Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Real Estate: Unsung Heroes of the Great Recession.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | September 26, 2011

No. 721

Little note and less recognition has been given to a substantial group of people who have benefitted us all.They are the unsung heroes who have been quietly buying  substandard, decaying houses and fixing them up.  Without them, there would be a lot more unlivable or barely livable homes in our community.  Many more properties would be boarded up or even torn down — useful to no one but vagrants and wild animals.

Yes, of course they are doing it for profit.  Charities like Habitat for Humanity deserve praise, but charities cannot possibly rehab our entire substandard housing stock. After all, there are only so many donors of free labor and materials.  If we want the job to be done on the scale that it needs to be done, somebody has to get paid. And don’t tell me they are getting rich on the backs of the foreclosed.  They didn’t create the foreclosure crisis, but if no one wanted to buy foreclosed houses, so many banks and financial institutions would have failed by now that no one could have predicted the damage.

Too often, by the way, these heroes/public benefactors are treated like criminals by municipal officials and building inspectors who blame them for the urban blight left behind by others. All these short-sighted officials want is a list of repairs accomplished. They fail to see that these entrepreneurs are the solution, not the problem.They fail to appreciate that investors are risking their own money and spending a great deal of time on projects that may never return a cent.  But when these projects are successful, as they often are, assessments go up, more taxes are collected, nice people move in who spend money at local business establishments and so on.

I have heard economists on TV declaring that the economy cannot rebound until the massive over-supply of foreclosure properties is greatly reduced. And who do we think is going to bring this condition to pass?  Santa?

The next time you see construction crews fixing up a house near you that used to be vacant and run down, talk to the new owner and say thank you.




CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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