Thursday, January 22, 2009
Is that really necessary?
I'm not quite sure how to start this post. I'm sure I'll step on some toes, and I apologize in advance if I offend anyone- it's not my intent to be offensive, but I have a rant to get off my chest.
There's a local blogger that I follow. She's a real estate agent and posts things about the city where I live. Things like featured neighborhoods (which include different houses that are listed in those 'hoods), sales reports, polls and even cool houses that we could never afford. She also posts a weekly foreclosure watch. She usually features a least expensive, a most expensive, then picks one from each directional region (N, S, E, W). I look at the expensive ones and the ones in our region, usually.
Most of the time, the pricier houses seem to be in fair shape. At least they still have their kitchens.
But today, I looked at a house that was listed as-is for $250K.
It was missing pretty much everything but the walls, windows and roof. Not only were the appliances gone, but the kitchen cabinets were gone. The bathrooms had no toilets or sinks. The carpet was ripped up out of the bedrooms. Ceiling fans and light fixtures were missing; the dining room was missing the wainscoting. The crown molding and the base molding were gone. It was missing the central heat and air system. And the door and window frames, too.
The door and window frames, too??? Seriously, people?
I know we're in a recession. I have dear friends whose husbands have been laid off. I know stay-at-home moms that have gone back to work. Our church has started putting together a new networking group of people to help those who have lost their jobs. I get it. I can't imagine the anger and frustration and worry that comes along with not having income or knowing that you are being kicked out of your home. I'm thankful every day for what we have and pray for those who are going through this.
But destroying a house because you're pissed off is just vandalism. I understand that sometimes, in a foreclosure, things will need to be done like new carpet or painting. Probably the appliances would need replacing and I don't know what else. But to completely remove things like door frames and molding? The TOILETS? I mean, what can you possibly get if you're trying to sell these things? What's the going rate for used wainscoting? Don't they understand that by stripping the house means it won't sell for what it was worth and they'd still owe the bank that money?
Sure, you might be able to get a few hundred dollars selling custom cabinets (assuming they were custom to begin with) or granite counters so I could take a step back and see selling off the kitchen cabinets to try and pay down some debt. I could even understand selling bathroom vanities. But the molding? The door frames? Used carpet? The HVAC System?
I know that I should be a little more understanding - I know shit happens and life deals blows you can't see coming. But if you're in debt up to your eyeballs (like the commercial with the guy driving around on a riding lawnmower) then you have to know that something just might come along and yank the rug out from under you. You shouldn't take it out on the house that you thought would be your "forever home," that you bought banking on moving up and getting that promotion but knowing that you'd be house-poor until that promotion came through.
Now, before you people starting blasting the nasty comments to me, understand that I know nothing about that house other than it's on a foreclosure list and that it's missing a whole bunch of stuff. I know nothing about the family or their background. I have no idea why they had to foreclose on their house. I do remember reading a post several months ago on craigslist of someone selling "anything that isn't bolted down in their house" because they couldn't afford the mortgage on their house and they were pissed off at the bank for not cutting them some slack. So they were going to trash the house so the bank wouldn't get their money out of selling the house.
There really are people like that out there. And it pisses me off. I listen to Dave Ramsey and the stories people call in with are tragic. Being hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and desperate to find help. But I don't remember hearing anyone talking about how they stripped down a perfectly good house because they were pissed off at the world.
What it looks like to me is a couple of grown-ups having a two-year-old temper tantrum, without accepting any of the responsibility of their actions (whether they were in control of their situation or it was something that just happened to them) and showing lack of respect. Respect is a big thing with me; respect of people, of property, of self. That's one thing I always try and stress to my kids (among lots of other things).
It's the disrespect these people showed that got this rant going. If I offended you, I'm sorry. If you are in a position where you might be losing your job or your home, I'm deeply sorry and I hope and pray for a better outcome for you and yours. I hope you can take a step back and see my underlying point: that no matter what happens in life, you should still be respectful. It gives a person dignity and will get them respect in return.