Lots of Vacant Homes = Possible Theft + Vandalism During an Escrow

Reblogger Gabe Sanders
Real Estate Agent with Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales 3090099

Renee Burrows of Las Vegas NV posts about a problem that effects many areas with lots of vacant investor homes in distress.  Even after they are under contract, precautions need to be taken to avoid theft and or vandalism:

Original content by Renée Donohue~Home Photography B.1000860.LLC

This is part of my series:   “Things That Can Make Your Las Vegas Financed Home Purchase *Blow Up*Las Vegas Real Estate in the Middle of a Transaction.”

My ultimate goal in this series is to make Las Vegas Home Buyers aware of the challenges of a specific home’s eligibility for financing.

Congratulations!  Your lender just approved you to purchase a Las Vegas area home by looking at your check stubs, debt to income ratio and you are now approved to purchase a Las Vegas area home!

Hold the phone here, *you* may be eligible to purchase a home but is the house eligible for financing?  This series is designed for you to research a home’s eligibility for financing.

DISCLOSURE:  I am not a lender, title company, home inspector, contractor or appraiser.  I am only speaking from personal experience by working with financed Las Vegas area home buyers.  Hopefully you have hired a Las Vegas area real estate agentwho will be able to spot things that can *potentially* cause problems with your financing (mostly FHA/VA) before your contract to purchase a Las Vegas area home.

Much of Las Vegas is currently priced in fire sale status.  Many times when you see unusually inexpensive homes there is a reason – they are not eligible for financing and the seller does not wish to rehabilitate the home to make it eligible for financing.

Today’s topic at hand is “Theft or Vandalism During an Escrow“.

This is such an icky topic because you have come a long way baby!  You have trampled through houses, ordered your inspection & appraisal and sometimes – right before close – the home of your dreams gets vandalized or items are stolen.

The amount of vacant homes in the Las Vegas valley is staggering.  This and our poor economy (15% unemployment) makes vacant homes easy targets for vandals and thieves to go bump in the night and shatter your dreams of homeownership just like that.  As I have mentioned before, sellers in this environment are just not willing to pony up the expenses for restoration.

I have personally had this happen in three escrows:  a spa stolen from the backyard, graffiti on the interior of a house and a whole section of kitchen cabinets removed.

Some Items Thieves Will Take:

  • Plumbing Fixtures
  • Lighting Fixtures
  • Tubs & Sinks
  • Air Conditioning & Heating Units
  • Water Heaters
  • Appliances – Stoves, Dishwashers, Refrigerators, Washers, Dryers – YOU NAME IT!
  • Pool Equipment

This is just a list of the POPULAR items that are stolen from a Las Vegas vacant home.  As I mentioned above, I have seen whole sections of kitchen cabinets walk away in the middle of the night!

Many of the above examples may cause problems with lenders funding a loan.  Sometimes the sellers are willing to remedy the situation, many times in the case of REO (aka BANK OWNED) or especially a Short Sale not.

You will definitely want to try to re-negotiate with the seller for restoration.  Odds are restoration will not happen so you can also try for a credit or a new lower price – that is if the stolen item does not hinder financing by making the property “inhabitable“.

All in all, if the seller will not repair or replace or credit, you have a tough decision to make.  Can you live with the damages or is it time to move on?

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Rainmaker
4,432,217
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for the reminder. It is unfortunate that these things happen.

Nov 28, 2010 11:47 PM #1
Rainmaker
116,513
Jane Jensen
Century 21 New Millennium - Arlington, VA

I was showing homes once and when we went downstairs it was clear a vagrant was living in the vacant home and had just left when they heard us come in. Yikes. 

Nov 28, 2010 11:48 PM #2
Rainer
158,135
Rhonda Abbott
Howard Hanna - Wadsworth, OH
Wadsworth & Greater Akron, OH

I have made a habit of being as noisy as possible when I start to enter a home, vacant or otherwise. You jsut never know whne someone may be inside looting....or living! When holding an open house, I call through the door to announce my presence, then head back outside to place balloons on the yard signs, giving anyone who may be inside the chance to exit out the back before I return. The neighbors and passers-by may think I'm a little wonky, but better safe than sorry! For everyone's safety, I believe it is best to give the person who is there without permission the opportunity to exit unobstructed so that there aren't any altercations.  Things can be replaced - lives can't. 

Nov 28, 2010 11:59 PM #3
Rainmaker
790,129
Carol Zingone
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS

This is happening all over the country - I have heard of homes under construction being vandalized by having windows broken out, and have first hand witnessed the after effects of kids partying in a vacant home and damaging the drywall, the carpet, etc. It's a total mess, and we have to be extra cautious when entering any vacant property. 

Nov 29, 2010 12:57 AM #4
Ambassador
1,509,132
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

Thanks for the reblog Gabe!

Nov 29, 2010 03:28 AM #5
Rainmaker
4,797,361
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my re-blog.

Jul 07, 2015 04:26 AM #6
Rainmaker
4,797,361
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Hi Gita, thanks for taking the time to comment it is always appreciated.

Mar 19, 2018 06:33 AM #7
Rainmaker
4,797,361
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Hi Jane, thanks for taking the time to comment it is always appreciated.

Mar 19, 2018 06:33 AM #8
Rainmaker
4,797,361
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Hi Rhonda, thanks for taking the time to comment it is always appreciated.

Mar 19, 2018 06:33 AM #9
Rainmaker
4,797,361
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Hi Carol, thanks for taking the time to comment it is always appreciated.

Mar 19, 2018 06:33 AM #10
Rainmaker
4,797,361
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Hi Renee, thanks for taking the time to comment it is always appreciated.

Mar 19, 2018 06:33 AM #11
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