Boy what a difference a year makes! When 2012 began, America’s housing market lived and breathed off of foreclosed homes—and not in a good way! But now that we’re just starting off on 2013, things are different. In fact, we’re celebrating a new foreclosure milestone. Specifically, the number of completed foreclosures in November (the most recent data we have access to) was only 55,000 homes. While that may seem like a lot, consider America saw 72,000 completed foreclosures in November 2011. So, that’s a decrease of 23%. It’s got real estate experts smiling from ear to ear, and it should have you smiling, too! Even if you’re not planning on selling your home anytime soon, here’s why you should care:
- You’ll have fewer eyesores in your neighborhood
Let’s face it – foreclosures are called “distressed properties” for a reason. If the former homeowner doesn’t leave the home in disrepair, the home sitting vacant for months on end while the bank deals with paperwork will likely cause it to look less-than-stellar. In the meantime, homeowners around the neighborhood who are diligent about paying their mortgages (like you) are upset over the eyesore that’s cluttering up the block – and dragging down the look of the entire area.
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- You’ll get to take advantage of a higher home value
Foreclosed homes are notorious for selling at prices that are way below market value – simply because the banks wants to get rid of them and the hassle that comes along with owning them. The banks would rather get a little bit of money rather than deal with a vacant house, so they list these houses for a steal, in hopes that it will encourage buyers to snap them up quickly. Unfortunately, it drives down prices for all of the homes in the area. By having fewer foreclosures to worry about, you won’t have to deal with these bargain-basement prices undercutting you when you go to sell your home. And, even if you’re staying put, you’ll get to benefit because your home’s value won’t plummet every time a new foreclosure sells for a fraction of the true market value.
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- You’ll have less competition
When there aren’t a bunch of foreclosures clogging up the MLS listings, it’s great for you “normal” sellers. It gives you a chance to focus on the other “normal” sellers out there and do things the ol’ fashioned way – instead of being obsessed with trying to compete with the bank on price. (Here’s a hint: you’re never going to undercut a foreclosure, so don’t even try.) Plus, when low-priced foreclosures aren’t being snapped up, it gives your home a chance to sell faster – meaning you won’t have to lower your asking price or do all kinds of other things to try and entice buyers. And, as an added benefit, the odds are lower that your home will sit on the market for months on end.
- You’ll have less crime to worry about
Many studies over the years have linked a rise in foreclosures to higher crime rates – partly because foreclosed homes sit empty and, thus, there’s no one there to keep an eye on them. Another reason for additional crime is what sociologists call the “Broken Window Theory”. Basically, what it means is that if one home has a broken window (or other issues, like graffiti or even a lawn that’s growing wildly out of control) that doesn’t get fixed (like, for example, a distressed foreclosure), it will lead to other broken windows (and other crime and vandalism) – simply because the “bad guys” think no one is watching.
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