Abandoned house for sale – now what? [Real NEastate]

The house at the end of my block has been abandoned for several years. I remember hearing it was up for Sheriff’s Sale at one point, and I thought for sure someone would have snagged it because it was a nice house when the people who owned it lived there.  I heard they got divorced. Over a year ago, the bank who owns it now sent people to come clean it out and they posted a notice in the bow window too far away for me to read. A “For Sale” sign suddenly popped up yesterday. What took them so long? What happened and what will happen now?

The most likely scenario is the owners defaulted on their mortgage and subsequently, the mortgage lender foreclosed on the home. Perhaps they owed too much to sell it and didn’t consider their options. If what they owed was too high of a price to pay off the mortgage, the Sheriff’s Sale probably wouldn’t have been able to procure a proper buyer. So the bank then took possession of the property. These types of homes are considered “distressed” properties.

What took the bank so long is anyone’s guess. Red tape, I suppose. Or maybe they were waiting for values to level off. Seemingly, many banks aren’t too quick on the turn around time on these bank-owned properties, as there are quite a few homes like you describe in neighborhoods around the Northeast, and on my street as well. It’s a sad and all-too-common story these days.

Since the property has been empty for such a long time, it is probably in need of repairs, even if it was a nice house back when it was occupied. There could be mold or any number of problems since it has been closed up for so long. Homes like these are generally, and rightfully, priced below market value. I’ve frequently seen properties like this one snatched up quickly by an investor who will spend the time and money to fix up the home and hopefully sell it for a profit.

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others hereRead other NEast Philly columns here.

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