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Sunday, February 10, 2013

STEAL a home, it's a BUYERS market...yeah right.

PREDATORS are scouring our community, stripping homes of plumbing, wiring, HVAC units, you name it! The deputy that responded to my recent call discussed the reality of what is going on.  Apparently, this disgusting, crude, opportunistic bunch of parasites are the new 'professional'.  He told me that just like he and I get up every day and go into our workplaces and perfect our skills, these creatures are hitting the gym to work out (need to keep their sorry a** strength up), forming teams (to scout out the vacant homes), developing their tech skills (snooping county records on line), and networking (gotta sell that STOLEN gain & garner LEADS)!  

Foreclosed properties in rural areas have been the target for years.  Having had a free reign in that arena, they have expanded to virtually every neighborhood. If it is vacant, it is up for grabs.   I had one just 3 doors from an elementary school!  A week before closing they gutted the HVAC unit.  My elderly seller lived 2 hours away with her son.  Within the City limits, neighbors very close, nice neighborhood by a SCHOOL!  BUT, it was vacant.  

Twice my listings were victimized while under contract.  Just after the home inspection, before repairs could be completed.  Repairmen, appraisers, inspectors, insurance people, take your pick. There is a revolving door through these homes as we prepare for a closing.  I am sure it is a coincidence that the same buyer agent and home inspector were involved on both properties. Within 6 weeks of each other.  But somewhere, someone is a common denominator here.  This is just too small a community.  The deputy tells me the best thing is a deer camera.  Get them on tape and they are DONE!  I am thinking to get one for my own home.  They are cheap, easy to install and who knows how long before these creeps move on to the occupied homes? Since when did VACANT translate into belonging to no one so I can take what I want?

My buyers found a property they wanted to see, (vacant) - I asked the listing agent what issues the home had (it was priced pretty low).  'It only needs a condenser for the HVAC and some cosmetic work', she said, 'depending upon the offer it may or may not end up a short sale'.  Not bad.  The photos were a little rough but it was priced accordingly so off we went to have a look at a decent 'opportunity'.  A good location, motivated seller, and priced at market, I anticipated a happy showing.

One day, these DIRTBAGS will be caught - and shot
We hugged and made happy when I arrived, it has been awhile since we last saw one another.  "Someone has stolen the plumbing,' my client said as soon as we started toward the front door.  I knew it looked shabby but assured him it was not a foreclosure but a resale and just needed HVAC repairs.  'That's gone too', he said.   I stopped in my tracks then, 'How do you know?  Did you walk around?" (they had been sitting in the car when I arrived. 'Yes', he laughed.  I frowned.

I typically arrive before my buyers, and if the home is vacant will walk around outside just in case.  I sighed and opened the front door - I could see straight through to the back of the home where the kitchen door window had been boarded up.  Not a good sign.  We went through the home, it needs everything, paint, flooring, fixtures, and  My client proved it - he opened the cabinet under the kitchen sink, reached in and pulled UP on the pipe.  It came up out of the floor - nothing attached.  Completely stripped from under the house.

Not washing any dishes in this sink. 
'I could tell it was gone the minute I drove into the yard and saw the water spout on the front of the house tilted to the side,' he said.  (he is a plumber by trade) The crawlspace was wide open.  They had gone under the home and sawed off all the copper pipes and just carted it all away.  Not a clue from inside the home until you try to use something, turn on a faucet or shower.

My clients had been excited to find a home that they could work on at a realistic price.  They are energetic, looking for a project, we are going to build a home together, kind of people.  As I said, he is a plumber, so they were amused and not so daunted by the little surprise we discovered.  It will mean something entirely different to a seller who is trying to make sense of the downturn in the market and changes in employment.  Their equity is gone, and now the home is rendered unlivable and unable to obtain financing.   Maybe they have paid their homeowners insurance, maybe not.  When it comes to making the mortgage payment and the money doesn't quite wrap around everything, some have let theirs lapse hoping not to get caught.

Easy to gut a home by the crawlspace
Is it a buyers market?  No.  There are too few homes available that buyers would be willing to purchase, too few sellers that can afford to sell at market value AND make repairs/upgrades, and precious little new construction.  Buyers and sellers are having to work together to get the homes  BOUGHT and realize a SALE.  It is a team effort, both sides must understand what it will take to achieve the desired goal.

We need PROTECTION, JUSTICE, VINDICATION from aliens sucking the very guts from houses left unguarded.

Dramatic?  Maybe.  But I am getting ticked off, sick of cleaning up after these animals.  THEY are stealing our homes, piece by piece.

I think it's time to call ARNOLD! Bring someone in who can take these monsters DOWN!