Filed Under:

We Stand At The Doorstep Of A Foreclosed House. Then We Go In

Play associated audio

In Florida, the foreclosure process takes 861 days, on average.

That means houses often sit in limbo for more than two years after the owner stops paying the mortgage. Maybe the homeowner is still living in the house. Maybe he's renting it out. Maybe squatters are living there, or maybe it's empty and falling down.

Marc Joseph's job is to find out.

Joseph is a real estate agent. On the day I tag along with him, he's representing a bank that had repossessed a concrete block home in Cape Coral, Fla.

"The assignment for this property came out auto-generated through the computer last night at, like, 2:01 in the morning," he said.

His assignment today is to figure out what condition the house is in and report back to the bank.

Outside, he surveys the place. No broken windows. No lights on. No cars in the driveway. He then takes a breath and moves toward the door. "There shouldn't be anyone living in there," says Joseph.

It's quiet. We stand at the doorstep for a couple of minutes. I wonder whether we should leave.

"Oh, we're absolutely going in today," Joseph says.

The front door is unlocked — this is common, apparently — and Joseph likes what he sees. No inhabitants. The place isn't trashed. No furniture. No one has poured concrete down the drain or ripped out the electrical system.

"When I see something like this, I know this will sell immediately," he says.

This is the new phase of the housing collapse. Homeowners stopped paying for their homes a long time ago. We are just now dealing with that fact.

"Sure it's an ugly business to go out and repo somebody's house," Joseph says. "But on the flip side of that, the beauty is [that] affordability is back. Now you can buy that house for $150,000, and you can actually come down and retire in Florida," says Joseph. "And as long as that sun is up there shining, people are going to want to come here."

That, of course, is exactly what real estate agents always say in Florida. But Joseph listed the house on Tamiami Court for close to $150,000 — less than half of what it was worth five years ago.

Three days later, the bank accepted an offer.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Verdine White On 45 Years With Earth, Wind & Fire

Forty-five years ago, the band “Earth, Wind and Fire” introduced audiences to a new kind of funk--one that fused soul, jazz, Latin and pop. Bassist Verdine White talks to guest host Derek McGinty about breaking racial boundaries in music and how the band is still evolving.

NPR

The Case Against The Shirley Temple (The Drink)

Author and cocktail enthusiast Wayne Curtis wrote an article called "Shirley Temples Are Destroying America's Youth." He talks about why he hates Shirley Temples — the drink, not the person.
WAMU 88.5

What's Ahead At The Democratic National Convention

The Democratic National Convention gets underway in Philadelphia, where Hillary Clinton will accept the presidential nomination.

NPR

Experimental Plane Sets Off On Final Leg Of Its Round-The-World Journey

It's the first time for a solar-powered plane to circumnavigate the globe. Now it's en route to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates — and you can watch the journey in a live video from the cockpit.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.