May 1, 2013
Recently we tried to refinance our home solely to take advantage of the currently low mortgage interest rates. As you might assume, the refinancing hinged on our property valuation. The appraisal was conducted on March 27, 2013. We received the assessment results on Friday, April 5, 2013. Much to our shock, our home on Garfield Avenue in Pendleton Heights which we purchased in 2005 is now worth less than half of what we paid for the home. We are aware of the difference between an appraisal value and sale price. Likewise, we are aware of the crash in home prices as a result of the collapse of the real estate market. However, one must admit that this is a significant loss of value no matter the conditions and reasons. Understandably, this concluded our attempt at refinancing. This has left us frustrated, disappointed beyond words and angry. Going forward, my partner and I are looking at every possible scenario. It must be admitted that walking away from the property is on the table of discussion.
We are reluctant to pursue the path of loan modification for several reasons. Modification takes time, effort and patience. Our question to the Northeast neighborhood associations is: Why should we struggle to keep our home in Northeast? The sad fact is that for all the good that the Northeast neighborhood associations have done, what concrete measures and solutions have the associations taken to attract, increase and keep single family homeowners in Northeast? What concrete measures have been taken to increase property values in the neighborhood?
Have the neighborhood associations worked to:
• Decrease the amount of Section 8 housing in the neighborhood by actively holding property owners responsible for violations of building codes, zoning standards and parking restrictions?
• Actively discourage and pressure low-income rentals out of the neighborhood by tracking, reporting and holding property owners responsible for building code violations, zoning standards and parking restrictions?
• Actively work with law enforcement to make all multi-unit property owners aware of the crime which their residents generate.
• Actively worked to hold property owners responsible if they continue to rent to individuals who constantly create a crime problem for the neighborhood?
• Pressure the city to amend the zoning restrictions to encourage multi-unit property owners to convert their apartments to condominiums?
• Pressure the city to provide incentives to multi-unit property owners to reduce/reuse/convert their multi-unit properties to condominiums?
• Offer incentives to KCUMB to purchase multi-unit properties for conversion to student housing?
• Actively promote the neighborhood to developers and the business community as a viable location for redevelopment, revitalization and investment?
• Actively work with the city government and the established business community to advertise, promote and advocate the neighborhood as a comfortable, safe and economically feasible for single family home ownership?
• Actively work with all local mortgage institutions to promote, cultivate and foster an atmosphere of collaboration, assistance and redevelopment?
I am aware that the answers to many of these questions are yes. However, my point here is that when it comes down to brass tacks, until the multi-unit housing is decreased along with the crime, litter and negative visual impact, property values for the neighborhood will not increase, and indeed will continue to decline. I acknowledge and am grateful for all the wonderful neighborhood trash pick-ups, community gardens and other activities which the Pendleton Heights Neighborhood Association has conducted, which have made Pendleton Heights a better place to live. However, these activities have done little to enhance property values. At its root, increasing property values is what is going to keep and attract people to the neighborhood. Frankly, it is my opinion that this should be PHNA’s primary reason for existing. The remaining benefits of the neighborhood are just icing on the cake of Pendleton Heights home ownership.
Until PHNA takes a more aggressive role toward increasing property values, there will be little reason for current single family owners to stay in the neighborhood. Similarly, it will be increasingly difficult to attract this type of owner to the district. It is my sincere hope that PHNA will reevaluate its mission and consider taking solution-based actions to prevent and discourage the presence of low-value, multi-unit housing in the neighborhood. PHNA must also examine all avenues to reduce the density of these units in the neighborhood. Until this is achieved, we do not stand a prayer of seeing our property values increase. As single family owners, we simply do not have the clout to persuade the improvement/conversion of these low-rent properties to be upgraded to condominium style units or to senior living condominiums. This will only happen when PHNA, the city and law enforcement work together to change the face of the neighborhood.
Respectfully, A Resident of Pendleton Heights