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50-Plus Voters and the Housing Market

Nevada residents feel the impact of sinking home values and ponder campaign promises

En Español |They came here for a retirement paradise: endless sun, open spaces and growth that promised higher real estate values. But now, sitting under the harsh lights of a university classroom in a foreclosure seminar, these older Nevadans glumly study the new reality of the state's housing and foreclosure crisis as they face the very real chance that they will be forced out of their homes.

Keep up to date with AARP's Election 2012 blog.

"Don't worry — it's a good investment." That's what lenders told Randy Amador, 50, when he and his now ex-wife purchased a Las Vegas area home. But today, Amador — who said he was surprised he even got a mortgage — is facing foreclosure, and expects that his former wife, along with their five children, will have to leave the home.

Amador has become just another statistic in a state that held the unenviable distinction of having the highest foreclosure rate in the country five years running before dropping to third place this summer.

The housing boom fueled growth and demographic changes, making the state a battleground, and 50-plus voters want to know what President Obama and Mitt Romney can do to ease the mortgage crisis.

The steps to foreclosure sound like the countdown to an execution. The Notice of Default informs the owners that they are behind in payments. The Danger Notice warns their home may be sold. The dreaded Notice of Trustee's Sale means their home will be sold for whatever cash can be had, though home values have fallen by nearly half since 2006. Government home programs haven't proved effective for many Nevadans who are near or past retirement, leaving them particularly vulnerable. They do not have decades to recover lost wealth.

Next: Most Nevada homeowners owe more than home's worth. »

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