Foreclosures in The Corals of Oakland Park, Oakland Park, Florida
All of us probably know friends, relatives, business colleagues, or neighbors who are suffering the financial, legal, and emotional trauma of foreclosure.
We all want our neighbors to enjoy the American Dream of home ownership. However, at the same time, we are concerned about the impact that foreclosures have on our neighborhood. This is not merely a matter of preserving property values, but of qualify of life, safety, and a variety of other issues.
I would like to offer leadership in addressing issues such as:
- Abandoned properties
- Unkempt yards
- Dirty pools
- Graffiti-scarred homes
- General feeling of insecurity in our neighborhood
My investment in The Corals is both personal and professional. I purchased a new home here in March 2000, and I love our neighborhood. I have served on COPHA's Board of Directors, recommended a professional newsletter to raise the level of information shared among neighbors and helped secure quality landscaping services for our entrances. As a real estate professional, I have handled many properties in our ‘pocket of paradise,' The Corals.
Let me share a recent experience, which highlights my concerns about the foreclosure situation. I had a prospective buyer who, after three visits to his "dream home" on 19th Avenue, was ready to present an offer. However, the evening before the offer appointment, my client decided to take another drive by the property, without me. He entered our neighborhood from a different direction and was horrified to see graffiti on an abandoned house, and windows boarded against vagrants on another nearby house. He did not make an offer on The Corals property, but later purchased a similarly priced home in Victoria Park. Yes, I lost a sale, but The Corals lost the addition of a good neighbor because of the impact of foreclosed properties in our neighborhood.
To give you an idea of the gravity of the situation, I performed a foreclosure search using iMapp Tax Search, a tool from the Realtor Association of Greater Ft. Lauderdale. To my surprise, 67 homes within a one mile radius of my house have some type of foreclosure action against them.
Once a bank forecloses on a home, it is in our neighborhood's best interest to know the property has been abandoned. I have spoken with Don Kas, Administrator of Code Enforcement for Oakland Park, and he agrees that the city would also like to know about these homes.
Unfortunately, the city often does not know. One reason, (a reflection of all that is good about The Corals), is because concerned neighbors pitch in, cut the grass, do minor chores and repairs, and keep an eye on vacant properties. The result: many houses, though abandoned, look cared for, and tend not to attract trespassers.
However, as the number of foreclosures grows, it becomes more difficult to maintain appearances. When stagnant pools become odorous breeding grounds for mosquitoes, or vagrants take up residence in an empty house, the city officials may be called to intervene. But they need our help to identify targeted properties and prevent further negative impact to our community
I would like to take proactive steps that enlist our neighbors to help prevent deterioration of our neighborhoods, due to ongoing foreclosures. We, as homeowners vested in the quality of The Corals neighborhood, need to know:
- If a property has been abandoned
- If a property or grounds exhibit neglect or maintenance
- If a property has graffiti on it
- If vagrants are occupying an empty house
- If illegal activity is occurring
It is true that banks and realtors representing Real Estate Owned (REO) foreclosed properties have a responsibility to keep a house marketable, but it is only through a proactive movement that we can protect our property values while keeping us safe in our neighborhood.
I have an incomplete list of foreclosed homes that have been abandoned. I am sure that some of our neighbors can identify additional homes. I would like to use our newsletter as a place where I can respond to concerned citizens on the various issues relating to our foreclosure crisis. I would like to encourage our residents to contact me personally if there is a suspected abandoned house. I will then compile an up-to-date list and meet with Don Kas on a regular basis to keep him informed of our findings and attentive to our issues.
Finally, I'd like to end with good news. Don Kas shared with me that the City of Oakland Park is realigning zones. This will result in one code enforcement officer specifically assigned to our area. The will help significantly in addressing the problems outlined above.
Together we can keep our neighborhood secure and prosperous. Please let me know how I can continue to help.
Gary B. Lanham, CRS, CIPS
Atlantic Properties International