One of the side effects of being poor is that you don’t blog about the bargains from your non-existent shopping excursions or the cool new gadgets that you don’t have. I experience the thrill of finding the perfect purse vicariously on others’ blogs. What I don’t enjoy, are the blogs that post “foreclosure” finds. They link to the latest properties about to be foreclosed and auctioned. They encourage people looking for homes and investments to grab these great deals. They brag about the 100K homes being purchased for 5K. Even people who aren’t house hunting, read these blogs and fantasize about being able to flip property at a great profit. There is a huge difference between finding a pair of jeans on a clearance rack and buying a home at 20% of its’ value.
What nobody talks about are the families who are struggling to scrape together the money to save their homes from foreclosure. These are the kinds of families who need to take out a loan for a car, or hospital bills. The debt that increases exponentially every single day with legal fees and penalties. The stress and anxiety at not knowing what horror the next day will bring. It is implicitly encouraged on the “property watch” blogs that you should check out these properties and bid on them. Checking them out means parking in front of the house and staring, pointing and taking pictures. It means getting out of your car and wandering around on property that still belongs to the family living there. It means strangers walking up to children playing in their yard and asking them questions about their home. It seems to make people think that it is okay to knock on someone’s door and ask if you can come inside and look around. These families are still trying to save their homes. They are financially wounded and struggling to survive. Foreclosure bloggers and their supporters are vultures. They are parasites who prey upon the defenseless. Grave robbers.
We watched in helpless horror as a happy family in our neighborhood lost their home. When they ran out of options and the will to fight, they moved into assisted housing. We tried to keep in touch with them, but as they began to change and adapt to their new lifestyle, the play dates for our children quickly stopped happening. Losing their home changed everything about that family. Their marriage ended. Their personalities changed and they are lost forever to the system. The house at the corner of our cove was the home for a multi-generational family. The bank foreclosed and the family left TN to start over again. That house has sat vacant for YEARS. Now it a place for squatters and suspicious activity. Losing the family that belonged there has changed the landscape of our quiet, uneventful cove.
Sometimes, we still dream of a different life. When I do, one thing about my plans never changes. I want to pay off this house and move somewhere else. I want to give this house to someone else who is struggling. It is our lifeboat in the stormy seas and if we survive this storm, I know it can be the refuge for another family.