Monday, August 17, 2015

Why do people treat their foreclosed property so badly?

I represent several investors who purchase foreclosed properties.  The prior owners of these properties sometimes treat them VERY badly, presumably because they are angry that they can no longer afford the payments.

Some of the common problems are dirty swimming pools.

One of my clients drained an icky pool like this, and found a car under the water!

Quite a few properties have kitchen counters which appear to have met the business end of a sledgehammer.  Missing kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures are common.  One prior owner brought a garden hose inside and ruined the hardwood floors.

The worst story I think I've heard is one client who purchased a property in the desert near the end of the summer.  After the purchase, my client sent a property manager to investigate whether it was occupied, etc, and discovered that the prior owner had apparently abandoned the property several months earlier, probably near the beginning of the summer.  Before leaving, he had smeared yoghurt on all the walls and ceilings, then locked the doors and left.  The mold was so bad, pervasive throughout the entire structure, my client had to pretty much demolish the entire house and build a new one.

I don't understand the mentality of people who do this sort of thing.  Anyone have any ideas to enlighten me?


  1. Oh my god, that photos is horrific. At first I thought you were just talking about the previous owners ( those whose homes were foreclosed on) simply not paying for the upkeep of the home. I had an answer for that. I was going to say that they probably don't have the money for pool maintenance and other expenses. After reading the entire article I see that you are talking about a whole different kind of hoodlum. I can't even begin to explain the mentality of someone who would take time from their busy day to intentionally destroy a home. I sympathize to a point - I understand that they are probably bitter and upset, but intentionally destroying their former property points to something seriously wrong with the person. I'm sure many of us are familiar with the sadness and regret of losing something valuable or having to give up something we really loved. The economy hit many people and knocked them down, but it doesn't or shouldn't take the persons integrity or sense of decency. I can even understand people stripping their former homes down. That didn't come out right. I meant that I've heard of people in foreclosure who've taken the plantation shutters, marble or granite countertops and I don't know the legalities of that, Forecloseure is not my area of law, but I can see how a person who has lost their home might feel justified in taking things with them that they paid for. But, what you've experienced goes far beyond that. The photos you've posted are indicative of intentional property destruction, vandalism and it seems to me it would rise to the level of a felony criminal act. Then again, I don't know that area of the law and I don't know if they can be prosecuted because I don't know when ownership transferred . The yogurt photo is awful and that person is sick and should be held accountable to the lendor or the new owner.

    1. Most of the properties my clients buy, haven't been kept up well. Definitely because the prior owners didn't have the money for it. But you're right, I don't understand the malicious vandalism.

      And thanks for stopping by!

  2. It sounds to me like the kind of "if I can't have it, no-one else can!" mentality you sometimes see or hear about. Not the way civilized folk go about things, that's for sure.

    1. Hey Colin! Yes, I agree, some it must be the "if I can't have it, no one can" mentality. Definitely not civilized.