Friday, March 28, 2008
This report in the Wall Street Journal tells of the new and innovative way that banks are now saving money on repossessed homes - by paying money to persuade vengeful former homeowners to bid farewell to their foreclosed property in a kinder and gentler way than they might otherwise, given the circumstances.
Eddy Buompensiero noticed eight pairs of shoes outside the door of the modest house on Mother of Pearl Street, evidence that the former owners were still living there even though the bank had foreclosed.That part about locking their pets inside is pretty sick...
Mr. Buompensiero, a gray-bearded inspector for REO Asset Services-1st Realty Group, rang the bell. When no one answered, he taped a letter to the door offering the occupants $1,000 to move out. The catch: They won't get a cent if they trash the house before they leave.
"If it was me, I'd take the money," Mr. Buompensiero said as he drove away. Either way, they're "going to get thrown out in a couple of weeks."
The stucco subdivisions of Las Vegas are caught up in the nation's foreclosure crisis. These days, bankers and mortgage companies often find that by the time they get the keys back, embittered homeowners have stripped out appliances, punched holes in walls, dumped paint on carpets and, as a parting gift, locked their pets inside to wreak further havoc. Real-estate agents estimate that about half of foreclosed properties to be sold by mortgage companies nationwide have "substantial" damage, according to a new survey by Campbell Communications, a marketing and research firm based in Washington, D.C.
The most practical way to ensure the houses are returned in decent shape, lenders and their agents say, is to pay homeowners hundreds or even thousands of dollars to put their anger in escrow and leave quietly. A ransom? A bribe? "Yeah, somewhat," says John Carver, an agent specializing in foreclosed homes for Prudential Americana Group in Las Vegas. But "you lose a house, and then you get some financial help -- it's a good thing...It's a win-win for both parties."
There is much more to this story - crowbars, graffiti, motor oil - I think you have to watch the video to hear about what they've been doing to the toilets.
It's in the public area of the WSJ website.