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When the American dream became a mortgage nightmare

[MIAMI] A decade ago, as the financial crisis raged in the United States, Jesus Rodriguez told his kids a fib: he was selling the family furniture because they were moving to Disney World. "My kids were very little and we started selling everything. Mr Rodriguez recalled. "The second ingredient was a lot of Americans who were not experienced in real estate, but thought that they could become real estate investors," said Ms Olefson, author of the book "Foreclosure Nation." "We had a lot of people buying properties on spec. When the real estate bubble finally popped, home prices plunged and interest on variable rate mortgages shot up. One year into the crisis, Mr Rodriguez saw his mortgage interest rate jump from four to 14 per cent. "Part of what happened was these loans started adjusting, the payments started going up and so all of the sudden, these loans were in default," said Ms Olefson. The real estate crisis toppled banks and other financial institutions, and sent shock waves around the world. "Now I'm helping people to not get what I got, to not go that deep in debt," he said.