High vacancy rates in the apartment market means savings in post-bankruptcy; home ownership can wait Skip to main content

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High vacancy rates in the apartment market means savings in post-bankruptcy; home ownership can wait

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So the impact of your bankruptcy is settling in. You have mixed emotions but underneath, feel confident that it was the right thing to do. The phone has stopped ringing, the mailbox delivers good news (for the most part) and best of all, you can sleep again.

Now that it's time to get back on track, saving money should be a top priority. And one way to do that is by examining what it takes for you to keep a roof over your head every month, even if you managed to avoid foreclosure. Today, thanks to the real estate crisis which saw developers nationwide building new home homes and apartment communities on every plot of improvable land, it is a buyer's market. Or in your case, it can be a renter's market.

Apartments today are not what they were 20 years ago. Heck, they're not what they were 10 years ago. Amenities like multiple pools, saunas, movie theaters, free Internet Access, fitness facilities, online rent payments and adjacency to high-end retail and entertainment districts make apartment living a very attractive and value-driven living option.

It's important to put aside for a moment the aura of home ownership. There is without doubt pride in being able to maintain a home. The neighbors, yard space, security---all elements that many consider part of the American Dream.

However, the "dream" is not really home ownership. It's about seeking a sense of accomplishment and the ability to create opportunity. But that's not what happened.

Because home ownership was at one time a rare thing, a symbol of iconic Americana, it became the physical manifestation of our desire to experience those concepts. We somehow believed the signing of a mortgage was tantamount to everything our grandparents came here for.

However, the "dream" continued to manifest, morphing into a distorted, material facade of success--yet another symbol of where we like to position ourselves within society. And through the fog of that notion we watched the American Dream derail and plow violently through the psyche of the masses.

Now, as we learned in the crash's aftermath, people are just happy to be under a dependable roof. And that's a good thing; because maybe now we'll realize that upon examination of our cost of living, we'll realize just how much money we spend on what we were told was the culmination of the American Dream: owning a home.

The point here is that the housing crisis helped facilitate a historic financial demise. It was the marketing of home ownership in the face of viable, more than suitable alternatives in the the apartment market that led hundreds of thousands of Americans into foreclosure. Now all that's left are faint apologies and the drive to get the Dream back on track.

Today, apartments are plentiful. Nice, well-kept three and four bedroom flats with multiple bathrooms, tile floors and clean carpets. In fact, according to new industry report, there have not been so many available apartments in three decades. The national average vacancy rate (the percentage of vacant apartments of total available) is 8 percent, which is the highest number the reporting agency has ever published as a country-wide statistic.

So do you know what that number means for renters? Savings.

A high vacancy rate means landlords are willing to negotiate to the fill their vacant units. In other words, renters have the upper hand. And for someone trying to save money and build a life after bankruptcy, renting should be a serious consideration, regardless of your current living situation.

Know someone who would also benefit from filing bankruptcy? Keep in mind that the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE consultation out of 4 offices conveniently located in North Carolina: Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville and Wilson. The number is toll free 1-888-234-4181, or suggest they visit the website at www.billsbills.com for information about just about everything there is to know about bankruptcy, how it works and what it means.

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