With Halloween just around the corner, I think it is appropriate to talk about the scariest type of zombies: Zombie Foreclosures…
Since I am HUGE fan of the zombie genre of horror films, I would like to take a few minutes to talk about the scariest type of zombie:
After the meltdown in our economy, everyone became much more familiar with foreclosures and short sales. At one time, it seemed that was all that was selling in some markets. And now that the real estate market is picking back up and people are moving on, a new term is coming to light — zombie foreclosures.
The Zombie Title
So what is the cause of the zombie foreclosure epidemic? When banks foreclose on someone, it isn’t normally a speedy process. Sometimes the owners move out before the bank has completed the foreclosure.
Sometimes the banks never complete the foreclosure process. We could spend forever and a day trying to figure out some of the stuff that banks do. Zombies want to eat your brain but a zombie foreclosure is caused by a bank that is NOT using their brains!
There could be many reasons why the bank stops the foreclosure process. Maybe the foreclosure is cancelled, the sale is never held, or title is never officially transferred to a new owner.
Because the bank never completed the foreclosure process, it means the borrower still technically owns the house and is on the hook for property taxes, fees and homeowners’ association dues. I would be willing to bet the borrower is still liable for anyone that gets hurt on the property!
Imagine getting hit with a lawsuit because a meth head got hurt while stealing the copper out of your home!
Or maybe the city or county starts fining you for violating any of the various zoning regulations regarding the upkeep of a property.
Just like in the zombie movies, the zombie foreclosure will keep coming after you. Which is sad since you think you don’t own the home any longer. You have moved on and are probably trying to rebuild your credit.
Needless to say it is an unpleasant surprise to find out that not only do you still own the home but it has suffered from sitting empty for months or even years.
Zombie Foreclosures Hurt Property Values
If you looked out your window right now and saw zombies staggering up and down your street, you can bet that it is going to have a negative effect on your homes value. The same is true for zombie foreclosures! These vacant homes decrease the value of a neighborhood.
If nobody is taking care of the property, then it can become overgrown, run down and an eyesore. It becomes a problem with no solution because the owner won’t invest any money in fixing up the property when the bank could come back with the foreclosure at any time.
How to Kill the Living Undead
I may have tried (pathetically) to use humor in this article about zombie foreclosures. Sadly this is a real and serious problem. Foreclosures are not funny. They are sad situations and honestly, they suck for the person losing their home. But what sucks more are the banks and the way they have caused this problem!
Ignoring Zombie Foreclosures will not cause them to go away.
If you have been foreclosed on, then you should double check that the bank actually followed through. Often the banks do not record the property in their name until right before they sell the home.
You should contact the lender or check public property records just to make sure. To do this, go to the county in which the property is located to make sure a new deed has been recorded. You might check your local county website also. Sometimes there is an online search tool you can use to find out which documents have been recorded.
If you have a vacant home nearby that is hurting the value of your home, contact the local city or county government to file a complaint. Force these sleazeball banks to take care of the homes they have foreclosed on.