By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Visual effects of foreclosure in Manteca
A foreclosed home for sale in Manteca. - photo by HIME ROMERO
If you close your eyes and think of the word “foreclosure”, what are some images that come to mind?  Some see outwardly expressed imagery such as six foot high weeds, dry and dead lawns, papers taped to windows, spider webs and other pictures that remind you of the opening scenes of an old black and white scary movie panning into the haunted mansion.  The only problem is that haunted mansion is found all over our southern San Joaquin community.

It is easy to spot a foreclosure in our community or distressed property.  We see all of those outward signs.  It can be very frustrating to you the neighbor who pays their mortgage, waters their lawn and cares for their home.  But just as it is easy to spot the outwardly effects of a foreclosure in our community, it is that much harder to spot a fellow neighbor who is about to be going through that same struggle.

Why is that people bury their heads in the sand and avoid anything about their financial situation?  Fear, fear of the unknown, fear of not wanting to be known and because of the paralyzing effects of fear, most do noting until it is too late or just run away altogether.

How can I as the distressed homeowner get help?
The best thing you can possibly do when you are thinking you might be facing financial difficulties is calling the lien holder(s)!  There are many programs available for homeowners out there to help them try to stay in their homes such as the governments Home Affordable Modification Program or HAMP (, or if you feel like you still cannot afford the monthly payments you can short sale your home (

The important thing to remember is that you have options.  There are good people that can help you, but you have to make the first step!  I can’t force you to sell your home or guide you through a loan modification.  An important note to remember also is that on October 11, 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 94 (Calderon), and the legislation took effect immediately upon his signature. Thus, California law now prohibits any person, including real estate licensees and attorneys, from demanding or collecting an advance fee from a consumer for loan modification or loan forbearance services affecting 1 – 4 unit residential dwellings.

One other stress leaving thought to remember is that you are not alone!  Manteca alone has as of Thursday July 15, 2010, 631 homes that have a Notice of Default on the property and/or have an auction sell date. Those are staggering numbers, but think about this, that does not include any one who is late on their payments and the bank has not reported it yet or people who are getting ready to start missing payments.  Our area has a huge problem, but rescue boats can only be dispatched if you turn on the distress call button.

How can I as the neighbor help?
One of the worst feelings we can have as people who care about our neighborhoods is feeling like we can’t help.  The actual answer to the problem is that we actually can help, but we don’t.  How many times have you driven down your street, looked at that house, pulled into your drive and forgot about it?  Or had a conversation with a neighbor who is having issues but didn’t try to offer some solutions because “it’s not my place”?  Well I would argue that it is your place.  It is your community and your community needs you!

I have a few tips that we can all do to help out our community.
What do you think would happen if we gathered some neighbors together after we notice a home has been foreclosed and we started to take care of the front lawn ourselves?  What if rather than letting the lawn totally die, we stretched our hose across our driveway and watered the lawn?  What if we banded together and picked up all the trash around the house?  What if we setup regular neighborhood watches to keep look out over the vacant homes in our neighborhood?

Imagine what the streets of Manteca would look like if the citizens of Manteca took care of each other.  This housing phenomenon we are experiencing happened almost over night, but it will not be over for many, many nights.  The only way we can all get through this is for us all to help each other through this.

As the true old African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I believe the same could be said about our area, “It takes Manteca to help Manteca.”

To find out more information on how to help or get help when facing foreclosure, you can reach me at (209) 923-8527 or visit