ISS Blog

Support for Those About to Lose The Dream

[A guest blog spot by ISS Managing Editor Elaine Foxwell.]

To make a play on the words from Pink Floyds Money, economists are now saying, Money goes away. Im certainly not reporting anything new when I say the increasing interest pebble dropped in the pond of mortgages is making some pretty disastrous waves.

Its part of my job to cruise the various search engines, crawl along web and delve into esoterica for news for each issue of ISS. I say there are no coincidences. Over the weeks, I jot down blog ideas as they come to me, seemingly at random, sometimes at 3 a.m. This idea came to fruition after finding a few gems about money about the same time as our financing issue went into production.

Earlier this month, The Motley Fool reported that Sovran trust had increased its quarterly distributions to 63 cents a share. Why? The meltdown of sub-prime lending is forcing many people to foreclose on their homes, making self-storage a popular solution for excess household items as they downsize. Last week, Doug Duncan, the chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, said the housing is still on the decline and expects the housing cycle to hit bottom in the third quarter of next yearmore opportunities for storage.

I was marginally privy to the insane real estate events in Phoenix last summer when my daughter bought her first house. Just finding it before the next buyer was a mad race. People were buying houses in the a.m. before the sun fully rose and selling for thousands in profit in the p.m. Deals were made in driveways and contracts written on the hoods of cars.

Then the crash. Many were caught in this frenzy. The local newspaper gave a tale of woe of one buyer who purchased five homes at the height of the market with the intention of reselling for big profits only to have the market fall flat. The buyer has five homes and $20,000 a month in mortgage payments she cant make. She is trying to rent but fears she will lose all her properties.

I confess I don't have much sympathy for the speculators. Risk is after all, the caveat of speculation. But I do sympathize with the many homeowners who were perhaps marginally qualified for a bigger or newer slice of the American Dream but now must face selling or losing it.

Downsizing may be the new banner for the real estate market as realtors now sell smaller homes to folks bailing on their larger dwellings. But I see self-storage not only as a physical solution to the dilemma of those unfortunates caught in this spider web but also as an emotional supporter.

No, Im not suggesting giving away the away the farm, but office staff can lend a sympathetic ear to these folks. As your new customers, they may come in traumatized, often not knowing quite how it happened that they lost the American Dream. Your nods of understanding and quiet comfort can go a long way.

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