In the early 1990s, Jeff Palmberg got an offer he could not refuse.
He and his wife had moved to Connecticut, where Palmberg had accepted a job as a youth pastor. The church wanted them to live nearby. But housing prices were more than they could afford.
So, the church offered to help. The congregation had recently sold off their parsonage and had some extra money in the bank. They offered to let Palmberg and his wife have $50,000 to use for their down payment on their first home.
If they ever sold the house, Palmberg and his wife would pay the funds back, with no interest.
Everyone would win in the end.
“We thought it was the smart thing to do,” he recalled.
Things went fine until Palmberg got a new job right as the housing market tanked. Suddenly the house he and his wife bought for $150,000 was worth $90,000—which was barely enough to pay off their mortgage, with no money ...