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IPFS News Link • Housing

Orwell Watch: Banks Put a Happy Face on Demolishing Foreclosed Homes

In the through the looking glass world of reality according to banks, tearing down foreclosed houses is a good thing. Really. The spin that Bank of America is using to justify the notion of bulldozing buildings is that the houses in question are worth bupkis, say $10,000 or less. There’s a wee omission in their discussion. Many if not most of the houses in question have fallen in value because the bank failed to maintain them on behalf of investors. They were stripped for copper and appliances, or got moldy, or had squatters move in and make a mess of the place. I’ve heard numerous stories from not only foreclosure attorneys, but also from readers bidding on properties out of foreclosure. For instance, one attorney told me of a house with a $1.3 million mortgage where the owner had arranged a short sale at $1.1. million. The bank refused to take the offer, foreclosed on the house, sat on it, and eventually sold it for, if I recall correctly, $200,000, which I’d bet was the value of the land. The bank made marginally more in fees via this route and delivered a much bigger loss to investors. I’ve heard similar tales from readers greatly lowering their bids on bank owned properties because they deteriorated so much as the process dragged on.