Neighbors maintain foreclosures to protect property values
Although foreclosure notices are down by nearly 12 percent in the Atlanta metro area year-to-date, many people are still dealing with foreclosure in the region. In fact, foreclosure notices jumped up by 16 percent from September to October in metro Atlanta, which means that housing market recovery is still far from a reality in Georgia.
Manny people think that foreclosure affects only those whose homes are foreclosed upon. This is not the case. First, an influx of foreclosed homes clogs the housing market, and their low prices make it more difficult for homeowners to sell their homes without taking a large hit.
Second, foreclosed homes drive down the property values of the homes around them. Whether the homes remain vacant or are converted into rentals, the fact that they are not occupied by someone with a vested interest in the home and its quality means that house and yard maintenance may fall by the wayside. When homes take on a decrepit appearance or yards become overgrown, the property values of neighboring houses can fall significantly.
As a result, many neighbors in metro Atlanta’s “foreclosure hot spots” are taking it upon themselves to take care of the foreclosed homes in their neighborhoods. For some, this means mowing lawns of vacant houses. For others, they seek any information about homes for sale, removing any signs that even mention the word “foreclosure.”
When a homeowners or neighborhood association is involved, funds may be diverted from neighborhood mixers and other initiatives to upkeep of foreclosed homes. There are even consulting firms that work with associations manage foreclosures, helping them remain in contact with banks to make sure that homes are taken care of.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Neighbors hurt in foreclosure hot spots,” Janel Davis, Oct. 16, 2011