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Stripping a Home After Foreclosure

I hear reports in the news each day about desperate homeowners smashing their walls and ripping out wiring or copper pipes. Their idea is to sell the items for cash. Some misguided homeowners are angry at the bank for foreclosing and they vandalize their homes. People who vandalize a foreclosed home are not harming the bank, they are harming themselves. Vandalism is senseless and it is against the law.

When the bank receives title to the foreclosed home, they usually file a claim with the existing home owner’s insurance company to cover damage and missing real estate property items. People who strip or vandalize their home are likely to have the homeowner’s insurance company pursue and prosecute them when the bank faces a loss due to the seller’s intentional behavior.

Personal property are items that are not real estate and it is permissible to sell these items or to take them with you. Personal property may include; furniture, small appliances, mirrors, personal items, throw rugs, portable heaters, etc. Fixtures are considered real estate because they are affixed to the land or to the house, and they are not considered personal property which means fixtures stay with the house. Fixtures include items such as; ceiling fans, stoves, built-in-microwaves, dishwashers, pipes, wiring, sink drains, flooring, etc.

My best advice; we have three basic needs – food, water and shelter. When one of these needs is threatened, it can lead to high stress levels and cause a lack in good judgment and decision-making abilities. Before reacting emotionally to a foreclosure with physical behavior, get help. HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) offers information and referrals to your local Housing Counseling Agency that may be able to help you find affordable housing solutions and provide counseling to help cope with the loss of your home. You can also contact one of our Certified Credit Counselors who will help you complete a budget analysis and provide you with recommendations or referrals to help you improve your situation.

Published Jul 7, 2008.