, handing over the Maine house keys that were rarely used any way in the 4th lowest crime state to lock up the place.
And often those very easy Maine homes to buy after foreclosure with 10% down and low prices like $12,500, $14,900 and $18,500 represented great values.
Because of the emphasis on insulation, updates from top to bottom when the FmHA real estate buyer made the purchase.
Usually not many years before they went belly up.
Everyone deserves a home and a dollar down made it happen. Farmers Home has become the USDA's Rural Development program. You had a slew of direct loans, not subordinated by local banks like the blend with Maine State Housing and RD loans popular currently as one valuable tool to sell homes in small, rural area markets.
The one percent loans, interest subsidy and recapture all added to the rush to own back in the 1980's.
But the inability to hang on to these larger Maine homes and the decision to kick them out of the program meant two and even three houses hitting the market some days.And sold, put under contract by five oclock that night when the FmHA doors locked and everyone went to their Maine homes. First come, first serve cleaned up the housescape of those larger homes. But you wondered if you had six, eight kids from say a blended Maine family second marriage though, where would you put all those kids in a 1008 square foot shoe box ranch? Stack them up like cord wood? Put in two sets of triple bunks or live like the Waltons with the kids mostly in one room?
The typical excuses given when you lose a home are understandable. Some accurate, some not quite what really happened. Blame it on the home as if it was haunted, or to blame for losing it happened. But pride can get in the way of a statement like "the home was too big for us, hard to heat" when you knew lots of the owners got heating assistance, were taking advantage of every local, state, federal program going. And still could not make it work with the subsidized, one percent interest payment. And ability to stall it, put it on moratorium if the going got tough and just pay for it on the other end of the 396, 33 year payments. Tack it on seems feasible with only a dollar down heading in and quick, where do I sign attitude of some.
But these home owners often had a twin set of shiny snowsleds parked on the lawn in winter, a matching set of $10,000 each ATV's on the same lawn summers. Priorities a little different than putting the house payment first and backing off, easing back from the toys with the high interest rate payment booklets attached to them. Choking off the air supply to the wallet. The budget for the keeping the Maine home house payments current.
When we entered a repossession FmHA home after dialing in the lock box code to release the keys hiding inside, sometimes we walked through a home with signs of sour grapes. The former owner did not just move, they took the light bulbs, door knobs, etc. In one case the pressure treat lumber from the wrap around porch floor "evaporated". No one knew what happened to those boards and at the same time everyone knew what was up, where they walked off to. Even the 1960's vintage chrome plain jane kitchen cabinet door pulls, hinges removed like gold fillings in a corpse. Leaving a pile of doors on the counter which usually made the real estate buyer say "Thanks". "I would have had to unscrew all those old hinges, replace them anyway and they saved me a couple hours if not using a power drill." Maine, big state, low and no cost recreational opportunities all four season waiting for you when you are ready.