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Banks Should Not Get to Profit in the Rental Market with Foreclosed Properties

So let me get this straight. First, the banks make loads of bad mortgages. Then, the government bails them out. Fannie and Freddie end up with tons of foreclosures on their books, and now those banks that started the mess get to cash-in on Fannie and Freddie’s need to dump the current set of foreclosure properties in order to make way for the next wave of foreclosures. The dumping will happen in bulk, so only the big guns get to come to the table. The big banks then say they’re going to turn these properties into rentals and reap big rewards – and that’s the best case scenario out there right now.

This process leaves no room for the regular folks to cash-in on these sure-to-be discount properties. But is that really the only answer out there? Reward the folks who helped get us into this mess?

Five minutes of brainstorming could produce solutions that would help folks who bring less than a billion dollars to the table. I say we start promoting them.

1. Marry high unemployment rates and distressed houses in sort of a “Habitat for Humanity” model of ownership. This solution puts people to work improving the properties making them ready to live-in. Hours of work get monetized and put towards the purchase of the home.

2. Develop a non-profit community organization that will handle the new rentals. Transfer ownership to the non-profit and then sell to community members with favorable loan term. It seems like there’s something to learn here from the community banking movement.

3. Unload the properties to bidders in a rent-to-own structure. This would allow people to start making affordable payments that will eventually be counted towards a down payment on a mortgage.

These and other ideas should be debated in public forums. I’m guessing the Political Context community could come up with some good ones. Whatever we do, though, we shouldn’t sit back and let the banks profit a second time off a problem largely of their making.

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About Elaine Marie