5 Reasons Foreclosure Prevention Is Like Halloween
I don’t know if kids do this anymore, but I remember part of the fun, the anticipation, of Halloween was coming up with a “Trick” to offer in exchange for candy – a joke, rhyme, hand stand, armpit noise or, if you were desperate, a song. Foreclosure prevention is like that, except sometimes the trick is on the homeowner
. You go to the lender’s door, ring the bell, ask for short sale approval and the bank requests a trick. You do the trick, even though it’s ridiculous (e.g., provide the birth certificate of your childhood pet), stick out your palm for your treat…and…and…what the?!...the lender requires another trick. Six months worth of tricks and you might get a treat.
Possibly the best part of Halloween – the treats! For a kid, heaven is having to use two hands to lug home a pillowcase weighed down with candy. Sorry, there is no candy in short sales. But there are treats. For a homeowner, the treat is to “hit the reset button
”, to be released from an oppressive situation & constant lender harassment, without the stigma of foreclosure. For lenders, the treat is being spared the cost to preserve vacant property and the legal cost involved in foreclosure.
3. Costumed Characters
Every year, the National Retail Federation publishes a list of the most popular costumes
(Michael Jackson in 2009; Spiderman in 2004), but some costumes are classic: Zombie, Super Hero, Vampire, Witch. I have yet to encounter Spiderman in any short sale transaction, but I’m convinced that a prerequisite for hire as a bank’s short sale negotiator is Zombiehood. Bank Negotiators and Zombies. Not. Human. Not human! Both have that risen-from-the-dead, jerky, robotic shuffle. And they l-l-l-o-o-o-v-v-v-e feasting on human flesh. As a Realtor specializing in short sales, I have witnessed scenes of chaos and panic as whole neighborhoods are consumed by Hells Fargo’s (Goo-For-Brains) Zombies.
Halloween and Short Sales elicit more than just fright; they both give birth to Terror. Fright is like a sudden shock – painful, but not enough to leave a noticeable scar and it’s over quickly. Terror implies something more intense. Dictionary.com’s definition of terror is “extreme fear in the presence of danger or evil”, and describes it as “prolonged…and may refer to imagined or future dangers”. For months, homeowners behind on their mortgage payments (1 of 5 Florida homeowners
) dread opening the mail or answering the phone. They lose sleep at night, imagining the worst, nightmare images of the Bank of Evil tossing their belongings in the street as the neighbors look on. Halloween terror is also prolonged, but only until the movie is over.
5. Spooky Houses
For homeowners, the place that once represented the future, their piece of the America Dream, is now laced with cobwebs. Windows that formerly framed Norman Rockwell holiday scenes are now hidden behind tightly drawn curtains. Crabgrass replaces flower beds. Picket fences, once proudly painted white, fade to gray in the moonlight.
Disclaimer: My husband, the historian, read this and explained that “trick or treat” actually referred to a bribe, as in, “Hand over the sweets and I won’t egg your house.” Whatevs, Honey.