Well, there’s a headline I never thought I would write. But it’s not what you think. As a Realtor, some of the worst homes we sometimes see, are bank-owned. In other words-Foreclosures. It never ceases to amaze me that some folks, admittedly a minority, think it is okay to vandalize the home they are losing. It is common to see a home where light fittings and light switch cover plates have gone missing. To the extent that the homeowner may have customized their home with better fittings, it is somewhat understandable. However, many people go to the extent of smashing what they can not easily remove.

Bathtubs, showers and toilets, for example. Not only is this incredibly immature, it is also a criminal offense. Too often, however, the banks decline to press charges on the basis that a person who lost their home to foreclosure would be very unlikely to be able to afford any court-ordered restitution. Banks also seek to avoid the adverse publicity that would result from prosecution. I have often remarked that if these homeowners had been as diligent in their regular job, as they were in destroying their home, they may well have been able to keep both.   Back to the headline.

It seems the FBI has a mortgage task force that has been going after people who have systematically been stripping homes to sell fixtures and fittings. Again, they are mostly concentrating on investors and speculators who had purchased multiple homes, probably to avoid negative public reaction should they chase after individuals who could not keep up their payments. However, make no mistake, laying waste to the property is a crime whoever commits it, and it damages everyone by further depressing home prices.

The FBI recently arrested one genius in Anthem, Arizona who was even advertising granite counter tops on craigslist.org, one of which he had the misfortune to offer to an undercover agent, shortly before the bracelets went on. Oops!

In these sad times of decreasing personal responsibility, too many people are looking to shift blame for their own ill-advised decisions. To then trash the property that you should not have bought in the first place shows a level of immaturity that boggles the mind. The fact that some of these folks are also parents does not bode well for the future.

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