When Neighbors water the lawn next door... you know it's bad!
I was driving to Wolf Creek today in response to an email I had gotten from someone wondering if there were any home sites of a particular model left in the tract Redwood In Wolf Creek . As I was driving over I decided to drive the streets that already existed with homes built in that particular tract to first see if any resale homes of its kind were available.
I turned onto Fireside Drive (the only street completed in the tract) and drove towards the end. As I get to the end I see a partially dead lawn, but something was odd about the home. There was a manual water sprinkler unit in its driveway going back and forth. As I drove by I wondered why someone would do that when all new homes come equipped with sprinklers in the front yard. I decided to stop and check it out!
As I walked up to the home I realize the manual sprinkler unit is attached to a hose going into the neighbor's backyard. That particular neighbor was sitting in his driveway. I approached him even though I already knew what he was doing and why he was doing, inquiring into why he was watering his neighbor's dead lawn. Turns out no one ever moved into the home, and its deemed the first foreclosure on the street. Someone took the time to pay $762,000 for a 4500 sq ft home only to not move in, and let it foreclose.
He tells me what I already know. Those foreclosures are ruining neighborhoods and killing the small equity new homeowners have in their homes. His wife and himself live alone, and their home is supposed to be one day passed down to their children. They are terrified of what the bank will price this home at once it officially becomes bank owned, because current trends show they'll price it 10-30% below last Sold price to move it quick.
As we finished talking, the last thing he asked was if I could refer him to a realtor who could get their home sold fast. They didn't want to lose $150,000 overnight (potentially) by this one homeowner who for whatever reason decided not to move in and let the home foreclose. This is just one example of thousands of people that are being forced to either take what they can get and get out or suck it up and lose their equity, simply due to foreclosures.
To sum it up, in my opinion: you know the market in your area has gone south when homeowners are becoming landscapers and gardeners to their neighborhood's foreclosed homes ... because they are worried sick about the dead lawns casting potential home buyers away and ultimately ruining their value when they resell for hundreds of thousands less