What happens to a foreclosed house?

There’s an abandoned house across the street from me. Apparently it’s a foreclosure. It was probably built in the 1950s and probably should be condemned. Looking in the window, I see pails in the living room under leaks in the roof. There is trash everywhere and cracks in the outside of the house. It’s been reported to the city, but what happens next? How long before they auction it off and/or bulldoze the place? How could I find out?

You could go to the county Tax Office and Registry of Deeds, where you can learn who owns (and owned) a property, when it changed hands, under what circumstances, how much was paid, what back taxes are owed, liens, encumbrances, etc.

Easy to do and often quite instructive.

One thing that usually happens is that the bank has the locks changed ASAP once they have successfully completed the eviction. Former owners have been known to return and vandalize the property, steal hardware or building materials, or even try to burn the place down.

Does locking the door really help prevent any of that? It seems like someone bent on mayhem wouldn’t have a problem breaking out a window to get in. Surely a locked door can’t stop a house from burning down, can it?

My dad just put in a bid for a foreclosed house. It is owned by a bank and is being sold as is. Currently, it isn’t in livable condition, which would be a problem if he needed a place to live. The plan is to fix it up and sell it to my sister, a first time home buyer, at cost. She would have done the buying, but apparently it’s difficult to get a loan for a house you can’t live in.

She’s toured quite a few houses that had been foreclosed on. All of them were owned by a bank and on the market for considerably less than other houses in the neighborhoods. Sorry, no cite. I imagine a little googling will get you all of the cites you need.

http://www.realquest.com/rq/default.aspx# Check here first. In many cases it tells who owns it and how much it costs.
Check my zip 48127 . It is scary.

Yikes. I just did that. Lots of people with negative equity, including one that is -176% equity. How does that happen? I mean, I understand what it means, but how does a bank approve that loan?

The bankers assumed that as the house appreciated there would slowly grow equity. But when they stopped appreciating and actually dropped ,negative equities become a reality.

WOW that is amazing how many foreclosures there are in your neighborhood. I’m dumbfounded - I knew it was bad, but this is a good illustration of exactly how bad.

My mother has an run down house next to hers and regulary reports it to the city when they fail to mow the lawn or when vandels break in and start hanging out there. Turned out that it is owned by a Doctor that works in the hospital across the street. He seems to be trying to run the property values down in a decent neighborhood so that he can sell it to the hospital. He mows the lawn and carries away junk whenever the city comes down on him. It sucks. She just got another letter from the hospital asking her to sell. Bastard.

At least you don’t live in 90210.

It’s not so hot there either–median price down about 1/3rd from a year ago.

Great link, gonzomax. At the rate home prices are dropping in my neighborhood, I’ll be able to afford one next year.

Another way of checking is to follow house sale listings in your paper. In our weekly throwaway they give the former owner. When it’s a bank, you can tell that it’s a foreclosure and how much it sold for.

Not all abandoned houses are foreclosures, though. There is one a few blocks from us that doesn’t appear on the realquest.com list. Sometimes when someone dies the heirs are fighting over the estate, so nothing gets done. This house is in much worse shape than the ones that actually are foreclosed.

That’s probably a case where the borrower let the insurance lapse and then the home was damaged somehow–or the borrower abandoned the house and really trashed it–or simply walked away, leaving it for others to trash. Or the borrower committed loan fraud and got a loan based on an inflated appraisal. Or the IRS levied against the property. Something like that. It’s not likely that the negative equity would be the result of a loan.

(my emphasis)
In a standard mortgage, the bank has the right to secure the property even before the eviction in order to preserve the investment. They’ll put a lock box on it (but the owner will still be able to get the information needed to open the lock; it’s for preservation of the house, not to evict the owner).

As to the OP, I wonder why you think it’s a foreclosure. A house built in the 1950s (or any house, for that matter) may not necessarily have a mortgage on it. It could just be abandoned. Sometimes, the city will condemn a property and destroy it (I once saw a report that indicated that a house was “not fit for human habitation”, and was scheduled for demolition).