The effects of the real estate crash were felt keenly in Brookfield, where foreclosures skyrocketed for several straight years, beginning in 2008, and only recently have begun to subside.

In the aftermath, developers have come to see Brookfield as something of an opportunity. They are getting some bargains and turning them around, sometimes selling them for $350,000 and more and making a tidy profit. Others are building new homes from the ground up. In an area where real estate development has been depressed, that’s welcome news.

Clearing out the inventory of foreclosed homes — some of which were picked clean before being abandoned to the banks — is a necessary part of the market cycle. Many of these homes were not in any condition for a family to move in and needed more than cosmetic changes.

These were money traps for the typical family, who would have to juggle a mortgage, jobs and family responsibilities to go along with reclaiming failed real estate. To date, the companies that have come in to rescue these properties appear to be doing just that. 

They’re not content with slapping a coat of paint on the walls and putting up a couple of kitchen cabinets while leaving the mechanical systems in tatters. In many cases, these homes are being gutted and rebuilt new within the existing shells or being taken down to the ground and rebuilt completely.

As a result, the village of Brookfield has an opportunity and responsibility here to make sure that a high quality of development keeps taking place.

Scott Sanders, a Brookfield resident and a developer who is dedicated to constructing ultra energy-efficient homes in the village, brings up a good point when you talk to him about Brookfield  and new construction.

What Brookfield needs to do, he says, is adopt the most recent international building code to guide this new wave of construction.

Brookfield’s officially adopted building code is from 1996. In terms of construction, especially the kind of energy-efficient construction Sanders is talking about, that’s woefully outdated.

That the village is on the verge of a new era of residential construction should be welcome news to all Brookfield homeowners. Let’s make sure we do it right.