The following article about out-of-state investors and property challenges in Linden and other Columbus neighborhoods appeared on the front page of the Dispatch on Monday, January 7, 2008. GLDC’s executive director, donna Hicho, explained that the story only scratches the surface of the very complex issue of investment properties, foreclosures, absentee landlords and vacant properties plaguing Linden and other central city neighborhoods in Columbus.
GLDC Executive Director donna Hicho had suggested the article to the Dispatch reporter because of the impact on the community. GLDC staff members who had lengthy phone conversations with several out-of-town investors with properties in Linden were both appalled and dismayed by some of the personal stories they heard. Several novice investors had participated in very expensive “investment training” programs. They thought the trainers would help them make wise decisions about investments that would help them supplement their income, provide affordable housing to residents in distressed neighborhoods, and provide a long-term investment for their retirement. However, most ended up buying properties they felt were appraised too high, in deals they felt were misleading, and referred to property management companies who provided less than quality services. Because the investors live several states away, it was difficult for them to track exactly what was happening with their investment properties until it was “too late” – tenants didn’t pay rent for several months, some tenants trashed the properties before leaving, and some properties were vandalized before a tenant was found. Oftentimes this happened despite the fact that they were paying a property management company to oversee their properties.
The “greed” referred to in the article was not targeting the investors, donna states, because the individuals she talked with were all good-intentioned. However, the investment training companies, mortgage lenders, appraisers, and property management companies involved in the stories she heard appeared to have profit as their sole motive – to the detriment of both the investors and the Linden neighborhood.
You can comment on the article story or share your own personal stories (good or bad) about investing in Linden properties by emailing donna at firstname.lastname@example.org