BluefoxToday blog : Why Las Vegas Homeowners Should Care About Things That Go "Bump in the Night"?

Why Las Vegas Homeowners Should Care About Things That Go "Bump in the Night"?

To prevent loss of value on their OWN home.

And why should renters care?  Maybe if they are buying or considering buying a home across town or in their own area, they should care if they are going to use financing to purchase their home. 

Here is what is going on:  stuff is getting stolen that prevents financing of a home.  I am not talking refrigerators or little appliances or a ceiling fan here or there.  I am talking about pool pumps and air conditioners and water heaters ~ even entire large above ground spas.

It always seems to me that it happens in the 11th hour of a closing too, which is odd that the property can sit around vacant 5-6 months (or more) and then have something of value disappear.  Is someone trolling the MLS and looking for vacant property?  There also seems to be no eye witnesses to these shenanigans.  Is the someone who is taking this stuff a licensed contractor (with credentials on the side of the vehicle) or a former owner?

Why you could lose value if you are a homeowner? 

  • Price reductions to compensate for the loss.  Case in point of the stolen LARGE above ground spa.  Buyer may get a price reduction which will reflect on the value of your home but doesn't hinder financing.
  • Transactions are "cash only" to reflect the loss of systems (water heater, pool pump, air conditioner, entire kitchens, etc.)  Many times these transactions are recorded as cash only without detailed information about systems missing so when a bank owned home is listed (or any other home for that manner,) that sold value appears to be a solid value.

Why would you care if you are a renter that is looking to buy?

  • Your escrow across town could be subject to theft and that other renter that lives next door looks the other way.  This could affect the financing on your own home or make your escrow extra lengthy.
  • Your appraisal can come in low because the appraiser used the cash only comp without knowing it was cash only because of major systems missing.
  • You can lose out on a dream home because it is cash only due to missing systems.

With so many vacant homes in the valley we all feel pretty helpless about the situation and I have a feeling that people look the other way when they see or hear shenanigans.  Let me present it this way:  Right now we need to be vigilant and fight back against those shenanigans just to protect the value of our own homes. 

On Thursday I had an escrow that had missing systems (that affect financing) stolen in a 24 hour period (was there just the day before) and now we are scrambling since this an 11th hour situation and we are waiting for a re-inspect from the appraisal so we can have docs delivered.  BOOO!  This is the THIRD time something like this has happened to one of my escrows in less than a 1 year period.

I went to craigslist to find that piece of missing equipment and I was flabbergasted.  I shouldn't be surprised and I am sure many others have seen this before me.  I do suspect that people with credentials on the side of their vehicles (it only costs $30-100 to have credentials put on the side or backs of your vehicles) are taking these systems!

Here is what you can do to combat this!

On a bank owned home many times the list agents will post a "NO TRESPASSING" sign on a window like this:

Las Vegas Vacant Homes

When you live near one of these vacant homes, please take the time to go write down the numbers.  MANY times they have both the list agent's number AND the servicing company's number.  DON'T WAIT UNTIL IT IS TOO LATE!  Do it as soon as you see it!  Also, not all vacant homes are bank owned so when a sign goes up, write down the name of the list agent's number on the sign.

Many times in REO (Bank owned, foreclosed) property, there is an abundance of activity.  There are rekeys, trash outs, pool maintenance, lawn maintenance, contractors for systems (heating and a/c), etc.

At this point, I would suggest that we all be busy bodies and get descriptions of the vehicles, license plate numbers, and humans going in and out of these properties.  Also, if possible take photos with a digital camera from the comfort of your own home. 

I do not suggest confronting these individuals (although I have been confronted by neighbors when I am entering pre-market REO listings, I am not really threatening at 5'2" and 115 lbs.)  I always have a good conversation with the neighbors who are genuinely concerned about the property.  So I do have faith that there are vigilant people here in Las Vegas.

I would take any information and contact the list agent and servicing company also (whatever info is on that window sign).  Maybe what appears (remember from above, fake credentials are easy and cheap to obtain in the form of magnets on cars) to be a licensed pool or HVAC company just stole some systems.

Ask them, to please let you know who is authorized to be in that home, and let them know that you care because you are a neighbor.

HVAC and pool companies and landscaping companies usually do not work after the sun goes down so please call 911 if you are seeing shenanigans in the middle of the night, and do not forget to get descriptions of vehicles and people that are in the vicinity.

My three escrows that ended up with missing systems has happened ALL over town so no one should think their area is immune or this is going on in just a certain area of the valley.

Even though this home may belong to the bank (and many people have the "screw banks" mentality) we still need to help them look out for their assets, and PROTECT OUR OWN VALUES IN OUR HOMES!

Thanks,  Renée Burrows 702-580-1783 Broker/Owner, REALTOR®


copyright 2006-2013 Renee Burrows, REALTOR®, Savvy Home Realty Solutions  702-966-2494

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Comment balloon 11 commentsRenée Donohue~Home Photography • September 27 2009 02:07PM


Hi Renee!  Interesting--we don't have an abundance of REO properties here that experience this type of theft but, great idea to get those numbers and also remember 911!  And, no, I don't think you look much like a theif!  LOL

Have a great Sunday...

Debe in Charlotte

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 10 years ago


Renter insurance is a must for tenants, but you also bring out a good point about vacant buildings and homes.

Posted by Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459, Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD! (Coldwell Banker) over 10 years ago


Insurance on vacant homes makes a lot of sense.

Posted by Debbie Aldrich, Salt Lake City Realtor - Salt Lake County, Cottonwood Heights (The Watts Group Real Estate ) over 10 years ago

Wow,  I'm sorry that has to be frustrating.  People are either so desperate or just plain evil.  A true sign of a professional is someone like yourself that can make things all pull together in the 11th hour when odds are against you and it seems like all is lost.   Great advice to let neighbors know who is allowed in the property and when.

Posted by Kim Boekholder Utah Real Estate, Broker, Results Real Estate (Results Real Estate 801.580.5624) over 10 years ago

Renee, I remember when we went through the S&L Crisis and this sort of thing happened all the time. I know that this and all of the other absurd problems that come with having a large inventory of Bank owned listings will end someday. I just hope it's sooner than expected in your part of the world!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Debe:  HA at me looking like a theif but I have gotten the third degree once or twice by neighbors brave enough to confront me.  When I explain what I am doing there (more than likely a BPO) then they ask me general real estate questions about the market and give me an opportunity to hand out a card!

Tom:  I wish FHA would do away with their renting prior to closing rules for buyers.  It could make some of these homes secure and prevent loss just by allowing a buyer to occupy during their escrow period.  YES, it does open a whole new can of worms with liability of a property that could go into foreclosure but there are preventative measures that can be taken so everyone understands different outcome scenarios!

Debbie:  most are insured I believe, for larger losses.  It would make more sense for the absentee owner to file police reports in these cases.

Kim:  Pulling it together in the 11th hour is exhausting but these days, it's all in a days work!

Russell:  It won't be sooner and more likely it will be later, so being vigilant is our best option at this point ;)

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) over 10 years ago

This blog was re-blog by someone . . . but I don't comment on the re-blog . . . I go back to the source, and spend my points where they belong (on the original post).  Anyway, I rememeber reading about this in another blog, and realize it's a very nasty biz we're in when stuff like this happens!

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 10 years ago

Carla:  Actually Kim (the reblogger) is a newer agent in my office and she helps me with the biz.  I folded my team so I still work with her for showings and escrow coordination.  This recent happening with the stolen item was one of our shared clients!  She has seen alot with me and I have told her to reblog away with my stuff and she syndicates to twitter and facebook to share the information with her own sphere.  I <3 Kim!

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) over 10 years ago


Great subject and a dangerous one at the same time.

That's how my trouble with the gang started.I noticed once in my quiet at the time Florida neighborhood thieves snooping around the empty unit.I notified the Sheriff Department and I went there myself and stopped them from stealing the refrigerator.Sheriff Deputy came too late (as they do most of the time).He asked a few questions,don't even remember if he wrote a report.I managed to scare thieves away,they ran away but they remembered what unit I came from,what car was in front.They started stalking me,than they started attacking entire family.I had to sell my property and move away.

This shouldn't happen right?

Sheriff Department should do their job which they didn't do in my case.

My neighbors became my enemies for calling Sheriff Department to catch the thieves.

I'm sure they had something to do with this.

Later on this gang of thieves found my new address and they simply robbed me.Today as you know I live outside of USA.






Posted by Eva Erdmann, interior decorator (Lion International Inc.) over 10 years ago

Great advice Renee!  We started a Neighborhood Watch program here in Green Valley expressly to keep an eye on the foreclosed properties.  We've managed, as a community, to prevent any damage/theiving so far.  Doesn't hurt that we have a State Trooper who parks his car in the driveway every night either!  LOL.

Posted by Kendall Aschoff, NMLSR ID: 372723 - Henderson Las Vegas, NV - Mortg (SecurityNational Mortgage) over 10 years ago


This has become an acute problem here in the valley, that's what I understand. We need to spread the word as wide as possible. It's already in my Outsider.

Posted by Esko Kiuru over 10 years ago

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