Living with the past
This sentiment — call it economic survivor guilt — is a little-noticed emotional byproduct of the financial devastation wrought by the housing and banking meltdowns of the past year. Sanko was always frugal, has a stable job and bought within her means, and yet there’s a lingering sense, as she puts it, that “you’re capitalizing off of somebody else’s misfortune.”
‘A human face’ on the issue
“I think there is a guilt of survivorship that is real,” says Lafair, who is based in Santa Fe and has provided counseling for real estate agents who say clients express this concern.
“I don’t think it debilitates very many people, but the people who are able to buy houses now can feel sympathy for the other people. My recommendation is that when you’re moving, take (your) old stuff and say, ‘Do I really need this?’ and give it to a shelter or the Salvation Army. One way to balance the guilt is to do something to be gracious.”
Mixed into the guilt, however, is some anger. Sanko notes that she was left out of the conversation earlier this decade when all her friends were bragging about the home they bought and the equity they had accrued. Being house-proud, once trendy, is now socially awkward.
“It’s personally to a point where I kind of don’t talk about it with certain people,” Sanko says. “I say ‘Here’s my house, isn’t it lovely?’ and I don’t go into a lot of detail.”
In most cases, folks who buy foreclosed properties never deal with the previous residents, but Jesse Chase, 30, of Las Vegas came home one day to find his life partner sitting with the woman who owned the house before her. The two were weeping.
“This lady came by just to look around,” says Chase, who bought the 1,800-square-foot ranch home for $130,000 in April. “Her husband had lost his job because he got cancer and couldn’t work, and they couldn’t afford it anymore. My partner invited her in and it totally put a human face on what’s happening.
“I really wish she hadn’t done that to us. We cried about it for days.”
USA Today 27 August, 2009
I am not judging either way…but, the general public needs an article in today’s USA Today bringing to our attention that those speculating real estate at bargain prices are capitalizing on the notion whomever owned that residence defaulted on a mortgage and was told to vacate?
If any readers are just now learning this…they should shoot themselves. Banks are not in business to loan people money to buy houses for fun…they make money doing it. If you do not pay them, they remove the people living in the house and liquidate it. Real estate speculators then buy the property in hopes of turning a profit.
Two ways you can look at this: Those taking advantage of the buyer’s market with rock bottom, desperation-induced sales are shrewd businesspersons and the working class person removed from his home is a victim…or you might ask yourself from a philosophical standpoint, why did the original owner enter in an agreement on a home loan they could not afford over more than a few years to begin with?
Either way, does it matter? People invest in the stock market, sell things, buy things they hope will appreciate and the like because we’re always trying to get ahead in U.S. culture. It is not exactly romantic or considerate half the time, but that is reality.
Do you think it is any different for individuals speculating a corporation’s stock price and praying to God the stock runs following a restucturing announcement or profit margins have increased? Half the time, the reason a company saved money or created a higher margin was firing workers or buying another company and firing their workers. We all still get excited and buy the stock, do we not? Is this not taking advantage of another’s misfortune?
I will leave you with this…it somewhat sets up my next blog actually: What about this situation:
A financial institution sells home loans (mortgages) and credit cards. This bank buys a mortgage company to become bigger. It then offers mortgages at low rates on television commercials and explains how it wants to help Americans finance the home they’ve always dreamed of. That same bank then sends out mailers to its credit card customers explaining interest rates and administration fees and penalties have increased up to the maximum amount allowed by law because they need to pay for their new mortgage company and the prime time TV commercials somehow. Is this unjust or righteous capitalism?
By the way, I almost forgot. If you have a checking or savings account at this bank, and because you abused the credit card they gave you and spend most of your money paying the interest and use whatever is left for your dandy new mortgage they resold you, and thus cannot meet their minimum deposit requirements necessary for the bank to hold your money, pay you 1% and loan it to me for my own mortgage at 6% and net a 500% profit margin, you pay a penalty as well.