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By Steve Dibert
Sweetheart Mortgage Deals and Mortgage Assignments Don’t Add Up.
A search of land records for the $2 million Great Falls, VA, home of Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Senator Richard Santorum turns up a series of mortgages that at times equaled and exceeded the sales price of the property.
The industry guideline is usually mortgages should not exceed 75 percent of the appraised value of a property, according to mortgage experts. The assessed value of the Great Falls home, which is set by Fairfax County, has fallen since Santorum bought it in 2007.
Property values have fallen throughout the county—even in the wealthiest communities of McLean and Great Falls—because of the recession.
It’s a fascinating story to follow the real estate transactions of this presidential aspirant who is also a neighbor. All the transactions are found in the Fairfax County land records. We’re going to walk you through Santorum’s life as a Fairfax County homeowner.
In September 1995, as a newly elected senator from Pennsylvania, Santorum and his wife bought a house in Herndon, VA, for $292,000, according to the Fairfax County deed.
As a Congressman, Santorum had lived in Mt. Lebanon, but sold that house in 1995, the same year he bought the one in Herndon. He then bought a house in Penn Hills in 1997.
In November 1998, the couple took out a mortgage of $244,000 on the Herndon home, according to the mortgage filed in the Fairfax County courthouse.
In November 2001, the Santorums sold the home for $429,900. They moved to Leesburg in Loudoun County.
Usually mortgages are paid off when homes are sold. Not in this case. The Santorums paid off the mortgage in October 2003, according to county documents.
In 2006, Santorum ran for a third term in the U.S. Senate and lost, due in part to the controversy over whether he actually lived in Pennsylvania, and after he enrolled five of his children in an online cyber school paid for by the Penn Hills (PA) School District, despite the fact that all the children lived in Virginia.
The family returned to Fairfax County in August 2007. They bought a house with five acres in Great Falls with a high-ranking official of a major development and mortgage company.
Santorum formed the Creamcup Trust with James Sack, the secretary and general counsel of NVR, a major single-family developer and mortgage finance company in northern Virginia and 15 states. Creamcup Trust bought a house and five acres of land on Creamcup Lane in Great Falls for $2 milllion in August 2007, according to the deed.