A House is Not a Home

This summer, “The Great Recession” achieved another sobering record when the number of initial home foreclosure notices pumped out by those bank “robo-signers” hit the one million mark, and that was for this summer alone! Millions have already lost their homes and in Arizona one out of 55 homes have received foreclosure notices, with the numbers still rising at an alarming rate. No one has been able to predict when the foreclosure crisis will end, and the gloomiest prognosticators see us sliding into another Depression. Washington politicians are stagnated by the polarization of the political process and they seem more content to have the economy fail so as to be able to blame the other party as opposed to working together to craft a solution.

In light of what is happening in the nation, and even more so in our Arizona communities, each of us knows someone that is losing there their house to foreclosure. If real estate values do not start to rise soon, it is only a question of time before many more of us may be forced to walk away from the place we have been living. I deal with families every day that are making the difficult decision to walk away from the place that they had intended to live out their remaining years. In Anthem, many of our residents purchased their “Dream House” and upgraded it with all the amenities so as to enjoy life to the fullest. Ultimately, rapidly declining real estate values and loss of income have turned the “Dream House” into a financial ball and chain that residents ultimately must flee to avoid total economic ruination. Arizona’s generous anti-deficiency laws effectively allow most residents to leave their houses and crippling mortgage payments behind and continue their lives, albeit at a greatly scaled down standard of living.

Having counseled hundreds of people through this process of home foreclosure, I can tell those of you faced with the prospect this: “You will survive a foreclosure, and in many cases your family will benefit by the process!!!!!!” How can that be? The answer lies in the resiliency of the family and the ability to understand and accept the fact that A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME!!!!!

Webster’s defines a house as “a building that serves as living quarters”, and there is no dispute that we all need to have a place to live. However, consider the definition of the word home, which is “the social unit formed by a family together.” If you are a “homeowner” in the true meaning of the word, no bank or mortgage company can ever take away your “home.” The bank may have a lien on your house, but only your heart has a lien on your home, and it is that realization that will get you through these difficult times! Do not let creditor calls or threatening legal notices cause you to forget what your truly greatest asset is, the caring love of that social unit we call a “family”. When the court proceedings end, and the movers finished packing up your worldly possessions, you may not own the house you thought would be the source of your joy in future years. Instead you realize that you true source of joy we be with you no matter where you reside. Many families that have gone through this unfortunate process are actually thankful that they were able to learn such a valuable lesson. Remember the prophetic words of no other than Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, “THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!”


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