Beware of the “Zombie Foreclosure House!” If you are not familiar with this term, that’s ok, but I would bet anything you’ve seen one in your neighborhood!
This term came across my radar when reading my news feeds and this article posted by Inman News popped up. Now who could resist the headline of, “Is the Zombie Foreclosure eating your client’s property value?” Basically, it means that the home that looks abandoned within your neighborhood is affecting your home’s value whether you think it is or not. Once abandoned, the property becomes overgrown or damaged from storms with no one to maintain it. It becomes a target for vandals, thieves and code violations. You can easily identify them, just take a quick drive through your neighborhood and count how many you see.
Please keep in mind that this article is written with the audience being a Realtor concerned about their client, but this also applies to any homeowner who is concerned about their neighborhood and housing values. Inman News is a highly regarded news and education outlet for the real estate industry and is a must read for those in the industry.
First, I suggest that you take a moment to read the article in it’s entirety as it will help to understand the point that they are trying to make. There is a great image shown there that pulls you through what a “Zombie Foreclosure” is and what you as a fellow homeowner can do about one. It is provided by a local attorney’s office as you will see at the bottom of the image.
*Disclaimer: I do not endorse this attorney in any way and have not conducted any business with them so I have no feedback on their performance. I just admired their graphic designed image for the article.
Now to get to the reason why I am posting this. I think there are more options as to what people can do to help eliminate these Zombie homes in their neighborhoods. Yes it is true that a majority of these homes are probably in a foreclosure situation, but you may find that there are more out there that are just abandoned for one reason or another. If they are simply abandoned, they can be saved much faster than if they are in foreclosure. Let’s expand on that.
The article states that Florida is in the top 6 states that contain zombie foreclosures. As a matter of fact, it is the #1 State. The article also states fairly accurately the percentages that your (loved) home is losing value by being near these types of homes. With this said, have you heard of anyone in your neighborhood doing anything about these homes? They do give some options in the article on how to “Kill the Zombie Foreclosure” in your neighborhood, so let’s examine these.
- Cut the grass and maintain the yard
- Establish a neighborhood watch
- Let HOA know of the abandoned home
- Contact owner and make aware of incentives
- Increase lender’s awareness of vacated foreclosure home
Ok, let’s start with #1. We agree that this is a good idea for anyone in the neighborhood as it shows that someone is watching the property, so that criminals won’t be prone to scope out your area of town. Ask any police official and they will tell you that if all the homes in a neighborhood are maintained, they will move on.
#2. This is a good idea in general for any neighborhood. There may already be an established group in your area but if not, there are lots of resources that your local government and police may be able to assist with.
#3. This obviously only applies if you have an HOA, but our bet is that they already know about the abandoned home. As one of the first things a homeowner will stop paying, even over their mortgage is their HOA dues. They are most likely already in the process of their own foreclosure on the property.
#4. & #5. Now if you have lots of free time to spend locating the homeowner and to find out who the lender is, maybe you should work in real estate! Most people won’t take the initiative to do this part and honestly, most people don’t want to get involved at this level. I don’t blame them, as foreclosure is not a proud moment in anyone’s financial portfolio and I doubt you want to get into that conversation if you do reach the homeowner. They may have some choice words for you that I don’t need to elaborate on.
So what else can you do as a local homeowner who is concerned about their home’s value and the safety of their neighborhood? Besides putting on your cape and spandex, I can offer some suggestions that are a little less embarrassing….. first, contact me!! I am a licensed real estate agent who will take the time to research and contact the homeowner to offer solutions. Simple as that. Let me help you be the Hero and give you the credit!!
So, go ahead and contact me with your concern and let me do the work to better your neighborhood and home value by working with these homeowners. I can either offer them solutions or possibly line a buyer who will purchase these zombie properties to either rehab them or tear them down to rebuild a new home. Both of which will restore your home’s value much faster than if waiting for the home to go through foreclosure. Realtors act quickly which gives you back the great neighborhood that you deserve.
If you have a zombie property in your neighborhood, feel free to send me a quick email with the address and I will check it out to see if I can contact the owners to inquire about their intentions with the property. We ask for an email instead of leaving the address in the comment section so that we can protect the privacy of the property owner. If you prefer to call, you can reach me at 407-748-9693.
Our last note: If you go the bottom of the image within the original article linked above, it states, “an occupied home is a happy home!” That couldn’t be truer and that is my goal as well! Let’s get rid of the Zombie Homes in your neighborhood!!
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2015 Copyright Theresa M. Kraa, Realtor ®