The Federal Government Sells Flood-Prone Homes To Often Unsuspecting Buyers

The first thing Larry McCanney fell in love with was the tree in the front yard. It cast shade on the porch of a house that, if he were honest, needed some work. But McCanney is handy, the price was right and the location was perfect, just a couple of miles from his childhood home in Burlington, N.J.

"We just kind of wanted to get our family started, and it was affordable for us," McCanney says. "I’m still paying college loans off 11 years later, [and] we wanted to ensure that we were purchasing a place that, should I lose my job or if [my wife] lost her job, we wouldn’t be out of a house in two months’ time."

There was one unexpected thing about the house: The seller was listed as the secretary of housing and urban development.

The homes that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sells are foreclosures. The previous owner was unable to pay their federally insured mortgage, and the house was seized by a bank and turned over to HUD.

Only a small percentage of foreclosed homes in the United States end up being sold by HUD, but the numbers add up.

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