Does Your Neighbor’s Foreclosure Affect the Value of Your Home?
September 3, 2008
You hear through the grapevine that your neighbors two houses down are losing their house to a foreclosure. You say a silent prayer of thanks that you’re not the one dealing with financial troubles and then you wonder why in the world they allowed themselves to get so far behind on mortgage payments.
After that, you don’t give it much thought.
Affects of Foreclosure
What you may not realize is that the foreclosure is indeed going to affect you in one way or another. Whenever a house sells in a neighborhood, the amount is sells for is noted and has an effect on the general housing prices within the area. The market value of your home depends largely on the price the homes around you sell for. In other words, if people look around your neighborhood to buy a house they’ll want to know how much comparable houses have sold for recently within the area.
Enter: Your neighbor’s foreclosure.
The house sells for much less than it would have if it hadn’t slipped into foreclosure, and if his house is similar to yours in square footage and features then this can pull your market value down. The same goes for instances when people sell their homes for less than the homes are actually worth because they just want to get out from under the mortgage loan. Every real estate transaction in your neighborhood has the potential to raise or lower the market value of your home.
So now you’re probably thinking, “…and here I thought the ‘Foreclosure Sale’ sign in his yard was annoying.”
What can you do about neighboring foreclosures?
There isn’t really much you can do unless you want to run through the neighborhood giving people money to catch up on their mortgages. What you should do, however, is to realize that this is a real concern for you, especially in a couple of instances:
1. You plan on putting your home on the market soon.
2. You maxed out your home equity with loans back when your home was worth more.
Selling Your Home
If your plan is to attempt to sell your home soon, pay attention to the sales going on around you. Are your neighbors getting their full asking price? Are some of them falling into foreclosure? If this is the type of thing going on with your neighborhood then you should brace yourself. In other words, selling isn’t going to be pretty. Why should someone pay full the full asking price for your home when they can walk across the street and buy your neighbor’s similar home at a much lower price?
If you have quite a bit of second mortgage debt – such as home equity loans or home equity lines of credit – the foreclosures happening around you might bring your home’s market value down and you might suddenly owe more than your home is worth. Why should you know this? It may be the reality check you need in order to stop using that ELOC and instead make an aggressive effort to pay these loans down. The sooner you build up some equity, the better.
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All posts by Ben Edwards