Puttin' Lipstick On a Corpse...The New Face of the American Dream.

By
Real Estate Broker Owner with Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate

Fishbowl through the curtainsI'm watching the ABC News Broadcast this evening.  Once again, the topic of the grim condition of the housing market is front, prime and center.  The locale being covered today is Cleveland, Ohio. 

The camera pans across a neighborhood of vacant homes...yes, you read that right.  An entire community of 1000 homes boarded up.  Their owners gone, the neighborhood resembling the aftermath of a war zone.  This is the American Dream turned on it's head.  And, we're likely to see more of this before things settle down.

The news segment takes a tour through the community; even interviewing one of the few remaining legitimate residents who talks about the fact that she no longer ventures out at night.  She has become a virtual prisoner in her own home.

The peculiar proposals being suggested to deal with this travesty are impressive in a bizarre way.  You might want to take note...they could coming to a neighborhood near you!  Because vacant homes tend to attract vagrants and other forms of illicit habitation such as abodes for crack addicts, city governments have a real challenge on their hands when an entire community becomes a ghost town.  Witness the arrival of some creative solutions.

They started painting the houses in Cleveland according to the news account.  Yep, painting whole blocks of houses bright cheerful colors.  But what was most extraordinarily to me was that they also painted FAKE curtains on the windows. A strange form of house graffiti.  Row, upon row of freshly painted houses with matching painted window treatments as a thin disguise for the nakedness of the peril that had descended upon an area which thousands once called home.  The announcer's observation is right on the money..."It's like Putting Lipstick on a Corpse."  In addition, the local government is petitioning for the Federal government and the banks who loaned the money to be responsible for bulldozing ENTIRE communities.  It will be interesting to watch how that one eventually plays out!

While, you may not be facing the spectre of an entire neighborhood in foreclosure next to you, almost everyone now knows of at least 1 home in their neighborhood which has been vacated under less than auspicious circumstances.  Everyone is affected.  Statistics indicate that if you have a foreclosed home within your immediate neighborhood, the value of your home decreases $7,000!  That's a lot of cash.  Particularly when the tax assessed to your home doesn't seem to reflect this.  So, homeowners are being hit with a double whammy...higher taxes AND decreases in Value because of the rapid increase of foreclosures in neighborhoods across the nation.

A related story by BBC News by Steve Schifferes entitled "Foreclosure Wave Sweeps America,"  indicates that  Cleveland has now been beset by a tidal wave of crime in these communities and the city anticipates a tax revenue loss of 100,000 million.

As communities across America deal with this widening crisis, I expect to see more of the following:  tons & tons of blame...don't think the media will not do it's best to add fuel to this tragic tale.  We will also see new legislation which may be draconian or worse.  In addition...heads will continue to roll as investigations and commissions of all varieties investigate allegations of wrong doing.  Sadly, the story will not be neatly packaged into a 5 minutes news segment for those who have lost their homes.  For them, it will be the beginning of a long, long walk to freedom...freedom to experience what we've come to accept as an American Birthright...the right to own one's own home. 

Copyright 2007 Audu Real Estate  All Rights Reserved

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Comments 63 New Comment

Rainer
111,189
Carole Cohen
Realtor, ePRO
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office
All Im really going to say is I intend to write my own post
November 11, 2007 05:10 PM
Rainer
111,189
Carole Cohen
Realtor, ePRO
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office
Lola can you provide an actual link to the story your post is based on? Thanks
November 11, 2007 05:15 PM
Rainmaker
372,329
Lola Audu
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate
Carol, Here's the link from the broadcast: http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=142042
November 11, 2007 11:51 PM
Ambassador
470,781
Kate Elim
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land at LA
Dockside Realty

Lola...Thank you for the post.   I wrote one recently that dealt with Flint, MI.  I live in Central Virginia, far from Flint and Cleveland but we are having some foreclosure problems in our general area.  We may be doing fine individually, but we are all affected by this mess.  Plus, it's not just about how well we are doing on a personal basis but how others are doing also.

Take care,

Kathleen

March 18, 2008 11:53 PM
Rainmaker
368,253
Eric Kodner
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
Madeline Island Realty

The local television news in Minneapolis reported yesterday about foreclosure homes boarded up by banks which failed to winterize them.  Pipes have frozen and burst and water damage has ruined many dozens of such homes in the Twin Cities.  How stupid of some lenders not to take minimal steps to protect their investment in these properties.

When an individual buys a home, the mortgage docs are filled with stipulations that the owner must carry insurance, must not do anything to damage the property or cause its value to diminish, etc., but apparently lenders are under no obligation to do anything to maintain these homes.  The community suffers as a result.  Valuations in an entire neighborhood slide and property tax collection becomes impossible. 

Lenders are on a bandwagon of pointing an accusing finger at people who were foreclosed upon.  And incidentally, these primary homes in North Minneapolis were not owned by speculators or "investors".  Lenders should bear some responsibility for keeping entire neighborhoods from going to ruin.  

March 19, 2008 03:14 PM
Rainmaker
372,329

Lola Audu

Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
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