‘We buy ugly houses’ is code for ‘we steal vulnerable peoples’ homes’

Cory Doctorow
8 min readMay 11

The pervasive, predatory sleaze of Homevestor, “the #1 homebuyer in the USA.”

Tonight (May 11) at 7PM, I’m in CALGARY for Wordfest, with my novel Red Team Blues; I’ll be hosted by Peter Hemminger at the Memorial Park Library, 2nd Floor.

Home ownership is the American dream: not only do you get a place to live, free from the high-handed dictates of a landlord, but you also get an asset that appreciates, building intergenerational wealth while you sleep — literally.

Of course, you can’t have it both ways. If your house is an asset you use to cover falling wages, rising health care costs, spiraling college tuition and paper-thin support for eldercare, then it can’t be a place you live. It’s gonna be an asset you sell — or at the very least, borrow so heavily against that you are in constant risk of losing it.

This is the contradiction at the heart of the American dream: when America turned its back on organized labor as an engine for creating prosperity and embraced property speculation, it set itself on the road to serfdom — a world where the roof over your head is also your piggy bank, destined to be smashed open to cover the rising costs that an organized labor movement would have fought:


Today, we’re hit the end of the road for the post-war (unevenly, racially segregated) shared prosperity that made it seem, briefly, that everyone could get rich by owning a house, living in it, then selling it to everybody else. Now that the game is ending, the winners are cashing in their chips:


The big con of home ownership is proceeding smartly on schedulee. First, you let the mark win a little, so they go all in on the scam. Then you take it all back. Obama’s tolerance of bank sleze after the Great Financial Crisis kicked off the modern era of corporations and grifters stealing Americans’ out from under them, forging deeds in robosigning mills:


Cory Doctorow

Writer, blogger, activist. Blog: https://pluralistic.net; Mailing list: https://pluralistic.net/plura-list; Mastodon: @pluralistic@mamot.fr