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So Many Heads in the Sand-Why Foreclosures Happen


How can you expect the problem to go away?

In the past I would often wonder why anyone would ever allow their home to go into foreclosure. I mean, there are options, you can sell your home if you have to, so then WHY would you ever get to the point of foreclosure? I couldn’t understand why they would stick their head in the sand and expect the problem to go away.

In the last few years my own experiences have led me down a path of enlightenment on the reasons that lead people to foreclosure and empathy has opened up the gates to understanding.

It is NOT because:

-the homeowners are deadbeats

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    No one wants to lose their home.


In no particular order, here is what my experience has been:

Many times a failed marriage is the also the source of a failure to pay the mortgage. Very often the spouse left in the home is the caretaker of any children and may have been the last to suspect they would wind up in this situation. They will try everything they can to stay in place and make ends meet. They have already experienced the failure of their marriage and are resistant to admit publicly that they are failing to keep their home.

—Lost Job—
In this economy this has become more and more prevalent. Many people try to hang on in hopes that they will soon find a new position, but hope can’t float the bills and they cannot get caught up. No one wants to admit that they didn’t have enough savings to get by.

—Illness or Injury—
Prolonged illness or injury in the family causes a financial burden in both expenses and lost wages.

—Sub-prime Lending—
Some people made the bad decision to take a sub-prime loan that has adjusted upwards and made their payment unreasonably expensive for them.

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—Home Values—
Many people who bought in the peak of the market and would sell now feel that they are stuck because their mortgage balance is higher than what their home value reflects.


Put yourself in their shoes, try to understand how scary and stressful it is to be in a situation where you will have to move and will probably lose your home.

    Here is the call to action:

Empathize. Be an arbiter of understanding, education and kindness to these people.

Reach out to your community and teach them that these situations are not only very common these days: they are often solvable. Show the people in your area that you aren’t only interested in selling the McMansions and “easy” properties…you are a professional working to help all homeowners.

Ikea DudeEducate yourself about the options for distressed homeowners and share your knowledge freely. Help others to understand that they may not have to suffer foreclosure.

Be there. Remember that this could be your friend, your family member…this could be YOU.

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Help these people to bring their heads out of the sand and view the horizon in front of them.

Written By

Lesley offers 21 years experience in real estate, public speaking and training. Lesley has a degree in communications and was the recipient of an international award for coordinating media in real estate. In the course of her career Lesley has presented at international real estate conferences and state REALTOR associations, hosted a real estate television program, written articles for trade magazines and created marketing and PR plans for many individuals, companies and non-profits.



  1. Debbie Kirkland

    July 30, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Another great article! Many Realtors now understand this because many of us have been very close to or are now in this situation as well due to the economy and decline in home sales and resulting income.
    Many a good person is experiencing foreclosures, or threats of foreclosure. Opening not just your eyes, but your hearts to support those with needs and using our knowledge to become problem solvers and negotiators, (sometimes with lenders). on behalf of homeowners is the only way we will recover. Great post!

  2. Melina Tomson

    July 31, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Many people are completely ashamed that bad things happened to them. The fact is that we are a very judgmental society from how Britney looked at the MTV awards to Obama wearing “mom jeans.” I think it is perfectly understandable for sellers in distress to think that they will be judged…and harshly at that.

    Feeling powerless to stop life’s circumstances as they come barreling your way is an overwhelming feeling.

  3. Matt

    August 11, 2009 at 5:02 am

    Which is why we all need to reach out to them in whatever way, shape, or form is possible. Not just to try and buy/sell their home, or what have you, but to at least show them there are possible options.

    Every case sure is unique, some are too far gone to be helped anymore (but in a way you also are helping them by giving them a time line heads up as to where they stand), and some will refuse, but the ones helped are worth it.

    This is only going to get a lot worse….before it gets better.

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