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Struggling to pay your mortgage? Try making your home work for you. That’s what Los Angeles-based publicist Darren Shuster did— by turning his house into an advertisement.
Shuster found a corporate sponsor— Swedish VoIP company Rebtel.com—that was willing to pay him $75,000 to turn his home into “the world’s first telecom-sponsored home in America.” Logos will be placed around the house and it will be painted company colors.
“It took me a year to get the company into the idea, and I was just trying to use my creativity to pay the mortgage,” Shuster says. He bought the home from his father last year with an 80/20 loan, one that allows the buyer to take out a first loan for 80% of the purchase price and another (the “piggyback”) for 20%, with no money down. Shuster’s monthly payment is about $4,000. “The 75k will go toward my mortgage payment and has made a big difference already,” he says.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.