How would you stabilize your neighborhood?

Neighborhood stabilization should be in local hands

News on the housing market remains to be the source of confusion for many as like the stock market you seem to hear about the wild swings in the prices of both since both are market indicators on the health of our economy as a whole.  Truth is that the locality of real estate makes it necessary to investigate the facts of the locale rather than the broader picture of the state of the housing market to determine the health of the local real estate market.  This week FHA released a RFI to solicit input and ideas on how how to best deal with the 242,000 homes it reportly holds in REO inventory in ways that would help to stabilize neighborhoods across the country and provide affordable rental units.

For one thing there is no doubt the task of dealing with the large number of REO properties can be overwhelming especially on this large of a scale and it only makes sense to ask for input from stakeholders.  After all it is the feet on the ground like REALTORS® and local officials that know what effect foreclosures are having on their neighborhoods.  Sure there are others just as qualified to answer the RIF and provide solid strategies for the disposition of FHA assets and surely they will but that doesn’t mean the local homeowners association in a hard hit areas couldn’t provide a solution of their own along with local community development corporations or other housing advocate groups.

The way I see it the rehab and rental of some of these properties by local Real Estate & Property Management Firms is the way to go in some areas especially where affordable quality rental homes are needed.  Jobs will be created in the very neighborhoods that are affected unlike when national vendors are used who have no neighborhood ties or focus on the facts of the market needed to make the proper decisions on the rental or disposition of a home in the first place.  It is certainly understandable to have national vendors in some instances and new rules have been implemented so listing agents are local however it does not appear to be followed as I write but it certainly needs to be the standard when dealing with distressed homes no mater who happens to own the REO inventory.

In other areas adding to the rental inventory and competing outright with investors for tenants could have a more negative impact as falling rents could bring down home prices too in areas where investor activity is heavy.  This is no doubt when selling the REO inventory would make sense and again local Real Estate & Property Management Firms should be used for this as well but having an office 25 miles away from the property is not truly local.  Using asset management firms with access to thousands of qualifed REO agents can easily address the locality rule and present more opportunity for the neighborhoods.  I for one don’t know of anyone more famaliar with that cares as much about helping our communites overcome the current financial conditions and the state of the housing market than a local REALTOR®. Copyright©2011 Sandra Bundy, Broker-in-Charge, B&P, Inc.  Serving the Pee Dee and Grand Strand of South Carolina.