Foreclosures Are More Than Just Numbers

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Old House Musings, In The News
The American Dream is Turning into a Nightmare for Some

The American Dream is Turning into a Nightmare for Some

I purchased my old farmhouse nineteen years and six months ago. That is significant to me because I have a twenty-year mortgage on the home and have six payments left until the old house is entirely mine. The house isn’t much to look at and has pretty much been an ongoing restoration project for nineteen years and six months, but it keeps me dry and somewhat warm in the winter, and in six months it will be entirely mine.

I know some financial experts say you should always have a mortgage on your house to take advantage of tax deductions and that refinancing money is cheap these days, but I don’t care what the experts say about it. Financial experts have been saying a lot of things the past 10 years and I’m starting to question who made them experts. I want the comfort of going to bed every night knowing that I own my house free and clear; and regardless of what happens with the economy, it will remain my ongoing restoration project.

One Million Foreclosures Projected This Year

I think we hear so many large numbers bandied about these days that they have started to lose their ability to shock us with their significance. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that the country may have a one-trillion-dollar deficit the first nine months of the fiscal year, and we move on to the next article after a moment’s thought–just another difficult number to comprehend.

But CBS News reports that we are on track for one million families to lose their homes to foreclosure this year and over 900,000 families lost their homes last year. Almost two million families started last year thinking they were living the American Dream, and by the end of this year none of them┬ámay be. I know that some of the homes were investment properties, and some of the families bought more house than they could afford, but I’m also sure that a lot of the homes are foreclosures due to unemployment, falling property values, and an inability to sell in the current real estate market.

If you can’t imagine what two million families might look like, the U.S. Census reports that in 2008 there were about 2,152,040 housing units in Colorado. This figure would include rental properties, condos, apartments, and single-family attached and detached homes. Imagine that in 2008 just about everyone in Colorado who lived in those housing units was told they had to move to another state! That’s kind of what two million families losing their homes would be like.

I don’t care what the experts say; I like the thought of only having six payments left on my old house.


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  1. 5 Responses  to “Foreclosures Are More Than Just Numbers”

  2. Aug 29, 2011
    If you want to invest in property then buying a foreclosed property may be a good investment. However, as with buying any property, you need to follow some basic rules. The first thing is to do some homework on the foreclosed property and research the local property market. Research can make or break the fortune to be made on a foreclosed property. It is important thing is to know the true market value of the foreclosed property and NOT over bidding on the foreclosed property. Find foreclosures and then know the value and renovation costs of the foreclosed property under the hammer and don't over bid.
  3. Aug 29, 2011
    I hear ya Conrad, and am envious. But, every dark cloud has a silver lining, so they say. I believe Colorado has a 3 year redemption period before a Tax Deed Sale, so many of the homes that didn't get sold at a foreclosure sale may make it to a tax deed sale - in time. Certainly parcels of land will, as homes would be a priority to an investor, leaving lands ripe for the picking.
  4. Jody
    Aug 29, 2011
    Lead paint laws and lead saftey never seems to be discussed much? The new law is very clear. Power tools must be shrouded and hepa filtered Dust must be contained. Full "clean" suits, shoe covers and hepa masks must be worn. Inside and outside capture and clean up rules. Signs must be posted and barriers erected. Occupants must be notified in writing. Training records kept on jobsite. Old house renovation and related costs are not the "same as it ever was".
  5. Jeremy
    Aug 29, 2011
    Congrats, hopefully you can hold out for another 6 months with payments! :) I think the bailouts went the wrong way, they should be going to the people who are still trying to pay their mortgage anyway possible, if that takes dipping into their retirement, not to the people who have just completely stopped paying and are living in their house technically free for half a year. Kind of late for that now...regardless it's still a cluster.
  6. Jonny
    Aug 29, 2011
    Congrats! Don't be talked out of living a debt free lifestyle. Yes, mortgage interest is tax deductable, but who cares? Most people pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest payments over the life of a mortgage, is that worth a tax deduction?