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(Foreclosure) Buyer Beware!

As if there weren’t enough risks and potential pitfalls in purchasing real estate foreclosures, I’ll add another one to the list: angry former homeowners!

If you thought the worst a previous homeowner could do was to strip the house from carpet tack strips to ceiling fans, you should consider this story.  Earlier this week, a middle-aged man suffering from health issues and financial troubles lost his house at the public foreclosure auction at the courthouse steps.  When the new owners drove to the property to check out their acquisition, they found the previous homeowner was still in the home…armed and very dangerous!  He shot the tires out of the new owners’ cars and proceeded to chase them away with his .357 magnum in hand.  He was later killed in a standoff with Phoenix SWAT after firing at them.

This incident not only reminds us that these are very hard, very desperate times for a lot of people, but also that the scope of due diligence related to a foreclosure purchase is much broader than many realize.  I’ve seen homes that have been set ablaze by their former owners.  I’ve seen concrete in plumbing.  I’ve seen post-tension slabs intentionally cut.  And I’ve seen upstairs bathtubs plugged up, the water turned on and left running to the point where the floor caved in.  This is the first time I’ve heard of the threat of fatal physical violence against a new owner.

I’ve found that most people that lose their homes blame the banks and seem to understand the position of the new buyer, because they themselves were often in the same position not so long ago.

Your Realtor can explain the pros and cons, as well as the potential pitfalls and rewards, of purchasing a foreclosure property, and he or she can help you create a purchase plan that minimizes your risks.


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