In an eye opening report on Friday, economist and co-creator of the Case Schiller housing price index Robert Schiller made a very strong case for the fact that perhaps it’s time to re-think the American dream, that maybe the white picket fence could be rented rather than mortgaged in this updated version of the American Dream.

Read the full article here.

Schiller, who is unquestionably one of the foremost authorities of the housing situation in this country, makes some very interesting points in the article. One that really stuck out at me was the fact that many people bought “too much home” for the sole reason that societal pressures were so great and that they felt they needed to buy a nice home in a nice neighborhood in order to belong.

He traces this behavior back to 1899, when in “The Theory of the Leisure Class,” Thorstein Veblen described homeownership, particularly of large and expensive dwellings, as “conspicuous consumption.” By that, he meant that it was undertaken substantially for the purpose of impressing others by showing the amount of money one can afford to waste on space one doesn’t need.

And, aside from low interest rates and ridiculously loose lending standards, that really is what fueled the housing bubble isn’t it? The underlying notion that even if you couldn’t afford it, you should own a home, and not just any home, the biggest home you can (or can’t) afford? Isn’t this “keeping up with the Jones’s” mentality what had people making $25,000 a year taking out half million dollar, no doc, stated income loans in the first place?

But who said you have to own a home to be an upstanding member of society? Isn’t Freedom one of the cornerstones of the American dream? Debt is a form of financial slavery, so how can putting your financial future on the line by over-leveraging yourself to buy a home “because that’s what you’re supposed to do” possibly be a part of that dream?

Rental Sweet Rental

Is putting your future, and the future of your family, in financial jeopardy part of that dream? Ask any of the 25% of homeowners in this country who are currently upside down on their home loans, and they’ll tell you they’re anything but free. Not free to move somewhere without finding a renter and/or taking a loss monthly, not free to modify their loan without jumping through hoops for their lender, not free to short sale the property, etc.

Isn’t it about time we rethought this idea that homeownership is a part of the American Dream? After all, I’ve seen lots of rental properties with white picket fences around them.

Jon Maddux


Jon D. Maddux is the former CEO of Although there has been a bit of controversy with the company name, the entrepreneur passionately believed that homeowners across America would desperately need foreclosure advice and so he came up with the Walk Away foreclosure help website. Having over 11 years of real estate and finance experience, Maddux realized with the burgeoning credit crisis, many homeowners in adjustable rate mortgages and high LTV loans were unaware of what they were about to face. With that understanding, Maddux developed an affordable business model that allowed homeowners to know their rights and use the law to their advantage. Beyond the monthly foreclosure monitoring service and cease and desist letters, You Walk Away provides attorney consultation in each state and CPA consultations. Homeowners are armed with the knowledge and peace of mind they need to go through possibly the toughest experience of their lives.

Since January 2008, You Walk Away, LLC has helped over 8000 customers navigate through the hardship of foreclosure and / or a short sale. You Walk Away has been featured in news publications and TV programs such as: ABC Nightline, CNN,Yahoo Finance, Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, front page of The New York Times, Bloomberg, Forbes, Fortune,Money Magazine, NPR, AP, NBC, CBS and Fox News among many others. Many of these publications have used quotes from Maddux about foreclosure, short sales and mortgages as well as obtaining a mortgage after foreclosure or short sale.

More recently Jon has launched, a free website that helps people find out if they are eligible for a new mortgage after foreclosure or short sale. There are free resources available on the site to help consumers get back into homeownership. At and now, Maddux writes about foreclosure, short sales and getting new financing after foreclosure or short sale. Jon specializes in hard to get Jumbo mortgages after foreclosure and short sale. As you can imagine, with helping thousands of customers go through this process, there is special insight and first-hand knowledge that he gets and is able to share with his readers. Jon Maddux is a licensed mortgage professional focusing on helping people that have gone through foreclosure or short sale buy again with better market timing.