Crumbling Foundations and Social Media

We’ve been posting a lot about the crumbling foundation problem in Eastern Connecticut on Facebook over the last few months. It’s – I hope obviously – a serious problem, one that has devastated scores of homeowners and, unfortunately, is destined to effect many more over the coming years.

I’ve given talks on the subject and have interacted with homeowners, realtors, and legislators and have yet to come across anyone who isn’t concerned – really concerned – about the long term effects of this problem on the homeowners, the towns, and the future of Connecticut . . .

. . . except for people on social media.

This is just a short note to address something that comes up time after time in comments on Facebook. Something I have written about before but really feel needs to be reinforced on a fairly regular basis.

It’s this: we keep getting comments that start along these lines: “Why is this a government problem?” and devolve into polemics about “giving out free stuff.

It worries me that this kind of thinking is out there and it worries me that it may stop people from seeking help.

So . . . my answer:

The resale value of a house with a crumbling foundation drops dramatically. If not cataclysmically. One such house can and will affect home values in the neighborhood. Of course, it’s seldom one house in a neighborhood. The more neighborhood houses afflicted, the quicker and more steeply values fall.

Of course, it’s seldom one neighborhood. The more neighborhoods affected, the lower real estate values across the town. Tax assessments drop. Collected taxes drop. Services that rely on those taxes are curtailed or dropped. When services get cut, especially education, the home values for the entire town drop.

When this happens across a swathe of the state, Connecticut’s economy is adversely effected.

Once it starts, it’s a cycle that’s extremely hard to break. As entire sections of Florida, Ohio, and Las Vegas stand mute testimony to today, a decade after the Recession.

I’m not even addressing the hundreds of afflicted homeowners who eventually walk away from their homes, jobs, retirement plans, and move to other states. I mean, at some point it’ll be ‘Connecticut’s loss is South Carolina’s gain.’

In the long and short run, it’s everyone’s problem. It’s in everyone’s best interest to do whatever is necessary to fix this thing.

In the meantime, I doing what I can one homeowner at a time. If you’re one, please disregard the noise and give me a call.