If you live in a minority neighborhood, it appears that banks may not deem it worth their while to clean up foreclosed properties in the area.
A recent study by the National Fair Housing Alliance uncovered what appears to be blatant racial discrimination on the part of big banks.
Foreclosed homes in several major U.S. cities - including Atlanta - were more likely to be maintained and marketed by banks if they were in predominately white neighborhoods than if they were located in neighborhoods where the majority of residents were black or Latino.
In Atlanta, it was discovered that bank-owned homes in black neighborhoods were 4.65 times more likely to be missing a "for sale" sign than in white neighborhoods. Nationally, homes in black neighborhoods were more than 80 percent more likely to have boarded up windows or doors.
Because abandoned properties with overgrown yards tend to drag down the value of neighboring homes, banks may be contributing to lower property values in minority neighborhoods.
When those homes do sell, those that have been kept-up poorly are more likely to go to investors than to families, putting further downward pressure on the values of nearby homes and limiting the number of affordable houses for people looking to buy.
First banks pushed unsustainable loans on minority communities. Then they refused to offer loan modifications or mortgage refinances. Now they're failing to do their part to care for properties lost as a result of those loans.
For those hurt by declining property values, bankruptcy often provides the relief that banks can't. Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Atlanta can restructure debts and unpaid bills into affordable payments over a period of 3 to 5 years.
Many Atlanta homeowners feel trapped because they owe more on their home than its current value. Just because selling or refinancing aren't possible doesn't mean that foreclosure is your only option.
Foreclosure doesn't have to be inevitable. Bankruptcy was created to protect consumers. An Atlanta bankruptcy lawyer can evaluate your financial situation to determine if bankruptcy can reduce your debts and save your home from foreclosure.
More Blog Entries:
Discrimination Alleged in Upkeep of Foreclosed Homes, by J. Scott Trubey, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution