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:
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!