It was a few weeks ago that Renee and I appeared in an article titled “Buying a “Divorce” home has its perks.” The article included quotes from myself as well as from real estate professionals about potential benefits of buying a home from a couple who is selling due to a divorce. I didn’t think much about it really, because I assumed that given the high divorce rate, this was actually a pretty common transaction.

As I stated in an earlier post, I had responded to a post by a reporter who was looking for home buyers who had experience buying homes from couples who were divorcing. I knew that it was rare (and interesting) that my wife and I happened to buy our last three homes in these situations so I contacted the reporter and briefly shared our experience with her.

As often happens in an article, all of the details aren’t included, so it’s sometimes easy for people to jump to conclusions. The article initially was tucked into’s real estate section so it didn’t receive much attention. But for some reason, decided to feature it on its home/splash page about a week later – and boy, did the attention arrive (although I had no idea how much until today when my Dad asked me what I thought about all the comments posted after the article). A few of my friends posted on my Facebook wall that our article was featured on AOL and one mentioned that she didn’t know that we had targeted divorcing couples to buy our homes. I explained to her that these hadn’t been “targets” – just coincidences (see below). But I didn’t know there was such a reaction on the site until I checked it out earlier today.

It was actually pretty funny (and interesting) to read all of the comments after the article. I think my favorite was the one that said “They must be Republicans, only they can smile through other peoples misery……..It’s as if they’re gloating.” First, not sure where political affiliation has anything to do with buying or selling a house, but whatever. Second, you couldn’t be more wrong anyway (we’re hardcore liberals).

Another was the comment directed at our photo that said “They make a profit from others miseries and are proud of it with their smirky smiles. Can’t stand to look at them.” (Uh, the photo was from my mom’s 75th birthday party last summer – the real estate market was the furthest thing from our mind there chief).

Many of the negative comments seemed to focus on how we were intentionally profiting from others misfortune and what horrible people we (and even our children!) must be to do such a thing. Thankfully, there were also a few level-headed comments that pointed out the obvious: these were all business negotiations where offers were presented, counter offers were made and ultimately a closing price was accepted. There was nothing underhanded, shady nor manipulative about any of it.

It’s clear that the article struck a raw nerve with many people – but I sense that much of this is tied to the recent real estate meltdown that has literally impacted millions (including us), and the sense that there are people (or businesses) looking to capitalize on others’ misfortunes (such as foreclosure crisis). I don’t blame people for being angry or upset – these past few years have been extremely difficult for most of us economically. And with the headline of the article focusing on the “perks” of buying a “divorce” home, I can see why some would assume that this was strategy employed by my wife and I when house-hunting. But this is simply not true.

There are a few important points about our experiences that should be made more clear or were not included in the article:

It should be noted that in all of these cases, the couples who sold to us were the original owners of the homes – so they bought the houses for hundreds of thousands of dollars less than the price we paid them. They all made a great profit on their investment – even if their marriages did not survive.

And we’ve experienced both the high’s and low’s of the real estate market along with millions of others. As I noted earlier, we’ve lost money on some of our purchases – and our current house is currently underwater along with 1/3 of the Puget Sound real estate market. So maybe all those who made comments about karma paying us back may be right (although I feel bad that our greedy actions single handedly had to drag down the innocent 30% of the market who is underwater with us).

So there you go. Maybe you still think of us as leeches who prey off the misfortune of others and if that’s the case, oh well. Those who know us best already know and understand that we’re just another American family juggling all of the challenges that come with raising a family.

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