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"Extreme Makeover" Couple Fears Foreclosure

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Deaf parents of a disabled boy face losing their dream home.

vardon family

Four years ago Judy and Larry Vardon, a deaf couple from Oak Park, Michigan, moved into their dream home, in part to improve the life of their 16-year-old blind and autistic son, Lance.

But their dream house could soon become a mere memory, as the couple fears their 980-square-foot house will face foreclosure. The Vardons were featured in a two-hour episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" which set a ratings record for the show when it aired on November 6, 2004.

Since Lance likes to let himself out of the house in the middle of the night, the "Extreme Makeover" team had installed video cameras, visual and tactile signals, GPS tracking devices and keypad access to the entire house to monitor Lance. And they made changes in floor plans to create a more open environment so the family could visually communicate.

• The Vardon's monthly mortgage payments have nearly doubled from $1,200 to $2,300 since the show, and their medical insurance doesn't cover dental and other therapies for Lance.

• Adding to their worries, Larry Verdun, 50, is at risk for losing his job as a welder at Chrysler LLC's Sterling Heights stamping plant, as the automaker is on the verge of bankruptcy.

"I'm afraid I'm going to lose my house now," Judy Vardon said using sign language through an interpreter. "This house really belongs to Lance. This is his environment. He can't speak out for himself, and I hope we can save this house."

• The Vardons are working with a nonprofit group that helps families in crisis negotiate a lower mortgage rate.

• Despite their worries, the Vardons remain grateful to "Extreme Makeover" for making their lives safer for Lance.

• "We're a close family that loves each other," Judy Vardon said. "I feel that I was given this life to show others that you can face these challenges."

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166 comments so far | Post a comment now
Just sayin' December 10, 2008, 1:38 PM

doesn’t this happen a lot to the people they help in this show?

Anonymous December 10, 2008, 8:11 PM

wait i really thought they build those houses for free (charity). kind of takes from the show now that i know the family pays for them.

yes December 10, 2008, 8:13 PM

now some one finaly agrees with me that you!!!! Really it must because how can they work if they are deaf!!!!

Bob December 10, 2008, 8:16 PM

Doesn’t anyone wonder why these people have a problem to begin with? They can’t handle nice things because they can’t make intelligent decisions and put back things that might come up, such as this. I don’t get anything for free, but I can make my house payments. I paid my way through college and I don’t have these problems. Quit giving things to people that can’t handle them

mrgrinch December 10, 2008, 8:17 PM

yes.. it happened to the family in our town that they made over..they couldn’t afford the property taxes after the makeover..

Cindy December 10, 2008, 8:17 PM

They don’t pay for the houses, the taxes go up with the improvement

Anonymous December 10, 2008, 8:21 PM

I would make a donation for this family if the show would create some kind of collection. I know that we are all having financial problems right now, but if many of us donated just twenty dollars, we could help them out. I know too many healthy adults without disability that refuse to work. I have a lot of respect for this family and remember the episode.

Thugnonomous December 10, 2008, 8:26 PM

ha ha ha this is funny thats what they get for not coming to the hood where people like me live on dead end screets cuz.. a n*gga like me want some sh*t rebuilt to i can make facilities to hide my cash and keep ma drugs hidden in till sold ha ha ha im so gangsta yeeaaa

Nancy December 10, 2008, 8:26 PM

These people refinanced their home for some reason. Was it for more toys? I don’t know. I do feel bad for them, but again, many of us are finding ourselves in some kind of financial problem. Be it losing a home, to no job and high health care, just making ends meet or skipping a meal.

natasha December 10, 2008, 8:26 PM

I think that builders will offer to pay their mortgage, otherwise they are sol…

Art December 10, 2008, 8:27 PM

Whats really going on here? while the community came together to help big time what’s happened since?? we aren’t hearing the whole story..

Lee December 10, 2008, 8:27 PM

I do not like this show, basically because they build such luxurious homes when they could do more for more people by building affordable nice homes. I do not feel most of the people chosen know or care how to take care of what they are ‘given’, and end up back in line for more help.

Roger December 10, 2008, 8:27 PM

If the home was improved and the payments are fixed at $1,200 for 30 years then the bank had no right to raise the amount the family should be paying on the house. I believe that it it corporate greed. They see a very nice house they can just raise the payments so high that they can foreclose on the house and sell it for a profit.

Anonymous December 10, 2008, 8:30 PM

Alot of these home makeover families get their houses and then take out home equity loans that they can’t afford. Something should be written in their contracts that they can’t do that.

Kristine December 10, 2008, 8:30 PM

I loved the episode where they did their home. I never cried so much. But also, ABC sometimes does help out by paying for the mortgage on the houses they build..but sometimes they do not. I hope ABC sees this and does something more to help!!

ME! December 10, 2008, 8:32 PM

Does the show staff explain to these families that with all of the improvements, that their taxes will be going up? This country is in such sad financial shape, where do you think all of the $$$$$ is going to come from? Yes, us! The property owners & working people!

Randi Grogan December 10, 2008, 8:33 PM

I feel for them, how could you not. It does seem that financially people do have a hard time after the reconstruction of their home but thats due to upgrading on property. I hope that ABC can do something to help this family, we all are feeling the pinch but its sad that this is happening to them and the millions of others with foreclosures. Hopefully, a new administration starts soon, lets hope its better!

franki7 December 10, 2008, 8:34 PM

I agree that it does take from the show. I, too thought that the show paid for the houses. I wonder if the families have to be above a certain financial level to qualify for the show.

Tatiana December 10, 2008, 8:34 PM

I’m also very surprised that the homes are not free. The article specifically says the mortgage payment has almost doubled, not the taxes or insurance, so it really sounds like the homes are not free. If the people couldn’t afford to live in a decent home before the makeover, how could they afford to pay for an even nicer home after the makeover? It sounds a bit crazy to me.

Janet December 10, 2008, 8:44 PM

Did it occur to anyone that they, like many Americans, had an adjustable rate morgage that has skyrocketed? It is happening all over the place. We can thank the Clintons for insisting that mortgages be made available to those who could not afford them AND the greedy lenders who sold mortgages to people knowing that the economy would evenually bubble and burst! What would happen to your house payment if the interest went up 10-12% this year?

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