Milking the “cash cow” to last drop…No payback required

Showing homes over the last month or so, I have noticed a new phenomenon. Bank owned properties seem to be missing appliances. In our market, it is customary that there is a stove and a refrigerator in the home. If you are selling, these items, along with other appliances usually convey. We have a specific document that is filled in at the time of listing that identifies which items will convey.

Apparently, well, let’s just say, my best guess is that folks that have stopped paying the mortgage have found yet another way to convert their investment into cash. They can’t get a home equity line anymore, but spigot is not totally dry.

If I am not mistaken, it may be a buyer’s market for used appliances at salvage yards and stores that feature second hand refrigerators, stoves, etc.   Take a walk around an average home and you will discover that it is packed with treasures. All you have to do is tear them out, pack them up and sell them at a salvage yard.

When you are down and out, it seems you can justify anything. So, off they go to the junk yard. Houses stripped bare. House value reaching the lowest level. Yep, they even tear through the drywall to get at the copper piping. A winterized home is easy to strip.

This little stop …..  becomes the final ….. 

Is it just me, or does this strike anyone else as the last slap in the face? Everyone is willing to admit that some homeowners made bad choices in loan programs. Most people feel that some loans were presented as the best or only option for a borrower. There were problems all around.

Do we now just turn a “blind eye” to the looting of property? I realize that it is usually being done by the homeowner. I understand, that legally, they probably are within their rights to strip the home. After all, we have told them that they are homeowners.

Who will defend the rights of the neighborhood? It is one thing to see property values decrease because of a market adjustment, it is quite another to see neighborhoods suffer because of the behavior of another.

I don’t have an answer. I know the government has addressed the situation by bailing out the big lenders and helping out the people in trouble by waiving tax consequences on the amount forgiven. There is so much boiling below the surface regarding our housing dilemma, we may never see a return to a “normal” market.

I guess I just wonder if anyone else realizes that the stove that is ripped out of home and sold for scrap will eventually cause one student in the third grade across town to have to share a text book. Our actions do not occur in a vacuum. Our society is woven together like a fine tapestry. Pull that string selfishly and you begin an unraveling that will impact others.

I realize you can not steal from yourself….well maybe you can. I wish I could put my finger on why this new behavior stinks. I only hope that the smell will reach a wiser nose than mine and something will be done to correct the problem.

 

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