Saturday, October 01, 2011

Tough Times for Homeowners

Got a phone call from a friend has been doing an odd-job, photographing houses with delinquent mortgages.

He tells me that it's kinda gruesome.  There are several hundred properties in SE Wisconsin which are photo-ed every month--and that's only from a couple of banks.

From one month to the next, a few go off the list and a few are added.  On some occasions, he'll discover that a home was abandoned--and not just the little ones with <$100K mortgages, either.

When he meets a property-owner, the reactions vary.  Most are indifferent; a few have been bellicose; often, they want to tell their story.  Those are hard to take, I'm told; 6-24 months of unemployment, reverses in investments, divorce, or an income from a profession simply dried up. They are not "not trying."  Seemingly, they just are in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Some did make the mistake of committing to payments they couldn't sustain; most others had no reason to think things would go bad.  But they did.

He's photo-ed a couple of hundred places, from converted-townhouses to (literally) mansions in resort-towns.  Of the ones which are abandoned, only a couple have been trashed; the rest are left reasonably neat and clean.  A few children's toys remain here and there, and some boxes of papers, or the occasional piece of furniture.  Lives and stories left behind.

It's a job, he says.  You do what you have to do.  But it's evident from the conversation that the 'job' is a little depressing.  He jokes that it's not nearly as depressing as what some of these people have been through.  I suppose he's right.


Mr. Tastic said...

Anecdotal, yet saddening.

J. Strupp said...

And that's here. Arizona and Florida are worse no doubt.

Tim Morrissey said...

Even here in the wealthy People's Republic of Madison, I am personally acquainted with people who have found themselves in situations which will eventually lead your friend the photographer to their property. Several of these acquaintances are younger people (late 20's) who had - emphasis had - decent jobs with once-promising futures, who didn't "buy too much house", but seemed to be in the wrong vocation at the wrong time.