What happened to the people who used to live here?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with BROOKVIEW REALTY

Recently I was showing a foreclosed property and found the only thing left in the stripped property was this chalkboard mounted in the basement. The message "It was fun" struck a chord with me.

It was fun!How many times have you asked yourself, "I wonder where the past owner went". Wonder what happened to the people who used to call this house a home? Where are the children who used to swing on the swing set out back? Where did the children end up? Where are their friends and loved ones? Are they managing better now than when they lost the house to foreclosure? Where they "tricked" into a mortgage they didn't understand? Did the interest rate on their creative mortgage spike up? Did they simply over buy, or was it a job loss?

Why did the past owner steal the kitchen cabinets knobs? Where are the kitchen cabinets & countertops? Why where the only remaining items in the kitchen the built in dishwasher and stand alone range? Where are the interior door knobs? Why did they remove the light fixtures and toilets? Why was the electric panel cut out? Why did they leave the property in disarray? Did the basement always flood, or is this a new phenomenon?

Who was the painter who painted this interior so poorly? And what about the bright purple painted bedroom? Whose idea was that anyways? Was it little Ashley's? Where are the closet doors? What happened to the furnace? What happened to the hot water heater and copper pipes? What's that smell? Why did the family pet urinate on that wall plug?

According to our recent MLS statistics, nearly 50% of our sales last quarter were foreclosures. The foreclosure market has prompted me to ponder many new questions, most without an answer. Will we ever have an answer?

When will the market "Get back to normal"? What do you tell your buyer when asked? I have been selling real estate in southeast Michigan for nearly 18 years. Now more than ever I find myself asking these series of questions.

I have heard that all real estate is local. Is it just me, or is your real estate market the same?


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Tina Allen
Exit Realty Tri-County - Mount Dora, FL

We are seeing changes already here in Florida....buyers are realizing it's a great time to buy.  Keep on "swimming", and hopefully, it will reach you sooner than later.

Jul 07, 2009 12:35 AM #2
Eilean Foster
Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Shore - Egg Harbor City, NJ
Real Estate Agent

I deal with these things the same way I used to deal with all the loss and ruin that I had to help people cope with during my service to the American Red Cross Disaster Response Team...

I don't focus on what IS, I focus on what will BE!

The home will be a "home" again, but will have new residents. 

The home will be a "home" again with a new coat of paint all new colors.

The home will provide new dreams and realizations in this new "home".

This home will provide shelter and a sense of belonging to a new generation!

I always said I would not buy a foreclosed home because I didn't want to be the one to take away their home - that was before I was involved with real estate and developed a bit of an understanding of the process.

But I must focus on what will BE...Not on what WAS!  Or how would I function in the field of RE?


Jul 07, 2009 12:35 AM #3
Stephen Kappre
KW Hometown - Mantua, NJ
Helping You Home

WOW so many questions. It is sad the familes that face foreclosure. Especially one that, if the chalk board is accurate, had been in that house for sooooo long. 19 years? I pray these people can pull together and get over this hump, because some never do.

Jul 07, 2009 01:08 AM #4
Sun City Grand Homes Surprise AZ Real Estate Leolinda Bowers Designated Broker Leolinda Realty
Leolinda Realty - Surprise, AZ
Sun City Grand in Surprise Arizona

I too have often wondered about the people, children and pets.  "It was fun" - a nice ending to a sad story.

I think that we may see some relief for a short period, until the 5 year ARMS become due, then it will possibly be even worse.

Jul 07, 2009 01:11 AM #5
Kris Wales
Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center - Macomb, MI
Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI

I viewed one last week that made me want to cry.  Stepped outside onto the deck, saw the swingset and sandbox, and one lonely little Tonka dump truck.  I could almost hear the little ones playing..

Jul 07, 2009 01:28 AM #6
Konnie Mac McCarthy
McLean, VA
Associate Broker - VA & MD

I know this may sound strange..but that is what I told my husband..when I am in a home that was foreclosed on...I can feel the presence of the previous owners..

Jul 07, 2009 01:54 AM #7
Renée Donohue
Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Broker - www.urLVhome.com

Seriously it is sad and I do wish the walls could talk sometimes.  Like Konnie you can sometimes even feel negative energy or a "presence".  It's creepy!

Jul 07, 2009 04:30 AM #8
Karen Winters, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Koenig Rubloff Realty Group - Chicago, IL - Chicago, IL
Chicago, IL

It's a strange feeling when I go to show, or have an inspection at a foreclosed home where a few toys and furniture pieces remain.  I can imagine the family leaving in a hurry and after they loaded up all they had room to carry, making the hard decision to leave a few things behind. 

I saw a case of vandalism where the previous owner sealed the bottom of the basement door and turned on the water in a slit level. The water had filled the basement almost to the ceiling and was coming up the stairs to the main level.  I was just about to head downstairs and caught myself on the railing before stepping into that water and possible electrocution.  The main level was a very attractive home, but when we went up to the bedroom level, the ceiling had caved in from all the moisture trapped in the home.

Jan 11, 2012 02:44 PM #9
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