We all have read the articles and seen the tv news detailing America’s housing crisis and the impact that is being felt everywhere these days. But I had a realization today of just how real this housing crisis is for American’s.
America’s Housing Crisis – It’s Everywhere
There is a local paper that is delivered to my door each week that tells me what the local news is, what housing is for sale in my neighborhood and how the high school swim team is doing. It tells me about current events, spotlights local advertisers, and tells us when the church services are for the week.
But this week I noticed something else in the paper that I generally don’t even look at and I usually just turn the pages. There are pages of Legal Notices. And as I looked a little closer the vast majority of what was on the pages were Sheriff Sales brought about by America’s housing crisis. Then I began to actually read some of the listings on the pages.
These are homes that are for auction at the date and time set by the county because they have not paid their property taxes. These people have lost their homes and they are now being auctioned off to pay taxes.
America’s Housing Crisis – In My Community
But then I saw an address, an address that I knew. It was no more than a couple blocks over from my home. I live in a typical mid-west Ohio subdivision. Most of the homes are pretty new and yards are mowed, trash is placed nicely at the end of the driveway each week and homes are well maintained. I knew that there were a fairly high number of houses for sale in my community and that there are people that are struggling through these tough times. So I continued to read how this $210,000 appraised home at 37 Crockett Lane would be sold for no less than 2/3 of the appraised value, and I wondered what sales like that did to the overall market.
But then I saw a name. The owner of the home, I have changed the name, was Sharon Novak. It was no longer just a notice in the paper, nor was it just a house, it was someone’s home.
I thought about Sharon then. What was the story behind this notice? Was the home bought for investment reasons or had she walked through the front door and found the home of her dreams? Was this the house that she thought she would raise a family in, have holiday dinners at? Was this the neighborhood where her children would grow up and play with their friends and catch the bus to school?
I was so intrigued by this notice that I took the time this morning on my way to work to drive by the house. It is a pretty home on a nice street, with manicured lawns, flower gardens and fenced backyards. The house is a lovely two story brick, with white vinyl siding, black shutters and a two car garage. The yard is nice and the bushes are trimmed.
America’s Housing Crisis – It’s Personal
The American Dream sits empty, up for Sheriff Sale right there in my neighborhood. I have no idea what the story really is around why the notice is in the paper and how Sharon lost the house. But I do feel different now than I did before I read that notice. These homes are much more than just a credit crisis, an economical debacle brought on by poor lending practices and misinformation. These homes are people’s dreams, their hopes, their memories.
I hope today that Sharon Novak, wherever she is, is all right and will continue on in life even as the house at 37 Crockett Lane sits empty waiting for its next owner.