Yeah, bail them out

Posted: May 5, 2008 in Economy, Headlines

Living here in ground zero of the sour real estate market (Inland Empire), I can tell you that stories like the following are very common.

Owners trash, strip their foreclosed homes

Fixtures, cabinets, tubs, sinks, even stairways face wrath of dispossessed

By Jerry Kronenberg

Jack O’Leary has seen foreclosed homes where ex-owners put paint on the carpets, anti-bank graffiti on the walls or took everything but the kitchen sink – then stole that, too.

“I’ve gone into houses where the light fixtures are gone, the toilets are gone, the kitchen is gone. And when I say ‘gone,’ we’re talking stripped down to the bare walls,” said O’Leary, a Brockton Re/Max real estate agent who specializes in foreclosed homes.

With a growing number of Massachusetts homes falling into foreclosure, real estate agents say more and more ex-owners and tenants are vandalizing properties on their way out the door.

People rip up walls, kick in doors or take bathroom fixtures or copper wiring – sometimes to sell, other times just to get back at lenders.

Broker John Agostinelli just put a Watertown condo on the market where someone removed all doors, kitchen cabinets, appliances, gas fireplaces – even the light switches.

“This property has the most damage we have seen of approximately 30 properties we’re (currently) listing,” said Agostinelli, who’s selling the place “as is,” knocking down the price some $90,000.

O’Leary has reduced an Easton split-level ranch’s cost by about $200,000 because someone ripped out appliances, sinks, toilets and more. (more…)


For sale: Local homes left in shambles

By Sam Spatter and Ron DaParma



Watkins and Truong found one of the worst properties they’ve encountered on Yukon-Ruffsdale Road in Ruffsdale, Westmoreland County, a four-bedroom house.

They found debris throughout, such as wood piled on the floor, plaster ripped from walls with large holes and some of the wiring pulled loose.

“Most often we find properties have been trashed or have nonworking appliances, clothing, broken and damaged furniture or garbage on the premises,” Watkins said. “That’s not always the case since some houses are spotless, but the vast majority have these items left in them.”

Broken windows are boarded up, and where the plumbing has been removed, it is not replaced, Watkins said. His work includes cutting the grass, trimming shrubs and trees, and providing yard maintenance. If he finds a workable appliance left in the house, he removes it, and often offers it free to a needy person. Discarded clothes are usually donated to the Salvation Army. (more…)


Trashed Foreclosed Homes

Karla Ronquillo

A new trend is being seen more and more among foreclosed homes. Homeowners are taking out their anger by trashing the home before moving out. Realtors are seeing everything from piled trash in the yard, missing cabinets, to gutted appliances.

It is too costly for banks to fix the damage, so they end up losing money by selling the home “as is”. But when homes are damaged, the property is much more difficult to sell.

Foreclosed homes are usually a bargain for house hunters. In cases of damaged homes, the cost of cleaning, fixing and replacing is up to the buyer.

Some lenders are offering “Cash For Keys” to people who are losing their homes. (more…)


Loan crisis pushes owners to trash homes


Staff Writer

With its English, country-like elegance, the brick house on a hill in Ormond Beach would fit on the cover of Better Homes & Gardens.

But behind the walls is a vacated interior that lacks the most basic essentials, including appliances and toilets. They are gone like the owners who once lived there, a casualty of foreclosure.

“We see people who vacuum and clean when they leave. And then we get other houses that are trashed, stripped,” said Frank Cardarelli, a Port Orange real estate broker who has specialized in foreclosures for 25 years. “Anything that’s built or attached is part of the mortgage, and banks can go after them.”

But broke is broke.

Cardarelli, who works for RE/MAX All Pro Realty, said he has seen air conditioning units, hot water heaters, sinks, closet doors, even heating vents ripped out and taken when owners left their homes, no longer able to pay mortgages.

“It goes from mild to severe. Some people take everything. It’s incredible,” he said. “But there’s not much value for what they’re taking, like a used ceiling fan or rusted water heater.”

Larry Silvia of Ormond Beach said he’s paying the price of living next door to an empty, foreclosed house. High weeds bordering the houses have brought unexpected visitors. (more…)


Before someone tries to go there, NO I am not suggesting that this is representative of all homeowners who had to go through foreclosure. This is just a friendly reminder of who is included in that proposed wide net of government benevolence.

  1. DarkStar says:

    I don’t understand why the people leaving aren’t charged with vandalism and destruction of property. I understand that people say a mortgaged home is theirs, but when a person vandalizes property the bank is about to take back, there should be some recourse to recoup the costs.

  2. Duane says:

    Many of these banks are so strapped financially that pursing folks to pursue any kind of legal action would not make sense. Getting the property back is the bigger fish for the bank. Folks know they can get away with this crap which is why they keep doing it.

    This REALLY pisses me off because folks who do this kind of stuff are actually contributing to declining housing values for other homeowners in the area.

  3. DarkStar says:

    I’m afraid a problem neighbor is going to do this when his house sells. He already wasn’t taking care of the property as it is and he is just a real big pain in the but.

  4. Duane says:

    Now just imagine a subdivision where 25 – 30% of the homes are like your neighbor’s. That has become the norm in some parts of the Inland Empire. For one town not that far from me, it got so bad that they had to pass an ordinance that required homeowners to take care of their lawns even after they vacated the property. Honestly, I don’t know how they are going to enforce something like that unless a lien is involved. Even if that was the case, FOLKS DON’T CARE. Their attitude is “let the bank worry about that”.

    What is really messed up about this is that many of these same folks who are walking away from their homes are walking into brand new homes. How? When they know that their mortgage is about to reset, they will find a new home, get an awesome deal and move in BEFORE the foreclosure hits their credit report. Fortunately some banks are starting to catch some of this during the loan process.

    This has become investor heaven for some communities, but with that comes renters. When your subdivision is made up of a good percentage of renters, it is not a good thing.

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