Foreclosed Homes, Vandalized: A Horror Show in Pictures

Continuing the Halloween theme, we turn to the horrors of foreclosed homes. Our angle is a bit different though: Instead of focusing on the people who’ve lost their homes or the effect foreclosure has on the market, we’ll focus on the houses themselves—specifically, the horrors that can rain on a foreclosed home, whether by the angry fist of an ousted owner or by the sick, twisted hand of a vandal who finds diversion in defacing a vacant home.

First up, via the Ugly House Photos Blog, graffiti and random destruction on foreclosed and empty houses in Arizona:

Often, this kind of vandalism pairs with theft.  Clearly, it’s not always previous owners who do the stripping and destroying of the home. Sometimes, because the house has been sitting so long with no one in it, thieves take advantage of the situation. They steal air conditioners, copper wiring, and—the holy grail of home looting—copper pipes.

The New York Times wrote recently that

“Near-record prices for copper, platinum, aluminum and other metals have spurred a resurgence in the past several months in the theft of common items that in better economic times might be overlooked — among them….copper wiring that is being stripped out of overhead power lines, tornado warning sirens, coal mines and foreclosed homes, where thieves sometimes tear down walls to get to copper pipes and wiring. The thieves then make quick money by selling the items to scrap yards.”

These photos, also from Ugly House Photos Blog, show incredible damage caused by stripping out and stealing copper pipes and wiring.

People might be able to find some sympathy for angry former owners take revenge on the bank by rendering the home valueless, but the pleasure of that revenge is , at best, short lived. A home that’s been foreclosed can be a hard sell anyway, especially if it’s in an area with several other foreclosures, and the longer it sits, the less likely its successful purchase becomes. This only depresses the economic health of the neighborhood more, an effect that spirals to the city, country, state and nation.  In other words, vandalizing and stripping a home is not going bring back those “better economic times” referenced in the New York Times article.

But sometimes people aren’t just short-sighted; sometimes they’re just scary. And with that Halloween flavored thought, we leave you with a video tour of a bank-owned home the bank won’t be selling anytime soon. Be warned. It’s pretty frightening.