This article by Liz Pulliam Weston, entitled Foreclosure Nearby? It’s your problem, brings up the “friendly fire” aspect of foreclosures: a foreclosure nearby hurts everyone in the neighborhood, not just the personl foreclosed on.
A neighbor who’s in financial trouble probably is worried about their house, but it’s almost certain that they’re not worried about the value of your house going down. The value of your house will go down in the event of a foreclosure though.
On first reading Weston’s article I laughed at her suggestions, but she’s absolutely right. No one will care about your finances as much as you will. If this means sticking your nose in their business a little bit, then that’s what has to be done for both your good and their’s. Here’s what she suggests:
- Suggest that they get help. If they’re in denial about the foreclosure, then this is crucial. Nothing good happens until one gets past this point.
- Enlist your HOA to use the power of numbers as leverage.
- Be aware of who’s moving in or out and especially be aware of signs that the property is becoming abandoned.
- Trespass to mow the lawn?! I think this one’s going a bit far. If there’s a way to get the owner’s permission to do this, though, that might help.
- Push for legislation to allow judges to lower the amount owed on houses?! This is a can of worms, and opens the door for other abuses. Lenders can already lower the amount owed on their own accord if they want to, but forcing them to take less for the property through a judgment is the start of a slippery slope.
One I’d add: See if you can buy the property! This isn’t for everyone, but managing a property next door does have its advantages. Plus, it’s a neighborhood you know well and would like to keep attractive.