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More than 300,000 homes are foreclosed "zombies," study says

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  • More than 300,000 homes are foreclosed "zombies," study says

    March 28, 2013 4:59 PM ET

    By Barbara Liston

    ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - A national survey found 301,874 "zombie" properties dotting the U.S. landscape in which homeowners in foreclosure have moved out, leaving vacant property susceptible to vandalism and degradation.

    Florida tops the list of zombie properties with 90,556 vacant homes in foreclosure, according to a foreclosure inventory released on Thursday by RealtyTrac, a real estate information company in Irvine, California.

    Illinois and California ranked a distant second and third with 31,668 and 28,821 zombie properties respectively on the list.

    The number of homes overall in foreclosure or bank-owned rose by 9 percent to 1.5 million properties nationally in the first quarter of 2013 compared to a year ago, according to RealtyTrac.

    Another 10.9 million homeowners nationwide remain at risk because they owe more than their property is worth, according to company vice president Daren Blomquist.

    RealtyTrac for the first time analyzed data on zombie properties after a Reuters' special report in January examined the special problem of zombie titles, Blomquist said.

    Reuters revealed the plight of people who walked away from their homes not realizing that their names remained on the deed and that they were financially liable for taxes and other bills related to the abandoned property.

    In some cases, homeowners vacated after receiving a notice from the bank of a planned foreclosure sale, only to find out later the bank never followed through.

    Zombie properties can be easy to spot as they deteriorate into neighborhood eyesores and havens for criminal activity.

    While Florida leads in volume of zombie properties, Kentucky, with less than 1,000 zombie properties, leads in percentage, with zombies representing 54 percent of its total foreclosure inventory, Blomquist said.

    Zombies in Washington, Indiana, Nevada and Oregon also constitute 50 percent or more of the properties in foreclosure, according to the report.

    Blomquist said the number of zombie properties could be higher than represented in the RealtyTrac report, which used a conservative methodology.

    In Florida, for example, the company does not count any property that has been in foreclosure longer than the state average of 853 days and for which there has been no significant recent activity. The report also does not take into account cases in which a bank chose not to follow through on a foreclosure judgment, leaving the property in limbo.

    Blomquist said the long average time to complete a foreclosure case in Florida likely contributes to the high number of zombie properties, as people give up hope over time and walk away.

    Blomquist said the findings overall show a housing recovery is under way but not yet deeply rooted.

    "I think the empty foreclosures is less of a long-term threat but it certainly is affecting individual communities and neighborhoods," Blomquist said.

    According to the Reuters special report, municipalities are left to deal with the mess when people move out after receiving a notice of a planned foreclosure sale that the bank then cancels.

    Some spend public funds on securing, cleaning and stabilizing houses that generate no tax revenue. Others let the houses rot.

    Unsuspecting homeowners have had their wages garnished, their credit destroyed and their tax refunds seized. They've opened their mail to find bills for back taxes, graffiti-scrubbing services, demolition crews, trash removal, gutter repair, exterior cleaning and lawn clipping.

    In some cities, people with zombie titles can be sentenced to probation, with the threat of jail if they don't bring their houses into compliance.

    http://money.msn.com/business-news/a...28&id=16292478
    "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

    "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

  • #2
    me me me!!!! i'm a zombie!!! and proud of it since i have no city ordinance wheeeeepppp!! LOL!! seriously just foreclose and i'll no longer be one of the walking dead!

    also, this article as well as others on the subject forget to add if you did file bk and listed your property, you are no longer (depending on the state having to pay property taxes) LORD NO!! i'm so hoping chase will stop paying them and the state, county, or township will foreclose. we don't have a "town" or a city near where our old house was. we DO have streams, trees and mountains and mountain lions too. LOL!! (really)
    8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! http://www.bkforum.com/blog.php?32727-tobee43 and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK http://www.bkforum.com/group.php?groupid=9

    Comment


    • #3
      ok cats not lions but they are size of panthers really! OH!! and the irs doesn't usually collect state or county taxes, the state will hold up your return, but you don't have to worry about that if you lived or live in nj because one usually owes

      of the towns want their money they can foreclose themselves, they don't have to wait for the banks to do it. that's why they need to get all their facts straight. although, i'm awaiting the knock on my door anyday now.
      Last edited by tobee43; 03-28-2013, 08:51 PM.
      8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! http://www.bkforum.com/blog.php?32727-tobee43 and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK http://www.bkforum.com/group.php?groupid=9

      Comment


      • #4
        That article is confusing! They use foreclosed and "in foreclosure" interchangeably. They are two different things! I prefer shadow inventory to describe the homes which were not foreclosed.
        Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
        Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
        Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


        I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

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        • #5
          yes, actually "zombie" is from what i understand just the homes abandoned by the banks. i'm not sure about anything anymore really.
          8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! http://www.bkforum.com/blog.php?32727-tobee43 and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK http://www.bkforum.com/group.php?groupid=9

          Comment


          • #6
            Another zombie here.

            But ours has been a zombie for nearly 7 years now, so we are not included in the stats for Florida, given the methodology they used. I can think, off the top of my head, of another 5-8 houses I know are in the same group. These are all people I know personally, so I suspect the number is WAY higher, at least in Florida.
            11-20-09-- Filed Chapter 7
            12-23-09-- 341 Meeting-Early Christmas Gift?
            3-9-10--Discharged

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            • #7
              Interesting article, I do not see if getting any better. More and More people are walking away.

              My stepson Home is definately a zombie , in Ridge manor, Florida,7 yrs ago, they walked away. you cannot see the house from road anymore. However National bank refused a short sale a few years ago.
              chpt 7 ,5-2009

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