By: Patti Bankson
A couple of weeks ago, while on our way â€œto frozen custardâ€, my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and my husband and I, stopped to look at a couple of empty houses. One of them was such a messâ€¦ trashed, and full of trash. As the saying goes, â€œIf walls could talkâ€. Looking at these abandoned houses is like visiting a ghost town, only moreâ€¦ I donâ€™t knowâ€¦ maybe pitiful is the word Iâ€˜m looking for.
Weâ€™ve bought a few foreclosures and I remember that going through them the first time can be quite an emotional thing. You walk through rooms where clothes are still hanging in bedroom closetsâ€¦ family photos are scattered on the floor, and stepped onâ€¦ childrenâ€™s toys are in the yardâ€¦ dishes left in kitchen cabinets. You canâ€™t help but wonder about the people who used to live there; what kind of life they had before some set of circumstances led them to close the door for the last timeâ€¦ leaving behind bits of their familyâ€™s life strewn about, just part of the debris. Just part of the multiple bags of trash that will have to be carried away in order to make it a home for another family. Itâ€™s very sad.
Although foreclosures have grown in number, I do believe things will get better. After all, this is Americaâ€¦ Americans know how to survive; thrive, even, when given the opportunity. Of course, every â€œexpertâ€ has an opinion on how long it will be before that happensâ€¦ before the empty windows will be lit up, the peeling paint scraped off and new paint put on, the weeds replaced with newly mown grass, and colorful flowers blooming in the beds again, with new families inside sharing love, laughter and hopes for their futures. However long it takes, I donâ€™t know that weâ€™ll see another housing â€œbubbleâ€ like weâ€™ve had. Frankly, I donâ€™t believe that we should see another one. A normal increase in equityâ€¦ a reasonable return on our investment, sure. But another bubble? I donâ€˜t think so.
When we first came to Florida from Southern California, I kept saying that Florida was going to become the California of the East Coast. I saw what was happening in the real estate market and it always reminded me of one of my husbandâ€™s relatives. In 1960 he and his wife bought a small house in the Los Angeles area for $14,000! That house, and others like it, ended up being bought and sold until it was a $100,000 house, then a $350,000 house, then a $500,000 house. Hel-lo! A $14,000 house is a $14,000 house, is a $14,000 house. Not only did â€œthe bubbleâ€ not have to burst, it might have been avoided entirely if people in California, Florida, or any other state, had not lost track of that fact. Chalk it up to supply and demand, greed, or whateverâ€¦ the end result is the same: a bubble burst, money lost, lives and homes in shambles.
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