Foreclosure Vandals Threaten Prospective Homeowners: 'Only Going To Get Worse'

The painful process of foreclosure sometimes carries over to the next prospective buyers.

In Anoka, Minnesota, twenty-somethings Nate Kruckeberg and his girlfriend were set to close on their first home when an unexpected act of vandalism forced them to think twice, FOX 9 News reports. Written on the garage: “Take my house [expletive]… only going to get worse."

Such acts, believe to be perpetrated by disgruntled victims of foreclosure, turn out to be fairly common in the area.

"Folks ha[ve] hammered through every wall and every door," Minneapolis realtor Erik Brown told FOX 9 News. "We've also seen spray painted walls, where they write, 'We're coming back.' They don't."

Foreclosure vandalism has been occurring across the country, both by those evicted and not. Early last year in Huntington Beach, California, for example, vandals poured cement down the drain of a home, resulting in $250,000 worth of damages, ABC News reports.

Evicted homeowners ransacking their houses isn't all that uncommon. KVUE reported on a similar situation in Texas.

"They're mad at the bank so they take it out on the house," George Roddy, of the Addison based Foreclosure Listing Service, told KVUE.

It's become enough of a problem in Las Vegas that new laws were passed last year to increase resulting penalties. In 2010, it’s estimated that 13.9 percent of nationwide bank owned properties were so badly damaged they didn’t qualify for mortgage financing, ABC News reports. The situation appears even worse in Florida, where a realtor told ABC News that about half of the foreclosed homes she deals with have been vandalized.

Homes abandoned because of foreclosure is a growing problem for a number of reasons. For one, banks now own so many empty homes -- the Federal Reserve estimated there were at least 500,000 last year -- that they can’t afford to maintain them, causing blights to the neighborhood and often lowering property values. And when abandoned homes are owned by government, the burden of maintenance often transfers to taxpayers, who will spend $40 million this year just to mow the lawns of almost 200,000 such properties.

Beyond vandalism, these abandoned homes often become the site of squatting and drug use.

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