Shadow Inventory – When Will It See Light?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado CRE# 40005863


shadowsShadow Inventory – When Will It See Light?



Did you realize that according to USA Today there are approximately 1.6 MILLION homes in the nation’s shadow inventory?  These are foreclosed or bank owned properties that are sitting vacant and sitting on the books of the nation’s banks but have not been listed for sale.  Many banks think that it is better to wait until home prices are stronger before releasing these homes for sale in hopes of recapturing some of their losses.  Standard and Poor’s estimates the shadow inventory at about $405 BILLION. 


While watching 60 Minutes Sunday night, my heart ached for the people in Cuyahoga County, Ohio where the City is demolishing thousands of vacant abandoned homes.  The banks foreclosed on the homes but refused to take on the responsibility of preparing the homes for sale and vandals had destroyed the homes such that they are being demolished.  It is such a sad state of affairs.  The remaining neighbors are watching their values plummet daily. 


I don’t understand why the banks are so eager to foreclose.  If they would make it easier for folks to modify their current mortgages, so much of this devastation could be avoided.  Instead, they make it nearly impossible for most homeowners to get the assistance they so desperately need.  If someone high enough on the food chain at one of the mortgage banks could somehow cultivate an original thought that wasn’t verbatim out of the policy manual and realize that they could actually make a difference in our world, it would be a miracle. 

My suggestion is that the banks call the homeowner when they see that they are having trouble making their mortgage payments.  Not a collection call, but an assistance call.  Just think if the banks reached out to the struggling masses and offered to assist them with a loan modification so that they could stay in their home that they worked so hard to purchase in the first place.  Certainly someone at these financial institutions could figure out that a loan modification is so much better for everyone than another property to put on the shelf in the Shadow Inventory closet.


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. John McCormack 12/19/2011 11:36 AM
  2. Will Hamm 12/19/2011 03:52 PM
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Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Good Morning, Belinda. I watched 60 minutes yesterday too, and it was sad seeing all those people lose their homes to foreclosure, and all those vacant homes being demolished in those neighborhoods. Yes, I wish the banks would reach out to homeowners and offer them a workable solution for the bank and the homeowners.

Dec 19, 2011 03:22 AM #1
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Belinda - The 60 Minutes program was sad and, like you, I find the banks' approach to the whole situation completely inexplicable - there is so much wealth just vanishing. Is this just an effect of mortgage insurance - that the banks come out further ahead by foreclosure? If so, you'd think that the insurers would have something to gain by trying to recapture the value these homes represent. The system is obviously seriously flawed, and neither the government not market forces seem able to repair it.

Dec 19, 2011 03:47 AM #2
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

I hope you were able to see the 60 Minutes show last night. Some communities are demolising vacant homes.

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Photograph by Roy Kelley using a Canon PowerShot G11 camera.

Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Dec 19, 2011 04:09 AM #3
Jim Patton
Century 21 M&M - 209-404-0816 - Turlock, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus & Merced county Realtor.

Belinda - We have been hearing about the "Shadow Inventory" for a few years now.   I'm not sure what it is going to take to get this messed cleaned up.   There must be some financial benefit for the banks to foreclose other wise they would be doing something else.   How about the banks just refi underwater homeowners at what the value of their properties currently are?   Maybe that is too simplistic?   Of course if they foreclose the banks will only get out of the property what the current value is.  Isn't that the same result?

Dec 19, 2011 09:23 AM #4
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

Jerry.  It was such a sad show.  My heart ached for those poor folks. 

Dec 19, 2011 10:24 AM #5
Judith Parker
ProStead Realty - Charlotte, NC
CRS, GRI, CMRS, Charlotte, NC

Hi Belinda, what a different situation it could be if the banks did reach out and offer your suggested... "assistance call."  This is so sad and there are still so many houses that have not yet hit the market.

Dec 19, 2011 12:03 PM #6
Toni Weidman
Sailwinds Realty - Trinity, FL
26 Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

I can't figure out why they don't work with the owners and work it out. They are going to lose the money anyway so why not let the owners stay. It's like they are punishing them.

Dec 19, 2011 12:22 PM #7
Vern Eaton
Askov, MN
Realtor 651-674-7449

I know that many areas are hurting and there are a lot of homes vacant. |But we never hear the good side where areas are growing and values are rising.  My area has a few homes for sale, but not like a year ago.  Driving around there are not all that many homes vacant. 

We need to hear more good news to give people some hope.

Dec 19, 2011 12:38 PM #8
David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

you would think that makes sense but thats where that great idea ends. Banks dont care when the govt takes our money to give to them and then implements programs to help others that the ones who took tax dollars dont honor there is no doubt the system is not designed to benefit anyone other than them.

Sad but great article - caught it on Q's reblog

Dec 19, 2011 01:52 PM #9
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