Banks Abandoning Foreclosures

Just when we think it can’t get any worse for the homeowner in distress, think again.  In areas with heavy foreclosure rates the banks are refusing to take back the property from the homeowner.  Instead the owner remains liable for the upkeep.  If the property should become so dilapidated the community or alderman may require the property be torn down and the bill sent to the current owner.  Now the person in distress has a bill for $15,000+ for the cost of demoing and removing the debris.  There are areas in Chicago where these properties are being torn down while they are listed for sale.  We have actually had a property under contract and when the client went to do the home inspection the house was in the middle of being torn down.

Another situation we are running into today on these short sales is the property owner vacating the property before it is sold and not paying for monthly upkeep or utilities.  Most areas have a code enforcement department that will fine the individual homeowner if the exterior of the home is not kept in reasonable shape.  Sometimes the water or utility bills haven’t been paid and in order to get the home inspected and sold they need to be paid in full.  The home and its upkeep and utilities are the responsibility of the homeowner until it is someone else’s responsibility which usually means ‘sold’ or if the individual does a ‘deed in lieu’.

For more information read the article below by Tom Kerr of  Click here for a direct link to the article.  If you are considering selling your home or purchasing a distressed property contact Vijay Gandhi,Re/max agent 647-267-6338 or
Banks Abandoning Foreclosures By Tom Kerr

The homeowner strategy of walking away from foreclosure homes when home values plummet below the outstanding mortgage balance has now been given a new twist by lenders. Banks are refusing to take back foreclosure properties, leaving homeowners to assume responsibility for their upkeep.

A new foreclosure-related trend is beginning to take shape, and it raises troubling questions about the role of home values and bank sales in preventing foreclosure. In cities across the U.S., banks are forgoing their right to take possession of properties that have been foreclosed upon, and are canceling the bank sales at the last minute. Instead of putting homes on the auction block, lenders are simply walking away, leaving homeowners and city officials in a confusing and frustrating legal limbo.

Low home values breed walk away phenomenon
The so-called lender “walk away” phenomenon is the latest bizarre twist in the prolonged foreclosure crisis, and may signal a whole new wave of foreclosure problems that were completely unforeseen. Banks are discovering that owning foreclosure properties is more expensive than it’s worth, because home values are so low. To save money, they don’t even bother paying for a foreclosure auction. They just contact the homeowner and inform him that the foreclosure process has been halted, and that he’s still fully responsible for any financial or legal liabilities related to the house.

Failure preventing foreclosure
Most of these homeowners have already vacated their properties after enduring the heartbreak of foreclosure. In their absence, the properties fall into decline, and often become targets of vandals who strip them bare of fixtures or pipes that can be sold for scrap metal. Many residences are condemned by city officials and are slated for destruction, especially in cities and neighborhoods where foreclosure blight is a major headache. In foreclosure-plagued Buffalo, New York, for example, city officials sued nearly 40 banks last year for abandoning dozens of homes that fell into a state of deterioration. But in recent months, that kind of pass-the-hot-potato scenario has played out in cities across the country, where banks are systematically walking away from situations where home values are too low to even justify the cost of a foreclosure seizure and subsequent bank sale.

The responsibility typically goes back to the borrower in default, who’s then hit with the huge liability of owning a worthless property that’s costing both him and the city money. Homeowners who have accepted the loss of their homes and are struggling to put their personal and financial lives back together, suddenly find themselves in a much more complicated situation. Both the bank and the city hold them liable for an uninhabitable home that’s still technically theirs. The distressed homeowner, whose name is the one on the deed and the title, may get a bill for the cost of demolition. And the cost to tear down a worthless home and remove the rubble can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.


If you are considering selling your home or purchasing a distressed property you should work with an agent experienced in these types of sales.  Call Vijay Gandhi,Re/max agent 647-267-6338 or
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