Bankruptcy In Florida: Carmen Dellutri’s 2008 Predictions Part I

30 Dec Bankruptcy In Florida: Carmen Dellutri’s 2008 Predictions Part I

No-one ever wants to file for bankruptcy, but the residents of Florida face an uncertain future. Business bankruptcies are going up. Consumer bankruptcies are going up, despite the New Bankruptcy Law. I hate to say it, but I believe that 2008 will make 2007 look like a economic dream year.

My reasons are simple: The cost of living in Southwest Florida is going up. Gas prices are going up. Insurance is going up. You name it, and its going up. As a matter of fact, the only consumer index falling is the price of homes.

I wanted to end 2007 on a happy note with a blog demonstrating all of the good reasons to live in Southwest Florida. I wanted to write a blog with all of the reasons not to worry about your finances in the future. The result is quite different. This is not the blog that I wanted to write. I am usually an optimistic person, with a good attitude and a never say die spirit. In the not to distant future, I see hard times for the people of Southwest Florida.

If you have ever visited Southwest Florida or you are fortunate enough to live here, you know that our economy is tourist based, and this is where our problems will begin. With gas prices being high, the sluggish economy, the housing market turmoil, and the average interest rate on a credit card being over 20%, we are at a crossroads. Our Tourist Season will be sluggish this year because people just do not have the extra money to spend on luxuries. The ripple effect will be on the businesses of Southwest Florida. Restaurants that rely on the tourist trade (SEASON) will feel the inital pinch.

Unfortunately, many other buinesses only exist because of the seasonal trade. A bad economy, both nationally and locally, will be the proverbial straw that breaks this camel’s back. Once they go out of business, our unemployment will go up. Our job market is already tight, and once you add more to the already over-populated job market, bad things are sure to follow.

I do not want to see our unemployment rolls looking like the MLS real estate rolls in Southwest Florida, which is just depressing for everyone, not to mention all of the real estate professionals who were directly impacted by the slowdown. I would like to think that all of the smart money is waiting on the sidelines for the market to hit the bottom; however, I am not that naive. Our market is ripe now, and there is still nothing moving, which leads me to my next topic. Where do all of the people who relied on housing go?

This question has bothered me for quite some time. Think about it. We have quite a few people out of work, an industry that has basically shut down, and more houses on the market, after foreclosure, that are deteriorating due to lack of routine maintenance. I just cannot understand why the mortgage servicers are not working with the homeowners to help them stay in their homes. I hear this question in my office on a daily basis.

I believe that many of these banks, mortgage servicers, and/or mortgage companies would be well served to hire these professionals to begin to clean up and market these properties that are just sitting after foreclosure. The result would be that unemployment would go down, less houses would be on the market, the community would experience less crime and vandalism , and the mortgage companies would clean up their bad loan portolios. All in all, it sounds like a win win situation.

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Carmen Dellutri is a proud member of the Florida Bar, and he is a Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney, Certified by the American Board of Certification. He practices in the areas of Consumer Bankruptcy and Plaintiff's Personal Injury. He is the principal attorney at The Dellutri Law Group, P.A. The firm supports many charitable and civic causes by donating time and much needed capital to our community. Mr. Dellutri and the other attorneys in the firm routinely speak to students of all ages about various legal and societal issues.
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