What can I do about the abandoned home on my block? [Real NEastate]

Q: Is there any reason someone would leave a house abandoned for several years and still pay the electric bill and taxes? There is an abandoned home on my block that, as far as I know, has been abandoned for more than 10 years and is in major disrepair. I have checked tax records and it’s not delinquent, plus the porch light is always on. What gives?

A: It is more than just frustrating to live with an abandoned property in the neighborhood, as its mere presence actually decreases the value of your home. These days, abandoned properties have become a common occurrence in every neighborhood due to the unusually high amount of bank foreclosures in this economic environment.

If this home has been abandoned more than 10 years, however, it pre-dates the recent foreclosure crisis and most likely is not the result of a bank foreclosure. Unfortunately, only the person who is paying those bills would know the reasons why they are letting the property sit abandoned. One can only imagine if the home is in major disrepair on the outside, it is going to be in major disrepair on the inside too. Maybe the owner isn’t ready to deal with it or doesn’t think they can sell it.

If the abandoned home is in major disrepair, AKA blighted, you should try to call Philly 311(dial 311 or 216-686-8686) and report the property. There is an abandoned home in my neighborhood that was sporting an unsightly fence up until it was reported to 311 and the fence was removed. Why anyone would let good real estate go to waste is beyond me; however, the City of Philadelphia is littered with properties like this one people have simply walked away from.

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 columnshere.

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