The Human Toll of Foreclosure

We hear a lot about foreclosures these days in the news. Internet, newspaper, TV, and radio all regularly report on the rate of foreclosures, the number of foreclosures, the hardest hit areas, and how many more are yet to come. Analysts and economists have been predicting for quite a while now that we are going to see four to eight million more foreclosures in the next four to six years. After a while it all becomes just numbers and I wonder if we forget about the toll it’s taking on the people behind the numbers.

Unfortunately in my job, I see and meet the people behind the numbers. We tend to think that it’s just people who have made poor decisions, gotten taken by a lender or bought more houses than they could afford. Some people do fall into the above categories, but not all. Some people are losing their homes because the economy collapsed and we all now know the economic down turn was triggered by housing.

We’ll call him John for the purpose of this story. He was sub contractor working on a new home construction, but as you might expect, he hasn’t been able to find work over the last eight months. Bills added up, bills went unpaid which led to strained relations with his wife and family. Next came the divorce papers followed by a foreclosed home. The neighbors wondered what the foreclosed home on the block might do to their home values, but I wonder if anyone was concerned about John, his wife, and family. You see, I don’t think people fully understand what happens when others can’t find work. It’s not just a jobless statistic or the amount of unemployment claims. When Moms and Dads can’t find work, it means more than just losing the house; it shreds the very fabric of families.

The old saying is that there is an opportunity in every market and there will be more opportunities when it comes to foreclosures. Let’s just remember that there’s a family displaced or maybe a family torn apart because of that foreclosure.

Dan Polimino is a Realtor with Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty. He can be reached at and

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