“When you are the nation’s largest owner of foreclosed homes, even little things can get expensive fast. Such is the case for mortgage giant Fannie Mae, which as of March 31 had a mind-boggling 153,000 foreclosed homes on its books.
One example — mowing the lawn. Two men swoop in on a foreclosed town house in Lanham, Md., quickly mowing and edging the small front yard. Fannie Mae owns this home, so it’s paying for the lawn crew to come every two weeks or so to keep up the curb appeal.
But it’s not just this lawn. There are tens of thousands more. Fannie Mae officials won’t say how many lawns it’s paying to maintain, so we’ve done some back-of-the-envelope calculations of our own:
Say only half of the homes have lawns, a conservative estimate, that’s still more than 75,000 lawns.
X 6 (a six-month grass-clipping season)
X 2 (mowing twice a month)
X $40 (a reasonable guess at how much it costs to mow a lawn)
= $36.7 million
The Cost Of Owning 150,000 Foreclosed Homes
NPR, July 7, 2011