JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville is the foreclosure capital of the country, according to recent data. For many people, that isn't hard to believe.
But it has left many neighborhoods in a tight and unsightly spot. As homeowners make their exodus, many neglect their properties.
Almost every neighborhood has a foreclosed home, and they aren't proud of it.
To Jeff Baker, a foreclosure next to his home serves as an unsightly reminder of the real estate market collapse, and a safety concern.
The home and property have not been taken care of, the lawn is never mowed and that it is just a mess, Baker said.
His story is one that's repeated across the country, but especially here in the Jacksonville area.
The number of vacant homes has nearly doubled in almost every county in Northeast Florida, according to census data.
The problem is so overwhelming, there's little people can do to keep those homes and yards in check, according to real estate experts.
Robert Peters, a foreclosure attorney, said people in Baker's situation can call the zoning department with the city, but they'll just fine the owner, not mow the yard.
Often times, tracking down the responsible party to fix the place up is often harder than mowing the yard yourself, which is what Baker does.
This whole overgrown mess ends up in the lap of people like Baker, and he said he just hopes things get sorted out quickly, before the entire block looks blighted.